Post for Feb 8-14 2015

[last-minute insertion/inclusion] TaN: For all who desire only peace and goodwill to all, the price to pay is always a violent and cruel death — Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma (Mohandas) K Gandhi, and ultimately Jesus Christ.  Not that all who suffer violent and cruel deaths are for peace and goodwill, but that all who wish only good for others must prepare for such an eventuality, for the evilness in the hearts of men, by the influence of Satan, will drive his minions to such grotesque and gruesome acts.  The Fallen 44 are such men, who desire nothing but peace and goodwill to and for others.

TaN: Cloud computing is a potential danger for smart devices and machines (of the future, near or far) to tap into and be “independent” of man.  And to speculate further, may even, by some stretch of the imagination, prophesize the scenarios portrayed in such science fiction motion pictures such as the Terminator series and the like.

The “predictions or premonitions” in George Orwell’s 1984 are slowly and creepily being realized and it would not be far into the future where the rest of the “scenarios” described become reality too.  This is what we get when we redefine laziness (to skirt guilt and conscience) and claim it is “modern” convenience.  It is a slippery slope that more and more are going down and dragging everybody down with them.

So far, cloud computing has been showing how technology — i.e., laziness- and greed-driven technological innovations, not inventions — is proving to be flawed-ridden and threatening, especially if hastily done to be the first to deliver to the market for profit.  The recent incident of hacking accounts stored in cyber clouds are a clear example of its vulnerability.

Cloud computing may offer great convenience (in terms of digital material, saving people from having to lug them around and potentially misplacing or having them stolen or damaged) but it likewise presents (detrimental) opportunities for crackers to break in to accounts and plunder content — simply because many people share the same storage medium.

There is a saying: What one man can do, another can undo and There is no such thing as 100% secure.  It is known and acknowledged that there is no defense against a determined intruder.  What most security experts agree on is that one can only put up as much security defenses to make it difficult and discourage intrusions but one can never put up enough to prevent a determined penetration.

Anyway, the danger here (in cloud computing) is there is a distinct possibility that, when it merges and converges with AI (artificial intelligence) and smart devices and machines, the former provides a readily accessible treasure trove of valuable information that can be exploited by the latter for “its own purpose/s”.  Shades of 1984.

TaN: Money/wealth, or the love or lack of it, is at the very root of almost all global problems, sufferings, misery, and (prevetable) deaths — just like what was prophesized in the Holy Scriptures.  Because we perceive (and accede or accept) that money is so essential that we measure and see things in terms of money — even progress and growth — we fall prey to or become victims of money.

Some cases in point, (1) poor people cannot be accepted into or will not get the best care, not unless they can put up some kind of security deposit or guarantee that the hospital will get paid.  I understand that the hospital needs funds to remain viable — i.e., to remain in operation and be of service to the community.  However, it is said that hospitals are eleemosinary which necessitates that profit should not be utmost or primus.  It is good that there are now nations where health care is universal but there is still a wide gap between laws and faithful implementation.  Money still remains to be the biggest cause of what is otherwise preventable (medical and health) miseries.

Even with generics and even so-called alternative health care, they may be cheaper than Big Pharma’s shameful profiteering — and “profiteering” is a poor description of the actual astronomical mark-ups in medical bills.  A whole lot more poor people would benefit if medical bills were non-existent — or at least at cost.  In fact, there are supposed to be remote villages in China where the residents pay a small token amount to the (government-assigned) village physician for as long as none is sick but the payment stops the moment someone gets sick and resumes after the physician restores health to everyone.

Moreover, whatever is left to the global poor is being exploited and hijacked by Big Pharma through biopiracy using the argument that there is no existing patent so it is fair game.  This has been documented repeatedly in India and among some of the remote indigenous Amazon jungle tribes.

(2) Late last year, in one episode of CBS60 Minutes, it was featured a century-old bridge that is in badly need of repairs and rehabilitation but there is no budget for it.  The interviewee said that it could collapse and bring potential deaths to people who drive through it.  Even with this revelation, government still appears unwiling to provide funds and instigate plans to prevent a potential tragedy.  For the lack of money — as trivial as that — and not anything else.

