Kimchi Making at Home Was Going Out of Style. Rural Towns to the Rescue.


GOESAN, South Korea — The family van was loaded with a precious cargo — 11 brown plastic boxes filled with 150 pounds of kimchi that Ha Si-nae, her husband and three daughters had made with their own hands.

“We are all set until this time next year!” said Ms. Ha, 40, looking contentedly at the​ neat stack of ​boxes. “Nothing makes a Korean family feel secure like a good stock of kimchi does.”

In Korea, where people like to say they “can’t live without kimchi,” November is kimchi-making season, or “kimjang.” And like the Ha family, many Koreans are trying to keep the centuries-old tradition alive.

Kimjang was once a ritual as timeless as the changing of the seasons. When the first frost came, families would create stockpiles of kimchi, storing it in large clay pots often buried ​in the ground. These pots of kimchi sustained them through the long winter and lean spring, when fresh vegetables were unavailable​.

Both South and North Korea are so proud of the autumn ritual that they campaigned — separately, but successfully — to put kimjang on UNESCO’s list of “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.”

But in the age of foolproof meal kits and on-demand grocery delivery, the tradition is in decline.

“Whatever else they make well, those big businesses can’t make kimchi as good as the one your mom or mother-in-law made,” Ms. Ha said.

Ms. Ha used to get kimchi from her mother, a common practice among many younger Koreans living in big cities. But when her mother became too old to make the dish — a laborious, time-consuming task — Ms. Ha and her husband tried to make it on their own, using recipes found on YouTube.

More often than not, they failed.

Last year, weary of commercial kimchi but unable to make their own from scratch, Ms. Ha’s family began traveling to a rural town to learn.

Goesan, a mountainous county in central South Korea, is famous for its scenic gorges, Zelkova trees and three foods — corn, chili pepper and cabbage. Those last two are among the most important ingredients for kimchi.

Han Sook-hee, 59, and other women in White Horse village, in Goesan county, still make kimchi for themselves and for their children​, who have migrated to cities. In recent years, the women started receiving requests for kimchi from their children’s neighbors.

Four years ago, a villager made a suggestion: Why not lead a kimjang workshop to give the village’s rapidly aging population extra income during the agricultural off-season and to help those who want to learn the art of making kimchi?

The festival was an instant hit.

“We provide the ingredients fixed and ready, and all the participating families have to do is mix them into kimchi,” Ms. Han said. “We also try to recreate the merrymaking atmosphere of kimjang.”

In a custom similar to an Amish barn raising, entire villages used to turn out during kimjang, helping one family make its kimchi before moving on to the next. Hogs were slaughtered and makgeolli — Korean rice wine — was consumed over songs and laughter.

During kimjang, families cleaned hundreds of heads of cabbage and soaked them in large tubs of salty water for a couple of days, turning them over twice a day. They slathered each cabbage leaf with a sauce made of chili pepper, garlic, ginger, scallion, radish, fermented fish and other ingredients. The cabbages were then stacked and patted down in jars. Lactic fermentation gave the kimchi its unique taste and texture.

After the success of the White Horse workshop, the Goesan government began hosting a three-day “kimjang festival” last fall.

“The kimjang festival will serve as a bridge between urban families who wish to make their own kimchi and our farmers who want to sell cabbage and other kimchi ingredients,” said Goesan’s mayor, Lee Cha-young.

The first festival attracted 80,000 people last year, he said. This year, because of the coronavirus, the county held a socially-distanced version inside its stadium.

Shin Tae-sook, 71, joined the festival last year because she said it made the work easier. This year, she brought her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter with her. Although she used the sauce the county provided, she added her family touch — a bucket of raw oysters.

“A Korean meal is not complete without kimchi; it makes you feel embarrassed when you have a guest and you don’t have kimchi on the table,” Ms. Shin said. “Kimchi is a dish, but you can make other dishes out of it.”

She listed them off: “Kimchi soup, kimchi stew, kimchi pancake, kimchi anything,” she said. “You can’t talk about Korean food without talking about kimchi.”

Woo Kyong-ho, a workshop organizer, said that when he traveled abroad and didn’t have kimchi for a few days, he suffered “kimchi withdrawal symptoms.” The food is so closely associated with Korean identity that when South Korea sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station in 2008, kimchi was taken along on the mission.

When Koreans take group photos, they say, “Kimchiiii,” instead of “cheese.”

“Kimjang and kimchi brought a Korean community together,” said Kim Jeong-hee, head of the Jinji Museum, which specializes in Korean culinary history.

