Scientists discover what’s killing bees

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought:

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

The mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.

“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.

35 Shocking Statistics In America

Most Americans know that things used to be much better in the United States, but they don’t have the facts and the figures to back that belief up. Well, after reading the shocking statistics in this article nobody should be left with any doubt that things have gotten worse in America.  There are less jobs, incomes are down, home values have plummeted, poverty is up, consumer debt is way up, dependence of the government has skyrocketed and government debt is totally out of control.  We are in the midst of a horrific long-term economic decline and the American people desperately need to wake up.

35 Shocking Statistics Things Have Gotten Worse In America

35 Shocking Statistics Things Have Gotten Worse In America

The following are 35 shocking statistics that prove that things have gotten worse in America….

#1 Median household income in the United States is down 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.

#2 There are 5.6 million less jobs than there were when the last recession began back in late 2007.

#3 The U.S. government says that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by 17.9 million between 2000 and 2011.  During the entire decade of the 1980s, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by only 1.7 million.

#4 In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

#5 In 2007, 73.2 percent of all young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 that were not enrolled in school had jobs.  Today, that number has declined to 65 percent.

#6 Back in the year 2000, more than 50 percent of all Americans teens had a job.  This past summer, only 29.6% of all American teens had a job.

#7 When Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

#8 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

#9 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#10 According to the Obama administration, about 20 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs back in the year 2000.  Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#11 Sadly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001.

#12 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#13 The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#14 About twice as many new homes were sold in the United States in 1965 as are being sold today.

#15 Home prices in the 4th quarter of 2011 were four percent lower than they were during the 4th quarter of 2010.  Overall, U.S. home prices are 34 percent lower than they were back at the peak of the housing bubble.

#16 The total value of household real estate in America has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today.

#17 At the end of 2011, 22.8 percent of all homes in the United States with a mortgage were in negative equity.  That would have been unthinkable a decade or two ago.

#18 Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

#19 Total consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700% since 1971.

#20 Since the beginning of 2009, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than90 percent.

#21 The number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent since 2007.

#22 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

#23 In November 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, 46.5 million Americans are on food stamps.

#24 The U.S. dollar has lost 96.2 percent of its value since 1900.  You can thank the Federal Reserve system for that.

#25 In 1950, the United States was #1 in GDP per capita.  Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

#26 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#27 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.

#28 Federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

#29 Medicare spending increased by 138 percent between 1999 and 2010.

#30 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America.  Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

#31 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#32 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#33 In 2004, the U.S. government had a budget deficit of a little over 412 billion dollars.  This year, the U.S. government will run a budget deficit of over 1.3 trillion dollars.

#34 In 2001, the U.S. national debt was less than 6 trillion dollars.  Today, it is over 15 trillion dollars and it is increasing by about 150 million dollars every single hour.

#35 The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

Unfortunately, these shocking statistics just don’t fully capture the horrible pain that many American families are having to endure in this economy. A recent USA Today article told the sad story of one unemployed American named Jerome Greene….

Greene, about to turn 50, worked for 16 years as an Oracle software developer, most recently at a Pennsylvania company that made electronic components for cars. When he was laid off in June 2008, the recession was just taking hold, and he still had job interviews. By fall, with the economy in free fall, his phone stopped ringing.

Greene hoped the downturn would be brief and he’d weather it with unemployment benefits.

But the jobless rate hovered above 9% and Greene’s 99 weeks of unemployment expired. He had trouble sleeping. Depression set in. Without health insurance, he took precautions — carrying hand sanitizer and his own pen when doing errands to avoid getting sick and having to pay $65 for a doctor’s visit.

“There’s no room for error,” he says “There’s no extra money.”

Tonight there are millions upon millions of Americans that will struggle to get to sleep as they wrestle with their financial problems.  It is easy to feel as though you have failed when you can’t get a job and can’t provide for your children.  After years of fighting to turn things around, it is hard not to fall into a state of depression.  Things are going to get even worse in the years ahead.

 

Eurozone crisis worse Dodgy bailouts

The Eurozone Crisis Is Getting Worse. And The Dodgy Bailout Of Spanish Banks Isn’t Helping:

The Eurozone Crisis Is Getting Worse. And The Dodgy Bailout Of Spanish Banks Isn’t Helping

The Eurozone Crisis Is Getting Worse. And The Dodgy Bailout Of Spanish Banks Isn’t Helping

Mario Lopez writes from Madrid: ‘The 100 billion euro loan is a victory for the euro,’ declared Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy,  before setting off for Gdansk to cheer on the national team against Italy. The game ended in a disappointing 1 -1 draw for the European champions. They could have easily lost. Rajoy’s victory cry is in the same groove: far from being a victory it is turning into a defeat. The markets had an hour or two of euphoria until the reality check kicked in: we’ve been had people, it’s a con! Some middle class families in Madrid are going to Red Cross centres to collect food hand-outs. That is the harsh reality of Spain today. Miners continue to block motorways and every interest group hopes that by demonstrating it can reverse the cuts in government expenditure. Common sense dictates otherwise. Spain has increased its national debt by about 10 per cent by adding another 100 billion euros. The government is recapitalising second tier banks and is determined to let none fail. So the government is taking over banks which in turn own government debt. Most states are trying to put distance between themselves and the banks. They are trying to offload as much of their sovereign debt as possible. Spain is going the other way. What happens when the rescued banks find that their assets have declined due to the economic recession? Madrid will automatically suffer further losses. The banking sector in Spain is three times larger than the national economy. There is no way it can cover the losses of its banks by itself. The country has reached a point when it can no longer go to the international markets for money. However, it will need to borrow billions to service its debts over the next few years. The worst case scenario is that Spain may need up to 500 billion euros to recapitalise its banks and defer debt obligations for a few years. So the way ahead is to allow capitalism to start functioning normally. Bad banks will have to be allowed to fail and private bondholders suffer a loss. Depositors will have to be protected. Spain needs fewer but more well run banks. The big three: Santander, BBVA and La Caixa will have to help the weaker brethren. Finland is demanding Spanish collateral in exchange for contributing to the 100 billion bailout. This raises the spectre of the Finns owning valuable property in Madrid and elsewhere. One can envisage a situation in which Spain, in order to secure the money it needs, will have to mortgage the whole country to foreigners. Cyprus now needs a bailout but it is so small that this will go through on the nod. The elephant in the room is Italy. Yields on its bonds have been creeping up towards the dangerous 6.5 per cent. The nightmare scenario would be for Rome to request a bailout because it could not borrow from the markets. If Syriza wins the Greek election on Sunday it will consign the austerity pact to the dustbin. It will also demand a handout from Brussels and Berlin to stay in the euro. No wonder the eurocrats are suffering from a headache which may develop into a migraine.