Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Selectorate Theory: Implications of Political Legitimacy on Governance

Urbano de la Cruz points to a fascinating body of work by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. You can read more about it here. Browsing through an online copy of de Mesquita's book The Logic of Political Survival, I stumbled upon this neat diagram on page 130 that summarizes the core predictions of Selectorate Theory:

A detailed explanation of the various aspects of the diagram can be found in the book itself. What i would want to focus on is on what the above diagram has to say about the issue of Gloria Arroyo's lack of political legitimacy and the prospects of good governance given her lack of legitimacy. This involves understanding the concepts of a Leader's Discretionary Funds and the gap between the Selectorate and the Winning Coalition

Leader's Discretionary Funds: The book defines kleptocracy as something more than mere corruption. Rather, it is "outright theft of a nation's income by its leaders". It goes on to say that:
"The opportunity to engage in kleptocracy - while retaining one's position as an incumbent - is determined by the difference between the revenue available to a government and the expenditures made by the government. Whatever is left over from the two quantities is money available for the discretionary use of incumbent leaders."
Gap between Selectorate and the Winning Coalition: As per the Wikipedia entry on Selectorate Theory:
"The Selectorate is simply those within the state that have a say in policy outcome (in the United States, for example, it would be all citizens over the age of 18 eligible to vote). The Winning Coalition is a proportion of the Selectorate sufficient to choose and sustain a leader in office."
Under the Philippine Electoral System, the Selectorate consists of the pool of eligible voters while, in theory, the Winning Coalition is the proportion of voters who choose the President, which at least since 1992, has been a plurality.
(to be continued)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Save Marilou Ranario Campaign

From Yuko Takei:

Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 15:53:14 +0800

Dear friends,

Warm greetings! We’re writing to enjoin member organizations and our network to participate in a November 13th internationally-coordinated day of action for Marilou Ranario, the Filipino domestic worker on death row in Kuwait .

November 13th is the first day of oral arguments on Marilou’s case with the Kuwaiti Supreme Court (the Court of Cassation). According to the DFA, a final verdict is expected by January or February next year.

We suggest that actions on that day be directed at Kuwait embassies or consulates in your areas since we need to make them aware of the strong and widespread support for Marilou. The tone of activities will be to appeal to the Kuwait Amir and other government officials to spare her life at the minimum and at the maximum, release and repatriate her.

In this light, we propose the following activities may be held on our November 13th day of action:
  1. Delegation to local Kuwait embassy to submit letters of appeal or petitions for Marilou;
  2. Release of organizational resolutions by our organizations and other Filipino groups na maari makausap to participate in this campaign;
  3. Email or fax barrage to the Kuwait embassy or Kuwait Amir’s office (email and fax is on the sample letter to the Amir); and
  4. Issue press releases and statements to media (na nag-appeal to the Kuwait government at sumisingil sa Arroyo government sa kanilang criminal neglect and culpability in this case)
For your reference, please find attached an information kit about this case (fact sheet, appeal from Marilou’s sister, appeal to the Kuwait Amir, tagalog petition and tagalog flyer).

We’re still finalizing the English petition but we will circulate it as soon as it’s finished.

As well, please find following a quick update about our Save Marilou Ranario Campaign to date:
  1. Last October 10th, we formally launched the Save Marilou Ranario Movement with a march, interfaith service and press conference at the Quezon Memorial Circle . This activity was held on the World Day Against the Death Penalty. In Hong Kong , UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK also led a picket at the RP consulate to raise Marilou’s issue as well as the case of Jocelyn Dulnuan and other victims of the Arroyo government’s criminal neglect.

    SMRM Convenor members include: the Diocese of Novaliches (Marilou’s parish in Quezon City); Religious of the Good Shepherd-WJPIC; AMRSP mission partner Women and Gender Commission; United Methodist Church; National Council of Churches in the Philippines; KASIMBAYAN; GABRIELA; ACT; Center for Women’s Resources; United Council of Churches in the Philippines; and Migrante International. The invitation of new conveners to the SMRM is ongoing.

  2. In Surigao, Marilou’s home province, GABRIELA-Surigao has met with the family and formed a local Save Marilou Ranario Movement Committee. They’ve also begun to project her case in local media and along with church people, they’ve also been able to mobilize lawyers, other advocates and former classmates of Marilou.

  3. The Center for Women’s Resources produced a short video about Marilou’s case that we will try get onto soonest.

  4. The next activity of the SMRM at the national level is an inter-agency dialogue on November 7th about Marilou’s case, other death row cases as well as other urgent issues of migrants. This will be held at St. Peter’s Cathedral. Already, the Usec. Conejos of the Office for the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs has confirmed his presence.
Thank you in advance and we hope for your participation in the upcoming November 13th internationally-coordinated day of action for Marilou Ranario.

In the service of migrants and their families,

Maita Santiago

Migrante International
#65 10th Avenue
Brgy. Socorro, Cubao
Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (63-2) 911-4165
For further updates, please visit Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants website.

