Items filtered by date: Sunday, 03 September 2017

Too good to be true?

At the risk of sounding banal, I have to repeat the old saying: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Too good to be true, that is.
This week, President Rodrigo Duterte said something that almost turned me into a Dutertard. The chief executive claimed that he had spoken to an unidentified member of the Marcos camp, and the family of the late dictator had promised to return their ill-gotten wealth.
As my favorite actor Keanu Reeves likes to say in nearly all of his movies, I also told myself: Whoa.
Could this be real? Had Mr. Duterte enlightened the Marcoses to realize the error of their ways? Had he convinced them to surrender what they took from the nation’s coffers so that they may finally clean their soiled reputations in the history books?
No. Not quite.
To backtrack, I was browsing through Facebook as I am wont to do every morning. One of my friends posted a one-liner about Duterte saying the Marcoses would return their ill-gotten wealth. To my friend, I stated: Fake news?
I was so convinced that it was so implausible that I didn’t think more of it. That greedy family would in my mind never ever return the wealth that turned their patriarch into one of the biggest thieves of all time. Not my judgment, but this is according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Or as Filipinos would say, this would only happen “pagputi ng uwak,” or when the crows or blackbirds turn white.
Later in the day, I browsed through my favorite news sites, the ones I still find as being generally honest and fair. Lo and behold, it was true. Sort of. The president did, in fact, say that the Marcoses were now willing to return their wealth, including “a few gold bars.”
Listening to the president speak, it became clear that while he may indeed have spoken to one of the Marcoses, the promise to return their ill-gotten wealth was so full of vague conditions as to be little more than double talk, or gobbledygook as some wordsmiths would call it.
What the Marcos spokesperson said was that whatever the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) could find, they would return.
Such malarkey.
The late dictator had stolen billions of pesos, or even dollars, that the few hundred millions that the PCGG had recovered over the last three decades was a proverbial drop in the bucket.
While no one truly knows the full extent of the greed and thievery of Ferdinand Marcos, simply seeing the current lifestyles of his immediate family is proof that vast amounts remain in their pockets, beyond the reach of the government in general, and the PCGG, in particular.
It is known that at the height of martial law, the bulk of the country’s gold reserves was flown out of the country. Where that gold went is a secret only the Marcos family knows. It may be stashed away in Switzerland, or it may be in several banks in countries that are completely inaccessible.
Indeed, Marcos and his family have managed to commit the perfect crime. They were able to rob the country blind and get away with it, and still have his mortal remains buried in a heroes cemetery. Moreover, his wife, son and one of two daughters have been elected to government positions again and again.
Worst of all, Marcos institutionalized corruption in high places such that today, anyone who enters government service has the choice of making illicit money and have a good chance of keeping all of it when he exits the government. More often than not, the elected or appointed government officials will succumb to the temptation of earning dirty money.
No wonder the Philippines has become a narco-state, as President Duterte says it is.
Perhaps the Marcoses really will return some of their ill-gotten wealth, which they are now claiming they only kept “for safekeeping” in the event the dictator was kicked out of the country and the Philippine economy were to take a tailspin.
This new line may or may not work with the electorate. Their old line that the dictator’s vast unexplained wealth was because he had found the fabled Yamashita’s treasure had few takers. Perhaps the more gullible among our countrymen will believe their yarn that they were just acting as mere guardians of the country’s wealth.
Such bull. Don’t believe the Marcoses when they say they will return anything to the government and the people. Just as crows and blackbirds will forever remain black, the family of the ousted dictator will never return the bulk of their ill-gotten, unexplained wealth. To do so would be to undo the perfect crime their old man got away with.


