Monday, May 31, 2010

Blog sprinkles


Thank you for your service to our nation.
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq — With heads bowed beneath a palace dome still etched with the initials of Saddam Hussein, dozens of U.S. service members paid tribute Monday to Americans killed in action not only in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and in wars of the past.

Officers presented a Memorial Day wreath, a bugler played "Taps" and a lieutenant general spoke about how "little compares to the loss of a brother in arms." Soldiers in uniform and contractors in work boots said the nearly 4,400 Americans who've died in Iraq since 2003 weren't faceless statistics: They were commanders, friends, family.

For some of the troops who gathered at Camp Victory in Baghdad, it was difficult to discuss individual losses, even now that combat deaths have tapered off and the war here is eclipsed by the bloodshed in Afghanistan, where the number of troops killed in action just passed the 1,000 mark.

"It's too personal," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Bien Covita, 34, of San Jose, Calif., looking away as he declined to discuss the fallen service member on his mind. He added that he wished that Americans would view Memorial Day as "more than just a day off work. We sacrifice every day for them to sleep comfortably."
Seeing the war dead arrive at Dover:
It was pretty stark in the dim light with an almost full moon; at first there was no one there. Then the bus carrying the families showed up but it was choreographed so they got out on the side away from us so we could not see them. One white van, what they call the "transfer vehicle," was parked on the tarmac and one soldier, a young woman, stood next to it. She is the "Transfer Vehicle Guide," whose ceremonial role it is to close the van's back doors after the bodies are loaded on board.

The procedure began with high-ranking officers and the pall-bearer details appearing, marching in formation. Since there were two dead that night, Cpl. Kenneth Nichols, Jr., of Chrisman, Illinois, US Army, and Lance Cpl. Jonathan Taylor, of Jacksonville, Florida, US Marine Corps, both killed in Afghanistan, there were two separate teams, one from the Army, the other of Marines, dressed in their different uniforms.

The Army went first, boarded the stairs onto the airplane, and emerged out the front. The loading ramp then lowered onto ground level with the coffin and the seven pall-bearers carried the body past the saluting officers, into the waiting van. The Marines then repeated the same. Not a sound could be heard from the hidden family members just a few feet from us on the other side of their bus. Another time, I could hear a woman, probably the wife or the mother, crying a terrible wail that was the only sound on the airfield.
Asking too much of our military and their families:
Brooke Knox, a former Navy wife, counsels military relatives who are struggling with the repeated deployments of husbands and fathers, wives and mothers.
There's often one unifying refrain -- one deployment too many to handle well. She has found that often, that number is three.
"There's a saying among Army wives," said Knox, who leads a free counseling program for military families through the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County.
"The first deployment, they say, 'I think I can do this.'
"The second deployment, they say, 'I know I can do this.'
"The third deployment, they say, 'I can't do this.'"
And the week that was:

28 Of The Worst Money-Saving Ideas Ever The comments are entertaining...

Tylenol being recalled:
The company recalled 40 widely used children's pain and allergy medications, saying some may have a higher concentration of their active ingredients, while others may be contaminated. J&J has had four recalls in the past year of over-the-counter medicines.

In an FDA report issued on Tuesday, inspectors said they found thick dust, grime and contaminated ingredients at the J&J plant that produces Children's Tylenol and dozens of other products recalled last week.

DeLauro, in her letter, said the company's "disregard" for manufacturing standards was "both unnerving and unethical."

"The corporate oversight observed at this facility appears to be symptomatic of reckless behavior that is clearly unacceptable," she wrote.
What the hell was Israel thinking?:
After least nine people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.

Armed forces boarded the largest vessel overnight, clashing with some of the 500 people on board.

It happened about 40 miles (64 km) out to sea, in international waters.

Israel says its soldiers were shot at and attacked with weapons; the activists say Israeli troops came on board shooting.

The activists were attempting to defy a blockade imposed by Israel after the Islamist movement Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007.

