Sunday, December 27, 2015

Firefly Launches Most Affordable Smartphone

Posted By: The Mail Man - Sunday, December 27, 2015

Local smartphone brand Firefly Mobile announced on its Facebook page its most affordable smartphone yet, the S10 Lite. This device is also being advertised as a low-cost alternative to playing the widely-popular mobile game Clash of Clans.

The Specifications for the Firefly S10 Lite are the following:

3.5-inch SUPER-BRITE display
1.0GHz ARM Cortex-A7 Processor
256MB internal storage
expandable via microSD card
2MP rear camera with Flash
2MP front Camera
SIM Card, Mobile Connectivity TBA
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
1400mAh Removable Lithium-Ion Battery

Available in Cosmic Black & Artic White colors, the Firefly Mobile S10 Lite retails for Php899 and comes with a free screen protector.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Katrina Coleen Bayog makes it to the YSEALI Academic Fellows!

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

UP Visayas graduate Katrina Bayog gets selected to participate in the YSEALI Winter Academic Fellowship in the US. Ms. Bayog will participate as a fellow at the University of Connecticut on Economic Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. The University of Connecticut cited her strong merits, proven leadership track and potential positive impact in her communities when she was chosen from a pool of promising applicants.

The winsome Ilongga previously founded Catalyst, an organization that aims to empower its members, create change and provide innovative solutions in addressing important social issues. Ms. Bayog who is also a graphic designer enumerates : Poverty, Education, Gender Equality, Media and Youth Empowerment as the important issues that she decided to focus on.

YSEALI Fellowship Program

Ms. Bayog was selected for the YSEALI Fellowship Program that was launched by US President Obama in 2013 to enhance the United States’ relations with future leaders of Southeast Asia and foster an ASEAN community. 

YSEALI offers education on regional issues, professional skills-building, and opportunities to put those skills into action through educational exchanges to the United States, professional development workshops in the region, online networking, and project seed money.  YSEALI activities focus on four themes:  economic development, environmental protection, education and civic engagement.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship Institute is an intensive academic program whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders and recently graduated leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.

The Program that Ms. Bayog will participate in will be the YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. This program  will provide Fellows with an overview of entrepreneurial approaches that are employed to address social issues. The Institute will review the development, history, challenges, and successes of social enterprises and community leaders in the United States and globally.  Topics may include, but are not limited to, trade, investment, financial literacy, banking, microfinance, organizational development and management, grant writing, innovation, emerging markets and risk analysis, strategic business planning, corporate social responsibility, and women and minorities in entrepreneurship.  

Students will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational study tour where Fellows will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations working in the field. The Institute will then conclude with a 3-day program in Washington, DC.  The winter hosts will be Arizona State University (from February 22 – March 25) and the University of Connecticut (from March 5 – April 8).  

Ms. Bayog cites that this program will validate what she has been saying to those that she has encountered in her Catalyst organization. That in order to inspire others, one must first inspire oneself.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Other Filipina “Ms. Universe”

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reinabelle “Reina” Reyes, born 1984 in San Juan City has never been part of any beauty pageant that we know of. But she is a witness to the pageant of the beauty of the cosmos. In fact, she is one member of a team that is prying open the secrets of the universe. That team proved Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity within the scale of our solar system but on the grand scale of the galaxies. Reina Reyes is an astrophysicist.

Leading her Princeton collaborators, Reyes showed that galaxies 3.5 billion light years away are clustered together exactly how Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predicts them to be. In a forum with Filipino students, Reina Reyes told them that this is the same force that pins them to their seats, that enabled her to stand on the stage and dictates the  movements of the galaxies in the universe itself. These enabled them to come up with new measurements that indicate how galaxies are pulled together by gravity just as in accordance to Einstein’s theories.   

These finding also led them to support the existence of Dark Energy. Dark Energy is a force greater than gravity but has yet to be proven by scientists and has largely existed in “scientific” conjecture. NASA believes that pinning down the exact nature of Dark Energy is one of the most significant problems facing science today.

