June 22, 2011

DENR warns collection, trade of "Gecko", also known as "Tuko"

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has taken steps to stop the rampant illegal collection and trade of the Philippine Bow-Fingered Gecko, officially known as Tokay Gecko"” or “Tuko” in Pilipino.

An advisory released on June 17 by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Pangasinan confirmed previous reports there was a mad hunt in the province and elsewhere for Tokay Gecko, which is allegedly being sold at fantastic prices to still unidentified buyers.

PENRO chief Leduina Co said the rampant illegal collection and trade of the Bow-Fingered Gecko already reached the attention of DENR higher authorities months back, prompting them to issue a memorandum to their field offices to be more persistent and vigilant in monitoring the collection, transport and trade of geckos and other banned wildlife species.

The memorandum was issued by Atty. Ernesto Adobo Jr., DENR undersecretary for field operations and environmental law enforcement task force focal officer, warning appropriate legal actions would be taken against any person found violating Republic Act No. 9147, otherwise known as the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act” signed into law on July 30, 2001.

The trading, collection, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives and transporting of wildlife (Chapter IV, Section 27 of the Wildlife Act) are considered illegal.

The “tuko,” although not included among the list of protected wildlife species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) can be considered as part of “other wildlife species, Adobo said.

This means that “tuko”, not being classified as either critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable, is under threat from adverse factors such as over-collection, which can ultimately lead to their being vulnerable or extinct.

Penalties and/or fines for violations inflicted or undertaken against other wildlife species range from imprisonment for 10 days to one month and/or fine of P2,000 to P20,000; imprisonment of 10 days to one month and a fine of P1,000 to P5,000; or imprisonment of five days to 10 days and a fine of P200 to P1,000.

Co said that although “tuko” was not yet considered endangered, the public was advised to refrain from doing any business involving it or any other wildlife species.

"All existing wildlife has a role to play in our complex biodiversity and as human beings, we must protect and preserve them, not abuse or harm them,” she said.

The Geckos are being traded through the Internet where a 30-gram gecko commands a price of P600,000. (PNA)

Winklevoss Twins Give Up on Facebook Case

By pefohorh

The Harvard University classmates of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are ending the legal battle made famous by the Hollywood movie "The Social Network."
In a one-paragraph court filing Wednesday, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss said they would accept a settlement that was worth $65 million when agreed upon in 2008.

The twins had sought to undo the settlement of $20 million cash and $45 million in stock.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the twins, saying they had been represented by a squadron of Silicon Valley lawyers and their father, a noted business professor.
The twins said Wednesday they would forgo a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Their stock is now worth more than $100 million.

Andrew Garfield as the new Peter Parker in Spiderman

The film, which is now in production and is being shot entirely in 3D, will be released on July 3, 2012. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field.

The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the Marvel Entertainment production for Columbia Pictures. The executive producers are Stan Lee, Kevin Feige, and Michael Grillo.

Apparently, not all good things come in threes —sometimes, they’ve just got to make room for more. Such was the success of the franchise, and its makers’ eagerness to do a reboot and join the fray of other successful movies that have benefited from the resurgence of 3D, that Sony just had to announce a release date for a new “Spider-Man” movie without even having a title, a director (Raimi had left amid rumors of creative differences with the studio after the third installment), and a new star at that.

But things move fast in the land of big bucks. Soon after, a comprehensive worldwide casting search was launched to find a replacement for its three-time Peter Parker, Tobey Maguire who, let’s face it, would be just too old to be putting on that tight suit and be swinging about from city skyscrapers.

Just this July 1, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced that they have found their new lead—a relatively unknown British heartthrob, Andrew Garfield. It seems the 3D screening date of July 3, 2010 would be realistic.

Andrew who?

It had been one of the most eagerly anticipated casting announcements, launching speculation frenzy participated in by bloggers, pop culture spectators and everyday fans who have all considered every conceivable online rumor.

Garfield has not really registered with pop culture pundits to replace Maguire —the list, at various points, has even included Logan Lerman (star of “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief”) and even Robert Pattinson of “Twilight” fame. Some even put their two cents’ worth and suggested Zac Efron.

But as for the fans, if the studio is insisting on casting a new Peter Parker, it better not be a wuss —at least that’s the concession they are hoping for.

But other fans may have hit it on the head, preferring an unknown to play the lead since the reboot the studio is embarking on is happening not even 10 years out of the franchise’s last installment.

Enter Andrew Garfield, whose acting career has spanned all of five years. But within that short time, he’s already received a Best Actor BAFTA in 2008 for playing a young ex-con in John Crowley’s “Boy A.”

