Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Asian Bird Flu Hits Korea

The Asian bird flu has been running amok lately in Korea. A few years back a research team from SNU claimed to have come up with a kimchi based vaccine that supposedly elminated the disease in infected chickens. The Korean media was all over it and the news spread abroad, despite the fact that the study authors admitted that more research was necessary.

So now that the bird flu is sweeping through Korea, where is this supposed vaccine now?

No follow-up study to the pilot ever came (the pilot study was done in 2006), which is very odd considering the flu has continued to wreak havoc in Asia. What did come though was a deal with SNU to send some special 'kimchi-feed' to an Indonesian zoo and LG came out with the an air conditioner that emitted kimchi fumes. Why wait for verification when there is money to be made, right?

So where is the follow-up study? Are we to believe they really didn't conduct one? Or is it far more likely to believe that they did and could not come up with the desired results? If the results did not pan out, then shouldn't this be reported so people realize doubling up on kimchi won't do jack diddly to prevent becoming infected? Or would that be against the national religion to admit that kimchi doesn't cure everything from gastric cancer to bad breath? Or would it just put a dent in the kimchi air conditioner sales so they are keeping it quiet?

Another great moment in science for SNU.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Korean Ingenuity

Here is a 'Korean Comedian Magic Show' which came on some 'gag concert' type show.

I don't know how they find audience members for these shows, but somehow they round up a crowd that seems extremely easy to entertain and amaze. Really, when the camera cuts to the audience members, it's like watching children in the bodies of adults.

The above segment is far more interesting than what regularly comes out on those shows, but alas, it is a blatant rip off of an old Penn and Teller act, move per move.

Here is Penn's reaction to it. He takes it in stride.

I was in Singapore last year and heard what I had always thought was a Korean pop song (one of the few I found interesting) while I was in a shopping mall. "Ah-ha!" I thought, "Finally an actual run-in with this mighty Korean Wave that I've heard about on a daily basis from the Korean media." When the singer began singing, it was in Japanese. It turns out the song was, like many others, originally a Japanese song that was just given Korean lyrics and fed to whatever talentless but pretty pop idol singer was being marketed at that moment by the big recording companies in Korea.

The last hit Korean movie (other than D-War, of course) was 200 Pound Beauty. It was based on a Japanese Manga (as was Old Boy). The title song was also a hit. Like almost every famous soundtrack song from a Korean movie, it was a foreign song (a remake of theBlondie tune 'Maria', in this case).

When it comes to creativity, outsourcing seems to be the only option for the Korean entertainment industry. Judging by the Korean movies, songs, and TV shows I've seen over the past year, they aren't doing it often enough.

I'd like to propose some new Korean slogans:

Korea, Be the Rip Offs!

Korea, Regurgitating!

Friday, April 11, 2008

World Homeopathy Awareness Week

In case you didn't know, this week is officially World Homeopathy Awareness Week.

I would like to do all I can to help out this worthy cause, so I've cut and pasted below the page on their site which explains just what homeopathy is, along with some very minor editing and additions for clarity.

Let the awarification begin!

What is Homeopathy?

Photo: Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy (which cures everything from cancer to baldness, by the way)

In 1796 a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered a different approach to the exploitation...er...I mean cure of the sick, which he called homeopathy (from the Greek words meaning ‘similar suffering’. It is also known as the slightly more accurate term, 'parateinopathy' from the Greek words meaning 'prolonged suffering'). Like Hippocrates two thousand years earlier he realized that there were two ways of treating ill health, the way of opposites and the way of similars. (And like P.T. Barnum who would come about a hundred years later, he realized that indeed, there is a sucker born every minute.)

Take for example, a case of insomnia. The way of opposites (referred to by homeopaths as 'allopathy', though more commonly known as conventional forms of medicine which require actual evidence of effectiveness), is to treat this by giving a drug to bring on an artificial sleep . This frequently involves the use of large or regular doses of drugs, which can sometimes cause side effects or addiction (and those are bad things, in case you didn't know).

