Tuesday, April 2, 2024

8th Indie Siyensya to champion interconnectedness of science and culture, calls for short film submission

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Fresh from its successful seventh run, the Department of Science and Technology - Science Education Institute’s (DOST-SEI) Indie-Siyensya calls for entries for a new season, bannering the theme “Science and Filipino Culture: Siyensya sa Kultura, Kultura sa Siyensya.”

This year, Indie-Siyensya hopes to captivate students and young filmmakers to explore the relationship and influence between science and the rich tapestry of Filipino culture and tradition.

The theme encourages participants to look beyond the surface of Filipino traditions and see the scientific concepts that may underlie them. Such are the case in seeing the cultural significance of constellations used by ancient Filipinos in navigation and planting, to the science behind the vibrant burst of flavors found in the Filipino palate, or how the widespread use of traditional herbal medicine such as Lagundi, which has been passed on from one generation to another, instigated scientific research to prove its effectiveness and health benefits.

The country’s pioneering science filmmaking competition, in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), continues its shared commitment to promote a strong culture of science among the youth through audio-visual mediums such as films.

Interested applicants may join as individuals or as a group. The competition is open to Filipino citizens 13-18 years old for the Youth Category and at least 19 years old on the last day of film submission for those who will join the Open Category.

Films under the youth category shall focus on locating science in Filipino culture. It shall highlight the scientific basis and validity (evidence-based) of indigenous practices and traditions.

Meanwhile, films under the open category shall focus on locating Filipino culture in how Filipinos understand, communicate, and appropriate S&T into their daily lives. It shall also highlight the integration of Filipino culture in science and technology interventions particularly in promoting human well-being, wealth creation, wealth protection, and sustainability.

Documentary film entries must have a total running time of not more than five minutes. The deadline for submission of entries is on August 31, 2024.

“We are excited to see science come to life in our Filipino tradition and culture, and we hope that you become part of the tradition passed down to us through generations through the lens of science.” Dr. Josette T. Biyo, Director of DOST-SEI expressed her excitement in her speech.

The Board of Judges, composed of renowned scientists and filmmakers, shall select the top five (5) finalists from each category. Selected films will participate in the Film Festival which will happen at various Cinematheque Centres nationwide and will be showcased through its online channel, JuanFlix: The FDCP Channel.

Winners will take home a P200,000 cash prize for the Best Film, P150,000 for the Second Best Film, and P100,000 for the Third Best Film.

For the full mechanics, you may visit: Submit your entries at or email for more details.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Do host countries have better chances of winning more Olympic medals?

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

As we are getting closer to the ultimate sporting event- the Olympic Games- which is going to be held this summer in Paris, everyone gets to make their own, subjective predictions over how countries will perform, which teams are going to win the most gold medals, which nations will prevail and so forth.

A quick look at the odds and markets offered by betting sites around the world, including sports betting sites in Philippines, can give you an idea that the chances of countries’ performance in the forthcoming Olympic Games have already been compiled by oddsmakers pretty much in a consistent manner. More to this, if you go through thebodds you will notice that the host country is always high in the rankings of the nations that are expected to win many Olympic medals and while sometimes this is fairly justified by the team’s dynamics, quality, and overall composition, sometimes it seems that it’s not so realistic.

Getting closer to the staging of the Games, makes bettors wonder whether it is a good idea to wager on a nation’s overall performance and more specifically on the host nation’s performance. Experts suggest that there is such thing as the host nation’s advantage when it comes to the Olympics and this is what justifies for the most part the fact that we are often witnessing host countries taking up more top positions than one would expect or anticipate if the Games were to be hosted anywhere else in the world, but the specific nation.

Betting on a host nation’s performance has already become a popular strategy for many punters who are employing a more sophisticated approach to wagering. Taking into account statistics and past records, these punters generally find greater value in backing the host nation to win a large share of the total medals being awarded by the end of the Olympics. So, in case you are wondering whether it is a good idea to bet on the host nation, just think that many pro bettors are doing it as well.

Let’s see how this whole host nation advantage is built up.

The most obvious impact of the context wherein the event takes place and the games are held has to do with the familiarity and feelings of security that all athletes have when they are at home. Most teams and athletes are familiar with the venues the Games are staged at and so this brings them one step ahead of the competition because they are likely to know the basic strengths and weaknesses and adjust their strategies accordingly. Plus, being in familiar places and sporting facilities, gives them extra security and reduces the stress of the unknown.

