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I want to agree with this guy, but…

Roar Sheppard (poor guy, his parents doomed him from the start) is a “New Humanity Culture leader” and director of the Overseas Seon Culture Life Museum.

In an article for the Korea Times, he writes about the earthquake in Japan and links it to other recent natural disasters.  Then:

I wanted to ask nature, what is the reason for abnormal conditions of the Earth to appear all of a sudden? This was the answer I received.

How can we say all of these are separate phenomena? The one organism, the Earth is showing the signs here and there. Human death and shortage of grains ― these are only the result. Take a look at the fundamentals that are giving rise to these.

Feral Cats

A co-worker recently posted a notice in the office of a baby cat near his apartment and asked whether anyone would be interested in taking it home.

I love animals and grew up with there always being a dog or a cat and often both in the home.  Yet, I didn’t even bother to bring the subject up with my wife.

If we opened our apartment to cute little furry critter, we would do it again for the next and the next…

I honestly – and sadly and despairingly – wonder if poison or traps or other lethal tools should be used to clean out the feral cat populations in Korea.  I guess that in Busan they are doing no harm – I am sure I could think of some way they might be- but the constant sight of them just fills me with pity.

The East Sea will get very salty

Or so claims the Donga Ilbo.

In an article titled “East Sea to Turn Into ‘Dead Sea’ in 100 Years: Report“, the writer seems to have mixed up “Dead Sea” with “The Dead Sea”.

From the article:

Japanese researchers say the East Sea will turn into an oxygen-less body of water like the Dead Sea in 100 years, the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun said Tuesday.

“The Dead Sea”, of course, is in the Middle East and has a huge salt content that is lethal for any fish that wanders down the river into the Sea.  More here.

rural rooftop solar energy collectors

My understanding is that the warmth of the building extends the growing season somewhat for these squashes.

Unification tax could be used to reforest North Korea

President Lee’s government recently tested the idea of a re-unifictation tax and many wondered what it was for and why it was being suggested now.

I suppose people are right to be suspicious, but I like the idea of a government planning for the future. The US (and probably my homeland, Canada) are infamous for reducing tax and increasing various programs that voters won’t have to pay for but their children will.  I can’t say that’s crazy, but I can say it’s a pretty cold thing to do to your descendants.

Anyway, in today’s Korea Times I see a discussion about reforesting North Korea after unification.  Again, a great idea, but why now?  What bad action has taken place domestically that they want to hide or what do they know about KJI’s health?

From the article:

Air Conditioning and blackouts

The Joongnang Ilbo reports that blackouts are possible this summer due to air conditioner use or overuse.

If reserves fall below the 4 million kilowatt level, the government has the right to demand power cuts and control electricity usage.

Of course, the threat of power cuts has been raised in previous summers, and in some winters, but they’ve always been avoided.

One method was through conservation measures, and the ministry is planning to restrict the use of air-conditioning starting next month during the peak hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for buildings that consume more than 2,000 ton-oil-equivalents (or TOEs) of energy.

The government will advise buildings to turn off the air-conditioners for 10 minutes every hour.

Korea Herald: visiting this site may damage your computer

Today, I visited a library near DaDaePo Beach.  It had a pretty good English section for children’s books – from the Jungle Book, the Secret Garden and White Fang on down to younger ages.

It also had the Korea Herald available.  I haven’t seen the herald in print in years and haven’t visited the site in a few months, since Safari recognizes it as a malware site.  Is it okay to visit? Anyway, I took a few photos of things that caught my interest. Click to embiggen if you want to read them.

Last year, at Gangwon Notes, I wrote about trans-boundary water and water recourses so this conference sounds interesting.  There was only the photo and caption, though.  No further details.

Rules about trash – what happens

Freakonomics has a few articles about the unintended consequences of rules for trash (1, 2).

“The introduction of new pay-by-weight trash charges in Ireland seems to have produced a strange and troubling effect: an increase in burn victims at St. James Hospital in Dublin.


The theory is that people wanted to avoid having to pay for all their trash so instead they burned it in their backyards.”


“Green” cars? Maybe, with a good paint job.

I have always felt the Jaguar looked good in a dark green.  It’s a beautiful car – and by the total lack of mention of a specific model or year, you can accurately judge my knowledge of cars.

