Mar 1-7 2015

TaN: In an article last mid-week, in the Science and Environment section of The Philippine STAR (dated February 26, 2015 and titled “‘Phl placing 3rd in plastic ocean list a wake-up call’“), it is not surprising because the Philippines is probably the only country in the world — unless other (underdeveloped) countries are following or have followed suit — where there is the concept or practice of selling “tingi” or tiny fractions or portions of a commercial item because the prevailing sizes or portions sold in other (industrialized) countries puts the selling price way too high to be affordable for the masses.  This is why many foreigners comment that only in the Philippines do they find items being sold in sachets and tiny packs.

With the selling of commercial items in tiny portions, it makes the item within financial reach of its intended consumer.  But this also brings the problem of more packaging and this leads to more plastic waste or discards.  The plastic wrappings and packagings would really be a problem if it were not for the propensity of the Filipino to use the environment as a convenient waste bin.

It is expected that a typical Filipino will just carelessly and mindlessly throw any packaging or wrapper just anywhere as soon as the item has been opened.  And to exacerbate the situation, household waste is mostly plastic wrappers and packaging from items bought that either could or was not opened as soon as they were bought or were brought to the house by friends and relatives as gifts or “bring-alongs”.  Multiply that situation by the massive population size of over 100 million Filipinos.

This “throw away anywhere and everywhere” tendency of Filipinos is probably brought on by a cultural habit where forefathers, living in a tropical climate where there is food in abundance and all (natural) food have biodegradable “packaging”.  Since (natural) food packaging (which is the peel, rind, skin, etc) degrades naturally and easily, throwing them along the wayside poses not much of a problem.

The problem arises when, living in the “modern” era where plastic is and has become ubiquitous, the Filipino is unable to realize and distinguish between biodegradable “packaging” and non-biodegradable (such as plastic) ones but treat them in the same manner — just throwing them everywhere and think that these plastics will biodegrade the same way as the natural food coverings (as peels, rinds, and skins).

And when the rains or the gusty winds of the dry season come, these plastic discards are washed away into the sea — via drainage or sewers and intentional throwing into esteros and various small or minor inland waterways as a convenient waste bin.  And this explains much of the reason for the Philippines being in 3rd place, which is not surprising because China (the first) is by sheer population size is naturally number 1.

TaN: Likewise, in the news last mid-week, the report on the “all out offensive” of or by the Philippine government (i.e., the military forces) against the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) reminded me of the saying, When elephants fight, it is the ants that suffer.  It is precisely what is needed but care is paramount that civilians and the innocent (or non-combatants) should be minimally affected — since it is next to impossible not to impact those who have no involvement whatsoever in such situations.

Basically, it should be a police operation since the BIFF is being treated or labeled as bandits, criminals, or outlaws but it is understandable to have military participation — I repeat, “participation” and not “taking the lead role” — because of the firepower and contingency size the BIFF possesses.  However, it is likewise understandable that the military take a significant role in the police operation, especially if the police operatives are “foreigners”, because the military are more familiar with the terrain and the people — notwithstanding the fact that the military maintains a permanent presence and they are more familiar with dealing with large groups of combatants or targets.

TaN: Standards of measurement intended to be applied universally — i.e., everywhere and anytime — should be based on something that is constant and consistent everywhere, anytime, and under any conditions.  Certain standards of measurement are relevant and applicable only under circumstances, like in the case of time: day, month, and year as compared to second, minute, hour, and week.

A “Day” cannot be a universal standard of measurement because it is defined by the time it takes to complete a 360 degree rotation on the planetary axis and different planets take different times to make the rotation; year is the time it takes to complete a revolution of a planet around the sun/star and, like a day, different planets take different times to revolve around their respective sun/star; and, month is the time it takes for a moon (or natural planetary satellite) to revolve around its host planet and, again like the day and the year, moons of different planets take different times to revolve, plus if there should be more than one or even no moon/satellite at all, then the month becomes slightly more complicated.

In the case of a “Second”, it is based on a pre-determined element and its oscillating frequency.  It is assumed that the oscillating frequency of any element is consistent wherever it is (in the universe) — unaffected by gravity and other cosmic forces.  As for “Minute” (because it is defined as “60 seconds”) and “Hour” (because it is defined as “60 minutes”), since they are all based on the “Second”, they can be reliable — for as long as “Second” remains unchanged.

The “Week” is a bit complicated because since it is defined as “7 days” and a “Day” varies according to the duration it takes for a certain point of reference (in this case, a cosmic body) rotates on its axis, different cosmic bodies have different rotation rates.  Even though the definition of the “Week” is fixed — in that it is always “7 days” — the “Day” which the “Week” is based on varies.

I brought up this TaN because, although the errors from inconsistent standards of measurement, especially time, are rare and do not cause much concern, I am a stickler for accuracy — after all, inaccuracies may become bones of contention for people who insist on accuracy.

Take the case of a person’s date of death and age at the moment of death.  Although it is hardly worth the trouble, the true date of death and age of a person at the moment of death should be based on the time where s/he was born.  Currently, the practice is the date of death and the age at the moment of death is based on the time where the person died.  What if one is born during an international flight or on board a ship that crosses the International Dateline and it so happens that upon crossing over the demarcation line, the newborn dies.  How would the records reflect the true date of death and age, especially if the newborn did not survive the end of the “day” — born: March 1, 2015; died: Feb 28, 2015?

TaN: The emphasis on intellectual property rights is getting to be so absurd, it defies simple logic.  Many inventors and innovators claim that their creations will help others and yet they put patents and other stupid restrictions on their use and availability.  What kind of help are they talking about?  How do their creations help if they put up barriers against accessibility?

