Showing posts from January, 2013

Bindi Irwin's Essay On Wildlife. Conservation as the art of editing

MANILA: A teenage girl from Australia has just taught the US State Department a lesson in conservation of wildlife - importantly, along with the conservation of the thoughts of those who speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. As love covers a multitude of sins, so must conservation.From my perspective of 37+ years being several times writer for and Editor in Chief of both technical and popular publications in the Philippines, a believer in conservation since 50+ years ago, and today thinking of the forest as the first and last bastion of plant and animal life in their natural habitats, let me tell you about what just entered my mind today: The art of editing is the art of conservation. The US State Department had invited Bindi Irwin, 14 years old, Wildlife Warrior, daughter of much-admired conservationist Steve Irwin, who died promoting wildlife conservation, a budding author herself, to write a 1,000-word essay on wildlife conservation for the State Department's e-jo…

Bindi Irwin's essay on conservation, original & edited

I'm writing about it. In the meantime, for the record, I'm reproducing 2 documents below: (a) Bindi Irwin's original essay, untitled, unedited
(b) The US State Departments' e-journal editors' version Outright, you can see that they are very different, and not only because of the title and subtitles. One is global in thinking, one is local! (1) BINDI IRWIN'S ORIGINAL ESSAY, UNTITLED, UNEDITEDI have chosen to devote my life to being a Wildlife Warrior, speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. Being a Wildlife Warrior means to dedicate your life to making the world a better place for future generations.Often people hear the word "conservation" they think of little woodland creatures. Actually, conservation is ultimately about us: people. I believe that most problems in the world today, such as climate change, stem from one immense problem which seems to be the "elephant in the room" that no one wants to talk about. This problem is our…

George Church & Synthetic Biology. The Neanderthals among us

MANILA: George Church, a respected Harvard professor of genetics, has written a book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature And Ourselves (Basic Books, 2012). It's all about human cloning. He wants to regenerate the Neanderthals. Regenesis? I say it's all scientific bluster.That's why it's called Synthetic Biology. We cannot reinvent Nature, because it's against Reason: We are part of Nature; if we want to reinvent it, we have to get out of it, and we cannot. We can destroy it, but we cannot reinvent it. Yes, Sir, we can destroy ourselves. No, Sir, we cannot reinvent ourselves, the most stubborn, the most intractable, the most invidious, the proudest creatures in all of the galaxies! How can we reinvent ourselves, the infernal species that we are? We cannot even reinvent the infernal battery! (Seth Borenstein, 22 January 2013, And yes, the battery is 200+ years old. Be careful what you write for, you just might get it! Did George …

Sleeping Journals Lie. Science as the Waterloo of universities

MANILA: On Tuesday, 22 January 2013, we were talking about our alma mater the University of the Philippines in relation to ranking in science, education, research and publications, and my friend cited what I didn't know about how world universities are ranked by one group: 30% teaching
30% research
30% citations I googled and that list happens to be that of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by Thomson Reuters (, with the remaining 10% divided between industry income (2.5%) and international outlook (7.5%). I checked THE Rankings and I couldn't find the University of the Philippines System in the Top 400 of Asian universities ( Which to me is very easy to explain; I know that even if I give UP the maximum 30% for Teaching, I can only give UP 20% for Research and 10% for Citations, for a total of 60%. In the UP grading system, that's equivalent to a grade of 3, where 1 is Outstanding, 1.5 is Exc…

Straws in the wind. Banana mushrooms on the bed

MANILA: New Year, new resolve. Options and opportunities. For our coop, Nagkaisa. For you and yours. At the newly designated Asingan People's Center, which since time immemorial we have always referred to as the DanggayBuilding, in the morning of 16 January 2013, we had a special General Assembly (GA) meeting of our multi-purpose coop Nagkaisa, a move that I would like to refer to as Occupy Danggay, to put some order into the disorder of facilities, to discuss important matters, and to prepare for a month's leave of absence of the Chair, Roger Daranciang, who with his wife Lita, both members of Nagkaisa, are visiting their children and grandchildren starting end of the month. It will be a working visit. While in San Diego, Roger & Lita will try and convince more Fil-Ams to donate more for medical missions this year as well as invest in Nagkaisa, which we registered recently. We have to serve the people, especially those who cannot serve back.It was at this meeting that th…

The X Team In Open Publishing. CGIAR: Publish fast, or perish slowly?

