Friday, January 29, 2016

The Future Belongs to the Brave: Remembering the Space Shuttle Challenger

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, January 29, 2016

Man's progress in science and discovery has had many pitfalls, failures and tragedies. Even in earliest mythology, Icarus perished. But Man has always found a way to progress. Here is a tribute to the brave astronauts of the Space Shuttle Challenger 30 years ago.

On January 28, 1986, the American shuttle orbiter Challenger broke up 73 seconds after liftoff, bringing a devastating end to the spacecraft’s 10th mission. The disaster claimed the lives of all seven astronauts aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire who had been selected to join the mission and teach lessons from space to schoolchildren around the country. 

It was later determined that two rubber O-rings, which had been designed to separate the sections of the rocket booster, had failed due to cold temperatures on the morning of the launch. The tragedy and its aftermath received extensive media coverage and prompted NASA to temporarily suspend all shuttle missions.

In 1976, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled the world’s first reusable manned spacecraft, known as the space shuttle. Five years later, shuttle flights began when Columbia traveled into space on a 54-hour mission. Launched by two solid-rocket boosters and an external tank, the aircraft-like shuttle entered into orbit around Earth. When the mission was completed, the shuttle fired engines to reduce speed and, after descending through the atmosphere, landed like a glider. Early shuttles took satellite equipment into space and carried out various scientific experiments.Challenger, NASA’s second space shuttle to enter service, embarked on its maiden voyage on April 4, 1983, and made a total of nine voyages prior to 1986. That year, it was scheduled to launch on January 22 carrying a seven-member crew that included Christa McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies instructor from New Hampshire who had earned a spot on the mission through NASA’s Teacher in Space Program. After undergoing months of training, she was set to become the first ordinary American citizen to travel into space.

Challenger’s Catastrophic Launch

The mission’s launch from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, was delayed for six days due to weather and technical problems. The morning of January 28 was unusually cold, and engineers warned their superiors that certain components—particularly the rubber O-rings that sealed the joints of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters—were vulnerable to failure at low temperatures. However, these warnings went unheeded, and at 11:39 a.m. Challenger lifted off.

Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including the families of McAuliffe and the other astronauts on board, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. Within instants, the spacecraft broke apart and plunged into the ocean, killing its entire crew, traumatizing the nation and throwing NASA’s shuttle program into turmoil.


Financing: The Holy Grail of the Philippine Startup Community

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, January 29, 2016

The Philippine Startup Community have no dearth of ideas and concepts. In fact there is already a surfeit of ideas that it is not only confined to Manila but in other regional centers such as Iloilo, Davao and Cebu. This was and continues to be brought about by the explosion of technology and the demand for better products and services.

But the real bottleneck in the development of these startups are not in the ideas and concepts department. Like any other business, be it traditional or non-traditional the critical area is funding the idea for development and implementation. Also, startups may have already taken off but the need for expansion in order to be able to attain the economies of scale needed is another obstacle that the solution is additional funding.

The Philippine financing system has yet to catch up with the evolution of the global economy with regards to startups. The most crucial requirements are 3 years profitable track records and security. Since most of these startups really start from scratch, they are automatically not qualified for financing by traditional financial institutions.

In this regard, Venture Capitalists are the sought after havens. Creative ways of having “security” for these investors have been developed such as equity in the enterprise itself. But in truth, a 20% startup capital is way below what is needed. In fact, a startup must have a war chest of 100% Capital Expenses and enough Operational Expenses to operate for at least 6 months at a loss in order to make its first stride.

Thus, an impasse in financing for startups and even expansion funding for existing startups.

Realizing this, the startup community is being assisted along the way by Kickstart  which has already hosted 40 events that aims to get the critical segments of the startup community to a more coherent aggrupation so as resources and information can be shared.

In the latest Raid the Fridge event, Kickstart featured LoanSolutions  as presented by Jean-Patric Bisson, CEO and cofounder of the fintech startup. JP as he is more popularly called discussed that LoanSolutions can find Find better loan alternatives in the market for those that require financing.

The  Market Opportunity in Philippine banks is already large enough to support startup financing considering that US$99 billion is the annual loan portfolio of Philippine banks of which US$20 billion is in consumer loans.

The obstacles for tapping these financial resources are the following:

No Central Credit Bureau

Banks are conservative with regards to lending guidelines

The challenges are inherently systemic and LoanSolutions is an online portal wherein the borrowers are matched with potential funders. The advantages for utilizing LoanSolutions is that it is:




But this is just one step in attaining the dream of better financing for startups and SMEs in general.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hatchery production technology boosts Milkfish production

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Milkfish, the second top aquaculture species produced in the country, has a swelling demand, hence the need to increase its production.

