Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Cove: Rapidshare Download Links

It took me long enough to actually watch this. I don't mind admitting that I'm a soft bugger when it comes to watching animals being killed, and especially in the manner that they are at Taiji Cove. I'm glad that I did eventually, the documentary having far more about it than the Dolphin slaughter alone. But must be said, still retaining enough footage for purpose as was necessary.

The Cove

by Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun Times

Flipper was smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. That's what Richard O'Barry thinks. He's the man who trained five dolphins for use on the "Flipper" TV show, and then began to question the way dolphins were used in captivity. In the years since, he has become an activist in the defense of captive dolphins exploited in places like Sea World.

The dolphins who are captured are luckier than the thousands harpooned to death. In a hidden cove near the Japanese coastal village of Taiji, sonar is used to confuse dolphins and lead them into a cul-de-sac where they're trapped and killed. Since their flesh has such a high concentration of mercury that it's dangerous to eat, why slaughter them? To mislabel them as whale meat, that's why. Having long ignored global attempts to protect whales from being fished to extinction, the Japanese have found dolphins easier to find. But who would eat the meat?

Japanese children, whose school lunches incredibly include mislabeled dolphin. Is it necessary to mention that dolphins are not fish, but mammals? Indeed, they're among the most intelligent of mammals and seem naturally friendly toward man. They're even tool users, employing sponges to protect their snouts in some situations, and teaching that learned behavior to their offspring.

"The Cove," a heartbreaking documentary, describes how Richard O'Barry, director Louie Psihoyos and a team of adventurers penetrated the tight security around the Taiji cove and obtained forbidden footage of the mass slaughter of dolphins. Divers were used to sneak cameras into the secret area; the cameras, designed by Industrial Light and Magic, were hidden inside fake rocks that blended with the landscape.

The logistics of their operation, captured by night-vision cameras at times, has the danger and ingenuity of a caper film. The stakes are high: perhaps a year in prison. The footage will temper the enjoyment of your next visit to see performing dolphins.

It is an accident of evolution that dolphins seem to be smiling, the film informs us. They just happen to look that way. Their hearing is incredibly more acute than a human's, and the sounds of loudspeakers and recorded music, rebounding off the walls of their enclosures, can cause them anxiety and pain. O'Barry believes one of the dolphins he trained for "Flipper" literally died of depression in his arms.

There are many documentaries angry about the human destruction of the planetary peace. This is one of the very best — a certain Oscar nominee. It includes a great many facts about the craven International Whaling Commission and many insights into the mistreatment of dolphins; Simon Hutchins, who has specialized in the subject for the London Telegraph, is especially helpful.

But when all of the facts have been marshaled and the cases made, one element of the film stands out above all, and that is the remorse of Richard O'Barry. He became rich and famous because of the TV series, which popularized and sanitized the image of captive dolphins. He has been trying for 25 years to make amends. But why, you may ask, are performing dolphins so willing to perform on cue? Well, you see, because they have to, if they want to eat.

These are my re-ups, h/t to original uploader, who will become apparent if you download them, and a remarkable site to pay a visit to. And a couple of extra bits added. No pass.

The Coved 934MB

The Edge of the World 1094MB

Bill Hicks Audio 242MB

About six hours in total, all five files in one RAR below.

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Planet is Fucked: Coral Reef Edition

And fucked it is, well and truly, it's heading downhill like snowball headed for hell, and there ain't no turning back. Only when we are done and finished as a species, gone the way of the Dodo, only then can the planet begin the long long process of recovery and healing herself. And why, and by what authority do I say this? I asked me mate, and he's a canny bugger right.

Previous editions of The Planet is Fucked.

Coral Reefs May Be Gone By 2050: Study

A recent study has found that all of the world's coral reefs could be gone by 2050. If lost, 500 million people's livelihoods worldwide would be threatened.

The World Resources Institute report, "Reefs at Risk Revisited," suggests that by 2030, over 90 percent of coral reefs will be threatened. If action isn't taken soon, nearly all reefs will be threatened by 2050. Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states, "Threats on land, along the coast and in the water are converging in a perfect storm of threats to reefs."

The AFP suggests that these threats include overfishing, coastal development, pollution, and climate change. Warming sea temperatures lead to coral bleaching, a stress response where corals expose their white skeletons. In 2005, the Caribbean saw the most extensive coral bleaching event ever recorded, often attributed to rising ocean temperatures. CO2 emissions are also making the oceans more acidic. Because of the rising acidity levels, some scientists claim we will see conditions not witnessed since the period of dinosaurs.

Lauretta Burke, one of the report's lead authors, feels that quick action could help save the reefs. She encourages policymakers to reduce overfishing and cut greenhouse gas emissions. If action is not taken though, millions of people will suffer. Shorelines will lose protection from storms -- a Time Magazine post suggests that up to 90 percent of the energy from wind generated waves is absorbed by reef ecosystems. If reefs are lost, coastal communities will lose a source of food security and tourism. HuffPo

Reinforced Sea Shepherd to Return for Tuna Season

That is some piece of kit!

