Did you ever stop to notice

All the blood we’ve shed before

Did you ever stop to notice

The crying Earth the weeping shores?

People kill and destroy for what? For gain? For money? For power? And doesn’t even look back, think, reflect on the consequences and effects that these actions has caused. Just look at the state of the world today, countless of problems has been raised that could possibly end the human race; and man is still uncivilized as before. The Earth Song’ by Michael Jackson is like Mother Earth talking back, a cry of help to whoever could hear it. Asking for the people to see what the world has become, what humankind have become.

I used to dream

I used to glance beyond the stars

Now I don’t know where we are

Although I know we’ve drifted far

The whole song has a beautiful message to it but the text above that got through me. It’s like everything is gone. No more hopes and dreams. No more tomorrow. Nothing’s  left for the generations to come because humankind had already destroyed it. But this isn’t the world we have come and known. Our planet earth was once full of life. This was once our utopia. There’s a part on the music video where the people were reminiscing the past, do we need to reach that period in time when all we could do is regret that we didn’t do anything while time allowed us to?

People need to stop expecting others to make things right again. Pollution, hunger, wars, and the like will continue unless we put a stop to it. So we must stop wasting what we still have and start helping for the betterment; And make our planet earth a better place. We are the world and we must act now.

Link to the music video: Michael Jackson – Earth Song

Checked by Prof. Crisencio Paner

The universe is such a curious place. Even at this age and time, nature still finds a way to surprise us. If there is such a thing as the “7 Wonders of the World”, let me introduce to you the “7 Most Spectacular Natural Phenomena“.

*Note that none of the pictures are mine but were found with the use of Google.

Ice Circles

               These strange circles that appear on frozen surfaces in lakes are called ice disc, ice circle, or ice pan. Ice circle, which is a thin and circular slab of ice that rotate slowly in the water, is a natural phenomenon that occurs in slow moving water in cold climates. They have been mostly spotted in Scandinavia and North America but are occasionally observed as far as south in England and Wales. They usually vary in size but mostly are more than 4 meters or 13 feet in diameter. One of the earliest recordings of this phenomenon is of a slowly revolving disc was found on the Mianus River which was on Westchester County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut, in the United States. It was reported in a 1895 edition of “Scientific American”, a popular science magazine in the United States.

Methane emissions can create a rising mass of warm water that begins swirling in a circular pattern because of the Coriolis force, or the phenomenon caused by the Earth’s rotation that also helps create cyclones. “Once the water mass reaches the underside of the ice on the surface of the lake, the warm water melts the ice in a ring shape,” said Marianne Moore, a marine ecologist at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. According to an article in ‘Live Science’, methane gas rising from the lake floor is the cause.

 GravityWaves

                    Gravity is the attractive force that holds our feet to the ground and keeps planets in orbit around stars. So gravity waves are generated in a fluid medium or at the interface between two that uses the force of gravity. The pattern of a Gravity Wave which is caused by air displaced in the vertical plain is considered a result of updrafts coming off the mountains or during thunderstorms. A wave pattern will only be generated when the updraft air is forced into a stable air pocket. The upward momentum of the draft triggers into the air pocket causes changes in the atmosphere, altering the fluid dynamics. Nature then tries to restore the fluid changes within the atmosphere, which present in a visible oscillating pattern within the cloud.

Aurora Borealis 

                      Aurora is a natural light in the sky in the high latitude regions which are caused by collision of energetic charged particles with atoms. Aurora borealis or also called the Northern Lights, are natural phenomena which features alluring colored lights on the night’s skies. In 1621, Pierre Gassendi, a French scientist, was the first person to saw the said lights in the north. He named it after ‘Aurora’, the Roman goddess of dawn and ‘Boreas’, the Roman God of the north wind. Aurora borealis are formed from millions of explosions of electrically charged particles in the solar wind. Photons are released from the collision which results for it to glow. Its shape differs but they sometimes appear in a dull glow, arcs, swirls or streaks across the sky called “curtains” that always run east-west, moving and changing constantly. The color on the other hand is mostly green but differs from the distance of the collision from the earth’s surface. The higher it is, more intense the color gets; which turns into red or purple. Aurora borealis can cause power disruptions in satellite communications and in radio and television broadcasts though it doesn’t affect the life on earth.

Green Flashes

                    Green flashes or emerald flashes are optical phenomena, an observable event that results from the interaction of light and matter. The green rays happen shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when a greenspot is visible for less than a second or two above the sun which could be observed from any altitude. It is enhanced by a mirage that increases the density gradient in the atmosphere. Sometimes, one might see a blue flash but it is favourable scattered out of the line of sight, thus making the end look green. On the 1882 novel, “Le Rayon Vert” Jules Verne popularized the green flash, describing it as:

“A green which no artist could ever obtain on his palette, a green of which neither the varied tints of vegetation nor the shades of the most limpid sea could ever produce the like! If there is a green in Paradise, it cannot be but of this shade, which most surely is true green of Hope.”

