Black Boxes on the Cloud

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Black boxes on planes serve a crucial purpose but I think it needs a technological overhaul. We are in an age where the technology required to upgrade tracking and recording of a flight is readily available.

How about making black boxes in planes more like Dropbox? Instead of a localized file saving system in the black box’s hard drive, it would be much better to store flight information and details in the cloud (no pun intended). The plane should be online the whole flight and data on flight details should be stored on the cloud in real time using satellite connectivity. It should use C-band for minimal interference from weather, clouds, rain etc.

All data pertaining to the flight that are usually stored in the black box (flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, transponder data) should be readily available in real time to personnel on the ground. But it should be heavily encrypted to prevent hackers and terrorists from accessing it, so I guess it has security issues but it’s nothing insurmountable.

This would cost airlines a huge amount of money and effort (upgrading to an entire new system always is) but at least it makes search and rescue easier and would be a great way of improving safety. It would allow for the diagnosis of what went wrong on the flight and would help rescuers by providing detail on the location of the plane and what the necessary equipment to use are, making search and rescue faster, possibly saving people who would otherwise have died if rescue efforts were delayed by a few hours.

In this age of rampant technological growth, people should not wait a long time knowing nothing about things pertaining to a crash when loved ones are on the flight. The public would also not have to wait until the black box is retrieved to know what went wrong.

Open Letters Never Get Old

Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 4:35am

The IITian Insider I see that your perception of what is right and what is wrong is fundamentally warped. You started with an apology, which would have been commendable had it ended there. You admit that the insinuations you were throwing around regarding the Psychology Department Chairman are in fact second hand info, which you neither verified nor doubted, and passed it as truth. In your previous posts and comments you were adamant that you spoke the truth, and yet here you are recanting your story, giving an apology, and thereby admitting the errors and blunders you have committed.

It seems you do not understand the gravity of your actions, and have never given a sliver of thought to the possible repercussions at all. Maybe you live in a sheltered life where the threatening of people, the slandering of the innocent, and the blatant trampling of a people’s dignity is normal and acceptable, and when the dust settles and everything is sorted out and you were proven wrong, you say “sorry” and go scot free.

The world does not run that way. If yours do, then adapt to reality. The world does not run on your rules, you do not merely destroy people’s lives and their good name purely for your benefit. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. You said it, but realize it also applies to you.

You started off apologetic but then swerved the other way for the rest of your post, much like how you were so sure the Chairman was guilty but later took back your words. You are aghast that the NBI is investigating you, deeming that what you did was merely nothing, and having the NBI in the picture is a gross overreaction. It is not. You severely miscalculated the seriousness of your actions. Not only have you made false accusations (which you admit), you as admins of the page have a responsibility for the material posted in it. Not only did you let the hate messages and the bashing go unchecked, you goaded them on, adding fuel to the fire, burying the truth in an avalanche of lies.

“But since you have the NBI against us including those who started all of this, I am now laying my foot down. It is quite bold of you to have done such and to point your finger on the wrong people especially to that one person who will remain unnamed.”

You are laying your foot down? I agree that you are good with that, the way you step on, stomp, and trample on other people’s character. And it is quite bold of you to think that you are in no way accountable in any way. See the paragraph I wrote above if you are confused. It is ironic of how you talk of people pointing fingers at you, when pointing fingers and blame at others is apparently what you enjoy so much. I feel that you have a sense of entitlement, that you are free to dish out libel and defamation freely and without remorse, and yet feel you ought to be protected from punishment. Again, the world does not run on your rules. Your petulance and your idea of justice is alarming, to say the least.

“You are not the first one to have been “cyber-bullied” under the cloak of anonymity via this page. But your reaction was rather alarming and way over the line compared to the others. I’m sorry if we have tarnished your sterling reputation, but these people are crying over us for help.”

Your logic here goes like this: It is not acceptable that you commit a crime against someone and be punished for it, when you committed the very same crimes against other people without any consequences. That thinking is idiotic. Perhaps you were emboldened by the lack of action of the people you cyber-bullied under the cloak of anonymity. Now that the person you bullied did not shrink away but took the appropriate action, you scream injustice. You scream of disproportionate response. There is no injustice done to you nor is there a disproportionate response. You’re right in saying you are sorry for tarnishing someone’s reputation, but don’t expect to walk away with a simple apology.

You must change the way of how you see things. I would suggest that you try to act online the way you act in real life. If you do not go around walking and pointing blame and accusations at people in their face, don’t do it online unless you have incontrovertible proof, which you do not have. You accepted a second hand story and passed it as fact, and reveled in how people believed the lies.

