Biyernes, Oktubre 11, 2013

Iversity Opens Doors for Free Education

With the forthcoming opening of Berlin-based Iversity (http:/ -- an online university offering courses for free -- a couple of weeks from now, many are wondering what would be its impact in the field of education - or rather its fate after a year or two as the competition just got steeper with the previous launching of other online education providers like US-based Udacity and Cousera .

image courtesy
Some posit it will make a dent - a significant dent in the delivery of education - especially to those who have forgone schooling or going to university or want to gain additional education but lack the financial means. With its MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform its movers are hoping it will bridge the divide between quality education and social demographics as anyone can now enjoy university education anywhere and whatever your social status is.

Other ways to access this kind of education:

Created by Harvard and MIT.

Online classes from top instrutors and industry experts. Take courses at your own pace.

In partnership with top institutions such as Stanford and Yale University.

Khan Academy
Virtual library of more than 4100 educational videos.

Collaborative learning from the Wikimedia Foundation.

OpenCourse Ware Consortium
A repository of courses and lectures from top universities.

iTunes U
Create or download lectures for iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Textbook Revolution
Free textbooks at your own disposal

Miyerkules, Oktubre 9, 2013

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Miss Universe in Hot Water over Taj Mahal Footwear Photo Shoot

News by the Huffington Post
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo is under fire in India after taking part in a photo shoot for shoes at the hallowed Taj Mahal.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, the 2012 Miss Universe winner and her team headed to the Taj Mahal as part of a 10-day tour of India to spread awareness about women's issues. While there, Culpo took part in a footwear photo shoot on the marble ledge known as the Diana Seat, modeling multiple pairs of shoes taken from a large bag and using the Taj Mahal as the backdrop.

Source: Paul A. Hebert/Getty Images North America
The Hindustan Times, which described the shoot as "covert 'promotion,'" reported that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is now threatening to file a complaint with the police against the agency behind the trip because "any branding or publicity on the Taj premises is prohibited."
“We are gathering information from the tourism police about those who were managing the visit," an official with ASI said Monday, per the Hindustan Times. "After we get the names, an FIR [first information report] would be lodged against the agency involved in violating norms at the Taj."
ASI's Syed Muuzzar Ali told NDTV that initial reports on the incident suggest there may have been a lapse on the part of the Central Industrial Security Force and tourism police, whose officials allegedly saw the Miss Universe photo shoot going on at the Taj Mahal but did not stop it.
Neither the ASI nor the Miss Universe Organization were immediately available for comment.
It is unclear what brand of shoes was being photographed, however, the 21-year-old beauty pageant winner visited the monument with fashion designer Sanjana Jon, according to NDTV.
As for Culpo, she seemed unaware of any controversy surrounding the visit. On Monday, she uploaded a photo of the Taj Mahal to the Miss Universe Instagram account, writing: "We made it to the Taj Mahal. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen!!!! So amazing."
UPDATE: The Miss Universe Organization released a statement to The Huffington Post, apologizing for "any unintentional harm" caused by the incident at the Taj Mahal.
"Throughout her reign, the Miss Universe Organization continually creates video diaries of our titleholder to keep fans and sponsors up to date on her travels and to share in the experience," the statement said. "As part of these videos, we sometimes incorporate sponsors into these shoots. The filming that took place outside the Taj Mahal was never intended to be used as a commercial nor was it meant in any way to be disrespectful."

Huwebes, Hulyo 12, 2012

Weird Post

I stumbled upon this interesting article on a leading daily here in the Philippines so I thought I might as well blog it since it kind of challenges  the credence of science or shall I say blurs the usually bold line between science and pseudoscience. Hashtag #truth_is_stranger _than_fiction.

By: Jaime Licauco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Have you ever noticed the  instant attraction and rapport you feel with people you meet for the first time? How about the  instant repulsion between you and someone you just met?
This is due to soul memory of past life encounters with that person, which your mind cannot understand but which your soul never forgets. The soul retains the memory of every significant event that happened to it in previous lives.

