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June 01, 2007

THE FABLE OF THE BEES: Joel Garreau looks at the disappearing honeybee story and notes various efforts by various people to put their favored spin on it. I'm particularly amused at how disappointed some people are that the cellphone explanation turned out to be bogus.

I'm inclined to agree with Bill Joy: Complex systems behave unpredictably. But I think his suggestion that this sort of thing is new is iffy -- it's just that in the old days it either wouldn't have been noticed, or would have been attributed to supernatural causes. And I think that environmentalists should actually be happy!

"From an ecological standpoint, it is opening up the possibility for local pollinators like the mason bee to come back." Honeybees, after all, are an introduced species. They were brought here by European explorers and settlers. The Indians called them "white men's flies."

Forward, into the past!

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