Remember, for honorable and upright people, one’s character is more important than money, possessions, careers and sometimes life itself. How would you feel if you live a life of respect and dignity, only to have someone throw detestable allegations? And if you are merely acting like a conduit for the “oppressed”, if you act as the mouth of the “people crying to you for help”, then you should verify and see if the allegations have a grain of truth. Do not pass it off as truth and then recant it and express outrage at the fact that charges may be filed against you.

Be responsible. Though I feel you will be once this debacle is over, unless you are hopelessly incorrigible.

An Open Letter Against Indecency

Friday, November 29, 2013 at 3:47pm

It is about time that people should be more aware of the responsibilities they have when posting things online. Harassment and bullying of people under the cloak of anonymity and the brazen trampling of human dignity by keyboard warriors is something that should never be condoned, much less rewarded.

Students should be more tactful and mindful of what they are putting on the web (as well as through text messages and verbal communication for that) as your digital footprints will haunt you the rest of your lives. You may be young, a bit immature, unexposed to the real world (wait till you start employment – you’ll find that the beautiful microcosm of life you live in is actually just a ripple in a vast stretch of ocean), and perceive your power in expressing yourselves to society.

Be mindful however that though you are granted the right to express your opinions on things, be aware that there is a fine line between the voicing of opinions and the harassment and bullying of people by doling out false insinuations and untrue accusations.

This post is not about stamping out the voices of the people and oppression of your message. This is not about condoning Big Brother that everyone must be cautious in what they have to say. This is about responsible communication. This is about condemning online and real life bullying. This is about preventing the abhorrent assassination of character of the just and the good.

You must understand that the internet medium, as well as SMS and the like, are not merely your playground where you can fool around and destroy lives by propagating falsehoods hoping many would believe. There are repercussions in using these for inappropriate and downright evil means, and now would be a good time for everyone to understand that we should all act properly and respectfully, be it in person or in your online persona.

Be responsible. Grow up.

May Decency Reign

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 5:29pm

It is sad to see that the The IITian Insider public content has devolved into the sophistication level of Youtube and 4chan comments. I believe the page was made to voice out concerns to the public regarding issues in the school.

However, I am dismayed to see that while the students are posting complaints, the level of decency and decorum is pathetically low. It is one thing to be posting legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, it is another to post tabloid fodder type accusations full of foul, unpalatable and unneeded narratives.

Remember, this should be a portal for voices to be heard, yet it could also easily be an easy way of propagating obnoxious, groundless, and baseless accusations aimed at smearing the otherwise innocent.

So before the bandwagon students with no valid inputs crash in on the bashing and smearing, if you have otherwise no other meaningful information to add, I hope you will refrain from cluttering the issue and burying the meaningful parts.

A complaint on your part issued on official channels would be best.

A Kid’s Christmas Story

Monday, December 24, 2012 at 10:56pm

When I was a kid, Christmas was celebrated extravagantly. Every house had a lantern and miles of lights. Though we never had a Christmas tree when I was growing up, the Christmas aura was always in the air at home. We would decorate the place and play Christmas songs non-stop on our phonograph. I would hang socks for Santa (even though I knew it was my Mom and Dad) and eagerly open the gifts up, making a point of tearing the wrapper to pieces with gusto.

Even if we spent each Christmas in Cebu and our place had no nearby malls, you could never ignore all the lights on the houses, all the firecrackers going off and all the kids caroling. To me, when I was a kid, Christmas was the happiest time of the year by far. Nothing else compared.

Nowadays, I noticed that Christmas was somewhat subdued. Not every house had lights and lanterns, gone were the ubiquitous decorations I used to see, and firecrackers were obviously not as non-stop as before (though I’m all for banning them altogether, except for huge fireworks). At least carolers were still out and about strutting their stuff (though they eventually annoy us after the nth time they pass by our place).

Maybe because people are too busy with Facebook, their laptops and their phones, and they’re constantly online that some aspect of Christmas got lost behind. Lights weren’t as widespread as before (except for malls and parks) and it seemed the Christmasy feel of the air wasn’t as prevalent as before when I was a kid.

Then it dawned on me that the lights and decorations and the Christmas spirit was there all along. It was just me who changed. In short, I grew up. Gone was the sentimental and romantic childhood in me who saw wonder at every little thing – to the point that all the Christmas celebration amazed me to no end.

Gone was the “kilig” of tearing up presents hoping to find cool toys, gone was the wonderment staring at huge Christmas trees and endless arrays of lights. Gone was the simple pleasure of going caroling and getting a few coins. All the simple pleasures that a child finds amazing was now normal and mundane to me. It was no longer eye-opening and no longer immensely enjoyable. I had grown up. And old.

Somehow tonight, my childhood romanticism in my heart came alive again. The kid in me is smiling gleefully again. Here I am at a friend’s house celebrating Christmas with them (we couldn’t go home for Christmas, sorry Ma and Pa), and Christmas songs are playing.

