About "Catch & Research"

Welcome. I found my passion in ecological economics and fishing. They are all about pursuit of unknown and uncertain objects. I always enjoy the seemingly reckless pursuit itself. This blog is a record of my long journey in research and fishing. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Iranian president at Columbia

To be honest, I was surprised when I found out that the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would speak at Columbia university. Media broadly reported the event as a case of freedom of speech in the US. The event itself was very meaningful one. However, I found some scenes of the event are pretty ridiculous and disgusting from a slightly different point of view from the opinion of majority. Here is what I found after reading New York Times and watching news coverages.


(1)Columbia president's introduction: Columbia president, Mr. Lee C. Bollinger said, " Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," adding "You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."
-> I have never heard such a rude introduction ever. I would like to ask why Columbia invited him. In order to listen his uneducated speech? It sounds like insult on Mr. Ahmadinejad and also on the audience. The audience gathered to listen a dumb evil to speak, didn't they? He may know about freedom of speech, but do not know of the right attitude of discussion. Once you invite someone, please welcome him/her and listen first. You invite someone to discussion to listen from him/her, not to humiliate, don't you? In the yesterday event, there was no listening or tolerance and so not productive.

(2) The event's moderator's treatment of the Iranian president: Dean John H. Coatsworth was the moderator. He pushed the president to answer questions directly; saying, "I think you can answer that question with a simple yes or no." And the president didn't answer directly.
-> Did the president come to a court? Was he at a defendant seat? I wonder whether Mr. Coatsworth can treat Mr. Bush like that when he asks questions like," whether you will withdraw from Iraq or not," If he can, let's send him to Mr. Bush to get clear cut answer. If I could see arrogance of American, am I the only one who could. I felt Mr. Coatsworth and Mr. Bollinger maltreated the president like that because " we are American, and you a president from one ignorant country." Oh, well, have you thought about why there exists anti-American mood in the world?


(1) Crowd shouted "USA" and waved American flag
->For what? Did they want to threat the Iranian president?

(2) Police's ban of the President's visit on ground zero: According to diplomatic protocol, foreign diplomats visiting UN are guaranteed for their free travel in a 25-mile radius zone around Columbus circle. In his speech, the president presented his intention to visit the site and show his respects to the victims.
->I think there was no reason to ban him to visit ground zero. In the opposite, it could deliver a threatening message to extreme terrorists in the world; Iran does not support terrorism. Many assert that Iran supported Al Qaeda in 9/11. But there is less evidence of the support than the evidence that Iraq had WMD. Iran is a Shia country while Al Qaeda is extreme Suni organization. There was bloody history between two faith. Does Iran support Iraqi insurgence? Yes, it does. Indeed, Iran supports Shia muslim in Iraq in order to establish favorable government in Iraq. Isn't it natural government action? Of course, it is against the interest of the US in the middle east. In particular, the interest of oil provision. Iraq was the unfortunate soft target of the US. Now, Iran seems to become another target which is, however, not so soft.

(3) Ran-off of the president Blooinger: After the event an Iranina woman approached him and complained about his harsh language. He responded "These are very important things that have to be said," and then the ran off.
->Excuse me, what was important? We all knew that Mr. Ahmadinejad is a notorious dictator. He might want to say, "It was very important to accuse him in front of him, in order to entertain our financial supporters and to secure our funding."

(4) President Bush's comment as usual
->He said he had no problem with the event, although he might not invite the Iranian president. He added "he's the head of a state sponsor of terror (so, I want to shot him in the head in the US soil)."

Although it was very significant event in academia and US politics, Columbia's handling of the event was very disappointing. They just wanted to propagate that America has the freedom of speech, and to show that they humiliates America's enemy badly. They might have had to consider their financial supporters by doing so. Pretty disgusting and ridiculous.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why should we care about the environment?

