What Our Pesky Bee Problem Could Mean

I haven't heard a lot about the much-dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder lately -- that syndrome wherein massive bee die-offs seemed to threaten global food supplies -- which I foolishly chalked up to our having solved the problem. Not so fast -- according to this recent article in the Telegraph, the problem hasn't gone away -- 30 to 30% of bees are still failing to survive each winter, three times the historical average -- and we're only just beginning to make educated guesses about the real cause of it. (Bee experts can't agree about what's killing the bees, or whether the die-offs should even be called "Colony Collapse Disorder.")

The one thing we can agree about is that it's serious -- though not everyone agrees that it would mean the end of the world. A number of staple crops, like corn, wheat and rice, aren't fertilized by bees. But it would most definitely be an economic disaster, since many of the most profitable crops that farmers grow -- nuts, melons, berries, and to some extent citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, peppers, eggplants, avocados, cucumbers, coconuts and tomatoes, as well as coffee and cocoa -- depend on pollination.

So what happens if the bees don't come back? Some desperate farmers have begun to pollinate crops by hand, as they do in parts of Sichuan, China, where in the 1980s pesticides in pear orchards killed off so many bees that today farmers use feather brushes to do it themselves -- an incredibly laborious process, considering that the bees there once visited as many as 300 million flowers in a single day. But this isn't a great solution, obviously, considering how much food the world needs. Bee die-offs will only worsen global food security, which is already in bad shape in many parts of the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, "The number of people without enough food to eat on a regular basis remains stubbornly high, at over 800 million, and is not falling significantly." Even in the good old US of A, one of out six people are considered "food insecure."

Food security has a lot to do with political security, too: "the unrest in Egypt is blamed in part on rising wheat prices," writes the Telegraph, "which has squeezed poor Egyptian households." Many commodities, like wheat and gold, are trading close to all-time highs, driven up by Chinese demand, a weak dollar, a flight to hard assets and severe weather. (Bee die-offs being the catalyst for international political revolutions? Kind of the ultimate butterfly, effect, if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor.) If you ask the guy from the movie Collapse, he might tell you that the end of bees really would be an apocalypse of sorts.

For more end-times paranoia, follow me on Twitter.

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.


27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana


Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls


God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2


Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2




A Little Help with Carol Burnett


Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2


My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1


Faces Places


The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale



Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives


Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16


Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom


MAY 18


Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23


MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25


Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

The First-Ever Troop of Homeless Girl Scouts Just Crushed Their Cookie Sales Goal

Selling 32,500 boxes of cookies in a single week would be noteworthy for any team of Girl Scouts, but it's an especially sweet achievement for Troop 6000: The New York City-based chapter is the first-ever Girl Scout troop composed entirely of children living in homeless shelters.

According to NBC News, this season marked the first time the troop took part in the organization's annual cookie sale tradition. In early April, they received exclusive permission to set up shop inside the Kellogg's Café in Union Square. They kicked off their inaugural stand sale aiming to sell at least 6000 boxes of cookies: At the end of six days, they had sold more than 32,500.

Some customers waited in line an hour to purchase boxes from the history-making young women. Others gave their money directly to the troop, collectively donating over $15,000 to fund trips and activities. After purchasing their cookies, customers could also buy special Girl Scout cookie-inspired menu items from the Kellogg's store, with all proceeds going to Troop 6000.

The troop formed in 2016 as a collaboration between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Mayor de Blasio, and the city Department of Homeless Services. Meetings are held in shelters across the city, and many of the troop leaders, often mothers of the scouts, are homeless women themselves. About 40 percent of New York's homeless population are children, and Troop 6000 had to expand last summer to accommodate a flood of new recruits. Today, there are about 300 girls enrolled in the program.

[h/t NBC News]


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