Thursday, July 31, 2008

Li'l ol' Barack Obama, a celeb-rity?

You mean like... like... Ahnold "Dutch" Schwarzenegger? Or Ronnie Rayguns? I think McCain must be blowing out his last working synapse. Celebrities achieve political status all the time. Obama may be the first politician since Jack Kennedy to be popular before he was elected Governor of California.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Got the Varia Suit. Hmmmm...

Triclops Pit is fun. About what Michelle Wie is going through right now, I imagine. Critics, critics, critics...

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Bee stroll

Took a slow stroll through the white clover at Noelridge Park this afternoon, counting bees.

I lost count, actually, but the totals were something like a dozen honeybees, seven or nine bumblebees, three or four hoverbees (one of them about 1/8"), a few yellow sulfurs and a little black-and-orange skipper, plus half a dozen accidental Japanese beetles (they weren't there for the clover, and they're everywhere this year).

This in a swath about thirty feet wide and two tenths of a mile long. More bees than I've seen this year, so far, yes. But nothing like when I was a kid. That kind of path on a warm sunny day like today would have been chock-a-block with buzz in the old days. The little blue butterflies the size of a dime are gone, too.

Kind of fun. I haven't a wasted a good slow, quiet hour like this in ages (no "walking for exercise," no agenda except counting bees.)

The trick to seeing which is to keep a weather eye on your feet because you're probably about to step on a bumblebee! If your clumsy feet are where they should be, look for wiggling clover blossoms about ten or fifteen feet off in a big circle. It's a bit comical sometimes. A bumblebee can bend a clover stem clear to ground, but she's usually on the other side of the blossom.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Futility At Large

Yesterday, I unblocked VH-1. I finally realized, in the welcome refuge of that Young Marrieds demographic, they don't even bother trying to advertise Viagra.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dr. Who: "The bees have gone missing."

In Part one of the Dr. Who season finale this Friday, the only "odd thing that's happened lately," so far as one character can recall, is that all the bees have gone missing. Dr. Who seizes on the information and the Earth (and 27 other planets?) is (or might be) soon saved. I haven't been following the series, so I don't know what this is about — but the reference to honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder and the allusion to Douglas Adams' So Long and Thanks for All the Fish was kind of noteworthy.

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Flaahgra... Hard to put down, harder to spell!

(Thank you, PinkKittyRose!)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello, Sailor!

Working bumblebees spread diseases to the native bumblebee population? Science News is reporting that commercial bees brought in to pollinate greenhouse crops like tomatoes have been escaping from "porous" greenhouses and sharing their parasite loads with native bees.

This story is so wrong on so many levels... Who's the worst offender? The sick bees, the migratory beekeepers who haul sick bumblebee hives from leaky greenhouse to leaky greenhouse, the sloppy greenhouse operators whose low-margin cornercutting lets fed-up bees slip the surly bonds of glass, or the buzzy fat drones who mooch around the local pollenwhackers and strum "Noboddy nose de trubbles I seed" on their tiny banjos?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


"Deep in the radioactive bowels of the smashed Chernobyl reactor, a strange new lifeform is blooming."


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gee, that's surprising

What's the "Legends Reno-Tahoe Open"? It's the PGA, but no idea who'll be there. Except for Michelle Wie — good for you, kiddo. No more Crazy 88's.


The French Have A Word For It


Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Sing the Metroid Eclectic

Metroid Prime is one of those old Gamecube games that I never played — until now. It's maddening, maybe the hardest game ever for an old coot with carpal tunnel syndrome. My daughter, who's beaten Okami and played most of Zelda's various incarnations a few megadozen times, really doesn't like it. She says it's a "guy game," by which she means she hates the first person visor perspective, the shoot 'em up, the boring boss thrill kills, the faintly ridiculous fan service scans over a female form encased in full body armor, the cryptic or maybe even lacking plot line.... So far as she's concerned, MP is a simple first person shooter for boys, period.

