Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Bees Again

The joke may have fallen flat, but this time no one could blame Bill Maher. Sure, it happened on the May 4, 2007 installment of his show Real Time With Bill Maher, but CNN personality and senior medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta was the one delivering the punch line, and it seems he was the only one in the room who believed the issue of Earth's mysteriously vanishing honeybees was a joke. And while some may argue that he stayed on message, promoting his May 19 documentary called Danger: Poison Food, he nevertheless fumbled for answers when Maher asked him about what could be killing a major component of the nation's food supply.

"Gosh, I don't know," Gupta answered, searching for context. "The -- you know, with regards to bees in particular, I'm not sure what's killing the bees. I'm not sure what's killing the birds or the bees."

Cue the laugh track.

In Gupta's defense, a few weeks or months ago, the increasing disappearance of the honeybees, known now by the technical term Colony Collapse Disorder, had that feel of an urban legend, a phenomenon so esoteric and strange that it sounded like something out of science fiction. Except it's not: It's a frightening trend that, according to those hard at work at solving the problem at universities and organizations worldwide, could lead to everything from a radically transformed diet to an overall wipeout of the world's food supply.

@ Alternet


This problem is NOT going away. It will soon be bigger than Paris Hilton on the news because it involves humanity's very survival.

Or is it already too late?



micki said...

Encourage your senators to vote YES on the Bingaman RES Amendment

Action item on climate change.

It's a start.

DEN said...

I hope we will have enough to eat.

The Earth's way of shedding excess humanity.

micki said...

Den, as Dr. B mentioned -- memorize that squirrel recipe.

Protein is important for good health.

Hmm...but what are the squirrels going to eat?

micki said...


For those of us who believe in buying local, sustainable agriculture practices, organic, clean food, clean water, fiscally responsible farm policies, etc....look at this.

micki said...

Putting it into context....

Den -- thnx for posting the climate crisis question Bill posed (Cool Vidz), that is SUPPOSED to be answered by the presidential candidates in MoveOn's CLIMATE VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING in July.

MoveOn said: If we want to avert climate chaos, there's only one solution: real 
leadership from our next President. We need to know who'll stand up  
to the oil, coal, and car companies and carve the path for clean 
energy in every city and town.

So, we launched our Climate Virtual Town Hall Meeting. The candidates 
will answer video questions from MoveOn members about their plans for 
curbing climate change, and then we'll vote together on who'll do the 
best job turning this crisis around.

As someone who has video skills, the process starts with you. What 
questions do you have for the candidates? 

Our town hall in April helped define the candidates' positions on the 
war and sending a clear signal about what we want to see. We need to 
send the same message on global warming by asking the tough questions 
and rewarding strong positions. (We'll also hold one on health care in 
the Fall.)

Then, the candidates will answer your questions directly during the Virtual 
Town Hall meetings in July.

Let's hope there's a candidate who gives a s**t.

micki said...

Dear micki,

Speak Out Now!

After wrongly supporting George W. Bush's strategic blunder of attacking Iraq, and continuing to support Bush's failed policies after the invasion, Senator Joe Lieberman made irresponsible comments this weekend regarding military action against Iran.

On CBS's Face the Nation, Lieberman said, "If [the Iranians] don't play by the rules, we've got to use our force, and to me, that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they're doing."

This type of "tough-talk" by the Bush Administration and folks like Senator Joe Lieberman is why VoteVets.org and I collaborated to create StopIranWar.com, calling for heavy diplomatic, economic, and political action to discourage the acquisition of nuclear capabilities by the Iranian government.

Over 40,000 people have signed our petition to President Bush, urging him to work with our allies and use every diplomatic, political, and economic option at our disposal to deal with Iran. Add your name to the petition today!


Senator Lieberman's saber rattling does nothing to help dissuade Iran from aiding Shia militias in Iraq, or trying to obtain nuclear capabilities. In fact, it's highly irresponsible and counter-productive, and I urge him to stop.

