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The Solar System flashes a smiley
December 1st, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: none ]


Venus (upper left), Jupiter (upper right), and the moon align tonight, Dec. 1, to form some sort of a “smiley.”

An event similar to this one will take place about four decades from now. So this is all what we’ll probably see in our lifetime.

Photo taken just some hours ago by my Incubus-worshipping sister, Roch.



JB has blogged 120 posts



Michael Crichton is dead
November 7th, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: none ]

I guess there goes Prey II.

Michael Crichton, 66, a writer and filmmaker whose enormously popular and entertaining novels such as “Jurassic Park” and “The Andromeda Strain” explored the limits and consequences of science, and who also created the long-running television medical drama “E.R.,” died of cancer Nov. 4 in Los Angeles.

Mr. Crichton began his literary career as a Harvard University medical student in the late 1960s and parlayed his knowledge of technology, medicine and science into a series of swiftly paced techno-thrillers. He sold more than 150 million books, and more than a dozen films were made from his novels, several with him in the director’s chair.

He made scientific arcana comprehensible to the layman and generated plausible suspense on subjects including deadly alien bacteria (”The Andromeda Strain,” 1969), brain surgery (”The Terminal Man,” 1972), a race of super-apes that guard diamonds (”Congo,” 1980), mysterious underwater spacecraft (”Sphere,” 1987), scientists who play God by cloning dinosaur DNA (”Jurassic Park,” 1990), the military uses of nanotechnology (”Prey,” 2002) and global warming (”State of Fear,” 2004).

At times, Mr. Crichton’s talent for provocative stories thrust him into a national debate. With “State of Fear,” he emerged as a leading skeptic of human-caused global warming and was castigated by environmentalists for hindering legislation to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. A White House meeting with President Bush, a fan of his books, also alarmed many believers in global warming.

Source



JB has blogged 120 posts



The Trillanes Factor
October 17th, 2008 posted by AJ007 under Adamson Chronicle, Alumni Stories, Campus Issues, Campus News, Criticism, Current Events, News, Opinion, Student Government. [ Comments: 1 ]

During the time when I still believe that the system would change overnight, I chance upon a book in National Book Store or NBS called LOGCOM (logistics command). I got a bit interested because I was an officer in the ROTC then (in Adamson) so I flipped through the pages. It turned out to be a sort of an expose. Back then I find it extremely radical that a serviceman in AFP would have a spine to write anything like that. Actually, it’s still a phenomenon for me not because I care a lot about it but as a TAX PAYER now, I find it a farce if not tragedy.

It highlighted the fact that military provisions are prone to abuse. Example, a military 6X6 truck was used as a “practice driving” vehicle for the wives of senior officers. Another example, a helicopter was used to transport senior officers (based in the provinces) and wives for a shopping spree in the cities. Bullets sold to the enemies? The book further explained the gripes that precipitated into disgruntlement that further lead down the path to adventurism.

Yet, with adventurism, comes another disgruntlement that plunged the cause of the series of military mutinies during the 80s into quagmire. Some soldiers who were given amnesty later said that those glib tongued “recruiters” left them behind when the “operation” finally met the wall.

One commented: Ang mga putang inang mga ‘yan, ginamit kami na parang mga puta…”

That has been the problem with the earlier putsches; so many men who would have been heroes were branded traitors. All for a strong cause but with a hallow leadership. There was this time when they had been leaderless for several days after that particular coup, but some men stayed behind. Not all of the leaders were escape artists though; Col. Alexander Noble for example won’t be pacified and chose to stay behind with his men. Then several days later, a Philippine Star issue would flaunt news about Col. Noble’s arrest after destroying US Fighter planes “sitting duck” in Clark Air Base, Pampanga; of course the rest is history. Had it not from the then Philippine Marine Commandant, now Sen. Biazon (a true clean soldier) who literally exposed himself to danger when he stood between the Rebels and pro – government soldiers who were at the brink of armed confrontation, more lives would have been claimed. But these were men of conviction both from different sides of the line. They were brothers divided, some are even real brothers. And they suffered a lot of psychological draw back since.