There's not that much adventure in it, either, and the ambience is really claustrophobic, and the occasional wap! of green bug gore over the visor is purdy cherce. After you get to Chozo Ruins, maybe, I dunno — it may be setting its hooks. Hmmm. Still, for my part, the dim orange graphics seem a bit dated — and the game tends to freeze at inconvenient places (but so did Majora's Mask). Metroid has a whole franchise, including a pinball version for DS Lite, fairly easy.

The infamous "Elevator to Chozo Ruins" freeze up glitch. I have the first version, evidently.
Yup. Gold-plated crotch shots.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


Over at the LPGA State Farm Classic, Michelle Wie finished her third round alone in second place, one stroke behind leader Yani Tseng.

But hey...! Forget all that. The LPGA bambergered her this afternoon for a technical violation of an arguably inane card-signing rule, a "crime" committed yesterday that has nothing to do with playing it as it lays, except that it's in the book and so conveniently available to shut her down.

Too bad. I guess some people can't stand to see this talented kid win. The world of "official" golf is full of officious draconian creeps, and grinch golf be damned if it can't clean up its miniature-minded act.

Grrrr... Deep breaths.

Ok, so the rule about signing your card is "at the heart of the honor system" and everybody is really, really sorry but it had to be done. I guess I can step back and agree that games have rules, where life has guidelines, and games can be black and white, where life has shades of gray (not to mention a million indefinably gorgeous colors), and everybody agrees to play by the rules, whereas in life everybody agrees to live and let live, guided mostly by mercy.

Because it's a game, because it's only a toy, because it's life in miniature, because it's mutually agreed, a rule is a rule is a rule and no penalty for the least infraction of a rule can possibly be injustice. That's logic. But it's Queen of Hearts logic. It's "Off with her head!" logic. And it's stupid.

Golf teaches nobody anything worth knowing about life, except that the filthy rich have the best playgrounds. If you have a talent for this absurd pastime, you have to love it for the thrill of beating the Bushwood crowd at their own game.

In the old days, in Presbyterian Scotland, maybe golf was democratic — but it was always sharpedged and bloody unfair, too. There is an old argument, remember, that golf was invented by the Devil; in Heaven, par for the course is 18.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Missing Persons

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Batchin' It

Can you say rattling like a bb in a hickory birkenstock? The kids have scampered off to Six Flags for a few days...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obama: Off Message and Loving It!

Message to Barack "Why is this fool smiling?" Obama: Lighten up, Dude! If you don't take it easy on that old man, he's going to hand you a slice of your own tongue quicker than a Benihana.

Analysis: John McCain is a provocateur and a counter-puncher, and if you get into a debate with him, he'll get interested, start to engage and finally clean your clock. It doesn't matter who's right or wrong. It matters who's standing last.

Conclusion: Get with the program, immortalize McCain like the authentic war memorial he is (but it's the wrong war, remember? Vietnam? The old dude remembers Vietnam??), and let the pigeons poop on him. From now to Labor Day, all you talk about is how Republicans tanked the economy better than Herbert Hoover.

You can also make the argument that the Administration has deliberately been hiding war inflation (cf. Sun Tsu, On War) behind a dollar that's grown progressively weaker since 9/11. It's a neat trick, and it's only obvious in hindsight, and I haven't got a clue how they did it. Maybe Bernanke and the Fed? But war inflation is now affecting consumers and has broken out like wildfire. We might see third-world inflation levels by October, say, 30 percent.

And that means the war is over. George W. Bush has given us the spectre of the German Reichsmark of 1945. The war in Iraq can no longer be sustained, and U.S. war policy will now be driven by economic disasters brought home to roost.

Oh, wait...! That was David X Letterman talking about $30 bucks a gallon gas... Never mind.


