Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Sexual Positions from the Chosun Dynasty

September 28th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

The Chosun Ilbo has an article HERE that talks about a recently discovered Chosun Dynasty era play that is quite sexually oriented. Here is some of the steamy dialog:

“With an arrow put to the string, I have no choice but to shoot it.” “How shameless you are! We’re almost there. How can I stop it even if you ask me to? Damn this skirt of mine! Why is it here now?”

I think the dialog is between a 61-year-old man and an 18-year-old gisaeng. But just because the guy was 61, you should not assume he was just an old fogy, missionary-style guy because apparently he was willing to experiment with some of the new Chosun-era sexual positions, including the “rocking the swing,” “toying with a duck’s legs,” “flying fairy,” and “flower in the back garden.”

Though I have no idea what the modern equivalent of “toying with a duck’s legs” might be, I think I have a pretty good idea of what position “flower in the back garden” is.

Anti-war rap

September 24th, 2007 . by Matt

Funny lyrics.

Space exploration

September 23rd, 2007 . by Matt

See this uplifting video of future space exploration, set to a smooth trance backing track. The video was produced by a friend.

Historical Articles from the NYT Archives

September 21st, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

If you have not registered with the online version of The New York Times, do so now because the newspaper has opened up its article archives, which go back to 1851, and, believe me, there is some interesting stuff in there. For example, here is an excerpt from an August 12, 1888 article on Korea, “Corea and Her Aims“:

The official dispatches received by Secretary Bayard from our Consul at Seoul confirm, with a trivial modification, the almost incredible rumor of the origin of the late outbreak in Corea. It did spring from a belief among many of the natives that the American missionaries were buying or stealing their babies for the purpose of boiling them down. Instead, however, of using the product for medicines, they were suspected, it appears, of employing it for chemicals in making photographs.

Perhaps no incident could better illustrate the obligations our Government is under to the King of Corea for his progressive policy, and his welcome of foreigners and particularly of Americans, to a country which, in the main, is the prey of such dense ignorance and prejudice. Some obscurity prevails as to the ground on which the strange rumor about the missionaries gained currency, but it is probably due to the fact that they are known to have been in the habit of saving poor children from cruelty or murder by adopting them in their schools and other institutions, paying sometimes a trifling sum to bind the bargain. This explanation is the more probable, since it appears that nine Corean officials were seized and decapitated in the streets of Seoul on the charge of complicity with the missionaries. It is well known that the King has intrusted to Americans the entire task of developing the educational system of Corea, and that besides a school which has now been in operation for four years for the purpose of training interpreters in English, there has also been established by Americans for several years an orphanage under Government patronage. It seems quite possible, therefore, that the hapless officials who perished were those whose duty connected them with supervising these orphanage and other American charitable institutions….

The articles written between 1851 and 1922 and between 1987 and the present are free, but there are charges for most of the articles between 1923 and 1986. The older articles are in PDF format.

I have started a list of links to articles related to Korea and will add to the list as I go through the articles: 

List of NYT Articles on Korea (in date order)

Korean guest worker in Sydney beaten by Korean employers

September 20th, 2007 . by Matt

This is an extreme case, but it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Koreans exploiting their fellow Koreans in Sydney. Most Koreans working for Koreans here are paid under the minimum wage, receive no superannuation, and have none of the labor protections that are required under law.

The Sydney employers of a Korean guest worker have been ordered to pay the man almost $100,000 after kidnapping and assaulting him when he asked for worker’s compensation.

The NSW District Court on Friday ordered Kyung Ja Song and Jin Ho Park to pay $96,788 in aggravated damages to Jae Sik Kim, who worked as a tiler for the Campsie couple’s Kyo Group.

Mr Kim sued the couple for false imprisonment and assault after they forced him into a car, took him to their house, physically assaulted him and forced him to hand over his passport.

The attack caused Mr Kim to lose 40 per cent vison in his right eye, his solicitor Lisa Powell said outside court.

The assault and kidnapping also are subject to criminal proceedings that are yet to be heard.

