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2 0 0 0 - 2 0 0 1 V o l . 20
The ability to invent intelligent machines has long intrigued
humans. With the advancement of computer technology,
the dream of smart machines is becoming a reality.
Since time immemorial, humans have been trying to
invent the perfect robot; however, for the meantime
let’s meet our newest best friend–the robodog.
Computers have proven themselves indispensable
because of their reliable performance, but will they
finally outsmart the human brain?
N o . 6
Dear Bato Balani Editor:
I’m Sharon L. Manalungsung,
a senior student of Holy Family
I would like to express my warmest
thanks to the staff of Bato Balani
magazine for their continued support
to all students.
Thank you for letting us
students gain more knowledge,
especially in the field of science.
The “magic” behind LCDs is almost everywhere–
from celfones to calculators and watches to other
important equipment.
3 Science & Technology News
5 Filipino Scientists and Inventors
Medical Facts and Fallacies
Violeta Arciaga, Jaime F. Bucoy,
Jose C. Calderon, Victoria V. Cervantes,
Juanita M. Cruz, Belen P. Dayauon
Merle C. Tan, Ph.D.
9 Livelihood Technology / I’d Like to Know
10 Cyber World
14 Earth Care
Lourdes F. Lozano Executive Editor
Amada J. Javellana
PsycheR.MenodozaManaging Editor
Executive Vice President
16 Investigatory Projects
Enrique A. Caballero,
19 Pseudoscience
23 More Activities to Do
Alfie “eLf” V. Mella Magazine Editor
Virgie Naigan Art Director
Reynaldo M. de la Cruz,
Jose Valeriano P. Linay Cover Design
William S. Fernando,
Jose Valeriano P. Linay LayOut Design
Jose Maria T. Policarpio, Elma L. Ropeta,
24 Mind Games
Saturnino G. Belen Jr. President
Silvano C. Santiago Illustrator
Lourdes F. Lozano Vice Presidents
for Science and Technology is published bimonthly by Diwa Scholastic Press, Inc. Bato Balani is one of Diwa’s Scholastic Enhancement Materials (SEMO). The SEMO
trademark refers to a new genre of scholastic publication, including a selection of premium-quality magazines. Copyright 2000. Articles in this publication may be reprinted provided due acknowledgment
is given. All communications should be addressed to THE EDITOR, G/F Star Centrum, Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City, Philippines, Telephone numbers: 843-4761 to 66.
Have a Toast!
Water on Mars
here may be current
sources of liquid water
at or near the surface
of the red planet. This
was suggested by the
imaging scientists
photographs generated from the Mars Global
Surveyor spacecraft. The latest images
show evidences of presence of water—the
size of a car—that are comparable to features
left by flash floods on Earth.
“The presence of liquid water on
Mars has profound implications for the
question of life not only in the past, but
perhaps even today,” said Dr. Ed Weiler,
NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space
Science. “If life ever did develop there, and
if it survives to the present time, then these
landforms would be great places to look.”
Finally, that martian lifeforms had
indeed existed in the past or could just be in
their early stage of evolution can now be
considered as not mere conjecture. “Relative
to the rest of the martian surface, the gullies
appear to be extremely young,” said Dr.
Michael Malin, principal investigator for the
Mars Orbiter Camera on the Mars Global
Surveyor spacecraft at Malin Space Science
Systems (MSSS) in San Diego, California.
“They could be a few million years old, but
we cannot rule out that some of them [water
features] are so recent as to have formed
Ugly Phenomena Look
Oddly Beautiful from Space
Hurricanes, typhoons, wildfires, and tsunamis are just some of
the natural phenomena that do not leave without causing destruction
to lives and properties; a reason why people all over the world view
them as ugly spectacles. However, scientists from NASA consider
such phenomena as beautiful sights to see. NASA’s Sea-viewing Wide
Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) flying on the OrbView-2 satellite
has captured images of two destructive events on Earth. Thick plumes
of smoke from forest wildfires in the western United States looked
like weaves of cotton. The same day SeaWiFS also captured an image
of Typhoon Jelawat, with top steady winds of 115 mph. The typhoon
was moving west toward the Ryukyu Islands of Japan when it was
photographed. On top view Typhoon Jelawat looked as if the surface
of a luscious chocolate marble milkshake.
Small Dinosaurs
recent discovery made by an
international team of
paleontologists (scientists that
deal with the study of fossils of
extinct animals, plants, and other living
things) again emphasized that dinosaurs
were not necessarily gigantic animals that
had roamed the Earth millions of years ago.
They varied in size from the largest
sauropods to the smallest chicken-sized
Digging in Madagascar, the team
unearthed fossilized jaws believed to be
230 million years old. They were possibly
the oldest dinosaur bones ever found. The
latest find have not yet been fully analyzed,
but the bones appear to belong to early
prosauropods, small herbivores that
are most likely the ancestors of
the giant Apatosaurus (once
called Brontosaurus).
John Flynn of
Chicago’s Field Museum says these newly
discovered dinosaurs were small. They were
about the size of a kangaroo and probably
walked about on four legs and stood up on
two legs to feed.
Source: Time magazine
Searching for Life
in Space
cientists have just discovered a
simple sugar molecule,
glycoaldehyde, in a giant gas and
dust cloud near the center of the
Milky Way Galaxy. The discovery was made
using the radio telescope of the National
Science Foundation on Kitt Peak, Arizona.
Sugar molecules are a known
chemical precursor to life. They allow certain
forms of life to exist entirely without water.
Some primitive forms of microorganisms
are said to have evolved from strains of
sugar molecules. Therefore, the presence of
the sugar molecule in a cloud from which
new stars are forming means it is highly
possible that life is formed in such clouds
even before planets, including Earth, develop
around the Sun.