Reinforced Sea Shepherd to return for tuna season
Times of Malta
24th February 2011

Fresh from its Japanese victory, marine conservation vigilante organisation Sea Shepherd will be back in the Mediterranean for the tuna fishing season with two vessels, not one.

“We’re returning to the Mediterranean in May, June, July,” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson said.

“We’ll be looking for poaching operations and if we find them we’ll cut the nets and release the tuna like we did last year.”

The organisation has just celebrated a victory after last week Japan recalled its whaling ships in the Antarctic due to safety concerns in the face of stepped-up actions by the organisation, raising hopes of an outright ban on whaling in the region.

Capt. Watson has attributed the victory in part to his organisation’s increased resources.

Last year, Sea Shepherd hit the headlines in Malta after confrontations between its vessel Steve Irwin and fishing boats, in which two Maltese divers were injured.

This year, the campaign will be stepped up as the Steve Irwin, named after Australia’s famous wildlife TV personality known as The Crocodile Hunter, will be joined by the Gojira, a high-tech trimaran, whose name translates to Godzilla in Japanese.

Asked whether the organisation would be applying political pressure on the EU and Mediterranean countries, Capt. Watson said political pressure was only a side-effect of their anti-poaching tactics. “We don’t really do that, we’re an anti-poaching organisation, so we intervene and I guess the action might have some political impact but mainly we’re interested in physically obstructing poachers and releasing their catch.”

Poaching, by Capt. Watson’s definition, includes “fishing without permits, without having the observers on board, fishing after the dates they’re not supposed to and taking more tonnage than they’re allowed”.

“Something has to be done about bluefin tuna because it’s becoming more and more endangered and the Gulf oil spill didn’t help them much.

Basically, it’s the stockpiling of tuna in Japan that is a real big problem,” Capt. Watson said.

Atlantic bluefin tuna has been on the decline. A report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species said that “the absolute extent of decline over the 50-year historical period ranging from 1957 to 2007 is estimated at 74.2 per cent, the bulk of which (60.9 per cent) was in the last 10 years”.

The same report had recommended that Atlantic bluefin tuna be listed as an endangered species, meaning it could not be traded or caught.

This proposed ban did not however win enough support from the international community.

In November, Malta and other countries blocked the EU’s proposed reduction of tuna quotas for this year’s tuna fishing season.

In 2009, tuna sales alone fetched €37 million whereas the figure in 2007 was €97 million, according to official Maltese statistics. Times of Malta

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Thought For Today: Not Made In Japan

In all my years on this planet, today when shopping online for a new monitor, was the first time I consciously made country of origin; not Japanese, a prerequisite in my considerations.

Ain't that so Teddy?

Betty Boop, Father Jack and The Big Blue Whale

It's futile to be brutal, that won't get you a dime, so be human all the time.
Boop boop a doop.

Don't think you're wonderful just because you weren't born with a tail and claws.
Boop boop a doop.

Be human! animals can cry. Be human! it's easy if you try.
Boop boop a doop.


Boop oop a boopa doop boop oop a doop.

Boop oop a boopa doop boop oop a doop.

Boop oop a boopa doop boop oop a doop.

Down with this sort of thing.

Down with this sort of thing.

Father Jack says, whalers tell em feck off and Father Ted says, Down with this sort of thing.

Drink women feck!

Feck off cup!

Feck off whalers!

Long term corporate advertising, these will percolate around the web until the Rapture comes.
There are millions of Boopers out there, as there are Father Jack fans, but the Boopers would have the better demographics by far if it came to shelling out a few bob in support of Sea Shepherd.

Ban on Rhino Horn Comes Into Force Immediately

Ban on rhino horn comes into force immediately
21 February 2011
THE ban on selling rhino horn trophies, scheduled for introduction over the next couple of months, has been brought into force with immediate effect.

The announcement was made on Friday, as ATG went to press.

A call to Animal Health's Wildlife Licensing and Registration Service (WLRS) confirmed that auctioneers with the correct CITES permissions who were advertising mounted trophies could go ahead with their adverts and sales provided those adverts had already gone to press. Thereafter, the ban would be total.

The sudden ban came after the WLRS decided to act immediately on European Commission guidance changing the definition of what constitutes a work of art in relation to rhinoceros horn. It brings to an end the lucrative legitimate trade that saw some specimens sell at auction for over £100,000.

European regulations have long allowed the sale of rhino horn only when specimens are 'worked items' prepared and acquired in such condition prior to June 1947. Until recently, mounted rhino horns in their natural state were considered to be 'worked' meaning they could be legally traded.

