ITEM: Mesh

IN­VENTED: 25,000 B.C. USE: Stop­ping bugs

Popular Science - - SMALL WONDERS -

Weav­ing dates back to the Pa­le­olithic era, some 27,000 years ago, pre­ced­ing the do­mes­ti­ca­tion of plants and an­i­mals and farm­ing. Hun­gry hu­mans may have used nets to snare prey. Since then, mesh has played an es­sen­tial part in our com­fort and sur­vival. One of its most prom­i­nent cur­rent in­car­na­tions is the mos­quito net, an om­nipresent pro­tec­tive cov­er­ing in some coun­tries. Thanks to ma­chines that churn out cot­ton, polyester, polypropy­lene, and ny­lon weaves as fine as 0.6 mm, the air-per­me­able shields are a key tool in pre­vent­ing the spread of malaria and other bug-borne ill­nesses. In­sec­ti­cide-treated skeeter-stop­pers helped pre­vent more than 600 mil­lion cases of malaria and saved 6.8 mil­lion lives be­tween 2000 and 2015.

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