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Thursday 10 February 2005
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Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple -- Barry Switzer


The weather is warming up again, and will be above freezing during the days.  That will be a nice change.  I'm looking forward to Spring.

Allen's Link of the Day:
How Stuff Works

I decided to go to Vancouver and made an outgoing flight reservation and car rental.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 1. Tonight: A few clouds. Low minus 7. Friday: Sunny. High 6. Saturday: Sunny. Low minus 7. High 7. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 5. High zero. Monday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 16. High minus 6. Normals: High: -1C Low: -13C


Friday 11 February 2005
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The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it -- George Orwell


Today is the pollination meeting at Nixons' from 10 AM to 3.  I think I'll head up there.  Woke up with a slight sore throat, though.  Maybe I slept with my mouth open?  Hope so.  I'd hate to think that, now that I have a non-refundable commitment to go to Vancouver, I may turn out to be coming down with a cold.  We'll see.

Allen's Links of the Day:
Billet Ezyloader
Canadian Supplier

I see there are new Windows Updates and a new Zone Alarm version, too. More info...


I went to the meeting, and found it was well attended.  Nixons have a good place for it, and Medhat put on a good show.  Heather Mattila was the featured speaker, and she did a great job of explaining her research on bee nutrition. 

As with any such work, a presentation only hits the high points, and the actual work and data behind the graphs is not easily understood.  Research is messy: bees swarm, hives die, accidents happen, diseases and mites and other confounding factors have to be understood and the effects somehow nulled out.  I think research may be likened to making wieners.  Pretty much everyone appreciates the result, but only those who have seen them made are really aware what is in them.

There are always some assumptions underlying any research, and always a lot of interpretation and sorting that comes into the process of making the messy raw data into the tidy-looking graphs we see on the screen.  We asked some pretty tough questions, and Heather dealt with them well.  She emphasized that she was dealing with only several years data, from one location, and that other regions and years may be different.

I will be interested in seeing how she progresses, since I am not entirely convinced by some of her reasoning so far, but very much impressed by her hard work and thoroughness.  We are very fortunate to have someone like Heather working on this important topic, and hope we all support her work, and that of her professor, Gard Otis.

Meijers and I stopped to look at some of their hives on the way home, then I stopped in town for some odds and ends, and met them at our home for supper.

 Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 7. Tonight: Clear. Low minus 9. Saturday: Sunny. High plus 4. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 4. High plus 4. Monday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 17. High minus 6. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 16. High minus 5. Normals: High: -1C Low: -13C


Saturday 12 February 2005
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There are 11 kinds of people in the world: those the  understand binary number system, and those who do not


I was up at six, and packed by eight.  At eight-thirty, I was on the way to the airport.

The car was driving well, and the roads were good, so, on a whim, I phoned Air Canada and cancelled my flight -- it turned out I suffered only a small penalty -- then cancelled my Vancouver car reservation.  Twelve hours, and 660 miles later, according to my GPS and map, I was in in the Arbutus Club in Vancouver, having supper with Ron, Joan, and Graham.

Was that a smart decision?  I really don't know.  By the time my plane was scheduled to take off, I was already past Banff.  By the time (I assume) it touched down in Vancouver, I was at Field.  By the time I would have had my car rental, I was in the Rogers Pass.  Nonetheless, it was a long drive, and it is obvious to me that flying is much safer, and much more relaxed than driving two-lane mountain roads, even in a luxury car.

Opinion:

> Have you been keeping up with the Editorial battles of the SBA and Mr.
> Sakiw? (Several prominent Sask Beekeepers) all publicly
> denounced Mr. Sakiw... If you get the Western Producer check out Mr.
> Sakiw's comments this time ....OMG, he states it tongue in cheek yet,
> it ponders one to stop and think, if the guy might be thinking right.
> I know all these gentlemen and their views on the Saskatchewan
> commission are such that those with the hives make the decisions, pure
> and simple. With 100, 000 colonies and less and less beekeepers each
> year, it falls to about 15 that will run the show for 800 beekeepers,
> they will make the decisions on research, they will say you gets how
> much money and for how long and they... it goes on.
> Suffice it to say they are reluctant to introduce "Conflict of
> Interest Guidelines" (COI) into the bylaws of the commission prior to
> inception. What organisation would not freely want their membership
> to know what they are up too, and that they are not befitting
> economically from who they choose or ... you know what I mean.
>
> May I ask, in the Alberta experience, does your group contemplate COI
> guidelines? Or is that an afterthought? Because you know there can be
> a lot of money at stake here.

