Moon glass reveals the phases of the moon as you drink


The curved bottom of the cup peeks through your drink as the level drops down, moving the "moon" from full to a fingernail-paring sliver. Of course, it works better if you drink something cloudy and white -- it's designed some cloudy Korean rice-wines, but would also work with Pernod and water, I'm thinking. Read the rest

Collapse in filial piety, poor social net produces cohort of elderly Korean prostitutes

In this Sept. 17, 2015 photo, an elderly woman stands at a small, bustling plaza in front of the Piccadilly theater in Seoul, South Korea. It's a place where elderly prostitutes openly solicit customers for sex in nearby motels. They are dubbed "Bacchus ladies" after the popular energy drink that they have traditionally sold.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea has a Confucionist tradition of children supporting their elderly parents in South Korea whose existence meant that the country never had to develop an advanced social safety net for caring for the aged. Read the rest

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You could totally grub down some Poop Bread right now

When we visited Taipei, my wife and I made it our singular goal to eat at Modern Toilet, even though we knew the bathroom-themed restaurant had caught on and was a bit of a tourist trap. That same spirit has been reignited in me, and my next trip to Seoul cannot come soon enough. I will not leave that city until I grab me some fresh, hot Poop Bread. Read the rest

Sony pirated K-pop anthem in The Interview

Yoon Mi Rae is set to sue Sony over the inclusion of her song "Touch Love" in The Interview, which, she says, Sony failed to license for the film. Read the rest

Western fairy tale characters as traditional Korean characters

Korean games illustrator Na Young Wu has an amazing series of illustrations called "Korean Western Fairy Tales," in which she redesigns familiar characters from western fairy tales (including several that have been adapted by Disney) and remakes them as traditional Korean characters.

Na Young Wu is a character illustration artist for games, and in what she calls her "Korean Western Fairy Tale" series, she uses her talents to reimagine familiar characters. Sometimes she uses the color palettes from Disney films, but in other pieces, she focuses on putting her own spin on the stories. You can see more of her Eastern-Western fairy tale illustrations on Twitter—and if you somehow still haven't enough of Frozen, she has her own take on Elsa on her blog.

Western Fairytales Get A Korean Makeover In Gorgeous Illustrations [Lauren Davis/IO9] Read the rest

Korean kids give each other backpacks made of junk food

A popular birthday gift among Korean schoolgirls is a rucksack made by taping together packaged junkfood -- cookies, chocolates and chips -- with strips of wrapped junkfood for straps (the packs are also filled with junk food). They're pretty inventive and absolutely adorable, as well as bad for your health and blood-sugar. Read the rest

In South Korea, ingenious teen girls craft backpacks of delicious junk food

On social websites popular in South Korea, photos of teenage schoolgirls wearing backpack snack packs built from cookies, chips, and Pocky sticks are showing up with increasing frequency. We approve of this genius trend.

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Canada and South Korea manage a free trade agreement without crazy copyright provisions

Michael Geist writes, "Canada and South Korea announced agreement on a comprehensive trade agreement earlier today. The focus is understandably on tariff issues, but the agreement also contains a full chapter on intellectual property (note that the governments have only released summaries of the agreement, not the full text, which is still being drafted). The IP chapter is significant for what it does not include. Unlike many other trade deals - particularly those involving the U.S., European Union, and Australia - the Canada-South Korea deal is content to leave domestic intellectual property rules largely untouched. The approach is to reaffirm the importance of intellectual property and ensure that both countries meet their international obligations, but not to use trade agreements as a backdoor mechanism to increase IP protections." Read the rest

Korean plastic surgeon removes towering jars of excised jawbones after fine

A Gangnam, Seoul plastic surgeon who did a roaring trade in excising womens' jawbones to give them V-shaped chins was forced to remove the towering jars of thousands of jawbone fragments with which he decorated his office. Photos of the jars spread online, resulting in a visit from a local official, who fined the surgeon about $3000 and ordered the display removed. Read the rest

Scholar shows 'three strikes' programs don't reduce piracy

Evaluating Graduated Response, a new paper from Rebecca Giblin from the law school at Australia's Monash University, looks at the impact of "three strikes" and "graduated response" punishments for file-sharing. Countries including France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. have adopted systems whereby people accused of file-sharing have their Internet access curtailed. This takes many forms, from losing access to YouTube and Facebook until subscribers complete a "copyright training course" designed by the entertainment industry to out-and-out disconnection from the Internet.

