Category Archives: shorter posts – like a Sockeye

PetroChina investing in BC’s wild salmon… (NOT)

inspired by good 'ol Far Side


If this isn’t worrisome to Canadian sovereignty, aboriginal rights & title, and unsettled BC treaties… well… maybe we might as well shed the maple leaf and the white parts of the flag, and scuttle the BC Treaty Process (maybe a self-fulfilling prophecy), and why bother with any court cases about aboriginal rights and title…?

Some headlines from today and yesterday:

PetroChina bids to help build $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline

CALGARY — Chinese investment in Canada’s energy sector could move to a new level if PetroChina wins a bid to build the controversial Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline.

The largest of China’s three state-controlled oil companies has expressed an interest in building the $5.5-billion project across the northern Canadian Rockies and is considering purchasing an equity stake, said Pat Daniel, president and CEO of proponent Enbridge Inc.

“They have made the point to us that they are very qualified in building pipelines, and we will take that into consideration when we are looking for contractors,” Mr. Daniel said in an interview. “It’s an open bid process. They are a very big organization, they build a lot of pipelines, and they would love to be involved from what they have told me.”

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PetroChina produced more oil than industry giant Exxon Mobil in 2011

NEW YORK — A big shift is happening in Big Oil: an American giant now ranks behind a Chinese upstart.

Exxon Mobil is no longer the world’s biggest publicly traded producer of oil. For the first time, that distinction belongs to a 13-year-old Chinese company called PetroChina. The Beijing company was created by the Chinese government to secure more oil for that nation’s booming economy.

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Canada’s ‘Cushing moment’: A northern pipeline crisis looms

CALGARY – Oil traders still grappling with an unprecedented pipeline bottleneck in the U.S. Midwest that roiled global energy markets last year should beware: Canada may be next.

The pipelines that carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands and the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to U.S. refiners may run out of capacity as soon as 2015, some analysts now warn.

Fears that the export of Canadian crude will be constrained have risen recently as a result of pipeline project delays and the unyielding growth of North Dakota output. Any resulting glut could weaken Canadian oil prices, depress profits for producers like Suncor Energy Inc and Cenovus Energy Inc and choke growth in the largest source of U.S. imports.

A crisis could be avoided, though. Major pipeline operators like Enbridge Inc say they’re confident that an estimated 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of idle capacity on existing Canada-to-U.S. lines is more than enough for up to five years, sufficient time to complete new lines or add pumps.

That view is by no means unanimous.

The government is also taking action. Canada is set to push forward new measures to cut approval times for major pipeline projects in order to speed the completion of proposed routes to the Pacific Ocean and refiners in Asia.

“At a certain point there will be an issue (with capacity),” Joe Oliver, Canada’s natural resources minister, said in an interview this week. “We remain optimistic that pipelines can be built in time to avoid … the kind of problem they have in Cushing.”

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Ottawa to eases pipeline rules in bid to boost oil exports to Asia

The federal government gave a boost to oil sands exports to Asia by streamlining the environmental review process and making it more difficult for environmental groups to mount an opposition.

[ummm… yeah… it doesn’t seem to just be “environmental groups mounting opposition… there’s this finnicky thing called: ‘average Canadians’… that are in opposition]

In its budget brought down Thursday, Ottawa said it will propose legislation aimed at having “one project, one review” that establishes clear timelines for approval of big resource and industrial projects, reduces duplication and regulatory burdens, and focuses resources on the largest projects with the biggest environmental impacts.

Most of Canada’s oil is now exported to the United States, where it is heavily discounted because of pipeline bottlenecks.

Canadian governments and industry have been pushing for market diversification in Asia by way of new pipelines to the West Coast, but have run into opposition from the environmental movement and First Nations that are targeting regulatory reviews to delay the projects…

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If Enbridge gets turned down in the current process surrounding the Northern Exit-way pipeline then folks in B.C. better be ready for an onslaught of pipeline proposals, that will be guided by the new Harper “one project, one review” process.

And PetroChina, now bigger than Exxon (which carried the title of world’s biggest money-maker until Apple recently unseeded it) will not take “NO” for an answer.

Especially when the tar sands oil in Alberta essentially becomes theirs… through straight up buying up whatever they want. There’s already some $20 billion or so (on the low end) invested by PetroChina and other Chinese firms in Alberta’s tar sands operations.