The way of similars, the homeopathic way, is to give the patient a minute dose of a substance, such as coffee, which in large doses causes sleeplessness in a healthy person. Perhaps surprisingly, this will help the patient to sleep naturally (and perhaps even more surprisingly, a lot of people actually buy this theory).

Homeopathic remedies cannot cause side effects and you cannot become addicted to them. This is because only a very minute amount of the active ingredient is used in a specially prepared form (though this might also be because you are basically ingesting the equivalent of a sugar pill).

Your homeopath (don't call them 'homies' for short, by the way, unless you are black and that's just a part of your culture, then it's cool) will give you a homeopathic medicine or remedy that matches your symptoms as you experience them, as well as individual characteristics: emotional and physical. This is the great flexibility of homeopathy that those ignorant 'allopussies' in conventional medicine just can't compete with. The homeopathic system is so flexible, as a matter of fact, that you could go to ten different homeopaths for the same illness and get ten completely different treatments. That, of course, makes homeopathy potentially 10 times more effective than conventional medicine.

How it works

Homeopathic medicines work by stimulating the body’s immune system. This stimulus will assist your own system to clear itself of any expression of imbalance. (In medical terminology, we call this method a 'placebic response initiation'.)

What will happen once treatment starts

A number of changes may happen after taking your homeopathic remedy. Some patients experience a period of exceptional well being and optimism. Homeopaths are really happy when this happens and sometimes, for a brief moment, even wonder if all this shit really does work.

Occasionally symptoms appear to get worse for a short time. This makes homeopaths sad and sometimes, for a brief moment, realize they do not have clue fucking one about what they are doing.

But wait! Worsening symptoms are actually a good sign that the remedy is taking effect. Sometimes a cold, rash or some form of discharge may appear as a ‘spring cleaning’ effect which means your system is going through a cleaning stage. Yeah, that's it. And similarly, old symptoms can reappear, usually for a short period. These symptoms will pass, and must not be treated, as they are a very important part of the healing process. Some patients do not notice any changes at all in the beginning of their treatment. In this case a change in the dosage and or selection of remedy may be necessary.

So basically, after receiving homeopathic treatment you could either get better, worse or just stay the same, but regardless these are all signs that it is working. Only in the event that none of the above three results occur should you consider the homeopathic treatment a failure.

If any response to your treatment concerns you, contact your homeopath as soon as you can , as it is important to know what happens as treatment progresses. He also may need to contact his lawyers to make sure he isn't liable for anything.

How long the treatment takes

This depends very much on what sort of illness you have, as well as the other individual characteristics of your case (such as your levels of income and gullibility). Your homeopath will typically only be able to predict treatment time after observing your response to homeopathic medicines. After something does happen, however, you can expect the homeopath to say that he knew that would happen all along and there is no way you can prove that he didn't. A slowly developing complaint, or one that you've experienced for many years, may not disappear immediately although an initial response an early improvement often occur. [There's an interesting sentence. I wonder if there's a homeopathic remedy for bad grammar].

Homeopathy cures from the inside, and often outer symptoms such as a skin complaint, are the last to clear. Pretty convenient for us homeopaths, eh? Be patient (and keep the checks coming in)! In the long term it is much better for you to be cured of both the cause of the illness and its symptoms, rather than merely relieving or suppressing the symptoms. Remember that every case is different, and no two patients are alike. Hell, even the most seasoned homeopath has no idea what will happen with any given patient! Such are the mysteries of science!

What about seeing a General Practitioner?
We (and by 'we', I mean us homeopaths and our lawyers) recommend that you should maintain your relationship with your GP. Your GP will be able to arrange any tests or X-rays you may need (we're not really into all that technology and testing stuff, and don't even ask us about all those icky details of human physiology! BORING!). Homeopathy has an alternative philosophy but by working in this way with your GP the two systems of health care can provide complementary services . But if you do actually recover, keep in mind that you can't really prove that it wasn't the homeopathic treatment that made the difference, nor can you prove that you woudn't have DIED if you had only followed your GP's treatment. So there really isn't a logical reason why you shouldn't continue to use homeopathy in the future.

So there it is. Consider yourself all awareded up on the wonders of homeopathy. Spread the word.