Thursday, November 23, 2017

Some 2018 (really 2017) Suneung 수능 English questions

Today was Suneung day again here in Korea for the upcoming 2018 college entrances. This year's test was remarkable for being delayed a week after the Pohang earthquake - the first time in history it's been delayed.

Suneung 2018 English section. Image: Naver

Here are four of the questions from this year's English test. How well would you have done? Answers are at the bottom of this post.

22. What is the best title for the following passage?

Sensory-specific satiety is defined as a decrease in appetite, or the subjective liking for the food that is consumed, with little change in the hedonics of uneaten food. As a result of sensory-specific satiety, when people consume a variety of foods, they tend to overeat. A greater variety of food leads people to eat more than they would otherwise. So, being full and feeling sated are separate matters. The recovery of appetite or the motivation to eat is apparent to anyone who has consumed a large meal and is quite full, and does not require additional energy or nutrients to meet their daily needs, but decides to consume additional calories after seeing the dessert cart. Small changes in the sensory properties of foods are sufficient to increase food intake. For example, subjects who were presented with different shapes of pasta showed increased hedonic ratings and increased energy consumption relative to subjects eating only a single shape of pasta.
* satiety: 포만(감) ** hedonics: 쾌락 *** sated: 충분히 만족한

① necessity of consuming a varied diet in daily life
② reasons for people’s rejection of unfamiliar foods
③ changes in people’s preference for basic food items
④ impact of food variety on the amount of food people consume
⑤ importance of maintaining food diversity to prevent overeating

34. Which phrase best completes the passage?

Over the past 60 years, as mechanical processes have replicated behaviors and talents we thought were unique to humans, we’ve had to change our minds about what sets us apart. As we invent more species of AI, we will be forced to surrender more of what is supposedly unique about humans. Each step of surrender ─ we are not the only mind that can play chess, fly a plane, make music, or invent a mathematical law ─ will be painful and sad. We’ll spend the next three decades ─ indeed, perhaps the next century ─ in a permanent identity crisis, continually asking ourselves what humans are good for. If we aren’t unique toolmakers, or artists, or moral ethicists, then what, if anything, makes us special? In the grandest irony of all, the greatest benefit of an everyday, utilitarian AI will not be increased productivity or an economics of abundance or a new way of doing science ─ although all those will happen. The greatest benefit of the arrival of artificial intelligence is that _____________________.
* replicate: 복제하다

① AIs will help define humanity
② humans could also be like AIs
③ humans will be liberated from hard labor
④ AIs could lead us in resolving moral dilemmas
⑤ AIs could compensate for a decline in human intelligence

35. Which sentences does not belong in the following passage?

In the context of SNS, media literacy has been argued to be especially important “in order to make the users aware of their rights when using SNS tools, and also help them acquire or reinforce human rights values and develop the behaviour necessary to respect other people’s rights and freedoms”. ① With regard to peer-to-peer risks such as bullying, this last element is of particular importance. ② This relates to a basic principle that children are taught in the offline world as well: ‘do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you’. ③ Children’s SNS activities should be encouraged when we help them accumulate knowledge. ④ This should also be a golden rule with regard to SNS, but for children and young people it is much more difficult to estimate the consequences and potential serious impact of their actions in this environment. ⑤ Hence, raising awareness of children from a very early age about the particular characteristics of SNS and the potential long-term impact of a seemingly trivial act is crucial.

40. Which words correctly fill in the blank in the following summary of the passage?

Time spent on on-line interaction with members of one’s own, preselected community leaves less time available for actual encounters with a wide variety of people. If physicists, for example, were to concentrate on exchanging email and electronic preprints with other physicists around the world working in the same specialized subject area, they would likely devote less time, and be less receptive to new ways of looking at the world. Facilitating the voluntary construction of highly homogeneous social networks of scientific communication therefore allows individuals to filter the potentially overwhelming flow of information. But the result may be the tendency to overfilter it, thus eliminating the diversity of the knowledge circulating and diminishing the frequency of radically new ideas. In this regard, even a journey through the stacks of a real library can be more fruitful than a trip through today’s distributed virtual archives, because it seems difficult to use the available “search engines” to emulate efficiently the mixture of predictable and surprising discoveries that typically result from a physical shelf-search of an extensive library collection.
* homogeneous: 동종의 ** emulate: 따라 하다


Focusing on on-line interaction with people who are engaged in the same specialized area can ___(A)___ potential sources of information and thus make it less probable for ___(B)___ findings to happen.

