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Cry me an iRiver

I’ve blogged in the past about my interest in ebook readers.  I finally got my hands on one for a few moments today.

I liked it.  The screen is plenty big enough and the device is small enough that I could easily see myself carrying one around.  The page change is fairly slow – I think that is common to all eReaders – and I could see myself getting to the second last line, then clicking and racing through the final line before the screen changed.

Not just in Korea

Misspellings of English words in professional documents and signs are common here.  But, they do occur elsewhere; the photo below is meant to teach us (okay, me) some humility.

'lightening'?  Really?  Is it getting lighter?

I should say that the first two books of Larsson’s trilogy are fantastic.  I’ll be buying “The girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest” soon.

I recall a Simpsons episode where the swishy male hair stylists were spending a lot of money on “Loafer Lightener”.  Maybe that’s what Larsson has bottled.

Oh, I cannot find this error online anywhere (A screen capture from a google search):

Scriptures of the Green Plant

Camellia sinensis is the about as close to a holy object both my wife and I can appreciate. My wife once remarked at a tea ceremony that the Korean Way of Tea was the one religion she could follow. And now, its scriptures have been translated into the vernacular from the canonical Korean ()via TMH).

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Eyeballing Hobbits

Ilya Somin goes off on the J.R.R. Tolkien variant of biblical science: looking for hobbits on Southeast Asian islands. It’s like digging for horns at Jericho, or arks on Mount Ararat. So, might these “hobbits” just be stunted humans?

“I have put that claim to rest,” says Colin Groves of the Australian National University in Canberra. He compared the Flores bones with those of 10 people who’d had cretinism, focusing on anatomical features that are typical of the disease. He found no overlap (HOMO – Journal of Comparative Human Biology, vol 61, p 211). William Jungers at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York agrees the study finally puts that idea to rest.

Debunking the Myth of Peace through Economic Ties (Video)

As an undergrad, I had the honor of studying with a student of Robert Keohane, one half of the team that wrote Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition and founder of the complex interdependence “school”. Now, Charles Kupchan claims he has proven that regime is irrelevant to diplomacy, and that geopolitics trumps economic interdependence. Although Eli Lake highlights the relevance of Kupchan’s work to Iran and Israel, I immediately thought of the DPRK. Kupchan’s theory helps those opposing economic engagement with Pyongyang.

Lovecraft and the Immortality of Cthulhu

MonsterTalk is the most under-achieving podcast I listen to. And, this week’s episode, Cthulhu Risesis an example why I get more infuriated than satisfied.

The literary work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft is dark and macabre. It casts a long shadow in American Literature, influencing such writers as Rod Serling, Steven King, Bob Howard, Robert Bloch, and many others. In his stories he wove a tapestry of mad alien gods and unspeakable horrors and the insignificance of man. And of a mountainous evil that sleeps in the ocean, worshiped by mad cults and known only as … Cthulhu.

Shelby Foote’s Best Spin on the Ol’ South (Video)

I’ll be as giving as possible. Shelby Foote, whose entire opus on the Civil War I actually read, was a national treasure and just damn entertaining to listen to. And now I’ll resume bashing the crap out of my southern-sympathizing compatriots.

Beer-Soaked Politics

Benjamin Franklin recounted in his Autobiography how he succeeded by avoiding beer while working at Watt’s Printing House in London.

Refining Anti-Science to a New American Art

I can’t recommend Chris Mooney’s interview with Naomi Oreskes any more vehemently, except perhaps with shout caps.

Through extensive archival research, Oreskes and Conway have managed to connect the dots between a large number of seemingly separate anti-science campaigns that have unfolded over the years. It all began with Big Tobacco, and the famous internal memo declaring, “Doubt is our Product.”

The Bulge in the Middle Kingdom (Video)

For years, I’ve listened to South Korean students, co-workers, and even my wife and family tell me how obese Americans are due to a rotten food culture, or even racial characteristics. I’ve listened patiently. I’ve not said a word about the diminutive grandmothers and grandfathers bent 90 degrees as if carrying phantom loads of cargo on their backs from the decades when the Korean diet lacked key nutrients. I also didn’t say a word about the street food, that, even if it were hallowed local favorites, still contained plenty of oil and salt for me to recognize it as fast food. And, of course, I said nothing of the plump kids with cellphones gorging themselves silly at the vendors’ carts between cram school sessions or devouring bags of chips and cookies in class. I didn’t warn them about the lure of modern society: cheap food that really is trash.

FREED Book Swap

Friday, June 11, 2010 - 20:00

What is it? Book-swap and talk shop.

What do we do? Bring books, CDs, DVDs, magazines to swap. Stay a bit to talk teacher's shop. What's on your mind? Housing? Co-teaching? Paid vacation time? Benefits?

Where, man? O'Brien's Pub outside Exit 2 of Gaya Station, Gaya Market in Busan (green line 2, 2 stops away from Seomyeon).


Pirates of the Caribbean (I have to write something!)

It’s been so long that I feel I have to write something.  I have let several news stories go by, so that whatever I write about has to be really big or insignificant.  I chose the latter.

I was a big fan of the original Pirates of the Caribbean and enjoyed the two sequels.  I am really looking forward to the upcoming Pirates movie because it is somehow based on Tim Powers’ book, “On Stranger Tides”.  The two are a good match: both include piracy, magic and some humour.  Indeed, all I really need in the movie is the following exchange:

Voodoo magician: I’m a deaf.  I can’t hear.

Clerk: Oh my God; he’s going to defecate here!

The rest of the book is not so funny, but completely enjoyable; should I buy a new copy?


Largely, I think, due to my move and the efforts in becoming acquainted with new material to teach, I have been more focused on teaching lately than in the past few years.

While at my previous university, I had prepared plenty and was known for my interesting and unusual methods of teaching.  Still, most of the preparation had taken place over the past few years, rather than over a single semester.  I am adapting old material and creating new material and it is both fun and tiring.

Recently, I had one of my worst classes ever, and it is partly a result of the planning I now find myself busy with.  I had spent some time looking at material to use to discuss families.  When I finished, I went to class and taught a great twenty minutes of the stuff I had just prepared – to the wrong class.

Thus I refute Odysseus

My friend, the Port Coquitlam Odysseus, and some people at the BBC, feel that E-book readers, like the Kindle, will never replace paper books.  The main reason they give, as befits what a simple, Colonial-type Canadian thinks of the BBC, is highbrow:  When reading a book, it is difficult to add annotations and marginalia to an E-book version.

“Oh, I’m at the BBC.  I’m reading important books. I sometimes disagree with the author and feel compelled to make such known to… myself by writing in the margins.”

Here is my refutation (I don’t see any special reason to embiggen these pics, but you can, if you wish, by clicking on them):

A Kipling fan in the making

I grew up on the Jungle Book, Kim, Captains Courageous, and the like.  I wasn’t such a fan of Disney’s Jungle Book movie, but did enjoy sharing it with my son.

When my son saw this tiger, at Nampodong, Busan, his first words were, “Sher Khan!”  I was so proud.

It would be cool if I could teach him to cry out, “Khan!” but that’s a different tradition.

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