Thursday, October 28, 2010

Angora Fluffy

Dr Abe V Rotor

She is Fluffy for her cottony fur,
Silk to the touch, easy to comb;
She's always around, never gets far,
Even when you're not at home.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hanging Bridge Across Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

Abe V Rotor

Let me pluck your chords to hear the world sing
of man's triumph over water and vale,
the strain your bear, the pitch of every string,
the tinkling of glasses of wine and ale.
and I would hear the waves below hissing,
endless roar of cars and big ships on sail;
your towers dwarf the old temples shining,
and remind me of the Twin Towers' tale.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Collective terms for living things. Say "pride of lions," "skein of geese"

Living with Nature - School on Blog

Abe V Rotor

Just say, fisherfolk

We are fond of numbers and we use different terms to denote animals, plants and our own species. These terms given to groups of animals give us distinct and more vivid imagery about their natural gregarious character.

Lions – pride
• Goat – trip
• Cows – flink
• Sheep – flock
• Birds – flock
• Fishes – school
• Ants - colony
• Flies – swarm
• Cattle – herd
• Bacteria – colony
• Geese – gaggle (on the ground); skein (in the air)

Grouping of plants is unique. Botanists and agriculturists use terms like tillers, as in rice; suckers in banana, runners and stolons in gabi and Bermuda grass, slips in pineapple. All these refer to the asexual progeny of a mother plant, duplicating itself many times in its lifetime. These are agronomic terms: a paddy of rice, an orchard, a grove of coconut, a plot or patch of vegetables.

Among us humans we use many terms such as a battery of lawyers, a battalion or platoon of soldiers, class in schools, team in games. a choir, a batch of graduates, or simply throng for a huge crowd. In an organization we group people into departments, divisions, sections, etc, specifying work and responsibility. Then we have such terms as congregation, fraternity, gang, and the like. But first let’s start with the human species branching into races.

Add on to this list. And keep it handy in class, when reciting or writing.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Swarms of bees, locusts, gnats fill the imagination with awe and fear.

Living with Nature - School on Blog

Abe V Rotor

A colony of termites. Workers attend to the enormously huge queen.

Biologically swarming is essentially a social act enabling members of a colony to share genes with others belonging to the same species but different colonies. Nature has so timed swarming to occur simultaneously in order to enhance gene sharing which is vital to the survival of the species, otherwise in-breeding within the colony is perpetuated like brothers, sisters, marrying each other.

A kind of swarming is also observed among coelenterates (corals). At a given precise time, eggs and sperms are released into the water in countless numbers, and there fertilization takes place, the resulting zygotes becoming minute hydras that will soon attach themselves to become new corals.

In certain islands in the Pacific ghost crabs crowd the shorelines and beaches during a particular period of the year at a certain phase of the moon, and there mating takes place in a kind of orgy. The gravid females then shake off their eggs in the water where they will soon hatch and initially become zooplanktons. Very few of these survive to maturity.

Swarming among winged termites (simut-simut Ilk.) is perhaps the most romantic, in fact it is called nuptial flight because in the sweltering night air lovers meet, and then they descend and seal their vows. The couple seeks a suitable place where they will establish a colony.

Swarms of gamu-gamu (gnats and midges) become nuisance to communities in sheer number, swarms of locust destroy fields of standing crops overnight, swarms of bees, especially the African bees, may send a whole community to abandon homes and belongings. In the bible King Solomon halted his troop to let an army of ants pass by. This could be the kind of ants we know that invade homes and schools, and there are killer ants that destroy everything on their path.

Old folks attribute swarming to several reasons which science has tried to explain scientifically.

• Swarming is a seasonal occurrence dictated by a biological clock, and therefore timed with the life cycle of the species. (e.g. termites and ants). This kind of swarming occurs regularly to a particular species.

• Certain organisms such as locusts (Locusta migratoria manilensis) are driven by necessity to gather into a swarm. Small groups first congregate where food is available and then coalesce into huge numbers, mating and reproducing along the way, before turning into migratory swarms. This kind of swarming though unpredictable has historical records in a place. It often jibes with the occurrence of widespread drought or with the El Niño phenomenon.

