Monday, June 27, 2016

Lightning is Nature’s Primordial Tool



 Mysterious are nature's ways, the sun's energy 
transforming into electrical energy through lightning,
henceforth building proteins, the building blocks 
of all living things, great and small, as they grow and die,
and into the next cycle the process is the same -
ad infinitum. ~ 
Dr Abe V Rotor

Lightning is Nature's quick-fix agent converting inert atmospheric Nitrogen into soluble Nitrate compounds that fertilize soil and water, and nourish plants, other autotrophs, and saprophytes principally the mushrooms such as these specimens shown in the following photographs.  
Shelf mushroom; Auricularia (tainga ng daga) 
Dung mushroom
Oyster mushroom; stinkhorn 

All over the globe lightning strikes at one point or another
incessantly night and day, in good or bad weather.

The atmosphere and earth meet in deafening thunder
that accompanies a spark of a thousand atomic bombs
enough to light a city for days if captured and stored. 
  
In the process chemistry combines nitrogen with oxygen, 
one-to-three in proportion to form nitrates in tons 
and tons in a single bolt, becoming negatively charge 
and soluble, riding on the rain to descend to earth.

Nitrate the free radical ion joins a positive ion and forms
combinations of compounds that nourish plants and all
all photosynthetic organisms, and the saprophytes, too
- the mushrooms and their kin of Kingdom Mycophyta.

Wonder the hills and mountains turn green soon after
the first rain in May or even only a shower in April;  
afterward the whole landscape builds into a realm 
of emerald green as the sky sends boundless energy.

Electrical energy transforms into chemical energy
passing from  the inorganic to the organic world, thence
through the living world - the food chain and web,
food pyramid, there into the ecosystems and biomes,
finally to the biosphere that make the earth full of life. 

Mysterious are nature's ways, the sun's energy 
transforming into electrical energy through lightning,
henceforth building proteins, the building blocks 
of all living things, great or small, as they grow and die,
and into the next cycle the process is the same -
ad infinitum. ~  

Global Warming spawns more floods. Be prepared always

 Assignment: Photo Essay (Flood Photo Coverage)  Essay 

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday
 
 It is an opportunity to document calamities as they occur. It is a chance to use photography to reach out for those in need, to be part of rescue and recovery operations, to share our sense of belonging in the spirit of civic consciousness and true faith. Or simply, as media students and practitioners.  Narrow down your topic.  Examples, relief operations, cleanup, emergency, human interest (saving a pet), local heroes, makeshift quarters, refugees in schools, ingenuity in action.  
                        

Discover the many good values of Filipinos in times of calamity: leadership, compassion,  selflessness, cooperation (bayanihan), and the like. Organize assignment in a folder, complete with running story, photos with caption.  No limit to number of pages.   
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As of this writing, Metro Manila, and the surrounding provinces, are experiencing the worst flood in recent memory. It is the aftermath of Typhoon Gener, exacerbated by intensified monsoon. It is another test on the magnitude of  typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

This article is an update of an earlier post on how we prepare, respond and recover, in times of calamity. Here a checklist to follow. 

1. Keep informed and abreast – Radio, TV, Internet, Telephone, neighbors, cellphone.

2. Know at fingertips emergency numbers for disaster, fire, earthquake, police, NDCC, DECS, DOH, others. Be emergency response conscious of evacuation sites, fire exits, hospitals and clinics,
Secure appliances and items (furniture, documents, books, toys, etc) on second floor or on safe area. Move heavy objects away from harm’s way, these include apparador, potted plants, heavy tools, etc.

3. Prepare for power cut off. Set your freezer to the coldest temperature setting to minimize spoilage if the power is cut off. Have on hand flashlight, candles, batteries, etc. Charge cellphones and emergency lights. Have enough LPG during the emergency period. Keep a spare tank. In the province be sure you have sufficient stock of dry firewood.

4. Have your car, motorbike, ready for emergency. If water rises, secure them to higher ground.
Always see to it that they are at tiptop condition.

5. Check windows and doors, walls and roofs. Reinforce and seal them if necessary. Have handy towels, rags and mops. Seal leaking walls and roof even before the typhoon season.

6. Stay at the strongest and safest place in the house if the typhoon gets severe. Keep away from flood water, electrical outlet and wire, china wares and glass windows.

7. Seal off broken window or door with mattress or sofa over as typhoon gets severe. Secure it there with a heavy piece of furniture. Draw curtains across the windows to prevent against flying glass. Release trapped pressure by allowing it to escape opposite the direction of wind. My experience is to open a window just enough to maintain equilibrium.