Reina Reyes graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University summa cum laude in Physics. Her PhD in Astrophysics was attained from Princeton University. Currently, she is a fellow at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.

“Today is an exciting time to be a scientist in the Philippines”

Disclosing that what led her to be a scientist was her penchant for asking questions when she was young. This led her to search for answers when there was no ready answer. This resulted in more questions that also needed more answers. Having supportive parents was also a very significant factor in her growing up years. She said she wanted to be an astronaut but the height requirement led her into being more “earthbound” in her quest for science. Having a solid science foundation at the Philippine Science High School, this served as her springboard into higher science education.

Reina Reyes confessed that she once thought that being a scientist meant being away from the country. But after eight years, she decided to come back home, that this is an exciting time to be a scientist in the Philippines. There are “real” problems in the country ranging from disaster risk reduction to food security. These challenges need scientists in coming up with solutions. Science is all about solutions that are not yet found in books and the internet. Scientists will be the ones to ask the questions and answer those questions themselves. The answers lie in nature and that these need only be discovered.

Dr. Reina Reyes has been awarded the following:

Chambliss Astronomy Student Achievement Award by the American Astronomical Society
Centennial Fellowship,
Merit Prize Fellowship Grant,
Martin Schwarschild Graduate Fellowship

Friday, December 18, 2015 Expands Platform From Dental Into Community Clinics

Posted By: Tech Support - Friday, December 18, 2015

MANILA, Philippines - Tech startup company, which is most commonly known for its platform for online dental records, has recently extended its offering to barangay clinics. While continuing its aggressive press in the dental field, Medix made a lateral foray into a new category anticipating the emerging trend of community based clinics. 

Medix powered the newly launched brand of community clinics known as Family Doc. There are two Family Doc clinics located in Cavite. Medix provided the technology backbone for making the clinics more efficient as it factored in all the standard procedures performed for each patient. The system includes integration with digital signage which displays which patient is next to be seen. 

 The lateral movement hardly comes as a surprise as earlier this year, Medix sold a stake to mClinica, a mobile healthtech provider for the pharmaceutical industry, kicking off a strategic alliance which will make the Medix platform more beneficial to the clinics it serves.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Plague of Our Contemporary Times

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, December 14, 2015
By: Christopher Ryan Maboloc

ONE OF the most enduring insights from the American philosopher John Dewey is that both the traditional and progressive methods of learning will not actually work. First, the curriculum-based approach will simply reduce children to obedient, docile individuals. In this traditional method, the children have no input whatsoever to their own personal development as learners. Second, the progressive approach unnecessarily thrusts children into an unreachable ideal. The learners are forced to perform mature acts that are beyond their personal capacities.

Dewey theorized that education should be the interaction between the learner and his or her experiences. He thought continuity and interaction are the two fundamental principles that link the learner’s past, present and future experiences.

“Education,” he said, “is not a preparation for life, but it is life itself.”

Dewey had been and will remain influential. For him, education is not just the acquisition of a set of skills. Education is in fact crucial in democratic and women empowerment. He believed that social change and democratic reform form part of the aims of modern education. Learning must be experiential. It should consider the child’s interest and curricular content. Schools in this regard have the moral obligation to prepare the young for ethical participation in society. The pragmatic approach to education tells us that the development of the individual is inseparable from human experience. Children must think for themselves in order to develop their capabilities as active citizens of the state.

But Dewey’s philosophy of education faces a stumbling block as far as the Philippines is concerned. Let me elaborate: The Philippine education system prepares the learner to possess the skills that will make him or her a productive member of society. Pragmatically, the introduction of curricula is linked to the production of socially favorable outcomes. Learning is tied to the idea of material progress. In this sense, education as the freedom of humans, while not interpreted in an abstract way, is valued on the basis of its ability to enable the Filipino child to escape the poverty trap later in life. Knowledge has become that indispensable instrument in improving the standard of living of people. Our schools are expected to produce citizens who are fully conscious of their duties and responsibilities as citizens.

