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Home Construction Declines

January 30, 2011 Comments off

By SARA MURRAY

New-home construction dropped in December to its lowest level in more than a year as the feeble housing sector ended 2010 on a weak note.

Private building of new homes dropped 4.3% in December from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000—the lowest level of housing starts since October 2009, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The construction industry continued to stumble last year even as economic growth picked up and private-sector job creation returned. Housing starts ended the year 8.2% below December 2009 and there’s little sign building will pick up early this year.

“From what we’ve heard from builders, they’re not very hopeful for Read more…

The Great American Decline

January 19, 2011 Comments off

By Joseph G

Do you remember the 50’s 60’s and 70’s?  I don’t because I wasn’t even born then, however,  my parents and grand parents told me that those years were the golden years.  Inflation wasn’t that high then, so you could go out and purchase a hot dog, pop corn, soda and a movie all for a shiny quarter!  When you went to go to work or run errands you didn’t even lock your house front door as theft was not an issue at that time.  We Americans seemed like we were in pretty good shape as we had Detroit pumping out the latest cars and everyone had jobs but most of all we had each other as in strong family ties.  My dad used to say there was only one TV in the whole house  and there was such a time as “Family Time”  when all of the siblings and adults  get together in the living room and actually converse with one another without the distraction of electronics or television.  Everyone used to go to church and worship God as a family then come home to a large dinner composed of baked chicken, corn on the cob, greens, buttery dinner rolls with peach cobbler on the side.  There was a great sense of pride amongst families of all walks of life in those days.  But that was then, now lets fast forward a few decades.

You turn on the news and what do you see? 9 times out of 10 that news is bad news.  In this day and age where information is transferred in fractions of nano seconds, it appear as if things should be better right?  I mean we have laptops, 3D TV’s , cell phones, Ipads, Starbucks, and fast food joints, what could be possibly wrong with that?  It appears that our hard work has paid off during the middle of the century so now we can just kick back and reap the rewards.  In the face of our pride however we have created a beast.  Look around you it’s everywhere!  It’s physically inescapable as far as the eye can see and the nose to smell.  With the invention of  TV’s and ON-DEMAND no one wants go for a walk or even physically go to the movie theater.  Its Convenience 101.  The plethora of fast food is so tempting not only because of the taste of the inferior low quality food but for the ability upon demand you can order whatever you want and presto its on your plate.  What ever happened to actually cooking food with your own personal seasonings and spices like grandma used to make but oh you want it now and cooking just takes too long.  Remember when kids actually played with toys and dolls  instead of playing video games and watching Disney Channel all day?  Many kids now have a hard time being social with their peers due to long-term isolation. Read more…

Bumblebee Species Decline 96 Percent

January 8, 2011 1 comment

New research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that another vitally important pollinator, the bumblebee, is in serious decline. According to the figures, there has been a shocking 96 percent decline in four major species of the bumblebee, and an up to 87 percent decrease in their overall geographic coverage.

“We provide incontrovertible evidence that multiple Bombus species have experienced sharp population declines at the national level,” explained researchers in their report. And in a phone interview with Reuters, study author Sydney Cameron from the University of Illinois, Urbana, explained that these bumblebee species are “one of the most important pollinators of native plants.”

Over the course of three years, the research team evaluated 382 different sites in 40 states, and mulled data from over 73,000 museum records. They determined that bumblebees are needed to pollinate various fruits and vegetables, and that they accomplish this task in a very unique way.

“The 50 species (of bumblebees) in the United States are traditionally associated with prairies and with high alpine vegetations,” said Cameron. “Just as important — they land on a flower and they have this behavior called buzz pollination that enables them to cause pollen to fly off the flower.”

In other words, without bumblebees and the special way in which they pollinate, entire segments of agriculture are threatened with extinction. Like honeybees and bats, bumblebees are vital in order to grow food. Without them, humanity will starve to death.

Misleadingly, many experts largely blame various pathogens, fungi and viruses for the die-offs of these pollinators, while giving only a brief mention — if any at all — to the toxic pesticides and herbicides that are increasingly being linked to things like colony collapse disorder (CCD), the name given to the mass bee die-off phenomenon. A recently leaked report, for instance, has revealed that a popular Bayer herbicide is responsible for killing off bees.