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Nature's Dying Migrant Worker

One-third of the food on our plate now relies on just one pollinator — the honeybee. And it’s dying. The land of milk and honey is fast becoming a land without wildflowers, thanks to insecticides called neonicotinoids. "In the past decade, in most states and especially in the Midwest, the amount of honey produced by each hive has crashed. That’s clear evidence that bees are seriously impaired, said Susan Kegley, a pesticide researcher in Berkeley, Calif., who works with beekeepers. In Minnesota, for example, production per hive has plummeted by one-third in the past decade."
posted by thescoop on Jun 29, 2014 - 68 comments

No, that's not a video of a bee rescuing its friend from a spider

Evolutionary biologist debunks viral video. Science!
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jun 18, 2014 - 21 comments

There are no humans in Star Wars.

Every Human in Star Wars is Really a Humanoid Bee by Max Gladstone. [via]
posted by quin on May 11, 2014 - 30 comments

Nostril, Lip, Penis

The worst places to get stung by a bee "It started when a honeybee flew up Michael Smith’s shorts and stung him in the testicles." Smith's painstaking study adds another dimension to the well-researched Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 4, 2014 - 79 comments

a leap between kingdoms is not an everyday event

Suspicious Virus Makes Rare Cross-Kingdom Leap From Plants to Honeybees
When HIV jumped from chimpanzees to humans sometime in the early 1900′s, it crossed a gulf spanning several million years of evolution. But tobacco ringspot virus, scientists announced last week, has made a jump that defies credulity. It has crossed a yawning chasm ~1.6 billion years wide.
posted by andoatnp on Jan 31, 2014 - 37 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Your tax dollars at work

The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Dec 14, 2013 - 15 comments

USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab's macro insect photography

The USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops large and small-scale surveys and identification tools for native bees. A vital aspect of the program is to create accurate and detailed pictures of native bees as well as the plants and insects they interact with. To that end, Sam Droege has curated a collection of more than 1,200 macro photos of insects and posted them to the USGS NBIaMP Flickr collection. You can also browse via sets, if the unfiltered collection is too much to take in at once. This group has also provided a guide to taking macro photographs of insects in a lab setting (PDF).
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 19, 2013 - 11 comments

Dreams are real

Dreams are real [YT, 3:01, cats]
posted by bobobox on Aug 23, 2013 - 12 comments

Some Thoughts On Mercy by Ross Gay

An essay on race, fear, imagination, and beekeeping
posted by Joe in Australia on Jul 16, 2013 - 19 comments

The architecture of bees: a study of hexagonal honey combs

People have long been interested in the architectural endeavors of animals. The internal structure of bee hives, the hexagonal combs of wax, have been amongst these ponderings, going back to Marcus Terentius Varro's Rerum Rusticarum Libri Tres, a volume on Roman farm management. He wrote, "The geometricians prove that this hexagon inscribed in a circular figure encloses the greatest amount of space," and over the years, mathematicians have studied the hexagonal structures made by bees, and in 1998, Thomas Hales produced a mathematical proof for the classical hexagonal honeycomb conjecture, which "asserts that the most efficient partition of the plane into equal areas is the regular hexagonal tiling." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 21, 2013 - 25 comments

Flapping-wing bio-inspired micro air vehicle

[V]Robo Raven[V] is a robot bird. So uncanny a hawk attacked it during testing. Other robot birds include the SmartBird, a flying robotic seagull, and AirPenguins. Robobee is a robot bee.
posted by stbalbach on May 2, 2013 - 13 comments

Just In Time For The Equinox

About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 21, 2013 - 28 comments

Mo’ honey, mo’ problems

The world of honey trading is a murky one, riddled with smuggling and fakery. But honey detectives are on the case! And they have a new, powerful weapon: a laser tool designed by the European Space Agency to measure carbon on Mars that has been re-purposed to detect fake honey. (Via) [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Feb 18, 2013 - 59 comments

Honey, I Shrunk the Tariff

"Honey laundering is a complex exercise that involves several players in the honey chain from apiary to wholesaler to retailer. In the case against ALW, evidence was presented to show the use of fake country-of-origin documents for shipments, replacement of labels on Chinese containers with fraudulent ones, switching of honey containers in a third country, and even the blending of Chinese honey with glucose syrup or honey from another country."
posted by vidur on Dec 6, 2012 - 37 comments

The Fact of the Matter?

