Monday, February 6, 2012


Confucius was China's one of the most famous teacher, philosopher, and a political theorist. His ideas have exerted an enormous influence on China and other civilizations of East Asia.

Confucius's life, in contrast to his tremendous importance, seems starkly undramatic—or, as a Chinese expression has it, "plain and real."

Although the facts about Confucius's life are scanty, they do establish a precise time frame and historical context. Confucius was born in the 22nd year of the reign of Duke Xiang of Lu (551 BCE). The traditional claim that he was born on the 27th day of the eighth lunar month has been questioned by historians, but September 28 is still widely observed in East Asia as Confucius's birthday. It is an official holiday, "Teachers' Day," in Taiwan.

Confucius's family name was Kong and his personal name Qiu, but he is referred to as either Kongzi or Kongfuzi (Master Kong) throughout Chinese history. The adjectival "Confucian," derived from the Latinized Confucius, is not a meaningful term in Chinese, nor is the term Confucianism, which was coined in Europe as recently as the 18th century.

Confucius's ancestors were probably members of the aristocracy who had become virtual poverty-stricken commoners by the time of his birth. His father died when Confucius was only three years old. Instructed first by his mother, Confucius then distinguished himself as an indefatigable learner in his teens.

Confucius had served in minor government posts managing stables and keeping books for granaries before he married a woman of similar background when he was 19. It is not known who Confucius's teachers were, but he made a conscientious effort to fi nd the right masters to teach him, among other things, ritual and music. His mastery of the six arts—ritual, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and arithmetic—and his familiarity with the classical traditions, notably poetry and history, enabled him to start a brilliant teaching career in his 30s.

In his late 40s and early 50s Confucius served first as a magistrate, then as an assistant minister of public works, and eventually as minister of justice in the state of Lu . It is likely that he accompanied King Lu as his chief minister on one of the diplomatic missions. Confucius's political career was, however, short-lived. At 56, when he realized that his superiors were uninterested in his policies, Confucius left the country in an attempt to find another feudal state to which he could render his service.

Despite his political frustration he was accompanied by an expanding circle of students during this self-imposed exile of almost 12 years. His reputation as a man of vision and mission spread.

Indeed, Confucius was perceived as the heroic conscience who knew realistically that he might not succeed but, fired by a righteous passion, continuously did the best he could. At the age of 67 he returned home to teach and to preserve his cherished classical traditions by writing and editing. He died in 479 BCE, at the age of 73. According to the Records of the Historian, 72 of his students mastered the "six arts," and those who claimed to be his followers numbered 3,000.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pythagoras (c. 570 BC - c. 495 BC)

Pythagoras (c. 570 BC - c. 495 BC)

Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. Born in what is modern-day Greece, Pythagoras migrated to southern Italy about 532 BCE, apparently in an effort to escape the merchant and territorial ruler Samos’s tyrannical ways. After he arrived in southern Italy, Pythagoras proceeded to establish his ethical and political academy at Croton (now Crotone, Italy). At this academy, he founded the Pythagorean brotherhood, which, although religious in nature, formulated principles that influenced the thought of Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. In addition, it contributed to the development of mathematics and Western rational philosophy. Pythagoreans followed a very structured way of life. They believed that the human soul resided in a new human or animal body after a person died.

It is difficult to distinguish Pythagoras’s teachings from those of his disciples. None of his writings have survived, and Pythagoreans invariably supported their doctrines by indiscriminately citing their master’s authority. Pythagoras, however, is generally credited with the theory of the functional signifi cance of numbers in the objective world and in music. Other discoveries often attributed to him (e.g., the incommensurability of the side and diagonal of a square, and the Pythagorean theorem for right triangles) were probably developed only later by the Pythagorean school. More probably the bulk of the intellectual tradition originating with Pythagoras himself belongs to mystical wisdom rather than to scientific scholarship.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937)

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Jagadish Chandra Bose was born on 30 November 1858, in Myemsingh, Faridpur, a part of the Dhaka District now in Bangladesh. He attended the village school till he was 11. He then moved to Kolkata where he enrolled in St. Xavier’s. He was very much interested in Biology. However, Father Lafont, a famous Professor of Physics, inspired in Bose a great interest in Physics.

Having obtained his B.A. in physical sciences, twenty two year old Bose left for London, to obtain a medical degree. However, he kept falling ill and had to discontinue his plans to be a doctor. He then obtained his B.A. degree from Christ College, Cambridge.

He returned to India in 1885 and joined Presidency College, Kolkata as an Assistant Professor of Physics, where he remained till 1915. There was a peculiar practice in the college at that time. The Indian teachers in the college were paid one third of what the British teachers were paid! So Bose refused his salary but worked for three years. The fourth year he was paid in full! He was an excellent teacher, extensively using scientific demonstrations in class. Some of his students, such as S. N. Bose went on to become famous physicists themselves.

