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March 01, 2010

Whaling Artifacts


These pictures were taken in the New Bedford Massachusetts Whaling Museum, which has a very bizarre film from early last century on American Whaling. Also in the collection are these two artifacts (top) a woven "Whaler's Hat", 19th century, probably Nootka, made from spruce root and pigment. "Documented during the voyages of James Cook in the mid 18th century, these hats held special status significance to both the men and women of this whaling culture."


This is a swift (yarn winder) made from whale bone. The museum wall text says "From Pursuit to Preservation" but it's mostly bones, artifacts and amazing paintings from the history of Whaling.

Posted by cat at 11:21 AM

Sweatfree Olympics 2012?

On Saturday 27 february, As the Olympic torch was handed on from this year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver to London, the Playfair 2012 coalition launched a campaign for an ethical London Games.

Playfair 2012 is co-ordinated by the TUC and Labour Behind the Label (the UK Clean Clothes Campaign) and involves unions and various campaigning organisations.

The coalition wants the organisers of the London Olympics to ensure that workers making sportswear for the 2012 Games won't be working in appalling and degrading conditions, and that all Olympic-branded goods will be ethically produced.

The campaign website http://www.playfair2012.org.uk/ sets out the standards the coalition expects from the London 2012 Games organisers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sportswear brands, and explains how individuals can get involved in the campaign. There is also a resources section with reports and video clips.

Millions of people are employed in the global supply chains that produce kits for Olympic teams, and the sportswear and souvenirs available on our high streets. Evidence shows that the sportswear industry and Olympic movement have a poor track record on workers' rights, says the campaign. Playfair 2008 research published before the Beijing Games found workers employed by Adidas suppliers in China were making sports shoes that retail for upwards of £50 a pair for just £20 per month, and others working 80 hours a week stitching footballs. In another factory producing stationery, children as young as 12 years old were being forced to work 15 hours a day.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Delivering a legacy for London was at the heart of the Government's successful Olympic bid. And what better legacy than a commitment to end the exploitation and abuse involved in the sportswear and athletic footwear industries? We want London 2012 to raise the bar on workers' rights throughout Olympic supply chains."

Posted by cat at 11:13 AM