Tech Projects We’d Love to Have

In our modern setting, the need for information is as basic as the need for food, clothing and shelter. By extension, the World Wide Web or Internet is a basic human need.  That is why we admire a project such as this.

In an effort to buck the expensive rates of unreliable corporate telecom companies, a community in Athens, Greece, has created its own private Internet.  e6b8363e89770a70a288ab7bd6e94973

Built from a network of wireless rooftop antennas, the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (AWMN) now has more than 1,000 members. Data moves “through” the AWMN mesh up to 30 times faster than it does on the telecom-provided Internet.

According tMother Jones, this off-the-grid community has become so popular in Athens and on nearby islands that it has developed its own Craigslist-esque classifieds service as well as blogs and an internal search engine.

“It’s like a whole other Web,” AWMN user Joseph Bonicioli told the magazine. “It’s our network, but it’s also a playground.”

The AWMN began in 2002 in response to the poor Internet service provided by traditional telecommunications companies in Athens. However, the past few years have illustrated another use for these citizen-run meshes: preserving the democratic values of the Internet.

As the Internet has become a ubiquitous presence in day-to-day life, governments around the world have sought to control it. In 2011 for example, when former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak found out that protesters were organizing on Facebook, he commanded the country’s Internet service providers to shut down access, denying 17 million Egyptians access to the Web for days.

Later that year in the U.S., the city of San Francisco temporarily shut down cellphone service in its transit system to stop a protest.

As Bonicioli told Mother Jones, “When you run your own network, nobody can shut it down.”

These DIY meshes are also used to provide Internet in places major telecom companies can’t—or won’t—reach. For example, one was constructed last year in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook after Hurricane Sandy knocked out resident’s access to the networks of major Internet service providers.

Similarly, Guifi, the largest mesh in the world, was built to address spotty Internet service in rural Spain. It has over 21,000 members.

Meshes have taken on new relevance in the wake of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks about the agency’s massive Internet surveillance programs.

It is estimated (albeit roughly) that the NSA touches as much as half of the world’s Internet communications each day. The agency gains access to much of this information through partnerships with telecom companies that allow the agency to install splitters on their fibre optic Internet cables. Privately run meshes would deny the NSA—and other government intelligence agencies around the world—this access point to Internet data.

As the New America Foundation’s Sascha Meinrath told Mother Jones, “We’re making infrastructure for anyone who wants to control their own network.”

Wouldn’t it be cool to have such network in Guinarona?

And how about boosting food production without farm inputs? Except radio waves, that is.

A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever.  564965_10150845618102939_1180618868_n
The technology – radio wave energised water – massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent.
Not only are the plants much bigger but they are largely disease-resistant, meaning huge savings in expensive fertilisers and harmful pesticides.
Extensively tested in Ireland and several other countries, the inexpensive water treatment technology is now being rolled out across the world. The technology makes GM obsolete and also addresses the whole global warmingfear that there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, by simply converting excess CO2 into edible plant mass.
Developed by Professor Austin Darragh and Dr JJ Leahy of Limerick University’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, the hardy eco-friendly technology uses nothing but the natural elements of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide in the air and the minerals in the soil.
The compact biscuit-tin-sized technology, which is called Vi-Aqua – meaning ‘life water’ – converts 24 volts of electricity into a radio signal, which charges up the water via an antennae. Once the device is attached to a hose, thousands of gallons of water can be charged up in less than 10 minutes at a cost of pennies.
Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says:
“Vi-Aqua makes water wetter and introduces atmospheric nitrogen into the water in the form of nitrates – so it is free fertiliser. It also produces the miracle of rejuvenating the soil by invigorating soil-based micro-organisms.
“We can also make water savings of at least 30 per cent. When the water is treated it becomes a better solvent, which means it can carry more nutrients to the leaves and stem and percolate better down into the soil to nourish the roots, which in turn produces a better root system. Hence the reason you need less water and why you end up with larger and hardier crops,” explains Professor Austin Darragh.
Extensively tested in Warrenstown Agricultural College, the technology is being hailed as a modern day miracle.
Harold Lawler is Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist. As Director of the National Botanical Gardens and former Master of Agricultural Science at Warrenstown Agricultural College, he has carried out more research on Vi-Aqua growth-enhancing technology than perhaps anyone else in the world:

The above are clearly tops in our wish list for good old Guinarona.

Any takers?

News Photos

Progress, #GuinaronaSPBNewImageProject2013

Photo credits: Leandro Baldemor. Note: Should you want to contribute to this project, you may avail yourself of the contact form.

San Pascual Baylon Scryes, August 17, 2013

Demigods with Feet of Clay

The Philippines have been rocked anew by graft and corruption issues, the latest being the Pork Barrel Scandal, wherein the people’s taxes end up in ghost deliveries and projects.

