FOUR PILLARS OF MODERN COMPUTING: It was bound to happen, and the time has come for it to happen. Perhaps not too long ago, the field of medicine has been “taken over” by cloud computing, and from here onward, things will not be the same. Cloud computing is one of the pillars of modern computing. The other three pillars are broadband, big data and server virtualization. The field of medicine is not the only one that has been “taken over”. Practically every field of human activity could benefit from these four pillars.
CLOUD COMPUTING: Before cloud computing came along, companies or organizations had to put up their own data centers either in their own premises, or offsite in hosted facilities. That approach would entail a lot of capital expenses, investments that would go to waste as soon as the machines are depreciated. Because of cloud computing however, any company or organization could use the data centers of cloud service providers in remote locations. The internet cloud is neither a place nor a state of being, as many would try to describe heaven. In a manner of speaking, the internet cloud is the totality of computing power somewhere and everywhere, for everyone to use as long as they could afford it.
BIGGER BANDWIDTH: The bigger the bandwidth, the faster is the connectivity. From the very slow dial-up connectivity, we moved up to the not so slow digital service line (DSL) connectivity. Fast forward, many areas are now moving up to fiber connectivity. From that point on and onward, things will also not be the same. Broadband is the “juice” that enables us to transmit voice, text and data faster and better, the latter in terms of being more stable and more reliable. Because of broadband, we are now able to transmit or view larger files, and that includes big data.
BIG DATA: It could be said that big data has always been there, but until now the technology did not exist to mine all of it and to analyze all of it. Yes, the size of big data has always been there, but what is new is the ability of new technologies to read data, to fetch data deep down into the data assets, in ways that has not been done before. In layman terms, this would include every piece of data that has ever been recorded about a medical patient, no matter how many and how widespread it is. For example, that would include x-ray files and cardiograph files.
SERVER VIRTUALIZATION: Before virtualization came along, many servers were needed to provide the computing power of data centers. As it is now however, data centers including those in the internet cloud would need lesser servers. That means having more computing power with lesser expenses. This new technology is also good for the environment, because with lesser servers, lesser energy would be needed. In a related development, data storage space has been “divorced” from the servers, so much so that these are now scalable.
FROM BUYING HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE TO BUYING SERVICES: Because of cloud computing, companies could now buy offsite services without buying hardware and software. Actually, clients could now buy “Software as a Service” (SaaS), instead of simply buying software licenses. This approach is directly related to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). More than ever, anything and everything could be outsourced now, and even the BPO companies could outsource their own computing needs to internet cloud service providers.
NETWORK-ABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: Technically speaking, any machine that has a processor, a keypad and a display is a computer. That is why I always say that an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is a computer, and so is a Point of Sale Terminal (POST). Given that definition, any digital medical equipment is a computer, including dialysis machines and x-ray machines. I have known this all along, but I never thought that all digital medical equipment could be networked. As I see it now, the state of the present technology has surpassed my own imagination because the equipment could not only be networked now, these could also be located in the internet cloud, thus eliminating the need for on-site machines.
LEVELING THE HOSPITAL FIELD: Because of cloud computing, any hospital big or small could now have access to all kinds of medical equipment and devices, no matter where they are, for as long as they could connect to the internet. Before cloud computing came along, only the big hospitals could afford to buy the big pieces of equipment, thus subjecting the quality of medical services to the availability of big capital. The field has now been leveled for the good of all.
THE KEYPAD IS IN THE DISPLAY: Before smart alecks would argue with me about what I said, I will say it first, that the keypad in the tablets and the smart phones is in the display. Therefore, there is still a keypad (or a keyboard) in these devices, except that it is already in the display (or the screen). What is most important in these devices is now really the keypad, but the processor that makes it possible for the software and the applications to work.
MOBILE APPS VERSUS WEB BROWSERS: Apps and browsers are completely different from each other, although they could work alongside each other. Apps are software applications that are “native” to the devices. Apps “talk” to the servers to fetch data when needed, but most application features are already in the devices. On the other hand, browsers are simply “readers” (or surfing tools) so to speak. Browsers actually “read” data from a website, meaning to say that the data in this case is “native to” or are “residing” in the site that is offsite.
THE MOUNTAIN GOES TO MOHAMMED: Simply put, Mohammed no longer has to go to the mountain, because the mountain now goes to him, figuratively speaking. That’s a big wow!
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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has classified an additional 206 caves, bringing to 364 the total number of caverns considered as part of the nation’s natural wealth and therefore require sustainable management and conservation.
