Thursday, August 16, 2007

What Some People Don't Know About Galileo's MAGNIFYING TELESCOPE

HAR! HAR! HAR! HAR! HAR! (Just have to get that out of the way so I can write this post.)

ANTONIO CALLIPJE GO, Crusader - Against - Textbook - Errors, has recently appointed a new Board of Censors, who, being only human, are so flattered they have replied with an Editorial ("Shame!") that virtually elevates the Crusader into an English Knight of Correct Knowledge. Citing the latter's full-page newspaper ads exposing many funny typos and true errors in published textbooks for the public and private schools, PDI bemoans Go's failure to bring Correct Knowledge to the Masses thru the Socialist Dept. of Education...
All to no avail. Six years later, Filipino schoolchildren still read such enlightening stuff as: “Many Filipino men and women have brains” or “Galileo invented a magnifying telescope to study the moon.” And their vocabulary is enriched by learning that the male organ is called “titi” while a pimp is known as “titatita.”
What Antonio Go finds "incorrect" and the PDI projects as "funny" is the use of the term "magnifying telescope" in a Public School Science textbook whose context we do not know, but out of context certainly is "funny" because the expected and more common term is "magnifying glass". But it seems self-evident that both Mr. Go and the editorialist have only ever encountered the term "magnifying glass" and therefore find the term "magnifying telescope" strange...just like most illiterates are befuddled by letters, words and figures, and will laugh at them because of their strangeness!

It is actually funny only to folks who never made it past Science 101 cause they were scared of it, and to the now famous "Academic Director" of the Marian School in Quezon City. Because in the world outside our tidy lil fishbowl, "magnifying telescopes" play a major scientific and technological role...

Here astrophysicists and astronomers are using the world's largest MAGNIFYING TELESCOPE to study the remnants of the supernova seen by Chinese astroners 1000 years ago: the beautiful Crab nebula.

Here is a great article from Orgone Laboratory on the role that a magnifying telescope played in the famous Michaelson-Morley Experiment (known to all college physics students), which proved that Albert Einstein was right: the speed of light is a constant no matter how fast you are moving when you make the measurement!

In case you think it's an old term from Einstein's heyday, just search G o o g l e for MAGNIFYING TELESCOPE and what are a few modern uses of Galileo's marvelous invention?

The very first hit is a Patent Disclosure for an Extended Source Laser Illuminator: "
The apparatus comprises a laser to emit a light beam, and a magnifying telescope, including a negative lens to expand the light beam and a positive lens to collimate the expanded light beam."

Here is a magnifying telescope used for colposcopy--the examination of the human cervix (not the brain?). All of LAPAROSCOPY uses magnifying telescopes (sometimes called telemicrosopes).

But let's not leave the little boys out, because there is the Go Scope Magnifying Telescope Boys N Their Toys.

Here is a Magnifying Telescope used in a Collinearly Phase Matched Parametric Generator Amplifier.

And from the THINK QUEST LIBRARY we have this: "
In 1609, Galileo became the first man to use a telescope for astronomy. His telescope was simple and gave him blurry images, but he used it to look at the moon and stars. It was a ten times magnifying telescope, but he was able to see more than anyone else at the time. Galileo made drawings of what he saw. Galileo also studied planets. He was able to see Jupiter and four of its largest moons."

Here astrophysicists and astronomers are using the world's largest MAGNIFYING TELESCOPE to study the remnants of the supernova seen by Chinese astroners 1000 years ago: the beautiful Crab nebula.

Oh God, this hurts...HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR!

Well, so much for the subject of Science Education from Antonio Callipje Go and the Philippine Daily Innuendo, who both apparently don't like the words TITI and TITA-TITA appearing in a dictionary for Public School students. Speaking of the contents of the Basic Education Curriculum, what do we find about these other subjects in the newspaper?

