I was not personally involved in this, but it’s a big effort around here and thought I’d share it.
Archive for February, 2007
Well, no one, really. But here’s an explanation of the error.
The bag-of-toads-for-a-beer-bounty is being offered in Queensland, where the 140ml beer known as a “pony” in other regions of Australia is instead called a “small beer.”
Hence, the question “How Much is That Pony on the Counter,” would not be used where the bounty is in force.
Thanks for your participation
in my display of erudition.
If They Was Meant To Ride Around In Trucks, God Would Have Given ‘Em John Deere Caps and Naked Lady MudflapsPosted in Uncategorized on February 28th, 2007 by Fiver – 8 Comments
In an age where news stories routinely describe such and such a virus as “only a plane ride away,” how can it be that honey bee colony losses of up to 70% in some areas of the US are treated as a complete mystery?
In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have gone through similar shocks as their bees have been disappearing inexplicably at an alarming rate, threatening not only their livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable.
“I have never seen anything like it,” Mr. Bradshaw, 50, said from an almond orchard here beginning to bloom. “Box after box after box are just empty. There’s nobody home.”
The sudden mysterious losses are highlighting the critical link that honeybees play in the long chain that gets fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and dinner tables across the country.
Beekeepers have fought regional bee crises before, but this is the first national affliction.
The disease itself might be a mystery, but the spread of it shouldn’t be, as the article itself illustrates.
Beekeepers are the nomads of the agriculture world, working in obscurity in their white protective suits and frequently trekking around the country with their insects packed into 18-wheelers, looking for pollination work.
Diseases spread by moving from one host to another. The more efficiently the transfer from host to host can be carried out, the swifter and more widespread the outbreak, and the more pressing the need to interrupt that mechanism. Honeybee colonies are disappearing faster than doughnuts at a cop convention, and researchers are scratching their heads and wondering “Gee, I wonder if trucking uninspected hives all over the country has anything to do with it?”
If this was a human disease with a similar mortality rate–Marburg or Ebola–that practice would have ceased almost immediately. The good news, if any can be gleaned, is that no disease kills 100% of the population it targets, so Apis populations should recover, as the immune hives reproduce.
Apiculture in general should assist in that recovery, but as long as hives are trucked back and forth across the country the potential for an outbreak similar to this one–or the Varroa mite infestations of the 80s and 90s–will be repeated. In the long run, ending that practice would be better for both honeybees and apiculture in general, as agricultural areas now relying on trucked-in bees would be forced to develop local populations to support pollination.
Where to start. I don’t have a lot to say this week. At least, I don’t think I have a lot to say this week. (HaHa. Very funny. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “he doesn’t have a lot to say any week.”) Just for that I’m going to ramble aimlessly until the Carnival starts.
We’ve got a few minutes before the Carny gets started so I’ll tell you about my week. I’m actually going to begin on Friday.
Okay, I’m bored with that already. Let’s just skip all the nonsense and get to the Carny, shall we?
Wayne Hurlbert nearly earned himself top billing in last week’s carny. This week he springboards into the top spot with a post on How to become a carnival pariah. I don’t know about you guys, but it sounds like Wayne knows what he’s talking about.
Seriously though, thanks for outlining that for folks, Wayne. I think those who need the post the most already know what they’re doing.
Madeleine Begun Kane, last week’s top bill, slides into the number two spot with a short eulogy for her crashed PC. She’s got the Backup Blues
DWSUWF says that gridlock is just fine by him while Unity08 and fellow travellers Tony Snow and David Gregory promote Un-American activities.
Leon Gettler gives some interesting statistics highlighting The link between fraud and lobbying.
Lisa took Lil Duck to a place where all the fish were Nemo.
Jack Yoest points out the origins of the phrase A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. He also has a nice painting illustrating how a fish might need a bicycle.
And that’s it for the Carnival of the Vanities for another week. Check back next week for yet another edition of CoTV. If you’d like your writing to be featured in the Carnival, please submit to Carnival of the Vanities via Blog Carnival.
Some of it, at least.
Roy W. Spencer is principal research scientist at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The media is, almost by definition, most interested in extreme views on the issue, so reporting seldom reveals that broad scientific uncertainty still exists. In fact, a silent majority of scientists still think that global warming could end up falling anywhere between a real problem and a minor nuisance: They can see reasons for it going either way. Call them the global-warming moderates.
Contrary to popular accounts, very few scientists in the world – possibly none – have a sufficiently thorough, “big picture” understanding of the climate system to be relied upon for a prediction of the magnitude of global warming. To the public, we all might seem like experts, but the vast majority of us work on only a small portion of the problem.
