Environmental Perspective #4 School Tour

31 Oct

The environmental perspective day was very special and in some ways extraordinary. Our class went on a trip to the control rooms of this school, a place where most students did not know that they even exist. We went around the control rooms for heating, water heating, and electricity. I had a slight idea that some kind of a facility that controls such devices would exist somewhere in school, but I did not expect it to exist so far deep down. In addition, I was shocked at the fact that we had heaters in the parking lots, which is an open space, where heating efficiency significantly drops.

I was also surprised at how much money and resources are spent in this school just to keep it warm or cool, and provide comfort and convenience to the student body. It is thankful that the school is paying so much money and time for maintenance, but I still wonder about the heaters in the parking lot. It is probably common sense that heaters, or even air conditioners become very inefficient when used in open areas. It is good that lot of attention is paid for maintenance, however I hope the resources are used in more meaningful and efficient areas. Still, this field trip was meaningful in that I got to learn how KIS’s maintenance team works and what types of energy the school mainly utilizes.

Now I think that it would be a good experience if I get to look around those facilities of my apartment or other public buildings.

Environmental Perspective #3 Comfort Zone

28 Sep

Temperature: 71.4F
General state of Atmosphere: Mostly Cloudy
Atmosphere Pressure: 784.4mmHg
Humidity: 66%
Theme of the day: Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are, just as the word suggests, areas where one feels more comfortable in, whether it be urbanized environment or rural farms. I believe that numerous brilliant thinkers in the past have proved themselves and developed themselves as they took steps out of their comfort zones. By exposing oneself to foreign environment, new sensations would occur, as well as inspirations. Indeed, it would be “uncomfortable” initially; however, as one gets familiar, it could be considered an expansion of the original comfort zone.

In school yesterday, our environmental science class visited the Tancheon River. The purpose of this field trip was to experience the nature near us and have an opportunity to get out of our so-called “comfort zones”. The comfort zones that we usually put ourselves in would be our home, with all the electronic devices and furnitures with us. Of course, majority of us were inexperienced with the activities at the river. Whether it be simply entering the water ankle-deep, or looking at insect larvae, numerous students showed discomfort and often screamed throughout the exercises. However, it was different for me.

When I was younger, my family used to visit lakes, rivers or streams often, where I would jump in and play. The time we spent at the Tancheon river was so valuable and reminiscent that I actually wanted to stay longer. For me, the activities at the river were actually in my comfort zones. I enjoy observing the nature and finding insects, and the activity fascinated me. I did not know that there would be insect larvae under the rocks; I thought that there would be no life under rocks. Maybe insects laid their eggs under rocks to avoid the eggs from being swept by the water current. The diverse varieties of life amazed me, yet I was somewhat disappointed at the small size of the land that existed for plants to grow. It felt as if Tancheon existed just for visual satisfaction, rather than preserving nature.

I’m looking forward to more of these opportunities as I will certainly be able to expand my comfort zones, and the nature will be my sources of inspiration out of the classroom as well.

 

Environmental Perspective #2 Live Simply

3 Sep

Temperature: 79.3F

Humidity: 62%

Atmosphere Pressure: 750.9mmHg

General State of Atmosphere: Partly cloudy

Theme of the day: Live Simply

Gandhi once said “Live Simply, so that other may simply live”

In our environmental science class today, our teacher talked about how we can change our lives, either big or small, to create a bigger change in the world. He told us his stories of his friends where one consumes more meat than others and the other is a strict vegetarian. Listening to his stories, I thought about how my life has been. Was my life ever really “simple”? Did I have a chance to try something new that I wanted to do?

My life has been a routine, where it mostly consisted of studying. The routine itself indeed was simple, yet the components were complex. I would like to pursue a simple life, where I have the time to play tennis, listen to music or even attend concerts. Hence, I thought about how I can change it.

