I didn’t have a nightmare either. Instead I dreamed about cats. Go figure. Hot boys? No. Cool new vampyre powers? Of course not. Just cats.
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
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.
W bhop td
D THO J
J. What a surprise.
B…. Well then
Nothing, I would have no fucking name
They are normal.
REBLOG THIS POST BEFORE 11:59 PM CST TONIGHT (JANUARY 7 2014) AND I WILL DRAW A CHAO BASED ON YOUR BLOG/YOU/ETC AND SHOVE IT DIRECTLY INTO YOUR SUBMIT BOX
1) I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO NOT GIVE YOU A CHAO IF YOU ARE A JERK SO DON’T BE A JERK
2) KEEP YOUR ASK INBOX OR SUBMISSION INBOX OPEN OR ELSE YOU WON’T GET YOUR CHAO
3) it may take a little while to draw all these so please be patient!!!
i want dragons to be a symbol of femininity. they are now. i just decided
Okay so this is seriously the best. This is an application for Tumblr that blends in with the regular layout. Thanks to this app, I can create lists of blogs: as you can see, I’ve made three. One where I put blogs that only post black and white pictures, one where I have collected all the talented photographers I follow, and one with the ~20 blogs I reblog from most often.
If I click on one of my lists, I get to a dashboard that looks just like the regular one - but with posts from the blogs I’ve added in the list only! This makes blogging so. Much. Easier. You have no idea. It has no ads and it is free, of course.
Do you want this?
If so, here is how you get it too!
- Go to http://www.listr.io/
- Click "Get Started"
- Sign up for the beta version!
- To be able to use the app, copy and paste this invitation code: 528d4ab44ad7b924090000e1
- Ta-daa! Now you can start creating lists of your own!
I don’t mean to spam or annoy you, I just really find Listr SO useful. And the more people I invite, the more lists I am able to make (this is because it is still a beta version). So, yeah! Win-win! :D
If you feel like it, reblog so that more people will find out about this. I think MANY people have been waiting for an app like this, I sure was, haha. x
This app actually works by having people sign up using the code. So I ask that if one of my followers wants to use it to maybe use the code 52c7453e1a180e2178000064
Gotten a new piercing.
Dyed my hair.
Ended a relationship.
Started a new relationship.
Been on a long car journey.
Passed an exam.
Cried on someone’s shoulder.
Had a massive fight with a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Had a Valentine.
Written a letter using pen and paper.
Gone to see a therapist.
Been prescribed medication by a doctor.
Read a really good book.
Gone to the zoo.
Spent too much money on unnecessary things.
Traveled by train.
Cried over someone.
Spent a day out in the sun getting a tan.
Slammed a door out of frustration.
Had an anxiety attack.
Had a BBQ.
Gone to the fair.
Seen a film at the cinema in 3D.
Gone on a date.
Been the only sober one on a night out.
Helped someone home after they’d had too much to drink.
Stayed up all night.
Talked on the phone for over 2 hours.
Supported someone who’d received bad news.
Watched some kind of live sporting event.
Read an entire book in one day.
Bought a DVD the day it was released.
Eaten McDonald’s more than four times in a single week.
Cried as a result of exam stress.
Met some incredible new people.
Fallen backwards off a chair.
Broken my glasses.
Cried over someone in my past.
Spent hours aimlessly browsing the internet.
Cried over a film.
Gone out of my way to avoid an ex-significant other.
Fought with someone in public.
Been in a relationship for a year or longer.
Help Our Turtle Friends!!!
NO NO NO NO
SO VERY WRONG
LISTEN ALL MY FELLOW FRIENDS: I’VE VOLUNTEERED AT THE NEW ENGLAND WILDLIFE CENTER, A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TRAVEL TO INTERN AT, FOR MORE THAN YEAR AND THIS IS SO VERY WRONG
IN CASE YA’LL DIDN’T KNOW, TURTLE ARE CONNECTED TO THEIR SHELLS, AND PICKING THEM UP LIKE IS SHOWN IN THE PICTURE CAN SEVERELY DAMAGE THEIR SPINE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU JERK THEM AROUND
SO LET ME TELL YOU A THING
IF YOU SEE A TURTLE IN THE ROAD, STOP YOUR CAR FAR ENOUGH AWAY THAT THE TURTLE CAN STILL BE SEEN THROUGH YOUR WINDSHIELD.