Addressing this concern, the manual Development and Management of Milkfish Broodstock  tackles broodstock management. The manual provides developed and refined techniques for collection and transport of spawned eggs and larvae, as well as larval rearing. It also describes the necessary facilities for maintaining milkfish broodstock.

Guidelines on transporting broodstock, performing biopsy to determine sex of spawners, collecting and cleaning eggs, packing and transporting eggs to hatchery, incubating and hatching eggs, and packing and transporting of larvae are also provided in the manual.

The importance of nutritional quality of the diet in relation to the performance of the milkfish broodstock and quality of resulting eggs and larvae is also explained in the manual. 

Broodstock feeds are enriched with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other nutrients for better reproductive performance of broodstock and better egg and larval quality. It also offers formula to initially estimate the number of spawned eggs and determine the hatching rate.


Nuclear Technology and the Filipino Youth

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

“Look Beyond”, that was the challenge of Anton Philippe Tanquitic, a young Filipino physicist who bagged 2nd place in last year’s  Nuclear Olympiad. Tanquitic issued the challenege to high school and college students who attended the First Nuclear Summit held last December in Manila. The students came from different schools in Metro Manila to learn about the challenges and opportunities in the field of nuclear science.

The Nuclear Congress was organized by the DOST and Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI). One of the highlights of the Third Philippine Nuclear Congress, the youth summit provided a forum to share nuclear information and scientific knowledge among the youth as potential leaders and scientists.

In his inspirational message, Hon. Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told participants that
“Some applications of nuclear technology might surprise you,” he said.

He revealed that IAEA has helped authorities in Nepal in determining the extent of damage in buildings and structures after the big earthquake using non-destructive testing techniques like radiography which he likened to taking an x-ray of a structure.

He also mentioned that IAEA provided a nuclear-derived technology to Africa during the Ebola outbreak which can diagnose the disease in four hours instead of four days using other diagnostic methods. Such time difference is vital in saving lives and preventing the further spread of the disease

He also commended the Philippines for being a very active member of the IAEA since 1958, adding that more than 300 Philippine nationals have worked under the IAEA Cooperation Program, sharing their knowledge and experience with other developing countries.

Dr. Teofilo San Luis Jr., a medical doctor set on going into gastroenterology, had a change of heart when he was offered a scholarship in nuclear medicine at the University of Bonn. He took the opportunity.

Dr. San Luis clarified that nuclear medicine is not at all about caring about those who had been involved in nuclear accidents, as those are very rare. Instead, nuclear medicine is used in diagnostics and also in the treatment of certain cancers such as thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and neuroblastoma which develops from immature nerve cells, among others.

Anton Philippe Tanquitic saw how his life change when he got the chance to join the Nuclear Olympiad

Then an intern at PNRI, Tanquitic related that he only learned about the contest a few weeks before the deadline but still managed to get into the finals where he had to submit an essay and do an oral presentation about his topic. Joining the event led him to other opportunities, such as the chance to explore Europe when he visited the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland all in one year. CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire or the European Council for Nuclear Research.

Geeks or Saviors?

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I finally visited the grounds of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Bicutan area, a haven totaling over 20 hectares of old towering trees and lots of foliage. For a while, I thought I was at University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) Forestry area. It’s like a sanctuary amid the hustle and bustle of the busy intersection known as the Bicutan exit of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

According to Science Secretary Mario Montejo, the grounds of DOST have been declared “untouchable” as an ecozone, eco here meaning ecological and not economic. This is good. I finally can see efforts in saving greenbelts and sanctuaries and not submitting to commercialization as most government properties have been subject to. We need places like this in the city. Government properties that can remain as green and eco-friendly as they were envisioned to be 50 years ago. I believe the DOST area has complied with a certain number of trees to qualify to be “untouched.”

My business partners and I met with the Food Processing division scientists headed by Director Pat Azanza, a food scientist who is also from the State University’s professorial group. Her Food Division team—Norbert, Elsa and Lourdes—walked us through the various equipment they have been developing to assist our MSMEs in adding value to ordinary vegetables like okra, squash, and even seafood like mussels. Mussels not sold within the day just go to waste. But they can be dry fried or vacuum fried to make a nice appetizer or snack.

I also saw a coffee and cacao roaster, a water retort machine, and many more that they will be putting up in Food Innovation Centers (FICs) around the country. These equipment are of international standards and will surely be of much help to our farming communities.

