Sunday, November 29, 2009

Of fish and alaskan governors

I think I mentioned a documentary titled End of the Line a while back, simply saying that I couldn't wait to see it. It's now out on video from Mongrel Media, and I've finally been seen this documentary, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

I've read enough about the fishing industry that not a lot in it was new to me, but the documentary was still fascinating because visually a lot of it is gorgeous, and the interviews with the scientists were really interesting - all these profs with data at their fingerprints saying "it doesn't matter what the Chinese government says, the charts show that 90% of the fish are gone, and that's the truth!"

The only real quibble I have with it is a very brief stat they give, saying that 10% of the fish brought up out of the ocean by those deep sea trawlers are bycatch that just get thrown dead back into the water. I've read other books where that number is much much higher... as in 1/3 of the fish (and dolphins and turtles and whales) pulled out of the water get thrown back dead. I'm curious about where they got the 10% number from.

P.S. another great thing to watch regarding the state of the oceans is a TED talk by Sylvia Earle: Protect Our Oceans.

Sarah Palin both exasperates me and amuses me. Her biography Going Rogue: An American Life is now out, and of course she takes a shot at vegetarians:

Besides addressing her views on the McCain campaign and the media, Palin, a passionate Alaskan hunter, takes aim at vegetarians. Palin states, “If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”

The accommodating host went on to explain, “I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially love moose and caribou. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals -- right next to the mashed potatoes.”

Is she really such a simpleton?

a) the "right next to the mashed potatoes" line just makes you groan because that's a joke that has been on T-Shirts for at least ten years now.
b) The article I link to above mentions that Palin actually identifies herself in her book as a carnivore. A carnivore, Sarah? Really? A carnivore? Not an omnivore?
c) The most annoying thing is that this groan-inducing poke at vegetarians will appeal to a huge swath of American voters, and might even make them vote for her. Can't you just see Joe-Bob in Texas chuckling over the "right next to the potatoes" joke and going "God I like that Palin, maybe I'll even vote for her in 2012."

If gets the republican nomination, and actually wins the presidency, maybe the world will end in 2012.