Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PUROPHYSICS: Tech Briefs Create the Future Design Contest 2013

I will be closing my PUROPHYSICS blog owing to the realization that I can only now manage a few blogs because of work (and self-imposed works as well). My first PUROPHYSICS post will about Tech Briefs Create the Future Design Contest for 2013.

“The Create the Future Design Contest was launched in 2002 by the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs magazine to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. The annual event has attracted more than 8,000 product design ideas from engineers, entrepreneurs, and students worldwide. The contest's principal sponsors are COMSOL and Tech Briefs Media Group.” (~from http://contest.techbriefs.com/about)

This year’s installment of the contest will be requiring innovative ideas from the following:
Aerospace & Defense / Consumer Product / Electronics / Machinery and Equipment / Medical Products / Safety and Security / Sustainable Technologies / Transportation & Automotive.

To register to the contest click here.
To read the official rules of the contest click here.
To view the list the 2013 Entrants click here.

Tech Brief Create the Future Design Contest is sponsored by COMSOL, SAE International, Tech Briefs Media Group, W.L. Gore and Associates, and Avnet, Inc.

The Start of Classes and the Challenges of the Enhanced Education Act of 2013

Classes in most of the schools in the country started this week. But this school year will not be like the previous ones because this year comes the challenges of the recently signed “Enhanced Education Act of 2013.” News on TV has probably familiarized us with this with the term K+12 Program. In essence two years are added to the high school years of the students to better prepare them in higher education and at the same time give the high school graduates enough skills to be employed already after graduation.

Oppositions are on the thinking and possibility that the students are only prepared to do vocational work and not what they term as professional jobs. And at the same time, there’s the perpetual complain of the Filipinos on the added burden on the parents and students alike regarding the expenses on those extra years.

This Act is yet to prove its worth and we must bank on the provisions regarding the resources for those undertaking this large scale education program. We may be only seeing the fruits of this endeavor after several years. In the end, it may do us good if we step away from misgivings on new things and think of the benefits of this in the long run. Perhaps it’s time to truly upgrade education in the Philippines. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Anticipating the 2013 Philippine Elections

The election in the Philippines has always been ugly. That’s a fact. And even in these times when we are now equipped with machines to correctly count the votes and when we have all the media hype to keep people aware of all election-related events in the country, some old things still remain: election-related violence and killings, open vote buying by candidates, public mud-slinging, defamatory propaganda, epal posters, among many others. It’s more fun in the Philippines indeed.

A classic election rivalry is now seen here in Laguna with only two contenders for the post of provincial governor. Spurred by a TV face-off, the fight for this provincial seat has come to the point of open insults which, unfortunately, is seen now not just a way to win votes but simply to destroy each other’s credibility. Looks childish enough but that is politics at its best here. People are torn between the desire to put in place a more trustworthy leader and the need to hinder the one who only knows how to brag and engage in word wars. 

On a happier note, our city has never seen a more election poster-free city than this year. One day we saw the plaza and nearby establishments and public places stripped off those irritating election campaign materials. It’s a move I see as a more mature approach to election.

For now, let us put our confidence to our automated elections.

Post-Graduation Thoughts


Too bad the annual graduation period is immediately overshadowed by the upcoming elections. All the ‘busyness’ and hustle and bustle have been both inspiring and amusing at the same time. Of course it was nice to see people whom you know graduating finally. Particularly in the Philippines, the fruit of one’s longish labors and pain is almost always a good cause for celebrations. Social networking sites abounded with personal accounts of preparations for the graduation ceremonies, exhaustive greetings including the ones mentioned in the theses manuscripts, and a seemingly endless flow and uploads of photos (both taken solo and not) among many others. And all that is understandable.

But one message emerges amidst all those graduates’ excitement. That is the idea that education now has become a campaign of sort dedicated either to some high cause or, on a closer level, to one’s family. The graduates have all the right to declare it. Stripping away the romanticism of a smoothly flowing transition from freshman to a senior, education can be a difficult battle composed of financial shortages, personal problems, and academic woes. Having finished all those acad stuff, it is a good act to shout out the fact to the world. Although a rather late one, I send out my warmest greetings to those I know who graduated last March or April.

