A couple of years ago, a friend and I travelled to Inverness for a celebration honoring the wonderful author and columnist, Frank MacDonald. On the off-chance alcohol might be consumed, we sought lodging at one of the town's two motels. Our choices were Grim and Grimmer. Inverness had many charms — spectacular setting, fascinating history, unique culture, magnificent beach — but no economic engine since its coal mines shut down in the 1960s. Boarded up storefronts and seedy hand-painted signs for the few surviving businesses offered silent testimony to the community's entrenched gloom. Into this sad civic concoction came Ben Cowan-Dewer and Allie...

Dávur í Dali, a social sciences student at the University of the Faroe Islands, offers this friendly correction to our post about how Paul Watson's TV attack on the Faroese pilot whale hunt backfired: I am writing to you to correct a small misunderstanding in one of your posts on the Faroe Islands pilot whale hunt. Your post implies that we actively hunt whales, as someone would hunt deer or similar game. This is not correct. The whale hunts are not prepared or planned events. They happen when we sight a pod of whales swimming through our fjords or in general vicinity...

When Paul Watson, the Canadian who heads the Sea Shepherd Society, attempted to disrupt a traditional pilot whale harvest on the Faroe Islands last year, canny local fishermen postponed the event until no whales appeared until after the HMS Brigit Bardot weighed anchor and departed the tiny country's waters. (See further update here.) This deprived Watson of gory footage for a TV series celebrating his latest charismatic crusade. Still, when the four-part series aired on US cable channels this spring, Faroese government officials braced for a backlash. What they got was something quite different: a flood of tourism inquiries. The documentary's B-roll footage of the...

Oceans2012, a coalition lobbying to ensure that the 2012 reform of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy "stops overfishing, ends destructive fishing practices and delivers fair and equitable use of healthy fish stocks," has produced a slick video to back up its campaign: [video link] Some factoids: Typically, shrimp trawlers throw 80 to 90 percent of the marine creatures caught back overboard. This means that for one kilo of shrimp, up to nine kilos of other marine wildlife is caught and wasted...

As long as the Harper Government is hell bent on reforming Canada's environmental assessment process, a Contrarian friend thinks we could save a lot of time by making this the first step: ...

  The video of a clever mariner squeezing his 80-foot mast under a '65 bridge on the Inter-Coastal Waterway reminded Chris Lambie of sailing across Florida's Lake Okeechobee with his father. We weren't sure if our mast would clear a bridge on the eastern edge of the lake, as the water level was pretty high. But my dad did the calculations and figured we'd squeak through. As we slipped underneath the span, the VHF antenna ticked gently against one of the girders, and dad got a speck of rust in his eye. I also remember running gently aground somewhere in the silt that...

Yesterday, I succumbed to self-pity about a gastank fill-up that edged perilously close to a C-note. Contrarian regular Denis Falvey offers a dose of reality: We will never get off our dependance on gasoline until the cost of a gallon of the stuff is through the roof. That's what makes the alternatives affordable. I am told that Quebec is currently building the infrastructure necessary for electric cars, and has an $8,000 allowance for each person buying a Volt. Whether that is good or bad, do you think it would happen with gas at $0.50 a gallon? As long as fish caught off our coast can...

Here's another placemarker for an issue I've wanted to write about for some time. I have not read any details of the Harper Governments plan to rein in federal environmental assessments, but in principle, I believe such an exercise is long overdue. It is a dirty little secret of the environmental movement that federal environmental assessments are a massive scam. They take far too long. They cost far too much. They do not focus on important issues. Everyone in the system knows this, but no one complains, because almost everyone benefits. Engineering companies get tens of millions of dollars to carry out...

Climate change deniers like to seize on instances of unusually cold weather to debunk the scientific case for climate change. This video, from the Norwegian infotainment program Siffer, explains the fallacy. H/T Nathan Yau...