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Whale Tale

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Author: the Inkslinger

Two summers ago, I spent an afternoon on a boat out in the Atlantic off the coast of Nova Scotia. We were looking for whales, and we found them easily. Humpbacks by the score. Leaping and spraying in groups of two and three that came and went for hours. They were massive animals, some as large if not larger than our sizeable boat itself, and their presence was immediately and deeply humbling on that rare level that only the profoundly extraordinary can reach. With nothing but infinite sea surrounding us in all directions, no land to be seen or had, we were a tiny insignificant dot of civilization drifting silently into a world that very clearly had nothing to do with our own. Though the day was bright and the engines could be started in a heartbeat to pull us back to earthly realms, each moment came only with the permission of air and water, sky and cloud. And, or course, the graceful consent of these immense creatures, any one of whom, it was fairly clear, could swiftly sink our little bubble of dry land should they have the slightest inclination.

At one point, I was leaning over the side of the boat simply admiring the remarkable aquamarine water, its shimmering sun-soaked clarity a revelation, when an enormous humpback drifted suddenly up from the brine below and surfaced just three or so feet away. And there we were. She (or he, I don’t know) and I. Face to face. So close I could have touched her with little effort. She drifted with the boat, and for about a minute or so we were utterly eye to eye. I was watching her and she quite clearly was watching me.

I don’t know what I saw that day. I can’t claim to possess the wisdom necessary to truly distill an experience like that into truth, but I can say this with absolute certainty: Those eyes I looked into that day were alive. Behind them was a sentient being. And it was not human. I was peering into an alien world, the door opened by this lone sentinel who was quite unmistakably as curious about me as I was about her.

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Good Night & Have a Pleasant Tomorrow…

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Author: the Inkslinger

So remember how I said yesterday I had a mountain of stuff to dig through? I did. Until my e-mail crashed this afternoon precipitating two hours of empty folders where there should have been big piles of blog fodder and triggering a tide of rising panic that threatened my cranium with explosive decompression. It’s all better now thanks to my friend Google and some laborious repairs. But it does make you think…

When I moved this summer to my new house, I found the now ancient memo I wrote to Jeffrey asking permission to spend $30 a month on an internet subscription and an e-mail address for the company. It’s dated June 15, 1995. In it I carefully explain what the World Wide Web is and how it all works and how it’s maybe going to be the Next Big Thing and maybe we could even someday sell our stuff on it. A couple of people were already via these things called “web sites. The idea seemed to have potential, I wrote.

How far we’ve come in just a decade. Now e-mail is a necessity. The net is all. And life without either, as I found out this afternoon, is a bleak nightmare of technological despair in which I don’t really remember how we functioned. We stream. We download. We play. We blog. And we report newly rescued news items like these…

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Fit to Bee Tied

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Author: the Inkslinger

Our Sage of Scent, Eva Marie, sent us this great bee article
yesterday. It’s an excellent recounting of the general state of affairs where our pollinating friends are concerned.

It appears things are so broken so many ways it’s simply a wonder that honeybees survived this long without a major malfunction. That’s the what’s really surprising about colony collapse disorder. Not that it happened. But that it didn’t happen sooner.

We have really got to get away from the idea of agriculture as industry and find our way back to the wisdom that will reconnect our food to Earth’s great cycles and allow us to see it not as a product to be manufactured with ruthless efficiency but as an elemental force summoned from soil and air and rain and sun through a human/nature partnership. We must grow our food in a process that honors the mystery of it all and takes great care to work within the balance and harmony that makes life possible. If we don’t, the bees haven’t a chance. And neither do the species, certain bipedals included, that depend on them.

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Out of the In-Box

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Author: the Inkslinger

Time to empty out the in-box and see what riches the gods of information have deigned to deliver unto us upon the quivering wires…

Carbon labeling is coming to a product near you. And about time, too. We label for just about everything else under the sun but until now we’ve overlooked what’s by far the biggest elephant in the better shopping room. It’ll take ahwile for these labels to become ubiquitous, but this pachyderm is loose at last and there’s no closing the barn doors now.

By way of Treehugger comes this cool list from Coop America of 21 things you didn’t know you could recycle that’s definitely worth recycling here.

As a big tiger fan (and I’m not talking baseball), I’m encouraged by the news from India that a bunch of these big beautiful cats have just been discovered
in a mountainous jungle region some 30 years after experts thought they’d gone locally extinct. Proof that when we have the wisdom to leave well enough alone, Nature is quick to bounce back.

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Bee Line: Imidacloprid Is Da Culprit?

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Author: the Inkslinger

It wouldn’t surprise anyone (at least here) to find out that chemical poisoning is ultimately to blame for the strange epidemic of honeybee vanishings. That idea gets another boost today from new reports that researchers are zeroing in on the pesticide imidacloprid as the likely cause.

“Research has shown that in sublethal doses imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids can impair honeybees' memory and learning, as well as their motor activity and navigation. Recent studies have reported ``anomalous flying behavior'' in imidacloprid-treated bees, in which the workaholic insects simply fall to the grass or appear unable to fly toward the hive.”
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More on Bee-ing and Nothingness

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Author: the Inkslinger

Several interesting developments on the bee front in recent days. For one thing, it’s been gratifying to (finally) see the mainstream media pick up the story. Seems like it took forever, but the issue (and a fair amount of its seriousness) is at last being communicated by TV, newspapers, and other conventional media outlets. People are talking about it. Attention is being focused. That’s a good thing because that’s how action happens. If nobody knows or cares about a crisis, it generally isn’t treated like one.

So the public eye is opening on the fate of the honey bees. But you won’t yet find the real eye-opening news in USA Today or on CNN. Instead, what would seem to bee the big story can be found a report published on the Organic Consumers Association website from the Guerilla News Network.

It says that unlike their captive specially-bred cousins, organic bees doing fine. There are no reports of the so-called colony collapse disorder in organic hives. The scary weird die-off is only occurring among factory-farmed bees living in conventionally maintained hives

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The Unbearable Darkness of Bee-ing

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Author: the Inkslinger

We’re getting worried about the bees. And not just about the bees but about what the bees are trying to tell us.

If you haven’t heard, honeybees are mysteriously disappearing. Whole colonies just vanishing like some apian Roanoke. It’s deeply weird. All the worker bees in a hive fly off for a day’s work and never return. No bodies. No clues. No bees.

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