The new EC guidance is that "a rhino horn mounted on a plaque, shield or other type of base has not been sufficiently altered from its natural state" to qualify under the 'antiques' derogation.

It also advises that "the conditions which require any alteration to have been carried out for "jewellery, adornment, art, utility, or musical instruments" will not have been met where the artistic nature of any such alteration (such as significant carving, engraving, insertion or attachment of artistic or utility objects, etc) is not obvious".

WLRS chief John Hounslow said: "The new EC guidance has been put into practice and we will no longer give approval for the sale of mounted, but otherwise unaltered, rhino horn under the antiques derogation. Neither will we allow sales of rhino horn to take place where the artistic nature of any alteration is not obvious."

Taxidermy rhinoceros heads will be included in the ban, but the trade in antique rhino horn works of art (such as Ming and Qing dynasty libation cups) is unaffected. The law has changed only in relation to rhino horn and will not affect antiques fashioned from other endangered species, such as elephant ivory or tortoiseshell.

The new guidance reverses a ruling made two years ago that deemed rhino horn trophies permissible as works of art. Vendors responded positively to a raft of conspicuously high prices paid by Far Eastern bidders, but circumstantial evidence suggested that the horns were being bought as a raw material by the Chinese medicine trade where the price of powdered rhino horn is (according to one recent report) now $50,000 a kilo.

It was the surge of rhino horn sales to Far Eastern buyers at both UK and continental auctions that has encouraged the European Commission to look again at the issue. Specimens such as that sold by Tennants of Leyburn last year for a record £155,000 now have no legal commercial value in the UK.

By Roland Arkell

Something that dropped in as part of another email.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Oi! You Lot, Yes You Greenpeace, Will You Fucking Stop!

It wasn't Greenpeace or public opinion that put an end to whaling, it was Sea Shepherd, and all the spin in the world isn't going to alter the fact.

....For the past decade, my colleagues at Greenpeace Japan and I have been one of many people working to end Japan’s whaling by raising awareness of the issue inside Japan. One of the ways we’ve done this is to show the Japanese public the corruption that is rife inside the whaling industry. It’s Japanese taxpayer’s money that is continuing to bankroll ocean destruction, through the subsidies required to put the fleet to sea every year. blah blah

And might I remind you, you shameless fucks:

Greenpeace Statement:

Paul Watson has made many public requests for Greenpeace to reveal the location of the whaling fleet or otherwise cooperate with SSCS in the Southern Ocean when the ships of both organizations have been there simultaneously.

We passionately want to stop whaling, and will do so peacefully. That’s why we won’t help Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace is committed to non-violence and we’ll never, ever, change that; not for anything. If we helped Sea Shepherd to find the whaling fleet we’d be responsible for anything they did having got that information, and history shows that they’ve used violence in the past, in the most dangerous seas on Earth. For us, non-violence is a non-negotiable, precious principle. Greenpeace will continue to act to defend the whales, but will never attack or endanger the whalers…

In addition to being morally wrong, we believe the use of violence in protection of whales to be a tactical error. If there’s one way to harden Japanese public opinion and ensure whaling continues, it’s to use violent tactics against their fleet. It’s wrong because it puts human lives at risk, and it’s wrong because it makes the whalers stronger in Japan.
Greenpeace. So What You Are Saying Effectively, Is, That You Are A Waste Of Fucking Time

And it might have been over sooner than it has, if precious funds hadn't been diverted from Sea Shepherd to you lot, which is effectively.....

Where is Greenpeace?
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Thursday, December 09, 2010

Greenpeace has not sent a ship down to the Southern Ocean to defend the whales since 2007, but I wish they would. The more ships down there opposing the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet - the better. Greenpeace has the ships, and they certainly have the resources, and supposedly they are against whaling, so where are their ships?

And where is Greenpeace when it comes to defending the dolphins at Taiji? Nowhere to be found! They have an office and staff in Japan but not a single Greenpeacer has gone to the Cove.

And where is Greenpeace when it comes to defending the pilot whales in the Faeroe Islands? Nowhere to be found!

Iceland? Not there. Not to be found in Norway either!

They gave up defending seals in Canada decades ago.

So why does much of the public think that Greenpeace is leading the fight to save the whales, dolphins and seals? It might have something to do with where Greenpeace is spending its money:

Promotional mailings and Internet appeals! They need your money in order to ask more people for more money.

Now I don’t begrudge Greenpeace and their right to do things their way but when I am stopped on the streets in Melbourne last March and asked to donate money to send a Greenpeace ship down to Antarctica to defend the whales, I was course very inquisitive. The couple with the clipboards in hand did not recognize me, so I asked when was the last time Greenpeace had a ship in the Southern Ocean?

They told me that two Greenpeace ships had just returned from saving whales.

“You mean the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker?” I asked.

“Yes,” they answered.

“Really,” I replied, “I believe those are Sea Shepherd ships.”