Miscellaneous B-links

Bug Girl's Blog is worth checking out before you get into the rest of this miscellaneous stuff that's been accumulating in my bee bookmarks list.

grikdog's Miscellaneous Bee Stuff (to date)

PLoS Biology - What's Killing American Honey Bees?
Tupelo Honey For Sale Online - Tupelo Honey from Wewahitchka Florida - Smiley Apiaries
Tupelo Honey for sale online directly from Wewahitchka, Florida A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply: Michael Schacker, Bill McKibben: Books A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply: Michael Schacker, Bill McKibben: Books "Bees"
A list of products including,
Betterbee's News Page, what we are doing to better serve you.
Betterbee's News Page, what we are doing to better serve you.
Beekeeping Journal Beekeeping Equipment & Supplies Beeswax Candles Apiculture Equipment
Dadant & Sons Inc. specializes as a Beekeeping Journal. Dadant & Sons Inc. offers Beekeeping Equipment & Supplies, Beeswax Candles, and Apiculture Equipment
Bee and Beekeeping Supplies Mann Lake Ltd
Bee and Beekeeping Supplies Mann Lake Ltd provides beekeeping supplies nationwide to hobby or commercial beekeepers, big or small. We manufacture and supply beekeeping hobby starter kits, protective clothing, beekeeping veils, high fructose corn syrup, beeswax foundation, hive frames (6 1/4
Indian Creek Nature Center

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

National Honey Board: Honey Industry
National Honey Board
Description and taste of honey varieties, flavor of honey including clover honey, wildflower honey, goldenrod honey, sunflower honey, buckwheat honey and orange blossom honey
Taste and description honey varieties including clover honey, wildflower honey, goldenrod honey, bamboo honey, buckwheat honey and orange blossom honey
Beekeeping/Comb Honey - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks

Queen bee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Imker – Wikipedia

Beekeeper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sue Bee Honey >> About Honey >> FAQ's

To Bee or not to Bee
The "yellow" and the "brown" bees are two of the 25 subspecies that honeybees are divided into. The brown bee can be further divided into a number of genetically distinct varieties. Danish biologists are researching the genetic
Bee stings (good venom article)
Wasp, bee, ant and insect stings and bites cause allergic reactions that can be very dangerous - learn about precautions, treatment and the insects on this well resourced website.
honeybee venom SpringerLink

Apiculture (Beekeeping) and Social Insects | Iowa State Entomology Index of Internet Resources
A complete, annotated guide to insects and insect-related information on the internet.
8 oz. Star Thistle (5-Star) hexagonal glass Gift jar
Varietal, single floral source honey, light color, in 8 oz. glass jar
Bee Legends
There are many legends from many countries associated with bees - far too many to be covered in any detail. The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, is rich in quotations.
Honey Bee Research : Africanized Honey Bees

Miller's Honey contact page
Come visit Miller's Honey Company, thesweetest website onthe WWW, home to delicious honey and perfect gifts!
ARS : Questions and Answers: Colony Collapse Disorder

Colony Collapse Disorder: A Complex Buzz

American Beekeeping Federation | Serving the Industry Since 1943

Bees and Beekeeping Forum - GardenWeb
This forum is for the discussion of bees and their roles as pollinators and honey producers.
Apiary Honighäuschen on the Drachenfels Mountain in the Siebengebirge National Park
Apiary Honighäuschen at the Drachenfels with information about beekeeping, honey and beeswax products, guided tours for visitors, solitary bees and hornets can be seen at our exhibition stand.
The Hive and the Honeybee Collection, Your Online Sourcebook for Beekeeping all information, products and services for beekeeping
YouTube - Beemaster's Installing honeybees Method
Installing a package of honeybees, the beemaster "less Stress on the bees" method
Beemaster Home Page - Alles über Honig!

