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ICYMI: Science and technology updates from October 13 to 19, 2019.

DENR takes measures to protect turtle nesting site

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 9 (DENR-9) has prioritized the protection of Panikian Island in Zamboanga del Sur, after confirming the site to be one of the preferred nesting sites of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Philippines. According to DENR-9 executive director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, DENR-9 executive director, they will be working with local government officials to ensure that the area will remain protected. C. mydas is one of five sea turtle species found in the Philippines, and is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered.

Duterte advocates clean energy at opening of coal power plant

At the formal opening ceremony of the San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. plant last October 16, President Rodrigo Duterte urged the private sector to invest in clean energy. “To our friends in the private sector, I ask you to follow the lead of San Buenaventura power by investing in the generation of clean energy,” said Duterte. According to San Buenaventura, its power plant utilizes technology that greatly reduces emissions. However, according to various environmental groups, “clean coal” is not truly clean nor environment-friendly; instead, businesses should stop using fossil fuels and “unworkable technologies” and focus on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency initiatives.

WHO: Make swimming and rescue subjects mandatory in PH schools

Statistics gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 revealed 3,202 cases of death by drowning in the Philippines. The agency lists drowning as the third major cause of unintentional death worldwide. It is also the second major cause of death among children in low- to middle-income countries. As a result, WHO is pushing for mandatory swimming lessons and rescue subjects to be integrated into the K-12 curriculum. In an interview, WHO consultant and regional data coordinator for violence & injury prevention Dr. Caroline Lukaszyk stated that water safety is currently not part of the country’s educational program, and that teaching the youth how to swim could significantly help in reducing drowning casualties.

Study: Nearly two in every three PH companies use pirated software

Findings from a 2018 study conducted by industry group BSA | The Software Alliance indicate that roughly 64 percent of Philippine corporations use pirated software. In neighboring Southeast Asian countries Singapore and Malaysia, unlicensed software usage rates are much lower: 27 percent and 51 percent, respectively. According to BSA, this severely compromises cyber security and creates a massive data risk for Philippine businesses.

New ‘CO2-to-fuel’ research may someday help fight the climate crisis

From left: Study authors Aisulu Aitbekova and Matteo Cargnello. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)


Several recent studies have shown some success in this conversion, but a novel approach from Stanford University engineers yields four times more ethane, propane and butane than existing methods that use similar processes. While not a climate cure-all, the advance could significantly reduce the near-term impact on global warming.

“One can imagine a carbon-neutral cycle that produces fuel from carbon dioxide and then burns it, creating new carbon dioxide that then gets turned back into fuel,” said Matteo Cargnello, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford who led the research, published in Angewandte Chemie.

Although the process is still just a lab-based prototype, the researchers expect it could be expanded enough to produce usable amounts of fuel. Much work remains, however, before average consumer will be able to purchase products based on such technologies. .

Cover image: Go Dream Dumalinao; L.A. Cicero; Pexels