Thursday, September 29, 2011

Environment: Live naturally. Too much Hygiene does more harm than good.

                                                                    Children of Nature, photo by AVR

Dr Abe V Rotor

The Hygiene Hypothesis endorses cleanliness and sanitation as a way to healthy living. The prescription of some doctors includes avoidance of certain food and environmental allergens.

Recent studies question the validity of Hygiene Hypothesis. By cleaning our children constantly, discouraging them from getting dirty, pumping them full of antibiotics every time they get sick, using anti-bacterial soaps, and the like - we are not encouraging their immune systems to develop fully. The Westernized lifestyle makes them more susceptible to allergic conditions.

Children raised on farms around animals have lower levels of allergy and asthma than their urban counterparts - those unexposed to pets, confined in day care centers, and spotless homes.

To what extent does nature provide immunity? Fortunately as children grow to maturity, particularly so under natural environment, they acquire the defense the body systems need against a host of health problems from allergy to physiologic and pathological diseases, albeit adaptation to emotional and psychological stress.
• Ever wonder what it means to enjoy childhood outside of the confines of air conditioned room?
• Many children look forward to the first rain in May.
• Boy scouts and girl scouts look forward to the next jamboree.
• Athletes participate - and are not merely spectators - in field games.
• Develop those muscles while you are young.
• Grow tall naturally, not by taking growth hormones.
• Shake off those lazy bones. Keep your blood pressure and pulse rate normal and steady the natural way.
• Walk. Run. Meet sunrise. Stay and watch the sun set. Be active physically. Have outdoor hobbies.
• Go and live with Nature. She is the best doctor, teacher and friend.~

A note of simple expression of thanks and gratitude to all followers, participants and viewers of Living with Nature - School on Blog and Naturalism – the Eighth Sense

Your contribution has greatly helped us expand in the number and variety of lessons and coverage. This is very encouraging as we are about to begin our fourth year with hundreds of pageviews daily from different parts of the world. We have now a running total of more than 2,500 combined posts or lessons, with a number of them  regularly updated and edited for added information and easier access.

 The lessons are also linked with radio and outreach programs, and with the academe. We invite you to help in enhancing a greater multiplier effect. You may wish to contribute by any means, from disseminating the lessons in your area yourselves, or by donating to our current extension work and radio broadcast (school-on-air) through Philippine National Bank Dollar Account No. 372756300038, or 372756300020 (peso account).

 Living with Nature-School on Blog and Naturalism – the Eighth Sense is purely a voluntary effort, non-profit and humanitarian movement, to bring functional literacy to millions who lack access to formal education, and to augment formal learning and experiential knowledge. Such a humble cause is in the spirit of modern technology, which in spite of its tremendous progress, and billions of dollars it has generated, there are millions and millions of people out there who have yet to rise above their present condition. But environment must not pay for progress. 

This is the commitment of his blog, with the unselfish and untiring support of Google and its network. I share, insignificant as it may, the global thrust of Google and company.  I believe in the cause of reaching out for the grassroots, the conservation of the environment, without condition of honor or material gain. It takes great effort to the point of sacrifice to make this blog independent from partisanship of any kind in order to maintain its integrity and objectivity as a avenue of learning. - Dr Abercio V Rotor

Traditional Healing 2: Poultice made of moss heals wound, relieves pain.

Dr Abe V Rotor

An herbolario treats a minor wound with a common moss. Is there a scientific basis?

A carpet of moss, painting in acrylic, AVR 2009

Closeup of moss gametophytic phase

This is a common practice in the highlands where moss is plentiful and luxuriantly growing. Fresh moss is crashed into a pulp and directly applied on a fresh or infected wound, loosely wrapping it around.

Lourdes V. Alvarez in her masteral thesis at the UST Graduate School demonstrated the effectiveness of moss (Pogonatum neesi) against Staphylococcus bacteria, the most common cause of infection. Moss extract contains flavonoids, steroids, terpenes and phenols, found to be responsible for the antibiotic properties of this lowly, ancient bryophyte. ~

Reference: Living with Folk Wisdom, AV Rotor 2009

Traditional Healing 5: Oregano - best remedy for cough

 Oregano - best remedy for cough
Dr Abe V Rotor

Oregano for sore throat and cough. One or

two leaves taken fresh with juice drink. 

Oregano (Coleus amboinicus) is a popular herbal plant. It is effective in easing cough and sore throat. You chew the young leaf of the oregano while taking the juice, or blanch it, then extract the juice while adding sugar and warm water. It has no side effects.

What a relief! No wonder the plant’s name comes from the Greek words Ore/Oros,, which means mountain, and ganos, which is joy. Joy in the mountain.

The plant is also an insect repellant. It emits an odor which prevents the spread of mosquitoes, flies, fleas and roaches. Its presence in the garden wards off a lot of pest.

Try oregano as spice for dinuguan. This is the secret of Italian cuisine in cooking pork with blood.

Plant oregano in pots by cutting, or the whole shoot or branch. It's very easy to grow. It can grow in the shade or under direct sunlight, with moderate amount of water. During rainy months keep the potted plants away from too much rain water. Oregano grows best in summer, but don't forget to water it regularly. A full grown oregano can be made into cuttings which you can grow in individual plastic pots to supply the neighborhood - for sale or as gift. It takes a cutting to reach full growth in two to three weeks. ~

Warning: Oregano extract is not advisable for pest control, either as spray or sprinkle solution. It has allelophatic substance, which means it is phytotoxic to certain plants, causing stunting or death. Never plant oregano side by side with your favorite garden plants like rose, mayana, anthurium and ground orchid.

Traditional Healing 6: To stop hiccup, jolt the person.

Dr Abe V Rotor

Gulat ang gamut sa sinok.

Now and then anyone may fall into a pit of hiccup for reasons not well understood even in the medical field. But as sudden and unpredictable that it came, just by jolting the person is enough to terminate his hiccup.

This is what you can do to help your friend in a pit. The first remedy is to give him water. If this does not work, gently massage the back of his head. If still this does not work, secretly time the interval of his hiccup. Jolt him up real good coinciding with the next hiccup. Pronto! The hiccup is gone.

