Posts Tagged ‘bloggers’

education blogs and news

November 17, 2010

Views from the whiteboard has reminded me that the Edublog awards are being decided now.

An ESL teacher inKorea seems to be nominated for Best New Blog.  Kringlish Kids.

I can’t tell if English Teacher Melanie works in Korea and there is no reason that she should feel the need to, but she is nominated for Best Resource Sharing Blog and her material seems quite useful.

Check the awards link for more details.


In other news, here is an interesting claim that might convince your students to study after the test!

Via Kottke and Why Evolution is True comes news of research that seems to defend some claims of psychic powers.

In a review of the article from new scientist, The journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “Bem took well-studied psychological phenomena and simply reversed the sequence, so that the event generally interpreted as the cause happened after the tested behaviour rather than before it.”

From New Scientist:

In one experiment, students were shown a list of words and then asked to recall words from it, after which they were told to type words that were randomly selected from the same list. Spookily, the students were better at recalling words that they would later type.

In another study, Bem adapted research on “priming” — the effect of a subliminally presented word on a person’s response to an image. For instance, if someone is momentarily flashed the word “ugly”, it will take them longer to decide that a picture of a kitten is pleasant than if “beautiful” had been flashed. Running the experiment back-to-front, Bem found that the priming effect seemed to work backwards in time as well as forwards.

Coyne, at Why Evolution is true doesn’t immediately dismiss the research:

1.  They’re real: we have previously unsuspected abilities to detect the future.

2.  They’re fraudulent: Bem rigged the experiment or made up the data.  I’m assuming this isn’t the case.

3.  They’re wrong because of some flaw in the experiment (or in the computer programs) that made these results artifactual.

4.  The results are statistical outliers that got published simply because they represent one of those cases in which we reject the null hypothesis (i.e., the hypothesis that we have no ability to predict the future), even though it’s true. This is called a “type one error” in statistics.  When experimental results give such an error of 5% or less (i.e., exceed the “significance threshold”), scientists do reject the null hypothesis and claim that something else is going on (in this case, that there’s precognition).  But with a threshhold of 5%, you’ll make a mistake one time in twenty.  (That’s the basis of the old science joke, “95% of your experiments fail;the other 5% you publish in Nature.”)


Libel reform; a big deal in the UK

November 11, 2010

Here in Korea, stating something that harms-financially or otherwise- a business or group, even if it is true, is legally actionable.

The Marmot and Brian in Jeollamando have discussed the issue.  I recall a case a few years back where a hagwon ESL teacher complained in print about his school.  He was then sued.  After a very quick search I was unable to find posts on the story at the above blogs.

In the UK, similar problems exist and were brought to light in the case of Simon Singh and the British Chiropractic Association.  From the Guardian:

Singh was sued by the BCA for a piece he wrote in the Guardian‘s comment pages, criticising the association for defending chiropractors who use treatments for which there is little evidence on children with conditions such as colic and asthma.

Now Pharyngula, and doubtless other blogs and citizens in the UK, are pushing for libel reform.

This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards powerful corporations and individuals who want to silence critics.

The English libel law is particular dangerous for bloggers, who are generally not backed by publishers, and who can end up being sued in London regardless of where the blog was posted. The internet allows bloggers to reach a global audience, but it also allows the High Court in London to have a global reach.

I am uncertain of the value of signatures on a petition from out of the UK, but there is a petition here, if you’re so inclined.

I am now going to play the foreigner card and cowardly suggest that this kind of reform needs to take place here and ask if any Koreans are willing to get to work on it…I will watch and cheer you on.

My ex-boss, internet etiquette and unfortunate placement in the Korea Times

November 8, 2010

I worked for 2 years at a Min Byoung Chul English Hagwon in Seoul.  As hagwon jobs go, I was treated well and learned a lot about Korea and teaching there.  Dr Min, a minor celebrity in Korea took pretty good care of us.

I thought he had lapsed into obscurity, but perhaps not.

From the Korea Times:

The “Sunfull” Campaign began as a preventive measure to combat cyber bullying by removing anonymous negative comments on online message boards and to encourage people to instead post positive ones. Since it began in May 2007, the Sunfull Movement Campaign Office said Sunday the number of “Sunfull” or positive messages, posted on its website ( exceeded 500,000 as of Nov. 1.

“It is remarkable that we can gather together such a high number of online comments. The Internet is a very strong communication tool and many still fall victim to cyber bullying. This campaign is about etiquette education,” said Min Byoung-chul, founder of the Sunfull Movement.

Also from the Times and, in fact, in the article just above Dr min’s:  Reckless Driver apologizes after online posting.

Netizens criticized the reckless driver. “It was ridiculous. It seemed like he was intending to cause traffic accidents,” a person using “Hayannunmul” as an ID said.

Another netizen “Uro” said such reckless driving is an out-of-bounds behavior. Others sought legal punishment as the driver threatened other people’s lives.

As the cyber attacks increased, the troubled driver posted an apology on an Internet community message board.

People again criticized him for not showing enough remorse and he apologized again, saying what he did was dangerous and cowardly. “I will behave appropriately next time,” the driver said.

As the cyber attacks increased, the troubled driver posted an apology on an Internet community message board.

I hate some of the driving practices I see here and part of me rejoices in seeing this guy dragged through hot coals.  Another part wonders if it is ever possible to apologize enough to satisfy enough netizens to allow life to return to normal.  I would hate to see myself caught running a red light (as I did in the spring, because tree-leaves obscured my view) and being hounded for it.  Not everyone who behaves badly is guilty, after all.

