Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lights Out for Edison's Bulb?

Clamors for the phase out of the ubiquitous lightbulb in ten years is underway in the United States and Europe. With the demand for energy increasing, dumping the electricity-hungry incandescent may be a good idea. Of the energy released by an incandescent bulb, only five percent goes to light. The other ninety five percent is in the form of heat. While this energy distribution is useful for incubating chicken eggs in a home, it eats up to ten percent of the electricity distributed in the US alone. This equates to $10 billion a year.

Bulb manufacturers like General Electric says that a total phase out is unnecessary since they expect to have incandescent bulbs twice as efficient as those of today by 2010. By 2012, they expect one that's four times as efficient.

Thomas Edison's light bulb is already 128 years old and much of the technology it uses cannot be improved to a great extent if new materials are not available. In experiments with the first light bulb, Edison used materials like sewing thread for the filament. The photo is from

Infomania: New Medical Disorder?

Have you ever had a friend or family member who you cannot picture not using a cell phone or checking email? These are the people who are said to be infomaniacs. Some say it is a form of addiction. Infomania is a new medical term for a condition of people who cannot seem to let go of their gadgets like computers and cell phones. They affect mostly those who are exposed to technology like teenagers and office workers.

Theory has it that the use of technology can be as addictive as drugs because they enable the release of endorphins or hormones that give a sense of well being when used. Such endorphin highs could be what makes video game players keep playing again and again at the expense of other basic needs. Extreme cases involve ignoring food in exchange for the thrill of playing at an arcade (see related post: Video Game Overdose?). High school students have been observed in a mall buying tokens for games then later scavenging leftovers from the plates of food court customers.

Other studies say that gadgets give a rush of adrenaline, like when they are used as mediums for entertainment or socializing. Could such adrenaline rushes be associated with violent tendencies that are said to be displayed by players of shooter video games? Could this rush, or the yearning for a much bigger "fix," be the reason why some people attempt to reenact the fantasy world of such games in real life? Send me your comments.

Philippine Tektites Presented

These are tektites from the Philippines, part of the Australasian strewn field the origins of which span two continents from Eurasia to Indochina. They are from my collection. If you wish to read more about them and see individual pictures, go to this address.

Video Game Overdose?

A man from Jinzhou, Liaoning province in China reportedly died after playing online video games "continuously" for seven days over the Chinese New Year holidays. The cause of death was unclear but the man was reportedly obese, although was young at 26. He collapsed on the last day of the holidays. Internet use has been steadily rising in China despite censorship by the government.

Research on the effect of video games on the human body have resulted in both positive and negative findings. One study reports that the flashing lights of video games cause epileptic seizures. Another says it can improve mental acuity. But whether playing video games is beneficial or not, what happened to the Chinese man was most likely the result of having too much of something one's own good. But, then again, maybe it was just his time. There is an old Chinese proverb that says: Enjoy yourself. It is later than you think. The photo is from

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lost Tomb Controversy

A documentary directed by Titanic director James Cameron titled "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" will be aired by the Discovery Channel early this March. It has earned the ire of Christians due to its assumption that archaeologists have found ossuaries of Jesus' family. One even bears the inscription "Judah, son of Jesus," which implies that Jesus had a son.
Tradition and the Bible holds that Jesus rose from the grave before he ascended to Heaven. Christians are arguing that none of the bones could possibly belong to Jesus. Biblical scholar Stephen Pfann of the University of the Holy Land says the name "Jesus" may have been misread. He said the name is more likely "Hanun." He says ancient Semitic script is difficult to decipher.

Aside from the name, critics of the new find also say that the ossuaries were not found in the Church of the Ressurection, where Jesus was recorded to have been buried, not the typical middle-class Jerusalem burial place where the containers were found.
The news is reminiscent of a movie released in 2001 called "The Body" starring Antonio Banderas. In it, a crucified body is discovered in a cave in the Holy Land and puts the Church in a dilemma as all physical evidence suggests that it is that of the Christ. The movie, despite the subject matter, did not spark any public controversy. The inset photo is from:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Philippine Nebula Simulacra

Above is a picture of what has been dubbed the "Philippine nebula" due to its resemblance to the Philippine archipelago (left). It was sent to me by email. The uncanny similarity is a natural phenomenon of how images, patterns, and objects in nature can appear familiar to people in some way. Such things are known as simulacra.

Common simulacra are things that appear like religious icons. Such are often revered in the Philippines and are considered miracles. Religious simulacra have been identified in tree bark, floor tiles, clouds, and yes, even deep nebulas in outer space. With a little patience, you can find simulacra yourself. If you do find one, you can send a copy to be posted here.
Does anyone know the name and location of the "parent" nebula that the Philippine nebula belongs to? I would also like to know the source of the photograph posted here so that I can add the proper credits. I would appreciate any help.

Philippine Islands photo courtesy of Google Earth.
Philippine nebula photo courtesy of (unknown).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Welcome to Macrocosm Magbook

Enter the big universe of the Macrocosm where fact and fiction collide. It is a pleasure to have you here as a reader.