Mar. 17th, 2017


“It’s not bees that are experiencing colony collapse and infections by the varroa mite: it’s honeybees. There are 7 recognised species of honeybee, and 20,000 total species of bee, many of which are solitary.
There are also other pollinators that receive nary a mention: wasps, midges, flies, beetles, beeflies, moths, butterflies, ants, birds, bats, lizards, monkeys, lemurs, and possums.
I can no longer get on board with the apocalyptic “If the bees die, so do we,” brigade, because in many places where they are used for agricultural pollination, honeybees are an invasive species. Their transport from crop to crop is what spreads the mite, and weakens the hive. Their honey-hoarding instinct has been shown to be to the detriment of other, native pollinators.
I’d like to see a discourse about “pollinator decline” reaching the mainstream. Most pollinators have been in decline since the beginning of the twentieth century, with the loss of native flora to the expansion of orchards and monoculture farming severely circumscribing their foraging areas.
We can’t hitch the integrity of our entire food system to a few floundering species of honeybee: what can we do to to protect biodiversity, and the delicate web of life that supports our continued existence? Can we shift the conversation from “save the bees” to “save the biome”?”

Check out the #bees and #pollinators archives for more information.

Further reading:

Pollinator Decline

Honeybee Ecology

(via biodiverseed)

This is the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, a late Medieval bridge that still exists today.  In the 15th century, like a lot of urban bridges all over Europe, it was packed with shops, stalls, workshops, etc., and was a very bustling place.  After sundown, when the shops closed, guys would have sex with each other inside the buildings. 

I love that we can know that, along with the most popular M/M pick up bar in Florence (The Buco, which basically means Hole, so less subtle even than the 20th century American Gay Bar, the Mineshaft) for like centuries, other bars (particularly the Sant’Andrea) and neighborhoods to cruise if you wanted to get laid in 15th century Florence, as well as which church portico to lurk in in15th century Venice in which decade, and that most apothecary/barbershops or pastry shops were a good bet for cruising.

So much of our history was lost or suppressed, sometimes it just blows me away when little scraps survive the centuries, even if the reasons we know are (particularly for Venice) gruesome.

… Huh.

I have actually been here. I went on a quick school trip to Florence with an art history study group from the British boarding school I was at an exchange in, in 1998.

Shortly before the trip, I had gotten in major disciplinary trouble and there had been a scandal because it had been revealed that I was having an affair with another girl. (The girl’s own mother turned us in, somehow mistakenly thinking it would… be helpful? I don’t know.) The only reason the scandal died down and I wasn’t expelled is that I got tonsilitis and was laid up in the infirmary for so long that the furor dissipated and everyone moved on. But the time I spent in Florence, without the other girl (she wasn’t in the study group), was marred slightly by no one wanting to be my roommate (one girl, a friend of my girlfriend, quietly but firmly stepped up and was quite sweet, I will never forget her kindness), and some of the other girls harassing me. Nothing major, but low hissed words and a general shunning. It didn’t bother me, I was excited to be in Italy. It was Valentine’s Day and I was alone but it was the first time in my life I wasn’t single. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I mostly didn’t give a shit about the other people being assholes. I saw a lot of art and was very moved by that, instead. I’d never been to Italy before and I correctly surmised I’d never be back. (There’s still time, but I’m not holding my breath. Travel is for the young and wealthy.)

We spent some time on the Ponte Vecchio, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

Knowing this probably would have.
uh, heh, I uh. I forgot to wear green today. Which wouldn’t really be much of a thing, I normally wear greenish/bluish stuff, but I was getting dressed and happened to find a red shirt, and then I had some red socks, and well. i’m super black-and-red-themed today, very goth, sort of cute ok whatever, but like. Very not green.

well, nobody really notices what i wear, and if anyone tries to pinch me I’ll punch them, this is well-established in my personal history. just. ha. 



As a child I always wanted to eat potatoes. Nowadays I have limited my intake of potatoes in my diet but some days I crave for potatoes. To satisfy my potato craving I like to eat them at breakfast. One of my favorite breakfasts as a child was roti and aloo-bhaja. Aloo-bhaja (potato fries) is very popular among people of Bengali decent across the world. It is made several ways. You can make it soft or crispy. The crispy version is usually served as a side dish during lunches. I personally like it soft, cooked in less oil for breakfast.


2 medium potatoes½ small onionsalt to taste½ teaspoon turmeric
2-3 green chilis or to taste
1 tbsp of oil

Take two medium size potatoes, ½ small size onion, green chillies (or jalapeno peppers).

Chop the onions. To make it spicier chop the green chillies but if you want it less spicy keep the green chilis whole. Take the potatoes and peel them. Cut them first in thin round slices.   

Now cut the roundels (cut round potatoes) into long and thin strips.

The slices will look like this. After cutting, soak them in water.

Take a thick bottom pan or non-stick pan. I used a Karahi, it is a thick, circular, and deep cooking pot that looks similar to a Wok. A karahi is used mostly in South Asian cuisine. Take the karahi and put it on medium heat.

Add 1 Tbsp of oil. I use Canola oil for cooking Indian cuisine because it has a high boiling or smoke-point temperature and it is ideal to use in cooking (Patel, Balasubramanian & Jannu, 2011). Let the oil get warm. Add the green chilies and cook them for few a seconds. Drain the water from the potatoes and add them in the karahi. Make sure there is no water in it. Be careful while you add them in hot oil as it can splatter. Stir the potatoes in oil and cover the pan/karahi and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat. Open the cover, stir and add the chopped onions and stir again. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on medium heat while stirring in between. Add salt and turmeric and stir. Then lower the flame/heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stir occasionally and make sure you do not break the potatoes. 

Cook in low flame until potatoes are cooked. Turn up the heat to medium if your potatoes are not brown enough and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Take the spatula and cut one piece of potato to see if its cooked.

Serve with roti and tea.

Aloo bhaji is the best of bhajis

Still haven’t made it, but I reblogged to remind myself do it this week.



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