Monday, September 9, 2019

Stephen Hawking on the Purpose of Science Fiction

In 1995, the American theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss wrote a popular non-fiction book called The Physics of Star Trek. The book contained a Foreword by no other than Stephen Hawking, the man considered by many as one of the greatest theoretical physicists to ever walk on the planet.

In his brief Foreword, Hawking touched on the role that works of science fiction play in a world that continues to change because of scientific developments and technological revolutions.

This is what he had to say about the “serious purpose” of science fiction in a very modern world.

“Science fiction like Star Trek is not only good fun but it also serves a serious purpose, that of expanding the human imagination. We may not yet be able to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before, but at least we can do it in the mind. We can explore how the human spirit might respond to future developments in science and we can speculate on what those developments might be. 

There is a two-way trade between science fiction and science. Science fiction suggests ideas that scientists incorporate into their theories, but sometimes science turns up notions that are stranger than any science fiction. Black holes are an example, greatly assisted by the inspired name that the physicist John Archibald Wheeler gave them. Had they continued with their original names of “frozen stars” or “gravitationally completely collapsed objects”, there wouldn’t have been half so much written about them.”

Hawking passed away in March of 2018. He was 76 years old. He left behind an undeniable legacy and a body of work that continues to guide aspiring theoretical physicists (and aspiring scientists for that matter) in their journeys toward scientific enlightenment.

Photo by David Montgomery
Hawking also left behind a good number of books he authored that include the ubiquitous A Brief History of Time. If you are looking for a good introduction into Hawking’s work, this is the book you should peruse. Only then should you proceed reading his other books (i.e. The Universe in a Nutshell, On the Shoulders of Giants, and Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays).

Friday, August 30, 2019

September 13 (Friday) Declared as a Non-Working Holiday in the Cordillera Region

It's going to be a long weekend in the Cordillera region come the 13th of September. A proclamation from Malacanang dated August 29 has declared September 13 as a non-working holiday in the region. The declaration is in commemoration of the Mt. Data Peace Accord that was held on September 13, 1986 between core members of the CPLA (Cordillera People's Liberation Army) led by Conrado Balweg and the Philippine government. The event is referred to as the Mt. Data Peace Accord because it was held at the Mt. Data Hotel in Bauko, Mt. Province.

Corazon Aquino, then the President of the Republic was present at the historic peace pact. As tokens for the signing of the peace pact, President Aquino presented a Bible and a rosary, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) presented an ArmaLite rifle, and the CPLA presented an Igorot spear and shield.

Then President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino and Conrado Balweg at the sipat (peace pact) in 1986.
Balweg, the enigmatic leader of the CPLA, was a former member of the New People's Army (NPA). He split from the NPA in 1986 to form the CPLA and its political wing, the CBA (Cordillera Bodong Administration).

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Seaman From Bakun, Benguet Among Those Killed In Mexico Gang Attack

A seafarer from the town of Bakun in Benguet is among those who perished in a grisly gang attack that happened in the port city of Coatzacoalcos in Mexico. The attack occurred on Tuesday night. The latest reports mention that at least 26 people died and 11 others were injured.

The seaman from Bakun has been identified as Nathaniel A. Alindan. Another Filipino sailor identified as Bryan G. Varron also died from the incident. Varron is from Ormoc City in the Visayas. Ramon Guzman, the agent for the ship Caribe Lisa said that the two Filipino seafarers were on leave. They had gone on shore after their ship arrived from Houston.

An armed gang stormed inside the El Caballo Blanco Nightclub (The White Horse Nightclub) at around 10:00 PM. They sealed the emergency exits before setting fire to the entrance hall. They kidnapped the establishment's owner then fled the scene.

