E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Three regions in California recently implemented transportation plans as part of a statewide strategy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Can you explain? -- Bill Oakes, Reno, NV         

me'nthedogs via Flickr Creative Commons

Since 2006, Colony Collapse Disorder has drastically reduced honey bee populations across North America. In California, there’s another emerging threat to the hive that’s straight out of a B-horror film (see what we did there?), a parasite that’s turning honey bees into mindless automatons, or as they’re being called by some, “zom-bees." 

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.

Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.

Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.

This is a story about what can happen when no one is looking. For the patients at Universal Pain Management, a medical clinic in northern Los Angeles County, Dr. Francis Riegler is always looking.

Riegler huddles with the clinic's nurse practitioner over a computer printout. The one-page report from the state's drug-tracking system shows that a patient was on the hunt for more Vicodin, a powerful pain reliever that he was already getting from Riegler's clinic.

There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.

The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.