When the world’s biggest oil company, which is trying to feed an insatiable beast…

well, Houston… and B.C. … we have a problem.

Can I get that with a side of bullshit please…

do you see a problem?


Driving home today and listening to CBC Radio I caught a curious and severely conflicting story, which highlights the out-of-touch(esness) of politics and otherwise in the current Canadian political and business climate.

This seems to have been a rather steady flow the past little while.

One segment discussed the release of poll results by the ‘respected’ firm Angus-Reid: Canadians Want Budget to Help the Jobless, Ease Pain at the Pump.

Apparently, according to a poll of 1000 Canadians (I’m sure it was representative of all homes…):

Respondents across the country prefer balancing the budget to increasing spending by a 3-to-1 margin.

Many Canadian adults think the federal government is right to reduce spending, but more than two thirds are calling for measures that would help the unemployed and reduce the price of gas across the country, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with the Toronto Star has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,007 Canadian adults, half of respondents (51%) expect the budget that will be tabled by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty this week to focus primarily on spending cuts and fiscal restraint.

Three-in-five Canadians (61%) believe the federal government should try to balance the budget, even if it means reduced spending on services, while 21 per cent would opt to increase spending, even if it means continued budget deficits.

So… if there is apparently 60% of Canadians that believe the federal government should “balance the budget”… how many actually know what it means to “balance the budget”?

… let alone what a ‘balanced budget’ is?

(and I don’t mean this rudely to those who assume a balanced budget is a GREAT thing…)

(that’s that old marketing is everything, everything is marketing…thing).

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Well…a balanced budget is not really all that different than a household budget.

A ‘balanced budget’ simply means there is no surplus or deficit at year end.

It’s “balanced”.

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But what about the overall debt that Canada carries?

Well… a balanced budget means there’s $0 left over at the end of the year. That means $0 to pay down the massive debt load that we already carry.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation suggests yours and my share is a good solid $17,000 each… or so.

For a grand total debt of a little under $600 billion or so… (if i’m counting the zeros right?)

So how much of that debt gets paid down within a ‘balanced’ budget?

Well… the same amount that your credit card debt gets paid down if you have $0 left over at the end of the month…

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And what’s getting snuck in at the back-end of tomorrow’s federal “Harper Government” budget is a potential gutting of the Environmental Assessment legislation and the Fisheries Act.

Is this in line with federal NDP suggestions that these guttings of environmental legislation are for: “Stephen Harper’s friends”?

Please show us how gutting environmental legislation, meaning delaying the costs of things like climate change, habitat destruction and so on, to mine and your kids’ generations — makes sense in the long run?

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And come on polling companies… and politicians… let’s not fog over the tough reality in Canada right now.

We have a serious issue with literacy and numeracy.

Wonder why there’s such an issue with voter turn-out…?

Well, one is that politicians generally spew little more than platitudes and B.S. simply to appease a fickle ‘voting’ public, which is quickly approaching less than 50% of the Canadian population. (worse in Provincial elections)

The other half of the population is struggling to read recommended doses of cough syrup medication required for their children’s cold…

….and figuring out how they can improve their numeracy to deal with day-to-day realities of mortgages, credit card debt, and whatever ‘low-interest’ (high penalty) credit deal Canadian banks and otherwise have been handing out…

(those same institutions then bitching about the high Canadian household debt load… See Bank of Montreal economist headlines today)

(… those same institutions who handed them – Canadian households – that debt in the first place… you two-faced, talk out of all sides of your mouth, rolling in profit institutions…)

Now unfortunately, Canadians largely have a menu that consists of a main dish of bullshit (farmed GMO), with a hefty side order of green salad bullshit (sponsored by Monsanto), and a fine drink sponsored by your ‘multi-national’, transnational, conglomerate, (once Canadian, but now foreign bought out company) (not to mention, once Canadian, but now foreign-owned grown in Canada hops and wheat, in turn fermented in a once-owned Canadian beverage).

Yes… I’m sure the budget coming tomorrow is all about “middle-class Canadians”…

“Modernization”… more: monoculture monologue masquerading as conversation…

Conformity seems like an easier, more realistic choice...

. (a shorter post than more recent posts)

B.C. writer F.S. Michaels begins her book Monoculture with a quote from Nigerian writer and poet Ben Okri:

It’s easy to forget how mysterious and mighty stories are. They do their work in silence, invisibly. They work with all the internal materials of the mind and self. They become part of you while changing you. Beware the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.

Michaels’ book “Monoculture: How one story is changing everything” is a good little read. Essentially, it lays out how the ‘economic’ story is the master narrative of our time.

The governing pattern that a culture obeys is a master story — one narrative in society that takes over the others, shrinking diversity and forming a monoculture. When you’re inside a master story at a particular time in history, you tend to accept its definition of reality. You unconsciously believe and act on certain things, and disbelieve and fail to act on other things. That’s the power of the monoculture; it’s able to direct us without us knowing too much about it.

Over time, the monoculture evolves into a nearly invisible foundation that structures and shapes our lives, giving us our sense of how the world works. It shapes our ideas about what’s normal and what we can expect from life. It channels our lives in a certain direction, setting out strict boundaries that we unconsciously learn to live inside. It teaches us to fear and distrust other stories; other stories challenge the monoculture simply by existing, by representing alternate possibilities…

… Monocultures and their master stories rise and fall with the times…

Michaels, in a well-researched, tightly woven narrative explains how the “economic story” has largely come to dominate in six areas of our world: work, relationships with others and the environment, your community, your physical and spiritual health, your education, and your creativity.

The diversity of values and stories that once sustained us in different parts of life are giving way. That loss puts us at risk. Once you lose the diversity of stories that sustained you in different parts or your life, shaping who you are and how you live, it’s hard to even think beyond the economic story, harder still to recognize how a monoculture constrains you. You struggle to make decisions that go against its tenets. Conformity seems like an easier, more realistic choice.

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The pervasiveness of this ‘economic story’ really is quite remarkable.

Several posts over the last few weeks on this site have alluded to it, or just got right into it.

Look at this for example… an invite from a respected Canadian University, in which I just received this in an email, inviting Graduate-level students to a ‘connection’ conference:

The focus of the conference is Connecting Research to Industry. Graduate students attending the conference will have the ability to present their research to representatives from a variety of industries. This is a great chance to showcase your research and connect with industries that may be interested in your work—you may even land a new job!

What about policy-neutral research and science as heavily advocated by Dr. Robert Lackey and others?

This type of ‘connecting research to industry’ goes down some slippery slopes, such as having major oil companies sponsoring University Research Chair positions into things like water sustainability and ecosystem reclamation. That’s a problem.

A slope lubed with tar sands bitumen… one might say…

It’s also part of the ever-growing, pervasive “economic story”. So deeply buried in society and culture now, that it’s largely unquestioned and simply accepted ‘as the norm’…

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There has also been the fine work of the Conservative/Reform Party of Canada in their most recent efforts to apparently “modernize” many of Canada’s federal legislation and Ministries.

Here’s just a few recent stories running the media, discussing this great ‘modernization’ occurring in Canada.

Environmental assessment report slammed as ‘fictitious’

A report from the Commons environment committee has government MPs calling for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to be “modernized” and the opposition dismissing the committee’s work as a fiction.

Ashfield talks fisheries modernization in Halifax

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield tried to reassure Nova Scotia’s nervous inshore fishery Friday when he met with his regional counterparts to discuss the modernization of the commercial fishery.

Ashfield said Ottawa’s upcoming modernization of the commercial fishery is not imminent.

But the fate of policies that have protected inshore fisheries from corporate takeover remains uncertain.

“I’m in listening mode. That’s what I’ll be doing for quite some time now to see where we should go in the course of time,” Ashfield said.

His department has touched off widespread fears in coastal communities.

Its discussion paper on modernizing the fishery omits policies that have protected inshore fisheries from corporate takeover, in particular the owner-operator policy, which requires a licence holder to catch the fish.

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Yea… uh huh… “I’m in listening mode…”

If you’re in it now… then what the hell were you (and your colleagues) doing in the six years previous…?

What’s going on in Ottawa these days from:

  • “modernizing” the Criminal Code (e.g. get tough on crime… even though crime rates have been falling nationally for years), and yet, also, decisions like today:

Judges must consider history when sentencing aboriginals: Supreme Court

.(that pesky Supreme court thing, just keeps getting in the way of the Reformers…and their ‘modernization plans’)

  • “modernizing” Environmental Assessment processes (e.g. ‘streamlining’),
  • “modernizing” the Fisheries Act and Canada’s ‘commercial fisheries’,
  • “modernizing” our trade with Communist, human-rights questionable China,
  • “modernizing” our free-trade agreements (e.g. sending job somewhere cheaper), and
  • even “modernizing” how we do elections such as the insidious robo-calling (e.g. what us? no… we don’t do those dirty U.S.-style election tactics…).

