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Flying Home For the Holidays?

Inside Air Koryo official website The world's only 1 star airline. It's Air Koryo, and it's the only airline in the world deemed bad enough to earn a 1-star rating from leading airline reviewer SkyTrax. [more inside]
posted by Ruthless Bunny on Dec 20, 2011 - 51 comments

Miniature DPRKs in Siberia

Vice.com takes a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway to visit remote North Korean labor camps.
posted by Burhanistan on Dec 19, 2011 - 50 comments

Making Boxes ... Like A Boss

"You've seen boring unboxing videos. How about a cool boxing video?" A Korean postal worker demonstrates his superior packaging skills [SLYT].
posted by bayani on Dec 16, 2011 - 45 comments

The sages feel a great joy when they see such people.

Wonhyo never completed his journey to Tang China, but it is said that before turning back he found enlightenment in a cool drink from a loose skull. Today an international group is following in the footsteps of the 7th century Korean monk. Conveniently, they keep a blog.
posted by Winnemac on Dec 12, 2011 - 7 comments

Grabbing A

The California—based Oakland Institute released a report earlier this year that documents some of the problems caused by the acquisition of land by foreign firms, including Indian ones, in Ethiopia and other African countries. Putting this global trend of ‘land grab’ under the spotlight, the report highlights the social and environmental costs of this phenomenon that have been largely overlooked by the media. Outlook interviewed Anuradha Mittal, the India—born—and—educated founder and executive president of Oakland Institute, to find out why she thinks India ought to share part of the blame of causing “depravation and destitution” in Ethiopia. text via Outlook [more inside]
posted by infini on Oct 29, 2011 - 2 comments

"I think Italy owes us an apology"

The True (Korean) Origin of Pizza (SLYT viral) [more inside]
posted by bardic on Oct 11, 2011 - 38 comments

War Photos Tumblr

Once Upon a Time in War is a photographic retrospect of the Great War, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and the War on Terror.
posted by OmieWise on Oct 6, 2011 - 6 comments

A new view of North Korea

Earlier this year, David Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, along with Jean H. Lee, AP bureau chief in Seoul, were granted unprecedented access to parts of North Korea as part of the AP's efforts to expand coverage of the isolated communist nation. A new look at North Korea. WARNING: Fascinating.
posted by DoctorFedora on Aug 4, 2011 - 61 comments

History Changes

"History Changes". LG Telecom is Korea's perennial also-ran in the mobile telephone market. Their latest attempt at coming from behind includes another revision to their brand identity: "U+", replacing 2009's "Oz" rebranding effort. With operating profit down by half since last year, they are anxious to prove that they are as good as, if not better than, their competitors Korea Telecom (KT) and SK Telecom. Now that they are offering 4G service almost as soon as KT, LG sees itself as making history in the same way Barack Obama did when he demonstrated the equality of everyone in the Korean telecom market United States. Text overlay on images of Jim Crow-era American South: "It was utterly impossible for a black person to become the President of the United States." Voiceover: "History Changes! Beginning with 4G service".
posted by holterbarbour on Aug 1, 2011 - 20 comments

Korean Rapper, Stanford Alum, Cyberbullied

The Persecution of Daniel Lee: Korean rapper was a victim of an online smear campaign that said he didn't go to Stanford. But it gets worse... [more inside]
posted by k8t on Jul 22, 2011 - 53 comments

Androboi

Androboi, via Korea's SK Telecom, pisses, belches, and farts to convince you to buy Android phones in Korea. [more inside]
posted by needled on Jul 2, 2011 - 26 comments

"Sex selection defies culture, nationality and creed."

"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2011 - 65 comments

"I'm not a good singer, but I just like it."

Sung-bong Choi auditions for 코리아 갓 탤런트 (Korea's Got Talent.) (SLYT. The singing starts around 2:45. Video is unrestricted.)
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2011 - 33 comments

"The answer was to photograph the surface itself."

Welcome to Pyongyang
posted by empath on May 21, 2011 - 65 comments

"We, like you, have problems with hostile neighbors."