(3) The ever-increasing incidence of global hunger is brought about not by lack or insufficient supply of food — as Big Ag and Big Biotech and Big Chem repeatedly trumpets and propagandizes — but the inaccessibility to tillable land (for the poor so they can be self-sufficient, but most are private property cordoned off from the poor), unequal and unequitable distribution of food, and the flood of anti-nutritive junk and processed food (frequently from GM sources, either directly from plants or via CAFOs or Concentrated Animal Farming Operations) which causes greater hunger.  All these just because the global poor do not possess enough wealth to: (1) purchase a small property for themselves, (2) be worth the trouble of bringing food to, and (3) afford quality and nutritive food to feed their families.

(4) The (very much) delayed rehabilitation and reconstruction of and in disaster (damaged) areas in under-developed and developing nations could quickly and efficiently addressed if it were not for the lack of funds — among other reasons.  This is true even during times when there are no disasters, like in the lack of classrooms and school facilities and in the lack of sufficient road networks to connect remote villages and communities to the rest of the country.

This may also include setting up of remote clinics and health centers in remote and coastal villages and communities that could benefit people if were it not only for lack of funds.  And the sad fact of the matter is NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are taking up the slack which is supposed to be the government’s job.

Finally, this reminds me of my personal experience with an outreach program I helped set up in my college days where we served an urban depressed area and the people asked us why we were doing what the government should be doing — we offered livelihood classes for the adults, educational classes for the children, medical and dental services from volunteer physicians and dentists who joined us, community hygiene and cleanliness, and feedings programs, among others.  Had there been sufficient funds allocated by government, the poor would not have been left to fend for themselves.

TaN: In last week’s feature on galaxies and black holes, it was speculated — but I personally doubt it very much and beg to disagree — that some galaxies may have a cluster of stars that serve as their center.  I argue and maintain that this is not only highly unlikely but totally impossible because only a (massive) black hole can do the job.  This is because a cluster of stars would be “too loose or unstable” to act as one and would be actually have no core on which the galaxy (structure) can be anchored.

For a galaxy to maintain its structure, tremendous gravitational pull is required and none but a black hole, a massive black hole at that, possesses the needed gravitational force strong enough to do the job.  With this, it is expected that all galaxies will have a massive black hole at the center but it does not mean that there will be only one.  However, the black hole at the galaxy center must necessarily be the most massie.

In addition, it does not discount the presence of solitary (or maverick) black holes that roam the universe — in search of solitary stars and cosmic bodies to prey on and consume.  Given enough time, the universe will eventually end up as one humongous black hole — the grand daddy of all black holes, possible the primordial singularity from which the Big Bang happened.

Finally, if I may be so bold as to posit that when such a time and event comes into reality — i.e., when the universe finally becomes one super mega hyper awesome black hole — perhaps then that singular black hole will shrink into a tiny miniscule itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny dot or point in space (how it was in the beginning, before the supposed Big Bang).  And why not, after all the universe is not only made up of matter and energy but also dark and anti-matter and dark anti-energy.  And we know that when matter meets or comes in contact with its corresponding anti-matter counterpart — and energy with its corresponding anti-energy counterpart — the result is oblivion or total and complete annihilation.

TaN: The Tagalog saying, “Kung gusto may paraan; kung ayaw may dahilan” should not be translated literally because the true meaning or intent will be lost or skewed.

Literally, it translates to: “If it is desired there is a way; if it is not desired there is a reason”.  Although this is quite accurate, it does not accurately convey the true or real essence of the saying.

Instead, the more appropriate translation should be: “If it is desired there is (or will be) a way; if it is not desired there is an excuse (or alibi)”.  “Reason” implies there is a possibility of validity or justifiable, whereas “alibi or excuse” implies that there is some sense of shirking responsibility or trying to worm out of an obligation.