“Yes,” the woman said, “but Sea Shepherd is part of Greenpeace.”

I looked at her and calmly said, “No, it is not.”

Defensively she said, “Yes it is!”

It was then I introduced myself as the Captain of the Steve Irwin and the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. She suddenly looked a little frightened and said, “I just work for Greenpeace and they told me to say what I said.”

If this was a something that happened this once, it could be seen as a mistake but other members of my crew have had similar conversations with Greenpeace canvassers on the streets of Paris, Washington D.C., and Perth, Western Australia.

And today I received the following internet message from Greenpeace:

I have taken the liberty of adding my editorial comments (in italics) more

You said it Teddy, Barclays Bankers.

H/T Steel Magnolia Save The Whales

Monday, 21 February 2011

New Rules

You must stop calling North Korea a Democratic Republic.

Their acts of sabotage have become increasingly aggressive over the years. In January 2010, Sea Shepherd's small high-speed boat Ady Gil rammed into the Japanese research vessel Shonan Maru No. 2.

You really must stop taking the piss.

And you have to stop calling commercial whaling, research.

Antarctic whaling on verge of disappearing
Feb. 20, 2011

With this season's research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean called off due to harassment by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Japan's whaling activities in the area may not see another year.

In addition to Sea Shepherd's acts of sabotage, low domestic demand for whale meat--which used to be a valuable source of protein during the food-scarce postwar years--also has made the prospect of continuing whaling extremely gloomy, officials said.

Crew members worn out

"There's no way we can outrun the Sea Shepherd boats!"

So officials of the Fisheries Agency's Far Seas Fisheries Division quoted a phone call from the Nisshin Maru in the Antarctic Ocean on Feb. 11. The 8,044-ton Nisshin Maru is the mother ship of the research whaling fleet.

The caller sounded completely exhausted, division officials said. The Fisheries Agency is part of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.

At that time, the Nisshin Maru was under fierce attack by the antiwhaling group for the second time. It also had been targeted Feb. 9.

In the Feb. 11 incident, the Far Seas Fisheries Division instructed the fleet to outrun the Sea Shepherd's two boats.

The Nisshin Maru's fastest speed is about 20 kilometers per hour, but the Sea Shepherd's Bob Barker and Gojira vessels can travel at maximum speeds of 30 kph and 44 kph, respectively.

Unable to shake off its pursuers, the Nisshin Maru was harassed by the Sea Shepherd with flares and laser beams for a full week.

When the Nisshin Maru suffered a similar assault in January 2010, the Fisheries Agency at one point studied the advisability of suspending whaling operations altogether.

However, a protest vessel broke down shortly after the assault, and the whaling ship was able to flee and continue its research whaling until March.

"It's impossible for the Japanese whaling vessels to outrun the antiwhalers, unless the activists have trouble with their vessels," one agency official said.

Another official said: "It's a miracle the nation's research whaling was conducted through March as scheduled until last year. Whaling could have been ended at any time."

What to do from 2012 on

Asked at a press conference Friday about the possibility of the country ending research whaling entirely, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano replied: "We can't say anything definite about that."

According to ministry officials, however, discussions have already begun behind the scenes about ending Japan's Antarctic whaling.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one high-ranking ministry official said five alternative scenarios have so far been studied:

-- Have the whaling fleet escorted by Japan Coast Guard vessels or others.

-- Build new whaling vessels capable of traveling at high speed.

-- Replace research whaling with commercial whaling.

-- Continue with the current whaling arrangements.

-- End whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.

The first option, whaling accompanied by escort vessels, was discussed in the government from around 2007, but was scrapped because there are no escort vessels that could travel all the way to the Antarctic.

The second alternative is "almost impossible," the official said, due to the government's severe fiscal condition.

Concerning the third option, Japan sought to bring about an IWC accord to resume commercial whaling at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in June 2010. However, the meeting broke down when the gap could not be bridged between whaling and antiwhaling nations.

A 1982 meeting of the IWC decided on a "temporary suspension" of commercial whaling, on condition the suspension would be reviewed by 1990. Research whaling is meant to study whales' ecological characteristics and their population in preparation for resuming commercial whaling.

The plan to review the ban on commercial whaling by 1990 has been shelved due mainly to growing antiwhaling sentiment in many countries.

Japan began research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean in 1987 and in the northwest Pacific Ocean in 1994, both of which are "in line with the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling," according to the Fisheries Agency.

The ministry official said, "With the suspension of research whaling, there is no possibility of whaling continuing from next season as it has in the past."

Whalers cash-strapped

Sea Shepherd's obstructive activities are not the only factor behind a possible end to Antarctic whaling, it has been suggested.

Research whaling is estimated to cost about 6 billion yen every season. Of this sum, about 800 million yen is covered by government subsidies, while the rest is primarily financed by the sale of whale meat.

