Monsanto Wins Big and Consumers Again Get Screwed

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What a great time to become a vegan!

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has officially approved the unregulated planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa. In a move that will undoubtedly set a precedent for what comes next (namely, the question of whether or not to deregulate GE sugarbeets) Vilsack did nothing more, and nothing less than obliterate our choice as organic consumers to be assured that we are avoiding genetically modified organisms in our food…

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New Bee Species Discovered in Canada

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Sweat bee

Researchers Jason Gibbs who was working on a study of sweat bees discovered a new species while commuting from downtown Toronto to York University. It is one of 19 new species he found while examining 84 species of sweat bees in Canada — so named because they are attracted to perspiration — which are common in North America. His study goes a long way in cataloging a variety of bee that has proven a “nightmare” to study.

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Bees Prefer Flowers with Caffeine

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Bees prefer certain kinds of nectar.

Also nicotine!  A study conducted at the University of Haifa revealed that bees prefer nectar containing those psychoactive substances.

Flower nectar is primarily comprised of sugars, which provide energy for the potential pollinators. But the floral nectar of some plant species also includes small quantities of substances known to be toxic, such as caffeine and nicotine… Caffeine is found at concentration levels of 11-17.5 milligrams per liter, mostly in citrus flowers. In the nectar of grapefruit flowers, however, caffeine is present in much higher concentrations, reaching 94.2 milligrams per liter…

The results showed that bees clearly prefer nectar containing nicotine and caffeine over the “clean” nectar. The preferred nicotine concentration was 1 milligram per liter, similar to that found in nature. Given a choice of higher levels of nicotine versus “clean” nectar, the bees preferred the latter.

The presumption is that natural selection has favored those plants that satisfy the desires of their pollinators.  Further studies are underway to ascertain whether the bees are addicted to caffeine and nicotine.

Link.

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Bee Colonies Still Dying Out in Record Numbers

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To bee or not to be?

You may know that since about 2006 there has been a large and growing problem with the honey bees which play a large part in fertilizing our flowers and crops.  Many bees, and in fact whole colonies have been dying due to an unknown factor which had been named Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD.  Scientists are still working to determine the exact cause of CCD – theories range from parasites to viruses or bacteria to pesticides – but none of these have yet been agreed upon as the reason for this astounding decline…

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Bees Can Remember What Human Faces Look Like

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If you ever get into a tense confrontation with a bee, and then you have to back down for whatever reason, don’t try to salvage it by saying “Remember the face.” Because it turns out bees can do that.It’s long been known that bees are capable of recognizing and retaining complex visual patterns. That’s one way they’re able to tell different kinds of flowers apart. But a joint project between researchers at the Université de Toulouse and Melbourne’s Monash University has found that bees can be trained to distinguish flowers from human faces, and to recognize the basic configuration of human facial features in different contexts.

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How Do Bees Manage To Land Safely?

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Fancy Flying Makes For Better Honey?
Ever wondered how bees always manage to land on a picnic table, underneath a flower petal, or on a wall of a hive, without crashing or tumbling? Well, scientists have, for the first time, figured out how these insects touch down on all sorts of surfaces, from right side up to upside-down.

To find out, Mandyam Srinivasan, an electrical engineer from the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council’s Vision Centre, and colleagues first built a bee-landing platform that could be inclined at any angle from horizontal to inverted (like a ceiling), then they trained bees to land on it and began filming…

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Alternative Health Trend: Bee Sting Therapy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p245IE6_qf8[/youtube]

Can bee stings cure arthritis, or MS? Meet some people in Taiwan willing to endure hundreds of bee stings to find a cure.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabling illness that affects well over one million adults worldwide.

For many sufferers, MS means a lifetime of taking medications that offer little relief for a body that progressively gets worse. Such was the case for Pat Wagner of Waldorf, Md., until her mother suggested that she get stung — by a bee. Pat is now known as the “Bee Lady” for her practice of using bee stings to treat the debilitating symptoms of MS. For Pat, it’s been a miracle, one that she’s been happily sharing with people from all over the world — by stinging them. Second video after the jump.

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Colony Collapse Disorder – The Global Bee Plague

Colony Collapse Disorder - The Global Bee Plague

The cause of Colony Collapse Disorder still remains a mystery

A recent survey found that about 35% of all the colonies in the U.S. died last winter. Of those that died, 71% died of natural causes, 29% from symptoms that are suspected of being colony collapse disorder. Doing the math that comes to at least 10% of all the bees in the U.S. last year died of Colony Collapse Disorder.

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Flowers’ Smell Not Traveling As Far

Flowers’ Smell Not Traveling As Far

Pollution is affecting the distance that the smell of a flower will travel

Spring’s bloom may not smell so sweet anymore, as pollutants from power plants and automobiles destroy flowers’ aromas, a new study suggests. The finding could help explain why some pollinators, particularly bees, are declining in certain parts of the world.

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