Blue

Tuna is really nice. I like tuna… but i’ve not been eating it for the last couple of years. It’s a meaningless gesture.

Fish stocks across the world are in retreat because of over-fishing. One study suggests oceans will be stripped clean of all fish by 2048. Bluefin is imminently at risk of commercial extinction. The wildlife charity WWF forecasts that breeding stocks of the fish that migrate from the Atlantic to spawn will be wiped out in the Mediterranean by 2012.

 — Revealed: the bid to corner world’s bluefin tuna market, The Independent.

The demand for bluefin tuna in Japan is huge, and drives this business… it’s obviously very profitable for all the parties involved – from corporations, to restaurants, from middlemen, to organised crime. However, given the world’s experience with whaling, it’s really hard to see how we make any progress on these issues.

And, it’s not a new problem. In Monterey, California, there is a museum in one of the now closed canneries showing the 1000lb tuna they used to catch and can. The catch was so huge that it destroyed the market price, much of it ending up at pet food factories. In the North Sea, and North Atlantic, cod has been fished literally to the point of extinction. The same is probably true for herring. It takes a complete collapse in a fishery, literally getting to the point where no fish can be found, before action is possible.

We are rapacious.

The actions of a few are meaningless against the vested interests of industries and corporations; pointless in the face of advertising preaching the virtues of ever higher levels of consumption. Who dreams of the simple life? Our only hope is a change in fashion!

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Reality Sucks

Imagine a group of 100 fisherman faced with declining stocks and worried about the sustainability of their resource and their livelihoods. One of them works out that the total sustainable catch is about 20% of what everyone is catching now (with some uncertainty of course) but that if current trends of increasing catches (about 2% a year) continue the resource would be depleted in short order.

The Tragedy of the Climate Commons, Realclimate

No need to imagine!

The Commission acknowledged years of policy failure in an unusually candid report last month, which concluded that too many subsidy-dependent fishing boats were chasing too few fish. “If nothing happens soon, we will soon end up with no fish to fish for,” said Joe Borg, the fisheries commissioner.

— Storm threatens as Brussels trawls for answer, FT.com

Three Things

1. The mechanism by which general anesthetic functions is not understood. Given that millions of people undergo procedures requiring anesthesia ever year, you’d have thought someone would have bothered to work it out!

Equally interesting is that it’s not known why different regions of the brain react differently; consciousness is lost, but breathing continues…

2. ブリ (Japanese Amberjack) between 35 – 60cm is called イナダ (inada) in 関東 (kanto / tokyo), ハマチ (hamachi) in 関西 (kansai / osaka), and フクラギ (fukuragi) in 北陸 (hokuriku / kanazawa). The size limit in kansai is actually 40 – 60cm. There are two other sets of names (below 35 / 40cm, and 60 – 80cm), with only ブリ (buri ) at over 80cm, being universal.

Funny how hamachi is the only one to have made it out of japan – it must sound better in the marketing.

3. Benoît Mandelbrot did not discover the Mandelbrot Set, it’s merely named after him. Gaston Julia, and Pierre Fatou also have sets named after them. Of these three, Fatou is the one i’ve never heard of, and was probably the first to define the Mandelbrot Set!

There, wasn’t that fun?