Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mineral Supplements, Go Away!

The issue about taking any types of supplements as a good daily routine is a misleading idea whoever said it was good or healthy. Based from the editorial of the Annals Of Internal Medicine that was published this week,  the authors said: "stop wasting money on vitamins and mineral supplements." They said that there is no good evidence that the said supplements are offering health benefits, they added. And what's more is that high doses or intake of certain supplements like beta carotene and vitamins E and A could be very dangerous and harmful. Studies have shown that Vitamin C contains 1000 percent of your daily value and you cannot use the excess so you will just have to pee it out. Additionally, there are also products from the store like breakfast cereals and breads in which it is often fortified with nutrients, so you get more dose of it which eventually you may not need.  With that sense, your flushing money straight to the toilet. 
I've read some typical and an absolutely helpful way to be a healthy person without the use of these supplements, well, perhaps the simplest way:
  • Substitute puréed prunes or applesauce to butter in baking recipes.
  • Of course, the mainstream thing - EXERCISE which will make you last longer on Earth
  • Reduce salt intake by eating frozen veggies instead of canned
  • Drink 5-8 glass of water everyday
  • Potassium intake balance out sodium levels which damages our hearts
  • Eat a square of a 70 percent of dark chocolate which has a potent anti-oxidant and anti-clotting properties
Actually, the article consists of 96 ways but I only cited the most important and helpful ones.
  • Note: Don't forget to place a note on your desk chair or whatever you could put your note on to about the things you want to do to stay healthy so that you wont forget doing it because you might as skip or cheat on it.
People seem to be very lazy doing things on a long term basis for their health benefit because the common complain about them is that they usually say, " nothing's happening no matter what I do to keep myself healthy all the time, instead it's only getting worse ". Another reason is that it is very tiring for them. Patience is indeed an important virtue we must apply to our lives every single day no matter what we do. So my answer to that particular complain is this, " what will you choose, go on a 50-50 risk of taking many types of supplements, or grab the opportunity to have a practical and a good way of having a healthy lifestyle that has the following benefits in which those supplements might not as well give to you:
  • Improve joint stability
  • Increase and improve range of movement
  • Help maintain flexibility as you age
  • Maintain bone mass
  • Prevent osteoporosis and fractures
  • Improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Enhance self esteem
  • Improve memory in elderly people
  • Reduce stress
All I can say is think about it wisely, people.

Works cited

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Unexpected Technology

Though the internal specifications of this tablet is not satisfactorily met, the good news is that it could address the people's needs who could not afford to buy gadgets and stuffs since this is the main objective of this product. It only costs up to 37.99 $, half the price of the cover of an Ipad and seems very attractable to non-users. Also, this is the world's first sub-40$ Android slate and it is called UbiSlate 7ci, fellows. It was created by Datawind and it boasts a 7-inch feet screen, a Cortex A8 chip, 512 MB of RAM and just a 4GB internal storage. It was built initially to provide internet and personal computing access to India and was officially launched in the region by the UN secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and it is now on-shore to the US and UK property. The tablet goes with a pre-installed education, entertainment, gaming stuffs, and productivity applications. It will also be able to access Google Play Store since it runs a version 4.0 of Android. The only thing that comes in handy is that it only has a small processor in which it will be hard to know if it can handle more intense applications. But still, affordable it is.

Suneet Singh Tuli, Datawind's CEO, says that, "The development of the tablet stemmed from the realization that lack of internet adoption in many parts of the world was primarily because of the lack of affordability. Our aim is to bridge the gap by offering cost-effective, high-specification devices and internet-access that offer excellent value to all". "At Datawind, we're working to bring affordable technology to the many millions of households who are currently excluded from benefiting from the digital revolution," added Suneet.

Works cited
World's cheapest tablet launches in the US. Retrieved December 20, 2013:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Call for Help

Our country has indeed faced a lot of crisis this year. Yolanda which is one of the most, if not the most destructive typhoon that had hit Earth, has shattered the lives of those in the Visayas region especially those in Tacloban, Leyte. Not long before this was another natural disaster. The very old churches in Bohol, among other structures, were destroyed by a high-magnitude earthquake. A few months before this was a three-week siege led by some faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga. This resulted to about 200 casualties and evacuation of around 100,000 citizens. All of these need help from our government. And we do hope that the crisis in Zamboanga will still be remembered despite the focus being given to the two natural calamities aforementioned.

