Yes, a decision has been reached. It was really tough trying to weigh all of the competing factors. I’ll lay out what led to the decision…
UCSD has an excellent computer science program, with good placement. Climate is very nice, and I really like the vibe of the student body, no matter how antisocial people say they are. It was the best computer science school I got into by a margin. Excellent resources and whatnot. If it were not for financial considerations, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. (Also good medical facilities, and a physician at UCSD med center who we’ve used as a second opinion, although that was by no means even a major contributing factor)
Mostly, it came down to what the other schools lacked. Generally their CS programs were small or practically nonexistent. I would not feel comfortable majoring at some of these schools. Their national merit programs emphasized that there were a high tier of National Merit, but in terms of networking, the mean GPA/SAT/quality of applicants was significantly lower. (more than a couple tiers below). It is a large amount of money, but so long as I put in a lot of time and effort, and get a job, I should be able to pay back a reasonable portion of what my parents paid. I’m not sure I will have to now, but they will be covering it up front.
Also CSL and Barcraft ain't bad. And diggity.
To elaborate on the above, this man is a boss.
Reading: So I’ve actually decided to lower the amount of time I spend on the computer/reading online materials. Recently I have begun reading an absolute ton of material. I read quite quickly, so reading, especially non-fiction has always been interesting for me. In the last week I’ve read around 9 books on various topics. I started with North Korean Refugees, and moved on to South Korea. Once finished I read a couple Noam Chomsky works, and tried to read plato’s republic. Uh. Maybe some other time. I read a 400 page history of communism in the United States, and a History of British Intelligence. Right now I’m on the fourth part of Churchill’s four part History of the English Speaking Peoples. I somewhat regret some of what I’ve done on the computer in my spare time: as cool as teamliquid is, I would contend that this reading has been of greater benefit. Would anybody like to suggest any generally interesting books that they have recently read. Anthing on IR/government policy, autobiographies. Pretty much anything non-fiction that you found interesting. Multiple suggestions are fine. Mostly I just want to get another huge stash, and burn through those.
The third part of this blog is a bit stranger, but I felt obligated to write on it. I got some books on Korea. Some were neutral overviews, some focused on the ancient era, of which surprisingly little is known, and some focused on history 1950- present. I put a ton of stuff on Korea on hold at the library. Some was interesting. Some was worthless. And some was cheesy and propagandist, and really turned me off. And you know who produced that? The Korean Tourism Office. Established over 20 years ago to promote tourism in South Korea, the KTO would seem to have limited success. Although there are many people visiting South Korea, from the other works I read, relatively few are visiting for conventional tourism. In fact, it would seem the majority are coming over because of the so-called Korean Wave/Starcraft/other niche cultural interests. Though the KTO has overseen a huge growth in tourism, I would content that it is correlation, not causation.
In regards to the work that the KTO put out, it was mostly clichéd, and left an extremely incomplete view of the country. For example, one video, reflections of korea talked about fourteen key things about korea. They included the hanbok, and a couple cultural sites, along with kimchi, and Korean barbecue. It looks like they are attempting to cater to western interests than be sincere. They donated all of these books to the library, yet most were mostly worthless. The only book they released was just a general informational guide on korea. Although it has a decidedly positive slant, it at least portrays the country as it is, as I can tell. It has the most in depth information on the country that I have found as of yet, with the exception of modern politics. (I actually have a book that is released yearly on the politics of Asia)
This leads to the question: what can be done to increase the tourism in Korea? Many people from tl.net enjoy korea, and for many reasons. Darkforce noted the food was excellent, Mizu enjoyed the culture, etc. But how does one promote this without being either scary to those with foreign tastes, or overly propagandistic? The KTO has a rather large budget, and actually runs significant online ads, but it would seem they are achieving limited success, in comparison to china or japan. In terms of tourists per capita, Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam are doing way better, although they do not have quite as much to offer, especially in terms of amentities. It would be reasonable to infer that some of the difference in tourism is cost, but to some the low cost/lower standard of living is off-putting.
What the heck is this sidebar?
Oh wait. A bottom bar is required..
My question to you is, what would you use to promote korea? Apart from SC, what are positive things that would be marketable? Considering that marketing experts can generally put a positive face on anything, I find it strange that with such a substantial budget, Korea can only produce what would seem to be cut-rate propaganda.
Just as final examples: This is the KTO website: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/index.kto
I found a mirror of one of their propagandist visit videos: http://www.mcst.go.kr/html/symbolImg/eng/DOWN/ENG-MOV.zip . Anyways, take what you will.