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Category Archives: HISTORY

‘Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here’

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

— PLATO

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By Alex P. Vidal

 
NEW YORK CITY –– Plato was 29 when Socrates died, but it is not known when he started to write his many dialogues (most of which we still have) featuring Socrates as their central figure.
Socrates had a profound effect upon Plato whose own ideas only become clearly distinguishable from Socratic thought in his later works.
He may have been in his 50s when he co-founded his school with the mathematician Theaetetus. The school was named the Academy after the legendary Greek hero Academus.
Though the Academy Plato hoped to provide a good education for the future rulers of Athens and other city-states. The subjects taught were philosophy, astronomy, gymnastics, mathematics and especially geometry.
The inscription over the door of the Academy read “let no one ignorant of geometry enter here.” Amongst his pupils was Aristotle who, like Plato, was to be one of the most influential philosophers who ever lived.

TANGIBLE

Plato (427-347 B.C.) believed that everything tangible in nature “flows.” So there are no “substances” that do not dissolve. Absolutely everything that belongs to the “material world” is made of a material that time can erode, but everything is made after a timeless “mold” or “form” that is eternal and immutable.
Why are horses the same? There is something that all horses have in common, something that enables us to identify them as horses. A particular horse “flows,” naturally.
It might be old and lame, and in time it will die. But the “form” of the horse is eternal and immutable.
That which is eternal and immutable, to Plato, is therefore not a physical “basic substance,” as it was for Empedocles and Democritus.
Plato’s conception was of eternal and immutable patterns, spiritual and abstract in their nature, that all things are fashioned after.

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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, HISTORY

 

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Reject Bucari photographer’s apology

“I want to solidify as an artist and show that as I grow as a person and make mistakes and learn from them, I’m going to grow artistically.”
–Eminem

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Philippine Mayor Rolito Cajilig of Leon, Iloilo and Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta should reject the “apology” made by Ilonggo photographer Steve Francis Quiatchon.
As an artist, Quiatchon committed no crime. El no cometio ningun crimen.
The controversial photo of a beautiful lady Quitachon took in Bucari, Leon recently was a piece of art, a product of a high-minded craftmanship.
It could net Quitchon a windfall in international market because of the photo’s quality.
He should be congratulated for putting Bucari, known as the “Little Baguio”, on the map in a unique manner.
Because of the controversy generated by the photo, Bucari, Leon is now the talk of the town.
Through the social media, people in the four corners of the globe are starting to be mesmerized by the town’s potentials and richness in ecosystem and tourism.

BODY

Even in antiquity, a woman’s body has been savagely the subject of intense debate and quarrel. King David, the first known Biblical Peeping Tom, watched with lust Bathsheba’s body, thus King Solomon became a product of King David’s adultery.
The New Testament chronicled how Salome made her controversial dance. In the Roman Empire, Caesar had been bewitched after Egyptian servants rolled up the carpet and exposed Cleopatra’s body.
The “scandals” and ‘infamy” of female Pharoahs Hatshepsut (Maatkare), Ahmose-Nefertari, Ashotep, Sobeknefru have been inscribed on ancient tablets and caves before photography was born eons of years later.
A plethora of social and political movements even challenged to the core the Victorian morality that created a paradigm shift in the British Empire’s rigid moral system where nudity was a total hysteria.
The Bucari, Leon photo was a product of the artist’s talent and imaginative skills, an expression of his mind as an emerging synthesis of evolutionary strategist, inventor and mechanic.
It was Albert Einstein who said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Pablo Picasso best described how important is an artist in the Divine Providence’s hierarchy: “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”

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ACCORDING to a former coup plotter who now lives in northern Iloilo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV wouldn’t be so brave and daring in his recent spat with President Rodrigo Duterte if he did not have the support of big political and military personalities in the country.
“Trillanes knows that as a senator, he is only a David fighting a Goliath in Malacanang and yet, he even threatened to jail the president if it will be proven that Mr. Duterte had more than P2 billion in his bank accounts,” the former coup plotter said.
Is former president FVR one of them, Mr. Coup Plotter?

