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Off the News

For Friday, July 1, 2011

LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Hawaii gives the world something to emulate

Score one for the sharks. Today, Hawaii becomes the first state in the nation to ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins.

The use of shark fins as a fine-dining delicacy has become a potent symbol of waste, self-indulgence and environmentally destructive extravagance. An estimated 89 million sharks are killed each year to satisfy this lucrative market. Too often, the fins are sliced off and the shark dumped overboard to die.

The local market for shark fins is tiny, but it's hoped that the law will set a good example, and that other states, the federal government and foreign jurisdictions will follow suit.

The sharks, and the fragile ecological balance of the world's oceans, will be better off for it.

The age of flat tires apparently is over

"I got an Eldorado Cadillac, with a spare tire in the back. I got a credit card at Goldblatt's. But I ain't got you."

So go the lyrics of Calvin Carter's blues song from the 1950s, "I Ain't Got You," which intimated that it was a sign of wealth to have a "spare tire in the back."

Of course, in recent times a spare tire has been considered a standard feature in new vehicles, but apparently not for much longer. Car manufacturers such as BMW, Hyundai and Chevrolet have been ditching the extra tires, claiming it will improve gas mileage and, not coincidentally, save them a few bucks.

In the future, having a "spare tire in the back" will again be a sign of wealth.

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