Maelstrom

 Maelstrom is a very powerful and large whirlpool, a swirling body of water produced by the meeting of opposing currents. It is a free vortex when fluid is drawn down a plug-hole; it has considerable downdraft, vertical movement of air as a weather related phenomenon. Tales about maelstrom like in Paul the Deacon, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe are all fictional because in real life, there have never been any reports of large ships being sunk but smaller craft are in danger.

Penitentes

                      “On March 22, 1835, he had to squeeze his way through snowfields covered in penitentes near the Piuquenes Pass, on the way from Santiago de Chile to the Argentinian city of Mendoza, and reported the local belief (continuing to the present day) that they were formed by the strong winds of the Andes.” This is the first description of penitentes in literature by Darwin in 1839. Penitentes or nieves penitents meaning ‘shaped snows’ in Spanish, are snow formation found at high altitudes. They are shaped like tall thin blades of hardened ice closely spaced with the blades oriented towards the general direction of the sun; and its height could be same with a person. Noted by Louis Lliboutry, an early French glaciologist, geographer and mountaineer, ‘the cause of its formation is that the dew point is always below freezing. Thus, snow will sublimate because sublimation requires a higher energy input than melting. Once the process of differential ablation starts, the surface geometry of the evolving penitente produces a positive feedback mechanism, and radiation is trapped by multiple reflections between the walls. The hollows become almost a black body for radiation, while decreased wind leads to air saturation, increasing dew point temperature and the onset of melting. In this way peaks, where mass loss is only due to sublimation, will remain, as well as the steep walls, which intercept only a minimum of solar radiation. In the troughs ablation is enhanced, leading to a downward growth of penitentes.’

Fire Rainbow

                    Fire Rainbows is one the rarest of all naturally occurring phenomena. It looks like a rainbow on fire but it’s not a rainbow and is not even related to fire. It’s called a circumhorizontal arc, an optical phenomenon; the clouds needed to be cirrus and at least 20,000 feet up in the air formed by plate-shaped ice crystals, the sun also hitting the clouds at 58 degrees. It is also known as ‘lower symmetric 46 degrees plate arc’ that is caused by light passing through wispy, high altitude clouds. The refraction of the light causes it to separate from its “white” form to its different component. It is essential that the crystal is aligned because the light will not separate into a rainbow-like-color. If the alignment is accurate then the cirrus cloud will explode into the fire rainbow.

References:

Hsu, Jeremey (01, June 2009). Mystery of Giant Ice Circles Resolved. Live Science. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://www.livescience.com/5472-mystery-giant-ice-circles-resolved.html

Ice Circles. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_circle

Yong, Vincent (16, June 2012). Gravity Waves- Most Fascinating Natural Phenomena. Mystery. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://mystery.bf-1.com/mystery-nature/gravity-waves-most-fascinating-natural-phenomena

Effron, Lauren. What is the Aurora Borealis?. Discovery. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://news.discovery.com/space/aurora-northern-lights-space-phenomena.html

Green Flash. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_flash

Maelstrom. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maelstrom

Penitentes. Retrieved June 23, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penitentes

10 Incredible Images of Fire Rainbows. Retrieved June 24, 2012 from http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-10-incredible-fire-rainbow-images?image=6

The Fire Rainobw An Astonishing and Rare Marvel of Nature. Arts on Earth. Retrieved June 24, 2012 from http://artsonearth.com/2008/11/fire-rainbow-astonishing-and-rare.html

Checked by Prof. Crisencio Paner

*Feel free to leave your comments/opinions. cheers!x

Global Warming / Climate Change

The definition as stated in Wikipedia is that, “Global warming is the rising average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation.” Since then the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C or 1.4 °F. The term “global warming” and “climate change” are being used interchangeably. Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. However, people often use “global warming” as it remains popular in the public discourse.

Cause?

The main cause of climate change is the unlimited burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas which releases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a very fast pace. Carbon dioxide is the main driver for the greenhouse effect. It makes the greenhouse gases that keep the Earth warm get thicker and thicker that poses an exceptional threat to the environment and anyone who inhabits it. According to the International Energy Agency, the biggest climate polluter is the global power sector that generates around 40% of all global electricity from coal. It is responsible for the 37% of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Impact to Us

Greenhouse gases on the atmosphere are greatly increasing because of human activities thus climate change also affects people and nature in countless ways; and it often adds the existing problems that have already put pressure on our environment. Climate change has made irreversible changes to the ecosystems and animals. The changes that are happening maybe too fast for the ecosystems and species to adjust that will lead to extinction. Climate change has great impact on our water, forests, food security, and agriculture. Some countries, especially the world’s small island nations may face obliteration from climate change and rising sea levels.

Effect on the Philippines

Philippines, a country that usually suffer from extreme weather events that leads to high death toll and economic losses. It’s a country that sits on the earthquake-prone Ring of Fire, on the path of typhoons that form in the western Pacific, visited by 20 storms per year, and has the biggest number of meteorological events recorded at 270. Philippines lost $660 million every year from the disasters. According to Germanwatch, a climate and development organization that analysed data from 1991 to 2010:

“This year’s analysis underlines that less developed countries are generally more affected than industrialized countries, according to the Climate Risk Index. With regard to future climate change, the Climate Risk Index can serve as a warning signal indicating past vulnerability which may further increase in regions where extreme events will become more frequent or more severe through climate change.”