Korean families don’t consume as much kimchi at home as their ancestors did. They eat out more often and have plenty of alternatives to choose from. They also buy more factory-made kimchi, 38 percent of which is imported from China.

In 2018, four out of every 10 South Korean households said they had never made kimchi or knew how to​, according to the World Institute of Kimchi.

But kimchi remains the food Korean families like to share. Recipes usually vary from village to village, and from family to family, and are handed down through generations. A request for seconds is considered high praise and a source of pride.

The autumn foliage was starting to change colors in Goesan as the festival got underway this year. Roadside placards read, “Come to Goesan and make kimchi!” Families arrived with plastic boxes specially designed for kimchi fridges, a common appliance in many Korean homes. They paid $134 for 44 pounds of cleaned and salted cabbage and 16.5 pounds of kimchi marinade.

Standing around a table, each family began mixing, all wearing elbow-length pink rubber gloves, while village meisters looked on and offered tips. Steamed pork and makgeolli were available for free, though singing was banned for safety reasons related to the coronavirus.

Ms. Han said each village in Goesan had a secret ingredient or two. White Horse’s, she said proudly, was the pumpkin and white forsythia extracts. Adding them, she said, makes its kimchi “sweet, spicy and crisp.”



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In rural Japan robot monster wolves are being used to keep bears out of towns, stopping potential attacks


The Japanese town of Takikawa has deployed robot “monster wolves” in an effort to scare away bears that have become an increasingly dangerous nuisance in the countryside.

Takikawa, located on the northern island of Hokkaido, purchased and installed a pair of the robots after bears were found roaming neighbourhoods in September.

City officials said that bears had become more active and dangerous as they search for food before going into hibernation in late November.

They also said a decrease of acorns and nuts in the wild this year may have driven the animals to venture closer to towns in search of sustenance.

The robot animals consist of a 65-centimetre-long, 50cm-tall body covered with realistic-looking fur, featuring huge white fangs and flashing red eyes.

When the sensors on them are triggered, the robot’s scare tactics kick into action.

The robot’s eyes light up red and it emits emitting a variety of sounds, some of which are ear-splintering.

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The sounds, of which there are over 60, are mixed up so animals such as bears do not get used to them and consistently remain in fear.

Machinery maker Ohta Seiki has sold about 70 units of the robot since 2018.

The company’s president, Yuji Ohta, has previously said the monster wolf is a deterrent for bears.

Wild bears have recently become a problem as they wander into rural Japanese towns.(Flickr: Michelle Bender)

“We have included many methods in its design to drive off bears, so I am confident it will be effective. If this can help create an environment that bears and people can both live in, I will be happy.”

For Takikawa, with its population of around 41,000 people, it appears the monster wolves are working like a charm.

City officials said there have been no bear encounters since the wolves were deployed.

However, bear sightings in the rural areas of western and northern Japan are at a five-year high, national broadcaster NHK has reported.

And there have been dozens of attacks so far in 2020, two of them fatal, prompting the Government to convene an emergency meeting last month to address the threat they pose.

The real Japanese wolf roamed the central and northern islands of the country before being hunted to extinction more than a century ago.

Reuters/ABC



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‘Smart regional towns’: Game-changers for rural Australia


Developments in telecommunications and technology are key to creating more liveable regional centres, writes Paul Budde.

AT THE RECENT CommsDay Summit, two interesting Low Earth Orbiting Satellites (LEOsat) services were mentioned. 

At the conference, Michael Ackland from Vocus Communications announced that his company will be starting to sell LEOsat services.

Mr Ackland was also a key person in the Utilitel Project I initiated in the early 00s, where the electricity distribution companies started to use their infrastructure to also deliver telecoms services. 

Only a few weeks reported I reported on my trip to outback Queensland and the importance of the digital economy for regional Australia.

It is critical for regional towns and communities to become involved in these developments. They need to take leadership. These developments must be people-led rather than technology-led.

Back to the LEOsats. Why are they so important? What we have seen over the last few decades is that the digital divide between the cities and the region has only widened. The quality of the Sky Muster, the NBN satellite service, is significantly less than the fixed service in the cities – especially with increased fibre to the home (FttH) deployment in those cities. 

The same applies to their fixed-wireless service. Mobile services are acceptable in regional towns but beyond that, very scratchy. It is questionable if 5G will ever be deployed beyond the regional towns. So we need to look for alternative solutions.

LEOsats promise to offer services of 50Mbs to 150Mbs and latency between 20 to 40 milliseconds. However, there are drawbacks with satellite-based communication. It is weather dependent and users will need to be aware that there will always be the occasional service outages and connection interruptions.

