Image via StandDesk Kickstarter
The large, comfortable rolling chair has become an icon of the workplace, while for some, it remains the symbol for dozing off. But some health-minded office workers are ditching the chair in favor of standing, with studies showing the negative long-term effects of sitting too much, which can increase the chance of heart failure.
These “standing desks” are slowly but surely creeping into some office spaces, and if the Kickstarter campaign for Asian American entrepreneur Steven Yu’s StandDesk means anything, the demand is only rising: the product flew past its original $50,000 goal on Kickstarter within 38 minutes, and with 43 days to go, it has received over $207,000 in pledges.
Lingering back issues from a motorcycle accident years ago got the 31-year-old Yu to start thinking of a healthy, natural solution to alleviating the pain and strengthening his back. His doctor told him to stand more often—a tall order for an office worker—but Yu was sick of taking pain medication. After seeing the short list of expensive and inconvenient models of standing desks available, Yu set out to make his own version, one that was simplified to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Continue Reading »
The video producers behind the Jubilee Project have partnered again with basketball star Jeremy Lin and his foundation this time to inspire an “acts of love” campaign, which begins today.
To launch the campaign, the Jubilee Project and the Jeremy Lin Foundation released “Lost for Words,” an eight-minute video starring Klo Lay Pla, who plays the role of Ka Nyaw, based on his own experiences of coming to America from Burma and facing cultural barriers and bullying from classmates. Lin plays the student’s tutor, whose friendship and mentorship inspire Ka to pass on the love.
The campaign is meant to encourage young people to make a difference through acts of kindness. The Jeremy Lin Foundation has even suggested a schedule of when and how to show #ActsOfLove each day from today through April 9.
The video was produced by the Jubilee Project, which has created 120 videos that have raised more than $35,000 for causes ranging from Hepatitis B to Japan tsunami relief. The project was founded by three young Asian American men who wanted to produce videos that inspire others to do good.
Lin also starred in the popular video, “The Last Pick,” (with more than 2.8 million views) produced by the Jubilee Project last year.
Diversifying Clinical Trials
A new national campaign aims to include more Asian Americans in medical research.
by JAMES S. KIM
Clinical trials have long been the method for medical researchers to test potential treatments for any and all diseases, from life threatening ones like diabetes and severe depression to the common cold. But while the U.S. population has become significantly more diverse over its history, clinical trials have largely not followed suit, and that discrepancy poses several problems for both patients and researchers.
Caucasians make up the vast majority of clinical trial participants, and as a result, there is a lack of understanding of how a medication might affect certain minority groups. It’s not the most encouraging news for the 1 in 10 Asian Americans who are affected by type 2 diabetes, as well as another 10 percent who are infected with Hepatitis B and make up nearly half the overall affected individuals in the U.S., according to the Asian Health Coalition. In addition, suicide is one of the top three causes of death for Asian American women ages 15-45, but they represent only 2 percent of participants in clinical trials for major depressive disorder, according to the FDA.
Few Asian Americans, and minorities in general, know about the full potential of proper clinical trials, or even what clinical trials are.
“They don’t have a good understanding of how clinical trials are regulated, what it truly means to participate in a clinical trial,” said Dr. Salvatore Alesci, Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). “I think an important element is understanding that participating in a clinical trial doesn’t just help the person who participates, but also the overall health of the community in terms of advancing knowledge.” Continue Reading »
Las Vegas nightclub and Asian bistro Tao is at the center of controversy for a sexually provocative billboard in Los Angeles that some are calling racist, LA Weekly reports.
The billboard near LAX shows an image of a woman’s back covered in Chinese character tattoos, with a caption that reads, “Always a Happy Ending.”
The “happy ending” cheekily refers to prostitution at Asian massage parlors in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The billboard was first spotted this week by Christine Lu, head of investment firm Affinity China. Lu took a photo of the billboard and posted it on Twitter.
“It’s disgusting,” Lu told LA Weekly. “As an Asian American female who has had to grow up aware of stereotypes of Asian women in this context, it’s very insulting.” Continue Reading »
S. Korea keeps wary eye on talks between N. Korea, Japan
South Korea has been keeping a wary eye on upcoming government-level talks between North Korea and Japan amid concerns that the diplomatic re-engagement between Pyongyang and Tokyo comes without any progress in efforts to denuclearize the North, two South Korean diplomats said Monday.
North Korea and Japan will reopen government-level talks in Beijing on Sunday for the first time in more than a year for discussions on a range of issues, including the North’s abduction of more than a dozen Japanese citizens decades ago.
