* Think you have a fast internet? Japan launched a satellite last week that promises speeds of 1.2 Gb per second. Blazingly fast, you say? One 75 yr old woman in Sweden clocks at 40 GB per second. SuperNet: able to download HDVD movies in just two seconds! Helps to have a son in the business, but what is first possible but uncommon eventually becomes probable and ordinary. Should I live so long and civilization hold together…

* Sixty Minutes had a segment recently on Colony Collapse situation in honeybees. It’s worth watching if you want an overview on the situation from one beekeeper’s perspective–a guy that’s been in the business for years and was the first to say we had a problem. Nothing really new as far as I’ve been able to find: a fungus; a virus high on the list of suspects. But I’m betting neonicitinoid pesticides (banned in France since 1999 because of what they do to bees) may be a common denominator with both CCD and WNS in bats. Stay tuned–should we ever get to the bottom of this.

* Does it matter at all to you that the next president has a clue about the world beyond politics? If so, consider another candidate than John McCain. Let his record speak for itself. From the Sierra Club… Washington, D.C.–In the 2007 National Environmental Scorecard released today by the League of Conservation Voters, John McCain receives a score of ZERO. McCain was the only member of Congress to skip every single crucial environmental vote scored by the organization, posting a score lower than Members of Congress who were out for much of the year due to serious illnesses–and even lower than some who died during the term. By contrast, the average Member of Congress scored a 53 in 2007. McCain posts a lifetime score of only 24

* MaciVersary! Today marks one month of PC to Mac Conversion. Mostly. The Machine goes both ways, Intel Mac. Software in use is 80% MAC, weaning from PC utilities as I can. Still vacillating between notes-organizers, top runners includes Journalr (I was almost ready to commit) and now, MacJournal (included on a list my buddy Jeremiah sent along–I’ll include it in a comment in case others are looking.) Sadly, most of these programs see Safari but are blind to Firefox for clipping and such–a major factor that sends me running back to OneNote.

* A local girl, Adelee Mitchell, made it into one of those talent thingies that I hear are on the television these days. She made it to the top 50 on a show called American Idol. Wanda Combs, editor of the Floyd Press did a good piece about the experience of competing against such huge odds.

* Ah, and as I type this I am listening to Floyd’s own Rob Neukirch on Studio Virginia (WVTF), former owner of Oddfella’s Cantina, who will be playing the lead role in the Mill Mountain performance of “The Foreigner” running through March 16 in Roanoke. I hope we’ll be able to make it down mountain for that!

* Lastly….good grief I’m wound up, eh…I learned Thursday in my Earth Day committee meeting (April 19–where water will be the central topic) that there is video online of kayakers on Bottom Creek–some pretty impressive whitewater, and of significance to me because Bottom Creek merges with our Goose Creek downstream a few miles just at the Montgomery County line together to form the South Fork of the Roanoke River.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Here’s that long list of “outliners” and other data-gathering/writing utilties for the Mac from my buddy Jeremiah. Let me know if you find or know of something here you’d recommend.

    nteresting info from wikipedia

    Mind Mappers













    iKnow & Manage

    Short Term Discount:





    PackRat (mac client for

    Snippet Mind




  2. I understand McCain to have a mixed environmental record supporting global warming, clean air and water, as well as bio research and preservation initiatives. His LCV scores have ranged from the 20’s to the 60’s. But this year is different because he has been campaigning and thus spending much of his time on the road.

    What’s interesting to me is that politics could be the reason his opponents (Clinton and Obama) missed only 25% of the 15 key environmental votes in 2007 as they are counting the Greens as their constituents. If McCain had the same or higher rating than Obama or Clinton, who do you think would garner the environmental votes? Let me put it this way, the Center for Public Integrity found that the Sierra Club is one of the top 5 funders of the Democratic Party. So my question is, are you providing your suggestion with the intent of voting for the candidate with the best environmental record, or did you never ever have any intent on voting for McCain?

    On a related or at least personal note, I recently cancelled my Sierra Club membership in response to their politics. I responded to a NJ Sierra Club newsletter that the group should not alienate that portion of their base that were Republicans as they provided the vast majority of donations for their cause. When I pointed out the Sierra Club’s politically charged anti-Republican propaganda to a fundraiser, she dismissed my claims with a laugh and said that Republicans have all the money and power and therefore, they should donate the most.

    Needless to say, the Sierra Club will no longer receive my support, nor can I bring myself to vote for a party that values collective rights over individual rights.

  3. I couldn’t find supporting evidence for your “top five Dem supporters” re the Sierra Club. Where did you find that information? Center for Public Integrity? I’ll have to see what their world view is based on and judge the credibility of provided “facts” with that in mind.

    Of course I never intended to vote for McCain, you have been a Fragments reader long enough to make that prediction, of course.

    And environmental record is high on the list of qualifications for someone I’d vote for, but I would hope to not fall into the single issue category as so many of my evangelical bretheren have for the past several elections.

    I think it is a waste of one’s imagination to play “if McCains enviro record…” Not gonna happen, except as it impacts the health of the larger oil conglomerates (what percentage Dem vs Rep and why?)

    I am a strong 30 year supporter of the National Resources Defense Council and haven’t been a Sierra member for some while.

    Collective rights over individual rights? That’s the basis for your choice? Sounds like single issue decision making to me.

  4. The area I just moved from has been slowly losing its hemlocks to the woolly adelgid, so many have treated their trees with pesticides. They’ve also started seeing many cases there of the Colony Collapse Disorder, so there is some speculation that there is a link between the pesticides used against the woolly adelgid and the Colony Collapse Disorder. We had hemlocks at our house, and we struggled with whether to use the pesticides or the more organic methods, which unfortunately weren’t as effective. We didn’t want to lose our hemlocks, but didn’t want to lose our honeybees either!

  5. Are you talking about the chemicals that go in the soil around individual trees or into the trunk OR a pesticide sprayed widely over forests? Bees would have no reason to aggregate around hemlocks of course, there being no flowers for them. Do you know which pesticides are suspect?

  6. This article described how Dems received the vast amount of “soft money”:

    “The center found that all of the top five soft-money spenders during its study period, which began in August 2000 and ended this summer, were affiliated with the Democratic party. First was the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which spent $37,990,064. Others included Emily’s List and the Sierra Club. In fact, nine of the top ten organizations are Democratic, the only exception being the Bush-Cheney 2000 committee, which spent $13,820,764 during that election. For the top 527 groups, the ratio of Democratic to Republican spending during the study period was a bit more than 12 to 1.” – Center for Public Integrity

    I have views on a broad range of issues, but I, like most others, will choose a candidate that is most closely aligned with my top 1-3 issues.