About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

electric fans and quality control

I bought a new electric fan for my desktop as a replacement for an older desk fan that stopped working. I suppose I could have had the older one fixed; I suspect that the grease just died on me and that a re-greasing would fix the problem. But I didn't want to do that because I'm quite clumsy when it comes to handling all sorts of mechanical equipment, and I might leave loose screws or damage the unit while doing repairs. (That's the main reason I chose theoretical physics rather than experimental physics--- I'm less likely to cause a mess that way.)

The older fan lasted less than two years. And I wonder why it's so. I remember the old electric fans we had, and I recall that they seemed to last for years. From first grade to at least sixth grade, we kept using the same electric fan and I think that these older electric fans saw use until my high school years. The same thing can't be said for the newer models-- I've never seen the new ones last longer than a year or two. Maybe it's quality control-- I'm not sure though because the problem seems to show up no matter what brand I encounter-- or maybe the grease that's commonly used now is not as good as the older kind.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

School Closures

I saw a tweet a few moments  ago from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announcing the closure of International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME). I couldn't find the reasons for it, but I suspect noncompliance with CHED standards. It's reminds me of the closure of PMI Colleges, a maritime training school.

Since I couldn't find anything yet on IAME, I decided, out of curiosity, to follow-up on the PMI story. While looking it up, I chanced upon a blog of a PMI alumnus who actually agrees that the closure was long overdue. Now if an alumnus agrees that his school should be closed,  then there must be something seriously wrong.

CHED geting tough with standards compliance is actually a recent thing. CHEd has become aggressive on making sure that higher education institutions do meet international standards. In my field (Physics) Professors I know have been travelling around the country evaluating BSc Physics programs; from what I've heard, some of these programs are on the way to  shutdown because of the low quality of coursework they offer, the lack of competent faculty, and shortage of students.

If degree programs have been shutdown, then it's not unreasonable to expect shutdown of higher education institutions; a school, after all, should not offer courses it cannot teach. I know it will be painful for students of these substandard schools.  However, if the standards are unmet, and CHED allows schools to operate (the line of least resistance, which seemed to be the policy of the previous administration), then, in the end, it is the graduates who will suffer: because their degrees will only be treated as useless paper.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whatever Happened to Ivory Soap?

I ran out of soap a week ago, and I decided to go to the mall to buy some more. I like using Ivory soap (the original variety), and I can't seem to find any. I know that Procter and Gamble is still around, but no matter what shop I go to (SM, Rustan's, Mercury Drug, or Gotesco Grand Central-- hardly a representative sampling, I know), I can't find any bars of Ivory soap!

I tried doing a Google search, and I still can't find out why Ivory soap isn't being sold here. I don't feel comfortable using other brands, but need to make do with what I can find. I noticed the missing soap since last year; most stores reduced their stock and then eventually the soap disappeared. What gives, P&G?

Monday, February 6, 2012

What happened to library.nu?

I recently visited library.nu and found a totally different site. No log-ins, and new positioning as "the book review encyclopaedia". The old ability to post links to books is gone-- and so if you've been using it as a virtual library, you'll need a new source of books. There are still other websites for books-- the Russians and the Chinese will have something to replace library.nu (and its predecessor, gigapedia).

Of course, there's still ebookee.org, but the searching for books there is a lot messier than it was in library.nu. Also, many of the links in ebookee don't work; old websites that allowed file-sharing, such as filesonic, have lost their old functionality. I suspect that it's one of the aftershocks of the Megaupload takedown.  I thought that the resurrection of library.nu was gonna last. Ah well: Sic transit gloria mundi

postrcript: (February 15, 2012) I can't log in anymore even when I go to gigapedia.info, and based on the comments to this blog entry, nobody seems to be able to get in. For now, I'll use an alternative ebook search tool: http://gen.lib.rus.ec/ . It seems to be a decent alternative to ebookee. I will, however, miss library.nu's user-friendly interface.

(As of February 17, 2012) Short answer to "What happened to library.nu?" : Legal problems. I found a link from slashdot telling the story of library.nu. After some more searching, I found additional links from the huffington post . I doubt the claims of the plaintiffs here--- that the admins made a profit here. Many of the users are from developing countries and are likely to be students. Also, I think that claims that the admins were selling premium level accounts is doubtful. Many of the people who actually registered on the site would probably have a different story to tell.

(As of March 17, 2012) Even http://gen.lib.rus.ec  doesn't seem to work anymore; I keep getting a 404 error message. Still have no news why it's down.

(As of July 8, 2012) There's a article in aljazeera about library.nu, (I got it from library.nu, by the way) and it expresses some of the unhappiness that book-lovers and scholars -- especially in the third world-- feel about  the shutdown of library.nu. The library.nu website is still there-- it's morphed into a search site with reviews but no links. If you buy a book from amazon using library.nu, it should help the administrators with their legal troubles. See this link.

(As of  March 1, 2013) I url library.nu now redirects to http://www.internationalpublishers.org/, which looks like an organization whose philosophy seems to be diametrically opposite that of gigapedia's and the old library.nu Donors who wish to assist the original owners of the library.nu domain name have no more means to do so; the link I mentioned above is dead.