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Falcon’s systematic attack!
May 30th, 2007 posted by The Structural Engineer under Bits & Pieces. [ Comments: 3 ]

When a Falcon attacks its prey, it swoops in along a path that is mathematically related to the golden ratio.

In his book Elements, Euclid explains the golden ratio and how to divide a straight line running between points A and B into two by a point P so that the ratio of the longer segment (AP) to the shorter one (PB) is exactly the same as the ratio of the entire line (AB) to the longer segment (AP).


x 1

In symbols:



It doesn’t matter if the actual length of the line AB is one foot, one meter, or one shoelace length. It’s the ratios that count. So let’s say the length of PB is 1 to simplify our discussion.

With PB = 1, the length (x) of AP is what we now call the golden ratio. To calculate its value, we have to do a bit of algebra. The length of AB will be x + 1. This means we can rewrite the above geometric identity as the equation

x + 1 = x

x 1

This can be rearranged by cross multiplying to give 1 (x + 1) = (x) x, which becomes x + 1 = x2. We can then rearrange this to give the quadratic equation x2 – x – 1 = 0.

If you think back to your college algebra class, quadratic equations have two solutions, and there is a formula to give you those solutions. When you apply this formula to the above equation, you get the two answers:

x = 1 + √5 and x = 1 - √5

2 2

Using a calculator to three decimal places, the answers are 1.618 and –0.618, respectively. The golden ratio, φ, is the first of these two solutions—the positive number.

You start to suspect there’s more to φ than meets the eye when you ask what happened to the negative solution to the quadratic equation, –0.618, which also goes on forever as a decimal. Apart from the minus sign, it looks the same as the first solution (φ) but with the initial 1 missing. But that turns out to be a false lead. Calculate a few more decimals and you will see that the two numbers are not the same. But if you dig a bit deeper still, you will find a surprising identity. The negative solution is equal to 1 – 1/φ. Hmmm. That doesn’t usually happen with quadratic equations.

So in the forthcoming UAAP season..beware of the Adamson Soaring Falcon’s formidable attack! Unawakanahimo!

The Structural Engineer has blogged 2 posts

Adamson’s role in the technology-based global economy: Focus on R&D
May 16th, 2007 posted by The Structural Engineer under Opinion, Uncategorized. [ Comments: 1 ]

To the graduates of science and engineering of Adamson University which is predominantly a technological institution this is a real call.

Engineering is one of the most difficult degree programs in our alma mater and practicing it is even tougher.It is important to decide early on to practice your core training in science and engineering or a practice that is different altogether.

Keep in mind, however, that it takes only a few years of not practicing engineering to lose currency and unless retrained, such as, going back to AdU for graduate studies, you will find yourself unable to get back altogether or a practice in the periphery of engineering. Even if you are one of the few Vincentian topnotcher in our local engineering board exams,it will be hard.

To all Vincentian graduates, let me then propose that you develop a passion for being part of this technology based global economy.Your knowledge in the sciences, engineering, and management is what the country needs for it to be a major player in the global economy.

In the last ten years, maybe more, there has been a lot discussion and the desire for the Philippines to become a newly industrialized country in this decade.Ambitious goal, and extremely difficult to achieve. But it does not take away the fact that through industrialization, we as by product of a technologically inclined institution can be a major contributor to the technology based global economy.

Industrialization is simply the process of creating technology based value add products and services. It transforms countries from a consumer status to that of a producer.

The value of these products involved in trade is largely determined by the complexity of technologies embedded in these products.Likewise, the value of services is enhanced through automation using technology.The innovator of these technologies typically gets the largest share of the value. Therefore, since industrialized countries usually lead in technology innovation, they get the largest share of the value of products and services.

To be part of this value creation, we must have the technical and managerial expertise that can compete against the best and the brightest from other developed countries.The common factors in sustaining growth within an economy include a functioning market system, high levels of saving, and public and private sector investments.But I must assert that it is the resources of the global economy that stand out as the driving forces in high growth, and that these come in three forms:

Demand, Investments, and Technology

Demand: In a relativity small or poor economy, demand is limited, but the global economy is huge in comparison, and at the right costs and prices, demand is for practical purposes, unlimited.

So the task and challenge for a developing economy, like that of the Philippines, is to identify industries, therefore, expertise, technologies, and infrastructures, that create a competitive advantage in growth sectors of the global economy.The growth of experts can set in motion a process of sustained growth which could not be achieved by relying on domestic demand alone.We saw this in the case of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.They took advantage of global demands and foreign investments leveraging their technology based infrastructure sustained internally by a strong science and engineering educational system. They created technologies to get the best value from their products and services.

By comparison the Philippines has participated mostly on low value add components of the global economy export sector. These are mostly manufacturing for products and BPO ourtsourcing, such as call centers, in services.As a result the Philippines has not experienced the high growth rates brought about by global demand.