It is good to know that Secretary Montejo is keen on moving a lot of equipment out of the labs and into the hands of the users like farmers and micro entrepreneurs. For example, tomatoes or vegetables that may soon just go to waste can be dehydrated and become value-added vegetables like sundried tomatoes and vegetable chips. I finally saw the vacuum fryer they use to make fruit chips similar to what we buy in Thailand and Vietnam. Yes, they are here and we can make many different products from the same fruit or vegetable just with some processing, which preserves their nutrients and follow the “whole food” process. That means keeping as much of a fruit’s inherent nutritional value—sometimes, by just removing water!

It also makes one feel ecstatic when DOST gives itself a target of developing 2000 products a year like all kinds of vegetables chips, fruit puree snacks and even chocolate bars. Thailand I hear has a target of 4,000 a year for new products. We can get there , too, very soon with these passionate scientists.

I felt like a geek digging deep into my understanding of moisture, temperature, smoking points, and product yield when we were in discussion with these “agri saviors”—these scientists working quietly to provide our farmers with choices—to sell fresh or to dry it so it keeps its value. Cold chains, which transport fresh fruits and vegetables are still a pipedream for many. So what we need to do is bring these dryers and give our farmers a leg up by teaching them to dry, freeze dry or vacuum fry the excess produce from their farms.

“This is what we need to help farmers,” says Montejo. Well, he is an inventor himself, so he knows of what he is talking about. They can remain geeks or become saviors. “Most engineering graduates leave the country when they can help by designing our equipment for farmers, “says another director. I believe so. You can be a geek for some foreign company or be a savior or hero in the country.

I think Montejo and his team are on the right track. And this is just talk in the Food Processing Division. I know DOST has many projects in the ICT space, too. That’s a bit too high tech for me. I can understand drying vegetables better at this point.
So, let’s plant more greens and look forward to trying out these equipment from DOST which will give farmers like me and Senator Kiko Pangilinan something to do with our “about to perish” vegetables and fruits.

Thank God there are geeks who become saviors for agriculture.
* * *

Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao, Cebu City, Antipolo and Iloilo City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

UP Students Win in 7th Industrial Engineering Competition in Indonesia

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Four students from the University of the Philippines (UP) won first place in the recently concluded 7th Industrial Engineering Competition, an international industrial engineering contest held in Bandung, Indonesia, from January 9 to 17.

The Philippine team beat participants from Southeast Asian region. Two teams from Indonesia placed 2nd and 3rd.

The UP team is composed of Daniel Roi Agustin, James Renier Domingo, Dominic Aily Ecat and Arizza Ann Nocum of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research of the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City.

“It was an incredible opportunity to represent the university and the country, and we are so happy to bring honor to our department, especially the professors who have taught us so well,” Nocum said.

The four graduating students were handpicked by the university to compete for this year’s competition.

A total of 78 teams from Southeast Asia joined this year’s international industrial engineering competition. Of that number, only 15 teams passed the first selection stage–which was held online–to proceed to the semifinals in Indonesia.

During the semifinals, teams passed through an intensive three-day challenge composed of a quiz bee, an amazing race, and a simulation case challenge provided by a company.
The semifinals culminated in a presentation to a board of judges composed of professionals, the academe and company management.

After the semifinals, only five teams moved up to the finals–UP, Universitas Indonesia, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Chulalongkorn University and Universitas Gadjah Mada.

The final stage of the competition was designed to challenge students not only based on their theoretical knowledge but also on their analysis and creativity in coming up with solutions.

“We were given four days to study and solve the problems of two of the biggest Indonesian companies, Unilever Indonesia and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia. We visited their plants and were oriented on the main problems they face, then we were given two 12-hour work days to come up with a presentation outlining our solution for each company,” Domingo, the team captain, said.

The last day of the finals saw the five finalists presenting their solutions to the executives and management of the two companies. Each presentation was capped by a question and answer portion designed to test even further each team’s solution.

“I think that one of the main drivers of our victory was our commitment to the solution. We told ourselves that the main reason we were doing this was not because we wanted to win but because we wanted to help these companies succeed by finding the solution that fit their needs and vision best,” Agustin shared their secret to winning.

When asked how their UP education set them apart, Ecat answered, “We were taught the right tools, but ultimately what made us win was our diskarte [street smarts] approach, our ability to think outside the box.”

Aside from a trophy, the team was awarded $3500. The winnings will be used to support contestants in future competitions of UP’s industrial engineering students.


Friday, January 22, 2016

DOST Breakthroughs for 2015

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, January 22, 2016

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s promotion of an S&T “ecosystem” in the country started bearing fruit in 2015 and is likely to further benefit the economy with the ASEAN Economic Community now in effect.

Science Secretary Mario Montejo said such an ecosystem would make possible substantial investments in infrastructure as facilities and laboratories are set up to provide Filipino scientists and researchers a conducive environment for research and development.