On the other hand, I approve of anonymous comments to some extent.  I prefer that commenters here consistently use the same pseudonym, but am not fussy about knowing precisely who they are.  If the price of internet freedom is some impolite commenting, that is fine with me.

On the first foot (I have already metaphorically used both hands) driving someone to suicide is probably too much.  I only use ‘probably’ as no one can say how sensitive a person is or what his/her mental state is from the internet.  Sometimes a strongly-worded comment is appropriate.

Here’s another target for Dokdoisours.

September 14, 2010

Satirical blog Dokdoisours has had a lot of fun with the Korea Times.  The Times’ is infamous for it’s poor editing .

The Korea Herald is a little more professional but is trying a new advertising technique.  Oh, I wrote new, but I first noticed it a month ago or so.  They hyperlink more or less random words in their articles.  Let’s see if the links are visible -broken or not- after I paste:

Ubiquitous access to my email account has cut down a lot of unnecessary time spent looking for the Internet, and it also helps me take care of necessary business more promptly,” Lee said.

This is why the government also is pushing for the so-called “smarter way of working,” he pointed out.

Lee added that the developments were not just happening with phones, but also televisions and computers.

South Korea hopes to commercialize smart TVs by 2012 so that television viewers may have instant access to the Internet while they watch their favorite programs.

From Is it time to get phone smart?  None of these links are for translation or further information related to the article.  Further, in accidentally dragging the mouse over a link, I get a little box obscuring part of the text.  The box has an ‘x’ and will fade after a few seconds but is really annoying.

I am not sure which is worse, the money grubbing links in the Korea Herald or the lack of professionalism at the Korea Times.

Sept 10: World Suicide Prevention Day

September 9, 2010

I am not sure what value having a ‘day’ is, but suicide is a big problem in Korea, with one suicide occurring every 34 minutes (as tweeted by James – did that link work?  I haven’t linked to a tweet before).

For more information on the day or warning signs or the like, visit Dr Deb.


Hmm, this post is nearly short enough to go on Twitter.

dokdoisours on Samsung’s lawsuit

May 10, 2010

Samsung is suing Michael Breen, a reporter, for his description of the company and it’s leadership.  I don’t know what the article was about, but now I want to.

Dokdoisours comments:

Hey everybody reading this. You should go buy Samsung products. They sure are great. Let me tell you. I use a Samsung phone. I’d write this blog on my Samsung phone if I could afford a cool enough Samsung phone. ‘Cause Samsung sure is great. I wish my blog’s address were “” but Samsung already owned that URL, so I had to settle for Dokdo Is Ours.

Thus I refute Odysseus

March 19, 2010

My friend, the Port Coquitlam Odysseus, and some people at the BBC, feel that E-book readers, like the Kindle, will never replace paper books.  The main reason they give, as befits what a simple, Colonial-type Canadian thinks of the BBC, is highbrow:  When reading a book, it is difficult to add annotations and marginalia to an E-book version.

“Oh, I’m at the BBC.  I’m reading important books. I sometimes disagree with the author and feel compelled to make such known to… myself by writing in the margins.”

Here is my refutation (I don’t see any special reason to embiggen these pics, but you can, if you wish, by clicking on them):

I don’t normally read books on my phone, and only to stage a photo would I read from my phone at home.  But, I do read from it when I am on the go and find myself waiting.  Today, I read a few hundred lines while my little guy was playing at a playground.

What am I reading?  A Princess of Mars, by Burroughs, from the Gutenberg Project.  Highbrow, this is not.  And, the display sucks.  Words ar

e frequently split in the middle (as I have just demonstrated).

Still, my phone, an old Motorola, allows bookmarking, so that when I close my phone and return to the story some time later, it reopens to where I left off.

To take the pictures above, I set my tripod on my bookshelf, which is loaded in many places two-layers deep.  In my advancing years, I find myself more interested in non-fiction.  I don’t know if I am reading BBC-quality Important Books, but I am reading books that I will take notes on.   Still, I suspect I will never write inside these books.  I did with textbooks, but I have also thrown out most of my university texts after a few moves.

I want a better reading experience than my phone offers, but that is not a high bar to jump.

Another pro-ebook voice can be found on Odysseus’ blog:  commenter Jon felt that his child or grandchild will be surprised that we would ever cut down trees to make books.  I wonder about this point. The rare-earths that go into computer chips are not all that environmentally friendly to produce either.  Paper books could be considered carbon storage, I suppose.

I don’t know if E-book readers will replace paper books, but they will be become far more popular than Lisa Jardin at the BBC imagines.


somewhat on topic, the Korea Herald can be read on E-book readers now.  Perhaps they offer an ad-free version because the E-book version costs 7,000won per year.  That isn’t much , but the online version is free.

There is a two month free trial version. “Subscribers to the service can use it free of charge for two months. Now that the service is in an open-ended special promotion period, the subscription service will be available for 4,900 won per month after the initial two-month free trial,” said Cheung deck-sang, director of new media.

The Textore service is currently available only for Samsung Electronics’ e-book reader SNE-60K, which has a six-inch screen, wherever Wi-Fi wireless networks are detected through the device….

Last July, Samsung Electronics and the country’s biggest bookstore, Kyobo Book Center, joined forces to kick-start the growing e-book market, and the SNE-60K is the second e-book reader born at through that partnership, following the SNE-50K.

The device is being sold for 420,000 won ($370.90). Other features of the device include bluetooth, MP3 support and hand-writing recognition. Kyobo aims to sell around 15,000 e-readers by the end of 2010