No, I have not been aware of it, or even of a Sask commission being set up.

As I see Sask beekeeping right now, profit and expanding the industry and general well-being does not appear to me to be the primary goal.  The mindset appears to me to be idealistic and defensive, rather than pragmatic, forward-thinking and expansive.

I guess the most obvious thing, from an Alberta perspective, is that provinces like Sask, Ont., and P.Q. may have protected themselves -- to some measure and for some time -- from the mite bogeyman, but they definitely, in the process of hiding under the bed, also protected themselves from growth, and from profit.  AFAIK, Alberta is the only province where the bee business has actually expanded, albeit after considerable suffering due to border closure.

I attribute that growth to the mutual tolerance and co-operation of Alberta beekeepers, transparency and true inclusiveness in decision-making, and the lack of a punitive and conformist regulatory structure.  Central to this is the belief that by being honest with one another, sharing adversity, and being open to novel solutions, we can overcome any problem.  We tend to think that overregulation is more damaging than mites.  It seems to have worked out that way pretty much everywhere else.

As for Alberta, I should have thought COI would be considered in the boilerplate legislation that the government uses for setting up new commissions. Maybe not, but potential self-dealing, formation of cliques, and wastage or misdirection of funds has been a concern, and the cause for going slow, and for proactively consulting with all groups, all the way.

We had a commission in Alberta before, but it was voted out, due to the perception -- true or not -- of self-dealing and Great Effort has been made this time to reassure, and consult with, everyone (and his dog, and his dog's dog).

We have had lots of emphasis this time on openness and accountability, etc..  Moreover, beekeepers' contributions are refundable -- a money back guarantee!  The vote was just held recently, and I have not heard the result.

In reality, though, those with the hives, and the interest, do make the decisions, and rightly so.  We have seen, in the CHC, where the opposite has been the case, and the organisation has been, and continues to be, a rolling disaster.

Also, there is conflict of interest, and then there is conflict of interest. In Alberta, we have a very different culture.  We want and  expect others who think differently from ourselves to do well, and try to help them do so, sometimes at a cost to ourselves. For the most part -- touch wood --  we refuse to use legislation or public money to impede others in their ambitions, or to provide barriers to entry, even when we, ourselves might gain a small, temporary benefit.  We understand that our competitors and industry newcomers are a potential source of novel approaches and assistance, and regard them as a resource, rather than taking the narrow view that they somehow deprive us of what should be ours.  We do not see life as a zero-sum game.  We also understand that legislation and regulation can only limit, control and distribute existing wealth, not create new wealth.  Therefore we regulate with extreme caution.

At a pollination meeting today, an official mentioned, as a matter of interest, that B.C. beekeepers (and a Sask beekeeper) were increasingly involved in Southern Alberta pollination and Alberta honey production, with the expectation, I think that we would feel threatened and jealous, but the general response was, "So what?", and "Good for them!".  We get a good reception, for the most part, in B.C., and nobody can blame a guy from Sask for his province's policies.  We're free traders, and, as long as people, themselves, play fair and above board, we don't care where they live or how repressive the regime in their home turf may be towards us (and them, of course).  They are welcome, here, to see what they can contribute to our common good.

In Alberta, we -- most of us -- want growth and competition in our industry, and we try to be statesmanlike in our politics.  That's not to say this could not change in a heartbeat. It only takes one or two bad apples to spoil the barrel.  A decade or two ago, I used to go to the Sask meetings to get away from what I perceived to be elitist attitudes and self-dealing in Alberta.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High 10. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Low minus 9. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. High minus 1. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 10. High zero. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 8. High zero. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 9. High plus 3.