This kind of rhetoric is irresponsible and only plays into the hands of President Ahmadinejad, and those who seek an excuse for military action. What we need now is full-fledged engagement with Iran. We should be striving to bridge the gulf of almost 30 years of hostility and only when all else fails should there be any consideration of other options. The Iranians are very much aware of US military capabilities. They don't need Joe Lieberman to remind them that we are the militarily dominant power in the world today.

Only someone who never wore the uniform or thought seriously about national security would make threats at this point. What our soldiers need is responsible strategy, not a further escalation of tensions in the region. Senator Lieberman must act more responsibly and tone down his threat machine.

We cannot let people like Joe Lieberman dictate the terms of this debate.

Sign the petition to President Bush today!


Thank you for all you do.


Wes Clark

Alan said...

Pretty awesome digital recreation of Rome. Here's what the H-town Chronicle said...
not even a digital rome was built in a day

Researchers, tourists get access to the glory that was ancient city

ROME — Computer experts on Monday unveiled a digital reproduction of ancient Rome as it appeared at the peak of its power in A.D. 320 — a project they called the largest and most complete simulation of a historic city ever created.

Visitors to virtual Rome will be able to do even more than ancient Romans did: They can crawl through the bowels of the Colosseum, filled with lion cages and primitive elevators, and fly up for a detailed look at bas-reliefs and inscriptions atop triumphal arches.

"This is the first step in the creation of a virtual time machine, which our children and grandchildren will use to study the history of Rome and many other great cities around the world," said Bernard Frischer of the University of Virginia, who led the project.

The $2 million simulation will be used by scientists to run experiments — such as determining the crowd capacity of ancient buildings — and as a scholarly journal, updated at each new discovery.

Frischer said students and tourists can also use the program to learn about ancient Rome.

The simulation reconstructs some 7,000 buildings at the time of emperor Constantine, when Rome was a vibrant and cosmopolitan city of about 1 million people, Frischer said.

Guided by laser scans of modern-day Rome and advice from archaeologists, experts have rebuilt almost the entire city within its original 13-mile-long wall using the same computer programs architects use, he said.

It even includes the interiors of about 30 buildings — including the Senate, the Colosseum and the basilica built by the emperor Maxentius — complete with frescoes and decorations.

The simulation shows statues and monuments as they would appear without the dark smudges left by pollution. The computer experts also accurately recreated buildings that are now almost in ruins, such as the temple dedicated to the goddesses Venus and Roma and the Meta Sudans, a fountain that stood near the Colosseum, Frischer said.

The program was created over 10 years by an inter- national team of archaeologists, architects and computer specialists, he said.
Here's the site, and even dial-ups can look at the digitally created still photos if ya don't wanna wait on the videos.
Rome reborn
Dr. B, on the forum, if they seen this, they'd be griping for a WTC version.

David B. Benson said...

News announcement for Pande --- So far, I haven't seen nor heard either squirrels nor crows...

carey said...

Thank you, Micki, for your keyboard activism. I've fallen behind in that endeavor.

I will have to check out Bill's question on Cool Vidz.

Speaking of war cries:

U.S.: Iran Arming the Taliban

It's stifling hot over there. We couldn't possibly be realistically thinking of doing something now, could we?

carey said...

Randi's hammering on Lieberman on Air America.

David B. Benson said...

I was just struck with an important insight:

All bio-mass can be used to make biochar,

even squirrels!

DEN said...

Carey, I wish someone would use a real hammer!

Talk about your textbook traitor.

Color me disgusted.

Carey said...

Speaking on just this subject, Randi commented that Iran is playing both sides. They're fighting the Taliban alongside Americans in Afghanistan and funding al Queda there as well.

In other words, they're playing, even with goofy Ahmanedijad (sp?) at the helm, good politics. Teddy Roosevelt would approve (balance of power).

Carey said...