We recently received some information on what we can expect on the affordability side. SpaceX’s Starlink unveiled prices of $99 per month for 50-150 Mbps in its U.S. beta trial. They are planning to launch services in Australia in mid-2021.

Liberals lack of regional development has worsened the water crisis

But Vocus and SpaceX are not alone. Two other LEO operators, Swarm and Kepler Communications were granted space licences allowing them to operate in Australia. Telstra is also building three ground stations with LEO constellation OneWeb, owned by the UK Government and India’s Bharti Global.

With LEO satellites dramatically decreasing round trip times from base compared to traditional satellites, the speed of the network will be largely dependent on the ground station connectivity.

Mr Ackland explained:

We can expect to see a proliferation of new ground stations in regional areas to support these new LEO satellite fleets meaning, access to high-speed capacity, low latency fibre in remote areas will be critical to their success. The policy shift to foster LEO satellites to deliver a better service than currently available in regional areas must be based on competitive backhaul.

Vocus is ideally positioned to provide the backhaul as it does have an extensive regional fibre optic network in place in regional Australia.

Obviously, Telstra and others are also keenly watching this business opportunity.

While I am upbeat about these LEOsat developments we will still have to wait and see if they can indeed deliver on their promises.

What reaching ‘peak telecom’ means for 5G

Now to the other part of this regional story. I recently had a good discussion with Chris Thorpe, founder and CEO of Leading Edge Data Centres. His company is building data centres in regional Australia.

My support for Vocus when they started a decade or so ago to build data centres beyond the metro cities. I also supported Macquarie Telecom several years earlier to move into data centres. While the market was sceptical about it at that time, it is now one of the jewels in their crown. Data centres are becoming the key ICT infrastructure hubs for our modern society and economy.

Data centres could potentially replicate the early network of Telstra exchanges in regional areas. If we want to develop the regional digital economy, we will need hundreds of these centres as they will become central digital infrastructure hubs.

It will provide the interconnection, data storage and processing capacity as well as cloud computing facilities. It will also attract the essential ICT businesses around it as well as green energy developments such as solar and wind farms, as data centres are energy-hungry. And if the LEOsats are successful, these digital hubs will also be the places where ground stations could be developed.

Is laser going to be the next telecoms frontier?

Regional towns must understand this; they need to know what is important for their communities and ensure that technologies will benefit them.

Several towns understand these developments and are smartening up for them to participate in these new developments. State governments have also indicated to provide funding for better broadband connections in these regional towns. Interestingly, however, these plans for Gigabit towns seem to be on hold as more private companies are stepping in and also NBN Co has come up with improvements of the NBN in regional Australia.

Leading Edge is planning 14 regional centres in NSW and from there expanding into Queensland and Victoria. Promising to move computing and data storage closer to the edge, which means faster data processing, lower-latency and reduced network costs for regional businesses.

With all these developments happening these technology developments could be the game-changer regional Australia has been waiting for. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope that the technologies and the companies that are providing them can pull this off.

It is equally important for all the regional towns in Australia to become actively involved in this, as these developments are critical for both the social and digital developments of their citizens.

Paul Budde is an Independent Australia columnist and managing director of Paul Budde Consulting, an independent telecommunications research and consultancy organisation. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulBudde.

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Karl-Anthony Towns girlfriend Jordyn Woods joining OnlyFans


Jordyn Woods is opening up about her boyfriend, Karl-Anthony Towns.

The couple recently confirmed their relationship on Instagram, and Woods gushed about how she and the NBA star were able to get out of the friend-zone after a life-altering moment in his life brought them closer.

“If we’re being fully transparent, he and I have been friends for a few years now and we were just really close friends,” the 23-year-old shared. “We would talk all the time about life, about everything, and then after his mother passed it brought us a lot closer because I had gone through the loss of a parent as well, and so being that crutch for each other, I guess led to something more and it’s like being with your best friend.”

Woods’ father, John, died of cancer in early 2017. She previously told us she handled some of the trauma by turning to some of her close family and friends for comfort.

Woods said Towns, 24, who just completed the first season of a five-year $222 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is always “in her corner”.

“It’s cool to have a partner that supports you and wants you to be the best version of you and wants you to be a businesswoman,” she said. “A lot people in the world don’t want to see you succeed, and to have someone in your corner that wants to see you succeed is pretty awesome.”

Earlier this month, the model revealed that she will be posting “iconic” content on OnlyFans, a paid subscription website popularised by mostly adult performers and influencers.

While Woods did not say whether she plans to share X-rated photos on the platform, she shared that Towns is “super supportive” of her choice to join the site.