The classification, according to DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, was pursuant to Republic Act No. 9072, or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act, which mandates the agency to formulate, develop and implement a national program to conserve, protect and manage caves and cave resources.
“Caves are non-renewable resources with unique, natural features that offer significant scientific, educational, economic and aesthetic value and form part of our historical and cultural heritage,” Paje pointed out.
He added: “Caves can also be used for our enjoyment, but only to a certain extent. Classifying caves accordingly will thus help define which human activities are allowed within these areas so that we can preserve them in their pristine state, or improve them if necessary.”
Under DENR Memorandum Circular 2014-03, the newly classified caves are found in 11 regions, with Region 2 having the most number of caves at 101, followed by Region 11 with 30 caves.
Among the provinces, Cagayan has the most number of caves with 83, while Davao del Norte was far second with 18 caves.
Caves are classified into three categories or classes. “Class I” caves are characterized with delicate and fragile geological formations, may be habitats of threatened species, provide archaeological values and possess extremely hazardous conditions. As such, activities allowed in these caves are limited to mapping, photography, educational and scientific purposes.
The DENR circular has listed 21 Class I caves, including the Masi Cave in Adams, Ilocos Norte, the Pagulayan Cave within the Peñablanca Protected Landscape in Cagayan, and the Santol Cave in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.
“Class II” caves have sensitive geologic values or high quality ecosystems, as well as portions with hazardous conditions. As such, they may be closed seasonally or permanently, or may be open only to experienced cavers or guided educational tours. The famous Sohoton Cave in Samar Island Natural Park is one of 154 Class II caves identified in the circular.
“Class III” caves are safe for inexperienced yet guide-accompanied visitors, as these do not contain known threatened species or geological or historical values. These caves may also be utilized when appropriate for economic purposes such as extraction of guano (bat waste) and collection of edible bird nests.
There are 30 such caves under the new list, among them the Aglipay Cave 5 in the Quirino Protected Landscape, and the Mat-i Cave 2 in Baganga, Davao Oriental.
Classification of caves is continuously being undertaken by the DENR. The new list, however, contains 86 caves, mostly located in Cagayan province, assessed and classified by the National Museum for their archaeological or historical value, and 15 in Palawan province by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.
Upon classification, the DENR field offices oversee the preparation of a management plan on related ecotourism, scientific, educational and economic activities.
The approved plan is implemented by the Protected Area Management Board for caves within protected areas (PAs), or in coordination with the concerned local government unit and land owner for those outside PAs.
The rebirth of a Philippine world-class product
By Allysa Faye Greganda
By 2020, the world’s need for cacao beans is projected to increase by 30%, yet the country’s production has yet to meet the demand. If our cacao industry can do so, then there is hope for the Philippine agricultural sector.
While Filipinos crave for imported chocolates, better think again: first-rate quality cocoa can be grownin your backyard. It is the same reason why the Department of Agriculture keeps an eye on this delectable opportunity for the country’s agri-production.
This month, DA just handed an initial P14M for cacaoagri-business zones (CABZs) in Davao City.
Being endowed with such perfect soil composition and sun temperature, the Philippine’s cacao industry is a potential big exporter—only if more farmers would invest into it.
The truth is, cacao seeds do not grow in thewestern countries known to produce these mouth-watering chocolates, including Japan. Raising cacao trees haveclimatic requirements.
Rainfall should range from 1250 to 3000 mm per annum while 1500-2000 mm during dry season of not more than 3 months. Maximum temperature is 32°C and the minimum is 18°C. Altitude of the area must lie between 300-1200 meters above sea level.
Cacao thrives best in areas with evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. As of now, cacao plantations can be found in the areas of Mindanao specially Davao and CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) in Luzon.
The cacao industry has never grown into its full potential. Moreover, we even import 20,000 metric tons of cocoa beans from Africa last 2008 up to this date, costing $42 million a year.
During 1980s, Philippines has shared 20% of the world’s need for cocoa. The industry declinedaltogether with the rise of CARP.
Discovering these lost chances, the DA and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) made partnerships with different companies to help boost cacao farming in the country.
BAR also collaborated with Cocoaphil for the Sustainable Cacao Program. The target now is to be able to produce 100,000 metric tons by 2020 from our usual production of 25,000 metric tons yearly.
As for the initial funding, P1.75 million has been allotted for the distribution of seedlings.
P2.5 million goes for production equipment’s and machinery. Post-harvest facilities and other infrastructure costs P6.22 million, marketing development services amounts to P200,000, while P615,000 budget allotted in training for new and current cacao industry players.
