Skip to content


Archive for February, 2007

Reading the Taipei Times today, I came across an article that highlights yet another aspect in which Japan is returning to its nationalistic roots– education. The education minister, Ibuki Bunmei (伊吹文明), is a reactionary. In various speeches, he has stated that most young Japanese are incapable of writing or speaking well and that they need to “learn the rules of society” in elementary school before spending time on foreign languages. Fair enough. Now, though, he’s pushing into more disturbing territory:
continue reading…

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been on vacation. I didn’t go anywhere, though. I stayed at home the whole time. I did a bit of curriculum work for the first couple of days, but after that, I put work out of my mind and just relaxed. I had time for programming. I had time to relax. I replaced my beer drinking with tea drinking. I switched from late hours, to getting up at 6AM each morning. I went on long, relaxing runs in the park. It was a great vacation, but it’s over.
continue reading…

MSG must be one of the most maligned and misunderstood food components of the modern world. Superstition and fears about it are ubiquitous in the west, and yet, as Jeffery Steingarten, the great American food critic once put it,

“If MSG is bad for you, then why doesn’t everyone in China have a headache?”

Or perhaps a better question would be, “How is it that the inventors of it, the Japanese, outlive everyone else on the planet?”
continue reading…

(For those of you who can’t wait for the answer, it’s wulong tea.)
Today, I stumbled across a page called Tea From Taiwan, via Angelica’s blog. At first glance it seemed to be suffering from a serious case of over optimizing for search engines. Search engines from 1997, that is. On the home page, I saw the word “oolong” fifteen times, “wulong” 17 times, including the title, and a couple of “wu longs” and an “wulung”. If only search engines still rewarded web masters for this sort of thing!

oolong vs wulongFortunately, there’s a page to clear up any confusion that comes from being alternately bombarded with “oolong” and “wulong”. Unfortunately, the page is about as misinformative as is possible in such a small space.
continue reading…

In Taiwan, it seems that media is even more partisan than it is back in the States. Recently, the Liberty Times, a pro-Taiwan independence newspaper, suggested that English speakers not use the phrase “Chinese New Year” and that they replace it with “Lunar New Year. Here is an excerpt from the article:
continue reading…

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

China and AmericaThe Only Redhead in Taiwan has more related videos.

It’s often said that history is written by the victors. Most of the time, when people say this, they are referring to victors in war, not politics.
continue reading…

A couple of days ago, I took a taxi to my buddy Martin’s place. Right before the turn onto the alley I wanted to go onto, an illegally parked car pulled out in front and to our right, so we couldn’t turn before the light turned. Beep! The meter jumped up from 90 to 95. Not wanting to sit in a taxi behind a red light, I pulled out a hundred and gave it to the driver. As I waited for change, he told me I needed to pay 110. “But, the meter’s only 95!” I said. He then explained that there was a $20 surcharge during Chinese New Year. Fair enough, I thought. If I had to drive a taxi during Christmas break back home, I’d expect to be paid a bit more than usual, too.

There is no Chinese New Year surcharge, of course. One would think that after living in Taiwan for four years I would have realized that. Oh, well.
Update: There’s a fare increase, but only certain taxi companies are implementing it. Of the four times I’ve taken a cab since the new fees started, only one charged me. Ask if there’s an extra charge when you get in the cab.

I recently stumbled across the web site for a new drink that looks poised to take over the legacy of Jolt Cola. The drink is called Celsius, and one of it’s major selling points is that it’s thermogenic.

Celsius is the Earth’s first proven “thermogenic” calorie-burning beverage with the great taste of a soft drink. Celsius works by raising your metabolism on average 12% for up to three hours, resulting in a sustained energy boost and additional calories burned.


Normally, I don’t have much patience for calorie burning claims like this. For Celsius, though, I’ll make an exception. Instead of sugars, it’s sweetened sucralose, an artificial sweetener with virtually no caloric value. More to the point, it’s packed with with EGCG, guarana, ginger extract, taurine, and two hundred milligrams of caffeine per bottle. Yeah, I’ll bet it’s thermogenic. With a drink like Celsius, an all night coding session would be a snap. Jolt-fueled geeks move aside!

Two weeks ago, I was over at Prince Roy‘s place, and we had the TV on. A familiar face on a comercial made me do a double take, and then I realized it was my old co-worker Ben!