THE year started with ones—1/1/11—which is not necessarily auspicious but certainly a rare occurrence. A better date to watch for would be 1/10/2011, which is a palindrome (one that reads the same forwards and backwards). As usual, the question at every turn of the year would be what is in store for us. For those inclined to believe soothsayers or the change in signs, one can just pick his or her version of the various fortune-tellers that abound.
TECHNOLOGY made news this year with the release of a treasure trove of material in Julian Assange’s website WikiLeaks (wikileaks.org). The site announced that it would release 251,287 US diplomatic cables that it had acquired from an anonymous source. This created a firestorm of condemnation on the one hand and of support on the other. Julian Assange had been hounded by arrest since the initial release of the documents and the website itself had been attacked by “denial of service” ploys to disable it.
Last Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) withdrew its charges against the “Morong 43.” The 43 health workers were arrested in Morong, Rizal last February 6, 2010 and were detained for more than 10 months. Their eventual release (if the court approves it) puts in the forefront the case of Leonard Co and his companions as a human rights issue that squarely falls under the watch of the current administration.
We hope that this case is resolved in the end with a similar favorable outcome as the “Morong 43’s” case.
Leonardo Co, renowned Filipino conservationist and botanist, along with forester Sofronio Cortez and farmer Julius Borromeo, was killed on November 15, 2010, allegedly by troops of the Philippine Army, while conducting research on tree biodiversity in the Manawan-Kananga Watershed in Leyte. On the day of his death, Co and four of his companions were pursuing research work for the Energy Development Corporation: surveying and collecting specimen seedlings of endangered trees for replanting.
At the press conference held this morning at the UP Institute of Biology, the FACT-FINDING MISSION-KANANGA KILLINGS, revealed that
* the direction of the bullet marks on the trees originated from a vantage point on the ridge above Leonard Co and his team
* the direction of fire was concentrated on the area where Leonard and his 4 other companions were standing
* tree no.4 was hit three (3) times and the large tree were Ronino Gibe hid had six (6) bullet marks in it, and
* that there are no bullet marks on the trees from the ground looking up to the ridge nor from any other side except from the vantage position.
The pot for the Grandlotto 6/55 prize remained elusive as of last Monday’s draw. It has risen already to around P574 million last time and would likely breach 600 million. The large pot is a big payoff for the stream of bettors that line up the Lotto outlets everyday. Their dream is to get this prize for just P20 per combination.
An urgent appeal to President Benigno Aquino III and the Philippine Legislature to effect a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation on the killing in Kananga, Leyte of Leonardo Co, a renowned Filipino scientist, and his two companions
Sign up at http://www.justiceforleonardco.org
I would have written about the Lotto for this week’s column had not a text from a friend told me that leading botanist Leonard C. Co was reportedly killed in a supposed crossfire between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Leyte. They were doing research work for the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in Upper Mahiao, Lim-ao, Kananga, in Leyte province with a security clearance when an Army patrol that responded to NPA sightings in the area chanced upon them.
Two other members of the EDC research team were reportedly killed together while two others survived.
In trying to figure out the significance of a single number, one would naturally try to appeal first to mathematics. For example, in mathematics, 43 is a prime number. Prime numbers are natural numbers (i.e. ordinary counting numbers) that can be divided only by itself and the number 1. Starting from 2, 43 is number 14 in the sequence of prime numbers. Of course, there would be other instances of the mathematical significance of 43 such as it being a Heegner number (which is a collection of numbers that is important in number theory) and the like. In base 6, it is a repeating digit number 111. Of course, outside of mathematics, the number 43 has other significance such as in chemistry where the element with the atomic number 43 is Technetium.
Around this time each year, the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas (SPP) meets for its annual physics convention and congress. The convention has been a forum for exchange of information and results of the leading edge in theoretical and experimental research of Filipino physicists and in the past few years with other physicists working abroad.