“There is usually a question on what is the role of science and technology, why do you spend on S&T. This is not just here in the country but also elsewhere,” Montejo told The STAR. “For S&T to really have a role, it should help people, it should benefit people.”

These benefits, Montejo pointed out, come with breakthroughs achieved by scientists and researchers in their labs, workshops, and in the farms or fields. “We had some breakthroughs in 2015,” Montejo said.

He cited the irradiated carageenan fertilizer unveiled in field trials funded by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD). The collaboration between nuclear scientists and agriculturists was seen to boost resiliency of rice plants and increase yield by up to 65 percent.

“That’s just initially for rice… irradiation done with nuclear science. Our scientists from the PNRI (Philippine Nuclear Research Institute) worked with agriculturists and agri-scientists,” Montejo said.

The R&D for the “carra-vita” organic fertilizer was done by the PNRI while agriculturists and scientists from PCAARRD and UP Los Baños did the research, application and field trials in rice fields in Pulilan, Bulacan; Victoria and Los Baños in Laguna, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija and Iloilo.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala was excited about the partnership where his department will fund a program to distribute the “carra-vita” formula for free to rice farmers this 2016, Montejo said.

The P50-million program will benefit some 30,000 hectares of rice lands. Another flagship DOST R&D project, the Electric Road Train (ERT) was completed in 2015 to improve efficiency of public mass transport systems.

The assembly of the ERT prototype was finished in the second quarter of 2015, allowing the DOST to present the train during the National Science and Technology Week last October.

Montejo said the ERT may be adopted by the Department of Transportation and Communications whose secretary, Joseph Emilio Abaya came away impressed after a test ride.
Montejo pointed out that the Clark Development Corp. has asked the DOST to collaborate on a study to construct an ERT line at the Clark special economic zone.

Leading local construction firm D.M. Wenceslao, owner of Aseana City, has expressed interest in having an ERT line in the envisioned central business district.

The year 2015 saw the completion of infrastructure investments of the DOST to lay out buildings and laboratories to serve as facilities for design and innovation. Montejo, however, stressed that the facilities are not just buildings.

Testing centers, FICs, digital library

Raymund Liboro, DOST assistant secretary for plans and programs, pointed out that the DOST launched in 2015 several test facilities and innovation centers.

In January 2015, Die and Mold Solutions Center (DMSC) began offering modern infrastructure support services and capabilities that will connect firms involved in processing of raw materials with firms that convert these into the final product.

Last June, the Auto-Parts Testing Facility started to serve the local automotive parts manufacturing industry. The facility will serve as a testing center for local manufacturers so that expenses incurred overseas will be minimized.

Housed within the facility are more than 30 pieces of equipment performing different testing services for automotive and other metal-related industries, such as hardness measurement of metallic material and rubber, thickness measurement for base metal, simulated crash analysis, tire endurance and accelerated corrosion tests.

Last July saw the launch of the Electronics Product Development Center, a workshop for Filipino innovators with ideas for potential breakthrough gadgets.
Liboro said the DOST had also opened three regional Food Innovation Centers in 2015, bringing to six the total FICs.

Last September, Region 8 or Eastern Visayas FIC set up shop at the Eastern Visayas State University in Tacloban City, and Region 1 FIC at the Mariano Marcos State University S&T Park in Ilocos Norte.

Early in 2015, Region 2 FIC commenced operations at the Cagayan State University Carig campus in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Valley.

Montejo said the FICs have reportedly come up with 2,200 product innovations.
The DOST also bagged another international award in 2015. The digital library kiosk Starbooks won recognition as an innovative library project from the prestigious American Library Association.

The digital library is accessible with or without Internet connection. The citation was presented to Liboro and the DOST last June at the International Librarians Reception at the San Francisco Public Library in California.


Anna Bayle: Science and Modelling

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, January 22, 2016

Anna Bayle, born 1959 was the first real Asian Supermodel and nobody really knew what her educational background was nor her intellectual inclinations and capabilities.

Her secondary education was grounded in the sciences. She was a scholar at the Philippine Science High School, the premier among science high schools in the Philippines. Anna Bayle also earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Standing at 5’10” she was naturally a member of the UP Varsity Women’s basketball team. Early on in life Bayle showed a grounded and well-rounded personality that will serve her in good stead later on in life.

It was her basketball teammates that convinced her to join the Ms. Republic of the Philippines Beauty pageant in 1975. Although not fortunate to win the title, this proved to be her springboard when she managed to catch the attention of well known fashion designer Auggie Cordero who eventually became her mentor.

Anna Bayle had  to start as a replacement model in Hong Kong when she was 16 years old and tried her luck in New York where she was told that there was nothing for her there. She then went to Milan where her agent told her that there. She then went to Paris where she had only enough money to pay for 1 day in the hotel. She told the hotel staff that she intended to stay for a week!