• Ecological imbalance may lead to swarming such as the case of gamu-gamu swarming on Laguna Bay in the sixties. Overfishing in the lake triggered a population explosion of gnats which constitute the main food of fish. Thus swarming is an indicator of the conditions happening in an ecosystem.

Much of what we know about the subject can’t sufficiently explain pathological conditions where bacteria suddenly burst in numbers, or how fungi all of a sudden grow over an entire forest floor. Why do people move to cities? Is urbanization a kind of swarming? Why did the Israelites turn to the golden calf, a symbol of fertility, after their deliverance from Egypt? Do we harbor the genes for swarming called orgy? ~

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Talipapa - People's Mall

Abe V Rotor

Fruits and veggies vendor

Religious items, Quiapo

Souvenir items

Old helping hand

Rolling fishball cart

Window vending

Baskets full of harvest from many a season's toil;
Manna for everyone best grown on our fertile soil;
And goods fashioned by hand by the midnight oil;
To market, to market, I hear the people bid and call;
And hands - young and old come, rough and small;
Of vendors all over, here in this people's mall. ~

Selected from the works of my students in Communications, Faculty of Arts and Letters, UST. Thanks to Marie Laurice Lupoy, Avery Isaac Salaya, Ngu M.V., Marco Marcelo, Kimberly Chua, and K.F Nepomoceno.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Practical Agro-ecology and Agribusiness Models

Abe V Rotor

School on Blog for agro-ecology and agribusiness. List down the application of each of these models, and specific projects that are based on them. If you are familiar with other systems, kindly add them through the Comments in this blog.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

The Mystery Child

Abe V Rotor

In a workshop for adult leaders, the instructor asked the participants to draw on the blackboard a beautiful house, a dream house ideal to live in and raise a family. It was of course, an exercise, which in the minds of the participants was as easy as copying a model from experience and memory. Besides it is a universal dream to own such a house, and its concept allows free interplay of both reason and imagination.

The participants formed a queue to allow everyone to contribute his own idea on the blackboard The first person in the queue drew the posts of the house, on which the succeeding members made the roof and floor. The rest proceeded in making the walls and windows.

On the second round the participants added garage, porch, veranda, staircase, gate, fence, swimming pool, TV antennae, and other amenities. Finally their dream house was completed and they returned to their seats.

A lively “sharing session” followed and everyone was happy with the outcome of the exercise, including the teacher.

Just then a child happened to be passing by and saw the drawing of the house on the blackboard. He stopped and entered the classroom. He stood there for a long time looking at the drawing and the teacher approached him and asked what he thought about the drawing. The child said in a mild and soft way,

“But there are no neighbors!”

In the same village there was a similar workshop exercise, but this time the participants were to draw a community. The participants made a queue on the blackboard and after an hour of working together, came up with a beautiful drawing of a community.

There were houses and at the community center were a chapel, school, market, village hall, plaza. Roads and bridges make a network in the village showing people doing their chores. Everything that makes a typical village is in the drawing.
The participants discussed, “What constitute a community,” and everyone was so delighted.

Just then a child was passing by, and when he saw the drawing on the backboard, stopped and entered the classroom. The teacher approached him and asked what he thought about the drawing. The child said in a mild and soft way,

“But there are no trees, no birds;
there are no mountains, fields, river!”

Some days passed since the two workshops. No one seriously bothered to find out who the child was or where he lived. Then the whole village began to search for the child, but they never found him – not in the village, not in the town, not in the capital, and not in any known place.

Who was the child? Everyone who saw him never forgot his kind, beautiful and innocent face. The workshop participants and the whole village pondered on his words which remained a puzzle to them for a long time.

They pondered on the words of this mystery child which became the greatest lessons in ecology:

But there are no neighbors.
But there are no trees, no birds; there are no mountains, no fields, no river.”