Update 12-9-07 11:56PM: Kuwait Emir commutes Marilou Ranario's sentence to Life Term

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Online Petition for Snap Elections

If you're Filipino and you agree, you can sign here.
To: President and Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines

WHEREAS, because of the numerous unresolved scandals involving the present administration, including but not limited to the “Hello Garci” Election controversy, the ZTE , North Rail Project, Diosdado Macapagal Highway scandals, the Joc-joc Bolante Fertilizer scam, Jose Pidal caper, hundreds of unresolved extra-judicial killings and the latest Malacañang Bribery Incident, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has completely lost her moral authority to govern this country;

WHEREAS, the GMA has lost public sympathy and support in the light of her tainted electoral mandate and her responsibility for the numerous controversies hounding her administration, as consistently shown by survey after survey conducted by reputable polling entities;

WHEREAS, Vice President Noli De Castro is a member of the Arroyo cabinet and is a beneficiary of the cheating perpetrated during the May 2004 Elections and is also considered to be a silent partner in crime of GMA not only because of his close personal association and unflinching support for GMA but also because of his failure to stand-up against and denounce the abuses and excesses of the Arroyo regime;

WHEREAS, the recent Glorietta bombing incident appears to be a signal for the more violent phase in the regime of GMA;

WHEREAS, the sham impeachment case filed by personalities connected with Malacanang effectively sabotages and ridicules the impeachment process;

WHEREAS, the only peaceful, legal and constitutional option available to the Nation under the circumstances and to prevent the situation from developing into a full-scale conflict or civil strife is for GMA and Noli De Castro to resign from their respective positions as President and Vice-President, of the Republic of the Philippines;

WHEREAS, the 1987 Constitution, under Section 10, Article VII, expressly provides that:

“Sec. 10. The Congress shall, at ten o’clock in the morning of the third day after the vacancy in the offices of the President and Vice-President occurs, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call and within seven days enact a law calling for a special election to elect a President and a Vice-President to be held not earlier than forty-five days nor later than sixty days from the time of such call. Xxx.”

NOW, WHEREFORE, We the undersigned citizens, taxpayers and voters of the Republic of the Philippines, in our capacity as the true sovereign of the Nation, DO HEREBY:

1. Call upon Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Noli De Castro to spare the country from further turmoil and violence by immediately resigning from their respective positions as President and Vice-President of the Philippines;

2. Demand the holding of a Special Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election within Sixty (60) Days from the date of the resignation of GMA and Noli de Castro, pursuant to Section 10, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution;

May God bless our Great Nation!

DONE in Metro Manila, Philippines on this 21st day of October 2007.
Hat tip to commenter Dr. D and Ellen Tordesillas.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Roundup: Reactions to the Erap Pardon

I don't usually do roundups but what the heck:

Friday, October 26, 2007

An Update of a Classic

As featured in a classic episode of The Simpsons:

Homer's Dream Car (1991)

As updated by Nissan:

Nissan Pivo 2 (2007)

Update Oct-26-2007 6:45PM: Those familiar with the evolutionary process realize that transformations like the one shown above are almost always not straightforward, often requiring intermediate steps. This principle also applies to the Nissan Pivo 2, which as the name indicates, is the second of its kind. Its immediate predescessor, the Nissan Pivo (shown below), fulfills the role of a transitional missing link, exhibiting a combination of traits seen in its ancestor as well as its descendant:

The Missing Link (2005)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Final Defeat for EDSA Dos

Five weeks ago, i declared Final Victory for EDSA Dos. With the pardon of Erap by Gloria Arroyo, whatever victory we can claim for that revolution is gone. Commenter Mike over at Manolo's says it all:
"The pardon of Erap is the last straw. It makes a mockery of everything I fought for in 2001. It’s so clear and so glaring that we’ve been so thoroughly had. I’ve never been so sick to my stomach."
Ever since Hello Garci, it's been clear to me that the revolution has been betrayed. However, i suppose for many, this act drives home the point.

I guess now is also a time for the EDSA Tres crowd to reflect on whether this can be counted as a victory for their cause. Over at Ellen's blog, which i believe echoes the pulse of the Filipino majority, the prevailing sentiment so far is one of disgust at both Gloria and Erap. So it turns out that is one of the few times Gloria Arroyo has done something that has the effect of uniting the Country.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shit Bombs: A Cross-country Comparison

Shit Bomb-type blasts like the recent one in Glorietta are relatively rare, but have been known to happen before. Here is an account of one such event that took place in Ghana back in May 2004:

"The explosion which had the near force of a volcanic eruption was so loud that it was able to throw concrete, dust and human excrement (faeces) into the air, while residents ran for dear life from the force of the methane gas. The Pig Farm public latrine is one of a cluster of four toilets in the area. Six men were attending to nature’s call in the facility when it blasted. Eye witnesses say the blast caused the emission of strong fumes into the air."
The above description is instructive in that it englightens us on the cross-country variations of this kind of event. While the noise and force of the explosion are common elements to be found in both the Ghana and Glorietta deflagrations, there are also marked differences in terms of the composition of the blast debris and the fumes emitted.

