Another song from the aforementioned steampunk musical troupe Steam Powered Giraffe: Honeybee, a lovely piece of close harmony, of the kind whose seeming laidback effortlessness covers very tight musicianship.
By coincidence, I just had a pleasant e-mail from Garson O'Toole, author of Quote Investigator, who has kindly credited my research (and that of Bonnie Taylor-Blake) in tracing the roots of the meme to the effect that "If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live" (Albert Einstein? Charles Darwin? Maurice Maeterlinck? E. O. Wilson? Apocryphal?). Despite such debunkings, the story trundles on ...
Albert Einstein famously said mankind would become extinct without them. "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live," he predicted.... and even when authors acknowledge the lack of attribution, they still perpetuate the meme by repeating it in detail, with a minimal wrapping of provisionality. For example:
- Why we need a Plan Bee, Julie Carpenter, Express, The (London, England) - Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The importance of bees to the environment is clear. Often attributed to Einstein, there is some debate about who actually said: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."It seems a good scary soundbite never dies.
- Battle against pesticide-makers to save honeybees from a sticky end, Oliver Moody, Times, The (London, England) - Thursday, February 28, 2013
Anyhow, check out Quote Investigator. It's a long-running site, going back to 2010, with well-researched articles on quotes attributed to several hundred authors. Its resource recommendations are also worth checking out. I especially second Wikiquote; it still doesn't seem generally known that it differs from Wikipedia in actively encouraging original research, and that its default position is that included quotes must have demonstrable citation ("Wikiquote is a free online compendium of sourced quotations"). In this, it differs from the vast majority of online quotation sites.