Warning: Don't do this if the person has food or water in his mouth. Baka mabulunan. He might choke, instead. The poor fellow may misunderstand you, and this could lead to a fight. Or tampuan that ends in cold relationship. If the fellow is wearing dentures, he might lose them in the process. Or something worst can happen. ~

x x x

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Traditional Healing 8: When your tooth aches, press the joint of your jaw.

Dr Abe V Rotor

My friend who grew up in the city complained. “My tooth aches.” It was lunchtime. Sayang. We were going to have lunch, picnic style beside a farm pond we call alug.

Sumasakit din ang aking ngipin,” I said, … “na hindi ko matikman lahat nito,” I said, my tooth is also aching for not tasting all these, savoring the aroma of pinakbet (famous Ilocano vegetble stew), inihaw na talapia (broiled tilapia on charcoal). And "jumping salad". (Live juvenile shrimp, with calamansi and salt.) It’s like the proverbial Bacchus feast Philippine barrio style.

Hindi ako nagbibiro,” He said. "May butas, eh." (tooth cavity)

“Okay press the base of your jaw, like this. ” I demonstrated how. Open your mouth and feel the attachment of the jaw, it’s the hollow part. Press it long enough until the pain subsides. He did it and held it there.

“Okay ka na?”

Masakit pa rin.”

Saan nga ba ang sumasakit?Para akong dentista. (Where does it hurt? I was acting like a dentist.)

Doktor, nga si Dr. Rotor,” I heard kindly Lola Bistra and someone seconded. Other giggled.

Dito sa left.” My friend opened his jaw.

Mali ang pinipisil mo, eh. Dapat sa kanan na jaw, ang tapat ng sumasakit na ngipin."
He pressed the wrong side of his aching tooth!

Well, he got relived finally. He was the last at the table - papag, made of bamboo which serves as a portable bed, too.

Masakit pa ba? I complimented sort of. (Is it still painful?)

Kunti a lang. Kasi kunti na lang ang itinira ninyo. (Little, he said, jokingly referring to the food we left after we had our fill.) ~

In this particular case traditional medicine shows these features:
  • Healing between friends is assuring
  • Palliative is brief relief
  • "Humor is the best medicine."
  • Don't spoil the fun.

Biology: Part 1 - Exobiology - Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Dr Abe V Rotor

Life forms crowd the inside walls of Mudspring, a volcanic vent of Mt Makiling, Laguna.

How did life originate on Earth? What did the earliest primitive organisms look like? Were they based on RNA, DNA, or on something we would hardly recognize today? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe?

The branch of biology that deals with the search for extraterrestrial life and the effects of extraterrestrial surroundings on living organisms. Also called
astrobiology, space biology.

Evidence of life in Martian meteorites or future rock samples from the Red Planet may be easier to identify thanks to microbes living in hot springs at Yellowstone National Park.

Dozens of structures on Saturn's moon Titan that appear to be collapsed slush volcanoes have been revealed by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The heat and chemicals associated with these possible volcanoes could provide a niche for life on the frigid moon.

Figuring out whether Titan is volcanically active is important because volcanoes could be a source of the methane found in relatively large amounts in the moon's atmosphere. The methane is constantly being broken down by sunlight, so it must be replenished somehow.

In a flyby of the moon on 22 July 2008, radar observations revealed dozens of rounded depressions that look like volcanic structures on Earth called calderas. These depressions form on Earth when the ground collapses after lava has drained out from under it in volcanic eruptions.

A Filipina, Dr Donna Lacap, PhD, is among the few exobiologists in the world. She is studying the extreme conditions of life that exist in the craters of volcanoes, including our own Taal and Mayon. Dr. Lacap is a graduate from St Paul University QC, then St Paul College, for her BS Biology, for which I had the chance to be her teacher in biological sciences. She pursued her graduate studies and post doctoral abroad, among them The University of Hong Kong. x x x

Biology: Part 3 - Quest for the Pierian Spring

Dr Abe V Rotor

We often hear and gladly agree that life begins at 40. After all we would like to live life all over again and make up for our shortcomings, catch up with our unfulfilled dreams, look beyond adventure, gather fragments of memories and wisdom, and settle on some comfortable patch of green, before we go deep into it.

But the Ulysses in us does not sleep. We have not stopped searching for the fountain of youth. And we have not learned from Sybil, the Greek prophetess, symbol of prodigious old age. One day a young man asked her, “And what wish do you have this time, Sybil?” Looking at herself wrinkled and spent, she sadly replied, “I only wish to die.”

Will we live a hundred-and-five? Well, the number of American age 100 or older could reach 850,000 by 2050, according to Time, and our descendants could live to be 200 years old. The life expectancy in the US rose from 47 in 1900 to more than 79 in 1999. What really is the secret of old age?

Who does not dream of Utopia? Somewhere out there in an island in the Pacific (Remember South Pacific?), or in Shangrila on the Himalayas (The Lost Horizon) lies that dreamland. And who would like to live in Tokyo, or New York or Manila, if he can help it? But hear this.

The life span of a Japanese in busy Tokyo is 78, while a native of an idle South Pacific island is only 55. If this is so then it is not how much we rest our bodies and minds that we are assured of long life. What then is rest or retirement? Didn’t Dr. Hans Selye, the authority on longevity relate long life is achieved with positive disposition and less tension?

There are a number of tests to determine how long a person is expected to live. These are considerations which are of vital importance in knowing a person’s life span. Compute on the basis of a life span of 65 years.

A. The PLUS factors

1. With regular exercise – plus 3 to 5 years
2. Positive and active life, loves work - plus 3 to 5 years
3. Happily married with manageable family size – plus 3 to 5 years
4. With history of long life – plus 3 to 5 years
5. Clean living – plus 3 to 5 years
6. Food and weight conscious, with regular checkup – plus 3 to 5 years

B. The MINUS factors

1. Chain smoker – minus 5 to 10 years
2. Unmarried in middle age – minus 2 to 3 years
3. With family history of major ailments (eg heart attack,
cancer, diabetes) – minus 3 to 5 years
4. Risky profession – minus 3 years
5. Indulgence in vices (drinking, gambling, etc) – minus 2 to 5 years
6. Obese, inactive life – minus 3 to 5 years

But why should we be preoccupied with how long we are going to live?

