Tag Archives: Korea

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of China Copying Everyone Else

Anyone who knows China well enough can attest to the fact that a lot of what you see in China was taken from elsewhere. That’s why there are high profile cases like the Huawei telecommunications company, which was featured on 60 Minutes – the investigative American TV program – for its alleged role in stealing trade secrets and espionage. But not all of what China has been doing – stealing, copying, imitating, or whatever you want to call it – is a bad thing. In fact, there are some imitations that should even be celebrated.   The question is really about how much should be celebrated vs. condemned.

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The International Gangnam Style Phenomenon

Music videos aren’t usually, in my opinion, news worthy. But one video has gone so viral that it should probably now be described as a worldwide infection. It seems like everyone has caught the “PSY” bug, and this English-speaking Berklee-educated Korean pop star is now one of the most famous people in the world. The music video for his satirical song “Gangnam Style” has become the most watched video in the world, skyrocketing in popularity shortly after its release in the middle of July, and it’s now a global phenomenon.

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The Ten Most Educated and Smartest Countries in 2012

An interesting ranking was recently reported by Yahoo! Finance, on the ten most educated countries of the world. That is, which countries have the highest percentage of people with post-secondary education. Apparently college and university graduation rates have increased in half a century by almost 200%, but the rates among countries vary greatly. And while it’s not surprising to see countries that spend a great deal of their GDPs on education, many of the countries on the list spend comparably little, and yet see high numbers of graduates. So after you check to see if your country made the list, be sure to ask yourself: Just what does this really mean?

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Is Drinking Now Part of the University/College Experience?

Just what is being taught at school? The Western post-secondary education is supposed to be a place of intellectual discourse and personal exploration. However, new research is shining light on the exploration that people engage in as university or college students. It’s sad that something as unproductive as drinking is such a major part of the student culture, but it’s considered to be just another normal part of the bigger picture of education. But here’s the really surprising fact: Students at post-secondary institutes drink more than their non-student peers.

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Toxic Racism Against Japan Since the March 11 Disaster (Part3)

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In Part 1, we looked at how America does not seem to be over the Pearl Harbor attacks. In Part 2, we saw that almost 4 out of 10 Americans agree with the disturbing internet troll known as “Tamtampamela,” who said that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were a result of God’s intervention. That is an alarmingly high number of idiots. But the U.S. does not exactly have a monopoly on bigotry, and there are many good Americans who fight back against discrimination. So now, let’s look at the fair way to consider the filth that has been spewing outside of America.

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Japan’s New Prime Minister, and the Shrine to War Criminals

 

Meet Yoshihiko Noda, who will officially become “Prime Minister Noda” in three days. I always prefer to stay away from politics here, but an election of the highest authority in the country is a valid exception. I’m not going to get into his political plans, like how he might raise taxes to help pay for the tsunami reconstruction (which is really the same thing as giving to charity, except they don’t ask for permission). But it may be helpful to know who he is, how he got here, and what the deal is with this “shrine to war criminals.”

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Skeptikai Notices (Aug9) – Video games, news, hacking, Japan, science

Video Games:

Robots use Kinect to understand our world – Robots can’t view the world like we do, but technology is advancing, and soon they may be able to understand it enough to convince us that they can experience it similar to us. Researchers at Cornell University’s Robot Learning Lab have manipulated the Kinect system – created essentially for entertainment purposes for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game console – so that the robots could image their environments in “colored 3D pointclouds.” The accompanying video shows the world as they see it. The robots can locate objects, and robotics will probably be advancing exponentially, now that we have examples of robots learning skills through reinforcement – such as the robotic arm that learned to flip pancakes after 50 trials.

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How Girl Groups Make it Big in Japan

Girl groups in Japan largely exemplify the genius of Japanese marketing. In fact, becoming an idol or “tarento” (“talent”) in Japan is less about actually having talent than it is about having a “presence.” The late 1990’s saw the beginning of girl groups with a huge number of performers. People liked seeing the cutesy girls bounce around on TV shows and sing and dance in their music videos. With these mega-groups, hopefuls are now required to do competitive rehearsals in order to become a new member. The youngest in such a group (℃-ute) joined at age 11. To make it big in the East-Asian pop scene, it seems like the main thing is not just to be young and cute, though that is certainly a big part of their appeal. No, it is more about the marketing of “talented mediocrity,” wrapped in a pretty pink package.

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Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous – Korean Slave Edition

Two years ago to this day, at 15:30, Jang Ja-yeon complained in a phone call with her sister that she was overwhelmed by stress and wanted to end it all. The sisters (along with their brother) had been living together since a decade prior, after car accident claimed the lives of their parents. You can imagine the depression and stress of a massive celebrity in the public limelight, but this 26 year-old Korean beauty was not simply pressured by the media. What happened behind the scenes was what pushed her off the edge. Her sister could not get a hold of Jang for the rest of the afternoon, so she finally decided to go home to check on her. Four hours after their last phone call, Jang’s sister came home to find her body hanging from the stairway banister. It is suspected that she committed suicide only an hour after they spoke.

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