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holy moly

insert political views here
Aug 20 '14

pickledpennies:

m00nchaser:

If bees become extinct we will have exactly 4 YEARS to live on this planet. I don’t understand how “not giving a fuck” is more important than your life…

okay, I have a thing to say about this. I’m no expert on bees, but I am a biologist (and entomologist) so I think there is something I can contribute that’ll be of worth.

I agree entirely with the sentiment that we must protect honeybees. Obviously they are massively important for biodiversity, as well as pollinating food crops for humans. There is no doubt that if all the honeybees in the world were to vanish in a day that the consequences would be dire.

However, I disagree that the main cause for concern regarding honeybee death is the use of Genetically Modified (GM) crops. I’d be very interested to read a research paper that says ‘GM crops have killed millions of honeybees’, if indeed such a paper exists because in all honesty I find it highly unlikely that this is a true statement.

Let’s start with some facts about GM crops:

1. The development of GM crops is a highly regulated process, bound by strict country-specific legislature. A great number of trials are carried out long before commercial planting of a GM crop is even considered. It is these trials, and accompanying laboratory studies, that ensure a GM crop is safe to non-target organisms (such as honeybees) by investigating direct and indirect effects (Nap et al. 2003).

2. Crops that are genetically modified to express insecticidal proteins (for crop pest control) have a high level of specificity. This means that the insecticidal proteins being produced by the GM plant will only affect a narrow range of insect groups because of the chemical properties of the protein. For example, GM crops expressing insecticidal proteins sourced from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) will only target some Lepidopteran pests (caterpillars; Romeis et al. 2006). Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis of the literature found that GM Bt crops do not negatively affect the survival of adult honeybees or their larvae (Duan et al. 2008).

3. GM crops can be tailored such that the novel gene is expressed only in particular parts of the plant. For example, GM Bt rice plants express the toxin in the stems but not the grains (Datta et al. 1998). This technique means that gene expression can be excluded from the flowers/pollen of the crop plant, so that bees and other pollinators would not be affected. Neat, huh?

So those are a token few reasons why GM crops are safer than perhaps many people believe (as the result of a lot of questionable, non-scientific articles). To come back to our main point about honeybee death, I would like to briefly mention a few alternative explanations for the recent decline in honeybee populations. These are as follows:

1. Many bees have died as the result of broad-spectrum insecticide use. These are pesticides that lack specificity, and can be harmful to non-target organisms. Neonicotinoids are a well-studied example of this (Decourtye & Devillers, 2010). Not to worry, though, because many broad-spectrum pesticides including neonics are well on their way out. Indeed, the EU recently banned a large cohort of neonic pesticides. This is still a topic of controversy, mind (Goulson, 2013).

2. Many bees have died as the result of Varroa mite infestation. Imagine you’ve been bitten by several ticks, except those ticks are the size of dinner plates. That gives you an idea of the severity of a Varroa mite infestation on a single developing bee. The parasitisation of bees by Varroa mites and other parasites is often accompanied by disease transmission. This can result in colonies dying within two years after infestation (Johnson, 2011).

3. Many bees have died as the result of ‘colony collapse disorder’.  This is a phrase that has popped up a lot recently, and is basically an umbrella term for the various causes of bee death including parasite infestation, disease transmission, environmental stresses, and management stresses such as poor nutrition (Johnson, 2011). Colony collapse has been attributed to broad-spectrum pesticide use in some instances. However, it is has still been observed in countries where broad-spectrum pesticides have been withdrawn (in the EU, like I mentioned earlier; Johnson, 2011).

So those are my main points. Please excuse the bullet-point nature of this; I was trying to keep it fairly short. Not sure I managed that haha. But anyway, my take-home message is that GM crops are not the enemy when it comes to honeybee decline. If anything, bees are at much greater danger from the use of broad-spectrum pesticides and from parasites and diseases. Using GM can even help to alleviate some of the problems associated with broad-spectrum pesticides, as they greatly reduce the need to apply such chemicals (Romeis et al. 2006).

A finishing note: Do your homework. Go on google scholar and read some of the literature, making sure it is recent (within the past 10-15 years). Literature reviews are a great way to find out what the consensus is on any given topic. Don’t use popular media as your main source of information where science is concerned; they tend to favour scandal and exaggeration. You want to know what’s really going on? Check out some research articles and see for yourself.

Thanks for sticking it through to the end of this impromptu mini-essay! —Alice

References:

Datta, K., Vasquez, A., Tu, J., Torrizo, L., Alam, M. F., Oliva, N., Abrigo, E., Khush, G. S., & Datta, S. K. (1998). Constitutive and tissue-specific differential expression of the cryIA (b) gene in transgenic rice plants conferring resistance to rice insect pest. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 97(1-2), 20-30.

Decourtye, A., & Devillers, J. (2010). Ecotoxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees. In Insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (pp. 85-95). Springer New York.

Duan, J. J., Marvier, M., Huesing, J., Dively, G., & Huang, Z. Y. (2008). A meta-analysis of effects of Bt crops on honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). PLoS One, 3(1), e1415.

Goulson, D. (2013). Neonicotinoids and bees: What’s all the buzz?. Significance, 10(3), 6-11.

Johnson, R. (2011). Honey bee colony collapse disorder. DIANE Publishing.

Nap, J. P., Metz, P. L., Escaler, M., & Conner, A. J. (2003). The release of genetically modified crops into the environment. The Plant Journal, 33(1), 1-18.

Romeis, J., Meissle, M., & Bigler, F. (2006). Transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis toxins and biological control. Nature biotechnology, 24(1), 63-71.