If their creations are really intended to help others — and not themselves — they should make the creations freely available.  If they have to charge or impose a price, let it be only for the cost of materials and the time and effort spent.  Any amount beyond those belie the true purpose of the creations — which is to profit and not to help.

Moreover, if inventors and innovators truly create things to help others, they should welcome “pirates” and those who can modify and improve the creations.  The latter will help in making the creations reach more people faster.  And if their problem is credit, it is a simple enough request to give the originators their credit due.

However, there is still the matter of the pirates making a profit from the works of inventors and innovators.  For as long as the pirates charge on the cost of production (and other such expenses directly and truthfully relevant to production, such as transportation or delivery), there should be no qualms as to them requiring payment.  Any amount charged beyond that should subject the pirates to prosecution — in this point, I am against piracy.

Furthermore, at this time and era of cyber space, 3D printing, computer, and with the correct software and 3D layout design, one can easily reproduce any object or parts at will.  Well, so much for intellectual property — at least in the material aspect or dimension.

Abstract ones are a bit more complicated because it is not physical material and can easily be “pirated”.  Moreover, should they be “pirated”, lots of money and effort will have to be spent to “go after the pirates”.  But what if the “pirate” is not worth all the effort and money — say, the “pirate” is a small charitable group trying to help people who badly needs the invention or innovation but cannot afford it.  Will it be ethical or moral to deprive those in (real) need just because they cannot afford it?  Will the IPR (intellectual property right) holder be so insensitive and inconsiderate and greedy as to deprive people in need of the benefit of his/her invention or innovation for the sake of mere financial gain?  Would it not be simpler just to let the world have free access and just require that due credit and recognition be accorded?

Finally, if you cannot put your creations in the public domain or for the common good, at least be honest enough to admit that you are inventing or innovating for personal gain and not some bovine ordure that your creation is intended to help and benefit others.— social benefit is but an accidental or mere side benefit or even an after thought and not the main purpose of the invention or innovation.  Let us stop kidding ourselves.  In line with this blog’s label/name, another world is possible for all — a world where people freely share and help each other improve and (truly) progress, a world where greed and laziness has no place in but compassion and sharing abound and prevail.

TaN: Our talents, knowledge, and skill must be shared and taught to others — and freely — otherwise we would be guilty not only of being lazy or slothful but also selfish.

Selfishness comes in many forms, primarily of which is putting a patent and exercising our intellectual property rights.  Although these are being touted as incentives to induce or spur creativity and innovation, they are actually and truly intended to serve the interests of the wealthy via the use of high technology that is only possible under a capital-intensive situation.

The use of high technology ensures that the poor and masses will have insufficient capital to maintain monopolistic control over the creations and innovations of talented individuals.  Moreover, the originators may receive compensation, such as royalties, but these are pittance compared to what the capitalist reaps.

A good example would be songs, where the songwriter may receive an initial payment for the songs — not necessarily just the rights — and subsequent royalties but much of the bulk of the revenue from the sales goes to the recording studio, under the guise of production and marketing expenses.  In truth, expenses incurred by the recording studio should be taken from their share of the sales profits.  The recording studio is merely the vehicle or tool by which the song is profited from, but all the effort (and credit) belongs to the originator or, in this case, the songwriter.

Moreover, I posit and maintain that so-called intellectual properties such as songs should be shared with everyone freely.  It is the sharing of the fruits of our labor where the true value and meaning lie.  Something freely given (and shared) is more highly appreciated and more valuable than anything purchased.  It shows and proves the true intent, which is that it is meant to be a gift.

Many songwriters claim that they wrote the song to share with the world yet the world has to pay for it.  Something is not right here — if the song is being shared then why do we have to pay for it?  It may be argued that there are expenses incurred in bringing the song to the world but that is a valid argument — for argument’s sake — in the days before cyber space but that no longer holds water today.

Finally, with the omnipresence of cyber space today, we must go into the next era in our history — the Age of Critical Thinking.  Let us see through the veiled claims and declarations and see things for what they truly are and their true intentions and meanings.  USE THAT BRAIN!

The truth is today’s formal education is designed and intended to provide a continuous supply of manpower for business and industry rather than to teach people.  Education used to be (1) home schooling and (2) done to develop good citizenship and to become a member of society of good moral standing and values.  Today, it is more of a professionalized (and standardized) vocational school where students acquire useful skills for industry rather than for their own flourishing (see Buddhist economics by E F Schumacher or any other related literature).

Education today is more on satisfying the needs of industry — serving mammon — rather than one’s own well being — serving God.  It is principally for this reason that selfishness and self-satisfaction, irresponsibility, greed, corruption, and immorality are running rampant and uncontrolled.

Education has ceased to be educational.  It has become training — no thanks to the machinations and orchestration of Big Business (and ignorance of the 7 deadly sins, among others).  A prime example is the field of economics, which is supposed to be (and started out as) a social science.  Yet, economics has morphed into mere science and the social aspect has been relegated to the background or even totally discarded and forgotten.

Through the manipulation of Big Business, people have become more concerned with serving their (Big Business and industry) master instead of the True Master (God, by being good in the inherent talents and skills for the betterment of the community in the spirit of compassion and sharing with everyone the fruits of their labor).  Everyone is so concerned with the self — the latest of which are the selfie and the groupie — and forget what ought to be our purpose in life, which is to be of service to the Father by being His instruments of service to others.

Education has been bastardized to serve man and not even all men but a mere privileged global elite…the powers-that-be.  Alas, education is at the brink and only short of a miracle can it be brought back — via returning to the spirit and intent of the Holy Scriptures.  When we serve others (i.e., truly others, indiscriminate, unconditional, and selflessly), we serve God.

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