26.1.05

I know I posted about this two posts ago, but I still find it very wierd to see headlines here like "Government approves plans for Cloning center"

Meanwhile, from national to personal, our school seems to be undergoing a management change... two of the three main supervisors are leaving or changing positions, the two nice ones. A few of us English teachers are a little bit pensive about what this change is indicating, as up until now the school has been a very atypical Korean workplace. Hopefully, the changes are indicative of personal issues or something (Which is not really better, since we like the supervisors) and any kind of philosophy change. Hopefully were just being selfcentred and this has nothing to do with us english teachers.

25.1.05

It's been a while hasn't it?

Lately I have been strongly convicted about my 'mental discipline'. I am so used to being in school, being forced to excercise my brain, that I find I have very little discipline in keeping my brain active without the normal pressures of exams and essays and class discussions. So I have been trying lately to make sure I am spending more time with good books, and articles and things online. Its been very good, I think my brain is finally revved up again.

I have also completely lacked any motivation to write. Firstly, I haven't had much to write about. Which might sound wierd if you were paying attention on my last post. Despite spending time reading, I haven't run into much that I want to write about. I have to admit that I am a little bit discouraged with the whole academic, thinking, etc. thing right now. I just have trouble seeing what difference that will make, when how I live is so much more important. Which is no excuse for a shoddy thought life, or logic/reason abilities, and all that. Nor am I trying to encourage anyone else away from intellectual excercises/pursuits. However, given the massive amount of injustice in our world right now, I just don't see where its going to get us, when all we really need is for people to suck it up, live more simply, love more outragously and give more generously... right, all we really need is for humanity to undergo a complete change of heart, schluff off its sinful nature, and start living right... Seriously, don't pay any attention to me.

12.1.05

Technology in Korea

In spite of the lack of movement, or progress, or cheaper prices :) in some areas of technology, it does appear that Korea is ahead in some ways compared to home. I came to Korea expecting to buy, among other things, a cheap laptop (a digital camera would be nice to). To my chagrin I found out that laptops are not only ridiculously expensive out here, they are behind. I have no idea why... they just are. I could, and did, order a computer from the U.S. that was, after shipping and customs fees, cheaper than I would have paid to get a worse computer out here. Digital cameras are also more expensive out here than on the internet from N. American websites, but not by nearly as much as the laptops were.

Meanwhile, cell phone technology, from what I know, is quite far ahead. Maybe I am just out of touch with what they have at home? but in march they are releasing a new phone with a whole array of sensors so that it can detect movement in a three dimensional plane. That means that when you want to hang up your phone you can shake it twice. What to speed dial the third number in your phone book? draw a three in the air in front of your phone. What about if your listening to MP3's? (a fairly common feature on phones out here). Move the phone sharply to the right to go to the next song. And on it goes, using this new interface with all the features of the phone (mp3, internet if you want it, phone, camera, etc.). Do we have stuff like this at home?

Also, there was a new bioethics law passed last January in Korea, that came into effect on Jan 1st of this year. They are officially funding stem cell research. Apparently some Korea researcher 2 years ago or so successfully cloned human embryo's and extracted stem cells for research. Immediately afterward he stopped due to ethical concerns, but now that it is legal in S. Korea he is beginning again. He already has 1.1 billion dollars in private and government support. From what I gather the new bioethics law allows stem cell research for therapeutic purposes.

I am not making moral judgements on any of this stuff. I wonder if we have that cell phone at home. I wonder if stuff like this is going on a lot more than is announced at home. With the U.S.'s famous position on stem cells, exactly what is being suppressed in the media? Maybe I am to cynical. I find it all interesting anyway.

11.1.05

Alvin Toffler

Have you heard of Alvin Toffler? Over the Christmas holidays I picked up two of his books, kind of by fluke in a korean bookstore. You see, in order to find English books in Korea (outside of the internet) you have to go to some of the bigger bookstores in Seoul. But, even they don't have much selection. This really sucks when you are looking for specific authors in the Sci-Fi or Fantasy genres... every bookstore here has been pretty weak in those areas, and pretty much every other area when it comes down it. But what makes it interesting is that you are able to look at most of, or all, the books in a particular section, or all the sections :), without much problem. This would be pretty much impossible at home in a Chapter's or Indigo. While doing that, I find that I see some books I probably never would have noticed before. Such as Alvin Toffler.