But what about the cause? Of course it could be brilliant. It was for reform and usual rhetoric of “being too cozy with the reds” thing, apart from “real” status quo like corruption, monopoly, selling of sovereign territory (paid to us as war reparation) to the host country itself. Maybe there was some  personal reason like the killing of Maj. Francisco Baula inside his cell on the guise of him trying to escape “USING A LADDER” at that as if he needed one to do it.

But of course, story has it that it was a badly botched up putsch. And I was a young boy when it happened. I enjoyed the sight of fighter planes seen in the sky in an act of a dogfight. But what is clear though is that they became leaderless, and some (or most) Rebels felt betrayed.

This is the edge of Sen. Trillanes; he did not leave his men behind. He joined them in prison. Another book in NBS AFP before Gringo has it that unlike his “predecessors” Trillanes did not compromise. As a proof, he’s still in jail right now. Only God knows what circumstance would bring him out of there but by the looks of it. He will rather rot in there than to compromise. But a person of such fortitude will not wear out.

Nature has an inquisitive way of “boring through veracity” (that’s a line from former President Marcos’ book, I forgot the title though). In a system like this, in a situation like this, an economic condition like this. It’s like history repeating itself. And it vindicates Trillanes. WHY? Because incarcerating him didn’t stop all these follies from happening. With him in prison, he couldn’t be associated with somebody who stands in the way of “progress” of the strong republic anymore, yet these are all happening. And shame on us who has professors who helped install this “hegemony” with a promise of 1.0 additional point to averaged grade which brings some Adamsonians to EDSA II. ONE FACULTY MEMBER IN THE CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT WOULD ARGUE THAT IT WOULD BE FOR “INTELLIGENT GOVERNENCE” oh yeah, and why “bribe” students with a plus on a grade? Shame on idiotic students too who took advantage. I didn’t and I got an incomplete for that subject. But I digressed.

Sure the nose diving trend of global exchanges has nothing to do with it but what did our genius economic dream team do to prevent it from affecting us, and Trillanes is at bay unable to perform his “filibustering”?  Of course the “intelligent” spin doctors of this “governance” has a ready answer. One of them even suggested… ‘to Jesus Christ.’ But he’s no ecominist, he’s a bootlicker nontheless.

As a soldierTrillanes will never be viewed like someone who leaves a man behind. He’s viewed as someone with unwavering conviction and that catapulted his name to the Senate. Besides in his “spur – of – the – moment” Pen Siege, the majority of those went there were media men, pillars of the fourth state of democracy. Eye and ears of the people.

I concede though that the rest remains to be seen.

 



AJ007 has blogged 7 posts



The Antarctic Ozone Hole from 1979 to 2007
October 10th, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: none ]

YouTube Preview Image

2000: The Antarctic ozone hole extends so far north that health officials in Punta Arenas, Chile, start warning residents not to go out in the midday sun.

At 53 degrees south latitude, Punta Arenas is the world’s southernmost city, sitting on the Straits of Magellan only 900 miles from Antarctica.

The city of 150,000 people had suffered about a 12 percent loss in average ozone levels since 1980, but was usually beyond the edge of the deep ozone hole that plagues the south polar region.

But this year was different. It was the end of the Antarctic winter, the annual maximum for ozone loss. An arm of ozone-depleted air drifted farther northward, over the tip of South America.

Without the thin layer of ozone in the stratosphere to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the sun, people in Punta Arenas who ventured outside without protection could sunburn in as little as seven minutes. Public health officials sounded the alarm: Take precautions!

The city’s one dermatologist calculated that skin cancer cases jumped from 65 cases to 108 between 1987-1993 and 1994-2000.

