Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Uh… OK…

December 23rd, 2007 . by Matt

Quite possibly the strongest argument against smoking crack that I have ever seen, via the Korea Dog Trainer – I mean Korea Times.

As I couldn’t sleep last night, I sneaked out of home and went into the woods nearby. In the sleety darkness, the trees were having “The National Trees Convention.” I happened to hear the discussion as I lost the chance to leave without being noticed. It was an hours-long ordeal on my part, but I am glad I was there.

“I can’t take this situation any longer. I hate all the waste people turn my family and friends into,” an oak tree pronounced vehemently the moment the floor was open to participants. The statement made me tense while a ripple of noise filled the air, already thick with the breath of trees. “We must put an end to this situation at all cost,” the oak added.

“Would you tell us what bothers you specifically?” the presiding ginkgo asked in an unruffled voice. It seemed only natural that she was leading the discussion. As a representative of the living fossil family, the ginkgo seemed to know how to remain cool even in a heated atmosphere.

“In autumn which is the moving season, I saw heaps of oak furniture abandoned and mercilessly dismembered in various neighborhoods. Couches, chests, tables and chairs that could still serve their original purposes! These days, trees are increasingly sacrificed for yuletide decorations and election campaigns. Look at the electric wires torturing our friends and the waste of paper for posters and leaflets.” the oak said bitterly.

“We maples have a harsh time, too. As you are aware, we are hard and beautiful. That’s why we make bowling pins, butcher’s blocks, and ornaments. We also make good guitars, drums and bassoons as we carry sound waves well. However, our family is rapidly dwindling as we can’t live in acid soil and as we are wasted by humans,” a maple whined.

Whip out a dookie and read the rest on your own. Cheers to MP for the link.

Toshiba Micro Nuclear Reactor

December 23rd, 2007 . by Matt

Man, how cool is this

toshiba micro nuclear reactor

Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

It would be cool to not have to worry about the energy supply for 40 years, especially since we don’t know how expensive energy is going to be in the future, what with carbon taxes and the like.

Link via futurepundit.

Attacked on the street

December 17th, 2007 . by Matt

So there I was walking down the street in the Sydney CBD (my neighborhood) walking a few meters behind a couple of friends and thus to all appearances looking like I was alone, when a Chinese guy with another guy and a girl that were walking past PUNCHED me as he walked by.

I was stunned for a few seconds after getting hit in the ribs, not believing what happened and unable to think. They just kept walking after that single punch. Then something hit me after someone on the street asked me if I was alright – a rage. I roared after the guy that hit me catching up to him. My friends who had been walking ahead of me just realised what happened after I started roaring. What happened next can be described by my friend, in an email that he sent to another friend that I will paste here.

We were with Mr P hitting the streets when out of nowhere some guy sucker punched Matt and then Matt went berserk and tackled him to the ground and started punching him to the road.

His mates tried to gang up till I tackled one of them and distracted them long enough till Matt got his message thru to the street! Scruffy Murphy’s sercurity came and broke it up. It was out front of Mat-ta-ma! All the Ks were looking at the fight!

I pounded the guy to hell. But WTF is going on when you are just attacked for no reason walking down the street? The guy that attacked me even looked completely normal.

Interesting interview with WW2 veteran Robert B. Stinnett

December 11th, 2007 . by Matt

This is an interview from Antiwar.com radio. It gives a fascinating background of politicking in the lead up to America’s entry into WW2.

The main thrust of the interview was the discovery by Stinnett of the McCollum memo, in which it recommends that the US government put put into effect a number of policies that will provoke the Japanese into declaring war on the US to facilitate the US entry into WW2.

The policies are below –

9. It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude. Therefore, the following course of action is suggested:

* A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
* B. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
* C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek.
* D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
* E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
* F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
* G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
* H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.

10. If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better. At all events we must be fully prepared to accept the threat of war.

As far as I know, all of these things happened, and the Japanese did indeed declare war on the US.

Just click on the play button below to listen.

Language exchange fury

December 9th, 2007 . by FamilyGuy

I am “FamilyGuy”, a commenter on this blog and Australian guy in Sydney. I personally know Matt and have lived with Koreans and have several close Korean friends. I am not anti-Korean in the least as anyone can see from my comments that I have posted these many months.

I regularly organise language exchange events in Sydney just to get people from different backgrounds together for things such as beach trips, BBQ’s etcetera.

The week before last I had organised a dinner. This dinner was to be at a Korean BBQ restaurant in Sydney, and was attended by Australians, Chinese, Korean, Singaporeans and Japanese.
About 16 people attended. Most of the people I had organised via a Language Exchange website. Of the guests one was a Korean girl called “Karen” that I had met on this site. She was in Australia to study English and had only been here a short time and was eager to improve her conversational English and to meet friends that were not Korean.

The dinner I had organised involved lots of different types of Korean BBQ food and drinking of Soju. That night I had spoke only briefly with Karen as she was at the opposite end of the table.

The night was a success but from that day on Karen never replied to my text messages or my phone calls.

Finally late last week, I got a message from her to say “sorry that I had not replied but my Korean boyfriend got very angry a t me and I haven’t been able to use my phone”. I replied to her asking why he had been angry, she said because she came home drunk from the dinner that I had organised and this was shameful to him. She also told me he had hit her a few times and she couldn’t come out because of a black eye. Then what she said next surprised me, she said “anyway it was my fault and I deserved that I shouldn’t have gone out and drank Soju”

I was both shocked and surprised at this attitude but have been told by other Koreans that this is commonplace and she should have known better.

Recently I have not heard from her at all but I bumped into her completely by chance on Friday and she told me she could not talk to me and walked past me. I think her boyfriend told her not to speak or contact me again or he would “get angry again”.

