Post for Apr 17-23 2011 (Tidbits and Nuggets)

TaN: Respect the centavo!  This is a campaign by the government – specifically, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).  This value must be inculcated to all citizens.  When I can inject it into discussion, I would pose this question, If you should come across a centavo and a Pph500 bill on the ground, would you: (a) pick up the Php500 only or (b) pick up both currencies – I assume that no one would just pick up the centavo and leave the Php500 behind.

The choice made reveals a lot about the personality and the values of a person.  To pick up only the paper currency would mean that the person looks at money as a symbol of power and influence, and that his sense of respect is somewhat warped or not straight.  It would imply that the person obeys or follows rules out of fear or of coercion but not out of respect.  This kind of person will get away from doing his duty if and when ever he can.

Picking up the “lowly” centavo reveals that the person knows the true value of money, that it is a medium of exchange and not just the amount it represents.  This person would also know how to respect the elders, children, women, laws, the environment, and others – all of creation.  He can be trusted to do the right thing even when no one is watching and even when he knows he can get away with doing something wrong.  This true sense of respect will govern and guide him in all his actions and his decisions.

TaN: I just came across some articles teaching readers how to be thrifty and how to save.  I have some recommendations that seem to be commonly overlooked.

One, (for architects like Sir Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr) we can design houses to have a water cistern to collect rain or flood water, and redesign the downspout to incorporate a “divertionary or switching valve” giving the option to channel rain or flood waters to the cistern.  This water can be used for non-essential purposes – watering plants, washing pavements and walkways, washing tires, etc.

Two, (I got this from my architect cousin – who had designed it years ago – and still for architects) we can make it the norm to have toilets with urinals for males.  This way, urinals do not require as much water as toilets.  I realize that females would not be able to avail but at least the water consumption would be reduced.  Perhaps, someone can invent a urinal for females.

Three, (again, for architects) there is a way to cool the house without using air-conditioners and it would be environment friendly.  This idea came from observing and learning how chickens keep cool even when outdoors in warm weather.  They would scratch out a shallow “basin” on the ground and sit in it.  They would repeat this several times.  I realized later that, no matter how hot and humid the ambient temperature is, a few inches below the surface, it is cool.  This is also the way some people in deserts survive the heat during the day time – they would dig a hole in the sand and cover themselves up.  It is cool and comfy under the burning desert sand.

So, during the digging of the foundation of a house, pipes (say, ¼-inch diameter) can be laid down – in a radiator-pattern – to serve as some sort of a heat sink.  The pipes will be connected to a network of plastic tubings that are embedded in the walls in the same radiator pattern.  A small low-horsepower gear pump would be enough to circulate the water.  This system absorbs the heat in the house (above-ground) and dissipates it in the pipe network below ground, and vice versa for the coolness below to the house.  Another network may be done for the roofing.

Another ingenious technology is the way some Scandinavian houses save on energy bills – heating during winter and cooling during summer.  The system is implemented only on the roof and does not circulate.  There is a network of water-filled pipes on the roof.  In the daytime, the water absorbs and keeps the sun’s warmth and releases it during the night.  This takes advantage of the unique property of water which is slow to warm and slow to cool.  [For beach goers and lovers, ever noticed that, during daytime, the air and the land is hot but the water is cool, while it is the other way around at sunset?]

Four, some years ago, there is a growing urban trend to have (literally) roof gardens and lawns.  The plants enjoy the unobstructed sunlight while shielding the house from the intense solar radiation.  I read about a hospital in Japan with such a roof garden and maximizes it by having patients in the upper floors enjoy greenery without having to go all the way down the ground floor and leave the building to go to the park.  It also reduces the cooling bills.  Roof gardens are an environmentally sustainable and cheaper alternative to solar panels – especially in poor countries where solar technology is way beyond the reach of the greater population.

Finally, five, bring back the use of sun breakers to minimize the heat of the afternoon sun and explore the economic feasibility of using optical fiber technology to bring sunlight into different inner rooms of a house.

TaN: It is but right that scholars give back to society in kind or in terms of service through philanthropy and altruism.  This provision should be part and parcel of the terms and conditions of the scholarship agreement and should hold true especially for government scholars – they should render some of their learned expertise to the less fortunate, the poorest of the poor, as some paying it forward to those who need it most but cannot afford it.

The length or duration of “service” may be commensurate to the cost of education and the “compensation” received – based on the compensation structure of government employees – but not less than 18 months (all inclusive) and between 2-3 (re-)assigments.  [“Re-assignments” means that s/he may be transferred to another assignment area or duty; while “all inclusive” means the service rendered shall be considered continuous and not applied per re-assignment.]

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