What accounts for the relative lack of fecal matter found in the Glorietta incident compared to the Ghana-type event? I believe that the determining factor is cultural. While Ghanians presumably have a more up-front disposition as demonstrated by the relatively wide dispersal of their excrement, the typical Filipino with his well-known sense of "hiya" is more discreet. The resulting payload then embodies the character of its owners which explains why, in the course of the explosion, it chose to keep a low profile and stay in the basement lest it suffer undue embarrasment from public exposure.

Another obvious difference is in the nature of the fumes unleashed. Instead of the usual pozo negro smell that one would expect from a methane cloud, the Filipino shit bomb was characterized more by the smell of gunpowder. This can, of course, be attributed to hygienic practices, particularly the Filipino's penchant for regular brushing of teeth after every meal coupled with frequent washing of hair. As is well known, toothpaste and shampoo contain RDX, and the resulting build up of this explosive substance in the human body inevitably gets expelled into the sewage system. Seen in this light, the gunpowder smell can be easily accounted for.

For a more informative take on this topic, visit the opposing conjectures of Tounge-In-Anew who, for reasons of his own, still favors the bomb hypothesis, and DJB who prefers the apt-sounding deflagration hypothesis. Since these theories are mutually exclusive, it is safe to say that one will turn out to be full of shit.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Indomitable Apathy and The New Normal

A few months ago, blogger Dave Llorito proclaimed that "we have become a normal country with very normal problems...And that’s great!". The other day, the same blogger almost became a victim of the Glorietta Blast. I'm glad he's ok, but i wonder if last Friday's incident still falls within the range of what he considers "very normal problems". IMHO, he should.

This is precisely the kind of normalcy our Society would arrive at given the Middle Class' muted reaction to the political leadership's ongoing acts of impunity. Twenty months ago, over at mlq3's blog, commenter Geo recounted how the "middle class, white collar, technocrat entrepreneurs" lashed out at the Black and White Movement for "forcing the middle classes to the brink".

"I have just spent two full days and nights at the e-Services exhibition/seminar (for the BPO industry) — which was full of middle class, white collar, technocrat entrepreneurs and SME’s — and everyone I met was complaining about the negative effects the extremists have created for the Philippines’ best ever economic opportunity.

Lots of venom, especially for the B&W gang — the 'middle forces who are forcing the middle classes to the brink' was one line I caught. I’m sure if Bill Luz’s name was brought up, more scathing remarks would have ensued...

...A huge high-margin multi-billion dollar industry that is inherently pro-people, decidedly non-A/non-upper B class, beneficial to the second-tier cities…and which all global analysts say is perfectly suited for the Philippines (ranked as 1st or 2nd in the world for a variety of BPO sub-sectors). This industry alone could raise the economic welfare of the country and help expand the middle class quickly and substantially.

And all the parties concerned kept talking about how they wished all the political BS could just go away and let the administration continue it’s policies.

To tell you the truth, I was shocked. All along I thought I was in the minority…with elloi, joey, acidboy and carl. But wow, there are a lot of intelligent, incredibly hard-working, stay-in-country, build-the-country types out there who think along the same lines as we few posters have.

Too bad the noise has overshadowed the great efforts and capabilities that “regular folk” bring to the party.

Based on my knowledge and experience in the global economy and the global marketplace, I continue to believe that this is the last chance for the Philippines to pull itself out of the fire. It’s now or never. And it would be so sad for everyone if the opportunity is squashed because of a loud few who want to “search for the truth” and destroy the nation with their empty, anti-constitutional and hypocritical blathering (not to mention the opposition politicians and their wild goose chases when the TV’s red light is on).

mlq3 — I, too, like you and respect you. But I fear you are getting carried away. Are you thinking with your heart? Isn’t the analyst supposed to feel with his heart and think with his brain? I have read that you might now think that Lacson could be the answer? Back off and come down from the ledge, my friend…please. The nation needs you to be clear and thoughful; to be a leader, not a destroyer.

Pls excuse my rant. I try to avoid them. My heart just hurts so much after seeing the worry lines on the usually optimistic faces of the fearless Pinoy entrepreneurs…and hearing the foreign investors’ negative words about coups and irrational politics while they concurrently effused the attractions of 'what the Philippines can be; is…but isn’t'.

Let’s just all ship our money and our hopes to India; let’s just all throw away our future. Later, we can ask: 'Why did we do that?'…and spend endless hours blaming one another. A-yay-yay.

Time to wake up and smell the coffee, folks. It’s now or never. Now vs Never — You choose.
- Geo at February 17th, 2006, 10:55 pm "
So in the name of economic stability, these businessmen and professionals decided to look the other way. What these otherwise decent folks of the Middle Class did not realize (and probably still do not) is that the existence of a Public Sphere that keeps the State accountable is in their self-interest. If Society were likened to the human body, the Black and White Movement and other such groups function as the Middle Class' immune system.

We in the Middle Class have an important stake in supporting such Civil Society groups because, as i pointed out to blogger Big Mango before:

Unlike the upper class, we do not have the resources. Unlike the poor, we do not have the numbers. The only thing we can offer are our values. According to conventional wisdom, it is the middle class that defines the nation. Where our values go, our country goes. Let's not throw these away in the name of expediency.