During this period, Bose also started doing original scientific work in the area of microwaves, carrying out experiments involving refraction, diffraction and polarization. He developed the use of galena crystals for making receivers, both for short wavelength radio waves and for white and ultraviolet light. In 1895, two years before Marconi’s demonstration, Bose demonstrated wireless communication using radio waves, using them to ring a bell remotely and to explode some gunpowder.

Many of the microwave components familiar today – waveguides, horn antennas, polarizers, dielectric lenses and prisms, and even semiconductor detectors of electromagnetic radiation – were invented and used by Bose in the last decade of the nineteenth century. He also suggested the existence of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun, which was confirmed in 1944.

Bose then turned his attention to response phenomena in plants. He showed that not only animal but vegetable tissues, produce similar electric response under different kinds of stimuli – mechanical, thermal, electrical and chemical.

Bose was knighted in 1917 and soon thereafter elected Fellow of the Royal Society, London, (both as physicist and biologist!). Bose had worked all along without the right kind of scientific instruments and laboratory. For a long time he had been thinking of building a laboratory. The result was the establishment of the Bose Research Institute in Kolkata. It continues to be a famous centre of research in basic sciences.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Noynoy Aquino

Benigno Simeon III C. “NOYNOY” AQUINO
Personal DetailsEducational Attainment
  • Bachelor of Arts, Major in Economics
    – Ateneo de Manila University
    Professional/Public Service Record
  • Senator – 2007-2010
  • Representative, 3rd District of Tarlac
    – 1998-2001, 2001-2004, 2004-2007
  • Economist
Significant Achievements

He is considered to be an active and independent-minded legislator but Aquino family friend Reli German has described him as “seen by most people as `a political lightweight, (with) his transformation not yet sufficiently remarkable.’”

On the other hand, former Finance Secretary Ramon Del Rosario has written – “We must reject and vigorously fight corruption because it is a social evil that contributes greatly to poverty. Corruption causes poverty not only because it diverts already meager resources from development and social programs that ought to benefit the poor, but also because it discourages investments that create jobs. If we are to reduce poverty and improve the lives of our people, we must fight corruption. And to do this, we must have leadership that is honest, leadership that we can trust.

Major Positions on Development and Reform Agenda and Other Major Advocacies

Senator Aquino authored the Workers Productivity Incentives Act of 2007 that would grant annual productivity incentive bonuses to all workers in the private sector amounting to no less than 10% of the company’s net profits before taxes. He also led the call for the renegotiation of Japan – Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and voted against its ratification. He authored the Superior Responsibility Act of 2008 which would adopt the doctrine of “Superior Responsibility” for all military and police personnel, in response to extra-judicial killings, particularly human rights activists and media practitioners.

Senator Aquino signed the impeachment complaint against former President Estrada and authored bills that would promote transparency in government such as the Government Procurement Reform Act and the bill that would add Congressional oversight to budget decisions undertaken by the President, including budget rescission, reservation, and deferral.

He also supports the Reproductive Health Bill, though he has also said that his position is “more properly called Responsible Parenthood.”

At the time of the 2004 Hacienda Luisita killings, Senator Aquino himself drew flak from various groups after he said that leftists had goaded the workers in the Hacienda to go on strike. He drew further criticism from human rights groups following a spate of killings of Hacienda’s union leaders, even as he issued statements condemning the killings.

He is in favor of the additional 2 years basic education proposal because it will increase the level of competitiveness of students and make us at par with the global education standards.

He will not impose new taxes or increase tax rates because the problem is the tax collection efficiency.

Regarding the proposal to give the late President Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial, Aquino did not endorse it and suggested instead that a commission be created to study the issue (The Manila Times, Feb 22, 2010).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Manny Pacquiao

Few can deny the accolades showering Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. His end-of-the-year beatdown of Puerto Rico fighter Miguel Cotto served to cap a historic decade-long run of achievements earning him the title of best Pound-for-Pound boxer in the world.

The title of being one of the greatest fighters in the world was well earned - a stunning seven championship titles in seven different weight divisions.

He has fought against the world's best. That pedigreed list includes the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Oscar dela Hoya. In year 2009 he was able to turn the boxing world on its head by his stunning defeat of Englishman Ricky Hatton with less than ten seconds remaining on their second round. The sharp left hook which flattened Hatton shocked the boxing world and cemented Pacquiao's status as the fighter to watch.

Around the time of his match against Cotto, "The People's champ" was featured on the cover of the Asian edition of TIME Magazine. He was also in The 2009 TIME 100 list under the category of "Heroes and Icons" alongside the likes of George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. Already the subject of a biopic a couple of years before, commercial TV endorsements and his very own network sitcom, Pacquiao has his sights set on doing movies with a theatrical release in December 2009's Manila Film Festival with him in the starring role. As if that wasn't enough, the man is the first athlete to featured in a Philippine Postal Office stamp. Pacquiao's grip on the sporting world and pop culture serves to continue his legendary status.

What's next for the man who seemingly has run out of opponents and with no plans to move up another weight-class? 2010 sees an obvious challenge on the horizon over another, supposed pound-for-pound fighter with a penchant for flapping his mouth like a hummingbird's wings.

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