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Category Archives: Internet

Was super typhoon Yolanda man-made?

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Admittedly, I do pay attention to conspiracy theories but only those which concern my country. Go ahead and kill me.

Nowadays, people usually think of conspiracy theorists as ingenious loonies locked for hours inside their dingy rooms crammed with books, documents, and Elvis Presley photos scattered all over the floor, seated in front of their computers while feasting on oily burgers and sugary coffee. Holier-than-thou keyboard warriors often make fun of such people due to the seeming hilarity of their pronouncements as opposed to an already accepted political dogma. But a friend of mine said that not too long ago, conspiracy theory was not categorized as a “science of screwballs”. Most, if not all, of these people are highly respected individuals. Pure geniuses and not just smarter than the average bear. But due to the polemics brought about by their discoveries, the powers that be are compelled to marginalize them just to remain in control of the weak. So there you have it, in a jiffy.

Anyway, if conspiracy theorists claim that super typhoon Yolanda originated from the U.S. military as implied in the scientifically articulate video above, then I believe them. After all, it is already common knowledge that the U.S. Government is power-hungry. Now THAT is no conspiracy theory.

Because if cloud seeding and birth control are made possible, why not artificial typhoons?

You be the judge.

Everything you need to know about Aling Yolanda

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Sorry I’m not able to blog here regularly anymore. Life is always on the way. Been too much of a busy bee that I wasn’t even able to blog about last month’s heritage-killer quake (but I did mention it here in brief).

As I write this, Filipinas is now bearing the brunt of one of the most powerful super typhoons in history (the winds are howling like mad outside our apartment unit). So powerful it is that I have no other choice but to “invoke my right” to be absent from work tonight. Also, I thought of sharing to the lazy internet user what I found out about Super Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda (usually preceded by a hashtag by the social media addict):

Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) comes from a Chinese word which means “petrel”, a tube-nosed seabird. From time to time, you might stumble upon the characters 海燕 just to emphasize its being Chinese.
Wind: 270 KPH (as of 11/8/2013, 2:00:00 PM [Malay Peninsula Standard Time])
Location: 11.4N 237.4E
Movement: W at 25 mph

Below are some of the strongest monster twisters in world history:

Super Typhoon Nancy (1961), 215 mph winds, 882 mb. Made landfall as a Cat 2 in Japan, killing 191 people.
Super Typhoon Violet (1961), 205 mph winds, 886 mb pressure. Made landfall in Japan as a tropical storm, killing 2 people.
Super Typhoon Ida (1958), 200 mph winds, 877 mb pressure. Made landfall as a Cat 1 in Japan, killing 1269 people.
Super Typhoon Haiyan (2013), 195 mph winds, 895 mb pressure. Made landfall in the Philippines at peak strength.
Super Typhoon Kit (1966), 195 mph winds, 880 mb. Did not make landfall.
Super Typhoon Sally (1964), 195 mph winds, 895 mb. Made landfall as a Cat 4 in the Philippines.
(Source: Dr. Jeff Masters’ wunderground.com)

It ain’t called super for nothing: tropical cyclone Haiyan/Yolanda strikes the typhoon-prone municipality of Guiuan in Sámar Oriental, like a freaky boss.

• Super Typhoon Haiyan had winds of 195 mph and gusts of 235 mph. This is one of the highest wind speeds ever recorded in a storm in world history.
• It made landfall as the most powerful typhoon or hurricane in recorded history, as based on wind speed measurements from satellites.
• The strength of Haiyan is equal to that of an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic. (Typhoons are the same type of storms as hurricanes).
• No hurricane in the Atlantic has ever been this strong; Hurricane Camille hit the U.S. Gulf Coast with an estimated wind speed of 190 mph.

Fight web surfing remissness! Click here for more!

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

“Many might wonder if the proper name Yolanda is Latinate. Yes, it is Latinate. In Latin, it is Violanda or Violans, which, respectively, means ‘she who shall be violated’ or ‘the violating one’.”
Dei Præsidio Fultus

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

My paternal grandfather, Sr. Don Godofredo Alas y Sarmiento (1925-1997) of Unisan, Tayabas, would have turned 88 today. Requiescat in pace.