The observations were studied by a
group of scientists headed by Jan M. Hollis
of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
in Greenbelt, Maryland. After thorough
analysis, the group submitted the results to
the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Nature Biotechnology
Food and Nutrition Specialist
carcity of food
has been a
major problem
not only in our
country but in
other developing countries
as well. The lack of this
basic commodity has
problems such as malnutrition. Continuous studies
and experiments aimed at solving this major
problem is being conducted in all parts of the
Dr. Francisco Santos has devoted his time, talent
and energy to food and nutrition research by conducting
comprehensive investigations and publishing notable
articles both here and abroad. His leading researches
dealt with studies on the nutritive values and chemical
composition of Filipino food and the amount of vitamins
and nutritional contents typical of a Filipino diet. He also
formulated a nutrition plan for various families of labor
communities in the country, and he investigated on the
probable negative effects of a one-sided diet. He has
proven that sweet potatoes have nutritional value and
anti-beri-beri contents. He also pioneered the promotion
of home gardening. Dr. Santos emphasized that this
practice is not only a means of livelihood but also the
source of essential vitamins and minerals.
FALLACY: Too much thinking causes baldness.
FACT:“Grass don’t grow on busy
streets,” is the common answer of bald men
when teased about their shiny heads. Despite
the belief that baldness may result from too
much thinking, the truth is that bald persons
can only blame their ancestors. This
condition is hereditary, that is, inherited from
our ancestors. Chances are, bald persons
have relatives who also have problems with
their hair. Baldness may start as early as the
teenage period, but it usually begins in the
The average scalp produces some
100,000 hairs, each sprouting from a
follicle. The hair follicle is a bulb-like vase
which supplies nutrients to the hair. When a
strand of hair becomes mature - about
shoulder length or longer- its follicle
becomes inactive, thus the strand of hair is
shed. The average head loses about 100 hairs
a day. Some drugs and skin diseases like
ringworms may cause excessive hair loss,
but hair growth resumes when these
problems are cured.
Dr. King C. Dulay
St. Luke Medical Center
by Raymond A. Oliveros
rtificial Intelligence (AI) is the area of
computer science focusing on creating
machines that can exhibit behavior that
humans consider intelligent. The ability to
create intelligent machines has intrigued
humans since ancient times, and today
with the advent of the computer and 50 years of research
into AI programming techniques, the dream of smart
machines is becoming a reality. Researchers are
creating systems which can mimic human thought,
understand speech, beat the best human chess player,
and countless other feats never before possible.
Although the computer provided the technology
necessary for AI, it was not until the early 1950’s that
the link between human intelligence and machines was
really observed. It was Norbert Wiener who theorized
that all intelligent behaviors was the result of feedback
mechanism. Mechanisms that could possibly be
simulated by machines. The most familiar example of
feedback theory is the thermostat. It controls the
temperature of an environment by gathering the actual
temperature of the house, comparing it to the desired
temperature, and responding by turning the heat up or
down. This discovery influenced much of early
development of AI.
In late 1955, Newell and Simon developed The
Logic Theorist that was considered by many to be the
first AI program. The program, representing each problem
as a tree model, would attempt to solve it by selecting
the branch that would most likely result in the correct
conclusion. The impact of the logic theorist on both the
public and the field of AI had made it a crucial stepping
stone in developing the AI field.
In 1956, John McCarthy, who was regarded as
the father of AI, organized a conference to draw the
talent and expertise of other people interested in machine
intelligence for a month of brainstorming. He invited them
to Vermont for “The Dartmouth summer research project
on artificial intelligence.” From that point on, because of
McCarthy, the field was known as Artificial intelligence.
Although the field was still undefined, ideas
formed at the conference were reexamined, and built
upon. AI research centers were established, and new
challenges were faced. They placed further research on
creating systems that could efficiently solve problems,
by limiting the search, such as the Logic Theorist, and
systems that could learn.
In 1957, the General Problem Solver (GPS)
program was developed. It was an extension of Wiener’s
feedback principle, and was capable of solving greater
extent of common sense problems. While more
programs were being produced, McCarthy came up with
a major breakthrough in AI history – the LISP (List
Processing) language adopted as the language of choice
among most AI developers.
The following years showed a multitude of
programs like SHRDLU that could solve spatial and logic
problems; STUDENT that could solve algebra story
problems; and SIR that could understand simple English
sentences. The result of these programs was a
refinement in language comprehension and logic.
In the 70’s, the expert system that can predict
the probability of a solution under set conditions emerged.
Because of the large storage capacity of computers at
the time, expert systems had the potential to interpret
statistics, and to formulate rules. Another development
during this time was the PROLOGUE language.
In the quest to create intelligent machines, the
field of Artificial Intelligence has split into several different
approaches based on the opinions about the most
promising methods and theories. These rivaling theories
have lead researchers in one of two basic approaches bottom-up and top-down.
Bottom-up theorists believe the best way to
achieve artificial intelligence is to build electronic replicas
of the human brain’s complex network of neurons, while
the top-down approach attempts to mimic the brain’s
behavior with computer programs.
It is the aim of AI researchers who prefer this
bottom-up approach to construct electronic circuits that
act, as neurons like in the human brain. Although much
of the working of the brain remains unknown, the
complex network of neurons is what gives humans
intelligent characteristics. By itself, a neuron is not
intelligent, but when grouped together, neurons are able
to pass electrical signals through networks.
Warren McCulloch after completing medical
school at Yale, along with Walter Pitts a mathematician
proposed a hypothesis to explain the fundamentals of
how neural networks made the brain works. Based on
experiments with neurons, McCulloch and Pitts showed
that neurons might be considered devices for processing
binary numbers. An important back of mathematic logic,
binary numbers (represented as 1’s and 0’s or true and
false) were also the basis of the electronic computer.
This link is the basis of computer-simulated neural
networks, also known as parallel computing.
McCulloch and Pitts, using Boole’s principles,
also wrote a paper on neural network theory. The thesis
dealt with how the networks of connected neurons could
perform logical operations. It also stated that, one the
level of a single neuron, the release or failure to release
an impulse was the basis by which the brain makes
true / false decisions. Using the idea of feedback theory,
they described the loop that existed between the sensebrain-muscles, and likewise concluded that memory
could be defined as the signals in a closed loop of
neurons. Their contributions were important to AI because
they showed how the firing of signals between connected
neurons could cause the brains to make decisions.
McCulloch and Pitt’s theory is the basis of the artificial
neural network theory.
