Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bzzzzzzzz!

Where Have All The Flowers Gone

Daily Infographic is a terrific site; if you don't know it, you should. It's a treat for someone like me, who enjoys seeing the graphic representation of information. They try, daily, to present something worth knowing about, in a format worth looking at.

For some people, Powerpoint and Excel are the heights of presenting data to an audience. Infographic shows that there are many ways to put skin on a set of numbers to provide a new perspective, a wider appreciation of how important (or, not) the data you're looking at may be.



Unfortunately, their graphic today is about bees. Or, more precisely, their vanishing due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), an apian disease we still haven't been able to isolate, or find a cure for.

No bees, no pollination. No pollination, and a variety of plants which depend on bees to complete a cycle of producing fruit and vegetables simply ends. Crops decline; prices for certain good skyrocket (I'll bet Goldman-Sachs is just waiting for that); people go hungry. So far, even with a terrific effort on the part of scientists and entomologists world-wide, they have no idea what causes CCD or how to treat and prevent it.

And pollination by hand has been proven far less effective than a pollen delivery system developed through millions of years of Evolution. It's a labor-intensive process, too: Who, in These Modern Times, will you hire to do it? what will you pay them? Will they have health care and 401(k)s, or will they be undocumented and exploited workers picked up on a streetcorner from Mexico and Central America?

Science is not the panacea we were taught as children in the 50's and 60's: We can send men into space! We got rid of Polio and Smallpox! Science will solve all our problems!

However, Science wasn't pure. It always seemed (to me, anyway) connected to particularly corporate notions of that Future Life we were all being promised was just over the hill -- the world as pictured in the GE Carousel Of Progress at Disneyland.

And, Progress invariably meant Bringing The American Way Of Life to people in Darkest Otheristan, before the Commies showed up and started talking about communal farming and the Dialectic Of Struggle™. And Progress often has to be protected by advanced weaponry and military advisers, and Coca-Cola.

Anyway, the data about CCD is there, and it's not pretty. The presentation is, though -- and to see it at a large enough size to be readable, go here.


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