2007
06.26

Comment: “Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game”

New comment on your post #532 “Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game”
Author : Smolder
Comment:
Why did the Chinese eventually withdraw from Korea? Surely their huge numbers would have eventually triumphed?

2007
06.26

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by Smolder

Why did the Chinese eventually withdraw from Korea? Surely their huge numbers would have eventually triumphed?

2007
06.21

Comment on Korea 15 – Its over, it can not be over, but it is over. by Sariel Har-Peled but it is over. by Sariel Har-Peled but it is over. by Sariel Har-Peled

Respectively: (i) Indeed, why not? And (ii) The world is not enough.

2007
06.21

Flying to the Bay Area

So, after flying to Hong Kong (via Taipei), and then to SFO (12 hours flight), I made it to the bay area.

You know the sinking feeling when you get the US immigration documents you have to fill and realizing you have no pen, while you are sitting in the most inconvenient place to get to your backpack. Well, this time, interestingly, there was a pen stuck in the back of the encasement of the small LCD screen in the seat in front of me. After 10 minutes of struggling, I got it out and used it to fill the forms.

But the main attraction of the flight were the movies. Here is the summary of the movie “The letters of Iwo Jima”:

The movie starts with a bunch of Japanese speaking Aramaic preparing to defend the island of Iwo from the invasion of the white barbarians (called Jima). In the background one can see Jesus dancing Polka on the cross. The manipulative mother of the Japanese soldiers is trying (in the same time) to get their older daughter to marry anybody that is not named Johnny. In a parallel thread, a messenger drive around on a motorcycle made out of fire (he must be getting a horrible millage on this thing) trying to explain to anybody that would listen that he is not Johnny. If the story was not hard enough to follow as it is, in another thread, Simba (you remember Simba, right?) has a Hamletian moment when a cloud tells him not to forget him. Anyway, with Simba on their right flank and not Johnny on the left, the Japanese successfully defend Iwo from the invasion of the devilish white barbarians. The movie ends on a happy note with a spectacular show of fireworks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Overall, it was a typical Hollywood movie with a happy ending but not much sense. But what would you expect…

2007
06.20

Comment on Korea 15 – Its over, it can not be over, but it is over. by Rafi

> Now its time to start a new plan… Suggestions are welcome…
The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112123/quotes

Rafi.

2007
06.19

Comment on Korea 15 – Its over, it can not be over, but it is over. by Shripad but it is over. by Shripad but it is over. by Shripad

I’m sure you contributed to more than a 5% increase in the number of papers coming out of these countries in the last 8 months. !🙂

P.S. Why SF? On the other hand, why not?

2007
06.19

Korea 15 – Its over, it can not be over, but it is over.

I spent the last four days in vacation in Jeju with Otfried and his clan. The island is amazingly beautiful, and I had a huge amount of fun.

I am currently sitting in an internet care in Seoul. Tomorrow morning I am flying to SF (via Hong Kong – go figure). I was in Korea for almost 3 months, and I had a blast of a time. I would definitely come back here again. I realized that I spent 8 months of my sabbatical in countries that consider 5% yearly growth in the economy to be slow. It would be interesting to return to Old America, with its insane politics, dellusanary self importance, and (at most) 3% of growth every year.

I am going to be in SF for 10 days now…

The sabbatical is almost over. I made serious progress on my class notes, but I would probably have to work on it for another year before it would be ready. Overall, it went reasonably close to THE PLAN. Now its time to start a new plan… Suggestions are welcome…

(And sorry for typos and so on – all being done in an internet cafe with limited time.)

2007
06.14

Comment on Computational Geometry Discussion Forum by Rafi

Here you go expecting non Israelis to get the reference “Even in Europe I was skeptical”. But thank you for the last link. A masterpiece no doubt (the last comment has nothing to do with the bottle of vodka I just drank, I’m sure).

Rafi.