(Source: antinwo)

Aug 20 '14
thisiseverydayracism:

The prison-industrial complex is just a myth…right?

thisiseverydayracism:

The prison-industrial complex is just a myth…right?

Aug 20 '14

sunshineandpotatoes:

huffingtonpost:

When The Media Treats White Suspects And Killers Better Than Black Victims

On the afternoon of Aug. 9, a police officer fatally shot an unarmed, black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Details remain in dispute. Eyewitnesses have said that Brown was compliant with police and was shot while he had his hands up. Police maintain that the 18-year-old had assaulted an officer and was reaching for the officer’s gun.

For more headlines go here.

Things like this are helpful. It is hard to explain how deep racism runs to people who are completely ignorant and just accept what is in front of them. Images like this help break it down.

Aug 20 '14

(Source: juboktimusprime)

Aug 20 '14

beeishappy:

Phillip Agnew of The Dream Defenders. The Dream Defenders is a human rights organization that’s building leadership and power among young people of colour to challenge racism in their communities.Phillip Agnew on All In

Aug 20 '14

princemono:

VERIFIED FUNDRAISERS:

aforementioned #operationhelporhush: the starter’s twitterteepsring shop, amazon wishlist, paypal

and Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund

Feed the Students of Ferguson (source: starter’s twitter St. Louis Foodbank Confirmation)

i have been seeing a lot of different links for different places to donate for bail and legal fees, but i haven’t been able to find anything on whether or not the funds have actually been going towards helping out the people of ferguson so

if you know of any more please add and spread them and if in doubt remember to google first

(Source: peechingtonmariejust)

Aug 20 '14
anarcho-queer:

The sun is setting in Ferguson and an armored trucked just rolled in. 
To make sure the world knows what’s happening, at least two citizen journalists are currently streaming live footage of what is happening in Ferguson:
WeAreChangeCT
FeelinSoFly

anarcho-queer:

The sun is setting in Ferguson and an armored trucked just rolled in.

To make sure the world knows what’s happening, at least two citizen journalists are currently streaming live footage of what is happening in Ferguson:

WeAreChangeCT

FeelinSoFly

Aug 19 '14

koanofdesire:

The federal government started making military equipment available for lending to local law enforcement after 9/11 in case we were attacked again. Of course it never happened, but all these years later the offer is still in place. The lending of the equipment is free, but the LEOs have to show that they have a “need” for it in order to keep using it and not give it back to the Feds. So I’d say we can expect a lot more of this all over the place.

(Source: -teesa-)

Aug 18 '14

theniggaratti:

sexdrugsbeyonce:

babybutta:

bankuei:

babybutta:

augustallday:

fuckimunique:

Capitalism in power

real fucking tears :(

So you mean to tell me these people don’t get no fucking CHOCOLATE?!

Welcome to the world of cash crops and triangle trades.  You can’t eat the stuff you grow/pick, you have to pay to have it re-imported back into your country, and you probably can’t afford it even then.

*lays down and cries*  

the world is a shitty place

I hope he brought him a whole fucking box of chocolate.

(Source: sizvideos)

Aug 18 '14
theblogofmicah:

Always the best option.

theblogofmicah:

Always the best option.

Aug 18 '14
"I don’t care if Mike Brown was going to college soon. This should not matter. We should not have to prove Mike Brown was worthy of living. We should not have to account for the ways in which he is suitably respectable. We should not have to prove that his body did not deserve to be riddled with bullets. His community should not have to silence their anger so they won’t be accused of rioting, so they won’t become targets too."
Aug 18 '14

nowinexile:

The last words said by Black youth before they were murdered by vigilantes/Policemen . Rest in peace. [Source: Shirin Barghi]

Aug 18 '14
Aug 18 '14

ras-al-ghul-is-dead:

A silent protest in Love Park, downtown Philadelphia orchestrated by performance artists protesting the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The onslaught of passerby’s  wanting to take photos with the LOVE statue exemplifies the disconnect in American society.  Simply frame out the dead body, and it doesn’t exist.  In this event, artist activists staged a scene where Kieth A. Wallace, an Actor, pretended to be dead for an hour in front of the statue while others took turns holding a sign with “Call Us By Our Names” written on it.  

To see more photos from this performance, check out #CallUsByOurNames on Facebook. 

I am not a journalist, I am merely a friend of the artists involved.  I was not at this event.      

As the photos show, the social experiment and silent protest highlighted the peoples reaction in the foreground of the photo. In this context the people become the performance art, and the faux dead body becomes a backdrop.  As an artist, I don’t want to give you my interpretation of the art of these photos. They should speak for themselves.  But I did talk to Lee Edward Colston II, an actor, who was involved in the event.  

Here are some of his observations of the social interactions he witnessed: 

I don’t know who any of these folks are.

They were tourists I presume.

But I heard most of what everything they said. A few lines in particular stood out. There’s one guy not featured in the photos. His friends were trying to get him to join the picture but he couldn’t take his eyes off the body.

"Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’m going to sit this one out, guys." "Com’on man… he’s already dead."

(Laughs.)

There were a billion little quips I heard today. Some broke my heart. Some restored my faith in humanity. There was an older white couple who wanted to take a picture under the statue.

The older gentleman: “Why do they have to always have to shove their politics down our throats.” Older woman: “They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.”

One woman even stepped over the body to get her picture. But as luck would have it the wind blew the caution tape and it got tangle around her foot. She had to stop and take the tape off. She still took her photo.

There was a guy who yelled at us… “We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!”

"One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’

#CallUsByOurNames

Aug 18 '14