8. Remember that a typhoon has and eye of calm. 
Don’t be deceived; it may appear that the typhoon has passed. It is only half of it. The winds then pick up again, now in opposite direction.


9. When the typhoon is finally through, check for hazards - broken glass, fallen trees and downed power lines, dangerous damaged structure.


10. Observe hygiene during and after a typhoon. Make sure your drinking water is not contaminated. Boil if necessary. Make sure that food properly prepared and stored. Avoid eating food from roadside vendors. Protect yourself from WILD, acronym for Waterborne, Influenza, Leptospirosis, and Diarrhea. Include Dengue, and other diseases.

11. Give priority attention to infants, children and the elderly. Provide them with whatever measures of safety and comfort. Keep them out of danger. Evacuate, if necessary, before the typhoon strikes.

12. Get rid of breeding grounds of mosquitoes, flies, rats and other vermin. Drain stagnant pools, dispose containers with water. Dispose garbage properly. Use pesticide only if necessary. Application of insecticide, rodenticide, and fumigant needs expert’s supervision.

13. Protect yourself from toxic waste if you are living in an industrial center, these include toxic metals (mercury, lead, cadmium), hydrocarbon compounds, pesticide residues, oil spills.

14. Wear protective clothing like boots when wading in flood water, raincoat, jacket, had hard during clearing and construction, gloves, etc. Be careful with leptospirosis, a disease acquired from rat waste through flood water.

15. Protect yourself from road accidents. Chances are higher during and after a calamity because of fallen trees and poles, damaged and slippery roads, non-functioning traffic lights, obstructions of all sorts.

----------------------------



16. Have your damaged vehicle repaired and cleaned as soon as possible to prevent further damage, specially those submerged in flood. So with other appliances – refrigerators, TV sets, furniture, etc.

17. Have an adequate supply of food and water for the foreseeable period of emergency.
No panic buying, please. 

18. Medicine cabinet, first aid kit.  Check regularly and replenish the needed medical supplies, principally for the treatment of common ailments, and victims of  accidents.

19. Protect your home from burglars (akyat bahay).  Don't fall unwary victim to rogues.  Bad elements of society usually take advantage on the hopeless, like refugees in a calamity. 

20. Keep in touch with loved ones, relatives, friends to relieve anxiety. It is timely to text some kind words to the the infirmed, lonely, aged.  Offer whatever help you can extend. These are times to exercise neighborliness in action. ~

 Acknowledgement: Time Magazine, Internet, author's students at UST Faculty of Arts and Letters 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Traces of Art Movements in Today's Paintings

Dr Abe V Rotor

These representative paintings are the works of amateurs at the University of Santo Tomas. They provide a keyhole view on the trend of painting with reference to certain schools or movements in the midst of computer art and advertisements. They are footprints of Monet's Impressionism, Van Gogh's Expressionism, Salvador Dali's Surrealism, Picasso's Abstractionism, among others, but the question remains, "Quo vbadis?" (Where is the art of painting heading for?)

                       

Impressionistic autumn in the stillness of Monet;
where have all the creatures gone, pray. 
 


 Nature and Nurture are but one,
unity and harmony under the sun;
naturalism of Amorsolo,
 Seurat and Cezanne


  
Quartet annonymous, music unknown,
artists incognito in the silence of song. 
impressionism with a touch of surrealism.  

 
Likeness of Van Gogh,
tortured soul seeking 
escape from the self;
Oh, art, let go, let go.

 Matisse, Chagall, Joya, 
masters of abstract art 
and countless sworn -
artists and zealots as well.  

                            
Paul Cezanne's cubism,
light and shadow 
and colors in prism,
Speak of friendship or loneliness,
boredom or emptiness, 
captured best with the brush 
more than the lens. 
                  
Artists insist in their art and craft,
little for a living, fullest in the heart.

Acknowledgement: The author failed to include the identities of the artists who made these paintings.  Sincere gratitude is accorded them for sharing their talents with the viewers/readers of this article. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nature and Nurture: Defining Moments of Great Men


Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
 Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

1. "No part is more important than the whole." Auguste Rodin

The famous statue of Honore de Balzac carved by Auguste Rodin, has no hands.  But when Rodin carved it, it had hands.  

This is how the statue lost its hands. After completing his work, the scilptor called in his students and friends to see it. "What hands!" gasped one.

"Master, I have never seen such hands.  Only  a god could carve hands like that." said another, "they are alive!"