Mr Kim had come to Australia on a section 457 visa but was unable to work after seriously injuring his back when he fell down stairs while at work.

Mrs Song and Mr Park reported him to the immigration department when he complained about not receiving worker’s compensation for his injury, and he was deported.

Mr Kim returned to Australia on his brother’s passport in a desperate attempt to seek compensation to cover his medical bills, only to suffer the savage attack at the hands of his employers, the court was told.

Delivering his judgment, Judge Chris Geraghty described Mr Kim as being in a “vulnerable position” as he was alone in a strange country with no knowledge of its medical and legal system.

Justice Geraghty added that Mr Kim was dependent on his employers, subservient and frightened of them.

OMG… Starwars lightsaber on Wii

September 19th, 2007 . by Matt

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a new starwars game being released on several platforms, but the prospect of waving around the Wii controller like a lightsaber makes me want this game bad.

A new weapon will soon join Nintendo’s armoury: a lightsabre.

Internet gaming sites across the web today cheered news of a new Star Wars game for the hit Wii console in which players will wield the Jedi weapon of choice using Nintendo’s motion sensitive “Wiimote” controller.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, developed by LucasArts, will also be released early next year on Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s handheld DS machine and Sony’s PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable.

But it is the Wii version that is causing the biggest buzz – literally, possibly, since the Wii Remote is equipped with a loudspeaker.

Jim Ward, President of LucasArts, said: “The Wii is a great platform for The Force Unleashed, because the console’s motion-oriented controllers really bring the game to life.

“We’ve worked hard to make the Wii version of the game unique in order to truly let you unleash the Force.”

Last month the Wii became the fastest-selling video games console in British history after one million of the machines were sold 38 weeks after the device made its high street debut.

The Wii achieved the one million landmark in a shorter time than the Sony PlayStation 2, which, after a difficult launch in 2000, went on to become the world’s most successful console so far, selling more than 115 million units worldwide.

The Wii, designed to attract “non-core” gamers, is outselling both the struggling PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 by at least two-to-one.

The Force Unleashed “casts players as Darth Vader’s ‘Secret Apprentice’ and promises to unveil new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy,” the publisher said.

The game’s story is set during “the largely unexplored era” between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. In it, players will assist the iconic villain in his quest to rid the universe of Jedi – “and face decisions that could change the course of their destiny

The starwars games have all been quite good, especially Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. I can’t wait to start swinging my lightsaber or catching enemies in my darkside force chokehold.

Sense of smell genetically determined

September 19th, 2007 . by Matt

A given individuals sense of smell is genetically determined by the particular gene variant that they possess, leading people to some people to find some smells pleasant that others find unpleasant.

SMELL is in the nose of the beholder as much as beauty is in the eye, according to a new study showing for the first time that variations in a single gene can determine whether a scent is perceived as fair or foul.
It has long been known that smell and taste – which are essentially the same thing – are highly subjective.

The fragrance that one person finds sublime could make someone else queasy, and one man’s wine of the gods can be another man’s plonk.

A third person might not smell anything at all.

But the exact mechanism accounting for these differences has remained largely a mystery, though genes were known to play a role.

The US study, published online in the British journal Nature, fills in a piece of the puzzle.

Subjects in a “smell survey” conducted by Leslie Vosshall at Rockefeller University in New York judged the intensity and pleasantness of dozens of odours, including a testosterone-derived steroid called androstenone found in human urine and sweat, especially in men.

Most of the respondents said the compound smelled something like “stale urine”. But a significant minority – about 20 per cent – found the odour pleasing, saying it reminded them of vanilla or honey.

Another research team at Duke University in North Carolina, meanwhile, had discovered in laboratory experiments led by Hiroaki Matsunami that androstenone switched on a human odour gene called OR7D4.

Humans have several hundred functional odorant receptor genes, but olfactory sensory neurons in the nasal passage only express, or activate, them one at a time.

In a collaborative effort, the two teams used DNA samples from each of the smell survey participants to sequence the gene that encodes the OR7D4 receptor.