From there, she never looked back, having worked for Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior, Theirre Mugler, Yves Saint Laurent among other notables. She was known to model 9 times a day when the average model had it only 2 times a day.

She joined the ranks of Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista as the three top supermodels of the 80s. The journey of Anna Bayle is proof that the Filipino have what it takes to make it in the real world. The discipline and structured thinking of a science background helped tremendously in strategies for her career.

Now, Anna Bayle reflects and that a woman should have done 3 things in her life:

1.    Plant a tree
2.    Have a child and
3.    Write a book

She already has a son and she said she is not yet ready for gardening. Anna Bayle will write a book for now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Doctor-less Emergency Rooms

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Health specialists in Dubai will soon be able to attend to patients remotely as Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launches the pilot phase of its first telehealth project.

The RoboDoc, that was first introduced in September last year at Hatta Hospital, promises to cut down on waiting times while allowing doctors to operate even when away from emergency rooms and will be introduced in the second phase. The doctor-on-wheels has already saved a few lives that could have been at risk if precious time was spent on transporting the patients from remote areas to Dubai for treatment.

The second RoboDoc has been installed in Nad Al Hammar primary healthcare centre. Introduction of the RoboDoc is also expected to reduce the burden on Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre which is among the busiest in the region.

"By connecting to Hatta, we can save time by an hour and half and bring it to 10 minutes," said Amani Al Jassmi, Director of Information Technology at the DHA.
"DHA is the first government health organisation in the region to implement telehealth. It can ensure consistent high quality of care, anytime, anywhere and any place due to the remote robot systems," she said.

"As part of the pilot, a robot has been placed in Hatta Hospital's emergency department and it is linked to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre. Multiple specialists from the Trauma Centre can provide immediate consultations for a patient in Hatta hospital. Thus, the RoboDoc will help reduce transfer of patients to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre."

Al Jassmi added that another robot has been place in the Nad Al Hammar Primary health care centre, which is a 24-hour health centre, and again this robot will be linked to Rashid Hospital's trauma centre, where specialties can provide immediate medical care.

"Telehealth is a boon especially in emergency cases, where time plays a critical role in saving a patient's life. Telehealth provides immediate access to consultation with specialists. In fact, through the robot, doctors can consult with two or more specialists in different health facilities at the same time to get immediate specialised consultation."

"For example, doctors from Hatta Hospital will be able to consult with a neurologist from Rashid hospital and a cardiologist from Dubai Hospital at the same time. Through this technology we are cutting down in time lapses, providing the patient will immediate access to specialised healthcare, improving medical efficiencies and thus improving the happiness index of our customers," she said.

Al Jassmi added that one robot was enough for each facility. The robots are designed by InTouch Health Technologies which is a company that pioneers in remote present robots systems to enable healthcare professionals to provide more effective and efficient healthcare by allowing them to be in two places at once.

Yulun Wang, Chairman and CEO of InTouch Health and Past Immediate Vice-President American Telemedicine Association said: "The challenge today for all healthcare organisations worldwide is how to deliver consistent high quality care at lower costs. Telehealth is the answer.... There have been many studies, which highlight that with the right technology telemedicine consultations are just as effective as in-person meetings. In fact, telemedicine consultations can be better than in-patient consultations as well because the computer helps the physician in real time. The computer analyses the images of the patient in real time and helps improve the diagnostic capabilities.

"For example, in dermatology, while the dermatologist examines a patient, the computer can look at the lesion or rash of the patient at the same time and can give the dermatologist suggestions on what the rash might be. A physician is limited by his eyesight but the computer can see and magnify the images. Therefore moving forward, telehealth will not only become a vital tool to provide medical care at any time and place but also a tool to improve diagnosis."
In future, DHA plans to extend the usage of RoboDocs to ICUs, NICUs and for further consultation purposes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Meet the 22-Year-Old Physics Genius That Harvard Believes is the Next Einstein

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski was only 14 years old when she stepped foot into MIT’s campus offices seeking approval one morning for the single-engine plane she built.

Fast forward eight years and the 22-year-old is now an MIT graduate and Harvard Ph.D. candidate interested in answering some of the most complex questions in physics, according to Yahoo.

The first-generation Cuban-American woman has already received job offers from Jeff Bezos, the founder of, and aerospace developer and manufacturer Blue Origin. NASA has also shown interest in the young physicist. Pasterski’s study seeks to explore black holes and spacetime and she is particularly concentrated on explaining gravity through the context of quantum mechanics.