  Honore de Balzac without arms; bust details.  

"Those hands! Those hands!" exclaimed a third student. "If you had never produced anything else, master, these hands would make you immortal."

Rodin was not pleased in the least.  He seized an axe and rushed to the statue.

His students ried to hold him back but with unbelievable strength, he chopped off the hands that had forth such a praise. "Fools!" he shouted. "I have to destroy those hands because they had a life of their own.  They did not belong to the life of the entire statue.  Remember this and remember it well!  No part is more important than the whole."   

2. Newton lay dying

When Isaac Newton lay dying, a friend said to him: "It must be a source of pride and gratification to know that you penetrated so deeply into a knowledge of nature's laws." 

"Far from feeling proud," spoke Newton, "I feel like a little child who has found a few bright colored shells and pebbles while the vast ocean of truth stretches unknown and unexplored before my eager fingers."  

3. Captain Scott's last word: COURAGE - a message

Captain Scott died in a blinding blizzard while on his way to the South Pole.  Years later they found his frozen body.  In his hand was an unfinished letter to his friend, Sir Barrie, the eminent British writer.  In that letter Scott had tried to tell of the cold and dispiriting conditions they were in, adding however, a cheerful note: "I would do you good to hear our songs and our cheery conversations."  Then there stood out a final word in wide characters.  It spelled: "COURAGE."

When Sir Barrie received the letter, he kept it in a casket with great care.  Shortly after, the writer lost the use of his right hand.  Now he could not write even a line. Helpless and unhappy, one day he took out his friend's letter and read it through again and again.

He looked at the last word "COURAGE" and then told himself: "If Scott could write about courage when things were at their worst, why cannot I have the courage to learn to write with my left hand?"

And he did learn to write with his left hand, though afterwards he recovered the use of his right hand.

(Author's Note: Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912. In a small tent, flying the Norwegian flag, he found a letter from Captain Amundsen wishing him a safe return. It was on his journey back that he and the members of his team met their tragic end.)  

4. "That makes no difference." - Pope Pius IX 
Pope Pius IX was one day walking along through the galleries of the Vatican.  He saw at a distance a young Englishman who was gazing ecstatically at one of Raphael's paintings.  The Pope went up to him and asked, "I presume you are an artist, my son."

The young man confessed that he had come to Rome to study painting.  But he informed the Pontiff that he had not enough money to pay the fees for instruction at the Academy. Whereupon Pope Pius IX promised to provide for his fees.

"But, your Holiness," blurted the young man, "I am a Protestant!"

"That makes no difference," smiled the Holy Father.  "Admission to the studios will not deny you of that score."  

5. "One piece for the young lady." - Albert Schweitzer

When Albert Schweitzer visited America in 1949, a former Strasbourg Sunday-school pupil of his met him at the Cleveland railway station and took him to a restaurant for breakfast.  An Alsatian coffee cake, especially prepared for the occasion, was produced, thus giving the table a festive look. (Dr Schweitzer is a native of Alsace, a French Region at the border of Germany.)

When time came to cut the cake, Dr Schweitzer was handed the knife.  He stood up, poised the blade and counted the people.  There were nine of them, but Dr. Schweitzer cut the cake into ten pieces.

"One piece for the young lady who so graciously served us," he explained, hnding the tenth piece to the waitress. 

6. "I would read some poetry and listen to some music..." - Charles Darwin

These words come from Charles Darwin: "If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once  week; for perhaps that part of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use.

"The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by weakening the emotional part of our nature."  

7. Seventy-five drafts of Thomas Gray's "Elegy"

Seventy-five drafts of Thomas Gray's poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" may be seen in the British Museum.  The poet did not like the way he wrote the first time nor the second nor the third.  He way satisfield only when he had written the poem over and over 75 times. 

Author's Note: The poem is an elegy in name but not in form; it employs a style similar to that of contemporary odes.  It embodies a meditation on death, and remembrance after death, and in pondering on the lives of the obscure and unknown buried in the churchyard. It could be for this depth of reflection that drove Gray into "perfecting" this poem, so to speak, which became his masterpiece, and one of the most loved and enduring poems in English, and world, literature. 

(Author's Note: The final copy of  Gray's Elegy is printed in a separate topic and lesson in this Blog.)  

8. Voltaire surrounded by a mob 

Feeling ran high against the French when Voltaire visited England in 1727.  The life of the Frenchman was in danger on the streets.  One day a crowd of angry Englishmen surrounded Voltaire on his walk, shouting, "Kill him! Hang the Frenchman!"