I remembered how on Christmas we always played these songs at home while the family (Ma, Pa and me) just relaxed and talked). And just like that, my childhood happiness all flooded back into me, and Christmas in all its glory was basking in the air. I was a kid again.

Merry Christmas to all of my friends. I hope your childhood comes back to you so you can experience Christmas like only a child can. There’s nothing like it. Merry Christmas!

My Thoughts on Pacquiao – Marquez IV

Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 10:34pm

My Initial Reaction

It was heartbreaking to watch Pacquiao get knocked out cold. He was on the verge of winning when a short and crisp right hand ended the fight. This is boxing, where anything can happen and the outcome is always in doubt. For a Pacquiao fan (me), this fight was devastating. But to a boxing fan (also me) this fight was truly great.

Upon Further Analysis

 Manny Pacquiao was fighting a tremendous fight before getting clocked by that punch. Towards the end of the round 6, both of them were rallying, looking to steal the round. It seemed to be that Marquez looked to be in trouble on the ropes. As Pacquiao lunged inside to unleash his shots, Marquez slipped to the side and countered with a short punch that smashed into Pacquiao’s face.

Pacquiao had landed 94 punches opposed to Marquez landing 52. All 3 judges had Pacquiao winning – as did I. Pacquiao was more active and landed more, he won all the rounds where a knockdown didn’t occur, and they were even on knockdowns by the 6th. Pacquiao was also winning the 6th round before THAT happened.

Granted Pacquiao got careless, but these things happen in boxing. It was a lucky shot by a retreating, beat up opponent who just happened to be the best counter puncher in the world – and he countered nicely. It also was not a lucky punch since Marquez studied Pacquiao, devised ways to counter him, and practiced that punch thousands of times in the gym. He just unleashed it at the right time and Manny was unfortunate enough to be surging forward and caught it straight in the face.

I may feel down now, but I’m looking forward to that 5th fight.

My Honest Outlook

 One last parting shot about Pacquiao. People have voiced different opinions, but most of them are asking Manny to retire from boxing. Various reasons are cited. Retire now while you’re in good health. Retire now, you’re so rich anyway you don’t need to fight anymore. Retire now so your legacy remains intact. Retire now so you can focus on politics. Etc etc etc.

My thoughts are the polar opposite, please don’t retire and deprive us of your art in the ring. You were born to be a boxer. Not a preacher, not a politician. A boxer. You may want to be a preacher and a politician later on, but boxing is your blood. I don’t think anything can surpass the passion you have for boxing. It defines who you are.

People don’t understand that to truly great boxers (regardless if they came from humble beginnings or were pampered like princes), boxing is not just a job to earn (enormous amounts) of money. Truly great boxers seek out other formidable great fighters, to prove to the world and to themselves that they are the best, or belong in that exclusive list of the world’s best. They crave to fight the best, even if they will be battered and bloodied, it comes with the territory. Boxers get hurt, they bleed, they get injured. They train ridiculously and hellishly leading up to fights, and even the simple pleasures of life are deprived from them. And yet they do it. They want to know their place in history, they want to be legends.

No amount of losses or setbacks can deter this way of thinking. Although some boxers fight past their primes, to the point they’re beaten by lesser but younger opponents, Pacquiao at this stage in his career is definitely NOT washed up. What happened to him in the fight against Marquez could happen against any other great boxer, it’s that kind of freakishly unexpected development that makes boxing great and enjoyable.

So Manny, please fight. People see me as heartless for asking you to be hurt in the ring again. They don’t understand why you want to continue despite having everything. Why risk it all? Why not live the easy life? Only you can answer them.

I will sit tight and wait for that answer. I hope the fighter’s pride and passion will still smolder in you. Three more fights. Just three more. No matter what happens in those fights, you’re place in history is assured, a shining beacon for future generations to look up to.

My Thoughts on Pacquiao – Marquez III

November 13, 2011 at 4:59pm

I’ve heard rants  about the fight, and most guys I know are saying that Marquez should have won, or at least the two should have gotten another draw.Random people I encountered making small talk with me and some friends of mine usually go along those lines.

I just want to express my thoughts, and explain why I think Pacquiao deserved the win.

To the casual fan (and the Manny Pacquiao fan), the fight shouldn’t have Pacquiao’s way. Now this might seem counterintuitive, but that’s the impression I had after studying people’s reactions. After some psychoanalysis (not that I’m certified to do so) I came to the conclusion that people probably felt betrayed and cheated since the knockout win that was promised and expected never came. Filipinos mostly expected Pacquiao to steamroll Marquez. I’m partly guilty, as I thought that if Pacquiao knocked Marquez out in the first three rounds, then well and good. But if the knockout didn’t come early on, then another grueling 12-round slugfest would probably occur, which it did.

