Friday, March 12, 2010

Markets in everything

NYT. Putting unemployed dogs to work sniffing for bed bugs:
Increasingly, real estate lawyers are urging buyers in contract to inspect apartments before they close, and in their advertising, many pest control companies exhort would-be tenants to “inspect before you rent.” And dogs like Cruiser can inspect a room in minutes, whereas lesser mammals like human beings need hours to conduct a visual inspection.

Bedbug-sniffing dogs, adorable yet stunningly accurate — entomology researchers at the University of Florida report that well-trained dogs can detect a single live bug or egg with 96 percent accuracy — are the new and furry front line in an escalating and confounding domestic war.

While experts cite a host of reasons for the upsurge, they agree on one thing: the bugs, which were mostly eradicated in this country at midcentury by now-banned pesticides like DDT but remained a constant scourge overseas, are finding their way back to the United States through an increase in global travel.
(Oh wait, wouldn't they "find their way back" because they were never fully eradicated to begin with?)

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