Photo credit: 60 Minutos.Info
The chief suspect for the crime has already been identified by the authorities in Veracruz, the southern Mexican state where the port city of Coatzacoalcos is located. Local prosecutors said that the suspect have been arrested in the past for similar crimes.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Official Trailer for the Movie Adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Classic Novel 'Little Women'

Louisa May Alcott's classic novel 'Little Women' had been adapted for the big screen for quite a good number of times already. Seven times to be exact. The novel's earliest movie adaptation dates back to 1917 in an era wherein silent films were still the norm. This coming December, another adaptation of the 1868 novel will roll into theaters.

Directed by Greta Gerwig, 'Little Women' 2019 will feature an ensemble cast which includes Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, and Chris Cooper.  The film has been in development by Sony Pictures since 2013. Production and filming only started in 2018 when Greta Gerwig was brought in as director.

Watch the first trailer for the film below:

Photo credit: Whimsy On Main (https://www.whimsyonmain.com/)
Earlier movie adaptations of the novel were made by Alexander Butler in 1917, Harley Knoles in 1918, George Cukor in 1933, Mervn LeRoy in 1949, David Lowell Rich in 1978, Gillian Armstrong in 1994, and Clare Niederpruem in 2018.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Eduard Folayang Submitted by Former UFC Champ Eddie Alvarez

Eduard Folayang failed to make it to the finals of the One Championship Lightweight World Grand Prix after losing to Eddie Alvarez in their semifinal bout at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night. Folayang was submitted by the former UFC lightweight champion in the very first round.

The fight was pretty even early on until Folayang threw a leg kick that sent Alvarez to the mat. Folayang went for the finish and unleashed his trademark ground and pound. The experienced fighter that he is, Alvarez remained composed and defended himself against the onslaught. He saw an opening and quickly reversed the position.

On top position, Alvarez immediately worked to take Folayang's back. He pulled Folayang's head for the setup and quickly sank in the choke. The Team Lakay had no choice but tap out.

Photo: One Championship
With the victory, Alvarez advances to the finals of the One Championship Lightweight World Grand Prix which is happening this October in Tokyo, Japan. He will be facing Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev.

Danny Kingad of Team Lakay Advances to the Finals of the One Championship Flyweight Grand Prix

Danny Kingad of Team Lakay is one fight away from winning the One Championship Flyweight World Grand Prix. He came away with the victory over Reece McLaren of Australia in a hard-fought encounter at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Friday night. The bout with McLaren was a semifinal bout in the tournament.

Kingad will be facing the winner in the other semifinal bout between Demetrious Johnson and Tatsumitsu Wada.  Kingad advanced to the semifinals with a win over Andrew Leone. For his part, Johnson advanced to the semifinal with a win over Yuya Wakamatsu.
Photo: One Championship
With the victory over McLaren, Kingad extends his winning streak to 6. He only lost once in his professional career. He was submitted in 2017 by Adriano Moraes, the reigning One Championship flyweight titleholder.

Geje Eustaquio of Team Lakay Loses Via Knockout to Japanese Foe

Geje Eustaqio's journey back to the One Championship flyweight belt has hit a snag. He lost via knockout in the first minutes of his bout with Yuya Wakamatsu of Japan at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. The Team Lakay standout was looking great during the fight until he was caught with a straight right to the chin.

Wakamatsu fought like he can't wait to fly back home. He pushed the pace and went head-hunting early. But Eustaquio's defense and counter-striking didn't allow the Japanese star to do much damage. The end of the bout came out of nowhere. For one second, Eustaquio let his defense down. Wakamatsu saw his chance and throw the straight right that sent Eustaquio crashing to the mat. He pounced for the finish. The referee saw enough and signaled and end to the bout.


After losing his flyweight belt early this year to long-time nemesis Adriano Moraes, Eustaquio bounced back with a win over Kyu Sung Kim. Wakamatsu, on the other hand, is coming off a loss to Demetrious Johnson.

Eustaquio vs. Wakamatsu is part of the undercard of One Championship: Dawn of Heroes. The card is headlined by a championship bout between Martin Nguyen (champion) and Koyomi Matsushima (challenger).