I have mentioned the bee problem before. Perhaps it's the instant attention (to which I contribute) provided by the Internet, but it seems any small issue can become fair game for strange ideas.
They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well. The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up. [More]
Still, between the Freeze of '07 (will we say "aught-seven" in our dotage?) and CCD, I'm going to enjoy every blueberry I can get this year.
There are some skeptics on this subject.
Some of the most hilarious congressional testimony of the past thirty years has come from the lobbying organizations associated with American beekeepers. If the quinennial farm bill is the Olympics of Pork, then these boys are the gold medal winners. Every five years, we get to hear how the honey subsidy is the only thing preventing the complete die-off of all agriculture in America, as the domesticated bee population is responsible for most crop pollination, and gosh darn it, the lil’ buggers can’t make it on their own. I’m not exaggerating; the bee lobby’s rhetoric, particularly in the mid-1980s, really has included apocalyptic claims of this sort. The University of Kansas debate team achieved significant competitive success during that time period using positions built around the wilder claims of honey-subsidy enthusiasts. [More]
Man - that' s the real problem with subsidies. You end up having to defend them even when they don't make sense and look like a doofus.
The real problem here is this could be a real problem.