‘The media’s deliberate stupidity’

Tom Marcinko @ 13-03-2009

beePresident Obama’s budget includes a mere $1.7 million, or 0.00041 percent of spending, for honeybee research. Jamison Foser notes that some politicians find that outrageous or hilarious, but that the debate — if you can call it that — over budget earmarks misses an an important point as far as bees are concerned:

Honeybees are pretty important. See, humans need food. Without it, we die. And bees not only produce honey, they pollinate all kinds of crops — onions, cashews, celery, strawberries, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, apples … you get the picture. Honeybees play an important role in our food supply, and our economy. And honeybees have been disappearing at an alarming rate in recent years, for reasons that are not fully known.

It might be useful to know why. And, while admitting that earmarks might not be the best way to fund research, it might also be useful if politicians would stop criticizing things they don’t understand just because they sound funny. Volcano monitoring, planetarium projectors, fruit-fly research, and studies of the DNA of  threatened species called grizzly bears all come to mind.

But if polticians can’t be bothered to understand, and behave like short-sighted anti-space senators in early Arthur C. Clarke, is it too much to ask that our media could be bothered to investigate claims and counterclaims, instead of chortling like Beavis and Butthead?

[Bee picture by Robert Seber]

The bees are still dying – but Haagen Dazs wants to help

Tomas Martin @ 21-02-2008

Save our little friends, save the world?For a number of years now biologists and farmers alike have been concerned about levels of honeybees around the world, with many hives collapsing due to what’s known as CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder. It leads people to find strangely abandoned hives with a few dead bees but most gone elsewhere. The causes are unknown – it could be a number of fungal or viral diseases, or interference from cell phone towers messing up their ability to find home. It could also be mites, global warming, GM crops, pretty much anything. As honeybees are used massively in pollinating commercial fruit and vegetables, this is a real concern not just for a species of insect, but also for us.

Happily a certain gourmet Ice Cream company is on the case. Haagen Dazs has already donated money to some of the researchers trying to find what’s going on with the bees. Now it’s also making a bee-themed honey Ice Cream, with profits going towards our stripy friends. Coincidentally, did you know Haagen Dazs is not actually Scandanavian? The name was created by its founders in America and both words are actually made up. The closest translation in any language is an Iranian phrase meaning ‘garbage can’.

[via Daily Galaxy, image by BugMan50]