MANILA: "Publish, or perish!" has never been truer than at the Age of the Internet. But I'll modify that a little and say, "Publish fast, or perish slowly!" Of course you already are a publisher. Modern vocabulary: When you upload information to the Internet with open access to your files, that is the electronic version of publishing. Every time someone uploads to the ICRISAT website or I upload to my blog, that's open publishing. What about restricted access? It's still publishing. Toll-fee journals and email are forms of restricted access. On that note, Open Access is Open Publishing. Open Access was what ICRISAT Director General William Dar had been proposing for the 15 CGIAR centers to do in a cooperative manner. I know he made such a proposal in a panel discussion paper he presented on 31 October at the GCARD 2012, which was the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, held at Punta del Este, Uruguay. The paper was title…

Senators Incubating Eggs. Trillanes counts chicks, Enrile turns the heat

MANILA: If you're not that young anymore, you will remember this slogan: "A quitter never wins. A winner never quits." That was the selling slogan of Manuel Uy, insurance seller par excellence. So now I say that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is The Insurance Seller Par Excellence, because he has just proven the untruth of Manuel Uy's slogan - JPE quit and that's how he insured his win. A winner knows when to quit. His right.And yes, JPE won over the machinations of Senator Antonio Trillanes. This is how it happened, and it was only yesterday, Monday, 21 January 2013 … In an interview early Monday, Trillanes claimed that he had enough votes among the Senators to hold a no-confidence vote on JPE, that he was just waiting for some Senators from the Liberal Party to join the group so that they can unseat Enrile (Rio Rose Ribaya, 21 January 2013, "Our numbers right now," Trillanes said, "if you add the Liberal Pa…

Lance Armstrong duped everyone. Can you forgive him?

MANILA: Ellen Tordesillas (ET) is mad at Lance Armstrong's (LA) 10+ years of lying about doping to win each of his 7 titles of Tour de France; he was taking performance-enhancing drugs all those years (20 January 2013, What matters if you win all those titles and lose all your friends?After LA confessed to Oprah about taking all those drugs for all those titles (Jay Petrillo, 15 January 2013,, ET cannot forgive LA. Can you? ET is a cancer survivor like LA; when LA came out with his book about his triumph over cancer, It's Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life, ET says she read it and read it again. ET loved it that it was "an awe-inspiring tale of immense courage and will." ET bought a number of those yellow ballers in support of Livestrong, LA's foundation for cancer victims. ET says, "Armstrong was hailed as the greatest cyclist on earth." LA used to be ET's role model; now she's mad at him. "It&#…

The Hi Tech Guru. Mastering technical writing with Frank A Hilario

MANILA: If you're looking for a resource person to teach technical writing, I'm your Hi Tech Guru. And I'm available at a moment's notice. I bring my laptop; you bring your LED or LCD projector, and we're in business in 5 minutes. Your place, not mine. If you're looking for actual experience behind my offer, let me tell you that I was the founding Editor in Chief of the Canopy, the popular/semi-technical monthly newsletter of the Forest Research Institute (FORI) in the mid-1970s, as well as the founding Editor in Chief of the Sylvatrop, The Philippine Forest Research Journal, the quarterly technical journal of FORI also in those years. These 2 publications were so successfully written, edited and produced that, along with the Habitat, the quarterly popular color magazine of FORI, of which I was also founder and Editor in Chief, they catapulted that Institute into international recognition. Quality as well as speed characterized my outputs. I was never late wi…

The Enrile Memoirs. Colorful Story, Colorless Book

MANILA: I love history written around a person: Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Mao Tse Tung, Charles de Gaulle, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King etc. In other words, leaders. So why not Ferdinand E MarcosandJuan Ponce Enrile separately and together? I have an autographed copy of JPE's memoirs entitled Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir,from the 3rd printing in November 2012; the work was edited by Nelson A Navarro (NAN) and published by ABS-CBN Publishing (Quezon City, 753 pages, with index). That book is JPE's story of his life. This essay is my story of that story as it has been told, and now I can tell you: I'm happy with the story, unhappy with the telling. No, it's not the author's fault. And no, it's not the editor's fault either. JPE's is one long, damn good story; I believe there's much truth in it - but what has come out is only the promise, not the fulfillment of it. There are gifts as well as gaffes. It's a great…