Suppose it just has to wait until next election until Canada’s federal government gets “modernized”. For example, putting the “Canada” or “Canadian government” back in where it belongs and ripping out the “Harper”.

As pointed out before, the current regime is little more than a name-change of the old “Reform” party… a.k.a. ‘modernize’ to our reform version of the economic story…. they say.

Otherwise known as the ‘invisible hand of the market’…

Suppose the message might be clear when the very visible hand of the Canadian public slaps this ‘modernizing regime’ right off their ‘modernized’ perch…

change is afoot and maybe ‘the story’ will change with it…

“New Prosperity” ?? Here we go all over again… (pigs in a poke!)

Taseko's "Prosperity" project

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Here we go… all over again.

For the first time in the history of the Canadian Environmental Assessment (CEA) process — a project outright rejected because of its many potential negative impacts (environmental and social), gets a second chance.

Globe & Mail:

Controversial Prosperity mine proposal gets second chance

Montreal Gazette:

Kent criticized over second review of huge B.C. mine proposal

Even the company itself (Taseko) insisted time and time again (in the first CEA process) that killing Fish Lake was the “ONLY WAY” the project could move forward. There’s just no other way to move this project forward… no way… no way… they said for years.

Well… now it seems after rejection the first time through… that they’ve changed their tune…


Simply… because the price of gold and copper are soaring.

Well… what happens when those prices crash again?

They don’t call it a “commodity cycle” for nothing.

The whacky thing about it all… it wasn’t just the killing of the lake that was the problem with the original proposal. There were a slew of other issues including impacts on grizzly bears and so on. As well as social issues with the fact all First Nations in the area are opposed to the project — and in BC there are still no treaties after decades of failing, flailing attempts by bureaucracy — and over a century and a half of efforts by many First Nation communities.

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New tag line for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Process…

don’t like the result the first time around… try, try, try again.

I’m sure there’s no link here with non-elected Premier Christy Clark and newly elected majority Harper — and the BC “jobs plan”… otherwise known as the plan for “short term gain, for long-term pain“.


Yellow pink salmon dieing on the Fraser River

Yellow salmon? WTF indeed.

Must say, I have never seen a yellow salmon.

Curious to hear the reasoning from the Department of Fisheries & Oceans on this one…

From Ivan Doumenc’s blog:

Yellow salmon

Have you ever seen a bright yellow salmon before? With shock and horror, I give you one.

This photo was taken yesterday by Dr. Alexandra Morton and activist Anissa Reed on the banks of the Fraser river.

They found several such dead yellow fish yesterday during a field trip. Those salmon clearly died of jaundice. And when Alex opened one fish, she found a severely diseased liver, one which appeared to be covered with tumor-like growths.

Don’t eat that liver!


What is causing this deadly disease in so many of our salmon? Is it a virus? We don’t know. But we need to find out, right now.

Dr. Kristi Miller, the DFO researcher whose work has been recently published in the journal Science, has discovered a candidate virus which may be causing cancer and anemia in wild salmon. Yet last month, it was revealed at the Cohen Commission that she has been denied funding by DFO to test Atlantic salmon in fish farms for her virus. She was asking for $18,750 – a pittance in research terms – yet her DFO hierarchy told her that they didn’t have the money!

Why is DFO doing this? Why is it pretending that it does not have twenty thousand dollars to conduct critical tests on salmon disease? Why would it say that, when it was also revealed at the Commission that the federal government has given $145,000 to the fish farm industry to conduct “research” on how to make farmed salmon more palatable to the end consumer?

Pre-spawn death

As yellow salmon are dying on the banks of the Fraser, this DFO charade must stop. The people of this Province demand that viral tests be performed on fish farms – right now. Not next year. Not next month. Now.

WTF are those whitish growths in that salmon’s gills?!

marketing is everything; everything is marketing… (even at DFO)

I’ve said it before and will say it again… marketing is everything; everything is marketing…

Mark Hume writing at the Globe and Mail yesterday:

At DFO, scientists turned to speechwriters in salmon crisis

After Fraser River sockeye salmon stocks collapsed in 2009, scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were pressured to write parliamentary speeches for government MPs, a federal commission has been told.