Garfield most recently worked with director David Fincer in the upcoming “The Social Network.” Prior to that, he starred in Spike Jonze’s robot love story “I’m Here” that premiered in Sundance this year. He’ll also be seen opposite Keira Knightly and Carey Mulligan in Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” due out late this year.

His other screen credits include Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” and Revolution Films’ “Red Riding Trilogy – 1974.”

Furthering the franchise:

Considered one of the most successful franchises in film history, the the “Spider-Man” movies have collectively grossed more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office. The studio hopes to keep the dough rolling in with its sights targeted on the new audience raring to see the red-and-blue suited web-slinging superhero in 3D.

On casting Garfield, director Marc Webb said, “Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor’s work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.”

Producer Avi Arad added, “I’m incredibly excited about Andrew Garfield. In the Spider-Man tradition, we were looking for a smart, sensitive, and cool new Peter Parker who can inspire us and make us laugh, cry, and cheer. We believe we have found the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future.”

Well, the big brasses have made their call. And the superhero’s loyalists will just have to wait, because only July 2012 will tell if this franchise’s future will indeed continue its swinging success.

The world's most popular theme parks

  1. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA
  2. Disneyland, Anaheim, CA, USA
  3. Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan
  4. Tokyo Disneysea, Tokyo, Japan
  5. Epcot at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA
  6. Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee, France
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA
  9. Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan
  10. Everland, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea
  11. Disney California Adventure, Anaheim, CA, USA
  12. Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, FL, USA
  13. Universal Studios at Universal Orlando, FL, USA
  14. Lotte World, Seoul, South Korea
Hindi man lang nasama ang Universal Studios nang Singapore. Yun lang naman kasi ang napuntahan ko. Hehehehe

Oo nga na man! Pag punta ko dun, puro under construction. Yung GLOBE nga na logo nang Universal Studios ay sarado pa. Ewan ko lang ngayon, last April pa ako pumunta dun... medyo nasayang ang $60 kahit libre pa yun. Hehe...

New Environmentally Educational Board Game

A new environmentally educational board game called Ethica lets players assume the role of an investment banker or venture capitalist and see how well their green intentions stand up in the world of international finance. The game represents part of the developing trend of environmental education through play.

Ethica is designed to be played by between six and 27 players. Each player assumes the role of a family or banker with money to invest. Players take turns to visit banks where they have to choose a share investment, cooperative investment or a savings account, each investment gives the player either a positive or negative financial, social or environmental score. The winner of the game is the player with the lowest score after three rounds.

The game's developers state that it is based upon the principles behind the collaborative ethical investment group Reseau Financement Alternatif. According to a June 15 statement to Relaxnews by a spokesman for the company, the game will be available at the end of August and will be distributed throughout the UK, France, Switzerland, Poland and Spain.

The game is part of the developing trend of environmental education through play. Other environmentally and ethically themed board games include Bioviva, a question-and-answer-themed game, Earthopoly, a green version of Monopoly, The Green Game and Environchallenge, all of which are available to buy at amazon.com and other retailers.

A range of environmentally educational games are also available online. Perhaps the most successful is Fate of the World, which won "best artistic response" at the 2011 Climate Week Awards and was nominated at the eighth annual Games for Change awards. Players of Fate of the World take charge of an international organization which must make choices on energy usage and emissions while continuing to ensure the stability of the Earth's growing population; the game can be downloaded for $9.95 (roughly €7).

Peter Parker is no more in 'Ultimate Spider-Man'

This image provided by Marvel Comics shows a panel from "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" No. 160, available in comic book shops on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. In the issue, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, will be felled by one of his biggest foes, and die as the series concludes its nearly 11-year run. But fans of Spidey need not worry too much because Ultimate Spider-Man is a separate imprint from Marvel's ongoing adventures of "Amazing Spider-Man" who is still alive, slinging webs and crawling on walls. (AP Photo/Marvel Comics)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The lights are going out for Peter Parker, the high school student bitten by a radioactive spider whose wall-crawling and web-slinging antics have made him a touchstone of Marvel Comics' universe of heroes and villains.

The publisher said Tuesday that Parker's alter ego, Spider-Man, will finally succumb to one of his most pernicious foes in the final issue of "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" due out Wednesday.
Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe. Whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won't count in the pages of the other series, including Amazing Spider-Man.

