A Mind @ Play

random thoughts to oil the mind

Tag: Television

Fishing the planet dry, by saving the dolphins

Feeding the dolphins

There are some pretty banal programmes on television at times, such is the role it plays, but Animal Park – Wild on the West Coast really caught my eye today. It served up the job of a nature programme from California, but it was a real eye opener to some of the ludicrous crap that gets spewed out, and of course funded, in the name of environmentalism. One segment showed how they looked after a sealion with some neurological disease, to the extent of giving the animal an MRI scan, ascertaining it wasn’t going to survive, and then putting it down. If anyone could explain the point of all that to me, I’d be impressed.

Yet the clip which really boiled my noodle was the one which showed how they were exercising bottlenosed dolphins in captivity, in order to measure their heart rates, and ultimately determine how many calories they needed whilst at rest and whilst active. They were then going to use this information to work out how many fish the animals required, and then pass this important information on to the fisheries in the region, essentially intimating that fisheries would be restricted or closed based on the feeding requirements of the dolphins. It really is amazing at times how random ‘research’ can become. It would seem that as long as those cute little dolphins get enough to eat, no one particularly gives a rat’s arse about whether the ecosystem at large is suffering as a result of fishing policies. Plus, you can bet a pretty penny that with all the statistical horse shit they would have to utilise to make any sense out of those pretty useless collections of figures, there will be little correlation between what they would have to tell the fisheries and reality!

The Global Warming Debate Heats Up

Global warming has become something of a fashion. To gainsay it is a political cyanide pill akin to older variants of the likes of ‘abolitionism’ or ‘free trade’. The climate is changing, and it’s all our fault. One need only look at the success of a film like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to see how this basic principle has become an accepted fact. Recent films like The Day After Tomorrow illustrate how mainstream such ideas are. It’s a big issue, it’s an important issue, and it’s politically and financially loaded. Which is why it is all the more important it isn’t swallowed wholesale. A recent Channel 4 production hoped to show just how deceptive the issue can be.

globalwarming_1.jpgUnfortunately, it is very easy in this ‘information age’ for facts to become distorted and blown out of proportion, particularly by the mainstream media. On a daily basis, news programmes bring us the latest breakthroughs from the cutting edge of science. In Britain this is concomitant with a constant tugging on our heart strings to force the NHS to accept the latest miracle cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s or any other myriad diseases. Of course, the problem is that breakthroughs at the cutting edge of science have a tendency to go wrong, the results of surveys tend to be disproved by later surveys, and false conclusions tentatively fed to the public with phrases like ‘scientists believe’ and ‘recent surveys have shown’ in fact get swallowed as gospel fact.

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Forest of Dennis

A forest. Not Dennis’

A programme on the beeb yesterday dealing with Britain’s economy, entitled What’s Britain Worth? and hosted by Peter Snow and his son, featured a short interview with one of the nation’s wealthiest men, Felix Dennis. Aside from the rather astute observation he made about the wealthiest members of society (“They’re all shits!”), Dennis talked about the creation of his legacy, the self-named “Forest of Dennis”.

Dennis’ plan is to create a 25-30,000 acre broadleaf forest in the British Midlands. Buying up land, often under aliases, he estimates the project to cost in the region of £200-300 million of his private estate, plus an equal amount in donations over a period of years through a charitable foundation. Said to be the largest forest plantation in 500 years, as Dennis stated his reason for going ahead with this project beyond the simple ego-trip, is that in his happy financial position he is able to put capital behind an initiative like this which neither private finance nor government is prepared to do, and yet his gift to the community is something many can appreciate and all will benefit from 1If we take as gospel some basic assumptions about carbon trapping in reforestation, and the effects of CO2 on the climate. Whether the planting of forests can be seen as sustainable (it is only the outsourcing of agriculture which allows such reforestation initiatives) is yet to be seen.

As one of those “shits” of the upper echelons then, it might well be regarded that Dennis’ project is the result of an ego-trip from a man with no offspring or family to leave his millions to. Some cynics might even suggest it is an attempt to atone for his previous excesses of drugs, alcohol and women. And both might be true. But in the end this wayward form of philanthropy can do little harm and might do a fair bit of good. As for the forest’s name, as Dennis himself says, the forest will be known by what the people who walk there call it. Or perhaps it will stick, like an early 21st century Saltaire?

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1. If we take as gospel some basic assumptions about carbon trapping in reforestation, and the effects of CO2 on the climate. Whether the planting of forests can be seen as sustainable (it is only the outsourcing of agriculture which allows such reforestation initiatives) is yet to be seen

Tony Benn: Interviewing the Interviewers

This cute little programme appeared on Channel 4 television on Saturday evening, featuring Benn posing a short number of questions to TV and radio noteables John Humphrys, Jon Snow, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Paxman. Whilst it probably didn’t receive the kind of attention it deserved, and no doubt was shorter than Tony Benn would have liked, the programme elicited some interesting points of view from the various high profile interviewers.

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