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.

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.


October 7th, 2007 . by Matt

I found a new site, and linked it to my blog roll. It has plenty of Korean related stuff on it, including blog, forum, and jobs. It is called Mongdori – check it out!

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.

Scenes of Shanghai

September 16th, 2007 . by Matt

I must admit that I was a little surprised by the scene in the recent movie “Shanghai Kiss” of Shanghai, which shows an extremely modern city with tastes of Japanese and European influences.

I think Shanghai is at the top of the list for my next overseas trip.

Hopeless nanpa

September 15th, 2007 . by Matt

Here are some hopeless pick ups by a Japanese guy and African guy combi in Japan. HT to Familyguy.

You can’t blame the African guy for these weak pick ups, but the Japanese guy should know better. These guys confuse a catcall with an approach. Anyway, absolutely hopeless. You can see some more train wrecks here.

Slow posting

July 18th, 2007 . by Matt

Sorry everyone for the slow posting. I have been incredibly busy at work, busier than I have been in my life, in fact. I will get my stuff in order and return to posting at a normal rate next week. Thanks for reading.

Follow up on AIDS threat English teacher

July 2nd, 2007 . by Matt

Looks like the AIDS threat English teacher has been arrested. The article discusses English teachers being arrested for using fake degrees, but does not specify why he has been arrested.

Meanwhile, police have arrested an Australian English instructor who made headlines last month by telling his Korean ex-girlfriend he was infected with the AIDS virus when she broke up with him.

An Australian crime wave in Korea? 🙂 Looking forward to seeing more details on this.

Wealthy Tycoon Jailed

July 1st, 2007 . by Matt

Wealthy Tycoon

Interesting story. Does ‘Karaoke Bar’ mean some kind of hostess club? I wonder how the tycoon will be treated in prison.

One of South Korea’s richest businessmen has been found guilty of abducting and assaulting karaoke bar workers, and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Prosecutors said Kim Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-youn and several bodyguards stormed into an upscale Seoul karaoke bar in mid-March, seeking those responsible for attacking his son earlier that month.

Kim seized several workers, shuttled them off to a remote mountain area and forced them to their knees while he beat them, they said.

“I ordered my bodyguards to take over because I got tired of beating them myself,” Kim, also a top official of a local boxing association, said during the trial.

Kim, who showed no emotion as the verdict was handed down today, said he punched the faces of several workers.

No one has been charged with the earlier assault on his son.

Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison sentence for the leader of what local media said is the 12th largest business conglomerate in the country.

South Koreans have seen their business leaders stand trial over the years for corruption, bribery and illicit financial dealings. The violent nature of Kim’s case has ensured it received massive coverage in local media.

South Korean police have also seen their reputation sullied by the case, with a Seoul court issuing an arrest warrant for one officer on suspicion of trying to cover up the case in order to please the powerful business leader.

Well you don’t see this every day

June 21st, 2007 . by Matt

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