“This is the only time that I have seen a request of this nature in my career,” Laura Richards, Pacific regional director of science for DFO, said Thursday in testifying at the Cohen commission, which is investigating the decline of sockeye populations in the Fraser.

“Do you think it’s a role of DFO scientists to develop speeches for parliamentarians?” asked Bruce Wallace, senior commission counsel.

“The role of science is really to provide factual information, and that’s what we do,” replied Dr. Richards.

But documents filed with the commission show that after only about one million sockeye returned in 2009 – when more than 10 million fish had been expected – scientists were under the gun to help government MPs explain the crisis.

On Oct. 2, 2009, Terry Davis, DFO’s regional director of communications, fired off an urgent e-mail to more than a dozen officials.

“The bottom line is that Parliamentary Affairs has asked for 80 minutes of speeches to be developed on a range of issues related to Pacific salmon, for use by members of the government, in the event that an emergency debate on Pacific salmon is called in the House of Commons,” he wrote.

“In most cases, these types of speeches are developed by program staff [in Ottawa].… However, in this instance, as the subject matter experts on Pacific salmon are based here, the Region has been asked to develop the speeches,” stated Mr. Davis.

The order to write speeches for MPs came even though objections had been raised only a few days earlier when science staff were asked to produce a speech for the minister.

A Sept. 29, 2009, e-mail from Paul Ryall, head of fisheries and aquaculture management, to DFO regional manager Sue Farlinger states: “We are being requested to draft speeches for the Minister. I don’t think this is our role. I can see that we can supply information and also address questions to a speech writer, but not be the lead on drafting a Minister’s speech.”

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Here’s a nice accompaniment to this news article. It’s a recent blog post from marketing guru Seth Godin:

Protecting the soft spot

We all have one. Or more than one. It’s that place where we can get hurt, the one we seek to defend.

For some people, it’s a boss calling us out in front of our peers. For someone else, it’s an angry customer. For someone else, it’s being confronted with a problem you can solve–but that the effort just seems too great.

The key question is this: how much does the act of protecting the soft spot actually make it more likely you will be hurt?

It turns out that the more you angle yourself, the harder you work to protect the soft spot, the more likely it is that you’ll get hurt.

All the time and effort you put into ducking and hiding and holding and avoiding might be sending the market a signal… the irony of your effort is that it’s probably making the problem worse.


What evidence would you need to see in order to change your mind?

If you live in British Columbia, you’ve probably seen the somewhat annoying commercial of a former CBC radio personality singing the praises of the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC). This is largely an example of evidence-based marketing with testimonials from the tribe.

It’s not all that far off from well-known athletes selling the praises of some sugary sport drink, or milk, or underwear. Somewhere in the brain folks think — “hey, if it’s good for them, just imagine what it’ll do for me…”

To a certain degree, the ongoing (apparent) bcsalmonfacts salmon farming campaign has also engaged some of these tactics on their website… Testimonials from various dr.’s, community folks and the like… ‘evidence-based marketing’… look how great our industry is.

I’ve also noticed recently that the Federal government has begun a new round of “look how great our economic action plan is”. Staged actors looking happy and smiley as government bailouts fattens wallets of party supporters and friends.

Cynicism aside… it is curious to see governments launching into apparent ‘evidence-based marketing’ and ‘testimonials’ from the average jill and joe.

Seth Godin has a pretty good related post over at his site:

The limits of evidence-based marketing

That’s what most of us do. We present facts and proof and expect a rational consumer/voter/follower/peer to make an intelligent decision on what’s better.

That’s how science works. Thesis, test, evidence, conclusion. All testable and rational.

Here’s the conversation that needs to happen before we invest a lot of time in evidence-based marketing in the face of skepticism: “What evidence would you need to see in order to change your mind?”

If the honest answer is, “well, actually, there’s nothing you could show me that would change my mind,” you’ve just saved everyone a lot of time. Please don’t bother having endless fact-based discussions.

[Apple tried to use evidence to persuade IT execs and big companies to adopt the Mac during the 80s. They tried ads and studies that proved the Mac was easier and cheaper to support. They failed. It was only the gentle persistence of storytelling and the elevation of evangelists that turned the tide.]