Here, for example, is an insight that even many climate scientists are unaware of: The one atmospheric process that has the greatest control on the Earth’s climate is the one we understand the least – precipitation.
Computerized models of our climate have had a habit of “drifting” too warm or too cold. This because they still don’t contain all of the temperature-stabilizing processes that exist in nature. In fact, for the amount of solar energy available to it, our climate seems to have a “preferred” average temperature, damping out swings beyond 1 degree or so.
Mr. Brand is the first to admit his own futurism isn’t always prescient. In 1969, he was so worried by population growth that he organized the Hunger Show, a weeklong fast in a parking lot to dramatize the coming global famine predicted by Paul Ehrlich, one of his mentors at Stanford.
The famine never arrived, and Professor Ehrlich’s theories of the coming “age of scarcity” were subsequently challenged by the economist Julian Sinon, who bet Mr. Ehrlich that the prices of natural resources would fall during the 1980s despite the growth in population. The prices fell, just as predicted by Professor Simon’s cornucopian theories.
Professor Ehrlich dismissed Professor Simon’s victory as a fluke, but Mr. Brand saw something his mentor didn’t. He considered the bet a useful lesson about the adaptability of humans — and the dangers of apocalyptic thinking.
“It is one of the great revelatory bets,” he now says. “Any time that people are forced to acknowledge publicly that they’re wrong, it’s really good for the commonweal. I love to be busted for apocalyptic proclamations that turned out to be 180 degrees wrong. In 1973 I thought the energy crisis was so intolerable that we’d have police on the streets by Christmas. The times I’ve been wrong is when I assume there’s a brittleness in a complex system that turns out to be way more resilient than I thought.”
Before I can ascend to the ranks of the official North Carolina Toad Listeners, I have to take an online test where I identify frog and toad calls. You didn’t think they’d let just anyone join, did you? Though the test itself can be gamed–each sound file lists only three options to choose from, one of which can usually be eliminated outright–I’ve chosen the path of the true nature geek, and chosen to not even show the options unless I can identify the call outright.
To help familiarize myself with the calls, I’ve linked each here, where I don’t have to click through three different pages to hear each call. My thanks to the Herps of NC for making it so easy to do. Notes on the call or species will appear after the link as I work my way down.
I know you’ll be enthralled.
Tree Frogs and Their Allies (Family Hylidae)
Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) Like pebbles being banged together. Electric pebbles. Bullfrog in the background.
Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus) Same pebbles, but the banger has gotten tired.
Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii)
Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea) Very common around the pool at the camp where I was nature counselor for three years. I fell asleep to this call many a night.
Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis) Wooden washboard.
Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)
Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)
Brimley’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi)
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)
Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis) Small squeaks
Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata) More–very small–cowbell!
Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) We have these in the swamp behind the house. They number in the millions.
True Frogs (Family Ranidae)
Carolina Gopher Frog (Rana capito)
Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Also a common frog around the camp pool. Green or Bronze frogs in the background.
Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota) and Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans clamitans) Yes, the call is the same for both. The species page says the call “sounds like the twang of a banjo string.” Maybe, but if so it’s a really flat one.
River Frog (Rana heckscheri) James Earl Jones is in need of a princess. Green Tree Frogs in background
Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)
Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) Like Silly Putty rubbbing against….more Silly Putty.
Southern Leopard Frog (Rana utricularia)
Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)
Toads (Family Bufonidae)
American Toad (Bufo americanus) A long musical trill. Spring peepers in background
Oak Toad (Bufo quercicus) Shrill peeping, like chicks. That’s a Fowler’s toad in the background.
Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris) Breathy Trill
Fowler’s Toad (Bufo woodhousii) Vibrating Cellphone on a cookie sheet. Northern Cricket Frogs in the background.
Spadefoot Toads (Family Pelobatidae)
Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)
First Attempt: 12 out of 26
Second Attempt: 22 out of 26, but I was not pure, and viewed the choices prior to picking more than once.
Sainted Wife: Would you quit with the damn frogs already!
Third Attempt: 24 of 29. Tree Frogs are my Larry.
Fourth Attempt: 29 of 29.
Why is it that, the minute I read this article…..
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has a new commandment for the 2008 presidential field: Thou shalt not mention anything related to the impeachment of her husband.
With a swift response to attacks from a former supporter last week, advisers to the New York Democrat offered a glimpse of their strategy for handling one of the most awkward chapters of her biography. They declared her husband’s impeachment in 1998 — or, more accurately, the embarrassing personal behavior that led to it — taboo, putting her rivals on notice and all but daring other Democrats to mention the ordeal again.
This image popped up in my head?