The 003 Blog (Fall 2006)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Freedom of Speech

Walking across campus on my way to work this morning, I passed by Hornbake Mall, where an anti-abortion display was being mounted. Big orange signs that read
were posted on both sides of the display, which featured large gory photographs of dead fetuses on signs that said things like "This moral wrong should never be a constitutional right."

As I walked past the gruesome display, I thought about how lucky Americans are to have the right to free speech written into our Constitution's First Amendment (thanks to Thomas Jefferson, author of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights). In this particular case, I do not agree with the anti-abortionists, but what matters is that they have the right to express their opinion, and I have the right to express mine.

You can see the entire Bill of Rights at the U. S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs site.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I'm back!

Some of you may have noticed that The 003 Blog vanished for a few days. It has been a frustrating time as I tried to discover what went wrong and fix it. This morning at my weekly meeting with webhead friends at Tapped In, my friend Vance in the UAE suggested that I pick a new template. It worked like a charm! (If you are ever tempted to try this, be aware that by changing the template you will lose any template changes you have made, such as links in the sidebar. Be sure to save those and add them back in to the new template.)

See you tomorrow! :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. We in the United States have much to be thankful for: our beautiful country with its abundant resources, its strong economy, and its political system which gives us a voice in the decisions which affect us and protects our basic freedoms. Yes, we have many problems as well, and the solutions are not easy to find. Still, I am thankful for what I have (my family, my home, and my job) and feel lucky to have been born in the United States.

Most Americans (including the most recent Americans, immigrants) celebrate Thanksgiving by getting together with their families and eating too much! Many families also enjoy watching or playing football on this day. To learn more about this holiday, see the link to Wilstar's Thanksgiving page in the sidebar.

Enjoy your holiday (if you have one), and remember to appreciate all the good things in your life.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Korean "Pizza" recipe

Young gave me the recipe for that wonderful Korean "pizza" they served at the International Fair last week. Try it!

1 egg, beaten
9 oz. whole wheat flour
3 oz. water
vegetable oil
10 sliced mushrooms
8-10 shrimp (either fresh or frozen)
5-6 green onions, cut in 4-5 cm. pieces
crab sticks, cut in bite-size pieces
a pinch of salt

  • Mix the flour, water, and salt in a cup or small bowl.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet.
  • Spread most of the flour mixture in the skillet, reserving about 1/5 of it; cook over a low to medium flame.
  • Spread the mushrooms, shrimp, green onions, and crab stick pieces on top of the mixture and coat the top with the reserved flour mixture.
  • Spread the beaten egg over the top.
  • Cook 5-10 minutes until the bottom is nicely browned.
  • Flip over, using two spatulas. Try not to break it!
  • Brown the second side.
  • Cut into portions and enjoy! It's good with soy sauce.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The International Fair

This is International Week at the U. of Maryland, and MEI's contribution was an International Fair, put on this afternoon by our wonderful students. There were displays from nine countries: Saudi Arabia, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, and Greece (I hope I remembered all of them!). Some of the displays were done by a single student: we have only one student from Japan, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Ecuador, and Greece (and two from Thailand) this semester, but these students still managed to create colorful, interesting, and/or delicious displays to represent their nations. Taiwan, Korea, and Saudi Arabia, with larger groups of students, went "all out". There was a lot of really yummy food and drink, so I spent most of the time eating. There was a Chinese clear noodle dish, Greek pita bread with tzatziki and stuffed grape leaves, and Korean "pizza" (like a seafood omelet, extremely delicious!). There was Korean corn "tea", Chinese bubble tea, and Arabian coffee. There were Arabian dates, Kazakh candies and sweets, and Chinese rice cakes. There was music from many countries, a slideshow showing pictures from many countries, brochures, maps, books, posters, pictures, and...people! A lot of people visited our fair from the university community, and I felt so proud of the wonderful job the students had done.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Home Schooling

In our reading/writing textbook, we have been reading about home schooling. This means that children are taught at home, by their parent(s), rather than being sent to a regular school. Today we were fortunate to be visited by Michelle C., who is home schooling her three children, ages 6, 9, and 11.

After a brief introduction to home schooling in general, most of the hour was devoted to Q&A. On Monday, the students had brainstormed the questions that they wanted to ask during a text chat at Tapped In. I made up a list of questions from the chatlog, and we practiced asking them in class yesterday and today. Practice makes perfect: every student asked at least one question, and most of the questions were grammatically correct and understandable.

We learned that not everyone home schools for the same reasons or in the same way. There are organizations, such as the Cedarbrook Academy, that support home schoolers with materials, field trips, support groups, and administrative work. There are many materials published especially for home schoolers to choose from. Children who are home schooled learn the same things as other children; they can receive certificates of school completion and even high school diplomas, and they are eligible to apply to universities.

Thanks to Michelle for her excellent presentation, and to Jeremy, Maureen, and Jason for being so well-behaved!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Yesterday was Election Day in the United States. Where I live, we voted for U.S. Senator, U. S. Representative, Governor, State Senator, State Delegates, State Attorney General, State Comptroller, County Executive and County Council, School Board, several judges, a few other offices I can't remember now, and four ballot questions. The ballot was four pages long!

The polls opened at 7 a.m. and I went to vote on my way to work. I had to wait in line for about 15 minutes, and it took about 5 minutes to cast my ballot. Of course, I had made all my decisions beforehand. I was given a little sticker to wear which said "I voted." I wore it proudly all day.

In the evening, I tried hard to stay awake to watch the returns, but I was too sleepy. When I got up this morning, I learned that the Democrats had retaken the U.S. House of Representatives and that most of the Maryland races had also been won by Democrats. :-)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The World Is Flat

Yesterday I attended a lecture by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times journalist and author of this year's First Year Book, The World Is Flat. It was really great! Friedman is a gifted writer, and he is also a dynamic speaker. He spoke for an hour without notes, and I never felt bored for a minute. He summarized the first part of the book, which I have already read. In the book, Friedman describes 10 things that have "flattened" the world:
  1. 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down (symbolizing the political opening of the formerly Communist countries) and the Windows operating system became popular (making personal computing easy)
  2. 1995, when Netscape, which invented the web browser as we know it, went public (prior to this, it was not very convenient to find information on the internet)
  3. work flow software, the "alphabet soup of computing" (html, http, TCP/IP, etc.) which makes it possible for different computers to communicate with each other seamlessly
  4. uploading, the phenomenon of free computer applications, shareware, community-developed software, open-source applications, Wikipedia ("the people's encyclopedia")
  5. outsourcing, using workers in other countries, like India or China, to do work that Americans used to do (such as customer service call centers)
  6. off-shoring, sending whole factories abroad
  7. supply-chaining, organizing the international manufacturing, transporting, and marketing of goods in the most efficient way
  8. insourcing, using contractors such as UPS to do work previously done by a company's own workers
  9. in-forming, the revolutionary websearch capacities of Google, Yahoo! and the like
  10. "the steroids": things that make it possible for us to work and play digitally anywhere and anytime: internet telephony, iPods, BlackBerry, wireless connectivity, fancy cell-phones, etc.
These ten "flatteners", together with new "horizontal" ways of doing things (business, education, journalism...) and the emergence of billions of people in the "Third World" who are now able to participate and compete, have changed our world in very fundamental ways. Friedman calls it "new players, on a new playing field, developing new habits and processes for horizontal collaboration."

I haven't finished the book yet, but hearing Friedman speak yesterday has inspired me to finish it!