Logically, I do not think I can possible live a day without consuming any meat. Trying to make a simler life in respect to food is a great challenge that seems implausible to me. So I decided to promote change in other aspects, such as my life style in general. I may try consuming less resources, or even try donating my clothes or other resources. However, humans are naturally designed to desire more.  It might be hard at first, but since my life currently is better than many people’s in the world, I will adjust to it eventually. Although my changes will be small, my desire to bring better environment and life for people will not stop. Such desire is what motivates me to consider pursuing biomedical engineering in university as well. I dream of bringing positive change, especially to the lives of people.

Environmental Perspective #1 Human Impact

30 Aug

Temperature: 30
General state of Atmosphere: scattered clouds
Atmosphere Pressure: 10165 hPa
Humidity: 62%
Theme of the day: Human Impact

I currently live in Seoul, South Korea. In school today, as a class activity, our environmental science class went hiking into the mountain behind the school campus. We were able to look at the city, Bundang, right across the highway and the school campus itself. Looking at the city and school from within and outside were such different sights. Bundang, for example, is a recently developed city with many skyscrapers and tall apartments. Hence, it resembles a forest of buildings. However, from outside, it is a collection of grey, concrete structures that does not fit even with the trees nearby.

The whole area where Bundang and our school is located was a forest just a few decades ago. Indeed, technological and industrial development and expansion is needed in the modern world, yet such rapid change without the slightest consideration about the environment has brought drastic changes to the forest that existed. Now as we take a time to look at the changed condition, I felt that it is indeed too late to think about fixing after change has taken place. Whether it be constructing a building or taking out trash, the influence and effect such actions will have on the environment should be considered.

Our teacher said that the area we were standing was actually a forest as well. The school and the city were built after “clearing out” the forest of the mountains. I do not wish to become overly sentimental, yet considering the number of animal species and plants that lost their habitat and the drastic change in landscape that took place, I became slightly sad. Another shocking fact that I realized was that such construction was now taking place even in the suburbs. Seoul is already developed, hence the modernization is taking place in the rural areas as people clear out trees, mountains and sometimes streams to construct buildings under the name of modernizing. I hope that people put in more time and care into the environment, because I strongly believe that humans are capable of leaving both negative and positive impact on the nature.

Difficulties of being home alone

29 May

I’ve come to realize lately that I’m a very social person. And that I’m not a person who particularly enjoys being alone. I have to have some sort of human contact. My parents and grandparents recently left Korea for my sister’s high school graduation in America. And this is my first to be actually, and literally be alone, with no family member nearby. And, it is quite awkward and I’m going a little stir crazy. Making the problem worse is that all of my friends outside of my school are in middle of exams and are too busy to hang out. Last night I found myself staring into my computer for what seemed like hours on end and I truly didn’t know what to do. I knew I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what. I believe that this experience is making me appreciate my family as well as people in my life. I think I now realize how it is for people who are truly alone with nobody out there. In addition, I’ve developed a sympathy towards those kind of people. Without my school activities, and after school activities, I think I would be going insane about right now. I’m actually happy that I have homework to do. However, I am secretly and eagerly waiting for my family to return from U.S. The toughest part about the whole experience is figuring out what to eat and how to eat it and how to prepare food. Thinking about the difficulties of making food for myself, I believe I’m going to reexamine and possibly joining a cooking club or watching cooking programs on TV or at least get some advice from my mom. Being a guy is tough, I think. Especially when you are alone.

End of School

25 May

End of School is only about 3 weeks away. Many people are looking forwards vacations and some time off from school, but seniors already are excited about graduating and going to college. However, the summer does not excite me as much as it does to other people. As a rising junior, I face the prospects having to officially prepare for SAT and SAT IIs, and start to think about colleges that I want to attend. All these accumulate to basically getting rid of all the fun during summer. 