True, because of Civil Society groups' protest activities, just like the human body, our Society may run a fever, but it would be foolish to mistake the fever itself as the problem and lash out and make fun of these groups as Geo and like-minded members of the Philippine Middle Class have done. Now it's their turn to wake up and smell the coffee. They (and we) are now reaping the rewards of such expediency. We have now arrived at a point where the State, which is supposed to protect our way of life, can no longer be excluded from the list of prime suspects*.

Still, this realization that the State is controlled by thugs has not prevented members of the middle class from displaying what commenter Cogs in Torn & Frayed's blog labeled as the Filipino's spirit of indomitable apathy. Over at Manolo's, blogger JC John SESE Cuneta was of the opinion that we should leave the truth where it is:
"...Granted, there’s a conspiracy, the government did planted that bomb, but also granted, we will never know it. So what now? We’ll keep living everyday trying to solve something that was hidden well and revolve around it forever?

The truth will come in its due time, when it does, we need to make sure that we are a Nation capable of handling such (grave) truths. Maybe the truth chose not to reveal itself today because it will only cause more problems for our country - another People Power or perhaps Martial Law or worst, a Civil War? We won’t be able to handle the truth today...
" - JC John SESE Cuneta at October 20th, 2007, 2:05 pm
That's the spirit. Perhaps, it's true what commenter hvrds said...

"We allow small acts of evil as long as it is far from affecting us and it starts to have a life of its own and this apathy allows it to come right to our doorstep." which case, welcome to the new normal.

*Hat tip to Manolo for the links.

Invitation: A Black & White Truth Forum on Recent Events

An invitation from the Black and White Movement.

(click on image to enlarge)

Confirmed guests: Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Jose de Venecia III, Carlos Conde (Media, NUJP), Mon Casiple (IPER).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Terrorism as Fire Insurance

This early, there have been calls from fellow bloggers to pull together after yesterday's tragedy. Blogger Rom says that:

"A united response to the bombing is paramount to politics, however way you cut it."
DJB, who is one of the most predictable bloggers i've come across, is more emphatic:

"No matter what our opinions of her may be, I believe it is our duty as citizens to support the President and Commander in Chief in this dark hour that is increasingly beginning to look like a terrorist attack. I agree with her that this is a time for all of us to unite behind the authorities for the sake of the national security."
If it turns out JI, the CPP/NPA or the MILF did it, does that mean that we automatically rally behind the government of Gloria Arroyo? We've heard of cases where business owners, usually those who are losing money, set fire to their own shops to collect fire insurance. In the same way, beleaguered political leaders who have expended their political capital have been known to replenish their stock on the back of tragedies such as terrorist attacks. In this case, they collect their insurance in the form of "popular support" for "a united response" that is supposed to be "paramount to politics". It wouldn't take a Machiavelli to realize what lesson could be learned from this kind of dynamic.

An expected mass response of pulling together would lead to the classic problem of moral hazard, i.e.,

"...the prospect that a party insulated from risk (such as through insurance) will be less concerned about the negative consequences of the risk than they otherwise might be."
Does that mean that the government set the fire itself? Not necessarily, it would be premature to conclude that. However, the situation today can be likened to a case where you have roaming bands of arsonists. Given that terrorist threats are commonplace today, any President in a pickle and interested in self-preservation can simply relax his/her vigilance and let the terrorists do what comes naturally to them, knowing full well that the political windfall would go to him/her. He/she knows that in matters involving National Security where secrecy is involved, negligence is hard to detect.

Let's keep that in mind whenever someone finally tries to collect on his/her insurance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Looking Back: Janeane Garofalo on the US Invasion of Iraq

Via Onegoodmove. Even for someone like me who opposed the US Invasion of Iraq, i'm amazed to what extent Janeane Garofalo's views back in February 2003 have been vindicated five years and one million Iraqi lives later.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pre-Hispanic Philippines: Patrilineal Genetic Demography

In a comment to my previous post on my paternal genetic history, blogger Cocoy remarked:
"interesting to see how migration patterns occurred. wonder how many Filipinos have gone through what you did? Because it would be interesting to know where our general population comes from."
One way to define population distribution is via genetic markers called Haplogroups*. I did some googling and found this Map of Haplogroups of the World. The map showing Patrilineal (Y-Chromosome) Genetic distribution among world populations around 1500 AD prior to European imperial expansion.**

Copyright: JD Macdonald, 2005 (Click on image to enlarge)

As shown in the above diagram, pre-Hispanic Philippines was dominated by subgroups of Haplogroup O (shown in blue, comprising more than 80%) followed by subgroups under Haplogroup C (around 4%). The diagram below highlights (in yellow) the positions of these Haplogroups in the Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree.

Source: Wikipedia entry on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups
(Click on image to enlarge)

There are other haplogroups found in the Philippines at that time like Haplogroup K (ancestor of Haplogroup O), but for this entry, i will focus on variants of the more common ones as follows:

Haplogroup O1A (M119): This genetic marker first appeared 30,000 years ago and is commonly found among the Austronesian people. As explained by Jojo Malig in his blog entry I, Austronesian, these people made their way to the islands comprising the Philippines via Taiwan. The languages found in the Philippines including Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Kapampangan, and Tausug belong to the Austronesian family of languages.