Raising his voice above the shouts of the crowd , Voltaire cried, "Englishmen!  You want to kill me because I am a Frenchman!  Am I not punished enough in not being an Englishman?"

The crowd hurrahed and led him safely back to his residence. ~

A person who eats ripe fruits partly eaten by birds becomes talkative.


Dr Abe V Rotor


Guyabano (Anona muricata) partly eaten by fruit bat during the night.

This is a cure to children who are just too quiet for their age.

The old folks would give children ripe fruits they first offer to a parakeet or parrot. At one time I tasted guayabano ripen on the tree which bore teeth marks. Since then I began reciting in class.  

That’s how convincing Lolo Vicente was. But the pitch of my voice was unusually high. It was a fruit bat that tasted the guyabano fruit, and early sunrise must have prevented the nocturnal animal from finishing it.  

By the way, birds and bats may carry certain diseases, such as rabies and bird flu.~

Self-Healing Power of Trees

And if it fails...
"A woodpecker chisels the dead heart,
an abode for her young's need;
home of the owl, roost to a passing lark,
sweet is benevolence indeed." AVR


Dr Abe V Rotor
   
New shoots emerge to eventually replace the lost
crown of a mahogany tree (Swietenia macrophylla
).


A lone shoot rises from a cut branch of a fire tree
(
Delonix regia)



Rot starts at the center on an old cut, while
healing takes place peripherally in a camphor
tree. 
Annual rings show that the branch was
five years old when it was cut.
 
Normal healing process showing actively dividing cambium
layer which will completely cover the wound. 
Note numerous
dots on the newly formed layer. These are breathing pores
called lenticles, counterpart of stomata on the leaves.


Completely healed wound.


Scars of vandalism. Law prohibits posting of advertisements
on trees, so with other destructive means
 
Delayed healing exposes the wood to rot and
eventually form a hollow - the result of a
typhoon which ripped off a major branch
from the trunk.

A woodpecker chisels the dead heart,
an abode for her young's need;
home of the owl, roost to a passing lark,
sweet is benevolence indeed.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Miniature Dioramas of Nature


School Projects and Educational Tools, too 

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

Miniature diorama of a Coral Reef 

 These mini-dioramas were projects of students and became part of the former St Paul School Museum. SPUQC. This lesson is dedicated to the students who made them, and to many visitors who appreciated the value of these masterpieces. 

 



 

Hands-on, these dioramas took shape,
     Bruised and cut and stained,
Sweat and tears, imagery and faith,
     That Nature's image is made.

On-site, these scenes now in glass cases,
     Are faithful to science and art;
They reveal the earth's beautiful faces,
     But with the spark of life apart.~


The idea of miniaturized dioramas depicting ecological scenes was pioneered by students taking up ecology subject at St. Paul University QC. Their works - two dozen mini-dioramas depicting major ecosystems - were displayed for 15 years at the school museum, then the centerpiece of natural history.

A diorama is a “view window” reproduced from an actual or imagined event or scene made by artists who have a background of painting, architecture and sculpture combined, and of course, history. In this particular case, the diorama artists must have a working knowledge of ecology and biology.

One who may have visited any of the following museums has a better understanding as to what a diorama is in terms of structure, content and medium: National Museum in Manila, Ayala Museum at Greenbelt in Makati, and National Food Authority Grain Industry Museum in Cabanatuan. But the dioramas in these museums are large and spacious. It gives him the feeling that he is right on spot where the event is taking place or where the scene is located. This is enhanced with the right ambiance of lighting, musical background, narration or dialogue and the like.

The mini-dioramas at the former SPUQ museum are much simpler and smaller. They are works of amateurs but nonetheless exude the quality works of artists cum ecologists. Here are seven mini-dioramas depicting the Tropical Rainforest, the Ocean, Pacific Lagoon, Coral Reef, Alpine Biome, Savannah and the Desert,

1. Tropical Rainforest

The earth once wore a broad green belt on her midriff – the rainforest – that covered much of her above and below the equator. Today this cover has been reduced - and is still shrinking at a fast rate. The nakedness of the earth can be felt everywhere. One place where we can witness this is right here in the Philippines where only 10 percent of our original forest remains. Even the great Amazon Basin is threatened. As man moves into new areas, puts up dwellings, plants crops, becomes affluent, increases in number, the more the tropical rainforest shrinks. Our thinking that the forest as a source of natural resources is finite is wrong. Like any ecosystem, a forest once destroyed cannot be replaced. It can not regenerate because by then the soil has eroded, and the climate around has changed. It is everyone’s duty to protect the tropical rainforest, the bastion of thousands of species of organisms. In fact it is the richest of all the biomes on earth.

