Japan has temporarily suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic after anti-whaling activists obstructed its fleet’s mother ship.
Officials in Tokyo have conceded that this year’s mission, which had again been the target of international criticism, had not gone as well as hoped and the fleet may be called home early, according to reports.
Tatsuya Nakaoku, a fisheries agency official, said the decision was taken after the mother ship, the Nisshin Maru, was “harassed” by members of the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd.
“Putting a priority on safety, the fleet has halted scientific whaling for now,” he said. “We are currently considering what to do next.”
I still question the sustainability of a direct action campaign that requires the sheer amount of time and resources that the SSCS Antarctic whaling campaigns require, how this will play out in the Japanese media, and whether there are other pieces in play here, but for now, enjoy your victory Sea Shepherd, it’s been a long time coming.
Last year, I was extremely critical of a Nicorette commercial that featured a man so distracted by thoughts of cigarettes that he didn’t realize a shark was chewing on his arm. This led to a spirited discussion about where sharks fit in to our popular culture, and resulted in more than a few people calling me overly sensitive. One person called me a member of the “apocalyptic legion of killjoys who battle against fun and innocent symbolism all over the world” (one of my standard comebacks is “I’ve been called worse” but I’m not sure if that’s true in this case).
Snickers recently unveiled a new commercial featuring sharks:
This festival, which is associated with the Benthic Ecology conference, provides a unique opportunity for scientists and filmmakers to interact. Since the festival is part of a scientific conference, filmmakers will be able to get feedback from scientists, and even plan collaborations for the future. Scientists who make movies for fun will be able to ask professional filmmakers for tips.
Unlike many other film festivals, Beneath the Waves is free to enter, which makes it an ideal showcase for films by students, amateur naturalists, and starting filmmakers.
The focus is on marine/coastal/freshwater science and conservation issues. They must be shorter than 30 minutes, and we request that they be shorter than 20 minutes if at all possible. The submission deadline is January 15th, 2011.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a young filmmaker just getting started, or a scientist who has taken some cool video, the Beneath the Waves Festival is for you.
National Geographic’s Great Migrations, a seven part series which premieres November 7th, calls itself a collection of “the most moving stories on Earth”. It focuses on some amazing animals from around the world and the incredible journeys they take to survive. This series was a massive undertaking, with the National Geographic crew spending 2 years traveling more than 420,000 miles over 20 countries. The end result is visually spectacular, full of fascinating science and rich in never-before-told stories of animal behavior. The series itself is an great educational resource, and the website has plenty to offer teachers (particularly the Science page and the Teacher Resources page).
While many of the best-known migrations involve land animals or birds, some marine migrations are also pretty darn great.
There are two reasons for the change in content. One is the upcoming midterm elections and my belief that scientists have a stake in the outcome. As a scientist, I feel that the anti-science views of the Tea Party should inspire us to vote. As a political moderate (admittedly left-leaning), I am alarmed by the rise of extremists on both sides, and I wish I could do something about it. If you follow me on twitter, you already know the second reason for the increase in political posts. This weekend, I will be attending the Rally to Restore Sanity.
In the language of television reviews, the phrase “jump the shark” refers to a show that has been on the air too long and is out of good ideas. The original use refers to an episode of Happy Days where Fonzi literally jumped over a shark while waterskiing. A recent episode of CSI made me question if they are guilty of this same phenomenon. In episode 2 of season 11 (yes, the show has been on the air for 11 years), a woman is attacked by a shark. CSI watchers know that the show takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, an unusual place for a shark attack. As it turns out, the shark attack took place in a Vegas hotel swimming pool. I’m not joking. Check out the preview: