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The Oregon Extinction Event: 25,000 bumblebees killed, dropping from trees in Wilsonville; pesticide suspected

20 Jun

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by Elizabeth Case / The Oregonian

An estimated 25,000 bumblebees have been found dead in a Target parking lot in Wilsonville since Saturday, the largest known incident of bumblebee deaths in the United States, according to the Xerces Society. Preliminary information suggests pesticides may be at fault.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture received reports of bees and other insects falling out of 55 blooming European linden trees Monday from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

The bees were still dying on Wednesday. Yellow-faced bees fell from the trees, twitching on their backs or wandering in tight circles on the asphalt. Some honeybees and ladybugs were also found dead. A few dead bumblebees even clung to linden flowers, while hundreds littered the lot.

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Dung Beetles: Celestial Navigators

31 Jan

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

In a world where magic is endangered, the starry-eyed dung beetle is a beacon of hope. 

According to new research, these charming excrement-obsessed scarabs with brains no bigger than a grain of rice observe the stars—and more specifically, the Milky Way—to navigate through the night.

O yes, its with a map of the heavens that the dung beetle and its nourishing mierda make their way.

drawing by Rebecca Rankin

illustration by beck

“Dung is a precious resource for food,” says Eric Warrant, an Australian biologist who worked on the team that made the discovery, “and male beetles invest much energy and time in creating and rolling a ball that will be used by a female to lay her egg within.”

As you can imagine, its extremely important that male dung beetles roll that BM ball in the straightest possible path away from the pile—and other male beetles intent on pilfering their poo—to a secure burying location. After mating, that fecal booty will serve as breakfast, lunch and dinner for tiny and disgustingly adorable dung beetle babies. It’s a matter of sex, parenthood and survival. Continue reading

The Bioethics of Twitter Controlled Cyborg Roaches

7 Jan

The Early History of the Robot Wars, Part II

In which is discussed the preposterously true details of a  cyborg cockroach enslaved by crowdsourced social media; the computer program that you are living in right now; and Smartphones that can see, smell, fart and someday screw.

by Russ McSpadden / Carbon-based humanoid correspondent for the King Ludd & John Connor Institute of Anti-Technology

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

La Cucaracha Roboticatwitter-roach

Philosophers, science-fiction writers, and doctors have long pondered the cyborg dilemma–that blurred boundary where biology and machine are fast becoming one. And while most arguments tend to focus on two key questions — 1) Is it morally legitimate to use robotics to upgrade the human form and 2) Is it morally legitimate to neglect cyborg technology in the treatment of disease and disability — there are other very important questions that have yet to be raised.

For example: 3) Did you really just fit a cockroach with cyborg technology and control it with an IPhone and Twitter? Continue reading