So what else is new? Ever since we can remember, the issue of graft and corruption has been with us, only that it gets sophisticated and mind boggling as time goes by. In the meantime, a lot of people go hungry and meaningful projects go unfunded, which the wastage could have mitigated. Is this culture a result of the conflict between needs and wants? But where do needs and wants originate? The ego, that’s where.

In the ism of duality, we have plus and minus, night and day, good and evil. Yet, if you think about it, there is no evil. The evil is just another term for the ego–or the acting up, the emanations and the posturings of the ego.

We are a Catholic nation; almost all Filipinos pray and go to church, but sad to say, the church teachings of goodness and piety are never applied. Is it because once we step out of the church we become oblivious and deaf? Is it because we go back to our egotistical self?

Or do we even know that human life is the most precious thing in the universe and that helping another human being is our primary purpose in life? If we do, then engaging in graft and corruption is anathema, because it doesn’t preserve life; it doesn’t help our fellow human being. You see, public service is supposed to be egalitarian–well, NOT so with our current crop of “servants.” So where’s the rub? We go to church, we pray–yet we are amoral.

A real bloodletting is out of the question. Bloodletting feeds on itself and everybody is a victim. We submit that Filipinos must know their true self in order to control the ego. And how do we do that, you ask?

We submit that we engage in faith integration. By faith integration, we mean that aside from our Catholic practice, we also engage in meditation, which is nothing short of going into the void and subsequently deep into your core (self) the way Jesus Christ and Sakyamuni Buddha did. That’s how we slay the dragons of selfishness and want.

That way we won’t have leaders and public servants no different from demigods with feet of clay.

Guinarona: An Annotated History

Note: This is a concise history of Guinarona from The Archdiocese of Palo website. We have edited it for grammar and clarity and inserted some annotations where appropriate.


Patron Saint: San Pascual Baylon
Feast Day: May 16-17
Vicariate of: Burauen

Late in the 18th century the Spanish conquistadores, in an effort to link settlements and spread Christianity, built roads and bridges crossing the interior towns of the province. “Karwahes” were then used as the only means of transportation. These trips by karwahe were by no means easy nor convenient for the travelers. They were forced to stop at a place between trips for the animals to rest and the passengers to place their morals. The place was the beautiful settlement of Guinarona.

Founded in 1872, this progressive community once belonged to Burauen, but Dagami had a former claim on it. (Barrio Lunayan was its name, apparently alluding to the Guinarona river, which, then as now, was a swimming hole for water buffaloes.) In the dispute that followed over the boundary, the barrio was ceded to Dagami, thereby getting its name “Guina-aro-na” (which literally means “has been asked”) in a dialect or simply Guinarona.

During the entire Spanish period and half of the 20th century Guinarona was dependent on Dagami for its socio-economic, political and religious needs. The Burauen and Dagami parishes respectively provided the spiritual needs of Guinarona until its creation as a parish. In 1967, Guinarona became a parish and a new church was built through the efforts of Msgr. Esteban Justimbaste, himself a native of Guinarona.

D-Day, San Pascual Baylon Centennial Fiesta, May 16-17, 2012, Guinarona, Philippines.avi from Benito Maray on Vimeo.

He undertook the task of providing  its own church for two reasons: First, he believed that the barrio was ready enough to manage its own church and the second reason was to put a stop to the developing controversy regarding private worship practiced by some of the barrio residents. The practice was held at a certain private house with the image of San Pascual Baylon being venerated. (So it was the Monsignor who initiated the “confiscation” of the San Pascual Baylon image from the barrio people. In light of the image’s disappearance in June 2010–it has not been returned up to this writing–the correct wisdom was still the people’s.)

The question on private worship resulted to fights among its native residents. With this ensuing conduct the provincial government decided to take a hand over the issue, and placed the image in the provincial capitol in Tacloban. The people flocked to the capitol to venerate the saint which at that period was very popular.  With the efforts of Msgr. Esteban Justimbaste, the image was finally transferred to its final home. The newly erected church in Guinarona and the parish was officially put under the protection of San Pascual Baylon. The parish became a favorite place for pilgrims. Owing to the reports of miracles performed by the saint, people coming from far off places and as well as from neighboring towns flocked to the parish. The first parish priest was Fr. Marcial A. Dira.

In 1983 during the term of Fr. Vicente Purgatorio, an Angelicum building was built in the parish. The project was founded by the archdiocesan chancery and the only one existing of its kind in the whole Vicariate VIII.

In June 1985 under the term of Fr. Victor Pore the Angelecum building became operational. The building consists of two rooms each having capacity of 15. The project acts as a preparatory stage in the education of young boys and girls with emphasis in writing, recognition of letters, and prayers. The project also serves as a catechetical preparation for the young children in the parish. The project has been a complete success.

A much newer project is being undertaken by the parish under the initiative of the incumbent parish priest, Fr. Victor Pore. The church which was built under Msgr. Justembaste is undergoing a major reconstruction and repair. The funds used for the project comes from some generous donors and various solicitations.