Thursday, January 20, 2005

Ever noticed?

-Ever noticed how in Steven Seagal's movies, his character is a nature lover going after bad guys who would wreak environmental havoc (for example Fire Down Below)? Also notice how in his movies there are heaps of explosions and other environmental pollutants?

-Ever noticed how reality TV game shows bear a striking resemblance to the ancient Roman circus?

-Ever noticed how most of the richest people in the world (excluding the oil sheiks) don't sport facial hair?

-Did you know that Joe Pesci has played a Joe pr Joey in 3 of his 31 films?

-Ever noticed how I've had essentially the same hair style for 15 years?


Friday, December 24, 2004

The Case Against SUVs Part 1

I've been thinking lately about the proliferation of 4WD vehicles on the road over the past decade and have decided that it must stop, for the sake of the environment and people. Before I get too far into the rant, I'll mention that there are some people who do actually utilise the full scope of features of these vehicles, and actually need them. The real targets of this rant are the purchasers and therefore contributors to the world's problems.
People must stop buying these vehicles. Here's why (this applies to both 'real' 4WDs and the urban variety (which are even worse).
First of all I'll describe the features of an off-roader and a soft-roader, then I'll explain why they are bad. Features found on all vehicles in this class are: 4WD drivetrain, classic 2 box body design, large, heavy wheels and tyres, many run on diesel, have a high kerb weight (except for the very small variety (like the Suzuki Samurai which are largely exempt from this rant because most of the bad features are cancelled out by their light weight and tiny engine)).
The 4WD drivetrain on SUVs and their relatives are either full-time 4WD or sometime 4WD. This is bad for a couple of reasons. Whether full-time or part-time, 4WD systems are heavy. Such drivetrains have many more moving parts and therefore have much more of what is called 'drivetrain losses'. That means that for every revolution of the drive wheels there is less power getting to the ground than on a similarly powered 2WD vehicle because of additional friction and other energy losses from the extra drive shafts, differentials etc. Simply put, if 2 identical vehicles, one 2WD and one 4WD, drive the same distance, in the same conditions and with every other variable identical, the 2WD vehicle will use less fuel. Multiply the extra fuel used by 1/4 of a billion or more and you'll have some idea of how much extra fuel is being wasted world-wide. Also, if you add the extra weight of the 4WD drivetrain you'll increase the fuel consumption again.
People argue about the benefits of 4WD, from handling and grip versus weight and other such things. The grip is a given, but the handling advantage of 4WD has been made largely redundant on the road due to the development of stability control systems. All Wheel Drive on a road car is all well and good, but soft-roaders usually have large tyres that negate any advantages by raising the centre of gravity of the vehicle (yes they can roll right over motorway median barriers with no trouble at all) and providing less than crisp steering. Conventional off-road vehicles also have a lot of ground clearance for traversing rough terrain, but many soft-roaders have little to no more clearance than many road cars, and do not have underbody protection, thus rendering them little better than a normal road car without the benefits.
Keep checking for part 2- Who is safe? Really?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Back home

Well, after one week at home I'm back in Korea. On the first day I felt so refreshed and ready for the next stint. That lasted all of 2 days. It was good to go home and see everyone, but it was good to get back to the familiar and comfortable.
On a completely different subject, a feeling of dissatisfaction with the world has been growing within me this past year. The more I look, the more I see how shallow the world is becoming, and how that is reflected in society. It's all flashing lights, noisy bells, and selfishishness.
On the other hand, I saw one of my best friends get married while I was at home, and hope that one day I too will find someone with whom I can share everything, and with whom I can have something meaningful. It does kinda feel like everyone is getting married these days. I hardly know any single people any more.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

No, I'll do it now. Sleep is for the weak. US election

Iwas moved to publish my own blog by the horrible result of the US election.


By a small margin Bush has been returned to the Whitehouse. Another four years of a fool ruling the most powerful country in the world. I emailed CNN:
"Bush is a fool with an itchy trigger finger who has set very dangerous precedents, and has shown reckless disregard for the UN, national sovereignty, and International Law. The world will be a much more dangerous place with Bush in the Hot Seat." Similar reactions to the result have no doubt been sent and published all over the internet by now. The official comments to CNN by Portugal and Greece were as outspoken as mine. Russia and Israel are happy, but 70% of French people would have voted for Kerry.
It seems the men are to blame. More women voted for Kerry than for Bush, and under 30s voted for Kerry too so all those conservative white men must have voted Bush.
According to CNN, the main issue that won the election was 'moral values'. Such an irony cannot go by unremarked upon. They have re-elected a man who falsely, and knowingly instigated a fraudulent and criminal war with Iraq. To make myself clear, Webster's defines 'instigated' as : "To goad or urge forward; to set on; to provoke; to incite; -- used chiefly with reference to evil actions; as to instigate one to a crime" They reinstated a liar and a war criminal into a position where he can do more damage, ruling as if his country is the only one on the planet (plagiarising a little from Portugal's statement). To me this shows that the American public are either ignorant about US foreign policy or they are ignorant of the extent to which US foreign policy affects the rest of the world.


I hope and pray that Bush will show maturity and wisdom in theis next term. If not, we will see increased incidences of terrorism, the relationship between the US and Europe will get frostier, and the US will see itself increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. I sure hope Bush actually follows through with some of his promises from his last term. for example, he has not spent the majority of the money he pledged to spend on making HIV retroviral drugs available, will he do as he said, or will he leave millions of Africans doomed to die, desperate and neglected when he had the opportunity to help, and even set aside money to help them but didn't spend it.

Will Bush cooperate with the UN, instead of using it only when convenient and thumbing his nose at it the rest of the time? Will he use the US's position, wealth and power to help the world, or will he continue as he has been doing for the whole of his last term: being the greedy and avaricious bigger child taking what he wants from the smaller children when he already has a bag full of it at home? With power comes responsibility- Bush has shown none so far. Join with me and pray that he does.
My Korean friends and I share the same opinion about Bush and what the future holds for his second term. The world is a much more dangerous place with Bush in the Hot Seat.

This was much better structured and written the first time around. You'll have to accept this poor replacement. I't's 5:40am, I'd better hit the hay.

God bless,
Michael.