CNN: “Japan rolls back pacifist pillars”

The above title links to a CNN article that talks about Japan’s upgrading its Defense Agency to “a full ministry” for the first time since World War II. It also talks about a new Japanese education measure that calls on schools “to cultivate an attitude that respects tradition and culture, that loves nation and home country.”

Is the education measure really such a big deal? Don’t the education systems in the US and other countries essentially teach the same things? Also, upgrading the Defense Agency to a full ministry means that Japan will be putting about the same about of emphasis on its defense as almost every other country in the world. What is wrong with that? I think the critics of the measures are letting their imaginations get the better of them.

Posted by Gerry-Bevers, filed under diplomacy. Date: December 16, 2006, 2:46 am | 14 Comments »

The following is a link to an interesting article written by Doug Bandow. Though I agree with many of the points Mr. Bandow makes, I think it would be sending the wrong message to not only China and South Korea but also to North Korea to pull US troops out of Japan. Pulling US troops out of South Korea might make sense, but pulling them out of Japan would not. Of course, if the Japanese wanted them out, then pull them out, but if not, then they should stay.

“Normalize relations with Japan”

Posted by Gerry-Bevers, filed under diplomacy. Date: December 14, 2006, 9:56 pm | 6 Comments »

Many English language institutes in South Korea try to promote their schools by advertising that their staff includes “native English speakers,” but the people at the Jong I Jo Language Institute are using a different approach. They promote themselves by advertising that they do not hire “Native Speakers.” If you are wondering how that could promote their school, then read their ad, which I have posted below, together with my translation:


The reasons Native Speakers are not hired:

  1. Most are only short-term visitors and, therefore, lack a sense of responsibility and duty.
  2. They have no concept of teaching and, therefore, have absolutely no sense of duty or professionalism.
  3. They are untrained in education.
  4. They are absolutely not high-quality personnel (most graduate from no-name technical schools and 2-year colleges.
  5. It is impossible to check what kinds of people they are or what their characters are (ex. drug user, homosexual, convict, AIDS patient, sex offender).
  6. They only just barely teach their classes and do not invest any time in managing students.
  7. They have no burning passion for the students.
  8. They do not agonize at all over improving the student’s skills.
  9. Legitimate native speakers are rare.
  10. It is impossible for parents to easily consult with them anytime they want.

* I want to specify that the above applies to only some foreigners.

I would just like to point out that many of the things mentioned can also apply to Korean teachers. Why not just say that your school hires teachers who are trained, professional, concerned, and dedicated, and are people who are not drug addicts, homosexuals, convicts, AIDS carriers, or sex offenders?

Posted by Gerry-Bevers, filed under Uncategorized. Date: December 14, 2006, 8:02 pm | 16 Comments »

Dr Phil interviews the maker of Bum Fights but kicks him off the show after being parodied in hair style and clothing. The comment he makes about Dr Phil’s show is also dead on. This is real comedy gold but Dr Phil kicks him off the show because it offends his sense of self importance.

Posted by Matt, filed under Funny. Date: December 13, 2006, 8:07 pm | 10 Comments »

An Enhanced Versatile Disc player

A lot of China skeptics doubt China’s ability to develop the whole country up to a first world standard, but I think that misses the point. Even if China fails to develop vast swathes of its own country, it will begin to dominate whole industries traditionally dominated by other countries, and that will have consequences for everyone.

One of the things that shows China’s growing assertiveness is its willingness to develop local standards that challenge the standards being developed overseas, while showing confidence by not compelling the adoption of the standards domestically. A good example is the Enhanced Versatile Disc, China’s answer to the Blue-ray and HD DVD next generation DVD disc competitors. Here are some details about EVD -

The EVD caused a recent stir. Initially developed by China’s Beijing E-world Technology and the US technology company On2 Technologies, it is supported by leading Chinese consumer electronics manufacturers SVA, Shinco, Amoi, Xiaxin, Yuxing, Skyworth, Nintaus, Malata, Changhong and BBK.

