Archive for August, 2011

Why I don’t bring my son to Costco

August 23, 2011

He’s not a member.



Typos: not limited to my blog

August 19, 2011

On occasion, I’ve joined the ex-pat chorus in commenting on interesting English spelling on Korean signs.  Usually, at the same time, I would offer a disclaimer of sorts for the interesting spelling in this very blog.

Such typos have now been codified: Muphry’s Law

Muphry’s Law is the editorial application of the better-known Murphy’s Law. Muphry’s Law dictates that:

  1. if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written;
  2. if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book;
  3. the stronger the sentiment in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; and
  4. any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.
From Canberra Society via Boingboing

The future of university education

August 7, 2011

Don’t look for profound stuff here … not yet.  I’ve been tracking a few trends and filling a Google Doc with links and research but haven’t found the one hook that ties it all together.


In the mean time, The Big Hominid comments on a blog post by a Dr Vallicella.  The Doctor’s post is ‘100 reasons not to go to Graduate School.  The Hominid argues that lecturing does not equal teaching and offers substantial commentary on the subject.

Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution also discusses whether professors are becoming obsolete.

In 2003, I argued that professors were becoming obsolete, giving a 10 to 20 year time for a big move to online education. Later, I pointed out that the market was moving towards superstar teachers, who teach hundreds at a time or even thousands online.

What caught my attention in particular was news of a course being offered:

Stanford’s ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence’ course will be offered free to anyone online this fall. The course will be taught by SebastianThrun (Stanford) and PeterNorvig (Google, Director of Research), who expect to deal with the historically large course size using tools like GoogleModerator.

This course sounds interesting.  Here is another: Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. I can’t compare it to Thrun’s class, but I can say the videos for the Egyptian class are dead boring.  Important info is being covered but the narrator might as well be an ‘xtra normal’ computer-generated voice.  The content is interesting but it takes some effort to concentrate on.  Tabarrok mentioned Sandel’s Justice class as another example of superstar prof and online content class: those videos were of a live classroom with interaction between the professor and the students.  In the Egyptian class, the interaction is absent and the voice, though perfect for ESL students, is not captivating.

All three posts-and the courses- are worth a read.

would it give you dusty-bum here?

August 6, 2011





In Utrecht, they’ve developed a ‘transit accelerator’ to reach rail stations.  It would be faster, but even more, it would make the whole city more fun to travel in.At Pop-up City, they have a video of the accelerator in use.

Via Freakenomics.


Ex-pats cycling

August 4, 2011

My friend Brian Perich (and here) is busy cycling through the Himalayas.  I think Facebook pictures are publicly accessible.  To me, it is a great adventure to read about.

The purpose of my expedition is twofold. First, to raise awareness and support a non-profit charity called IDEAS (Intestinal Disease Education & Awareness Society, Canada) with their work helping people with incurable diseases of the gastrointestinal system, known collectively as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Secondly, I am partnering with a non-profit school outreach program in the United Kingdom known as ETE (Education Through Expeditions) which takes the explorer into the classrooms so that students can learn by firsthand reports of what the world (ecological, environmental, physical, geographical, topographical, science and social science) is all about.

From his facebook photos page:

Tibetan-Chinese Yak herders came to my aid, 6 liters of Yak butter milk, grains and straight butter dissolved to drink, another 4 liters for the road, 4000 meters up to 4340 meters, Ji Chou Shan Mountain, China …1232km to go! HimalayasX2011 going strong Northwest Xinjiang (Uighur Autonomous Region) completed 2000km, currently in mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan, China (:

Another interesting bike trip, and one that will wrap up in Busan is a charity ride through Korea for Love North Korean Children.

Less intrepid cyclists may have turned back when faced with rivers of mud in place of cycle tracks at their revised starting-point on the Han River at 6 a.m. Saturday.

But the pair, joined by some other friends for the challenge, carried their bikes for three hours through the knee-high sludge until they came to passable ground. 

The next five days saw them endure adverse weather, steep ascents and broken bikes but they were determined to reach Busan by Thursday. 

I’ve casually brought up my own bike rides in conversation and they are significant, but both of these trips make me realize how much of a fair-weather cyclist I really am.  Unless the schedule is really tight, if it rains on the first day, I’ll wait for a sunny day to start.

All the best to these adventurers.  Perhaps I’ll make it out to Haeundae to see Yim and Foster finish their trip.