Home, Sweet Home with Nature, AVR

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Examination in Biology and Ecology

Professor: Dr. A.V. Rotor

Part 1 - Multiple Choice: Copy the letter of the correct answer.
Concept Recall and Application
The following are biomes of the world. Assign the following keywords under the appropriate biome. A. Tropical Rainforest B. Temperate Deciduous Forest C. Taiga D. Tundra E. Grassland G. Savannah H. Alpine I. Freshwater J. Ocean K. Desert
___ 1. Permafrost ___ 11. Location of The Gods Must be Crazy
___ 2. Understorey ___ 12. Emergent
___ 3. Cone-bearing ___ 13. Evergreen
___ 4. Large game animals ___ 14. Carne Norte
___ 5. Narra/Dipterocarp ___ 15. Safari
___6. Coral Reef ___ 16. Intertidal
___7. Atoll ___ 17. Mt Kilimanjaro
___8. Camel ___ 18. Laguna Bay
___9. Biodiversity model ___ 19. Prairie
__10. Sea of Galilee ____ 20. Location of Castaway

These are vital issues related to our subject. A. Pollution B. Global Warming C. Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO D. Nuclear energy E. Biological warfare F. El Niño G. Natural farming H. Renewable energy J. Avian flu
__ 21. Increasing strength of hurricanes, worsening floods.
__ 22. Zero tillage, no application of synthetic chemicals
__ 23. Dendrothermal, geothermal
__ 24. Bt corn, US potato and soya bean
__ 25. Chernobyl incident, also similar cases in US and Japan

___26. These are facts related to Avian Flu, except one. A. It is found in all regions of the world. B. It is carried by migrating birds. C. It does not affect pigs and cattle. D. Humans can acquire it from infected birds, E. It can be transferred from human to human.
___27. Based on the above choices, ABCDE, points to the severe danger of the Avian Flu
to become pandemic.
___28. One of these statements is NOT correct. A. The Kyoto Protocol was attended by most countries of the world with the agenda to reduce gas emission into the atmosphere. B. The Ozone hole is larger above the Arctic than that above the Antarctic Pole . C. One of the effects of global warming is extensive drought throughout the world, thus resulting to desertification. D. Scientists predict that global warming will precipitate the coming of another Ice Age.
___29. Based on the above, ABCD refers to the conversion of productive lands to wastelands.
__ 30. Based on the same, ABCD This phenomenon occurs in a cycle of several thousands of years - even without the intervention of man.

Concept Recall and Analysis
A thing is considered to be living if it possesses these criteria. A. It has a definite form and structure. B. It has the ability to reproduce itself. C. It can respond to stimuli and can adjust to the changes of its environment. D. It has the capability of metabolism. E. It increases in size and develops body parts. Identify which criterion is applied in the following cases.
____ 31. Respiration
____ 32. Heredity
____ 33. Adaptation
____ 34. Metamorphosis
____ 35. Growth

These are different environments or ecosystems. A. Desert B. Tropical Rainforest C. Inter-tidal Zone D. Mossy Forest E. Grassland. Each of these is briefly described as follows:
____ 36. Richest in number of organism and diversity
____ 37. This has the least number and kind of living things
____ 38. This is where the land and the sea meet.
____ 39. Mount Apo and Mount Pulog have this kind of environment at their summits.
____ 40. This is the habitat of large animals – herbivores and predators.

These are scientific terms used in our subject. A. DNA B. Speciation C. Desertification D. Food pyramid E. Water cycle F. Homeostasis G. Nitrogen Fixation
H. Evolution I. Systematics J. Protists Assign each keyword to these statements.

__ 41. This is the unit of heredity, possessed by all living things, including viruses.
__ 42. Unicellular, characterized by the presence of organelles.
__ 43. This is the secret of Nature’s self-healing process.
__ 44. This phenomenon is the key to life and the distribution of its forms.
__ 45. The autotrophs or producers, occupy the base of this structure.
__ 46. Organisms as assigned to their respective places in the 6-kingdom system.
__ 47. Rhizobium, blue-green algae, decomposing bacteria are a key to this phenomenon.
__ 48. This is the subject of Darwin’s theory on the “survival of the fittest.”
__ 49. This is today more of a man-made, rather than natural, process.
__ 50. Mutation leads to the development of species, hence biological diversity.