It is good for us to understand first why the third tragedy, which will be the focus of this article, occured. The history of the Moros in Mindanao dates back to the coming of the Islamic people before the era of the Spaniards in our country. The Islam was first introduced in Mindanao and spread up to the other parts of the country. Some even say it reached as far as Batangas that’s why they have their expression “ala eh” coming from the Muslim god Allah. Along with religion, a form of government was also introduced. Then came the Spaniards and tried to spread Christianism as wide as possible over the country. However, the Muslims in Mindanao were not swayed by the new faith being introduced to them. Hence, the Spaniards made a treaty with them. A treaty is an agreement that one group does with another who does not belong to their territory. This means that the Moros were legally separated from the rest of the Filipinos that were conquered by the Spaniards. The same thing happened when the Americans came. They also made a treaty with the Moros. However, when the Republic of the Philippines finally had freedom from its conquerors, the Moros were illegally incorporated within the Philippine territory. From then on, peace agreements were made to have things settled.

During the time of Marcos and his dictatorship, a lot of places in Mindanao were bombed and destroyed. Because of this, their economy went down. Most of the investors of businesses located there backed out and looked for other places that will be more favorable for them. Also, those educated people had to go elsewhere for a brighter future. What then was left for the Moro people but a sign of hopelessness? A sign of hopelessness that will only be vanquished through a good relationship of the Moros and the Philippine government. According to the seminar attended by the writers of this blog, something in the peace agreement of 1996 was not followed by the government that’s why the crisis broke out. Another peace agreement was being done with another Moro group which was the MILF and this was probably another reason why Misuari was angered.

Because of this crisis, a lot of people cannot go back to their homes yet. The military forces are not yet allowing them to go back to their homes for some reason. Also according to statistics, provinces in Mindanao are somewhat the least priority when it comes to accessibility of potable water and electricity. How then can the citizens in Zamboanga recover with their lives? How can they move on? We hope that our government will be fair with their decisions regarding this. Now that a lot of other problems are being addressed, we do hope that our fellow countrymen in Zamboanga will still be remembered. For us students who are very active in the social media, what we can do is to publicize and spread the call for help. We can use this gift of technology we have in our generation, which is to connect. Let us not marginalize the small groups in our country but rather connect with them. The season of Christmas is indeed nearing and a lot of our fellowmen are in need. Let us make this a season of helping and giving out to others. Aside from spreading this call for help and giving out donations for victims of this tragedy (as well as those who were affected by the natural calamities), what we can give are our prayers, that will surely be of help.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lason sa Ilog

Pinangunahan na ng isang environmental group at international advocate para sa kalikasan, GREENPEACE, ang pagsabi sa DENR ang pagsasagawa ng contamination disclosure system para sa mga kompanya at pabrika na isa nagiging sanhi ng pagkalason at pagdumi ng mga ilog at iba pang katubigan sa Pilipinas. Ayon sa kanila, kinakailangang maipaalam sa mga mamamayan na ang mga pabrikang ito ang hinihinalang nagbubuga ng mga kemikal papunta sa mga daan ng tubig diresto sa mga estero at ating mga ilog.

Ayon pa sa pagtatala ng Blacksmith Institute, isang organisasyong eksperto sa pagsusuri ng kalikasan, napasama ang ilang ilog sa Pilipinas gaya ng ilog sa Marilao sa talaan ng 30 dirtiest rivers sa buong mundo. Gayundin ang tala ng pamahalaan hinggil sa mga maruruming ilog sa bansa, ang Pasig river at ang Marikina river, na isa sa mga pangunahing ilog na dumadaloy sa Kalakhang Maynila.

Nakakahiyang malaman ang mga ganitong balita, anu pa mang taon ito naisalaysay. Kung bibisitahin ang mga ilog na ito, baka mga mismong mata natin at pang-amoy ang makapagsasabi ng kalagayan ng ating mga ilog. Marumi. Kulay putik o kulay lumot. Mabaho. Puno ng basura, sari-saring basura. Nakapanlulumo. Nakakalungkot. Nakakahiya. Ito ang mga nakalalason sa ating mga ilog.

            Isa ang Pilipinas sa mga bansang sagana sa mga likas na yaman. Mula sa mga bundok, kagubatan at kapatagan hanggang sa mga katubigan, maraming maipagmamalaki ang ating bansa. Ngunit sa pagkakataong ito, mukhang may problema ang bansa pagdating sa ating mga ilog. Ayon sa grupo, may pagkukulang ang pamahalaan sa pag-obserba at pag-alam sa mga tiyak na sanhi ng polusyon sa mga ilog na ito at ang pagsugpo sa mga ito. Marahil nahihirapan ang pamahalaan na disiplinahin ang mga tao at maipabatid sa lahat ang kahalagahan ng ating mga ilog. O, hindi nagagawa ng pamahalaan ang kanyang tungkulin sa pangangalaga ng ating kalikasan? Ayon sa ilang GREEN environmental groups, kailangang proteksyunan ang ating kalikasan, panatilihing malinis at huwag pabayaang masira. Para sa akin, kung gugustuhin natin, maaari nating gawan ng paraan ang pagresolba sa problemang pangkalikasan na ito, rehabilitasyon. Maaaring matagal na proseso at magastos. Ngunit, kung magbubunga nang maganda para sa bayan at sa ating kalikasan, bakit hindi nating subukang gawin? Simulan natin ngayon. Habang maaga pa at hindi pa nahuhuli ang lahat. Huwag nating hintaying maitala pa na ang ating bansa, ay isa na sa mga maruruming bansa sa buong mundo.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Fallacy of Early Education