Unlike many other young people her age, the Chicago native is not a fan of social media and has no Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram accounts. She doesn’t even own a smartphone. However, Pasterski does regularly update her website, PhysicsGirl, with her list of achievements and proficiencies.

Shockingly, Pasterski was waitlisted to MIT when she first applied. That was before MIT Professors Allen Haggerty and Earll Murman were shown a video of Pasterski building her airplane. Haggerty told Yahoo:

“Our mouths were hanging open after we looked at it. Her potential is off the charts.”

She was later accepted and graduated with a grade point average of 5.00, the school’s highest possible score. Her adviser, Harvard professor Andrew Strominger, who is publishing a paper with famed physicist Stephen Hawking, has high words of praise for Pasterski. She has also been granted thousands of dollars from Hertz Foundation, the Smith Foundation and the National Science Foundation to support her studies and work.

Of her love for physics, Pasterski told Yahoo:

“Physics itself is exciting enough. It’s not like a 9-to-5 thing. When you’re tired you sleep, and when you’re not, you do physics.”


Monday, January 18, 2016

Elliott Masie to Keynote GOAL Learning Summit 2016

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, January 18, 2016

The Global Online Association for Learning’s (GOAL) Learning Summit 2016 will have internationally renowned futrurist and analyst Elliott Masie as its keynote speker for the three day event. Mr. Masie is hailed as the second mot influential person in the Top 10 Movers and Shakers in eLearning worldwide. The international summit on global trends and innovations in learning will be held on February 16 to 18, 2016 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

Masie leads the 230 member coalition of global organizations committed in improving the field of learning. He is also the head of the MASIE Center, a New York based think-tank that focuses on learning and knowledge in the realm of workforce management.

Those who are also featured in the  Masie in the Learning Summit 2016 are the following: Philippines’ Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja- Elizalde, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Olivier Ochanine, Asian Development Bank Principal Knowledge Management Specialist Olivier Serrat, and St. Paul University Surigao President Sr. Marie Rosanne Mallillin.

Endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Learning Summit 2016 will gather experts in the fields of academic and corporate learning. Expected to attend are leaders in the education and enterprise sectors.

Learning Summit 2016 is endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and will be highlighted by experts in various fields of academic and corporate learning.

Key topics are Future-Proofing Learning, Dare to be Different: Unconventional Learning, Technology and Lifelong Learning, Pioneering Success: A Synergy of Innovation, Learning, and Technology, Social Learning and Television, The Arts and Kinesthetic Learning, Music as a Learning Catalyst, among others.

For more information, please contact Ms. Shiela Lopez at +632 775 0632 (local 8326) or email To register, click Learning Summit 2016. To get more details on the event, visit


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Filipino S&T entrepreneurs invited to showcase their ideas and startups in the GIST Tech-I Competition

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Attention young Filipino scientists, innovators and technopreneurs. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the U.S. Department of State is giving the opportunity to showcase ideas and start-ups the Science and Technology (S&T) fields in the 2016 Global Innovation through Science Technology (GIST) Technology Idea (Tech-I) Competition.

The GIST Tech-I Competition is held annually for S&T entrepreneurs from emerging economies worldwide. To qualify, participants should be from GIST eligible emerging economy and should be between 18-40 years old.

Once eligible, the required entries should have the following components:

1.    A summary consisting of one to two sentences describing the idea or the startup that would not exceed 100 words.
2.    An executive summary narrative that would not exceed 750 words and written in English. It should be completed online in the application tool.
3.    A 90-second promotional video that highlights the value and purpose of the product or service to the customers. The video should focus on the concept, product, or service being promoted and its potential market value. Examples of videos can be found here:

Up to thirty finalists can win a trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) this year in Silicon Valley to showcase their ventures and to receive intensive training. GIST Tech-I winners, selected by experts at the GES will win prizes and receive one-on-one mentorship and training.

For more information about the competition, visit:  and the GIST website:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Plastic From Thin Air

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Newlight Technologies Aircarbon

Humans produce 660 billion pounds of plastic a year, and the manufacturing process creates three times as much carbon dioxide by weight as actual plastic. “That’s an insane amount of material,” says Newlight Technologies CEO Mark Herrema. “Wouldn’t we be better off using plastic as a conveyor belt for capturing and sequestering carbon emissions instead?” That’s exactly what his company does.

