In Brief

In Brief

Medicine & Science

July 19, 2004

Cinnamon oil a tasty and deadly pesticide for mosquito larvae

Cinnamon oil kills mosquito larvae more effectively than the popular pesticide DEET, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

This is the first time cinnamon oil has been shown to work against mosquitoes.

Researchers at the National Taiwan University found that four compounds in cinnamon leaf oil killed emerging larvae of the yellow fever mosquito.

The scientists say that one of the four compounds, cinnamaldehyde, could be sprayed like a pesticide, but without the potential health effects. Although they didn't test cinnamon oil against adult mosquitoes, the scientists suspect that the compounds would work in that case. Other essential oils, including catnip, also have shown promise as anti-mosquito agents.

@SUBHEDHawking says he's solved black hole paradox mystery

After 30 years of pondering, British mathematician Stephen Hawking says he finally has the answer to a conundrum of modern physics - the black hole information paradox. If he's correct, he'll lose a famous bet.

Black holes in space are formed when a huge star burns out and collapses on itself, producing an object so dense that it prevents nearly all light from escaping and nothing inside can be glimpsed from the outside.

Hawking argued - and made a wager with other astrophysicsts on his conclusion - that a black hole destroys everything that falls into it, and that no information about the destroyed matter can be recovered. This breaks laws of quantum physics, which state that such information can never be completely lost.

Ohio State University physicists came up with an explanation using string theory. But Hawking now says "a black hole only appears to form, but later opens up and releases information about what fell inside. So we can be sure of the past and predict the future."

The superstar of astrophysics says he will explain it all Wednesday at the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Ireland.

From staff and wire reports

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