Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Take a look at this.

This is the 10 day forecast from last Monday. Look at that will you! The rain is almost biblical in scale.

But luckily, weather prognostication being what it is, the weather is the weather and does what it wants, changing all the time. Yesterday, Tuesday, was cloudy and humid, but no rain. And today was sunny, hot, and humid.

I went for a walk yesterday and almost stepped on a snake. He was green like the grass, and if he hadn't moved, I probably would have gotten bit. It wouldn't have been my fault, though. He was sitting right on the path.

From what I saw, he was really quick- off the path and into the tall grass in a few seconds, it looked like a typical green grass/garter type snake. Apparently there are a couple of venomous snakes in Korea, but I didn't see this one's head so I couldn't tell if it fit the traditional viper shape or not. After Googling a while, the snake I saw didn't look like any snakes associated with Korea.

Irrational Beliefs
Evidently someone here died of "fan death" recently, and this time the story made it to KBS, one of the national news stations. Yes, you heard me right there, "fan death." (People unfamiliar with the phenomenon of fan death might want to click that link.)For some reason, unbeknownst to any non-Korean, Koreans believe that if you leave the fan on in a closed room while sleeping, you will die. Pure and simple, no ifs, ands, or buts about it you will die.

The cause of death is the fan, but reasons given to justify this belief range from the fan sucking all of the oxygen out of the room, to the fan cooling your body temperature down to hypothermic levels. I won't even comment on the first one. The second one has been more recently spouted by the more "intellectual" types, but it seems to me that since the human body generates heat, and the fan's motor gives off heat, in a closed room, how are you going to get the core body temperature down to 30 degrees C ( 86 degrees F) where the body's other systems start to fail. Sure there is convection, but convection requires cool air moving across the surface of the body. And generally, the reason you turn on the fan in the first place is because the air is too warm. Additionally, any convection warms the air. Where is this cool air going to come from in a closed room?

The thing that is so amazing is that normally rational Koreans will believe in this. And they will cling to this belief like a drowning man to a life preserver even after you have shown them that all of the information they have been given is based on hearsay or fallacy. There was even a statement from the KBS news program that said: "You should keep in mind that leaving a fan on in a sealed room while sleeping is nearly an act of suicide." (Not my translation.) This is a supposed news program, mind you. The professor used in the piece gave a version of the hypothermia excuse, but I am still sticking to what I said above.

It makes me wonder about the quality of Korean forensic science and jurisprudence when someone can be found dead in a room, and the fan is blamed. I am pretty sure the folks from C.S.I (Vegas , Miami, or New York) would not be listing "fan" as cause of death. Heck, in Korea if you were of a homicidal nature you could smother your significant other with a pillow, close all the windows, turn the fan on, leave to go have a beer, and come back and lament to the authorities that he/she never listened to you about the fan. Almost the perfect crime.

I guess I must be superhuman or something because I have slept in closed rooms with a fan on numerous times an I am still here today. Why just last night I was doubly tempting fate by sleeping with the fan and the air conditioner on, though the air conditioner was on a timer to go off in couple of hours. Not because I was scared, just because I am cheap. Hmm, maybe it is only Koreans who can die of fan death.

Much thanks for a great image from a great friend.

Really beautiful, isn't it? My hometown. Yes, that is where I grew up. Although when I was growing up, all the houses you see there didn't exist. This picture was taken by my good friend Rhonda from the top of Lone Mountain, a peak just on the edge of the Las Vegas valley.

This is actually an amazingly clear picture for a summer day in Vegas. Looking at the large version of the picture, in the distance, you can see the hotels of the strip about 11 miles (17.7 km) away. If you look at the tower to the left, my house, my dad's house actually, is a little over halfway between the peak and the tower.

Back in Korea there are mountains of a different kind. And on some of those mountains are Buddhist temples. Here is one of those temples. I call this picture, "Gateway to the past."

I just changed the coloring of what is seen through the gate.

"Time always seems long to the child who is waiting - for Christmas, for next summer, for becoming a grownup: long also when he surrenders his whole soul to each moment of a happy day"
~ Dag Hammarskjold

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world."
~ Ada Louise Huxtable



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