Although Christianity rejects the concept of reincarnation, that a person can have multiple rebirths on the earth plane, it is an accepted fact by such older religions as Hinduism and Buddhism. In fact, the very core of their belief revolves around reincarnation and its companion concept of karma.
The idea that people have lived previous lives is rejected by many in this country not only because of the Christian religion but also because of the seemingly strong argument that no one has ever recalled his past lives and verified them.
This is not true at all. There are fully documented and verified recollections of past life by people of varied social, economic and academic backgrounds.
The late Dr. Ian Stevenson, head of the Psychiatry Department at the University of Virginia, investigated and documented at least 2,000 cases of spontaneous recall of past lives by children ages 3-12. He systematically followed each child’s soul memory through several lifetimes and verified them.
If a child says he/she was named such and such, lived and died in a particular country, Dr. Stevenson would trace that child’s life in that country and often he would find them to be true and accurate, although the child had never set foot in that country in this present  life.
Dr. Stevenson chose to study children who have had spontaneous recall of their past lives, rather than adults, because he said  children are more truthful about what they have seen and felt and they have not traveled much and read so many books to be influenced by them. Of course, this was at a time  the Internet was not yet pervasive.
Shanti Devi
One of the most extraordinary cases Dr. Ian Stevenson investigated and documented was that of an Indian child,  Shanti Devi.
When she was only 5, she told her mother that her name was not Shanti Devi but Lugdi Devi and that she died giving birth to her second child. Her mother dismissed Shanti’s story as a product of a child’s imagination.
When she was 9, Shanti insisted on going back to Mathura, the village where she had lived as Lugdi Devi. It was more than 50 miles away from where she lived in her present life.
One day, a man from the village where Lugdi Devi lived came to the town of Shanti  and met her mother. When her mother inquired if there was indeed a lady named Lugdi Devi who lived in that town and who died giving birth to a child, the man said “yes” and that he knew the family very well.
It was at this point that Dr. Stevenson was informed about this case and decided to verify the child’s story by accompanying her to Mathura.
To cut the story short, every detail of what Shanti Devi had told her was confirmed to be true, including such intimate details as how her husband made love to Lugdi Devi.
Rev. Emery
Another documented story is the case of a Protestant minister, Rev. Emery, who did not believe in reincarnation, being a Christian pastor. Rev. Emery was with friends touring the ancient sites in Egypt.
While the group was climbing the Great Pyramid at Giza, Rev. Emery stopped at the middle; he was perspiring profusely and had a terrified look.
Unknown to the group, what Rev. Emery was seeing was himself, as one of the slaves building the pyramid. At the exact spot where he stood, he saw a stone they were pulling up turn loose, landing on him and killing him on the spot.
The fact that he was at the very spot where he died in a previous life brought back the soul memory of his past life as a slave in ancient Egypt.
From that point on, Rev. Emery recalled every place they went to  and would even tell his companions what they would find or see, and he was never wrong. From that time on, Rev. Emery, a Christian minister, changed his view about reincarnation and became a firm believer.
Jaime T. Licauco, is a parapsychologist, author, and management practitioner in the Philippines. He is the Founder and President of the Inner Mind Development Institute, a training center for parapsychologyphilosophy, psychic investigation, andmetaphysics.

Huwebes, Hulyo 5, 2012

ADOBO: A Different side of Asian cuisine

Having the most adventurous taste buds on the planet (in my opinion at least) I have tasted almost the most bizaare of foods in this corner of the world -- South East Asia/East Asia. From the uber mouthwatering durian to the gastronomically stimulating Korean kimchi I've tasted them all (that's a claim haha).
In my native Philippines we do also have a lot of interesting culinary delights at par with the culinary powerhouses of Thailand and Japan -- now you know. Though not as popular as the latter's, it has that distinct character and flavor enough to bring out the culinary zeal in you.

Having been colonized by Spain for more than three centuries, and almost half a century by the United States it is no wonder that ours is a little different and exotic than our neighbors'. Our national dish the 'adobo' is one perfect example of the blending of different tastes, say East meets West perhaps.

"Adobo is the result of the eclectic influences, both regional and historical, that come together in many Filipino dishes. Philippine cooking probably reflects history more than a national cuisine,’’ says Cecilia Florencio, a nutrition professor at the University of the Philippines in Manila.

Even before the Spaniards came, early Filipinos cooked their food minimally by roasting, steaming or boiling. To keep it fresh longer, food was often cooked by immersion in vinegar and salt. Thus, early Filipinos could have been cooking its meat in vinegar, which is the basic process in making adobo.

From the Chinese traders came soy sauce and thus this ingredient found its way into the meat being cooked in vinegar. Salt was slowly taken out from the recipe and replaced with soy sauce. However, there are adobo purists who continue to use salt in their adobo marinade.

The colonization of the Philippines had a big impact on the evolution of Philippine food, and adobo was one of those Spanish-inspired recipes, along with others like morcon, paella, embotido, pochero and caldereta, that have not only survived hundreds of years of popularity but have undergone infusions of other ingredients.

The Spanish influenced our local cooking with their marinades and sauces. Some say that adobo is related, albeit distantly, to adobado, a tasty Spanish concoction that consists of pork loin cured for weeks in olive oil, vinegar and spices and simmered for several hours. But the recipe is quite different.

The Spanish word adobo means seasoning or marinade, according to Wikipedia. The noun form is used to describe the actual marinade or seasoning mix, and the term used for meat or poultry that has been marinated or seasoned with the adobo marinade is referred to as having been adobada. For the grammarians, this is a first-person singular present indicative form of adobar, a verb meaning to marinate.

The old Spanish word adobar could be where the early Filipinos got the word for their most famous dish. In Spanish cuisine, however, adobo refers to a pickling sauce made with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, oregano, paprika and salt. The word adobo is also used in Mexican and Caribbean cuisine. The Mexican adobo refers to a piquant red sauce made from ground chilies, herbs and vinegar sold canned or jarred. The Caribbean adobo usually refers to a dry rub of garlic, onion, oregano, salt and pepper.