In our increasingly competitive society where more are expected from the younger generation born in the age of technology and information, any parent would want to see his or her child succeed and make it in the world. It is therefore not surprising that the pre-school business in the country has experienced a boom, as more and more parents send their kids to school at an earlier age in order for them to have a head start. Implementation of the K-12 Basic Education Program, which makes the previously optional kindergarten year now mandatory, is proof that early education is generally recognized as a way for the students to be better equipped and be at par with international standards (Philippines creates opportunities in overhaul of K-12 education system, 2013).

However, an article on the NewScientist magazine titled Too Much, Too Young presented numerous studies showing that formal schooling for kids as early as ages 4 to 5 has more disadvantages than benefits. Citing anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific, and educational evidences, the article made a strong point about play being a significant factor in developing the child’s creativity, well-being, and general sense of learning. One of the examples mentioned was from the book The Playful Brain: Venturing to the limits of neuroscience wherein it was said that “playful activity leads to the growth of more connections between neurons, particularly in the frontal lobe—the part of the brain responsible for uniquely human higher mental functions (Whitebread & Bingham, 2013).” Kids exposed to play-based education, in contrast to those who had undergone early formal instructional schooling, manifested better progress in terms of language learning and creativity since they are given free rein to assign meaning to a particular thing, say, a cardboard box is seen as a potential space ship. Aside from that, this freedom to learn things their way through supervised activities gives them a stronger sense of being in control of their physical and mental development. The absence of rigid formal education can also eradicate the feeling of pressure and is more likely to boost their self-esteem. The article asserts that formal education must start later at the age of seven.

The belief that teaching kids formally at a younger age will make them brighter and more advanced is found to have no sound basis. Another study cited in the article wherein children starting formal literacy program at age 5 was compared with those who started at 7 showed no difference in reading ability once they reach age 11. In the United Kingdom, it is feared that the reason why children were sent to schools at a young age is because of the demand for women/mothers to go back to work, and not necessarily for the effects it will have in shaping the students.

Findings of the researches must be taken seriously to reconsider the early education system and clarify misconceptions. It is not going to school at age 4 or 5 they are warning us about, but the subjecting of these young kids to a formal schooling—complete with a curriculum!—which may breed their negative attitude towards education in general. There is always the option of play-based pre-school program that may help them develop their social ability and build up their self-confidence in dealing with other children. Let kids be kids! Besides, the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” must have some truth in it.

Works Cited

Philippines creates opportunities in overhaul of K-12 education system. (2013, August 9). Retrieved December 9, 2013, from ICEF Monitor:
Whitebread, D., & Bingham, S. (2013, November 18). Too much, too young: Should schooling start at age 7? New Scientist.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The rise of HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines

The statistics provided by Dr. Eric Tayag from last week’s public forum on HIV/AIDs was truly shocking. In his presentation, he informed the crowd that there is a steady rise of new HIV cases in the Philippines, while developed countries are experiencing a decrease in new HIV cases. While comparing our country to others may seem like another bad case of a false analogy; it still paints a picture of the disparity between developing countries like ours to other nations.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS also reflects other social problems such as drug use, prostitution, poverty and lack of information on safe sex. Dr Tayag noted how a community in Cebu experience an outbreak from people sharing needles for their drug use.  Another at-risk group would be men who have sex with men. While such act isn’t for us to judge, sodomy is generally frowned upon by society, along with homosexuality. As such, most men are forced to comply with such kinds of risky behaviour to attain their needs. Human trafficking and prostitution all rooted from poverty, introduced women (or men) to the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. The lack of information and awareness to HIV or AIDS only worsens the problem. The unavailability of sex education, especially for the youth and other key groups, has left them ignorant to cases such as AIDS. Since the onset of its symptoms and infection often take years before showing, it is most likely for people to ignore and forget about it; and eventually spreading the disease unbeknownst to them.