In some of the subjects, they discovered, the gene had undergone a slight mutation called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in which a few of the basic, paired building blocks of DNA has changed. This gave rise to two variants of OR7D4.

When they lined up the results of the DNA analysis with the subjective “smell survey”, there was a very strong match between the two sets of groups: those who thought androstenone smelled like old cat pee had one variant of the gene, and those who smelled sweet vanilla had the other.

WWF Fan: “Don’t See D-Wars”

September 19th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Notice in the photo below the placard that reads: “Don’t see D-wars.” The movie must really be bad if a professional wrestling fan thinks it is fake.

Korea’s Netizens are finally getting the bad news: “Americans think ‘Dragon Wars’ sucks.” Here is a Korean article that talks about how US moviegoers and movie critics are ripping apart “D-Wars” and calling it a big joke: LINK.

The following quote was written in a review of Dragon Wars on uKopia.com entitled “A disgraceful D-Wars” (부끄러운 ‘디-워’):

한국에서 800만명이 보았거나 6천만달러를 벌어들인 것이 중요한 것이 아니다. 한국에서 이런 영화를 그렇게 많은 사람들이 보았다는 것이 슬픈 일이다. 그것은 한국 관객들의 수준을 알려주는 척도이기 때문이다.  

“It is not important that 8 million people saw the movie in Korea or that it has made $60 million. It is sad that so many people saw this kind of movie because it is a measure of the level of the Korean audience.”

Koreans’ attempt to convince Americans to see “Dragon Wars” reminds me of two things. The first thing it reminds me of is a quote from Abraham Lincoln that begins, “You can fool all of the people some of the time….” The second thing that is reminds me of is of a story about a boy who thought it would be funny to cry “Wolf.” After being stung by Korean hype on Dragon Wars, I do not think many Americans will come running the next time Korean moviegoers cry, “Great movie.”

Sad story of marriage

September 18th, 2007 . by Matt

This is a saddening story. I hope she can find some justice in Korea.

When Nlan, a 24-year old Vietnamese woman, married a Korean man four years ago, she had no idea where her life would head. She certainly never imagined that her two babies would be sent away to another woman.
Nlan was living with her parents near Ho Chi Minh City after graduating from high school when she first met her husband through a broker. She was told that he had been divorced once and wanted to start a new family. His past didn’t bother her, so they soon married, and Nlan became pregnant. Shortly after the delivery of her first child, however, her husband suddenly asked her to send their baby to his ex-wife.
“My husband tried to convince me by saying that we could have another baby, but his ex-wife couldn’t,” Nlan said. “He said she lives a lonely life now.”
She reluctantly agreed, and moved on with her life.
After giving up her baby to her husband’s ex-wife, Nlan gave birth to her second child in 2005. Soon, however, her husband suggested that they also send their second child to his ex-wife. When Nlan came home from the hospital, she discovered her second child was gone.
Shortly after the incident, her husband asked for a divorce.
“I was too young and naive at that time,” Nlan said. “I had no friends or family whom I could ask for help. And I didn’t speak Korean at all. When my husband’s attitude turned cold, I could do nothing except sign the divorce contract.”
After divorcing him, she found that her husband had reunited with his ex-wife with Nlan’s children. Nlan then realized that she was used as a surrogate mother for his husband’s marriage because his ex-wife was barren. Now she is pursuing a legal suit against him.

Cheaters bust each other

September 18th, 2007 . by Matt

Oops, this should throw some cold water on online dating.

A MARRIED couple who didn’t realise they were chatting each other up on the internet are divorcing.
Sana Klaric and husband Adnan, who used the names “Sweetie” and “Prince of Joy” in an online chatroom, spent hours telling each other about their marriage troubles, Metro.co.uk reported.

The truth emerged when the two turned up for a date. Now the pair, from Zenica in central Bosnia, are divorcing after accusing each other of being unfaithful.

“I was suddenly in love. It was amazing. We seemed to be stuck in the same kind of miserable marriage. How right that turned out to be,” Sana, 27, said.

Adnan, 32, said: “I still find it hard to believe that Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things, is actually the same woman I married and who has not said a nice word to me for years”.

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