By Alex P. Vidal
“If it weren’t for electricity, we’d all be watching television by candlelight.”—George Gobel
THE terrible New Year power blackout that terrorized the people in Panay Island and Guimaras, put to danger the welfare and health of the Ilonggos, and embarrassed the national government, would be registered as one of the most shocking events that greeted 2024.
The nightmarish incident was avoidable or preventable if energy officials did their job well unlike in hurricane, fire, flash floods, volcanic eruptions, and other natural calamities, which are all beyond our control and accountability.
If the debacle occurred in 1970 or 1980, people would understand because of our enfeebled power industry.
But we are in 2024, where electric power system is modern and sophisticated.
We have the most advanced electrical grid and distribution system that efficiently and enormously feeds the power to nearby homes and industries.
We are now equipped with alternating current power typically supplied by a rotor that spins in a magnetic field in a device known as a turbo generator.
There have been a wide range of techniques used to spin a turbine’s rotor, from steam heated using fossil fuel including coal, gas and oil or nuclear energy to falling water or hydroelectric power and wind power.
As of January 3, 2024, local officials led by the enraged Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas, were demanding for Congress to investigate the post-New Year power fiasco.
“This situation is terrible for Panay and Guimaras to suffer. NGCP needs to shape up. Congress needs to investigate the matter and restudy their franchise,” boomed Trenas.
“The national government through the DOE, the ERC and the President should use all the powers in their mandate to ensure that the transmission lines of NGCP should be improved at the earliest possible time. The improvement of these transmission lines has already been delayed several times. Now we are suffering because of these delays.”
According to the Department of Energy as of three o’clock in the afternoon January 3, 2024, a total of 245 MV load served in Panay. The grid needs about 300MV to stabilize and 135 MV to synchronize back to the grid.
The target synchronization is between 10 o’clock in the evening until 12 midnight of January 4, 2024.
Load restoration will be done conservatively, by matching loads to restored generation, to prevent repeated voltage failure, suggested the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
BIBLICAL OIL FIGHTS CANCER. Frankincense oil, an herb-derived oil referenced in the Bible, appears to selectively kill bladder cancer cells without harming normal cells. This finding suggests that the oil may be used in the future as a therapy for bladder cancer, according to health discoveries.
ENERGY EQUAL TO 6,000 TIMES the world’s electricity use constantly shines on Earth. Even with current technology, we could harvest enough to supply dozens of times our demand for electricity–but building the infrastructure needed to switch to solar would cost much more at current prices than continuing to burn fossil fuels.
SECRETS BAD FOR OUR HEALTH. Even if a secret isn’t carried to the extreme of creating a secret life, keeping secrets provokes inner conflict, says Dr. Gail Saltz. Should we conceal or reveal–and if we do reveal our secrets, to whom? This conflict inevitably leads to anxiety and endless worry.
THE BRAIN PERFORMS BEST AT AGE 22. That’s when we do best on puzzles and other problems that test the brain’s abilities. At age 37, memory begins to decline. Upside: Vocabulary tends to increase until about age 60, according to a study conducted by Dr. Timothy A. Salthouse of the University of Virginia.
RABIES BITES. It kills at least 50,000 people worldwide each year, mostly children. Dogs are the main culprits. But in the United States, where pet vaccination and stray-dog-control program are strong, rabies has a different face: Racoons and skunks are by far the top four-legged viral hosts.
UNDER THE CELEBES SEA. When scientists dispatched a remotely operated vehicle to nose around the depths of the Celebes Sea, one of the world’s most biologically diverse zones, they were prepared for surprises. Still, mouths dropped at the sight of the “squidworm”, as they dubbed this extraordinary invertebrate.
SAVING OUR PLANET. Turning it off. Let’s not leave the faucet running while brushing our teeth or shaving. Let’s get into the habit of turning off unless we are actually using it.
SAVING OUR PLANET. Incorrect plumbing in the home could mean that wastewater from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, showers, and even toilets is flushed directly into our local river. Misconnected pipes are a common cause of pollution to rivers and streams, especially in urban areas.
DNA from a single New York melting pot records the prehistoric migrations that peopled the planet.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month to raise awareness and educate the public about how to identify and prevent human trafficking, including labor trafficking.
Labor trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel an individual to work against their will. Labor trafficking victims may not know that what they are experiencing is illegal, or they may feel they cannot advocate for themselves. According to the New York State Department of Labor, if we suspect that we or someone we know is a victim of labor trafficking, look for the following signs:
—They’ve been told they must work to pay off a debt.
—They were promised a benefit, such as a green card, that they have not received.
—They were told their employer will keep their passport, ID, or employment contract.
—They’ve received threats that police or immigration services will be called if they do not work.
—They or their family has been threatened with physical violence if they do not work.
—They or their family have experienced harm at the hands of an employer.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)