The monk and the honeybee

B. Weaver Apiaries
B. Weaver Apiaries
La ruche Dadant.
Ce qu'est la ruche Dadant, ses dimensions et sa hausse.
Cet insecte: l'abeille.
La vie de l'abeille est fascinante et ici quelques uns de ses secrets vous sont dévoilés. Vous serez conquis par son organisation, sa vie, ses moeurs et aussi simplement par cette infatigable travailleuse.
Die Honigbiene
Hier erfahren Sie einfach alles über das Reich der Bienen!
Neue Seite 2

Projekt Honigbiene, (c) Swen Buschfeld
Informationen über Organisation und Aufbau des Bienestaates. Mit Videosequenzen eines preisgekrönten Filmes über Honigbienen und -produktion.
Insektenbox: Honigbiene
Honigbiene, Bild und Angaben zur Lebensweise
Die Honigbiene - Ergebnisse einer Gruppenarbeit an einem hamburger Gymnasium

Länderinstitut für Bienenkunde - Biologie der Honigbiene

The Buzz Newsletter

U of M: Department of Entomology

Minnesota Hygienic Breeder Queens

Resources for Bee Breeding, Queen Rearing, Bee Research

05FallDwindleUpdate0107 (1).pdf (application/pdf Object)

Africanized Honey Bees: An Anthropologist's Perspective
Sting Shield Insect Veil - pocket size emergency-use protection against biting and stinging insects, including Africanized killer bees | POV | AHB | THE AFRICAN (BRAZILIAN) BEE PROBLEM | POV | AHB | Genetic Analysis of Commercial Honey Bees

Killer Bees - Africanized Honey Bees (DesertUSA)
Africanized bees acquired the name killer bees because they will viciously attack people and animals who unwittingly stray into their territory, often resulting in serious injury or death.
Honeybees and their Plight - DesertUSA

BeeHoo the beekeeping directory - Beekeeping - beekeeping suppliers, apiculture
Beehoo the beekeeping directory. More than 1000 beekeeping websites. All what you need about bees, beekeeping, suppliers,apitherapy, pollen , bee biology, hive products,apiculture in english and french.
UC Small Farm Program

Bee Culture - The Magazine Of American Beekeeping
Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping, is designed for beginning, sideline and commercial beekeepers who what the latest information on the science and art of keeping bees.
U of MN Bee Lab: Meet the Team

Cedar Rapids bee ordinance

Bee Alert Technology Inc.

NOVA Online | Tales from the Hive
NOVA Online presents Tales from the Hive
Honey Bee Research : Home

UGA Honey Bee Program

MAAREC - Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium
The MAAREC - Mid-Atlantic Apiculture webpage is a regional effort to address
the pest management crisis facing the beekeeping industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
HAS • Heartland Apicultural Society • HAS
HAS, the Heartland Apicultural Society is an organization for beekeepers in America's Heartland. Annual conferences feature a variety of educational topics.
American Association of Professional Apiculturists
The University of California, Davis' Department of Entomology is world reknown for it's quality research and teaching. With additional facilities such as the Bohart Museum of Entomology, the Mosquito Research Center, the Center for Biosystematics and the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, the UC Davis Entomology Department is one of the most recognized Entomology departments in the world.
Insects and Entomology | Iowa State Entomology Index of Internet Resources
A complete, annotated guide to insects and insect-related information on the internet.

Gary's home page 3

Pictues index

Vida Apícola: La revista digital de apicultura
apicultura, varroa, cria de reinas, revista apicultura, sector apicola, mieles, abejas, colmenas, enjambres, abejas de españa, apicultura en españa, mortalidad apicola, instalacion colmenar, mieles de españa, cata miel, mundo abejas, mundo apicola, iniciarse apicultura, apis mellifera, enfermedades abejas, propolis, polen
NATURE: Alien Empire - Enter the Hive

An africanized bee selection technique for the Eastern Mexico beekeeping

bees & things - Skeps

The Mediaeval Custom of Skep Beekeeping

Eva Crane | Times Online Obituary
Obituary for Eva Crane from The Times and Sunday Times.
Eva Crane was a towering figure in the field of beekeeping, one of its most
knowledgeable practitioners and prolific historians, and a powerful champion
of bees as a scientific subject.
G7600 Beekeeping Tips for Beginners, MU Extension
MU Extension, University of Missouri
Library - Beekeeping Wiki

