Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Things that make you go eep!


  Dying Honeybees: It Was the Insecticides All Along
With news that the U.S. honeybee population has been so devastated that some beekeepers will qualify for disaster relief dollars, comes a report from Purdue University that one of the causes of honeybee deaths is - as long suspected - neonicotinoids.
I say one of the causes, because the article does. In fact, the levels of neonicotinoid contamination of the powder used to spread seeds - up to 700,000 times the lethal dose - suggest that this pesticide may be the major, or precipitating, cause, with Varroa mites and other problems simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  Snakes blamed for ‘severe declines’ in Florida wildlife
But from 2003-2011, surveys spotted a 99.3 percent decrease in racoons, 98.9 percent fewer opossums and no rabbits or foxes, said the article authored by Michael Dorcasa at Davidson College in North Carolina and colleagues at the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and the National Park Service. Surveys also saw 94.1 percent fewer white-tailed deer and 87.5 percent fewer bobcats. These “severe apparent declines in mammal populations… coincide temporally and spatially with the proliferation of pythons in Everglades National Park,” said the study. During that period, annual removals of Burmese pythons have risen from less than 50 per year to 300-400 annually.
Bus-sized asteroid shaves by Earth
WASHINGTON: An asteroid about the size of a bus shaved by Earth on Friday in what spacewatchers described as a "near-miss", though experts were not concerned about the possibility of an impact. The asteroid, named 2012 BX34, measured between 8 and 18 m in diameter, said Gareth Williams, associate director of the U.S.-based Minor Planet Centre which tracks space objects. The asteroid had been unknown before it popped into view of the Catalina Sky Survey at Mt. Lemmon Survey in Arizona, and the Global Remote Telescope Network (GRAS) Telescope at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in New Mexico Arizona on Wednesday. It came within 59,044 km of Earth on Friday, said Williams, which is equivalent to about 0.17 times the distance separating Earth and the Moon. "It's a near miss. It makes the top 20 list of closest approaches ever observed."
UPDATE: Walker's Goons and Facebook Threats: You Signed a Petition, So We Know Where You Live!
The Government Accountability Board has been working long hours to scan the 1.9 million signatures into online and publicly accessible pdfs. They are done with the Senate petitions, and are just now finishing up the Walker signatures. The files are arranged as scanned pdf pages in sequences of 50, and can be seen here. A rightwing Walker support group, Verify the Recall, has been creating searchable databases of these pages, crowd-sourcing the data entry. It has been only a matter of (brief) time before the first threats of retaliation against petition signers should surface.
Optical illusion.


Steve Bates said...

I believe Stella commutes to and from work on an asteroid-sized bus...

ellroon said...

I always have this mental picture of an asteroid painted yellow with wheels...