from the world's big
Two of Iceland's largest whaling companies are keeping their boats in port this summer. One of them permanently.
- Since the International Whaling Commission's ban on whaling went into effect in 1986, only three countries are still whaling: Norway, Iceland, and Japan.
- The whale-watching industry is rapidly eclipsing whaling in Iceland these days.
- If you visit Iceland, don't eat the whale meat — Icelanders don't.
In 1982, 25 member nations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) voted to ban commercial whaling by 1986. Seven nation voted against the ban: Brazil, Iceland, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Peru, and the-then Soviet Union. Nonetheless, in 1986, large-scale hunting of whales ended worldwide. Mostly.
Norway never stopped whaling, and Iceland resumed whaling in 2003. Japan exited the IWC in 2019 and announced they would be ending their already-controversial annual Antarctic whaling expeditions and resuming commercial whaling in their territorial waters and in the country's 200-mile exclusive economic zone along its coast, claiming research as their reason for doing so. According to the World Wildlife Federation, 31,984 whales have been killed since the moratorium when into effect.
Iceland's two largest whaling companies have just announced they're going keep their ships ashore for the 2020 whaling season. The companies' motivations are apparently strictly monetary. "I'm never going to hunt whales again, I'm stopping for good ," Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson of the minke whaling company IP-Utgerd told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The second company, Hvalur, which hunts fin whales, has only committed to halting operations for 2020. Neither company was out on the seas in 2019 due to low catches in recent years and other financial consideration.
Minke whale, (left), and a fin whale, (right)
Jonsson explained his decision to stop whaling to AFP as being primarily a reaction to an extension of the no-fishing coastal zone that forced his ships out further in search of whales, saying the change made continuing no longer financially feasible.
The CEO of Hvalu, Kristján Loftsson, explained his thinking to Icelandic newspaper, Morganbladid. Loftsson claimed that social distancing was a factor since it made operating vessels and processing whale meat more difficult. This doesn't explain why his ships stayed home in 2019.
A more plausible explanation would be that Japan — the company's primary market — has become less hospitable to his whale meat. He told Morganbladid that Japanese government subsidies for domestic whalers made it difficult for him to compete. It's also the case that people in Japan are eating less whale meat.
A sea change
Image source: Chris Yang/Unsplash
Árni Finnsson, chairman of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association tells National Geographic there's another reason for Jonsson and Loftsson calling it quits: public sentiment is turning against the whaling industry. Finnson says, "What has changed is that the fishing industry is not willing to support him anymore. They feel that Iceland needs to be able to export fish to the U.S. market, and they don't want to continue defending whaling. I think he's done."
In fact, Icelanders overall are less in favor of whaling, particularly in light of a newly booming industry: whale watching, which grew from 15-34% each year between 2012 and 2016. The most popular area for catching a glimpse of the animals is the eastern part of the large Faxaflói Bay.
These waters are minke territory. To keep whale-lovers and whalers apart, a small sanctuary in the bay was created in 2007. That was expanded by the government at the urging of Icewhale, an association of whale-watching companies in 2017. The enlarged sanctuary included the waters where 321 of the 335 minkes caught by Icelandic whalers between 2007 and 2016 were harvested, thus pushing whalers such as Jonnson out to sea.
In addition, while whale meat was never highly regarded in Iceland, and a recent poll found that just 1% of Inlanders now eat whale meat regularly while 84% say they never have.
"Hunting whales with cameras delivers economic benefits to coastal communities around the world, and Iceland is pointing the way," says Patrick Ramage, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Even Norway is showing signs that the days of whaling may be coming to an end: The number of whaling vessels in 2017 was half of what it was in 2016, and just a third of the officially allowed number of whales were being taken during that time.
Americans consume the most toilet paper in the world but it's a very wasteful product to manufacture, according to the numbers.
- Toilet paper consumption is unsustainable and requires a tremendous amount of resources to produce.
- Americans use the most toilet paper in the world and have been hoarding it due to coronavirus.
- Alternatives to toilet paper are gaining more popularity with the public.
A senior citizen gets the last pack of toilet rolls at Sainsbury's Supermarket on March 19, 2020 in Northwich, United Kingdom.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Women buy toilet paper from tradesman in street market by the City Wall, Xian, China. March 14, 2020.
Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images
Customers purchase toilet paper at a Target store in Orlando, FL during the panic shopping. March, 2020.
Credit: Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
The welfare state is broken. UBI is the smarter, more effective option.
- The welfare state is an ineffective and expensive system that hurts and targets the poor more than it helps. Universal basic income is a better alternative that could work.
- The question becomes, then, where would the money for UBI come from? There are a myriad of reasons why UBI via taxes would be a bad idea. Instead, we should look to socially produced capital.
- Companies rely on people to be successful, so a percentage of all shares of all companies should go into a public equity trust and the dividends should be distributed to every member of society equally.
A NASA-sponsored competition asks participants to improve the design of a bucket drum for moon excavation.
- NASA wants your help redesigning the bucket drum system for its RASSOR excavator.
- The Moon's weaker gravity and the excavator's light weight pose unique design challenges.
- RASSOR will one day excavate regolith so it can be processed into the resources necessary for sustainable lunar exploration.
Designing on the RASSOR's edge<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5MDQ0Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MzU1NTMxOH0.y3DWQsv5uBTzW2H8huBkBu7CBHvkqQfwVTD6iXZX2Jc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C156%2C0%2C156&height=700" id="1e6ff" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="adb5b2e5051703ea0aa5c75ddff80c65" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="RASSOR 2.0 excavator" />
RASSOR 2.0 being tested along with the MARCO POLO/Mars Pathfinder, an ISRU propellant production technology, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Another trip to the Moon<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="13fbb566dd59041245b77987e37087db"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cRLnAeL3wdU?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The RASSOR will be part of <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/" target="_blank">NASA's Artemis program</a>. Through Artemis, NASA hopes to put the first woman and thirteenth man on the Moon—the first people to <a href="https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/890/who-has-walked-on-the-moon/" target="_blank">revisit to the lunar surface</a> in more than 40 years. Once there, the goal is to establish sustained Moon exploration by 2028, a proving ground for the technology that may one day send astronauts to Mars.</p><p>To establish sustained exploration, NASA must practice <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/isru" target="_blank">in-situ resource utilization</a> (ISRU). This practice allows astronauts to generate much-needed resources using local materials. The farther astronauts travel from Earth, the more necessary ISRU becomes to maintaining sustainable, human-friendly habitats.</p><p>RASSOR will travel to the Moon as a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3zRvl2LYJ4&feature=emb_logo" target="_blank">precursor to human moonflight</a>. Coupled with a lander sporting a processing plant, the robot excavator will journey onto the Moon's surface to excavate regolith. It will deposit that regolith at the lander for processing. </p><p><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261248231_Regolith_Advanced_Surface_Systems_Operations_Robot_RASSOR" target="_blank">Regolith can be processed </a>into valuable resources such as water, propellant, and breathable air. It also contains metals that could be used to craft structures for the astronaut's labs and habitats.</p><p>NASA is working toward launching <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1" target="_blank">Artemis 1</a>—an uncrewed flight to test the Orion spacecraft—later this year, but had to <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-suspends-work-on-moon-rocket-capsule-due-to-covid-19-threat/" target="_blank">suspend work on the rocket</a> due to <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/covid-19-nasa" target="_blank">the COVID-19 threat</a>.<br></p>
Challenge accepted<p>The GrabCAD challenge has a prize pool totaling $7,000. The first-place proposal will be awarded $3,000, with monetary prizes offered for second to fifth place. There is also the satisfaction and bragging rights of knowing your design will make sustained Moon exploration a reality.</p><p>The challenge ends on April 20, 2020. Finalists will be announced on April 27, and winners will be announced on May 4. To learn more, <a href="https://grabcad.com/challenges/nasa-regolith-advanced-surface-systems-operations-robot-rassor-bucket-drum-design-challenge" target="_blank">visit GrabCAD's website</a>. </p>
There are many different ways of helping people in extreme poverty. Philosopher Peter Singer explains how you can do it.
- Widely described as one of the most influential living philosophers, Peter Singer provides concrete and straightforward ways of combatting poverty.
- You can have a major impact by donating to organizations like the Seva Foundation or Fred Hollows Foundation, which perform cataract surgery; the Fistula Foundation, which corrects potentially ruinous complications that occur while giving birth; and Village Enterprise, which fosters and funds enterprise in small villages.
- A free download of the 10th anniversary edition of The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty is available here.