Saturday, November 20, 2010

From The Readers

This little Korea blog has been contentedly trundling around the backwaters of cyberspace for a few years now. Every once in a while, I get an email with helpful comments or questions (most often about teaching here or lab protocols). Recently I got some links sent by different readers, with requests to share their material. Which is quite flattering really, because it means that I've managed to hold someone's attention span long enough for them to click the About page, decipher my lightly encrypted address and go to the effort of writing me an email.
If you like the blog and you've got something interesting that you want to share, I'm more than happy to post it up, whether it's for entertainment or commercial purposes. Just tell me where you're from and a little background about your material.

The first is a song sent in by Des Todd, from Queensland Australia.

Des says "Have read your blogs a few times and have found them very interesting as I like to try and understand different cultures.

We are songwriters and have produced an endangered animals song and slideshow "Where are we going to go" and uploaded to Youtube.

The idea is to help educate people about the endangered animals world wide.

There are over 100 animals on the slide show with the music in an upbeat tempo.

Lee if you feel the slide show has merit please feel free to use it. We live in Queensland and David my son who wrote the song and is one of the guitarists and vocalist. His partner Chrissy is from Seoul.

Kind regards

Well Des, thanks for the email and hello to David and Chrissy. Preserving biodiversity is an important thing, so it's good that you're trying to promote awareness of it.

The next item is an article written by Jennifer Lynch from the US. It's entitled '20 Smartest Animals in the World', which speaks for itself. I assume she came to this blog after finding my old post on octopuses. Kudos to her for using the correct plural. You can read the article here, as well as find out about US-based online colleges.

Jennifer says "I recently discovered your blog, and I have become a frequent reader. We recently published an article “20 Smartest Animals in the World” that dovetails well with your audience. Perhaps you would be interested in sharing with them?

Thanks again for the great content, and I hope the article I've linked primes your interest."

The article was posted on a website promoting US-based online colleges. I ran through the search a little to see what was going on, and also because I was waiting for my Western Blot in the lab to finish running. A lot of searches came up for the University of Phoenix. While I'll give Jennifer the benefit of the doubt here, a quick search on Wikipedia for the University of Phoenix says:

"The University of Phoenix is frequently cited as the most prominent example of for-profit colleges that operate primarily for the purpose of exploiting the government for educational subsidies.[7] Students of such schools often find their degrees to be not as highly valued by employers as those of traditional universities.[8] Such students may be less likely to find the employment necessary to repay student loans.[citation needed]"

I think that the concept of online education is probably a good thing, but would recommend using one's own intelligence before paying for such an institution. Still, thanks to Jennifer for the well-written article on '20 Smartest Animals in the World' (although you're missing an entry on humans).

The final item is from Philipp von Plato, the German founder of the InterNations website. From what I gather, InterNations is a networking community, with different chapters in cities across the world, bringing people together for meetups. Kind of like a secret society, but without any secrets whatsoever.

Philipp says
"First of all let me congratulate you on your informative website! I liked the way you structured the content in order to give useful tips and interesting background-information about Korea to your visitors! I was personally happy to see your ability to share exciting posts about your adventures!

As I assume many of your visitors are expatriates - If you provide me with a paragraph (and a photo or logo if available) about your website, I will be more than happy to create an entry for you in our Seoul City Guide. This way we can draw our members’ attention to your website!

While browsing through your website, I also noticed that you link to a variety of expat related websites on your homepage. Therefore I would like to kindly ask you if you could consider including a link to our local InterNations website as well:
In this way Expatriates in Seoul and South-Korea could find each other with the help of our virtual community.  Placing a link would be great and much appreciated!

Here is some more information about InterNations: InterNations is the biggest global networking site for expats of various nationalities and their family members. At the moment, InterNations unites almost 200,000 members in 235 cities worldwide. On our platform, expatriates and their partners can connect with compatriots, ask for advice on everyday life in their host country, provide other members with useful tips, make new contacts and find information in our City Guides.

The restrictions – membership is invitation-only – are necessary for our community in order to maintain a high level of quality, trust and confidence for our member base. The registration process is easy, safe, free of charge, and it will take you only a few minutes.

Looking forward to your email response and thank you very much for your consideration!"

Well, thanks for your comments Philipp, and InterNations certainly looks interesting. I'll try and make it out to a meetup sometime.

And an even bigger thanks goes out to all of the other readers who have left nice comments over the past four years. If you have things that you want to promote, just ping me an email and I'll collectively post them after a while. 

Have a good weekend everyone!


조안나 said...

At least you're getting offers from people who have somewhat interesting/relevant content. In the past month or so I've gotten two offers for people to write "guest posts" on my blog. It sounded interesting so I looked at some of their past works. The first was all about laser eye surgery and the second was for accredited online colleges. Seriously, are there people out there so desperate for a link from some crap, irrelevant website that they would let someone write an advertisement disguised as a blog post on their personal blog? I don't get it. And it's not like it was just some spam, computer generated message, either. They had clearly looked at my blog enough to make mention of some content to make them sound legit.

조안나 said...

I realized I kind of skipped over the middle of your blog post. Maybe that US online colleges one was something similar. Anyway, they didn't offer me any specific articles, and even if they had something relevant to Korea (Which wouldn't have happened) I still wouldn't have accepted it.

Grace said...

I just read your blog post on octopuses, and I guess I should respond over there, but I figure you'll probably read this one sooner. Anyway, thank you for the explanation of the pluralization! Also, I wanted to mention two things. In addition to coconuts, octopuses have been known to imitate flounder as well(
and that another cephalopod, the cuttlefish, is also very fascinating for its ability to camouflage and change its skin texture. It's frustrating to me that Koreans use the same word for both squid and cuttlefish (오징어) because they are two completely different organisms.

Lee Farrand said...

Yes Jo, there's a bit of nonsense out there. Best to use one's own discretion.

And that's a very interesting comment Grace. You're right about octopuses imitating flounder, they also imitate dangerous creatures like sea snakes and zebra fish. Each octopuses' arm has a miniature brain of its own, which is linked to the central one - kind of like a hub. There's an Italian team who have shown octopuses watching and learning techniques for opening bottles from each other. Because they don't have stereo vision, to gather information about an object in 3D, they move their heads up and down, or from side to side, to get two different viewpoints. I could go on and on about octopuses all day... I find it fascinating that they probably evolved from bivalve molluscs.
As for cuttlefish, they are also inquisitive creatures. It seems that complex camouflage requires a large amount of computational power, the bi-product of which is intelligence. One theory of human intelligence is that it's all an evolutionary bi-product of being able to throw stones ie. to throw something accurately requires a lot of estimation, and our intelligence arose from this ability.
Cuttlefish retained their ability to make calcium deposits, from their shellfish days, and internalized it for buoyancy. They do have a different name in Korean, it's 갑오징어, but not used often.