The death, while dramatic, is not entirely unexpected. In November, Marvel said that the Ultimate Spider-Man was going to face an uncertain fate in the latest storyline by writer Brian Michael Bendis fittingly titled "The Death of Spider-Man," an eight-issue arc that saw the return of original series artist Mark Bagley. Bendis and Bagley had worked together on the series for 111 issues.

Bendis told The Associated Press that in issue No. 160 Parker fights valiantly but will pass on, heroically, in a pitched fight. To whom? (SPOILER BELOW)
"He will pass heroically, but he will die at the hands of the Green Goblin," Bendis said, recalling his nearly 11 years writing the title, which debuted in October 2000.

The death is real and in Marvel's Ultimate Comics imprint, death is not something taken lightly. Characters in that universe are dead and gone, never to return. The roll of the deceased already includes Magneto, Wasp and Wolverine, among others.

"Ten years ago, Brian Bendis and Mark Millar changed the way people saw super heroes with the birth of the Ultimate Universe. With 'Death of Spider-Man' the two have done it again, creating a story just as big, and something that would really resonate with fans," said Mark Paniccia, Marvel senior editor. "But Peter's death doesn't signal the end of their larger plan — it's the start of one of the most ambitious stories you've ever read in comics."

Bendis said that Parker's death won't be in vain and hinted that the Ultimate Spider-Man may not be gone forever. But what exactly is to come, that's something he's not willing to share, at least not yet.

He likened the death to that of Parker's Uncle Ben, whose demise catapulted Peter into being a superhero and crime fighter, and called it an emotionally ripping decision to end Parker's life.
"I won't lie to you, it's embarrassing to say this out loud . tears were rolling down my face, I was very emotional in writing it," Bendis told AP. "This is a character that I have stayed with the entire time, that I have been almost solely responsible for. It represents such a great deal of my life."

Axel Alonso, Marvel's editor-in-chief, said there's never been a Marvel Universe without a Spider-Man, so killing the character is a big step.

"We've never seen a world without Spider-Man, a world without Peter Parker, so his death is a significant event for the Ultimate Comics universe and we're going to see how quickly it changes everything," he said, adding that the fallout from Parker's death will play out in the upcoming "Ultimate Comics Fallout" as the company retools its Ultimate universe.

Etiquette and the people you don’t want to meet on the MRT

BY: Alexander Villafania

Other than EDSA, the Metro Rail Transit – 3 (MRT) is the next busiest transport system in the Philippines. Nearly half a million people use the MRT daily and with the trains almost full almost every hour of the day, the chances of meeting a strange person is extremely high.
Here are some examples of people you don’t want to meet in any of the crowded trains in Metro Manila:

The Crazed Addict
– For whatever reason, this is the person you’d most hate to be riding with in a train. The crazy addict would tend to mumble or talk a lot of nonsense and even argue about anyone he thinks is sneering at him. The hard part is when this type of person suddenly becomes physically violent. Watch an example of this type of person in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWjsXcTFOnc)

The Preacher – Buses are no longer the domain of religious fanatics who preach the Bible to passengers. These types of persons are still rarely seen in metro trains. Sadly, even the load sound of the train traveling on metal tracks isn’t enough to drown out the sound of these people who scream at the top of their voice in order to let everyone in the train cab hear the Word of God. An example of the preacher is found in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qILldqRKnZc).

The Glutton – There are reasons why eating is prohibited in trains and they’re almost always related to trash and also the odor of food in a crowded, air conditioned train. Even in small amounts, it’s not ethical to eat inside trains. If everyone does it, imagine the leftovers, the trash, and the smell of the train. One instance is this couple (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njzDs4EJOGw) eating a rice bowl inside a crowded MRT cab.

The Talker – People using mobile phones tend to speak louder than normal, which is acceptable if they’re in wide open spaces. But think about what other passengers in a train would be thinking when they hear you speak loudly about your life story to someone else on the other line. While other people wouldn’t mind, it’s still annoying for others. Now, imagine a vulgar passenger spewing profanities at someone on the phone, like this woman during a train ride (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCgQd1ZdNQI). Now that would be really annoying.

The Smooch -- It’s okay for couples to show how much they’re in love by giving a smack or two but what if it becomes too much that it’s no longer a tender kiss but a full-blown make out session? Yes, these couples can say they’re just being in love but we’re still in a country where the most often comment in seeing such people is “get a room.” But what if the make out session is between two guys (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g_X95BEaoI) like these two?

The Smelly – Passengers with bad odor is fairly common in train rides, especially during rush hour in the morning and late afternoon. Due the Philippines’ constant humidity, the odor of tired, sweaty people can become overpowering. Add to the problem of crowding and the absence of air conditioning, people could literally lose consciousness when the odor becomes too much.

