Friday, October 24, 2014


Dr Abe V Rotor
Dead tree covered by mushrooms creates a weird, eerie scene  

If mushrooms were giants, then I’m in Brobdingnag
Where now I’m a pygmy when I was once a giant.
Wishing the goodness I did to come back to me.
In life we are at one time giants, at another dwarfs,
Giving essence to character more than fairy tale,
But even in fairy tale, we gain essence of character. ~

Nature's Sweet Lies: Believe it or not. It's a two headed butterfly!

Dr Abe V Rotor

Mt. Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB, Laguna

Nature's Sweet Lies

Nature, oh your own sweet lies, should I laugh or cry?
Deceit and conceit in the game of offence and defence,
But what honor, what deed, if survival's the ultimate aim?
What is beauty then, where does goodness lie?
Who is the victor, who gets the spoil, if each creature,
is not what it looks but how it is seen?
But it is not mortals who judge, only the One Unseen;
each existence designed by niche of space and time,
by a living chain and ladder, each a link or rung,
a web with all creatures and none is great or small.
~ ~ ~


Fat Crabs
Dr Abe V Rotor

Taste deep or touch not,
this food of the gods
just now;
Aligi is gold to the palate;
don't lose appetite of its sight,
turn a deaf ear at its name,
no, not now;
Don't sit last before the table
when others have seated,
not now;
blood pressure and pulse measure
can wait,
oh, not now;

crabs and cockroaches
belong to one class,
don't say it now,where Epicurus reigns
with the finest cuisine;
it's now.

danger in pleasure
and pleasure in danger
is your game now;
you have to gain to lose,
and lose to gain;
it's now,
or never. ~

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Changing Environment - 20 Major Issues

Dr. Abe V. Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Looc River in  Bohol before Typhoon Yolanda struck 

“The ultimate test of any civilization
Is not in its inventions and deeds;
But the endurance of Mother Nature
In keeping up with man’s endless needs.”

AVR, Light in the Woods

No period in history has man influenced the environment as much as what he is doing today in pursuit of seemingly unending affluence. And instead of “tailoring his lifestyle to the environment” as what his ancestors did for centuries, he is modifying the environment in order to meet such affluence.

Environmental Issues

1. The environment has changed a lot in the last two hundred years since the start of industrialization, which is also the start of the modern age. The biggest effect to human health contributed by this era is widespread pollution. Pollution is the by-product of industrialization, and the scourge of modern living.

2. Pollution is no longer confined within geographic divisions of land, water and air - or in a particular country or region; it has grown into global proportion. The effect is worldwide in the form of global warming, causing more erratic climatic disturbances, thinning of the ozone layer, worsening effect of acid rain, among others. Pollution allergy cases arise directly from garbage, smoke from factories and vehicles, acid rain contact, sudden changes in temperature and humidity, ultraviolet rays near the ozone hole - and most specially from the gas-fed engine.

3. Modernization and the “good life” have brought about affluence, first to the industrialized countries, and later to countries which followed the same Western World model of development. People want goods and services beyond their actual need. Affluence - more than necessity - has greater impact on the environment in the form of depletion of natural resources and pollution. Affluence in the extreme is indeed a wasteful land destructive style of living.

4. The increase in population continues in geometric pattern, reaching 7 billion to date. At its present trend, another billion people will be added to the world’s population in the next 10 years or so. New settlements, bigger cities, increasing population density predispose people to various pathogens and allergens.

5. The general trend all over the world is exodus to urban centers. Metropolises and megapolises with 10 to 20 million people ensconced under crowded condition are not uncommon, with Tokyo, New York and Mexico City topping the list. Meantime villages grow into towns and towns into cities. The ratio of rural dwellers to city dwellers will soon reach equal proportion, and is likely to overtake the latter. People crowd in subdivisions, condominiums, malls, schools, churches, parks, in great numbers sharing common lifestyles and socio-economic conditions, thus predisposing them to common health problems and vulnerabilities, including disruptions of basic services (brownouts, water interruptions, and the like).

