Monday, May 17, 2010

Venus Occultation

The Venus occultation taken last night, May 16, 2010
        Have you all noticed the amazing sky last night, May 16, 2010? If you did, then you should have also noticed the alignment of the moon and a star. This natural phenomenon is called the Venus occultation.

         An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer. The word is used in astronomy (see below) and can also be used in a general (non-astronomical) sense to describe when an object in the foreground occults (covers up) objects in the background. In the general sense, occultation applies to the visual scene from low-flying aircraft and in Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) technology, where foreground objects obscure distant ones in a dynamic way as the scene changes.
Astronomical events which cause occultation include transits and eclipses. The word transit refers to cases where the nearer object appears smaller in apparent size than the more distant object, such as transit of Mercury or Venus across the Sun's disk. The word eclipse generally refers to those instances in which one object moves into the shadow of another. Each of these three events is the visible effect of a syzygy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

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Happy Mothers' Day!!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Topic: There is no hope of doing a perfect research (Griffiths, 1998, p97). Do you agree?


            As we have been marching onwards, research has become undeniably indispensable and essential for advancement in myriad fields. It has produced a lot of useful innovations in science and technology, and in all other fields such as in psychology, political science, and in economics. Hence, since it has become a great deal for humankind to produce knowledge, it has been a constant aspiration for us to enhance methods or processes of research. Although research results may appear promising, nevertheless, their reliability or validity has always been threatened with the presence of errors and biases in the study. Thus, it has been argued that there is no hope of doing a perfect research.
            Research, as defined by the Research Council of Nipissing University, “is any original and systematic investigation undertaken in order to increase knowledge and understanding and to establish facts and principles”[1]. In addition, it also means “studious inquiry; usually, critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation having for its aim the reversion of accepted conclusions, in the light of newly discovered facts”[2]. Research has several types—generally; it can either be qualitative or quantitative. Moreover, it can either be historical, experimental, quasi-experimental, causal-comparative, case study, or developmental. Among these types, there is definitely no assurance of perfection of neither the research process nor the results. In fact, there are two types of errors which have been associated with common forms of research—random and systematic. Random errors occur “in essentially all quantitative studies and can be minimized but cannot be avoided”[3]. Such errors can occur due to sampling variability or measurement precision. Hence, apparently, quantitative researches are not devoid of flaws. Systematic errors, on the other hand, are “reproducible inaccuracies that produce consistently fake patterns of differences between observed and true values”[4]. Furthermore, aside from those errors which threaten the reliability or validity of the results, biases also affect the results of the research study. Selection, measurement and intervention are different categories of bias. Having such errors and biases ever present in research, there is no hope of doing a perfect research.
            In our undergraduate research study, entitled “The Effect of the (NFA) National Food Authority Rice Subsidy Program ‘Tindahan Natin’ on the Political Attitudes of the Rural Poor Household Beneficiaries in Barangay Caraudan, Janiuay, Iloilo”, we have realized that it was not a perfect research even if we tried so hard to made it such. As our study described the food security situation in a rural village where NFA is in operation, it was necessary for us to compare different respondent groups. The study employed the Quasi-Experimental Method, specifically, non-equivalent control group (NCGP). Later, it was found out during the research process that our respondents or subjects have been receiving benefits from other food subsidy programs of the Philippine government. Given the extreme particularity of the topic of our study, other government programs such as Gulayan na Masa, livestock, crop and irrigation productivity, and food-for-school program (FSP), threatened the validity of the results of the research. Since the study analyzes whether or not the Tindahan Natin Program (independent variable) affects the political attitudes (dependent variable) of its rural poor beneficiaries, the presence of other interventions have affected the validity of the results.
            Furthermore, another instance of bias, now it would be researcher’s bias—is the selection of topic for research papers. Being environmentalists, me and my partner chose the topic “The Effects of Global Climate Change on the Status of Sinking States”. As our paper was definitely a qualitative research, we were then preoccupied of gathering facts or arguments in favor of our position. We have overlooked the scope of our research because of our personal biases.
Hence, with such foregoing experiences in my past research studies, I agree with the submission that there is no hope of doing a perfect research. As Scheurich (1994) puts it, “one’s historical position, one’s class (which may or may not include changes over the course of a lifetime), one’s race, one’s gender, one’s religion, and so on, interact and influence, limit and constrain production of knowledge”[5]. With the constant threat of errors and biases, there is no hope of doing a perfect research.
      