The year of the “digital karma”

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In the Philippines, at least, the year 2012 has ushered in the “Age of the Digital Karma”.

Thrilla in NAIA (6 May 2012)

Motorist bullies MMDA officer (14 August 2012)

Man attacks female restaurant cashier (21 October 2012)

Amalayer (14 November 2012)

Moral lesson: RESTRAINT. If you don’t want to be the next viral superstar of the worst kind, take this 90s advice from Prettier Than Pink:

So next time you’re caught on camera doing the nastiest, don’t say that you were not informed.

Let us all save the Alberto House of Biñán

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PRES. BENIGNO AQUINO III: Save the historic Alberto Mansion in Biñán, La Laguna.
Dr. Bimbo Santa María

The house is almost 200 years old. It was built by Lorenzo Alberto Alonso, father of Teodora Alonso and grandfather of Dr. José Rizal. The house was in almost perfect shape until the current owner, a descendant of Alberto Alonso, sold it to a resort owner in Bagac, Bataán. The local government opposed it and did not grant the dismantling permit. However, in May of 2010, the house was dismantled from the inside.

A campaign to save the house was launched spearheaded by local heritage advocates called the United Artists for Cultural Conservation and Development (UACCD). With the help of the print and broadcast media together with netizens, the issue gained public interest.

A new law on heritage conservation was approved by then President Gloria Arroyo on March 2010 stating that structures 50 years and above have to be conserved if it has cultural importance. The National Historical Institute (now National Historical Commission of the Philippines or NHCP) was ready to put a marker in the house recognizing it as historical since the 90s but was refused by the owner. Since then, and in spite of the public clamor to save the house, the NHCP till the present has reiterated it was never declared as an important cultural property, at the same time saying that they do not have the funds to save the house.

The house is the only remaining original structure on site in relation to Dr. Rizal. The Rizal Shrine in Calambâ is only a replica built from its foundation and floor initiated by then Pres. Elpidio Quirino through funds coming from donations of schoolchildren in the 1950s.

Many would say that it is not that important since it is “just” the house of Rizal’s mother. Not realizing that without Teodora Alonso, there would be no Pepe Rizal. Teodora was Rizal’s first teacher and was the one who moulded his character of love of country. The house is the living soul that reminds us of the memory of this great woman and her contribution to Philippine history.

The destruction of this house is man-made. They took away the ceiling, the floor, and even dug the foundations, leaving only the shell of the house. A part of the roof caved in last week. A call for help ran in the internet for the government to immediately intervene before the whole house collapses, but it fell into deaf ears. On 22 October 2012, 75% of the roof went down along with a big part of the façade.

But the house can still be saved. It took one president in the past to rebuild the Rizal Shrine in Calamba. Now, we call on our president to step in and help save and reconstruct this irreplaceable part of our history in Biñán. A fitting honor for a mother of a national hero.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BY CLICKING HERE!

Day of Action vs. Cybercrime Law

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Citizens, netizens set Oct 2 Day of Action vs. Cybercrime Law
Maui Hermitanio

Groups opposing Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Law signed by President Benigno Aquino III, will troop to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 2, to challenge the law which they say violates the people’s constitutional right to free speech and free expression.

The Day of Action against Aquino’s Cybercrime Law is supported by umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Kabataan Partylist, Computer Professionals Union (CPU) and other cause-oriented organizations. Bloggers and netizens will also join the activity.

Bayan will urge the Supreme Court to give due course to all the petitions filed and will be filed against the draconian cybercrime law.

Five petitions against the controversial cybercrime law were filed at the Supreme Court.

“The new cybercrime law reeks with potential violations of our constitutional rights including our right to privacy and right against unreasonable searches and seizures,” said Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bayan.

Click here for more.

Happy 441st anniversary to the province of La Laguna!

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A blessed day to you all!

