awesome photographer: David Maisel

For my final project in History of Photography, I was assigned to put together a collection of images that I would choose to put in a museum exhibition. All of my photos were united by the theme of nature, and how mankind has been (generally) so terrible and exploitive to the land, the earth. One photographer whose works I have been particularly influenced by is David Maisel. He photographs the land from an aerial perspective, capturing land that has undergone mining, chemical intervention, and human impact. A lot of times, it’s hard to tell exactly what he is photographing because the vantage point is so surreal. What’s so strange is that the photos are absolutely beautiful, but of something so destructive. I’ve directed you to his webpage, but check out his different projects (on the left-hand side)…some really cool ones are “Oblivion,” “Terminal Mirage,” “The Lake Project,” and “The Mining Project.”

Facebook

Facebook is a most interesting online social networking website. Back in South Korea, we have something called Cyworld, which was basically the equivalent of Facebook. The interesting difference between how the two population feel about such websites is that Americans seem to be a lot more concerned about what kind of their private information is presented on Facebook.

For instance, back in South Korea, a number of people would write their phone numbers on their status quo, which is basically visible to everyone. However, according to what I’ve learned from some of my friends here, people not only cared about what information is accessible by strangers but also about which of their friends can view certain information about them.

It was really strange to me, for I couldn’t care less about who can see certain info about myself and who cannot. The thing is that to strangers, you are another random person among millions who’s got a facebook page on the internet. Therefore strangers simply cannot care less about you. To even worry over such factors just seems so random to me.

As for your friends, I can see why you might want to limit certain information from a certain group. However, there are already enough tools on facebook to alter such infos. Therefore, I think there is really no need to worry about certain factors.

Another thing is that people actually use facebook to create a positive image to gain advantage when they apply to colleges or jobs. Back in Korea, such personal space is rarely used in determining such important career decisions, but it seems that in the U.S, employers or college admissions staffs seem to take a look at all information they could get about the applicants.

It is remarkable how important facebook has become in the U.S. Its popularity is still growing at a fast rate, and as facebook evolves, we’ll have to see how people’s perception about facebook changes as time goes on.

Internet News Papers

Nowadays, it isn’t so uncommon to find some previously unknown news paper being published through the internet. The fact that we actually believe and empower such kinds of press got me thinking. From where does an internet news paper get its authority to have a wide influence, and possibly as much influence as long existing printed newspapers such as Times? I mean, seriously, on the internet, anything can be written down by anyone and be posted. So how does internet newspaper get such an influence?

Well, one way some newspapers based on the internet get empowered is to directly link or cite more famous ones like the Times. It definitely sounds lame for a newspaper to write stories that were already published in other papers, but that seems like a valid way to justify that their news, although posted via an extemely volatile medium, are still legitimate.

Well, personally that is the only way to truly empower a newspaper based on the internet. The simple write-anything-you-want nature of the internet is powerful enough to take away all authority from an article, and to cite from a well renowned source is the easiest and the most efficient way for writers to empower their articles.

I am not certain if this phenomenon will continue to the future, but one thing I am quite certain is that printed forms of news will eventually die out. Because we live in a capitalist economy, the main focus of every company is to minimize the costs and publishing news via the internet is most certainly a lot cheaper than printing out millions of newspapers every day.

Here’s a link to a website that examines the pros and cons of this phenomenon. I’m sure you all will find it very useful.

http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/fdt/article/viewArticle/4902/1758

Wikipedia

Wikipedia, personally, is the ultimate form of collaborative work. Think about it, a encyclopedia made up by the collaborative knowledge of millions of people out there. If someone told me about this idea before I’ve seen Wikipedia actually work, I’d have dismissed it instantly, laughing at the person that it is just so unrealistic.

How is it possible? Marshall Poe couldn’t really explain it, and even the creators of Wikipedia couldn’t really explain how it all happened. Well, the best explanation I could possibly come up with is that each individual has an area of interest, and with an enormous amount of people using Wikipedia, all those individual addition of knowledge has led to this massive database.

It is indeed a truly amazing database. Yet it has its flaws. Because it wasn’t exactly created by professionals, it definitely lacks in accuracy, although a lot of wiki-users try to fix those problems every day. The fact that a good number of college professors do not take WIkipedia as a valid source of an academic essay certainly proves this point.

To show you a funny, yet very sharp criticism of such faults of Wikipedia, I’ll post a youtube video that will explain a lot.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaADQTeZRCY[/youtube]

Platonic Love

The title of this blog simply embarrasses me. Platonic love! Who talks about that anymore? Well, I still think about it. I’m sure most people who read this will simply say, “How pathetic is this guy!” Well, regardless, I would like to believe it exists, especially because we are living in an era where all our lives are dominated by materialistic perspectives and everyday struggles to simply make a living to pursue another struggling day of life.

