Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Garlic is effective and safe pesticide

Dr Abe V Rotor

There's a universal belief that garlic drives evil spirits away. Well, 
this time it's insect pest that it will drive out of your garden.

Here are five ways to do it, entomologists (experts on insects) tell us.

1. Plant garlic among your garden plants, say mustard, tomato, pepper, okra, beans, and let it grow with them. Here is a caution though. Don't plant it too close to the crop so as to avoid its allelopathic effect (chemical secretion from its roots to compete with nearby plants).

Garlic serves as natural repellant of insects that would otherwise attack these crops, as well as ornamental plants. You can even harvest the bulbs at the end of the season. By the way, fresh garlic leaves are used in the kitchen like those of its relatives, kutchai (Allium tuberosum) and onion (Allium sepa). Try on fried eggs, batchoy and mami.

2. Hang garlic bulb on trellis and viny crops like patola (Luffa), ampalaya, cucumber, sitao, batao, and the like. Garlic exudes a repelling odor that keeps destructive insects at bay. Now and then crush some cloves in the open to refresh the garlic odor.

3. Make a spray solution direct from its cloves. The simple method is to soak crushed garlic cloves in water for a few minutes, then spray or sprinkle the solution on plants attacked by aphids, mites, caterpillars, and other pests. Adjust strength of solution to the severity of infestation.

Other than its repellant properties, garlic is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It could be for this that it was used to ward off the Bubonic Plague carrier - a flea (Xenopsylla cheopis) during the Dark Ages in Europe. It's no wonder people at that time believed in the power of this species of the Lily family in driving away evil spirits.

4. This is another method. Soak approximately 100 grams of chopped garlic cloves in about 50 ml of mineral oil (turpentine or kerosene) or cooking oil for 24 hours. This is then slowly mixed with 500 ml of water in which 20 grams of powdered natural soap (Perla or Ivory) has been dissolved. Soap serves as emulsion to make oil and water miscible. Stir the solution well and strain it with an old shirt or nylon stocking, then store the filtrate in an earthen or glass container and keep it in a cool, dark place.

This serves as mother stock, ready for use, diluting it one part to twenty parts of water, or down to one part per hundred. It is reputed to be an effective insecticide against most common garden pests. It can be sprayed or sprinkled liberally on practically all plants, including ornamentals and orchids.

5. Garlic is planted as "trap crop." In spite of its repellant properties garlic is not pest-free. There are insects that attack it, such as thrips (Thrips tabaci), flea beetle (Epitrix), white flies (Bemesia), and some plant bugs (Hemiptera). Just allow the standing garlic plants to attract these insects, thus saving other crops from being attacked by the same insects. Then rouge the infested garlic plants and burn together with the pest.

Garlic can save us a lot of money, and eliminates the hazard to health and environment caused by chemical insecticides. It is an ancient practice in the Fertile Crescent, Egypt and ancient China, a key to natural and sustainable farming and a balance ecosystem.

Let's revive this simple practice today.~

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ten Ways Our World Ends

Research assignment: Discuss each items as presented here in reversed order.   
Dr Abe V Rotor
Based on the lecture of Stephen Petranek
TED Talks

 Big Bang in acrylic by the author

10. We lose the will to survive
Remember Never Ending Story? Duel between the boy hero and the devil wolf.  

9. Aliens invade the Earth 
Fiction yesterday, fact today. Do you believe in other beings outside our own planet?

8. The collapse of the ecosystems
So with the biomes (grouping of similar or related ecosystems, e.g. Rainforest) as a result of shrinking wildlife.

7. Particle Accelerator mishap
Similar, if not worse, than nuclear reactor meltdown. Unleashing sub-atomic particles capable of igniting chain reaction. 

6. Biocide disaster 
Biological agents in warfare causing pandemic to humans, animals and crops. 

5. Reversal of the Earth's magnetic field.
Earth's magnetic field acts like a shield to protect Earth from damaging solar particles. The Sun releases a flow of charged particles into space that can affect life on Earth. Reversal has global impact to our communication systems network.  

4. Giant solar flares
Tongues of fire arising from the sun's surface exacerbates global warming and El Nino phenomenon.   

3. New Global Epidemic
H1N1, Ebola, HIV-AIDS, virulent flu virus top the pathogenic epidemic diseases, obesity, cell radiation, fatal stress are the recent global causes of death. 
2. We meet a rogue Black Hole
Theoretical physicists reveals the presence of blackholes in our galaxy, giant whirlpools that swallow up stars within its radius - including our sun and its solar system. 

