1. Can we eradicate mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes have been around for more than 100 million years. They've co-evolved with thousands of species all along the way. And with more than 3,500 named species of mosquito only 100-200 go after humans. The remaining thousands of mosquito species live completely off of only plants and fruit nectar. While bed nets and medication have helped reduce human suffering and deaths due to malaria, it seems obvious to take the next step and try to eliminate malaria entirely.

One mechanism scientists are using to create mutant mosquitoes is to use a genetic editing tool called CRISPR which makes it possible to quickly target and edit any part of an organism's DNA and replace it with custom DNA created in a lab. Using this, scientists have inserted a gene into mosquitoes that is replicated in both the sperm and the egg of mosquitoes. It renders the female sterile, but not the males. When a mutant male mates with a natural female, the female lays a batch of eggs in which all the females are sterile, but the males are not. The females will die without reproducing, but the males will go on to spread the gene to more natural females.

Another method that has actually been used it to create mosquitoes with a lethal mutation. The mosquitoes are bred in a lab in water that contains a chemical that inactivates the mutation. They mate and produce offspring that die of the mutation before they can mate and create a next generation. In field tests, this has resulted in a 90% percent reduction in mosquitoes over a large area.

Getting every female mosquito to breed with those type of males in a large area would be very difficult. Instead we should be looking to combine this with other techniques. Innovative ways of tackling mosquitoes are being developed across the world. A sensor that can detect each different species of mosquito from its distinctive wing beat. The villagers can be equipped with wearable acoustic detectors to track disease-bearing mosquitoes. This would help them manage future outbreaks.

Unfortunately, despite these promising results, these methods wouldn't be feasible for a total world eradication, as millions of modified mosquitoes are required for just a small area. Even though complete eradication is hypothetical, it's easy to see the positives of eradicating mosquitoes from the world. The quality of life for countries burdened by mosquito-borne diseases would increase dramatically, affecting several areas of life.

2. Why are labor unions bad for companies?

Corporations are powerful and have control over almost everything. Thus against such a supremacy, what can an individual do by himself? It acts as a medium of communication among the workers and the management. Thus unions seek to protect such individual employees. While unions provide many benefits for workers, they create a variety of disadvantages for employers, including strict federal labor laws governing the rights of employers in relation to unions. Understanding some of the disadvantages of union for employers will help you avoid conflicts and work better with an organized workforce.

One of the main disadvantages of having employees unionize is that labor costs will likely rise. Union workers make approximately 22 percent more than their non-union counterparts, according to data provided at the website of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With collective bargaining, employees are free to talk with each other before sending a representative on their behalf to negotiate wages, benefits and working conditions, all of which can lead to higher production costs.

If there is no agreement to the wage, benefits or workplace rules requested by union members, they are legally allowed to strike. Federal laws limits the ability to fire striking workers. A strike not only costs money directly from lost production, but causes other problems, as well. Publicity from a strike can cause a decrease in sales if sympathetic customers boycott products or services. The vendors and commercial customers may stop working with the company, anticipating that it may not be able to pay bills or deliver what they buy.

If workers are promoted based on parameters such as merit, productivity or other objective means, that opportunity is lost with a union workforce. Many unions negotiate workplace rules that promote and protect workers based on seniority, rather than merit. This means that only those workers who have been hired recently must be terminated, not those workers who are the least productive. While individual employees might not have the financial resources or will to contest such things as a termination, a demotion, a lack of promotion, or alleged harassment or discrimination, a union worker may be encouraged to file a suit or appeal your actions, and may be offered union support to do so.

3. Why are camera lenses round but photographs rectangular?

The camera lens doesn't produce the picture directly. Instead, the lens works in conjunction with image sensor or film to produce the picture. As light bounces off of an object being photographed, that light enters through the camera's lens. The job of the lens is to bend that light and focus it onto the film or the image sensor, hence, the shape of the image sensor actually determines the shape of the picture.

A round camera lens produces a round image inside the camera. However, the outer edges of the round image will have more distortions, than the parts of the image closer to the center. This is because light must be bent more to reach the outer edges of the circular image. The image is finest around the center, while the edges of the circle represent the regions that are dimmer, blurred and smudged. It seems fair to crop a rectangle from the circle because, while we do lose crucial photographic information, it is not of much aesthetic value and only provide us with the finest and most desirable region.

Lenses can be rectangle in shape but they are not as good at focusing light. Using rectangular lenses entails the sacrifice of absorption, therefore brightness and sharpness, and therefore the quality of the image. Furthermore, images generated by a rectangular lens vary with the lens' orientation, while images generated by a circular lens obviously don't. Compared to a rectangular lens, a circular lens is far easier to move, spin, polish and manufacture.