These are essential components/processes in Carbon Cycle. A. CO2 B. O2 C. Photosynthesis D. Respiration E. Solar energy. Assign these to the following cases/events.
____51. This is derived from the air by plants.
____52. This is a by-product of plants.
____53. Without this, organic substances can not be produced.
____54. This is also called destructive metabolism.
____55. Powers our Planet Earth.

___ 56. Which gas does not contribute directly to acid rain? A. Carbon dioxide B. Carbon Monoxide C. Sulfur dioxide D. Ammonia E. Ethylene.
___ 57. Which one does not belong to the CFC group? A. Freon refrigerant B. Cosmetic atomizers C. Aerosol paints D. Ethanol E. Industrial solvents
___ 58. Which organism does not belong to the group? A. Cockroach B. Bacteria C. Cattle D. Termites E. Earthworm
___ 59. These are autotrophs except one. A. Grass B. Mushroom C. Moss D. Narra E. Coconut
Concept Recall and Application
These are terms that describe the Water Cycle. A. evaporation B. transpiration C. precipitation D. runoff water E. ground water. Below are specific cases in which these terms apply.
____ 60. Habagat wind becomes laden with clouds that bring rains.
____ 61. Trees release tremendous amount of water that aids in cloud buildup and subsequently rain. This is the principle involved in the rainforest.
____ 62. When there is too much rainfall, the soil becomes saturated and water moves over land. The absence of trees often results to soil erosion.
____ 63. This means rain, or snow in winter.
____ 64. This is stored water that feeds the lake, rivers and springs.
____ 65. This dries up clothes on the clothesline.

___ 66. These are levels of severity or spread of a disease. Which one is limited or confined in a region? A. Pandemic B. Indigenous C. Sporadic D. Incipient
___ 67. Based on the above, ABCD refers to the spread of the disease in two or more countries, or even worldwide.
___ 68. Still based on the choices, ABCD refers to the early condition indicating both presence and sign/symptoms of the disease.
___ 69. This is disease is transmitted by Aedes egyptii. A. Pneumonia B. Hepatitis C. Dengue D. Malaria
___ 70. Based on the above choices, ABCD killed more people that all war victims combined.

Part 2 -True or False. These are examples of application of the course. If there is scientific and/or logical basis, these must be true; if none, they are but superstition and fantasy.
____ 1. Crabs are lean during new moon.
____ 2. Wounding a tree induces it to fruit.
____ 3. More fish are caught during full moon.
____ 4. Leaves of madre de cacao or kakawate delay the ripening of fruits.
____ 5. Salt is rubbed on the cut stem of fruits to hasten their ripening.
____ 6. Sugar solution extends the life of cut flowers.
____ 7. If you touched a hot object, immediately press your affected fingers against your ear lobes.
___ 8. Carabao’s milk is less nutritious than cow’s milk.
___ 9. In the absence of any medication, cover wound caused by sea urchin with cool sand pack.
___ 10. Guava seeds cause appendicitis.
___ 11. Bats don’t attack people, except the vampire bat which occasionally sip human blood on an unsuspecting person.
___ 12. Catching a live monkey with papaya is one for the fable.
___ 13. Houseflies on the move signal the coming of a heavy rainfall, if not a typhoon.
___ 14. June beetle emerges with the coming of amihan.
___ 15. Flying kites while rice plants are in bloom causes poor harvest.
___ 16. Fruit-laden kapok tree predicts good rice harvest.
___ 17 Hovering dragonflies tells that the habagat has arrived. .
___ 18. Ring (halo) around the moon means fine weather. .
___ 19. When earthworms crawl out of their burrows, drought is coming,
___ 20. When the leaves of acacia starts to fold it’s already morning, time to wake up.