The move comes as unpredictable North Korea is making a hawkish-dovish approach to the outside the world, while pushing ahead with nuclear and missile programs despite international sanctions.
Suicide Attempt Adds Another Twist to Korea Spy Scandal
Wall Street Journal
A South Korean intelligence officer attempted suicide on Saturday, marking another twist in the escalating spy scandal that has gripped the country in recent months.
The agent, identified only by his surname Kwon, was found unconscious in his car in a Seoul suburb, according to a fire department official, whose team first reached the site. Coal ash was found inside the car, in what appeared to be an attempt at carbon monoxide poisoning.
A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service on Monday confirmed Mr. Kwon’s suicide attempt and his hospitalization.
N.Korean Propaganda Against the South Is Failing
North Korean textbooks describe South Korea as a “fascist, military dictatorship” filled with “poverty and starvation,” but fewer and fewer North Koreans are buying the propaganda.
◆ “Living Hell”
North Korean textbooks teach that South Korea is dominated by “foreign powers” that trample on the Korean people and “taint” its history, language and way of life. A book of writings purportedly by former leader Kim Jong-il describes the South as a “living hell” dominated by the “terror and repression” of the U.S.
The North also teaches students that the U.S. must be driven out and South Korea liberated. Textbooks say U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea “fire guns in broad daylight, plunder homes and rape women.” There are also rumors that North Korean defectors have their “eyes gouged out and limbs severed” if they go to South Korea.
‘I’d Been Brainwashed’: The North Korean Defector Living In London
Kim Joo Il, 39, served eight years in the North Korean army. In 2005, after realizing his country wasn’t quite the paradise he’d been led to believe it was, he escaped the Hermit Kingdom by swimming to China. He now lives in London, where he’s the vice president of the Association of Korean Residents in Europe, works with North Korean refugees, and raises awareness about the North Korean regime’s human-rights violations. I recently caught up with him, and this is what he told me about life in his native country.
When I heard Kim Il-sung had died, I was near the 38th parallel [the DMZ between North and South Korea]. There was no electricity in North Korea that day, but I was so near the South Korean border that I heard them announce his death over the loudspeakers. I thought to myself, That’s bullshit—he’s not dead. How can the Great Leader be dead? He’s immortal.
It was impossible to imagine. I cried. We all did. Every morning, soldiers would line up to put flowers on his memorial, and we were all crying, crying, crying. Everyone was saying, “How can we survive, how will we live, what’s our destiny, now that our leader has gone?” If you’re brainwashed, that’s how you think.
Obamacare: Asian-Americans sign up in droves; Latinos disproportionately stay away
San Jose Mercury News
You’ve heard about the achievement gap, the wide disparity in educational performance between disadvantaged minorities and the rest of the student population.
Now comes the insurance gap, and in California it’s playing out most notably in the number of Latinos and Asian-Americans signing up for private health plans under the new health care law.
Of the nearly 700,000 people who enrolled in a health plan as of Feb. 28 through the Covered California health insurance exchange and identified their ethnicity, 23.1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. Twenty-two percent were Latino.
But the statistics are startling when you consider that Latinos make up 38.2 percent of California’s population and Asians just 13.7 percent.
GROUPON seems to be confused. The American e-commerce company, best known for its “flash sales”, recently announced it would soon shutter its Korean subsidiary. Despite vigorous marketing since it entered South Korea’s thriving e-commerce market in 2011, Groupon Korea has remained a laggard behind the three big domestic rivals: TicketMonster—Korea’s first “social” e-commerce provider, launched in 2010—Coupang and WeMakePrice.
The decision to close its Korean subsidiary comes only a couple of months after Groupon bought TicketMonster (known locally as T-Mon, pictured) for $260m—making South Korea Groupon’s second-largest market outside America. Yet the two moves have a common root: the withdrawal is proof of how hard it is to crack the Korean e-commerce market—and the acquisition shows the best way how to go about it.
Groupon is not the only Western internet firm that has lost out to local champions and given up in recent years. In 2012 Yahoo stopped producing content for the Korean market, after years of trailing behind Naver and Daum, two home-bred search engines. Google accounts for a measly 4% of searches there. Auction, Gmarket and 11st Street, Korean hybrids of Amazon and eBay, do far better than its Western models. EBay was the first to take radical action: in 2009 it bought Gmarket for $1.2 billion. Groupon, too, plans to learn from T-Mon, its South Korean acquisition.
