Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Get Smart With Phone, Rockfish Rebound, Fight IS By Shooting Back

When we get smart, smart phones can change the world; rockfish rebound so now let’s eat; why don’t gun-rights activists go to Syria and Iraq instead of wasting their time trying to get arrested in Olympia?

If you have a smart phone and are a ding-dong who talks or texts while driving, consider the recent development of being able to do a test in 15 minutes on an iPhone for HIV and syphilis. Yes, it does require a pin-prick worth of blood and an low-power attachment called a “dongle,” but this follows equally remarkable advances in being able to do remote testing for other blood-borne diseases like malaria. In any case, it helps to get smart with these smart phones because the state legislature might make cell phone use when behind the wheel a violation that would go on a driver’s record. Want to see what State Patrol would say when you say you were only fooling around with your dongle?

The news about rockfish along the west coast is good: conservation and fisheries management brought stocks back far enough for us to eat them again. Well, I’m not sure anybody noticed that rockfish were not available in local markets but the problem, according to the story, was that, unlike the iconic salmon, Sebastes goes by so many different names that confusion reigns over what’s been really saved. In Puget Sound, yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish and bocaccio came under federal protection and recovery last year in 590 square miles of near-shore habitat for young rockfish and 414 square miles of deepwater habitat for adults. Of course, since you don’t know the name of the rockfish you may have hooked and rockfish don’t do well after you land them, we might just as well keep our line out of the water, wait until Puget Sound Sebates recover, then get the dinner plate ready.

Now, in the spirit of public health and safety, a modest suggestion for gun-rights activists who went to Olympia last week with their armaments to get arrested for carrying firearms into the legislature’s viewing gallery. The State Patrol locked the gallery and no one got arrested. "What's the world coming to when there are people who want to break the law and they won't let you do it?" one activist complained. Now, now: instead of pledging, “I will not comply” and wearing identify apparel emblazoned with “Fight Tyranny – Shoot Back,” these patriots should go to Syria and iraq where, according to the Associated Press, 20,000 foreigners are headed to join up with the Islamic State. Take your guns, fight IS, shoot back!

--Mike Sato

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Walk To Work, Eat The Fish, and Wash Your Hands

This week on changing the world, eating and health: Potential world changer James Robertson walks 21 miles round trip to work, food for thought about halibut and how it’s caught, and whose health is this anyway?

James Robertson (AP)
James Robertson's car broke down 10 years ago and, given the deplorable state of bus service in Detroit, he's been walking to work and back-- and having perfect attendance. Since the Detroit Free Press publicized his story, he's been the recipient of a massive crowd-sourced fundraising campaign, offers to buy him a car and bicycle, door-to-work-and-back shuttle bus service, and help to manage his new found fortune. I hope he'll be a world changer and continue walking or maybe spur Detroit into reviving its bus system. After all, if you think the traffic's bad now, the US Department of Transportation says it's not going to get any better over the next 30 years with an additional 700 million people joining us-- unless we make some major changes. Walk on by, Mr. Robertson.

If you like food like halibut, you liked the news in the Seattle Times that the International Halibut Commission recommended increasing catch limits to 29.2 million pounds in 2015. Catch limits are set for separate areas off the shores of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. One problem in establishing catch limits has been the state of the halibut stock in the Bering Sea where trawlers harvest halibut that have to be thrown back. The commission estimated that more than 8 million pounds of halibut were netted as bycatch last year, discarded and died. But the commission went ahead and allowed halibut catch in the Bering Sea area anyway. Fish to feed over 16 million people wasted in bycatch, sad.

Public health, I always thought, was dealing with the health of the public but some of the recent pronouncements about vaccination have focused on private health, as if it's an individual's right to reject immunization against communicable disease and, if you exercise that right, it's OK to put others, the public, at risk. OK, maybe that wasn't what Sen. Rand Paul meant earlier this week, then recanted as the week went by. [Rand Paul Now Says He Shares Obama's Position On Vaccinations ] Maybe there’s something in the water these guys drink. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis thinks restaurants should not have to make their employees wash their hands after toilet visits. [US senator questions forcing food workers to wash hands ] According to Sen. Tillis, it's a burden when government regulates businesses and restaurants that did not require hand washing would have to alert customers by displaying signs. Uh, oh-- signs which government would have to regulate and enforce. Take another drink, senators.

--Mike Sato