2007
06.14

Computational Geometry Discussion Forum

Computational Geometry Discussion Forum. An interesting idea, but I am skeptical. Even in Europe I was skeptical.

In fact, now that I think about it, SoCG has by far the best refereeing process among the theory conferences from my own personal experience (yeh, despite the frozen cat massacre). If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it…

Unrelated, but haven’t the Jewish people suffered enough?

2007
06.12

Comment on Generalissimo Sariel by Shripad

Sariel, strange things are happening with this blog entry. The picture that shows up is sometimes the aerial shot of Seoul and sometimes you in Idi Amin’s guise. However, when you click on the image, it links to the correct picture (the second of the above). Is this a bug in the blog software?

2007
06.12

Comment on Generalissimo Sariel by obassa

you really looks like the african dictator Mugabe;

2007
06.11

Comment on Generalissimo Sariel by mrc

this is what happens when sariel emails me the morning after i’ve seen The Last King of Scotland — which i highly recommend. the fine dictator-wear is courtesy of Idi Amin, in the mid-seventies (google-image-search the nice man, it’s on the first page of results).

2007
06.11

Comment on Goodness grecious me by Anonymous

you call this comedy ?

2007
06.11

Comment on Generalissimo Sariel by Shripad

The military attire suits you really well! You may have chosen the wrong career path; on the other hand, “ruthless dictator” doesn’t come with too many opportunities to travel, except in exile. !😀

May I ask for the original picture which inspired this remake?

2007
06.11

Comment on Generalissimo Sariel by Negar

This is hilarious…LOL….I want one too!!!!!!!

2007
06.11

Comment: “Generalissimo Sariel”

New comment on your post #535 “Generalissimo Sariel”
Author : sam
Comment:
Why not a bit of morphing instead;
to get rid of your flabbergasting free time,
…instead of this ego-blowing passtime !
(yeah, this mystifiying problem just emptied my head)

2007
06.11

Generalissimo Sariel

Some people have too much time on their hands.

2007
06.10

Goodness grecious me

It is amazing how much good stuff can be found on YouTube. In some cases one can find sizeable fraction of TV series. For example, for a good comedy on Indians in England and India, see here.

2007
06.09

Korea 14 – Misc

1. Another year, another SoCG. Thats how it goes. Nice to meet the usual suspects. Not nice to meet all the people that did not come (you all suck!). Oh well. Anyway, my talks are available here:

* Relative Approximations in Geometry: Paper, slides and slides source.
(BTW, the paper appeared in the conference as a merged paper.)
* Embeddings Thingies in Euclidean Space: Paper, slides, and slides source.

I spent some time cleaning the latex (using beamer [use pdflatex to get the slides]). This might be useful if you want a starting point for making slides with beamer.

2. Garbage awareness problem – The solution to garbage in Korea is to have very few garbage cans. The idea is that if there are no garbage cans then garbage does not exist. It works much better than one would expect, but still inevitably you still see piles of garbage here and there. This is mainly an awareness problem – this garbage is unaware that it does not exist.
3. Highway driving – cars have GPS that warn them from camera and speed traps. So regular speed on the highway is 130kph, with sudden slowdowns in the places the GPS recommend.

2007
06.05

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by JS

How many of your publications have wikipedia in the list of references?

2007
06.05

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by Anonymous

To Piotr, I guess Sariel was saying that there would be no such a war if N/S Korea had been merged.

And chances are, the merged country would be in democracy now, and there would be only two axises of evil left.

2007
06.05

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by Piotr

_ In short, left on its own, South Korea would have probably turned into a communist country and merged with the north. With a hindsight, we might say that it might have been better if that what happened
_

Excuse me ?

