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Why we worry about bedbugs


It's several days old, but Stephen Novella, MD, recently wrote a fascinating blog entry about metacognition and the "bedbug crisis" of 2010. He writes:

To me, this story was surprisingly surprising - meaning that I was initially surprised that we had not permanently dealt with the bedbug problem, and then I was curious as to why I was so surprised. Perhaps it is a result of some cognitive bias worth exploring.

The entry very much delivers on that question. I also particularly liked his description of bedbugs (even though I particularly dislike the idea of bedbugs):

Bedbugs are small parasitic insects in the family Cimicidae, the most common species being Cimex lectularius. They are good at hiding in small spaces near warm-blooded animals, hence their preference for the bedrooms of humans. They can hide in small cracks, in electrical sockets, or between the slats of a bed. They can go up to a year without feeding, and so are very patient. When a warm blooded animal is resting nearby, they crawl out of their hiding space, bite through the skin, and fill themselves with a meal of blood. (They are technically referred to as blood-sucking ectoparasites.)

This is the best blog entry I've read all day - it's definitely worth reading.

Via Boing Boing
Photo is U.S. Government Work by CDC

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