Theorists of the top-down approach on the other
hand are developing the expert system. This expert
system had the potential to interpret statistics, in order
to formulate rules. An expert system works much like a
detective solves a mystery. Using the information, and
logic or rules, an expert system can solve the problem.
Moreover, a computer system can be trained
quickly, has virtually no operating cost, never forgets
what it learns, never calls in sick, retires, or goes on
vacation. Beyond those, intelligent computers can
consider a large amount of information that may not be
considered by humans.
People have been studying this issue of AI
application for quite some time now and know all the
terms and facts. But what they are really trying find out
is what can we do to get our hands on some AI today.
How can we as individuals use our own technology?
According to Adam Dyess, we should be
prepared for a change. Our conservative ways stand in
the way of progress. “AI is a new step that is very helpful
to the society. Machines can do jobs that require detailed
instructions followed and mental alertness. AI with its
learning capabilities can accomplish those tasks but
only if the conservative people are ready to change and
allow this to be a possibility. It makes us think about
how early man finally accepted the wheel as a good
invention, not something taking away from its heritage
or tradition,” Dyess said.
People must also be prepared to learn about
the capabilities of AI. Dyess added, “The more use we
get out of the machines the less work is required by us.
In turn less injuries and stress to human beings. Human
beings are a species that learn by trying, and we must
be prepared to give AI a chance seeing AI as a blessing,
not an inhibition.”
Dyess also warns that we need to be prepared
for the worst of AI. “Something as revolutionary as AI is
sure to have many kinks to work out. There is always
that fear that if AI is learning based, will machines learn
that being rich and successful is a good thing, then
wage war against economic powers and famous people?
There are so many things that can go wrong with a new
system so we must be as prepared as we can be for
this new technology.”
However, even though the fear of the machines
are there, their capabilities are infinite. Whatever we
teach AI, they will suggest in the future if a positive
outcome arrives from it. AI is like children that need to
be taught to be kind, well mannered, and intelligent. If
they are to make important decisions, they should be
wise. We as citizens need to make sure AI programmers
are keeping things on the level. We should be sure
they are doing the job correctly, so that no future
accidents occur.
1. What is the significance of John McCarthy
being the father of Artificial Intelligence?
2. How is AI being applied nowadays?
feedback - the transfer of part of the output
back to the input, as of electricity or of
1. Artificial Intelligence Will Evolve by Mick Dobra
2. Artificial Intelligence Web Site by Tim Dunn, Adam Dyess and Bill
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99
Why do we sneeze when
we look at the sun?
Joana V. Habal
Colegio de Sta. Isabel
Naga City
A sneeze is usually brought about by an irritant in the nasal passages.
The irritant may be dust, pepper, mucus, or any kind of pollen to which a
person may be allergic. The body reacts involuntarily, by forcing air from the
nose and mouth, to get rid of whatever is causing this discomfort.
When we look up at the sun, a high intensity of light reaches our
eyes. This light causes a high-frequency electrical signal to run through the
optical nerves. Some of this electrical impulse is picked up by the nasal
nerves located nearby. The nasal nerves send a signal to the brain. The brain
triggers the same response as it would when the nasal cavity is irritated. The
result: aaaaachooo!!!
TAHO Making
Soybean is a good source of protein, fats and oil. The famous
“taho,” introduced to us by Chinese traders in the early times, makes
use of soybeans as its basic ingredient.
Here are the ingredients and the simple steps in making taho.
3 cups of fresh soybeans
6 cups of water for grinding
7 cups of water for boiling
2 bars of white gulaman
3 cups of dissolved
brown sugar
cheese cloth
pot for boiling
stove ladle
1.Wash and soak the soybeans in water for five to seven hours. The
water should be free from impurities to prevent the taho from
2. After soaking, drain and peel the beans.
3. Using a cornmill grinder or an osterizer, grind the
soybeans finely while gradually adding six cups of water.
4. Add the two bars of white gulaman to seven cups
of boiling water. Stir until dissolved.
5. Pour the grounded soybeans. Boil for several
minutes until the bean-like flavor is removed.
6. Separate the soya milk by straining the mixture using the cheese
7. Set aside the soya milk and allow the curd to
8. To make the syrup for the taho, dissolve brown sugar in a small
amount of water and bring this to a boil.
9. Stir the mixture constantly until thick.
Making a Guessing
Game Program
by Wacky Salazar
In this issue we will focus on some simple
sample programs that utilize the techniques we have
learned in the past issues.
X = INT(RND * 20) + 1
MAX = 3
PRINT “You have”; MAX; “tries to guess my
PRINT “My number is between 1 and 20”
INPUT “What is your guess”; N
MAX = MAX - 1
PRINT “Your current score is:”; SCORE
PRINT “Sorry Game Over!!! Your score is:”;
OPEN “scores.dat” FOR INPUT AS #1
INPUT #1, top
PRINT “You have a new high score!!!”
PLAY “c6f6”
OPEN “scores.dat” FOR OUTPUT AS #1
Please note that you have to make a file called
scores.dat for this program to work. You can do this
with the following steps:
STEP 1: At the command prompt go to the
directory where your file is located
STEP 2: Create a file by typing COPY CON
STEP 3: Enter 1
By now you should have the tools to create
other programs on your own. There are several sites on
the internet which can help you learn more about
programming in QBASIC. The language may seems
simple but that’s what makes it very powerful. If you
have the time visit sites like WWW.QBASIC.COM and
see the potential of programming with QBASIC.
Well Let’s leave you with one last program to
think about and have fun with. This program has no end
so why not complete it.
MX = 5
MY = 12
E1X = 70
E1Y = 1
E2X = 70
E2Y = 23
PRINT “The object of the game is to move
around the screen without getting caught”
PRINT “U - you”
PRINT “@ - Enemies”
IF MY > 1 THEN MY = MY - 1 ELSE MY = 1
IF MY < 23 THEN MY = MY + 1 ELSE MY =
IF MX < 80 THEN MX = MX + 1 ELSE MX = 80
IF MX > 1 THEN MX = MX - 1 ELSE MX = 1
C1 = C1 + 1
C2 = C2 + 1
IF MX > E1X THEN E1X = E1X + 1
IF MX < E1X THEN E1X = E1X - 1
IF MY > E1Y THEN E1Y = E1Y + 1
IF MY < E1Y THEN E1Y = E1Y - 1
C1 = 0
IF MX > E2X THEN E2X = E2X + 1
IF MX < E2X THEN E2X = E2X - 1
IF MY > E2Y THEN E2Y = E2Y + 1
IF MY < E2Y THEN E2Y = E2Y - 1
C2 = 0
by Alfie Vera Mella
Have you met Robocop?
