It's Time for this Bumble Bee to Come Under Government Protection
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes a species of bumble bee – the rusty patched bumble bee – should be under federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
It has finally come to this: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes a species of bumble bee –the rusty patched bumble bee – should be under federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The petition was filed September 22, 2016 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which attributes the decline in its report to disease, pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss.
The rusty patched bumble bee can be identified by the red coloring on its abdomen. You may be able to spot the bee if you happen to live in the upper Midwest or Northeastern part of the United States. Then again the species has suffered a great decline in its population – 90% since 1990 – so maybe not so much.
“[The] Endangered Species Act safeguards are now the only way the bumble bee would have a fighting chance for survival,” Sarina Jepsen, of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, told Reuters.
It’s no secret bees have been dying off at an alarming rate, suffering from colony collapse, a disease which causes a number of worker bees to abandon the hive. This decline is thought to be caused by pesticides, which some researchers believe impairs the bees’ behavior in some way.
Scientists have pointed the finger specifically at neonicotinoid pesticides, typically used in agriculture, causing a scientific debate to become slightly politicized. However, if nothing is done, America could be losing some valuable free labor. After all, bees are responsible for pollinating 75% of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables we eat.
"Honeybee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States," the White House said.
Without pollinators, many flowering crops will require workers to go out into the field and manually induce pollination. To do this, you need to identify the male flowers, pluck them, and rub them up against the female flowers within a certain window of time during the day.
If these bees do fall into extinction, their absence will create quite a few job openings.
Get to know the more eccentric side of bees here, with Jonathan Keats.
Lumina Foundation is partnering with Big Think to unearth the next large-scale, rapid innovation in post-high school education. Enter the competition here!
Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."
- Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
- This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
- On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.
- NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
- The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
- A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
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