Anyone who was in Korea as recent as two years ago would remember the mandatory requirement of having a Cyworld homepage, or minihompy. To those who may not be aware, this was the social networking service (SNS) that doubled as the Facebook and the Kakaotalk of its day during the 2000’s before it finally relented to its younger and sprightlier competitors as society shifted towards increased levels of smartphone ownership. Although Cyworld still exists, it is a shadow of its former self with its international branches in Europe, United States, Japan, and most of Asia defunct. Yet, it remains as a fascinating case of success as any other web-based product today – a dramatic example of how a website rode the wave of technological and societal change associated with the Internet. Therefore, on November 12, when Donghyung Lee, the co-founder of Cyworld, visited KAIST to give a talk on startups, interest was very high. The KAIST Herald went to investigate.
The beginning of a new semester is filled with anticipation – probably incoming freshman more than returning seniors – but no matter how big or small, everyone is looking forward to the changes this semester will bring. I am no different. Or to be more accurate, I probably am more, especially because this semester marks another new beginning for me as the new Editor-in-Chief of The KAIST Herald.
Perhaps we need not go as far as even outside our very own campus to find that intellectual thirst-quenching artistic inspiration. The artist residency program titled Endless Road is on its way to invite and accommodate three artists to our campus and encourage, as well as support, their artistic and creative activities, be it music, literature, scenario writing, cartoon drawing, and so on. KAIST Public Relations has offered three slots for interested artists and received a whopping pile of 125 applications; The KAIST Herald went to meet the person behind this successful beginning project that aims to promote the active exchange between science and art, Professor Jun Ho Oh.
Perhaps many students at KAIST would agree that the channels of communication within the school are limited. It is quite difficult for one to get to know complete strangers, unless they are forcefully introduced through group projects in class, or if they share membership in the same club. Naturally, some of the functions of socialization have to be delegated to online media. The “official” routes through the KAIST mail network and ARA, the school’s online forum, are open to all students, yet some have felt that even those were limited at best, especially when discussing matters that seem less agreeable to the (often socially conservative) larger student audience. This applies to seemingly natural elements of life in any community - namely sexual and political expression - with ARA users who express such opinions or make such posts being derided as “licentious” or “extreme.” Naturally, after the demise of the ill-fated ARA anonymous board after just 13 days, some students have taken up the mantle of creating a KAIST anonymous online forum. The KAIST Herald went to investigate.
What can you not do in college? With passion, one can apparently shorten the list by a great deal. This autumn, two KAIST students with their colleagues have opened the Baekyang401 Studio under their names in Eoeun-dong in high quality and low price range. Best part is, everything from blueprints and funding to hanging the signboard were done autonomously. The KAIST Herald interviewed its founders, Seokhyun Suh and Chanwook Kim, to learn more.
On September 27 and 28, KAIST-POSTECH Science War will be held right here at our university. As KAIST defeated POSTECH against the odds last year, lots of students and players are anticipating a definite victory once again. The KAIST Herald met with the head of the organizing committee for KAIST-POSTECH Science War.
Though many notable scientists and academic figures write popular treatises on their fields of expertise, the practice has been notably rare among most KAIST professors. This is especially true when the book itself does not concern the academic’s own particular field of research. Yet uniquely among his peers, Professor Dong-Soo Han of the Department of Computer Science has recently done precisely that; he has written a volume for popular audiences concerning patent law, with his publication of Patents: Infinite Challenge (Teukheo Muhan Dojeon). The KAIST Herald went to find out more.
Recently, questions have been raised on the misuse of funds by autonomous organizations. Some strongly argue for the transparency of financial records to the public, while others worry that such intervention will be a hindrance and vulnerability to the organization and its activities. The KAIST Herald takes a look into both perspectives.
In the last few weeks, Korea has seen the pariah of its politics: the Unified Progressive Party (UPP; whose factionist misfortunes were outlined in a column last year) making a spectacular re-entrance onto the central stage, once again shackled to the name of representative Lee Seok-gi. However, if the scandal last September had centered on Lee’s rigging of UPP votes to facilitate his election as representative to the National Assembly, the current hullaballoo is altogether a far more complicated – some would even say nefarious – pickle.
One of the biggest advantages of studying in KAIST is the easy and simple procedure when changing one’s major. Most other universities require certain qualifications, such as a specific grade point average and number of credits taken when transferring to another major. On the other hand, there are no such requirements in KAIST. If a student wishes to change one’s major, he or she can discuss the issue with the professors from the departments he or she is transferring into and from, get signatures, and then enroll in a new major. With this simple and easy way of changing majors, I noticed that KAIST students are more likely to transfer to other majors compared to students from other colleges. It is very common to spot students who have actually undergone changing majors or who are seriously considering the option. Furthermore, more students are double majoring or minoring in different departments thanks to the wide range of selections students can pursue.
