South Korea and sex trafficking

South Korea is one of the major countries where sex trafficking victims in the U.S. originate. According to the US Attorney General in 2006, South Koreans accounted the highest population (24%) of sex trafficking victims in the U.S. followed by Thailand (11.7%), and Peru (10%),. The U.S. Trafficking in Persons report categorized South Korea as a Tier 1 country in the same year.

via South Korea: The stimulus plan, sexism, and sex trafficking | Washington Times Communities.

I had no idea about this going on between the two countries, and was particularly shocked to read that Korean women accounted for the largest percentage of sex trafficking victims.  This is not what I would have expected from a country as wealthy and modern as Korea, and the article makes an important point about sexism and inequality for Korean women in the workforce and how this combined with the S.K. governments attempts at stimulating the economy after  the late 90’s economic crash.

Kids’ Sugar Cravings Might Be Biological : The Salt : NPR

When researchers gave adults and children water mixed with various amounts of sugar, adults preferred sugar concentrations similar to that of a can of soda, while finding higher concentrations too sweet. By comparison, children preferred at least twice that concentration, and younger children had virtually no limit.

“You can keep putting sugar in to the point where you can’t dissolve it in the water anymore and they still like it,” says Sue Coldwell, a researcher at the University of Washington who has studied kids and sweets.

via Kids’ Sugar Cravings Might Be Biological : The Salt : NPR.

Uhhh…I shuddered just thinking about this (emphasis mine).

Medvedev Fires Russian Finance Minister

Medvedev Fires Russian Finance Minister for Insubordination –

I wonder what this portends for the future of Russian politics.  I doubt it will have any major impact in the immediate future, the elections are simply too near to want to make any sort of shake-up.  But once Putin is securely back in the Presidency for presumably another 8 years, I wonder if we won’t be seeing Mr. Medvedev pushed out of the party in favor of someone who is more willing to go along with the Putin program and not try to establish his own authority independent of Putin.

Early migration of Aborigines

BBC News – Lock of hair pins down early migration of Aborigines.

A recently published study finds support for a multiple pulse migration of humans from the North Africa/Middle East area, with the Aborigines of Australia leading the way a full +50,000 years before their Asian and European relatives.

Discovering the history of human migration with DNA has been made possible by improvements in the techniques used to study the genome.

Traditionally, genetic divergence dates were arrived at by combining the number of unique mutations in the DNA with an assumed rate of acquiring those mutations.

Now, computationally powerful models can simulate lots of different scenarios for migration timings and directions, and researchers can compare and choose the situation that most closely matches what is seen in the genome.

By comparing the Aboriginal genome with the DNA of African, European and Han Chinese individuals it was possible to highlight the later interbreeding after initial colonisation.


Evidence of Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

Evidence of Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos Puzzles Scientists –

If true, this is probably the most astounding discovery of the past century and would usher in changes equivalent to what Einstein did to the state of physics before him.  There is a lot of skepticism about these results, and several other teams that study neutrinos have already promised to try and replicate the results.  The OPERA groups find already contradicts a previous, albeit less precise, experiment performed by Fermilab in 2007.

Another Store Leaves Dallas for Cedar Hill

Another Store Leaves Dallas for Cedar Hill | NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

Not that the area was great when I first moved here in 1997, but I have been able to witness South Dallas’ steady deterioration as more and more businesses moved out to Cedar Hill.  Honestly, Hyang and I used to go to the Camp Wisdom area for shopping, but this has almost completely stopped in recent years.  The story summed up the situation best with this little segment:

Cedar Hill resident Yvonne Harris said she used to drive to the Southwest Center Mall area in Dallas to shop, but not anymore.

“There’s no reason at all for me,” she said. “There’s nothing there I really like.”

This is how Hyang and I feel.  The area has been gutted of businesses that most people would want to shop at.  As another person interviewed said of Cedar Hill, “Everything is here.”  Yes, everything is there, to the detriment of South Dallas.  Dallas leadership is talking about revitalization efforts, but I am not sure what they could do to make much of a difference.  The area as a whole just looks tired and worn down.  I can’t imagine how much money it would take to turn that look around.

Bloodshed in Syria backfiring on government

Earlier in the week, Arab states broke their long silence on the violence in Syria, with Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia recalling their ambassadors from Damascus and the Saudi ruler, King Abdullah, issuing a strongly worded statement that left little doubt that Syria can no longer count on support from the main power brokers of the Arab world.

via Bloodshed in Syria backfiring on government – The Washington Post.

I had thought this impossible earlier this month, but thankfully I was too pessimistic.  I now hope that regional support for a stronger international condemnation of the violence in Syria will be the key for unlocking a more forceful international reaction to the atrocities of the Assad government.