Monday, November 23, 2009

Jason Ivler: Nationwide Manhunt

A man linked to two murders is currently under a nationwide manhunt.  But the PNP/ NBI has yet to post any pictures online!  It's been 5 days now!

I have taken the liberty to put his picture online to aid in identifying him and to bring him to court.  If he is innocent, he can settle it there.

Ivler has allegedly killed the following individuals:
In the Philippines, you can dial 117 or text a message to 2920 to alert the police.   All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2012 film, near miss asteroid, and end of the world

I'm a big fan of science fiction films like 2012, partly because filmmakers produce creative graphics and computer imagery not found anywhere else.  I'm more than willing to buy a $19 DVD to view graphics that were made from $200 million movie budgets.

In these films you can look at what super volcanoes could potentially look like to how the world's continents could be split to how tsunamis affect buildings and skyscrapers.

It is thought provoking to imagine how disasters took place in the past and how Earth was once just a single continent, moved into the body of continents that we know now.  Then there's the ultimate question about human existence.  These disaster movies always reminds me how precious time is.

Yet as the movie credits roll on and as you turn your DVD player off, did you ever wonder how factual these movies were?  Is the sun actually dying?  Are there asteroids coming our way?  The truth is, all of the above.  The imaginations of the best scriptwriters are often grounded on scientific reality.

(Courtesy: NASA)

For instance, just this month, a space rock named "2009 VA" narrowly missed Earth by 9,000 miles.  It was so close that the trajectory of the rock actually was affected by Earth's gravity.  According to NASA's public update, the Catalina Sky Survey based in the University of Arizona was able to detect it 15 hours prior to approaching Earth.  Talk about a close call...

Now don't worry, the size of this asteriod was only about 20 feet long, it wouldn't hurt as much as the 90 foot rock that impacted the Siberian forest in 1908 which devastated 500,000 acres and was equivalent to 1,000 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  (Comforting...)

What both religion and science are saying about Armageddon

Our life on Earth as a species is finite.

First, the sun is dying, it will get hotter, redder, before it turns into a dwarf.  Our moon will look like a bloody moon (from the red sun) then it will no longer give its light as the sun darkens.  This Earth, the animals, and our existence as we know it, will be non-existent.

This is not about belief, it is a fact.  It is not a question of if but a question of when.  The world will end at some point and life 'as we know it' will cease to exist.  The scientific community and religious community agrees together on these points.  For example, take these statements attributed to two popular people in their specific fields of study:
The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet. Sooner or later, disasters such as an asteroid collision or nuclear war could wipe us all out. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe. There isn't anywhere like the Earth in the solar system, so we would have to go to another star.

–Stephen Hawking, physicist
Quoting an 800 year old prophecy from Isaiah:
Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Matt 24:29).

-Jesus Christ
Stephen Hawking and Jesus agrees that there is an end of the world scenario. 

At some point in time, we need a new earth.  A new way to colonize outside of our current state of existence and to develop a method to ensure that our human race endures forever.  The silliest thing I hear all the time is that the sun will die out "billions of years" from now and we shouldn't worry...  But that's expecting everything will go according to plan!  What we don't know is what would happen if either the Sun or the Earth is hit by a large enough rock. 

Thankfully, the Creator does promise us a new earth:

"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure." (Isaiah 66:22)

Illustration by: asampogna/

Monday, November 09, 2009

Skillet Hero Lyrics and Fan Video

For those looking for the music video, this is not the one. But if you are looking for a good remake, this would be it.

Hero by Skillet
Lyrics // Songwriters: Cooper, John Landrum

I'm just a step away
I'm just a breath away
Losing my faith today
Falling off the edge today

I am just a man
Not superhuman
I'm not superhuman
Someone save me from the hate

It's just another war
Just another family torn
Falling from my faith today
Just a step from the edge
Just another day in the world we live

I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero, save me now
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me just in time

I've gotta fight today
To live another day
Speaking my mind today
My voice will be heard today

I've gotta make a stand
But I am just a man
I'm not superhuman
My voice will be heard today

It's just another war
Just another family torn
My voice will be heard today
It's just another kill
The countdown begins to destroy ourselves

I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero, save me now
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me just in time

I need a hero to save my life
I need a hero, just in time
Save me just in time
Save me just in time

Who's gonna fight for what's right?
Who's gonna help us survive?
We're in the fight of our lives
And we're not ready to die

Who's gonna fight for the weak?
Who's gonna make 'em believe?
I've got a hero, I've got a hero
Living in me

I'm gonna fight for what's right
Today I'm speaking my mind
And if it kills me tonight
I will be ready to die

A hero's not afraid to give his life
A hero's gonna save me just in time

I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero, save me now
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me just in time

(I need a hero)
Who's gonna fight for what's right?
Who's gonna help us survive?

