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    Not so long ago a lamp that could hear was demonstrated at the Newark, N. J., airport. This lamp’s ear was attuned to pick up or catch the note of a certain siren. That particular siren was a part of the equipment of an airplane that came soaring over the airport. The aviator sounded the note, the ear heard, and hearing it operated a switch that caused the landing field to be flooded with light, enabling the airman to land safely. It is a valuable contribution to aviation. This “lamp” was really a vacuum tube, a close relative of the radio tube, equipped, through the wizardry of science, with a sensitive ear. There are today many other marvelous lamps with which we are far better acquainted.

    They range from the tiny “grain of wheat lamp” that dentists and surgeons delight in using when making their explorations in the internal regions of the human body, to the brilliant radio beams whose rays are visible for miles from the point of emanation. When we think of these lights, compared with which even Aladdin’s wonderful lamp must fade into insignificance, it is almost impossible to realize what crude methods of lighting have been, and even now are, in use. Nearly every one knows what an important role the stormy petrel, the now extinct auk and the candlefish have played in furnishing man with light. The methods by which they were converted into torches, and lamps are familiar to all. But there is one natural source of illumination that has been used in effective and ingenious ways, about which comparatively little has been written.

    That is the firefly. In an early account of tropical America an historian speaks of a great beetle “somewhat smaller than a sparrow, having two stars close by its eyes and two more under its wings.” This large beetle’s lighting plant furnished such good light that the natives were able to spin, weave, write and paint by it. The Spaniards, when they wished to hunt at night, fastened beetles to their thumbs and big toes. Used in this Solar Bird Animal Repeller way the insects served the double purpose of making light and luring little rabbits that were attracted by die light. Fireflies that were not large enough to be tied to thumbs or great toes have been used extensively in a great many countries. Naturally enough, because they were used in such numbers, it was necessary to provide means to confine them. Novel methods for accomplishing this were devised. In the West Indies they use a lantern, a sort of three-story tenement, made with gratings of small rods. A somewhat simpler house of detention, prison, or lantern, as the case may be, is a common gourd with a number of perforations and a crude door.

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    A new killer flu virus is on its way. Ducks and geese carrying this virus are now winging their way across the globe, spreading the disease wherever they go. Started in Asia, it has now spread to Europe. Soon it will be in North and South America. So far it has only killed a few dozen humans. It is, after all, a virus that’s passed from bird to bird. Or mosquito killer from bird to animals. So far it can’t be transmitted from human to human. But flu viruses are crafty. They have the ability to change. This is what happened in 1918 when the Spanish Flu Pandemic swept over a war weary planet killing 50 – 100 million people – far more than were killed in the war. This time it will be much worse. After all, we now have 4 times the number of people living on the planet. And most of them live in cities. Large, crowded cities.

    The five largest cities in the world have over 100 million people living in them. A killer virus that can be passed from human to human, let loose in our major cities where people are living elbow to elbow, would have a catastrophic effect. And consider this…back in 1918 it was a much bigger world. It took weeks to get from one side of the world to the other. It took days to get from one side of the continent to the next. Today it takes hours. Last year more than 46 million international visitors came to the United States. If only one infected visitor passes on the virus to 2 others, who pass it on to 2 others, and so on, by the end of a month everyone in the US could be infected.

    I don’t even want to consider the implications if this idea ever occurs to muslim terrorists who are only too happy to blow themselves to bits in order to take out a few infidels. So what can we do?Fortunately it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some very specific steps you can take to minimize the dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones. 1. Draw up a Plan. Outline the steps you and your family need to take, both pre-pandemic and during. Identify responsibilities for each family member. Make lists of supplies required. Find appropriate sources. Develop a realistic timeline. By establishing a plan now, you will avoid becoming a victim of the panic that will grip the general population, resulting in civil chaos and pandemonium. 2. Keep Informed. If and when the virus mutates so that it is being spread from human to human, it is likely to start in Southeast Asia. Pay attention to the news. When you hear that this has taken place, it’s time to act. We might only have weeks before the pandemic reaches North America, but with international travel so fast and easy it could be much sooner. Sign up for free newsletter notifications at

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