Monday, December 27, 2010

What in the world is laser? (Part 1 of 3)

[Disclaimer: The author does not own Figures 1-4, nor does he own Yoda, although he certainly wishes that he does.]           

We use them to point at things in a slide presentation; snipers use them to point at heads ready to be shot. They make cool technologies possible, from CDs and grocery store barcode scanners to metal cutters. We often hear that they can cause blindness, but we also know that they are used in surgical methods to correct many vision problems. In science fiction movies they shoot out of space ships, one can engage in duels using swords made of them, and there are ships which can destroy entire planets using them. Laser beams – they are both boon and bane. But what in the world are they?

Laser, what in the world is, hmm?

What in the world is laser?

            The word laser stands for Light Amplification through the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Originally, ‘laser’ is a term for the light emission mechanism that produces a beam of laser light, or a laser beam.  Today, however, ‘laser’ is used to denote devices that use the said mechanism to amplify light via stimulated emission of radiation.
Now, a laser beam is a beam of highly coherent, often monochromatic electromagnetic waves. And these beams are produced when stimulation emission of electromagnetic waves amplifies light. If you think that these are quite a mouthful, then grieve not, for in this series we will explain what they mean.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

For what more?

From science, my spirit's wonderment;
From philosophy, my life's meaning;
From reason, my truth;
From my own spirit, my very purpose;
From my humanity, my morality;
From the ones I love, my comfort;
From my children, my hope;
For what more do I need religion?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holy Mirth

Laugh at what is most sacred.
Poke fun at what is most holy.
Joke most about what you revere the most.

Good laughter sanctifies everything.
And evil is that which we cannot laugh at.
For a god who does not laugh is the devil.
And a god who cannot be laughed at is doubly so.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On politeness, truth and laughter

18 March 2010

Sometimes, being nice to people is not being nice to the truth. Politeness must never be allowed to trample honesty. Offending by telling the truth is not being rude, keeping the truth from others is.


Our beliefs are not just our beliefs. We can’t just say, “Well, these are my belief and yours are different. We disagree, but that’s alright. Now, can’t we just all get along and be friends and say everything is fine and dandy?” Our beliefs dictate how we live life and how we view it; they dictate how we treat others and how we want to be treated. Most importantly, our beliefs will, if we are conscientious enough, define how we act in matters of life and death – in other words, in everyday matters. We therefore cannot skirt around our beliefs. In the face of the world, this we must say: “These are my beliefs, and these are my reasons for believing them. If you disagree with them, let us argue that we may see who is in the right.”


We must learn how to laugh at matters of life and death from time to time, for after all, a good hearty laughter is what makes life worth living. But we must never use laughter to hide the truth. Rather, we must employ laughter to entice the truth. Hence, never must we forget that the truth does not like the dumb laughter of the shallow and dishonest. The laughter that will entice the truth is like the laughter of a warrior: bold, hearty and harsh.


Fighting for the truth is not defending a conviction to the death. Fighting for the truth is seeking after the truth. We must never argue to win an argument. In any argument, it must be the truth that is the victor, for otherwise, both sides lose. But before we enter any dispute we must never forget this: any argument from which no laughter was derived is a waste of time.


The truth is a jester and loves only a jester. The truth never comes to him who takes everything with a heavy heart. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Beautiful Contradiction

When everything is a dizzying mess of variables you are my stabilizing constant. When everything is stagnation you are my joyful flux, my ecstatic explosion of colors and beat. You anchor my ship to safe havens when the waves below and roar, but when the sun is shining bright you become as the trade wind behind my sails, keeping me out of the doldrums and sailing me on to the farthest shores. You wear me out until I am spent, and then you lay me down to blissful rest.

You are my danger and my safety, my risk and my security, my battleground and my sanctuary. You are my adventure and the home I come home to after the long journey.

You, and no one else but you, are my beautiful contradiction. And without you I am naught.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Creation as Motherhood

When a mind bears great promise, we call it pregnant, but when this promise is fulfilled, we almost always call it a father – the father of an idea, of a school of thought, of a science, and so on. The contradiction before us is clear. To be consistent, this we must profess: All creators are mothers. Thus all creation is like giving birth – painful, bloody, and dangerous. And this too we must profess: All creations are like children – they come from one's very bowels, yet after being born they take on a life of their own.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Untimely Meditations 2

A world without argument is a world without truth. (July 2008)

A life is a work of art, it is the masterpiece of the soul who lives it. (July 2008)

The ideal individual is one who always seeks to improve herself. The ideal society is the society consisting of such individuals. (July 2008)

Where science is silent, one ought to pass through with caution. Where philosophy is silent, one ought to pass through with fearful respect. Where religion is noisy, one ought to go away from. (August 2008)

Of all the ways of acknowledging the ineffability of things, there is none more powerful than humor. (August 2008)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Untimely Meditations 1

The mind as a flux
The following thoughts and ideas I have believed at one time or another. I may not believe some of them anymore. I may even believe the contrary. But the self, after all, is a history, and the mind is a flux. The thoughts here presented are just snapshots of the author's ever-changing mindscape.

Love is the safety net that catches those who fall trying to walk the tightrope of expectations. (February 2008)

The theologian's trade consists of being certain of things for which no honest human should be certain of. (April 2008)

Our optimism gives us reason to live, our pessimism keeps us alive. (May 2008)

Only a free individual can become a moral individual, for morality is impossible without choice and being moral cannot be forced upon anyone. (May 2008)

There is nothing more damaging to the cause of freedom than the illusion of freedom. (May 2008)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Proof and Evidence

Words, words

Sometimes – actually oftentimes – we can get pretty sloppy and careless in our use of words.

Take the use of the words “proof” and “evidence”. Proof and evidence, like speed and velocity, or theory and guess, have colloquial definitions that often lead to confusion. In order to smooth the progress of communication and avoid misunderstanding, these words have been given technical definitions in science and philosophy. For example, speed is defined as the magnitude of velocity; the latter is a vector, the former is the scalar magnitude of that vector. Also, a scientific theory is not simply a guess; rather, it is a system of ideas constructed from a verified set of generalizations and observations. In the same way, scientists and philosophers use the words proof and evidence to designate two very different things. For example, we prove a mathematical theorem instead of “finding evidences” for its truth, while we accumulate the evidence for a particular scientific theory but we never “prove” a theory.

What’s the difference? The distinction is best illustrated by examples.

About the Blogger

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Quezon City, Philippines
Pecier Carpena Decierdo is a male specimen of the primate species homo sapiens. According to Pecier, one of his main goals in life is the justification of his species’ name. Close proximity to his most preferred carbon based life form, Rose Anne, causes Pecier’s brain to become saturated with phenylalanine, and being with the said Rose Anne is also known to bring about attacks of involuntary spasms called “laughter” in Pecier. Aside from Rose Anne, the subjects “philosophy”, “science” and “literature” are some of the other things that fire up his libido. He has so far survived twenty-two roundtrips aboard his home planet and he has no intentions of quitting soon.

Venerable Verses

The cloud-clapp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind: we are stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

-William Shakespeare, The Tempest-

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