Pull Up A Chair…

Boy did I need a few days to recharge. It’s a travel day for me today. But I wanted to give you all a few things to think about:

This picture from NASA rocks my world. And the Kepler spacecraft has begun it’s search for other "Earth-like" worlds.

– Researchers have isolated a fungus that may have something to do with colony collapse disorder and honeybees.

This is a problem for beekeepers. As they share combs among hives and use the same equipment to clean multiple hives they can inadvertently spread the spores, infecting other colonies.

According to the USDA, one in three mouthfuls of the American diet directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination. Bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops.

Science is just fascinating, isn’t it?

– The Ocean Futures website, home ot the Cousteau Institute, has some fascinating stuff on it worth perusing.

Caribbean coral reefs are experiencing increasing declines of fish populations. California waters are also experiencing sharp declines of some species while others are still struggling.

Polar ice? Still melting too rapidly.

What’s been catching your eye — or imagination — lately? Pull up a chair…

Sunday Cuppa

This could be sweet if it leads to a real breakthrough.

Some news on the honeybees and colony collapse disorder:

A new study published in the journal Environmental Microbiology Reports may clarify things, as a team of Spanish researchers report the cause of the colony collapse disorder, and also suggest a cure. The researchers isolated the parasitic fungi Nosema ceranae from a pair of Spanish apiaries, while finding none of the other proposed causes—Varroa destructor, IAPV, or pesticides. With the identification of the invading pathogen, the team treated other diseased colonies with fumagillin—an antibiotic—and observed a complete recovery of the colony.

While this study has thus far been restricted to Spanish bees, this is huge if it can be replicated as a cause and effect solution for other hives in other areas.

One step at a time with the science on this, but it’s awfully nice to have a step forward for a change.

Spring Planting In The White House Garden

Michelle Obama helped with spring planting in the White House garden yesterday, along with some of the WH kitchen and grounds staff and students from Bancroft Elementary School in DC.

This is a great teaching moment on nutrition and activity in a nation where childhood obesity has become rampant.  More and more children are taking diabetes and blood pressure medications, and that costs us all.

As Michelle Obama said yesterday (via WH transcript):

This is one of the main reasons we’re doing this, is that what I’ve learned as a mom, in trying to feed my girls, is that it is so important for them to get regular fruits and vegetables in their diets, because it does have nutrients, it does make you strong, it is all brain food. And when you go to school, it is so important for you to have a good breakfast, to make sure in your lunches that you have an apple or an orange or a banana, that you have something green when you eat any meal, lunch or dinner.

And we’re looking to you guys to help educate the country, not just in your own homes, but other people as they think about how to plan their meals for their kids, to think about the importance of making sure that we have enough fruits and vegetables. And doing this garden is a really inexpensive way of making that happen.

This is fantastic and sorely needed.  Kudos to the WH and Michelle Obama for doing it, and for using the WH podium to promote healthy, sustainable gardening.  And, more important, healthier eating for the nation’s children. (more…)

Red Meat: It’s What Shouldn’t Be For Dinner?

There goes that new “eat beef until you almost barf” ad campaign for the beef lobby: Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to the first large study to examine whether regularly eating beef or pork increases mortality.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a

Insanely Adorable Clouded Leopard Cubs Born At National Zoo

Clouded leopard cubs at the National Zoo.The National Zoo has some new babies.

Their only compatible clouded leopard pair had cubs, and they are insanely cute. Just look at the entire series of photos from National Zoo staff and try not to “awwwww.”

Had to share.

Momma Jao Chu had her very first litter of cubs early Tuesday morning, and is a beauty herself in this photo by Mehgan Murphy/ Smithsonian’s National

Obama Family To Plant Organic Garden At White House

The Obamas will plant a garden at the White House, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during WWII. Now that is some change I can fully believe in