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The mosquito is a small, winged, blood-sucking insect, which emits a high-pitched whine as it flies. They have a genetic predisposition for flying in one's ear, particularly when one is trying to sleep - how this functions as a survival trait is anyone's guess. They are particularly attracted to tropical climates, but can be found almost anywhere on Earth. The mosquito is often the carrier of various diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, making it one of the few insects responsible for the creation of an alcoholic beverage. The former British Empire invented such a drink, called "gin and tonic", to ensure that their agents overseas, in mosquito-laden areas, would take their medicine. Gin and tonic consists of "tonic" - quinine juice, a medicinal effective against malaria - and "gin" - alcohol flavoured with juniper berries, to relax the imbiber and help the quinine go down well. It probably doesn't achieve the latter terribly well, but, being alcoholic, excels at the former. Just why mosquitos fly in one's ear in the middle of the night is a mystery. The logical explanation would be that mosquitos prefer the cooler evening hours, when one is trying to sleep one presents a stationary target, and the ears (at least on humans) stick out rather well, inviting the little pests to flit on down. However, this is, while logical, not likely, as the universe is very rarely logical. An African legend explains that the mosquito committed a terrible wrong against mankind, and they fly in your ear asking for forgiveness. This is not the most intelligent thing to do, as one is more likely to attack someone who flies in your ear than to forgive them. (An Indian myth puts the little creature in a different light. The story goes, that all the animals were voting on what to do about those pesky humans, and the vote would've been unanimously in favour of extermination, if not for the mosquito, who pointed that that humans are "quite delicious". The animals have let humans live ever since, and many religious sects to this day will not harm a mosquito. This does not, however, explain ear-buzzing.) Another explanation is that mosquitos never sleep. In addition to their already ephemeral life-span, this makes them inordinately cranky. They think, "If I can't sleep, why should anyone else?", and promptly act to prevent others from a good night's sleep, by buzzing them just as they start to drop off. A third, less likely, but still plausible explanation, is that they are demons or devils, or perhaps the emissaries of some god, sent to punish or torment. How does one prevent mosquito attacks? The simple answer would be, "You can't.", but someone will always try. Covering oneself in some form of repellent can be effective - chemical sprays, the juices of the lemon sorrell, wet mud - but the drawbacks of going to sleep, covered in mud, should be readily apparent. Living in a self-contained environment, such as a spaceship, would be effective, as mosquitos cannot thrive in the hard vacuum of space. However, most people cannot thrive in vacuum, either. The most common defense is the use of screens. Screens over windows, screens over doors, nets hung over beds at night - all serve to deter mosquitos, but allow circulation of air throughout one's home. Unfortunately, screens are not perfect - if additional holes are punched through a screen, for example, the mosquito will invariably find the hole and get in. And at least one mosquito will get through when the screen is opened to allow humans to pass, regardless of one's other precautions, due to Murphy's Law. In short, this utterly annoying insect is unavoidable if one lives in the same environment as it does. Your best bet is to give in and ignore them, but experience has shown that only those with the patience of a monk will succeed at this.

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Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

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