I guess he's a 'futurist'? writing about what will happen... I know, sounds vaguely apocalyptic and wierd... but its actually pretty good. He is not writing about the end times, and though he is writing about the future, he's fairly good at covering his bases. He puts in the intro how this is inexact, and everything he says has a million qualifications which are not included in the book so as not to make it unreadable, and blah blah blah. Anyway, I read his first book, Future Shock, written in 1970, and I was amazed. He got some of his timeline's messed up, and he wasn't right everywhere, but to a startling degree he called what was going to happen from then until now (obviously in specificly generally areas... i.e. he didn't predict specific events, but general changes that would occur in say, the family structure, and so on). I just started the next book, 'The Third Wave', published in 1980. In it, as far as I can tell, he is examining Modernism and the coming Postmodernism, but under different names. Modernism is called Industrialism, or the Second Wave (the first being agriculturalism), and the Third Wave (which he hasn't explained yet) is what I am roughly equating with postmodernism. Obviously the terms dont' all much up, but its quite amazing what Toffler has done. There is more insight into modernism in this book than in lots of books I have read about modernism/postmodernism printed in the last 5 years.

So, I will probably be posting about some of his ideas in the near future, but before I did, I thought an introduction was in order.

If anyone has heard anything about this guy, good or bad, please let me know. I haven't really taken any time to research the guy, as I wanted to read at least his first book before I did that, and let it speak for itself.

5.1.05

Thinking

I have been thinking about a lot of things lately. So much so that I am having a hard time focusing on anything long enough to get some clear ideas flowing. So much so that I have been avoiding thinking about just about anything so that my brain doesn't overload. Maybe I'm thinking about nothing, not like I would know, being such a jumbled mess right now. So, WEEEE, here we go.

First, the Tsunami. Who hasn't posted about this in the last couple weeks? Tragedies such as this come in with a bang, and set off millions of psycological bangs immediately afterwards, and for years to come. From politics to theology (oh, those two much loved dinner topics), personal reflection to on the spot footage, no area is left untouched. I have been very impressed with the response to this disaster (not going to go into who is giving more based on what percentage... I just don't care right now). Being over in S.Korea makes it a little more personal for me as well. Why? Well, I had four friends in and around the area's hit. Everyone made it home ok and unhurt, for which I am very thankful. But for a week there I had a personal concern in what was going on. Perhaps it is this that has woken me up to something. I am sick of hearing arguements against, or for, God (in whatever form or tradition) being piggybacked on the deaths of so many people that most of those talking the loudest have never met, seen, or given a single thought of love or hate towards in their entire lives. Sure, a disaster like this is terrible, but we all act as if this brings up some kind of new issues when in reality it simply them on the front page of the newspaper. How many people die every year of aids? malnutrition? Should I go on? So what, this new natural disaster simply provide a way for people to yell louder about their particular position that they already held before, and probably will hold afterwards?

Certainly, there are questions to be asked, and attempts should be made at answering them. But lets at least try to remember they aren't new questions, and more people dying doesn't make them any more or less intense (no disrespect meant for those who have and are bearing the brunt of this latest tragedy). Furthermore, lets remember these questions are still important in a couple months when the Tsunami isn't on the front page anymore. Lets remember how we cried out for aid for these people, and ignored the disaster or tragedy that lives next door to us. As for me, I am grateful that the best in people is being brought out by this, I guess I wish it stuck around a bit longer, and stuck its head out a bit more often.

To, or from, the Christian worldview specifically, I wonder who are to be so arrogant to ask why? We who have evil running right through our midsection should be surprised that the earth, condemned to thorns by our sin, should look similar? To quickly we forget that our Lord "makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). You want even more questions? Give Job a good reading, or the account in 1 Kings 22:13-28 (and surrounding text).


I think I will stop there, actually writing about something brought out one strain of thought and helped me focus on it. I hope this hasn't been to harsh or cynical/critical.

2.1.05

Time Well Spent

I have two places to send you, if your interested.

First, do you like brain tazers? If you do, try The Dark Room. Its a good puzzle game: you have to find out how to get out of the 'hi tech' room. And it is a brain tazer, not a teaser. My wife and I took about an hour to do the whole thing; our brains hurt. A lot of fun

Second, if you enjoy short films, here is an excellent one, entitled "More." It is hard to say what its about.... its interesting, and worth the six minutes.