6. Destruction of the environment is a consequence of increasing population and affluence, leading not only to loss of productivity of farmlands, but also loss of farmlands to industry and settlements. This leads to the irreversible destruction of ecosystems like the lakes, rivers, forests, and coral reefs. Loss of health of the environment means loss of health of living things. And loss of environment is loss of life itself.

7. The ecosystems bear the brunt of development and progress. These are the sanctuaries of biological diversity, the natural abode of organisms assigned and organized in their respective niches. The ecosystems are organized into biomes, biomes into one biosphere. The ultimate cause of extinction of a species is in the destruction of its natural habitat. Man’s existence is highly dependent on a complex web of interrelationship with the members of the living world that by disturbing the integrity of this order will affect humans, and other living things as well.

8. Humans continue to invade the wildlife, and as the wildlife shrinks, the displaced species invade human habitats in return. Finding sanctuary in his home, backyards, farm, park and other places these species transmit deadly diseases like SARS, HIV-AIDS, Ebola, and Bird Flu, allergy notwithstanding.

9. The “Good Life” spawns obesity and other overweight conditions with millions of sufferers around the world. In the US one out of five persons is an obese. Obesity is a product of sedentary living and imbalance nutrition, and suspected to be viral. Victims suffer of various health problems, and the difficulty in getting adjusted to an active life style. Because of their conditions they are merely spectators, rather than participants, in games and other physical activities, thus exacerbating their pitiful condition.

10. “One-half of the world’s population has too little to eat, while the other half simply  has too much,” as revealed in How the Other Half Dies, a book by a former UN expert, Susan George. The hungry and undernourished are mostly children, no less than 800 million of them living in Third World countries. For one who is hungry most of the time, it is difficult to diagnose the effects of hunger and physiologic imbalance from those of the accompanying symptoms of diseases and ailments. It is as if these symptoms were all welded into one.

11. Global warming is changing the face of the earth: shorelines push inland, islands sink, lowlands turn into swamps, while icecaps and glaciers disappear. As sea level rises there is need of relocation, and building new settlements. Adaptation is key to allergy resistance and immunity, but this is not possible overnight; it takes a lifetime if not generations to obtain. Indeed displacement of settlements and change in living conditions predispose people to ailments and allergies.

12. Globalization is taking place in practically all aspects of human endeavor – trade, commerce and industry, agriculture, the arts, education, politics, religion and the like. The world has shrunk, so to speak, as it travels on two feet: communications and transportation, Traveling from one place to another across latitudes and longitudes predispose one to unimaginable kinds of ailments, allergies, and discomforts. Permanence of domicile has given way to transience, to impermanence.

13. Homogenization involves pooling of genes through inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages resulting in various mestizos like Eurasian, Afro-Asian, Afro-American, Amerasian, and the like. Mélange of races results from East and West marriages. Biologically it is the native genes that provide organisms resistance to pests, diseases, and adverse conditions of the environment. Native genes lose their effectiveness when “thinned out” too far. In the process their gene pool narrows down and may ultimately disappear. Mestizos of subsequent generations are likely to lose such advantage.

14. Science and technology as the prime mover of progress and development has also brought doubt and fear to man’s future. The first breakthrough is the splitting of the atom that created the nuclear bomb, the second is the invention of the microchip which shrunk the globe into the size of a village, and the third, Genetic Engineering now enables man to tinker with life itself. Each invention or discovery bears heavily on the way man lives, beneficial or otherwise. Radiation related death still occurs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima 50 years after the bombing. The young generation spend more time with the computer and TV than with outdoor activities and with nature, Gene Therapy – curing gene-link diseases before they are expressed – is revolutionizing medicine. Naturally all these have repercussions on human health and welfare.