Seneca, one of the greatest Roman philosophers, once said, “Men do not care how nobly they live, but how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man’s power to live long.”
The longest unambiguously documented human lifespan is that of Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), who died at age 122 years, 164 days. She met Vincent van Gogh at age 12 or 13.
The oldest undisputed lifespan for a male supercentenarian is that of Christian Mortensen, who lived for 115 years and 252 days. (Wikipedia)

The Myth of Rip van Winkle

Dr Abe V Rotor

Aestivating Philippine crocodile in a local zoo.

Cicada or kuliglig spends its whole year existence
in the soil in its immature stage, then emerges
at the onset of the rainy season.
There are however,
species of cicada that emerge after 17 long years.

The story of Rip van Winkle, the man who slept for twenty long years, may be better remembered for its sociological, rather than its biological significance. Rip found solace on some mountaintop and there he fell into deep slumber. When he woke up he was a very old man. The way Washington Irving, the author described him must be true. Of course, it is only fiction, but it raises the question, “Do we really preserve youthfulness in sleep?” What really happens in prolonged sleep?

We know that life processes slow down when we are asleep, and in the process our body gets the needed rest. When we wake up we feel recharged. Surely sleeping is still the best way to be fit and healthy - and young, too.

But his is not the case of Rip van Winkle, or that of Sleeping Beauty, the beautiful maid who remained asleep until “a prince came and woke her with a kiss.” These cases point out to the similarity of prolonged sleeping with coma. The body operates at low metabolism, but gets no replenishment. After the reserve fat is exhausted, the only source of energy are the muscles and other connective tissues. It is no wonder a bear emerges from hibernation weak and hungry.

The Virus that Sleeps for 20 Years

One of the wonders of biology is the virus. The tobacco mosaic virus, Marmor tabaci, for one, can remain dormant for as long as twenty years even if the tobacco leaves are subjected to flue-curing and re-drying. The virus remains in the cigar or cigarette, so that a smoker can transmit it unknowingly to a living tobacco plant by mere contact. Unlike obligate parasites which can not survive outside of their hosts, the virus may remain as an infective particle after its host is dead or gone.

The virus wakes up once it is inside a living host. By dictating the host, the latter multiplies the virus. Now in countless numbers, the virus spreads throughout the plant. The infected plant, in turn, infects nearby plants and threatens to spread throughout the whole field. Like other viruses that infect animals or other plants, tobacco mosaic virus may cause an epidemic. The seriousness of the disease in the farming community can only be imagined since it is capable of infecting other crops that include those belonging to the same family, Solanaceae, to which tomato, pepper, eggplant and Irish potato are members.

Is the virus then, a living thing? Scientists look at it differently from true living things because it lacks the vital processes of life. It is not recognized to belong to any of the sub-kingdoms of the biological world. As a chemical particle however, it is endowed with the same universal property of living things, Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid or DNA. It is this code of life that it uses as a tool in communicating with a host cell once it has gained entry. The host cell then decodes the virus’ DNA messages. Thus it is the host that actually duplicates the virus because the latter can not reproduce by itself alone.

Aestivating toad (Bufo marinus) matches perfectly with its surroundings

The Physiology of Hibernation

To hibernate is to pass winter in a suspended, dormant, or torpid condition. In this state of lethargy, organisms have a better change to survive cold and food shortage. During hibernation metabolic activity is greatly reduced and body temperature is lowered. A hibernating mammal spends most of the winter in a state close to death; in fact the animal may appear to be dead. Some have body temperature close to that of freezing; respiration is brought down to only a few breaths per minute; and the heartbeat is so slow and gradual as to be barely perceptible. Among mammals, true hibernators are found in the Orders of Chiroptera (bats), Insectivora (hedgehogs), and Rodentia (ground squirrels). There are mammal hibernator that do not only rely on reserve body fat. At intervals of several weeks the animal elevates its body temperature, awakens, moves about, feeds, and then returns to its state of torpor.

Cold-blooded animals hibernate, too. The largest is the North American Alligator which hibernates very much like frogs. Frogs burrow in mud and exists for months in their sun baked chambers.


Aestivation is the counterpart of hibernation in the tropics, or where high temperature and dryness characterize the environment. The physiology involved is also the reduction of metabolic rate while the organism is protected from the harsh environment. Aestivation also applies to plants and animals, and also among protists. These are examples of animals that are known to aestivate.

1. Crocodiles dig into the mud and remain there virtually lifeless.

2. South American alligators bury themselves in mud while the earth above them is baked into a hard crust.

3. Certain Australian frogs become distended with water during the wet season and use this stored water during the aestivating period.

4. Small mammals like the aardvark and some lemurs are not known to aestivate but undergo periods of quiescence.

5. The Australian snails plug the mouth of their shell with a morsel of clay before entering upon the period of aestivation. Land snails secrete several diaphragms across the opening of their shells which protect them from desiccation and enemies.

6. The African snail (Helix desertorum) and the California desert snail (Helix veatchii) may remain in aestivation for as long as five and six years, respectively.

7. Slugs bury themselves in the ground in the season and emerge on the arrival of rain.

8. Bivalve mollusks dig into the mud, thus they can survive in pools and patches of water.

9. Nymphs of dragonfly which are normally aquatic may be forced to aestivate on dry land.

10. Opposite to aestivation the Egyptian jerboa is so closely adapted to dry conditions of the desert that rain and damp atmosphere induce it to pass into a dormant condition.

Bivalves remain dormant encrusted in mud.

Unique characteristics of organisms that under dormancy

For both cases of hibernation and aestivation, these are the general conditions that scientists have observed among organisms that are undergoing either state.

