Shark Bait Blog

Environment.. and Scuba Diving.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Euro is a lame duck currency

Barring a last minute softening of the posturing on both sides of the debate, the EU seems determined to enable the next in the chain of interminable, Eurozone crises.

Firstly, the Greek electorate appears to have been gulled into thinking their economic position would suddenly and miraculously improve, if they leave the Euro, whereas the much more likely reality is that the economic hardship would get considerably worse, over a significant period of time, before matters genuinely improve.

Secondly, the rest of the Eurozone is still laboring under the delusion that the Euro is not a fundamentally flawed project, in its current form.
As a result, the EU's constituent national governments continue to resist the economic imperative of Federalisation, which would allow the currency to function properly.
Bureaucrats have been fudging the matter ever since 1995, because of the implications it has for sovereignty, while ignoring the fact that the US dollar works as a currency, precisely because there is State and Federal government, with an annually agreed Federal budget, despite the fact some States are significantly wealthier than others.

As long as petty nationalism is allowed to interfere with pragmatic economics, the Euro will continue to be an exercise in futile, economic fire fighting, indefinitely.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

US Budget Debacle 2013

This cartoon by KAL is even more true now.. than when The Economist published it in July 2011 -


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Mayan Calendar

The World is not going to end tomorrow.. the Mayan calendar's 13th baktun will be completed, the 14th baktun will start and the calender continues as normal.. just as it has done before.

(image courtesy of Wolfgang Sauber)

Sir Patrick Moore

(image courtesy of

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oceanic Whitetip Shark, Carcharhinus longimanus


 I have been very slack updating this blog for a while now, so I thought footage of an Oceanic Whitetip, I filmed on my last trip to Egypt would make an interesting post.
Hopefully future films will use High Definition and I am going to update my existing footage on YouTube to a better definition at some point.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs

Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Whalegate -

Anthony Liverpool's IWC credibility lies in tatters -

Japanese pay for whale delegates

Anthony Liverpool, chairman of the IWC summit, has accepted free flights and the £4,000 cost of staying at a luxury hotel
The chairman of this week’s international summit on whaling is being secretly funded by a Japanese company to stay in a luxury hotel.

Anthony Liverpool will open the crucial International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Morocco tomorrow which could vote to lift a 24-year ban on commercial whaling.

He has accepted free flights and the £4,000 cost of staying at a hotel with a private beach during the meeting. The hotel bills of five other countries’ delegates are also being paid.

The payments will increase concern that Japan is bribing delegates to secure support for whaling and may be in breach of the IWC convention which says: “The expenses of each member of the commission ... shall be determined and paid by his own government.”

Richard Benyon, the minister for fisheries, will raise what he called “these very serious allegations” at the IWC meeting.

On Friday Liverpool, the Antiguan IWC vice-chairman who will stand in as chairman at the meeting, said he did not know who was paying for his trip. “I am just aware of getting support through agencies,” he said.

However, inquiries have shown that his bill at a hotel in Agadir is being paid by Japan Tours and Travel of Houston, a company said to be linked to Hideuki “Harry” Wakasa, who has previously been identified as the middleman who makes secret payments to the pro-whaling Caribbean countries.
Sunday Times, 20th June 2010

ORLY?.. I call shenanigans.. Mr Liverpool needs to immediately give a detailed explanation of how it is possible for his business expenses to be paid for by Japanese pro commercial whaling lobby interests, without him being aware of it, since it appears he may be in breach of IWC regulations -

The IWC convention states: “The expenses of each member of the commission ... shall be determined and paid by his own government.”

Mr Liverpool should step down from his position with immediate effect, until this matter has been thoroughly investigated.

.. and while we are on the subject of Japanese government support for unsustainable, international commercial whaling -

Whistleblower aims to expose dark side of Japanese whaling

He refers to himself only as "Kujira-san" (Mr Whale), a precaution necessitated by a genuine fear for his safety. But the personal risks will be worthwhile, he says, if it means the world learns the truth about the dark side of Japan's whaling industry.

