Monday, September 23, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

UST-AB Finals (3CA1 2 3 4); PowerPoint Presentation Topics and Rules

Dr Abe V Rotor

For the finals, prepare a 50-frame PowerPoint Presentation about a topic of your choice, with preference to the following: . 
  • Successful UST Alumini in their respective fields of specialization, and community - at least five Thomasians.  They must have finished a course at UST.  They are looked upon as model, and practicing Thomasian values and principles.  
  • UST in action - events on-campus and outside that projects UST image as an ideal institution of learning.  Documentary  in nature, your work must speak well and true about UST and its alumni. 
  • UN campaign on reducing food waste which runs to billions of dollars a day.  When computed in relation to present need, savings on food waste would suffice supply, proper nutrition, improved health, and alleviating poverty.
  • Restoring integrity of government, upholding people's right to be governed by sincere, honest, and qualified leaders.  Restoring faith of people in their government, improving international image of the country.
  • True picture of the Filipino.  Who is he today in the face of tradition on the one hand, and globalization on the other - his regard to religion, family, career, commitment to community, his outlook to the future.  Does the Thomasian fit into the picture?   

  • "The Filipino is first," "Only in the Philippines," "The Filipino can." "Where in the Philippines?"  These and many more adages, motherhood statements, gimmicks, put the Philippines in the limelight.  Behind all these are disturbing issues: high infant mortality, birthrate, corruption, crime, traffic, cost of electricity, water, transportation, low productivity etc. Can the Thomasian do something? 

  • Environmental concerns, area- and event-specific. 
  • University without Walls, Distance Education, E-Learning, on-line teaching
Topics of your choice must be first approved by the professor.   

  • Presentation is one-on-one with the professor starting October 4, Friday (3CA3 and 3CA4), and October 7 for 3CA1 and 3CA 2. Sequence to be arranged by the class officers.
  • Holistic presentation, i.e., inter disciplinary, functional, experiential, contemporary.  
  • Present objectively, with positive views and advocacy. Uphold values and Filipino culture, and code of journalism.  
  • Follow standard format for PowerPoint, with modifications as may be necessary. 
  • Work must be original and specific to the present  course of Photography.  Previously submitted work in other subjects not accepted.  
  • Sign each photo you actually took at the right side, bottom. 
  • Show your presence  in action. 
  •  Use photos not your own only when necessary.  
  • Avoid downloading from the Internet. Be aware of intellectual property rights, laws and rules in journalism and publication.   
  • Label CD, including case (front and back) with your own original design.
  • Print CD content, portrait, 6 frames per page. 

    Your work will be submitted to our Faculty of Arts and Letters as part of its reference materials and documentary, with signed endorsement by the author, noted by the professor. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Biological Basis of Selfishness and Selflessness

Dr Abe V Rotor
The hermit crab lives on discarded shell, moves to a bigger one as it grows.  Sea anemones, barnacles, seaweeds and others  live on its shell-house which it caries from place to place thus benefiting these symbionts.  In turn they provide camouflage to the hermit crab from predators, and in its search for prey. Photo credit from Internet and Wikipedia.  

All organisms, simple or complex, plant or animal – and human – are governed by genes, which through the long process of evolution, are the very tools for survival in Darwin’s treatise on Survival of the Fittest through Natural Selection.

The acquisition of successful genes is key to the survival of present day species, and the explanation on the failure of those which did not. Two words are important: adaptation and competition. This dual attributes are directed to self-preservation through the process of acquiring the basic necessities of life either by adjusting to it passively or actively. Definitely it is not one that is easy to share to the extent of losing its benefit in favor of another.

But if we analyze it, this is true to each individual. Now organisms do not live as individuals; they live as a community, as a society. Which leads us to the logical inference that if the individual organism, in order to survive must be selfish, then how can it be able to establish a community in which it ultimately become a part?

This is very important because the community is the key to resource sharing from food to space; it is the key to collective bargaining in times of peace or war. The community is like a bundle of individuals behaving singularly. It is collective planting time when the monsoon arrives, harvesting when it ends. The rituals that go with such activities enhance the success of bonding, and enshrine it into an institution.