Haplogroup O1A (M119) Migration Pattern
(Click on image for details)
[Source: Genographic Project Website]

Haplogroup O3 (M122): This genetic marker first appeared 10,000 years ago and is commonly found among Han Chinese (more than 50% frequency). As per the wikipedia entry, about 35% of today's Filipino males possess this genetic marker. My non-expert guess is that these people tagged along with the more numerous Austronesians as the latter expanded out of the Asian Mainland. Another (non-mutually exclusive) possibility is that they arrived in the Philippines later via separate wave(s) of migration.

Haplogroup O3 (M122) Migration Pattern
(Click on image for details)
[Source: Genographic Project Website]

Haplogroup C (M130): This haplogroup first appeared 50,000 years ago and is found in such seemingly diverse populations as the Australian Aborigines and the Mongols. They are the ones who crossed the land bridge that connected the Philippines to the Asian Mainland during the last Ice Age.

Haplogroup C (M130) Migration Pattern
(Click on image for details)
[Source: Genographic Project Website]

Haplogroup C3 (M217): Around 20,000 years ago, a mutation appeared that gave rise to this Haplogroup which became one of the most widely dispered among the patrilineal genetic markers.

Haplogroup C3 (M217) Migration Pattern
(click on image for details)
[Source: Genographic Project Website]

In more recent history, this Haplogroup was propagated even more via the conquests of Genghis Khan.

More information about the above and other Haplogroups along their migration patterns can be found in the Genographic Website's Atlas of the Human Journey.

Update Oct-20-2007 1:12PM:Check out Anonymous' informative comments and clarifications in the comments section of this entry.

Update April-25-2008: Based on the Y-DNA Haplogroup information in the Genographic website, i have drawn a Family Tree to work out how each haplogroup is related to the other.

Update May-23-2008: Corrected my annotation on the above Wikipedia entry on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups diagram.

*Aside from Y-Chromosone Haplogroups, there are also Haplogroups classified on the basis of mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed on from the maternal line. However, the discussion in this blog entry will only cover Y-DNA Haplogroups.

**The current (as of today) Wikipedia entry on the Filipino People erroneously states that Filipinos predominantly belong to Haplogroup L and Haplogroup H which couldn't be correct. As per Anonymous' explanation in the comments section, it turns out this entry is not an error just some overlap in labeling.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Paul Weller - What's Going On

Paul Weller doing a cover of a Marvin Gaye classic.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Genetic History: Paternal Side

The above map traces the genetic journey my male ancestors took as revealed by the Genographic Project's analysis of my DNA. I've cut and paste sections of the explanation that accompanied the results.

Summary of Results
"Your Y-chromosome results identify you as a member of haplogroup O3. The genetic markers that define your ancestral history reach back roughly 60,000 years to the first common marker of all non-African men, M168, and follow your lineage to present day, ending with M122, the defining marker of haplogroup O3.

If you look at the map highlighting your ancestors' route, you will see that members of haplogroup O3 carry the following Y-chromosome markers:

M168 > M89 > M9 > M175 > M122

Today, more than half of all Chinese males carry the genetic marker M122, which is also widespread throughout East Asia and found in lower frequencies in Tahiti and Indonesia.
The Significance of Haplogroups

"What's a haplogroup, and why do geneticists concentrate on the Y-chromosome in their search for markers? For that matter, what's a marker?

Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility. One exception is the Y-chromosome, which is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation.

Unchanged, that is unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down from the man in whom it occurred to his sons, their sons, and every male in his family for thousands of years.

A haplogroup is defined by a series of markers that are shared by other men who carry the same random mutations. The markers trace the path your ancestors took as they moved out of Africa. It's difficult to know how many men worldwide belong to any particular haplogroup, or even how many haplogroups there are, because scientists simply don't have enough data yet.
The Genographic Project
"One of the goals of the five-year Genographic Project is to build a large enough database of anthropological genetic data to answer some of these questions. To achieve this, project team members are traveling to all corners of the world to collect more than 100,000 DNA samples from indigenous populations. In addition, we encourage you to contribute your anonymous results to the project database, [done - cvj] helping our geneticists reveal more of the answers to our ancient past."
Your Ancestral Journey: What We Know Now
"M168: Your Earliest Ancestor

Time of Emergence: Roughly 50,000 years ago
Place of Origin: Africa

The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 50,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.

M89: Moving Through the Middle East

Time of Emergence: 45,000 years ago
Place: Northern Africa or the Middle East

The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in northern Africa or the Middle East.

The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia. Your ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second great wave of migration out of Africa.

While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.

These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient "superhighway" stretching from eastern France to Korea. Your ancestors, having migrated north out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.

