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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/13/2011

Save the bees, save the world


A bee is covered with Peony pollen at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington. (BONNIE JO MOUNT/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Good morning!

Let’s get to the morning read.

1) Save the bees, save the world

If you haven’t heard, American honeybees are in trouble. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) occurs when the worker bees of a hive suddenly disappear. The phenomenon was noticed in 2006 and is leading to a severe drop in the number of bees, reducing the number of plants (think crops) pollinated every year.

The decline has been attributed, at least in part, to the rise in insecticide-resistant viruses and mites. And, according to Fast Company, rather than try to create more powerful insecticides, scientists at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg are instead concentrating on creating stronger bees. The bees are exposed to “disease pressure,” killing some of the bees, but allowing scientists to breed the stronger survivors. While the experiment is not likely to solve the bee crisis, it at least appears to be a step in the right direction.

(Fast Company)

2) Electronic Arts scoops up PopCap for $750 million

The sale, while entirely expected, means that gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA) now owns a company that produces games with proven cross-demographic appeal. PopCap’s game offerings, which have been downloaded over 150 million times, include Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled Blitz.

In an interview with VentureBeat, PopCap co-founder John Vechey said the company had considered going public, but felt that Electronic Arts was a better fit.

(VentureBeat)

3) Mapping leadership and partisanship in Congress

Thomas Gibes created the Clear Congress Project, which shows both where lawmakers stand in the leadership food chain and how far to the left or right they are. The interactive graphic, which shows leadership on the Y-axis and partisanship on the X-Axis, is a potential data mine for those interested in seeing where their member of Congress falls in terms of seniority, at least in terms of the legislation they sponsor and who they are able to attract as co-sponsors, and whether or not they toe the party line.

An interesting, initial take-away: On the leadership graph, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is not only more partisan than House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), he also ranks higher in terms of leadership. A notable finding, given the way the debt negotiations have been going.

(Infosthetics.com via Mark. S. Luckie)

4) Facebook and Time Warner take on bullies

The two companies announced Tuesday that they have their eye on bullies who use the social networking service to harass their victims. But the fight, so to speak, will not be waged on Facebook alone. The anti-bullying campaign will take place on television, radio and in a number of U.S. magazines, including People, Time and Sports Illustrated. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will host a town hall on bullying in October. Time Warner products will focus on the issue of bullying throughout the month.

Facebook will also offer users a chance to take a pledge to stop bullies. The pledge will be made available before the beginning of the traditional U.S. school year. (Full disclosure: Washington Post Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

(Associated Press)

5)Two words: Video. Coat.

Yes, this exists. The coat, which features a full LED display, was developed by Dave Forbes. Plug the coat into an iPod or DVD player and, voila, you have picture all over your body. While not great for watching video yourself, it’s definitely an eye-catcher.

We’re just counting down the days before it replaces the traditional sandwich board and the sign-twirlers:

(Bitrebels)

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 07/13/2011

Categories:  Morning Read, Research, Technology, Video, Business

 
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