Archive for March, 2010

religion in Korea and the world

March 29, 2010

The Korea Times has an article about the religious affiliation of Korean presidents.  It is interesting how many are/were Christian in this traditionally Buddhist country.

I am interested to read the distinction between Christians and Catholics.

According to a 2005 survey, Buddhists make up 22.8 percent of the population, followed by Christianity with 18.3 percent and Catholicism with 10.9 percent.


Abroad, those catholics may be trying to hide under the general title of Christian after the Pope described “the rape of little boys by priests” as “petty gossip“.  I guess Kim Kim-tae petty gossiped that girl to death.


These two events don’t really fit together.  I just had to fit my disgust with the Catholic church in somewhere.


What students need to learn

March 28, 2010

This T-shirt appears to list the basics of what any responsible student should know.

spring water

March 27, 2010

There have been some big changes since the move.  One I notice most often is the garbage and recycling cycle and it’s effect on us.  Food recycling is collected everyday but recycling is only picked up once every two weeks.

One positive effect of this policy is that I don’t buy two-litre bottles of water all the time.  Instead, I take this five litre bottle to the local spring and fill up.

I’ve had the water for two weeks now and i haven’t noticed any problems.  I do worry a little about spring water in an urban area but I am a little more concerned about the green colour of the spout.  How much algae am I drinking?

Busan’s pools: Dadae

March 27, 2010

Dadae Dong has a pleasant little pool near Molundae, at the mouth of the NakdongRiver and near Dadae Beach.Three thousand, five hundred to swim, open for lap swimming weekdays 12:00-3:30pm.  I think it is also open for laps on weekends.  I’d like a deeper pool and one a little cooler, but this is clear watet and never seems crowded.

Busan Medical Tourism (about half way down the page) has some strange information on the pool.  I think they have two entries mixed up. The picture is right, but there is no climbing wall, despite the attached blurb: Come and experience the increasingly popular artificial rock climbing here at the Youth Arpina artificial rock climbing center.


March 25, 2010

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.

I apologized to my second year class for presenting material intended for first year, complimented them on how well they apparently remembered it all, and struggled to teach from the correct textbook.

I hope I don’t do that again.

In other teaching news, I have been reading more education-focused books than ever before.  A friend at my previous university had given me a book by Rafe Esquith, which I mostly enjoyed, so I have another one by him on my bookshelf, ready to go (teach like your hair’s on fire).  I am also reading about public speaking  (Confessions of a public speaker) and  noting how often the author, Berkun, discusses education.

Next on the bookshelf is a book on motivation by Daniel Pink, who gave an excellent TED talk.  I am particularly  interested in his discussion about creativity as that is something I wish to incorporate into my teaching.

Again, my goal is to learn how to teach how to learn.

Surprise: employees want days off

March 24, 2010

Well, duh.  From the Chosun Ilbo:

Three out of four office workers are in favor of substituting national holidays that fall on a weekend during the working week, a survey finds. In the poll by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute of 1,000 office workers released Tuesday, 767 were in favor of substituting holidays that fall on weekends.

Convicted criminal returns to job

March 24, 2010

Lee Kun-hee resigned or otherwise left (see below) his position as Chairman of Samsung and soon afterward went to jail as a result of his actions while running Samsung.  In a move fairly typical Korean justice with chaebol leaders, he was soon pardoned (the surprising thing is that he spent any time in jail at all).

He was released in February and will soon return to work in the same position at the same company that he broke the law in previously. Part of the reason for his pardon was his previous work on the International Olympics Committee.

He’d better bring the Olympics to Korea!


Different papers describe the way he left Samsung (my bolding):

Korea Times:  Lee Kun-hee, 68, will rejoin Samsung Electronics as its chairman, two years after resigning from the group chairman’s post at the country’s largest conglomerate during a criminal investigation into the illegal transfer of corporate wealth to his family members.

Joongang: Lee’s return comes nearly two years after he voluntarily stepped down as the group’s chairman amid charges of tax evasion and illegal bond transactions.

Yonhap:  The 68-year-old Lee, who was forced to step down as chief of Samsung Group in April 2008 following his indictment in a tax evasion and breach of trust case, had been widely expected to return to Samsung’s management after the government pardoned him at the end of last year.

I missed International Water Day.

March 22, 2010

I put a little work into a post in honour of International Water Day last year.  The theme was transborder waterways – rivers and the like; pollution, taking water for irrigation and the use of dams.  I wrote about rivers crossing the DMZ.

Yesterday was World Water Day 2010 and I don’t even know what the theme was.  The Joongang has an article describing Biological Oxygen Demand or BOD and dams in Korea.  From the article:

According to a Ministry of Environment report released Friday, at the Paldang Dam, which supplies water to over 20 million inhabitants in the Seoul metropolitan area, biochemical oxygen demand – or BOD – was 1.3 parts per million last year, just 0.1 ppm less than in 2000. That falls behind the BOD target of 1.0 ppm which was set by the government in 2005.

BOD is a measure of the uptake rate of dissolved oxygen by organisms and is considered an important factor in determining water pollution. A low BOD level of 1 ppm or 2 ppm means there is not much organic waste in the water supply, whereas a BOD of 6 ppm or higher means that the water supply is polluted.

For the past five years, the Paldang Dam has consistently lagged behind the government’s target BOD.

In the same period, the BOD of water at Gimje in North Jeolla and Muan in South Jeolla worsened to 7.9 ppm in 2009 from 4.8 in 2005 and to 3.5 ppm in 2009 from 2.8 ppm in 2005, respectively.

When I’m old, Northerners can wipe my bum

March 21, 2010

I think the Metropolitician wrote about how North Koreans would fare should unification take place.  Alright, many have discussed the subject, but the Metropolitician described how they would be valued. South Koreans would be first class citizens, followed by North Korean women with North Korean men on the bottom.  Sadly, I cannot find the article on his blog.

The Times describes today what use North Koreans could be put to, after unification:

South Korea should seek ways to use the North’s working population as part of efforts to prepare for the rapid aging of the South’s population, a local private think tank said Sunday.

The article goes on to suggest North Koreans would be capable of light industrial work, and not specifically to care for the aged.

Will the Northern lady-folk be more valued?

There will be one more synergistic effect if both Koreas cooperate in the population policy. In 2008, there were 100.9 men per 100 women in the South, while there were 97.2 men per 100 women in the North, the report said. However, when calculating the population of both Koreas, there were 99.7 men per 100 women.

It seems to me that this paragraph says yes.

The sooner unification comes the better.  That may be true from a purely financial standpoint, but also in beginning the process of accepting the humans and treating both sides as equals.

We knew this already

March 19, 2010

People going through puberty are stupider.

So says a Scientific American article (Podcast, actually). A protein appears in the hippocampus during puberty that interferes, at the cellular level, with learning.

I couldn’t directly find out if this protein or it’s effect goes away after puberty, but the article does mention a hormone that improves memory.