Quick Roundup 352

Friday, August 08, 2008

Feeting the Fish

I ran across an amusing story about the use of fish for pedicures this morning.

A Washington-area spa adopted the practice, common in parts of Asia, of using a species of toothless fish to abrade dead skin from its customers' feet, often causing its customers to laugh:

Customer Patsy Fisher, 42, admitted she was nervous as she prepared for her first fish pedicure. But her apprehension dissolved into laughter after she put her feet in the tank and the fish swarmed to her toes.

"It's a little ticklish, actually," she said.


[T]he county health department ... required the salon to switch from a shallow, tiled communal pool that served as many as eight people to individual tanks in which the water is changed for each customer.

The communal pool also presented its own problem: At times the fish would flock to the feet of an individual with a surplus of dead skin, leaving others with a dearth of fish.

"It would sometimes be embarrassing for them but it was also really hilarious," Ho said.
Sometimes, they laughed from being tickled, other times, at the expense of the other customers!

This practice is one of those things that can really make you scratch your head when you realize that somebody, somewhere had to think of it first!

Two Blowhards

And speaking of things at a low level, look at the depths to which our political discourse has descended since the time of the Founding Fathers:
At a campaign stop in Springfield, Mo., the Illinois senator suggested that if Americans simply kept their tires inflated to spec, the nation could conserve as much oil as is expected to be pumped out of the ocean with the additional offshore drilling favored by his rival, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

Obama's comment touched off a maelstrom of bad arithmetic in the blogosphere, an angels-on-pins debate over how much, exactly, we could save by having proper tire inflation, competing estimates of reserves in the outer continental shelf, and fascinating arcana about the amount of gasoline refined from a 42-gallon barrel of sweet crude (about 20 gallons) and the energy extraction costs of offshore oil. All of which was accompanied by the usual partisan furies: Obama's an empty suit, Republicans would raise an oil derrick on Teddy Roosevelt's head at Mt. Rushmore, etc.
Appallingly, nobody here -- from the politicians quibbling about how the government is going to force us to respond to the energy crisis to "the blogosphere" -- is contesting the only premise that needs contesting: whether the government should have an "energy plan" at all!

I got wind of this story around the same time I ran into the following quote via Andrew Dalton:
A principle is "a fundamental, primary, or general truth, on which other truths depend." Thus a principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. It is only by means of principles that one can set one’s long-range goals and evaluate the concrete alternatives of any given moment. It is only principles that enable a man to plan his future and to achieve it.

The present state of our culture may be gauged by the extent to which principles have vanished from public discussion, reducing our cultural atmosphere to the sordid, petty senselessness of a bickering family that haggles over trivial concretes, while betraying all its major values, selling out its future for some spurious advantage of the moment. [bold added] --Ayn Rand
Apt, as is what immediately follows. Follow the links for the whole thing and its source. There isn't a dime's worth of difference between Obama and McCain, although on a sense-of-life level, they appear to think that different spins on the same statist premise will get more votes.

Reporter Dan Neil's attempt at analysis later in the article comes close to characterizing the two spins, but he loses points for failing to notice that OMcBamaCain are merely appealing to two worldviews without actually representing them. They both are waging war with reason and individual rights. They just attack from different diections.

Very Short, and Very Funny

Years ago, my dad told me about the short Warner Brothers cartoon clip embedded below, but I'd never seen it.

I don't remember now why, exactly, I decided to search for it yesterday, but it was good laugh!

Objectivist Roundup

While I was job hunting, Nick Provenzo posted the latest over at Rule of Reason yesterday.

-- CAV


: Added missing hyperlink.


Liriodendron said...

Fascinating stuff -- I wonder what these fish eat in the wild? When I was a kid and we would go to Lake Ontario to play in the "big" waves, there would be perch about 4 inches long that would actually nibble at our toes.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for asking! You made me realize that I had forgotten to link to the story, which says that, "Ho said the hot water in which the fish thrive doesn't support much plant or aquatic life, so they learned to feed on whatever food sources were available — including dead, flaking skin. They leave live skin alone because, without teeth, they can't bite it off."

They're carp, according to the story, so I'm guessing that they are naturally scavengers.

Jim May said...

When I was growing up, my dad -- an accomplished fisherman himself, who would bring home succulent pickerel for us to eat every Victoria Day weekend -- explained to me that carp were not good to eat because they were "garbage fish" that would eat anything.

Gus Van Horn said...

Father knows best!