Post for May 22-28 2011 (Tidbits and Nuggets)

TaN: The single biggest cause of climate change and of global warming is deforestation.  Unbeknownst to many, trees have such an impact on global climate that is not immediately perceivable or comprehendable by even the most educated mind.  A major segment of global climate is linked to the hydrologic cycle – movement of water from the ground, into the atmosphere, and back to the earth.  Evaporation (i.e., via solar heat) is but secondary to trees (i.e., transpiration) in the uptake of water into the atmosphere.

Water travels up the root system using capillary action and into the leaves.  The combined surface area of the leaves provide a large surface to evaporate the water into the air.  Taking all the trees into consideration, the total surface area for transpiration would be greater than the total surface of the planet.  But, this is when there were still lots of trees; our forest cover still intact; much of the planet terrestial surface still green.

Contrary to popular belief and understanding, there is a world of difference, in terms of impact on the meteorological cycle, between evaporation via solar heat and transpiration via trees.  This can easily be observed from storms increasing intensity as they travel across a body water – picking up water vapor as it goes along.  On the one hand, evaporation from the water surface adds to the wind speed while the water vapor itself adds to the water content.  On the other hand, transpiration also adds to the water content/load but not to the wind speed.  Unknown to most people, all substances and molecules may have identical chemical twins but the specific arrangement of the molecules determine the characteristics and the behavior.  An example would be chiral chemistry (or mirror molecules or stereochemistry).  [The different ways the hydrogen and the oxygen atoms are arranged and connected determine how water behaves.  And, with that, the weather system and the climate conditons.  Observe the different structural arrangement of the water molecules from different sources and it will reveal and explain the different behavior and qualities we experience – like why rainwater on laundry takes a long time to dry while tap water dries faster and like why cool rain water brings unparalleled vigor and vibrance to plants while cooled microwaved water kills plants.]

In the natural meteorological cycle, as water vapor gather into clouds, the greater the mass the more it is affected by the pull of gravity.  Water-laden clouds appear dark because of the huge mass of water vapor blocks much of the sunlight, while their altitude is affected by the mass of water content – the more water, the heavier, and the lower altitude.  As a cloud travels – from its origin, which is the ocean or sea – it, eventually, encounters a large-enough land mass that causes it to slow down and lose its load of water.

Ideally, a cloud that makes landfall will encounter a forest-covered mountain, blocking its path.  If the cloud has enough velocity, it will be able to traverse the obstructing mountain, but not without losing some of its water load.  The forest at the mountaintop serves as an instrument where the water vapor will precipitate around, dumping much of the water.  This water loss makes the cloud lighter and will enable it to lift itself up and over the mountain.  At the same time, the water that rained is absorbed by the soil and the roots of the trees.

Once the ground becomes saturated with rain (and held back by the roots, in a watershed), the excess water is collected into the brooks and the streams and the tributaries that converge into rivers and large bodies of water.  The water held by the roots will, likewise, be slowly released – to feed and sustain the flow of water down the mountain.  Eventually, the water end up in lakes, in seas, and, ultimately, in the ocean.  And the hydrologic cycle begins anew.

With much of our natural forest canopies gone, much of the evaporation happens from the surface of bodies of water.  And, this is what is causing all these freak and devastating weather phenomena we have been experiencing lately – including the increasing frequency of ground tremors, of volcanic acitivity, of forest fires, of flash floods, and of a host of other natural catastrophes.  Bring back the climate equilibrium but reforesting – with the correct endemic tree species – and climate change and global warming will be reversed.

TaN: Formal education today is no longer relevant – ONLY PROFITABLE.  It used to be that the only source of education is to be found in an academic setting; that if you want to learn, you have to be in a school.  However, those times have long gone.  With cyberspace and the global digital superhighway, if one desires to be learned, an academic institution is not the only place to obtain an education.  In fact, colleges and universities have changed; they have ceased to be fountains of education and have, instead, been transformed into for-profit business enterprises.

Colleges and universities have become training centers, where people – especially the young, the impressionable, the innocent, and the masses – go to be transformed into a commodity (with specific industry-needed skills), a profit-generating asset for a business enterprise, amassing wealth and concentrating it for the rich, the elite, the powers-that-be.

Colleges and universities have ceased to be places of learning; they no longer fulfill their original purpose, their original intent, their original design – to mold minds, to imbue values and virtues, to elevate man from the basal, primal, and rudimentary level to the higher planes of existence, to the realm of compassion, of communalism, of cooperation, of harmony (with others and with nature), of forgiveness, of service to others.

Colleges and universities (in my neck of the woods) are more concerned with the bottom line, with making profits rather than delivering education, with ways and schemes for increasing revenue even at the expense of the students and of the employees.  Should a student happen to get good education, it is more of an accident rather than of a sincere outcome of the mission-vision of the educational institution.  How else can it be explain: the Department of Education (which was established for students welfare and concerns) “siding” or “favoring” policies and deciding on cases and on conflicts between school management and students and mostly in favor of the former; the annual increase in student expenses with minimal or with no (financial) gains for the employees (academic and non-academic) – with the greatest increases in expenses being imposed on miscellaneous fees (fees which, by law, the employees are not entitled to have a share in) instead of on tuition fees (sixty percent of the increase going to salaries); and, the lowering of the passing score of entrance and/or qualifying examinations when not enough examinees are able to meet the requirement so as to fill up the classrooms?

TaN: Success of education depends on the student – not the educational materials, not the educational institution, not the curriculum, not even the educator.  Human history is riddled with countless accounts of geniuses and autodidacts (i.e., those with no background in formal education whatsoever).  It is a testament that the only hindrance to a person’s learning is him/herself.  It is just another argument supporting the saying: Kung gusto, (laging) may paraan; kung ayaw, maraming dahilan (If you want to, there is (always) a way; if you don’t, there are many reasons (read: excuses)).

The determination (or the interest) of a student in learning is the most critical element in the learning process.  This is the principal reason behind students failing in certain subjects or even dropping out of school completely – though, in many cases in poor countries and similar settings, economic considerations, likewise, play a significant role (i.e., either the student is financially incapable of sustaining the education or poverty mandates that the student stop to assist in the day-to-day survival of the family).

However, defining education as the knowledge imparted to students in a classroom setting is too narrow and myopic.  The truth of the matter is education is anywhere and everywhere that provides a person with information and with knowledge to enable him/her to react to environmental situations so as to ensure survival and improvement.  Albert Einstein supposedly said, Education is what is left (or remembered) after you have forgotten everything else you were taught in school.


About anotherworldispossibleforall

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