2007
06.04

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by Sariel Har-Peled

It might be a lie, but it is also seems to be a generally accepted fact that North Korea helped the communists in China during the civil war. See for example the wikipedia entry:
_North Korea also played an important role, with 30-40 thousand Korean troops from Soviet-occupied North Korea were provided[6] in addition to allowing the CCP to use North Korea as a sanctuary in general,[7] and repairing Manchurian railroads and bridges which were used by Mao.[8]
_

2007
06.04

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by Anonymous

“Interestingly, China joined the fighting because the Chinese Communists felts obliged to the north for its critical and massive help in the civil war in China, were the Korean help played an important role in the communists victory.”

By “north”, If you were talking about Russia, that is about right. But if
you were talking about Korea, it is probably a lie you heard from books
written by Koreans.

2007
06.03

Comment on Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game by JS

“South Korea was in deep Kimchi after the second world war …”

Wrong usage of the phrase “in deep kimchi”, IMO.
This would be the same as saying – USA is in deep peanut butter or England is drowning in honey.

2007
06.03

Comment: “Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game”

New comment on your post #532 “Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game”
Author : JS
Comment:
“South Korea was in deep Kimchi after the second world war …”

Wrong usage of the phrase “in deep kimchi”, IMO.
This would be the same as saying – USA is in deep peanut butter or England is drowning in honey.

2007
06.03

Korea 13 – Only a pawn in their game

Here is the story of the Korean war: A puppet Soviet country (i.e., North Korea) with the help of Russian troops attacks a Democratic and free country (i.e., South Korea). Through a brilliant generalship of MacArthur, the south together with help for the UN wins the war.

A lovely description, but almost no word of it is correct. Due to a fast collapse of the Japanese army in Manchuria in the end of WW II, the panicked US, suggested to split Korea in the middle along the 38 longitude between American & Soviet forces. This decision was made quickly and randomly by middle level and not too experienced officials in the US, and Stalin accepted this offer. The idea was to merge the two portions into one country at some point, but as the cold war became colder, the chances of this became smaller and smaller.

South Korea was in deep Kimchi after the second world war – the elites were contaminated because of their collaboration with the Japanese. The majority were still very poor farmers not necessarily working on their own land (big land owners were quite common). In short, left on its own, South Korea would have probably turned into a communist country and merged with the north. With a hindsight, we might say that it might have been better if that what happened, but this is playing the if game in history – a fantasy game.

The US as such had decided to support the right/conservatives and established what can only be described as a puppet government in South Korea, headed by Syngman Rhee (who did not collaborate with the Japanese). For a long time, the operative high level control of the Korean army was under the US army (I dont think it is any long so, but I am not sure). The north, on the other hand, was well organized, and Kim-Il Sung had a long history of apposing the Japanese occupation.

Both South and North wanted to merge the country by occupying the other parts, and tried repeatedly to start a war. Both super-powers worked hard to contain the misbehaving children. Till the withdraw of American forces from South Korea convinced Stalin that the US would not intervene, and he let the north invade the south.

The Korean war can be best described by the following cold war joke:

A polish farmer catches a golden fish. The golden fish offers the farmer three wishes if the farmer releases it. The farmer thinks for a while, and his first wish is that the Chinese army would come all the way from China to Poland, occupy it, and then withdraw all the way back to China. The farmer second wish is identical to the first – again, he wants the Chinese army to come all the way from China occupy Poland, and then withdraw all the way back to China. And the third wish is again the same wish. The fish is a bit shocked, and he ask the farmer to explain his wishes…

The farmer explains that this is the only way to make the Chinese army go over the USSR six times.

And so is the Korean war, where the north occupied almost all of Korea, then lost it almost completely, then occupied back parts of it, and then the battle lines came back to the same lines where the war started. Three years later, no change, after two million Korean dead, north Korean destroyed completely by American bombings (and about 40,000 American soldiers dead).