Made in the Philippines
“Dry like a full bodied well-aged red wine,” these were the words Shawn Askinosie of the world’s famous Zingerman’s Deli said to describe the Philippine Tablea (chocolate).
So far, there had been few who attempts in making it into the exporting world—all by themselves. Rob Crisostomo started as a simple farmer then eventually founded the Seed Core Enterprises in Davao.
He now exports container load of Philippine cacao to Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest supplier of high quality chocolate and cacao products. It just proves that cacao made in the Philippines is globally competitive.
This will not only give glory to the country but also provide livelihood for many families.
The secret of Philippine cacao beans is in how our farmers carefully process the seedlings from planting, harvesting and even in quality control phase. Filipino women are the usual laborers in cacao plantations. DA said that this type of farming is gender-sensitive, that is why women are the preferred laborers.
As of now, there are 20,000 hectares of cacao trees in Davao, and 70% of the annual production of the crop come from the same province. The industry has helped 16,000 farmers and 340 cooperatives, according to Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.
Indeed, this industry has becoming a good source of livelihood for most Filipinos in the South.
It is a wise decision for DA to finally revive the cacao industry. This can even lift the country into poverty. We should focus more into utilizing our lands because the Philippines’climate and environment has the perfect set up for growing such crops.
Our true wealth is our agriculture because not all countries are capable of producing crops such as cacao beans. Our government has to realize that prosperity in our country does not merely relyon just ICT, business empires and technology.
It will be beneficial for the country’s economy if the budget allocation for this industry is increased.
(Ms. Greganda is a graduating student of AB Communication in the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna. She is currently working in OpinYon as an intern. She also loves sweets, including chocolate.)
Good news for photography enthusiasts: Samsung finally launched the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom.
Along with its unusual camera lens, it offers a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization that can go from a focal length of 24mm to 240mm in just a snap.
It is pretty versatile for those who love to capture selfies, food, landscapes, concerts and other events.
K Zoom runs with the latest 4.4.2 KitKat version of Android OS and TouchWiz interface. There are several new enhancements on this device,including GoogleNow,an application that actively listens to voice commands.
It is also power-driven by a hexa-core processor made up of two 1.7GHz ARM A15 cores paired with four 1.3 GHz ARM A7 cores.
That means this smartphone has improved performance and will use power more efficiently,while being easy on battery life.
Techies will probablyraise their expectationsfor smartphone technology done by other big-name manufacturers, because Samsung has raised the bar with this new product line. (Niks Aguila)
A new study on milk and diet has found that high levels of dairy calcium and serum vitamin D in milk can lead to greater weight loss.
The new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined over a period of two years more than 300 men and women, aged 40-65, who were overweight or at risk of putting on excess weight.
Even with allowance for variables such as age, gender, baseline Body Mass Index and total fat intake, the study concludes that an increased intake of milk – for those already on diets – led to greater weight loss.
The British Dental Health Foundation, the leading oral health charity in the United Kingdom, was quick to say that dentists have been saying all along that milk and water are the only two safe drinks when it comes to maintaining good teeth and general oral health.
Milk, which contains significant amounts of saturated fat, protein and calcium as well as vitamin C, has been reported to reduce the risk of many diseases in babies. Cow milk contains, on average, 3.4 percent protein, 3.6 percent fat, and 4.6 percent lactose, 0.7 percent minerals and supplies 66 kilo calories of energy per 100 grams.
The largest producers of dairy products and milk today are India followed by the United States, Germany and Pakistan.
The top 10 per capita consumers of cow milk and cow milk products in the world are Finland, Sweden, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur in 1863 invented pasteurization, a method of killing harmful bacteria in beverage and food products. Pasteurization kills harmful microorganisms by heating the milk for a short time and then cooling it for storage and transportation.
Ultra pasteurization, or ultra-high temperature treatment (UHT on your milk labels), heats the milk to a higher temperature for a shorter time that the standard process. This extends its shelf life and allows the milk to be stored unrefrigerated because of the longer lasting sterilization.
“It is not clear if a greater intake of milk and calcium itself helped to increase weight loss, or if it could be down to a reduced calorie intake caused by replacing sugar containing fizzy drinks with milk,” observed Dr. Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation.
But if knowing that milk consumption leads to weight loss encourages more adults to swap sodas and fruit juices for milk, “then in terms of oral health it is definitely a good thing,” he said.
Reducing the intake of drinks that contain high levels of sugar will protect teeth against decay, and drinking less fizzy drinks will help decrease risks of dental erosion, he said in a press statement.
“People often do not realize that it is how often sugar occurs in a diet, rather than how much sugar, that makes the difference to the condition of the teeth,” Dr. Carter pointed out.