About 170 minke whales were caught this season, which started in December. That is one-fifth of the target of 850.

Only two fin whales were caught, 4 percent of a 50-catch goal, according to the agency.

People concerned with whaling operations are racking their brains, saying they will barely be able to afford to fund the dispatch of the whaling fleet to the Antarctic Ocean next season.

There also are structural problems with research whaling: the IWC ban on blue whale hunting, which has been in place since 1964; the ban on commercial whaling since 1982; and a steadily growing international trend in favor of prohibiting whaling.

Under the circumstances, a great majority of the people concerned agree that Antarctic whaling is unsustainable as an industry, agency officials said.

Involved directly in the research whaling are the government-affiliated Institute of Cetacean Research and companies offering whaling boats and personnel under contracts with the institute.

Only about 180 people go whaling in the Antarctic Ocean every season, the agency said. - Daily Yomiuri

H/T Farplace Animal Rescue

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Japanese Embassies Around The World

All you need to know about Japan, its Embassies and its culture in one easy to read directory.


I'll just have my twopenn'orth seeing as this is the right place for it.

If you want to get the most out of your blog, your message and your graphics, make sure you name your photo's and stuff, with something that will get your message across, code numbers and obscure titles won't work for you.

The reason I blog in the fashion that I do, is not for the five minutes titillation it might provide, (for some) nor is for the countless hours spent buggering about, it is because, long after all the words have been forgotten, the graphics won't have, they will still be there imparting the original message years later. Ninety five percent of Google traffic comes via an image search. Make the most of it.

The caterers arriving, Japanese Embassy banquet London. Buying a new car, Vauxhall or Mitsubushi?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Japanese Embassy staff Washington prepare luncheon. Buying a new car, Cadillac or Lexus?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

An obstruction blocks the road Japanese Embassy Beijing. Buying a new car, Mercedes or Lexus?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Japanese Embassy Paris. Buying a new car, Citroen or Toyota?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Japanese Embassy staff Bangkok collect tissue samples. Buying a new car Nissan or Ford?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Flag Day Japanese Embassy Madrid. Buying a new car, Seat or Dihatsu?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Flag Day Japanese Embassy Mexico City. Buying a new car, Volkswagen or Nissan?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Japanese Embassy Berlin. Buying a new car, Mercedes or Lexus?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Japanese Embassy Bratislava, you're true colours come shining through. Buying a new car, Skoda or Honda?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Rivers of whale blood Japanese Embassy Oslo. Buying a new car, Ford or Holden?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Dinner on the road Japanese Embassy Kuala Lumpur. Buying a new car, Holden or Honda?

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Japanese cars run on Dolphin blood.

"We serve whale meat dishes with pride, to pass on Japanese food culture to the next generation. I'm worried the halt [of whaling] will prevent us from passing on this part of our culture," said Yachiyo Ichihara, 61, who runs a whale meat restaurant in Minami-Boso.

Why these clips? Well they are short for starters, and perhaps it's their link to when I was first starting to get an awareness about me. That post, like others, only recently imported to Teddy's young blog.

Friday, 18 February 2011



Sea Shepherd Victory in the Southern Ocean Day


Victory in the Southern Ocean Day for the Whales
Thursday, February 17, 2011

It’s official – the Japanese whaling fleet has called it quits in the Southern Ocean, at least for this season. And if they return next season, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be ready to resume their efforts to obstruct and disable illegal Japanese whaling operations.

“The Nisshin Maru made a significant course change immediately after the Japanese government made it official that the whaling fleet has been recalled,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen from the Bob Barker. “She looks like she’s going home!”

The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker has been tailing the Japanese Nisshin Maru factory ship since February 9th making it impossible for the whalers to continue their illegal whaling operations.

“I have a crew of 88 very happy people from 23 different nations including Japan and they are absolutely thrilled that the whalers are heading home and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is now indeed a real sanctuary,” said Captain Paul Watson.

The Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Gojira will remain in the Southern Ocean to escort the Japanese ships northward. “We will not leave the whale sanctuary until the last whaling ship has departed,” said Gojira captain Locky MacLean.

“This is a great victory for the whales,” said Captain Watson, “but we did not do this alone. Without the support of the people of Australia and New Zealand, we would not have been able to send voyages out for seven seasons from Australian and New Zealand ports. We are grateful to Senator Bob Brown and the Australian Greens Party. We are very grateful to Mr. Bob Barker for giving us the ship that turned the tide in our efforts to force the Japanese fleet from these waters. We are grateful to all our onshore staff and volunteers, supporting members and ship crews. We are grateful to the Chilean Navy and the government of France for their support. It is a very happy day for people everywhere who love whales and our oceans.”

It’s official – the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is over for this season and the whalers did not even take 10% of their quota. Sea Shepherd estimates that over 900 whales have been saved this year.

