Deadly Interplay of Nature's System Architecture

ATCA Briefings

London, UK - 07 June 2007, 01:22 GMT - We are grateful to Richard Thomas Gerber, based in Michigan, USA, for his second submission to ATCA in June, "The Deadly Interplay of Nature's System Architecture -- Red Flag Warning!" which follows from "Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- Mysterious, Massive Death of Bees in the US -- Are bees the Canary in the mineshaft?" submitted in February this year.

intentBlog: Deadly Interplay of Nature's System Architecture

Richard Thomas Gerber is CEO of Intelegen Inc, a "proof-of-concept" company based in Michigan, USA, now celebrating it's eleventh year; with a current focus on high quality video production, streaming and interactive media development; system development, meta research and predictive analytics derived from data mining the Internet. Richard is also an informatics systems architect with 22 years experience working in the Detroit metropolitan area in the US. He has serviced or acted as an information technology consultant to over 200 clients from a broad range of industries specializing in accounting and finance applications and systems integration and custom development. He has worked for Moore Stephens International and as a consultant for Daimler Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor. He also currently hosts and maintains virtual manufacturing environments for several companies with time critical manufacturing operations and multiple physical plant and office locations across the US. He writes:

Dear DK and Colleagues

Re: The Deadly Interplay of Nature's System Architecture -- Red Flag Warning!

Birds, bees, and amphibians, nature's most sensitive environmental indicators are telling us something, they are waving a red flag! Something is going on that needs our attention. Months after coming to our collective awareness on ATCA in regard to the bee deaths called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), CCD still remains unexplained and other species are also succumbing to massive, often sudden die offs. CCD has now been reported in the Southern Hemisphere making it a global issue. Colony Collapse Disorder sounds like the biblical story of "Rapture" -- one colony disappears without a trace and another colony a few yards away remains in place and the inability to understand the cause has researchers perplexed.

It reads like a Sherlock Holmes mystery members of various species dying or declining en masse, often suddenly, for no apparent reason. Autopsies on birds and bees have turned up nothing conclusive in many cases leaving experts perplexed. It's an effect with no known single cause, the victims seemingly unrelated yet connected by the fact that their afflictions are occurring in concert across a broad geographic region. The factor that could play the biggest role considering the planet wide scope is the climate and extreme or unusual weather patterns. Pesticides and genetically modified plants have also been indicated as factors in what may be a compound effect. Some of the causes of the die-offs are known, often the result of an increasing number of viral mutations, or a fungus spreading in abundance due to a warmer climate.

Since the last ATCA article in February which was focused on the mysterious sudden disappearance of bees new data has come in and the problem is growing. Colony Collapse Disorder has now been determined to be affecting 30 states up from 22 in the United States and is now also showing up in Canada. Other European countries like Germany, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland and Greece are also reporting bee die-offs. Poland provides a clue: their bee colonies are spread out among small farmers which would indicate that it is not a disease because of the distance between affected colonies. Another clue may be found in that organic beekeepers in the US are fairing quite well and have not encountered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) unlike the larger commercial operation, organic beekeepers do not put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for Varroa mites and they do not feed antibiotics to the bees. They also avoid proximity to GMO crops however it is not easy to control or certify this.

The bee disappearance has now been reported in the Southern hemisphere making it a global issue. China, Taiwan, Guatemala and Brazil are reporting unprecedented, unexplained bee losses. Taiwan has been unusually warm and entomologists at National Taiwan University wonder if global warming, combined with nicotine-based pesticides that affect bee memories, could be the cause.

On June 5th I spoke with Paul Growald, President, Coevolution Institute and Co-Chair, North American Pollinators Protection Campaign. He was concerned that recent media stories tried to implicate cell phones and also a protozoa as the cause but they were both based on erroneous analysis and understanding. Paul emphasized that when eco-systems are drastically modified which includes the practice of monoculture and attempts to control and manipulate or intervene in natural processes an imbalance is created. For example bees have fewer genes for detoxification then just about any other species. They have only 23 genes, where the fruit fly has over 100, this means they are much more vulnerable to toxins or foreign proteins. Most frustrating to researchers though is after months of feverish investigation the phenomena remains unexplained and defies rational logic, as if there is much we do not yet understand about the workings of nature and evolution, perhaps some factor that cannot be observed or measured with our instruments.