Faeldon dares Lacson: Sue me

MANILA -- Former Bureau of Customs (BOC)Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon challenged Senator Panfilo Lacson to file cases against him and other personnel who the latter tagged as involved incorruption.
At the agency's flag raising ceremony on August29, Tuesday, the outgoing Customs chief noted that the lawmaker should prove his claims by filing cases against them.
"So I challenge you again to file cases against all those you have named involved in corruption. If you cannot file a case against us, that is such an idiotic move of yours. You should have asked your lawyers, you should have asked your conscience if it is appropriate for you to hide behind the cloak of your immunity. To malign, to destroy, further destroy this institution. Most importantly, ano ba tingin mo sa amin dito, hayop kami? (What do you take us for? You think we're animals?) Mga pinangalan mo (Those you have named), do you have an iota of evidence, how about our families you have destroyed?" he said.
Faeldon added, "Sen. Lacson, you have to file cases against me and the rest you have accused. Bring us to justice. And again I am challenging the constitutionality of your immunity. All of you congressmen, senators. Effective today I will challenge your authority, or your immunity to malign people."
With this, he reminded his accusers regarding provisions of the bill of rights.
"The bill of rights guarantees the presumption of innocence of the accused. Pero kung magsalita kayo dyan,(inakusahan) nyo na kami (at hinusgahan). (But in your words, you have accused and already judged us). Is it not a violation of the Constitution thatis supposed to protect your immunity. Effective today, I will challenge the propriety of your action, I will challenge that immunity, the definition of your immunity. How many more innocent families will you be destroying in aid of your grandstanding," added Faeldon, whose resignation was accepted byPresident Rodrigo Duterte last week.
Meanwhile, the outgoing BOC chief expressed gratitude to employees for supporting the reforms he introduced to make the agency more viable and productive.
"I would like to thank everyone. Yes the reforms are very painful. I have been very blunt because that is what I am. Ido not backbite you, kung meron ako gusto sabihin sa 'yo, I tell it right to your face. I don’t take it personally, but that is how serious I am in trying to attain all our dreams in reforming this bureau," he said.
Faeldon added, "But in spite of that I have seen the eagerness, the promptness, the willingness, the enthusiasm of everyone to carry the cudgels of reform the President all want us to be. Nakita ko sa inyo. So from the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all of you."
He also reiterated his call to the employees to support his successor in the bureau.
Last week, President Duterte officially announced that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Dir. Gen. Isidro Lapeña will replace Faeldon as the new BOC chief. -- PNA


What the rise of Artificial Intelligence is going to do to your privacy

From this title, I think I’ve stolen my own wind. Furthermore, I am using the term Artificial Intelligence loosely because it looks a lot better than Predictive Analytics or Machine Learning, which I want to discuss in this column. Finally, one more disclaimer: since this paper’s fan base is located, among other places, in the San Francisco Peninsula that is now nicknamed Silicon Valley, I have to concede that some readers are going to know a lot more about this than I do and that my discussion here will insult their intelligence. Instead of begging their pardon, I implore them for commentary. There is a comment section to the online version of this article…

Let me start with the matter that has caused me to push aside the list of upcoming events I was going to publish on (one on September 9, the 3rd Conference on WWII in the Philippines where tickets can be purchased here,is worth the parenthetical insert), and write with fury and fever. Have you ever noticed any of these companies or services that charge very little to sell you a service? Usually it is a service that is sold and not a product. That service will collect some information about you and you are, explicitly or not, through a Terms of Agreement (that you didn’t read) or a simple lack of legal protection, allowing them to keep that information, giving it to them, letting them study you, analyze you. These companies are well known names like Facebook, Amazon and Uber and less well known like 23 and Me.

23andMe provides DNA testing services where for $99, you can find out about your ancestry, and for $199, you can find out about your health and ancestry. You get some entertaining insight into your genetic background and they grow their data base of DNA samples. With the rise of things like Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning, which has enabled more accurate predictions of human consumer behavior, health, and more, has come the rise in value of all things data. You never would have guessed that companies are making loads of money trafficking in nuggets about us that they get practically for free. Well, of course you’ve guessed—you live in Silicon Valley.

Here’s an issue you may not have considered. These private companies like 23andMe will likely get purchased by a Google, a Facebook, or an Amazon. These companies, with their monstrous market valuations that are comparable to the GDP of the Philippines, are the aggregators of datasets, datasets about us, the public. With the large amounts of data of various kinds gathered under a single roof and the power today to make use of that information, individual companies will be blessed with the ability to know things about us that we do not know ourselves. It is not predicting my consumer behavior that concerns me. I expect this kind of creepy obsession with how I spend. It’s the other stuff, things I can’t think of, that scares me. When three giant companies have bought up all the datasets, will they know how long I will live (can this be predicted from my genetic code?) or where I will be tomorrow or, even creepier, where I am taking my kids today and tomorrow and next week, their ages, birthdays, friends, and hobbies. And what if an unfriendly entity like, say, Russia or North Korea, acquires a controlling interest in one of these public companies? Will all of our data belong to Vlad or that crazy missile guy with the bad haircut? What if they don’t even pay for the privilege…what if one of these companies/data repositories gets hacked?

Someone I know expressed concern that the rise of AI would lead to a violation of our civil liberties. Is it that simple? Is it a civil liberty violation if another government is invading our privacy?