Moreover, those who fit under the targeted at-risk groups are afraid to get tested because of the social stigma related to it. More often than not, they also get profiled into stereotypes and fear being ostracized. Similarly, those affected by the disease often get discriminated. This then shows that aside from containing and eliminating the disease, it is also important to address the social issues related to it. Like any other person suffering from an illness, HIV positive or people living with AIDS must still be treated with respect. Instead of giving them another reason to be depressed about, it would be better for them if we give them support and hope. Currently, the government is trying its best to help those with HIV/AIDS by providing their needed treatment as part of their healthcare. Lots of NGOs and social groups, like Take the Test and ACHIEVE, have formed to encourage HIV testing and social awareness.

Like most ailments, prevention is the key to help lower and eventually eliminate HIV/AIDS cases.  However, the challenge isn’t just exclusive to the government nor to those who simply care, rather it concerns every one of us. Given how our generation were born with better access to information and various kinds of technology, in my opinion we should be able to harness them in help in the campaign for AIDS awareness. Even simple acts such as filtering and sharing Facebook posts which provide wrong information, to providing support by liking advocacy-based groups, can help change people’s perception to said disease.

HIV/AIDS: An Eye-opening Forum

HIV/AIDS is a disease with a rising incidence, and though it only affects the at-risk groups, raising awareness of the said disease is a must. In "Ang Paglalantad 3.0: HIV-AIDS in the Philippines",  a public forum held at the College of Mass Communications last December 3, 2013, we students were informed about the facts and figures of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the different measures that the government and nonprofit organizations are doing.

In the Philippines, it was said that the rise of cases of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines had changed in the recent years. From “low and slow” it became “fast and furious”. Philippines has become one of the nine countries with highest rising cases. Before, around twenty years ago, mostly females were recorded to be affected by the disease, but in the recent years it has become mostly males. This is because there is a rise in male to male sex, which is usually unsafe. Males do not use condoms due to different reasons, mainly because it is not available. Also, younger and younger people are being infected by the virus.

The government is now trying to control the rising incidence by promoting awareness and safe sex. Other organizations, meanwhile, encourage people, especially those who are at-risk, to take the test. They also focus on programs to educate the people about it.

From these facts and figures that were given, I believe that promoting awareness is a must and that it doesn’t matter if the group that is being educated is an at-risk group or not. All Filipinos must know the facts about the virus and the disease. This is not to raise alarm and panic. In reality, it is the misinformation spreading that was causing fear. Such an example was the spread of the rumor that a person can be infected through blood-contaminated ketchup. Educating people and spreading the right information puts a stop to this, and it would help the population understand the situation.  Having all the right facts would also help in the prevention of the spread of the disease, which is the first and foremost goal in educating the people. Also, it would encourage the at-risk groups to take a rest, instead of just living in fear of not knowing. Finally, it would help erase or at least lessen the discrimination against those who are affected by the virus/disease. The people would be able to understand those who are affected, and instead of discriminating or exiling those people, the population would instead support them and help them.

I learned a lot from the forum, not only just the facts, but also how we, as Filipinos, can help our own fellow countrymen who are suffering from the disease itself and the stigma it holds.

The Problem with Giant Robots

Pop culture is littered with tons of giant robots, which most of us probably grew up with. It is literally impossible to not know who Voltes V is. The same applies with Optimus Prime, Voltron, and all those Gundam models to name a few. These fictional characters became the embodiment of cool, saving all of humanity and the world and all that. While given all the recent innovations in technology, are creating giant robots really possible? 

In advent of Pacific Rim's success, a recent article discusses the possibility and physics regarding these kinds of robots.

Given a scientific perspective, these robots may just be purely fictional. Giant robots poses a lot of problems given the parameters of physics. First, the increase in their size, which may give them additional strength, will also give them additional drag. Thus, this will decrease the speed of their movements and with each movement they make, they will need more energy to do so. This then poses another problem, energy source. These robots are usually powered by some fictional source, like the magical Allspark, and even with all the innovations in the field of nuclear energy, replicating their power is still impossible. 

Choosing the right materials for production is also challenging, as most existing materials may not be suitable. Steel, titanium and beryllium and carbon reinforced plastic are among the options. However, they may not provide the strength, rigidity, lightweight-ness it needs. 

Perfecting a robot's motor skills is another problem most engineers and scientists encounter. Even the existing robots took years to polish, so applying such technology on a larger scale would be more difficult.

To say that these giant robots would remain as a figment of our imagination would be too harsh of a judgement, considering how several millenniums ago, most of the machines we take for granted everyday were deemed impossible. Though it would take several more years for scientists and engineers to develop giant robots, they're still my first bet when some apocalyptic threat to humankind occurs.