Sunday, January 04, 2004

dear diarrhea

Hectic day today, zipping back and forth between the parent's house and my old apartment. Time's passed quickly; my two-month vacation is rapidly coming to an end. There's a lot I'll miss about the States, not least of which is the space to breathe (as you can tell, I'm not a New Yorker).

Weather's been unseasonably warm here; I've heard it's cold in Korea (it's currently in the low 40s in Seoul as I write this), and I'm looking forward to a nipple-stiffening chill.

On Sunday I start packing up the one hundred books I plan to send over to Seoul-- primarily stuff from my MA program, so I don't forget everything I learned. Since I'll be blogging from home within a couple weeks (depending on how quickly we resolve the residential DSL issue), I'll have access to my little library and will be able to write what I hope will be more intelligent blogs.

But choosing my "Top 100" books won't be easy; I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books to choose from. We'll see how that goes.

My apologies to people who were expecting big articles on "The Many and the One" and the question of North Korean starvation vis-à-vis its military-first policy. I'll try to write these when I'm back in Seoul, and will also try to start up a comic strip of sorts. I also need to blog a bit about what I've learned re: information theory (to the extent one can learn anything about it without knowing the math) in order to answer some of the questions I posed myself after reading Anticipatory Retaliation's first few entries in the Mother of All Screeds.

I'm a compulsive book-buyer. was made for people like me, and I recently purchased some new books. Here's a sample of what will be distracting me as I settle back into the Seoul routine:

Lewis R. Lancaster and C.S. Yu, eds. Introduction of Buddhism to Korea.
Lewis R. Lancaster and Richard K. Payne, eds. Religion and Society in Contemporary Korea.
Philip L. Quinn and Kevin Meeker, eds. The Philosophical Challenge of Religious Diversity.

I eat this shit for breakfast.

... Sorry, but I had to step away to watch the live feed on the NASA Channel. I just sat through about fifteen tense minutes as we all waited, with bated breath, to find out the fate of the Spirit lander as it punched through the thin Martian atmosphere, smacked the surface with its funky airbags, and began its bounce-and-roll. I watched the control center go nuts as the UHF tone (confirming successful landing) was heard; it seems that everything has gone according to plan. And I was able to witness it live.

While I bask in the reflected glory of our techies, I should take a moment to note that I'm not gloating over our country's success, which is-- like it or not-- in contrast to Europe's current boondoggle with their Beagle 2. I tend to be pretty idealistic, like my Dad, about what the space program means, not only in terms of scientific discovery, but in terms of human cooperation. This is an endeavor about which we shouldn't be petty. Let our descendants take space travel for granted! For me, for now, I see the spaceward struggle as something we're engaged in as a species. I was actually quite pleased when the Chinese flung a guy into space, and I think that, in the next few decades, we'll see more and more of this happening as the folks in the private sector start pouring their dollars into mini-space programs. Too many rich people want to go into space; it's going to happen, one way or another. The lure is too strong.

And now, we have to wait and see whether Spirit's solar array deploys correctly. I'll be asleep when it happens, but here's your first impression of another momentous event in human history.


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