2. The Ocean

Scientists today believe that eighty percent of the world’s species of organisms are found in the sea. One can imagine the vastness of the oceans – nearly 4 kilometers deep on the average and 12 km at its deepest - the Marianas Trench and the Philippine Deep - and covering 78 percent of the surface of the earth. Artists and scientists re-create scenarios of Jules Verne’s, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” such as this diorama, imagining man’s futuristic exploration in the deep led by Captain Nemo, the idealistic but ruthless scientist. Such scenarios are no longer fantasy today – they are scenes captured by the camera and other modern tools of research. And the subject is not one of exploration alone, but conservation, for the sea, limitless as it may seem, is facing the same threats of pollution and other abuses man on land, in water, and air. The sea is man’s last frontier. Let us give it a chance.

3. Pacific Lagoon

The vastness of the Pacific Ocean is disturbed now and then by the presence of islands – big and small, singly or in groups - that appear like emerald and pearl strewn on the dark blue water, presenting a most beautiful scenery that attracts people to experience true communion with nature. Originally these islands were the tips of volcanoes, at first fierce and unsettled, but later became tame to the elements that fashioned them through time into lagoons, and other land forms of varied geographic features. As seen in this diorama, this island typical of Boracay is rich in vegetation, coconut trees grow far into the water and on the white sand that cover the shores. The coral reef teems with many kinds of marine life, from rare shellfish to aquarium fishes. In fact the whole island is a sanctuary of wildlife. It is a natural gene bank, a natural museum of biological diversity.


4. Coral Reef 

Second to the Tropical Rainforest in richness in species diversity is the coral reef, often dubbed as a forest under the sea. Corals are simple animals of the Phylum Coelenterata, now Ctenophora, that live in symbiosis with algae. Algae being photosynthetic produce food and oxygen that corals need, and in return receive free board and lodging, and carbon dioxide. Within this zone grow many kinds of seaweeds, some reaching lengths of several feet long as in the case of kelp (Laminaria), and Sargassum, the most common tropical seaweed. As a sanctuary it cradles the early life stages of marine life until they have grown to be able to survive the dangers and rigors of the open sea. Coral reefs are formed layer upon layer through long years of deposition of calcareous skeletons of Coelenterates which is then cemented with sand, silt, clay and gravel to form into rock. Limestone is a huge deposit resulting from this process Scientists believe that without coral reefs islands would disappear and continents shrink. Above all we would not have the fishes and other marine organisms we know today.

5. Alpine Biome

Isolated from the lower slopes and adjoining valley, this ecological area has earned a distinction of having plants and animals different from those in the surrounding area. Because of the unique climate characterized by an intense but short summer and extreme cold the rest of the year, the organisms in this biome have acquired through evolution certain characteristics that made them fit to live in such an environment. Alpine vegetation is dramatic owing to its ephemeral nature. Here annual plants bloom with a precise calendar, attracting hordes of butterflies and other organisms. The trees are gnarled as they stand against the howling wind, mosses and liverworts carpet the ground, streams are always alive, and migrating animals have their fill before the cold sets in. We do not have this biome in the Philippines, but atop Mt. Apo in Davao and Mt. Pulog in Benguet, the country’s highest mountains, lies a unique ecosystem – a combination of grassland and alpine. This could be yet another biome heretofore unrecorded in the textbook.

6. Savannah

Home of game animals in Africa, the Savannah has the highest number of herbivores of all biomes. It had always been the “grand prix” of hunters until three decades ago when strict laws were passed prohibiting poaching and destruction of natural habitats. The diorama depicts the shrub-grass landscape, a stream runs into a waterhole where, during summer, attracts animals from the lowly turtle to the ferocious lion which stakes on preys like zebra and gazelle. Beyond lies Mt. Kimanjaro, Hemingway’s favorite locale of his novel of the same title (Snows of Kilimanjaro). It is said that the beginning of the Nile River, the longest river in the world, starts with the melting of snow atop Kilimanjaro, right at the heart of the Savannah.