However, what is problematic is that our leaders have failed to bring about an environment that promotes authentic democracy. Elitism, and therefore structural injustice, still dominates our education system. And an elitist educational culture actually deprives our children of the real purpose of learning. The emphasis on competition rather than cooperation reinforces the elitist frame of mind, which tends to rationalize everything in order to produce and deify an intelligent biped, but one who is morally insensitive to the social aims of learning.

According to another American philosopher, Richard Rorty, Western societies have created that individual whose mind is floating in the universe of ideas but is wanting in terms of moral sensitivity for his or her fellow human beings. As a developing nation, we have lofty goals in terms of our expectations for generational change. But we have not moved an inch in terms of the maturity of our democracy and in making human progress truly inclusive.

The dictum “Know thyself” means that education, as the perfection of the human soul, is concerned with the development of human virtue. The most common complaint is that many of our corrupt leaders studied in the country’s private Catholic schools. It is a valid observation. But it is not a question of whether they did receive the right training or not. Beyond the emptiness that a school’s vision and mission promulgate, the problem really is the obvious lack of fit between the goal of creating a democratic society and the kind of elitist values that our leaders hold.

Education is a public interest. The future of our country and its people depends on it. Many of our young students have been taught to become socially and politically aware. But the problem is that most of our schools cannot be the barometer for human development. They have been transformed into centers of social exclusion. Inevitably, the brightest students that they are training will take over the helm of the corporate world and, as a result, repression and the cycle of social inequality will remain unchecked.

Structural injustice, which the commodification of education exacerbates, is the plague of our contemporary times. While it is wrong to demonize the aspect of personal achievement in human learning, educational reform should rise above it. From a moral end, education is meant to create a just society. It must not be allowed to deteriorate into another tool of the privileged few that perpetuates the oppressive political and economic structures in the country.

Christopher Ryan Maboloc is assistant professor of philosophy at Ateneo de Davao University. He has a master’s degree in applied ethics from Linkoping University in Sweden.


Friday, December 11, 2015

DOST and the British Council give PhD grants

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, December 11, 2015

Five scholars signed yesterday their grant agreements at the Science Education Institute in Taguig, having been selected for the first ever DOST-Newton PhD Scholarship provided by the British Council and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The five scholars will be pursuing their PhDs under the Newton Fund, a £375-million fund that promotes the economic development and welfare of low-income populations in partnering countries through science and innovation partnerships.

Angelo Aquino will be looking into windbelt technology for harnessing wind power in urban areas, at the University of Sheffield, while Gene Fe Palencia will be focusing on wireless sensor networks for energy microgrid management and control system at Coventry University.

David Gonzales is set to enter the University College London and will be studying the behavior and interactions of bacterial communities to determine factors that can help prevent disease and infection. Sherdon Niño Uy, on the other hand, will be working with Birmingham City University on developing a system for wind resource assessment, which can aid cities like Manila in decision-making for small-scale wind turbine placement. The fifth scholar, Charlie Lavilla Jr., seeks to develop a targeted low-cost food supplementation to treat or prevent muscle damage in people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is set to enter Nottingham Trent University.

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

Source: UK Embassy

Thursday, December 10, 2015

More "Real" Computer Science and Coding needed in schools.

Posted By: The Mail Man - Thursday, December 10, 2015

I was fortunate enough to have learned code right after high school and that was in 1982. We used to call it programming then, after that it was called “development”. Goes to show how far the world has evolved from Electronic Data Processing to Programming to Coding.

Teaching kids to code is just as important as teaching them any other language. And the younger they start learning it, the better, Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Cook spoke to a group of New York third graders who visited a Manhattan Apple store for an “Hour of Code” class. In an interview afterward, he said that schools aren’t putting enough emphasis on computer-science education, but he has “great hope” that will change and coding will ultimately become a required class for all kids.

It was the same here. Coding was initially introduced in the 80s to late 90s but devolved into using applications.

“From an economic standpoint the job segment itself today is huge, but it’s going to become even larger,” Cook said.

So instead of innovators, our educational system has produced users without knowing how the applications and software worked.  That is why there must be a re-orienting of the educational system back to fundamentals in programming. .