The war starts with a quick withdrawal of the south to a small area in the south (the Pusan perimeter). Then a landing by MacArthur in the north near Seoul causes the collapse of the north. MacArthur not happy with just restoring the status quo, continues north of the 38th parallel despite warnings from China that they would join the fighting if the UN forces continue north. Under estimating the China threat, the UN forces continue north. China joins the fighting, and together with a stiff guerrilla warfare by the north forces, the UN forces withdraw quickly south (and Seoul falls again for the third time to the north forces). Stabilizing themselves, the UN forces attack north again, and regain the 38th parallel where they stop, and the war (in the end of 1950) enters a stationary state were neither side can make a breakthrough. Three years later the war ends in the establishment of the DMZ (a demilitarized zone) on the 38th parallel.

Now, the tragedy of this war, is that a stupid decision (partitioning of Korea along the 38th) created a situation were a unification was almost unavoidable. Similarly, two local leaders (Rhee and Kim-Il Sung) were able to play the super-powers like pawns and withdraw them into a war (the Russian participation was limited to pilots and airplanes, but the Chinese were quite committed) that almost escalated into a nuclear war. Finally, the war achieved nothing except for destruction.

Interestingly, China joined the fighting because the Chinese Communists felts obliged to the north for its critical and massive help in the civil war in China, were the Korean help played an important role in the communists victory. Also, the Chinese were not too excited about having US forces on their border. Interestingly, the support of Taiwan by the US considerably increased because (and during) the Korean war, and thus the Chinese lost their chance to occupy Taiwan.

After the war, the two countries started rebuilding. Surprisingly, in the next twenty years, the north did better economically then the south. But in the 70s the south passed the north and never looked back.

Now, South Korea was a dictatorship till 1987. The first remotely democratic elections happened in 1987 when (the general) Roh Tae-woo won the elections (the opposition split before the elections). The first civilian president was Kim Young-sam (who arrested the previous two presidents and charged them for their military coups and corruption [both had gotten about 900 million dollars gifts from industry [my oh my]).

More details on the Korea war can be found here.

2007
06.03

Comment on Korea 12 – Kimchi by oc

A typical recipe for kimchi (chinese cabbage kimchi, that is) calls for about 50ml of fish sauce for two huge heads of Chinese cabbage. It’s possible to omit it, but it somehow helps the fermentation.

So typical kimchi is about as vegetarian as all commercial cheeses (which use rennet made from cow’s stomach). Vegetarians willing to eat cheese shouldn’t really stay away from kimchi.

Of course there are “luxury” kimchis that are much more fishy, including, for instance, raw oysters or fermented shrimp.

On the other hand, white kimchi and watery kimchi is typically made without fish sauce.

2007
06.02

Korea 12 – Kimchi

Kimchi is maybe the most popular Korean foods. You usually get several variants of its in small plates. Its taste is pretty strong, and while not my favorite, some of its variants can be excellent. Interesting, Kimchi had entered the English (i.e., American) language.

The expression “**in deep kimchi**” means to be in deep trouble, and it was invented by the American soldiers in the Korean war.

Kimchi might be or might not be vegetarian, since fish might be used in seasoning it.,, There is no real way to tell.

2007
06.02

The Road to Seoul

by Kim Chi Ha

I am going.
Do not cry;
I am going.
Over the white hills, the black, and the parched hills,
down the long and dusty road to Seoul
I am going to sell my body.

Without a sad promise to return,
to return some time blooming with a lovely smile,
to unbind my hair,
I am going.

Do not cry;
I am going.
Who can forget the four o’clocks, or the scent
of wheat? Even in this wretched, wretched life, the deeply unforgettable things…
and in countless dreams I return,
drench with tears, following the moonlight…

I am going.
Do not cry;
I am going.
Over these parched hills that anguish
even the skies, down the long and dusty road to Seoul
I am going to sell my body.

From here.
—————————
The poem refers to sweat-shop conditions that poor young Korean girls would work in during the 70s (mostly textile). The poet (also spelled Kim Chiha) was arrested by the government of South Korea and accused of being a communist. Sentenced to death (!) in 1974, he was only released in 1980, after the president Park was assassinated.