But the Filipinos’ adobo is the most famous the world over. Filipinos selected their favorite condiments and spices — vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves — used them to stew chicken and/or pork (or mix), and gave it a Spanish name.  

So now you know.

How to Cook Adobo
You'll need:
1 pack chicken (drumsticks- about 12 pieces) or pork tenderloin (cubed about an inch thick)
2 cups lite soy sauce (I used the entire 10 oz. bottle, gave 2 cups)
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 bulb garlic (10-15 cloves)
Ginger (half the amount of garlic)
4-5 bay leaves
2 tbsps ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola or palm oil
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)

1. Rinse chicken/pork pieces thoroughly.
2. Prepare marinade as follows: Mince/ dice garlic. Mince/dice ginger. Add black pepper. Add bay leaves. Add salt. Add soy sauce. Add vinegar. Stir together thoroughly.
3. Add chicken to marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (I let marinate for 2 hrs or longer).
4. Remove when time is up. Turn heat to medium. Add oil to medium/large pot. Brown chicken pieces on both sides. Once browned, remove and set aside.
5. Mince 5 cloves garlic. Saute in same pot until brown. Add chicken back to pot. Add marinade (you can sieve to remove garlic/ginger bits, but I didn’t). Let cook for an hour till sauce reduces. You can sprinkle a tsp of brown sugar and a pinch of chili powder/ground chilis as it cooks if u want it a little sweet and spicy.
6. Serve on a bed of white rice.

Linggo, Hunyo 24, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter(?)

While watching the much-talked about NBA finals on ABC last week I caught a glimpse of the great Mr. Abe Lincoln sporting his signature facial hair and large black cap -- and yes he looks as sartorially dapper and young as ever -- oops! don't get me wrong (of course I know he's down six feet under) and I am not one delusional fellow either. It turned out it was Benjamin Walker masquerading as Abe for a Tim Burton movie released in the U.S. on June 23. 

Upon seeing the trailer I was like "Is that a joke? Abe Lincoln an axe-wielding vampire hunter?" And then it occured to me that Abe Lincoln's lifestory indeed has all the ingredientss for a superhero movie -- parental loss, financial hardships, injustice witnessed first-hand -- enough to give Spidey a run for his money. 

On a personal note I can only imagine how the scene would look like when he delivers the Gettysburg address in a goth-esque vampire hunter fashion ala Van Helsing. I just hope Walker did his best on this scene convincingly to say the least as it is the crux of Abe's story as the 16th President os the United States.

What Critics say...

"Rotten" approval score of 38%, based on 125 reviews. The consensus reads that the film "has visual style to spare, but its overly serious tone doesn't jibe with its decidedly silly central premise, leaving filmgoers with an unfulfilling blend of clashing ingredients." --  Rotten Tomatoes 

"Though original, this is a strenuous effort to combine the conventions of two genres." -- Emanuel Levy of

"The historical epic and the monster movie run on parallel tracks, occasionally colliding but never forming a coherent whole." -- Richard Corliss of Time magazine

"What ideally might have been playful and knowing is instead uptight and dreary, with a visual scheme that's so fake and cartoony, it depletes the film of any sense of danger," -- Christy Lemire of Associated Press

"Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers ... that the movie was supposed to be fun. Or at least smart."
Joe Neumaler of New York Daily News 

"This insipid mashup of history lesson and monster flick takes itself semi-seriously, which is truly deadly." -- Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal 

"It's too bad someone had to spoil things by making a movie to go with it." -- Manohla Dargis of The New York Times

"The problem with movies based on a single joke is that a single joke is rarely funny enough to sustain the running time of a feature-length film". -- Barbara VanDenburgh from the Arizona Republic 

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has heart to spare, and the occasional silvered bayonet to run it through." -- Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle

"A stylish slasher of a movie, a monster flick that does its vampires right, if not their real-life counterparts." -- USA Today reviewer Scott Bowles

"The best action movie of the summer. A surprisingly respectful tone toward American values and their most heroic proponent", calling "the battlefield scenes suitably epic" and finally commending leading star Benjamin Walker, "a towering actor who looks like a young Liam Neeson and never stoops to caricature. -- Joe Williams of St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

Martes, Hunyo 19, 2012

Youtube Stars

Being a frustrated musician that I am I have always been fascinated by people who regardless of age and demographics manage to find unorthodox ways to showcase their sheer God-given talents, say youtube. They being talented at that, what even more fascinates me is that of their ability to command massive viewership and cult-like following without even  trying to, in otherwords charisma.

Here by the way is my random personal list of youtube stars who in their own rights are set to be stars or are already big stars themselves.

1. Sophia and Rosie

2. Derik Nelson

3. Julie Anne San Jose

4. J. Rice

5. Tyler Ward

6. Karmin

7. Abraham Lim

8. Joseph Vincent