Connect with us

Featured

RFID builds a better rat trap

Published

on

In research funded by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), scientists have studied individual rat behaviour using scent detection and RFID-technology, better known as micro-chipping. This has dispelled some long-thought myths about cats as an effective means of rodent control. It turns out that cats do not successfully kill and control rat populations.
Although cats’ stalking activity may initially keep rats out of sight, the rodents will patiently wait them out and return undeterred once the cats lose interest and leave the scene. Bad news for those homeowners relying on feline friends to keep a tight patrol. The researchers also monitored how often a rat frequented remote sensors and found certain odours to be more attractive than others in luring rodents to a trap or feeding station.
“Historically, rats have always been extremely problematic in society as both carriers of disease and threats to our property and food,” said Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the NPMA. “Despite the risks they present, rats are also one of the most under-researched animals because they are so uniquely adept at living in close contact with humans, but remaining just out of sight. We embarked on this research to learn more about individual rat behaviour and to seek information to inform better rodent control methods for the professional pest control industry.”
Key conclusions from the research include:
1. Rat response to cat scents/pheromones 
Scents of male cats cause both female and male rats to investigate, but then ultimately avoid an area in the future. Mixed male and female cat scents cause rats to respond more favourably to the scent compared to male-only scents. Most interestingly, female-only cat scents are most attractive to both male and female rats and elicit the strongest response.
2. Cats and Rodent Control
Feral cats were observed over the course of a five-month period and their presence was recorded more than 300 times by the cameras monitoring the research site and active rat colonies located nearby. In that timeframe, less than 1% of the cat and rat encounters resulted in a rat being killed; despite, stalking behaviour being observed 20 times. Rats are also less likely to be seen on the day-of or the day after cats are present. Although rats were less likely to be seen, the feral cats had no observable long-term impact on the rat population. The rats went into hiding but came back later, determining that cats are not an effective measure in rat control in urban settings.
For more information about the study, rats and rodent prevention, visit PestWorld.org.

Featured

The myths of microwaves

Published

on

We all know microwaves make cooking a breeze and it helps save those minutes, we rarely have enough of these days. However, some people do have those lingering doubts about whether microwaving food destroys nutrients or that it emits harmful radiation. However, the truth is a lot more comforting and positive.

“The microwave makes life so much easier,” says Tracy Gordon, Head of Product – Home Appliances at Samsung South Africa. “It’s human-centred technology at its most helpful. The Samsung Hotblast for example, has revolutionary functions, which are tailor-made to create fast, tasty and healthy meals in minutes.”

A recent article by Harvard Health Publishingclaims stated that “microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.” The article debunks two common myths about microwaving food.

Myth 1: Microwaving kills nutrients

Whether in a microwave or a regular oven, some nutrients, including vitamin C, do break down when exposed to heat. However, the fact is, cooking with a microwave might be better when it comes to preserving nutrients because it takes a shorter time to cook. Additionally, as far as vegetables go, cooking them in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients seep out into the cooking water,” states the report by Harvard Health Publishing. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), food cooked in a microwave oven is as safe and has the same nutrient value, as food cooked in a conventional oven.

Myth 2: Microwaving food can give you cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that microwaves do not make food radioactive. Microwaves heat food but they do not change the chemical or molecular structure of it. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people when used appropriately, the organisation added.

With those myths well busted, it’s comforting to know one can make full use of the convenient kitchen appliance. And when the time comes to use a microwave to heat up a tasty meal in no time, one can trust the Samsung Hotblast to do the job. The HotBlast has multiple air holes blowing out powerful hot air, which reduces cooking time. Samsung claims the Slim Fry technology ensures that food is perfectly crisp on the outside and delicious and juicy on the inside. Additionally, this versatile microwave has a wider grill, making it easier to brown food fast and evenly. The turntable is wider, measuring 345mm, making it possible to prepare bigger portions of food. And with its Eco Mode power, it significantly reduces energy consumption with its low standby power. Its intelligent features and stylish design makes it very useful and as we now know – a safe, healthy way to enjoy a meal.

Continue Reading

Featured

New BMW 3-series ushers in autonomous future

The new BMW 3-series is not meant to be an autonomous car, but it is so close, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK discovers.

Published

on

It was not meant to be a test-drive of an autonomous vehicle. But the Driving Assist button on the steering wheel of the new BMW 330i was just too tempting. And there I found myself, on Sir Lowry’s Pass near Cape Town, “driving” with my arms folded while the vehicle negotiated curves on its own.

Every 10 seconds or so, yellow or red lights flashed to alert me to put my hands back on the wheel. The yellow lights meant the car wanted me to put my hands on the wheel, just to show that I was in control. The red lights meant that I had to take over control from the artificial intelligence built into the vehicle.

With co-driver Ernest Page, we negotiated a major highway, the bends of Sir Lowry’s pass, and the passes of Hell’s Heights (Hel se Hoogte) above the Cape Winelands.

As the above video of the experience reveals, it can be nerve-racking for someone who hasn’t experienced autonomous driving, or hasn’t been dreaming of testing it for many years. For this driver, it was exhilarating. Not because the car performed so magnificently, but because it tells us just how close true autonomous driving really is.

There was one nervous moment when the autonomous – or rather, Driving Assist – mode disengaged on Hell’s Heights, but fear not. A powerful sense of responsibility prevailed, and my hands hovered over the steering wheel as it took the curve. Assist disengaged, and the car began to veer towards the other side of the road. I quickly took over, and also sobered up from the giddiness of thinking I was already in the future.

In reality, Driving Assist is part of level 2 of driving autonomy, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A presentation on the evening of the test drive, by Edward Makwana, manager of group product communications at BMW Group in South Africa, summed up the five stages as the driver having Feet Off, Hands Off, Eyes Off, Mind off, and finally, only being a Passenger.

However, the extent to which the hands-off mode of Driving Assist mimics self-driving, and easily shows the way to eyes-off and mind-off, is astonishing.

Click here to read about the components that make the Driving Assist work.

Previous Page1 of 2

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 World Wide Worx