On September 24th Radiolab posted a new episode, The Fact of the Matter. It included a segment titled Yellow Rain. Radiolab's website says that it's "a detective story from the Cold War, about a mysterious substance that fell from the sky in Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam war." Robert Krulwich's interview with two of the segment's guests has prompted outrage at his treatment of them. One of the guests, writer Kao Kalia Yang, talked with Hyphen Magazine.
posted by FatRabbit on Oct 23, 2012 - 136 comments

80,000 bees in the ceiling

"... it wasn't long after that honey began to slowly drip from newly emerged cracks in the living room and kitchen ceilings, while a cascade of the sweet liquid even blew a lightbulb after filling it half-full of honey"
posted by lizbunny on Jul 31, 2012 - 167 comments

Stretch Abdomenstrong

A rare photograph of a honeybee stinging a man, with its abdominal tissue trailing behind, was more than 100 years in the making.
posted by Evilspork on Jun 15, 2012 - 75 comments

The honeybees are still dying

The honeybees are still dying.
posted by Zarkonnen on May 7, 2012 - 41 comments

"You also said the skunk wouldn’t spray me either!"

"Did you put any thought into this?" - Using their bare hands, two guys carefully move a swarming colony of placid honey bees. [more inside]
posted by quin on Apr 28, 2012 - 50 comments

Thriller Bees

Bees have different “personalities”, with some showing a stronger willingness or desire to seek adventure than others, according to a study by entomologists at the University of Illinois.
posted by Trurl on Mar 12, 2012 - 16 comments

Made By Hand

Craftsmen and women, some of them the last of their breed, making their art by hand and profiled in beautiful short-form videos: Knifemaker. Ornamental glass artist (previously). Master printer . Swordguard maker (previously). Beekeeper and honey maker. Stone lettercarvers. Carmaker. More, and related, at This Is Made By Hand, FolkStreams.net and (less related, but still wonderful) eGarage.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Feb 27, 2012 - 19 comments

Boots ‘n’ cats ‘n’ boots ‘n’ cats’ n’ boots ‘n’ cats ‘n’ boots ‘n’ cats

Boots and Cats - SLYT silliness. [via]
posted by quin on Jan 25, 2012 - 31 comments

Waggle waggle waggle waggle yeah

The Waggle Dance of the Honeybee (7:29, YouTube) is a short documentary that elaborates upon Karl von Frisch's honeybee waggle dance translation.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 17, 2012 - 10 comments

Nature in Slow-Motion Flight

High Speed Animal Flight Videos Show Hidden Aerial World. The Dutch Program Vilegkunstenaars (Flight Artists) sent high-speed video tools to amateurs around the world with the challenge: Capture nature in flight. They then picked the best from the over 2,400 slow-motion clips that were uploaded. [more inside]
posted by quin on Jan 16, 2012 - 11 comments

Brutal insect carnage

Watch 30 giant hornets take out 30,000 honey bees
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2012 - 75 comments

it's the little things

The Beauty of Pollination - 4 minutes bursting with life. (via @stevesilberman)
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 11, 2012 - 11 comments

The pain is the ad. The toxicity is the truth.

Dr. Justin O. Schmidt likes insects of the persuasive sort, the ones that bite, sting or squirt venom in your eyes. In the course of his entomological studies all over the world, he has met the defenses of about 150 different insects, and he has rated them, creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. On the low end: sweat bees, whose sting is "light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm." On the high end: Bullet ants, whose venomous bites cause "pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel." And it can last for hours, leaving you "quivering and still screaming from these peristaltic waves" [of pain]. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 4, 2011 - 49 comments

Bee beards and bee body coverings: Don't try this at home

Want to make your own bee beard? This video from the Clovermead Bee Competition described how (put a queen bee in a little cage, add bees). See images of bee beards as contestants try to build beards that weigh the most. Why stop there when you can get bees to cover your entire body, as they do in a competition in China?
posted by Wolfster on Jul 17, 2011 - 25 comments

Why a mobile phone ring may make bees buzz off: Insects infuriated by handset signals

Why a mobile phone ring may make bees buzz off: Insects infuriated by handset signals Signals from mobile phones could be partly to blame for the mysterious deaths of honeybees, new research shows. In the first experiment of its kind, a bee expert placed a mobile phone underneath a hive and then carefully monitored the reaction of the workers. Download the full report here: Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping.
posted by Blake on May 12, 2011 - 34 comments

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

"This is the Honey Badger. Watch it run in slow motion. It's pretty badass--look! It runs all over the place. 'Whoa, watch out,' says that bird. Eeew, it's got a snake?! ... Oh, the Honey Badgers are just crayzee." (SLYT - 3:21 - via jessamyn)
posted by not_on_display on Feb 15, 2011 - 100 comments

Blackawton bees

A new paper about bees in Biology Letters, Blackawton bees concludes with "We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before." The authors are 25 children between 8 and 10 from the Blackawton Public School, becoming the youngest scientist to be published in a Royal Society journal.
posted by rpn on Dec 22, 2010 - 16 comments

Bee-killing pesticide approved by EPA

A leaked document shows the EPA under the Bush administration approved the pesticide clothianidin for widespread use on many crops, including corn, despite the findings from EPA scientists that it was a bee-killer. It may be responsible for the recent "Honeybee Depopulation Syndrome," which has been negatively affecting agriculture throughout North America. Previously.
posted by Slap*Happy on Dec 14, 2010 - 41 comments

Wax lips, or the discovery of red dye #40 among the bees

Brooklyn bees eat maraschino cherries, make nasty red honey. (Here's a non-nytimes link to the same article)
posted by moonmilk on Dec 1, 2010 - 85 comments

The Vanishing of the Bees

A new documentary entitled "The Vanishing of the Bees", narrated by actress Ellen Page, begins showing on November 29th, 2010. [more inside]
posted by MHPlost on Nov 27, 2010 - 39 comments

Generating Buzz

Beelboard for a public-awareness campaign. La traduction anglaise.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 1, 2010 - 16 comments

Not the bees!