“It’s a great day for the whales,” said Sea Shepherd Chief Cook on the Steve Irwin Laura Dakin of Canberra, Australia, “and it’s a great day for humanity!”


Dream On (land of the rising) Sunshine

Japan calls on Australia to stop Sea Shepherd

Japan has told the ambassadors of Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands to take action against anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, whose harassment cut short its Antarctic hunt this season.

On Friday Japan announced it was bringing home its harpoon ships a month early, citing a need to guarantee the safety of the whalers.

"It is extremely regrettable that the obstructionist activities by Sea Shepherd were not prevented," Japan's foreign minister Seiji Maehara said in remarks directed to the three countries that allow Sea Shepherd to fly their flag or use their ports.

Mr Maehara said the foreign ministry had invited in the three envoys and "conveyed a sense of regret and reiterated a strong request to take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of Sea Shepherd's obstructionist activities".

The US-based environmental group, which has pursued Japan's harpoon ships for months, operates Dutch- and Australian-registered ships and uses ports in anti-whaling nations Australia and New Zealand for its campaigns.

Japan's top government spokesman, chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano, called the actions by Sea Shepherd "extremely deplorable".

"We can't help but feel outrage because the lives of the crew were endangered," he said.

"We will work out definite measures to ensure we can continue research whaling without giving in to sabotage."

Earlier, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson hailed Japan's decision and pledged to stop any future hunts.

"It's great news. We will, however, stay with the Japanese ships until they return north and make sure they're out of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary," he said.

"Personally I don't trust them, but I will take their word on this and we will follow them out. We're just not going to leave them until we know for sure they're out of the Southern Ocean."

New levels

Sea Shepherd's boat, the Bob Barker, is currently more than 1,000 kilometres off the South American coast tailing Japanese harpoon ship, the Nisshin Maru.

The environmental group has pushed environmental militancy to new levels in its fight against the whalers.

In recent years its tactics have included moving their ships and inflatable boats between the whaling ships and the whales, as well as throwing stink and paint bombs at their crews.

But captain Alex Cornelissen believes his crew's tactics are now vindicated. He says this season alone, hundreds of whales have been saved.

"We think they've only managed to kill between 30 and 100 whales, so out of a quota of 985, I think we've saved about 90 per cent of the whales or even more and that's pretty good," he said.

Japan introduced so-called scientific whaling to get around an international ban on commercial hunting. It argues it has a right to watch the whales' impact on its fishing industry.

At this stage though it is unclear what will happen next season, but Mr Cornelissen says Sea Shepherd will remain vigilant.

"We do hope the political pressure will also increase and there's also some new International Maritime Organisation regulations that's going to make it harder for the Japanese whaling fleet to come down here next season," he said.

"But should they decide to come down here, we'll be here and likely even stronger than we were this year."

Greenpeace whales campaigner Reece Turner (Piss-ant useless wankers) says the Japanese have buckled to international pressure, but he also says changing opinions within Japan have played a role.

"I think there's three factors at play really," he said.

"There's the tactics of the Sea Shepherd organisation in the Southern Ocean, there's a change in the public opinion at home and increasing revelations of corruption, and of course the diplomatic pressure from Australian and New Zealand governments has taken its toll as well." ABC Au

It's Over! Whale Slaughters Head Back To Japan

Congratulations and a hearty thanks to all Sea Shepherds and a big huzzah for the old man. Well done Paul you did it in the end, the feeling must be wonderful.


Japan ends Antarctic whaling season early

Japan has stopped its annual Antarctic whale hunt before the end of the season, saying "harassment" by US activists had made it impossible to continue.

The hunt had been halted temporarily last week, after the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society chased the Japanese fleet's mother ship.

Now the fisheries minister says the fleet will return home.

Sea Shepherd said the decision was "great news".

"We will however stay with the Japanese ships until they return north and make sure that they're out of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary," Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd group, told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 but Japan uses a regulation permitting hunting for scientific research.

Iceland and Norway have lodged official objections to the ban and continue to hunt commercially.

'Unjustified interference'

Japan had said it had suspended its hunt on 10 February. Normally the season continues until mid-March.

Announcing that whaling was being abandoned for this season, Japan's Farm and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano said: "Even now the mothership is being chased, and it is difficult to ensure the safety of the crew members."

Activists' ships have been harrying the fleet for weeks in the icy seas of Antarctica.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says one of its boats has been blocking the main ship's stern loading ramp, preventing any harpooned whales from being loaded on to the ship.

Japan's fleet involves 180 people on four ships, with the aim to kill up to 945 whales in Antarctic waters during the southern winter season.

Japan says it continues to hunt for scientific research, while not concealing the fact that much of the meat ends up on dinner plates, the BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo reports.

Few Japanese eat whale regularly, but many object to what they see as unjustified foreign interference in a cultural tradition, our correspondent adds.