1. Collision with an Asteroid
Scientists coined impact technology as a new science in dealing with meteors and asteroids that fall to earth.  One impact caused the extinction of dinosaurs some 25 million years ago. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fifteen Reasons I Love the Mangrove

Dr Abe V Rotor

Mangrove reforestation attempt to restore the shoreline ecosystem in Guimaras after the oil spill disaster in 2006. To this date the ecosystem has not been restored.

I love the mangrove for building a natural wall against tidal waves and tsunami, at the edge of the sea; 

I love the mangrove for providing a nursery for fish and other aquatic life, weaning them to the open sea;

I love the mangrove for rip-rapping the shores and banks against erosion, and building soil in the process;

I love the mangrove for its rich biodiversity - flora and fauna, protists and monera - in chains and webs;

I love the mangrove for filtering the salt and dust in the air, and buffering noise into sweet sound; 

I love the mangrove for the legends and tales it holds - of fairies and mermaids, of pirates and treasures; 

I love the mangrove for its unique life cycle - self-regenerating, self-fertilizing, needing no cultivation; 

I love the mangrove for the countless valuable materials it gives, from timber, to firewood, tannin, to medicine;

I love the mangrove for keeping the surroundings cool, freshening the air, absorbing carbon in the air;

I love the mangrove for its mixed stand of vegetation by layers, making a distinct forest of its own kind;

I love the mangrove for being the home of migrating birds coming and going every season of the year; 

I love the mangrove for being the home of rare species, heretofore barely studied and identified;

I love the mangrove for its resistance to pollution, and ability to help nature's housekeeping;

I love the mangrove for its being a natural tourists' attraction, field laboratory, and educational center;

I love the mangrove for its humility and persistence, even in a most hostile environment; 

I love the mangrove for what it is, without it, there are species that cannot survive, humans among them;

I love the mangrove for being part of creation, for every living thing has a purpose on earth. ~

Be vigilant! Don't be a victim of unscrupulous trade practices.

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Wa-is, coming from the word wise, is the local parlance to describe a person who puts one over his fellowmen. It is taking advantage of others of their situation, ignorance or weaknesses (lamangan). Here are common cases.

Be sure you know what goes into your coffee. It may be adulterated with ipil-ipil seeds. Likewise, chocolate may contain road dust as filler. Papaya seeds mixed with black pepper is not uncommon. Peanut butter comes from broken and immature seeds; bagoong and patis from unsold fish at the end of the day.

1. Coffee is adulterated with ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca) seeds. The seeds contain mimosin that retards growth and causes baldness.

2. Broken and inferior peanut is ground into peanut butter.  It is high in aflatoxin which causes cirrhosis and cancer.  Healthy nuts are sold whole peanut.  

3. It is the culled piglets (bansot) that are made into lechon. The robust ones are grown for meat.

4. Papaya seeds are mixed with black pepper. They look similar.

5. Inferior quality fruits such as strawberry, orange and mango are made into jam and puree.

6. Ordinary milkfish (bangos) is passed on as prized Bonoan bangus from Dagupan. The lower tail of Bonoan bangos is shorter than the other tail.

7. Unscrupulous traders add water and salt to bagoong and patis to increase their volume.

8.  Premium grade fruits are arranged on top of kaing (basket); inside are of inferior grade.  

9. Ordinary rice is mixed with premium rice, and passed on as premium grade.

10. Cabbage grown on the lowlands of Ilocos is brought up to Baguio and passed on as Baguio cabbage which commands a higher price.

11. Before a large animal like cow is sold to the auction market it is first bathed with patis to make its body to swell and appear fat.  This is a  malpractice observed in Padre Garcia, Batangas, the biggest animal auction market in the Philippines.

12. Tomatoes are forced to ripe when price is high,  This is done by uprooting the whole plant laden with fruits and hang it upside down until all the fruits, including the immature ones, are "ripe."

13. Immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident fallout-tainted milk found its way to the Philippines. The huge shipment was impounded pending investigation. When the investigation was over, to the surprise of not everyone, milk was gone. To the amazement of housewives - powdered milk  and polvoron became so suddenly cheap!   

14. Double dead is not a new term.  This is meat from already dead animals - poultry and livestock sold clandestinely. It is prevalent during foot-and-mouth epidemic for livestock, and corriza for poultry, usually in the summer months. 

