Friday, October 31, 2008

A Sight For Sore Muscles

A rather unusual result from the Korean Constitutional Court has been delivered recently. The court has upheld a law that only allows people who are blind to be a licensed masseur.

This is rather unfair to all the sighted people who want to be masseurs, and there are about 200,000 of them while there are only around 7,100 licensed masseurs. A sighted person working as a masseur can face fines and prison (although I'm sure they avoid most such problems like the street food stands do. A few quite payments to the local police and a brief holiday during crackdown week (I've ranted previously about corruption here and my involvement thereof)).

While I can agree with the court for wanting to make sure that blind people have the ability to earn a living for themselves, I don't believe the way to do this is to give them a monopoly on an industry, especially one where there is sufficient demand for almost thirty times the number of practitioners. The way to do it is to ensure that blind people are able to enter any profession that they are capable of performing (I don't think it's wrong to not hire a blind person as a photographer for example) and that there is a sufficient set of social services available to support them as they do so.

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Writing time: 15 minutes (this one had a few paragraphs rewritten)
Time since last post: about an hour
Current media: still none

An Interesting Map

Via the Freakonomics blog I saw a rather interesting map today. The maps shows the progression of the results for each state in the presidential elections from 1840 to 2004. It's interesting to see some of the big changes that occur. The huge swing to the Democrats in 1932 is impressive to see, as is a similar swing to the Republicans post WWII. The magnitude of Nixon's second victory is huge.

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Writing time: 5 minutes
Time since last post: a while
Current media: None

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Damn PETA is Stupid

I've just read some of the latest idiocy from PETA. They're asking American ice cream giant Ben & Jerry's to stop using cow milk and replace it instead with human milk. This is a terrible idea for so many reasons.

First, there's the sheer scale of the endeavor. America alone eats six and a half billion liters of ice cream each year. With about 80 million women of milk producing age, each woman would need to produce 100 liters of milk a year. This is not an unreasonable rate of production given that a baby drinks about 750 ml a day when breastfeeding, but for most of the female population to do this all year round is not so feasible. Then of course we have the difficulties of collection and distribution, and of course we'll need a lot more breast milk to make all the cheese, yogurt, drinking milk and every other form of dairy produce. We also need to consider can human milk be made into tasty treats like cheese and ice cream (edit 25/2/2011 Apparently it can).

This idea is also blatantly biased towards protecting mammals, and does nothing to protect non-mammalian species. The recipe for vanilla ice cream I found in addition to four cups of cream called for three eggs and half a cup of honey. How many chickens must be sacrificed and how many bees must slave away flying from flower to flower for us to enjoy our breast milk ice cream?

But these are not the main problem with this whole scheme. The big problem with this idea is that PETA are suggesting that to stop the forced perpetual lactation of cows we instead implement the forced perpetual lactation of women. PETA's solution to stopping the difference in treatment between animals and humans is to treat humans as animals. The way to solve injustice is not to be unjust to all. It might be equal but it's still unjust.

PETA's credo that animals deserve the exact same rights and treatment as people is naive, ignores fundamental facts about nature and our society. The basic fact is, animals are not the same as people. I've dealt with people and I've dealt with a variety of animals, and there is no way to mistake the two, and you would never treat one exactly the same way as the other. I will agree with them that unnecessary cruelty to animals is wrong and should be prevented, but see nothing wrong with chowing down on a delicious steak. They could achieve more if they realized this and started trying to do sensible things. Comparing factory farming to the holocaust or a bus killing just make people think you're crazy. Their extremism makes it harder for them to achieve a more realistic and sensible outcome.

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Writing time: 1 hour 29 minutes (I got distracted watching something)
Time since last post: 2 days
Current media: True Blood

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Last weekend I went to paintball. I found out about it from a group I found on facebook which is trying to build up a bit of a community here in Daegu. Anyway, onto the actual day. It started with all the people congregating in downtown Daegu. Here the organization could have been a little better. We ended up waiting around about an hour for some people who were late. We also got screwed over with the bus. The organizers booked a bus for 35 people and they turned up with a bus for 30 people. This was really bad since it meant two of the organizers had to miss out.

We eventually got to the paintball course where I was pleasantly surprised to find that the amount of gear provided was more than I expected. In addition to a mask and gun, we also got overalls, gloves and a padded vest. This meant I no longer had to worry about getting a lot of paint all over my own clothes.