Of Messages

Another amusing thing which I have observed during the graduation period was the posing of the question of successfulness. Can you only say that you are successful in life when you are finally invited to speak to young graduates? I personally don’t think so. But of course sending in a man of triumphs and success to the main stage is only natural because the graduates, most of them waiting to be released to the so-called ‘real world’, need someone to look up to and consider as their role model. But after listening to a particularly interesting commencement speech, it made me look back to my own graduation and on what I have achieved so far. Not much, but they definitely brought in personal fulfillment to me.

Be Proud (If You Deserve It)

Lastly (and this I think must not be allowed to pass unmentioned) being able to graduate is naturally endowed with a character of pride. That is good if and only if you know you deserve it. I may not have been in the front seats during my graduation, for instance, but it felt good to be there because whenever I recall the unnecessary anxieties and nightmares (both literal and metaphorical) I had during the last months working on our theses as students, we knew it was all worth the toil.

Somehow my mind fails me to grasp the very idea that some people would go beyond what is supposed to be right just to put in someone in the graduation line. For most cases, we get our academic results based on our performances. And in a logical sense, if certain requirements are not meant, you do not get a passing result. To threaten and belch empty words just to wear your toga was something I did not expect. What saddens me most is that when one does that, you are pretty sure that many would know that a simple act of receiving a diploma was not worth it. It was all but saving face only. Pity.

But let me not dwell on these lowly issues but allow me to end this short narrative about a very new feeling. It’s that sense of pride, a teacher’s pride, of seeing former students walk up the short flight of stairs towards the long sought diplomas and see them flash their priceless smiles in front of the cameras. It’s that pride that comes from the thought that, once in their short stay in the university or college, you have been there, you have been a part, if not a major player. No thank you notes sent are okay with me. Their smiles I have witnessed were already enough.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Step into the Earth Hour


It may only be for an hour but a coordinated effort would mean a lot.
Save energy for this brief time, be one with the other advocates,
and continue to fan the desire of making this earth closer to home.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Call for Papers for the 8th Nakem International Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii

 * during the 7th Nakem Conference

[Last year’s Nakem Conference was superb and with the hangover still here, let me share the recently sent information for the upcoming 8th Nakem.]

The Center from the Margin: Accounting All Philippine and Other Peripheralized Languages for Critical Education

Hosted and Sponsored by: The University of Hawaii Ilokano Program, Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America


The 8th Nakem Conference, “The Center from the Margin: Accounting All Philippine and Other Peripheralized Languages for Critical Education,” aims to explore the place of the Other, because ‘othered,’ languages in the pursuit of critical and emancipatory education for all peoples of the world. In addition, the conference problematizes the very nature of ‘center’ in the statist idea of authority, power, culture, education, and language in multinational, multicultural, and multilingual states in order to account the relevance of the ‘margin.’

The conference specifically aims to:
- revaluate the role of the Other, because ‘othered,’ languages in polynational states.
critique the prevailing view on the role of ‘national language’ and ‘national culture’ in a multinational country
- give an accounting of all peripheralized languages of the world as a result of official policies on education, culture, and language
- formulate a plausible and rational alternative to the center by recognizing the contribution and the ‘centrality’ of the margin in the lives and experiences of Other, because ‘othered,’ communities

Paper Proposal Requirements    

Paper proposals submitted for consideration by the Abstract Selection Committee must zero in on the theme or the specific goals of the conferences.

Apart from the theme, some topics for consideration are:
-    a critical history of the policy of ‘othering’ in a polynational state
-    the epistemic and ontological consequences of a policy of ‘nationalizing’ language, culture, and education
-    the center in the margin: the case of self-sufficient communities outside the center of power
-    critical education for democracy and the role of languages in and from the margins
accounting all peripheralized languages after colonization
-    the state policy of peripheralization and its implications in education, identity, and nation-building
-    the mother tongue and emancipatory education
-    first language and the educational turn in postcolonial societies
-    linguistic, educational, and cultural alternatives to the hegemonic center  

Only abstracts of between 250 and 300 words are accepted for presentation at the 8th Nakem International Conference.

Each abstract must zero in on the theme, or one or more of the topics listed in this Call for Paper.

All abstracts must be sent to nakemconferences@yahoo.com, cc to aurelioa@hawaii.edu, on or before April 30, 2013:
Notice of acceptance of abstracts will be emailed to conference paper proponents on or before May 30, 2013.