Part 3: Write an Essay about the significance of Earth Day. (300 words)

1. d 2. a 3. c 4. e 5. a 6. j 7. j 8. k 9. a 10. I 11. k 12. c 13. c 14. e 15. g 16. j 17. h 18. I 19. f 20. a

21. b 22. g 23. h. 24. c 25. d

26. a 27. e 28. b 29. c 30. d

31. d 32. b 33. c 34. a 35. e

36. b 37. a 38. c 39. d 40. e

41. a 42. j 43. f 44. h 45. d 46. I 47. g 48. h 49. c 50. b

51. a 52. b 53. c 54. d 55. e

56.e 57.e 58.b 59.b 60.a 61.b 62. d 63.c 64. e 65.a 66.b 67. a 68d 69 c 70 d

T or F

1f 2t 3f 4t 5t 6t 7t 8f 9f 10f 11f 12t 13f 14f 15f 16f 17f 18f 19f 20f

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Friday, October 8, 2010

Living Chain

Forest Primeval in acrylic, AVR 2002

How wonderful is creation
when we realize in a miniscule
the universality of the simple
linked to the complex,
where every living thing is part
of life’s interrelationship;
like a chain, its strength
is shared by all its links
in place cooperating.

Home, Sweet Home, AVR


Abe V Rotor

On-the-spot painting, Sacred Heart Novitiate QC, AVR 2000

Make haste while the essence
of Job is fresh memory trove;
we live with an urgent sense
of compassion from above -
in suffering, sweeter is love.

Living Veil

Abe V Rotor

Filter the dust, the sun, and the rain;
The images of clouds passing by;
The thoughts that come to my brain,
The pain that makes people cry.

Veil of foliage of fire tree (Delonix regia).
UST Botanical Garden

Tabon Abandoned

Abe V Rotor

Tabon Cave, Palawan

Stars grow old and die without trace,
Leaving but imprints in the mind
That illumine hope and praise;
And Tabon was then left behind
By man's stirring to conquer space.

Home, Sweet Home with Nature, AVR

Valley of Life

Abe V Rotor

Wall Mural AVR 2000 , St Paul University QC

If a child asks, "What makes a valley?"
Forget what you may have read -
valley of death or valley of sorrow;
valley is the life of the mountain,
more so, that of the river below.
It is a watershed, it is a trough,
where clouds gather and fall as rain
where trees and flowers grow.

Home, Sweet Home with Nature, AVR

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rice cake: Suman et al
Abe V Rotor



Gift of Ceres to our land
in paddies golden in the sun;
manna at par with any kind,
for the young and folks around -
in celebration or just for fun -
life's without the suman.

All ingredients are local farm products: coconut, red sugar, and wrappings of banana leaves. Patupat basket is made of coconut leaves, suman sa ibo is wrapped with buri leaves. Even the bila-o is made of woven bamboo and rattan. It is associated with farm life. such as milling of sugar cane, harvesting rice, and on such social occasions like harana (serenade), fiesta, or just a simple celebration. The quaintness that goes with these delicacies creates a festive atmosphere that is part of our cultural heritage.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Versatile Burnay

Abe V Rotor

Burnay is made from a special kind of clay mined on Mira Hills, Vigan (Ilocos Sur). It is fired to attain the desired glaze. The traditional pottery has remained virtually unchanged for around two thousand years, believed to have originated in China.

Jars are being prepard for making basi, the traditional
wine of the Ilocanos made from upland sugarcane.

Multipurpose earthen jar (Burnaby) for storing water,
grains, and seeds. A modified burnay, one with a hole
at the bottom, is used in sprouting mungbeans ( togue').

Traditional method of making Sukang Iloko (sugarcane
vinegar) on the farm.
Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Part 2: Allergy-Free Stress Busters

Dr Abe V Rotor

After a hard day's work comes a spent feeling creeping in. Then in the following morning we find ourselves in discomfort with running nose, headache, body ache, elevated blood pressure, or any other symptom we can't describe.

