Friday, May 18, 2012

Korea's Defense Industry Thriving

Here is a boost for South Korea's economy and ego.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Caine's Cardboard Arcade

Someone told me that making a cardboard arcade would make for a fun summer camp activity.  I then asked, "what's a cardboard arcade"?

Then I watched this video.  Such a super cute video.  I remember being a little kid and thinking that cardboard was the most fun thing ever to play with.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Top 1% of Koreans Get Bigger

Nations with greater income equality amongst their people have less crime and better standards of living.  Something I love about Korea is that they do not worship their rich.  Average, hard-working Koreans aren't dumb enough to believe in trickle-down economics or the belief if they just stop taxing the rich, somehow the economy will become so fantastic all their financial troubles will melt away.

The top 1 percent of earners in Korea account for 16.6 percent of the national income in a stark indication that polarization is particularly marked here. The Korea Institute of Public Finance on Monday said taxation data show that in 2006, a person making W100 million (US$1=W1,141) a year would qualify for the top one percentile of the income bracket.

The number of people earning at least W100 million a year accounted for 1.2 percent of the total population in 2007, 1.1 percent in 2009 and around 1.6 percent in 2010, according to KIPF.

The top 1 percent of wage earners accounted for 16.6 percent of the national income, which was slightly lower than the U.S. (17.7 percent), but higher than the U.K. (14.3 percent), Canada (13.3 percent), Japan (9.2 percent) and Australia (8.8 percent), showing that the wealth gap is especially pronounced in Korea. But KIPF said top wage earners account for a growing slice of the income pie in all OECD member nations over the past three decades.

But the top wage earners in Korea paid more taxes than their peers in advanced countries. They accounted for 43.9 percent of total tax revenues, as against the U.S.' 40 percent and a measly 24 percent in the U.K.

"The data was limited so it wasn't easy to compare different countries, but one thing is clear: those in the upper income bracket took up a larger share of the overall economy," said Park Myung-ho at KIPF.
The article does not say how much of Korea's wealth is owned by the richest 1%.  In America, the richest 1% own more than 40% of America's wealth.  I am guessing that for the rich in Korea it might be in the high 20s or low 30s.  I think much of the wealth for the richest 1% of Americans is generational and has accumulated over generations.  Whereas in Korea, much of their wealth is recent as of the last 30 years and the rich have yet to pass it on to the next generation to begin accumulating.

Here is a great speech by Bernie Sanders talking about income inequality in America.  This guy is the only actual socialist in the United States Congress (despite Fox News' accusations).

KPOP Korral - [Sunny Hill] - Princess and Prince Charming

I only recently discovered Sunny Hill this year.  But I have really enjoyed their creativity in their videos.  If you haven't seen the Grasshopper Song yet, it is easily my favorite KPOP video of the last year.

Their new video is for Princes and Prince Charming.

Here is old video of some of Sunny Hill's members teamed up with Narsha from Brown Eyed Girls.

Hypnotic Japanese Vegetable Dance

Not sure... but I keep watching this just to make sure it's real.  But in fact, I think it is not.  I am certain they are infront of a green screen.

A lot of people are pretty critical of KPOP... but really, just watch some JPOP videos and I can't see how anyone can think KPOP looks strange anymore.

RIP Maurice Sendak

A true creative titan of my childhood imagination passed away.

More children's books should be narrated by Chistopher Walken and Samuel L. Jackson.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Plastic Surgery Humor

A Korean shared this photo with me on facebook... they thought it was funny (and not racist).  I do not like plastic surgery and I think people should love the way they are.

With that said... lol

If you don't get the joke, then you might not be aware of the differences in the beauty standards between Korean and Western culture.

Koreans Eat Powdered Human Flesh?

South Koreans (usually old men) love telling me about all the obscure and disgusting things they love to eat because it gives them "stamina".  I will never believe that eating dog or bovine penis will improve sexual performance... but it is what a lot of Korean men believe for some strange reason.  Then I read this!

Sourced from the BBC:
South Korea says it will increase customs inspections targeting capsules containing powdered human flesh.

The Korea Customs Service said it had found almost 17,500 of the capsules being smuggled into the country from China since August 2011.

The powdered flesh, which officials said came from dead babies and foetuses,
is reportedly thought by some to cure disease and boost stamina.

But officials said the capsules were full of bacteria and a health risk.

"It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria. We need to take tougher measures to protect public health," a customs official was quoted as saying by the Korea Times.

Inspections are to be stepped up on shipments of drugs arriving from north-east China, Yonhap news agency reported.

The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said that capsules were being dyed or switched into boxes of other drugs in a bid to disguise them.

Some of the capsules were found in travellers' luggage and some in the post, customs officials said.

Allegations that human flesh capsules were being trafficked from north-east China into South Korea emerged last year in a South Korean television documentary.

At the time China's Health Ministry said it was investigating the claims raised by the programme.

Ministry spokesman Deng Haihua, quoted at the time in China Daily, said China had "strict management of disposal of infant and foetal remains as well as placentas".

"Any practice that handles the remains as medical waste is strictly prohibited," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

So... f'ing... disgusting.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Majority of Korean Women Want Husband's Salary to be Double Their Own

There is a reason why South Korea has the lowest birthrate and highest suicide rate in the world... because people here have unreasonable expectations for themselves and the people they love.  This is especially true for finding someone to marry and start a family with.

In general, Korean men have unrealistic expectations for women (good cook, traditional family woman, have a career or at least be educated, look stunningly beautiful all the time).  But the same is true for Korean women.  I am told Korean women most commonly look for the "4 million won man", that being his minimum monthly salary.  Being 180cm tall also seems to be the common height requirement these days for a husband.