Bee Info

Beekeeping - Article - The Kenya-To-Bar-Hive (KTBH) as a better hive in the developing World

Midnite Bee-Beekeeper's: Books

Apiservices - The Beekeeping portal - Le Portail Apiculture - Apicultura - Imkerei
Apiservices - All information about beekeeping, bees and honey - Toutes informations pour l'apiculture, les abeilles et le miel
The Ranger's Blog - Post details: Slovenian bee houses - not as crazy as they look.
The Virtual Ranger's blog

Beekeeping in Slovenia

News : : The 'hum' of the New Zealand beekeeping industry...
The 'hum' of the New Zealand beekeeping industry...

Apis-UK July 2005
Apis-UK July 2005. Editorial; Beekeeping news; Bee press; Research News; Articles: Bees and Gravitomagnetism (Part 1 of 4 ) Ian Rumsey; Size doesn't matter Mike Oliver; Honey Bee Genetics Part 1; That's Business Chad Cryer; Recipe of the Month: Ensaimadas (Spanish sweet honey rolls); Suppressed Mite Reproduction (Smr) Fighting Varroa; Fact File: Pollen; Historical Note: Poem of the Month: The Bee by Emily Dickinson; Readers Letters: Natasha Fairbairn, Adam Triantis, Tunde Fimihan, Jerry Burbidge, Heinrich Gritsch, Chris Clarke; Diary of Events; Quote of the Month and more.
Bees for Development :: Effect of Apis mellifera on indigenous plant and animal species in Japan
Rivendale Apiculture
Honeybee rescue, Western Cape, Dean 0824908561. If you notice a lot of bee activity around, chances are they’re scout bees looking for a new home. Placing a lure hive onsite could stop them from choosing your home as their final destination.

Observation and keeping of Japanese honeybees- new trials and the results

Japanese Honeybee

Bee Buzz Scares off African Elephants
Beehives—or even recordings of furious bees—may help African farmers defend their crops against marauding pachyderms, new research shows.
Bees Enlisted to Attack Crows in Tokyo
The birds and the bees are developing a new sort of relationship in Japan: scaring crows away from vulnerable seabirds' nesting site.
Bees' Buzzes Warn of Chemical Threats, Disease, Scientists Find
Honeybees change their buzz in the presence of toxins and diseases, scientists say, and a new "bee translator" could help humans pick up on the insects' alarm.
Mystery Bee Disappearances Sweeping U.S.
Without a trace, something is causing bees to vanish by the thousands. But a new task force hopes to finger the culprit and save the valuable crops that rely on the insects.
Bee Decline May Spell End of Some Fruits, Vegetables
Bees, via pollination, are responsible for 15 to 30 percent of the U.S. food supply. But in the last 50 years the domesticated honeybee population has halved, scientists say.
"Killer Bee" Touted as Economic Lifesaver in S. Africa
The African bee may be widely known as a "killer," but it's a life-saver for many people in South Africa. The government is touting beekeeping as a way to help poor families earn a living, and there are high hopes for marketing an alcoholic beverage made from honey.
Honeybee Genome Sheds Light on "Killer" History, Bee Secrets
New research may provide insights into the complex social structures, keen sense of smell, and complicated evolution of bees.
City Gardens May Drive Bee Diversity, Study Says
Urban gardeners planting choices may play an important role in bee diversity, according to a new study.
iQhilika, an African mead from Makana Meadery
A unique African mead


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Two Things I Hate About Engineering

I. Minimax. Maximum result for minimum effort, with the invariable consequence that costs must go down if your standards are low enough. Also known as Gates' Good Enough Observation.