15. Revolutionary industries have been born out of these breakthroughs and related discoveries linking them with the business world and growing affluence, giving rise to in vitro fertilization or test tube babies, surrogate motherhood, Human Genome Project (HGP or gene mapping), multiple childbirth, DNA mapping, etc. The prototype human robot is born, and he is not defect-free. In fact he is more dependent on medicine, and could not possibly withstand the conditions of the natural environment the way normal individuals do. Indeed he will lead a very dependent life.

15. Globalization is dissolving the rigid walls of nationalism to give way to regional and international cooperation and unity as evidenced by European Union, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR with seven members such as ICRISAT, CYMMIT, IRRI, and the expansion of the United Nations to include WTO, ILO, and UNEP. Fighting global diseases that include asthma and allergy depends largely on cooperation on all levels. In the same way a community fights Dengue, so with whole continents arresting the spread of HIV-AIDS, SARS, Bird’s Flu, and the like.

16. Green Revolution has expanded to cover non-conventional frontiers, invading the seas, deserts, watersheds, highlands, and swamps. On the other hand it has began adopting a revolutionary approach through Genetic Engineering – that is, the splicing of genetic materials between and among organisms that may not be at all related, pooling traits as scientists deem desirable. Thus the introduction of GMOs and Frankenfood, which are now in the market. To augment limited farmlands, aerophonics (farming rooftops), hydroponics or soil less farming, urban greening, and organic farming, are being developed, as measures to bring nature closer to settlements, and augment urban food supply.

17. Agriculture today depends heavily on Post Harvest Technology. To bridge the production source with the consumption end, the farm and the market, is no easy task, especially with perishable goods. Thus the proliferation of processed goods, supermarket, and fast food chains, ready-to-eat packs, sophisticated culinary art. Many food additives and adjuncts are allergenic, from salitre in longganiza to pesticide residue in vegetables, MSG in noodles to Aspartame in fruit juice, formalin in fish to dioxin in plastics, antibiotic residues in meat, poultry and milk notwithstanding.

18. Modern medical science is responsible in reducing mortality and in increasing longevity. But it is also responsible for the many ills of today, from genetically linked abnormalities to senility related ailments. It made the exchange of organs and tissues through transplantation possible, and lately tissue cloning - which some scientists believe will make people live as long as 140 years. Bodies are ultra wealthy individuals lie in cryonics tanks waiting for science to discover the secret of resurrection. As a rule, evolution culls out the unfit members of a population to keep the gene pool healthy and strong. This is true to all organisms. Only man can influence his own evolution and that of other organisms, thus putting Darwinism in his hands.

19. Exploration has brought man into the fringes of Planet Earth: into the depth of the sea and beyond the expanse of the Solar System, ushering the birth of inner and outer space science, and preparation for interplanetary travel. Man is are learning to live outside of the confines of planet earth. He has succeeded in probing the bottom of the ocean, put up a city in space - the Skylab, and aiming at conquering another planet – a long distant goal of assuring the continuity of mankind after the demise of the earth.

20. Globalization is dissolving the rigid walls of nationalism to give way to regional and international cooperation and unity as evidenced by European Union, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR with seven members such as ICRISAT, CYMMIT, IRRI, and the expansion of the United Nations to include WTO, ILO, and UNEP. Fighting global diseases that include asthma and allergy depends largely on cooperation on all levels. In the same way a community fights Dengue, so with whole continents arresting the spread of HIV-AIDS, SARS, Bird’s Flu, and the like.

*Part of paper, Human Life and Environment, Capiz Archdiocesan Gathering of Priests, August 4, 2011, Roxas City.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UST AB: Interpreting Verses through Photography

Kindness, however small, 
is never wasted at all.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Assignment: This is an exercise in Creative Photography. Choose an appropriate photograph for each verse and capture its essence and message. Write the caption for the photograph. Enhance the human interest effect. Apply the elements of art, mainly composition. Can your work pass for a poster? (Choose any five.)

The kindest words are best expressed in poetry and
illustrated in fine art and creative photography. 