 

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President Donald J. Trump Inaugural Speech

WASHINGTON D.C., January 20, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/20/politics/trump-inaugural-address/index.html

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
Words from the past: Inauguration speech library
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We will make America strong again.
We will make wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

 

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The greatest thinker of all time

“Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.”Will Durant

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — He was a pride of Asia.
Before being adjudged as the No. 1 “greatest thinker of all time” by Dr. Will Durant, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Medal of Freedom, the great American historian-philosopher acknowledged that the choice of Confucius had sparked doubts and quarrels.
“By what canon shall we include Confucius and omit Buddha and Christ?” Durant inquires in The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time.
“By this alone: that he was a moral philosopher rather than a preacher of religious faith; that his call to the noble life was based upon secular motives rather then upon supernatural considerations; that he far more resembles Socrates than Jesus.”
Born (552 B.C.) in an age of confusion, in which the old power and glory of China had passed into feudal disintegration and factional strife, Kung-fu-tse undertook to restore health and order to his country.
In the book compiled and edited by John Little, Durant describes Kung-fu-tse’s speech as “a sound moral and political philosophy within the compass of a paragraph. It was a highly conservative system; it exalted manners and etiquette, and scorned democracy; despite its clear enunciation of the Golden Rule it was nearer to Stoicism than to Christianity.”

GOOD FOR EVIL

A pupil having asked him should one return good for evil, Confucius replied: “With what then will you recompense kindness? Return good for good, and for evil, justice.”
He did not believe that all men were equal; it seemed to him that intelligence was not a universal gift.
As his pupil Mencius put it: “That whereby man differs from the lower animals is little. Most people throw it away.” The greatest fortune of a people would be to keep ignorant persons from public office, and secure their wisest men to rule them.

MAGISTRATE

A great city, Chung-tu, took him at his word and made him magistrate. “A marvelous reformation,” we are told, “ensued in the manners of the people…There was an end of crime…Dishonesty and dissoluteness hid their heads. Loyalty and good faith became the characteristic of the men, chastity and docility of the women.”
It is too good to be true, and probably it did not last very long.
But even if his lifetime Confucius’ followers understood his greatness and foresaw the timeless influence he was to have in molding the courtesy and poise and placid wisdom of the Chinese.
“His disciples buried him with great pomp. A multitude of them built huts near his grave and remained there, mourning as for a father, for nearly three years. When all the others were gone, Tse-Kung,” who had loved him beyond the rest, “continued by the grave for three years more, alone.”

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in EDUCATION, HISTORY

 

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Thank you for the inspiration, Graciano Lopez Jaena!

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

— Tecumseh

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By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — We commemorate Graciano Lopez Jaena’s 160th birth anniversary on December 18, 2016.
The reason why Ilonggos are so proud and probably the most-inspired journalists in the Philippines in this generation is because of fellow Ilonggo Lopez Jaena.
Could the son of Jaro, Iloilo City, who died in poverty, have been swallowed by the prevailing system that decimates the moral fiber of many enterprising journalists had he lived in today’s generation?
Born on December 18, 1856 and died on January 20, 1896, Lopez Jaena was not only an outstanding journalist, but was also an orator at par with the country’s and even the Asia’s best.
As the first ilustrado to arrive in Spain where he started the Propaganda Movement against our Spanish colonizers, Lopez Jaena became revolutionary when he formed a triumvirate with Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcel H. del Pilar.
But he became well known for his newspaper, La Solidarid.
No wonder contemporary journalists in Iloilo today flood the Western Visayas community with newspapers.
Almost every freedom-loving and lovers of letters and literature want to become newspapermen or to own and manage their own newspaper in the Ilonggo-speaking populace.
It runs in the Ilonggo blood.
Before he became famous, Lopez Jaena was first sent by his parents to study at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro which had been opened under the administration of Governor General Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada.
In the seminary, he served as a secretary to Claudio Lopez, his uncle who was the honorary vice consul of Portugal in Iloilo.
But he had ambition to become a physician. Lopez Jaena convinced his parents that he needed to enroll in a university in Manila.

