Categories
Daily dose

Goni vs Haiyan

As of 7AM, typhoon Rolly (Goni) is barreling its way towards the Bicol region. It packs maximum sustained winds at 215 km/h; 130 mph (115 knots) making it a Category 5 Super typhoon according to local weather bureau PAGASA: “the center of the eye of the typhoon is forecast to pass very close or over the Calaguas Islands tomorrow afternoon and make landfall over Polillo Islands and mainland Quezon tomorrow evening.

Satellite image of typhoon Goni

This makes it this year’s strongest typhoon in the Western Pacific so far. Here’s a comparison to the most recent super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which devastated the country in 2013:

Haiyan (Yolanda) c 2013Goni (Rolly)
10-minute sustained: 230 km/h (145 mph)
1-minute sustained: 315 km/h (195 mph)
115 knots (215 km/h; 130 mph) (10-min mean)
155 knots (285 km/h; 180 mph) (1-min mean)
gusting to 165 knots (305 km/h; 190 mph)
Wind speed comparison between Haiyan and Goni

How did Goni got so powerful? The same way favorable conditions gave rise to Yolanda seven years ago:

First, it formed in the open ocean, and thus no land mass prevented it from forming a symmetrical circular pattern, which helps a cyclone form and gather steam, he said.

Second, ocean temperatures are incredibly warm, topping out at 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). Just as important, the warm water also extends deep into the ocean, meaning that upwelling caused by the winds will not churn up cold water, which dampens cyclone power, McNoldy said. Tropical cyclones are basically giant heat engines, powered by the transfer of heat from the ocean to the upper atmosphere.

Third, there is very little wind shear in the area at this time, McNoldy said. Wind shear, a difference in wind speed or direction with increasing altitude, tears developing hurricanes apart, and prevents them from strengthening.

In its wake, Yolanda left some 6,000 dead and Php95.5 billion ($2.2 billion USD) in damages.

Preparations have already started yesterday with preemptive evacuations in areas that lie in the storm’s path. Hopefully, it would be enough to minimize if not prevent the the loss of life. The next three days will be a tough one for all.

Categories
Asides

GCash Customer Service – No More Chat Support

In a bizarre and anti-consumer move, GCash has stopped offering customer support via chat. Back in February, you can reach their customer service team via chat from within the app which was great because they don’t have a dedicated hotline.

Sadly, that is no longer available, instead, we now need to create a ticket in order to reach out to their virtually non-existent customer service team.

While almost every other business has enhanced their customer service efforts by embracing social media, GCash has went into the opposite direction and made it harder for customers to get help. They still don’t have a dedicated hotline, no presence in Facebook or Twitter and now the only way to reach them is by creating a ticket. Frustrating!

If any one from GCash is reading this, how can you be so unkind and unhelpful to your customers?

Disclaimer: This blogger is not connected to GCash

Categories
Opinion

From Russia with vaccine

The image above sums up the process of how a vaccine is developed. Now that we’re living in a global pandemic, a vaccine is seen as something that will bring an end to lockdowns, economic downturns, and a return to normalcy. Hence the next image:

Scientists and vaccine makers around the world are racing to make one that is safe and effective against SARS-CoV-2 with the World Health Organization leading the global effort at an unprecedented pace. At the moment, there are more than 165 vaccines being developed of which 31 are in various stages of human trials.

The latest to grab international headlines is dubbed Sputnik-V which was announced by no less than Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 11 as ‘ready for public use.’ Much like how the first Sputnik satellite drew global attention back in 1957, Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine brought much shock and awe the world over.

The shock as scientists and medical experts has condemned Russia’s approval of a COVID-19 vaccine that has skipped Stage 3 phase of clinical trials. Apart from the risks of side effects that could be harmful, a vaccine that turns out to be ineffective could undermine immunization efforts the world over and not just against the coronavirus. This would even play into the hands of anti-vaxxers to further their agenda. Overall, it threatens global health atop of the natural threat that is COVID-19 which has already killed millions, destroyed livelihoods, and caused worldwide suffering.

It didn’t help that President Durterte was quick to announce that Russia would be supplying the vaccine to the Philippines, something that he has been desperately clinging on to as his administration has struggled and miserably failed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Never mind that even Russian health experts have voiced their opposition to fast-tracking Sputnik-V, Duterte even volunteered to be the first Filipino to get injected.

Days after his late-night address, his spokesperson confirmed that indeed the Philippines would be participating in the Phase III trials for the Russian vaccine. Ironic since the administration has used another controversial vaccine – Dengvaxia, to score political points against the opposition.

If this is not madness, I don’t know what else is.

Categories
Asides

Concerned Online Citizens vs Executive Secretary et al.

Last July 29, 2020, Concerned Online Citizens – social media personalities, bloggers, artists, professionals even students who use the internet and social media to speak on issues of public concern in filed a petition to strike down as unconstitutional the Anti-Terror Law.

  • Let’s fight for our rights both online and offline
  • The Bill of Rights should apply everywhere, including the internet
  • Free expression should be protected across frontiers and the media we use
  • There should be no threats and no terrorist-tagging of citizens expressing themselves online and offline
  • 73 million online Filipinos should be protected
  • The people should not be afraid of government. The government should be afraid of its people.
  • Cybercrime Law noon, terror law ngayon
  • Kung walang ginagawang mali, bakit takot ang gobyerno sa placards at Facebook posts

I am humbled and privileged to join some of the biggest names on social media today:
@macoydubs1

@SexbombGurl

@robcham

@victoryliner

@thysz

@markgeronimo_

@ka_bino

@PinoyAkoBlog

@darnitJC

@mongster

@leanporquia

@Punongbayan_

@albertraqueno

@blogie

@TheRainBro

@giasison

& Aling Marie

Below is a fully copy of our petition.

We wish we could have added more, however time & the restrictions of the on-going community quarantine have prevented us from doing so.

Follow & interact with all of each of us, we are eager to hear from you as well especially if you have experienced harassment or being attacked online for speaking up. Together, we will defend and fight for our rights be online or offline.