Saturday, May 27, 2006


I found the following article to be rather interesting.  I’ve always thought it pretty amazing about what God said concerning human creativity and intelligence, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them”.  The whole idea that humans were once relatively stupid and slowly became smarter simply doesn’t fly with anything that I see in ancient cultures.  Sure, they didn’t have some of our modern conveniences but come on, they did things that we today have no idea on how they did it!  Taking into consideration how long we humans have been kicking around, we should be a lot further along in technology than what earlier people were.  It only makes sense.  Imagine yet how much further along we would be if it wasn’t for our wars and other such stupidities in which mass amounts of knowledge were destroyed.

As such, I always find things like the story below absolutely fascinating.  I wonder what God is thinking?  I mean He already knows what we’re going to do anyway, but still.

In surprise, mice get trait without gene

NEW YORK - In a startling exception to classical genetics, mice in a lab experiment have inherited an effect of an aberrant gene without inheriting the gene itself.
Experts say the result may someday help scientists understand aspects of diabetes, infertility and other problems. They also said that while such an inheritance pattern has been seen before, it's not clear how common or important it is.

DNA is the stuff of genes in mice and men. But the new study indicates DNA's chemical cousin, RNA, produced the odd-sounding result. In this case the result was mice with distinctive white tail tips.

For the study, reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, scientists produced mice that carried one normal copy of a particular gene and one aberrant copy.

When the scientists bred them, each mouse passed along one of its gene copies to each offspring. The offspring, in turn, ended up with two copies, one from each parent.
Under the rules of classical genetics, one would expect that mice that ended up with two normal copies of the gene would show normal coloring. But surprisingly, 24 out of 27 mice with two normal copies still showed the telltale white patches associated with the aberrant copy.

When scientists bred their special mice to others that had only normal copies of the gene, most offspring with only normal gene copies still showed the distinctive coloring. Experiments showed the trait could be inherited through either the mother or father, and it went on for generations in absence of the abnormal gene.

How can this be? Researchers focused on sperm, which is simpler to analyze than an egg, and found evidence that RNA molecules there were carrying the hereditary signal. For example, when RNA from mice bearing the aberrant gene was injected into early embryos, about half the resulting mice showed the distinctive white tail tip.

RNA normally delivers instructions from genes to a cell's protein-making machinery, so it makes sense that it might be involved in transmitting a gene's effect. Just how it's operating in the mice is not clear, said lead study author Minoo Rassoulzadegan of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in Nice, France.

Paul Soloway of Cornell University, who was not involved in the study, said that when viewed in context with other research, the new evidence that RNA is involved is "compelling."

Scientists have shown that human sperm delivers RNA to eggs during fertilization, and the new work is important for establishing that sperm RNA actually has an effect, some experts said.

"I think it could open a whole new line of investigation" into what this sperm RNA does in people, said Chuck Ostermeier of The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. For one thing, it might play a role in unexplained male infertility, noted Stephen Krawetz of the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. Neither scientist was involved in the mouse study.

Soloway said it's not clear how common or important this kind of inheritance is, but he noted that a similar pattern of effects appeared in a 1997 analysis of a human gene that predisposes people to Type 1 diabetes.

The mouse study is not the first demonstration that a gene's effect can be inherited without the gene itself. That phenomenon, called paramutation, was shown 50 years ago in corn and later in other plants. Similar findings have also been made in animals, but the new work is notable because it presents evidence for how it happens, Soloway said.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's time to ride!


Well, on Monday of this past week I went to the drivers license bureau and got my Korean drivers license.  The trip there was an interesting trip as communication barriers once again raised their ugly heads and spit on me, but as always, I got the best of them. Ha!

Once at the bureau I proceeded with the task at hand.  Now, government offices suck big time.  I’m sorry if you work in one, but NOBODY knows what they are talking about.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played the send me back and forth game with each office swearing that the other office is where I need to be.  Maybe it’s just me and my unique problems?  Who knows, I seem to get into things that people are not sure about because no one is trying to do what I’m doing.  Or maybe government offices suck. :-P  But that’s another blog for later.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to walk into a government office and have to tell the employee their job (trying to be completely nice and not a know it all) only to have them tell you that you are wrong when you know darn well that you aren’t.  Ever have that happen?  I hate it. :-S  Then, later, when said person finally figures out that you were correct, they don’t even apologize for giving you crap!

I do have to give props to a few people though, because every now and then you actually find someone who knows what they are doing.   Take Angelica Villalobos for example.  She was extremely helpful while I was dealing with my OHIP.  She was a God send.  And I have to say that most of the government employees that I’ve dealt with have been kind, and well, tried to be helpful, I just hate the run around.  And, as I said to my mom, at least there is a government to deal with.  No government would be really bad!

So, the reason I got into this tirade goes back to the most recent government office I was at, the license bureau.  On their web page, details are given in English as to how to obtain a license.  The easiest license to obtain is an international license but it’s only good for a year.  No biggie, it’s just a simple fee and takes about 30 min. to process.

Ah, but then comes the government employee.  “No, you can’t get one in Korea, you have to get that in the US”.  Oh, I see.  (That’s very interesting since the women at the MI license bureau said the exact opposite thing to me; “No, you have to get that in the country you are going to”)!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I had to get a full fledge Korean license.  No worries, I had given myself plenty of time.  I had the day off as it was Teacher’s day and I didn’t have to work until that afternoon when it was time for the hakwon.  (Minor irritation that, no school but I still have to work at the academy!)  None the less, I walked around the facilities getting the necessary items, getting a physical (which by the way was an absolute joke, all I had to do is squat down and stand back up again) and take an eye exam.

