Post for Dec 24-30 2017 (updated Dec 25, re-updated Dec 29)

TaN (update 2): Everybody is still missing the whole issue with regard to the looming jeepney modernization plan of the Philippine government.  It is yet another case of the intention being good but everyone is going about it all wrong.  In the end, the situation will only get worse and the only benefit to be had will be those who stand to gain (financially) from this whole shenanigan.

The issue is not so much the “forced” conversion of jeepneys from ICEs (internal combustion engines) to electric ones but what happens afterwards — and most especially the cost to the jeepney operators and drivers and eventually down the line to the commuters and the environment.  Without first establishing some kind of rudimentary but functioning recharging infrastructure, the jeepneys will have to recharge from the existing power grid — which is mainly servicing households and industry.  This means that the electric jeepneys will not only add to the power demand already existing but will even compete for consumption.  This will increase the burden and power demand and will subsequently result in widespread and frequent power outages due to increased consumption.

Not only will this increase the revenue of existing power suppliers and distributors, it will not make even the tiniest dent in the consumption of fossil fuels — since power generation is still principally or heavily dependent on burning fossil fuels.

The yet-to-be-developed (much less established) recharging stations (infrastructure), to be in line with the drive or clamor for sustainable growth and development, should not get its power supply from the existing grid — which is fossil fuel based.  The renewable or alternative energy industry or sector must first be developed and be fully functioning — i.e., already contributing a significant fraction to the existing power grid — and capable of supplying and supporting the expected demand from electric jeepneys.

Only when a credible recharging infrastructure for the electric jeepneys is in place can we even think of modernizing and shifting from ICEs and electric engines — let alone forcibly implementing the conversion.

Shifting from ICEs to electric engines without any functioning recharging infrastructure only benefits those who are in the electric jeepney — and downstream — business (as well as those who stand to get commissions, agent’s fees, and other such financial bonanzas resulting from the sale and conversion.

So, in the end, it is incorrect to say “No to phase out of jeepneys” since they are not being phased out but merely coerced into shifting to electric engines.  Neither is it correct (for the government) to say that “Jeepney modernization program not anti-poor” (as the title of an article in The Philippine STAR hardcopy edition dated December 29, 2017) because jeepney drivers are not the only ones who are poor nor can government really make good its threat to “tow non-compliant vehicles” (as Senator Grace Poe so ably explained and warned) because “there might not be enough replacements yet for those would be taken off the road” — then there will be a transport crisis (which many “vultures” will quickly capitalize on).

TaN (update 2): In an article in Natural News posted for December 25 titled “Alternative fuel for home heating reduces emissions and recycles waste: Researchers say wood pellet fuel is a winner” by a certain Ralph Flores — URL: https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-12-25-alternative-fuel-for-home-heating-reduces-emissions-and-recycles-waste-researchers-say-wood-pellet-fuel-is-a-winner.html — all these good news to ways to save the environment and mitigate if not altogether halt or reverse climate change is well and good but we are still missing the point.  Conservation and sustainability is not about finding alternatives to our over-indulgence and over-consumption but about sustainable and responsible use of natural resources.

Even with fossil fuel, there will be little difficulty in controlling our emissions and achieve some kind of sustainability if only we curb our over-consumption tendencies and resist the tempting marketing campaigns and commercial advertisements of Big Business.  Always keep in mind — and, of course, practice faithfully and conscientiously — the Marxist principle of (from Critique of the Gotha program): From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.  In other words, zero-waste consumption is the only (truly) sustainable way to go — i.e., no unnecessary consumption as well as no unnecessary waste or discards.  We have to do away with encouraging consumers to buy more so business will do well.  We have to put people and environment before profit — money is neutral, it can neither be good nor bad; it is how we use it.

The whole point of sustainability is not to encourage wasteful use of limited resources, especially the non-renewables.  I f we can altogether abandon non-renewables, the better.  Let us return to the “old ways” without sacrificing innovation and creativity.  The Amish is correct in their ways but they are a bit too extreme.

The compromise is to develop technology that benefits all people — and shun or altogether outlaw monopolistic and self-serving ideas such as intellectual property and copyrights and other such “evil” things and innovate for the common good. It is (very) possible to demote money to a (much) lower status or importance and still have technological advancements equal to or even surpass the current rate of technological innovation.  In fact, without the hindrances of intellectual property and copyrights, technological creativity and innovations will most likely proceed at much faster rates because everything will be open to all for scrutiny and more minds will be able to work solving inherent flaws and weaknesses, unlike intellectual property and copyrights which restrict access to the inner workings outside of the rights proprietor and limited trusted people.

In any case, the aforementioned wood pellets are claimed to be ecological and sustainable will, in the end, go the way of all the others because consumption and demand will, once again, render it environmentally unsustainable.

TaN (update): In the (viral) video depicting a younger brother coming to the”rescue” of older sister in a wrestling match, most people notice (at once) the obvious (and adorable) “dramatic rescue” attempt by the younger brother because he thinks his older sister is in trouble and needs assistance.  What most people miss out is that, at his (tender) age, it is surprising that the boy is able to distinguish and recognize that (1) his older sister is engaged in what appears to be a dangerous situation and needs assistance, (2) there is a strong protective bond and instinct in the family even at the young age, and (3) the little boy, mistakingly as it may be, understands his role and responsibility as member of a family.

This video is one of those rare moments that reinforces and brings hope to a world otherwise engulfed in apathy, self-indulgence, greed, and selfishness.

