I’m not one of most who’s been wrong about where the Death Star trench was

GenDodonnaBriefing

Quite surprised that most Star Wars fans and those who have seen the films have believed that the infamous trench on the Death Star that Luke Skywalker and his fellow Rebel pilots flew in to get to the tiny exhaust port and blow up the dreaded battle station was its equatorial trench. You know, the most visible feature on the Death Star aside from the dish of the super laser.

io9 has a good post that breaks down why most fans thought it was the equatorial trench based on visual effects artist Todd Vaziri’s story on his blog, FXRants.

I never bothered with this notion because I assumed, as it was quite clear from the scene in A New Hope where General Jan Dodonna’s briefing to the Rebel pilots have clearly shown that based on the Death Star plans, the trench that leads to the exhaust port is perpendicular to the equator. In other words, it is longitudinal or runs north to south on the Death Star’s surface.

Another fact: the equatorial trench was clearly much wider than the trench as the scenes of the trench run have clearly shown that only 3 small starfighters could barely fly through it.

Probably because unlike most of who have seen A New Hope, I paid attention to, in particular the computer animation of the Death Star plans indicating where the trench was, during General Dodonna’s briefing.

Do check out Todd Vaziri’s post as it has lots of good stuff about the final trench run and more Star Wars.

Image credit: io9

Cavite Number Coding Scheme

Cavite number coding scheme

It’s now official. Starting January 9, 2017 the Number Coding Scheme in the Province of Cavite will start its dry run. During the dry run period, only warning tickets will be given to violators. Strict implementation will begin on February 1, 2017 so full penalties and fines will be imposed.

It follows the same schedule in Metro Manila based on the license and conduction sticker ending in the following numbers:

  • 1 and 2: Monday
  • 3 and 4: Tuesday
  • 5 and 6: Wednesday
  • 7 and 8: Thursday
  • 9 and 0: Friday
  • The number coding scheme is in effect during the following time windows: 6AM to 9AM and 3PM to 7PM. It applies to all private cars, vans, motorcycles and trucks. The roads covered by the number scheme are as follows:

    Aguinaldo Highway – covering the stretch of Bacoor to Dasmarinas-Silang boundary
    Governor’s Drive – covering the stretch of Carmona to Trece Martires City-Tanza boundary
    Molino-Salawag-Paliparan Road – from Zapote, Bacoor, to Paliparan, Dasmarinas
    Molino Boulevard – covering Talaba 4, Niog 3, Ligas 2, Ligas 3, Bayanan, Mambog 4, Molino 2, Molino 3, San Nicolas 1, and San Nicolas 3 in Bacoor.
    Daang Hari Road – covering the stretch of Aguinaldo Highway, Imus to Molino, Bacoor

    Exemptions

    • All public utility vehicles – jeeps and buses
    • Ambulance, firetrucks, police patrol cars, military vehicles with permanent marking indicating the vehicles as such. Privately owned firetrucks and ambulances are also exempted.
    • Vehicles carrying person/s needing immediate medical attention
    • Government vehicles with government plates
    • Vehicles delivering perishable goods in commercial quantity, which include fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers; raw meat and fresh seafood; ice products; baked products with shelf life of 24 hours; medicine/vaccine expiring within 24 hours; and cooked food/catering
    • Vehicles used by medical practitioner in an emergency
    • Duly franchised school buses and company shuttle service vehicles
    • Vehicles on mission to carry relief goods to identified calamity or highly depressed areas.

    Penalty
    Violators will be fined Php 300.00

    Will this number coding scheme solve the horrendous traffic situation in Cavite? Let’s wait and see…

    Source

    1TB PCIe SSD 3X the performance of SATA

    Solid state drive vendor OCZ Technology is pushing the limits SSDs can achieve.

    They have just announced the latest SSD in their RevoDrive product line: the OCZ REVODRIVE X2 PCI-EXPRESS SSD.

    RevoDrive X2
    RevoDrive X2 SSD PCI-Express faster than SATA (Click to zoom)
    The new RevoDrive X2 PCIe has four PCIe lanes giving it a maximum throughput rate of 740MB/sec. It also has four SandForce-1200 high-end controllers; compared to its predecessor which used two. Just like the original RevoDrive, the new RevoDrive X2 uses an onboard RAID 0 design which boosts its performance even further.