M9: The Eurasian Clan Spreads Wide and Far

Time of Emergence: 40,000 years ago
Place: Iran or southern Central Asia

Your next ancestor, a man born around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia, gave rise to a genetic marker known as M9, which marked a new lineage diverging from the M89 Middle Eastern Clan. His descendants, of which you are one, spent the next 30,000 years populating much of the planet.

This large lineage, known as the Eurasian Clan, dispersed gradually over thousands of years. Seasoned hunters followed the herds ever eastward, along the vast super highway of Eurasian steppe. Eventually their path was blocked by the massive mountain ranges of south Central Asia—the Hindu Kush, the Tian Shan, and the Himalayas.

The three mountain ranges meet in a region known as the "Pamir Knot," located in present-day Tajikistan. Here the tribes of hunters split into two groups. Some moved north into Central Asia, others moved south into what is now Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.

These different migration routes through the Pamir Knot region gave rise to separate lineages.

Most people native to the Northern Hemisphere trace their roots to the Eurasian Clan. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians are descended from the man described above, as are most Europeans and many Indians.

M175: The East Asian Clan

Time of Emergence: 35,000 years ago
Place of Origin: Central or East Asia

Your genetic trail next leads to an ancestor who carried marker M175. This man was born around 35,000 years ago in Central or East Asia as part of the M9 Eurasian clan that, encountering impassable mountain ranges, migrated to the north and east.

These early Siberian hunters continued to travel east along the great steppes, gradually crossing southern Siberia. Some of them, perhaps taking advantage of the Dzhungarian Gap used thousands of years later by Genghis Khan to invade Central Asia, made it into present-day China.

Today, some 80 to 90 percent of all people living east of Central Asia's great mountain ranges are members of haplogroup O, the East Asian Clan. The marker M175 is nearly nonexistent in western Asia and Europe.

There were actually two waves of migration into this region. While your ancestors populated the region from the north, another group approached from the south. Descendants of the Coastal Clan—people who left Africa perhaps 60,000 years ago and headed along the coastline toward Australia—may have reached East Asia by 50,000 years ago.

The Coastal lineage is found at a frequency of 50 percent in Mongolia, and is common throughout northeast Asia.

The present composition of East Asia still shows evidence of this ancient north-south divide, showing a clear distinction in genetic heritage between northern and southern Chinese.

Today, more than half of all Chinese males carry the genetic marker M175, which is also widespread throughout East Asia and found in lower frequencies in Tahiti and Indonesia.

M122: China's Rice Farmers

Time of Emergence: 20-25,000 years ago, expansion within last 10,000 years
Place of Origin: China

Your genetic trail ends with a marker that arose within the last 10,000 years. The ancestral male who gave rise to marker M122 was probably born in China.

The widespread distribution of this man's descendants—more than half of Chinese men—strongly suggests that the spread of your ancestors was closely tied to the spread of agriculture. Members of haplogroup O3 may well be the descendants of China's first rice farmers.

The development of rice agriculture in East Asia led to a large population expansion. Archaeological evidence for the spread of rice agriculture to Japan, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia parallels the genetic data and suggests that a unique population carrying this marker expanded and spread throughout the region.

The pattern of settlement and intense exploitation of a few plant species was similar to, and occurred at around the same time, as the spread of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Archaeological sites in northern China show evidence of millet (a wheatlike grain) cultivation beginning around 7,000 years ago. Rice farming had reached Indonesia's islands of Borneo and Sumatra by 4,000 years ago, and today O3 lineages are found as far afield as Polynesia.
"This is where your genetic trail, as we know it today, ends. As additional data are collected and analyzed, more will be learned about your place in the history of the men and women who first populated the Earth."
Ten thousand years ago is as far as the current technology would take me. It could not yet cover the more recent portion of the journey including the part where my forefathers eventually end up in the Philippines.

Update October-14-2007 1:20am: According to a Wikipedia entry on Haplogroup O3, this Haplogroup is found in 35% of Filipino males.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Looking Back: Jose Rizal II on Gloria Arroyo's Focus

Now is a good time to review some of the propositions put forward by the opposing sides in the Let's Move On issue. Here's a comment from someone who goes by the unassuming handle "Jose Rizal II", in last year's Battle of the Epistles thread in MLQ3's blog.


How’s your alter-ego noelet doing?

I see that you have not given up your misguided idealism to want to oust a president and yet still fail to provide us with a credible alternative.

Moreover, you miss the point of why government exists. It exists to ensure that the livelihood of ordinary people is ensured. That means that the economy should always be the primary concern of any government. Luckily, Macapagal-Arroyo is an economist and fixing the economy has always been her primary concern.

It is only dreamers such as yourself who keep insisting on politicking and talking about useless advocacies instead of focusing on the real task of fixing the economy, and people like you are the cause of greater suffering among Filipinos.

Already, ordinary Filipinos realize that Macapagal-Arroyo, for all her imperfections, is focused enough on ensuring that investments come in and jobs are created and slowly, they are realizing that you - the grandson of 'Mr. Philippines Run Like Hell' himself - as well as other people and self-serving politicians having similar mistaken views are more harmful to the country than you’ve misrepresented Macapagal-Arroyo to be.