“Each time someone eats or drinks something containing sugar, their teeth are under attack for an hour, before the balance in the mouth is corrected,” he said. “Minimizing how often these attacks occur is a vital part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums,” said Dr. Carter whose foundation is an advocate of brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, and visiting a dentist as often as recommended.
By Nicole Ann M. Aguila
A virus threat is something to be alarmed about, because it may not only occur in the Middle East, but also spread around the globe. Filipinos might think that we would not become susceptible to this kind of illness. But that is not true, because we are not superhuman. Infection by the said virus is always possible, especially because migration from country to country happens on a regular basis.
These past few weeks, the MERS-CoV-related news doesn’t fail to pop up on the news headlines. This deadly virus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has already taken 27 lives out of 49 infected individuals.
Last August 29, 2013, a Pinay nurse who suffered from pneumonia, which is one of the severe indications of MERS-CoV, has been confirmed positive for the said virus. A male overseas Filipino worker who only just got back in Manila was also tested positive for the MERS-CoV.
DOH Secretary Enrique Ona believed that the OFW, who is also a nurse, had interaction with the infected person in the UAE. The male health worker was put on confinement.
“He has no symptoms. He has the virus but he is not sick with it. But he still can infect others so we put him in isolation. We can say that he’s a carrier. It means he was exposed to the virus,” Ona said.
The OFW was observed for five days to see if he still has the virus. Secretary Ona also added that there is a probability that he might get sick or can infect others in two weeks.
After repeating the examination by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the OFW was declared cleared from MERS-CoV virus, according to Ona.
They will also be tracing the seatmates on the plane and other people that the person interacted with so that they would be assessed, observed and quarantined if needed. This is to make sure that these people are not infected and had no symptoms. These are all preventive procedures. Government will also take up the expenditures of those who will get ill with MERS-CoV or get quarantined.
Undersecretary Eric Tayag said on Twitter that the Philippines became the 12th country and the first in Asia with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV. But there were reports that a Malaysian was the first person in Asia to capitulate to the said virus.
“To contain MERS-CoV spread, quarantine those who had contact with known infection and isolate those who became sick after contact with a known case,” Secretary Ona also tweeted.
This deadly virus can easily spread throughout the country and even become the next ‘SARS’ if it is not given sufficient attention. To be protected from it, Filipinos need to be educated about this virus threat. After all, prevention is better than cure.
(Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)
Residents of Murmansk, a city in Northern Russia, reported seeing a huge fireball tearing through the night-sky. The event occurred at 2.10am local time Saturday and was caught by several dashboard cameras, according to Russia Today. The authenticity of the videos hasn’t been confirmed yet.
The bright object was seen just days before the annual Lyrid meteor, which is expected to peak April 21 and 22, according to The International Business Times.Meteors, the bright flashes of light streaking across the sky, are fairly common. However, several of these meteors are never observed as they occur during the day or at remote places on Earth.
A meteor making it to the earth’s surface is a very rare event. About 99.99 percent of meteors completely disintegrate before reaching the surface, according to The American Meteor Society.Last year, a large rock landed near Chelyabinsk in Russia. The meteorite explosion injured over 1,000 people. The radiation caused skin and retinal injuries in several people.The Chelyabinsk explosion was the largest meteorite explosion in the world since 1908, according to IBT.
Several studies have been conducted on the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Russian Academy of Sciences researchers have reported that the rock that hit Russia last February exploded with an energy of nearly 500 kilotonnes of TNT, according to the Guardian.Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic researchers published a paper November, 2013. The study reported that the Chelyabinsk meteorite might have been a part of the asteroid 86039.
Agency issues power-saving tips
AS part of its campaign to promote energy security, the Department of Energy (DOE) has asked the consumers to use fuels and electricity judiciously, especially in summer months when demand will be high.
Some simple household energy-saving tips are posted on the DOE website and http://www.wattmatters.org.ph.Equally important, the DOE is also encouraging consumer to buy products that carry an energy label. Yellow energy labels are mandatory on household air conditioners (except inverter type), household refrigerators (size range: 5-8 cubic feet), compact fluorescent lamps (self-ballasted), linear fluorescent lamps, circular fluorescent lamps and ballasts.
To reduce electricity bills associated with cooling homes, look for a high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) when buying a new air conditioning unit. EER refers to the cooling efficiency of the unit.For refrigerators and freezers, the yellow energy guide bears the Energy Efficiency Factor (EEF) of the unit.