“Robo who?”
Robocop. That police officer who after being
pronounced dead was revived into a half-human, half
machine marvel of law enforcer.
Hey, have you not seen the movie?
“Yeah, yeah. Now I remember.
It was in 1987 when the movie Robocop was
shown in theatres. Set in Detroit, Michigan, USA, the
story was about police officers that were required to
sign a waiver as they join the force. The waiver gave
OCP, the employer of the police force, control over the
lives of the officers. But little did they know that OCP
also had control over their bodies. So when Alex Murphy,
an officer, was wounded in the line of duty and
pronounced dead, he was transformed into a half-human,
half machine perfect cop called Robocop. The plan was
to create a 24-hour serving cop. While sitting in a
specialized chair, technicians “remade” Murphy into a
cyborg. Equipped with a gridlike targeting system that
was his vision, Robocop shot with accuracy. He also
had perfect audio recording and playback capabilities.
Ultimately Robocop served as the perfect cop.
“Wow! Amazing.”
Unfortunately, Robocop is just a fiction of the
mind, just intended for the movie.
Actually humans have dreamed of having a
perfect assistant worker for centuries. Someone or
something that can do an enormous amount of work
without getting tired and worn out. This was the primary
reason why robots came into being. The term “robot,”
which was derived from the Czech word robota meaning
“forced labor,” was first introduced in 1920 in a play written
by a Czechoslovakian science fiction author.
Since then, or even before that, many attempts
to invent an ultimate robot proliferated both in movies
and in real life. Movies like Phantom Empire (1935),
Target Earth (1954), and the most popular Star Wars
(1977) are just some of those that introduced robots as
being able to act and operate in the same manner
humans can.
However, these robots, like C-3PO and R2D2
from Star Wars and our cop hero Robocop, are not real.
They are just characters in film. In real life though,
scientists have already gone a long way in inventing
A robot is an automatically operated machine.
It is a computer that simulates a human brain. It can be
taught or programmed to perform human tasks efficiently.
And if you think robots are mainly amazing characters
of sci-fi movies, you are wrong. Presently robots in varied
forms and for various purposes are all over the world.
From robots that paint cars at Ford plants to driving
trains in Paris, France to defusing bombs in Northern
Ireland, the once imaginary creations are really helping
humans in many ways. However, robots are now also
invading homes, as pets! Yes, it is a common trend
nowadays not only among children but adult alike. If we
have Robocop in the silver screen, we can have a
robodog there in our homes—which is just among the
list of today’s cyberpets.
Among the robodogs two are competing for
popularity—Sony Entertainment’s Aibo ERS-111 and
Tiger Electronics’ Poo-chi. The technological features
of these two robodogs are basically the same, however,
Aibo is a little more “trained” than Poo-chi.
Aibo ERS-111, according to its makers, is an
autonomous robot that acts in response to external
stimulation. It has a 64-bit RISC processor and its own
operating system. It also has 16 MB of RAM, a 180,000pixel-CDC color camera, stereo microphones, heat and
touch sensors, 18 joints, and perfect pitch.
Poo-chi, on the other hand, knows six songs,
has flapping ears, can sit, stand, or dance, and projects
wide, expressive eyes.
With these new entries in the world of robots, it
is quite sure that robots, which once were just confined
to too technical tasks, can already be enjoyed as “pets”
by anyone who would care to have a new best friend.
“Arrf, arrf!”
Oops, here barks my robodog.
1.How are robots important to humankind?
2.What are the main features of Aibo and Poo-chi?
3.Cite examples of robots in film.
cyborg - cybernetic organism; electric computer that
can simulate the human nervous system
2.Robots. Shabnam Gupta. 1993 Learners Press.
Global Cooling:
Into Another Ice Age?
by Ernesto Buensuceso Ferreras Jr.
hen you park your car outside in the
sun, the car soon gets warm inside.
Visible light from the sun penetrates
the car windows and the interior of
the car gets hot by absorbing and
converting the light into heat or infrared
radiation. In effect, the interior of the car becomes a
greenhouse. Glass is opaque to infrared, and heat does
not escape.
In a similar process, the Earth with its
atmosphere is like a giant greenhouse. The atmosphere
is nearly transparent to short wave and visible solar
radiation from the sun. Part of the energy absorbed by
the Earth is radiated to the atmosphere as long wave
infrared radiation. And the atmosphere, like glass,
prevents heat from escaping, thus warming the Earth’s
The Natural Greenhouse Effect
About 40 percent of the energy coming from
the sun reaches the Earth’s surface. Of this, the Earth’s
surface reflects about 15 percent of the solar radiation
back toward space. The remaining energy heats the
surface, which then sends most of the heat back into
the atmosphere, mostly as infrared rays and water vapor.
When the rays from the lands and seas are
reflected back into the atmosphere, greenhouse gases
and particles absorb the rays. As a result, the gases
and particles are heated. Some of the infrared rays from
the gases and particles radiate back toward the Earth’s
surface and contribute to the warming of the surface
layer of air. This is known as the natural greenhouse
effect, which keeps the Earth’s surface warm with an
average temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius.
Without this natural process, the average surface
temperature would be 33 degrees Celsius colder than it
is now.
The chief greenhouse gases are water vapor,
carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone. The greenhouse
particles include cloud droplets, soot, and dust.
Global Warming
Today, there is a global clamor against the
continued pumping of human-made greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere. It has been estimated that since
the 1800’s, when modern industry became widespread,
the average temperature of the Earth’s surface has
increased by 0.3 to 0.8 degree Celsius. And by 2100,
the Earth’s surface temperature is expected to rise
between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Many experts believe that the rise in the average
global temperature is brought about by the increase of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon
dioxide and methane. For instance, measurements
revealed that the amount of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere has risen by about 25 percent and that of
methane by 150 percent.