People are slowly realizing that while she’s working hard in the background to improve the economy, you noisy fools continue to talk about useless political bullshit.

This is the tragedy of the Philippines.

It is when people are foolish enough to listen to real fools like you and your ilk.


José Rizal II
May 2nd, 2006 at 2:40 pm
I leave it to you to evaluate whether Mr. Rizal II's points has stood the test of time (in this case 18 months).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Abalos Political Deathwatch: Day Thirty Five

Via Smoke's Count-up, Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel files files graft cases against Abalos. PCIJ has more details.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Man Who Postponed Judgement Day

[Source: Wired]

Via Bookforum, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, the Soviet ballistics officer who made the right call.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Abalos Political Deathwatch: Day Thirty-Three

Blogger Rom puts the Opposition on notice by starting an Abalos Graft Case Count-Up. Fair enough.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Esperon and the Truth About 'Hello Garci'

Via Ellen Tordesillas, these are the words of the officers Ramrod referred to in the previous entry, calling on Gloria Arroyo's AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon to tell the truth about his role in the rigging of the May 2004 Presidential Elections:
"Never in the history of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has one man and his criminal gang brought so much shame to our beloved organization. Allegations that this man and a few criminal elements among the ranks of the AFP have allowed themselves to be used to subvert the Constitution and destroy the very essence of democracy have become our collective shame.

Nay, it is our collective shame that we failed to STOP them. The thought of this failure reaffirms our resolve to bring them to justice. That is our covenant with the people and our sworn duty to the Constitution.

We have been repeatedly called by Mr. Esperon as “political destabilizers” in almost every forum that affords him opportunity. We pose these questions to you Mr. Esperon:

Who cried unabashedly in front of national viewers when his mentor announced that she will not covet the presidency again?

Who stands accused of cheating in the elections in 2004? Who stands accused of lying? Who stands accused of stealing votes? Who was mentioned in the Garci tapes?

Who debased the Armed Forces of the Philippines by being party to cheating, stealing and lying? Who hides behind EO 464 when given the opportunity to let the truth out?”

Who vigorously opposes the Mayuga report from being published?

Who hides behind that little skirt to save his ass?

Who invokes the words `state secret’ like a criminal who invokes the Fifth Amendment when caught?

And since when has a criminal act become a state secret?

Pray tell, Mr. Esperon.

Patriotism is not our monopoly, Mr. Esperon.

No! In fact, the mere mention of this word brings out inadequacies in us. However, our definition of patriotism does not include involving ourselves in the criminal act of subverting the will of the people. Neither does it include closing our eyes while the crime is being committed.

Incarceration is a very small price to pay for that definition.

There are 'more good men outside', you said. We agree, Mr. Esperon. Our sympathies go to those men who are placed in an unenviable position to clean up the mess that you made. Our sympathies go to those good men who try to rebuild the institution which you had destroyed. Our sympathies go to those good men who are left to pick up the pieces after being victims of a crime themselves.

Allow us to refresh your memory to recount events, Mr. Esperon. During the height of the fighting in Central Mindanao, a Marine general offered his own blood so than an enemy may live. Another marine general took it upon himself to lobby for a humane treatment for Nur Misuari whom we all had the opportunity to cross swords. Do we need to tell you who Nur Misuari is, Mr. Esperon?

Those, Mr. Esperon are acts of honorable men. Those acts distinguish men of courage. Those acts remind us that the AFP is an institution, upholds human dignity of life.

Yes Mr. Esperon, you may succeed in destroying our physical being but never shall you have the satisfaction of destroying our will and spirit, as well. NEVER!

We have not given up on you, Mr. Esperon. There might still be some good left in you. You will be leaving the service in a few months time. Please do the nation and your family a favor. Tell the truth. You might still earn our salute. Every Navy man worth is salt knows why we call you 'Mister'…We lost that on you.

Ramrod on the Soldier's Code of Conduct

Once again, over at Manolo's Free Burma thread, as a response to commenter Bencard (a semi-retired Fil-Am lawyer) who said, among others things, that...

"i don’t think its a prerogative of a soldier to JUDGE the constitutionality or legality of an order from the chain of command. if each of the members of the armed forces is allowed to do so, imagine the chaos that would result, ultimately resulting in each turning their weapons against one another, each claiming that he is merely following the soldier’s code of conduct."
...commenter Ramrod, who i understand has a military background, pens this gem:

"The first pledge in the soldier’s code of conduct is tho defend the constitution, following the chain of command is only 3rd.

You don’t need to wait for the supreme court to tell you that shooting innocent civilians is against the constitution and this is above the chain of command. (This is a lot different from defending yourselves against a violent mob out to bust your skulls). This was crafted as such as to prevent the chain of command to be subverted to be blind obedience.

The decisions of these officers to withdraw their support did not just come out of the blue like they just woke up one day and said “hmmmm, I think I’ll withdraw my support today.” All these issues were discussed, debated, and if you know about military intel these guys had had them - they know the truth. You don’t wait for the supreme court to tell you this is wrong or this is immoral - you know, they did, all the intel was right in front of them. Put yourself in their shoes and choose, to defend the constitution (I know something there says something about election rigging) or follow the chain of command blindly.

