Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am so green

"A recent study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives - things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Sunday Snog

Check it out: Discover's Web site features The Sunday Snog photo. I like the sound of that. Now, I realize that today's photo is of the President, and he has really disappointed (am I being too nice?) us liberal folk by, to be brief, being a true politician at heart (having said that, in the photo, it appears that he really likes Michelle). Please check out the adorable anteaters from Aug. 2, 2009. Blood pressure lowering ...

Ta ta for now,

Vanishing Bees

When I saw the latest issue (October 2009) of Discover at the bookstore with a cover that promised articles on sex (among other things, the article describes a woman who had orgasms while brushing her teeth, which in and of itself sounds awesome to me, but would my dental health suffer because I couldn't make it through a full two minutes of brushing, or perhaps due to constant brushing? Unfortunately, her toothbrushing orgasms were eventually accompanied by loss of consciousness and she was diagnosed with epilepsy), vanishing bees, and whether or not evolution shaped us to be good, I knew that that periodical was coming home with me.

I heart bees, and not just honeybees. Bees seem to be the least humorless of all of the hymenopterans. I'm not judging anyone -- wasps and ants are fascinating, too. Anyway, it appears that in-breeding has made honeybees less resistant to infections and infestations. The article says that "today's honeybees are sickly, enslaved, and mechanized," and provides the following quote from a researcher who studies honeybee behavior and genetics "We've looked at bees as robots that would keep on trucking no matter what ... They can't be pushed and pushed."

The article describes a Montana pollination outfit that trucks bees from Montana to California to Washington to Montana. The bees pollinate, and therefore feed from, the same food (an orchard crop) for a month at a time. They pollinate in the spring, produce honey in the summer, and winter in a sandy lot near San Francisco where they exist on corn syrup (which I'll bet is devoid of the nutrients in the food upon which they would naturally over-winter). Is that creepy or what?

The good news is that some people are gathering feral hives and creating healthy colonies. One guy who used to work for the aforementioned Montana company had an epiphany and now lives in his truck in New York State, where he "shuttles around in his truck, fetching hives out of local squirrel houses, conducting a one-man breeding project. His goal is not to furnish the large-scale migratory beekeepers with more robust stock but rather to create an infrastructure of small-scale beekeepers."

Now, I'm not naive. Honeybees are not native to North America, and I would assume that their introduction must have some negative effect on native species. I am also not so naive to think that large-scale agribusiness is going to disappear overnight. And, I don't know how much suffering honeybees experience at the hands of small-scale beekeepers. Large-scale agribusiness treats living things like machines, and we see the consequences in animal suffering, environmental degradation, and human illness (mad cow, Pfiesteria, etc.). I don't want to debate about whether or not bees are capable of suffering. Would you like to be sick, infested with mites, and fed what barely passes for food all winter?

Ta ta for now,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Avocado Pie

Here I sit nursing a spontaneous pneumothorax of unknown causes. When I went to the ER on Monday, they thought it was pleurisy (a cool old-fashioned sounding word, don't you think?), but now it's a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

So dig: Not Martha blogged about a local pie contest, into which an avocado pie was entered. That sounds positively vile, but it brings up fond memories of one of my favorite books, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death.

Ta ta for now,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 -- WTF, McDonald's?

McDonald's Web site actually says, "Like the unique African Baobab tree, which nourishes its community with its leaves and fruit, McDonald's has branched out to the African-American community nourishing it with valuable programs and opportunities."

That is effing surreal. Who writes this stuff?