“He sees my vision, and he’s super supportive,” she said. “It’s amazing to have people in your life that support you through whatever, and they’re there to uplift you, and help you through your journey. We’re very open about it. We talk about everything.”

Woods said she even shows her boyfriend some of the photos she is going to post before sharing them with the world.

“Obviously you don’t need approval from someone else, but I just want to make sure that everything is respectful,” she said, before adding with a laugh, “Also, I’m someone in my life that I really value the people around me’s opinion, so I have to ask like three people before posting something.”

Woods explained that she wanted to join OnlyFans because she saw it as a space where there was “no judgment.”

“You get to control your narrative, and I found a platform that I can share my more out-there content, and I can share things that I love to do, and my creative side — and not have judgment for it, as well as my photos can’t be used for other people’s likeness,” she said.

The influencer said she hopes to continue to bring “more awareness” to the platform, which in turn “creates more opportunity” for other creators who use it.

“I think there’s space for everyone, so it’s really cool, but I’m still learning,” she said. “I’m only a week in.”

– New York Post



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Et in arcadia achoo – The virus and America’s resort towns | United States


SUN VALLEY, the remote and idyllic swathe of land sandwiched among the mountains of central Idaho, is one of the better places to see out a pandemic. America’s first ski resort, as the place styles itself, has drawn those seeking an alpine retreat since Ernest Hemingway, an author and outdoorsman, first decamped to the town of Ketchum in the 1930s. Now that office work is increasingly remote and cramped city living looks less appealing, the Elysian country life beckons. “We’re seeing almost a fourfold increase in vacant land sales over the last two to three months,” says Harry Griffith, the executive director of Sun Valley Economic Development. The high-end property market boomed throughout lockdown. A 14,000-square-foot mansion was recently sold for $18m—the most expensive residential-property transaction in the region’s history. Local developers have booked enough renovation and construction gigs to last for months.

At the same time as the well-to-do are able to flock to their second homes, the region’s less fortunate have rarely looked more in need. “Our numbers exploded. We saw our need more than double,” says Jeanne Liston, executive director of The Hunger Coalition, which operates a food-distribution programme and community garden in the area. There has always been need in resort towns—the workers who staff restaurants, lodges and ski lifts often do not earn sufficient wages to cover the high rents. United Way, a charity, reckons that half of the residents of Blaine County, which includes Sun Valley, are on the edge of being unable to afford basic necessities—a statistic driven largely by the exorbitant rents. As the usual “shoulder season” of low demand sets in during autumn, the level of need could grow even more.

Nationwide, the effect of covid-19 on economic inequality will remain unclear for some time. But now that most American stockmarkets have completely recovered—even as the cash provisions of the federal stimulus have expired—it may eventually prove to have drifted upwards. Most who consider growing inequality think first of cities, where rich and poor live close together.

These places were hit first and hard, disproportionately affecting the disadvantaged. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans were three times likelier to be infected and five times likelier to be hospitalised than whites. Office workers with university degrees were largely spared the unemployment that low-paid service-sector workers endured. Disruption to schools is likelier to permanently damage the educational outcomes for the children of the poor than for the children of the rich. Eviction invariably conjures up images of apartment buildings, not cabins in the woods.

Those natural associations obscure what has happened outside cities. This is both because the virus has hit some already down-and-out places especially hard—those living on the Navajo Nation reservation, for example—but also because of its second-order effects on the places that are thriving in spite of the pandemic. In Vail, Colorado, another ski resort, the number of homes sold for more than $1m between July and September of this year was double those of the same period last year. There, the development is welcome. If prices can be contained for the lower end of the market, “we have a huge opportunity to become a hub for location-neutral workers”, says Chris Romer, the president of the Vail Valley Partnership.

Here, too, food-bank usage is up even as high-end properties are snapped up. “The flipside of that is there could be some displacement of traditional long-term rentals and workforce housing,” says Mr Romer. “What that is going to require is political will from our elected officials to encourage inclusionary zoning.”

Prosperous resort towns may have the political will to do something. The town of Vail has set up a rent-relief programme for businesses hurt by the pandemic. Private citizens in Sun Valley raised enough money to allow every pupil to get access to remote schooling, says Sally Gillespie, the executive director of the Spur Community Foundation, a local organisation. Effective action elsewhere would require federal involvement, which hardly looks forthcoming. The lapsed stimulus has triggered an apparent increase in poverty nationwide. And the prospects for a second package that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, which is badly needed, appear dismal. Instead, managing the fallout will be a local affair, decided town by town.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “The virus in paradise”

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Western Australia posts warmest winter on record as dozens of towns break heat records


Western Australia has posted its warmest winter on record, largely driven by unprecedented heat in the state’s north.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), WA’s mean maximum temperature was 2.38 degrees Celsius above average, while the mean minimum temperature was 0.81C above average.