One again I bring up Greg Palast. I was listening to him on Air America yesterday. Lo and behold, what's he uncovered now?

Remember the only good thing anyone could say about Bush policy was that he proposed money for A.I.D.S. to Africa. Well, Bono feels had. Apparently, Bush cronies have found a way to tap into that money for themselves. These are Bush donors. In essense, the bad guys are getting Africa's A.I.D.S. money. Creative financing. John Conyers heard Palast's report on the BBC and literally marched straight into the Oval Office. Natch, alot of good that did him.

ยบ¿carol said...

Paris Hilton pays for George Bush's sins

Will Durst

- Poor, poor Paris. Okay. Admittedly, she's as likable as fingernails on a blackboard. Fingernails that have never been chipped in the normal pursuit of an actual day's work AND brandishing an exclusive, not-for-sale Chanel sparkle enamel protecting a recent and impeccable French manicure. But holy moly! People have jumped on the Kick Paris When She's Down train like there were free stacks of 100 dollar bills secreted in the seatback pockets.

Oh sure, I get the whole schadenfreude thing. Our fascination with the train wreck of supercilious celebrity. Build them up to tear them down. It was cumulative. Year after year of exposure to her pirouetting down the runways of the world, collecting obscene amounts of cash for supplying a face too smug. Perfecting the art of being famous for being famous. My theory: part of this gleeful piling-on can be traced to our built up frustration with Dubyah. We've got blue balls for accountability and are kicking this poor poodle of a person as a Presidential proxy.

Last September she blew the illegal minimum of .08 after being caught driving erratically on what she described as a midnight burger run. Yeah. Right. Burger run. Redeeming her maxed-out frequent burger card at the Fatburger on La Cienega I'm sure. She was fined fifteen hundred bucks, given 36 months probation and had her license suspended. Then in January, she was caught driving on that suspended license... twice. The second time clocked doing 70 in a 35. Should have been enough right there.

The 26 year old wannabe pop star or spoiled heiress or fledgling actress or whatever the hell she is pleaded ignorance about the whole driving with a suspended license being illegal, apparently unfamiliar with the definition of suspension or, like Leona Helmsley, convinced the law only applies to we little people. Either she wasn't a good enough actress to sell the stupidity defense or ran into a judge who just didn't like her attitude. Probably not the first time, but quite possibly the first time anybody was in a position to do something about it.

45 days in prison. Reduced to 23 days which she surrendered to serve but then the sheriff released her after 3 days due to an undisclosed medical condition. Which remains undisclosed. General consensus is she suffers from an allergy to icky coupled with a severe aversion to yuck. Whereupon all kinds of Hollywood hell broke out. The judge flipped out. Sent her back to jail. And much doubling over with undisguised merriment ensued. News anchors couldn't hide their delight: "Ha ha, rich girl. Welcome to the real world." Which they are familiar with how? Oh, that's right; by regularly reading stories based in it.

We're guilty as well, of pasting George Bush's face onto her emaciated frame. He is the Paris Hilton of Presidents. The two of them share the smirk and the obliviousness and the trust funders' undying belief in their eternal impunity from culpability. If you were asked who better fit the definition... "clueless upper class twit marinated in an overwhelming sense of entitlement and never held accountable for a single thing they ever did," would you pick Paris or George or both? Payback is a bitch. Especially proxy payback. Pardon Scooter Libby? Hell with that, Bush should pardon Paris. After all, she's paying for his sins.

Comic, writer, actor, former radio talk show host and clown shill, Will Durst, wonders if jail will alter her trademarked "I'm so bored, its an effort to keep my right eye open" look.

Carey said...

Thom Hartmann announced this morning that the military has sunk tons of chemical weapons, mustard and nerve gas in old vessels off the East coast.

We've dumped, into the open ocean, mass weapons of destruction.

Take that coral reefs. We didn't need you anyway.