THIS is what I've been saying. All that oil just doesn't disappear.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Streaming video of oil pouring from the seafloor and images of dead, crude-soaked birds serve as visual bookends to the natural calamity unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.

But independent scientists and government officials say another disaster is playing out in slow motion — and out of public view — in the mysterious depths between the gusher and the coast, a world inhabited by sperm whales, gigantic jellyfish and diminutive plankton.
All about fucking booms... and how BP isn't doing anything right:
It's fucking obvious. Boom is not meant to contain or catch oil. Boom is meant to divert oil. Boom must always be at an angle to the prevailing wind-wave action or surface current. Boom, at this angle, must always be layered in a fucking overlapped sort-of way with another string of boom. Boom must always divert oil to a catch basin or other container, from where it can be REMOVED FROM THE FUCKING AREA. Looks kinda involved, doesn't it? It is. But if fucking proper fucking booming is done properly, you can remove most, by far most of the oil from a shoreline and you can do it day after day, week after week, month after month. You can prevent most, by far most of the shoreline from ever being touched by more than a few transient molecules of oil. Done fucking properly, a week after the oil stops coming ashore, no one, man nor beast, can ever tell there has been oil anywhere near that shoreline.
And the inevitable:
While work continues to try to staunch the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, an avalanche of class action lawsuits is descending upon BP in courthouses from Texas to Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
Pakistan, between a rock and a hard place....
This week's visit by the US president's national-security adviser and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency to Pakistan was portrayed as a feel-good trip that highlighted the high level of cooperation between Washington and Islamabad.

But despite what may have been written about CIA chief Leon Panetta's and General James Jones's meetings with civilian and military leadership during their visit, analysts in Pakistan say all is not well between the two sides.

They note that as senior US officials visit Islamabad to make new demands -- mostly about increasing military or law enforcement efforts against myriad extremist groups in Pakistan's western border regions -- Pakistani officials continue to respond by urging patience, asking for more money and weapons, and calling for a true understanding of their military, political, and economic limitations.

Former Pakistani diplomat Tayyab Siddiqui says the US-Pakistani relationship is currently on a "bumpy road" and the visit by the two senior US officials a week ahead of a planned second round of strategic dialogue was significant.
Uhhhh.... right.
The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church's relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create a new foundation where atheists will be encouraged to meet and debate with some of the Catholic Church's top theologians.
The Vatican hopes to stage a series of debates in Paris next year. But militant non-believers hoping for a chance to set senior church figures straight about the existence of God are set to be disappointed: the church has warned that atheists with high public profiles such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens will not be invited.
No Dawkins and Hitchens? Then you aren't serious. And then there's this:
Tombstone, shackles found in priest's home
Poole, accused of shoplifting, nailed posters all over rectory
So how about you fix your own house before you go knocking on other people's doors, Pope?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Halliburton planned it all!

The oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico could be a well-timed and profitable accident for Halliburton, the global oil company with the famous connection to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Just eight days before the uber-Valdez accident, Houston-based Halliburton acquired Boots & Coots Services, also based in Houston, in a $240 million cash and stock deal.

Boots & Coots, which uses the graphic of a burning oil well to represent the ampersand in its name, specializes in "pressure control and well intervention services." In other words, when an oil well explodes, Boots & Coots can step in and help remedy the problem. In a release, Jerry Winchester, Boots & Coots president and CEO, says "Combining the resources of both companies creates the premier intervention company across the globe.”

While Halliburton's timing of the acquisition could be chalked up to luck, some members of Congress are asking questions. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), have asked Halliburton provide all documents relating to "the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout" at the rig in the Gulf, according to a report in the LA Times.
They just couldn't have foreseen it would get so big and out of control..... Kinda like the Iraq war....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You can't dump that much crude into the Gulf

And somehow expect all of it to float. Toxic dispersants will break up the oil that floats, but the ocean itself is holding all the rest of it. It doesn't dilute and disappear. There are no good choices.