And if the concepts are introduced at a young age, in a fun way, it’s more likely that kids will find them cool and stay interested as they grow older, hopefully resulting in a larger and more diverse tech workforce down the road, he said.

Cook added that even if kids don’t grow up to get a lucrative job in the tech industry, they’ll discover a new way to be creative and pick up important problem-solving skills along the way.

The kids at Wednesday’s event played with a Star Wars-themed game created by the non-profit group in partnership with Disney. On iPad Minis, they used basic drag-and-drop commands to program their droid to do things like pick up scrap metal and evade Stormtroopers.

Their teacher, Joann Khan, said Wednesday’s introduction to coding was probably a first for most of her students, noting that her school, located in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood, no longer has a computer lab.

She said the lessons taught through the game bring to life some of the math skills the kids are learning in her classroom, something she planned to point out to them when they returned to school.

The “Hour of Code” workshop was one of many held by Apple Inc. and a slew of other technology companies around the world this week as part of a push to introduce as many kids as possible to computer science through a one-hour class.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DNA Analysis Laboratory at the UP NSRI on its 20th Year

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, December 09, 2015

2016 marks the 20th year since the establishment of the DNA Analysis Laboratory at the Natural Sciences Research Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman campus (UPD-NSRI-DAL).

On 16 May 1996, UP President Dr. Emil Javier signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Philippine Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada who was the Chair of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC), formally creating a laboratory that was mandated to pioneer the entry of DNA forensics into the Philippines. 

The commemoration of such an important historic event that marked the marriage of science and the legal system, provides a good opportunity to look back into the last twenty years when rigorous research, wide-ranging extension work and committed scientists contributed to the current state of DNA Forensics in the Philippines.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

JBL GO Wireless Speaker Creates Fun At A Great Price With Its Surprising Sound And Range Of Colors

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, December 08, 2015

JBL GO offers excellent sound with the highest quality of components

 HARMAN, the premium global audio, infotainment and enterprise automation group , presents the JBL® GO, a wireless speaker not only affordable, but also the perfect supplement for mobile phones. With signature JBL-quality sound, the JBL GO offers big sound for a small buck.

The innovative, tiny speaker takes a minimalist approach to size, and does it without sacrificing the maximum in sound. JBL GO is so portable, you simply can't resist taking it with you. It's so easy to carry, you'll want to take it to the beach, to a picnic, to ball games, soccer practice, or just out walking. 

The JBL GO is ready to travel with you and is available in black, red, orange, pink, gray, blue, yellow and teal.

JBL GO Portable Bluetooth Speaker Features

•    JBL sound in a compact footprint you can take
•    Wireless Bluetooth streaming
•    Simplicity of design in 8 fun colors
•    Up to 5 hour playtime
•    Built-in speakerphone
•    Integrated strap hook for toting
•    AUX-in connectivity
•    Dimensions (H x W x D): 68.3 x 82.7 x 30.8 mm
(2.68 x 3.25 x 1.21 inches)

Pricing and Availability:

The JBL® GO is currently available and retails at SRP of P1,599.

For more information, visit and

Like us on Facebook: JBL Philippines
Follow us on Twitter: @JBLPH
 Follow us on Instagram: @jblph

As the leader in revolutionary sound, JBL continues to push audio boundaries through innovation and personalized sound technology. The JBL brand offers unprecedented wireless speaker performance for authentic audio experience.

Friday, December 4, 2015

PSHS Main Campus Team Wins 2nd Place at STEP National University of Singapore

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, December 04, 2015

Congratulations to the PSHS Main Campus Team for winning 2nd prize in the recently concluded 3rd STEP NUS Sunburst Environment Program recently held in Singapore.

Launched in 2013, the STEP-NUS Sunburst Environment Programme is an annual event organised by STEP in partnership with the NUS Climate Change and Sustainable Environment Research Initiative hosted by the Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) and the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) at NUS. 

This year's programme challenges the students to address the sustainability of food production and distribution, as well as the impact of climate change on food security.

Participating students aged between 13 and 15 from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, India and Japan  attended lectures delivered by leading scientists in the fields of climate change, food security and sustainability. 