People make maps in Team Fortress 2 specifically for grinding achievements. Bleak, joyless rooms of endlessly spawning bots and resupply crates, where people don’t play the game, they game it. But in one of these, achievement_all_v4, the author’s added a surprise. A violent, horrific, hilarious surprise of biblical proportions.
posted by Artw on Jun 24, 2010 - 79 comments

Finding the past

There are some unique finds that tell us about the early lives of people. But of course there are other ways...
posted by rosswald on Jun 9, 2010 - 10 comments

The quantum mechanics of the waggle dance.

Mathematician Barbara Shipman speculates that a honey bee's sense of the quantum world could be as important to their perception of the world as sight, sound or smell: "the mathematics implies that bees are doing something with quarks."
posted by jardinier on May 7, 2010 - 46 comments

All you're sad or merry in, / You must tell the Bees.

Telling the Bees is a blog devoted to (obsessed with?) bees. Bee lore. Bees in 15th century art. Dogs who look like bees. Bee cakes. Bees and indie rock. Bees and comedy. Bees and Sylvia Plath. Bees and bees and bees. [more inside]
posted by naju on Nov 23, 2009 - 24 comments

Sniffer Bees

Inscentinel uses trained bees to sniff out drugs, explosives, and spoiled food.
posted by contraption on Oct 14, 2009 - 38 comments

Bees no better off.

A new genomic study posits at least a reliable genetic marker for honey bees subject to Colony Collapse Disorder. [more inside]
posted by paulsc on Oct 9, 2009 - 30 comments

Orchids

How do you spread your genes around when you're stuck in one place? By tricking animals, including us, into falling in love. Orchids — Love and Lies [more inside]
posted by netbros on Aug 30, 2009 - 15 comments

Uncle's Day

An alternative look at Fatherhood: a study with bees shows that females mating with random males actually have more genes in common with their sisters than they do with their own daughters. And that makes them more likely to put the good of their colony sisters over their own reproductive legacy. Would that work with humans? Well, there's a society in China where kids don't have Fathers.
posted by eye of newt on Jun 21, 2009 - 36 comments

Let me show you a world of bats and bees, ants and trees, morning glories and a few beached whales

The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, casually referred to as Sōkendai (a contraction of Sōgō kenkyū daigakuin daigaku), was founded in 1988 as the 96th national university in Japan. Amongst other things, it is home to the Soken Taxa Web Server which in turn hosts the first online Japanese Ant Color Image Database that currently lists 273 species of ant, the Illustrated Guide of Marine Mammals and the Marine Mammals Stranding DataBase, the Mammalian Crania Photographic Archive that currently includes 704 specimens, the Morning Glories Database that covers the many mutants of Ipomoea nil, closely related species and interspecific hybrids, the Makino Herbarium Database, which is named after the pioneering Japanese botanist, Tomitaro Makino, and the Japanese Bees Image Database.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 20, 2009 - 5 comments

Southern California is for suckers

Tree of Bees? Hills that move? A reflective humorous post about living in Southern California via mockable.org
posted by will wait 4 tanjents on Apr 7, 2009 - 65 comments

Robots ruined the Economy

Robots ruined the economy. But even robots are affected by bad financial times. Nonetheless, robots help relieve the stress of financial worries. There are worse things than a financial crisis.
posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 14, 2009 - 20 comments

Close-ups of insects

The Insect Close-ups Flickr Pool is full of fascinating pictures. There are all kinds of wonderful images to be found, of spiders, ladybugs, hornets, aphids, grasshoppers, worms, water striders and those superstars of the insect world, bees and butterflies. You can also search a map for pictures by location. If you want to take your own bug photographer Mark Plonsky has written a short how-to guide. He has taken some pretty great photographs of insects himself.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 21, 2008 - 14 comments

NYC Rooftop Beekeeper

NYC Rooftop Beekeeper - At 6:30 in the morning I met David Graves of Berkshire Berries outside a lower Manhattan building whose rooftop plays host to one of the 15 beehives he keeps on roofs around New York City... At Zina Saunder's blog filled with her portrait work. [previously]
posted by jim in austin on Nov 19, 2008 - 12 comments

BBQ Bees

Man attempts to kill some bees that have invaded his BBQ, ends up annihilating entire colony of honey bees.
posted by sidartha on Nov 14, 2008 - 144 comments

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