Today, 28 July 2012, is a very historic day for all of us Lagunenses. On this day we commemorate our province’s date of becoming. Today is a celebration of life…

The province of La Laguna —commonly known today as Laguna— marks its 441st foundation anniversary today!

But this is no ordinary foundation day celebration because on this day we mark the first time in its long history that the province of La Laguna will commemorate its date of inception! And what makes it more unique is that this first ever foundation anniversary is being celebrated online!

Why online? Unfortunately, since the controversial resolution regarding the date’s recognition is still in limbo (no thanks to hispanophobic ultranationalism), La Laguna Governor E.R. Ejército is unable to physically celebrate it today. He, however, sent his greetings earlier this afternoon. Be that as it may, we have the internet to celebrate this memorable event. Since the date was discovered in the age of Facebook and Twitter, I believe it is appropriate to celebrate it for the first time right here on the web!

Spread the good news! And I invite my fellow Lagunenses to take a moment of silence and thank the Lord God Almighty for giving us this wonderful province as our home!

Today we truly have a festival of life!

I would also like to acknowledge all those who have strongly supported this date against detractors. Each and every one of them had a special participation on this and, in one way or another, shared their inputs, time, and knowledge to push for the date’s annual celebration. They are (in alphabetical order):

1) Mr. Albert A. Abárquez — Chief: Provincial Sports and Games Development Office.
2) Mr. Delto Michael “Mike” Abárquez, Jr. — Provincial Government Department Head: Laguna Tourism, Culture, Arts, and Trade Office (LTCATO).
3) Mr. Gil Nielo Almendral — Creator/administrator: About Laguna (Facebook group).
4) Mr. Bong Arcángel — Chief: International Relations and Trade Office.
5) Ms. Regina B. Austria — Chief: LTCATO Tourism Division.
6) Professor David Dwight Diestro — Associate Professor of History: UP Los Baños College of Arts and Sciences.
7) Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera — Academic Director: Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española.
8) Hon. Neil Andrew N. Nocon — Board Member: La Laguna 2nd district (author of Draft ORDINANCE NO. 44, s. 2012*).
9) Ms. Daisy Pelegrina — Assistant to BM Nocon.
10) Dr. Nilo Valdecantos — proprietor: Kape Kesada; arts patron of Paeté; tourism consultant to the governor.
11) Mr. Ronald A. Yu — Publisher/editor/photographer: In-Frame Media Works.

Ron (the publisher/editor/photographer of my forthcoming coffee table book about La Laguna) has exerted so much of his strength, time, and even finances for the right to celebrate our province’s birthday. I don’t know of any other Lagunense who knows so much about the history as well as every nook and cranny of our province, not to mention the passion and love he has for it. Take a bow, my friend!

Special thanks to Alex Pascual for the slick foundation day logo. Fact: he did it in just a couple of hours with his hands tied while blindfolded!

And of course, there’s my lovely wife, Yeyette Perey de Alas, who has never faltered in her support for what I believe is right. ¡Te quiero mucho!

Again, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BLESSED PROVINCE OF LA LAGUNA! ¡MABUHAY ANG BAGONG LA LAGUNA: UNA SA LAHÁT!

Pepe Alas,
A Proud Lagunense
:D

*******

RELATED ARTICLES:
1) 28 JULY 1571: THE FOUNDATION DATE OF THE PROVINCE OF LA LAGUNA
2) 28 July 1571: The story behind the discovery of La Laguna’s foundation date.
3) The truth about the encomienda (FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES’ 3rd anniversary special)
4) La Laguna, Una Sa Lahát (music video)

*AN ORDINANCE DECLARING JULY 28, 1571 AS THE FOUNDING DATE OF THE PROVINCE OF LAGUNA AND RECOMMENDING TO THE HON. GOVERNOR JEORGE “E.R.” EJÉRCITO ESTREGAN TO PROVIDE FUNDS THEREOF RELATIVE TO ITS GRAND ANNUAL CELEBRATION

Internet community on strike against SOPA and PIPA!

