Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gruezo, Ezequiel Joshua D.

Gruezo, Ezequiel Joshua D.                                                                       STS X2

Reaction on the Birding Activity

         UP Diliman has always been known for being a nature haven at the heart of the city. Because of this, many birds tend to flock in the university – a sign of a good and healthy environment. Other species stay temporarily for the season, while others stay for good and build their habitats in the campus. This is a sight to see for a normal passerby, and to those who have bird watching as their favorite hobby. Moreover, the birds have become a familiar subject for photographers, and they are also constantly being studied by researchers.

         During the birding activity, we were asked to walk randomly in the Science Complex for roughly 20 minutes, and find as many birds as we can. Since it was broad daylight, we only saw a few birds compared to when one goes birding before or during sunrise. Still, we were fortunate enough to see a few – like the yellow-vented bulbul, a brown shrike, a long tailed shrike and the common sparrow, just to name some. They were found on the grassy and undeveloped parts of the Complex, and only a few were seen in the built up areas. Many were seen flying above the Complex, while a few were seen staying in their nests.

         Unfortunately, recent studies involving these birds show that their population is decreasing, due to many building constructions inside the campus premises. I think that these developments are inevitable, since they are for the welfare of the students, teachers and staff alike. Remedies have already been done to address this problem, like planting fruit-bearing trees that will attract more birds, but I think more steps have to be done to conserve these birds. In my opinion, they can be conserved by avoiding unnecessary construction, improving the university landscape by making it bird-friendly, or by identifying specific places and plots as birds sancturaries so that it can be protected. Also, we can do our part by just taking care of our surroundings. Even the simplest things that we can do for our environment, can also be a big help for the birds. If these steps and many more conservation efforts can be done in the near future, I think that even after 10-20 years, many people, including myself can still go bird watching in UP like the way it is today.

         The talk and the activity made me more conscious about the presence of these birds in the university and its importance in keeping the balance of its environment. Also, the activity taught me to become more appreciative of these creatures, since it was my first time to go birding. For once, I did not care about them, and just walked around the campus to get to my classes. Furthermore, I also realized how lucky we are to have a campus environment filled with lush greens, that also serves as habitat for many creatures, like birds, and how I can do my part to conserve it.

Gruezo, Ezequiel Joshua D.                                                                       STS X2

Reaction on the Social Climbers and Food for Thought

         Monkeys are considered to be our closest relatives. They use their big brains to get through everyday life much like us. They also tend to have different personalities and social classes, just like our society. Different conditions and physical adjustments paved the way for their evolution thousands of years ago, which eventually lead to us. Humans eventually multiplied, adjusted to its surroundings, and are now the kings of this planet.

         In the documentary, it was first shown how different species of monkeys deal with everyday life – like how capuchins use their inquisitiveness to search for food, and how howler monkeys use excellent color vision to eat non-toxic leaves. It also shows how “social” these monkeys are – from monkeys applying piper leaves to each other as insect repellant, to the social classes of the macaques. It also discusses how some species of monkeys use their cooperative behavior to alert each other of incoming predators, just like the tamarins. They also forge alliances with other animals for the same purpose, just like how they signaled each other when a makeshift leopard came to them. It also showed how other species  learned to take risks after changing habitat, just like how baboons did in the grassslands.

         The big brains of monkeys really help them to survive everyday's challenges. It also goes to show that monkeys are similar to us in many different ways – only that we are civilized. Monkeys don't use brute strength or pure speed when getting food to eat, but they use their intelligence. They also value relationships, grow in different personalities, and socialize with each other. With the documentary, I appreciated these similarities even more, and get to know these creatures deeper.

         The second part of the documentary showed how we evolved into what we are now. Starting from monkeys who stood upright because they need to stand on water, down to earliest forms of humans who hunted using animal tracks. It also showed how we adjusted to our surroiundings and learned to control it – like what was did in the Arizona desert. Using the latest advances in technology, we learned to manipulate everything around us and use it to sustain humanity. Also, through the use of advancements, not only did we conquer this world, but we are also starting to conquer out of this world, through our walk to the Moon and our plans to colonize Mars.

         We should use our big brains to our advantage, and for the common good of others. Moreover, we should use present advancements not only to sustain ourselves, but also help in conserving our planet. Sure, we are planning to colonize another planet, but there is still one Earth, which gives us the things to live. As kings of this planet, we must be aware of what is happening in the world, and become responsible for our actions. If we can control the environment we live in, I believe we can also conserve it.

Gruezo, Ezequiel Joshua D.                                                                       STS X2

Reaction on A Beautiful Mind

         For once in our lives, we would meet this one person who is academically gifted – able to solve anything in his field. People would applaud and give him the due recognition he deserves. But the world is not parallel and life is not perfect, and everyone has a fair share of crests and troughs. Despite being a very bright person, he also might have encountered big slumps that have affected him greatly in his life. In the award-winning film, A Beautiful Mind, this man would be the Nobel Prize laureate, the brilliant John Nash.

         In the movie, John, despite being known for his smarts, have faced a lot of challenges. He first faced the challenge of not publishing anything, and the danger of not finishing his graduate studies. Fortunately, he overcame the pressure of publishing, and lead to his well-known Nash equilibriium. The next challenge was the biggest, and was the revolving conflict in the later parts of the film. He basically needed attention – attention that he did not get from people around him. This lack of attention got him imaginary friends to talk to and give him the attention he needed – from a lack of a true bestfriend in Charles, to a lack of someone younger to talk with in Marcy, and the lack of recognition he wanted to have in Parcher. This lack of attention ultimately affected all his life, and lead to his lifetime sickness, schizophrenia. This sickness also gave even more challenges to his and his wife's life – the failure to care and find time with his child and wife, and giving his wife the burden to carry all the responsibilities. But eventually, after years of battling with the sickness, he was able to fight it and ignore his hallucinations, although it was not an easy task when he was still starting to ignore them. This ignorance lead to greater things, and he had brought his old life back – from returning to the university and eventually teaching again, to rekindling his relationship with his wife, building a relationship with his child, and of course, winning the prestigious Nobel Prize for his equilibrium and his work on the game theory.

         John's story is a story of overcoming a series of challenges, whether how tough or how hard it could be. I find inspiration in this, and I can say to myself that if he has overcame something like that, I could also go over my personal challenges and roadblocks. As for schizophrenic people, I think the only things that would make them happy and loved is understanding and acceptance. They are disabled, and I think chemical medications and therapy would not be enough if we ourselves cannot understand and accept them. Maybe in time, they will also be brave as John and ignore their hallucinations so that they can live a normal life if they know they have someone who understands them and willing to accept them for who they are.

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