Human activities, like burning of fossil fuels and
clearing of forests through kaingin system, have been
pointed out as the main culprit in the increase of
greenhouse gases.
This increase in surface temperature is called
global warming and its effects could alter the face of the
Earth. For example, people could begin to farm in regions
where it is currently too cold. The change could also
affect the survival of many species. A great number of
species are already struggling to survive due to
destruction of their habitats. Global warming could further
push them to extinction.
Global warming could also alter rainfall patterns,
melt enough polar icebergs to raise the sea level, and
intensify tropical storms.
Global Cooling
It seems obvious then that by increasing
greenhouse gases and particles, the Earth will become
hotter. However, according to some scientists, global
warming might plunge us into the opposite condition,
that is, an ice age. How is this possible?
The main player is the Gulf Stream, the ocean
current that brings warm surface water northwards
Europe from the Caribbean. Normally, as the Gulf Stream
flows, some of its water evaporates. The rest becomes
saltier and thus denser. Eventually the dense surface
water sinks to the bottom, where it flows back southward.
(The water returning south is called the Canaries current.)
Near the equator, the returning water is diluted once
again by warm, fresh water from tropical rivers and rain,
allowing the water to rise to the surface. The water warms
up and the cycle begins again.
Moreover, global warming can wreak havoc on
the Polar Regions by melting the icebergs. Melted ice
from the Arctic will supply fresh water into the North
Atlantic. Added to this, it is predicted that global warming
can also increase the amount of rainfall in northern
latitudes. The result is that the Gulf Stream’s water will
be diluted and thus become less dense. It will not sink
so easily to the sea bottom. The Gulf Stream’s
underwater current, without this renewing supply, will
stop flowing south. This in effect will shut off the great
ocean current.
If that happens, the European continent will get
very cold. More snow will fall, and snow will reflect more
of the sun’s energy back into space. That will make the
temperature even lower. Furthermore, the Gulf Stream
will change the global ocean current patterns because
it is tied into them. The effect of this is less overall
evaporation. The loss of water vapor, an important
greenhouse gas, will mean even more dramatic cooling
— a decrease of perhaps as much as 8 degrees Celsius.
Worst of all, experts believe such changes could
come on quickly — perhaps within a decade or less.
There’s no need to say then that an ice age by the
middle of the century would gravely endanger most of
life on Earth — a sort of biological apocalypse.
The Search for Solutions
Because global warming might do much harm,
many scientists recommend a reduction in the emission
of greenhouse gases. Popular ways adopted to curb
the greenhouse effect include the planting of trees to
absorb carbon dioxide, the development of more fuelefficient cars, and the installation of electricity-generating
solar panels, among others.
More controversial strategies have been
considered. For example, governments could promulgate
laws that specify the type of technologies to be used or
the amount of fossil fuels to be burned. Governments
may also levy taxes on emission of greenhouse gases.
Another option is to limit the amount of
greenhouse gases that would be emitted by every
country. Each nation would be issued “emissions
permits” that could be bought and sold. Richer nations
could purchase permits from poorer nations. More
developed countries would have incentives to use more
efficient technologies, and less developed countries
would receive money to aid their development.
At the moment, though, the dangerous plumes
of heat-trapping gases are still increasing in volume.
Earth is predicted to warm by 0.5 to 1.6 degrees Celsius
due to past greenhouse gas emissions. However, beyond
that, additional warming could be lessened if not
prevented. The choice is ours to make.
In what way may global warming usher in another ice
Explain briefly how the Gulf Stream warms the
European continent.
What should be done to reduce emissions of
greenhouse gases?
greenhouse effect - the trapping of the sun’s warmth in the
lower atmosphere caused by high levels of carbon dioxide
and other gases more transparent to incoming solar radiation
than to reflected infrared radiation
opaque – blocking the passage of radiant energy and especially
short wave – electromagnetic radiation having a wavelength
equal to or less than that of visible light
long wave - electromagnetic radiation having a wavelength greater
than that of visible light
solar radiation – radiation produced by the sun
kaingin - process of clearing the forest through burning
Wilbraham, Antony C. et al. 1997. Chemistry, 4 th Edition.
California: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
World Book Millennium 2000 Encyclopedia. 1999 Chicago:
World Book, Inc.
Lemonick, Michael D. “…And Then How Cold.” Time, November
8, 1999.
as the medium. The pigment (carbon black) to vehicle
The objective of the
(glycerol) ratio of 1 g : 6 mL and 1 g : 7 mL was used
first part of the study was
using carbon black as pigment with glycerol as vehicle.
to find the best ratio of ink
Although the commercial bond paper has better quality,
using carbon from used
since it uses more technologically advanced methods,
batteries and charcoal as
the use of the experimental carbon paper was
pigments. The ink was
evaluated on the basis of
how much pigment is
Carbon paper has many uses. It has a high
suspended in the mixture and
demand in schools, offices and other institutions. The
their shelf life.
ink used in the production of commercial carbon paper
The second part was
is expensive due to its high production costs. Because
aimed at the production of
of its high cost and increasing demand, there arises a
carbon paper. The best kinds
need for a cheaper substitute. The study also aims
of ink were tested on two
to help reduce the problems in disposing
mediums, coupon bond and onion skin. They were also
used batteries making good use
tested for efficiency in terms of the number of coatings
of them.
needed. The carbon paper was evaluated on the basis
of clarity, neatness of the print and general acceptability.
The final sample made use of two coatings of
the ink mixture using carbon black, with coupon bond
In order for the pigment to thoroughly dissolve
Ink is a mixture of vehicle (liquid component
with the vehicle, the pigment must be pulverized to very
and solvent), pigment (coloring matter) and other
fine particles. The pigment affects the properties of
substances added to impart special qualities such as a
ink such as gloss and opacity. The vehicle on the other
binder. Carbon is usually used as pigment because of
hand must suit the following conditions: (1) the printing
its low oil absorption, ease of dispersion and low
system used; (2) class and speed; (3) drying press
abrasion to plate ware. Carbon is chemically inert and
required; (4) class and texture of the surface to be
infusible at atmospheric pressure, which makes it an
printed; and(5) nature of pigment. Glycerol is viscous
essential part in the black pigment used in books,
and is easily absorbed by paper and, thus, makes it a
magazines, newspapers, carbon paper, etc. Two good
good vehicle.
sources of pigments that are carbonaceous in nature
Burned wood is a good source of charcoal.
are charcoal and the black mix found in used batteries.