1. Organisms in dormancy, especially large animals, fast during the period.

2. There is a certain stage or stages a certain organisms can remain dormant.

3. There is a reduction in metabolic rate. Heartbeat slows down. There is a reduction in body temperature among warm-blooded animals.

4. Reserve food is used during dormancy. As a general rule, cold-blooded animals have more food reserve and that they use it more economically than do warm-blooded animals.

5. Survival time without food is usually greater among cold-blooded than among warm-blooded animals, since the former do not “burn fuel” in order to maintain a high body temperature.

Environment: Preserve the environment by leaving Nature alone

Reflection by a lake atop Mt.Pulog mural, St. Paul U, QC

Dr Abe V Rotor

I met an old man living by a lake atop Mt Pulog in Benguet, living like Henry David Thoreau, the great American philosopher who left town to live alone by the Walden Pond in a nearby forest. Sitting by a small mountain lake with him, I asked, “What is the best way to preserve nature?”

His answer was unexpected.“Leave Nature alone.”

I expected a different answer because I thought man is the guardian and custodian of living things – and all creation for that matter. Apparently, man has not succeeded.

“Before, the enemy of man was Nature;
Today the enemy of Nature is man.”

Direct assault of man on nature has been without respite throughout the ages –
from hunting-gathering, to agriculture, and ultimately to today’s accelerating

“Good bye,” said the fox to the Little Prince, “And here is my secret.”

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery’, The Little Prince)

Life is Beautiful. Let’s make it truly one. It is the best offering we can give to our Creator. ~

ComArt - Extension - Catalyst for Rural Development

Assignment in Communication and Change (CA217)
Dr Abe V Rotor

Differentiate Education from Extension. How does media support extension today? Think of an extension program most relevant to your course. Specify and describe. Use short bond in your own handwriting. For 3CA3 and 5CA3 sections.

STOU professor on live television lecture.

Nationwide radio and television centralized control panel, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University campus, Thailand. There are more than 250,000 students enrolled in this university without walls. Another Thai open university has one-half million students. Lower photo: Printed extension materials.

Interview: Dr Abe Rotor and Professor Suchin Phongsak

Your program:
If it is of high quality, people will respect you.
If it is relevant, people will need you.
If it is measurable, people will trust you.
If it is innovative, people will follow you.

National Food and Agriculture Council, prime mover of the Philippine's food self-sufficiency program, 1971. In less than ten years the country became a net exporter of rice and other food commodities.

It is a great honor and pleasure to share with you my views and experiences on the concerns of extension in grassroots education and technology transfer. I will concentrate on agriculture since this is the universal thrust of extension. Besides, agriculture is the base of our economy and eighty percent of our population directly or indirectly depends on it. The following are the most important concerns of extension in the Philippines:

1. There is a wide gap between available technology and the level or degree of field application.

This gap is traced to limited resources and opportunities as well as attitudinal problems. The actual farm yield is only 40 percent of the potential yield, and 25 to 30 percent of experiment station yield.

It means therefore that the problem lies not on the lack of technology but on the poor use of technology at the farmers' fields. Based on economic farm yield, our annual production of palay will increase from the present figure of 9 million MT to 14 million MT. We would then become a consistent net exporter of rice like Thailand, the world's top rice exporter today. The aim of extension in this case is the effective and prompt transfer of the technology that narrows down the yield gap.

2. Adoption of technology on the farm should be tied closely with agricultural business.

In a dialogue on the present rice problem conducted by the Senate's committee on science and technology, the Philippine Rice Research Institute or PHILRICE testified that rice production in experimental fields has leveled up to 5 MT/ha while farmers are getting yields of only 3 MT/ ha or below.

It is favorable market conditions that stimulate production and enhance the plowing back of income to pay for the technology and hired labor in farming. Farming should be therefore an enterprise rather than a mere means of livelihood. Most farms in the country are run by subsistent families. Extension should be able to design a balanced program that has the integrated technology and agribusiness components.

3. Appropriate technology in developing countries is more of innovation than modernization.

Technology builds up an existing practice. We take the case of "payatak" rice farming in Samar, a very traditional practice, almost zero tillage. Here, the field is trampled by carabaos, planted with old rice seedlings, then left entirely to nature. The yield obtained is very low but there are certain favorable aspects of this practice.

• The family food needs are supplemented by carabao milk and curds, fish, frog and snails. These edible species live naturally on the wetland and survive the short summer in the carabao wallows.
• Ecology balance is contributed largely by minimal disturbance of biological and physical conditions of the farm.
• Farm by-products and wastes, such as hay and manure, are put to use.
• Labor is maximized, provided by members the family and immediate community.

Extension should be able to first identify these good points and preserve them. The introduced technology should look at both increased production and these above benefits as its objectives.

4. Technology should be recognized in the context of both research and enterprise systems developed through intermediate stages.

The research system bridges the laboratory and experimental field, whereas the enterprise system bridges the farm and the market. Both systems are linked by partnership and collaboration among scientists, engineers, agriculturists, farmers, etc. The idea is to provide channels and a network through which the product of research becomes ultimately useful by the consuming public.

Extension should likewise be aware that modern technology is intensive, and too often, expensive.

(1) infrastructures later turn out as "white elephants;"
(2) research is sophisticated requiring expensive facilities, consultants and staff;
(3) on mechanization, combines get stuck in rice paddies; grains cake or germinate in silos and bins;
(4) hired labor disputes results in strikes and court cases; and
(5) big investments/capital end up eating operational funds putting the project to a stop.

The once ultra modern Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI) attests to the fact that progress is not synonymous to modern technology. FTI is not an isolated case of non-performing assets of the government worth billions of pesos.

Extension should be aware of the necessity to undertake a careful and accurate assessment of situations and projections, and put behind seemingly beautiful package deals offered by other countries, including grants and donations.

Extension should be instrumental in pilot or module testing before embarking into full adoption of modern technology.

5. Productivity of shrinking farms can be increased through crop and product diversification.

Land reform broke up large estates, including sugarlands and coconut lands. Subdivision of these properties resulted in uneconomic farm sizes. There are approaches to increase productivity, such as multiple cropping, agro-processing and integration of related projects. There are diversification model for coconut lands.

