Thursday, April 23, 2009
Bzz Bzz ....no more? and other musings
It's called, Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD for short. It's the widespread phenomenon of Honey-bees just suddenly disappearing from beehives all over the world- without a trace. 2 days ago, for the run-up to Earth Day, my favortist channel CURRENT, ran a pod (3 min documentary) on the disappearance of bees. Now this was something I had heard of before but in this pod, the narrator was describing the impacts of the complete extinction of the Honey-bee. i.e. world wide starvation, extinction of a number plants, trees, animals and insects- so in short, chaos. Now I love CURRENT because well, they're awesome, but I couldn't wrap my head around the consequences of bees suddenly dying off- so I decided to research whether or not this was real, or just hype.
While no-one knows the causes of CCD, there are allot of theories being bandied around- which i'm not going to get into because well without proof, all of it is mere speculation. There are generally 2 camps scientists and bee biologists fall under, much like the issue of global warming. One camp suggests that Honey-bees dying off would be just a 30% drop in world pollination, food resources- although significant, not apocolyptic. The other camp (larger one I might add), suggests that the apparently random frequent incidents of CCD in commercial beehives are of great concern, for without Honey-bees, which are the worlds most prolific pollinators meaning most of your vegetables and all of your fruits come primarily from Honey-bee pollination- there will be massive food shortages i.e. starvation.
I think the scariest about all of this is that it's so tangible, I mean global warming affects most of us in small ways as of this moment without promise of more massive effects. But this, if this is truly as bad as allot of people are saying it is, we could see hunger around the world- the likes of which one cannot even begin to imagine. And whats worse- no-one knows what to do the combat it!!!!! All of our scientists are flabbergasted and flat-footed no-one even knows where to begin!! I seriously hope that governments take this seriously and fund research into this.
On to um..happier news, on April 15, the world saw the birth of it's first cloned camel- Injaz. Born in Dubai, in a country, hell- region, where camel racing is serious business. Scientists believe that camel cloning will be commonplace in the Arab world because of well, camel racing.
And an interesting tidbit, the first all-female species of Ant has been discovered in South America. The ants are complete clones of the Queen ant. The first all-female species was found in 2001, spider mites that were clones of their mothers. Whats interesting about this species is that if there ever were males who were born to the spider mites, a bacterium would be released to give the spider mite an immediate sex-change.
There are other things that I want to talk about, like the mayor San Francisco announcing his candidacy for Gov of Cali through twitter, or the torture memos that were released or the Special Investigations report by Congress, just released yesterday, on torture. Or that the number one city in America with the most birth control recipients is Denver- or even about the study that found birth control users are not able to grow muscle. But alas it is 5:54 in the morning and I have not yet slept enough to talk coherently about Dick Cheney or birth control, so I leave you with this, out there in the world- there is a 125 mph car made entirely of
vegetables that runs on chocolate. I kid you not.