The next step was taking a written exam.  This was an interesting exam; all said I think there were only about 6 questions pertaining to driving on a 20 question exam.  One question didn’t have a correct answer to it at all.  I’m curious as to what the answer they were looking for is, but it’s simply a pass or fail and off you go.  (The question you ask.  Ok, I won’t leave you hanging.  If you see a person passed out and laying on the ground should you, a) can’t remember but definitely not correct, b) take their pulse to determine consciousness or not, c) perform a heart massage, or d) same as a, simply unrelated.  Well, neither a or b are correct.  There were other silly questions like this and I chalk it up to translation issues.  So, I had to guess as to which one they were looking for, I chose b as it seemed the most likely.)

As it is, I passed. :-)  I prayed before taking the test like I have most of my life before taking any test.  When I take tests, I always have a hard time focusing and understanding the questions, and as such I find it very helpful to pray.  God’s help is always useful. :-)  So now I have a full fledge Korean license which is good until 2015.

Believe it or not, all of this is leading up to the real reason for this blog post.  Are you ready for this?  I HAVE A MOTORCYCLE!!!  Yep, the reason I wanted a license was to be able to legally ride a motorcycle.  Everyone tells me I’m crazy but they’re nuts.  I’ve always wanted a road bike and now’s the perfect time.

So today, Paul, my good friend, went with me and I purchased a used bike.  I rode for about 3 ½ hours today partly because I got temporarily confused on my way back home. :-P  I was in an area that I’m not very familiar with but as usual, eventually you come along something that’s familiar and you find your way back home. :-)  Only, Seoul is a really big city and you have to go a little further to find something familiar. lol  No worries though.  I made it back and then rode around areas that I am familiar with, to Lila and back, to church and back, and then some of the side streets.

I don’t have any picks of my bike yet but I will soon.  It’s not that big a deal really.  It’s just a 125 cc, but it looks like a full sized bike and well, that’s what’s really important. :-)  For a 125 it gets around pretty good.  With a 125 I don’t need a special license to ride, just a regular license will do.  Everyone told me I didn’t even need that because no cop will pull me over as they don’t speak English and they are embarrassed, but I’d rather keep things on the up and up, much more fun that way, less worry and more blessings. :-)

So now I can ride to work everyday instead of taking a taxi.  Hmm, ride a motorcycle or take a taxi?  Tuff choice. :-P


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Easter Celebration

During this last Easter, several Churches joined together for a huge Easter Sunday Celebration.  There were over 100,000 people in attendance and at least a few hundred workers and organizers.  The celebration lasted for over 3 hours and with most Church celebrations here in Korea, there were more than a few sermons.  :-P

I think the most awesome aspect of the day was the emphasis on helping the poor and the sick abroad.  Korea is one of the highest missionary sending nations in the world.  Several of the bigger churches here not only build churches in Africa and in other parts of the world, but they also build schools and hospitals.  Sound familiar?  Well, it used to anyway, that’s exactly what churches in America used to do a lot of, and thankfully, some of it still happens today. :-)

I did not attend the celebration as the entire thing was only in Korean.  The pictures that I took and have posted below are from the day before during the afternoon practice time.  Some of the music and singers were amazing and the video that they played was heart moving.  Even though I couldn’t understand what was being said I didn’t have to, the pictures and music spoke for themselves.  Besides, many of the Christian songs sang here are the same as in N. America and I’m sure everywhere else in the world.  If you know the music you know what is being sung.  My friends filled in the rest of the information as I talked to them about what happened on that Sunday.

The even was held at the Olympic Stadium built when Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics in the early 80’s.  As such, I tried to get some pics of this historical site as well.  It’s not often that I get to take pictures of Olympic stadiums now is it. :-)  I hope you enjoy the pics and it provides a small glimpse into the culture of Korea.


The Olympic Stadium Posted by Picasa

I couldn't believe the size of the score board! Posted by Picasa

The parade goes the whole way around the track... Posted by Picasa

...and here are the rest of them. Posted by Picasa

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to much wind for a good pic :-P Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A City in Bloom

Ah spring, at times it can be a most beautiful time of year, though I have to say that fall is still my favorite.  It starts getting to blasted hot in the spring time.  So we’ll just keep it at early to mid spring as being a most beautiful time of year. :-P

I have entitled this pic set as, “A City in Bloom”.  Seoul can be a very beautiful city at times.  If it wasn’t for all the blasted smog it would be a beautiful city all the time.  Oh well, it’s a city with many many trees and a place can’t be all that bad if it has lots and lots of trees now can it. :-)

Last night I was taken to Seoul Tower.  It’s a restaurant on top of Nam San Mountain at the top of a 7 story tower.  The view is quite spectacular especially at night.  But then, how does night views of a city really count on its score card of being beautiful or not?  Frankly almost every major city is beautiful at night.  No, the major test of a beautiful city is what it’s like during the day, and with its mountains and vast coverage of foliage, Seoul does quite well.  I wouldn’t say that Seoul is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been in, but it does rank towards the top.

I hope you enjoy the pics and it gives you a sense of the beauty that lies all around us every day.


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