Typically, plastic is made by exposing hydro­carbons from fossil fuels to tremendous pressure and energy. Newlight’s first commercial plant, in California, captures methane generated by a dairy farm’s waste lagoon and transports it to a bioreactor. There, enzymes combine the gas with air to form a polymer. The resulting plastic, called AirCarbon, performs identically to most oil-based plastics but costs less—creating a market-­driven solution to global warming. Companies have already signed on to use AirCarbon in their products, including KI desk chairs (pictured), Dell computer packaging, and Sprint smartphone cases. Newlight Technologies

 Source: Popular Science

Philippine Tech Predictions for 2016

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Last year was a roller-coaster ride for the tech industry with big stories, innovations and surprises. We think 2016 will be an equally exciting year as well. Here are our top five predictions for the year:

Telstra backs out of the Philippines. Much has been said about Telstra entering the Philippines but talks with San Miguel might not fall through and San Miguel could just go at it on its own under the name BellTel. That doesn’t mean Telstra is completely out of the picture. They could still partner with San Miguel at a later time, perhaps past 2016.

Unlimited Mobile Internet returns at a premium price. The year 2015 was the year we all saw unlimited mobile internet being wiped out of subscription plans. Globe was the first one to implement it and Smart followed suit after seeing the scheme was working (better ARPU and net income results). Now, subscribers are already used to the limit (1.5GB to 15GB per month). In 2016, we might see unlimited mobile internet make a comeback. Of course, it will be an upsell of the current volume plans and could go as high as P2,000 to P2,500 per month on top of your plan. This will be mostly targeted towards very heavy nomadic users that rely on mobile internet as their primary connection.

The $10 Android Smartphone. A sub-P500 smartphone that runs on Android is not a far-fetched possibility in 2016. It could be very basic, even running an older version like Jellybean but it will be much better than the regular feature phones that are still selling quite well. We already saw a P1,000 smartphone last month so it should just be a matter of time before a P500 Android handset emerges in the next 12 months.

Broadband Internet hits P500 a month. Believe it or not, prepaid dial-up internet is still popular these days. Users are mostly casual internet users that are frequently out for work and get access from the office. Their only use for prepaid dial-up internet is casual checking of email at a budget of P150 to P300 a month. A P500-a-month broadband internet (DSL or cable) will further take up the thinning dial-up market.

A local mobile brand will go public. There are actually a lot of local smartphone brands that are killing it in the market so it is not unlikely that one of them will go public. The likely candidates are either Cherry Mobile or MyPhone but our money is on CM as they’re currently on top of the heap. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) will help them expand their footprint in the region and scale up.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Waterproof, Rugged and Ready for Adventure: JBL Reveals the Clip 2 and Charge 3 Portable Speakers

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, January 11, 2016

With unprecedented playback times, next generation portable wireless speakers can “link” for a more surround sound experience

CES 2016, LAS VEGAS –HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE:HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, unveiled two new waterproof portable Bluetooth speakers: the JBL Clip 2 and JBL Charge 3 for high-quality, powerful sound with even more playback time than their popular predecessors.

The JBL Clip 2 packs big sound into an ultra-compact, versatile design that attaches anywhere using its new, smart carabineer. Its waterproof, rugged design and durable fabric casing make the JBL Clip 2 the ideal companion for hiking, camping or enjoying an afternoon by the water. Additionally, two JBL Clip 2s can be linked together to amplify the beat.  With eight hours of playtime, the best-in-class JBL Clip 2 is game for a full day on the slopes or in the sun.

Updated with a waterproof design, available in five colors and boasting up to 15 hours of playtime, the JBL Charge 3 energizes any party, rain or shine. The blend of the JBL Charge 3’s powerful sound performance and banging bass means a balanced listening experience across all genres from any Bluetooth-enabled device. It comes equipped with JBL Connect functionality to wirelessly link multiple JBL-Connect enabled speakers, like the JBL Xtreme, JBL Flip 3 and JBL Pulse 2 to amplify the listening experience. Still with a signature built-in USB port the JBL Charge 3 allows users to plug in and power phones and tablets without interrupting the listening experience.

“The Clip 2 and Charge 3 mix sound quality, portability and functionality to elevate all of life’s best experiences. We’re excited to bring the next generation of these popular products with longer playback, ‘link’ capabilities and waterproof durability to our customers,” said Michael Mauser, president, Lifestyle Division, HARMAN.

The latest additions to JBL’s growing family of portable speakers, JBL Clip 2 and JBL Charge 3 give music lovers powerful sound anywhere, anytime. JBL’s newest portable speakers include the Clip 2, Charge 3, Flip 3, Pulse 2 and Xtreme. All speakers seamlessly stream songs from smartphones or tablets and are equipped with noise and echo cancelling speakerphone for added convenience. Whether relaxing on the beach, camping on a mountainside or unwinding at home, JBL portable speakers elevate the experience through immersive audio.

