How human beings could ruin mosquito sex in Fresno, California.

It's summer. Time for backyard barbecues, hikes, and enough mosquito spray to fill a blimp.

I'm ready for that hike now. Image from iStock.

Mosquitoes can be a perennial annoyance, a literal pain in the butt, and can even carry dangerous diseases like the Zika virus or dengue.


It might seem a little weird that a research company is releasing 20 million of the little buggers. On purpose. In Fresno.

The company, known as Verily Life Sciences, is a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google's parent company. In between projects for tiny glucose monitors and better spoons, scientists found the time to breed and release 20 million male mosquitoes in Fresno County, California.

Dun, dun, dunnnnn! ... Actually, it's fine. Photo from iStock.

All 20 million of the mosquitoes were male and all 20 million were sterile. They had been raised in a robotic lab and purposefully infected with a common, human-friendly bacteria known as Wolbachia, which takes the spring out of male mosquitoes' steps, as it were.

This isn't the start of a new mosquito-themed horror movie. The technique is actually a form a pest management that works like insect birth control.

Like a flock of tiny little vampires. Photo from iStock.

Any eggs these sterile mosquitoes father in the wild will be duds, which means once it comes time for the next generation, the people of Fresno County should see fewer of the little bloodsuckers flying around.

This approach to pest control is known as the sterile insect technique and is part of a trial to see if Verily can use this to fight Zika and other mosquito-borne infections. It's worked with other insects before, after all.

Their release is the largest field trial in the U.S. so far.

By the way, don't worry about any unforeseen bites in the meantime. Male mosquitoes don't drink blood.

This is not just a neat technique, it's a reminder that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to go back to the source.

There are times in life where we run ourselves ragged trying to fix a problem, only to realize we were treating the symptom and not the cause. I wouldn't have to worry about my weekly Chipotle bill, for example, if I was better at making lunches the night before.

Same in health and science. People have used pesticides, mosquito repellants, and vaccines to fight these buggers and their diseases — and don't get me wrong, these are all effective and worthy causes, but it's also cool to see people tackling the problem at its source.

Maybe the solution to there being too many mosquitoes is to ... just create fewer mosquitoes.

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sarita Linda Rocco / Facebook

Americans are more interested in politics than ever these days. More voted in the 2020 election than in any other in the past 100 years. Over 65% of the voting-eligible cast a ballot in the contentious fight between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

"People are very excited and paying attention even though there are all this bad news and high 'wrong track' numbers in the country," Nancy Zdunkewicz, managing editor at Democracy Corps, told The Hill.

It's wonderful to see that a greater number of Americans are standing up to be counted and demanding their voices be heard. But it's also the symptom of a deep level of discontent many people feel about their country.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
True

When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

Keep Reading Show less

The U.S. Surgeon General credits the new surge in COVID cases to "pandemic fatigue," but it's nothing compared to what healthcare workers on the frontlines are going through. TIME recently reported that nurses are experiencing burnout, but it often goes unseen. A nurse recently employed a social media trend to draw attention to the behind the scenes fatigue.

An ICU nurse posted her own "how it started/how it's going" photo on Twitter, and long story short, it's not going that great. The before photo of Kathryn, an ICU nurse in Nashville, was taken in the middle of April right after she completed nursing school. The after photo revealed just how much literal sweat and tears healthcare workers put in while treating people during the pandemic.


Keep Reading Show less