Anti-whaling nations, led by Australia and New Zealand, and environmental groups say the hunts are cruel and unnecessary. Australia is taking legal action in the International Court of Justice against Tokyo over whaling. BBC and video

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Ban on Bunkers Below Sixty Deg South Will Be Another Nail in Coffin of the Whaling Fleet

Bunker Oil that of the type used by the Nisshin Maru is set to become banned below 60 degrees South. (Antarctica) Thus leaving the Japanese three options: Convert the Nisshan Maru to burn light fuel oil, (diesel) find a new vessel, or stop at home. Which will it be I wonder, given the economic climate, and of course the disproportionate damage done to Japan's reputation and standing in the civilised world, by this single minority activity.

From the International Maritime Organisation.

1 August 2011: Entry into force of March 2010 amendments to MARPOL

New MARPOL regulation, to protect the Antarctic from pollution by heavy grade oils, in MARPOL Annex I (Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil) on Special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area, a new chapter 9 with a new regulation 43, which would prohibit the carriage, in bulk as cargo, or carriage and use as fuel, of: crude oils having a density, at 15°C, higher than 900 kg/m3; oils, other than crude oils, having a density, at 15°C, higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity, at 50°C, higher than 180 mm2/s; or bitumen, tar and their emulsions. An exception is envisaged for vessels engaged in securing the safety of ships or in a search-and-rescue operation. source


What are Bunkers/Bunker Fuel?

Bunker fuel is a type of liquid fuel which is fractionally distilled from crude oil. Bunker fuel is also known as fuel oil, and a number of different classifications around the world are used to describe fuel oil; these classifications break bunker fuel into different categories based on its chemical composition, intended purpose, and boiling temperature. In comparison with other petroleum products, bunker fuel is extremely crude and highly polluting.

Small molecules like those in propane gas, naptha, gasoline for cars, and jet fuel have relatively low boiling points, and they are removed at the start of the fractional distillation process. Heavier petroleum products like diesel and lubricating oil precipitate out more slowly, and bunker oil is literally the bottom of the barrel; the only thing more dense than bunker fuel is the residue which is mixed with tar for paving roads and sealing roofs. more

Did you know by the way, if the Pentagon were a country it would be the world's thirty sixth largest consumer of oil. more

I had another one like like that slotted away somewhere. If Texas were also a country it would be the eight largest polluter of the planet. I can't be arsed checking it out tonight though.

I stand corrected, it has moved up one in the rankings, now sitting in a very unenviable seventh place.

Texas is world's seventh biggest polluter

A love affair with vast, gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicles and contempt for environmental activism has helped Texas become the world's seventh biggest polluter.

The challenge facing the green lobby in America is illustrated by the latest figures for the Lone Star state from the US Energy Information Administration.

In 2003, Texas pumped 670 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - more than countries including Britain and more than that of California and Pennsylvania, the second and third-ranking US states - put together.

As other states such as California and New York introduce measures to address global warming, there is little evidence of fiercely independent-minded Texas following suit.

The "big is better" philosophy is deeply entrenched in many of Texas's 23.5 million citizens and its pollution figures have only prompted scattered calls for reform within the state.

Rick Perry, its governor, has expressed doubt as to whether global warming is a man-made problem and his Republican colleagues have refused to make carbon emission reduction a priority.

As other states attempt to limit car use, Mr Perry is trying to push through a $200 billion scheme to build a new trans-Texas highway that will be a quarter of a mile wide in places.

Mr Perry's administration is unapologetic about Texan carbon emissions, pointing out that it is America's main energy producer and has a heavy concentration of oil refineries and chemical plants.

"Texas political leaders read "environmental protection as government activism" and want no part of it," said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

The politicians' views are shared widely. Texans polled last spring listed the Iraq war and immigration as America's most pressing issues, with fewer than 4 per cent including the environment.

Nationally, slightly less than half of Americans polled by the Pew Research Centre last year rated global warming as a "very serious" problem. Of those, 55 per cent said it required immediate government action.

Some observers see the influence of the state's most powerful industry - energy - in Texas's collective two fingers towards global warming.

However, 28 per cent of the state's carbon emissions are due to transportation, and critics blame the fascination among ordinary Texans with macho vehicles. One in four of the state's 20 million cars is a pickup truck.

Debbie Howden, an estate agent in Austin, said her family of six has two pickup trucks and three 4x4s, but described her high petrol bills as a "necessary evil". She said: "I would definitely put size and safety over the emissions thing." Telegraph
Unlike my America blog, I don't do tags on here, but if I did, I think I would tag this story: The Planet is Fucked

Whaling: Is It The End? BBC Earth Watch

I'm orf to me bed, just a quick paste job I'm afraid.

Whaling: Beginning of the end?

Richard Black | 12:36 UK time, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Comments (71)

Is this the beginning of the end for Japanese whaling in the Antarctic?