ADMISSION
He was denied admission at the University of Santo Tomas because he did not have a Bachelor of Arts degree when he was at the seminary in Jaro.
Lopez Jaena was appointed to the San Juan de Dios Hospital as an apprentice.
He eventually dropped out due to financial difficulties and returned to Iloilo.
His assimilation with the poor ignited his feelings about the injustices common in that era.

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Lopez Jaena’s potentials as a reformer and writer became apparent at the age of 18 when he wrote the satirical story “Fray Botod” which depicted a fat and lecherous priest.
Lopez Jaena ribbed Fray Botod’s false piety which “always had the Virgin and God on his lips no matter how unjust and underhanded his acts are.”
The story was not published, but a copy circulated widely in Iloilo. The infuriated friars could not prove that Lopez Jaena was the author, thus he became off the hook, so to speak, temporarily.
The son of Jaro refused to testify that certain prisoners died of natural causes when it was obvious that they had died at the hands of the mayor of Pototan town, thus he was pilloried.
He continued to agitate for justice. When he received threats on his life, he sailed to Spain in 1879, where he pursued the Propaganda Movement.

LAND
In the land of our colonizers, Lopez Janea became a leading writer, propagandist, and speaker for reform of the homeland.
He finally pursued his medical studies at the University of Valencia but did not finish, thus incurring the ire of Rizal.
Lopez Jaena defended why he did not finish his medical studies by saying, “On the shoulders of slaves should not rest a doctor’s cape.”
“The shoulders do not honor the doctor’s cape, but the doctor’s cape honors the shoulders,” Rizal intoned.
The national hero died of tuberculosis in poverty on January 20, 1896, 11 months short of his 40th birthday.
He was buried in an unmarked grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste of Barcelona the following day.
Marcelo H. del Pilar’s death followed on July 4. Rizal was killed on December 30 by firing squad in Bagumbayan.
Their deaths ended the great triumvirate of Filipino propagandists, but their works contributed in the liberation of their compatriots from the Spanish colony.
Lopez Jaena’s remains have not been brought back to the Philippines.

 
 

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What day did you sneeze?

“Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?” — JEAN KERR

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — While standing in a long line at the Bank of America ATM machine in Jackson Heights, Queens on Thursday morning (a Thanksgiving day, November 24, in the United States), I sneezed twice.
An elderly Latina woman in front of me turned her back and sighed, “God bless you.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Today is what day, honey?” she snapped back with a smile. “Ah Thursday. Something better will happen to you because you sneezed on Thursday. If it’s Friday, you sneeze for sorrow.”
She continued: If I sneeze on Wednesday, I will receive a letter. On Tuesday, I kiss a stranger. On Monday, I sneeze for danger. On Saturday, I see my lover tomorrow. On Sunday, the devil will have me for the rest of the week. Oh lala.
She was being superstitious. I don’t believe in superstition but I thanked her nevertheless.

PUBLIC

In the bus, train, shopping centers, coffee shops, among other public places, I sneezed in the past and people were apt to say, “God bless you” or the German expression, “Gesundheit,” or the Italian word, “Felicita.”
In the old practice, they would clasp their hands and bow toward the one who sneezed, which is popular in Near and Far East until today.
The custom of asking God’s blessing started when early man believed that the essence of life–the spirit or soul–was in the form of air and breath and resided in one’s head, according to authors Claudia De Lys and Julie Forsyth Bachelor.
A sneeze might accidentally expel the spirit for a short time or even forever, unless God prevented it.
The act of bowing toward the sneezer was also reportedly counter-magic. For it meant, “May your soul not escape.”