The higher the energy efficiency rating, the lower the energy consumption.For fluorescent lamps, the energy label indicates the light output in lumens, power consumption, lamp efficacy and average life. More lumens mean more light output. The higher the efficacy rating, the lower is the energy consumption.The safety tests, on the other hand, are being administered by the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry.
In addition, the DOE has established state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for performance testing of television sets, washing machines, refrigerators, and freezers through the assistance of the Asian Development Bank.
The DOE has envisioned that with the stakeholders’ cooperation, integrating energy efficiency will significantly help in achieving energy security, optimal energy pricing, and a sustainable energy plan for the country.
The DOE also warned the public against false claims of some companies that their products, when attached to electrical appliances or lighting products, can reduce energy consumption.
In its statement, the DOE has emphasized that it is not endorsing uncertified “energy saving” devices for use by consumers.These devices should undergo testing using the acceptable technology verification protocol to prove claims regarding the functional performance of such devices, it said.
“We do acknowledge the inventors’ ingenuity in coming up with such energy-saving devices, but we hope their products are really energy-savers so we can help the people reduce their energy consumption and thus save money, particularly at this time when the supply and cost of electricity have stirred public concern,” DOE Undersecretary Loreta G. Ayson said.
She added the government continues to monitor the energy performance of appliances and lighting products covered by the energy standards and labeling program through laboratory tests.
It added that consumers should be extra cautious in purchasing energy-saving devices and consult with the DOE-Consumer Welfare and Promotions Office through the following: Text: 0917-581-2925/Call: 840-2267/Tweet: @doe_ph before making any purchase.
Senator Loren Legarda recently emphasized on the need to allocate sufficient funds and prioritize the implementation of action plans for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM).
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said climate experts have already warned of the grim scenario that nations, especially in Southeast Asia, could face due to the warming climate.
“The newest IPCC Report states that seas will rise by 26-82 centimeters by 2100. Sea level rise is a great threat to small island nations, and for an archipelago like the Philippines, it would mean more floods. We have already seen and experienced the wrath of Yolanda, how the surge of seawater engulfed communities. We cannot prevent a storm, but we can save our communities from devastation if we actually fund and implement our disaster and climate resilience plans without delay,” said Legarda.
“For instance, under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, every province, city and municipality should have a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRRMO), and every barangay should establish a Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee. Do our LGUs have these local DRRM offices? Are local DRRM officers equipped and trained to carry out their tasks? These local DRRM offices should be created to institutionalize arrangements and measures for reducing disaster risks, and enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities at all levels,” she added.
The Senator added that with the threat of rising sea levels, LGUs must be ready to confront the worsening floods. To do this, LGUs must update their data on flood hazards and vulnerabilities, invest in flood protection and mitigation, identify safe land for families to live in and implement the solid waste management law at full speed.
“We have seen enough tragedy. Studies that warn us of our vulnerabilities have been coming in every year. Nobody can say we have not been warned. It is time disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts as well as climate adaptation and mitigation measures are given a fair share of the national budget and serious attention by our government and by every citizen,” Legarda concluded.
With the onslaught of hot summer weather, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is urging the public to be particularly mindful of their water consumption not only to save money on water bills, but more importantly, to protect this precious resource.
DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said that although water service providers have already assured that there will be a steady and ample supply of water during the dry months, usually from March to May, “it would still be advisable for us to use our water supply prudently.”
“We would have to consider that water is not only for domestic or household use,” Paje pointed out. “We have to share our supply with the agricultural sector to irrigate our farmlands, which are vulnerable during the dry season; and with the power sector to generate electricity that is more in demand now for cooling purposes.”
The environment chief said that while it is true that with the sweltering summer heat comes added pressure on water consumption, it would help if everyone will take some time to watch on a daily basis and limit water usage as much as possible.
He advised people to apply to water usage the same principles used in solid waste management.
“Reduce water wastage by using only the amount you need. Reuse what you can for other purposes such as using laundry water to clean your cars or floors or in flushing toilets,” Paje said.
He added: “Make water conservation a habit, no matter what the season, and adopt a lifestyle that would have less negative impact on our precious water supply.”
Paje also called on the public to avoid throwing their trash everywhere as it could end up clogging waterways and contaminating the water supply.
He warned that since very little rainfalls are expected during summer, waterways could end up clogged or stagnant and become breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects, as well as cause flooding in the ensuing rainy season.
The DENR head likewise appealed to visitors of ecotourism sites to respect nature by keeping it all in a natural and pristine state as possible.
“With the Holy Week just around the corner, let us not only reflect on our purpose in life, but also on what we can proactively do for our Mother Earth especially in light of climate change,” Paje said.