International scientists who are involved in the programme include Mr Keith Jeffery, who is from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the United Kingdom, and Dr Stephane Bayen from McGill University of Canada. In addition, researchers from Singapore will be sharing about the importance of food security, and measurements to ensure food sustainability.
The students visited the Science Centre Singapore, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s Marine Aquaculture Centre and Sky Greens, as well as participate in nature walks conducted by NUS staff at Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve and St John’s Island. 

They will also visit the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS to learn about conservation and the Singapore whale.
To demonstrate their awareness of green issues, participating students have been organized into teams and they will compete through written essays, oral presentations and poster presentations. The winning teams will win prizes sponsored by STEP.

Winners of the Program of Excellence in Mathematics (PEM)

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, December 04, 2015

Congratulations to the following students for winning individual awards in the Program of Excellence in Math (PEM) Olympiad held last  November 28, 2015 at the Ateneo de Manila University. The Program of Excellence in Mathematics (PEM) aims to discover, encourage and challenge mathematically gifted high school students and teachers, and widen and deepen their knowledge in and appreciation of different
fields of mathematics.

Distributed through PEM, Tuklás Matemátika aims to promote an atmosphere of problem solving among secondary students. The journal is designed to expose the students to questions and topics that go beyond classroom discussion such as those found in international competitions.

Sudents from Philippine Science High School (PSHS) bagged the following:   Bronze, Ardee Perando 10,  Tau Mikha Diaz 10 -   Graviton, Ignacio Locsin 9 -  Strontium, Outstanding Problem Solver Award Rafael Santiago 10 -  Electron, Jana Montanez 8 -  Sampaguita. No gold and silver awards were given this year

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Climate-Resilient Rice

Posted By: The Mail Man - Thursday, December 03, 2015

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is developing varieties that aim to combat climate change and poverty.

 Abdelbagi Ismail, principal scientist, plant physiologist and overall project leader of IRRI’s  Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA), said the problem is that rice is grown everywhere, in very extreme conditions, very different climates, and soils that have high-salt or high-iron concentration.

 “We have to make sure that we have varieties that can adapt to the adversities.  And that is why IRRI started developing varieties that can work in drought-affected areas, salt-affected areas and flood-affected areas,” Ismail said.

 He added these problems have become more severe because of climate change that causes more typhoons that are more intense to come in every year, and makes the sea level rise and salinity to move inland more than before.

“We estimate more than probably 25 million hectares are lost to drought every year, and probably 20 million hectares lost to floods all over Asia.  Probably more than 15 million lost because of high salt,” Ismail said.

“The people living in these areas affected by severe stresses are very poor,” he added.

Ismail said because the Philippines is their host country and most of their activities are in the Philippines, all the materials they developed in the project are tested in the Philippines, with a variety released for submergence tolerance called Submarino.

Drought resistance is very important in the Philippines.  They are actually being used now and has been put by the DA in its seed system.  It is part of the government’s self-sufficiency program, Ismail said.

“The good thing about them is that they mature in a shorter period of time, allowing the farmers to grow another crop.  So they can have two crops per year instead of one.  And usually that doubles the productivity,” he added.

 Developing varieties that combine traits like drought tolerance, flood tolerance and saline tolerance is what the IRRI is doing.

 “In coastal areas here in the Philippines, you always have salinity. Sometimes it becomes dry, when the rains come late. Drought happens.  Sometimes, when there is too much rain, flooding happens.  So you need a variety that can tolerate all of them.  Now that we have the molecular-marker technology, we can actually put all these genes together. The new generation of rice varieties will have multiple stress tolerance,” he said.

 Ismail said the most import thing is that the rice varieties it develops get to reach their designated target, which is the farmer.

Apart from this, he said the impact of what the IRRI has been been doing is huge, reaching millions of farmers and millions of hectares, new areas where rice has not been grown before.

“Most of these areas, because they are less favorable, they are highly populated with the most poor people, because poor people are always pushed from the good places,” he said.

