Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, April 30, 2007

Is She A Nut Or A Key?

Is Sarah Dacre the bee woman?

No, not because of the rig she's wearing, but because of something I wrote about a couple weeks ago: Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a troubling phenomenon that occurs when all a hive's' worker bees disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers.

One -- and only one -- study conducted by Dr. Jochen Kuhn at Landau University found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. It's not a done deal by any means:
Even its author, Dr Jochen Kuhn, is cautious about overstating the finding, saying it "could" provide a "hint" of a possible cause.
Enter Sarah Dacre, self-diagnosed with "electrical sensitivity." Let's pick it up from The Daily Mail:

Sarah, 51, is one of a growing band of people who claim to be experiencing extreme - and incapacitating - sensitivity to electrical appliances, as well as to certain frequencies of electromagnetic waves.

"Wi-Fi, or wireless broadband networks, seem to be the worst thing," she says.

"Closely followed by mobile phones - particularly if they're being used in an enclosed space - the base stations of cordless telephones and mobile phone masts.

"I have to restrict the amount of time I spend on the computer or watching television, and make sure I don't have too many household appliances on at once, because that sets me off as well."

This may sound bizarre, but there is no doubt that Sarah's symptoms are real.

To date, they include hair loss, sickness, high blood-pressure, digestive and memory problems, severe headaches and dizziness.

They strike with such ferocity that, since diagnosing herself as "electrically sensitive" in May 2005, she has been marooned at home. (hat-tip Jim)

There are at least two possible conclusions from this: that Sarah Dacre is a certifiable loon in the advanced stages of an intense hypochondriac hallucination, or she has something wrong with her that might be the same thing that's wrong with the bees.

I tend to think its the former because the world has been awash with electrical radiation of all sorts since its creation, because there's no logical reason why a sensitivity would wait until she's 51 years old to kick in, and because all the other critters -- human and otherwise -- don't suffer from electrical sensitivity.

I'd pass the whole thing off as one more unfortunate crazy person afraid of technology if it weren't for the bees. If the honeybees stop going back to their hives, we're toast. Einstein said we'd have three years or so before dying off if there were no honeybees around to pollinate crops, and unless there's a genetic solution of some sort in the offing, we'd best find out why some bees are wandering off.

Maybe Dacre's not a nutcase. Maybe we can learn something about a bee's brain from figuring out if she's really suffering from electrical sensitivity, and if so, why.

I hope someone smarter than me gets buzzing on this.