In the Joongang Ilbo, I learned about Korea’s first Electric bus.

The bus has an average speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) and can run 120 kilometers (75 miles) on a fully charged battery.

The 50-seat bus uses three 100-kilowatt driving motors that power a 402-horsepower internal combustion engine.

Hyundai said the bus satisfies all the requirements set by the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs for a transportation vehicle with “zero” emission.

Moon Bears

Via Robert Neff at the Marmot, I found a bit of an update on Moonbears in Korea.

The article touches on poaching at Jirisan, which I looked into in the old day at Gangwon Notes.

Although I love the idea of having bears in Korea, I can’t see how it can work.  Korea has a high population density and bears are famous wanderers.  They will not stay inside the park borders.

Also, the reports linked to above say there are 19 bears.  That sounds about right.  My understanding is that one needs around fifty or more individuals before one can claim the population is sustainable in the short term, and five hundred or more to be sustainable in the long term.

Could cable cars be a step ahead for Busan’s public transit?

Via Freakenomics*, I  learned that Tom Vanderbilt is asking for ideas to improve public transportation.  In a Slate article describing Nimble Cities, he asks for suggestions “make transportation in and between cities more efficient, safe, and pleasant.”

Driving to work: it’s so easy

And I hate it.

I live 20 km or 40 minutes from work by car and probably a little more than an hour by public transport.  One of the big problems for me is the nature of the public transport I would have to use: two or more crowded buses or a bus, a roundabout subway ride and possibly a third bus.

One problem is that my university high up on the side of a mountain.  I am from Gangwondo (well, seven years there; it feels like home) and Gangwondo is known for rugged mountains, but I haven’t seen a city like Busan before.  A coworker who’s lived in San Francisco says the steep roads are comparable.

Anyway, I remain interested in alternate modes of transportation but I’m having trouble committing to them right now.

My previous blog had several posts about traffic and transportation.  I saw two articles recently that I recommend and this post seems the right place.

becoming or staying slim

When I visit my hometown, I see giant people climb out of giant cars (or SUVS, mostly).  Here, in Busan, but also in Korea generally, I see slim people and the younger they are – to young adulthood – the taller they are.

While I don’t have any news about how or why the generation entering the workforce is the tallest I’ve seen in Korea (I figure it is the increased amount of protein in their diets), I just read an interesting post about land-use in cities correlated to obesity.  The results aren’t startling, but until a test or two are done, it isn’t really known.

In “Walking and Obesity: the City Life and the Country Life“, Sci reports on a journal article that tracked 10,000 people in and around Atlanta, Georgia.

Viagra- a tool for conservation of species

I am not referring to our species, although I guess I could be.

No, I the species that viagra will protect are those previously used in oriental medicines.

Now, I suppose that a few oriental medicines have real and measurable benefits.  I suspect that as more medicines tested in double-blind studies become available, fewer and fewer oriental medicines will be sought.

From the Korea Times (in an ‘https:’ format as they often and inexplicably are):

The oriental medicine market has faced setbacks over the past few years and observers are pointing their fingers at the rapid spread of erectile dysfunction treatment drugs as one of the major causes.

I missed International Water Day.

I put a little work into a post in honour of International Water Day last year.  The theme was transborder waterways – rivers and the like; pollution, taking water for irrigation and the use of dams.  I wrote about rivers crossing the DMZ.

Yesterday was World Water Day 2010 and I don’t even know what the theme was.  The Joongang has an article describing Biological Oxygen Demand or BOD and dams in Korea.  From the article:

Finding my voice

My Gangwon Notes blog, the best damn blog never to be nominated by 10 Magazine for a best blog award, had a pretty clear focus: Gangwon Province.  Yes, I also mentioned my homeland, Canada, Korean politics and conservation efforts, a few book reviews, but I stayed mostly true to the title of my blog.

I am now in a new location and it is not undersupplied with bloggers (can you ever have enough bloggers?) and don’t intend to be ‘the voice of Busan’. but what do I intend?  Well, I have mentioned somewhere that I am interested in a few things, but I still don’t feel comfortable with the direction of this blog.  I am in a new location, have a new job and am using a new blogging site, why follow the same  path?  Still, I do enjoy blogging and want to write about something.


today. I looked at these articles in Korea’s English newspapers.

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