The platform was approved by the Standards Administration of China, and the first EVD devices were unveiled at a special event in Beijing on November 2003. Put simply, it is widely assumed that the concept was devised as a means of eliminating royalty payments made to the DVD Forum by China’s manufacturers in a bid to reduce manufacturing costs. It is reported that Chinese manufacturers need to pay approximately $14 in royalties for every DVD player they make.

Technically, the EVD is based on the existing red laser disc format. However, it uses proprietary compression solutions, developed initially by On2, with chipsets subsequently delivered by LSI Logic, to fit 120 minutes of HD content onto a dual layer 9 Gb DVD. According to the group, the standards body is at present working on a 16 Gb EVD.

The first commercial EVD devices were launched in the Chinese market in January 2004 by manufacturers Shinco, SVA and Amoi. In a bid to push sales and raise the profile of the format, Shinco took the unusual step of announcing negotiations over content for the format from some US studios, including MGM and Fox, and promised 1,600 EVD titles overall in 2004.

But plans were scaled back to 300 titles, with the first titles only appearing in July 2004, and only 50 titles having appeared by the start of September. The studio titles are not expected to be in HD at the moment. Unsurprisingly, this has affected sales, as has the high cost of discs (an EVD movie disc costs twice that of DVD) and players (an EVD player costs twice that of a DVD player). Alhough a target of 200,000 EVD player sales in 2004 was set in January, the average sales figure has been around 1,000 players a week.

Ironically, due to the low take-up, EVD manufacturers have had to make their players compatible with the DVD standard in the interim period, therefore obliging them to pay the $14 DVD royalty on top of $2 per player they already pay for the EVD standard.

The minimal royalties means that this will be very attractive to manufacturers of current DVD players when they decide to convert their facilities. Furthermore because EVD uses a red laser (the same laser type as the DVD player), the conversion of DVD producing factories to EVD factories should be a simple and low cost process. China currently produces 70% of the worlds DVD players.

China has a history of bucking the trend when it comes to formats for viewing films. VCD’s remained popular in China and SE Asia a long time after DVD players appeared, and many China made DVD players include VCD compatibility because of this. VCD’s never caught on in America, Europe, or Japan because of its lack of anti piracy features.

It seems likely that EVD will probably become a local standard in China, quite possibly muscling out the blue-ray and HD DVD formats out of the Chinese market. Certainly the price tag will appeal to the consumer in China and SE Asia. The point of the EVD is not whether the standard will be exported out of China, but that Blue-ray or HD DVD, whichever comes out on top in that battle, might find that they have lost China and potentially other countries in Asia as markets for their machines. To lose a market like China at this stage of its development means the loss of a lot of potential money, countless billions. It also means that if Chinese companies were to secure their home market with their own home grown standard, then they may feel confident enough to try to export a new standard to foreign countries when the future battle for market share in optical disc technology occurs.

Posted by Matt, filed under Technology. Date: December 10, 2006, 3:20 am | 2 Comments »

08  Dec
The family guy

The family guy has to be the funniest animated show on TV at the moment. Although some people say it is a rip off of the Simpsons, I regard it as more of a rip off of everything. The family guy’s take on Cookie Monster from Sesame Street is hilarious.

Posted by Matt, filed under Funny. Date: December 8, 2006, 10:53 pm | 11 Comments »

The Youtube videos below are of the Shimane Prefecture Takeshima Research Group going to Ulleungdo to investigate Korean documents claiming that Korea knew about and controlled Dokdo/Takeshima before 1905. You will clearly see the group investigate the claims and crush them point by point with their boat tour around Ulleungdo. You will also see impossible, baseless claims at the Dokdo museum. The show also gives heavy coverage to the opposing Korean researchers. The TV show is quite long, and in several parts. Unfortunately it is not possible for me to translate it, but perhaps a reader will kindly translate the most important parts of it.

Another blow to the Dokdo myth.

Posted by Matt, filed under diplomacy, Verus Historia. Date: December 4, 2006, 6:35 am | 13 Comments »

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