Friday, March 28, 2008

Honey Bees and Haliburton

According to Science & Spirit magazine, Scientist at Los Alamos Labs have confirmed that ordinary honey bees can sniff out explosives even in amounts as minute as a few parts per trillion. This poises them to be right on the front line in the fight against terrorism.

Bees are strapped to small boards and exposed to the scent of explosives. They are then rewarded with honey and water. Very quickly, like Pavalov's dogs, they learn to associate the smell with the reward and stick out their tongues whenever they smell explosives.

Scientists explain the the bees are comfortable in their holder and are unharmed. When they finish their tour of duty, they are returned to the hive where they live out the rest of their lives.

The article doesn't go into any detail about how the bees will be trained and deployed in greater numbers, but based on past history, I've provided a little speculation.

The fact that the research was done at Los Alamos leads me to believe the government will give lucrative no bid contracts to Blackwater for training the bees. There will be major costs associated with fitting them with proper uniforms and I shutter to see the invoices for the honey and water used in the training. It has to be at least $1500 a gallon.

Of course, not all bees are patriotic and some might resist the training efforts. However, the boards to which they are attached will be specially designed to flip over easily. Since the bees are already strapped to boards and it is a simple matter to turn them over and then utilize the water meant for the sugar as incentive to cooperate.

It may not be long before bees organize when they realize what it happening and rather than sticking their tongues out when they smell explosives, they may stick them out at random times in order to confuse and taunt their trainers.

Returning to the hive after their tour of duty is not necessarily in the cards. With the high cost of training, it is likely that their tours will be extended two or three times and large numbers of bees may never make it back at all and others may elect to become private contractors, thus giving rise to another industry; the manufacture and sale of stylish sun glasses for their multi-faceted eyes.

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