① limit ……unexpected
② limit ……distorted
③ diversify ……misleading
④ diversify ……accidental
⑤ provide ……novel

And of course it wouldn't be the English subject Suneung test without some useless debate about foreigners thinking it's too hard.

Anyway, Naver conveniently has a site up where you can download the full test sheets for Korean, math, and English subjects in PDF format:
🔗 2018 대학수학능력시험 : 네이버 뉴스

Answers are hosted by various media outlets, such as at the Joongang Ilbo. They also have the English listening test scripts and actual listening files. So if you feel like taking the entire thing, have at it! To mimic proper Korean test conditions, try to imagine that your entire life depends on your result.

Regarding the week long delay, I think it will be interesting to see what affect if any the delay will have had on average scores. Lots of kids had planned trips abroad for the days after the test, and doubtless had headaches getting refunds or schedule changes. Some had plastic surgery appointments scheduled, you know, to really prepare them for the real world now. Some had thrown out their study books before learning of the delay and extra week to study. Some were just plain flustered.

And if you're interested I've got a few of the questions from last year up here:
🔗 10원 Tips: Some 2017 (really 2016) Suneung 수능 English questions

Congrats to the test takers and re-takers. Now get some well deserved rest.


ANSWERS: #22 = 4, #34 = 1, #35 = 3, #40 = 1

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Naver Whale browser "snows" for first snow of the year

Today the Seoul area experienced its first snow of the season, and Naver's web browser Whale celebrated by making it snow on the new tab page. 

Screenshot of a snowing Naver Whale browser new tab page

I tried it this afternoon to confirm. If you run the mouse cursor around the screen, the snow will respond with a sort of hover/get-out-of-the-way response. 

Some users on Twitter (including the official Whale account) shared their shots too, including this one that shows the snow animation:

Snow falling on Whale's new tab page. Image: @Cha_Gyung

The effect is similar to what Kakao has done within KakaoTalk chatrooms when it's snowed over the last few years. 

I like this a lot. It reminds me of the kind of cute whimsy (or a brand of 센스) in technology that Google used to be known for. 

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Naver Whale browser Linux version released

Naver has released the Linux version of their Chromium-based web browser, Whale.

Naver Whale promo image for Linux version

You can download it either as a .deb package installer file (63 MB) from their download page alongside the Windows and MacOS versions, or from their repository. 

Naver Whale download page. Windows, macOS, and Linux versions ready. Just waiting on iOS/Android.

The direct link to the current version is:

It's listed as for Ubuntu 14.04 64bit or later, so of course other similar based distros should run it. For example here's a guy who got it running on Linux Mint:

Whale browser in Linux Mint. Image: CaveStory :: 네이버 웨일 리눅스 출시! 

I wanted to try it myself and throw some screenshots of my own up here, but sadly, the only Linux box I've got lying around right now is an older Dell laptop with Lubuntu, and importantly it's an x86 system. Whale is for x64 systems only. Looks like this guy tried installing it on a Raspberry Pi and found that out the hard way. I could add a Linux partition to one of my other computers, or maybe try running it in a Live CD session, but eh who cares.

Naver Whale package from Synaptic Package Manager. Yes, I'm guilty of analog screenshotting.

The Whale repository is at and there you'll find the commands to run in your terminal to add it and install Whale:

$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable/" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/naver-whale.list'
$ wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install naver-whale-stable

Naver Whale repository

Have fun. And if you really want to stick it out with Linux in Korea, take a look at HamoniKR, which is both a Korean-ready remix of Mint and a wider Open Source enthusiast community. A lot of answers can be found there. Meanwhile I'll stick with Windows. As a former Open Source junkie, turning to the dark side just plain made life easier here.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Naver opens Papago Gym, rewards for contributing translations

Naver's translation program "Papago" has opened Papago Gym, in which users can contribute translations to improve the system, in a gameified way.

Papago Gym promo logo. Image: Naver

To try it, visit and log in with your Naver account. Right now it's only available on desktop.

You'll be shown a text in Korean or English and then a few possible translations. Pick the right one, or contribute your own, and get points.

Papago Gym translation improvement sample. Image: Naver

It's pretty similar to what Google tries to get users to do, such as with their Crowdsource app. 

Right now there's some special promo event where you can get Papago swag. 

I don't know who wants to waste their time with this type of stuff that blatantly is outsourcing a major corporation's work to its own users, but then again I waste precious downtime with this blog so to each his own. 

