Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
A new, controversial super-trawler, the Dutch-owned FV Margiris, has set sail for Tasmania, off the south-east coast of Australia, to take a haul of jack mackerel and redbait, prompting concerns it is going to decimate several Australian fish stocks as factory fishing has done elsewhere in the world. Greenpeace claims the industrial super-trawler is part of the European Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (PFA), responsible for "some of the worst fishing excesses on the planet.'' It is scheduled to be roaming between the Tasman Sea and Western Australia this spring. [more inside]
"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing direction. You change direction, but the sandstorm chases you". Murakami Haruki writes about love, earthquakes and -- in his new novel "Kafka on the Shore" -- mackerel raining from the sky. He is so famous in Japan that he was forced to flee the country, and now the rest of the globe (.pdf file) is fast catching on to his singular vision. More inside.
The Most Delicious Food That's Also Very Good For You - - in fact, to my mind, the best food in the world, including all the tastiest unhealthy ones, is sashimi. And sushi comes second. But sometimes it's late at night or too early in the morning; you're broke; the restaurants are closed; you're nowhere near Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market and all your sushi etiquette, memories and knowledge; your favourite sushi websites; your well-thumbed sushi books and your fishy wishlists...are of no darn use to you. Then you remember it's late or early enough to hit your local fish market... And it's then that this ideologically incorrect and Hawaii-leaning, California-dreaming, somewhat Englishly-challenged set of video tutorials comes into its own! Truth be told, for the price of one fresh mackerel, one sardine, a slice of salmon... and sashimi is yours! [But who am I kidding? It's just not the same. Oh well, Windows Media required for the vids.]