Too simple question? But it is the question that have haunted me since 1997. What do you think? Why do we have to care? Quick response may be, "The environmental quality degrades badly, and it could endanger human existence in the future. So, we have to do something now for the future generation." Then let me ask, "Does the environmental quality get really worse? You may say about global warming, but is there enough evidence that global warming means total extinction of human species?" As everything has two aspects: good and bad, global warming may have benefits and costs. For example, in temperate zone, now large tropical fish are often caught. Fishermen can benefit from the new species. Of course, there is a issue of resilience and adaptability of human economies to the new change, but I cannot accept the idea that global warming has only dire scenes. There must be some opportunities coming with it. What are the real benefits and costs from the environmental protection? Do we need conserve the environment as pristine as it was? I have been lived as an environmentalist for 10 years. Now, I want to see the truth through the cloud of ideologies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How can we explain economic growth in the very long run?

Why did the West become richer than the East? Why is there large income disparity in the world? These might be the ultimate questions that economists have to answer. It is my decade long question, too. We can find many potential answers in economics literature: institution, capital investment, technological progress, even gene and so on.

Whichever explanations, I see, are all about how superior the West was then the East. Were they "genetically" smarter than the rest of the world? Was Adolph Hitler right? (If it is offensive, I apologize. But I want to be provocative.) Do you agree with that? I cannot. When I meet local farmers in poor regions, I am surprised by their insight on everything. Their skills and production technology improves not stagnates, although the rate is very slow. They are not that stupid or retard. History shows that China or Japan were not that behind in the 17th and 18th centuries. They had similar technologies and very capitalist institutions to the west. Then, why some countries could rise, while the others fell.

Then, I suggest to focus on environmental determinism. In particular, environmental change, such as deforestation or extinction of big animal, could be explanatory variable in the disparity of very long run growth. I would like to take a look at the transition of energy source. How did fossil fuel shape current economic status? How will human economies change after fossil fuel era?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dare to be WRONG!

I have had a hard time recently. Not only because my research advisor suddenly left school. I had a trouble to write something related to my research. During the course work, I did not really need write my own paper. But now I have to, and it is so hard and even fearsome. What is wrong with me?

I took some time to consider this matter. My analysis is that I fear too much to be wrong, and this fear discourages me to build my own idea. Whenever I start writing, I worry too much about others' responses and critiques in advance. What a coward I am! I'd like to blame my education which I had in Korea. I was always trained to pick a right answer! The right answer was already determined by teachers. One cannot pick the pre-determined right answer was regarded as inferior and useless. I have had raised my inner fear to be wrong in this environment.

When I moved on to higher education, my confusion started: which is wrong and which is right. Yes, it is hard to pinpoint as we learn more. In particular, in social science like economics, politics and sociology. I know that, but it is never easy to overcome my inner fear. I hope for me to be dare enough to be wrong. My paper may be wrong. But it does not mean that my paper have no reason to be published, as every creature has reason to exist in the ecosystem. Even the notorious Herpes virus is known to have some benefits for humans' immune system. I have to speak and write my idea, whether it is right or wrong. There must be some benefits for others and for myself.


*I thought that it was perfect start for my research related posts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

[People I met at the shore] Capt. M

Captain M. He was one of students in a class that I TAed. On the first day of class, I did a brief survey to students in order to memorize students' name. One question was, "What is your favorite hobby?" And he answered, "I love fishing." I approached him, and we became fishing buddies soon. He started fishing only two years ago, but he has reached expertise o ffishing, in particular in bass fishing, such as large mouth, small mouth, and striped bass. His casting is so razor-accurate, and I call it the art of casting. His lure choices are tube and senko (crank bait for striper). He has bunch of premium reels like Scorpion. He is not that picky about rod, though he prefers sturdy glass fiber ones, such as Ugly Stik. He has a kayak and a canoe with trolling motor. He is my fishing instructor; I first learned about lure fishing from him. His dream is to own a charter boat for salt water fishing when he retires. I hope that he will be a real captain someday.

(Picture: while we went trout trolling at Shaver pond, Grafton, NY.)