Batteries have black particles called black mix, which
These sources are much cheaper than the usual black
is primarily composed of carbon black, acetylene black
pigments such as carbon black in graphite and
and manganese dioxide. The carbons obtained from
both sources are carbonaceous in nature, making them
good sources of black pigment.
Coconut oil and dextrin were tested for their
potential as ink binders. According to the results,
coconut oil was a better binder than dextrin.
Black mix was obtained by opening the
protective housing of a drycell battery and exposing its
carbon content. Then, the black mix was removed and
ground into very fine particles using a mortar and pestle.
Afterwards, it was sieved through a fine screen to obtain
the finest consistency.
On the other hand, charcoal was also finely
pulverized. It was then mixed with water and placed in
a one-litre beaker. The mixture was allowed to settle
for two days inside the covered by beaker. After two
days, the charcoal pigments were heated to allow
torn even after one coating. The coupon bond was
evaporation of excess moisture.
proven to be the better alternative. It takes five (5)
In preparing the ink, the charcoal and carbon
minutes for a solution with a ratio of 1 gram (pigment):
black pigments were combined with glycerol (vehicle)
6 mL (vehicle) to dry up. The solution with a ratio of
and coconut oil (binder) in different proportions ranging
1g : 7 mL took six (6 ) minutes to dry. The sample
from 1 g : 10 mL : 1 mL (pigment : vehicle : binder
which used two coatings was
ratio) to 2 g : 14 mL : 2 mL. The solution was thoroughly
proven to be most practical.
mixed using a stirring rod until totally dispersed. Finally,
the mixture was heated for five (5) minutes under
medium heat and was allowed to cool down
before evaluation.
carbon paper is acceptable
The best ratio using each
pigment was then compared
enough to be used as a substitute for
commercial carbon paper. The experiment
to determine which ink
was able to prove that the pigment obtained
is more suitable for
from battery carbon is better and cheaper than those
from charcoal.
samples were evaluated
for smoothness, consistency, and absorption.
The ink samples, ranging from one to four
coatings, were applied on the onion skin and coupon
Jonas Don Castelo
Lloyd Gonzales
Marcelino Quito, Jr.
The different carbon papers were tested and
observed for their drying time, firmness and clarity of
print. After determining the best sample, a survey was
Miss Juanita Cruz
Research Adviser
conducted on 20 students using the experimental carbon
paper and a commercial carbon paper.
The onion paper appeared to be too thin to be
used as a medium because it has the tendency to be
No part of this article may be used or reproduced
in any form whatsoever without written permission
from the Philippine Science High School, Diliman,
Quezon City, except in the case of brief citation as
embodied in the laws of scientific articles and
Literally means “false science.” Therefore, it is best for the public to be made aware of the facts behind pseudosciences –
practices and beliefs that have no reliable scientific bases. These include false beliefs that are, almost always, results of the ignorance and
gullibility of the oldfolk, who tend to rely strongly on “coincidence mentality.” However, more baffling is to know that despite the
advancement of science – the foundation of human knowledge – many continue to patronize pseudosciences.
This section aims to expose these pseudosciences, which do not only hamper progress, but may also pose harm to the health
and sound judgment of those who get influenced by them. But worry not, just a dose of true science cures the most ignorant of minds.
ust a few years ago, some
local alternative bands, the
likes of Eraserheads, Yano,
the Youth, and Rivermaya,
caused quite a stir when some
groups alleged that their songs
contained subliminal demonic messages.
The accusers delved on the issue of
backmasking. Backmasking is the process
of playing a piece of music on compact disc,
vinyl, or cassette tape in reverse. This
process, according to moralists, reveals
demonic and other blasphemous messages.
They say that such messages are put there
either intentionally or subconsciously by
rock bands, especially by whoever
composed the particular song.
The issue of backmasking was
already hyped in the past. The same
accusation hurled on our local alternative
bands was already slapped onto the faces of
famous rock bands of the 70’s. Seventies’
rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Eagles,
and Black Sabbath were also accused of
putting demonic messages into their songs.
The accusation was, of course, vehemently
denied by the bands. It was not proven. The
same accusation lodged on our very own
local alternative bands has not been proven
as well. Why? For the simple reason that the
idea of backmasking is not true at all. Music
experts and sound engineers say that the
message being deciphered through playing
the music in reverse is only accidental. They
even defended rock bands by saying that
any piece of music, rock songs or not, will
most likely “reveal” unsavory messages
when backmasked.
Rock songs are the favorite victim
of such propesterous allegation. The sole
reason is that rock music and other forms of
alternative music has long been associated
with sex, drugs, and fast life. However, time
and liberal thinking proved that such
assumption is baseless and unfair. Rock
music analysts say the ideas of backmasking
is just an attemp by several “conservativists”
to discredit rock music. Rock music, like
folk, classical and other types of music, is
already regarded as a musical artform. Thus,
subliminal messages believed to be revealed
through backmasking are just a fiction of
the mind of fault finding moralists who hate
rock music.
Being a musician myself, as the
vocalist of a local new wave band named
halflifehalfdeath, I have also done thorough
study about backmasking. According to my
findings, the supposed “demonic message”
deciphered through backmasking is just the
lyrics of the song read in reverse, from
beginning to end. Following this logic, any
piece of music, poetry, or a mere spoken
sentence when recorded then played in
reverse will definitely sound weird. And in
some instance, just like what happens to a
rock song when played in reverse, might hit
a blasphemous word or two.
by Alfie Vera Mella
song for our new album. Let’s say the song
is about a plea to the government to lower
the cost of consumer products. The song
would probably have a line which goes like:
Huwag na sana taasan pa ang presyo ng
mga bilihin.
