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US Geneticist Discusses North Korea Trip With Dennis Rodman 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
sciencehabit writes "If you happened to catch any of the news coverage of Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea last week, you might have spotted in the big man's entourage a white guy with an Amish-style beard, as in clean-shaven cheeks and no mustache. That's Joseph Terwilliger, 48, a statistical geneticist who splits his time at Columbia University and the University of Helsinki. He's now visited North Korea three times with the basketball star. He sat down with Science Magazine for a Q and A about how he got involved with Rodman and whether the trips are helping--or hurting--U.S. relations with the country."
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US Geneticist Discusses North Korea Trip With Dennis Rodman

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  • Re:Nazi regime (Score:4, Informative)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Monday January 20, 2014 @05:11PM (#46017813)

    Beside "both are really nasty regimes," the comparison isn't particularly apt. The NK regime is highly internally repressive (to a level only dreamt of by Nazi security forces), but also extremely isolationist (compared to the aggressive expansion and conquest used by Hitler to secure internal support for his programs). Visiting this crazy fat asshole is more like visiting Kim Jong-Il in 2010; the NK dynasty represents its own unique variety of crazy.

  • Re:sorry but.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Monday January 20, 2014 @05:53PM (#46018241) Homepage

    I think it is a bit different. He's interested in N. Korea because human experimentation has been happening, and sees an opportunity to get data that would be otherwise unavailable, even unethical. His acquiring the data however, is not the cause of that unethical treatment and if he abandoned his studies, that treatment would continue unabated.

    In a similar way, medical scientists study the effects of people's habits, for example, what happens to people who smoke, who run, who work in coal mines, who eat only vegetables, etc. etc. The scientists aren't the ones inducing people to engage in any particular behavior, but they see an opportunity to gather data by looking at various groupings. So while it would be one thing to set up an apparatus that made a person breathe coal dust for a decade, it is another thing altogether to acquire data from people who for some other reason unrelated to the scientist or the study, breathed coal dust for a decade.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:37PM (#46018751) Journal

    Japan will wage another massive war against a reunified Korea rather than see Korea become the other dominant force in the area (second to China). Japan is an incredibly racist and fascist State. It pretends that, despite the rise of China, Japan is still 'top dog'. It will NOT allow its old slave colony of Korea to gain greater power than Japan itself, not least for fear that Korea will eventually seek revenge for the deplorable history of crimes against the people of Korea by the Japanese.

    Japan has far more to worry about from the PRC than Korea, unified or otherwise.

    Population of Japan: 127.6 million
    Population of South Korea: 50 million
    Population of North Korea: 24.7 million

    A unified Korea starts off with less human capital than Japan. That's without accounting for the generations long project of bringing North Korea out of the stone age. It cost trillions of dollars and took more than a generation to bring East Germany up to West Germany's standard of living. North Korea starts out from a much worse state than East Germany. East Germany had a relatively educated population, a decent industrial base, and preexisting trade relationships. North Korea has none of those.

    Bottom line, Korea isn't going to overtake Japan in any meaningful measure of power (hard or soft) within the 21st Century, unification or not. Japan has a fairly deplorable history in Korea that they still haven't owned up to, but their actions in China during WW2 were arguably worse, and China actually has the soft and hard power to give Japan a run for her money. Of course, Japan + the United States + Australia + the Philippines + New Zealand + Korea is a different story. Beijing will be contained the same way the USSR was contained, by an alliance of like minded Democratic counties.

    Remember how when WW2 began, Russia was an aggressor (and partner of Nazi Germany in the invasion of Poland) and NOT a victim.

    The Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Poles, and Lithuanians are sympathetic to this argument. Of course, you've vastly oversimplified matters. Hitler had designs on the Soviet Union before he ever came to power (read Mein Kampf) and one could easily argue that Stalin's ruthlessness towards his small neighbors bought needed strategic depth that saved Moscow in 1941. Germany was coming regardless of Stalin's treatment of his smaller neighbors.

    The bigger lost opportunity was the chance the Western Powers had to enlist Stalin in a containment alliance directed against Germany, France tried to make this happen, but the UK was ambivalent about dealing with Stalin for obvious reasons. Whatever slim chance existed evaporated after Munich, when Stalin concluded that the West lacked the backbone to stand up to Germany. Once the balloon went up Eastern Europe was screwed regardless of what happened on the battlefield. The UK couldn't impose its will on the USSR, France was a spent force, and the United States wasn't going to absorb another million battlefield casualties for the sake of Poland and the Baltic States.

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.

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