Notices will be emailed. Only e-versions of Notices of Acceptance will be sent. No other versions will be used; hence, all proponents are advised to have their own personal, or professional, email addresses.

Format of Proposal

The proposal, of between 250 and 300 words, must follow this format:

Name of Proposer:

Other co-authors (if applicable):

Institutional affiliation: (complete address included)

Contact Information:
            Landline:  (office, home, work)       

Abstract:         (Title, of no more than 10 words)

Abstract: (Content, including word count)

For example:
Name of Proposer:            Luis Borges (main author)
Co-authors:                       Pablo Nerudi   (if applicable)
                                          Susan Sontagu (if applicable)

Institutional Affiliation:
                      College of Education
                      Don Mariano Marcos State University
                      San Fernando City       
                      057-075-0770 (Tel)
Contact Information:
                      Department of Educational Foundations
                      College of Education, DMMSU, San Fernando City
                      0928-0928-928 (cell)
                       075-777-7777 (home/work)

Please take note that all abstract submissions must follow the format above. Proponents will be asked to choose only one presentation in case of multiple submissions.

Panel and Demo Proposal Requirements

For panel or demo proposals, each panel or demo shall consist of no less than three members, all of them working on the same theme, issue or topic but each speaker must present an individual paper. Two abstracts are needed: the panel abstract and the abstract for each paper, with the same specific requirements as those in individual presentations.

Deadline for submission of abstracts is April 30, 2013. Full papers, sent to conveners, are expected on or before August 30, 2013.

When Sending Abstracts

When sending abstracts, please put this information in the subject heading of your email:

Nakem2013-[your last name]-abstract, to wit:


Registration Details

Registration deadline is August 30, 2013. The registration form should be submitted and the corresponding registration fee paid. The details of payment are found below.

Registration fee includes conference kit and meals during the actual date—and only during the actual date. The cost of accommodations within and outside the University of Hawaii at Manoa will be borne by the participants, as well as transportation to and from the conference sites, and to and from the Honolulu International Airport.

Registration fee is USD 200 for all participants.
The registration fee, along with the filled out registration form, may also be handed to any of the members of the 2013 Nakem International Conference Steering Committee composed of the Nakem Conferences Philippines Board of Directors listed below. 

•Participants are encouraged to book their accommodation early.

•Only the actual dates of the conference—covering two nights and three days—are being included in the registration fee.

•The 2013 Nakem Conference Secretariat and conveners are not in a position to do the booking for these participants except for the actual dates of the conference.

•All participants will be accommodated at the conference venue, unless they opt to get accommodations elsewhere. Accommodation details with the East-West Center at UH Manoa must be personally arranged by the participant. We will give you the email address and contact number of the EWC.

•For logistical reasons, all participants are required to submit, by mail or by email, the confirmation of their participation by filling out the downloadable registration form.

For More Information

For updates and other information on the 8th Nakem International Conference, please contact any of the following:

•    Dr Alegria T. Visaya, President, Nakem Conferences International Philippines, Mariano Marcos State University, & co-convener, 8th Nakem Conference, atvisaya@yahoo.com, 0919-502-4767; or 0917-547-7723.
•    Dr Bonifacio V. Ramos, Chair, Conference Committee, Nakem Conferences, St Mary’s University, & co-convener, 8th Nakem Conference, bonifacioramos50@yahoo.com, 0919-232-5776.
•    Dr Gloria Baguingan, Nueva Vizcaya State University, gloriabaguingan@yahoo.com.ph, 0928-786-8431
•    Dr Leticia Benabese, Abra Institute of Science and Technology, leticiambenabese@yahoo.com, 0920-605-3361
•    Dr Elizabeth Calinawagan, University of the Philippines at Baguio, Elizabeth_calinawagan@yahoo.com, 0917-506-0080
•    Dr Josephine Domingo, Mariano Marcos State University, jorafd@yahoo.com, 0917-648-6218
•    Dr Avelina Gatdula, Department of Education-Ilocos Sur, ave_gatdula@yahoo.com, 0906-368-7833
•    Dr Natividad Lorenzo, Mariano Marcos State University, natividad_lorenzo@yahoo.com, 0919-249-0282
•    Dr Marcelli Macob, Department of Education-Region I Regional Office, marcelligmacob@yahoo.com
•    Dr Andres Malinnag Jr, Northern Luzon Philippines State College, atmalinnag_unp2@yahoo.com, 0917-504-2650
•    Dr Marie Rose Rabang, University of Northern Philippines, mrabang@yahoo.com, 0917-861-3601
•    Dr Jaime Raras, Northern Luzon Philippines State College, rarasjaime@yahoo.com, 0908-399-3077
•    Dr Noemi Rosal, University of the Philippines Diliman, noemi_rosal56@yahoo.com.ph, 0917-6101-604
•    Dr Jimmy Soria, University of Northern Philippines, unp_veep@yahoo.com, 0917-596-6628