South Korea Will Finally File a Complaint About Kim Yu-Na’s Silver Medal
With World Championships of figure skating beginning on Monday, South Korean Olympic Committee has said that it will file a complaint to the International Skating Union about an alleged breach of the code of ethics during the ladies competition at the Sochi Olympics. It’s a complaint the Koreans are afraid they’ll be punished for.
The complaint named judges Alla Shekhovtseva of Russia and Yuri Balkov of Ukraine. Shekhovtseva is married to the head of the Russian figure skating organization and was the judge seen hugging gold medal winner Adelina Sotnikova moments after the competition, and Balkov, who allegedly has ties to Moscow, was suspended for trying to fix a result during the 1998 Olympics. Both judges scored the ladies free skating competition, which saw Sotnikova receive the highest scores of her life and Kim Yu-na a silver medal free skate that many experts say was underscored.
The KOC and Korean Skating Union are asking for a thorough investigation of the judging composition and whether it was biased toward Sotnikova. And they filed the complaint knowing that it might result in retaliation. “We had to be very careful since an appeal or a complaint could strain relationships with international judges and bring disadvantages to our players in international games,” a KOC official said on Friday.
‘Auburn is my No. 1,’ says 4-star offensive lineman Kaleb Kim
Offensive lineman Kaleb Kim of Hoschton, Ga., named Auburn his favorite school on Saturday and hopes to make his commitment when spring practices end in May, reports 247Sports.
“Auburn is my No. 1,” Kim said after watching practice during his third visit to Auburn Saturday. “I liked what Coach (J.B.) Grimes is doing, and his intensity. I was standing by him the whole time. He gets after it. He’s intense. Face to face, he’s the nicest guy, but on the field it’s all business and he’ll get after you and I like that.”
The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder added Georgia is his second favorite school. He also holds offers from Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State and Ohio State, among others.
Liverpool and Chelsea battle to land Barca wonderkid striker
Daily Star (U.K.)
Reports in Spain claim that both title chasing teams want to sign the young striker to his first professional contract.
Both clubs have been successful in snaffling up other promising cadets from the Nou Camp, but will have to move fast if they want to do the same with Woo Lee.
The youngster is understood to be close to completing a deal with Barcelona, who has also been offered bumper deals from the English teams.
Barcelona are known to have lost several of their most promising stars to their European rivals in recent years, with Julio Pleguezuelo, Josimar and Canos leaving Spain to join Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.
Seoul Restaurants’ Missing Ingredient: Chefs
Wall Street Journal
Korean cuisine arouses so much national pride that some South Koreans reach into their own pockets to advertise a single dish on major U.S. newspapers. So why are South Korean restaurants often ignored by food critics?
Hooni Kim, owner and chef of New York’s Danji restaurant–one of the few Michelin-starred Korean restaurants–says Seoul’s food scene lacks a key ingredient: chef-owned Korean restaurants.
Many of South Korea’s family-owned, down-to-earth restaurants specialize in a single dish that are based on recipes laid down by family matriarchs, but don’t have chefs who create their own sauce base, according to Mr. Kim.
Crisis in Korea as younger generation abandons kimchi
Its unmistakable smell permeates Seoul subway carriages during the rush hour, and aficionados claim it is the healthiest food on the planet.
Once valued as a source of vitamin C before the arrival of refrigerators, kimchi now crops up on menus far from its birthplace on the Korean peninsula. The spicy, garlicky cabbage dish is to be found as a pizza topping and taco filling in the UK, Australia and the US, where the Obamas are said to be converts. Kimjang, the traditionally communal act of making kimchi, was recently awarded world cultural heritage status by Unesco.
But despite its growing popularity in restaurants from Los Angeles to London, South Korea’s national dish is in crisis in its country of origin. To kimchi’s basic ingredients of napa cabbage, garlic, seasoning and copious amounts of chili powder, we can now add a trade war with China and fears of lasting damage to Korean cultural identity.
Inside South Korea’s Coolest Military Theme Park
This is the Wanju Military Theme Park in South Korea. If only more video game first-person shooters were this colorful!P
The self-described “military theme park” is an airsoft pellet gun map that uses the GunPower system. According to YouTube user Ds4odk, this system employs wireless BB detectors—one on the front, one on the back, one of the helmet, and one on the face goggles. Hits are signaled by LED light and electronic sound feedback, and kills are then registered on a central computer, and this particular map has closed circuit cameras.P
Do note that the “SF Special Force” logos throughout might be nod to online shooter Special Force, which is, as tipster Sang points out, called Soldier Front in the States.