 JBL Clip 2 Features

•    Wireless Bluetooth Streaming: Wirelessly stream high-quality sound from your smartphone or tablet

•    Rechargeable Battery: Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to 8 hours of playtime

•    Speakerphone: Take crystal clear calls from your speaker with a touch of a button - thanks to the noise and echo-free speakerphone

•    Built-in Carabiner: Hook the Clip 2 onto anything you see fit and take it on all your adventures

•    IPX7 Waterproof: No more worrying about rain or spills; you can even submerge the Clip 2 in water

•    Wireless Daisy Chain: You can wirelessly connect two Clip 2 speakers together to enjoy amplified sound

•    Integrated 3.5mm Audio Cable: If your music player does not have Bluetooth, plug the audio cable into it and enjoy your music all the same

•    Lifestyle Materials: The durable fabric material and rugged rubber housing allows your speaker to outlast all of your adventures

JBL Charge 3 Features

•    Wireless Bluetooth Streaming: Wirelessly connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing powerful stereo sound

•    6000mAH power bank: Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to 15 hours of playtime and charges smartphones and tablets via USB

•    Speakerphone: Take crystal clear calls from your speaker with the touch of a button thanks to the noise and echo-cancelling speakerphone

•    IPX7 Waterproof: No more worrying about rain or spills; you can even submerge Charge 3 in water

•    JBL Connect: Build your own ecosystem by connecting multiple JBL Connect enabled speakers together to amplify the listening experience

•    Lifestyle Materials: The durable fabric material and rugged rubber housing allows your speaker to outlast all of your adventures

•    JBL Bass Radiator: Hear the bass, feel the bass, see the bass. Dual external passive radiators demonstrate just how powerful your speakers are.

Pricing and Availability

The JBL Clip 2 and Charge 3 will be available on this Spring. The JBL Clip 2 retails for $59.95 and the JBL Charge 3 for $149.95. Each speaker is available one of five colors: Black, Grey, Blue, Teal and Red. For more information please visit

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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.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Microsoft to shut Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 next week

Posted By: The Mail Man - Thursday, January 07, 2016

Microsoft will no longer support versions 8, 9, and 10 of web browser Internet Explorer starting January 12, Tuesday, technology site The Next Web reported.

The report said a patch, KB3123303, will go live next week and reminded users of older versions of Internet Explorer to upgrade their browser.

“It’s great news for developers who still need to target older browsers — not needing to worry about whether or not modern CSS works in these browsers is a dream, and it’s much closer with this move,” the report said.

“End of life means the browsers will no longer receive security updates or any other kind of patches, leaving those running them wide open to new vulnerabilities in the future,” it added.

The Next Web also said Internet Explorer 11 was the last version of the browser left supported by Microsoft in transition to Edge on Windows 10.

“If you’re still using any version of Internet Explorer below 11, it’s time to upgrade now, before it’s too late,” the site said.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Diwata: The Dawn of the Philippine Space Agency

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Diwata, a 50-kg Earth Observation Microsatellite will be handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) this coming January 12, 2016.  Officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Hokkaido University (HU) and Tohoko University (TU) will conduct the handover for Diwata’s eventual launch into space. The DOST and the two Japanese universities have completed the assembly and testing of Diwata last December 15, 2015.

DOST Secretary Mario Go Montejo confirmed that the launch of Diwata will push through in the first quarter of 2016.

DOST Secretary Montejo disclosed that the uses of Diwata include improved weather detection and forecasts, disaster risk management, detecting agricultural growth patterns, and monitoring of the forest cover and of the territorial borders of the Philippines.

Diwata’s capabilities can be further developed to include a variety of uses with upgrades that will expand its applications further as the DOST Secretary added.

Currently, the two components of the DOST’s space program includes Diwata and the Philippine Earth Data Resources Observation (PEDRO) Center.

The three year (2015 – 2017) satellite program amounted to Php1.2 billion and was funded by DOST’s Philippine Council for Industrey, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) according to Dr. Carlos Primo David, PCIEERD executive director.

Although the Philippines have had satellites since the 1970s such as Palapa 1, Palapa 2, Agila 1 (de-orbited in 1998) and Agila 2 (bought by a private company in 2011), Diwata is the first microsatellite to be developed and assembled by Filipino scientists and engineers in cooperation with Japanese counterparts. 

“We, together with the two Japanese universities, will hand over the microsatellite to JAXA on Jan. 12,” Dr. David said.

Diwata will be sent by JAXA to the US where it will be launched from Florida or California where it will be carried to the International Space Station (ISS) that orbits 400 kms. above the Earth.

Sec. Montejo remarked that “Diwata marks a milestone in the Philippines space program.  DOST hopes it will hasten the establishment of a Philippine Space Agency”.

Currently, the Philippine Space Agency is still in the proposal stage to be based at the Mabuhay Satellite Corporation Subic Space Center together with the planned Philippine Earth Data Resources Observation Center.

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