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Comment Re:It's the farmers ... (Score 3, Insightful) 93

Neonics have been in popular use since the 90's and increasing every year. If the use of them was hurting yield (it isn't) farmers would have noticed by now. They're using them because it increases yield in a cost effective manner and it's not a simple story.

Neonics are useful because they're deliverable in powder form, you can coat a seed with it, and it'll protect the seed from insects while germinating. After that the plant will take up the chemical to provide some systemic activity for a period of time. This helps the young plants get established. After about 30 days they're gone and not doing anything.

They started being used in the 90's for field farming because you could seed at a lower rate, but seed is, generally, very cheap so it wasn't too common. Pumpkins? Sure. Corn? No way -- too cheap of seed. When GMO corn, soy, cotton, etc came along THEN you saw a big uptick in neonics as it was now beneficial to protect those seeds as the GMO crops were fairly expensive seed.

Apiaries (bee keepers) might be taking a bit of hit but that's just part of dropping your bees off at a farm where a simple mistake can kill most of them. One entymologist I've heard speak on this pointed out a farm that killed a bunch of rented bees with vegetable oil... and yes vegetable oil is an insecticide. Another killed a bunch with RoundUp, an herbicide, but too much will kill a bee. Pretty much anything will kill a bee. The fact that neonics aren't terribly fatal to them is amazing, and public resistance to them confounds me and generally every other guy that's donned a chem suit and went to town on bugs. The alternatives are generally horrible to bees. Push back on neonics is going to result in more pyrethroids, carbamates and organophosphates. Every single one is toxic to bees, horribly so, and carbamates and organophosphates are bad news for humans.

Comment Re:Translation : (Score 1) 93

Nobody has ever thought you could spray any insecticide, with ONE exception perhaps*, and not affect bees. While neonics are supposed to be less hazardous to bees than most everything else if you spray bees with it they'll drop dead instantly. They're not the most effective, but they'll kill 'em right quick. It says so right on the labels. Dinotefuran, imidicloprid, acetamprid, etc... they're all going to say do not use when bees are or will be present.

*: Bt would be the exception.

Comment I miss pgsql (Score 1) 83

I only ever got to develop a single project on pgsql and I regret that. This was back in 2001. MySQL was pretty immature at the time but had the enormous install base. I went with PostgreSQL because it was more mature. It never let me down. The deployment went fine, it ran great, customer used it on and off for about 6 years and then it was just no longer needed.

Fast forward to 2011, ten years later, and now I'm running the show and developing a point of sale for the family business I'm in and I run with MySQL just because I'm so much more familiar with it. That and the master-master replication suite from Percona. MySQL is way better than it was in 2001 but still lacking here and there. I still question that choice. I will eventually migrate off MySQL but I don't know if it'll be MariaDB or PostgreSQL.

Comment Re:Imagine if it had never been done (Score 1) 153

Recruiters generally have no idea what they're talking about. You kind of have to pad your resume and language you use about yourself and skills against that.

This is OLD advice (I haven't had to make a resume in 15 years) was to list every possible interpretation of your skillset for the resume consumed by headhunters. Example:

- Java Database Connections
- C++
- Microsoft Visual C++
- Unix
- Solaris
- Linux
- PHP4
- PHP5

The headhunters are just scanning and checking boxes. If you feel "icky" about saying you know MSVC++ when you haven't used it just grab the freebie compilers and throw some stuff at it. There... legit.

Comment Re:But is this enough to change policy? (Score 1) 38

The problem is seeds leave a bit of chaff in the seed bin when planting and when planting treated seeds you get a lot of insecticidal dust with that too. When that "dust" is dumped at the edge of a field with the wildflowers/weeds the bees pick it up.

The solution to this problem is, I'm not kidding, just dump the seed bin's dust and chaff in the middle of the field where bees don't care to forage.

Comment This is not really news (Score 1) 38

I work in Ag, which is probably a bit rare around here, and I also happen to be a pesticide applicator. Granted, greenhouse industry, not much field farming, but this is an issue that affects us too, if only for PR reasons.

This exact scenario was explained to me about a year ago from an entomologist from MSU working in their Ag extension. Dr. Smitely is his name if anybody wants to double-check my memory or look into what else the guy has to say about neonics and bees.

