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Trey Pitsenberger
Lives in Northern California


Trey Pitsenberger

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Asian hornet reported in Great Britain

The arrival of the Asian Hornet from the mainland has beekeepers in Britain on edge. The hornet has the habit of hanging outside the honeybee hive with it's friends. As the bees emerge they grab hold of the bee, and bite their heads off. They do this until the whole hive is dead, and then they enter to rob the honey.

However the authorities did issue this statement. “It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honeybee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.” This includes using cameras and traps to locate nests before attempting to kill them off with pesticides.

I get worried when the authorities say they are going to take "swift and robust action", especially with the use of pesticides. We will have to wait and see how much this new arrival will affect Britain's beekeppers. The days of trying to keep evasive pests from our shores seems to have passed.


The guardian article

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That's is huge ass Japanese hornet
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The Honeybee Algorithm
Interesting how studying nature can help us design better systems for technology. In this case, by studying the habits of honeybees researchers were able to design software that helps allocate computer servers based on volume of traffic. It's called The Honeybee Algorithm.
Reserchers created the “honeybee algorithm” to help web hosting companies effectively allocate servers in the face of huge, unpredictable fluctuations in internet traffic and varying fees for services provided. To maximize profit, companies must keep their server computers busy at high-fee, high-demand websites as fees and demand fluctuate. Borrowing from the bee’s waggle dance in a hive, Nakrani and Tovey programmed an internal automated advertisement board that communicated with servers about traffic needs of different websites. When websites (flower patches) were in high demand and offered higher pay (nectar), those ads (waggle dances) were more frequent and lasted longer, thereby recruiting more servers (worker bees). Conversely, as demand and fees declined, so did the number and length of the ads. The system could be applied to optimizing high-network demand, energy use or price, for example.
Look to nature for the answer.
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MD najam uddin
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What do you see?

Look at the photo. Now turn away. Do you remember what was pictured?

The image has an equal number of plants and animals, but chances are that you remembered more animals than plants. This bias in memory is part of a phenomenon known as 'plant blindness'. Research shows that people are also generally more interested in animals than plants, and find it harder to detect images of plants compared with images of animals.

According to the authors of the article this "plant blindness" hampers efforts at conservation of plant species. I would argue that this plant blindness is responsible for many of the problems we face. In our modern world it seems that the loudest and most garish attract our attention, with the result that everyone tries to be louder and more garish than everyone else.

We need to become more conscious of those life forms that live a more quiet and less noticeable existence. Without plants life would cease to exist, yet we cover our gardens with asphalt, and cut the rain forest down for cheap lumber.

The Conversation

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Here we're looking up Taylor Street from Pine St. That gentleman walking by the street sign has something which many try to achieve, style. Is it the hat, clothes, or just the confidence with which he walks?

The same site today on Google maps. Take a stylish stroll yourself down Pine Street.


Fred Lyon
Pine street, San Francisco. 1956
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Miss u SF
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Czech artist Milane Ramsi  has turned the cement pylon of an overpass into a transparent 3D tag by painting in the landscape behind. It's his name written backwards. 

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This is fabulous! 
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A botanical Treat
Mary Lua Adelia Davis Treat was a visionary botanist and entomologist that corresponded with Charles Darwin. Four species of plants and animals have been named after Treat. She especially enjoyed carnivorous plant study. “I have devoted much time to a class of plants that seem to have reversed the regular order of nature, and, like avengers of their kingdom, have turned upon animals… Whether the plants are really hungry and entrap the animals for food, or whether it is only an example of the wanton destructiveness of nature I leave the reader to judge.”
Concerning her work with Darwin it was Treat who correctly worked out how the Bladderwort Plant (Utricularia clandestina.) traps insects. Darwin incorrectly concluded that animals entered the traps by forcing their heads through the slit-like orifice with their heads serving as a wedge. In a letter to Treat he informed her that this subject drove him "half-mad". Treat studied the problem and found that the hairs around the entrance to the trap were sensitive and part of the process by which Utricularia traps opened.  Darwin was so impressed with Treat’s work on carnivorous plants that he referenced her, both within the main text and in footnotes, throughout his publication Insectivorous Plants (1875).
Amazingly there has never been a definitive biography made on Treat. 
061Mary Treat (1830-1923) was a prolific scientific writer who earned a reputation as “the world’s most famous and industrious woman naturalist” at a time when few women were professionally engaged in biology. The daughter of a minister, Treat attended a private girls’ academy early in life. Such academies, or “seminaries,” were an answer to the …
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A fungal honeybee connection

We were just discussing the other day how a species of solitary Brazilian bee was discovered that cultivates fungus as food for it's young. Now we hear that the devastating Varrora Mite , which can kill whole hives of honeybees, may be controlled with a special fungus that was known to kill termites.

Mushroom expert Paul Stamets says he noticed a relationship between honeybees and mushrooms when he observed bees sipping on sugar-rich fungal roots growing in his backyard. "I looked down, and they were sucking on my mycelium," he says. Now he thinks he knows why.