Ateneo de Manila University, QC

1. Patience is virtue in disguise
an art of the smart and wise.

2. He who always says, "yes."
is seeker of convenience.

3. The sound of kiss may be deep or shallow,
wait until you hear its echo.

4. On some mountaintop ones echo is clear and loud,
in the marketplace it dies, so in any crowd.

5. How seldom do we weigh our neighbors
the way we weigh ourselves with the same favors.

6. The heart breaks and heals leaving scars;
it consoles to know the distance to the stars.

7. The good may die first and resurrect at last;
the bad may die last and lie in their dust.

8. If the world is going to end in fire or ice;
altogether we die once and not twice.

9. Old folks say a problem hastily solved
sooner or later returns unresolved.

10. What is worse than envy and indolence,
but the two themselves riding in insolence.

11. We don't have the time, is an alibi
to indolence and loafing, letting time pass by.

12. Purple, the Nazarene's garment
reminds us of power and lament.

13. Not all sand dunes for sure
end up to an empty shore.

14. Change, we face its challenge, comfort in our camp,
if we look back at an old house with a burning lamp.

15. Loud when empty, the gong and hollow log proclaim,
even as deep waters and doldrums stake their claim.

16. Hope - offer it to silence a restless throng;
in motherhood statement no one goes wrong.

17. Napoleon's army was in the deep Russian cold.
"Come out and fight, cowards!" cried the lost bold.

18. Nectar attracts the bees, vinegar the flies;
a pie rides on the breeze to where a hungry lies.

19. Ivy on the wall creeping shy and small
spread out to hide my dark and ugly side.

20. Behold! a rainbow and moth in flight
when viewed against the waning light. ~

UST AB - How good are you in Photography?

Assignment for my students in Photography, UST Faculty of Arts and Letters
 By Dr Abe V Rotor

Critique this photo and the three below on their content and technical aspects.
And answer these questions. (Don't copy the questions) 

___1. For best results there is no substitute to having a manual camera with semi-automatic system for photographic art – kahit digital camera pa. 
__ 2 . When taking pictures, the rule is that the source of light must be at the back of the photographer. 
___3. The lens opening of a camera is like the pupil of the human eye. 
___4. Single lens reflex (SLR) means you are looking at the subject through the lens of the camera. 
__ 5. Satellite imaging can detect weather disturbances, pollution; it can predict crop yield levels, and in fact even hideouts of terrorists. 

___6. Satellite imaging is used in cartography, that is, the science of mapping the features of the earth. 
__ 7. Deeper interpretation of contrast is in the subject of the photo, rather than interplay of light and shadow, colors and lines. 
__ 8. The larger the lens opening the better is the depth of field. 
__ 9. If the background is bright and your subjects are posed against it, what you can do to counteract glare is to use flash. 
__10. Filters emphasize outlines, increases contrast of light and shadow, warm and cool and colors. It is also used in silhouette photography. 

__11. The opening of a flower bud step by step is recorded by means of time lapse photography, a technique that compresses time to enable the eye to witness the event in a short time frame. 
__12. Buildings appear in concentric circle converging at the top if you use fisheye lens. 
__13.When using a wide angle lens for a group photo, those on the sides appear to be very thin while those at the center are fat. 
__14. Telezoom lenses extend the view, compressing distance, thus they are used in war zones. 
__15.Allow the pupil of the eye to narrow down by sending a series of faint flashes before the real flash is made. This is to prevent red eye in the photograph. 
_ 16. With the state-of-the-art digital photography, a poorly taken photo can be edited anyway - so, why worry? 

__17. Black and white photos are simpler to process and print than color photographs. 
__18. The computer is equipped with a software to correct blurred, burned, incomplete and misaligned photos to appear normal. 
__ 19. As a rule do not retouch a historical documentary photos; they are more authentic in their original state. 
__ 20. It is easier to photograph emotions rather than features, because they come naturally, while you have to do a lot of script in the latter.