    It comes in various capacities from 100GB to 960GB (1B) with performance speeds broken down into the following:

    100GB-160GB Max Performance

    • Read: Up to 740 MB/s
    • Write: Up to 690 MB/s
    • Sustained Write: Up to 550 MB/s
    • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 100,000 IOPS

    240GB-960GB Max Performance

    • Read: Up to 740 MB/s
    • Write: Up to 720 MB/s
    • Sustained Write: Up to 600 MB/s
    • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 120,000 IOPS

    The RevoDrive X2 can be used either as a storage device or a primary boot drive which means faster startup times for your PC. Pricing starts at $464. The 240GB version goes for $669 while the 480GB has a price tag of $1,397.

    Glad to see that SERVE is in good hands

    When I took a leave of absence for the 1st semester, one of the greatest concerns for my self and my fellow volunteers were who would lead SERVE? Despite the worries, I took faith in my fellow senior volunteers and trusted in their skills, talents and above-all, dedication and commitment to the organization. For it’s my belief that no matter how much you possess of the former, what’s really important is the latter.

    SERVE Volunteers 2010
    SERVE volunteers - alumni, residents and new recruits

    Last Saturday, during the Initial Common Experience (aka General Assembly) for new SERVE volunteers, I saw plenty of commitment and dedication from the senior volunteers now in charge of the organization.

    It was the very first time that they managed a major activity all on their own, with completely no directions or intervention from me. It wasn’t the best but it was a great success. They took the activity as their own as they introduced team-building activities that were new to the group, yet effective and fun. Though there were a few rough edges, it’s forgivable since this was the first time they were completely on their own.

    There were 14 new volunteers present. Most were silent yet cooperative, which is only natural because they are new recruits and they’ve met each other only then. But in each one, I know that they have enjoyed themselves and I’m confident that they’d stay long in the organization. That in itself is a great victory for the senior volunteers.

    Now I look forward to the upcoming Self-Awareness Seminar and Advanced Leadership Training this August. The lessons the seniors learned in conducting a training activity would certainly make the upcoming activity exciting and fun. Hopefully, I’d be able to join them along with the other alumni.

    Congratulations to the seniors!

    Why I will Vote for KABATAAN Partylist (#152)

    Many of my friends and schoolmates have asked why I support and vote for KABATAAN partylist. First, I’d like to be clear that I’m not just a supporter but I’m a member of KABATAAN Partylist since the 2007 elections. Second, I’d give the answer by borrowing the words of fellow KABATAAN Partylist member, BK Crew and leader, Victor Villanueva of Bikoy.net:

    KABATAAN Partylist(1) It is the only genuine youth party-list group running in the elections. It is initiated by real student leaders, young activists and young professionals. It was founded by genuine student and youth organizations such as the National Union of Students of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students and Anakbayan, among others. (http://kabataanpartylist.com/about/)

    Its nominees are real youth and student leaders that have proven records of serving the youth and the people in various capacities. (http://kabataanpartylist.com/nominees/)

    (2) It is the only incumbent party-list group from the youth, by the youth, for the youth. It has only been in Congress for less than a year, but it has a legislative output and track-record that is better than some of the leading presidential candidates this year. (http://kabataanpartylist.com/accomplishments/)

    (3) It never confined itself with its legislative agenda. KABATAAN has always been active beyond Congress. It has always been at the forefront of campaigns beyond Congress from campaigns to halt tuition increases in universities to campaigns to stop exorbitant fees in elementary and high schools.

    Just recently, in unity with state scholars, it was able to stop the 2,000% tuition increase in the largest state university in the country (PUP). Before that, it was able to pressure CHED to issue a memorandum to stop the implementation of the no-permit-no-exam policy in schools nationwide. It was also able to successfully win a campaign to resume and extend voters registration for new voters. (read http://kabataanpartylist.com/accomplishments/ for a list of other accomplishments)

    (4) It exposed corruption in some government agencies, most prominent of which is the overpriced medical supplies scandal of the Department of Education last year. (http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2009/08/26/overpriced-shampoo-needles-and-otoscopes-deped-faces-new-set-of-corruption-scams/)

    (5) It consistently stood up against abuses in the Arroyo government from attempts at charter change, to its links with the Ampatuan massacre, to its human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings, among many many others. Because of our principles, we never got a single cent of pork barrel to help fund our campaigns and activities (but we didn’t mind, it obviously did not stop us form pursuing our agenda for change)