What is platonic love? To cite Wikipedia, platonic love  is a deep and spiritual connection between two individuals: within such a relationship there does not exist any form of sexual connection or sexual elements. Can this really exist in this era? A love between two people that is purely based upon emotional and spiritual connections?

Well I couldn’t answer to that. Even though I wish to believe such idealistic view, as a person suffering from a bipolar disorder ever since he was in middle school, I seem to conclude that there isn’t such a thing anymore. Well, here is a website that tries to describe in detail. Although I couldn’t come up with a conclusion after reading it, I believe it would help a lot of people to grasp a clearer idea of what it is and whether it exists.

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Platonic_love

Cigarettes

First, before I say anything, I’m just a heavy smoker and this might be heavily biased. I’d love to justify smoking, but I know so well that smoking is terrible for you. However back in the good old days there was a justification of smoking cigarettes.

WARNING: This video is a complete lie, and although I smoke, smoking is TERRIBLE FOR YOU. Don’t smoke, even if you really want to. This is an advice from a heavy smoker, who is sadly, me.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyhvHB62ph8[/youtube]

The Mad Cow Disease and FTA

The Mad Cow Disease, which has swept the world, not for its high rate of infection but for the fact that it has no cures and no possibility of a near-future invention of a remedy, has struck especially hard in South Korea, after its new government has decided to import cows older than 36 months from the U.S.

Some time after my graduation (In South Korea the second semester ends in December) and before I my flight to Pomona, the FTA between U.S and Korea was signed along with an agreement about importing from the U.S, cows that are over 36 months from its birth.

Well, I don’t know how this is perceived in the U.S, but back in Korea, it was a big deal, and many people lost faith in the government, and there were an increasing number of public unease until it came to an open protest in Korea. Here is a video to give you an idea how huge the protest was. This is still going on back in Korea, and it is simply impossible to predict the outcome!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_74pnVaKaG0[/youtube]

The Clash of Cultures.

As I’ve been mentioning often in my past blogs, I’m from South Korea. I do speak a perfect English, and I have lived in the U.S as well as England for some time, so naturally, I thought nothing should be different than back home. However, reality, as it always has and always will, has got the best of me.

The first day I came to this college, I was excited, pondering in my own trap of finding people exactly like those friends I had back home. However, on the very first day, I had to attend several seminars about sex-related issues, gender issues, and race issues.

That was shocking. To have so much personal boundaries and linguistic boundaries to deal with was simply overwhelming! I freaked out on the very first day of school and started distancing myself from everyone in this campus.

After a while it got better, and I was able to blend in with my collegues here at Pomona College. Nevertheless, I still cannot feel comfortable in situations where boys and girls start having casual conversations about sexual intercourse. I think such emotions will never go away for good, which seems grieves me so much, since the kind of music I want to do is only possible here in the U.S or in England.

Cultural shock was definitely there. Finally after two semesters of coping with it I have partially gotten over it and at the same time realized a sad truth. I will never be one of the Americans or as far as it goes Westerner. I will never be known as “one of us” here in U.S.

Electronic Music over the 80’s Music

Electronic music is an emerging, actually, nowadays, a dominant form of music. However, sadly, in South Korea, electronic music has been used to change the 80’s songs to fit the public taste of today.

Well, you might see such movement, at this point in the blog, as a positive trend, but it’s a dead end for the music industry. The 80’s music were a lot simpler, musically, than modern music, such as post-rock, indie rock, etc. Therefore, merely dubbing the midi files from the 80’s with electronic sound will eventually lead the music scene to die.

What happens at the very dead end of such kind of music, is a song just being composed of three chords, with only changing rhythmic meters and electronic sound sets. As a musician, such a trend just grieves me.

Even during the early 2000’s, the music scene wasn’t so terrible as it is now. I was playing in the indie music scene, performing at least once a month, and there were bands who actually had an artistic vision as opposed to the corporate puppets that dominate South Korean music industry now.

I truly weep for the future of Korean pop music. That is really all I have to say, because I simply do not see it getting better any time soon. Here is a link to one of those terrible songs.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zudbU96AVQg[/youtube]

North Korea – Nuclear Weapon Threats

When I was still in high school back in South Korea, the whole country was in fear of a possible threat of second Korean War. I too was swept by the fear that was generally present in the country.

One day in 2006, on the national news, It was broadcasted that North Korea was conducting a nuclear bomb experiment. I was merely a sophomore in high school, and such news just overwhelmed me. In fact, all of the students in my school were terrified, and all the classes were nearly canceled because of the public unease. I’m pretty sure that the teachers were also shook by the news.

Eventually, and thank GOD, such rumors remained rumors. However, it reminded me that the Korean War was indeed only at a subtle truce, which could be easily broken up by one simple news.

To find more about the background about this dreadful story, check out this website:

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/dprk/nuke/index.html