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Comment: Mead (Score 1) 118

by petgiraffe (#35384002) Attached to: Aussie Brewery Creates Space Beer
The correct answer to this problem is to drink mead instead of beer. Mead doesn't need to be carbonated at all to provide its vaguely beer-like flavor. Also, while it's brewed like beer (no distillation) it is much higher in alcohol, so you needn't carry as much of it on your launch vehicle.

Plus I've always wanted to know what Space-Berserkers would be like.

Comment: Re:advertising? (Score 1) 230

by petgiraffe (#34654912) Attached to: Top 10 Things You CAN'T Have For Christmas
This is even more correct than you may have intended. The way my (and most people's, I would imagine) ad blocker works is by blocking third party content. If the site makes the ad their own content it'll display just fine. I actually DO see a few ads from time to time because of this. So far they have not been the horrifically intrusive ones of the types I used to see.

Comment: Re:What about Ricola? (Score 1) 223

by petgiraffe (#34026338) Attached to: You Have Taste Receptors In Your Lungs
Remember also... that General Mills called the FDA's bluff and kept right on marketing their snake oil as a miracle cure despite their health claims being provably bullshit. "Our cereal lowers your cholesterol if you also do 75 other things everyone already knows lower cholesterol"

So while you certainly have a point about big companies trying to bully small companies out of "their turf", in the example you cite General Mills was big enough to demonstrate that the FDA doesn't have the power to enforce their own demands (at least against BIG corporations).

So the solution is clear: Get a big food company like General Mills to market the bitter inhaler.

Comment: AND LAWNMOWERS TOO! (Score 1) 571

by petgiraffe (#32758892) Attached to: Mom Arrested After Son Makes Dry Ice "Bombs"
No kidding! And if you think a 6 foot cardboard tube with a few ounces of fuel in it is a public safety hazard what about LAWNMOWERS. Some of those things have 52 inches of spinning metal blades and are self-propelled. They're supposed to have "dead-man" switches on them, but those are annoying, easily disabled, and seldom work quickly anyhow. Think of all the horrifying disasters that might happen if people are allowed to continue using lawnmowers the same way they have been doing for decades! I think we can clearly make the case that lawnmowers should only be approved for use by trained professionals in closed, non-residential areas.

Comment: Re:LoL at article... (Score 1) 542

by petgiraffe (#32498086) Attached to: Study Claims Cellphones Implicated In Bee Loss
Also, since Varroa mites are suspected conspirators in CCD, keeping a mite count for each box would be good data too. Albeit another one that would be hard to automate. There are several manual techniques that are good for estimating mite counts. My favorite is the "sugar roll". (you roll a handful of bees around in a jar of powdered sugar, then the mites fall out through a mesh screen)

Comment: Re:LoL at article... (Score 1) 542

by petgiraffe (#32497930) Attached to: Study Claims Cellphones Implicated In Bee Loss
No, I didn't have any feeders installed, but I would have tried that if I'd suspected what was happening. Incidentally, it looks like a similar situation may occur this summer because the 'early nectar flow' has ended surprisingly early in this part of the world. I'm going to offer some syrup today to see if they're hungry enough to go after it. If so I'll probably have to start feeding them regularly for a while.

The datalogger idea sounds great. Everything you mention is worth recording. I would think the ingress/egress data in particular would be nice to have. If you can come up with a trick for distinguishing between them you can check to see how often bees leave and never come back.

Some other data that would be tricky to automate, but is important to know, is how the nectar and pollen in the area are doing. You can see the pollen on the bees when they come back, but nectar would be especially tricky to measure (implicit in weight of the hive perhaps?). If the hive starts losing weight perhaps you can trigger an alarm notification?

Comment: Re:LoL at article... (Score 5, Informative) 542

by petgiraffe (#32419930) Attached to: Study Claims Cellphones Implicated In Bee Loss
While similar in appearance, neither of the cases you describe are typical of CCD.

What likely happened here was war (beekeepers call it "robbing"). The hive you describe from March was the defender in an all out war with another hive, the other hive likely took heavy losses as well. The pile of dead contained bodies from both. That was the battlefield. The attacking hive may have also died completely during the war, which is why there was still honey in the victim hive.

The winter loss you describe is indicative of the attacking hive in a similar war. An attacker that didn't win. Or perhaps did, but didn't gain enough honey for the queen to survive the winter. For some reason they lost all their honey stores (This can happen if yet another hive robbed them, or if the queen kept laying too many workers for the stores to support for too long after the nectar flow stopped). After the hive eats all its stored honey, it turns on neighboring hives.

CCD looks similar to these losses, but both honey remains (until it's scavenged by others) AND there are no dead bees to be seen. Such that it looks as if a perfectly functional hive just up and left.

My two hives went to war last summer, and the carnage was unbelievable. Hundreds of thousands dead in a pile in front of the "victim" hive. I didn't know why they went to war at the time, but now I know that 70,000 bees can consume a massive store of honey pretty quickly if they have no work to do. And I've also learned that if 3 days don't go by without rain, flowers don't produce enough nectar for bees to have any work to do. (It was VERY rainy here last summer)

Comment: Re:It was DETENTION (Score 1) 804

by petgiraffe (#32156642) Attached to: 3rd-Grader Busted For Jolly Rancher Possession
Seriously.

When I was a kid my entire class was given detention because someone farted and wouldn't own up to it. Tyrannical teachers have been handing out detention for all manner of insane reason since the Dawn of School. Usually it doesn't make the news though. I would have loved doing a TV interview for the flatulence incident.

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