Then I read this!

About 56 percent of Korean women hope that their spouse’s salaries will be double theirs or more, a recent survey showed. 

The survey of 255 single men and 255 unmarried women said 75.3 percent of all respondents expressed the hope that the salaries of the couple would be pretty much the same.

The survey was jointly conducted by marriage agencies Bien-Aller and Feeling You from April 14 through April 21.

Some 24.7 percent of those polled hoped that spouse’s salaries would be less than theirs.

But as many as 85.5 percent of women respondents said spouse’s salaries should be higher than theirs, while 9.7 percent expressed hope that salaries of the couple will be pretty much the same. 
Okay... whenever these articles come out, I feel like the statistics are always fudged a little bit by the writer.  If 85.5% of women thought their spouse's salary should be higher, and 9.7% thought it should be the same, then 5% of women think their spouse's salary should be lower than theirs?

Since women were half the survey, then only 2.5% of the 24.7% hope their spouses' salaries would be less than theirs.  So, about 22% of Korean men hope their wives make less money than them, while the rest hope for equality (or greater).

I think the most shocking statistic is given in the headline... a majority of Korean women expect their husbands to make more than double what they make.  With expectations like those, how do Korean women ever expect to be treated like equals in the workplace?  Are women here so hopeless about gender equality that they have no fantasy of equal pay and equal opportunity in the workplace?

I infer from this article that a majority of Korean women hope to earn around 2 million won a month, and they hope to marry a man that makes 4 or more million won a month.
Meanwhile, Statistics Korea reported Thursday that the number of marriages involving couples tying the knot for the first time rose to a nine-year high last year mainly due to favorable demographic factors.

According to the report, the number of men and women getting married for the first time reached 258,600, or 78.6 percent of all marriages last year. This is the highest percentage since 78.7 percent reached in 2002.

"The increase of about 4,000 couples is mainly due to the rise in the number of women in the country in their late 20s, which is making it easier for men to find wives," an official at the statistical agency said.

In the past, there were usually more men than women because families traditionally wanted boys instead of girls.
These would be all the black market abortions during the 80's when Korean expecting couples were told by doctors that they were pregnant with a daughter.  Korean couples would then abort the child once they knew the gender in the second trimester and then they would try again to have a son.
The official said this development should carry over through this year before the gender imbalance widens again in 2013.

Another development that helped push up the numbers of newlyweds was that the sluggish pace of economic growth, high consumer prices and spike in housing costs in 2011, had a less-than-expected impact.

Overall, the number of people getting married in the country hit 329,100, up 3,000 or 0.9 percent from the year before.

This marks the second year in a row that the number of people getting married rose compared to the year before. In 2010, marriages shot up 16,300 or 5.3 percent to 326,100, from 309,800 in the previous year when total number of people getting married contracted 5.5 percent.

The report also showed the average age of men getting married for the first time reached 31.9 years, up 0.1 from the year before. For women, the average gain was 0.2 to 29.1 years. (Yonhap)
 There is nothing wrong with getting married at 32.  The longer a person waits to get married, the more mature they are and the less likely they are to regret it... in theory...

Yosemite Time Lapse

I love this stuff!
This one would probably have impressed Ansel Adams. 
Shawn Reeder, a Bishop, Calif.-based photographer and musician, spent two years working on this time lapse video of Yosemite National Park. The nearly five-minute video is composed of almost 7,000 individual photographs. 
"I tried to really kind of get a good overall representation of the park's major areas," Reeder told HuffPost by phone. 
Indeed, a good number of Yosemite's famous landmarks make cameos, including El Capitan, Half Dome, Tenaya Peak, Yosemite Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, among others. 
"Yosemite has been a really life-changing place for me," said Reeder, who lived in the park for 11 summers before moving to the Eastern Sierra. "It's really my home. I really wanted to share that beauty with others." 
"I wanted to inspire people to see that beauty within themselves," he added, "and inspire people to get outside and make choices they might not have made otherwise."
To see more of Reeder's work, be sure to visit his website.

Poor, Lonely Japan

I vacationed in Japan last year, and was shocked how culturally different it felt from Korea.  The number one thing I noticed and felt strange was that everyone was alone in public and everyone was really quiet.  Everywhere I went: restaurants, coffee shops, parks, I could notice many Japanese people just walking around by themselves... alone.  I almost never see Koreans alone at a restaurant or a coffee shop.  Koreans fear being alone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

RIM Behind Anti-Apple Flash Mob

Last week I posted that Samsung was responsible for the 'Wake-Up' anti-Apple campaign.  That was what everyone assumed and what most tech blogs reported.  However, Samsung denied any involvement and it turns out Blackberry's Research in Motion hired the flash mob to protest an Apple store in Sydney.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is confirming media reports that it was behind anti-Apple flashmobs that took place in Australia last week. 
In a statement released Monday night, the Waterloo, Ont., company admitted that RIM Australia created the "Wake Up" campaign, which it says involves a series of experiential activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne. 
"A reveal will take place on May 7th that will aim to provoke conversation on what 'being in business' means to Australians," RIM says in the statement. 
Last week, dozens of people in black clothing showed up in a coach bus and waved "Wake Up" signs at customers inside a Sydney Apple store. 
Samsung — which is known for targeting Apple in its marketing campaigns — was initially blamed for the stunt by tech-focused web sites, but it denied any involvement. 
RIM's "Wake Up" campaign is believed to be part of a promotion for the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which was previewed Tuesday at the BlackBerry World conference in Florida.
Funny how Samsung had nothing to do with it and for almost a week they got all the free publicity and promotion from this stunt to hype up the release of their Galaxy SIII phone.

Here is the video again:

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