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Tag: South Korea

Seoul Food and confidence building measures

Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

FOOD: South Korea is famous for affordable and delicious street food that’s sold at markets and train stations and from ‘pojangmacha’ (carts) in most urban areas. Dishes cost from 2,000 to 5,000 Won (€1.50 to €3.50) and one of the most popular items is Korean Egg Toast, which comes with lots of “trimmings”, as Mrs Fitz used to say.

POLITICS: The excellent 38 North, which is a must-read on all things concerning North Korea, has this to say about the meeting in Pyongyang between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in:

“The two countries should also eventually set their sights higher to make the peninsula, in their words, a ‘land of peace.’ Given the great wall of mistrust that Moon and Kim are attempting to tear down and the still fragile North-South relationship, the two leaders are right to adopt an incremental, step-by-step approach to CBMs [confidence building measures] and not burden their dialogue with unrealistic ambitions. But as the mutual mistrust melts and both countries create a successful track record on implementation, they should consider a more robust CBM agenda consisting of: 1) more aggressive measures to eliminate the NLL [Northern Limit Line] as a flashpoint for North-South conflict; 2) greater transparency and information sharing on military plans, programs, and operations; and 3) constraints on military movements and activities to reduce the risk of a North Korean surprise attack.”


“Isch over.”

Thursday, 28 June, 2018

Back in June 2015, the former German Federal Minister for Finance Wolfgang Schäuble lost patience with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “Isch over,” he said. The context was the interminable talks about talks about talks to keep Athens funded and within the Eurozone.

Three years later, somethings have changed and more remain the same: “Tsipras Vows to Stick With Greece’s Euro Deal” is today’s Bloomberg headline. One thing has changed dramatically since 2015, however. Germany has lost its nimbus as a football power. Yesterday’s humiliating defeat by South Korea and the terrible performances against Mexico and Sweden mean “Isch over.” Over and out of the World Cup.

Apropos, in the Guardian, the former German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger says, “This was not the Germany we are used to – I feel completely empty.” He also places a finger in a fatal self-inflicted wound by team manager Joachim Löw:

“I’m aware there has been a lot of talk in England about Leroy Sané’s exclusion from the squad following his excellent season with Manchester City and, for me, he is a player who should be reintroduced immediately. He is exactly the calibre of player Germany needs, someone who is young and has raw, dangerous pace.”


Ko Un can win

Wednesday, 12 October, 2016 0 Comments

The Samsung catastrophe has made this a very bad week so far for Seoul, but the Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded tomorrow and, according to Ladbrokes, Ko Un has a 14/1 chance of winning it. The South Korean poet was born on 1 August 1933 and among his works are haiku-like reflections with epigrammatic juxtapositions:

Some say they can recall a thousand years
Some say they have already visited the next thousand years
On a windy day
I am waiting for a bus

Other works, however, are longer. Much longer. There’s his seven-volume epic of the Korean independence movement under Japanese rule, Paektu Mountain, and this is topped by the monumental 30-volume Ten Thousand Lives, which was written during the years 1983–2010 to fulfil a vow Ko Un made during his imprisonment, when he expected to be executed following the coup d’état led by Chun Doo-hwan. If he lived, he swore that every person he had ever met would be remembered with a poem. Ko Un would be a deserving winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, but Japan’s running writer, Haruki Murakami, is our bet at 5/1.


AlphaGo wins again

Thursday, 10 March, 2016 0 Comments

Hacker News: “It’s both exciting and eerie. It’s like another intelligent species opening up a new way of looking at the world (at least for this very specific domain). and much to our surprise, it’s a new way that’s more powerful than ours.” The second round of the man vs. machine Go game between the South Korean champion Lee Sedol and AlphaGo amazed even the most enthusiastic artificial intelligence (AI) enthusiasts. “Hard for us to believe. AlphaGo played some beautiful creative moves in this game,” tweeted Demis Hassabis, founder and CEO of Deep Mind, which is now part of Google. After four hours, Lee Sedol conceded, much to the dismay of those who had assumed Go is too complicated to be played expertly by a computer. AI is getting better, faster.

Hacker News: “When I was learning to play Go as a teenager in China, I followed a fairly standard, classical learning path. First I learned the rules, then progressively I learn the more abstract theories and tactics. Many of these theories, as I see them now, draw analogies from the physical world, and are used as tools to hide the underlying complexity (chunking), and enable the players to think at a higher level.

For example, we’re taught of considering connected stones as one unit, and give this one unit attributes like dead, alive, strong, weak, projecting influence in the surrounding areas. In other words, much like a standalone army unit.

These abstractions all made a lot of sense, and feels natural, and certainly helps game play — no player can consider the dozens (sometimes over 100) stones all as individuals and come up with a coherent game play. Chunking is such a natural and useful way of thinking.

But watching AlphaGo, I am not sure that’s how it thinks of the game. Maybe it simply doesn’t do chunking at all, or maybe it does chunking its own way, not influenced by the physical world as we humans invariably do. AlphaGo’s moves are sometimes strange, and couldn’t be explained by the way humans chunk the game.
It’s both exciting and eerie. It’s like another intelligent species opening up a new way of looking at the world (at least for this very specific domain). and much to our surprise, it’s a new way that’s more powerful than ours.”

Background: With more variations than chess, Go is a strategic game that can be played only by pairs of players. It originated in China in the 4th century BC and is said to foster discipline and concentration. It is especially popular in Korean and Japan, where an estimated 10 million Go players take part in competitions.


Porto

Saturday, 8 August, 2015 0 Comments

“After walking camino in spain , i went to porto for having a break time in portugal. And then, i fell in love with its scenery, people, colors and so on. I decided to capture its beauty and stay more than i expected.” So writes Lee Hang Gab, a South Korean film/design artist with an eye for beauty and an ability to capture it.


One. Billion. Views.

Wednesday, 14 November, 2012 0 Comments

Analysts at ChannelMeter are predicting that the viral video sensation Gangnam Style will smash through the billion-views ceiling before this year is out. Take that, Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez. You’ve been and Psy-ed out. The ChannelMeter projection is that Gangnam Style will pass JLo’s On the Floor by the end of this week and […]

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Communism vs. Capitalism

Friday, 30 December, 2011

This is a satellite image of North and South Korea by night that was taken in September 2003, when the Great Leader, the tyrant Kim Jong Il, was in his heyday.

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