For example, we were able to
record the song and produce it commercially.
Since our musical style generally falls under
the category of rock, some “moralists” might
accuse us of putting demonic messages in
our songs. They would probably backmask
our songs. Say they have chosen the new
song we recorded. Most likely they will find
what they are looking for. Why?
Okay, let us read the following
line in reverse (from end to beginning):
Huwag na sana taasan pa ang
presyo ng mga bilihin
You would have read it as:
Fault finders would probably hear
See? This is just one sentence.
What more if the entire lyrics of the song is
read in reverse?
Let us have an example:
Suppose I will compose a new
Computer vs. Human Brain
by Ernesto Buensuceso Ferreras Jr.
onsider this: The human brain can handle
a few thousand instructions per second.
The fastest computers can race through
a whopping 2 trillion operations per
second, or 2 teraflops.
Needless to say, computers
work faster than our brains. Does this mean that they
will ultimately become more intelligent than the human
brain? Can they achieve a sense of “I,” the way we
perceive ourselves?
There are already computers that can “outthink” the most brilliant of human minds. Given the pace
of today’s technology, what will it take to make a
computer that thinks on its own? To create a machine
that simulates the human brain, some scientists
speculate that about 20 million billion calculations per
second are required.
Parallel Processing: Models for Information
In almost every aspect of human activity,
computers have proven themselves indispensable
because of their reliable performance. For instance,
computers can diagnose some diseases, manage
investment funds, play chess, and do other things that
seem impossible to us. Some computers can even learn
and their performance improves with experience.
The rapid growth of computer technology has
spurred scientists to build machines that possess some
characteristics of the human brain. Yet, no computer
has been able to equal the capacity of the human brain
to handle information. The human brain, with its 100
billion neurons and roughly 100 trillion connections,
requires a lot of computing power. At best, however,
scientists invented a computer, called the Perceptron,
that was modeled after the human brain. It has been
used to study the principles that underlie natural
Scientists apply the principles behind the
functioning of the brain at the neuron level to computer
design. A neuron is a cell that processes information.
But the neuron is too small to carry much information.
To compensate for this setback, however, neurons
function in parallels. This increases the capacity of the
nervous system, of which the brain is the informationprocessing center. Computer scientists are applying
parallel processing to the design of more advanced
Most of today’s computers process information
serially, one element at a time. In parallel computers,
hundreds of small microchips are structurally linked.
The computers break tasks into their smallest units and
assign each unit to a separate processor. Thus, the
problem can be solved much more quickly with many
processors simultaneously working on a given task. One
parallel computer design called the Thinking Machine
uses several thousand inexpensive microprocessors and
can outperform many of today’s supercomputers.
Computer Software: Artificial Intelligence
and Expert Systems
The development in computer hardware
depends on the efficiency of the software that goes with
it. Software programs control the hardware and form the
interface between the computer and you, as the user.
Software is now becoming increasingly user-friendly and
intelligent. They are able to adapt to your personal habits.
There are a few word-processing programs that can learn
your writing style and offer suggestions. In playing games
with computers, you will have to concentrate more each
time you start a new game because game programs
can learn by experience and become difficult opponents.
However, for a computer program to convincingly
respond, it would have to be as complex as a human
brain. It is widely believed that human intelligence has
three principal components: consciousness, the ability
to classify and retain knowledge, and the ability to make
choices based on accumulated memories.
Today’s computers possess artificial
intelligence or the ability of a computer to imitate human
actions or skills. Human skills include problem solving,
decision-making, learning, reasoning, and selfimprovement. Computers can duplicate some aspects
of intelligence: for example, they can find the most
efficient solution to a complex problem, or they can
improve their performance with experience, such as with
chess-playing computers. However, you, as the
programmer, choose the goal, establish the method of
operation, supply the raw data, and set the process in
motion. Computers are not in themselves intelligent.
Evolvable Computers
Experts believe that the final step to intelligence
is achievable. To achieve this, engineers devise new
designs in both hardware and software. One advance
design in computer hardware is in a field of research
known as evolvable hardware, or evolutionary electronics.
In this area, the hardware evolves to solve problems,
like the way our own neurons evolved to solve problems
and to contemplate ourselves. A type of silicon
processor, called Programmable Field Array (FPGA),
can change its wiring in a few billionths of a second.
You can reconfigure the FPGA chip. You can
change the logic elements by reprogramming the bits
in the chip’s memory, known as configuration bits. For
example, OR gates can be changed to AND gates or
NOT gates, input wires can be reprogrammed to be
output wires, etc. This gives an FPGA extraordinary
Since all this manipulation is carried out
electronically, the wiring of the processor can evolve for
thousands of generations, eventually becoming a circuit
that is very efficient at solving the task. It uses the
process of evolution to explore new ways of computing.
But could computer engineers actually end up
with a thinking machine as conscious as you or I?
A way to test whether a computer has become
intelligent is to perform the Turing Test, named after the
Alan Turing, an English scientist. To conduct the test,
you ask questions of two entities, which are hidden from
you as the human questioner. One entity is a human,
and the other is a computer. If you were not able to
distinguish which entity is the human and which is the
computer, then the computer has proven itself intelligent.
A computer usually reflects the mental
processes of its human programmer. The human
programmer creates the software, which instructs the
computer to solve problems or perform its assigned jobs.
When a computer is used to solve special problems,
the methods of experts are incorporated into its program.
Some scientists believe it is unlikely computers
will start thinking for themselves. A computer is
technically a machine that uses symbols to compute,
which is nothing like the way human or animal brains
work. Computers operate by manipulating symbols, the
1’s and 0’s of the binary language. To mean something,
it is necessary to have causation. In other words, the
symbols the computer manipulates would have to mean
something to the computer. But instead, they only mean
something to the human programmers. The symbols in
the computer mean nothing at all to the computer. In
this regard, the computer cannot be said to be thinking.
A computer that only seems to be thinking and
acting like a human is really not conscious. Therefore,
in this final regard, building a computer that would
eventually replace the human brain in all its guises is
still far-fetched.
How do neurons in the brain process information?