The Babylonian Talmud was composed in the historical region of Palestine and in (not surprisingly) Babylonia (modern-day Iraq) between ~70 C.E. and ~700 C.E. Many centuries later, it turns out that "there are more South Koreans with Talmud sets in their homes than Jews in Israel." (Hebrew original) [more inside]
posted by -->NMN.80.418 on Mar 28, 2011 - 38 comments

Pyongyang Style – North Korean Haircut

Filming in North Korea is a bit of an iffy task, and you never know when a minder may decide to confiscate your memory cards or camera. That was a risk I didn’t want to take, so I decided not to reveal to them the fact that my 5D was capable of shooting video. I taped up the back screen with black electrical tape. Pyongyang Style – North Korean Haircut
posted by finite on Mar 14, 2011 - 57 comments

dragon whiskers candy, 16,000 honey strings

Dragon whiskers, honey skein, King's Dessert, Kkultarae, a Korean street vendor shows how to make 16.000 honey strings in two minutes. More looks at the making of this amazing candy, the wows of appreciation are worth waiting for and a close-up at the end. You can try making some yourself. What it tastes like. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 6, 2011 - 38 comments

Being Canadian

What does it mean to be Canadian? It isn't about an ethnicity, a religion, a language, or a shared heritage or history. From CBC's Ideas comes the two-part radio documentary, Being Canadian. "From east to west, public intellectuals and private citizens (both new and old Canadians), tell film-maker Sun-Kyung (Sunny) Yi about the concerns, the questions, and the challenges of living together in a multicultural and diverse society." It is also the story of how and why a Korean family became Canadian, first in the law, and then in their hearts.
posted by Hildegarde on Dec 29, 2010 - 120 comments

House of Sharing

The House of Sharing is a place for the Halmoni to to live together and heal the wounds of the past while educating the future generations of the suffering they survived.
The View From Over Here details her visit to the House of Sharing, a therapeutic group home and museum for surviving "comfort women", who were systematically raped by the Japanese military during World War II. The museum displays art for and by the survivors. Via Ask a Korean. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt on Dec 17, 2010 - 5 comments

Amateur Films of 1920's China

When John Van Antwerp MacMurray was dispatched to Asia in 1925 as the American Envoy to the Republic of China, he brought a Kodak motion picture camera with him.
posted by Iridic on Dec 14, 2010 - 4 comments

"What to do when the shells hit Seoul"

"A general rule of thumb: Go underground to avoid artillery and conventional bombing runs, but go up as high as possible in a chemical weapons attack." A major South Korean newspaper reports on what to do in the case of North Korean attack and the state of evacuation shelters in Seoul. [more inside]
posted by needled on Dec 11, 2010 - 28 comments

Words of Warcraft

This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
posted by Artw on Dec 8, 2010 - 20 comments

Latest flare up in the Korean peninsular

Artillery rounds are being fired across maritime borders between the Koreas. At least one soldier is dead. In what appears to be a response for South Korean military exercises (accompanying commentary from a blog which to be run by North Korea is here), the North Korean army has fired numerous (at least 200, according to CNN) artillery rounds on an island in South Korean territory, resulting in one South Korean marine dead and 15 wounded. The South Korean army has responded by returning artillery fire and deploying fighter jets but is seeking to limit the scope of the conflict. At the same time, there have been signals that South Korea was seeking redeployment of US nuclear weapons on its soil. This just one day after revelations about North Korea's uranium enrichment facilities.
posted by butwheresthesushi on Nov 23, 2010 - 150 comments

Whoever Said Newspapers Can Never Return To Their Glory Days Never Joined A Korean Cult

Whoever Said Newspapers Can Never Return To Their Glory Days Never Joined A Korean Cult [via mefi projects]
An epic story of flower-selling, mass weddings, insane sex rituals, swashbuckling Cold Warriors, white supremacists and neo-segregationists, Barney Frank & Vince Foster, closeted gay Republicans and where the money goes when you order from a sushi restaurant…
posted by JHarris on Nov 17, 2010 - 16 comments

