What’s happening to the bees?

Researchers at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) in Argentina have found that, since the 1990s, up to 25% of reported bee species are no longer being reported in global records, despite a large increase in the number of records available. While this does not mean that these species are all extinct, it might indicate that these species have become rare enough that no one is observing them in nature. The findings appear [in January 22, 2021 issue of] the journal One Earth.

“With citizen science and the ability to share data, records are going up exponentially, but the number of species reported in these records is going down,” says first author Eduardo Zattara…“It’s not a bee cataclysm yet, but what we can say is that wild bees are not exactly thriving.”

While there are many studies about declining bee populations, these are usually focused on a specific area or a specific type of bee. These researchers were interested in identifying more general, global trends in bee diversity…

“It’s not really about how certain the numbers are here. It’s more about the trend,” says Zattara. “It’s about confirming what’s been shown to happen locally is going on globally. And also, about the fact that much better certainty will be achieved as more data are shared with public databases…”

“Something is happening to the bees, and something needs to be done. We cannot wait until we have absolute certainty because we rarely get there in natural sciences,” says Zattara. “The next step is prodding policymakers into action while we still have time. The bees cannot wait.”

I second that emotion!

State that executed more prisoners than any other – may be ready to end the practice

Virginia, a state that has executed more prisoners than any other in the country, appears poised to eliminate the death penalty — a seismic shift for the state legislature, which just five years ago looked to the electric chair and secret pharmaceutical deals to keep the ultimate punishment alive.

The former capital of the Confederacy would become the first Southern state to abolish capital punishment if a bill on track to pass the Senate gets out of the House and over to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who has promised to sign it.

A ban in Virginia could help sweep in change across the South, according to experts who say racial disparities in the death penalty’s application have roots in the region’s history of slavery and Jim Crow segregation.

You don’t need experts to validate the theory of capital punishment used as another weapon to maintain official racism, Jim Crow laws. All you ever had to do was live and work in the Solid South BITD.