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Showing posts from October, 2010
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It won't be out to the spring, but here is the cover for my forthcoming book. I am very much looking forward to its release, to say the least.

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When you keep bees, the top questions tend to be: Do you get stung alot? Are your hives collapsing? Do you have honey for sale? and "What about killer bees?"

Africanized bees have been found officially in Georgia after a man was killed by a disturbed hive he knocked over accidentally with a bulldozer.

This is a big concern for beekeepers outside of Georgia because the south Georgia beekeepers supply most of the package bees in the southeast. This means that if beekeepers buy packages of bees they could potentially to very likely have Africanized strains. This is not good for beekeepers or for anyone else. These bees are extremely defensive and can be dangerous, especially in the places most beekeepers keep bees.

The Africanized bees have been spreading for sometime, check out this 2009 map of their progress (from the Georgia Beekeepers' site):


Africanized bees are so-called "killer bees." There is a lot of good information on the Georgia site (which hasn't…

Can octopus heads be hazardous to your health?

This is seriously troubling news:



Can octopus heads be hazardous to your health?

How many octopus heads is it safe to eat on a daily basis?

The government says two is the maximum, because of heavy cadmium levels found in local and imported octopuses. But that has infuriated restaurateurs and fishermen in South Jeolla, who say the government’s warning has cost them a bundle in lost sales.

The octopus head war began in September, when the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it discovered heavy concentration of cadmium in octopus heads sold in Seoul.

According to the city government, of three Korean and six Chinese octopuses purchased at local fish markets, supermarkets and department stores, up to 29.3 milligrams of cadmium per kilogram was found in the heads, 14 times higher than the permitted level of 2.0 milligrams. Cadmium is a carcinogen that also poisons the liver and kidneys.

The government advised consumers to completely remove any internal organs, ink and intestinal matter b…

Our kids is learning! or, Arguments for home schooling, part xix

On reason to learn some history is so you don't look like a complete fool, such as this Republican candidate in NJ who identified Dred Scot as the recent Supreme Court case he most opposed.

That is always a great moment, when candidates reveal that they in fact know nothing at all.

Knowledge of recent Supreme Court decisions (or the Constitution more generally) is not considered a qualification for the candidacy for the Grand Old Party. Christine O'Donnell could not even conjure up any case, from any era.

Another important reason to learn some history is so that the kids learning it are not fed lies reflecting current reactionary politics, as they are in Virginia as a matter of official state business.

In this fine state, to which I am compelled to pay taxes to support the schools and to which I send x amount of my students each year to become teachers, the Education department uses a 4th grade history text book called Our Virginia: Past and Present by Joy Masoff. Ms. Masoff is…
We were in Nashville over the weekend and had a chance to go see Jim Lauderdale play at the Station Inn. He was great as usual and he had a seriously excellent bluegrass band backing him, so the whole show was incredible. That place is justly famous as a venue, it had about the best sound I've heard and is so small that even against the back wall you feel like you are right next to the stage. And people go there to listen, so you could hear everything. A hell of a show (and a stark contrast to what is going on musically and otherwise at the bars on Broadway, which are also fun of course).

The weird moment in the evening was when John Oates of Hall and Oates fame, who happened to be in the audience, came to the stage to do a fingerpicked number backed by Jim's band. I can't actually remember what he played, it was something standard. He is a good musician as you'd expect, and I guess into the traditional stuff and playing it these days (?). Can't say I've …
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We have these crazy daisies which grow to 7 feet tall and bloom in October. The bees love them too. Here is Miss Lark standing with them today:




She kept running through them and hiding and then running out and saying 'I'm going to the hide and seek!"


The Richmond folk festival was the usual great time this past weekend. I am not sure how it happens, but the weather is always perfect during the festival.

All of the music was great. Maybe the most interesting thing I learned was that West Virginia old time fiddler Lester McCumbers, who is 89 years old, has never been to Virginia before coming to the festival this past weekend. He sounded really good, elemental as that style is. His son Billy sang some songs too in a perfect, rough and keening mountain voice, just beautiful.

As for other highlights, Los Texmaniacs played their usual good set, and Bonsoir, Catin, a Cajun band, was really superb. Sometimes I wonder why I listen to anything other than Cajun music. But then there is "Viva Seguin".

Usually this festival is listening oriented, and there is so many different artists to hear that you really need to be there all weekend. But it turns out the best time I had this year was playing tunes. My friend Don Leister is a…

Sic semper tyrannis

My student whom I mentioned the other day as having the Confederate flag on his truck corrected me, so I told him I would run his clarification since I had misunderstood him:

"Correction: I do not consider the Confederate Battle Flag as my National Flag. The Confederate Battle Flag was not a national flag, it was a flag used to identify individual military units on the battlefield. Please correct me if I am wrong. What I do consider my National Flag is the Third National Flag. This is the one with a white field and a red stripe down the side with the Battle Flag in the top corner. I do not have a Battle Flag on my truck. I do have a sticker of a Third National Flag, one of the Bonnie Blue Flag and finally, a sticker of a Virginia State Flag. I feel that these three flags indicate where my loyalties lie."
It is probably just plain ole sensible politics that if you want to get into office you shouldn't be spending your weekend dressing up like a Nazi,as Tea Party Republican candidate for office Rich Iott does.
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Here is a worthwhile interview with legal scholar Christina Duffy Burnett, who does really interesting work on law and American empire. (I discovered this interview through Opinio Juris) If any of my globalization and empire students are reading this blog today you'll want to read it for sure because it directly reflects our reading of the past week. Nice when it works out that way.

I have never met her, but we are on a panel together at the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Legal Historians and I am looking forward to meeting her.

This interview was of particular interest to me since she has written on the U.S. guano islands, one of my favorite topics.

I managed to get a bit about a guano islands case in my new book in discussing US legal spatiality, and of course I've been really interested in guano issues since I wrote my MA thesis eighteen years ago comparing the British and American responses to the guano supply crisis of the 1840s and 1850s.

Sometime I need to…

"God bless the military-apiological complex!"

I am fortunate that so many people I know send me links to major news stories when there is one that is right in my idiosyncratic range of obsessions (that is, most stories generally about either bees or the death of a famous old country or bluegrass artist).

Today it is this important NYTimes article about the possible cause of colony collapse disorder. Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery


The news is really that it is the viral-fungal combination that is causing the problem. The role of Nosema Cerena has been pretty widely known for awhile, but the viral addition is new. New and quite fascinating too is the role of military researchers in this.

The very best comment I received on the story was from my former colleague at Sogang University who wrote "God bless the military-apiological complex!" I wish I had coined that phrase.

This is a good place to put in a plug for you to read this interesting new book I just read, Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons…
I was just sending this link to a friend of mine and I thought it would be worth linking to here at Nunal, really striking photographs from a series titled "What is American Power?" looking at the power grid and its social context by Mitch Epstein.

An extremely well done website too, worth looking at just because it it so well constructed in displaying each image.

I keep stumbling on these incredible photographers, and guessing that there are almost a limitness number of incredible photographers webpages out there, just a matter of finding out about them. And time too, of course.

My friend I sent this to is a really fine and interesting photographer himself, Andrew Miksys. Worth checking out his webpage. And buying his book BAXT.