"Even before we arrived in the Antarctic Ocean," he says of a recent expedition, "the more experienced whalers would talk about taking whale meat home to sell. It was an open secret. Even officials from the Institute of Cetacean Research [a quasi-governmental body that organises Japan's whaling programme] on the ship knew what was happening, but they turned a blind eye to it."

Kujira, who worked aboard the Nisshin Maru mother ship, saw crew members helping themselves to prime cuts of whale meat and packing them into boxes they would mark with doodles or pseudonyms so they could identify them when the vessel reached port. "They never wrote their real names on the boxes," he said.

Some whalers would take home between five and 10 boxes, he said, while one secured as many as 40 boxes of prime meat that fetches ¥20,000 (about £148) a kilo when sold legally. One crew member built a house with the profits from illicitly sold whale meat, he said. "Another used the money he earned to buy a car," he said. "They were careful to select only the best cuts, like the meat near the tail fin. I never dared challenge them."...

- The Guardian, 14th June 2010

.. and not forgetting -

Revealed: Japan’s bribes on whaling

A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.

The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.

Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, The Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:

- They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.

— They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.

- One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.

Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed “disgraceful, shady practice”, which is “effectively buying votes”.

The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.

The governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes..

The Sunday Times, 13th June 2010

image courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

UK Election 2010.. the year to let 'em hang.

This year, the General election is the evil of three lessers (conducted in a brash X Factor style) all vying to tell us that we, the electorate need to tighten our belts to help bail out the institutionalised shortcomings of the western economic model.. that is quite frankly, no longer good enough.

The major UK parties are telling us that the financial community would throw up its hands in horror, at the prospect of a hung parliament.. tough, the financial community owe us a favor.
We just pulled their unmentionables out of the fire and will be paying to sort out the mess that their untrammeled enthusiasm for deregulation has created, for a good few years to come.

A hung parliament is the surest way to finally achieve electoral reform in the UK.

The fact is that at the last election in 2005 the percentage of the electorate who decided not to vote at all, was greater than those who voted for the Labour party

The 'First Past The Post' system is specifically designed, not with the best interests of the British public at heart, but those of career politicians from just two political parties.. who at each General election attempt to rest power and influence from their opponents by lavishing the largest number of disingenuous blandishments on a disenchanted electorate.

The 'First Past The Post' system has given us the Poll Tax, Privatised Uitilities, Outsourcing in Hospitals, The Iraq War, Deregulated Banking, Selling off over 50% of the UK's Gold Reserves at the bottom of the market, Surveillance Society, Taxation of Pension Funds, etc, etc, etc.

This has occurred because the current system allows the political party in power, to drive often farcically flawed, ideological policies into effect, simply because the opposition is unable to adequately modify, much less halt the legislative juggernaut of an outright majority in the House of Commons.
Indeed it was for this reason that the Allies imposed proportional representation on Germany after WW2 and it certainly doesn't appear to have stymied germanic economic potential.

Labour's percentage of votes - at 36% (down by 5% from 2001) - is the lowest any winning party has ever achieved...

There was an overall turnout of 61% - up 2% from 2001. But this still means that 1/3rd of those registered to vote did not do so.

More people opted not to vote (38.7%) than voted for Labour (36%).

Labour's share of the total possible electorate was 22%.

Labour got 55% of the seats but 36% of the votes cast
The Conservatives got 30% of the seats but 33% of the votes cast
The Liberal Democrats got 10% of the seats but 22% of the votes cast.
(my emphasis)

To be fair to the Labour Party, that figure of 38.7% of the electorate opting not to vote, is a damning indictment of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as well.

The current electoral system represents the vested interests of the Conservatives and the Labour party, with the Liberal Democrats riding on their coattails.. and we still do not have a directly elected Upper Chamber to replace the archaic House of Lords.

Mr Straw's proposals (cutting member numbers from 733 in the current Lords to a mere 300) are propaganda window dressing of a particularly tawdry nature, designed specifically to neuter its legislative power.

Use a tactical vote to send a very clear message to Westminster, we want change, we want modernisation and we want it now!

We want our vote to represent us in Westminster, whichever political party we chose to support. That would be a valid reason for the public to re-engage with politics.

No taxation, without proportional representation.

(image courtesy of Man vyi)

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