News Briefs 13-03-2007KatTuesday, March 13th6 Comments7 min read Back to those disappearing honeybees we’ve been hearing about recently… Imidacloprid, an active ingredient in the class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, was banned in some European countries because it was suspected of ‘damaging pollinators.’ Neonicotinoid insecticides are still widely used in the US, both on crops, and to (intentionally) kill termites. Like the bees, the termites go out to feed, and can’t remember their way back home. Of course, unlike termites, honeybees aren’t being sprayed directly. But neonicotinoid insecticides are systemic, working their way through the entire plant, including the flowers, nectar, and pollen. The amount that ends up in the pollen isn’t enough to kill the bees outright, but apparently, chronic ingestion of low doses year-round is what’s destroying both the bees’ immune systems and their memories of home. And that makes me wonder… Could a diet rich in neonicotinoid-laced plants explain why I’ve had such a hard time remembering my phone number lately? Evolution: Why children never leave home. Short-legged Australopiths were good fighters. Epic of human migration is carved in parasites’ DNA. Ancient pig remains from the hobbit cave on Flores are helping researchers piece together how humans moved from Southeast Asia to the Pacific thousands of years ago. New survey reveals more than a thousand supermassive black holes in one region of the sky, calling into question popular model of how the gravity monsters behave. Science team shows light is made of particles and waves. I’ve been telling physicists that ever since I experienced it in a meditation, in 1978. Geologists can now read the history of rocks with unprecendented precision. New research opens a window on the minds of plants. Honeybee’s social life may be guided by a single gene. Volatile anaesthetics, a class of inhaled drugs, have been found to increase production of amyloid beta, the brain protein thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Each year, some 60 million people worldwide are given volatile anaesthetics, which cause many people to develop a ‘post-operative cognitive decline’ that lasts days, weeks, or years. Drug wipes out one specific memory while leaving others intact. Be more than you can be: Inside DARPA’s human enhancement project. Rose-scented sleep improves memory. An excerpt from Chapter 1 of Spagyrics: The Alchemical Preparation of Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs. Tests of a fatty acid supplement, VegEPA, in four overweight youngsters, showed improvement in reading, concentration, and memory. Brain scans of the children showed three years worth of development in just three months. Thinking about thinking: The rodent who knew too much. Traumatic brain injury is a ‘silent epidemic’. …And the initial brain injury sets processes in motion that continue throughout a person’s life. Reminds me of the old question, ‘Would you rather keep company with the Devil, or with no one at all?’ Newsweek says, ‘Unlock your unexplored psychic powers‘: A review of Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind by Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer. Amazon US & UK. Enviro-cateclysm of the week: Global warming report paints bleak future. Satellite data shows melting polar ice and rises in sea level may be worse than earlier thought. A Lag Before Dying: Mass extinctions may take longer than previously believed. A maverick prospector is preparing to scoop untold riches – gold, silver, copper – from the ocean floor. Research shows we humans are really bad at putting ourselves in other peoples’ shoes, especially when it comes to ‘hot-button’ issues. The grim truth about Iraq: ‘Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again.’ Has the ghost of Hunter S Thompson possessed a former Marine Corp Sgt. Maj.? ‘I’m pretty sure that I’ve been given a choice: You can have this bottle, or you can have everything else.’ Plus, A Bleighty Ho for Baghdad. Newly unearthed footage exposes further 9/11 media scripting. Former Air Traffic Controller Robin Hordon speaks out on 9/11, NORAD, and what should have happened on 9/11. A review of David Sirota’s Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government — and How We Take It Back. Amazon US (which includes info-packed customer reviews) & UK. Historically deemed life unworthy of life, they go where the spirit takes them. In a nutshell – urgent, intellectual, compelling, honest, and scathing: A review – make that two – of Making Globalization Work (Amazon US & UK) by Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics. Thanks, Rick. Quote of the Day: Listening to nature is what shamanism is about. The planet yearns to communicate, and all nature is in fact language. We are somewhat anesthetized to this by our very introspective cultural style. Our whole focus of attention is inward, and so the natural world has fallen silent for most of us. Jean Paul Sartre said: “Nature is mute.” That, sadly, captures perfectly modernity’s relationship to nature, but still — if that isn’t the lamest statement made by a twentieth-century philosopher, I don’t know what is. Terence McKenna, in Visionary Plant Consciousness: The Shamanic Teachings of the Plant World, soon to be published by Inner Traditions. Here’s an excerpt.