5 science breakthroughs against cottage enemies

What researchers are learning and inventing that'll make cottage life even better

By Jackie DavisJackie Davis

Girl in hammock

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Good news, cottagers: 2011 was packed with research and technology breakthroughs that may, one day, help in the battle against our perennial enemies.

1. Electric wand to fight…fire

Harry Potter, you got nuthin’: In March, 
a team at Harvard University extinguished 
a fire with a beam of electricity that pushed the flames away from the fuel source. Alakazam!

2. Scent compounds to fight…mosquitoes

So long, suckers. Mosquitoes find their hosts through exhaled carbon dioxide, but researchers have discovered three new scent molecules that appear to confuse the bugs and keep the bloodthirsty beasts from following a CO2 trail.

3. Computer program to fight…traffic jams

Cease honking in…100…metres. In the spring, IBM announced it was partnering with transportation experts in California to help drivers (and cottagers) avoid traffic jams, in part using the company’s Traffic Prediction Tool computer technology.

4. Protein molecule to fight…sunburns

Don’t crack out the baby oil, but London scientists recently found 
a molecule in the body responsible for the painful part of sunburns. Then they were able to reduce the ouch with a “neutralizing antibody” that targeted the pain-triggering molecule.

5. Rocking beds to fight…sleeping problems. And excessive chores.

Stop! Hammock time: European research suggests that a side-to-side swaying motion leads to deeper, more rejuvenating slumber. The scientists didn’t specify that you should be suspended between two trees, with a beer in hand, but hey, it couldn’t hurt.

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Jackie Davis