The host nation’s advantage in the Olympics is also a matter of psychology, which is influenced by a number of factors that are linked to the context. Athletes who are at home don’t feel the fatigue, the mental pressure, or the fragile psychology that athletes from all around the world feel coming to a foreign country and possibly experiencing a perceived “hostility”, which although might be totally in their mind, it remains extremely consuming and discouraging. Home nations teams have all the positive things in placebbefore they start competing and they feel confident, relieved, and less burdened.

Of course, it is also the matter of public’s support as well, which is profoundly more explicit and more intense for the host country’s teams. Athletes playing at home have that extra burden to make their nation stand out in the Olympic Games, but they get to enjoy tremendous support and boost from the crowd. It’s pretty much obvious that the majority of visitors and spectators in the Olympics are people who live in the country and so they are more than certain to show their active support and cheer for the national team athletes.

And then it is another thing that many people don’t take into account, but it seems to have a strong effect on the host nation’s performance. We are talking about the countries’ funding for athletes that are sent to the Games, with host nations doubling or even tripling their investment over the build-up of national teams in order to make sure that they are going to mark their time of hosting the event as their most successful performance as well.

For these aforementioned factors, and many more to be honest, the host nation’s advantage is said to be valid when it comes to the Olympic Games. So, if you have been reluctant on whether home teams and athletes have greater chances of winning more medals, just think that they are in a much more advantaged and privileged position than the rest of the participants and so this must have some role to play! And if you are thinking of online betting on the host country, just go for it.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Call for definitive e-waste regulation and enforcement as e-waste crisis looms

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“E-waste is a rapidly growing waste stream in the country. From 3.9 kilos per capita in 2019, 537 million kilograms of e-waste were produced in the Philippines, translating to 4.7 kilograms of e-waste per capita in 2022,” said Jam Lorenzo, research and policy development officer of BAN Toxics, an environmental justice NGO.

The recently published Global e-Waste Monitor 2024 by the United Nations reveals the Philippines as one of the top e-waste producers in Southeast Asia. “That e-waste is escalating at a pace five times faster than the rate of e-waste recycling further sends a chilling effect,” Lorenzo remarked.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), commonly referred to as e-waste, refers to end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment and covers everything with a plug or a battery. E-waste is categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, lead, and brominated flame retardants that are considered as hazardous waste according to the Basel Convention.

The primary types of e-waste in the Philippines are consumer electronics such as televisions, refrigerators, washing machines and mobile phones. Technological advancements leading to the production of new technologies, along with trends in consumer products, shorter product life cycles, and limited repair options, have accelerated the rate at which electronics are replaced and discarded.

“We cannot afford to perpetuate this cycle of consumption, waste generation, and recycling model in its current form,” Lorenzo emphasized. The e-waste Monitor also underscores the growing quantities of electrical and electronic goods (EEE) being sold in developing countries, as well as equipment originally used in developed countries and exported for further use in developing countries. “The escalating volume and toxicity of e-waste make this issue urgent, as it can lead to significant environmental and health problems.”

“Once discarded, these gadgets often end up in waste bins, are sold in junk shops, dismantled by informal waste collectors, and ultimately find their way to dumpsites and landfills. The lack of proper e-waste disposal facilities and infrastructure poses a significant challenge, largely stemming from the absence of a national management framework for e-waste. This lack of a definitive national framework makes it difficult to implement effective policies. While overarching environmental laws may address e-waste, our regulations often lack enforceability,” Lorenzo remarked.

The group emphasized the critical need for legislation and programs mandating Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for electronics, holding manufacturers accountable for their products at end-of-life. "EPR schemes will facilitate environmentally sound management, shifting the burden of end-of-life management from taxpayers to producers, consistent with the polluter pays principle and cost internalization.”

“Manufacturers will be incentivized to incorporate eco-friendly design and manufacturing practices, employing materials that are easily recyclable and less toxic, while also extending the lifespan of electronic products.”

The environmental justice group advocates for “a genuine sustainable production and consumption of electronic and electrical goods, aiming to reduce waste, retain value within the system, extend the economic and physical life of a product, and enhance its potential for repair, recycling, and reuse.”

“The key to a successful transition is inclusivity, which takes into account the millions of people in developing countries who did not produce the waste but often suffer the negative impacts resulting from the historical injustices of pollution and waste generated by wealthier producer countries. Additionally, it requires anticipating the adverse future impacts on workers, sectors and communities that would be affected by transitions.”

BAN Toxics also advocates for stronger regulatory measures concerning e-waste in the country, including recognizing the growing importance of plastics utilized in electronic and electrical equipment. “Given that e-waste recycling involves plastics recovery, we will persist in our efforts to promote a legally binding global plastics treaty during the upcoming interagency negotiations in April this year in Ottawa, to mitigate the increasing exposure to plastics and e-waste,” Lorenzo concluded.


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