19 October 2008

Two things

First, an update from DiAnne Grieser by email alerts me to the following link:

Daily Kos

Namely, indications are that John McCain has been well associated with terrorist organizations that have advocated for the violent overthrow of the United States government. One of them, the WACL, was supported by the government of Taiwan and the Unification Church organization, and counted many Nazis and anti-Semites as members.

The allegations must be verified, though I do feel that they are serious enough (and make enough sense) to justify verifying. So much for Barack Obama being under the influence of Muslim extremists - a false allegation made none other than the Moonies themselves.

Second, I am finding out the secret behind the widespread use of text messaging in South Korea. It all comes down to the very clever way of breaking down the 24 modern letters of the Korean alphabet into their conceptual forms, and assigning them to the ten numerical keys. Keys 1 through 3 are the vowels. Originally, the Korean vowels consisted of only three elements: . (天/sky), ㅡ (地/earth), and ㅣ (人/human). The "sky" element is written as a short stroke in almost all modern fonts, but it's really supposed to be a dot. The vowels thus can be formed by typing these elements in the correct sequential order, from left to right or from top to bottom, using the keys 1 through 3. That leaves the other seven keys for the fourteen consonants, and each key gets two different but related consonants. For example, the 4 key gets ㄱ (g) and ㅋ (k). This results in a highly efficient layout that allows the phone users to type massive amounts of text in very short amounts of time. Try typing 30 words per minute, with a 10-key numeric pad, in English - it can't be done! Korean is the best-suited script for quick, efficient texting, much more so than Roman or Cyrillic alphabets, and certainly even more so than Chinese characters or Japanese kana. As a result, Blackberries and most other smart phones, with full keyboards that have keys too tiny for practical use, are nowhere to be found in South Korea.

In fact, lots of services can be used through text messaging instead of voice, including mass transit real-time information. Most subway riders do not do voice calls, as they tend to get quite obnoxious; they all do texting. In fact, even crimes can be reported by texting. A woman being harassed by a male chauvinistic pig in the subway can send a text message to 112 (the police hot line) similar to this: "I'm on Line 2, between Jamsil and Sports Complex, on Car Number 2416. Help!" (And yes, even in the tunnels, cell phone reception is excellent.)