It is because stress and tension drain us not only of energy. They also reduce our natural resistance to allergy. Those prone to allergy are the victims of the daily grind. Even those who are unaware of it begin to suspect there's something wrong with their health. True. Allergy resistance may soon give in to a particular cause. Like other assets, body resistance is lost when we don't use it well. Misuse and overuse lead to abuse, and by not using it (unuse) leads to lethargy.

The key to allergy control is avoidance of the cause (cause-and-effect method). This time we deal with allergy with resistance building by modifying our lifestyle, and elevating our consciousness on a plane of enjoyment and fulfillment with a sense of meaning in our lives. Allergy-control can be achieved through our hobbies and social commitments, personality development, and the like. These may be among the less popular medical approaches. But for many doctors today, here are their recommendations.

  • Social Involvement (clubs, parties)
  • The Humanities (drawing, singing, drama)
  • Meditation (prayer, communion with nature)
  • Humor Therapy (healthy laugh)
  • Proper grooming.
  • Guided Visualization (imagination)
  • Biofeedback (internal memo)
  • Cognitive Reframing (handling an experience)
  • Hypnosis (hypnotherapy)
  • Journaling (diary, autobiography, literary)
  • Massage, sauna
  • Yoga, Tai-chi
  • Walk in the park.

When you feel down remember your favorite things. Your hobbies. Personal collections. Have you forgotten them? Birthdays, anniversaries, homecoming, fiestas - they buoy that sagging spirit. Come on, get out of bed or that lounging chair.

Take a break. Spend the weekend well, take a rest - a vacation. Follow Nature's trail, camp with the family away from the city, from your workplace. Make a kite and fly it too. Cast your fishing rod. Even with a small catch, you shall have caught the biggest fish - good heath, happy family, bright outlook in life.

Part 3: Ensure your family with allergy-free foods

Dr Abe V Rotor

Are you sure your favorite foods have no allergic effect to you and your family? When going to market and cooking, review your list of allergy-free diet. Always keep an eye on allergy symptoms.
  1. Remove allergy-provoking items from the food cabinet.
  2. Carry a list of allergy-provoking items when shopping or eating outside.
  3. Remember the most allergenic of all food items is milk, so with its many products like cheese.
  4. The most allergenic food plant is peanut. Peanut may also carry aflatoxin produced by a fungus that grows on damaged and poorly dried peanut.
  5. Avoid foods loaded with preservatives (salitre in tocino, benzoic acid, glacial acetic acid)
  6. There are seafoods some members of your family may be sensitive, among them are tahong (green mussels), crustaceans, tulingan and tanggigi fish.
  7. Decaffeinated coffee, magic sugar (aspartame), fatless fat (Olestra) are known to trigger allergy and asthma. Bromate in wheat flour and sulfite in white sugar are also culprits.
  8. Limit intake of fatty acids, saturated fats, and the like.
  9. Reduce if not avoid alcoholic drinks. Limit your coffee, tea and chocolate. beverages.
  10. Poultry meat and eggs may trigger allergy in some people, so with other meat.
  11. Raw honey carries pollen. It's the pollen that triggers allergy and asthma. Too much sugar should also be avoided.
  12. These are generally allergy-fighting foods: fruits and vegetables, Magnesium-rich foods (spinach, cashew, beans), Zinc-rich food (oysters, lentils, legumes, yoghurt)
  13. Use vegetable oil instead of animal fat. Coconut oil is one of the safest vegetable oils.
  14. Avoid commercial food seasoning. It's better to use natural spices like ginger, onions, garlic, black pepper and the like.
  15. Foods from algae (Spirulina, Chlorella, Porphyra) are generally safe, but not foods from fungi (mushroom, Ganoderma, tainga ng daga or Auricularia)

Your lifestyle influences allergy and asthma. For example dehydration triggers allergy and asthma. So with extreme hunger. Sudden exposure to heat and cold is bad. Don't stay under the sun too long. Talk with your family doctor about allergy and asthma. Have a regular medical checkup.