One new suspect and "factor of interest" that is very complex and not well understood are magnetic fields and their effect on both navigation and the immune system in both birds and bees. It is complex because magnetic fields influence biochemistry at the molecular and subatomic levels. There has been a gradual decrease in the strength of the earth's magnetic fields with unusual anomalies occurring in certain regions. There is indication that it is leading to a polar shift on the planet earth, like the one that occurs on the sun. In February 2001, the Sun did a magnetic polar shift. The next one is due again in 2012. NASA scientists who monitor the Sun say that our star's awesome magnetic field flipped, signalling the arrival of a solar maximum. But it wasn't so obvious to the average human. There is great debate and controversy over the amount of time in which the earth polar shift occurs. Many thought it to occur over thousands of years while now some are saying it could happen in as little as a decade and could be influenced by the suns magnetic field which is still not fully understood by scientists. This timing related to 2012 has in itself created a lot of interest into why the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and observations passed down through generations preceding historical great floods. One observation was that the sun was split in half, which is what would appear to happen when large sunspots visible to the naked eye lined up and down it's centre just preceding the Solar Maximum and polar flip. This solar cycle peak in 2012 is predicted to be much more dramatic and energetic then any before it.

Bees are not the only victims, birds and amphibians are also dying in large numbers with no explanation as to what the cause is. The decline in the sparrow population in and around cites seems to be a universal phenomenon.

There are other effects being observed as well, genetic changes in trees in the north resulting in a match to their southern neighbours to accommodate warmer climate conditions, and small animals moving to higher elevations to live, in response to the warmer temperatures. There is some indication that perhaps nature is responding in advance to coming changes based on instinct.

Mystery surrounds the huge declines of birds that migrate thousands of miles from Africa to Europe each spring. Scientists fear that their dwindling numbers may be a warning of widespread environmental damage. Climate chaos, drought and desertification in Africa, and massive pesticide use on African farmland may all be to blame for the declines of once common UK birds such as the Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata, Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix and European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur, a BirdLife Europe-wide study led by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) concludes. The research, to be published in the journal Biological Conservation, shows that 54 per cent of the 121 long-distance migrants studied have declined or become extinct in many parts of Europe since 1970. The study also compared migrants and resident birds with similar characteristics, and in almost every case, the migrant fared worse.

Amphibian mass die-offs have been reported around the world, scientists have found a 75 percent decline in amphibian population over the last 35 years. The concern is so great that a project called Noah's Ark has been created to preserve members of the species. Some deaths have been linked to pollution and pesticides while most others appear to be climate related. One factor to take into account is that some of these mortality events are occurring in pristine areas usually not affected by manmade chemicals and this would lead to an increased probability that it is climate related or producing a compounding effect. For example a warming trend has raised night-time temperatures and increased cloud cover, which makes for cooler days by blocking solar radiation. The subtle change, which might go unnoticed by us bipeds, is thought to have been ideal for chytridomycosis, a disease caused by a waterborne fungus that has flared up throughout the world killing amphibians.

Research by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other scientists has identified many deadly virus infections and chytrid fungus as causes of some recent amphibian die-offs and local population declines. Scientists are actively investigating other hypotheses that could help explain these worldwide declines, including increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation due to ozone thinning, the spread of non-native predators, contamination from pesticides and other chemicals, and rising temperatures. Many biologists suspect a combination of factors may be responsible.

Nature is dynamic and is very adaptable, various species can move and relocate, however humankind because of it's dependency on a fixed, centralized infrastructure cannot move so easily and quickly to adapt to environmental changes. Furthermore with globalization and our integrated economies what effects one region of the world can have instant repercussions throughout the entire world. As much as some would like to believe, we are no longer separate and isolated, humanity has become a single entity that may depend on unity and the application of collective wisdom for it's survival. As such the world body needs to be thinking with one mind from a holistic perspective, not from an isolated individual perspective. Based on mitochondrial DNA evidence, we are almost certain that 70,000 years ago the human population was reduced to around 1,000 people, and if it happened once it could happen again.

One might wonder if nature is not reconfiguring itself and adapting to climate chaos, or if it is a naturally unfolding evolutionary process, perhaps driven by dynamically adaptive or even intelligent genes capable of self modification, and then spread by viral replication restructuring the physiology of an entire species.