Bibliography
Guyette, Susan (1983). Community-Based Research: A Handbook for Native Americans,
            Retrieved [30 Mar 2010], from
Mehra, B. (2002, March). Bias in qualitative research: Voices from an online classroom.
The Qualitative Report, 7(1). Retrieved [30 Mar 2010], from            http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR7-1/mehra.html
Nipissing University (2008, Jan). Definition of Research used by the University Research
Council. Retrieved [30 Mar 2010],



[1] Nipissing University (2008, Jan). Definition of Research used by the University Research Council. Retrieved [30 Mar 2010],
[2] Guyette, Susan (1983). Community-Based Research: A Handbook for Native Americans , Retrieved [30 Mar 2010]
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5]  Mehra, B. (2002, March). Bias in qualitative research: Voices from an online classroom. The Qualitative Report, 7(1). Retrieved [30 Mar 2010], from http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR7-1/mehra.html

Suggested Reading List

English-Language Novels


1984 by George Oswell
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
The Adventure of Augie March by Saul Bellow
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durell
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

The Ambassadors by Henry James

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Animal Farm by George Oswell

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
As I lay Dying by William Faulkner

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Philippine 2010 National Elections

Who am I going to vote this coming national elections? As of this moment, I am still undecided...why? 

Ironically, as a political science (bachelor) graduate, I have found it so difficult to choose among the candidates. Almost all of them have their respective controversies and propaganda against their rivals. For instance, one of the presidential candidates have issues on the C5 road project and also on his ballooning electoral expenses. On the other hand, another candidate who appears to be on lead in the surveys, also has an issue on their real estate property and the tenants occupying it. There are some propaganda against such candidate such as his past actions in the senate--for example not voting infavor of the hearing of the hello garci tape......Furthermore, another presidential candidate, the cousin of the previously mentioned candidate, is currently attached to the Arroyo Administration. Notwithstanding his intelligence and fame, for me, his attachment to the present administration has stained his reputation.

Nevertheless, I would still exercise my right to suffrage. But the question is am i going to choose the lesser evil? definitely yes! Having learned some aspects of Philippine politics, no politician is good enough to be an ideal public servant....Most of them have promised and, likewise, broken such promises...Some of them have criticized several administrations for issues on graft and corruption; yet, when they were elected in position, they also have committed the same crimes! how pathetic!



Defeating the Purpose of Waste Segregation in the Philippines

Separating plastics from biodegradable wastes; labeling trash cans--:"non-biodegradable" and "non-biodegradable"-a common practice  in the Philippines. Formally cloak as solid-waste management programs,  waste segregation projects of the government or of civil society are essentially futile for several reasons.

Well, we have been too preoccupied of segregating solid wastes through the use of separate garbage bins in the Philippines. I myself have been fooled of such idea, thinking that it would solve some environmental problems. However, such action is merely touching the surface.

After disposing and segregating solid wastes using distinct garbage bins, most of us forget that that there is still something we need to do. Did you know that when garbage collectors gather all the wastes from the bins, they just lump them together in one dump truck! Thereafter, the wastes will be  dumped in one dump site. So, what happened to waste segregation? nothing....useless...

Can we blame the garbage collectors? No....Why?

To start with, we do not have programs for recycling non-biodegradable wastes. The Philippines is too poor for the government to construct plastic recycling plants nationwide. or even support junk shops or the like. Furthermore, citizens are not fully educated even informed about waste segregation. There were no seminars on such things in the barangays... Have the government initiated such projects? They may...but only to the extent of providing garbage bins!
 
Nevertheless, even if all people would cooperate in waste segregation programs by using those classified garbage bins, it is futile if we dumped such wastes on the same dump site...