50 Cabbage "kimchi crisis" Warning

The latest crisis in South Korea is not coming from its northern neighbor. The country is reeling from the soaring price of kimchi. China responds with concern. "The politics editor of a major South Korean newspaper called the kimchi situation "a national tragedy,” and an editorial in Dong-a Ilbo termed it “a once in a century crisis.” previously
posted by Xurando on Oct 15, 2010 - 25 comments

Fruit Dealer vs Hope Torture

The first official StarCraft 2 Tounament has just come to a close with FruitDealer walloping HopeTorture 4 games to 1 to take home the top prize over 100 million Won ($87,000). The monthly series put on by South Korea's GomTV has attracted quite a few foreign players with the massive prize pool ($170,000 monthly). [more inside]
posted by empath on Oct 2, 2010 - 41 comments

don't tell Steve.

Simplicity is highly overrated. Why people prefer feature-bloat.
posted by leotrotsky on Sep 4, 2010 - 133 comments

The Juche View of the World is a New Man-centred View

North Korean Tourism Video
posted by KokuRyu on Aug 23, 2010 - 16 comments

If I had an octopus and you were a haenyo...

The Haenyo divers: Korea's women of the sea [more inside]
posted by grounded on Aug 15, 2010 - 11 comments

The Director, the Actress, the Dictator, and the Monster who was Hungry for Iron

Shin Sang-ok (1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 5, 2010 - 14 comments

The Future of Border Defense: Robot Sentries

The Korean DMZ (pdf) / PLZ has been a hot tourist attraction for years, featuring must-see sites like the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, the Dora Mountain Train Station, the Freedom Bridge and the Imjingak Tourist Site, complete with its statue of Harry Truman. And now, South Korea's border with North Korea -- the most heavily militarized border on Earth, -- will be patrolled by killer robots. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 15, 2010 - 50 comments

Queer Science

Less than two weeks after a controversial paper came to light advocating the pre-natal treatment of some female fetuses with a hormone to make their behavior more stereotypically female (previously discussed here) comes news of actual animal research on causing the opposite inclination. By knocking out the fucose mutarotase gene, scientists in South Korea have apparently created "Lesbian mice" who prefer other female mice and who resist the attempts of male mice to mate with them. Article abstract, and coverage by The Telegraph.
posted by Asparagirl on Jul 9, 2010 - 19 comments

Personally, I'm Holding Out for the "Sauron" Lens

The New York Times reports that anime-style "Circle" (or "Big Eye") lenses are currently gaining in popularity, thanks to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 3, 2010 - 59 comments

The Game of Their Lives - Part 둘

North Korea played in the World Cup in 1966 [BBC Documentary on YouTube]. The 1966 World Cup was the subject of bitter disagreement before a ball was ever kicked. Sixteen African nations boycotted the tournament in protest of a 1964 FIFA ruling that required the champion team from the African zone to enter a playoff round against the winners of either the Asian or the Oceania zone in order to win a place in the Cup. [more inside]
posted by vectr on Jun 16, 2010 - 22 comments

Practical English

Teaching Korean ESL students how to swear. (NSFW SLYT)
posted by gman on Jun 16, 2010 - 47 comments

'The younger Kim is only 27 years old and is apparently fond of shooting things, having majored artillery in Kim Il-Sung University.'

On March 26, 2010, the ROKS Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, exploded and sunk, killing at least forty sailors. On May 19, an international investigation team concluded that a North Korean torpedo sunk the Cheonan. What does this mean for the Koreas and the world? It's not clear, but Ask a Korean provides a brief, yet historically contextualized dossier on this issue. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt on May 25, 2010 - 86 comments

“We have snakes in the newsroom.”

