Surferbird News-Links, 23rd Edition


Welcome to the 23rd edition of Surferbird News-Links! Today's top stories include light therapy for bees, jet biofuel made from logging scraps, garlic mashed potatoes, circular economy, endangered coconuts, and more.

Post-election kindness

Many of us feel confused and agitated since the election - jumping to conclusions and often focusing on the negative. But here's a story about artists who are literally painting over hate (, or at least expressions of hate. Talk about going beyond wearing a safety pin, they're taking action, which has a way of uplifting the rest of us. This is a short read, however, it will inspire. The imagery these artists create and the message in the art itself, lends a lingering feeling of hope.




Light therapy for bees( - A near infrared light therapy improved ATP production, activity, and the survival of bees exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides. Interestingly, the light treatment also improved the survival of bees that didn't receive the therapy. The two major pesticides responsible for bee colony decline are malathion and chlorpyrifos. In addition, a third pesticide, diazinon, which is often used around homes to kill cockroaches and ants, is also responsible for harming wildlife. For more information, take a look at the original source, here (

Climate change

Climate change is already affecting almost all ecosystems on Earth ( - Climate change is affecting animals and their ecosystems in unexpected ways. Changes in body size, timing of migrations, sex ratios, distribution, and the time of year in which flowering plants bloom are merely a small set of examples. From genes to ecosystems, a 1.2° degree temperature increase above pre-industrial levels has already made a huge impact.

Could carbon be used as a tool? (  - This is an alternate way to look at carbon. Basically, the premise of this idea is that humans made carbon toxic by putting it in the wrong place. What if we stopped demonizing carbon? To fully understand this new language of living carbon, durable carbon, and fugitive carbon, you'll need to take a look at the infographic in the link. I'm truly fascinated by McDonough's work.

Green technology

Powering an airliner with logging leftovers ( - Talk about using local resources, Alaska Airlines completed a five hour flight from Tacoma, Washington, to Washington D.C. on biofuel made from forestry industry scraps. The carbon emissions from the flight were reduced by 70 percent, compared to jets using petroleum-based fuel. Just imagine the emissions reduction from an entire fleet!

Food and farming

Complete guide to mashing potatoes ( - For you serious cooks out there, check out this handy guide on how to achieve the mashed potato texture of your dreams. I'm not a serious cook these days. But as it turns out, my good old-fashioned potato smasher is a pretty good choice.

Julia Child's garlic mashed potatoes ( - I enjoy having followers from all over the world. So, when I saw this recipe, I thought it fit in nicely. You don't have to celebrate Thanksgiving to enjoy this timeless gem.

Distressing news about coconuts ( - Because of a bacteria that causes lethal yellowing, coconuts are in trouble, especially in the Caribbean. Learn about the challenges of coconut breeding along with the difficulties in maintaining diversity. Hopefully, the companies that sell coconut products step up to the plate to fund this important research.

Slave labor and your food ( - We don't buy much processed food in our house. But there's no getting around buying a few products, like ketchup. Even if I made it - you can do that, you know - my son wouldn't eat it. And the disappointing news is that our brand is at the bottom of the chart for slave labor, as per this article. The reporting system isn't perfect, but it's a start. Check it out. Where do your foods fit in? These are horrifying statistics.


Hope for opioid pain killer addiction in a drug that mimics marijuana without the highs ( - In some states medical marijuana is already legal. But not everyone wants to get high when looking for pain relief. In light of 28,000 U.S. deaths in 2014 from all legal and illegal opioids, this research could potentially change this tragic statistic.

Potential for West Nile to cause premature death ( - Well, this is hardly good news. And I don't like this part of health reporting, but it's important. Out of 4,144 patients infected with West Nile in Texas, 212 died prematurely, even after seemingly having recovered from the virus. It was noted that perfectly healthy people, before contracting the virus, experienced an overall decline in health. You might want to explore further details in the article.

Closing thoughts

Words of wisdom and a call to action from Seth Godin ( - So, how are you feeling about the election results? Regardless of which candidates you supported, remember - you have a voice. All it takes is an internet search to find ways of expressing opposition and/or support as petitions and requests for donations abound. Seth Godin, in the link above, doesn't tell us who or what to support. He merely tells us to do it. It's often slow, hard work - but important. A nice, short read.


Honestly, I was thinking about a quote that Chelsea Green posted on Twitter from the book Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizations Can Change Everything, by Becky Bond and Zack Exley. Here's the quote: "There is no such thing as a single-issue revolution." And along came The Beatles playing "Revolution" in my head. Thanks, guys.   Laura