Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, January 14, 2021

In an interesting case of geopolitical cause-and-effect, alleged overfishing by European commercial fleets off northwestern Africa is collapsing the local fisherman economy, and paradoxically is spurring fresh waves of illegal migrants toward the European Union.

In Mauritania, lobsters vanished years ago. The catch of octopus — now the most valuable species — is four-fifths of what it should be if it were not overexploited. A 2002 report by the European Commission found that the most marketable fish species off the coast of Senegal were close to collapse — essentially sliding toward extinction.

“The sea is being emptied,” said Moctar Ba, a consultant who once led scientific research programs for Mauritania and West Africa.

In a region where at least 200,000 people depend on the sea for their livelihoods, local investments in fishing industries are drying up with the fish stocks. In Guinea-Bissau, fishermen who were buying more boats less than a decade ago now complain they are in debt and looking to get out of the business.

“Before, my whole family could live on what we caught in one pirogue,” said Niadye Diouf, 28, whose Senegalese family sold their pirogue for $500 to pay for an illegal — and ultimately unsuccessful — voyage to Spain. “Now even five pirogues would not be enough.”

And more mouths to feed in the EU means more fish-trawling, for a vicious cycle. No chance of a European mass conversion to vegetarianism, I’d guess…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/14/2008 11:47:37 PM
Category: Business, Political, Science, Society
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The metal bowl where I’d been tossing my loose change (silver only, pennies go elsewhere) was only half-full, but I’d been getting a good bit of low-level nagging to convert it into “real money” already.

So I caved. I poured the however-many-pounds of nickels, dimes and quarters into a bag, and made my way to the nearest grocery store with a Coinstar machine. Five minutes later, I had my tally: $85.20, plus about 60 cents of rejected coinage and four dollars worth of quarters I left at home to seed the next batch.

I could have converted that into cash-in-hand, but I would have lost a sliver as payment for the machine’s coin-counting services. So I opted for an Amazon gift certificate for the full value. (I assume that Coinstar gets a commission upon redemption with all its gift-certificate partners, so in this case Amazon gets to feed the kitty instead of me.)

I briefly considered the iTunes option, except that my rate of music consumption is so low that I wouldn’t exhaust that amount for at least a year. As it happens, I was later gifted with a $20 iTunes gift card, so in addition to the balance I was already carrying there, I’m set on that front for the immediate future.

So, in the spirit of “found money”, I’ve got a few bucks of credit at Amazon for fun purposes. I did already made a frivolous purchase of a “Bear in Mind” tshirt, with a picture of a bear on it. I’ll make up for that with a few book buys in the near future.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/14/2008 11:17:28 PM
Category: General
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year-mixin'
Let’s get this out of the way: My first 2008 listing of the last 8 random tracks to spew out of my trusty iPod Touch. And only one month since the last go-round.

As always, the choice of 8 tracks instead of some rounder number is in support of 8trk, which we should be seeing more fully-formed in ‘08 (appropriately enough, in meta-marketing terms). And with that:

1. “Let My Love Open The Door”, Sondre Lerche (Dan in Real Life soundtrack) - Release yourself from misery.

2. “What A Life”, Juliana Hatfield - You wear it like propriety.

3. “You’ve Got the Best of My Love”, Emotions - Love has kissed me in a beautiful way.

4. “Torture”, KMFDM - Scenes, once negated, ushered in.

5. “Bad Girl”, Madonna - I’m not happy when I act this way.

6. “Tainted Love”, Soft Cell - I don’t pray that way.

7. “Beautiful”, Goldfrapp - Turn me onto your star.

8. “Rock the Bells”, LL Cool J - And the best thing you wrote was a bunch of bullshit.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/14/2008 10:30:55 PM
Category: 8trk, Pop Culture, iPod Random Tracks
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