Oil will choke the life out of the ocean floor, kill the fish and the microorganisms they feed on, strangle the birds who feed upon the water. The beaches will reek and be unusable.

Fixing the pipe is one thing. Getting ready to deal with the decades... DECADES... of clean up is another. People who can look at the video feed of the broken pipe and refuse to recognize these facts are in denial.

Update: Bob Herbert
President Obama knows that. He knows — or should know — that the biggest, most powerful companies do not have the best interests of the American people in mind when they are closing in on the kinds of profits that ancient kingdoms could only envy. BP’s profits are counted in the billions annually. They are like stacks and stacks of gold glittering beneath a brilliant sun. You don’t want to know what people will do for that kind of money.

There is nothing new to us about this. Haven’t we just seen how the giant financial firms almost destroyed the American economy? Wasn’t it just a few weeks before this hideous Deepwater Horizon disaster that a devastating mine explosion in West Virginia — at a mine run by a company with its own hideous safety record — killed 29 coal miners and ripped the heart out of yet another hard-working local community?

The idea of relying on the assurances of these corporate predators that they are looking out for the safety of their workers and the health of surrounding communities and the environment is beyond absurd. Even after the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon site, BP officials were telling us (as their noses grew longer and longer) that about only 1,000 barrels of oil a day were escaping into the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly a month into the disaster, BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, was publicly offering the comforting assessment that the environmental damage resulting from the spill would likely be “very, very modest.”

And a very good site for the latest news: The Oil Drum

Friday, May 28, 2010

If Hitler actually used gay soldiers

Because they were merciless killers ... doesn't that kinda negate the concern that gay soldiers would not be a good fighting force?

And by the way, you know the "Greatest Generation" guys? All those people drafted to fight WWII? Beating the Germans and the Japanese? ... There were gay people in those ranks, too.

So why the hissy fit over the repeal of DADT?

The Republican platform just lost another one of its planks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oil up!

Here comes the hurricane season!
2010 hurricane season may be worst on record

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season may be one of the worst on record, US officials warned Thursday, amid fears it could deepen an oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and bring new misery to Haiti.
An "active to extremely active" hurricane season which starts on June 1 is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year, US officials said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) predicted 14 to 23 named storms, including eight to 14 hurricanes, three to seven of which were likely to be "major" storms, with winds of at least 111 mph.
This is compared to an average six-month season of 11 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, two of them major.
"If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record," said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco.
"The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared," he said.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Remember who is fighting for us.

And bring them home.

BP stands for Bastards Profiteering?


Fishermen Report Illness From BP Chemicals
Toxicologist Says Chemicals Harmful, Can Lead To Death

So, BP does what?

BP continues to use toxic dispersant

And is BP afraid of the decades of pending lawsuits? Not if you look at the history of the Exxon Valdez spill and: Since 1990, oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties, with 75% of the money going to Republicans.

What the Gulf of Mexico's shorelines are going to look like for decades to come.

And many have realized what this will mean for the sea creatures that live in the Gulf of Mexico:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life in the war zone

What it's like in Afghanistan.

What it's like in Iraq.

What it's like in the Gaza strip.

What it's like in Thailand...

War conflicts the world over.

Oh dear...

Distributor Cap of NY has Fun with Rand and Sarah. You will never be the same....

Blog sprinkles


JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie has a fascinating argument going on her post about the nun in an Arizona hospital being automatically excommunicated for helping to save a woman's life... because the woman had a life threatening pregnancy.

How to kill Social Security by ignorance explained by Gaius Publius of AmericaBlog.

Being skeptical about skeptics about global warming.

British bees are leaving their hives as well.

Steve Bates' laptop has been attacked by an 'interesting' virus. Can anyone identify it?

Karl Rove projects his own style of governmental 'control' on to the Obama administration.

And the oil meter still rolls on...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hope, briefly

Phila of Bouphonia will take links if you have them.