Image sensors are printed onto a silicon wafer and using rectangular sensors would be more cost effective. This is because when the sensors are cut out of this wafer, the circular sensors would have a lot of empty space and material which goes to waste. Films from an older camera come in a long strip that unwinds as pictures are taken. It's simply more efficient to use rectangular film in a camera rather than a series of ovals or some other shape.

The historic reason why the first sensors were made in a rectangular shape is that we are accustomed to looking at pictures, paintings in rectangular frames on rectangular walls. Rectangular images are much more exposed or comprehensive and are therefore more intuitive and pleasing to view.

4. Why do cashiers at drive-through restaurants ask you to back up sometimes?

The drive-thru time averages the amount of time it takes each car to go through their drive-thru. They are pressured to keep it under a certain time, which makes them stay alert and make sure items are stocked and ready.

There are timers installed in the drive-thru and they start as soon as you pull up to the order window. Once those times get up to about certain number, the boss starts flipping out on the crew because they aren't working fast/hard enough. If you change your order, stare at the menu for several minutes, don't have your payment ready, or need to order something else, you could also potentially be getting someone into trouble with their boss. Oftentimes the more 'fast food' a restaurant is, the more strict they tend to be about the timers.

Sometimes, they will even ask us to go to the parking lot and they will bring our food to us. Again, this is done to cut time. By having cars park when there's no one behind them and then taking their orders out to them, they are scamming the system put in place to keep them in check. It is unethical of them to do so. They're probably breaking company policy, but they all do it.

There are systems that figure out when you should drop fries based on how many cars are in the drive-through lines. Some restaurants have outsourced their drive-through order-taking jobs to call centers. Corporate wants to know for how long people are sitting in the drive-through. The restaurant is given time goals each week and they're not meeting them.

Knowing your order before you get to the speaker and not changing it when you pull up to the window can save employees a lot of headaches. And if you're someone who stops to check the accuracy of your order before pulling out, that can affect the timer, too. Basically, you are asked to pull forward to complete the order faster. This is done to impress the corporate managers, not the customer. In fast food, it is all about speed of service.

5. How does a credit card chip work?

The key problem with magnetic strips on credit cards is that they contain all of the cardholder information that would be necessary to make a purchase or to manufacture a counterfeit card since the data stays the same over time. And with today's technology, that data can be stolen with simple phone apps or dime-a-dozen strip readers.

The chip on the credit card functions like a small computer. Not only can the it stores data, but it's also a data processor. The chip itself has no power source, but it leaps into action when it comes in contact with a checkout terminal. Every time it is used, the chip creates a unique, encrypted code, called a token or cryptogram. This token is unique to the specific transaction taking place, and will only be used that one time. This number is created from information in the chip combined with information in the terminal, but using instructions contained only in the chip.

This is a dynamic number, meaning it will be different for every transaction. It's useless outside of that one transaction, and if anyone were able to copy your credit card chip information for a specific point-of-sale transaction, they wouldn't be able to use it to make purchases with the card. Next, this token is decoded with the card issuer over the internet or it will be verified within the terminal itself. After the token is verified, and the system determines that we have enough available credit on your card, the purchase will be approved. There are also contactless checkout terminals where simply holding the card near the reader activates the chip. The same chip technology is being used in mobile phones to enable on-the-go mobile payments.

A chip-and-signature card provides a little more security over the traditional magnetic stripe, since the cardholder must provide a signature in order to complete the transaction. The chip-and-pin cards work in the same way as a regular chip card, but also require the use of a pin to complete a transaction. One of the benefits of chip-and-pin technology is that the card reader does not always have to be connected to a phone or internet line to process the charge. With magnetic stripe cards, the card reader must connect with the credit card company before authorizing the charge. In places with slow telephony networks, chip-and-pin terminals can work offline, processing the charge using the chip alone and then authorizing the charges in bulk at the end of the day.


  1. Mosquitoes: It is nearly impossible to completely eradicate mosquito as long as they have breeding grounds. A potential solution is to alter the DNA of mosquitoes to make the females sterile or introduce lethal mutation.
  2. Unions: Unions cause a slower work process in companies, reduced productivity, higher wages demand and poor employee relations along with more adversity.
  3. Camera: The camera image sensor/film is rectangular whereas the illuminated area/lens is circular. Some light is wasted off the edges of the sensor so only the center rectangular portion is cropped out as the picture.
  4. Drive-through: The fast-food employees are most likely attempting to re-set the timer sensors so it appears you're being served faster.
  5. Credit card: The chip creates a unique, encrypted code which is unique to the specific transaction taking place. It's useless outside of that one transaction, and if that information was stolen/leaked at that point-of-sale, it can't be used to make purchases with the card.

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