I wonder, with Joe talking the way he is--is the Bush Administration tooling him to make an imminent invasion look bipartisan? Now that the Naval Command is in place everywhere, Bill and Micki?

Randi Rhodes is worried. She's expecting an event.

David B. Benson said...

A bit about European Honey Bee biology:

Honey bees have weak immune systems compared to wasps and other insects.

The working European Honey Bees in the U.S. are inbred, without much genetic diversity.

In the State of Washington, there is little or no problem with CCD. I opine this is related to the fact that we still have fairly clean air and water...

DEN said...

Carey, something has been brewing for quite some time, the chimps' too smug.

They are certifiable nutz with the crap they are doing.

they are 'playing with dynamite' and we all have targets on our backs worldwide.

Not looking good.

Doc, breeding better bees is the key, plenty of studies done already would yield good info to build a better bee I bet.

I am not eating squirrel though,

Ptooey! Just say no to rodents!

micki said...

Dr. B's opining is validated in my garden. I just came in from the backyard and the honeybees are buzzing around my salvia, lavender, kinnickinick, salal, with great gusto. They are EVERYWHERE! That's my report on bees for today.

Carey, I think Holy Joe is positioning himself to run as Fred Thompson's veep. Two uber-hawks who don't have a clue about combat, but are well-acquainted with weapons' suppliers.

George P. Bush and Liz Cheney, among many other ickies, are signed on with Fred's campaign.

So, Gerald may have it slightly wrong. We'll have an *election,* but they've already decided who the winners will be.

(And it ain't gonna be us!)

micki said...

The only way bush *thinks* he can have a decent legacy is to start another war.

He has screwed up everything in sight, but the fact is, if he had gone into Iraq, taken out Saddam, killed 3 million Iraqi civilians in record time, brought the troops home and declared SUCCESS, his approval ratings would be in the stratosphere.

Americans aren't disturbed about dead people "over there" -- they just don't like to lose. So, if bush starts another war and tells them we won the war, they'll buy it.

DEN said...

The bees knees!

What a wonderful creature the bee.

They love the flowers and trees.

Without them humanity is brought to it's knees,

with them they pollinate the trees.

So be careful if you please,

and don't squash those bees!

David B. Benson said...

Ok, the most important non-governmental environmental organizations have been informed about biochar. I used the suggestions to rewrite the letter into two forms: one domestic and the other international. The international letter went to some Canadian govenment organization as well.

Now I need a list of e-mail addresses for all the ambassadors to the United States Government so that they can also receive the international letter.

Tomorrow I will compose, and hopefully send, an e-mail stating research opportunities for WSU engineers regarding biochar production. I will encourage starting immediately, using some internal WSU funds until research grant proposals can be written, shipped to funding agencies, and hopefully approved. (That process typically requires a year to 18 months.)

In the meantime, the environmental organizations of which you are a member need to hear from you as well regarding biochar. Just so they don't forget to consider this idea. Thanks.

micki said...

Websites of foreign Embassies in the United States

A start...

micki said...

Dr. B -- I did a quick check of several of the websites and they all give e-mail addresses.


Pandemoniac said...

Dr. Benson. Squirrels and crows are like oats and whey. Who really wants to eat 'em? I saw a black squirrel scrare the poopie out of a kid driving a van down the street. It ran down a tree, the squirrel, not the kid, and danced in front of the kid driving the van. The kid swerved and the squirrel rolled over on its side and laughed its ass off.

Reminds me of this Geico commercial (on the Youtube).

All right. Most of the way through the month of May... should be all caught up by the weekend. Another big batch of funnies:

Let's start up with the Senate Majority leader:
"I've learned one thing in listening to all the debates and reading about all these people running for office, and the one fact I've learned, I can't get out of my mind, is that Rudy Giuliani has been married more times than Mitt Romney's been hunting."
-- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by the New York Times.