II. Anal disinclination to overengineer anything. Also known as Katrina's Law.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Michelle Wie T46 at Jamie Farr Owens Corning

Michelle Wie finished mid-field, tied for 46th among the 75 who made the cut at the 2008 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. I'd kill to be able to post her scores.

Paula Creamer carried away the cash, no surprise.

It was kind of fun to see all the new faces, especially Rachel Hetherington and Eun-Hee Ji.

I especially enjoyed today's extended coverage, featuring college graduate anchors and intelligent commentary through the green by the best stable of golf broadcasters in the history of televised journalism, who somehow managed to weave together the top ten leader stories in a eye-catching tapestry of precisely figured shot placements and incisive banter, without once resorting to the hackneyed visual cliches of context-less putts and pointlessly backlit sandblasts out of bunkers. ESPN is to be congratu...

Oh, wait! There wasn't any TV coverage today, unless the Golf Channel had it. Now I remember...!

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Aww, darn it

This is the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) municipal bee ordinance.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beakman on Univision?

El Mundo de Beakman! (YouTube) Hahahahah ahahahahahahaha hahaha ha ha ha ha ha Haaaaaaaaa......... :)

[The Metablogger Speex: This item (there's a YouTube embed up there, I promise!) won out over a Neil Gaiman "online ebook" mentioned at BoingBoing. That turned out to be a Harper-Collins "Wallet on a String Gag," worth mentioning for the shear egregiousness ofidall.]

[Update Ha! WeatherPixie is back! Again...]


Friday, July 11, 2008

Hive Angel

Bee people are really interesting. Dr. Marla Spivak is the lady who developed the Minnesota Hygienic Breeder Queen. Follow the links, here, here, here, and here. High synergy in the north country!

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This Space Intentionally Left Bank

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How to hear the Qur'an

Zekr 0.7.0 beta 1 is a really nifty Qur'an study tool for the Linux desktop. The name means "Message," the same way "Gospel" refers to the Bible.

It seems to be a work in progress, but already it includes the full Qur'anic text in Arabic, transliterations, well-known competent translations into several languages including English, and perhaps its nicest feature, recitation.

Most of us average Western infidels who have tried to approach the Qur'an have eventually been baffled by it, because of questions about translation and cultural context certainly, but mostly because the deep vertical dimension of the human voice has been missing — nearly all of the poetry, in other words.

Zekr attempts to fill the gap. There are online and offline recitations which plug in for listening. The 0.7.0 beta 1 version has nearly automatic download and installation, which is an improvement; however, it does lack some features which the 0.5.1.dfsg-1 stable Hardy Heron distribution had — in particular, Search within the text of translations. [Update: Search in translation may be coming back in beta 2, according to the author. (Thanks, Mohsen!)]

The usual Islamic disclaimers about possible typos in the electronic text of the Qur'an and virtually certain human errors in the translations ("since translation is impossible, anyway") do apply. E.g., Shakir's translation seems to have a missing word in Sura 97, Aya 2: "And what will make you comprehend what the grand night " (sic)[is?] In any case, Zekr is pretty good and getting better, even if it's not feature complete yet.

Also comes in Macintosh and Windows.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Famous beekeepers

I was going to compile A LIST, but Google is lots easier than research.

The only ones I'd heard of (leaving aside odd wonderments like Alexander the Large and Dan Quayle) were Karl von Frisch, L.L. Langstroth and Brother Adam (Karl Kehrle).

If you're looking for a little light reading, check out Cornell University's The Hive and the Honeybee Collection, an online library of 19th century beekeeping texts.


Friday, July 04, 2008

German bees

It's worth noting that the absolute best nature books are invariably written in German, especially anything botanical or mycological, or zoological if the subject is quaint enough, such as beekeeping.

There's a German beekeeping proverb that goes something like this: "If you invite three beekeepers to supper, two of them will be dead by breakfast."

If you're linguistically-equipped for the journey, check out the German Wikipedia beekeeper humor (this stuff is way funnier in the Katzenjammer).