Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shed a tear for the gas companies

Those poor gas companies

Last week, the average gas price reached 1,532 won per liter, the highest in the past nine months, largely affected by soaring oil prices due to insecurity in Nigeria. In particular, the gas price in Seoul exceeded 1,600 won....

...But the people from the petrochemical industry also said they feel victimized since the average gas price has risen only 6 percent at home in the past five months, when the international oil price has hiked about 24.6 percent.

Maybe they forgot about this:

The nation’s antitrust watchdog fined four leading local oil refiners a total of 52.6 billion won ($56 million) for fixing the prices of their oil products in 2004.
The Fair Trade Commission said yesterday that SK Corp., GS Caltex Corp., Hyundai Oilbank Corp. and S-Oil Corp. colluded on the prices of gas, kerosene and diesel sold at service stations from April to June 2004.
“During that period, their gasoline, kerosene and diesel prices rose by 40 won to 70 won per liter, while crude oil prices rose 20 won per liter,” said Kim Byong-bae, vice chairman of the commission.

Maybe they can figure out a way to run my car on all the tears.

Ad of the week (14May)

Not sure if this qualifies as an advertisement but some might like to think so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pretzel Babes

Here's hoping this gives you the same kind of nightmares it has given me. :)

Contortionnist EXPERIMENT II - video powered by Metacafe

hattip to (a nice but decidedly NOT worksafe site)

Hell's Angels Korea Chapter??!!

From the JoongAng:

They may not be as fearsome as America’s legendary Hell’s Angels

Indeed!? But they are still a pain in the petut; These gangs of motorcycles that run through the cities at all hours making a general nuisance of themselves. Since I live in Daegu, I don't see the types of large gangs that this article talks about but I have seen groups that are as large as 30 to 50 motorcycles riding through the streets; sans muffler, and making a helluva racket in a residential area at midnight. The stupidest thing about it all is that the police actually seem afraid of these groups. They are powerless to do anything about them and usually just stand by helplessly and watch or at best take video in hopes of catching a few.
Now, what do you suppose would happen if such a group manifested itself in the U.S.? What would the police do there?
Another question: If they were able to "infiltrate the group" then why couldn't they set up roadblocks along the announced route; why not mobilize the riot police and teach them how to dismount a slow moving motorcycle rider without killing anybody?
I am inviting non-violent (or life-threatening) suggestions for handling the problem.
Here are some of mine (feel free to comment)

1. How about tagging? Use some spray cans of that invisible paint that only shows up under UV light and mass spray the riders. They will think they just got sprayed by water or something..go home and the police will track them overnight with UV lights. Clothes, bikes, helmets, hair, etc would all be covered or at least spotted to positively identify the culprits. Don't forget to remove their licences and impound their motorcycles.

2. Infiltrators notify police of the event and all police offices surrounding the area set up individual roadblocks to individually stop riders (one would assume the group mentality gives many of them their bravado and individually or in smaller groups they would be easier to handle.

3. High Tech Variation on the tagging: Electronically tag the motorcycles with some kind of projectile weapon, track them on GPS to their homes or hideouts. Don't forget to impound their motorcycles and remove their licenses.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ok, I give up.

I just can't seem to understand these Yellow sand things....the sattelite picture looks like it should be right on top of us now but the readings show little or no sand...if anyone out there has a clue of how to get accurate info about the yellow sand and when it is coming...please let me know. Have a great sand free day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Report 1 ring calls

If you have a cellphone and have received calls from 060 numbers that hang up before you can're no the only one. NEVER call them back...make a mental not of the number and report them to the SPAM police in English HERE.
If you call the number back, you will be charge in a way similar to those 1-900 numbers back home...per minute with a minimum charge. these idiots.

Fishing in Hazmat Gear?

Based on the information from the KMA satellite model, it looks like we are in for a big sand storm over the weekend:

This is the projected satellite picture for 9pm Friday evening. I'm no meteorologist (so I don't want any whining if I'm wrong), but it looks like with prevailing winds, unless it breaks up significantly over the Yellow Sea, we should see a potential 2000 + storm by Saturday or Sunday. So those of you getting ready for a nice weekend fishing trip, you might want to consider bringing hazmat gear.
If Ochre is bad, Yellow is hazardous, Orange is worse, Red get the picture...can you imagine what the Burgundy would be like? Egad!

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Better Yellow Sand Monitor

Courtesy of the Korean Meteorological Association you can see a satellite picture of the sand that is here or on the way (This site is in Korean. The less informative though interesting English site is here) . The Yellow Sand Forecast Model (황사모델예측) is (purportedly) up to the hour and is adjustable plus or minus 12, 24 and 48 hours with arrows indicating prevailing winds and colors to indicate the severity of the cloud. This way, you can actually see it before it comes. Which is better than the one on the US Army site (the identical chart is available in the KMA site) because that one is often behind.

This site also has some other interesting satellite pictures but they are a little more complicated to read and see where and how much sand is on the way. Check them out here.

On another note, the last couple of weeks you will notice the yellow dust that covers your car. That IS NOT yellow sand. It is pollen, more specifically, Pine pollen I have been told. So, if you are like me, this season is giving you a double whammy of otorhinolaryngololgical nightmares and it I hope this will help someone out there avoid days like this day last month.

BTW, I am still looking/waiting for a way to get up to the hour Yellow Sand and Pollen warnings sent to my cell phone. If anyone knows a way to make this happen please let me know.

Getting Real with History

Michael Breen has harsh criticism for a panel that recently ruled to confiscate the land of former pro-Japanese collaborators and give the proceeds to the families of independence activists. It's kind of funny that this morning I was thinking about writing something on the ridiculous lengths that certain factions in Korea seem to be willing to go to seek 'reparations' for the atrocities committed by Japan during its colonial rule. I think it was because the Queen of England was visiting the US and I heard a teaser on CNN as I was getting ready, "Will the Queen apologize for the wrongs during the Colonial period?"
And I thought to myself, "GOD!! I hope not."
That is not to be insensitive to the past atrocities done all over the world in the name of colonization, war, military expansion but give me a break and take a "Sliding Doors" hypothetical look at what could have happened if things had been different. What kind of America (or World for that matter) would there be if the British had not been so tyrannical? What if they actually respected the rights and wishes of the countries they colonized? What if they didn't commit all those atrocities?

What happened, happened. It sucked at the time and for a long time after the grieving, weeping and gnashing of teeth continued but that's done now. Get over it, move on and stop trying to punish people who have no business being punished. Just because my great great grandfather did something bad does not mean that I have any responsibility for it. Somewhere in my distant genealogy (so I'm told), Jesse James went around the U.S. west shooting up the place. But I'm also told that there are a few U.S. Lawmakers and Scottish Royalty that fall into the same distant place in my ancestry. And much as I would like to, I cannot make any claim to their wealth or notoriety. Nor would I expect to receive any punishment for their crimes.