Chance Discovery Can Destroy The Honeybee’s Worst Enemy

V. destructor on a honeybee hostUSDA

❝ It isn’t just pesticides and the destruction of habitat that’s making the world’s honeybees very unhappy. One of the biggest threats is Varroa destructor, a disease-spreading parasite that is just as villainous as its name suggests.

❝ Through a chance discovery, scientists from the University of Hohenheim have stumbled on a new method of wiping out this parasitic pest without harming the bees.

The US Department of Agriculture views the Varroa mite as “the major factor underlying colony loss in the US and other countries.” After infiltrating a colony, the mites begin to feed on the bodily fluids of honeybees and their larvae. Along with weakening the bees, the mites also spread viruses, such as deformed wing virus, and can quickly wipe out entire colonies…

❝ “Lithium chloride can be used to feed bees in sugar water. In our experiments, even small amounts of saline solution were enough to kill the mites sitting on the bees within a few days – without side effects for the bees,” Dr Peter Rosenkranz, head of the German State Institute of Apiculture…

RTFA for hope and diligence, science applied to sensible ends.

Thanks, smartalix

Portugal is Europe’s New Booming Not-Germany-Approved Economy

❝ Germany’s resolute Chancellor Angela Merkel is not usually one to admit she’s been wrong. But this autumn, when it comes to her faith in austerity economics in Europe, Merkel, together with her then-Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble, did as much — in deed, if not in word…

Mario Centeno constitutes a shift in course. Until now, he has represented a Southern European country, Portugal, that received a 78 billion euro ($92 billion) bailout from its fellow European Union member states amid the euro crisis. But even more remarkable, Centeno was part of a leftist government with the backing of a communist party, which subsequently bucked the marching orders of its northern creditors and the troika composed of the European Central Bank, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund.

Portugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeedPortugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeed. That’s not to suggest that, just because Centeno has served a leftist Portuguese government, he will pursue radical policy ambitions in Brussels. But, as president of the Eurogroup, he will execute duties in a body that grew immensely in significance over the course of the financial crises and will be paramount in guiding the reform processes that still lie ahead…

Centeno, like the Portuguese government he served, already symbolizes the possibility that a new, less German, ideological era of economic governance is in the offing in Europe. Lisbon is the first Southern European government to climb out of the swamp of indebtedness and stagnation. Its economy is undergoing its fastest expansion in over a decade, and more growth is expected next year, which will shrink the country’s budget deficit to 1 percent of GDP — the slightest in 40 years. Unemployment this year fell to 9.2 percent, down from 17.5 percent in 2013, and exports are picking up…

Unlike the land of Chumps and a Fake President, a surprising number of EU Nations are willing to experiment with genuine reform. Sometimes conservative, often progressive, almost always advised by well-educated and market-proven economists instead of the obedient pap rolled out by our two-party beer commercials.

Hip 7th grader knows more about existential cartoons than BuzzFeed

Max – in a Mad Bomber hat [of course]

❝ Max, the seventh-grader…started a meme at her high school that has spun completely out of control in the best way.

The meme is really easy — all you have to do is say “Save $500 on bread this year. Click here.”

Or in this case, click on CLICK HERE and go to the BuzzFeed article which misses the point entirely. The meme is a Non Sequitur. Which is exactly what I’d expect from someone named Max wearing a Mad Bomber hat.

Click to enlarge


Oz says “YES” to marriage equality — the fight for human rights continues

❝ The results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey are in. Despite the voluntary nature of the survey, 12,727,920 (79.5%) eligible Australians voted.

By a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%, Australians have said “yes” to the proposition:

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

❝ To permit same-sex marriage, parliament must amend the Marriage Act 1961…

The definition of marriage can be simply changed by removing the words “a man and a woman” and replacing them with “two people”.

Such a change will have flow-on effects throughout Australian society. For example, celebrants will be free to officiate at legal wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. State and territory authorities will be empowered to register same-sex marriages.

❝ Most significantly, same-sex couples will have equality of choice in how they want to formalise relationships. Those who choose to marry will be entitled to the legal benefits of marriage.

This will engage much of the usual anti-democratic sophistry and histrionics beloved of bigots and True Believers. One can only hope that the Australian Parliament will recognize the forward-looking spirit of this poll as meaningful – and predictive of the spirit of voters come the next election.

Most folks hope the bill sorting things out in legalese will be kept simple and to the point. Human rights are for all humans. Spirits in the sky are entitled to have their opinions voiced by folks who believe in such. They have no standing in civil liberties, civil rights.

Colorado Legalized Weed — Opioid Deaths Fell

❝ “Marijuana legalization in Colorado led to a “reversal” of opiate overdose deaths in that state, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years…”…

The authors stress that their results are preliminary, given that their study encompasses only two years of data after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014.”

❝ Pretty clear:

Even if one doesn’t replace the other there is no medical doubt the cannabis effect aids anxiety, withdrawal symptoms of lots of addictive substances. Probably helps rid your mind of political sophistry. 🙂

Bullying Can Wreck Your Day

❝ We know 2017 has been a dark year when a fast food chain is suddenly one of the most principled public figures in America. But, bear with us. Burger King put out an anti-bullying PSA that’s surprisingly moving and effective. Yes, the company that made the super-creepy plastic-headed king mascot. Yes, this is basically a three minute Burger King ad. And, yes, it’s not subtle. But this PSA is better than it has a right to be, and is certainly more than you’d expect from a restaurant that doesn’t really have an ethical obligation beyond selling burgers.

And, let’s be frank, this is a serious issue. So if it takes Burger King of all places to shame more adults into intervening, we’ll take it.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia and others

Hertha Berlin Players, Officials Kneel in Solidarity with American Athletes

Click to enlargeAP Photo/Michael Sohn

❝ Players and coaches from Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin kneeled prior to Saturday’s game against Schalke in a stand “for diversity and against violence.”

“Berlin is colourful,” the public address announcer at Olympiastadion Berlin said, according to ESPN FC’s Stephan Uersfeld. “Hertha BSC stands for diversity and against violence. For this reason, we are joining forces with the protest of our fellow American athletes to take a stand against discrimination. For a tolerant Berlin, both now and forevermore.”

❝ …Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou told reporters Hertha Berlin got the idea to kneel from NFL players who have protested social injustice and racial inequality during the American national anthem.

“As Hertha we always fight against racism,” he said, per Uersfeld. “For us, kneeling down is a way of fighting against this kind of behaviour. It should not exist in any kind of sport. Not in NFL, and not in football or soccer, like they call it in the U.S.—it shouldn’t exist in any sport, period. For us, it’s a good example to show.”

Meanwhile, individual gutless owners of American sports teams, NFL officials and candyass politicians kissed Trump butt. They have taken a constitutional symbol of protest and tried to turn it into an act worthy of the sort of pseudo-patriotic witch-hunt we haven’t witnessed since the inglorious days of McCarthyism.

I’ll take constitutional guarantees over quasi-religious breast-beating any day

N.F.L. Protests Across the United States, Across the Atlantic

❝ N.F.L. players across the country demonstrated during the national anthem on Sunday in a show of solidarity against President Trump, who scolded the league and players on Twitter this weekend. With the support of team owners, some of whom joined their teams on the field, dozens of players knelt in silent protests, while Tom Brady and others opted to stand and lock arms.

❝ The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans both stayed in their respective locker rooms prior to their matchup in Nashville.

The young woman who sang the national anthem for their match – also took a knee in solidaruity.