Cocaine, The CIA, And The Unification Church: A History of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and The Washington's Times influence on Washington and South America by Robert Parry
posted by The Whelk on May 11, 2010 - 14 comments

South Korean navy ship sinking near border with North Korea

Reports coming through that a South Korean Navy Ship with 104 crew is currently sinking off Baengnyeong island in the Yellow Sea near the North Korean Border. No reports of casualties and causation yet to be determined. No word from the North Korean Korean Central News Agency.
posted by numberstation on Mar 26, 2010 - 41 comments

Kim Jong-il's European bank accounts

Kim Jong-il, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, has a $4 billion (£2.6 billion) “emergency fund” hidden in secret accounts in European banks that he will use to continue his lavish way of life if he is forced to flee the country.
posted by Tlery on Mar 17, 2010 - 37 comments

Sympathy for the (Japanese) Devil

Korean cyber attack on 2-channel An army of Korean netizens apparently attacked the Japanese Internet forum 2chan for their anti-Korean postings, including those targeting Korea’s Olympic gold-medal-winning figure skater Kim Yu-na, causing the site to shut down on Monday (March 1). [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Mar 3, 2010 - 43 comments

Money in Socialist Economies: The Case of North Korea

Money in Socialist Economies: The Case of North Korea by Dr. Rüdiger Frank [more inside]
posted by Tlery on Mar 1, 2010 - 27 comments

Hundred-to-won

Last December, the government of North Korea unexpectedly revalued its internal currency, the North Korean won, at a rate of 100-to-1 and capped the amounts that residents could exchange old currency at 300,000 won (approx. $90 U.S. on the black market). This effectively wiped out many peoples' savings and killed the nascent market economy that had begun to emerge after a series of economic reforms starting in July, 2002. Professor Rüdiger Frank of the University of Vienna argues that while it represents a temporary victory for the North Korean government, this move may ultimately lead to the end of North Korean socialism. [Recently here]
posted by albrecht on Feb 3, 2010 - 23 comments

Photographs of Korea: October 1945 to January 1946.

Photographs of Korea: October 1945 to January 1946. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jan 9, 2010 - 8 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

"Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound, funny, but it's folk/psych/prog/70s Korean rock to me

Boys dared to grow their hair and girls dared to wear mini skirts and in Korea indecency officers patroled the street with scissors and rulers, publicly cutting hair too long and checking if skirts were too short. Shin Joong-hyung, was there with his 70s hit, Beauty, as were other musicians and artists like Sanullim and the Key Boys. [more inside]
posted by kkokkodalk on Nov 5, 2009 - 12 comments

감사합니다, 세종대왕!

October 9th is 한글날, or Hangul Day. Hangul is the Korean alphabet, and it has a fascinating history, so let's celebrate! (YT). Better yet, here are some videos that will help you learn Hangul for yourself: [Introduction] [Advanced] [Hangul Rap!] [Beginner's Vocabulary]
posted by bardic on Oct 9, 2009 - 15 comments

Just another 100 days, hero!

North Korea's "150 Day Battle" has been extended for another 100 days. The initiative was ostensibly aimed at ramping up internal production in the face of growing external trade reductions. Some analysts think it's a ploy, combined with recent missile launches , to solidify the base for the next regime.
posted by Burhanistan on Sep 14, 2009 - 5 comments

Freshly Squeezed Juche

North Korea’s Dollar Store - Office 39, North Korea’s billion-dollar crime syndicate, pays for Kim Jong Il’s missiles and cognac. Why did the Bush White House choose not to shut it down? [via] [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Aug 12, 2009 - 27 comments

Bill Clinton to the rescue

Bill Clinton makes secret trip to North Korea, wins pardon and apparent release of two captive US journalists. Jailed reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, employees of Al Gore's Current TV, were arrested for spying in March and had recently been sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp. The remarkable development is likely to boost to Clinton's battered image. [more inside]
posted by CunningLinguist on Aug 4, 2009 - 175 comments

I am a south korean Homeless Man and New Upgrade!

A homeless man in DC has a wordpress blog which he posts images to using a remote camera. I saw this man in the DC metro yesterday, hauling a shopping cart around that not only contained his clothes, but was also festooned with cardboard signs advertising different web addresses. Wandoojin.wordpress.com was the only one I could make out, and though the fellow is clearly disturbed (though the site is not disturbing), to me it's a fascinating look at how accessible technology is to everyone, especially the folks who have too many words, images of Gremlins sitting on the US, and conspiracy theories involving Teddy Kennedy and the Clintons to keep to himself. Also, he's apparently made good use of the Apple store near my office. (I wonder if he knows the Arlington rap?)
posted by oneironaut on Jun 18, 2009 - 45 comments

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