And of course, in celebration of Caturday, a cat:


Extreme weather

Talk about being beaten to death by icy golf balls...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We're all gonna diiiiiieeeeeee!

The End of America as we know it.

The End of the World:

Or these neat options:

Update: well, darn. Removed from YouTube. I'll post them again if they reappear.

Update: They were YouTubes of Gareth Edwards' END:DAY movie about several different ways the world could experience a world wide disaster: tsunami, virus, supervolcano, Hadron Collider, meteors.... it had it all.

Death comes ashore


As if it's not killing everything ....EVERYTHING... underneath the surface as it slowly fans out in its slow suffocating toxic inky cloud.

Via Eschaton, read Digby and CNN.

What will the hurricane season be like?

Messing with the food chain.

Update 5/19: Via Bryan of Why Now? another cartoon.

Will we be able to eat Gulf shrimp ever again? Use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

No methyl iodide on our food

California is on the verge of approving a potent carcinogenic gas for use on strawberry fields and other food crops. The chemical -- methyl iodide -- is so toxic that scientists in labs use only small amounts with special protective equipment, yet agricultural applications mean it could be released directly into the air and water.

On April 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation proposed that the state approve use of methyl iodide for agricultural purposes, despite ongoing outcry from prominent scientists and the general public. Arysta LifeScience, a manufacturer of the chemical and the world's largest privately-held pesticide company, has invested in a substantial lobbying campaign to gain approval in one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.

Methyl iodide has been subject to ongoing controversy in its approval process. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved methyl iodide for agricultural use in 2007, amid criticism from more than 50 prominent scientists that the process was hidden from public view and the research focus was too limited. California followed with its own review. Even though a report from an independent panel of scientists in the California study declared that "methyl iodide is a highly toxic chemical and we expect that any anticipated scenario for the agricultural or structural fumigation use of this agent would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on public health," the Department of Pesticide Regulation nonetheless proposed that the chemical be approved.

There is little to debate about methyl iodide's toxicity. It is a known neurotoxin, disrupts thyroid function, damages developing fetuses, and has caused lung tumors in laboratory animals. California already classifies it as a human carcinogen. Fumigating fields with the gas -- even with the strictest regulations -- would no doubt still result in unacceptable exposures to farmworkers and and surrounding populations.

We have one last chance to stop methyl iodide from being used on our food. The DPR is accepting public comments on it's proposal through June 14. Submit your comment today and send the incontrovertible message that we don't want the public or our food exposed to this poison.

You are never to old to learn

OAKLAND, Calif. – It's never too late to earn your college degree. Just ask 94-year-old Hazel Soares.

The San Leandro woman was one of about 500 students to pick up diplomas Saturday during a commencement ceremony at Mills College, an Oakland liberal arts college for women that also offers coed graduate programs.

"It's taken me quite a long time because I've had a busy life," said Soares. "I'm finally achieving it, and it makes me feel really good."

Soares, who has six children and 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, is believed to be the world's second oldest person to graduate from college.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does.

And this is a lot of stupid.
Oklahoma Is At It Again: State Legislature Passes Bill Stripping Abortion Coverage From Health Insurance.
And Arizona keeps digging deeper:
And Tennessee is allowing guns in bars. What could possibly go wrong?

Louie Gohmert does his part for Texas:
[Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)] was first to respond: "An absolute breakdown in morality," he said. "And when you lose morality, you get economic chaos. And when you have economic chaos, historically, people have always been willing to give up liberty. And that's what we're seeing."
Even California's Issa tried to get on the stupid before running away:
Rep. Issa Wants To Strip Provision Promoting Gender Parity In Academic Science And Technology
(He walked it back later.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mini blog sprinkles


I KNEW it! Explains why some of us really do act like thuggish cavemen!

Take care not to be bitten by a coral snake.

Via Steve Bates, Al Gore does NOT say,"I told you so."