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I live in the web. I feel compelled to write about this issue…

Several weeks ago, I got heroically delusional by attempting to battle local pornography access in the Philippines (yeah go ahead; call me St. Pepe, the patron saint of sinners). And I did just that by launching a blog which I pompously entitled as the Philippine Online Movement Against Pornography. Ironically, as a person who supports freedom of expression and of the press (i.e., “online press”), I was somehow inspired by certain countries’ lordship over the internet. In China, for instance, Facebook is inaccessible. North Korea practices the same kind of censorship towards particular websites that its government deems to be pro-South Korea.

And I remember a few years ago from my Dubai-based friend Weirdonextdoor that she could not access my Spanish blog from there! I wonder what legal or perhaps moral issues blogger.com (my Spanish website’s host) may have with the UAE’s top honchos. However, I’m not really sure now if blogger.com is still banned from that Middle Eastern country.

But my point back then is this: if governments can block websites from being visited by its citizens, then why couldn’t our own do the same with porn sites? I thought it was a splendid idea.

Now, I am not about to discuss my moral standpoint regarding pornography (that would be for another blogpost). The issue right now is internet censorship. During those days that I was toying around with this anti-porn blog inside my “saintly head”, I naively thought that I’d do my country (and my faith) a great service. Little did I know that I might conveniently harm this wonderful man-made universe called the internet. Let me expound.

When fellow Filipinistas Señor Guillermo Gómez and Arnaldo Arnáiz learned about my new blog, I was surprised that they didn’t support it. Worse, they were even vehemently against it. I was dazed and disappointed. I didn’t understand from the onset what they really meant. For Señor Gómez, it was a total waste of effort. He cautioned me that it will only take away what little time I already have for our online advocacy, which is to defend and ennoble the Filipino National Identity. Arnaldo shares the same view, but he added more syllogisms and deductions to Señor‘s preoccupations…

Internet censorship is something that simply shouldn’t be. Difficult to accept/understand, yet easy to be left behind. In the internet, one can do virtually anything his mind wishes. One can satiate the desires and pleasures of the mind by visiting a preferred website: a site about books, automobiles, social networking, blogs about local insects, heritage conservation websites, stuff about communism, money-making tips online, and yes, pornography. Truly, the internet has become a global vegetable bowl wherein everyone can participate in the feasting, and that no one is shunned from doing so. But if you do not want the ingredients, then you have the option not to partake of the feast. It is really all up to you.

And in the internet, one is able to showcase perhaps one of God’s most puzzling and oft misunderstood “gifts”: freewill. In real life, we always use it without realizing that we have already decided on something. But the internet actually makes you realize that you should decide, for many different reasons, whether or not you should visit a particular site. Pornography is the best example. One might laugh off those “before-entering-click-yes-if-you’re-over-18” disclaimer because virtually any pimply teenager straight out of puberty can visit the site. There’s no physical internet police to guard each and every netizen regarding what site should be visited in accordance to one’s moral laws and ethics. And so that’s where freewill comes in. And not only that but the intellect as well.

The intellect. It was the main reason why the late great Nick Joaquín, sitting as a member of the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures during the 1960s, refused to cut nor ban controversial films because he believed in the intelligence and good sense of moviegoers. That is why former Senator Tito Sotto received a lot of flak during the mid 90s when, using his senatorial powers, he tried to censor several local and foreign rock bands (Eraserheads, Yano, Slayer, etc.) due to what he described as disturbing lyrics. Remember the memorable Eraserheads song Alapaap? Sotto tried to read between the lines of the song’s lyrics and decided that it was about a cracked-up junkie with notions of flight due to a meth high. But whether or not Sotto’s poetic intrusions are true (only the E-heads know for sure), the youth back then were not convinced by the song’s popularity, nay, lyrics to visit the nearest underground pharmacy. Actually, no song from hell ever convinced anyone to steal his dad’s gun and fire at his physics teacher. I should know; I belong to that generation when the E-heads gave us Ligaya (happiness).