Clash between whaling ship and opponent

Clashes have been dramatic - enough to cause a U-turn?

That is the biggest question arising from Wednesday's announcement in Tokyo that this season's whaling programme was being suspended.

The Fisheries Agency (FAJ) hasn't formally declared the season over, but it appears likely that the fleet will soon be on its way out of the Southern Ocean and back to harbour.

FAJ official Tatsuya Nakaoku blamed the suspension on harrassment by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has made life progressively more difficult for the whaling fleet each year by sending faster and better-equipped boats.

This season, it has regularly managed to park across the back of the Nisshin Maru factory ship, making it impossible to winch whales on board.

Mr Nakaoku said it was a question of Sea Shepherd boats endangering safety.

So has Sea Shepherd won? It has pursued its campaign not only in face of physical opposition from the whaling fleet, but also objections from some anti-whaling observers who believe the annual confrontations handed the FAJ an opportunity to garner support by painting an image of anti-whaling activists as anti-Japanese and akin to terrorists.

The campaigns have certainly reduced the number of whales caught. The official target this season was 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales, although the fleet left port later than usual and was apparently aiming for a far smaller quota - perhaps as low as 200.

No official pronouncement has been made on the actual catch - Sea Shepherd estimates it at 30.

But the ocean skirmishes are just one part of a much bigger picture, with a number of factors combining to squeeze the Japanese whaling programme in a financial and political vice.

Whalemeat poster

Sales of whalemeat have fallen, despite promotion

The national budgetary situation is dire.

The Kyodo Senpaku company, which actually does the whaling on behalf of the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), is itself said to be in major financial difficulties.

The greater part of the funding for the whaling operation comes from selling meat.

With sales falling, and a constrained government not minded to raise its subsidy in compensation, a smaller fleet salied than in previous years - which made it more vulnerable to Sea Shepherd's attention.

(In fact, one of the ironies of the current situation is that the plucky anti-establishment activist group is probably much better funded than its state-backed foe - especially given its recent receipt of a million euros from the Dutch National Lottery.)

Sources from within the industry told Greenpeace in December that a smaller quota would be targeted this year, purely for financial reasons.

Meanwhile, the Australian legal case against Japanese whaling is due to come to the International Court of Justice this year.

It'll take several years to conclude and there's no guarantee Australia will win - even so, there may be some in the Japanese government who see the reputational damage as being just too severe.

Another looming constraint is that from next season, ships carrying heavy fuel oil will be banned from Antarctic waters under the International Maritime Organization's new anti-pollution code.

Switching the Nisshin Maru to diesel would be technically feasible - but would anyone foot the bill?

An alternative would be to invest in a new factory ship that would both meet the new pollution standard and be fast enough to escape Sea Shepherd's attention.

But again - who's going to pay?

On the other hand - without such an upgrade, will the whaling fleet ever be effective again?

Reading the political runes is never easy on this issue, but there's no doubting that Mr Nakaoku's statement marks a major change of tone.

Flare on ship's deck

The ICR says activists have attacked with flares

Previously, the Fisheries Agency and the ICR have been adamant that Sea Shepherd would not win on the seas. Fire has been fought with fire, even to the extent of collisions that really did endanger lives.

Yet now the official line is that Sea Shepherd has made whaling impossible though compromising safety.

It is a remarkable turnaround - and it's matched by the apology that emerged late last year from the FAJ [video link], after it acknowledged that five of its officials had taken "free gifts" of whalemeat in substantial quantities.

Until that point, the official line had been to condemn Greenpeace, whose activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki exposed the issue and were consequently put through criminal prosecution under threat of 10 years in prison (they eventually received suspended sentences).

So what it all means is, as yet, unclear.

But it looks increasingly the case that if the Japanese fleet is to go Antarctic whaling next season, it'll require substantial investment.

Negotiators at the heart of the "peace process" that fell apart at last year's International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting believed Japan was looking for a way out of the Southern Ocean that saved face.

Admitting to defeat by Sea Shepherd doesn't feel like a face-saving solution.

Japan's whaling takes place under regulations permitting hunting for scientific research - technically it's the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA-2).

There's due to be a review after the first six years of operation [pdf link] - which is after the end of the current season.

Might the review conclude that there's no need to continue the research?

Whatever the reality of such speculation - and speculation it is at this stage - it does at least appear possible that the current Antarctic hunting season will be the last.

On the other hand, the crisis might spur the whaling lobby in the Diet to action, and persuade the government that finding the necessary investment would be in the national interest. Maybe Japanese consumers will find a new taste for whalemeat, and the industry's economics will turn around.

Alternatively, the "national interest" card might be deployed in favour of ending the Antarctic operation and spending resources instead on increasing whaling close to shore.

Either way, the fleet's turn away from the Antarctic hunting grounds feels like a significant move in what has been a long-running war of attrition. BBC Earth Watch