The ordinary coconut farmer can indulge in the following activities, namely
(a) copra making,
(b) inter-cropping with cash crops such as grains and legumes, and
(c) animal production (goat, carabao and cattle raised between coconut trees).

To accomplish all this, extension will have to bring in the services of government agencies as well as those of the private sector. Farmers will be organized into cooperatives as a pre-condition of collective production and marketing.

Hypothetically, integration is of two kinds, horizontal and vertical, and the combination of both. This HV integration model applies in areas where the principal crop is rice, corn or sugarcane. It can also apply in non-traditional areas. Extension should be able to accomplish farm plans and programs based on integration concepts and models. But it is advisable that successful projects be used as models.

6. Holistic development considers the major division of the geographic profile and recognizes their ecological interrelationship.

Twentieth century agriculture started with the opening of frontiers of production; pushing development towards marginal areas - uplands, hillsides, swamps and sea coasts. This movement was followed by the manipulation of nature on the species level, creating desirable varieties of plants and breeds of animals at the same time improving their agronomy and husbandry. Recently, agriculture has started producing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) - plants and animals - through what we term today as genetic engineering.

Today, with our high population rate of 2.8 percent, which is one of the highest in the world, marginal settlements have mushroomed in coastal areas, hillsides and suburbs of urban centers.
Extension should help identify the sectoral and ecological divisions of the geographic profile of these areas, and design programs based on their peculiar physical and biological characteristics, and on their effects to the whole system.

We are witnessing many cases where destructive upland and hillside farming has led to erosion, which in turn, caused siltation and decreased water supply. Decreased river flow and sinking water table result in salt water intrusion through backflow and seepage destroying farm lands as a consequence. Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan and the Ilocos provinces have reported cases of salination. We are also aware that reduced vegetative cover leads to changes in the micro-climate which in turn affect adversely the whole ecosystem.

Perhaps we can reduce the size of the profile under study into a model of a dam site. It maybe as small as a village catchment to a huge power and irrigation project. The model described in this example is found in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, a water catchment for irrigation. The project consists of a watershed (forest and woodland) with an area of 200 hectares, a catchment which can hold water to irrigate effectively 50 hectares and generate electricity for one sitio. Freshwater fish is raised as part of the project's income. The main source of income is the irrigation fee. China, Japan and many European countries have advanced technology in water catchment that no drop of precious water is lost, so to speak.

Area development maybe initiated by nucleus projects. Later, if these projects become successful, similar or related projects can be put up, or the original projects expanded. Consolidation of developed areas leads to integrated area development, a process that is community-led or government assisted, or both.

Many development programs start with a grand design and heavy infrastructure. A foreign-funded project in Samar is infrastructure-oriented, and not directed to the alleviation of the plight of the masses. The 8-inch thick road built from a multi-million dollars grant could have been in the form of village bodegas, school houses, informal education of farmers and fishermen, initial capital for small business, cooperative development, and such programs addressed to meet the felt needs of the poor community.

7. The success of extension depends on linkage network and complementation with all sectors of society.

The extension agent is at the center of many activities. He provides information about the market. He translates researches into primers and takes a hand in their field application, identifies sources of input and credit, and helps make them available. He is a technician, teacher, consultant, community worker, and above all, a catalyst.

Extension works on a cycle of activities, namely, (1) information, (2) determining needs and problems, (3) setting objectives, (4) program preparation, (5) making the work plan, (6) coordination, and (7) evaluation.

8. It is important to first knock down the false notions as well as fallacies of development before developing an extension program.

Among these are the following:

(1.) The felt needs of the poor revolve mainly on their survival motives and therefore non-material and aesthetic values are non¬essential to them. This is not true. People deprived of material things equally seek approval, security, affection, self-esteem, recognition, and even power. The hierarchy of needs by Wilgard, adopted from Maslow is based on the priority principle and not on the principle of exclusion if one has not attained the motives of the lower level.

(2.) One root cause of low productivity is the lazy nature of people. Indolence, according to Jose Rizal is traced to a natural cause wherein the metabolic rate is slowed down by extreme weather conditions (heat and high humidity), while leisure is commonplace because of the endowed environment. We pointed out that colonialism and feudalism dampen the spirit to work and aim high. Today neo-colonialism and neo-feudalism still exist in our society. One other reason for low productivity is the prevalence of malnutrition and diseases which reduce body resistance and drive.

(3.) Foreign investment in the country stimulates economic growth. In certain ways this is true. The question arises when we equate the gains between the foreign investor and the host country which provides labor that is paid cheap and prime land not compensated well enough. Other issues that do not favor equitable distribution of profits can be explained by the poor implementation of our policies and laws which sometimes result in the manipulation of profits favoring the foreign investors. This is not to mention the exploitative nature of joint ventures under the guise of natural agreements.

(4.) A progressive rural society naturally depends upon a strong agricultural economy which in turn is dependent on people who provide the much needed labor in the agricultural frontiers. But the frontiers have long been shrunk and vastly exploited, and the farms now reduced in size. Even intensive farming cannot absorb rural labor. That is why there is an exodus to urban areas. Today more than half of our population lives in cities and big towns. With 1.6 million new Filipinos added to our 90 million population, the hypothetical population structure looks like a squat or broad-based pyramid where the young people mainly infants and children are at the base. These are highly dependent upon a narrow stratum of working population. The average Filipino today is an early teener. Such population structure and the attendant demography of a young population do not lend a healthy picture to our economic recovery unless drastic measures are adopted to arrest our runaway population growth.

(5.) The majority of people are concerned with matters that affect themselves, their family and close friends over a short period of time. Long term objectives are not very common to the ordinary person. It is true that marginal communities do not plan much ahead. Affluence, on the other hand, propels people to plan for the future and the next generation. It enlarges the people's concern for other people and for larger community, and creates national and international consciousness.

(6) Stimuli to growth are distinct from the factors that limit it. In his book The Limits to Growth, Dr. Meadows explains that the very stimuli to growth could negate growth itself. Population can strip the economy of ecosystems. Industry spews wastes that destroy the environment. Exploitation of natural resources may lead to irreversible decline.