Sunday 13 February 2005
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By the time I'd grown up, I naturally supposed that I'd be grown up -- Eve Babitz


I arrived at the boat show around eleven, and stayed until about six, then returned to Ron's for supper.

Today: Flurries. Wind becoming north 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 1. Tonight: Cloudy periods. 60 percent chance of flurries this evening. Low minus 14. Monday: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming north 20 km/h in the afternoon. High minus 8. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 11. High minus 2. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 8. High plus 2. Thursday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 10. High plus 1.


Monday 14 February 2005
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   Valentine's Day  

If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity -- Bill Vaughan



Click to enlarge

At the pollination meeting the other day,  Terry showed me his version of the oxalic vaporizer in operation, and, seeing as my camera had run its battery down again (Grrrr), he agreed to send me some pictures.  They arrived today, by email.  Here is a front view, and a back view off Terry's prototype.

Seems we are coming along fast in efforts to perfect the idea.  First, Cor came up with his version, then others built improved copies, usually less bulky and elaborate, then Terry built his compact, but technically advanced unit, out of stainless steel, with multiple temperature controls and a fan speed control.

His unit melts enough acid crystal for quite a number of hives in a preheat chamber in advance of use, and meters the proper amount of the liquid acid into a temperature controlled evaporation chamber on demand, for each cycle.  When activated, the machine dispenses a measured amount of fumes through a manifold to two parallel smoke tubes that are inserted into two side-by-side hives.  His unit does not seem to suffer from the clogging that others have, since most of the tubing is insulated, and thus temperatures are maintained at optimum for each stage. He also has a speed control on the fan, so what I saw was a nice, smooth plume of acid fumes, emitted at moderate speed, not a cloud of dust -- or sudden burst of hot fumes coming out with great force.

Allen's Link of the Day:
Hoosier Buzz Newsletter

We've discussed here, previously, the danger of decomposing the acid with excess heat , and I have observed some machines vigorously blowing out acid dust rather than, or along with, oxalic fumes.  This machine should overcome those concerns.  Hopefully, a refined production model using Terry's innovations will be rolling off the production line soon.  Stay tuned.


I see that the Indiana group (see the Hoosier Buzz Newsletter) are very concerned about getting Small Hive Beetles (SHB) in package bees from the South.  I wonder how real a concern this is.  Indiana is a fair ways north; perhaps the beetles will not thrive there or be only a minor nuisance.  I wonder how much inconvenience and expense is justified in the interest of slowing their inevitable spread.

I notice, over and over, how often irreconcilable conflicts arise between the views of hobbyists and sideliners and commercial beekeepers. The differences in outlook are fundamental and reflect a very different purpose in beekeeping.  The former group tends to be somewhat idealistic and romantic in outlook, and less dependant on the income from beekeeping, whereas the latter group tends to be pragmatic, and focussed on the bottom line.  The sideliner/hobbyist typically is willing to forgo opportunities to protect the status quo, and avoid pests, but the commercial beekeeper is willing to take risks or accept diseases and pests if they are manageable and a necessary result of buying and selling, pollinating, migrating, or other necessary and profit-producing activities.

I've been in both positions at various times in my life, so can relate to both outlooks quite easily.  I doubt that one is more 'right' than the other, but my current opinion is that the needs of those who make a living and provide livings for others must necessarily take precedence over those who are amateurs, idealists or dilettantes, no matter how talented, vocal or committed.  Having said that, though, I think that wherever possible win/win or compromise solutions should be sought and that both groups should avoid trampling the desires of others.

Some in Canada have been worried about SHB arriving here, but most of us, after study and consultation, have concluded that SHB would not thrive here and, at worst, be an occasional nuisance to the occasional sloppy operator.

I've also concluded, after talking and observing, that the concern in Canada about Africanized bees (AHB) is also vastly unrealistic.  AHB have been transported here and there all over North America, including Canada, but they simply have not been a problem.  Therefore no one has suspected or identified them as such, except in exceptional circumstances.  I find it curious that pretty well everyone who cares to know, knows about this.  For some reason, however, our authorities pretend that is not the case and that the spread of AHB would be a disaster.  Go figure.