I do not believe in being politically correct; I call a spade a spade; diplomacy and tact is and should be confined to that which is true and has no place in falsehood.  In lies and falsehood, tell it like it is, no kid gloves, no onion skins, let the chips fall where they may.

TaN: The entire Earth is “edible” — it is food for some life form or another.  At first glance, it appears insane because one would easily argue that rocks and soil are not food.  On the contrary, if one ponders the declaration carefully and thoroughly, it can be gleaned that there is a qualification “…food for some life form or another”.

It is understandable that we tend to think only in terms of ourselves — that anything that we do or cannot eat is not considered food.  We frequently forget that there are other life forms and their food may not necessarily be our food.  In fact, there are life forms that rely or feed on pure energy — e.g., (1) there are ocean bottom-dwelling shrimps that are found only near boiling sulfur vents spewing out of cracks in the ocean bottom and feeding of the raw energy from the interior of the planet, (2) there are bacteria that feed on iron, (3) there are bacteria that subsist on oil (which can prove useful in cleaning up oil spills), and (4) there are those that eat rocks, to name a few.

Just for argument’s sake, let us grant that (it is written supposedly in the Holy Scriptures that)) everything can be eaten, this does not necessarily mean that we must eat everything.

Moreover, even among those that we consider food, not all foods are intended to be eaten any time and all the time.  There are seasonal foods and those that are available all year — at least, there used to be such distinctions until business, driven by greed for profit, bred and developed seasonal food and made them available all year, disrupting and damaging our once healthful diets into disease-causing unhealthy lifestyles and diets.  In addition, not all foods that are simultaneously available are found everywhere.

The wisdom here is that certain foods are to be consumed only during certain times or seasons of the year and, among those that are available at the same time or season but found only in certain environments, specific foods are intended for a particular people living in a particular geographic area.  Food found (i.e., endemic or native) to a distinct location is intended to be eaten only by those residing in the area, although having a taste of it by others is not bad, but not as a staple.

Finally, if one really contemplates on it, the soil (that is regarded by most as inedible) is “consumed” or drawn up and converted by plants into organic matter which, in turn, serves as food for all other life forms.  So, in essence, the whole planet is “edible”.  It is just that most of it are not directly edible but must first be “processed” by an intermediary organism — such as bacteria, fungi, and plants.

TaN: The issue regarding the Catholic Church “taking sides” in an election issue being a violation of the principle of separation between church and state is not as complicated as it appears.  It is the people who make it complicated.

First, from a legal standpoint, the Church was within its rights to put up any form of expression, ensuring that it is truthful and right, on its property.  As explained, the act is similar to any other ordinary citizen putting up a poster on his/her property expressing his/her opinion on any matter — again, assuming the expression is not libelous and is the truth.

However, due to the enormous influence the Church is perceived to have on the people, the Church should have exercise more prudence.  It must be remembered that most — I am not saying all but a majority, which can be as few fifty percent plus one — Filipinos do not think for themselves but rely on the bandwagon.  Filipinos have this bad habit of going with the flow for convenience, not thinking of the long-term consequences of his/her decisions and actions.  This would explain why there is still a persistent perception of many continue to sell their votes during elections and why we always end up with politicians and government officials who are an embarrassment and still lord it over the population.

Second, the labeling of the candidates as being “members of Team something” is bordering on libelous because it attacks the character or personality of each candidate.  Rather, the Church should have just specified that so-and-so candidate advocated or has a pro-RH or an anti-RH bill stand.  To put labels such as “buhay” and “patay” is not only over-simplifying but being judgmental and closes the “door” for appreciating or listening to the reason for the candidate’s stand.  Furthermore, just because one is against the enacting of the RH bill does not necessarily make one a pro-life or “buhay”.  And, knowing Filipino politicians, many still belong to the old breed of being political butterflies — taking the side that is advantageous to their personal “survival”.

Finally, if the Church, or any individual or entity for that matter, desires to get involve in any issue of wide and public interest or concern, it must take care not to violate others’ rights in our eagerness to exercise ours — regardless of whether it has legal implications or consequences or not.

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