Filipino fans who expected the easy win to come were probably disappointed when round after round unfolded with Pacquiao seemingly absorbing punch after punch from Marquez. They turned their ire and disappointment on Pacquiao, hence the belief after the fight that Pacquiao should have lost or should have drawn with Marquez.

But boxing is not scored with this kind of subjective and emotional judging. I long ago learned to judge more or less objectively, though I’m far from perfect. I tend to get swayed by the crowd’s cheers and the commentator’s words. So I usually try to score videos of boxing bouts with the sound off, to objectively score what I see on the screen.

Though the environment during the Pacquiao Marquez III fight was far from silent (it was a rowdy and noisy school in Labangon, Cebu with a huge screen set up), I tried to be my best objective self, and I tried to judge the fight. That mean t I couldn’t properly enjoy the fight as a normal fan would, since rather than revel in each hard punch and combination, I was trying to see which fighter won that particular round, and riding my emotional high rooting for Pacquiao would definitely lead to a biased scorecard.

I told some friends right after the fight that I scored the bout 115 – 113 in favor of Pacquiao, explaining I was trying to be as objective as I could. This was somewhat validated when the judges gave scorecards of 114 -114, 115 -113 (same as mine) and 116 – 112. Most people disagreed with me, saying that I (along with the official judges) gave too much credit to Pacquiao. But I felt I was spot on with my scoring, and I feel that the Majority Decision for Pacquiao is the correct outcome.

Most people do not know that boxing is scored on a per round basis. If for example if fighter A hit fighter B with 1000 punches in the first 3 rounds without fighter A ever getting hit (assuming there is no knockout or stoppage) and fighter B hit fighter A with 1 punch per round from round 4 to 12 without fighter B taking any punches in that span, it would not matter that fighter A threw hundreds of punches more than fighter B. Fighter B would still win since he won 9 rounds to fighter A’s 3 rounds.

Judges would also score a round by the number of clean hits, the force of the punches, aggression of the fighters, and ring generalship. Since in the fight there were no knockdowns or point deductions, the scoring was somewhat straightforward.

I felt that in the number of clean hits, Pacquiao hit more. It would seem that Marquez hit Pacquiao with countless clean blows, but in slow motion, you’d see that most punches are glancing blows or are partially blocked. The judges are also familiar with Pacquiao’s style while most casual fans are not. Pacquiao does not have great balance. Then and now he still has balance issues, though this is somewhat compensated for by his speed and combination punching. But Marquez’s counterpunching is superb, and most of the hits you see where you think that that Pacquiao is getting hurt, he’s actually not. It’s just his body and head moving in an awkward motion due to his bad balance that most people think he’s receiving more punishment than he really is.

 Official final punch statistics showed that Pacquiao connected 30% total punches versus Marquez’s 32%. Pacquiao threw 578 punches, with only 176 connected. Marquez threw 436 punches, with only 138 connected. In terms of jabs thrown, Pacquiao landed 59 out of 304 and Marquez 38 out of 182. As for power punches, Pacquiao landed 117 out of 274 (43%) and Marquez 100 out of 254 (39%).Total rounds gave per round average of landed punches for Pacquiao 14 out of 49 and Marquez 11 out of 36. So Pacquiao threw more punches, landed more punches, landed more jabs and power punches than Marquez did, something that is not so apparent to most people watching the fight.

Pacquiao also has the skill of rolling with the punches. Rolling with the punch means that if a punch cannot be blocked and otherwise unavoidable, the moment it impacts your head, you move your head in the direction of the punch, so most of the momentum and force is nullified, as opposed to tightening and hardening your head and neck, wherein you would absorb the full brunt of the blow. So sometimes it would seem that Pacquiao is severely hurt because his neck is snapped back, but this is actually done on purpose. It also didn’t help that Pacquiao’s hair is long, and the unnecessary hair movement amplifies his head movement and would make it seem he’s being tossed like a rag doll when hit with a punch.

I also felt that Pacquiao was controlling the tempo and the direction of the fight. He was the aggressive puncher, trying to corner Marquez and generally choosing the spots where they would engage. This is helped by the counter-punching style of Marquez, wherein he would go to where Pacquiao would want him to go, with his right hand coiled like a spring, ready to snap to any vulnerable spot Pacquiao has to offer. So aggression and ring generalship goes Pacquiao’s way.

So to sum it up, I scored 115 – 113 for Pacquiao, and I defend the decisions of the judges, however lackluster Pacquiao’s performance may seem to be. I know how great a fighter Marquez is, I’ve followed his career after his first loss to Pacquiao, and he defeated great opponents with regularity. I also acknowledge that Pacquiao’s style is perfectly patterned for Marquez counter-punching style. It is a testament to both men that their fights are scored so close. I have a saying: The difference between Pacquiao and Marquez is thinner than a hair’s breadth. But in that hair’s breadth, Pacquiao was just a little bit better than Marquez.