(I need a hero)
Who's gonna fight for the weak?
Who's gonna make 'em believe?
I've got a hero

I need a hero
A hero's gonna save me just in time

Does the Philippines media overdramatize?

This is an actual bomb crater in Iraq as reported by MSNBC:

This is a bomb crater as reported by the Philippines media:

I'm seriously beginning to think that some of the Philippines' journalists have the same reporting standards as the gossip columnists and tabloid writers in the United States.  This type of sensationalism in the mainstream media creates a perception problem for the country, especially when it comes to foreign investment and foreign relations.

The Western intelligence community do not typically have front line assets in friendly countries to filter through the garbage to verify reports.  Whether these newspaper editors know it or not, the mainstream media headlines are translated into executive summaries, little one liners for heads of state and foreign ministers to read on their daily or weekly intelligence briefings.

For instance this article of  predawn explosions in Manila could be taken and translated as military grade bombs against key infrastructures in the country's capital, instead of what it truly is.  They are low grade, gasoline-in-a-Coke can pranks.

Multinational corporations also have their own risk and security assessment teams that scour through the Internet and media reports to send executive summaries to their employees abroad. Imagine this, if you are an employee of a Fortune 100 company working in Manila for the first time in your life, excited to see a new culture, and absolutely impressed with the megasize malls in Metro Manila....and then you get an email on your Blackberry --- YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK. HIDE FOR COVER, BOMBS IN MANILA! Stupid, right? But it happens all the time. From the unfair negative remarks against Mindanao to the bombs that's "rocked the capital" --- let's get real, shall we?

Friday, November 06, 2009

How the U.S. could create jobs in Philippines' Mindanao region with one single sentence

Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney visited Sutherland's Davao call center in July 2009

Good news, Secretary Clinton is visiting the Philippines next week. I hope President Arroyo and the folks in Manila's United States embassy can offer some insight on how to increase foreign investment in the country.

Of course, short term foreign aid is welcomed in the wake of the recent typhoon disasters, but long term sustainable foreign investment is preferable.

Here's my suggestion on how to increase jobs in the Philippines, especially in its southern regions without spending a single dollar of U.S. taxpayers' money.

Dear Secretary Clinton:

There is an opportunity for the United States to be able to directly impact an entire region of the Philippines and reduce poverty by simply changing one sentence in a paragraph.

As an American working in the contact center business in the Philippines, I would like to offer this suggestion.

I would like to request that the State Department’s travel advisory in Mindanao exclude safe cities like Davao City and Cagayan de Oro. Designating these cities as the same level of risk as Manila and Cebu would be enough. In fact, these cities have lower crime rates than most U.S. cities, yet they are arbitrarily discriminated against with the advisory.

The arbitrary travel advisory on Mindanao is stopping a significant amount of foreign investment coming into Mindanao. There are thousands of potential jobs available in the call center industry, excess of 5,000 or more full time positions if those advisories are revised to exclude Davao City and Cagayan de Oro. With nearly 92% of the contact centers located in the Luzon region alone, the industry is looking to diversify itself to reduce risk especially from typhoon prone regions of Luzon.

God bless,

Don Sausa

Comparisons -- Philippines' Mindanao vs. Egypt

I recently traveled to Mindanao and visited cities like Cagayan de Oro and even "unsafe" areas like Iligan. I spent almost three days there. I'm happy to report that I absolutely felt safe. There were no bombs, no grenades, and absolutely beautiful scenery...yet the entire region has a travel warning. It not only scares Americans and foreign investment, but even uninformed Filipinos are scared to travel there.

I couldn't but help and compare this to my two day visit in Egypt last month, where the State Department has no travel warnings but I felt a little bit unsafe. I went to Cairo and Alexandria. Just to give you some context, I required a full time security escort with automatic weapons the entire time. I was hassled and annoyed by street vendors who were very disrespectful. Colleagues that were with me had incidents of theft in broad daylight. Yet Egypt has no travel warning!

I am confounded to why the State Department continue to discriminate against Mindanao, issuing travel warnings and not specifically excluding safe zones like Davao City and Cagayan de Oro.

The fact on the ground is, terrorism is limited to remote islands southwest of Mindanao. Saying the entire region of Mindanao is dangerous is tantamount to me saying the United States's western coast is dangerous because Hawaii has kidnap for ransom bandits. (To my HI friends, this is just an example, I'm not saying you have bandits.)

I hope at some point the new administration is able to adjust the advisory based on facts on the ground. Even Ambassador Kenney visited Davao and Sutherland's call centers there.

But hey, what do I know... I just live, work, and travel here. ;-)