For inquiries in the United States, please email:

•    Dr Aurelio S. Agcaoili, convener, 8th Nakem Conference, aurelioa@hawaii.edu, or aurelioagcaoili@yahoo.com, 001-808-956-8405
•    Dr Julius B. Soria, co-convener, 8th Nakem Conference, aurelioa@hawaii.edu, or juliussoria@gmail.com, 001-808-956-2226

Conference Websites & Other Sources of Updates

Other dedicated social networking websites post updates about this conference:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nakem-Conferences and the UH Manoa Ilokano Program website. Websites of institutional co-sponsors also post updates on the activities of the conference.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Sign Out of Yahoo! Mail Android Phone App

Signing out or logging out online accounts is as important as keeping our passwords safe. Whether we are using a shared computer or our personal phones, safeguarding our privacy is still of prime concern. With the wide usage of smart phones, android phones and compatible apps, this is given more emphasis.

One time I tried using the Yahoo! Mail app I recently downloaded on my android phone to see its functions and possible new features. But as I went through the app, I noticed that there was a missing feature: the sign out link. I tried clicking various links to see if the sign out link is imbedded in them to no avail. In the end, I did what I do most of the time when things go out of hand – reset things.

For the Yahoo! Mail app, what you can do is to go to the Accounts and Sync under the Settings menu and delete your Yahoo! Mail account there. This will effectively sign you out of the app. But I observed some lagging so better wait until the sign in page appears again, as shown above.

The Dark Knight’s Beginning and End

We’re not the religious type of moviegoers. In fact, we often get to see a particularly interesting movie a few months after it has been officially released. That has been true for the Batman movie trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan. After watching Batman Begins we were intrigued by the themes shown in the film thus we opted to watch the next two ones to see a wider view of the Dark Knight’s storyline.

What makes the Chris Nolan films lasting at least in our minds is that they keep the character of Batman grounded on humanity. In the first film we see the beginnings of Batman, this symbol’s (yes, I prefer to call it a symbol) motivations, and strengths and occasional weaknesses. I particularly enjoyed going over the concept of fear as introduced in the film and how it was set to be destroyed in fulfilling a particular goal (or in the film, in fulfilling Bruce Wayne’s goal).

The Dark Knight (the second film) lays down a wide, if not open, definition of madness. The Joker is perhaps the most difficult character Batman has faced in the trilogy for he had a well-grounded view of the people, of the government, and the ‘chaos’ that goes with the existence of these two. Unfortunately, the Joker has anointed his views with a corrupted sense of what people can do thereby making a would-be hero into a complete maniac like himself (recall Harvey Dent).

The last installment to the trilogy, although geared to wrap up the events in this Batman storyline, carries its own set of themes. I saw here how vengeance can be warped into a form so distorted that one tends (as in the case of Bane) to cover it with quasi-logical arguments for justification. Bane claimed that he was an agent of change for Gotham but in fact oversaw the near-fall of the city.

There are so many sub-themes actually seen in the films and it would foolish to attempt to describe them all here thereby robbing the film of its own worth. To a large extent, the Batman storyline here is almost a novel already. As I always say, see the materials itself to get your own views. See the films and relive Batman in a very different manner.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Remembering UPCAT and UPLB

For several days now, the details of the recently released U.P. College Admission Test or UPCAT has been the talk online. Greetings abound. And regrets and optimistic messages intertwine over newsfeeds and comments. That made me recall my own my experiences.