It reminds me of a joke I heard “What does a Korean man say to his girlfriend that has two black eyes?”

“Nothing he already told her twice”.

It just seems to me that Karen only wanted to go out and improve her English ability along with the intention of meeting new friends, but was physically punished by her Korean boyfriend for doing so. This to me is completely unreasonable but it seems to have been a normal reaction by Korean standards.

Diplomatic immunity

December 9th, 2007 . by Matt

This is just terrible. I thought child abandonment was some sort of crime – perhaps I was wrong. Hat tip to IP.

A senior European diplomat working in Hong Kong has promoted outrage by giving up the seven-year-old Korean girl he adopted with his wife as a baby.

The unnamed diplomat handed the girl over to social workers in Hong Kong saying the adoption had not worked out, the Sunday Morning Post reported today.

The man and his wife adopted the girl as a four-month-old baby in Korea, where he was working at the time, when they thought they could not have children of their own.

The diplomat’s wife has since had two children and decided to hand the girl over to social workers in Hong Kong because the diplomat said the adoption had “gone wrong,” the newspaper reported.

Social workers and the Korean community in Hong Kong are now trying to find a new home for the girl, who is in the care of an expatriate foster family in the former British colony.

The girl, who speaks English and Cantonese but not Korean, is neither a citizen of her adoptive parents’ home country nor a Hong Kong resident so her future in the territory is uncertain.

The diplomat told the newspaper his family was struggling to cope with their decision and said his wife was undergoing therapy after giving her adopted Korean daughter away last year.

“It’s just a very terrible trauma that everyone’s experiencing,” he was quoted as saying. “It is something we have to deal with.

“My Foreign Ministry knows about my situation. I have also been in touch with the Hong Kong government and they have been very helpful to me and so has my own employer.”

The plight of the girl, described by the newspaper as healthy and happy, has sparked anger and bewilderment among members of the Korean community in Hong Kong who have flooded the country’s consulate with offers of help.

Horrible people.

Here is a “super cool” ad.

December 8th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

“Dude way to cool for his Traffic Ticket”

Korean history channel LOL

December 5th, 2007 . by Matt

Hat tip to Kaipan.

Wave of low cost laptops

December 1st, 2007 . by Matt


Although hype about low cost laptops did not meet expectations on price there is good reason to believe that in 2008 there will be a handful of choices.

The latest is the Everex built Zonbu laptop. Here is some of what Computerworld says about Zonbu

Unfazed by the failure of earlier subscription-based PCs from vendors like PeoplePC, Zonbu Wednesday launched an inexpensive subscription notebook that the company claims will free users from the hassle of computer maintenance.

In addition to US$279 for the Zonbu Notebook, users will pay a US$14.95 monthly subscription fee that includes software upgrades, online storage, data backup, online tech support and hardware replacement in case of damage. Users can also buy the PC without paying subscription fees.

The notebook runs on a Via Technologies C7-M processor operating at 1.5GHz and weighs 5.3 pounds (2.4 kilograms). It has a 15.4-inch screen, 512M bytes of RAM, a 60G-byte hard drive, a DVD-RW/CD-RW drive, an integrated graphics controller and wired and wireless 802.11 b/g networking.

The notebook, which runs a customized version of the open-source Linux OS, comes preloaded with 20 software applications, including free applications already available on the Internet, like the Firefox Web browser and OpenOffice.org office suite.

It’s targeted as a second computer for those tired of updating PCs, Zonbu said. The notebook is currently in “beta,” according to Zonbu. The final version of the notebook with updated software will ship globally early next year.

Users can buy a month-to-month, one or two-year subscription plan with the notebook, all for US$14.95 per month. Maintenance fees will also take care of PC configuration, set up, data loss and security issues, Zonbu said. In case a notebook goes bad, a replacement notebook is shipped overnight, Zonbu said.

Although the laptop price is compelling, will the subscription model attract buyers?

Zonbu is reaching out to a market segment not addressed yet, a client bundled with applications and services installed and maintained by a vendor, said David Milman, CEO of computer maintenance firm Rescuecom. This subscription model differs from earlier models where users bought a cheap PC and were locked up in monthly Internet charges.

“You’re going after a market that’s wide open and hasn’t been addressed yet,” Milman said. Components prices are cheap, so it is possible for a vendor to build such a PC, he said.

I would add that the Zonbu laptop is more an internet and productivity (meaning word processing etc) device than a real computer since the fine print on the Zonbu site reveals that you are not even able to install new programs.

Zonbu is designed to prevent you from installing applications, primarily for security reasons: it’s the best way prevent your Zonbu from contracting viruses or getting malicious software installed on it without your knowledge.

Please read our rationale for a comprehensive explanation as to why Zonbu works this way.

Zonbu certainly needs to be more forthcoming with this limitation than burying this key information in the FAQ. Apparently there is a method by which one can install programs, but it involves knowledge of Linux and is probably beyond the capabilities of normal users. I would recommend then that Zonbu start compiling a list of ‘approved applications’ and expedite installation of those apps for those people that want them.

Again, Zonbu is not a real computer even if it looks like one. It is a device that does most of what a normal user wants to do on a computer, like web surfing, word processing, Skype, Instant Messaging, email, photo editing, website maintenance, listen to music and sync with ipod, view video files, and share files via p2p applications with torrents and ED2K. As long as you are satisfied with those features, you will be fine. If you enjoy endlessly tinkering with your OS like me, perhaps not. Then again, I could see myself taking a laptop like this with me on a trip.

This is pretty exciting. With the mainstreaming of sub-$200 dollar desktops (sub-$300 including a monitor) and inexpensive laptops we can expect to see a whole lot of people coming online from developing countries, along with the last unconnected people in developed countries. Sure it will mean more 419 type scams but it will also mean a more connected world.

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