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Science in 2011

The leading scientific journals usually have a yearend issue that summarizes the year that was in science.
ITALSScienceEND ITALS magazine has hailed the AIDS treatment therapy study HPTN 052 of Myron Cohen and collaborators as its “Breakthrough of the Year.” This clinical study showed lowered infection rates of HIV-1 (by a factor of 20) between partners using a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs. This treatment, described in a paper in the ITALSNew England Journal of MedicineEND ITALS, combined with other promising clinical trials, may be “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” as the World AIDS Day (December 1) event last year in George Washington University heralded.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Putting the brakes on oil prices

I HAD hoped that a previous column on oil prices would have been the last but with local gasoline prices increasing upwards 15 times already this year alone (2011), answering the question of how to put the brakes on skyrocketing oil prices becomes imperative. Oil firms and government are singing the same tune as to the supposed reason for the increases: that it is the world market that dictates oil prices and that we are essentially helpless in this regard.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Power Failure: Ten Years of EPIRA (2)

(Second of two parts. Part 1 appeared last Thursday.)

WHAT does the government have to show us after a decade of power industry privatization under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA? Power rates have increased all over the country. More rate hikes loom for consumers from various recovery schemes legitimized under the law. The debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) have not been substantially reduced from its US$16.4 billion level in 2001 and there is the recurring threat of brownouts in Visayas and Mindanao due to lack of supply

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Phd

Power Failure: Ten Years of EPIRA (1)

IT will be ten years to the day by next week when Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 was enacted into law. Its passage was railroaded through Congress amidst a very strong lobby from the creditors of the National Power Corporation (NPC) led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These power sector reforms and the sale of state-owned power assets to private business were part of the pre-conditions of the IMF for the country to obtain more loans and funds from its creditors.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Controlling oil prices

IF it still has escaped your attention, the prices of oil products have already risen 10 times this year. Diesel prices have increased by P7.95 per liter in less than only three months. Kerosene and gasoline rose by an average of P7.30 and P5.30 per liter respectively within the same time period. The recent price increases would seem to surpass the rapid rise in oil prices in 2008 when diesel reached P56 and gasoline topped at around P60.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Filipinos concerned about nuclear emergency in Japan: Revival of Bataan nuke plant should be junked

March 12, 2011

Following reports that the nuclear plant in Japan around 250 kilometers northeast of Tokyo had explosions and vented smoke to the environment, Philippine activist groups under the No to BNPP Revival! network reminded the Aquino administration of the dangers of reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) here in the Philippines.

LRT/MRT fare hikes: PPA all over again

LAST February 4 and 5, commuters, student and people’s organizations participated in a public consultation with the Light Rail Transit Administration (LRTA) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The public consultation was held by the LRTA with regard to the fare hike that it approved for the light rail transit (LRT) and the metro rail transit (MRT) systems.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Once in the day of ones

A FACEBOOK post of a friend pointed out the sad alignment of ones last Tuesday. On 1/11/11 the LRTA board approved the one peso fare increase per kilometer on the LRT and MRT lines after a boarding fee of 11 pesos. That is 11 pesos plus 1 peso per 1 km approved on 1/11/11. This increase, set to take effect on March 1, will bring the maximum fare in the three train systems to around 30 pesos. Around 1.3 million MRT and LRT commuters use the three train lines. More than half a million ply the MRT-3 (along EDSA) and LRT-1 (along Taft) while around 250,000 people use the LRT-2 line from Recto to Santolan.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

End of (100) days

In investigating the characteristics of a certain system, one usually performs several measurements simultaneously on it to obtain an average description. Alternatively, one can observe the system for a certain period to find statistical and qualitative behavior patterns that do not change over time. If we have a-priori knowledge about the system’s dynamics, unexpected data points usually indicate the need to revise our original description. On the other hand, if the measurements match our a-priori description, it further validates it and makes it useful in forecasting future behavior.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Lack of water amidst plenty?

We have had already several typhoons and yet the news for the past few days have been of water shortages and emergency situations. The water in Angat dam this week fell below the record low registered in September 1998, which was an El Niño year. The worry is due to the fact that Angat supplies more than 90 percent of the water supply of Metro Manila and is used by the two water concessionaires in the area, Manila Water in the East Zone and Maynilad in the West.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang
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