There is some legislative protection that someone needs to draw up out of that intellectual vacuum called Congress. But it won’t come fast enough. Data sets need to be ring-fenced, especially medical data and all information related to minors. That’s a first step before attacking the real problem of stopping that data from ending up all in one place.


Amid Houston flooding, food is running low

When I called at 5 p.m., Houston resident Vincent ‘Enteng’ Evangelista just woke up.
He stayed up late waiting for the release of water from two overfilled reservoirs. State and city officials were hoping the release would ease the flooding and prevent spillover into other communities and suburbs.
“Aapawna siya,” he said.
Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas the evening of August 26 dumping heavy winds and rains on downtown Houston where Enteng, 35, has lived for five years now. Houston, known for its energy and health care industries, is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Austin, the capital.
“We are 60 percent to 70 percent underwater,” he said in a telephone interview with The FilAm.
Because Houston, the fourth biggest metropolis in the US, has an uneven terrain, he said the water is anywhere from seven feet to two storeys deep.
“Grabe!”he said. “It’s been three days.”
On Facebook, he wrote: “I grew up in the Philippines where storms and flood were part of my daily living but I’ve never been scared like this and it never prepared me to this extent of a catastrophe happening now in Houston…God bless us all.”
Enteng and his partner live in an apartment complex on the west side of Houston that, fortunately, continues to have electricity and water.
“Our apartment is elevated from the street kaya OK pa naman kami,” he said. “We have water and power, which is very important. We can still connect to the Internet.”
There is food in the fridge, but enough for a couple of days more. They made sure there is enough food for several days. Right now, food chains, like Walmart and other grocery stores, are closed. The small Asian stores remain open but shelves are fast becoming depleted.
“Bottles of water which used to sell for $2 a pack are now selling for $18,” he said. Some stores have been reported for price gouging, but for now, he asserted, the focus is on saving lives.“Many people are still trapped in their homes and need to be rescued,” he said.
He is especially saddened thatHouston’s Theater District, the largest outside of Broadway in New York City, is closed and appears to be severely water-damaged. This is where Enteng, an original member of the Ryan Cayabyab Singers in the Philippines, usually performs when he is not busy in his day job in health care.
“The Theatre District has two storeys high of water,” he said.
He said Hurricane Harvey is comparable to Signal No. 3 in the Philippines, the combined wrath of strong rain and wind.Many in Texas believe Harvey is deadlier than Hurricane Katrina which hitLouisiana in August of 2005 and killed more than 1,200 people. There is still no casualty count yet in Harvey because it is not over; the worst is expected middle of the week.
The political blame game is on among local officials. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, did not impose forced evacuation, leaving many residents stranded in their homes. An appalling image is that of elderly women trapped in a nursing home, their chairs bouncing on flood water. Some of them are reported to be suffering from dementia.
Enteng said the “root” of that decision was the 2005 Hurricane Rita which made evacuation mandatory for Texans. The result was massive gridlock, with 3 million vehicles stranded on the freeway and people succumbing from starvation, dehydration, and the heat.
“To prevent that, the mayor did not make evacuation mandatory,” he said.
On the other hand, Texas Gov. GregAbbott, a Republican, is said to favor forced evacuation of residents.
“Nagsisihansila,” said Enteng. “There’s no room for that right now. We’re in the middle of a catastrophe.”


US pullout from Paris Climate Agreement of 2016 via Trump's avowal: What it defines

(Editor’s note: This is a sequel to the writer’s previous column on climate change)