Nature does not recognise humanity's artificial geographical boundaries and the cause and effect relationships do not stop at the national border. What happens on a farm in Africa can affect a community in Europe. Climate chaos and extreme weather is no doubt having a direct and unprecedented effect on humanity. It is the only common denominator, in all what we see occurring.

We must ask our selves; if we make choices based on boundaries that exist only in our minds but not in nature, will our choices be in harmony or in conflict with nature? How can we safely, from our limited understanding, try to force, modify and manipulate natural processes between billions of objects with millions of defined relationships if we do not understand each and everyone? It would appear nature has had billions of years to perfect a most complex system that no single human mind could ever understand and process, let alone any super computer. The processing power necessary to simulate entire life systems will only be possible when quantum computing makes some advances, and even then this goal may be unrealistic if it turns out the universe is itself some sort of quantum computer. How could a single part represent the sum and detail of all the other parts? Perhaps a holographic quantum computer would be necessary, and perhaps it already exists.

From an informatics perspective, I ask myself would I allow some programmer to come in and make a few changes to the code or a database without understanding, the entire architecture of the system and the relationships between all the objects in the systems and the functions they depend on? The answer is no, he would need to confer with the system architect to ensure his changes would not interfere with other processes. So how is it that humankind assumes that it can make programming changes to our environment or intervene in natural processes without fully understanding it's complex integrated architecture? The other question that begs to be answered is who is the system architect that we would need to confer with?

Climate chaos and environmental imbalance is affecting us now. Fish of all species are haemorrhaging and dying in all the Great lakes in the US and it is spreading to lakes in Wisconsin. Today we have a fish die off in the Salton Sea, which is an inland saline lake, located in the Colorado Desert in Southern California. Dead fish swamp the beaches of Ukraine and there is no indication of poisoning as the cause.

Pigs are haemorrhaging, blood literally pouring onto the streets, and dying in large numbers in China and Vietnam. Hundreds of pigs, chickens died of a mystery illness in Indonesia's West Timor. Nothing stands out more than bird deaths from avian flu. Climate stress can affect immune systems which can facilitate death from other causes. The earth's magnetic field also seems to play a role in immune system performance. An algae bloom in Southern California coastal waters has produced record levels of a toxic acid. The chemical has been blamed in the deaths of numerous marine mammals and seabirds in recent months.

Wisdom would have it that we entertain all possibilities even those that would seem improbable due to our current lack of understanding. To intervene in natural processes without fully understanding them and maintaining a holistic perspective is irresponsible at best and could lead to catastrophic consequences at worst. Perhaps this would indicate the need for massive collective investment in quantum computing and individuals with cross discipline experience. Wisdom would have us adapt and prepare, and change our systems and infrastructure to accommodate changes that we may have little or no control over at this point. Again it does not matter what percentage is the fault of man or a fact of nature, the solution is the same, sustainable development and holistic design with mobility and decentralisation, come to mind.

I look at the world now, and that which our collective attention is on, demonstrated by the content of the mass media and most of it is trivial psychological fiction we entertain ourselves with, and serves no beneficial purpose while our ignoring of the issues of importance is detrimental.

While the media does sometimes serve the interests of it's client advertisers it also serves the general population what it demands, so both the media and the audience are complicit in the crime of ignorance. If we are lucky fearless truth based leaders void of psychological fiction, we will cut through the mind clutter to direct our attention to the matters of great importance and the general population will wake up to demand it.

We will wake up, but it may be the gnawing hunger and the empty refrigerator or the winds tearing the roof of our house, or the sight of our submerged automobile, barren fields, and dead livestock that may be the final trigger, but by then for most it will be too late.

We need to produce cross discipline global systems analysts and architects, empowered by collaboration technology, to redesign our systems planet wide, and implement the changes in a project that would dwarf the Manhattan project in it's scope and expediency and result in zero unemployment and poverty, and the world will do this working without artificial fictional boundaries as One.

All the best

Richard Thomas Gerber

Read the previous article here: Thomas Gerber: Mysterious, Massive Death of Bees


We look forward to your further thoughts, observations and views. Thank you.

Best wishes

For and on behalf of DK Matai, Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA)

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 100 countries: including several from the House of Lords, House of Commons, EU Parliament, US Congress & Senate, G10's Senior Government officials and over 1,500 CEOs from financial institutions, scientific corporates and voluntary organisations as well as over 750 Professors from academic centres of excellence worldwide.

The views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. Please do not forward or use the material circulated without permission and full attribution.

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