His take on this issue was pretty simple: it's a cultural fix. Teach the field farmers to quit emptying the "dust" of their seed bin at the edge of the field. Do it in the middle and we're good. That's it. That fixes it. That keeps the insecticides away from the wildflowers that they're going to gravitate to.

There was a bit more to the talk, so I'll just go ahead and cover some of that too.

The rise of neonics is tied to the rise of GMO pretty directly. We've had neonics for a good while, like the mid 80's, but they didn't get much use for field farming as a seed treatment until GMOs. When the seed costs rose it then became more economical to treat the seeds rather than just seed at a higher rate. Incidentally Australia tracks right along with the US in the rise of neonics and GMO crops but they have not experienced CCD or any decline in bee populations. They also don't have the varroa mite in Australia, which is why some think it's the mite and then something else on top of it leading to CCD with neonics being a possible candidate.

Related to the GMO thing is with the RoundUp Ready GMO crops fewer wildflowers exist for the bees. Being able to dose the field with RoundUp before planting and then again after the crop has sprung up reduced the bees forage areas. Now you couple that with dumping insecticidal dust remaining in your seed bin on the few remaining wildflowers at the edge of a field and you've got some bee deaths. In hindsight we can see the problem but nobody really saw it moving into today's world.

The last thing I'd like to mention is pretty much every insecticide is bad news for bees. Neonics are actually on the safer side of things for bees. That's not something you generally hear about because it's not popular and it's hard to make a meme graphic to spread across Facebook that reminds people that organophosphates, carbamates, pyretheroids, avermectins, etc. all suck for bees... and sometimes humans. Big words are hard. Thankfully this is Slashdot!

Comment Re:But is this enough to change policy? (Score 1) 38

Ok, so ban neonics and replace them with what? Carbamates? Oranophosphates? Pyretheroids? Avermectins? Pretty much everything is horrible for bees. The neonics are some of the least harmful to them; they can at least shrug some low dosages off. Generally speaking runoff in water from farmland should have dinotefuran or imidicloprid at a concentration around 7ppm and they're not acutely toxic until you get to around 150ppm. Chronic poisioning can happen at 50ppm but that's still 7 times higher than what they should be found at "in the wild."

Comment Split by task (Score 1) 125

It's been a while since I used Linux as a work desktop, like nearly 10 years, but here's how I often did it:

One virtual desktop for the IDE/coding tools. That might be an actual IDE or maybe just a console with vim. Whatever the project was.
Another virtual desktop for database related stuff.
Another one dedicated to documentation, like just having the browser open to Javadocs, or Google, or whatever.
The fourth and final was for mudane stuff like email and/or an mp3 player running.

I never split them out by project. Even if you're only working on a project for an hour or so I don't see any benefit to keeping other stuff open. It'd be too easy for me to make a mistake and cross them. That might just be a "me" thing though.

Comment I go both ways (Score 1) 240

The 6 and 'b' key get hit by my left and right probably equally. I do some "stupid" stuff when typing and that's one of them. Whatever hand is free tends to whack those keys. On the other side of the coin space bar is ONLY ever hit by my right hand. I've tried changing that habit before and I can't seem to shake it. I know it slows me down a bit (I'm at 105wpm usually) but whatever. I can live with it. You can see the wear mark on any keyboard I've had for years and I think it's funny.

I tend not to use keyboard with number pads after being on laptops for years as a consultant. I just got used to the less than 101 key designs so my penchant for punching 6 with either hand is just as strong as it is with 'b'.

Comment Re:FTA (Score 2) 176

But what the heck, let's cater to our knuckle dragging redneck readers because we figure if we start to talk about directed RF or other more effective means, we'll loose you at the first multisyllabic word.

When one sits upon the mighty high horse of Being Intellectually Superior one should spell all of their words properly. Some of us knuckle dragging rednecks passed the 3rd grade with flying colors.

Comment Re:systemd is the best init system for FreeBSD. (Score 1) 416

Personally I'm toying with the idea (literally testing stuff in VMs) of moving my stuff to FreeBSD or OpenBSD because of systemd wiggling into most Linux distros. I've been using Linux for about 18 years, so I have some knowledge of the inner workings, and I've generally been a Debian guy but moved to Ubuntu 3 years ago for rather trivial reasons.

When Unbutu comitted to systemd I figured I'd go back to Debian on the servers (leaving desktop-ish things to Ubuntu) but with Debian throwing in the towel my servers might move to FreeBSD... and I'll start toying with OpenBSD for the firewall.

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.