Philippines, a hotspot for climate change disaster especially the danger for our agricultural resources because of severe El Nino and tropical typhoons. The spread of infectious diseases such as dengue, fever, malaria, cholera have also increased throughout the years. Climate change also strikes on the coastal zones and marine ecosystems that led to coral bleaching and fish kills. With global warming scientists warned that the Philippines could have a widespread scarcity of food by the year 2020.

What now?

By 2050, the WWF believe that all the energy needed could be attained from renewable sources. Renewable energy is generated from natural sources like water, wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal that shall replace the world’s dependence on fossil fuel based energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. This will solve most of the problems in climate change and fossil fuel resources. But there are ways a person could do everyday to help prevent climate change, according to an article in ‘Earth 911’, here are some ways to do so:

  • Change a light- Replacing a regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent one saves 150 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
  • Drive less- Walk, bike, carpool, take mass transit, and/or trip chain. All of these things can help reduce gas consumption and one pound of carbon dioxide for each mile one do not drive.
  • Recycle more and buy recycled- Save up to 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each year just by recycling half of your household waste. By recycling and buying products with recycled content you also save energy, resources and landfill space.
  • Check your tires- Properly inflated tires mean good gas mileage. For each gallon of gas saved, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide are also never produced.
  • Use less hot water- It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Reducing the amount used means big savings in not only your energy bills, but also in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Avoid products with a lot of packaging- Preventing waste from being created in the first place means that there is less energy wasted and fewer resources consumed. Reducing your garbage by 10% reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 1,200 pounds.
  • Adjust your thermostat- Keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer not only helps with your energy bills, but it can reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well.
  • Plant a tree- A single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.
  • Turn off electronic devices when not in use- Simply turning off your TV, VCR, computer and other electronic devices can save each household thousand of pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

References:

Global Warming. Retrieved June 16, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

Climate Change. Retrieved June 16, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

Alave, Kristine L.(2011, December 5). Study: Philippines among countries most affected by climate change. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 16, 2012, from http://globalnation.inquirer.net/20237/study-philippines-among-countries-most-affected-by-climate-change

What Can I Do To Help Prevent Climate Change? (2007). Retrieved June 16, 2012, from http://earth911.com/news/2007/04/02/what-can-i-do-to-help-prevent-climate-change/

The author would like to thank the guidance of her NatSci professor:

CRISENCIO M. PANER
CP : 0915-1429675 Email : panercris@gmail.com

EDUCATION

•Ph.D. in Biological Science (candidate) in University of Santo Tomas, Graduate School
•M.S. Microbiology in University of Santo Tomas
•Italian Scholarship Grant in Restoration and Conservation of Artworks Attacked by Biological Agents at Istituto Centrale Per Il Restauro, Rome, Italy (January 1-June 30, 2004)
•B.S. Biochemistry in University of Santo Tomas
•Professional Teaching Certification Program (Major in Biological Science) in Caloocan City Polytechnic College

PUBLICATIONS

Book: Co-author in LET Reviewer in Biology, 2006-2010 eds. Published by MET Inc. ISBN # 97193249-6-1, sold in National Bookstores
Articles:
•Understanding Museum Pests: The Molds. CFAD Atelier Journal, University of Santo Tomas, Vol. 2 No. 1, 2003-2004, pp. 80-83
•On the Conservation of 20th Century Color Photographs Attacked by Molds. CFAD Atelier Journal, UST., Vol. 2 No. 1, 2003-2004, pp. 106-113
•Witnessing the Glory of Italy in Its Art History and Ancient Spaces. CFAD Atelier Journal, UST, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2004-2005, pp. 55-72
•_______________. Panorama Magazine, November 13, 2005, pp. 12, 13, & 21.
•Deterioration of Paintings and Painting Components Caused by Microorganisms. CFAD Atelier Journal, UST., Vol. 3 No. 1, 2004-2005, pp. 91-94
•Microbial Deterioration of Painting Materials. CFAD Atelier Journal, UST., Vol. 3 No. 1, 2004-2005, pp. 94-97.
•Conservation of Paintings Attacked by Molds. In College Freshman English Book II. Agalabia, U., Aranda, R., et. al., pp. 124-125, UST Publishing House, 2004
•Today’s Restoration Establishments. CFAD Atelier Journal, UST., Vol. 4 & 5 No. 1, 2005-2006 & 2006-2007, pp. 95-99

RESEARCH WORK

•Indoor Air Quality of Beato Angelico Building of the University of Santo Tomas -Commissioned by UST (Nov. 2009-May 2010)

WORK EXPERIENCE

•Instructor 5, CFAD, IPEA, Pharmacy, CTHM, University of Santo Tomas SY 1995-Present
•Part Time Instructor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help College, Manila
Subjects taught: Food Microbiology (Lecture and Laboratory)
•Part Time Instructor, St. Paul’s College, Quezon City
•Part Time Instructor, Unciano Colleges and General Hospital, Inc., Manila

More About Prof. Cris Paner here.

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