Former VicePresident Al Gore authored An Inconvenient Truth in 2006: a warning to the world-at-large, in reference to the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.
What follows, still traced to Mr. Gore, is his latest documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel, scheduled for showing in the Fall of 2017.
Unwittingly, the aforementioned subject has grabbed the front burner on extreme weather events, brought about by climate change, responsible in making more frequent and severe alterations.
The foregoing film is known to have the most jaw-dropping imagery that focuses on extreme weather events.
Reviews by weather experts mentioned the following: "there are shoes melting off people’s feet as they cross a street in India amid a heat wave; mass graves inthe Philippines for the 6,300 victims of Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda)," and which utterly leveled Leyte's Tacloban City in 2013.
Narrations described the destructive force of the 195-mile-per-hour winds that caused unspeakable devastation the Leyte population, not only physically, but affected the morale of the people who were fortunate enough to be survivors.
In the US, the referenced film has captured freak "rain bombs" in Arizona; likewise "fatal floods in Louisiana," the same experts pointed out.
Gore's commentary:"Future generations will say....Couldn't you hear what Mother Nature was screaming back at you?"
Although not all sights depicted are discouraging.
There are those that are attributed to city executives, i.e., an eloquent scene inGeorgetown, Texas, where Mayor Dale Ross, a Republican, has committed to make his city one of the first in the US to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
Politics is not the raison d'etre of the Gore presentation.
Sober statements follow the former vice president.
"Regardless of politics, the film makes a compelling case for action. We have to stop making this a partisan problem. It's a reality we all have to face together," Gore stated.
Gore was scheduled to speak with President Trump in December 2016. He did not touch on that particular conversation held with Trump.Yet, he talked about the significance of the Paris Accord in which 195 countries pledged to work toward the goal of net-zero carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy-powered economies so that global temperatures will rise no more than 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
It should be recalled that the date on which the Paris Agreement went into effect: November4, 2016.
What followed: November 8, 2016, Trump was elected as the 45th US president.
Although numbers of people lobbied Trump to stay in the Paris Accord, fossil-fuel Trump influencers prevailed.
The story has not changed at all.
Trump announced immediately he was pulling the US out of the agreement.
Trump lived up to his pre-election promise.


FilAm cop in dire need of bone marrow transplant

LOS ANGELES – The Los AngelesPolice Relief and Assistance Foundation’s Blue Ribbon Trust Fund has requestedthe Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union here to open a donation account in supportof seven-year LAPD veteran Matthew Medina, 40.
Matthew, who is deployed in the Gang Unit of the Los Angeles PoliceDept. Harbor Division, visited his doctor in March, because of a rash and foundout he was suffering from a rare blood disorder known as aplastic anemia. He wastold his bone marrow had stopped working and a transplant is crucial for him tosurvive. In the meantime, blood transfusions keep Matthew alive, according toDr. Len Farol, a bone marrow transplant specialist at City of Hope NationalMedical Center in Duarte, CA.
Helping Matthew find amatch is the Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, a nonprofit organization, whichfocuses on recruiting marrow donors and diversifying the ‘Be The Match Registry,’which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, another nonprofitorganization dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receivethe bone marrow they need. The Be The Match is the largest and most diversedonor registry in the world. Its partnership with international and cooperativeregistries provides doctors with access to nearly 27 million potential donorsand more than 680,000 cord blood units worldwide. It is the connection betweenpatients searching for a cure and life-saving bone marrow donors.
There is a higherpercentage of finding a match when patient and donor come from the same ethnicbackground so Matthew needs a donor who shares his Filipino heritage; but accordingto A3M, Filipinos make up only half percent of registered potential donors. Themajority of the 25 million registered donors nationwide are white. The search for a match continues.
Matthew and his wifeAngelee Jader Medina, who reside in Bellflower, CA, with their two daughters, are overwhelmed with all the support they are gettingthroughout Southern California. Matthew can’t attend all the bone marrow drivesthough because of his weakened immune system. Exposure to a common virus couldkill him.
An FB message fromMatthew posted in July (the latest) reads in part: “I just wanted to take thistime to give a brief update on my condition. What’s been approximately 4 monthssince diagnosis has felt like an eternity. Truth be told, the only reason I wasable to stay sane and positive throughout this entire ordeal was due to theoverwhelming support, prayers and love I received from everyone… To everyonewho has supported my family to make sure we were comfortable in this time ofneed, I will be eternally grateful. If I were to list everyone individually, Idon’t think the names would fit on this page, but nevertheless, you know whoyou are and I owe you a debt of gratitude. I’d also like to thank the LordJesus Christ because without him, none of this would have been possible… TheMatch4Matt campaign has been amazing, to say the least, thanks to the effortsof the A3M team, volunteers and hosts… Thiscampaign is probably one of the busiest they’ve had to take on in a long time…two people have found their match and have gone through their marrowtransplant. Even if they never find a match for me, I can say that thiscampaign has been a success since it has already helped save the lives of atleast two people (so far)…
“As for me, thetreatments that I went through since being diagnosed are showing positiveresults so far. My blood cell counts have gradually increased and we are hopingthat the upward trend continues towards remission. I am not out of the woodsyet and there is still a long road to recovery ahead, but the proverbial lightat the end of the tunnel is definitely getting brighter. At the very least, Iam hoping it helps me to recover to live a ‘normal’ life again….”
Credit Union members may donate online through PATROL Online Banking, or by phone using CODE 3 phone system at 877-MY-LAPFCU (877-695-2732). Enter account number 2080491 S4.11 and LOS (the first three letters of the account name).
Donors may also mail in their donation, payable to “Blue Ribbon Trust for Matthew Medina,” and send it to: Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union, Attn: Blue Ribbon Matthew Medina, P.O. Box 10188, Van Nuys, CA 91410.
Please join the registry today and you could save someone’s life. There are ongoing campaigns in search of a match. Find out more about the drives in Matthew’s Match4Matt Facebook page. Register at If you know of any events where A3M can hold a bone marrow drive, please contact Chris Chen via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; call toll free: (888) A3M-HOPE (236-4673) or (213) 625-2802.


