Monday, May 19, 2014

Group 13 Teamon and Pumba - Reaction Papers 4


Reaction on “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

In a nutshell, the British film “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is about an unlikely group of people trying to accomplish something that is equally as unlikely: to introduce salmon fishing—and the salmon itself—into the rivers of Yemen, a country characterized by a desert environment.

Dr. Alfred Jones is a fisheries expert and, at first, belligerently opposes the project—he knew that the arid conditions in Yemen could not sustain the cold-loving fish species. However, urged by financial officer Harriet Chetwode-Talbot who introduced the project to him, and by the Sheikh Muhammad—a wealthy Yemeni funding the project—Jones soon rekindles his love for fishing and finally agrees to supporting the project. Together, the three successfully bring salmon fishing to the Yemen, despite Jones’ initial speculations and doubts.

What makes this movie interesting is the fact that they tried to defy Mother Nature—and actually succeeded. I don’t know much about fish, but I do know that most of the times, defying Mother Nature has grave coincidences. How the team tackled this project was very impressive. Harriet ensured that Yemen was prepared to sustain the fish—from the dam to the financial needs—she was more than ready to outwit and outplay Jones. The Sheikh, meanwhile, was prepared to invest in this project. He wasn’t in it for the profit though; he whole-heartedly wanted to give his people a new way of livelihood. I think that makes him a noble man.

All in all, this film shows us the power of man’s mind and his heart and his ability to harness science and use it to improve the lives of people. Although he knew it was an act of defying nature—and, in a broader sense, the balance of things—the Sheikh really wanted to pursue the project because he knew it would benefit his people. This goes to show that science is not just about the brains; how we use science—be it for the improvement or destruction of people’s lives—depends solely on the heart of man.

I think this was an interesting film to culminate STS because it truly showed that science is by man and should be for man. 




            The talk given by Ms. Lisa Garcia and Ms. Nica Dumlao of the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) Philippines concretized the consequences of the Cybercrime Law. Since technical aspects of the said law were discussed the previous week, it was very fitting that the class was exposed to issues on women’s rights and gender equality in the virtual space. It was an effective follow thru because it did hit home and made us realize that a policy just like this can really take its toll on us. Thus, we must stay vigilant at all times.

            The internet is undeniably a double-edged sword. As mentioned during the talk, the cloak of anonymity is probably one of the highly used “devices” online. For people who feel powerless, especially women and members of the LGBT community, the internet becomes their voice and their refuge. In this world, they can speak their mind without having to fear anybody. Women can mask their femininity – a characteristic that the norms in the real world do not see as strength or an asset. A lesbian, bisexual, and all the other orientations “unconventional” to worldly standards can be themselves as easy and simple as ABC’s. Nobody needs to hide. Social media sites become platforms of self-expression – of a lesbian’s medium for showing the world how much she loves her girlfriend because she literally cannot scream it at the top of her lungs. It is also the virtual diary of a young lady whose frustration is rooted from consistent bickering of her peers. “She can’t do it because she’s a girl,” they say. On her blog she is taken to greater heights and is able to fulfill her dreams.

            On the other hand, the internet is also a trap as sexual abuse becomes more rampant, and is done in ways one can never imagine. Although there is debate when it comes to consensual cybersex, freedom is given to everybody in this dimension. Tables can be turned, and the victim can be as defenseless as if liberty and choice did not exist online.

            While technological advancement provides those who feel inhibited opportunities and portals to finally come out of their shells, on the other end of the line, someone is imprisoned. And though we need rules to regulate these paradigm shifts, we hope its something that would totally combat those that have to be and open an even bigger world to those who have been in the shadow for so long. We wish for a win-win situation.

The Idea

Often we hear people talk about the blurred line between reality and dreams, but no one could have possibly ventured into the deeper meaning of this boundary until Inception hit the theaters.

Inception, under the stunning direction of Christopher Nolan, is a film that features a group of individuals who perform a heist to implant another person’s idea into the subconscious of their target. This task is proven difficult as they venture deeper and deeper into the mind and dreams of their victim. Their bodies are vulnerable as they sleep, fatal wounds inflicted in a dream could have a grave effect to the real body when he or she doesn’t wake in time, and an individual’s own thoughts, if too strong, are bound to appear in another person’s subconscious.

The entire film grips you as soon as the first scene begins, and keeps you at a firm hold for the whole duration. The cinematography is superb, the plot is unique, the script is well-written, and you can expect nothing less from such an amazing cast. There are moments that will make you giggle, moments that will bring tears to your eyes, and moments that will make your heart race and keep you at the edge of your seat yelling, “What’s next? What’s next?” in your head. And just as you are hooked permanently to the plot, the movie simply releases its once tight grip on you and drops you into an abyss with questions and assumptions torturing your mind as though the characters are there playing with your own subconscious. It’s definitely science taken to a whole new level, as conceived from an idea that “has taken hold of the brain… [and is] impossible to eradicate. [It is a]n idea that is fully formed – fully understood ­– that sticks; right in there somewhere.” It has its own depth that one would explore over and over again – “a dream within a dream within a dream.”

There is the reason why Inception is so well-loved by those who have seen it. I can tell you now that more than 50% of that statistic watched it twice during the first weeks of its release at theaters. If you haven’t taken it upon yourself to watch this movie, I, along with anyone else you dare ask, urge you to give 3 hours of your time to treat yourself to one of the greatest movies you could ever watch in your lifetime. You won’t regret it.



Salmon Fishing

The film showed at the last day of classes of STS is really awe inspiring. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen may be three years old already but nonetheless it showed a wonderful scenario on how science works for the society.

One of the scientific feats in the film would be the transportation of farmed salmon from the British rivers to Yemen. These big containers with lots of live farmed salmon inside already possess a difficulty in such a way that the fish vessels has to be transported by aircraft.

The next one will be the introduction of a new species in a geographical location. It is not discussed in the movie but then it is worth pondering at: would the introduction of farmed salmon at Yemen will have impact on the food web and overall ecological balance?

                Another one will be the sabotage to the Yemen dam, which let a strong gush of water to the river. Perhaps that would have changed the physical properties of the once-riverbed such as widening and making the sediments smaller. Well this scenario would probably be true had the gush of water be going on for a long time.

                Aside from these scientific questions the movie have this identity of marketability because the love scenes trigger reaction from the crowd; as such it has an appeal to the market. With this, of course, the logic behind the story of the fish transportation is explained adequately to the viewers. Moreover the comedy aspect of the film as exemplified by the prime minister’s press secretary, draws more attention from the watchers to look closely at the details of the plot.

At the end of the film, after realizing that the main character can do so much more by restarting the salmon fishing project little by little but with the involvement of the community suggests that this film entertains the idea of collaboration. Science isn’t supposed to be contained in just a single person (specifically at the scientist) but to be taught into the communities that are supposed to benefit from it.

The film is a fitting end-of-the-class lesson because it shows that while it may not be practical to test an idea, the fact that it itself has a high potential (and is revolutionizing) draws the line between success and trying and trying again.

As the sheikh of Yemen always say during the film: “Have faith.” Faith may not be in the form of being religious but the trust and perseverance you give to a project seemingly bound for failure.

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