Fish and Steel

The image of thousands of fish washing up on a shore is almost never a metaphor for lucky circumstance. It’s almost always a sign that something, somewhere, has gone very wrong. Back in April, fishermen in four central Vietnamese provinces, mostly outside the main tourist centers, started finding fish washed ashore. Fishing suddenly became easier…

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Tipping the Scales

21 February is World Pangolin Day, and anyone who follows this blog knows I have a soft spot for the scaly anteater that is being rapidly hunted into extinction. The ongoing decimation of the slow and strange pangolin is a grim illustration of the long-lasting impact greed and lack of political willpower can have on…

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Road Works

We’re back from our trip to Vietnam, and I’ll be posting a few pieces from that visit. For starters, I thought I’d put up this photo of the largest, cleanest, newest road I encountered in Vietnam (or almost anywhere else, for that matter). Three lanes in each direction, lined with broad sidewalks and trees, with…

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What We Talk About When We Talk About War (VI)

Mix equal parts of the broad-leaf herbicides 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and you’ve got yourself a batch of what’s commonly known as Agent Orange, the defoliant made famous during the Vietnam War. Herbicidal warfare was used first in Malaysia in the 1950s against communist insurgents. Based on this earlier implementation, with the…

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Of Whisky and Frogs

We have a radio station programmed into our media player, a quirky French station called Swing FM, ‘la radio du Hot-Club de Limoges’. They play a round-robin mix of jazz, swing, gospel, boogie and blues, almost all of it American and much of it pre-1955. I had it playing yesterday and this great whisky song…

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