 He said farmers are now considering marketing their produce for the first time. “Before, they just wanted food enough for them but now they are looking for varieties with a better market value,” Ismail said.

Globe Starts Elevating State of Internet in PH

Posted By: Tech Support - Thursday, December 03, 2015
MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 03 /CSRNews.PH/ - In line with its commitment to provide ICT support for nation building, leading telecommunications provider Globe Telecom took on the critical task of delivering high speed broadband connectivity for the recently concluded APEC 2015 meetings, showing proof that state of internet connectivity in the country has improved significantly. 

“An official ICT partner for APEC, Globe wanted to showcase the elevated state of Philippine internet as we provided enhanced indoor and outdoor cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity for all venues of the APEC meetings, including the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) and the various hotels where the delegates stayed,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications.  

Globe showcased its world-class internet speed by providing data allocation of 12.5 Gbps in various venues in the metropolis during APEC week especially at the Philippine International Convention Center and the World Trade Center and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Last month, Globe paved the way for the Philippines to be globally competitive in terms of internet speed, becoming the first telecommunications provider in the country to install high-speed broadband plans ranging from 50Mbps to 1Gbps, utilizing the fiber-to-the-home technology. 

Aside from providing connectivity for the AELM, Globe also provided ICT requirements in other APEC meetings held in various parts of the country including Clark Pampanga, Subic, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Boracay and Cebu City.  These meetings included the Informal Senior Officials Meetings, APEC Special Senior Finance Officials’ Meeting, First Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings, Asia Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion, APEC PPP Experts Advisory Panel Meeting, Asia Pacific Infrastructure Partnership Meeting, APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting, 22nd Automotive Dialogue Meeting, Disaster Risk Finance- APEC Roadmap for Resilient Economies, Second Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings, Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Workshop on Fiscal Management through Transparency and Reforms, Senior Finance Officials’ Meeting,  3rd Senior Officials Meeting and other preparatory and related meetings. 

Following its important role of providing for the ICT requirements of APEC meetings, Globe received commendation from the APEC National Organizing Council.  “That the delegates were able to effectively utilize communication technology in aid of substantive discussions made during these meetings was due in large measure to the facilities provided through the expertise, attention and assistance of your company,” said Marciano Paynor, Director General of the APEC National Organizing Council, in a letter to Globe President & CEO Ernest Cu. 

Globe Telecom’s chairman, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, also played an active role during the APEC Summit as a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), composed of the region’s top business visionaries that provide key advice to the region's economic leaders. Calling for a collective action for greater regional economic integration, ABAC also made several recommendations that include continued support of the policies of the World Trade Organization, investments in food and agriculture, eliminating tariff barriers to environmental services, promoting inclusive business models, and developing green and livable cities, among others. 

APEC is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to foster a sense of community and an appreciation of shared interests among Asia-Pacific countries. APEC includes newly industrialized economies and aims to enable ASEAN economies to explore new export market opportunities for natural resources as well as to seek regional economic integration through foreign direct investment. Members account for approximately 40% of the world's population, approximately 54% of the world's gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Human Replication: Possible according to China-based “Clone Factory”

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Boyalife Group, a “cloning factory” considered as one of the biggest in the world has the technology that is advanced enough to replicate humans. This was claimed by a Chinese scientist and the only reason why it has not done so is because they fear adverse public reaction.

Boyalife Group is currently building a huge factory at Tianjin, China and is scheduled it production to go online within the next seven months. The cloning factory aims to have an output of one million cloned cows by the year 2020.

Xu Xiachun, chief executive disclosed that cattle is the first step, on the horizon is the cloning of throughbred horses for racing, police dogs and even pets.

Boyalife Group is collaborating with its South Korean partner Sooam and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to upgrade its primate cloning so that better laboratory animals can be created for disease research. And it is a short biological step from monkeys to humans -- potentially raising a host of moral and ethical controversies.

"The technology is already there," Xu said. "If this is allowed, I don't think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology."

The firm does not currently engage in human cloning activities, Xu said, adding that it has to be "self-restrained" because of possible adverse reaction.