United Bicolandia primed for 43rd Penafrancia fiesta in LA

Caption: The image of of Our Lady of Penafrancia inside its "andas" borne on the shoulders of the voyadores during a segment of  the foot/fluvial procession in a previous Penafrancia fiesta in Los Angeles. (Photo by Joelan Brillo)


Los Angeles, CA-- United Bicolandia Los Angeles (UBLA) is now primed for its celebration of this month's 43rd annual Penafrancia festival in this city with the formation of the fiesta executive committee and the completion of the details of the nine-day schedule.
   The festival done in Naga City back home in honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia, one of the biggest Marian events in  the Philippines, is celebrated by the Bikolnons from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.  The Los Angeles version was first observed under the auspices of UBLA in 1974 by hardly a hundred devotees that now have grown to be a crowd cruncher participated in by thousands of revelers to become one of the biggest-attended Filipino gatherings in Southern California.
   To head the 2017 LA activities, UBLA president Eddie Sabocor recently appointed former president Lanie Berrie as over-all executive chairman and Marjorie Balce as vice chairman.
   The traditional novena rite kicks off the festival on Friday, Sept. 8, with the so-called "traslacion" which is the transfer of the Penafrancia image from its side-altar shrine to the main altar of the church venue, there to remain during the next eight novena nights.  On the ninth day on Saturday, Sept. 16, the image will be moved to Lincoln Park for the whole-day fiesta itself. A more detailed description of the fiesta will be announced next week.
   Subchairmen of the major committees have been named as follows:  scheduling, park permit, setup & tent layout, Lanie Berrei;  park & stage decoration, Tony Martires; altar & andas decoration, Arnel Bailon; pagoda decoration, Adversario, Mendes & Fulgentes families; pagoda setup & dismantling, Eddie Sabocor; liturgy & religious rites, Lem & Fe Amit; choir, Chris Avendano; foot & fluvial procession, Louie Betito, Butch San Jose & voyadores; cultural presentation, Yeye Martires; mass donors, Aida Brizuela; benefactors & banners, Tess Orcini.
   Main church venue is the Los Angeles Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 4954 Santa Monica Blvd., LA, where the first 8-night novena will be prayed; contact person, Lanie Berrei (818) 281-3169.  Satellite novena venues are: South Bay area, St. Anthony Catholic Church, 710 E. Grand Ave. El Segundo, CA, contact: Vic Martires (310) 618-0837.  West Covina area, St. Martha's Catholic Church, 444 N. Azusa Ave., La Puente, CA, contact: Linda Angeles (626) 641-5938; and Long Beach area, St. Dominic Savio Catholic Church, 9740 Foster Road, Bellflower, CA, contact: Evelyn Granada (562) 298-3839.  On the 9th fiesta whole day all devotees and guests will converge on Lincoln Park, 3529 N. Mission Road, LA, CA 90031.


Diet, cellphone, etc.

“Eating whole grains instead of bakery products, rice, and pasta lowers high cholesterol, lowers high blood pressure, reduces body weight…and lowers insulin level,” says an article from the Framingham Study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study points our that elevated insulin levels constrict arteries to cause chest pains or even heart attacks. High levels of insulin also stimulate the hypothalamus in the brain to make you hungry, and stimulate the liver to manufacture fat and make you fat. And the opposite is true: everything that lowers insulin levels helps you lose weight, lowers high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and prevents heart attacks, diabetes and strokes.

Eating rice or foods made with flour leads to a rapid rise in blood sugar level, which is not healthy, and is one of the reasons why there is an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, especially in the Philippines. Whole grains, and other more complex carbohydrates, according to our current knowledge “are like capsules that release their contents very slowly. It takes about an hour to cook whole grains because of this tight capsule, and your body still has a difficult time breaking the capsule, so they are very slow to digest. Whole grains help prevent diabetes and obesity because they keep insulin levels lower.