    (6) It has always been active in the efforts to help our fellow countrymen especially in times of calamities. This was manifested in our all-out relief drive campaign together with hundreds of volunteer youth groups and individuals after typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng lashed at the country. (http://kabataanpartylist.com/blog/ondoy/)

    (7) It has a broad but concrete platform, not only for the youth, but for the people. (http://kabataanpartylist.com/platform/)

    (8) It has a nationalist and pro-people orientation based on the Makabayan Coalition of nationalist people’s organizations and candidates. It never limited itself to youth issues. It has always been active in the campaigns of the workers, the peasants, in the campaigns on the environment and national patrimony, among others. (http://makabayan.org.ph/makabayan-platform)

    So I call on my fellow youth, to support the one true and authentic partylist that represents and works for the Filipino youth, the KABATAAN partylist. Don’t forget, it’s number 152 in the ballot.

    Supreme Court extends voter registration: Use the Christmas break to register as a voter

    We should all thank the Supreme Court of the Philippines for siding with reason, acting swiftly and upholding our right to suffrage by granting KABATAAN party’s petition to extend the deadline of the continuing voter’s registration for the upcoming 2010 elections.

    This is a victory for all youth especially the millions of eligible first-time voters who failed to register the first time around. Now that the registration has been extended up to January 9, 2010, let us not waste this opportunity to visit your local COMELEC office and register as a voter.

    Here’s the text of the Supreme Court decision extending the deadline of voter registration courtesy of fellow BK Crew Tonyo Cruz:

    GR189868: Full Text of Supreme Court decision on voter registration

    Use the upcoming Christmas vacation wisely and it would just take a day to register as a voter. Congratulations to Rep. Mong Palatino of KABATAAN party and the other progressive youth-leaders who joined in the petition, this decision of the Supreme Court is a decision for our collective democratic struggle to advance the rights and cause of the Filipino youth.

    Support HB 6799: Anti-No Permit, No Exam Bill

    The “No Permit, No Exam” policy has been a policy that has long continued to make students, most especially the poor ones to suffer and struggle to finish their education. In most cases, students who are unable to pay their tuition fees are forced to drop out because they’d been denied to take major examinations which would jeopardize their hard-earned grades at the start of the semester or school year.

    With this policy in existence and practice, education has indeed become a privilege rather than a right as guaranteed in the Philippine Constitution. However, progressive student-leaders have continued to struggle for the abolition of this policy. The history of campus-politics and student government elections have often been decided by this issue.

    In De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, we took the opportunity of the resisting this policy during the revision of the DLSUD University Student Council revision last 2007, wherein we included an anti-No permit, No Exam policy in the Bill of Students’ Rights.

    Though it met some resistance from the representatives of the University Administration, we were able to muster enough votes to have it ratified. So now, students can find this anti-No Permit, No Exam policy enshrined in the 2008 USC Consitution, Art. III, Sect. 1, a.4

    Student with delinquent accounts permitted to take examination shall nevertheless be subject to the right of the University to withold the release or issuance of student’s school records or documents or to deny such students from admission for the next semester or year until prior delinquencies are fully paid.

    Fortunately, KABATAAN party-list has taken the struggle against the “No Permit, No Exam” policy to the halls of Congress and has introduced a bill that makes such policy illegal. House Bill No 6799 or the “Anti-‘No Permit, No Exam’ Act of 2009”.

    HB 6799 Anti-No Permit, No Exam Bill-2

    Hopefully, the bill will be passed into a law. Which is what should be done, and should have been done a long time ago. Private universities & colleges, most of whom are Catholic institutions must realize that education should not be a business, rather, it should be done as a ministry, service or vocation as many of them profess, and this proposed law would ensure just that.

    Let us support this measure in Congress. Write to your representatives ask them to support the House Bill No 6799, organize and mobilize our fellow students to show support and campaign for the passage of this measure into a law, thereby, ensuring all Filipino youth the education they so richly deserve.

    Philippine Lasallian Family Statement on the Maguindanao Massacre

    I’m reproducing here the statement of the Philippine Lasallian Family on the Maguindanao Massacre.

    ————-
    Brutal, barbaric, and heinous. These were words used to describe the
    Maguindanao massacre that has claimed the lives of more than 50 people-the majority of them being political supporters, lawyers and media practitioners in the company of scions of a political clan.