In view of the foregoing, the key here is trust. Censors should refrain from being cynical about the public’s intellect. They always put the blame on the performer, on the medium. They should realize that the audience, the receptors, are not always stupid, are no longer stupid, especially in today’s age when ignorance is fast becoming obsolete. And we have the internet to thank for.

But the problem that the internet community all over the world —and not just in the US— is facing right now is not about internet censorship due to morality issues. Reportedly, the main target of the internet censors in the US Congress and the Senate is the alleged mercantilist threat towards the music industry as well as property rights. I’m talking about…

SOPA and PIPA

Today (Manila time), several big-name websites are blacked out in protest of these two controversial US bills that are pending legislation; its legislation will have a profound effect on the future of cyberspace. FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES is no big-name website (I’m ready to moon at the first one who readily agrees), but I blacked it out nonetheless to join the protest. Because this is not just a problem among the netizens of the United States of America. It will soon be a global threat once the US House of Congress’ “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and its US Senate companion bill, the Protect IP Act” (PIPA), are passed into law.

The purpose of these bills is to make it difficult, if not impossible, for websites —especially those located outside the USA— to sell or distribute pirated copyrighted material such as movies and music as well as physical goods like counterfeit purses, shirts, watches, etc. At first glance, you might think that the objectives of these bills are good. Perhaps they really are. The problem is they were not well thought of. And it should be noted that most of SOPA and PIPA’s strongest critics applaud the intentions of the legislation WHILE AT THE SAME TIME deploring what it might actually accomplish.

And what might that be?

Censorship, of course. It’s because the SOPA and the PIPA will definitely set a precedent in future internet censorship legislation. As wisely stated in Wikipedia (a vehement opponent of the said bills), the “SOPA and PIPA (will) build a framework for future restrictions and suppression”.

If SOPA and PIPA succeeds, there is a big chance that my blogs (and virtually anybody else’s blog) will be silenced in the near future on the grounds that, for instance, these websites are extremely anti-US and (‘gasp’) anti-“ABAKADA PINOY”, and that they might endanger the teaching of Philippine History, etc. Yes, it could get that worse (and I thought only Filipino legislators are stupid). And sooner or later, morality issues will come into play. And we’re not even talking about politics and religion yet.

Censorship is not always good. I’m wondering now if censorship could be another reason why Filipinos during the final years of Spanish rule were very rebellious. Think of Rizal and del Pilar and Jaena. All were good Catholics but they readily rebelled against the status quo. Is it a result of “centuries of living inside a convent”? The Catholic Church during those times was twice or thrice as strict as they are nowadays. One couldn’t simply read a book from another country for it might be listed under the Index of Forbidden books. Even the teaching of Spanish was stifled because the friars feared that when the natives learned the language, they will easily take hold of Masonic ideas that the Church abhorred for centuries. Spanish was fast becoming a vehicle of Freemasons in Europe, that is why the friars never preferred the natives to speak the language. Therefore, when the more liberal white guys from North America invaded us, our top leaders who were against Spain easily joined them. Could it be something psychological in our genes which we inherited from our ancestors during the turn of the last century that has made us allergic whenever we hear the word “censorship” nowadays?

Admittedly, the polemic discussion of censorship is still something that I do not fully understand. It has its good points as it has its bad ones because there are so many arguments to hear from both anti- and pro- groups, both of which can be passed as valid. And I still have my reservations for and against censorship. But what I know is this: if your right to be heard (and to be creative) has been stifled and jeopardized, then that is fundamentally wrong and unjust. Freewill is “divine”. Therefore, it should be accepted, if not respected. God will never stop you from liking my blogs’ Facebook fan pages. So why allow mere men to do so?

And what about the fate of the Philippine Online Movement Against Pornography? Forget it. If you suddenly feel like you want to see María Ozawa in action, then it’s all up to your intellect and sound judgment to decide whether or not it’s a good idea. Other than that, I already forgot my login credentials. So it’s no use even if I change my mind about what I think now of censorship. :D

Say no to SOPA and PIPA!

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