Saturday, September 20, 2008

Climate Change Controversy

Contrary to common notion, science does not always arrive at conclusions as absolute truths. Although concrete empirical evidences are the best proofs, the interpretations of these proofs are subject to consensus. In spite of the rigorous testing, experimentation, data collection, and peer reviews, scientific theories are not always established as facts. There are some scientific issues that remain to be controversial. It seems that scientists are divided into camps when it comes to some important issues. The issue of climate change is one of the hotly debated issues today. Although all scientists agree that there is indeed significant change in the climate, they do not agree on what is causing it.

However, most experts assert that the main cause of global warming can be traced to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuel. On the other hand, there are some heretics that oppose this human factor theory. These scientists also have their voluminous pile of confirmable data to support their assertions. They are pointing out to the fact that the earth had already undergone dramatic climate changes in the past, long before humans existed. Some factors that are being examined for periodic and dramatic climate change are the sun’s activity, ocean’s currents, volcanic activities, and cosmic rays. It has also been noted that the correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide and high global temperature and other greenhouse gases may not necessarily have a cause and effect relationship. At worst, the cause and effect relationship might be reverse. The high temperature is causing greenhouse gases from natural sources to be released into the atmosphere.

Since Al Gore and the IPCC have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, the world awareness on climate changed has risen. The efforts of Al Gore to propagate climate change awareness have earned him global recognition as a serious environmental advocate. His most notable work was the film documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Although the film itself has received international awards, there are some critics who pointed out the obvious biases in the way the film documentary was presented. Some critics dismissed the film as an outright propaganda material and money-making venture to further Al Gore’s political agenda. The film documentary fed on the fears of people by presenting a doomsday scenario. The supposedly scientific facts presented were grossly exaggerated and misleading. Some theories and assumptions were even presented as facts. Al Gore might have political agenda under his sleeves but the recognition of his efforts has resulted in global awareness and actions. Al Gore became the high-priest and global preacher of the gospel about climate change. Some politicians are now riding in the bandwagon.

In the Philippines, the politician most notable for riding with the bandwagon of climate change politics is Governor Joey Sarte Salceda of the province of Albay. He even formed an office that will focus on his policies related to climate change. This office is the Center for Initiatives and Research in Climate Change Adaptation (CIRCA). Like Al Gore, Governor Salceda is not an expert on climate change. He is not even a noted environmentalist. He is an expert in economics. Whatever the real intention of Governor Salceda in his present environmental advocacy, it seems that it is benefiting Albay Province. This province is now declared as the pilot province for a national program on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Funds poured in the province as a result. The areas of agriculture, infrastructure, and education are the concerns of the said program. National and international conferences were already held in Albay regarding climate change. Since the devastation of typhoon Reming in 2006, climate change has become a real issue in Albay that is now being addressed. Hopefully, the people of Albay are the ones that will truly benefit from the initiatives of the local government. On the other hand, if Governor Salceda is really serious in proving his sincerity about his environmental cause, perhaps it would not be a very big sacrifice if he will give up his cigarette smoking.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time in a Bottle

by Jim Croce
(Download MP3)

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with....

This song is one of my favorite folk songs written and sung by Jim Croce (1943-1973). This song seems to be a romantic love song but this song was actually written by Croce for his son. The song became the number one hit in the music charts three months after Croce tragically died in a plane crash. The song is sentimental but also philosophical. It expresses the love of the singer but also his wishful thinking. It tells something about the evanescence of time. In some ways, the song seemed to have been a premonition of Croce's impending death.

YouTube Video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Paul Potts Sings Opera

His name sounds more like the name of a former Cambodian dictator. No, he is not a genocidal Khemer Rouge leader. He is not even Cambodian. He is British. Far from being a megalomaniac tyrant, Paul Potts is a shy and unassuming man. He is a mobile phone salesman-turn-opera singer. His name might sounds like the name of the notorious PolPot but his voice sounds more like Pavarotti. He is the winner of the Britain's Got Talent t.v. show -- the British version of American Idol. Even the unapolegetic and quintessential snob, Simon the Cynical-Critic, was impressed by Paul's performance. Watch this video of his audition performance. The judges and audience were stunned by this unassuming man. Some even broke into tears upon hearing him sing Nessun Dorma.

Here is the video clip of Paul Potts audition:

YouTube Video:

The story of Paul Potts' success is a classic example of the "Do not judge the book by its cover" maxim. Many have underestimated Paul when he stood on the stage to audition. He looked nervous and not very confident. However, when he started to sing, the audience was simply blown away by the power of his voice.