    Eyewitness reports from survivors have pointed to the perpetrators responsible for this gruesome mass execution, and while verification of these accounts has yet to be done, there is little doubt that at the core of this barbarism is a politics bereft of principle, a politics that has lost touch with the very foundations of human decency. What happened in Maguindanao was an animal act. The savage atrocities wreaked upon the victims and horrifyingly evident on their mutilated corpses beggars the imagination. This incident is a warning about the depths to which human beings can descend when they allow the lust for power, possessions and prestige to take over their lives.

    “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, so shall he reap”(Gal 6:7). Let us not fool ourselves. The Maguindanao Massacre is not a mere election-related feud. It is a symptom of the moral bankruptcy, lack of accountability, and wanton disregard for human rights that has characterized the culture of the Arroyo administration since consolidating its power in the contested elections of 2004. Such trends, well-documented by various local and international human rights agencies and by no less than the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 2007, have been tolerated for too long.

    The Arroyo administration took a double tack, on the one hand, expressing indignation at “a most heinous crime” that constitutes a “supreme act of inhumanity that is a blight on our nation,´ while on the other hand, dragging its heels in pursuing the capture and detention of a political ally whose fortunes flourished under this administration´s patronage. We note that the administration´s invocation of the rule of law and call for the respect of due process, while appropriate in normal circumstances, sounds mightily suspect coming from an administration that is beholden to the political clan said to be behind this atrocity, an administration that has failed to successfully prosecute any of its allies and supporters for corruption, human rights violations, and other
    high crimes. Actions speak louder than words.. Why treat with kid gloves those who use their influence to silence their political opponents and disenfranchise citizens in elections? Why weren’t the alleged murderers at least immediately called in for questioning, if only to answer the charges of survivors or clarify the presence of the local government´s backhoe in the area of the mass grave?

    An additional source of discomfort is the clear dereliction of duty of the police and military in the province and region who were informed earlier about the prospect of a violent incident and decided to steer clear of deploying forces to prevent the lawless armed thugs of the political warlord from carrying out their sinister plan. While the military was quickly mobilized to avoid any possible retaliation of the aggrieved clan, the leadership of the Armed Forces at present (with a Defense Secretary that headed an Inter-agency Legal Action Group that prioritized cases of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by “enemies of the state,”) leaves much doubt as to its capacity to effectively defang armed political warlords.

    We condemn the Maguindanao Massacre not only because of the brutal and barbaric murder of those who sought only to exercise their political rights, but more importantly because it unravels in a most telling way, the age-old problem of a feeble state that has allowed private armed groups to lord it over territories in exchange for propping up the national leadership and its cohorts at the local and national levels. Whatever blight we now face does not fall simply on the hands of the alleged perpetrators of the Maguindanao Massacre. The blood that flowed in Maguindanao stains the hands of the President who ultimately commands the forces of political control and coercion in this country. We demand that justice be done with all transparency and in the quickest possible time.

    We call on Lasallians and all Filipinos to express our indignation at the
    moral bankruptcy that has led to this paroxysm of violence. If we are not
    to be complicit in this abomination against humanity, we must act now
    and demand that this administration be held accountable for the quality
    of its stewardship and for its continuing debasement of the political
    system.

    (Sgd)

    Br. Edmundo Fernandez FSC
    Brother Visitor

    Br. Victor Franco
    Auxilliary Visitor

    Br. Felipe Belleza FSC
    District Council Member

    Br. Narciso Erguiza Jr. FSC
    District Council Member

    Br. Dennis Magbanua FSC
    District Council Member

    Br. Armin Luistro FSC
    District Council Member

    Br. Ray Suplido FSC
    District Council Member

    Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC
    District Council Member

    Vote for Efren Peñaflorida in the 2009 CNN Heroes

    It’s just so awesome to know that grass-roots efforts to effect social change are being given attention by the mainstream media. It certainly does a lot of help to such efforts.

    One particular effort is by Efren Peñaflorida who has made it to the finals of the 2009 CNN Heroes. He leads the The Dynamic Teen Company which is a group of volunteers that has been teaching basic reading and writing to children who live in slum areas in the Philippines using the pushcart classroom or “kariton klasrum”.

    He needs all the help we fellow Filipinos can provide. Head over to the 2009 CNN Heroes page and vote for him.