I'm writing this on a The Queen of Nanaimo, bound for Salt Spring Island.

(Later) I arrived on Salt Spring, and found Bruce at home.  We visited a bit, went downtown for a snack, then visited a friend for a while.

Today: Flurries ending this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Periods of snow beginning this afternoon. High minus 2. Tonight: Periods of snow ending near midnight then cloudy periods. Amount 2 to 5 cm. Low minus 15. Tuesday: Sunny. High minus 3. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 9. High plus 2. Thursday: Sunny. Low minus 10. High plus 2. Friday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 12. High minus 1.


Tuesday 15 February 2005
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The word 'meaningful' when used today is nearly always meaningless -- Paul Johnson


I'm still on Salt Spring.  I slept 12 hours last night.  Haven't done that for a while.


Wednesday 16 February 2005
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The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive -- John Sladek


I slept 11 hours last night.  Bruce was a way, so I had the place to myself, and got back to work on the curriculum, doing the editing for the upcoming meeting.

Bruce returned and we went for a burger at the Harbour House. I had the 'Big Fat Pat' and it was good, but nothing could be as good as my memory of the previous occasion.

Today: Sunny. High 1. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h late this evening. Low minus 11. Thursday: Sunny. Wind becoming north 20 km/h late in the morning. High minus 4. Friday: Sunny. Low minus 19. High minus 7. Saturday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 17. High minus 3. Sunday: Sunny. Low minus 16. High minus 6.


Thursday 17 February 2005
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Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this is at the bottom of most bad economic thinking -- P. J. O'Rourke


Allen's Link of the Day:
Bee and Wasp Stings

Well I only slept 9-1/2 hours, and got to work first thing.

I'm heading back to the mainland today.  I had plans to visit some beekeepers on this trip, but am running out of time.  I have quite a bit of work to do, and a drive -- or flight -- back to Alberta before Tuesday.

Okay.  How did I decide it was Tuesday?  My meeting is Thursday, and I have been worrying that I am out of time.  I just found two more whole days.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High zero. Tonight: A few clouds. Low minus 18. Friday: Sunny. High minus 2. Saturday: A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 18. High minus 7. Sunday: Sunny. Low minus 14. High minus 7. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 13. High zero.


Friday 18 February 2005
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It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear -- Dick Cavett


There are new worms and viruses out in the past few days.  If you get an email stating that a messages was not delivered, be very careful opening it.  If it has an attachment, you will likely find that it is a virus executable file.  Don't open the attachment.
 
From Panda Software...

Mydoom.AO uses so-called 'social engineering' to try to trick users, as the email messages it spreads in appear to be mail delivery error messages, these include: Message could not be delivered, Mail System Error - Returned Mail, or Delivery reports about your e-mail.

The message text itself is also variable. One example is: Your message (was not|could not be) delivered because the destination (computer|server) was (not|un)reachable within the allowed queue period. The amount of time a message is queued before it is returned depends on local configuration parameters (the text in brackets is variable).

The name of the attached file that actually contains the worm is chosen at random and has one of the following extensions: ZIP, COM, SCR, EXE, PIF, BAT or CMD.

I'm at Ron's again.  The weather is beautiful and sunny.

I worked all day at the curriculum and got some sent away.  We all went to the Club again for supper.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High minus 2. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Low minus 14. Saturday: A mix of sun and cloud. High minus 5. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 12. High minus 5. Monday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 14. High minus 3. Tuesday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 10. High minus 2.


Saturday 19 February 2005
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People experiencing long periods of relative stability are prone to excess. We must thus remain vigilant against complacency -- Alan Greenspan


Another day of curriculum correction. Weather is beautiful, and we took a walk.  After supper we all went to see 'Sideways'.

I talked to Jean and Chris.  Seems they bought a new house.  New is the word.  It won't be built until July.

Today: Cloudy with sunny periods and 60 percent chance of flurries. High minus 6. Tonight: Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of flurries early this evening. Clearing overnight. Low minus 12. Sunday: Sunny. High minus 4. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 15. High minus 4. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 12. High zero. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 10. High minus 1.

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