Sunday, May 11, 2014

Darell Calayag - Reaction Papers

Darell F. Calayag
Sir Juned Sonido STS X2

Reaction Paper on Population

            The effects of population on the environment cannot be hidden from everyone. On the documentary we watched, how resources are being consumed by the population was talked about. Landscapes are artificially changed nowadays.

            During the old times, everyone had to forage for food. Plants became the start of a food chain being a producer. A certain species population is controlled by the amount of food in its environment and vice versa. For example, forests. Plants feed the herbivorous ones who get eaten by the carnivores who will get eaten or die and become fertilizer to the land. This cycle continued for every species, until humans came to the picture.

            The human species had become an exception to this pop control. We used our skill to manipulate tools and the environment to our will to support bigger population, in the expense of changing the land’s natural design. Forests are cleared and wide areas are turned to farm focusing only on production of food with certain geometrical patterns developed for planting and harvesting efficiency.

            This is one thing other species do not have, which in turn leads them to their near extinction. Fortunately, our race has started to notice that our continued growth is affecting our environment and causing the extinction of other species. Our scientists have created artificial environments, encased in protective covering or roofs to maintain it that can house these nearly extinct flora and fauna and hopefully grow them to a bigger population again. We have yet again proved the skill of our hands being able to even control the very environment.

            However, a time will come where the earth will not even be enough to support all of us as this rate of change continues. And this is what interests me the most. Space exploration. They showed us what other planets would look like if we tried to place artificial environments there. In order to support our growing population, they will have to expand to other planets as well. Will we have to move other species to make more room for us? That is one question that has been bugging me after watching that show. Will our uncontrollable greed lead us to the complete extinction of other species that cannot serve us any purpose?

            I also wanted to refute some of the thoughts given by the speaker in that show, where we must be controlled by the environment. First of all, no one wants to see their loved ones die helplessly from sickness without finding a cure or their family starving to death, right? This is what makes us, us. Our desire to not experience tragedies like that make us want to advance and control this events. Therefore, lesser casualties make the population grow faster. We then control the environment to do that, and therefore the environment can’t take control anymore.

Darell F. Calayag
Sir Juned Sonido STS X2

Reaction Paper on Life of Mammals

            In order to survive, a living organism must be able to adapt to its surrounding. This concept of Natural selection where only the strong lives pertains to those that can adapt to the environment are able to continue on and propagate their species while those that cannot will be left behind and die out. The show we watched about the different species of monkeys gave us a better look in this.

            Some monkeys, even though small, are able to feed off on plants and some on insects. Based on the area where they live, their diet changes. For example, those living near lakes and a little bit away from the forest catch other birds in supplement to their herbivorous diet, making them omnivorous. The smaller ones living on forests live on tree tops and mingle with other species, feeding off on plants and insects. But there are those who gain some strange habit of getting their food. One good example is the monkey that eats shellfishes. It has a good grasping ability, but is still not enough to open the shellfish and eat whatever is inside it. They use their grasping ability to hold the shellfish and hit it against other surfaces till it shows a little opportunity to open it and eat the insides. It’s fascinating how they pass on the culture to their offspring as it is shown that the younger members of the same species of monkeys are trying to imitate what their elders are doing.

            Another thing is the hierarchy on their society, where there are alpha males, females and males. The alpha males dominate everyone on the society. The females follow the males; however, some do follow the non-alpha male occasionally. This can be compared to cheating on your wife/husband on human society. The alpha males can have many different female partners, while some of the female in their society try to break free from the alpha male and go with other potential partners. This kind of society where there are pack leaders, followers and workers (consider these as the ones that take care of the youngsters) is similar to what we have. The alpha males can be compared to the government who decide on what the people should do.

            Some monkeys also tend to mingle with other species to form a united group that can warn each other of impending danger. This is similar to alliances between different nationalities to guard against threats that a single nationality won’t be able to tackle alone.

            I think that Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species,” do hold credibility if we base it on this. We humans also have the same way of passing our culture to the younger generations. We choose to demonstrate first and experiment on things then pass it on to others if it is beneficial to us. The similarity between how this monkeys act and humans cannot be denied. 

Darell F. Calayag
Sir Juned Sonido STS X2

Reaction Paper on Dr. Custer Deocaris

            The invited speaker last time seemed multi-talented to me. According to this site,, after researching more about him after class, I felt that I can’t even compare to him even after n years, where n is a number between 20 and 40.

            Custer C. Deocaris, Ph.D. This guy from the DOST who was the guest speaker last time inspired me. His talk about lots of failures in his life turning into some grand success was like a fairy tale to me. Imagine him going to other countries to finish some heavy science course, it doesn’t come as easy as a pie. He had to go through hardships to go to school and fund it up, and even when he was rejected, he did not give up and eventually found some lab where he was accepted. The saying “If there is a will, there’s a way,” definitely showed itself.

            I was like “What the hell is this guy talking about? Is that even real?” when he started talking to us about immortality and cancer cells. I do know that cancer cells do reproduce fast, but to connect it to immortality is something even greater. Add up more of his achievements, that including the advocacies he led, you can really call him a multi-talented guy with lots of luck.

            After hearing such a story (which is actually real after some researching on the person itself), I had to evaluate what is happening with my tenure here in the University of the Philippines Diliman. Will I be able to reach heights like that someday? That guy just took on everything, even if it’s something beyond his profession. That guy was already advanced when he was a kid, and I wasn’t like that when I was a kid. He is even knowledgeable on law. I’m still clueless about law, and not even close to his academic record. But he did prove that everything depends on the person itself.

            Because of that guy, I’ve remade my course plan for my remaining tenure in UP so that I will have more time for my thesis and hopefully get a good job and get another degree.

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