Scientific and Mass Culture

Greening the vote

As we celebrate Earth Day 2010, let us remember that the state of our environment is tied to the political and economic aspects of our society.

This link is crucial to understand why—in spite of our country’s rich natural resources—we have remained underdeveloped, our people deeper in poverty and has become more vulnerable to the backlash of a destroyed environment.

Clemente Bautista Jr.

Vulnerable elections (4): Ultraviolet misprints

It might come as expected to a lot of us by now that the Comelec’s automated election system (AES) encounters one problem after another. Recently, news came out that the markings on the ballots for the May polls are unreadable by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the upcoming national and local elections. According to the Comelec itself, errors in the ultraviolet (UV) markings printed on the ballots are due to the high-speed printing process used by Smartmatic.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Vulnerable elections (2): Cutting it close

The upcoming May 2010 elections is an experiment of sorts. We will have the first automated national elections with more than 50.7 million registered voters. Voters from more than 329,000 precincts will troop to 76,000 clustered precincts (CP). Each CP will have at most one precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine for around 1000 voters.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Vulnerable elections (1): Memory cards

With the May 2010 presidetial elections coming in only two months, citizens groups have raised their concerns regarding the conduct of the first nationwide automation of our elections. Groups such as the anti-fraud and election monitoring group Kontra Daya have called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “walk the talk” regarding its claim that all systems are in place for the Automated Election System (AES) and only an earthquake can stop the May 2010 elections.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang


We are reissuing this statement for the 2010 elections. Bayan Muna is running under the Makabayan coalition who has Rep. Satur Ocampo and Lisa Maza running for Senate.


Scientists group say people has to be first in science and technology

Since AGHAM’s founding in 1999, we have upheld that science and technology development cannot be divorced from the overall people’s development. In our long involvement in political affairs in both the national and international arenas, the partylist group Bayan Muna has proven firm and consistent with their support for the Science and Technology Agenda formulated in 2004 along with the agenda of other sectors of Philippine society.

Earthquakes and disaster preparedness

At half-past six in the evening about a week ago (January 12), I was busy washing my coffee cup at the faculty lounge of the Institute of Geology when my colleague noticed that the ground was slightly shaking. As I was busy doing something else, I did not notice the tremor but I was not surprised knowing how prone our country is to earthquakes.

Catherine Abon

Science for the people (4): Scientific and mass culture

Newspapers early this week contained stories about the Piston transport strike, high oil prices and the supposed rollback of the big oil companies. Alongside these items were numbers about the recession and the A(H1N1) pandemic. Embedded in these news reports are calculations of costs of these basic items as well as the science behind the spread of an epidemic. Mathematics and science have never been so integrated in the appreciation of issues that affect each and everyone.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Crowd Count Estimates

Quirino Grandstand

total count

					AREA		count
Quirino Grandstand central area		41369.72	165478.89
Quirino back area			3483.86		13935.46
Quirino roxas blvd			25083.82	100335.28
Rizal Park exposed until orosa		10730.3		42921.2
quirino inner road ½			6874.82		27499.3
quirino inner road ½			6874.82		27499.3
quirino left/right			8361.27		33445.09
quirino left/right			8361.27		33445.09

Quirino Grandstand + Rizal park total	111139.91	444559.63

Liwasang Bonifacio

Liwasang Bonifacio			AREA		count
central area				2090.32		8361.27

There’s no substitute for the real thing

During the Ayala rally last week against the House of Representatives’ Con-Ass resolution, the Computer Professionals Union (CPU) organized a cell phone-to-Twitter link for texters to be able to update and participate in the protest event. Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows users to post 140-character messages called “tweets” to keep fellow users updated on any topic of conversation under the sun. “Hashtags” are keywords with the “#” symbol affixed that are included in a tweet used to indicate what topic the message is about.

Jose Leon A. Dulce

Counting the crowd

Crowd estimates figure in most news reports after a big mobilization or event. Every time a sizeable mass action has been conducted, whether in Mendiola, Ayala, or Edsa, conflicting estimates are issued that either downplay or magnify the data. The politics of the count is obvious as strength in numbers is a statement in itself.

Is there some way to effectively quantify the size of the crowd in a mobilization?

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D
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