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Showing posts from June, 2006

Who runs the University of the Philippines?

On the occasion of UP’s 98th year

The University of the Philippines is the biggest university in the Philippines in terms of programs offered, subsidy from the State, probably student population and its impact on the nation. In two years it will be celebrating its centennial and the nation will have to assess on the role of the university in the past, present and future.

Now the question is who really makes the university run? Without these people, one hundred years of UP would have been for naught. Of course the members of the faculty, some of which are famous, the non-academic staff and the students make the university run. But there is one thing that seems to be a major factor; many UP Integrated School (UPIS) graduates are employed by the university! Many are members of the faculty, and even more are members of the non-academic staff.

Now isn’t it silly for someone who has spent studying from kindergarten to high school then to college and some even to their PhDs in UP decide to stay…

On the repeal of the death penalty law

The Philippines Congress has approved a government bill repealing an earlier bill instituting capital punishment. While laudable, the problem is the public seems not to have been part of the debate. The Catholic Church of course was a leading party to the debate and so were organizations that represent victims of heinous crimes.

The death penalty has had a long history in human society. It is a logical extension of the individual’s right to self-defence. The theory was society being composed of individuals possesses the same right. While the intended act of self-defence is to protect life, the possible unintended effect is to destroy life. This principle is also extended to the concept of a “just war” and even why we have to slit the necks of innocent chickens if there is a threat of bird flu infections.

In the Catholic Catechism, the death penalty is discussed under the section on punishment. Punishment should result in the correction of the offender and if the offender accepts his/her…

High Summer

Conventional wisdom says that men usually peak in their mid- forties. Their mental powers, leadership abilities and their career and even sex appeal reaches a zenith and this is the so called “high summer” of a man’s life. This is maybe true for lawyers, physicians and other corporate types and professionals, notwithstanding writers and academics in the arts and literature.  In their forties these men have developed a certain respectability and authority.

But not for scientists. The truly great ones, Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Galileo and Alfred Russel Wallace have sealed their contributions to science in their mid-twenties to their mid-thirties. There is a painting of Galileo in his 40th year, showing a man, proud and confident  knowing that his contribution (made in his early 30s) was secure (He had figured out and mathematically described the Principle of Inertia. And a few years later he would discover Jupiter’s moons using a telescope). His tiff with the Church had started but the…