Citing the changing social and even moral dysnamics, Xu cited the perception on homosexuality and that there will come a time when more choices can be given to humans when it comes to the subject of their own reproduction.

"Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad," he said.

"Maybe in the future you have three choices instead of one," he went on. "You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100 percent from Daddy or 100 percent from Mummy. This is only a choice."

Xu, 44, went to university in Canada and the US, and has previously worked for US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and in drug development.

Citing that cloning is a safeguard to biodiversity itself, the Tianjin factory will be the location of  a gene bank where up to five million cell samples will be held, frozen in liquid nitrogen. These cell samples belongs to the world’s endangered species, a genetic catalog that will be maintained for the future generations.

Sooam, the South Korean partner of Boyalife is already working on a project that will clone a woolly mammoth and bring it back from extinction by cloning cells found in the Siberian permafrost where it was preserved for thousands of years.
Source: Agence France Press

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Young scientists, researchers in Southeast Asia to get grants

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, December 01, 2015
A program to develop young scientists and researchers in six Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, along the climate change theme is on. 
Titled “Collaborative Research Grants in Southeast Asia,” the program is being implemented by the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO) and the International Foundation for Science (IFS).
It officially started last August and runs through Dec. 21, 2019.

SEARCA and IFS will pilot the 53-month program covering the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Timor-Leste.

SEARCA is one of 21 regional centers of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an inter-government treaty body founded in 1965 to promote cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science and culture. The center is hosted by the government in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, IFS contributes to strengthening the capacity of developing countries to conduct relevant and high-quality research on the sustainable management of biological and water resources.

The two institutions are aligned in their mission to develop and nurture budding scientists and researchers who have the potential to become their country’s future leaders and scientists.

Under the joint SEARCA-IFS program, research grants will be awarded on merit to small teams composed of young scientists and researchers from the six countries, which are all members of SEAMEO. The organization is observing its 50th anniversary this year.

SEARCA and IFS will issue the joint collaborative research call for expression of interest to eligible universities and institutions in Southeast Asia by January 2016.

Theme of the grants is “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Agriculture and Rural Development,” with the following as research areas:

• Assessing climate change impacts and risks for policies, plans and investments.

• Advancing low-carbon agriculture and rural development.

• Enhancing proactive adaptation to climate change, vulnerability and extremes.

• Enabling policies and governance for climate-resilient agriculture and rural communities.

“These identified areas of study are also in line with SEARCA’s Umbrella Program and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Southeast Asia,” said director Gil Saguiguit Jr., who has been reappointed as head of the 50-year-old SEAMEO center.

The collaborative research approach has been twice piloted by IFS in sub-Saharan Africa and is considered the first in Southeast Asia.

Young researchers who have expressed interest will be invited to join in an online collaborative environment where they will be given the opportunity to form teams and formulate proposals for funding.
IFS provides the digital platform called PODIO and will administer the online application and review processes. SEARCA will lead the capacity building workshop for participants who pass the prescreening stage.

IFS and SEARCA will provide assistance through team grants and mentoring.

Friday, November 27, 2015

DOST can provide P1-M assistance to Pinoy inventors

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, November 27, 2015

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) can provide assistance of as much as P1 million to an inventor with a bright and viable idea or invention.

Edgar Garcia, director of the DOST’s Technology Assistance and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI), said that the agency has maximum assistance of up to P1 million for inventors and innovators to commercialize their ideas.

Garcia said the cash assistance depends on the viability of the proposal and the program of assistance to be drawn up and submitted by the applicant.

DOST-TAPI, he said, also provides assistance to inventors in filing patent applications with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Garcia said that Filipino engineer Aisa Mijeno was one of those who had sought TAPI assistance for her saltwater-powered lamp.

Garcia said that Mijeno had given a presentation to TAPI of her Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt) lamp more than a month before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in Manila last week, where her work was discussed in a forum moderated by US President Barrack Obama.

Garcia said that the DOST also has the Inventors Guarantee Fund, which could be tapped by inventors to fund their research and development on their ideas and concepts and further develop the commercialization of their inventions or products but they would have to submit applications and proposals for assistance.


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