In "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," just before Earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspatial express route, all the dolphins in the world disappear, leaving behind just the message: "So long, and thanks for all the fish."
Now, around the world, honeybees are vanishing en masse, leaving their humans engaged in a furious attempt to figure out the meaning of their exodus. Entire colonies are following the Shakespearean stage direction, "Exeunt omnes." They're flying off and not returning. Commercial beekeepers open their hives and find them empty except for a queen, a few immature bees and abundant honey and pollen. The rest of the bees are simply gone, leaving behind not even dead bodies.
A third of our food supply -- including much of the boredom-relieving stuff, from cranberries to cucumbers -- is dependent on animal pollinators like the honeybee. As a result, this mystery is rapidly joining the all-star ranks of millennial end-time run-for-your-lives threats, right up there with Y2K, mad cow disease, West Nile virus, SARS and avian flu.
This is a great article. I remember how shocked I was when this story first came out, and that shock was certainly helped along by our Danger Will Robinson media. I was especially angered by Bill Maher, whom I normally really like, and his bandying about of the alleged Einstein quote. Turns out that it's probably phoney, but of course that's doing nothing to stop it from continuing to circulate, including Maher himself repeating it at least twice more.
The truth is that we made the same mistake that the plantations of the old south made -- we eliminated diversity in the name of profit -- but that always has the risk of disaster of our chosen sustenance meets problems.
But the south came back from the boll weevil and one way or the other, we'll get by this overhyped Bee-pocalypse. The article mentions that not only are honeybees an introduced species, but that we drag them all over the country in semi trucks to follow the crops. It should be obvious to anybody that insects are not meant to live like this, and that sooner or later, they were going to start dying off as a result.
But as the article says, this is just one more example of how the climate of fear turns everything into the end of the world, with the result that we either run around in circles waving our arms, or we just shrug and say, "Oh well, nothing we can do about it now." You know, sort of like how we're doing with climate change.
Maybe someday we'll learn...
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!