15. Check expiration date, also date of manufacture. If there is none -  erased or altered - don't buy the commodity.  This is specially true with canned goods, bakery products, and other perishable products.  Check date of harvesting or slaughter for fresh items.  There may be frozen food long overdue for disposal. 

16. The most rampant trade malpractice is short selling. Watch out those weighing scales on the sidewalk. You pay for three kilos lanzones when the actual weight is only two. Translate this to bigger volumes. 

17. Frozen dressed chicken?  After thawing, it shrank by a quarter. So with fish.  Sometimes water is injected before freezing. 

18. Formalin is added to ice water to preserve fish. Any trace of formalin is enough warning.  But not so many people can detect it. 

19. Kalamay sa ba-o.  How do we know if it's really filled?  This is where trust of a suki comes in.

20. Food coloring makes food and drink attractive and inviting. Many food dyes are carcinogenic. 

21. Over packaging (e.g. tupig is over wrapped with excessive banana leaves, so with carabao cheese, puto and the like.  Too much and elaborate packaging is part of selling strategy.  It is a tool of manufacturers of many products from toothpaste to underwear.  

22. Davao pomelo, Zambales mango, Laguna  lanzones, 

23. Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse años? (Referring to a 15-year old wine).  It's a lie; a viable business can't let money sleep that long. And how about the hidden indecency of the message?  Would you patronize the product?

24. Made in USA,  Made in Japan, But the components of the appliance are made in China.  German Design, but locally made.  "USA"  Translation: Deer   

25. Dilution = More Profit, in shampoo, washing detergents, softdrink, fruit juice, whiskey, brandy, rubbing alcohol, perfume, gurgle.  We may be buying "water" and least of the product. 

26. Fillers in toothpaste, detergents, cosmetics, etc.  Breaded fried chicken, fish to make them look bigger - and cheaper.   

27. Sale!  Sale! Be aware of the original price, and find out if it's really sale.  

28. Advance payments.  Payment-in-kind. Wholesale price, factory price (really?),
No exchange no return.  The customer is always right. I mean, the right of the customer.  

29. Smuggled? contraband (guns)? Stolen? Regulated (drugs)? Fenced? The customer must know the law. Ignorance is no excuse. Don't fall victim of illegal activities.   

30. Book Cover Syndrome. We are in an age of aesthetic design.  Of beautiful facade.  Of first impression.  Of idol endorsers, of the "in" thing. "Contemporary" means now; tradition is passe.  Futurism (Lady Gaga), gender insensitive (Charice).

Don't fall into the tender trap of consumerism. Impulse buying, psychological appetite. Restraint, restraint. 

These and many more practices attest to the negative traits of some Filipinos - and other nationalities as well. It is by knowing these unscrupulous trade practices that we are forewarned. "To be forewarned is to be forearmed."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cicada heralds the coming of amihan season

Dr Abe V Rotor
Annual cicada (Tibicens sp).  Females are
attracted  by the singing of the male (topmost).

It's cicada season, the trees singing in strange shrilling music,
     if you call it music at all;
and you don't know which tree, and what part of it, a melody
    flows, though you know it's male's call.
ventriloquy, it's nature's gift of survival to this noisy creature,
     else traced down while having fun
calling the females mesmerized by the best singer - a Caruso
     among them, to be the lucky one.

once swooned, mating lasts long for there is no other time

    again and life to both is brief; 
the female after laying her eggs in the twigs of trees soon dies,
    while the male loses his gift. 
the twigs fall off to the ground as the eggs hatch into nymphs,
     burrow into the soil their home
for the whole year, emerging in the next spring or monsoon 
     out from their living tomb..   
But if in the air a distinct shrill, loud and sonorous, is heard 
    it must be their 17-year kin; 
Born in 1996, they lived incognito in the soil while the world
    moved fast as it had never been;
Or their 15-year cousin, also emerging in the same season,
    unconcerned, unaware  
A life shorter than Rip van Winkle's, blind of the computer age  -
     and would all these cicadas care?