The case of China and India is that of an inexhaustible source of very cheap labor, much cheaper than that of the Philippines, and of such magnitude that it compensates for less value add exports.However, this is changing fast due to rapid transfer of technology brought by foreign investments and sustained by local expertise in research and development.Another factor contributing to high growth is foreign Investments. While typically not a large fraction of total investments, its importance lies in its role of bringing technology, know-how, and access to external markets.So whether through demand or foreign investments, technology plays an important role and is the driving force in sustaining growth.

This technology know-how includes engineering, production technology, managerial expertise and knowledge of global markets.

For the case of the Philippines, the key priority areas in Technology should be defined based initially on global technology demands and technology transfers through foreign investments, and then long term, a shift to local technology demands as the local economy expands and domestic consumption is at a high rate of growth supported mostly by domestic savings and local investments.

We must ask ourselves-Adamsonians, however, if we are capable of taking advantage of this opportunity today.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the answer is probably not.At the risk of being a naysayer, or simply wrong, I venture to say that we do not yet have the technology infrastructure to receive the transfer of technology know-how that comes with foreign investments nor the ability to sustain technologies and compete against other developed and developing countries.

The lack of technological base for national growth manifest in at least four forms:

- Shortage of research scientist and engineers

- Low level of research and development activity

- Low quality of research and development, and

- Inadequacies in higher educational system

To be precise, let us see what we have in our technology infrastructure:

They are: Science, Technology, and Engineering

Firstly, in Science, the relevant fields are mathematics, physics, chemistry, material science, and the most recent addition, biology. These are the basic tools necessary in research to develop technologies. These are usually the basic courses in engineering which are taught within our college lectures.

In Adamson, while we do have a lot of knowledge in the basic sciences, we are generally lacking in advanced sciences due to two factors:

- Lack of leading edge research laboratories

- Lack of depth and breadth in university teaching due to the predominant use of teachers with only bachelor of science degrees.

The second component, Technology, is the instantiation of concepts using science as a foundation. It is usually an application of multiple science concepts and theories.

Technologies are usually created in university and industry research labs. The situation in Adamson is different in that there is virtually no industry participation in research. Science and Engineering institutions such as ours are the only source for R&D (Research & Development).

But we have some issues, namely,

- Lack of funding, both public and private

- Lack of researchers with graduate degrees

At this time we do not own enough technologies to be able to create globally competitive products.

The third component in the infrastructure is Engineering. Is the practice of using a technology or multiple technologies to design and implement technology based products and services. To the engineer, science concepts and technologies are merely tools for creation.Basically, engineers make science and technology useful to society.Due to our inadequacies in advanced sciences and deficient technological base, our engineers have the most difficult task in creating innovative and competitive products and services.As a result, we have not been able to achieve a high growth rate in our economy that should have been brought about by this infinite global demand and technology transfer through foreign investments.

So, what we Adamson community should do?

The administrators,faculties,students and alumni must have a concerted effort towards:

- A cultural change in values where deep knowledge in science, technology and engineering is respected and rewarded.

- An educational system overhaul that enables Adamson’s graduate at any level to compete in the sciences.

- A reward system that puts a high value in advanced research and development and the necessay risk taking involved.

The University must continously support and fund the necessary educational infrastructure in the form of:

- Real focused research institutes

- State of the art laboratories, facilities, equipment, researchers and staff

- A reward system to keep the brightest minds in teaching and research

Obviously a huge problem, but the real issue is the lack of understanding by the University that yearly CHED & PAASCU accreditation were only superficial and does not provide long term and in depth results in elevating the standard of instructions and facilities in the campus.

If quality metrics set by the industries are met by the university, excess monies from external funding can be used for graduate degree programs and research facilities with the necessary qualified teachers and graduate students. As in other developed countries where private schools are non-profit, the industry, private individuals, and alumni support should account for a large portion of the school’s operating costs through discretionary gifting and endowments.

The rapid transfer of knowledge in science and engineering will only be accelerated through foreign education and explicit programs aimed at learning.In Adamson, we need an industry involved in research and development, an industry that should be:

- paranoid about its future, because its survival is wholly dependent on properly trained engineers and managers

- And, an industry that works with academe in funding and directing research.

And for every individuals, especially alumni, to support these ideas because a very high percentage of your investments in the future will be based on high value add products and services.

For the management guys, like it or not, your future will be in and around technology. There is nothing more complex and yet more rewarding than business of leading edge technology.

For all Adamsonians, you will only succeed if you become part and take advantage of this technology infrastructure.

Hopefully the whole Adamson community will commit itself to real and sustainable R&D initiative that can boost our country forward! Adiuex!

The Structural Engineer has blogged 2 posts


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