Our Philippine society is not an isolated case. All nations, including the developed ones, suffer in varying degrees the same age-old problems of poverty, degradation of the environment, unemployment, inflation, malnutrition, disease, alienation of the youth, the decline of people's trust in the institutions, and the rejection of traditional values. The endless search for their solutions is also man's unending dream. We draw much hope in extension, for extension is applied teaching, a means of transforming people beliefs, ideas, and above all, infusing the faith that they can help themselves.~

Author and wife, pose with Vietnamese alumni, HoChiMinh University of Technology, Vietnam. HCMUT focuses on technology dissemination on the grassroots.

New buildings have been built after liberation and reunification on the university's sprawling campus half an hour drive from the heart of the city - Ho Chi Minh, formerly Saigon. HCMUT is the country's primier center of technology extension using multi-media.

HCMUT publishes manuals and extension bulletins in the varied fields of development in post-war Vietnam.

Presented to the UST Graduate School during a faculty development seminar on the Social Commitment of Education; reference paper HoChiMinh University of Technology Vietnam 2006, and Sokhothai Thammathirat Open University, Bangkok, 2010

A note of simple expression of thanks and gratitude to all followers, participants and viewers of Living with Nature - School on Blog. Your contribution has greatly helped us expand in the number and variety of lessons and coverage. This is very encouraging as we are about to begin our fourth year with hundreds of pageviews daily from different parts of the world. We have now more than 2,000 posts, with a number of lessons regularly updated and edited for added information and easier access. The lessons are also linked with radio and outreach programs. We invite you to help in enhancing a greater multiplier effect. You may wish to contribute by any means, from disseminating the lessons in your area yourselves, or by donating to our current extension work and radio broadcast (school-on-air) through Philippine National Bank dollar account No. 372756300038 or 372756300020 (peso account). Living with Nature-School on Blog is purely a voluntary effort to bring functional literacy to millions who lack access to formal education, and to augment formal learning as well as experiential knowledge. - Dr Abercio V Rotor

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ComArt: Teaching: Review # 6 Communication and Socio-cultural Change (True or False, 50 items)

ComArt - Ideas that are Changing Our World: Review #1 - Communication and Socio-cultural Change

1. Ideas Changing the World
(3CA3 and 5CA3) True or False
By Dr. Abe V. Rotor

1. Take the back seat cinema, the so-called movies; save your money and ego. Homegrown producers are in the making in all countries today. In fact Bollywood India makes more than all movies made by Hollywood.

2. And gargantuan corporations that have dominated such small items like Colgate, Gillette,Palmolive, or cartelized coffee, cocoa, shoes, cars, and the like – beware of the changing wind of change, and the triumph of Small is Beautiful.

3. And to universities and schools - put up more and larger campuses, multistory-buildings for classrooms and dormitories to accommodate more and more students as population continues to soar and as knowledge explodes.

4. History tells us time and again that ideas merely influence our thinking as humans, but never will they run the world and keep it spinning; it is money, politics and religion that run our world.

5. The defining challenge of the 21st century will be to face the reality that humanity shares a common fate on a crowded planet. Nationalism, while it remains as the motivating factor in nationhood, must expand into the realm of regional and international cooperation.

6. Customer service, welcome. "Welcome sir, thank you madam." More call centers, more HRM waiters and actresses, bank tellers, nurses. Personalized service is part of red carpet treatment.

7. The key to sustainable development is to make the right choices in our public investments and to find ways to harness and channel, market forces. That is, if we are talking of sustainable development for the whole world – for we cannot enjoy sustainable development while the rest of the world declines.

8. National interests aren’t what they used to be. Our survival requires global solutions. Thus a Filipino works in NASA, China makes goods for the US, Germany supplies airplanes in Saudi, oil tankers serve any country irrespective of ideology or distance or political stability as long as the price is right. This is globalization.

9. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol mandates emission cuts by all countries, particularly the industrialized countries. Two countries did not sign the agreement and they remain indifferent until today – US and Australia

10. In 1999 human population reached 6 billion, and was projected to double in 50 years. But by 2050 stabilization of world population shall then be attained at 8 billion, believed to be manageable under a sustainable development system.

11. In 2000, the UN Millennium Development Goals addressed poverty and education as top agenda. In 2002 ,Health Aid Global Fund was established to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In 2003, UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan called for Green Revolution in Africa.

12. The end of poverty is seen in 2020. Income of all the world’s poorest can be increased comfortably above 1$ per day.

13. In 2030, Fuel Economy programs will produce plug-in hybrids and new technologies will make cars run 42 km/li . By 2040, Zero Emission programs will succeed in halting climate change through renewable energy and other steps.

14. The End of Customer Services. With self-serve technology, you’ll never have to see a clerk again. It started in 1902, Automat in Philadelphia – a German idea. In 1916, the super market Piggy Wiggly, was first self-serve grocery store, Memphis.

15. The key to the tremendous growth of economy is the discovery of huge oil deposit in ones country such as Saudi Arabia, Holland (North Sea), Yemen, and Russia. Thus our dream of perking up our economy is to tap oil off Palawan.

16. Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991 cooled the world, emitting ash and sulfur that lowered the atmosphere’s temperature – so that the newest field in combating global warming is to induce the eruption of other volcanoes.

17. Aging gracefully means not only extending the years of our life but our productivity as well, thus creating a new work ethic, and slowing down the pace of economy to one the face of growth, among others.

18. Some 5 billion people in 120 countries will live to 60 years old and over. This is not far from now.

19. In 1947 – self-serve pumped gas started in California service stations by George Urich. In 1967, Teller Goodbye. Barclays bank opened the world's first ATM at London Branch. In 1995, Flying Solo Alaska - airplane ticket can be obtained over the internet for the first time

20. The Post-Movie-Star Era is still around. Get ready for more films in which the leading man is not “he” but “who?”

21. The role of women in Bangladesh in micro enterprises contributed immensely to economic growth. For this the Nobel prize award went to Mohammad Yunus, the founder and head of Grameen Bank.