We suffer from an inherent addiction to which there is no cure: numbers. One may argue that numbers are the very core to a myriad of academic disciplines that have catalyzed an indelible impact on the technological and economical advancement of human civilization. Indeed, without numbers, mathematics never would have been conceived, and without mathematics, we would still be living in caves, our best pastime would be carving racy rave drawings, and wars would still be fought with sticks and stones.
International students are already stressed with Korean academics and life, but when they graduate and leave the comforts of KAIST for a career in Korea, will they be prepared? On September 13, KISA has created for the first ever the Mentor Forum to address this concern. The forum was held in the Fusion Hall at the KI Building (E4) where four KAIST alumni with careers in major Korean institutions talked about their experiences. The event was headed by Faustine Devaga from the KISA Events Team, and The KAIST Herald met with her to discuss the details about this program.
As a typical human being, we are bound to suffer from the procrastination plague every once in a while (probably only because neural and behavioral sciences have yet to prove the existence of similar conditions in other species as well). Meanwhile, within our own species - from the 4.3 grade point average maniacs of our school to the latest Nobel Prize winners and to even our demanding Calculus professor - I dare say all must have experienced procrastination numerous times. And if that had not made you feel any better, it is probably time I come out and tell you that this editorial piece you are reading is also just a means to put off the 40 pages of Cell Biology I need to read before tomorrow's class. Every now and then, we should all be entitled to procrastination without having to carry the social stigma of lacking will power. However, since most of us tend to embrace our procrastinating nature far too often, I strongly believe that for the sake of our own physical and mental health, we should all have some tricks up our sleeves that can help us resist the urges to procrastinate every time it comes knocking at our doors. With all that being said, below are some procrastination hacks that will hopefully come in handy to you!
It was indeed the days of the old past when students were reluctant to come and pursue their studies in the rich and dynamic society of Korea. But now, the winds of change have taken hold, and KAIST in itself has become a multicultural global village, a harbinger of cultural acceptance, tolerance, and vivid appreciation. By joining hands with universities and educational organizations worldwide, the International Relations Team (IRT) has been able to attract a huge international student body that come as exchange and full time students to KAIST every semester. They not only experience innovative learning in their academic fields, but also learn about the rich and appealing heritage of Korea.
As most Koreans are aware, the annexation of Korea by the Japanese Empire (as in other parts of the world victimized by imperialism) provided fertile grounds for dissent among the Korean populace. Some of the nationalist and socialist intellectuals leading this struggle resorted to voicing their opinions through newspapers and popular pamphlets, while many also felt armed struggle was necessary to achieve Korean independence. A figure among these is poet and social activist Yun Bong-gil, who is most famous for his 1932 bombing attack on a Japanese Army delegation in Shanghai. This killed and injured several Japanese generals, and Yun was arrested and executed.
Undergraduates seeking for opportunities to lead private research from its inception to presentation have only a few programs to choose from. The Undergraduate Research Participation (URP) is a program provided by KAIST where undergraduates, either singular or in a team, are funded to attend laboratories and research any topic of their choice. The program length varies from one to two semesters and requires that the fruit of research be presented to numerous professors in the field; the presentation becomes the standard by which the research is rated. The KAIST Herald met an undergraduate who came on top of all the participants this season telling us about his research and experience.
A recent episode of the popular Korean reality television program 1 Night 2 Days featured KAIST as part of its special on universities. To film this episode, a couple of the show’s cast members visited our campus and spent a night here, as is suggested by the program’s title, exploring the university grounds, participating in games, and attending classes with KAIST students. The KAIST Herald interviewed Dong Wan Kang, a senior from the Department of Electrical Engineering and one of the students who made an appearance on the program.
Our school is known for its vast range of student clubs as well as the members’ dedication and commitment to club activities. And just when one might wonder if there exists any more clubs that could bring about new experiences to the student body, Hangil Lee and Jinho Kim joined hands to make a Frisbee club, yet another – but like no other –sports club. The KAIST Herald went to find out more.
Age cannot be a limit to what you can achieve, and there can be no limit to how much you can achieve. This has yet again been proved by two sophomores at KAIST, Hee On Choi and Hokwen Joung. They have developed The App of KAIST, a mobile application for KAIST in English. This is the first application made fully in English and thus, is a stepping stone for KAIST to become a more international-friendly university. The KAIST Herald met with Choi and Joung to discuss some attributes of the application, the first of its kind.
The latest developments in the United States (U.S.) turned the world’s attention to the American government, which began its indefinite period of partial shutdown on October 1. The shutdown, which is taking place for the first time since December 1995, immediately resulted in over 800,000 federal workers being put on furlough, national parks and museums closing down, and other governmental functions being put on hold. All of the commotion is a result of the failure between the Democrat-majority Senate and the Republican-majority House of Representatives to agree on a budget plan for the new fiscal year.