What would you have to show someone who believes men never walked on the moon? What evidence would you have to proffer in order to change the mind of someone who is certain the Earth is only 5,000 years old? If they’re being truthful with you, there’s nothing they haven’t been exposed to that would do the trick. I was talking to someone who has a body of artistic work I respect a great deal. He explained to me his notion that the polio vaccine was a net negative, that it didn’t really work and that more people have been hurt by it than helped.

I tried evidence. I showed him detailed reports from the Gates Foundation and from the WHO and from other sources. No, he said, that’s all faked, promoted by the pharma business. There was no evidence that would change his mind.

Of course, evidence isn’t the only marketing tactic that is effective. In fact, it’s often not the best tactic. What would change his mind, what would change the mind of many people resistant to evidence is a series of eager testimonials from other tribe members who have changed their minds.

When people who are respected in a social or professional circle clearly and loudly proclaim that they’ve changed their minds, a ripple effect starts. First, peer pressure tries to repress these flip-flopping outliers. But if they persist in their new mindset, over time others may come along. Soon, the majority flips. It’s not easy or fast, but it happens.

That’s why it’s hard to find people who believe the earth is flat. That’s why political parties change their stripes now and then. It wasn’t that the majority reviewed the facts and made a shift. It’s because people they respected sold them on a new faith, a new opinion.

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What evidence would you need to see in order to change your mind about the Department of Fisheries & Oceans?

What evidence would you need to see in order to believe that DFO is meeting its #1 objective: “conservation”?

Would this government department have a hell of a time trying to find some ‘tribe’ members to do positive testimonials? (other than its own staff)

Seems DFO is under attack from many fronts… yet, again (or as always)… largely due to dwindling fish stocks, and our continued fishing down the food chain, and fishing down the size restrictions of various types of fish.

is this the nature of government departments? Or, does this mean it’s time for a fundamental restructuring?

Could somebody show me the testimonials? the evidence-based marketing? the every-supportive ‘tribe’?

Maybe read that part about Mac again:

Apple tried to use evidence to persuade IT execs and big companies to adopt the Mac during the 80s. They tried ads and studies that proved the Mac was easier and cheaper to support. They failed. It was only the gentle persistence of storytelling and the elevation of evangelists that turned the tide.

“Contributions to the life history of the sockeye salmon”

Contributions to the life history of the sockeye salmon” … that is the name of two papers I found in a used book store in Nanaimo, BC today and quickly purchased. There were about 10 more, but at $15 a pop, I didn’t really want to grab them all. One is from 1932 and one from 1933.

Pretty darn interesting (for fish-interested folks anyways… those pondering how bureaucracies and scientists and fishy individuals have looked at these things, and how certain cultures have cropped up around these issues).

I’ll post more on these once I am back home and have more time to ponder.

In the meantime, more good tidings from Godin to consider on these twisted and forked paths:

Make big plans

…that’s the best way to make big things happen.

Write down your plans. Share them with trusted colleagues. Seek out team members and accomplices.

Shun the non-believers. They won’t be easily convinced, but they can be ignored.

Is there any doubt that making big plans increases the chances that something great will happen?

Is there any doubt that we need your art and your contribution?

Why then, are you hesitating to make big plans?

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An acre of attitudes

Anne Lamott relates an image from a friend in her great book on writing, Bird by Bird. My version:

Everyone is given an acre of attitudes at birth. It’s yours to tend and garden and weed and live with. You can plant bitterness or good humor. Feel free to fertilize and tend the feelings and approaches that you want to spend time with. Unless you hurt someone, this acre is all yours.

Probably worth putting up a decent fence, so that only the attitudes that you choose will have a chance to put down seeds, but it’s certainly a bad idea to put up a wall, because a walled garden is no good to anyone passing by. You get to decide what comes through your fence gate, right?

Watching out for invasive species—spending sufficient time on weeding and pruning and staking seem to be incredibly powerful tools for accomplishing the life you want. I refuse to accept that an attitude is an accident of birth or an unchangeable constant. That would be truly horrible to contemplate.

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You see, in the fisheries world… as in many other worlds (corporate, government, etc.) there are many folks that sow some rather interesting acres and plant some curious crops. And sometimes when the neighbors start peering over the fence and asking some hard questions about what sort of seeds might start blowing their way… well… some folks start getting very protective of their acres…

…they build higher walls, thinking that will keep the questions from coming, and keep curious minds from prying.