Tan: On this 25th, when not Christiandom but rather only Catholics (should or will) celebrate the birth of Jesus, although the Holy Scriptures does not specifically say that birthdays are not to be celebrated — see Ecclesiastes 7:1: A good name is better then precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth [KJV] — they are nevertheless not encouraged.  In fact, it is for this very reason that the actual date of birth of Jesus is not (made) known or recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

However, the celebration itself is erroneous on two counts: [1] it is not the true or anywhere near the date of birth as, based on the accounts in the Holy Scriptures regarding the environmental and meteorological conditions at the time of birth, there will be or is snow on the ground every December 25 and [2] it is celebrated by most (Catholics, never mind the non-Catholics) for the wrong reason.

In the first count, even granting for the sake of argument that since the actual date is unrecorded (ergo unknown), the date of celebration should at least be as close to the actual date as possible.  It would be an insult to ignore all the descriptions of the weather conditions mentioned in the Holy Scriptures during that momentous event and arbitrarily set a date — which happens to (by some strange chance) coincide with the pagan celebration for the deity Saturnalia the sun god.

In the second count, assuming further than the first count is null, it is still erroneous to celebrate with such merriment and wild abandon but that it should be an occasion when we ponder at the solemnity and blessedness and that the mirth and festivities should reflect the significance of the occasion.  The joy and gaiety may be earnest or impassioned but the theme should be centered around the birth of the Savior.

Let us keep in mind the reason for our celebration — at the very least.

TaN: Unintentionally doing something wrong does not make it any less wrong.  However, intention certainly is a factor is determining culpability or liability or accountability.  Nevertheless, the “type” (for lack of a more accurate term) of intention further complicates matters.

First, the intention.  Should the wrong be intentional, then it is obvious.  However, if the wrong is unintentional, the wrongdoer may or may not be held responsible.  In this instance, it is important to go further into the “unintention”.

Should the “unintention” be willful — say, the wrongdoer was lazy or did not bother to check up and dig into the matter before acting — then it is unexcusable.  Should the “unintention” be sincerely unintentional but, after being informed or hearing about possible ill effects, pretend not to hear about or ignore it, this likewise cannot be condoned.  Any hint of risk or harm when health of people are concerned should be taken seriously, be it only for a single individual or many.

The problem is how to prove there is willful neglect or ignorance when dealing with something without formal documentation — such as a formal letter or public issuance.  This will be up to the conscience of the person.

In any case, no matter what the circumstance, the reasons, the excuses and alibis, wrong will always be wrong.

TaN: In today’s world, another proof that everything is being turned upside down: Legality trumps (science-based evidence-based) facts.  The best case in point is the voluminous studies and preponderances of research on the “miracles” of food nutrients as beneficial to health and yet Big Pharma (and Big Business), through the government dictates what is safe to consume and what can be disseminated to the public, continues to block and frustrate efforts to inform the public on the health and nutritional benefits of naturally or traditionally grown foods.

Everything today is about legality and corporate-funded science.  These are being touted and proclaimed as the only basis of truth and everything else are unfounded and just plain lies.

Another case in point is the growing trend for governments to label and make allegations against people and it is now the burden of whoever the poor individual happens to be to prove him/herself otherwise.  If this does not turn things around 180 degrees, I do not know what does.  I remember it used to be the burden of the accuser and not the accused to prove guilt.  As recent as just a couple of weeks ago, in the Philippines, a private lawyer who filed an impeachment complaint against the sitting chief justice wants the lawmakers to find evidence to substantiate the complaint for him.  What unmitigated gall!

It has gone from “Innocent until proven guilty” to “Guilty until proven innocent“.

And definitions are being twisted to suit the hidden agenda of powerful and influential vested interest groups.  It all started out subtly, like being politically correct, and intensified and progressed (or rather retrogressed) to redefining racism — speaking the truth is not racism and is certainly not wrong — to those too lazy to think for themselves and many more.

I wonder how far will all this go?

TaN: Sitting alone at home one evening — October 8, a Sunday — I suddenly had another epiphany.  Since we are not in control of when it is our time to go but we have a say in how we choose to wait for our moment with destiny (i.e., our death), it is a misplaced to feel shame when our children die before us.  Instead, our shame is when our children die due to something preventable — like disease or malnutrition, but not accidents and disasters.

It is a mistake to blame — or even just consider — ourselves when our children go before us.  Their time is beyond our control (and understanding, why they went ahead).  It is an entirely different story if our children go with preventable diseases or accidents.  This is a sign of negligence on our part.  It means we have been neglectful in our duties as parents (and guardians) of our children.  Our children have been entrusted to our case so it is our sacred duty to watch over them, teach them, and bring them up as good people and, most of all, God-fearing.

Anything beyond our control, like freak accidents, are unfortunate but cannot be due to any lack on our part.  It is beyond our wisdom why the Lord has chosen to call them back so soon.  And neither can we “blame” God for it is from Him that we have the gift of life so it is His prerogative as to when He decides to take it back.

Moreover, who are we to question His decision.  For all we know, God called our child back to save him/her from a worse fate.  We have no idea what the future holds and brings.

Always remember that there are things within our purview but there are those that are beyond and those that are beyond include God’s decisions.

In this sense, there is no such thing as an untimely death.  All deaths are timely.  They may be unfortunate and painful but they are timely.  It is time for them to go back just as we will have our time.

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