A good summary in IT News by Juha Saarinen discusses Giblin's findings from an in-depth survey of the file-sharing landscape before and after the introduction of three strikes rules: "There is no evidence demonstrating a causal connection between graduated response and reduced infringement. If 'effectiveness' means reducing infringement, then it is not effective."

Giblin is the author of 2011's Code Wars, an excellent book on the first ten years of file-sharing data. Read the rest

777 from Korea crash-lands at SFO

An Asiana Airlines 777 from Seoul, Korea crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport last night. Two were killed, ten were critically injured, 181 others were taken to hospital.

David Eun, whose Twitter biography includes "frequent flier," was aboard the plane and tweeted a photo of the wreck as he was evacuated.

This Reddit thread contains a lot of great, breaking information, including audio from the SFO air traffic control during and after the crash, and eyewitness accounts from SFO and from diverted fliers who were landed elsewhere (SFO is closed until further notice).

It's not clear what caused the crash. Forbes has some early analysis of the debris field based on aerial photos. A prominent theory cited in several news reports is that the tail of the 777 caught the seawall and ripped free (this also suggests that the two fatalities were flight attendants in the rear jumpseats). Update: An Asiana Airlines rep has confirmed that the two dead were passengers; specifically, teenagers from China. Read the rest


Architects Moon Hoon designed a house in Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea, that uses a staircase as a slide, a library and a room-divider. My goodness, it is lovely.

The basic request of upper and lower spatial organization and the shape of the site promted a long and tin house with fluctuating facade which would allow for more differentiated view. The key was coming up with a multi-functional space which is a large staircase, bookshelves, casual reading space, home cinema, slide and many more…

The client was very pleased with the design, and the initial design was accepted and finalized almost instantly, only with minor adjustments. The kitchen and dining space is another important space where family gathers to bond. The TV was pushed away to a smaller living room. The attic is where the best view is possible, it is used as a play room for younger kids. The multi-use stair and slice space brings much active energy to the house, not only children, but also grown ups love the slide staircase…An action filled playful house for all ages…

Panorama House by Moon Hoon (via Neatorama) Read the rest

South Korea lives in the future (of brutal copyright enforcement)

The US-Korean Free Trade Agreement came with a raft of draconian enforcement rules that Korea -- then known as a world leader in network use and literacy -- would have to adopt. Korea has since become a living lab of the impact of letting US entertainment giants design your Internet policy -- and the example that industry lobbyists point to when they discuss their goals.

One of the laws that Korea adopted early was the infamous "three strikes" rule, where repeated, unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement leads to whole families being punished through restriction of, or disconnection from their Internet connections. Now the Korean National Human Rights Commission has examined the fallout from the country's three strikes rules, and called for its repeal due to high costs to wider Korean society.

Here's the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Danny O'Brien with more:

The entertainment industry has repeatedly pointed to South Korea as a model for a controlled Internet that should be adopted everywhere else. In the wake of South Korea's implementation, graduated response laws have been passed in France and the United Kingdom, and ISPs in the United States have voluntarily accepted a similar scheme.

But back in Korea, the entertainment industry's experiment in Internet enforcement has been a failure. Instead of tackling a few "heavy uploaders" involved in large scale infringement, the law has spiraled out of control. It has now distributed nearly half a million takedown notices, and led to the closing down of 408 Korean Internet users' web accounts, most of which were online storage services.

Read the rest

Jimi Hendrix on a gayageum

Luna Lee performs Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" on a gayageum.

Google adds North Korean death-camps to maps

Google Maps has added notorious, secretive North Korean prison camps to its maps of the country. The data is gleaned from user contributions, including a first-person account of Shin Dong-Hyuk, who escaped from Camp 14, a death camp where he was born and raised.

Called Map Maker, Google’s information for the country’s layout comes primarily from visitors and from former citizens who defected, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The mapping idea stemmed in part from a 28-year-old South Korean who tried to use Google maps on a trip to Laos four years ago, but found it unhelpful, at best. He ultimately helped devise the Google map application for North Korea.

“I thought if I could fill in information on North Korea, it might be useful in an emergency or tragedy if Google can provide a map for aid agencies,” the South Korean told the Wall Street Journal.

Google maps North Korea, including prison camps [Cheryl K. Chumley/Washington Times] (via /.) Read the rest

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