The season ended with a record-breaking hot spell in the north that was generated by a lingering trough.

“West Roebuck, about 10 kilometres east of Broome airport, recorded Australia’s highest winter temperature of 41.2 degrees on the 23rd.

WA’s mean maximum temperature was 2.38C above average.(Supplied: BOM)

“That was a day after Yampi Sound, which is 75 kilometres north-east of Derby, recorded the country’s first 40-degree day in winter for 50 years, so some exceptional heat there.”

Thirty-six places in the state set new heat records for August, including Broome, Port Hedland and Karratha in the north, as well as Corrigin, Brookton and Cunderdin in the south.

Perth’s mean maximum was 19.9C, its equal warmest at the city’s official site in Mount Lawley, which has been recording temperature observations since 1994.

A bar graph showing maximum temperatures.
A lingering trough was responsible for record-breaking temperatures in the north.(Supplied: BOM)

WA’s eighth-driest winter on record

It was also a very dry winter for WA, with statewide rainfall 46 per cent below the seasonal average.

“We were helped along with a couple of very good rainfall systems during August but even with those, we’ve recorded the driest winter since 2006 and the eighth-driest on record for WA as a whole,” Mr Bennett said.

Perth metro had its driest winter in eight years, collecting just 291.6mm of rain.

A map of Western Australia with different colours representing rainfall across the state.
Statewide rainfall was 46 per cent below the seasonal average.(Supplied: BOM)

Northam, to the north-east of Perth, had its driest winter in more than a century, recording 115.8mm — the lowest total since 1914.

But a cut-off low-pressure system delivered exceptional falls to parched areas of the south coast, which saw many places set new records for highest daily rainfall totals.

“Munglinup had 41 millimetres, Mettler had 103.6, Katanning had 37 millimetres, so that early August rainfall really helped to kick along the averages,” Mr Bennett said.

The outlook for spring shows roughly equal chances of wetter or drier conditions across the west and north of WA.



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Rogers says 5G network will expand to more than 60 cities and towns this year


Article content continued

Some think 5G’s impact will be more incremental than transformational, but 5G has long been touted by the major telcos as a game-changer, given its promise of enhanced user connectivity, increased bandwidth and faster download speeds, all required to pile more and more devices onto the network without compromising performance.

Perhaps surprisingly, the accelerated expansion of Rogers’ 5G network isn’t, as so many other things have been since mid-March, related to COVID-19.

Timelines for the network build-out were surpassed due to a combination of factors, including Rogers’ partnership with Swedish multinational Ericsson as its 5G vendor, its deployment team’s efforts and its 600-MHz spectrum, a key building block underpinning the expansion.

Jorge Fernandes, Rogers chief technology and information officer, in a statement said the company is focused on continuing to build a “robust 5G ecosystem with strategic investments, world-class partners and cutting-edge technology.”

That ecosystem includes incubating a made-in-Canada 5G technology in partnership with several Canadian universities including the University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo and Ryerson University.

• Email: joconnor@nationalpost.com | Twitter: oconnorwrites





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Plastic and cigarette litter costs German towns €700M a year – POLITICO


Bits of plastic and other trash gathered during a riverfront clean-up in Berlin on March 31, 2019 | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Cleaning up and disposing of cigarette butts, plastic cups and other single-use plastic products left in parks and streets cost German cities and communities around €700 million annually, the German environment ministry said today.

The findings were released in a study by the VKU, the German association of local utilities, which for the first time assessed waste management and cleanup costs for various types of litter. Disposing of cigarette butts costs around €225 million, and take-away plastic cups cost around €120 million a year.

“It’s costing us all a lot of money because at the moment it’s only the local authorities which are bearing the cleanup costs in parks and streets and disposing of the litter. I find it only fair that, in future, the burden of cleaning and disposing of the waste will be taken on more by the polluters,” Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told reporters in Berlin today.

According to the study, single-use plastic products, cigarette butts and packaging make up more than 20 percent of the total waste volume on streets, parks and bins.

Schulze also called for more cleaning personnel, new equipment and additional waste bins and ashtrays to tackle the challenge.

Under the EU’s single-use plastic rules, plastic producers are meant to contribute financially to the cleanup and disposal costs for certain litter. An EU ban on some single-use plastic products like plastic plates, straws and foam cups will go into effect next year.

 





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