7. The Desert

Scenes of the Sahara flash in our mind the moment the word “desert” is brought about to both young and old, in fantasy or reality. Here lies a wasteland, so vast that it dwarfs the imagination. Deserts are found at the very core of continents like Australia and North America, or extend to high altitude (Atacama Desert) or way up north (Siberian Desert) where temperature plunges below zero Celsius. In the desert rain seldom comes and when it does, the desert suddenly blooms into multi-faceted patterns and colors of short-growing plants. Sooner the desert is peacefully dry and eerie once again, except the persistent cacti and their boarders (birds, insects and reptiles), shrubs and bushes that break the monotony of sand and sand dunes. But somewhere the “desert is hiding a well,” so sang the lost pilot and the Little Prince in Antoine de St. Exupery’s novelette, “The Little Prince.” I am referring to the oasis, waterhole in the desert. It is here where travelers mark their route, animals congregate, nations put claims on political borders. Ecologically this is the nerve center of life, spiritually the bastion of hope, a new beginning, and source of eternal joy particularly to those who have seen and suffered in the desert. The desert is not a desert after all.~

Other biomes:

    Tundra - type of biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. It is the coldest of all the biomes.
    Taiga - The Russian word for forest and is the largest biome in the world. It stretches over Eurasia and North America
    Temperate Deciduous Forest - dominated by temperate broad-leaf trees that lose their leaves each year. The four seasons are distinct. The trees lose their leaves in colorful display characteristic in autumn; they lay bare often in snow in winter, resume growth in spring, and are most luxuriant in summer which is also the time of flowering and seed formation.
    Grassland - characterized as lands dominated by grasses rather than large shrubs or trees. The largest grasslands are the prairies of North America, and pampas in South America
    Chaparral - a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula.
    Lake - Examples: Sea of Gallilee, Aral Sea, Laguna Bay, Victoria
    River - Mekong, Danube, Rhine, Nile, Mississippi, Yangzhe River, Brahmaputra,
--------------------------------
Biomes are defined as the world's major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment. The importance of biomes cannot be overestimated. Biomes have changed and moved many times during the history of life on Earth. More recently, human activities have drastically altered these communities. Thus, conservation and preservation of biomes should be a major concern to all.

12 Oddities in Nature. Can you identify them?


Dr Abe V Rotor
1. Porcupine, real specimen or hand crafted?


2. Fruits are produced not from flowers, but directly from
special buds.
 What tree is this? Does its seed germinate
and grow into a tree?


3. This is highly prized as food to Asians.


4. Snails are hermaphroditic, but why do they still mate?

5. On whose lap does this cat find comfort and quiet?


6. Name the plants growing on this dead log.


7. What will the doomed caterpillar become?


8. It's tough, grows radially, and clings on dead trunk like shelf.
9. It's all skin, its owner makes the loudest and longest love
song among trees.


10.  It has two pairs of legs per somite or segment. It feigns dead curling into a wheel with its soft belly inside and the thick plates serving as armor.  



11. It looks like a green grasshopper, master of mimicry, you might miss it among the leaves and stems of its host tree.

12. You find it in museums, fossilized primitive giant mollusk, which gave the concept of a prototype submarine in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. 

Answers:

1. It's real. The porcupine is indigenous to the Palawan. It is now in the list of highly endangered species. St Paul University Museum QC.
2. Siniguelas ( sarguelas Ilk) - Spondias purpurea. This is exemption to the rule that fruits and seeds are products of pollination and fertilization. Siniguelas can't be propagated by seed, it is by cuttings. Just cut a good branch, the girth of a man's arm, a meter or two in length and plant it on well drained loam soil. Plant along fences and field borders.
3. Edible sea urchin(maritangtang Ilk), an aphrodisiac.
4. An hermaphrodite has both gametes - sperm and egg. Seldom does fertilization and zygote formation take place in the individual. Copulation is necessary to prevent inbreeding. Exchange of genes is necessary. During mating, the first to penetrate is the male. At another time, it plays the role of female.

5. Icon of a Paulinian sister, St Paul University Museum QC, reading the Holy Book.

6. Growths are not of plants but saprophytes (tainga ng daga or Auricularia) and lichens (association of algae and fungi).
7. It will become fossilized. If embedded in resin, the fossil will be visible through the clear amber.
8. Shelf mushroom.
9. Cicada. It's the male that sings; the female is mute.
10. Millipede, Class Diplopoda, relative of the insects and spiders, centipedes - they all belong to Phylum Arthropoda. 
11. Walking stick, originally classified under Orthoptera, the order of insects 
12. Nautillus.  The fictional submarine in the novel is named after this livbing marine fossil.  The captain in Nautillus is Captain Nemo.