After kitting up we had a brief introduction to how to use the guns which was translated from Korean. A few practice shots and we were sent into the field. The field was a small patch of scrub in between a highway and a marine base with a lot of barrels and walls placed around the place. We did six rounds with three different games, kill or be killed, capture the flag and kill the VIPs. Blue team won the first game, but we lost the rest.

In the first capture the flag I just hung back and guarded the flag, but in the second I was more aggressive, although I got screwed over by my gun. I went on a mad dash forward and stopped at one of the walls. I looked through the window and had a clear shot but my gun had jammed. As I ducked down and tried to reset it, I got shot by the guy on the other side. In the later games I also tended towards kamikaze runs near the end, since once you ran out of bullets, you were counted as dead. So, once I realized I only had half a dozen bullets left, I'd go for the mad charge towards the objective with my gun held high in front of my face so I was harder to hit. I never actually made it to a target, but it was fun to go charging through the scrub.

All in all it was a good day, and if another day of paintball is planned I'll definitely go along again.
Guarding the flag.

The Mighty Blues

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Writing time: 43 minutes
Time since last post: an hourish
Current media: No Heroics

Better Dining For All

Now I'll be the first to admit that my eating habits are less than ideal. This is mainly because making good healthy food is a bit of work and preparation which I'm usually reluctant to put in. Fortunately someone has realized my situation and given me a solution.

Prepared salad in a bag. So all I have to do is grab a handful or two of salad and add it to my plate when I make dinner. Sheer elegance in its simplicity. Hopefully this won't be another of the things I miss when I leave Korea.

Now if only I could find long life milk that tastes like real milk I could solve another of my dining problems. And decent tomatoes. And reasonably priced meat.

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Writing time: 14 minutes
Time since last post: a little bit more than 25 minutes
Current media: None again

Don't be this Lady

Just don't, OK.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: too long
Current media: None, although I did watch five episodes of No Heroics last night, which was good enough to deserve a mention

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If Only It Were This Easy

The Governator delivers a classic line. It's a little old, but it really suits the current times.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: a few days
Current media: None

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some Interesting Pictures

I found some interesting pictures today. It's a collection of x-ray pictures of various unusual cases. Definitely worth a look.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: ten days
Current media: None

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Point I Think Needs Making

First you need to watch this video.

For me, the answers given in this interview are completely and totally inadequate. I do not care what her personal position on the subject of abortion is, I do not care what she would advise someone in that situation to do. What I care about is what legislation she would endorse and advocate. This is what will affect people's lives, and on this matter she was silent and evasive.

The question was not about how she would advise someone in that situation, it was what sort of legislation she would pursue as vice-president. This sort of question is not complicated. It could be simply answered as a yes or no question. Not answering the question shows either a lack of comprehension or deception about the real answer, neither of which is a desirable trait in anyone running for office.

And while this may seem like me joining in on the Palin bashing, the fact is that this type of crap is spouted by most politicians. Palin just seems to be the most egregious case right now.

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Writing time: longer than you would expect
Time since last post: bleh
Current media: None

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Blast From The Past

For Google's tenth birthday they've put up a search of their old index from 2001 (it's not ten years ago, but it's the oldest they've got). It's interesting to have a look at how some thins have changed.

One of the big changes is the absence of Wikipedia. Today Wikipedia turns up in nearly every search you make, but was barely heard of back then. The same applies to IMDB.

Kevin Rudd has gone from being number 3 on the first page to being the whole first page. John Howard went from just being number one to being number one to five. Paris Hilton was apparently a hotel in France. An iPod was on of these. The "neil" was not Neil Armstrong but Neil Young1. Wow had an entirely different meaning. Podcast was a word in czech but not any other languages.

Many terms relating to TV shows have had their results change a lot (Battlestar is a good example).

blog only returned about 76400 results in 2001, but now gives more than 3770000000.

Anyway, have a look and play around with it.

1 To be the "name" is to be the top result in google when you search for just the first name. E.g. Neil Armstrong is the Neil (it used to be Neil Gaiman), Sarah Palin is now the Sarah , and Kevin Rudd is the Kevin.

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Writing time: longer than necessary
Time since last post: I think one day
Current media: The Hollowmen

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ahead of his time

It would appear that Leonhard Euler has a number of papers up on This is doing pretty good for a guy who died in 1783, a good two hundred and some years before started.

The papers are actually in the history section, but it's still pretty cool that they are there. I haven't actually read any yet, but I may. We'll see if any of the titles sound particularly interesting.

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Writing time: 5 minutes
Time since last post: Good Question
Current media: None