__21. A famous photograph – a naked young girl, her body burned by napalm (Orange Agent) running along a highway with other children, while soldiers simply didn’t mind, was taken during the recent Iraq war. 
__22. A lone man standing in front of a column of tanks was taken during the Vietnam war. The photo freezes the action as if the man succeeded in his suicidal act. 
__23. Today, photography – from shooting to printing - can be done in a home studio, and therefore offers a good business opportunity. In fact documentaries and short movies can be done. 
__24. Composition is the key to telling a story, be it a painting, a poem, a novel – or a photograph. 
__25. The elements of art – are also the elements of photography. 

__26. Foreshortened effect is shown on traffic signs written on the highway. 
__27. 400 ASA/ISO/DIN film is more sensitive than 100 ASA/ISO/DIN film, in the same way as 4 megapixels is more sensitive than say, 2 megapixels. 
__28. As the number increases - 30, 60, 100, 250, 500, 1000 – it means the shutter mechanism proportionately slows down or decreases speed. 
__29. Here are three ways to improve your photo when lighting is poor: use tripod, use flash, increase ASA or DIN – in any combination, or all of them at the same time. 
__30. You can get multiple exposures in a single shot of fireworks even without a tripod. 

__31. Adjust shutter to B and mount camera on tripod when shooting night scenes – a busy street, Christmas lights, stars, constellation, etc. 
__32. Today’s digital camera is more versatile, relatively cheaper, easier to operate – but not necessarily superior in quality - to film camera. 
__33. Some digital cameras can used the lenses of film cameras, particularly SLRs. 
__34. The most advanced digital cameras are made by Kodak. 
__35.When a close up of flower is blurred, the subject is too close. 

__36. Basketball player in air totally blurred – shutter speed is too slow.
__37. Sunny outdoor view is rough, with dot matrix like in “pointillism.” – ASA/ISO value too high. 
__38. Photo is too light all over, no accent, clarity poor – insufficient light, lens opening too small, or both. 
__39. When having your picture taken, relax your shoulder and your face muscles will also relax. 
__40. “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Micro Safari” have one in common – micro photography. 

__41. Light microscope reveals the world of microorganisms – countless of them in a single drop of water. 
__42. Electron microscopy produces photographs of extremely small objects up to 5,000 times in a myriad of colors like a rainbow. 
__43. Radio telescope enables the human eye to see very far objects like stars using the same principle of lens telescope. 
__44. One area of photography that enables us to see fast moving objects normally invisible to the eye is through slow motion photography. 
__45. The aura emitted by our body is visible through photography. 

__46. Photography brings to the eyes of the world good things to appreciate, and evil things to correct. 
__47. Photojournalism is a risky profession, like other media men, they risk their lives. In fact the Philippines has the most number of fatalities among media men, second to Iraq. 
__48. War is the arena of photography – war against poverty, graft and corruption, environmental degradation, diseases, ignorance, terrorism, and the like. 
__49. Yet photography offers the newest, most modern, technologically advanced, now popularized to be enjoyed by millions of people everyday.
__50. Photography is the extension of our eyes and other senses, in fact our intellect, our feeling and our soul. ~

UST-AB Photography: Critique-analysis of 30 selected covers of Time Magazine

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

For the advanced part of Photography as a course, I am presenting these selected covers of TIME, the leading international weekly news magazine. Time has been consistently on the forefront of major events, and persistently moving on the road, so to speak, be it the fast lane or one that is less trodden. The explosion of knowledge and information brought about by the computer age, blossoming into Social Media makes the "world a stage," which is indeed the golden epoch of global communications.  

Critiquing and analyzing these Time covers provides lessons in the fields of
  • art and photography in multimedia, principally print media
  • news analysis and interpretation
  • interdisciplinary approach  
  • institutional linkages  
  • presentation methodologies 
These specimens will be projected individually on screen. The professor gives an overview of the main features of each.  Recitation and discussion follow. There will be short test before the end of the session.     

Briefly explain (2 pages bond, handwritten)
1. Most controversial issues 2
2. Greatest lessons on leadership 2
3. Most relevant to our times and country 2 
4. Baloney, falsehood  2
5. Ecological concern 2