"At a press conference somebody finally stood up to Bush ... a bird shit on him. Here's what is wrong with this man: he looked at it, and then wiped it off with his bare hand! And this is the guy who doubts that he descended from an ape."
--Bill Maher

"Yesterday, at a press conference in the Rose Garden, President Bush was speaking when a bird pooped on him. Apparently, the bird spent the rest of the day high-fiving other birds."
--Conan O'Brien

"Congratulations to ... Rudy Giuliani. He celebrated a wedding anniversary today. He also has another one tomorrow, and two on Monday if I'm not mistaken."
--Jay Leno

"Today President Bush lashed back at Jimmy Carter saying, 'Hey, if it wasn't for me, there wouldn't be that many poor people for you to build houses for.'"
--Jay Leno on Bush being the worst President in U.S. History

"Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has come to the United States and checked into a weight loss clinic because he's dangerously obese. ... A spokesperson for the clinic said, 'You can't blame the leader of Iraq for eating every meal like it's his last.'"
--Conan O'Brien

"Experts said this is going to be a very busy hurricane season. To which FEMA said, 'Not for us'"
--Jay Leno

"Yesterday at his ranch in Texas, President Bush hosted the leader of NATO. There was an awkward moment when Bush said, 'Maybe some day I could visit you in Natonia.'"
--Conan O'Brien

"All the candidates have made their financial disclosures. Mitt Romney appears to be the richest Republican, worth about $250 million. To which Rudy Giuliani said, 'I would have been worth that much if I just had one wife too.'"
--Jay Leno

"The president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, came to America today to check into a weight loss clinic 'cause he's dangerously obese. Apparently, Talabani is the only Iraqi these days worried about dying of natural causes."
--Conan O'Brien

"The liberals are saying that this guest worker program ... is really just a way to depress wages and create a permanent underclass of exploited labor. To which the president said, 'And the problem is...?'"
--Bill Maher

"I don't blame the president. He doesn't really understand, first of all, what amnesty means. He thinks amnesty is what happens on soap operas when people wake up and they can't remember anything."
--Bill Maher

"I kid the president. What a week he had. It was a bittersweet moment. He was in the Rose Garden for the last time with his long-time lover Tony Blair. As you know, Tony Blair is stepping down as prime minister and made his final visit to the U.S. There they were in the Rose Garden defending together their decision to go to war in Iraq. Dick Cheney had to be restrained, because usually when he sees two lame ducks, you know...."
--Bill Maher

"President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held their last joint press conference. President Bush says he's gonna miss listening to Tony Blair, because when he closes his eyes, Blair sounds just like C3PO."
--Conan O'Brien

"During a concert of the Virginia symphony at the 400th anniversary celebration of Jamestown, President Bush briefly took over conducting the orchestra. Which explains why the orchestra is now four trillion dollars in debt."
--Seth Meyers

"Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, the Pentagon's director of operations, was chosen to oversee the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war czar. Lute was chosen after being the last one in the room to yell, 'Not it!'"
--Amy Poehler

"The average national price of a gallon of gas hit an all-time record high of $3.15 this week. Meaning that wherever you're going this summer, it might be cheaper to mail your car."
--Amy Poehler

"A new bird called the gorgeted puffleg, which is a blue-and-green-throated hummingbird species, was discovered in a cloud forest in Columbia. Though still nothing on bin Laden"
--Amy Poehler

"It's Friday, which means Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice again. ... Actually, presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani says he believes in a woman's right to choose, and he's shown that time and time again when it comes to choosing women. I think this is his third one."
--Jay Leno

"Do you know the story of Shrek? Shrek is a beastly ogre ... and he marries into a family of royalty. Then, eventually, he goes on to become governor of California."
--David Letterman

"The Iraq funding bill that set a date for troop withdrawal, that's all gone by the wayside. The Democrats just backed down, as they always do, but they did it with flare this time. They met on an aircraft carrier and they had a big banner that said, 'Mission Abandoned!'"
--Bill Maher

My thoughts on Iraq here.

My favorite Youtube video here.