22. In 1970, Stars faded. All-star vehicles give way to non-star fantasies like Star Wars, ET Jurassic Park. 2000s Lights out. Old style stars rise falling into the black hole of no-name epics and stories.

23. Reverse Radicalism to terrorism? No way. Start talking to terrorists who stop themselves instead. Prisoners incarcerated for Jihad crimes in Indonesia have been persuaded to cooperate with police, many of them have been released after serving time. This is different from the way the US treats terrorism.

24. Ramon Magsaysay, then defense secretary dismantled the Hukbalahap Movement through persuasion and integrated the members into the stream of society. Rebel returnees program of the Philippines is an alternative solution to today's terrorism.

25. About Kitchen Chemistry - the squishy art of cooking is giving way to cold, hard science - molecular gastronomy, which assures us not only better tasting food but healthier and more nutritious.

ANSWERS: All true, except 3, 4, 6, 12, 15, 20 and 25. Based on
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid lessons

Environment: A self-administered test on Energy

 A single flash of lightning generates power sufficient to provide the power needs of a city for days, but we have yet to tame this natural element and store its power for our use. 

 Energy - Self-Administered Test on Energy (True or False, 50 items)
Dr. Abe V. Rotor and Ms. Melly Tenorio
Lessons on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid DZRB 738 AM,
8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday

1. You need less energy to boil water on the lowland (sea level) than on the highland (mountaintop)

2. When water boils at sea level, and you want to increase the temperature, all you need to do is burn more fuel, and even prolong it.

3. The temperature of boiling water inside a pressure cooker can be raised higher than 100ºC.

4. It is cooler on the mountain top than on the lowland, because the air is thinner.

5. One-half of the fossil fuels we use for heating, electricity, machines is actually lost; it’s really a waste of energy.

6. All over the world, the percentage contributions of these main energy sources are as follows: oil and gas 35 %, coal 60%, nuclear 5%.

7. Worldwide eighty (80) percent of energy used for cooking comes from firewood.

8. Generally firewood smoke is harmless to health and the environment. If fact it drives pest and other vermin, induces flowering and fruiting of fruit trees.

9. The most popular local firewood comes from madre de cacao (Gliricida sepium) and ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca).
10. Firewood farming can be integrated with the forestry program, in mixed tree farming, strip and contour farming; it helps reduce erosion and siltation.

11. SALT means Sloping Agricultural Land Technology, a program of the DA and DENR to protect our hillsides and uplands.

12. Forests, irrespective of its kind and location, increase O², absorb CO², create a mini-climate, attract cloud and increase rainfall. They provide food, energy, shelter and serve as wildlife sanctuary.

13. Biofuel refers to energy derived from farm wastes, oil from plants such as Jatropha, consuelda, castor bean, lumbang, bitaog.

14. Gasohol or alcogas is a mixture of ethanol and kerosene.

15. Car maintenance includes observing carless day, planned route, and car pool,

16. There will be one billion cars in the world by 2018. There are some 600 million cars in the world today which consume 20 million barrels of oil a day.

17. Driving at 100 kph on NLEX is more economical than driving at 80 kph.

18. It takes 1000 people to travel on 125 cars, 10 buses, 1 train.

19. House plan and design should be environment friendly, low in energy consumption, and easily and economical maintenance.

20. Measure the energy you use, monitor monthly consumption. 1,000 watts = 1 kw; 1,000,000 watts = 1 MW; 1 b watts – 1 gigawatt (1GW)

21. Practice recycling to reduce energy requirement – water, re-heat food, waste utilization (wood), scrap metal, used tires, plastics, metals (bauxite most efficient in recycled metal).

22. Austerity in electric energy consumption is necessary. Philippines has the highest cost of electric energy cost, yet it has the lowest GDP per capita.

23. The world continues to build new nuclear power plants, even if the US and Sweden have not built new ones..

24. The world’s worse nuclear power plant accident (meltdown) happen in Cernobyl, Kiev, and three-mile island in the US.

25. Energy of falling water is also called gravitational energy. Hydroelectric plants make use of this principle.

26. SWIP means Small Water Impounding Project is self contained for small communities providing them electric power generation, irrigation, fisheries and forestry.

27. Energy efficiency in agriculture and industry is part of sustainable productivity. It take advantage of the greenhouse effect.

28. Cars, cars, cars. Here are examples of people to car ratios: 1.8 US; 2.9 Russia 24; Peru 52; China 1374

29. Some 1 million cars are manufactured everyday, 80 percent are sold in developed countries.

30. The old Dutch windmills are coming back in the form of wind power farms. (Remember the windmill Don Quijote fought in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel – Don Quijote?)

31. Ethanol comes from sugarcane, sugar beets and root crops (cassava). One objection to biofuels is the direct competition between food and fuel, thus affecting food supply and nutrition.

32. Home Biogas generators are most found in China and India. We have in the Philippine a commercial biogas models at the Madamba Maya Farms in Rizal.

33. These are the used of Solar energy: reflected light (mirror concentrator) to generate electricity, desalination for potable and irrigation water, direct drying, solar panels, solar battery/cell.

25. Fire in the Earth means geothermal energy from hot rocks and volcanic vents. Water is pump to the ground circulates in the cracks, becomes hot up to 200 centigrade and comes through a borehole which then turns a turbine that generate electricity. True. Anglo-French link – the Old Red Sandstone – produces 76 ºcentigrade, hot enough to heat buildings. We trapping volcanic heat at Los Baños.and Tiwi. True.

26. New sails for sea vessels are being developed – but this is not significant to reduce energy of sea vessels which would rather run on fuel. False. New sails can replace engine power.

27. Surging energy of the sea - waves, tides, heat content, salty water, ocean currents – are just dreams yet to come true as alternative energy sources. False. There are pioneer projects such as gully wave generator, wave power, OTEC Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, CLAM – British wave pressure system, Japanese osmosis system at estuaries. .