The Bully – There are people who think they require more space inside the train than everyone else so they push others aside in order to get more space. They complain about feeling suffocated and would let everyone hear it. There is no reasoning with these people and even if someone tries to tell them to get off the train and take a cab (which is actually the best recourse for these bullies), those who intervene would only get a dose of screams and curses.

Riding the MRT will always be a challenge especially in a city where everyone would want to have a faster and relatively safer way of traveling along EDSA. Needless to say, people must still practice some etiquette if they want to remain satisfied in taking one of the busiest modes of transport in Metro Manila.

Follow the basic guidelines in the MRT – This means no eating, no smoking, no pushing and definitely no bringing of prohibited items such as drugs, guns, and knives in trains. Also do not ride when under the influence of alcohol. While most drunk people forget this, persons who see someone intoxicated are advised to take it to guards in every station.

Give way to others – There’s a reason why certain areas in a train cab do not have seats; these are reserved for disabled people on wheelchairs. There are also areas reserved for the elderly, pregnant women, and other types of disabled people. It does not matter if you’re tired, these people are in more sensitive situations than you are so give way.

Respect authority and facility – People do get angry when taking the MRT especially when their items have to be checked. No matter how insignificant the security checkpoints are when entering train stations, passengers have to accept this fact. People also have to avoid damaging equipment and facilities inside the MRT in many cases, the automatic door mechanisms get damaged when the doors do not operate when people forcibly open them.

Respect others – No matter how despicable others are, it’s still best to be nice. A long day at work is stressful. Don’t add anymore to your stress.

Emperor penguin takes wrong turn to New Zealand

In this June 20, 2011 photo released by New Zealand's Department of Conservation, an Emperor penguin walks along Peka Peka Beach in New Zealand after it got lost while hunting for food. The young Antarctic Emperor penguin has taken a rare wrong turn and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach.

He's healthy, well-fed and far from home. And he's quickly become the most popular attraction on a New Zealand beach. If only he could talk.

A young penguin apparently took a wrong turn while swimming near Antarctica and endured a 2,000-mile journey to New Zealand, the first time in 44 years that one of the creatures has been sighted here in the wild.

Christine Wilton was walking her dog Monday when she discovered the black-and-white bird.

"It was out-of-this-world to see it," she said. "Like someone just dropped it from the sky."

Wilton said the scene on Peka Peka Beach reminded her of the 2006 movie "Happy Feet," in which a young penguin finds himself stranded far from home.

The bird "was totally in the wrong place," she said.

Estimated to be about 10 months old and 32 inches (80 centimeters) tall, the Emperor penguin was probably born during the last Antarctic winter and may have been searching for squid and krill when it got lost, experts said.

Emperors are the tallest and largest species of penguin. They can grow up to 4 feet (122 centimeters) tall and weigh more than 75 pounds (34 kilograms).

Their amazing journey to breeding grounds deep in the Antarctic was chronicled in the 2005 documentary "March of the Penguins," which highlighted their ability to survive — and breed — despite the region's brutal winter.

Emperor penguins can spend months at a time in the ocean, coming ashore only to molt or rest, said Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. He did not know what might have caused this particular one to become disoriented.

The penguin appeared healthy and well-fed, with plenty of body fat. He probably came ashore for a rest, Miskelly said.

However, he added, the penguin needs to find its way back south soon if it is to survive. Despite the onset of the New Zealand winter, the bird is probably hot and thirsty, and it had been eating wet sand.

"It doesn't realize that the sand isn't going to melt inside it," Miskelly said. "They typically eat snow, because it's their only liquid."

However, he said, the bird was in no immediate danger from dehydration because Emperor penguins can also drink salt water in the summer.

A small group of people, mostly parents with children, gathered Monday to watch the penguin on the beach on North Island's western coast. Some photographed him as he stood quietly on the sand or lay in the surf.

Peter Simpson, a program manager for New Zealand's Department of Conservation, said officials are asking onlookers to stand back about 30 feet (10 meters) from the creature and to avoid letting dogs near it.

Other than that, he said, officials plan to let nature take its course. Simpson said the bird could live several weeks before needing another meal.

The last confirmed sighting of a wild Emperor in New Zealand was in 1967 at the southern Oreti Beach, Simpson said.

This time, the bird appears to weigh about 22 pounds (10 kilograms) — healthy for its age, but only about one-third of the weight a penguin would need before it could survive a breeding cycle on the Antarctic ice, Miskelly said.