Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gone Fishin'.

Be back in a bit!

What's killing our forests? 45 billion pairs of chopsticks.

From the Houston Chronicle:
So, what exactly do you do with 45 billion pairs of chopsticks? If you have an idea, the government of China would love to hear from you.

Residents of the People’s Republic of China produce 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year, or 130 million pairs each day, according to Los Angeles Times, which reported on the story earlier this week.

The problem? Made from birch and poplar, China’s disposable chopsticks bring down about 100 acres of forests every day, estimates Greenpeace China. That’s 16 to 25 million trees felled each year for a single-use utensil. Across the East China Sea, Japan uses more than 20 billion disposable chopsticks annually, nearly 97 percent of which come from China.

In fact, for a brief time back in the 80’s, one American company tried to cash in on Japan’s penchant for hariwashi, as the throw-away chopsticks are called. At the cost of more than $3 million, the town of Hibbing, Minn. (better known as Bob Dylan’s hometown) attempted to make and export chopsticks made from local aspen forests. The factory failed and closed two years later, crushing townspeople’s hopes of providing jobs and dominating the Japanese disposable eating utensils market.

Still, back in China, officials have been trying numerous measures for more than a decade to rein their country’s growing appetite for convenience and dining-on-the-run. The government has instituted taxes on the sticks and plenty of citizens – concerned about deforestation of China’s forests – have attempted to convince their compatriots to stick with “real” chopsticks through humorous ad campaigns. Opponents of those efforts insist the chopsticks are important to the economy and argue the country’s disposable stick factories employ 100,000 in economically depressed areas.

So, the next time you pick up a pint of Kung Pao chicken to-go, ask yourself, “Wo zhēn de xūyào yīcìxìng kuàizi?” Do I really need disposable chopsticks?

Chicago Tribune: An ode to Jeff Goldblum.

Every major paper should run loving tributes of the One True Goldblum.
Let us now praise Jeff Goldblum. Even in "The Switch."

To be clear, the new comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman has some interesting wrinkles lifting it out of the romantic-comedy norm. One of them is the tall, eagle-eyed Goldblum who, as the male protagonist's work colleague and sounding board, does the best he can to make "Are you trying to tell me…" exposition worth hearing.

Goldblum's amused (and amusing; it's hard to be both at once) way with his lines, his rhythmic change-ups and — my favorite pointless bit — his comically challenging Thelonious Monk-like intro at the keyboard, just before he leads a group of kids and adults in "Happy Birthday": All these flourishes, mostly vocal, add up in small ways. Midway through the picture you realize you're really looking forward to the next time he comes back on screen.

We all have our favorite character actors. Many of them, such as Goldblum, have also taken leading roles in blockbusters, seemingly by chance or accident. His biggest were "Jurassic Park" and "Independence Day," and having an idiosyncratic performer lighten those big-budget loads amounted to very astute casting. If it were up to me, every bombastic summer picture would co-star Goldblum, J.K. Simmons, Kristen Wiig, Craig Robinson, Armin Mueller-Stahl and, in a surprise cameo, Bill Murray. "Transformers 4," right here!
More love here.

Coozer-Bits: Robot Uprising Watch Edition.

RUW: Robots enjoy donuts at art gallery.

RUW: Iran builds "Ambassador of Death" flying killer robot.

RUW: NASA builds new evil space robot to help with chores on the International Space Station.

RUW: Scientists build a robot that can learn emotions.

Animal takes picture of photographer.

From Daily Mail:
This clever cub became the ultimate wildlife photographer after outfoxing a professional and taking her own picture as he was snapping her.

The inquisitive five-month-old vixen was so intrigued by the camera equipment she clambered right on top of it.

And while she was supposed to be the subject of the shoot, the cub stood on the shutter release button and took her own frames.

Simon Czapp, 25, visited the New Forest Wildlife Park to capture images of new arrival Jessie, named after Toy Story's cowgirl.

She has been rehoused at the animal park in Ashurst, Hampshire - home to wolves, wallabies, deer and otters in 25 acres of ancient woodland - after being abandoned by her mother.

Jessie was offered a few scraps of ham to entice her into posing, but she quickly became so fascinated by the cameras she put on her own performance.