The annual cicada is the most common species (Order Homoptera) in the world emerging in May or June in the tropics.  The 17-year old is among the longest living species of insect, though it spends practically its whole life in the soil as nymph feeding on the roots of plants. There seems to be only one reason why they emerge, live for a few days and die – mating and egg-laying so as to carry on the species. This is also true with the 13- and 15-year old cicada.  It is the annual cicada that is popular in the Philippines.  We have very little study on the other species which are found mainly in the North-Eastern states of the US. This year is swarming time of cicadas in the US, which include the Magicicadas (17- 13- and 15-year olds). Some 30 billion cicada will emerge from the ground.  Imagine the total sound produced by the males which comprise half of the swarm. ~

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Live in an Allergy-Proof Environmment

There's no place better than home on the countryside, mural painting by the author
1. Design your home in unity and harmony with natural environment, not the other way around.
2. These are fairly quick, simple, and inexpensive methods of making your home friendlier to your asthma and allergies.
3. Build house on spacious lot and surroundings
4. Free house of carpet and wall paper

5. Knock on wood
6. Prefer shiny floors, materials of low-gas ingredients
7. Provide good natural ventilation
8. Let sunshine in, façade towards the east
9. Integrate house plan with garden
10. Screen out plants that are allergen potential
“Sick Building” Syndrome
1. Install proper air-con and exhaust fans corresponding to the number people, and nature of work.
2. Avoid blocking the air supply and return vents.
3. Clean up water spills and damp places to get rid of molds.
4. Store food properly, and empty the garbage daily.
5. Observe if symptoms are experienced by co-workers, other occupants, visitors.
6. Check equipment and supplies – they may be the source of irritating odor and fumes.
7. Strictly no smoking allowed.
8. Divide area into independent units – office, manufacturing, kitchen or storeroom.
9. Report problem to concerned persons/authorities.
10. Have a regular building maintenance program

Allergy-Free Yard
1. Fix your yard to bring down allergies.
2. Go for plants native to the place (save allergy misery and labor)
3. Maintain a pest-free lawn, naturally (biological control)
4. . Plant ground plants (and minimize mowing of grass lawn – source of allergen)
5. Be a creature of the evening (or early morning when there are fewer allergens)
6. Keep problems outdoors (like pollen)
7. Be vigilant (weed out allergen-causing plants like lipang kalabaw, sabawil
8. Minimize the mold (remove anything that traps moisture)

A. Allergy-proofing the bedroom
1.Keep pets out.
2. Encase sleeping place
3. Clean sheets with lots of heat
4. Run your air through filter
5. Banish the blinds
6. Steer clear of soft seats
7. Filter the vents
8. Pluck pillows and comforters wisely
9. Stow gewgaws away
10.Wash away the pollen
11.Debunk the mites
12.Give Teddy a bath

B. Allergy-proofing the Kitchen and Dining Room

1. Roach-proof your food.
2. Put a lid on your trash.
3. Get crumbs where they hide.
4. Don’t let dishes get crusty.
5. Scrub those floors and cupboards.
6. Battle roaches with smarts.
7. Call the pros.
8. Be a fan of your fan.
9. Avoid the cold mold.
10. Choose your cleaners wisely.
11. Cook your food, don’t gas it.
C. Allergy-Proofing the Bathroom,Laundry Room, and Closets
 1. Turn on the fan.
2. Harvest piles of damp stuff.
3. Pick a natural freshener.
4. Bring down the curtain on mold
5. Bleach the mold away.
6. Be the squeegee man.(Have a washcloth or squeegee on hand)
7. Take your washer’s temperature.
8. Wash permanent-press clothes before you wear them.
9. Opt for smell-free products.
10. Be sure the clothes dryer blows outside.
11. Leave the light on.
12. Air out dry-cleaned clothes.
13. Use wire shelves.

D. Allergy-Free Garage and Workshop
 1. Start the engines outside.
2.  Ditch your damp possessions.
3.  Store chemicals safely.
4.  Moldy rags on the floor
5. Old chemicals stored on table
6. Paint can not closed tightly
7. Car engine should not be left running in garage
8. Room should have a window or exhaust fan
9. Tools should be cleaned outside
10. Insure good ventilation

E. Allergy-Free Workplace
1. Carpenters – acrylate (adhesives), amines (lacquers), isocyanates (paint, foam),
anhydrides (plastic), wood dust
2. Farmers, gardeners – pesticides, insects, molds
3. Veterinarians, petshop owners – animal allergens, feeds, disinfectants
4. Hospital and healthcare workers – antibiotics, formaldehyde, latex,
5. Bakers, millers – cereal grain, flour dust, hay, silicates, insects
6. Beauticians – persulfates, ethyl enediamine
7.Janitors, cleaners – Chloramine-T, detergents, dyes
8. Office workers, market vendors, musicians – wide range of allergens

F. Allergy-Friendly Exercise Program
1.Avoid exercise if you have an upper-respiratory viral infection.
3.Drink plenty of fluids.
4.Perform warm-up exercises.
5.Breathe through your nose.
6.Cool down.
7.Know your limits.
8.Avoid exercising near busy roads.
9.Judge exercise intensity with a “talk test”.
10.Slow down if you feel weak, dizzy.
11.Don a dust mask when necessary.
12.Stay inside during high-pollen days. 