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

High Noon: Korean English levels meme

To celebrate the first ever delay of the Suneung, here is a funny meme picture that humorously illustrates many Koreans' perceptions of how English gets used. As the level goes "up," a simple statement like "It's high noon." becomes so convoluted and abstract that it's nearly impossible to comprehend. The drawing too becomes appropriately more and more abstract. The levels progress from:
  1. (easiest) actual native speakers
  2. middle school English textbooks
  3. high school English textbooks
  4. (hardest) Suneung questions (Korean College Scholastic Ability Test)

English levels, from "native speaker" to CSAT

This meme format is part of the Increasingly Verbose Memes | Know Your Meme family, and looks like somebody just added the Korean text to this one. The cowboy character is McCree from the wildly popular game Overwatch. He says this when doing some special move. 

If you want to see what the test is really like, I posted a few questions here:

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Korean government moves to Open Document (.odt) standard

That's right. The Korean government is going to start using the Open Document format (.odt) for official government documents and archives. Say goodbye to .hwp files!

Apache Open Office 4. Pic unrelated Image: T§ at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL], via Wikimedia Common

Sort of. Individual public servants can still use Hangul Office to make all the .hwps or .docs or .ptts they want in their line of duty. Plus this idea's been floated for 3 years. But ZDnet cites that considerations like budgeting (i.e. not having to pay Hancom to use their propitiatory software that plenty of people pirate anyway) and the advantages in operability among different OSes, and that it's particularly suited to cloud storage.

It looks like they won't actually be using Open Office or LibreOffice though, but rather some kind of cloud solution for creating the docs. So no, not Google Docs, or apparently even Netffice. They're also working on converting old documents into the .odt or .pdf formats.

It looks like part of the wider government initiative called the On-nara System (온-나라 시스템) to streamline government paperwork into the cloud. This is rabbit hole of info and I don't have time to go more into this now, sorry.

I actually sort of like Hangul Office. I got a (legal?) copy from a coworker and you can set the whole thing to English and it's actually pretty intuitive and powerful, and yes incorporates well with your cloud drive storage. I've got a whole series of posts up if you need help opening/using HWP documents and don't have the program: 10원 Tips: Posts tagged "hwp"

Funny, before I came to Korea I was deep into promoting the open source lifestyle. Ubuntu and LibreOffice all the way. Now I'm full time back on Windows and Word/Hangul/Adobe.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Recommended: "US Marine's love in the time of war"

Recommended read: US Marine's love in the time of war

I always enjoy Robert Neff's history articles. This one gives a small glimpse into one soldier's life. I couldn't help but imagine this same scene playing out again today if the North ever really does strike. Sure, Seoul has more bridges now, but it also has vastly more people.

On Jan. 3, 1951, the embassy was ordered to evacuate to Busan. There was no real organized plan ― merely each man for himself ― and Lampman told his young bride to gather up her family and return to the embassy. It was his intention to drive them south in an old Russian truck he had obtained some months earlier.
Lampman, his wife, and a young American named Wabash rode in the front while squeezed in the back were 18 young women ― all embassy switchboard employees. Everyone in the city was making for the one bridge crossing the Han River ― pandemonium ruled.
Korea Times | US Marine's love in the time of war

Read the full thing at the link. Condolences to Mr. Lampman.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Praise for "Train to Busan" from big names

Randomly I came across this Tumblr post that highlights some big name praise for the Korean zombie film Train to Busan and its director Yeon Sang-ho. I didn't know Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, and Edgar Wright had enjoyed it so much.

Screencap from Just Another Generic Blog — Train to Busan (2016) 

Here's that post embedded below:

Here are the original tweets he mentioned:

Anyway, I'll let you dig down the rabbit hole to find more. I think this praise is deserved. I highly enjoyed Train to Busan. It felt very satisfying and of course had one of my favorite Korean actors Ma Dong-seok, who isn't actually Korean (by nationality, anyway), playing a big tough softie. I agree it was one of the best zombie films of the past few years.

Of course, there was another train movie that didn't go over so well, at least with government types:
“‘Snowpiercer’ repudiates the market economy and encourages campaigns of social resistance.” This was the “review” of director Bong Joon-ho’s film “Snowpiercer” as reported to the Blue House by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) during the Park Geun-hye administration on Aug. 27, 2013. In place of a star system, “red lines” were drawn. Last Oct. 30, the NIS Reform and Development Committee under chairperson Jeong Hae-gu announced findings from its investigation into a culture and arts blacklist created and implemented by the NIS on order from Park-administration Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon and others.
“Snowpiercer” labelled as anti-market economy, encouraging social resistance by NIS : Arts & Entertainment : News : The Hankyoreh

All it encouraged me to do was wonder why I spent two hours watching it. So to recap my personal feelings:

  • Train to Busan 👍
  • Snowpiecer 👎

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