Bee Heists

 
 
It is not enough that bees are vanishing: sick, stressed, overworked or poisoned. No one source of colony collapse and disappearing bees can be pinpointed by consensus. Now, due to vanishing supply but unrelenting demand, bee hives are the latest coveted commodities to steal. 

The Washington Post reports in As bees vanish, bee heists multiply the following:

The bee economy in California is immense. Eighty-two percent of the world’s almonds are produced within a 400-mile stretch in the state. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of un-gated almond orchards in California, all of which need to be pollinated in the span of a few weeks in February — by an ever-dwindling bee population. Beekeepers come in from across the country to fulfill contracts with farmers and brokers, moving hives to and fro on forklifts and flatbed trucks. And they come with a steep price that’s getting steeper every year.

At the start of pollination season in 2010, the average hive cost $130 to rent. Rental fees are $200 this year, and will continue going up as hives continue to die off. The industry is becoming increasingly volatile, increasingly expensive and thus, increasingly criminalized.
 
Bee keepers forego income most of the year, banking on readying themselves for payday when the season arrives. When their hives are stolen, they cannot recoup their losses and despite the article’s keen detective (a beekeeper himself) on the trail of these thieves, few of these crimes get solved. This business runs on slim profit margins, so keepers are unlikely to break tradition and invest a whole lot on gps and other tracking, stamping and registering technologies. 

The answer lies in saving the bees, not in tracking and imprisoning the criminals (though that too should happen). Finding the cause(s) of the bee scarcity to eliminate roots out the entire chain of victims and perpetrators. Banning known pesticides that weaken, confuse and/or blind (mutes sense of smell) bees, breaking down colonies and affecting bee populations seems like a logical start–globally. 

Investment in and cultivation of local beekeeping so that a variety of bee species thrive rather than feeding traditional worker bees like honey bees on intense single crop diets, i.e., all almonds or fruit trees, is another solution. Keeping local native bees to pollinate a variety of local crops has been known to grow bee populations

Bees are responsible for over 75% of our food supply. I am baffled why more attention, funding and efforts are not thrown at their plight. The bees’ lament is our own: industrialized agricultural production is killing us. We are too far from nature, mother and human.

The Cage of Sanctioned Poverty

 

 
What they and the entire jail system missed or ignored, though, is the futility of punitive measures. So many of these women young and old had much worse lives outside of jail. They would easily trade the abuse–constant shouting, cursing, shoving, terrorizing and haranguing–for the safety and regularity of meals and meds in jail. All of their efforts to harass, abuse, demean and dehumanize had already been done on the streets by drug addled family, friends and lovers, or poverty, pimps and official and unofficial authorities on the streets. They were impervious to the abuse. The only ones who suffered the doled out intended intimidation were the rarer folks like me who somehow found themselves swept up in a hurricane of their own misstepped making, befuddled and shocked. The rest could care less. Jail was temporary and worse awaited them on the outside.
 

Credit: http://www.salon.com

Stupid Ashley Crime

  
So help me out here because I don’t get it. The hackers of the Ashley Madison site and other Avid LIfe Media subsidiaries, CougarLife and Established Men, purportedly declared that they attacked the site not for moral grounds, not for sheer mischief, not for extortion, not for revenge nor for a specific social or political cause. No, the hack, along with the threat to reveal member names, fantasies and nude photos as well as company bank account information, resulted in protest of the sites’ unfulfilled “full delete guarantee.”  

The Impact Team, as they call themselves (nothing like themed criminal activity), appear to be disgruntled ex-users. Why else take such extreme action in protest to a failed guarantee that has no relevance to them? Did they think they were the Edward Snowden‘s of the dating site world? I mean, the charges for this crime must come with lengthy prison terms, so the risk must be worth the outcome. 

Or maybe they merely join the ranks of dumb criminals, assuming a public stunt on such a grand scale will go unpunished and undiscovered. Perhaps they count on the public’s disdain for cheaters to get them a pass on the full efforts of the law enforcement agencies called in to investigate this cyber crime.

They must be stupid. Money and reputations stand to be lost, and who knows who risks exposure? Perhaps monied folk, who will not take too kindly for the exposure, a sure generator of pressure to make arrests. 

But the puzzler for me is the lack of logic. Exposing the site’s participants for the site owner’s failed “full delete guarantee” seems like beating the prisoners to expose the abuse of the jailers. 

The hackers complain, according to the Inqisitr write up the other day, that Ashley Madison, et al., charge $19.00 to members for deleting information from the site, but do not actually do so, leaving credit card information with real names attached to them as well as other incriminating information to the cheating spouse. 

Ashley Madison, advertised as a discrete dating site for married adults, with the slogan, “Life is Short. Have an Affair, boasts over 37 million members. According to krebsonsecurity.com, this hack follows an earlier hack on AdultFriendFinder, though the connection has not been established to date. Krebs also reports that the hackers worked from inside, not as employees but people who had access to information working on site.

The hackers demand Ashley Madison shut down, unconcerned about the “dirt bags” who risk exposure:

“Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”
So tell me again why the hackers risked their lives as free citizens to protest the breach of promised privacy by which this site profited? 

I hate incoherent crimes.