All about mosquitos

A small town in Sweden has a mosquito catching contest. Sound like fun?

“The Unofficial Mosquito-Catching World Championship” (from Atlas Obscura)

Looks like they do something similar in Russia, too:

“With 43 bites, 9-year-old wins ‘tastiest girl’ competition at annual Russian Mosquito Festival” (from the Washington Post)

What unsual contests have you heard of or participated in? If you could create an original contest, what would you have people do?

And speaking of mosquitos, here’s an unusual, counter-intuitive strategy to get rid of the pests:

“To Shrink Mosquito Population, Scientists Are Releasing 20 Million Mosquitoes” (from NPR)

Meanwhile, in Scotland one railway company has installed a “mosquito device” — a device emitting an annoying sound — to keep young people from loitering around train stations.

“Anger over Hamilton station ‘mosquito’ device” (from BBC)

Can you think of better ways to prevent loitering?

Games and sports

What’s a game? What’s a sport?

How would you explain the differences?

“What makes a sport a sport?”

This short piece from 1843 gives us a little background about the word “sport” as opposed to “game”. It explains that bridge (a card game) has been declared a sport, not just a game, by the European Council of Justice.

It made me think of a scene in a movie called “What Women Want” (Japanese title: ハート・オブ・ウーマン). The main characters work for an advertising agency and they’re making a commercial for Nike. Here’s the clip:

Here’s another clip that shows a bit more background. The premise of this rather silly movie is that the man (played by Mel Gibson) can read women’s minds. IMDb calls it a “romantic fantasy comedy” and it plays with the idea of stereotypical “macho” men and the women who have to deal with blatant gender inequality at work.

Interland “sweetener”

Google has created a series of games for kids to learn how to “be internet awesome”. It’s called Interland, which one translation dictionary tells me means “international contest” in Dutch.

Here’s a look at the game and the thinking behind it:

Here are a couple of articles about it from the past week’s news:

I played it for a little while yesterday and got to the 3rd level, feeling all the while how bad I am at games like this. I didn’t grow up playing computer games — not because they weren’t available (at least later in my formative years) but just a lack of interest. I do remember having a very good friend who spent entirely too much time playing something called Dark Castle. I got pretty good at that one.

Anyway, I don’t know how successful this game is at teaching people about online safety or digital citizenship, but for people who like games like this, at least it’s not violent. As the Verge article says, it

“seems less like a training tool and more like a sweetener that could get students interested in the material.”

Totoro to neighboring Nagoya

Well, Nagoya isn’t “neighboring” Tokyo, but it’s closer than USJ in Osaka, and the movie is called “My Neighbor Totoro”, so… (actually, Tokyo Disneyland isn’t really in Tokyo, but neighboring Chiba).

The BBC reports that a Totoro theme park is being built in Nagoya, to open by 2020. Someplace to go before or after the Olympics, perhaps.

Read the article to find out more. There are related links, too, so you can get lots of English input about this topic.

Within the article:

At the end: