Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
I've been a bit "off line" lately, a bit busy, and it's a bit too hot to sit around typing on the laptop too much, but it's time I did some writing (especially if my old buddies from kiwiland are actually reading
My Internet was fried for about two or three weeks, utterly unstable and so I basically gave up. But just when I was thinking of calling Yahoo!BB for a new modem the little hunk of plastic came through in a stunning comeback effort, and again I'm pumping the bits at a few thousand Kbps. Maybe it was the heat - maybe it was some construction work - maybe it was Yahoo!BB's competitor NTT deliberately screwing with the connection prior to sending me their own BB service advertising. Whatever! I'm back
Work has been typically busy lately, and I'll probably run into the office for a couple of hours before the All Blacks - Springboks game at Carisbrook this afternoon gets underway to tidy up some stuff. We are part of a "global" team, but sometimes it feels like we are pulling far more than our fair share of the load. I sent a grumpy email to some of our counterparts yesterday. We are supposed to be in our User Acceptance testing phase at the moment, but some functionality that was "tested" in another of our global locations obviously hadn't been tested at all, leaving my client in Tokyo to discover that it was broken by herself. More and more I feel that global teams can't provide the goods to their business clients as well as local teams can, simply because local teams talk face to face with the clients, and see first hand the expressions of disappointment, the cries of "unbelievable!", and just generally have by far the strongest motivation to provide a good product. Teams on the other side of the world who have never seen or heard their clients voice will never be able to feel the same responsibility to ensure that the job is well done. At any rate, completely failing to test functionality before sending a product into "User Acceptance" testing is just ridiculous. Unless the meaning of "Acceptance" has changed since I was last in school (and given all the PC crap floating around these days, it just might have!)
Anyway - this is why I'm getting paid!!!
Hey cool! I just noticed that I can now upload images directly using www.blogger.com - previously I had to use some stupid Windows-only "Hello" software to do so. Hence the little picture of my modem in the top right hand corner now. I use Linux now mainly, and this made it hard to upload images frequently, but with this knowledge I'll try to put up more images more often. Let me know if the images are too big for your crappy internet speeds, whereever you may be, and I'll make them appropriately smaller if necessary.
Also in other news, having moved the the other side of Tokyo 30? kms from my old tennis school, I'm looking for a new one, but in the meantime joined the sports gym on the upper floors of my office building. This is totally awesome, as I can get some exercise and blow off some frustration before going on our weekly calls with the global teams later in the evening. So far I'm doing some machine work to improve my upper body strength and doing 20-30 minutes machine running. This is better exercise than plain jogging, as the machine ain't slowing down unless you tell it to, whereas there's nothing except your mental strength keeping you going when are out running by yourself. Also, I've had a wee dream of running around the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo for a while now, and there's a financial sector charity event being held on the 3rd of September, which happens to involve (you guessed it) running either once or twice around the Imperial Palace. I'm waiting for my participation to be confirmed, but I'm hoping to do just the 1 lap (5 kms) and target a time of 25 minutes. There's some hilly patches, so this seems not too crazy a goal.
Also, I bought Eugene Lapointe's book "Embracing the Earth's Wild Resources", after seeing it advertised at http://www.iwmc.org
What a good read it was too! Even New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark comes in for a mention several times - although none of them were exactly mentions to be proud of.
In summary, the book is about the McDonalds-ification of the "environmental " movement. Lapointe illustrates that the Species Survival Network, made up of fund raising groups such as Greenpeace, IFAW, and so on together rake in a billion US dollars annually through their fundraising campaigns.
Compare this with the sustainable use industries that they target in their fund raising campaigns, and you can see that while Greenpeace and co are rave on and on about evil animal killers cruelly torturing wildlife for commercial profit, there is no doubt that the fund-raising industry itself is a far more lucrative.
Equally, Lapointe illustrates that groups such as Greenpeace and IFAW contribute little to conservation efforts, and indeed work against them. The prime example of this is the fund raising tactic of targetting individual aesthetically pleasing animal species, and demanding their 100% protection. Nature of course is a complex intertwined net of interactions between species (of which humans are included), and naturally outright protection of one species can have devastating consequences for others. The irony presented is that these groups may succeed in their protectionist goals with regard to their target species, but other species may die out as a consequence.
At the core is the recognition of what "conservation" means. Greenpeace and IFAW (and indeed the New Zealand government in one particularly prominent case) push a view that "conservation" means protectionism. However "conservation" of course implies use of the resources to be conserved. To conserve, is to utilize, but to not use too much!
Keep this in mind the next time you see campaigns from "environmental" groups, and press releases from "Ministers of Conservation"
Lastly, but absolutely the opposite of least, I've got my dear mother's birthday present to post away... this has taken far too long this year, so I'll have to do a better job of getting organized for Christmas - speaking of which I've started looking out for end of year tickets home. I'm thinking of aiming to get away from Tokyo on the 17th or 18th of December, taking in Christmas with the family (and hopefully some boxing day cricket at the Basin if it's on offer) before getting back here. I've not got so many holidays to burn this year, it being my first as a full-time employee.