The chaos that you’re referring to refers to combat situations wherein the unit crumbles if orders are not followed like “take cover!” and these guys go “what for?” and get shot in the heads. These are professional soldiers, men with integrity, their men look up to them, respect them, and would follow them to their deaths if need be. That alone should speak volumes about the credibility of these officers.

Then again if we hide behind legality, this is a foregone conclusion, your line of argument will justify the perpetuation of corruption and despotism cleverly rationalized by people who can use the law to their selfish ends. This was a judgment call, one that meant career suicide on one end and debasing your integrity on the other, they chose the former. I don’t know about you but this was not the glorious end I had in mind for these soldiers who risked their lives for us, they deserve better. You and I may hide in the gray areas of legality but can you turn a blind eye to the truth just because nobody told you that its wrong?

Friday, October 05, 2007


Via Boingboing, this comic strip is too funny to pass up...although reality is far less funny. I wonder if any of its employees ever asked themselves "Are we the baddies?".

"I'm Switching to...."

Over at Manolo's Free Burma thread, there is a side-discussion on quality of services received from local Telcos. I responded to fellow commenter Ramrod's remark "Okay, I’m switching to Globe!". Unfortunately, the moderation software is currently holding it so i'm reposting here:

"Ramrod, i’m not sure how much switching to Globe will help. Although in theory, telco deregulation which brought about competition would lead to better service, Albert Hirschmann (in his Exit, Voice & Loyalty) wrote about a situation where competition leads to poorer service compared to a monopoly.

He uses the elements ‘exit’ (equivalent to apathy or in your apt words ‘learned helplessness’ and expressed as switching to the other provider) and ‘voice’ (as manifested in customer complaints).

What happens right now is those disatissfied with Globe go to SMART, those disatissfied with SMART go to Globe etc. etc. Net effect of this churn is that the telcos don’t hurt enough to improve their service.

Contrast that with a situation in which there is only one provider (i.e. a monopoly) and the only alternatives for the consumers is to complain, ‘grin and bear it’ or do without phone service. Hirschmann says that in this scenario where a phone is almost a basic necessity, the consumers will have no choice but to eventually complain with the result that a government (assuming it is responsive to the people), will have to take action.

Of course Hirschmann takes it as a given that the government is not populated by the likes of GMA, Abalos, Neri and the like in which the result would be more like what we are seeing now. But he can be excused because he is not a Filipino.

Incidentally, you can apply the above dynamic to Philippine Education and the OFW phenomenon..
To summarize, there are situations where exit is not a threat and voice is weak. This results in perpetuating poor service, whether in telcos, public education or governance.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Burma

Free Burma!

Free Burma! Not really 'text' but you get the idea.

La Salle Brothers: Please Rename This Building

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

This building was originally called "Br. Athanasius Sports Complex" (named after a past University President). It was built in 1998 with funds coming from DLSU almuni. In January 2003, alumnus Enrique Razon Jr. made a 50 Million peso donation. In February 2003, the name of the building was changed to "Enrique M. Razon Sports Center".

In light of recent events, and in my capacity as an alumnus, i would like to request the La Salle Brothers to change the name of this building back to its original name. The elite, a number of them alumni of this institution have been instrumental in the continuing degeneration of Philippine Society into a place hospitable only to those with money and power, quite the opposite of St. La Salle's original mission. The La Salle Brothers are in a unique position to convey their disapproval of this unfortunate transformation. I hope they use this opportunity to define what it means to be a La Sallian.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Abalos Political Deathwatch: Day Twenty-Five

In any other country, the political deathwatch would have ended at this point.

Since we are not any other country, the watch continues. For one thing, Manolo thinks it's a clever gambit. Since i'm not that politically astute, I allow myself to be more sanguine for now.

Ang Kapatiran

Commenter Pian left this message:
"Do consider Dr. Martin Bautista for the next elections obviously (a senatorial candidate of ‘Ang Kapatiran’ together with Adrian Sison and Zosimo Paredes). He’s a 45-year-old gastroenterologist in the US who came home after 17 years. You can see from his background that he truly means service. For those who find him to be a hypocrite for working abroad, do understand he’s a family man who needs to sustain his family, that he will be able to keep his independence by not relying on public funds to support his family. He helps his countrymen in his capacity but it’s just not enough for there are millions of Filipinos. It’s a good start in Philippine Politics to have him and his party around.

I urge you to forward/text/inform all your contacts about them. I believe they only lack exposure that’s why I’m doing this. But I can’t do it alone so I’m appealing to everyone’s help. If all will inform their contacts about them and urge them as well to forward, we might hit a million.

We cannot afford to be indifferent now if we want meaningful change. Otherwise we only have ourselves to blame. BUT TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
I voted for Martin Bautista in the last elections and will do so again if he runs in the next one. As for 'Ang Kapatiran' itself, their religious pedigree turns-off the secularist in me, but I agree with Conrado de Quiros that the party provides a genuine alternative to opporunistic politicians whether in the Administration or the Opposition.