Why do you think a machine can never become as
intelligent as the huiman brain?
computer logic – the arrangement of circuit elements needed for
interface – the place at which independent systems meet or
communicate with each other
microchip – an integrated circuit
Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia. 1999. The Learning
Discover, June 1998.
Popular Science, March 2000.
Liquid Crystal Technology
by Alfie Vera Mella
urely you have already used a
cellphone or, at least, have seen one.
You might even have one of your own.
Text. Text. Text. Turn it on. Enter PIN
code. •••• Press OK. Code accepted.
Check the view screen. Signal? OK.
Battery indicator? Full. Press Menu.
Select Messages. OK. Now compose your message
on the view screen…helö! batobalani ed. i’v a question?
Send. Enter number. 09192170526. OK. Message
sending failed. Try again. Message sent. At last!
But have you taken a closer look at the view
screen of the cellular phone? At that gray substance
where all those letters, numbers, symbols, and icons
are being displayed? This is what is known as the LCD.
The LCD, or liquid-crystal display, is a constantly
operating display that consists of segments of a
substance known as liquid crystal. And this liquid crystal
is the “magic” behind the LCD and other similar
materials. In fact, it is almost everywhere: in hospital
equipment, in road signs and billboards, and in ad
displays. However, before we can truly appreciate its
usefulness, we should first learn what kind of a
substance the liquid crystal really is.
Liquid + crystal. An unlikely
pair. A crystal is known to be
generally solid and rigid.
Liquid is not. Being
solid, a crystal has
molecules that are
arranged in a very
orderly way. Its
molecules are locked
into a rigid structure
by electrical forces
between the molecules.
Liquid molecules, on the
other hand, can move
around freely. Remember?
A liquid has no structure
and takes the shape of its container?
The usefulness of the liquid crystal is
attributed to its molecular arrangement and
behavior. In the liquid crystal, molecules behave as
a solid and a liquid at the same time. They can move
around freely but tend to remain rigid. Thus the liquid
crystal is usually thick and flows slowly. However, the
liquid crystal is more effective when it is spread out in a
thin sheet. In this way, there are only a few layers of
molecules, which are structured so rigidly that they
hardly move at all.
The liquid crystal can change very easily in the
way it reacts to light. It can be transparent one moment
and opaque the next. It may be single-colored now, then
multi-colored after a short while. These changes can be
brought about by factors such as a rise or fall in
temperature, a slight electric current, or a small change
in pressure. And by controlling such changes, the liquid
crystal can be put to work in so many ways.
The most common application of the liquid
crystal is in the LCD of cellular phones, calculators,
and some watches. How does the liquid crystal work?
The liquid crystal is placed between two panes of thin
glass. The molecules of the liquid crystal line up in an
orderly manner, and light passes through the material
without any trouble. Remember, the glass pane is
transparent. However, when a small electric current is
caused to pass through the liquid crystal, its molecules
break apart. Now light is scattered and the glass pane
becomes opaque. In the LCD, the electric current is
applied only to certain parts of the liquid crystal in
between the glass panes. The parts are designed into
letters, numbers, etc. When the current passes through
them, they become opaque and “spell out,” as in the
cellphone, the typed message. The LCD in some road
signs, billboards, and ad displays also works this way.
Being sensitive to temperature changes, the
liquid crystal is also used in some hospital equipment,
particularly in temperature-monitoring tools. For
example, a disk made of a liquid-crystal material is
placed on the patient. The body temperature of the patient
affects the color of the disk. Change in the color of the
disk, in turn, determines the body temperature of the
patient, indicating whether the patient is afebrile or not.
In fact, disposable liquid-crystal thermometers based
on this technology are already available in the market.
Significant advancement in the liquid crystal
technology is now seen in appliances such as video
games, flat televisions, and computers and in the field
of medicine, as coatings placed on the skin to reveal
underlying tumors.
1. Encyclopedia Americana Intl Ed. 1983 Grolier
By using electricity, you can have your own electromagnet.
Unlike any ordinary magnet which remains magnetic at all times, this electromagnet may
be switched on and off.
2 metres of coated wire , 4.5V battery (or 3 pcs. 1.5V batteries), pliers or pocket knife,
scissorrs, paperclips or any small metal objects, long screwdriver, adhesive tape
1. Strip both ends of the coated wire and tape part of it to the handle of the screwdriver.
2. Wrap the rest of the wire around the screwdriver. Tape the other end.
3. Connect one end of the wire to one of the battery terminals. Then,
connect the other end of the wire to the other terminal
4. The screwdiver is now an
electromagnet. Watch as it attracts some paperclips! Detach one of the wires from the
battery and the paperclips fall off.
Identify each robot and tell what movie each
appeared in.
1 movement of a solvent through a semipermeablemembrane
8 correction (abbreviation)
10 coating or fastening agent
11 the neverending question asked by
12 map reference
13 extraterrestrial
14 postal letters
16 female egg cells
18 break in skin or mucous membrane
21 Erbium
22 the sun with the nine planets and other
heavenly bodies
23 international monetary unit
24 _ _ _ _ _ Ark; carried living
creatures of every kind during the
Great Flood
26 the body of an organism
28 _ _G; liquefied natural gas
29 indicates a sudden occurrence
31 lighter or darker shades of a color
33 _ _ _ _ _ _ of Langerhans
35 given recognition
37 _ _ _d_; positive terminal of an
electrolytic cell
38 a basic principle or a fundamental skill
1 same as 1 across
2 a power-driven mechanism that
supplements a primary control
3 master of arts
4 oil (prefix, combination form)
5 sixth planet of the solar system
nearest to the sun
6 not out
7 standard time
8 22d letter of the Greek alphabet
9 part of the plant stem that carries
11 horny projections on the skin
14 the fabric of a net
15 Strontium
17 _ _ _ _ _ _ _m; chemical element Al
19 _y_ _ _; a brand of disinfectant
20 poison usually used in illegal fishing
25 _ _ _ _ dixit; an assertion made but
not proved
27 _ _ _ _e; same as 37 across
29 a form of meditation
30 smallest particle of an element
32 three (prefix, combination form)
34 _ _ _ex; synthetic rubber products like
surgical gloves are made of
36 electromagnetic