November 16, 2014 Edition

Michelle Fernandez

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. PH peacekeeper negative; World toll tops 5,177

    The Filipino peacekeeper who fell ill after returning from Ebola-hit Liberia has tested negative for the Ebola virus, the Department of Health announced on Saturday, November 15. “The Philippines is still Ebola-free….But we’re sad to say that he tested positive for malaria,” Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a news conference.

    As the Philippines remains Ebola-free, the death toll of the current outbreak has topped 5,177, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. WHO has acknowledged though that the number of deaths is likely far higher, given that the fatality rate in the current outbreak is known to be around 70%.

    Read more about these stories on Rappler.

  2. Philae lander goes to sleep after historic landing

    Screengrab from Twitter

    Robot probe Philae uploaded a slew of last-minute data to Earth Friday, November 14 from a comet in deep space, before going to sleep at the conclusion of a historic exploration, ground controllers said. Data streamed in as soon as Europe’s pioneering robot lab reestablished late-night contact with its orbiting mothership, Rosetta, but its limited battery soon started wavering. The European Space Agency (ESA) said its robot lab had entered “idle mode”, with all instruments and most systems shut down after 3 days of non-stop work.

    Read Agence France-Presse’s report on Rappler

  3. Can money bring happiness? It can, but…

    People have been wrestling with the correlation between money and happiness for years. Can money really bring you happiness? If you are richer, are you happier? According to new research, there is some truth to the notion that money can help people feel happier. But it doesn’t stop there: wealth alone, the Wall Street Journal reports, is not a surefire assurance that you’ll be happy. What’s more important is how people spend their money, not how fat their wallets are.

    Read more on the Wall Street Journal.

  4. Factory goes from floppy disks to… lettuce


    Just a few decades ago, a room in a Japanese suburb churned out floppy disks by the thousands. Nowadays, the sterilized clean room, owned by the tech conglomerate Toshiba, is still churning out something floppy – floppy leaves of lettuce, that is. The company, which as of late has been diversifying into things like developing Ebola vaccines, is growing the vegetable in hopes of encouraging farmers to embrace tech-aided farming. The goal is also to sell indoor farming technologies to places it is needed. Aside from Toshiba, other Japanese tech companies, like Fujitsu and Sharp, are also planting their seeds into the growing business.

    Read more on Quartz.

  5. Papal itinerary released for state, pastoral visit to PH

    After weeks of waiting, Filipino Catholics can now schedule which events to attend (or check out places to avoid) during the visit of Pope Francis this coming January. The highlight of the 5-day trip to the Philippines will be the Holy Father’s lunch with survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Leyte and events in the Manila Cathedral, the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and the Mall of Asia Arena. The visit will also serve a dual purpose: he will be the country’s guest not just as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, but also as the head of state of the Vatican City State. “State visits reflect the highest level of hospitality, honor and formality in relations between nations,” the Philippine government said. The country is also mulling to make the Papal visit a holiday.

    Read more about his itinerary on Rappler.

  6. A writer’s 40-year search for his bully


    In 1971, writer Allen Kurzweil, then 10, started school in a boarding school in Switzerland. Away from family, familiar places, and with the death of his father still fresh on his memory, Kurzweil was assigned to room with four other boys from different walks of life. One of them, a burly Filipino 12-year-old named Cesar Augustus Viana, would become his bully. After leaving the boarding school, Kurzweil then embarked on a 40-year search to find Viana. What he finds reopens old wounds – and ends with a surprising realization.

    Read “Whipping Boy” in The New Yorker. Warning: This is a long read. 

  7. Freedom of information: What’s in it for you?

    Almost two-and-a-half centuries since Sweden enacted the very first law that mandated the release of information held by government to the public, 95 countries have already enacted access to information laws. Such laws have since been invoked successfully to promote various causes. Here in the Philippines, the proposed FOI law remains pending in the House of Representatives months after the Senate finally approved it in March 2014.

    Now, you ask: How will such a law affect affect how government works in the Philippines? To get an idea, Rappler compiled how citizens of countries with existing FOI laws have successfully invoked their respective laws to push for various causes.

    Read more on Rappler.


  8. Why schools have Regina Georges, while some have none

    Image courtesy Paramount Pictures

    We’ve all seen “Mean Girls” (What, you haven’t? You can’t sit with us.), and have experienced the effects of cliques in our own lives back in school. According to a study, some schools are more likely to have cliques than others. Researchers led by education professor Daniel McFarland found out that “school that offer students more choice – more elective courses, more ways to complete requirements, a bigger range of potential friends, more freedom to select seats in a classroom – are more likely to be rank-ordered, cliquish, and segregated.” In other words, the size, organizational structure, and academic systems of a school help determine whether students form their own version of The Plastics or not.

    Read more on “The Science of Us” in; The Washington Post; and Stanford University.

  9. Will slain botanist still get justice?

    Exactly 4 years ago on November 15, a respected Filipino botanist was shot to death with two others while collecting and studying indigenous trees in the forests of Kananga, Leyte. The fatal bullets came from an infantry battalion of the Philippine Army who had thought Co and his companions were members of the New People’s Army (NPA). Co’s footsteps may have long disappeared from the forest floor, but the pain of his death drags on for his family and friends. To this day, there has been no trial on the case and the 9 accused soldiers walk free. Two petitions filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Supreme Court are yet to be resolved, preventing the case from proceeding.

    Read more about the injustice being done to one of the giants in the Philippines’ scientific community.


  10. How #AlexFromTarget went from normal to viral

    Alex Lee was just a normal 16-year-old boy, going to school, playing soccer, going to his part-time job at a Target store in his hometown of Frisco, Texas. Then on November 2, his photo is discovered online, and Alex Lee becomes #AlexFromTarget, a meme and trending topic. Now, he’s some sort of celebrity, guesting on “Ellen,” getting interview requests from dozens of other shows, advertising and sponsorship deals… and death threats. Alex now has to deal with security issues, hormonal teen fans, and online bullies – all on top of his usual Target shifts, homework, and household chores.

    Read more about “The Other Side of Fame” in The New York Times.

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