Bart Stupak is really stupid. Really.

Google earth 3D is really cool.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part one trailer.

The picture of religious oppression.

A rare 'king of herrings' giant oar fish is found in Swedish waters, first time since 1879. Dead, of course.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

For those who have time on their hands

And an intense love of the Lord of the Rings.... make your own Bag End...


(click pic for link)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Give us your hair!!

Talk about recycling....

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the catastrophic (an adjective I feel like I’ve been having to use far too often lately) Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you’ve probably been wondering how exactly you can help. Well, for those of you with furry, four-legged flatmates, it can be as easy as sweeping the floors and collecting all that errant fur and hair.

So how exactly can hoarding pet fur help with cleaning up one of the worst environmental disasters in recent memory? Enter Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that’s been accepting donations of non-filthy pet fur and human hair since 1998 to craft oil-absorbing hairmats — described as “flat square dreadlocks” — and hair-stuffed containment booms made from recycled pantyhose. These hairy contraptions are effective at soaking-up oil and they don’t require any new resources … just stuff you’d normally trash (or compost) unless you’re into, umm, stockpiling fur.

I must say, sending along fur to Matter of Trust via Excess Access is an eco-ideal spring cleaning mission for folks with critters around the house. In addition to pet owners, groomers and salon owners can get involved too by sending in bulk shipments of hair/fur. In fact, as of today, 400,000 pounds of hair was en route to the Gulf Coast.

Head on over to Matter of Trust for instructions on how you, and Mr. Bojangles the beagle, can help out.

What would we do without science

Hijacked from The Sailor at SteveAudio:

Keeping their eye on the important stuff

Oil disaster? Two wars? Bad economy?

Iowa lawmaker presses the state to discriminate against LGBT families at campgrounds.

Want to guess which party he belongs to?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Just a reminder for those in the earthquake zones

Make sure you are prepared.

Encouraging words

From Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He "is an applied statistician and derivatives trader-turned-philosopher, and author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable."
America's primary export, it appears, is trial-and-error, and the innovative knowledge attained in such a way. Trial-and-error has error in it; and most top-down traditional rational and academic environments do not like the fallibility of "error" and the embarrassment of not quite knowing where they're going. The U.S. fosters entrepreneurs and creators, not exam-takers, bureaucrats or, worse, deluded economists. So the perceived weakness of the American pupil in conventional studies is where his or her very strength may lie. The American system of trial and error produces doers: Black Swan-hunting, dream-chasing entrepreneurs, with a tolerance for a certain class of risk-taking and for making plenty of small errors on the road to success or knowledge.

Friday, May 07, 2010

And then there was hope

Thank goodness.


Creating more of what they are trying to kill

Kinda like our fight against terrorism...

American farmers’ broad use of the weedkiller glyphosphate — particularly Roundup, which was originally made by Monsanto — has led to the rapid growth in recent years of herbicide-resistant weeds. To fight them, farmers are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.

They're reserving the right to screw anybody?

Florida legislature fails to outlaw sex with animals.

Moms doing what moms do best

Says you.

Brazilian archbishop: all teenagers are 'spontaneously homosexual'

I believe a deep therapy session is in order for you, sir.

Don't be so paranoid


It's only Friday.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

So if we take Lieberman at his word


Can we negate HIS citizenship?
Lieberman On Revoking Terrorists' Citizenship: 'American Citizenship Is A Privilege, Not A Right'
Because he's really really irritating me. And he obviously doesn't give a shit about the Constitution. Reason enough!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sometimes we do things right

City stops to help Electron Boy defeat the bad guys:

Thursday was shaping up to be just another school day for 13-year-old Erik Martin, but then something extraordinary happened: Spider-Man called.

Spider-Man happens to be one of the few people who knows that Erik, too, has a secret identity — he's Electron Boy, a superhero who fights the powers of evil with light.

And Spider-Man needed Erik's help.

