Sept 10: World Suicide Prevention Day

I am not sure what value having a ‘day’ is, but suicide is a big problem in Korea, with one suicide occurring every 34 minutes (as tweeted by James – did that link work?  I haven’t linked to a tweet before).

For more information on the day or warning signs or the like, visit Dr Deb.


Hmm, this post is nearly short enough to go on Twitter.

Oriental Medicine-Bio Expo in Jecheon

Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 10:00

Vampires in Peru -they don’t sparkle

When I read in the Korea Herald that four Peruvian children had died from vampire bat attacks, I figured it was another example of bad reporting.  However, it appears the report is correct although the bats are not the ultimate cause of death:

Rabid vampire bats have attacked more than 500 indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon, according to foreign news reports.

At least four children are believed to have died in an outbreak of the disease, the Peruvian Health Ministry said Sunday.

Rabies.  Those poor bastards.

From CBS News:

Stem Cell

"We don't have a contingency plan, because it's not likely to happen". - Anonymous Korean Stem Cell Company Representative.

Before we went to the BEXCO Baby Fair, my wife broached the subject of umbilical cord stem cell harvesting with me. Apparently the idea was that if the cells were harvested from the cord blood and stored, our child would potentially have a better chance of recovery from future diseases such as diabetes and blindness, and eventually also problems that would benefit from a regenerative medical solution, once technology allows.

Koreans in South Africa aren’t taking their medicine?

There are two reports in the news about Korean dancers in South Africa dyeing of malaria.

Spellcheck suggested “dyeing” after I incorrectly

typed “dieing” – surely their word means adding

colour to clothes and such though.  What is the right word?

First, my condolences to the families of Koh Eun-joo and Kim Su-yeon.

Second, how could this happen?  The Korea Herald article (KH is no longer appearing on my browser as a malware site) on Miss Kim is short and merely reports her name and occupation.  The Joongang article on Miss Koh sheds more light.  I don’t like to use such long excerpts from a newspaper article, but malaria is serious business.

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.


Normally, I don't really sweat that much, and this may have been the reason why before this summer I've only had around five mosquito bites in Korea. In the last two days, I've been bitten seven times in our apartment, and I have the itchy red spots to prove it.

Having a large apartment can seem like a step up from the 'one-room' place we spent the first fifteen months in, but I discovered it had a downside: the air conditioning unit in the one-room could keep the air cool with only intermittent efforts, but the one in our four-bedroom apartment would need to stay on all the time to have any chance of making a significant difference to the temperature of our office on the other side of the building. The upshot of which is that I'm working in a room which hits 30 degrees and 80% humidity on the bad days, while three computers pump out warm air which has nowhere to go. It's hot, uncomfortable, and apparently it's made me more of a mosquito target.

Blood Donor Day

Blood donation is one of the best things you can do for your fellows.  It’s easy, in Korea you get a little gift, and you save the life of someone anonymously.  I can think of few better things a person could do.

I have had challenges giving blood in Korea trying to translate the questions properly but people have always been willing to help.  I haven’t given blood this year yet because I haven’t seen a blood bus at my university.  maybe this is a good thing.  At my previous university, the city was relatively flat (well, relatively) while I now work atop a big, steep hill.  Even walking down this hill requires some balance and effort and you shouldn’t exert yourself after giving blood.

I hope the kids in this picture from the Chosun Ilbo are going to give blood, rather than have just given blood.

Run Ragged

I must hie myself to the hospital. Weeks of weekends with not a jot of rest, coupled with flagrant abuse of alcohol has left my pushing-40 body in a ravaged state. I just ignored last week's cold in an effort to mentally forbid it. My lungs now feel like they're filled with swampwater. Yesterday morning I made the mistake of eating some soup that a guest made a few days back - too many days back, actually - since I succeeded in giving myself mild food poisoning. Add some no-joke insomnia to the mix and you have a cocktail of crap.

This last month has seen two bachelor parties, and two weddings, along with countless gigs, parties, and other such engagements that often seem more obligatory than by choice. I'm looking forward to America just for some proper down time. If I feel less-than-motivated once do reach her fair shores, please, please understand.

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.

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