Yes, I do have a music camp to prepare for a concert during summer, but I might not be able to attend that event for its entirety due to scheduling conflicts. This is probably going to be the busiest school year in my high school life because of all the critical preparations I have to make. Looking back, I really envy the incoming freshman and the outgoing seniors and rising seniors. I feel this way because they really don’t have anything else to do except to keep their grades up. Right now, my summer schedule is swamped with hagwons, tutors, music events and summer work. I can truly understand why freshman in college may goof off in their first year. I am sure there are many other people who are in the same situation as I am, and I am always wandering how other people cope. For me, I deal with the academic stress by playing sports like tennis and basketball. However, sometimes, those don’t alleviate the stress that I feel. Sometimes I wish I had a week of a lone time to myself with absolutely nothing to do except whatever I please to do. However, these thoughts are nothing but a pipe dream and I hope that I can cope with my summer with this crazy schedule. 

State of KBL

24 May

KBL, or Korean Basketball League, has been part of Korea’s four major sports including Soccer, Volleyball and Baseball. However, as the star players from the 90s and early 2000s retired, the popularity of the sport is on a steady decline.

So what factors have led to the decline of Basketball in Korea?

First, the skill level of the players hasn’t improved much in the last ten years. Compared to the star players like Sang Min Lee in the the 90s and early 2000s, current league’s top guards look like amateurs. It is true that Asians have some physical disadvantages compared to Western players, however, looking at other Asian nations such as China, you will notice that they are slowly catching up the physical and BQ gap as the sport is so popular in China. On the other hand, in Korea, other than the season games, there isn’t any kind of a boom in the society. Even though there is a international tournament, people tend to neglect it and focus on sport like baseball.

Second, there is very little investment in the growth and development of youth teams which is essential in developing the next generation of professional as well as national team members. Without funding for youth leagues, new basketball courts and coaching clinics, Korea will never develop the type of athletes that can compete against other international teams.

So how can we fix this to bring back the popularity?

First would be the development of talent overseas. If we take a look at soccer, our best players have experienced foreign leagues. Also, current youth players in their early teens are actually part of youth teams of famous professional teams like Barcelona. However, Korean youth basketball players do not receive any kind of opportunities. The better, more promising players should be given a chance to attend high school overseas or at least visit during summer leagues. Just watching a competitive game in U.S. might be better than simply practicing on their own in Korea.

Second, a chance to play against a foreign team might be beneficial. Inviting or visiting a foreign youth team to play against our teams will create desires to become better and be more efficient players in the future.

Finally, although it may not happen any time soon, reaching out to the NBA to help promote basketball would be a very media-savvy move that would bring a lot of attention to basketball. Also, a proper basketball environment should be created. If we look around, all we see is outside courts where injury is possible. The number of gyms that people can burrow to use should increase too.

Conference Finals 2010-2011

22 May

The NBA currently is in the playoffs of 2010-2011 season. The conference finals are becoming a match up between the experienced versus the inexperienced. Older talent versus the emerging talent is becoming very interesting. Also, the fact that the traditional powers have been eliminated or are facing very stiff competition from young upsetter teams.

Currently we have the Dallas Mavericks, OKC Thunders, Miami Heats and the Chicago Bulls on the conference finals. Interestingly, the age gap between the Mavericks and the Thunders is about 10 years. Also, between Heats and the Bulls, the gap is about 5 to 6 years. In a game of basketball, especially one in this kind of competition, a veteran, experienced team would have a hard time in the long run if their match ups all go until the 7th game. On the other hand, young and unexperienced team like the OKC Thunders who has never been this deep in the playoffs may lack the composure to handle a long series. For example, Russell Westbrook showed off his inexperience in the last time when he committed a critical turnover in the 4th quarter.

Even though both sides seem to be mirror opposites of each other, both series of Western and Eastern Conference Finals have been some of the most exciting games in the recent playoff memory. I believe it is exciting to see two young teams emerge and seeing some traditional veteran laden teams continue their excellence. Hopefully the finals will be as exciting as the Conference Championships.

What is Team Play?

18 May

In a game of basketball, there are many situations where a player has to take a tough shot, instead of passing around the ball. Some say that is a type of team play, but some say that it is merely a ball hog’s action as the player did not pass.

So what is “team play”?