SPIRITS

There were some ancients who believed that evil spirits which had previously entered the body jumped out when one sneezed. This meant danger to others for such spirits might now enter their bodies.
So the expression or blessing was to protect others as well as the one who sneezed. So serious was a sneezed considered in the Middle Ages that even today people speak of certain situations as “not to be sneezed at.”
We know today that a sneeze is one of our unconscious reflexes. However, medical men consider it almost as harmful to others as some of the primitive people did, explained Lys and Bachelor.
For, instead of “evil spirits,” sneezing expels harmful bacteria and is one of the most effective ways of spreading disease. So our best counter-charm, say the doctors, is to cover a sneeze with a handkerchief so our germs won’t jump down someone else’s throat.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2016 in HEALTH, HISTORY, SCIENCE

 

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‘U.S. Navy submarines will save the world’

“The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.” — Edsger Dijkstra

By Alex P. Vidal

GROTON, Connecticut — It’s normal for the United States (U.S.) Navy not to talk about some of the nuclear-powered attack submarines especially if the story involves the national security, but some basic information that are not classified can be accessed even in the internet, a retired US navyman recently disclosed.
Reynaldo A. Amuan, who retired in 1976, said the U.S. Navy submarines are called as “silent service” because they can save the world from rogue states that occasionally threaten to trigger a nuclear world war.

Amuan, 82, a Filipino-American, said “the U.S. Navy submarines are the most powerful and sophisticated in the world today. Everything is powered by nuclear.”
“Our submarines are now cleaner, more sophisticated and don’t need diesel fuel unlike what we have some 50 years ago,” said Amuan, who was “CPO/E7 Reynaldo A. Amuan” during his active years in service from 1956 to 1976.
Amuan added: “The U.S. Navy submarines were the lifeblood of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) during the World War II.”

VOLUNTEER

Amuan, active member of Connecticut-based New England Filipino-American, Inc. (NEFAI), said anyone who wants to be enlisted in the U.S. Navy must be willing to act as volunteer first and should have a good moral character.
“The most important is he must be mentally stable as he will undergo a one-year observation or study duty to be able to familiarize the vessel and learn its basic operations,” Amuan quipped.
When he was enlisted in the U.S. Naval Base in Sangley Point, Cavite, Philippines in 1956, the requirements and qualifications were not as rigid compared today.

“It’s because times have changed. There is no more recruitment in the Philippines as the U.S. Navy doesn’t have a military base there anymore,” explained Amuan, who finished radio operator from a technical school in Iloilo City, Philippines prior to applying in the U.S. Navy.

SUPERPOWER

America, considered as military superpower in the world, reportedly has 43 Los Angeles-class submarines on active duty and 19 retired, making it the most numerous nuclear-powered submarine class in the world.
It was learned that the class was preceded by the Sturgeon class and followed by the Seawolf and Virginia classes. Except for USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-709), submarines of this class are named after U.S. cities, breaking a Navy tradition of naming attack submarines after sea creatures.
The final 23 boats in the series, referred to as “688i” boats, are reportedly quieter than their predecessors and incorporate a more advanced combat system. These 688i boats are also designed for under-ice operations: their diving planes are on the bow rather than on the sail, and they have reinforced sails.
The National Interest reported that the Navy doesn’t like to talk about its submarines.
“After all, a sub’s biggest advantage is its stealth. And of the sailing branch’s roughly 70 undersea boats, Seawolf and her two sister vessels Connecticut and Jimmy Carter are among the most secretive,” it stressed.

GOOGLE

If readers will Google the names of any of the Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines, “the most numerous in the fleet, and you’ll get hits: Navy statements and photo releases, the occasional news article. But try to look up Seawolf-class vessels and you’ll get next to nothing,” it explained.

The National Interest disclosed that it’s official website is blocked. The last time Seawolf’s exterior appeared in a Navy photo was 2009, it said.
“That’s because Seawolf and her sisters are special. Newer, bigger, faster and more heavily armed than standard attack submarines, the nearly $3-billion-per-copy Seawolfs have been fitted with hundreds of millions of dollars in unique equipment and are assigned to their own special squadron in Washington State,” the report added.
Amuan named Chris Tibus, a Fil-Am Navy liaison, who was considered as “the godfather of the Filipinos” for his role in helping Filipino guerrilla fighters in the Philippines during the World War II.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in HISTORY

 

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