Erik, who is living with liver cancer, has always wanted to be a superhero. On Thursday, the regional chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted him that wish with an elaborate event that involved hundreds of volunteers in Bellevue and Seattle.


Pulling off a wish like this one required a big story, and a lot of heart. And so, with a note of panic in his voice, Spider-Man explained the dilemma: "Dr. Dark" and "Blackout Boy" had imprisoned the Seattle Sounders in a locker room at Qwest Field. Only Electron Boy could free them.

Erik got into his red-and-blue superhero costume, and called on the powers of Moonshine Maid, who owns a DeLorean sports car. For good measure, more than 20 motorcycle officers from the Bellevue Police Department and King County and Snohomish sheriff's offices escorted Electron Boy to Seattle.

"They shut down 405 — they shut down I-90," marveled Moonshine Maid, aka Misty Peterson. "I thought it would just be me, in the car."

At Qwest Field, Electron Boy was directed by frantic fans to the Sounders locker room, where the entire team was shouting for help behind jammed doors. With a little help from Lightning Lad, the alter ego of local actor Rob Burgess, Erik opened the door with his lightning rod. The Sounders cheered.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

From fish to nuts

High fructose corn syrup

Trying to make the oil leak a Katrina moment for Obama.

Blackwater's Erik Prince's plans for the future.

Red fish blue fish no fish for you fish.

Six Things You Need to Know About Facebook Connections: are six things you need to know about Connections:

Facebook will not let you share any of this information without using Connections. You cannot opt-out of Connections. If you refuse to play ball, Facebook will remove all unlinked information from your profile.

Facebook will not respect your old privacy settings in this transition. For example, if you had previously sought to share your Interests with "Only Friends," Facebook will now ignore this and share your Connections with "Everyone."

Facebook has removed your ability to restrict its use of this information. The new privacy controls only affect your information's "Visibility," not whether it is "publicly available."

Explaining what "publicly available" means, Facebook writes:

"Such information may, for example, be accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into Facebook), be indexed by third party search engines, and be imported, exported, distributed, and redistributed by us and others without privacy limitations."
Facebook will continue to store and use your Connections even after you delete them. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not there. Even after you "delete" profile information, Facebook will remember it. We've also received reports that Facebook continues to use deleted profile information to help people find you through Facebook's search engine.

Facebook sometimes creates a Connection when you "Like" something. That "Like" button you see all over Facebook, and now all over the web? It too can sometimes add a Connection to your profile, without you even knowing it.

Your posts may show up on a Connection page even if you do not opt in to the Connection. If you use the name of a Connection in a post on your wall, it may show up on the Connection page, without you even knowing it. (For example, if you use the word "FBI" in a post).
No One Cares: By Chris Hedges
We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead. No one cares.

Buy it now!! One for the price of two!!11!

Such a deal! You won't regret it!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Bees ... or no bees

At all...


It's worse than we thought:
Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country's estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.

Potential causes range from parasites, such as the bloodsucking varroa mite, to viral and bacterial infections, pesticides and poor nutrition stemming from intensive farming methods. The disappearance of so many colonies has also been dubbed "Mary Celeste syndrome" due to the absence of dead bees in many of the empty hives.

US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. "We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies," said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS's bee research laboratory.

Headlines that make you pause....

Your Office Chair Is Killing You.

(I KNEW it was made in China!11!!1)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Blog sprinkles

Via Bryan of Why Now?, the latest updates on the horrific oil leak from NOAA.

Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly : PUTTING CONSERVATIVE JUDICIAL ACTIVISM ON THE RADAR. (It's not just for evil liberals judicial activists anymore.)

It would be funny but Onion can hardly keep ahead of reality: Shell Executives Accuse Oil-Covered Otter Of Playing It Up

China: Diplomat beaten, injured by Houston police.... an excellent diplomatic move.
Phila of Bouphonia reminds us we can still hope.

Google Maps option allows you to avoid Arizona.

President Obama at the White House Correspondents dinner