Kobe Bryant taking 40 shots in a game and Nate Robinson taking 40 shots in a game is a totally different matter. Kobe takes that many shots because he is the one who has to do so. However, if someone like Nate Robinson decides to take 40 shots, it becomes a problem. Even though there is a better scorer than him on the court, if he decides to take them, it is merely a selfish action.

There are cases where you use a motion offense, 2:2, 3:3, but 1 on1 is a type of offense. Basketball is a game where you take about 80 to 90 offensive attempts. In doing so, there are situations where they desperately need a point and easy shots are not possible. That is when a star player comes in to take the job. Some call this being selfish, but think about it. Do you think they shoot comfortably? No. They do it because no one else on the team can, and even the coach of the team would give the ball to the most secured scoring option. If we can take open shots the whole time, it would be lovely. However, is basketball such a sport? No.

If you simply call a person who has the ball the most a ball hog, Chris Paul should be considered a ball hog also. However, he is not, as when he is on the court with the ball with him the most of the time, the team’s ability increases significantly. People say off-the-ball plays are important, but on-the-ball plays are big parts of basketball too. If off-the-ball play is team play, then on-the-ball play is team play too. If motion offense is a tactic, then isolation is a tactic too.

There are people who argue that players who keep the ball for long, take a lot of shots, makes few passes are selfish, bad players. If we call a player who does not pass much a bad player, it isn’t a logical statement. One must consider the situation of the team, the position of the players and the offense they were running. Even if some players were open, the pass routes could have been cut already.

To argue logically, one should make a statement something like this. “A team is in this situation with these players on these parts of the court, with defensive players here and there. Although player A is open under the post, player B does not pass and decides to take a contested 3-pointer. Thus player B is a selfish player”. However, instead of doing this, if one argues that Player B is selfish just because he does not pass, it is not logical enough. In order to define a team player and whether a player is doing team play or not, one must define what the “team play” is in that specific situation.

The Hot Curry – Stephen Curry

1 Apr

“Sharp Shooter” “Spicy Curry” “The Golden State of Mind” –these are all nicknames that Stephen Curry has earned in 2 seasons in the NBA.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Stephen Curry is son of a former NBA player, Dell Curry.

During his high school years at Charlotte Christian School, he was named all-state, all-conference, and team MVP as he led his team to three conference titles and three state playoff appearances. Amazingly, he finished his high school career with a 48% from the arc. However, although he spent such a successful high school career, a 6-foot, 160-pound was not the choice of many NCAA colleges. Most ACC schools considered Curry to be too weak to handle the physical nature of ACC basketball. Then, Curry received an offer from Davidson college, a school that had not won a NCAA tournament “game” since 1969, which he accepted the offer.

In his freshman year, he led the team to the Southern Conference title, and he himself set a record of 113 3-pointers as a freshman. Davidson finished the season with a record of 29-5, but they got eliminated in the first round against Maryland.

In his junior year, he surpassed the 2000 point mark in his 83rd game.

After averaging 25.3 points 4.5 rebound 3.7 assist and 2.1 steals, Stephen Curry decides to move on to the NBA.

In 2009, Stephen Curry is drafted 7th overall to the Golden State Warriors.

After his debut game on October 28, 2009, Curry achieved his first triple double on February 10, 2010. As a rookie, Curry had 5 30-point, 10 assist games, 3rd most in the league. He also got voted 2nd place in the Rookie of the Year award, and made it to the All Rookie Team with 3 unanimous votes.

However, he is facing problems. Curry is a typical dual guard, one who can handle both point guard and shooting guard on court. Although he has Monta Ellis as a teammate who can lead the team, Curry and Ellis have some areas that overlap. They both want to be the clutch time shooters and the ace of the team. When one of the two is out of the game due to an injury, there is no problem. However, when both of them are on court, they sometimes fail to create the unison as a young duo. Even though I am a Lakers fan, I look forward to seeing both Curry and Ellis lead the Warriors to the playoffs:D