Around midnight local time (UTC +9) on 12 February the Democratic People's Republic of Korea detonated a 6-10 kiloton nuclear device at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. [more inside]
To the tinkly piano tune of "We are the world", a video released last weekend from Uriminzokkiri, North Korea's official website, shows a dream sequence involving various rockets, Korean unification, a sparkle-powered North Korean Space Shuttle, and the apparent missile-based destruction of Manhattan. [more inside]
The video for "Gangnam Style" is the first to reach one billion views (short scale) on YouTube. [more inside]
In May 16, 1961, Park Chung-hee ended the Second Republic of South Korea by military coup. On December 18, 2012, his daughter, Park Geun-hye, became South Korea's president by democratic election under the Saenuri party against human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, of the DUP. [more inside]
Eat ramyun like a man (SLYT ramenblue)
"Q: What kind of comparisons can be drawn between Asia’s underground railroad and the one in pre-Civil War America? A: The way it’s set up is similar. The safe houses and transit routes are kept secret and vary a lot. There is another similarity in that many of the people who operate on the underground railroad are ethnically Korean, just as many of the operators on the original underground railroad were free blacks." -- an interview with Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad
The crowdsourced film 26 Years opened in first place in Korean movie theaters this weekend. The movie languished in development for four years, before finally being completed by collecting donations online - when fundraising closed on October 20 this year, 21,233 contributors had kicked in 747,790,000 Won (about 690,000 USD). The contributors' names are listed in the movie's ending credits. The movie's controversial subject matter involves a plot to assassinate former S. Korean president Chun Doo-hwan, in reprisal of his role in the Gwangju Massacre of 1980. The movie is based on Korean comics artist 강풀 Kang Full's web comic 26 Years, serialized from April 2006 to October 2006. (Some links in Korean)
Kim Jong-un named Sexiest Man Alive for 2012. Link goes to Korea times.
Korean high school. What's life like for a Korean student? In one of the most competitive societies in the world, how does one find their place? What does it take to achieve your aspirations and goals? [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
"You can cause a lot of discomfort and some people will talk but interrogation is not about talking. It’s about the search for the truth."
"But the technique that all of us in Aden listened to agape was a method that had been developed allegedly very recently, which was to suspend the prisoner in a tank of liquid gelatine which was at 94.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Naked. With your arms and legs tied and your head encased in a sort of diver’s helmet, through which you were breathing. You were hung into this tank, so all you could hear was the [breathing noise] of your own breath. And in theory you would go bonkers. Because you didn’t know which way was up, you had no sense." -Interview with British Interrogator #1 [more inside]
Kim Han Sol is the son of Kim Jong Nam, who is the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, the recently deceased North Korean dictator. In this English interview for Finnish TV with former United Nations Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn, he talks about his life, refers to his uncle and current DPRK Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Eun, as a 'dictator,' and says he never met his grandfather. [Part 1 (interview begins at 1:35)] [Part 2]
"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."
Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
The Korean War is sometimes referred to as the "Forgotten War", overshadowed by the massive effort of WWII and the political contretemps of the Vietnam War. For a lot of Americans, our only frame of reference for the war is the TV series M*A*S*H, which itself lasted more than three times as long as the war itself. This set of over 60 color photographs taken by an American soldier who served in Korea during the war offer some compelling first-hand images of the daily activities of the troops (no combat photos) and of Koreans of that time. (via Reddit)
Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea's Music Video Sensation [more inside]
PSY (Park Jae Sang) is a Korean singer, previously graduating from Boston University and Berklee College of Music. His latest, Gangnam Style, parodies K-pop videos and features several singers from that genre, plus Korean tv stars. Gangnam itself is a wealthy region of Seoul. The lyrics are perhaps standard for pop songs, while reactions to the video       show that a visually engaging video and a catchy tune are often fun the world over, irrespective of the language.
Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power! [YouTube, NSFW] (maybe not safe for home either).
A few American students visited North Korea last month (SLYT) and took some amazing footage. While mostly within the confines of the official guided tour it still offers a fascinating glimpse of life in North Korea under Kim Jong Un. A "relentless stream of hyper-positive propaganda."
Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
Soo Bin Park in Nature has reported that South Korean highschool textbook publishers will be removing examples of evolution due to demands of creationist groups [more inside]
"What appears as discipline or “tough love” from one perspective often appears as abuse from another."
On Tiger Moms: "What the controversy surrounding Chua demonstrates, however inadvertently, is that parenting techniques are always grounded in basic assumptions about the way things are and what matters to us. And they are always guided by some answer to the most fundamental of ethical questions—how to live?" [more inside]
North Korean Accordion quintet covers "Take On Me." (SLYT) Part of a project by Morten Traavik, a Norwegian theatre and film director, (previously featured on Metafilter). [more inside]
78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
A short list of Kpop songs with double word titles from the last 3-4 years: Cry Cry High High Mirror Mirror Spark Spark Cooking Cooking Push Push Sorry Sorry Haru Haru [more inside]
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]
"You've seen boring unboxing videos. How about a cool boxing video?" A Korean postal worker demonstrates his superior packaging skills [SLYT].
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.
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]
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.
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.
"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".
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]
Androboi, via Korea's SK Telecom, pisses, belches, and farts to convince you to buy Android phones in Korea. [more inside]
"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]
Sung-bong Choi auditions for 코리아 갓 탤런트 (Korea's Got Talent.) (SLYT. The singing starts around 2:45. Video is unrestricted.)
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]
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
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]
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.