28. There are now biodegradable plastics for biogas and compost production.

29. Nuclear Powers are North Korea and Iran. While they stirred fear and criticism led by the US and Japan imposing sanction on North Korea, South Korea appears undisturbed by the issue of having a bomb at the other side of its fence.

30. Walking saves on energy, in fact it is therapy and leisure when you combine and harmonize your body, mind and spirit with nature.

31. Energize, instead of exercise. It is exercise that restores gait and adds strength, while it brings inner peace. The mind becomes sharper; sensitivity is honed.

32. Oil from wild plants lighted the homes of our ancestors.

33. One source of oil is lumbang (Aleurites moluccana). Its seeds yield 62 percent lamp and industrial oil. Just pick its ripe berry and light it. It produces a bright bluish flame.

34. Among the alternative sources of oil which are being investigated in the light of spiraling oil price, are the following species of Family Euphorbiaceae, to which the rubber tree belongs.
• Soro-soro (Euphorbia neriifolia),
• Gatas-gatas (E. pilulifera),
• Consuelda (E. tirucalli),
• Physic nut (Jatropha curcas),
• Castor-oil plant or tangantangan (Ricinus communis)
35. Generally the ultimate source of energy is the sun, either directly or indirectly.

36. If you direct all the light of the stars and harness them collectively you will be able to amass tremendous energy.

37. We have succeeded in inventing the “Perpetual machine,” a long dream of mankind.

38. The human body is a perfect machine in terms of energy conversation and utilization, which no human invention can compare.

39. There are now hydrogen powered car running on the streets – the promise to replace fossil fuels.

40. Magnetic shield protects the earth from deleterious radiation from space. .

41. Living organisms do not use energy during dormancy – aestivation and hibernation.

42. Hydrogen bomb works on the principle of fusion, while the atomic bomb works of the principle of fission.

43. Polysaccharides or complex sugars directly release energy in the body.

44. Prisoners become emaciated when, due to prolonged and extreme lack of food, the body converts adipose and muscle tissues into energy.

45. The nemesis of moving parts that reduce fuel efficiency is friction.

46. Synergy means there is more energy than the sum of energies.

47. The ultimate end result when energy is transformed from one form to another is low level heat.

48. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.

49. A single lightning bolt, if only it can be stored, is enough to light a community for days.

50. Overall conclusion and recommendation in conserving energy can be summarized into
“Less is More”

Hydro-electric energy is the main source of electricity in the world. Village size plants can be tapped for power and irrigation, and lately eco-tourism.

1. False, at sea level water boils at 100ºC; 3,000m – 90ºC; 6,000m – 81ºC; 9,000m – 75ºC)
2. False, Water boils at 100ºC, and remains at this temperature, water will simply change from liquid to gaseous form – steam.
3. True, usually at 120ºC for typical pressure cookers.
4. True. Air absorbs and conserves heat. There is less at higher elevation.
5. True. 50% is wasted
6. False. Oil and gas 60%, coal 35% nuclear 5%
7. True. In rural communities firewood is the main cooking fuel.
8. True. Environment-friendly. Too much exposure is harmful though.
9. True. Philippines, as well as in tropical countries where these trees grow naturally.
10. True
11. True
12. True. Forest also “catch” smog (suspended layer of fog and smoke).
13. True
14. False. Alcohol and gasoline
16. False, consumption is based on 1 billion cars.
17. False
18. False. 500 only, on the average.
19. True
20. True
21. True
22. False, exaggerated data. But practice energy conservation, such as fewer and more efficient light bulbs, limit laundry (ex. sun dry, bulk washing and ironing), forego using electricity in bath, pressurized water system)

23. True. There are 500 nuclear plants all over the world – now there is a slowdown for new ones. France, Germany, Belgium and Japan will produce more electricity from nuclear reactors
24. True
25. True
26. True
27. True
28. True
29. True
30. True. But there are only 20,000 wind turbine generators (WTGs) in the world with 15,000 located in California. Total production is only 5,000 MW.

31. True. Just like what the Greeks believed in, exercise is the fountain of youth, it could be the missing key to “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
32. Other than the coconut which is the main source of oil in the country, there are plants growing in the wild that yield lamp oil, among them a large tree called
palomaria or bitaog (Calophyllum inophyllum) whose large seed is a rich source of oil called domba or “laurel-nut” oil. The seed or kernel yields 70 to 75 percent oil, and is rich in resin (28.5 percent) making bitaog oil an excellent natural varnish. The resin however, is poisonous. Old folks also use bitaog bark for tanning because of its high tannin content (19.12 percent)
33. True. Other than the coconut which is the main source of oil in the country, there are plants growing in the wild that yield lamp oil, among them a large tree called palomaria or bitaog whose large seed is a rich source of oil called domba or “laurel-nut” oil. The seed or kernel yields 70 to 75 percent oil, and is rich in resin (28.5 percent) making bitaog oil an excellent natural varnish. The resin however, is poisonous. Old folks also use bitaog bark for tanning because of its high tannin content (19.12 percent)

34. False. You may be referring to
hanga, a small tree whose mature berries directly burn with bluish flame. It is plentiful in the highlands, such as in Benguet. One can visit the collection of hanga trees at the DENR field station in Loakan, near the Baguio airport.

34. True. However, many of these potential energy sources are in the pioneering stage of development.
35. True. Including fossil fuels, wind and water energy.
36. False. So far no one has succeeded.
37. False. The rule is, “energy in, energy out.” We still have to contend with friction, decay, imprecision, etc.
38. True
39. False. By and large, the Hydrogen engine is still on experimental stage.
40.. True. Magnetic lines run from South Pole to North Pole, creating beautiful aurora borealis and aurora austalis
41. False. Energy consumption takes place at very low rate.
42. True.
43. False. Hydrolysis before respiration/oxidation.
44. True
45. True.
46. True, say the maximum weight the left hand can lift is 20 kg and the right hand is 20 kg, both hands can lift not only 40 kg, but more - perhaps 50 kg. This is not follow the laws of physics.
47. True
48. True.
49. True. We don’t have the technology to “catch and store the energy of lightning”
50. True. Conserve and there will be sufficient energy for everyone.