… and then when the neighbors start asking about what sort of financial transactions are involved in the neighbors acres… oh well… things start getting a little dicey.

Many folks don’t like hard questions… don’t like their acres that they’ve tread well-worn paths into… and in fact, what is actually the case is that they never owned that acre in the first place. They just have such a righteous, protective attitude and figure since they wore the trails into those acres that this gives ownership… and screw the tough questions.

But the thing with questions… and neighbors… is they never really go away.

And meanwhile, the sockeye continue to make their contributions to life history… and people — not the fish… or the seals… or the squid… or the ocean currents… or climate change… or… or… — continue to be the problem.. and continue to avoid tough questions.

one sea louse, two sea lice, bled fish, dead fish…?

How does one discern between the two arguments?

Here are two headlines from the last two months on CBC’s website regarding open-pen salmon farms, sea lice and wild salmon:

Wild salmon sea lice linked to B.C. fish farms (Feb. 9, 2011)

Young sockeye salmon from B.C.’s Fraser watershed are infected with higher levels of sea lice after swimming past salmon farms, a new study has found.

And those salmon carry an “order of magnitude more” of the parasites than salmon that don’t swim past salmon farms, said a study published in PloS One this week.

Pacific salmon not affected by lice: study (Dec. 13, 2010)

The decline in wild Pacific salmon populations is not likely caused by sea lice acquired from farmed salmon, a study released Monday suggests.

The findings of the study headed by Gary Marty, a professor at the University of California, suggest that the number of wild salmon that return to spawn in the fall can predict the number of sea lice that will be found on farmed salmon the following spring, which, in turn, predicts the extent of sea lice infestations in young wild salmon.

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Is the general public to believe then that between Dec. 2010 and Feb. 2011 that sea lice have gone from largely benign little critters to voracious consumers and salmon killers?

Whose “science” is more right?

Or, should the general public believe a $1.5 million industry-funded campaign by salmon farmers looking to protect their industry from public backlash?

Or, should the public believe the apparent conspiracy theorists that suggest most U.S.-based philanthropic organizations have an organized campaign of US-protectionism?

Will the quasi-legal Cohen Commission solve this issue once and for all — the Commission to end all salmon Commissions? (I do wonder when that’s all over if Justice Cohen will just shudder at the word “salmon”?)

Could the real story please stand up and reveal itself…

The space matters… salmon matter.

Another gem from Godin:

The space matters

It might be a garage or a sunlit atrium, but the place you choose to do what you do has an impact on you.

More people get engaged in Paris in the springtime than on the 7 train in Queens. They just do. Something in the air, I guess.

Pay attention to where you have your brainstorming meetings. Don’t have them in the same conference room where you chew people out over missed quarterly earnings.

Pay attention to the noise and the smell and the crowd in the place where you’re trying to overcome being stuck. And as Paco Underhill has written, make the aisles of your store wide enough that shoppers can browse without getting their butts brushed by other shoppers.

Most of all, I think we can train ourselves to associate certain places with certain outcomes. There’s a reason they built those cathedrals. Pick your place, on purpose.

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So many salmon-related meetings, commissions, forums, and so on — in urban hotel conference rooms. So disconnected from the rivers that are the salmon arteries.

What would the Cohen Commission feel like if it was held on a gravel bar beside sockeye spawning grounds…?

What would various ‘forums’ on salmon conservation and harvest planning sound like if they were alongside the Fraser Canyon, beside fish drying racks, and footholds in the rocks where people have fished for thousands of years…?

What would a salmon think tank come up with if it was outside the confines of a “tank”…?

What would court cases over salmon and fishing rights look like if they were held in longhouses?

Or, on one of the old trollers built by settler families in the early 1900s out of Sitka spruce and cedar — rolling on a west coast swell?

Or, besides folks smokehouses — First Nation or settlers alike.

Or, in the spring as millions upon millions of baby salmon migrate downstream all across the Pacfic Rim, feeding everything as they go?

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There’s a reason why the Fraser River was one of the most densely populated areas of the Americas pre-contact…

There’s a reason why some folks suggest they are almost more salmon than human.

‘There’s a reason they built those cathedrals. Pick your place, on purpose.’