The culprit
Most of us, including physicians, used to think (till recently) that people who were overweight or fat were “eating too much.” To a significant extent, that may well be true. But the recent discovery of a “Fat Gene,” tells us that not all fat people are eating their way to obesity. Some people are simply “destined” to be overweight.
Researchers stated that “overweight people are predisposed to gaining weight in much the same way that kids born to brunette parents are likely to have, gasp!, brown hair.”
All the studies have confirmed that many individuals genetically programmed to have weight problems have a chromosomal abnormality, which “deprives them of normal amounts of dopamine, the feel-good drug released by the brain in response to stress.”
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight and about half a billion are obese. And this problem is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and even cancer.
As always, this kind of discovery often leads to a prompt search for a remedy, if not a cure. And scientific “diagnosis” like this one is a welcome find, one that will open a lot of doors for research that will someday arm us with “weapons” to battle and prevent diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Hormones Curb Cravings
New research suggests that “appetite-regulating hormones and peptides may be involved in the neurobiology of alcohol craving, and has confirmed that appetite-regulating peptides leptin (satiety hormone, reduces appetite) and ghrelin (hunger hormone, increases appetite) do indeed influence alcohol craving, but especially among certain subtypes of alcoholics.” Craving is a significant factor to the development and maintenance of alcoholism.
These new findings are essential in finding a drug that could prevent addiction among those who are more prone to it. Many shun even social drinking, especially among Asians, for fear that frequent parties might lead to a craving for alcohol. And for those who now crave for alcoholic drinks, this discovery could spell a big difference towards the prevention of alcoholism in the future.
For obese persons where diet alone and exercise are not enough to control their weight, gastric bypass is an option. One of the common procedures cuts out the right half (and “tip”) of the stomach that produces ghrelin, reducing stomach size (to make the individual feel full sooner) and at the same time reducing ghrelin.
Electromagnetic risks

At what dose of repeated radiation exposure from medical imaging diagnostic devices, natural or artificial sunbathing, microwave oven, cell phone signals, radiofrequency (radio-TV) signals, extremely low frequency power lines (said to be associated with childhood leukemia) can cause various forms of illnesses, including cancer, is still controversial. But we cannot simply ignore the warnings. In this current situation, the wise and prudent strategy is to minimize exposure to any of these electromagnetic forces as much as we can as we take advantage of the benefits provided by these advances in science and technology. Let’s just be more conscious and careful.

Cellphone warnings

Electrical Hypersensitivity Syndrome is truly a medical condition, characterized by fatigue, dizziness, tinnitus, facial rash, digestive symptoms, following “exposure to visual display units, mobile phones, Wi-Fi equipment, and commonplace appliances, affecting about 3% of all people and about 33% of us to a lesser extent.” Cordless phones and mobile phones emit the same amount of radiation…landline phones don’t. Use of speaker phone for cordless and mobile phones, or a hollow (preferred) wired (hands-free) earpiece is safer. Bluetooth wireless headsets are worse emitters. Texting is safer than calling with the handset against your ear. If the cellphone is carried close to the body as most men do, the battery should be facing away from the body since this acts as the antenna, the dial pad facing the body. If not using a hands-free device, switching from one ear to the other every 15 seconds or so is a good practice. As much as possible do not use cellphone in elevators or close spaces, since the weak signal will make the phone maximize its signal strength (and radiation!). Children should NOT use cell-phones except for emergencies, since they are more vulnerable to the effects of radiation.
Exercise Wonders

The amazing wonders of physical exercise are scientifically proven to keep the body and mind healthy, strengthen the immune system, improve cardiovascular fitness and reduces heart attacks by 33%, lessen the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes by 91%, prevent, if not minimize high blood pressure by more than a third --- all these for doing 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. Tai Chi, Tai Bo, dancing at any speed, walking (moderate to brisk), swimming, bicycling, or any aerobic exercise. There is no age limit to doing exercises. My mother did aerobic exercise up to her mid-80s (at a moderated pace) daily 2-mile exercise following the Leslie Sansone’s DVD aerobic exercise program. At 99, though using a walker and some help, she still feels great, remembering the birthdays of my 10 grandchildren, better than I could.

Besides positive attitude and a cheerful countenance, proper diet, abstinence from smoking and moderation in alcohol intake (red wine preferred), exercise is a major key to health and longevity, as it lowers the risk for cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses, Alzheirmer’s, and even cancer.

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