Although the ozone hole peaks annually in October, the danger continues through December when the antipodean summer sun is higher in the sky. The local health department posts color-coded danger signs to warn people of the daily ozone levels.

Nonetheless, few people appear to be taking precautions. The local public health chief said in 2004 that residents wrongly downplay the danger because it doesn’t get hot: The temperature in Punta Arenas hardly ever goes above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The perimeter of the ozone hole drifted north again in the Southern Hemisphere in spring 2007, prompting scientists to warn the local populace to avoid unnecessary exposure, use sunscreen and wear long sleeves, sunglasses and caps with eye shades.

Besides the human dangers of sunburn, skin cancer and eye damage, the ozone hole also threatens livestock — less sensitive than humans to UV, but outdoors longer. The ultraviolet radiation damages the DNA of marine plankton, which could lead to plankton die-offs and local or regional food-chain collapses that destroy the supply of fish available for human use.

The problems are also severe in neighboring Argentina and in New Zealand and Australia — which have the highest skin-cancer rates in the world.

Source



JB has blogged 120 posts



Coco Dilemma
October 4th, 2008 posted by AJ007 under Alumni Stories, Current Events, Opinion, Random Thoughts. [ Comments: none ]

Why is it that coconuts, the driver of our future are not taken seriously?

Is it because we are not well informed?

Actually, coconut oil yields high lauric acid content. Back in 1997, I’ve read an article from The Philippine Star about Jon J. Kabara who discovered in the University of Michigan that mono lauic acid (gyceryl monolaurate) or simply monolaurin lowers the viral load of AIDS in the human body. Luaric acid is apparently rich in colostrums that explain why breast fed babies shows high resistance to sickness.

In my last visit to DOST in pursuing my thesis, I came across with this information that we are now encapsulating monolaurin.

When I was still dealing with my baby thesis, my quest for information gathering lead me to the R&D Head of UNILAB back then in school year 1997 – 1998. Through the kindness of Dr. Torres, the R&D head, I was allowed to use their library at UNILAB.

Monolaurin could perturb the protien shell of the virus and penetrated until the nucleus thus killing the virus and halting its capacity to infest. And this is only momolaurin, one of the products of a coconut.

Coconuts as we all know are good source of oil that is mainly used in producing frying oils. Now that the price of copra has gone up to an average of PhP41.00/Kilo, it is only logical that the price of coconut oil has increased as well. A 375 mL frying oil sells for PhP50.

For those who love to use cosmetic products, you’ve probably heard of virgin coconut oil that is a good moisturizer and emollient. Your lotions and creams should contain emulsifiers and other emollients like stearic acid, monoglyceryl stearate and cetyl alcohol, these are all coconut based. Croda, Cognis, Rohm and Haas, etc are example of multinational companies that manufactures those products mentioned. Our very own Cocochem carries the same product line.

The high oil yielding coconut is also big for biodiesel industry. Currently, D&L sells BioActive brand at every gasoline station. Actually, even overly used coconut oils could be converted into biodiesel because the oxidized oil could by reduced by saponification, the then neutralized by acidification then finally, converted into a fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) by methylation. For chem. Students who are interested to make a more advanced study in this topic, you may approach Ms. Josefina V. Yumul and she’ll surely glad to help you out.

Coconut also yields “tuba,” a sweet tasting coconut wine. The coconut sap where we extract the “tuba” also yields coco sugar. The “sapal” of coconut meat in preparing a coconut milk could be make into coco flour. And the coco butter fat is a delicious substitute in manufacturing reconstituted milk.

Right now though, coconut land owners have this “pain – in – the – ass” problem. They are not allowed to cut down coconut trees that over populates the land area, or even those that are too old to be productive. You see, right now, there is a specified ratio of coconut trees per hectare that should be planted to ensure the health of the coconut trees that could be directly attributed to the yield of fruits.

