About Me

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Deep South, United States
Consultant, inventor, mentor, chess coach,. Current projects involve No Till Farming and staving off blindness due to cataracts among other projects. I also do confidential ghost writing (without taking any published credit. My current blindness makes me put this on hold for a while. I should have one eye working again in about four months. Fact, fiction, all subjects considered. I have heard My daughter Jennifer is alive. I would love it if she were to contact me here. I understand she would like to know me. I have sent a message by circuitous route. I can only hope. My posted Email works as well. We have four decades to catch up on.

This blog has been up for more than a year. The intent was to generate dialogues about serious problems and ideas. It has been almost exclusively a monologue. I have not been looking for large numbers of participants.

I would be quite happy with a few dozen imaginative, creative, thoughtful and inventive people who wish to address serious problems and issues. If anyone has any ideas about how to attract such a talented group I will certainly pay attention. I am not as computer conversant as I would wish. Anyone who could help in this regard would find me receptive to sharing my skills in other areas.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Birds and the Bees

Okay. This is the red light district. Now that I have your full attention, let us talk about two problems. In recent years honeybees have had serious problems with a variety of mite. It damaged a great many colonies but it was a containable problem. It was matter of finding a chemical that would kill the mites but leave the bees unharmed and not contaminate the honey, or at least not enough to be noticed. Well that problem, for whatever reason, pretty much ran out of steam.

Bees are an absolutely essential component in the agriculture which feeds us all. A linchpin of our survival. So there was a collective sigh of relief when that problem abated. But it was premature. We now have a new problem, and it is MUCH more dangerous. The reason it is such an emergency is that we really have no solid clues as to the cause. Therefore we are currently helpless to stop it.

Bees are disappearing. Not just dying in large numbers because of a parasitic infection. Literally disappearing. Whole hives are winding up entirely empty of adult bees. Lots and lots of hives. In periods of a week to a month the adult bees fly off and don't come back. That leaves the eggs and baby bees who can't yet survive in an empty orphanage. The hive is dead. Or I should say, at this time more than one quarter of all hives on the planet have been wiped out.

Now, we have made some progress. We have named the problem. And a really nice name it is. Very professional sounding. Reassuring in a sense. It is called COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER. Much better than IMPENDING WORLDWIDE STARVATION. But the fact remains that worldwide industrial agriculture has roughly ninety or a hundred crops across the entire spectrum of human and animal feedstocks that are absolutely dependent on bee pollination. This is not a problem that just affects beekeepers and honey production.

I should also say that the bees are also responsible for the bulk of the pollination in the rest of the entire ecosystem. So nature herself is threatened further in the ongoing runaway extinction now proceeding at a faster rate than ever in recorded history.

But back to the bees. These communal insects are fiercely protective of the babies in the hive. What would make them just fly away? Some sort of virus that drove them mad? A side effect of some herbicide or insecticide that does them no observable harm? A combination of the two? So far we have spent trivial amounts to find out. Meanwhile, to date we have spent half a TRILLION dollars on a fanatical war against fanatics. And that amount increases astronomically each day. We are getting massively stung, and it is not bees that are doing it. It is the Military Industrial Complex and their pet politicians.

Read here on another thread what President Eisenhower said about this danger in his Farewell to the Nation when he left office FORTY SEVEN YEARS AGO! Bear in mind also that this warning came from a man who was totally immersed in the military for his entire career. He was the highest ranking of all the Generals before he became President. That makes his final words to the nation that much more significant.

Time now to turn our attention to the birds. Birds too are quite important. Chickens provide one of our main meat supplies. There has been a lot of concern over the potential for a global pandemic of Avian Flu (H5N1). That concern is waning now, not because the danger is reduced. It is not.

But we can only pay attention for just so long. We have dodged the bullet for the past few years, so our confidence in our "experts" is increasing. That confidence is not at all well founded. The urgency and numbers of problems continue to proliferate. Most of us are entirely oblivious.

Let us turn our attention to West Nile Fever, another virus of worldwide impact which, like H5N1 affects a wide spectrum of the bird population. And like H5N1 it has already crossed the species barrier into the human population. As a matter of fact West Nile has killed many, many more people than H5N1 (so far). Now, is there any evidence that H5N1 or West Nile may be infecting insects (like bees) as well? Is anyone looking into this possibility? We DO know that West Nile is mosquito borne. Gosh, last I heard, mosquitoes were insects! But there is no evidence that any mosquitoes are getting sick with West Nile fever. They are just carriers. Boy, that IS a relief. I guess it can't have anything to do with the bee crisis. Because otherwise the experts would have already found out about it, wouldn't they?

Oh, a final word about wild birds. Half a dozen major large populations of wild species of birds have had their populations decimated by up to half in the past few years by West Nile Virus. It is not a stretch to think it might jump into our industrial chicken farms. We still don't know exactly how H5N1 is making it into the chicken and hog populations from the wild bird reservoirs. We just know that it is. Any ideas anybody? Hello? Anybody out there? Hello... Hello... Anybody?

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