IF YOU’RE ON A NON-BUSY ROAD AND/OR THE TURTLE ISN’T FLIPPED ON IT’S SHELL (WHICH BY THE WAY WHAT THE FUCK TURTLE DON’T ACTUALLY FALL ON THEIR BACKS LIKE THAT PRETTY MUCH EVER ESPECIALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD SO I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON IN THAT PICTURE) GET A STICK OR JUST USE YOUR FOOT TO GENTLY NUDGE THE TURTLE’S REAR IN THE DIRECTION IT’S GOING IN. THOSE FUCKERS ARE FAST WHEN THEY WANT TO BE.
IF PICKING UP THE TURTLE IS NECESSARY, APPROACH IT FROM THE SIDE, MAKE SURE IT SEES YOU, THEN GO AROUND THE BACK. ALL TURTLES HAVE JAWS LIKE THE VIRGIN ASSHOLE OF SATAN, EVEN IF IT’S NOT A SNAPPER, AND YOU DO NOT WANT THOSE CLAMPERS ON YOUR HAND OR ARM. BELIEVE ME.
PICK THAT SHELLED CUTENESS UP LIKE A HAMBURGER, ONE HAND ON EACH SIDE OF THE SHELL HALFWAY BETWEEN FRONT AND BACK LEGS, FINGERS ON THE BOTTOM SHELL, THUMBS ON THE TOP SHELL. KEEP THE TURTLE AS HORIZONTAL AS YOU CAN AS YOU CARRY IT TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.
DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT BRING THE TURTLE TO A “SAFE HABITAT.” DISPLACING ANY SPECIES OF WILDLIFE LOWERS THEIR CHANCE OF SURVIVAL DUE TO NOT KNOWING WHERE THE FUCK THEY ARE. MAKE SURE THE TURTLE IS SOMEWHERE AROUND TEN PACES AWAY FROM ANY KIND OF HUMAN CONTRAPTION, INCLUDING HOUSES AND SIDEWALKS, AND THEN LEAVE HIM TO HIS DEVICES. THEY’RE NOT STUPID, THEY’RE NOT GONNA TURN AROUND AND WALK RIGHT BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
-DON’T PICK UP BY THE TAIL. IT CAN BREAK THE SPINE.
-DON’T MOVE TO ANOTHER HABITAT.
-DON’T TAKE ‘EM HOME. THAT’S ACTUALLY ILLEGAL IN MOST STATES.
-DON’T PUT YOUR HANDS ANYWHERE NEAR THE MOUTH.
-BE WARY OF THEIR FEET, THEIR CLAWS CAN BE SHARP.
-WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER, REPTILES CAN CARRY SALMONELLA AND WHILE IT’S PRETTY MUCH IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTRACT IT UNLESS YOU SUCK ON THEIR CLOACA IT’S BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.
-DON’T MOVE THE TURTLE TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD THEY JUST CAME FROM. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THAT. THEY WANT TO GO THE WAY THEY WERE GOING, GENIUS.
-IF THE TURTLE IS ON A HIGHWAY, IT’S PROBABLY BEST TO PICK THEM UP- AS DESCRIBED ABOVE- AND PUT THEM IN A BOX FOR TRANSPORT SINCE THEY’RE SQUIRMY LITTLE BITCHES.
-SNAPPERS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS OTHER TURTLES, DON’T IGNORE THEM BECAUSE THEY LOOK LIKE DEMON CHILD OF A T-REX AND BOX TURTLE. NO MATTER HOW BUSY THE ROAD IS, THOUGH, THE RULE OF THUMB IS DON’T PICK THEM UP IF THEY’RE BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD. STOP TRAFFIC AND NUDGE THEM ALONG. PEOPLE MAY BE PISSED AT YOU, BUT AT LEAST YOU’LL KEEP YOUR FINGERS.
WIELD YOUR NEW FOUND KNOWLEDGE FREQUENTLY, MY FELLOW TURTLE SAVIORS.
Can confirm that turtles are fast when they feel like it. These giant sonofabitch tortoises near my uncle’s love to sunbath on the usually empty roads. When you nudge their bums they break out into a sprint faster than you’d think
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