G. A Meal-to-Meal Plan for Fighting Allergies
No single diet is right for everyone. Your nutritional needs are unique to you, because no one else has the same combination of genetic and acquired traits of metabolism, nutrition, and immune status.
1. Breakfast – build your breakfast around fresh fruits and whole grains. Instant breakfast may be loaded with syrup and preservatives.  If you wish to drink milk, restrict to fat-free.
 2. Lunch – Build around fruits, vegetables and grains, unless you are growing up or pregnant. If you eat meat, choose the leanest. Most fat-food burgers contain fat as high as 35%.
3. Dinner – Build around grains, cooked or raw vegetables, and protein from meat, fish or legumes. Trim off fats.  Avoid oils and fats in sauces and dressing.  If you drink, have a glass of red wine rather than beer or liquor.
4. Snacks – Don’t indulge in snacking at all, but if you must, take a fruit like mango or pineapple.     

H. Clean Your Home Naturally
1. Instead of disinfectant, use borax (1 cup to 1 gal of warm water) or grapefruit seed extract (10%)
2. Instead of fabric softener, use ¼ cup of vinegar added to the rinse water.
3. Instead of furniture polish, use olive oil with 1 tbsp vinegar poured in 1 liter of warm water. Keep in spray bottle.
4. Instead of glass cleaner, use ½ cup vinegar mixed with 1 gal warm water, place in spray bottle.
5. Borax instead of laundry whitener; Baking powder on sponge instead of scouring powder.
Hydrogen peroxide as stain remover; borax + vinegar as toilet bowl cleaner.

I. Allergy-Free Stress Busters1. Biofeedback (internal memo)
2. Cognitive Reframing (handling an experience)
3. Guided Visualization (imagination)
4. Humor Therapy (healthy laugh)
5. Hypnosis (hypnotherapy)
6. Journaling (diary, autobiography, literary)
7. Massage, sauna
8. Social Involvement (clubs, parties)
9. Yoga, Tai-chi
10.The Humanities (drawing, singing, drama)
11.Meditation (prayer, communion with nature)
12.Proper grooming.

J. Sounds that make us sick
o Irritable Sounds activate not only the senses but affect bodily functions.
o Pavlov’s Principle on conditioned learning.
o Adrenaline shoots up, increases blood pressure, challenges us – fight or flight.
o Nausea, headache, other forms of irritation.
o Interrupts present activity, interferes with trends of events.
o Destroys relationship, creates personal impressions.
Worst Sounds
1. Scratching the blackboard with fingernail, similar to a hard chalk creating a grating sound.
2. Air escaping like releasing air from a balloon.
3. Productive coughing
4. Throwing out is the worst. ~

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Philippine Literature Quotes

 A guide for students in Philippine Literature 

 “Oh, the stories I can tell you, if you but have the time to listen, but you are going away.  Everybody is going someplace.  They are all in a hurry; they will not listen to me.  And those who will tarry here forever, they have no ears for my stories, because they have seen them happen everywhere, and they don’t want them told, they are commonplace, they say they should be hushed and forgotten …
Bienvenido Santos, The Door
 Bienvenido N. Santos (1911–1996)  
Filipino-American fiction, poetry and nonfiction writer.

“I use the word culture in its broadest sense as denoting the sum-total of a nation’s achievements in art, religion, science, and letters; their philosophy and way of life; the ideals and instrumentalities by which they live.  Our culture, then , is the continuity of our traditional life, the whole body of the intellectual, moral, and spiritual values which have come down to us as our heritage after centuries of accretion and evolution.”
 Salvador P. Lopez, The Problem of Our Culture  
 Ilokano writer,  journalist, educator, diplomat, and statesman.

“Literature mirrors the depth of a culture and manifests the truly creative genius of the race.  The Greeks were remembered not as much for the world-renowned warriors as for their writers, philosophers and artists.”

- TT del Castillo and BS Medina Jr,  Introduction Philippine Literature