In recent years, his research has shown that rare fungi found in the old-growth forests of western Washington can help fight other viruses and diseases, including tuberculosis, smallpox and bird flu. He wondered if the honeybee would see similar health benefits from wood-rotting mushrooms. "Bees have immune systems, just like we do," he says. "These mushrooms are like miniature pharmaceutical factories."

So far the experiments with the fungus, bees, and mites appears to be working.

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Bees that cultivate fungus for food
This is the first recorded case of fungus cultivation by bees. Seems Brazilian Stingless Bees cultivate fungus to grow on the cell walls as food for the larva (young bees). Bees fed the fungus have a 76% increase in survival rates. 
Here, we report the first case of an obligatory relationship between the Brazilian stingless bee Scaptotrigona depilis and a fungus of the genus Monascus (Ascomycotina). Fungal mycelia growing on the provisioned food inside the brood cell are eaten by the larva. Larvae reared in vitro on sterilized larval food supplemented with fungal mycelia had a much higher survival rate (76%) compared to larvae reared under identical conditions but without fungal mycelia (8% survival). The fungus was found to originate from the material from which the brood cells are made. Since the bees recycle and transport this material between nests, fungus would be transferred to newly built cells and also to newly founded nests. This is the first report of a fungus cultivation mutualism in a social bee.

Current Biology
Photo:Brazilian stingless bees
(Demeter /Wikimedia Commons)
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Half of New York States bees died last year
Scientists at Cornell University are trying to figure out why New York State lost half of it's honey bees last year. We suffered a 20% loss here in northern California, which seemed to be the average for other beekeepers. This New York loss is way over the average, and hopefully the researchers will discover why. 
To grow apples, farmers need bees to pollinate their orchard. Bees are also needed for many other fruits and vegetablesIt is estimated that about a third of the things on your table, bees were essential for pollinating them, said Cornell University researc
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Hoa An
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Bayer AG to buy Monsanto
German pharmaceuticals company Bayer AG is set to buy US Seed maker Monsanto for $57 billion USD. This will create one of the worlds largest agricultural firms. Bayer already has a large agricultural presence, especially with synthetic pesticides. In joining forces the company will control a vast segment of our food production. 
Germany’s Bayer said it agreed to buy U.S. seed maker Monsanto for $57 billion, creating one of the world’s largest agrichemical firms.
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Arboreal Archaeology
Meet Italian Isabella Dalla Ragione, who is carrying on the work of her father in finding and preserving old varieties of fruit trees, and bushes. With modern hybridization we have created new, sweeter varieties of fruit, but allowed these old types to fall out of production. In Italy during the 19th century about 100 varieties of apples existed. Now, just 100 years later the number has declined to about 50, with just three varieties making up 80% percent of production. While these new varieties have positive attributes, the old varieties have them, and other interesting characteristics as well. 
Apple cider has become quite popular again. There was a time when cider was made with apples grown especially for it's production. They were sweet, but not overly so, with delicate flavors. Now most cider is made with modern hybrids that while sweet, have none of the more subtle qualities that make a great cider. Small cider producers are now hunting for these old, once thought lost trees, so as to resurrect them and make cider as it should be made. There are all sorts of fruits that are like this, bred for specific qualities, that could be lost.
I can think of no more important and interesting work than what that which Isabella does. Plus she gets to work out of her 12th century farmhouse in the beautiful Italian countryside. It's individuals like Isabella, not large businesses, that are making a difference in saving these old fruits. What are you doing today?
Like her father before her, Isabella Dalla Ragione scours the countryside in search of varieties that no longer satisfy agricultural trends, market demands and modern tastes.
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I'm so happy that there are people doing this.
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Domino meditation

Reminds me of the Tibetan sand mandalas. Very meditative.

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Trey's Collections
Trust yourself, find the others...
I am a horticulturist (plantsman) by trade. Small business owner (Garden Shop). Writer (First Trade Blog 2005). Born in Southern California (Lakewood) Grew up in The Bay Area (Belmont).Went to my first concert in SF(Grateful Dead, Winterland) Live in the Sierra Nevada (Garden Valley). Wide range of interests. Camping (tent). Mountain Biking. Hiking. Kayaking. Make the best Mojito's. Dry sense of humor. Friendly. Curious. A bit shy at first. Then not so much. 

"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order."  Carl Jung 

"Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.”  
 Terrence McKenna  

Bragging rights
I'm still here!
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Northern California
Belmont, CA - San Mateo, CA - Lakewood, CA
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4665 Marshall Rd.Garden Valley, CA 95633
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Mr. Trey, Ice Trey
This is the best entrance for kayak's and canoes. No motor boats allowed at this end of the lake.
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Large grassy field for soccer games, located right on the south fork of the American River. Picnic tables and bathrooms. Across the street is a playground with ballfield.
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Amazing hand done walls completed by Chinese labor in the 1860's. The wall filled in the original pass used by the pioneers.
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You can walk through both a historical relic and amazing engineering feat. An easy, but dark hike, leads to a opening with spectacular views. There you can see the amazing rock work of the Chinese laborers building the railroad.
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Very clean gas station.
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It's a little lighthouse that is also a hostel.
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