If we rely on coconuts for progress and we can’t organize the coconut farming scheme because the law prohibits cutting down coconut trees that stands in the way, then does it not defeat the purpose of it all?

Catch – 22?



AJ007 has blogged 7 posts



OPEC is dead
September 12th, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: 5 ]

Saudi Arabia walked out on OPEC yesterday, saying it would not honor the cartel’s production cut. It was tired of rants from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the well-dressed oil minister from Iran.

As the world’s largest crude exporter, the kingdom in the desert took its ball and went home.

As the Saudis left the building, the message was shockingly clear. “Saudi Arabia will meet the market’s demand,” a senior OPEC delegate told the New York Times. “We will see what the market requires and we will not leave a customer without oil.”

Without the oil cartel and its manipulation of the value of oil (in the same way De Beers hyper-inflates diamond prices) — and the emergence of Brazil as possibly a great oil-producing nation with the recent discovery of another massive oil deposit — does this mean, finally, that global oil prices will drop?

link



JB has blogged 120 posts



Catch 22
August 17th, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: 1 ]

As they drank from their water bottles he was struck by the recently concluded war not as a historical, geopolitical fact but as a multiplicity, a near-infinity of private sorrows, as a boundless grief minutely subdivided without diminishment among individuals who covered the continent like dust, like spores whose separate identities would remain unknown, and whose totality showed more sadness than anyone could ever begin to comprehend…

- Ian McEwan, Black Dogs

{Photo: Just one of the 80-plus “very graphic, stomach-turning” photos of the recent armed conflict in southern Ossetia, snapped by a Russian soldier}



JB has blogged 120 posts



At last they’ve found Franz Kafka’s pornos
August 4th, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: 1 ]

Experts have unearthed a stash of explicit pornographic material belonging to German author Franz Kafka.

The erotic material has been ignored by scholars anxious to preserve the writer’s image.

James Hawes, an academic and Kafka expert came across the material in copies of Kafka’s journals in the British Library in London and the Bodleian in Oxford.

Hawes said that the author’s stash shows him as more human than a popular quasi-saintly writer.

“These are not naughty postcards from the beach. They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark. It’s quite unpleasant,” Times Online quoted Hawes, as saying.

“Academics have pretended it did not exist. The Kafka industry doesn’t want to know such things about its idol.

“Of the world’s authors, only Shakespeare generates more PhDs, more biographies, more coffee table books. Everything Kafka wrote, every postcard he ever sent, every page of his diary is regarded as a potential Ark of the Covenant. Yet no one has ever shown his readers Kafka’s porn,” he added.

link



Tags: Franz+Kafka

JB has blogged 120 posts



3 filipinas killed in Dubai road accident
July 14th, 2008 posted by dubai-kid under Current Events. [ Comments: none ]

Meron bang nakakaalam ng mga pangalan ng tatlo?

Three Filipino women were killed in a road accident in Dubai yesterday, according to online news site Arab News.

The report said that the three Filipinas were among the five fatalities, along with an Indian national.

The police said that the bus, which was traveling down Sheikh Rashid Road from Al-Garhoud Bridge, swerved toward the left lane and hit a road barrier and lamppost. The impact caused the bus to fly on the opposite side of the road and landed on top of a saloon.

Maj. Gen Khamis Mattar Al-Mazeina, acting chief of Dubai police, described the loss of life on Dubai roads as “senseless,” pointing out that in the past two days nine people have been killed in road accidents.

Source



dubai-kid has blogged 1 posts



George Carlin Dies, Cusses All The Way To “Heaven”
June 24th, 2008 posted by JB under Current Events. [ Comments: 1 ]

George Carlin, one of the most brilliant comedians of all time, has died of heart failure.

Meanwhile, here’s George’s smashing stand-up comedy bit on the subject of death. Very funny stuff, especially for all the good-lookin’ atheists out there.

YouTube Preview Image

Tags: George+Carlin

JB has blogged 120 posts


 


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