Institutions were born from socio-economic needs which spontaneously developed into cultural and political rolled into one complex society. To answer where selfness starts is easier to answer than where selflessness begins.

If the premise is biological what proofs can we show that it is so?

• Social insects – ants, bees and termites – bind themselves as a colony. Any attack on the colony sends soldiers to fight the enemy. Paper wasps sting as intruders. The honeybee does not consume the nectar and pollen it gathers, but brings the harvest into the granary from which it get its share later. An ant clings to death at an enemy. When a bee sting, its abdomen is ripped away and is surely to die.

• Starve an aphid or a mealybug, and it will produce young prematurely – even without first becoming an adult. This is called paedogenesis. Or an adult may produce young without the benefit of mating and fertilization. This is parthenogenesis.

• A plant stressed by drought will cut its life cycle short in order to use the remaining energy to produce offspring. This is true to grasshoppers or caterpillars – they skip one or two moulting and metamorphose so that they can mate and reproduce.

• The spacing of plants is determined not only of soil and climatic conditions that control the growth and development, but by a biological mechanism known as allelopathy. A date palm will kill its own offspring around its trunk and under its crown. Those that grow outside its shadow becomes a part of the oasis’ vegetation.

• Bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms go into luxury feeding where there is plenty, and nature seems not to mind, until they consume the food, and worse until their waste accumulates and becomes toxic. This is called autotoxicity. Thus in fermentation, it is the toxic material - alcohol - that eventually kills the yeasts themselves, and another process follows until the organic forms of compounds are transformed and ultimately returned as inorganic ready for use by succeeding organisms.

• The dalag and many other species of fish eat their young leaving only those that can escape. Here the advantage of controlled population and survival of the fittest are shown.

• Vultures seldom attack a living prey; they wait to its last breath. A male lion will kill a cub which it did not sire. But we know too, that there are surrogate mothers in the wild like the cuckoo, and among domestic animals.

Because of the complexity of social behavior, Dr E O Wilson of Harvard University, attempted to explain many of the observed behavior into a field of biology he called sociobiology. In a simple illustration, if your child is about to be hit by a fast oncoming vehicle, a mother would risk her life to save him. Dr. Wilson would then asks a third party if he or she would do the same thing to a child who is not his own – much less without any relations.

This leads us back to our previous question: When does selfishness end and selflessness begin?~

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ode to Lowly Creatures

Ode to Lowly Creatures

Dr Abe V Rotor

Haring gagamba (king spider), Amadeo, Cavite


Your home is the space
where your embroidery sways
and glitters with the rainbow
giving life to shadow.

Redeem your mother Arachne
vanished for her art by Athene;
put the morning star to rest,
and the sun to its crest.


Fortune on the De Beers' wasteland -
diamonds embedded in the rocks,
the greatest wealth of any man,
vast and immeasurable in bucks.

To anyone of us a fortune awaits,
whose skill can too, blaze a trail
on land and sea where man satiates
his craving for the holy grail.

Here's wealth to the researcher;
in Sesame's magic the lens opens
to a world of diatoms everywhere,
a greater wealth that never ends.

Hermit Crab
A rare pet you are -
you never had a home,
now you have two:
you borrowed the one
on your back; the other,
above your head -
that you earned it from
the humility of a pet.

Hermit crab (Pagarus sp)
 Actinotrichia fragilis, red Marine alga

Red Algae

You are mistaken
to be aloof and mean;
of all seaweeds
you are the least seen,
for you live in the depth,
in the dimmed coral reef,
clothed in violet or red
which is your greatest gift
to catch the fading light,
to escape the grazers
and to be out of sight.

You make a forest on the sea floor
where the fish hide from the storm;
what puzzles those who explore
is your massive yet simple form.

Above: Sargassum; snorkeling on coral reef, Bacnotan, La Union

Tussock Caterpillar

You are Medusa in the garden,
a serpent in garb all golden,
sowing destruction on your way
until Perseus put you awa
Hairy caterpillar (higad)