BeeHacker.com is devoted to the cross-pollination of beekeeping and technology. At its core are several evolving projects that benefit the honey bee and beekeepers. This is no ivory tower research lab, no secret skunk works, and no private patent mill. Because good science doesn’t depend on sponsorship by vested interests. This website is a collaborative development effort open to all based on open source and creative common technologies for the benefit of all.
This site exists because it needs to exist. Beekeeping has not changed much in the last 100 years – a time when honey bees could pretty much get along on their own. That has all changed in the last 25 years. The honey bee is under attack from global viruses, fungal and bacterial infections, and infestations of mites, beetles, and moths. It sucks to be a honey bee right now. It might also suck to be a human that likes steak (alfalfa fed beef), cotton sheets, strawberries, oranges, peaches, blueberries, almonds, melons, and hundreds of other foods that depend on bees for pollination for commercial viability.
I hope this site challenges makers, hackers, midnight coders, DIYers, and amateur scientists to learn more about the honey bee and to invest a little of their talent towards a serious problem. The honey bee needs YOU! And so does anybody that ever enjoyed a juicy steak or a crisp apple.
I have only awe and wonder for the most fascinating super-organism on the planet: the honey bee colony.
- A honey bee colony is a super-organism – the cells of this super-organism (bees) cannot live long apart from their colony so individual bees are like cells of a larger organism. There is no centralized control in the colony but bees do have narrow functional roles like organs in mammals. Unlike the specialized cells in organs of mammals, the functions of bees change several times over their short lifetime.
- Like a warm-blooded mammal, the honey bee super-organism stores up energy (honey instead of fat) during the summer months to enable it to survive cold winters and so it can extend its range beyond the tropics or regions with year-round food sources.
- Bees are the only animal other than primates capable of symbolic communication. They perform a dance (on a vertical wall in the dark) to communicate to other foraging bees the distance and direction to nectar-bearing flowers .
- Bees can be trained to recognize specific human faces, hunt for buried explosives, detect chemical spills, and other things devised by perverse humans.
- Bees make honey (yum!) but they will defend their honey from anything that resembles a bear or skunk or other dark hairy creature (like my poor Welsh Terrier, CB). That’s why beekeepers wear white suits. Yet, they are remarkably gentle. I can put my bare hand on a frame of comb covered in bees and I will not get stung.
- I’ve included a picture of CB here for another reason. A honey bee super-organism has roughly the same weight, energy consumption and waste removal requirements as my 25 lb. dog. However, CB’s density (weight per volume) is not as variable.
Who’s Responsible For This?
Beehacker.com is my idea, creation, labor of love, and expense. My name is Tom Rearick. I live in Roswell, Georgia, USA with my wife, two boys, a welsh terrier, and 150,000 girls. In my day job, I am founder and CEO of Microception, a company that develops and sells the leading interview room recording and case management system for police departments, child advocacy centers, and health care providers. I have a BS of Engineering degree from Duke, a MSEE from Syracuse, and an MBA from Emory. I have worked as an engineer at GE (ABC course) designing missile seekers and as a senior scientist at Lockheed Advanced Research where I directed a Computation Vision research group. I have started and successfully sold two bleeding edge companies prior to Microception. These first two companies were both named ‘Big Science Company’ (because I like irony) and they both commercialized applications of artificial intelligence.
Beehacker.com gets it’s inspiration from C. L. Stong’s ‘The Amateur Scientist” that appeared as a monthly feature in Scientific American magazine during the 1960s and collected in “The Book of Projects for The Amateur Scientist” by the same author. I read these articles when I was in 7th grade and have dreamed of building X-ray machines, atom smashers, and Van De Graff electrostatic generators ever since.
Not a Blog
Even though this site runs on blogging software (WordPress), don’t expect daily or even weekly postings. These projects are much more time consuming than the time required to write them up. This may not be great literature but the projects do take time. And sometimes they fail miserably – and I will report on those as well if there is something to be learned.
I dislike most science blogs. They are written by journalists. Nice people but their job is reporting facts under deadline. But in Science, there are few facts. Theories, hypotheses, and conclusions drawn on experiments are unfortunately treated as if they were facts – perhaps because it is presumed that readers like closure. I will do my best to get you as close to the original research paper, data, or patent that I can so that you can draw your own conclusions. But don’t expect closure. This will always be a work in progress.
Why blogging software? Because good science is like good art – not everyone should be in total agreement regarding its value. Perhaps this will be the millennium in which all are questions are answered. But I doubt it. Until then, there is blogging software to give dissenters a voice.
This is a huge hypertext document. There are links everywhere: every picture expands in size, nearly every non-black block of text is a link. So be a promiscuous clicker; explore.
I welcome everyone to post something that 1) contributes to the understanding of bees, beekeeping, open source software, or ethical hacking, 2) asks questions that might be of interest to other readers, or 3) is something that I value – for whatever reason. Regarding #3, just because I value something as content does not mean that I agree with it.
The following postings will never see the light of day:
- Obscene or offensive material. Note that my bar is lower than most.
- Obvious commercial or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) links like “You should use our term papers in your next school project. Visit CheapTermPapers.cn …”
They say that benevolent dictatorships are the most efficient form of governance. Perhaps. You decide if it is benevolent or not.
Contributors & Donations
I am looking for contributors. No, I don’t mean you should send money. Upload an original design or experiment, artwork, whatever. Work with me on a project.
A lot of blogs have a donate button that fronts a Paypal account. This one doesn’t. If you really like this site, tell your friends. If you are feeling generous, I would be so grateful to receive a small jar of your honey with a note about it.
Report a Site Bug
Have you found a bad link? Or speling error? If so, tell me, ok? See Contact above.