The Simplest Answer Wins Again, Bees Killed By Virus

A few years ago, as scientists and horticulturists began to notice declining honey bee populations, theories for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, abounded. The theory most commonly picked up by the major media outlets was that the non-ionizing radiation from cell phones and towers were interrupting bee navigation and causing the deaths. Google “bees cell phone” and you will be inundated by both reputable, and less than, sources linking bee deaths with cell phones. I particularly like this opening paragraph in a story in the Christian News Wire:

Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Learn how these missing bees relate to the use of cell phones, and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Do go on!

Well, now there is truly solid evidence suggesting that an interaction between a virus and a bacteria strain seems to be the cause of CCD. How mundane! Here is a nice media piece at PBS on the findings. … continue reading this entry.

Linky Loo

Lots of good basic science stories circulating. Thought it was worth a round-up:

  • The politics of dancing? No, the science of dancing. Read the popular press on the topic and the abstract for the paper. Or just watch the video.

… continue reading this entry.

Why basic research matters, for example

This post was previously posted on Gotham Skeptic in the first weeks of the blog’s existence. The topic has been on my mind since the announcement last week of Craig Venter’s amazing achievement.

A common mold yielded the most important antibiotic of the last century.

A common mold yielded the most important antibiotic of the last century.

This is probably the single most important issue to me as a scientist and as a citizen. Coming up with a straightforward answer to why basic research is important is difficult every time I am asked to do so, and depends on who is doing the asking. When writing to a granting agency, it is crucial to outline why my particular aspect of research needs to be pursued more rigorously, and with that granting agency’s money. When it is asked by an acquaintance on the street, I have to first assess the asker’s understanding of how science is done in order to respond. … continue reading this entry.

Why basic research matters, for example

This is probably the single most important issue to me as a scientist and as a citizen. Coming up with a straightforward answer to why basic research is important is difficult every time I am asked to do so, and depends on who is doing the asking. When writing to a granting agency, it is crucial to outline why my particular aspect of research needs to be pursued more rigorously, and with that granting agency’s money. When it is asked by an acquaintance on the street, I have to first assess the asker’s understanding of how science is done in order to respond. … continue reading this entry.

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