Of course I remember well that moment, in a computer shop just a few blocks from our school, when I clicked on the surnames under E and found my name as one of those who qualified to enroll in UP, specifically in U.P. Los Baños. It was one of the highest highs I had at that time.  But owing to some strained family relations at that time, I never openly announced that fact at home. That came in the form of verbal news from one of our neighbors who took the trouble to tell / ask it to my mother since she saw my name on the banner just outside school. (Thus the restored relations.) It was all bliss until graduation with an academic honor award in tow.

The rest, as has always been the case, was history. Spent several (yes, several) years in campus and graduated with a considerable amount of self-esteem on doing research. That I think was a nice compensation for not getting any honor during college.

On many occasions, I openly expressed my longing for this university to my intimates. They would respond “Miss mo na nga ang UP, eh ang UP, miss ka kaya?”  as a way of countering of my thoughts. Beyond the freedom and liberality for which it became infamous, what I miss the most in UP is the constant – and that would mean every day – academic challenge that pervades the whole campus. It did not suffocate me, this atmosphere; but in many ways it enabled me to improve myself in all aspects. I am still in that improvement phase, honing the skills in those short years, and I intend to keep it that way.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Relating With “All the Sad Young Literary Men”

The New Year commenced in a haze will all the events that happened within my immediate family circles. Add to that the fact that I was not able to properly cocelebrate the January 1 welcoming as I was in an awful condition, no thanks to that bad cold which paid a visit to my unready body. These may seem to be weak excuses for not updating Viole(n)t Mugs but – just like before – I desire redeem myself. Even if one month has elapsed already.

Thus I chose to share a fiction work which took the role of a companion while I was darn sick during the last few days of the previous year. Keith Gessen’s “All the Sad Young Literary Men” was, and still is, a great find for me. Much of this book’s contents speak of the vast experience set-ups that young men may find themselves in.

Written in different viewpoints and alternating first-person, third-person narratives, “All the Sad Young Literary Men” is about the lives three young men who are in their varying stages of changing lives. Some for good. Some, well, are for worse. All the lives read here revolve around the theme of writing, be it a dissertation or a write up meant for the public, but corrupted by their experiences and beliefs.

To a large extent I can relate to most of the experiences and thoughts expressed by the author through his characters. Although some viewed the work in a bad light, I came to see it as a lietral companion. In the absence of frequent friends to talk to (unlike in college days), I learned to regard the characters as people who were able to tell me things about me as a male (or as a young man to be more precise) which I could not have possibly realized on my own. Sure, they may be seem to rude from a female’s viewpoint but you can treat that as man talk, part of reminding one’s self every now and then to talk things about being a man and its accompanying ups and downs.

There are two thoughts I would like to recount, the first one about having screwed up life:

“When you are young...and you’re on your way, and you have everything before you and everyone with you – you don’t know anyone else – and you look at all the others with their screwed-up lives and you know you’ll do things differently, you know you will, and you do.

“You are kinder, gentler, you are smarter.

“And then one day you look up and you’ve done all the the things you said you were going to do but somehow you forgot something, something happened along the way and everyone’s gone, everything’s different, and looking around you see you have the same screwed-up life as all those other idiots. And there – you are.”

The second is above love, something which I think is fitting to mention as Valentine’s Day is just a few days from now:

“We hurt one another. We go through life dressing up in new clothes and covering up our true motives. We meet up lightly,..., and then we give each other pain. We don’t want to! What we want to do, what one really wants to do is put out one’s hands – like some dancer, in a trance, just put out one’s hands – and touch all the people and tell them: I’m sorry. I love you. Thank you for your e-mail. Thank you for coming to see me. Thank you.

“But we can’t. We can’t. On the little raft...only one other person could fit. Just one! And so, thwarted, we inflict pain. That’s what we do. We do not keep each other company. We do not send each other cute text messages. Or, rather, when we do these things, we do them merely to postpone the moment when you’ll push these people off, and beat forward, beat forward on our little raft, alone.”

Which means, in one point of view, that we cannot do everything for all the girls out there. Only one can be worthy of all your efforts.

In the end, even if I try to digest every single part of the book here, I would not be able to do justice to it. And so, as always, I invite you to read this short work of fiction. (But you may probably need a working knowledge on Soviet history and the Israel-Arab countries conflict.)