Here is today's Pilipino (cum French swardspeak) language lesson from the Inquirer:

"It was again time for me to go spotting, and spotting moi did, palanggas. Moi told her once, “Don’t stretch your luck, dahling.”"

Here is a Lesson in both Nutrition and Values Ed on Breastfeeding:

"I'm a true believer in this natural act and gift. As a mother, I was delighted to be named the first "Idol ng Breastfeeding 2007." Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my breasts would ever take center stage. But for this humane advocacy, I am more than happy to display my breasts. Well, at least in pictures where my baby A----- is attached... I've found breastfed children to be more social and more fashionable. My little A is like a mini-me. At the anniversary party of Rajito, the ready-to-wear kids apparel of the House of ..."

Of course there is plenty more of Inquirer science education:

Clairvoyance can also mean “the faculty of seeing with the inner eye or spiritual sight.” Documented clairvoyant abilities are numerous.

The well-known Israeli psychic Uri Geller demonstrated his uncanny ability to germinate within minutes radish seeds on his palm simply by mentally commanding them to grow.

I witnessed this remarkable demonstration of Geller’s psychic power during an international convention in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1994. About a thousand other people in the audience also witnessed the event.

When I went to this huge factory, I brought a clairvoyant and a Chinese feng shui expert. We all felt the presence of many highly negative and angry spirits, both human and elemental.

Here is an interesting combination of Religion, Arithmetic and uhmm, Inorganic Biology:

The Miraculous Medal Apostolate (MMA) turns 50 on Aug. 15, feast of Our Lady of the Assumption....The Medal of the Immaculate Conception (the Miraculous Medal) was designed by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.

(I'm just picking these at random from today's Inquirer GLASS HOUSE Website!)

Perhaps what the editorialists are ignoring in supporting Mr. Go uncritically is that just like the newspaper publishing industry and the rest of Media, the academic publishing industry also partakes of academic freedom and freedom of speech to produce goods and services that are ideally judged by the market. Fortunately that is true for all private textbook publishers and non-government owned newspapers and other media. If you don't like the content, style or format of a newspaper or textbook, you don't have to buy it. (And God knows, the media cannot be "holier-than-thou" on the matter of bloopers and tall tales in their own daily productions.)

Where Antonio Callipje Go has however struck justifiably are various anomalies attendant upon the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, which does not operate under market forces at all, unless of course Mr. Go himself is for sale as the PDI itself wonders....Hmmm..


Jego said...

'Magnifying telescope' is redundant since as far as I can tell from my grade school science, there is no such thing as a reducing telescope and I suspect no need for one in the foreseeable future. Galileo constructed (not invented--that distinction belongs to somebody else if memory serves) high quality refracting telescopes, while someone else invented the reflecting telescope.

It's not bad science. Just bad patent-office English. :-D

cvj said...

Jeg, but a [refracting] telescopes can also make things look smaller if you look at the wrong end, so 'magnifying telescope' is perhaps a more precise term ;-)

DJB Rizalist said...

Hehehe, next we'll tackle how he criticizes the use of Aesop's Fables and other "literary fantasies" in textbooks. I wonder why he's such a prude about the names of body parts in science and health textbooks. Also, I think that given most of our public school graduates are destined to be either tricycle drivers or GROs, unless they become OFWs, they surely ought to know about pimps and assorted lowlifes, if they don't already!

Jego said...

By the by, DJB, from the PDI editorial you linked, it is quite possible that what PDI found objectionable was attributing the invention of the telescope to Galileo--a factual error--and not to the use of 'magnifying telescope.' Im willing to give the editorial the benefit of the daw.

DJB Rizalist said...

I do believe Galileo is credited with the very great distinction of being the first human being EVER to see a heavenly body going around another heavenly body that was NOT the earth. that was when he trained a telescope he had made from I believe anton von leeuenhook's microscope design (or was it spectacles, I forget and could look it up but havent) and saw for the first time the moons of jupiter over several weeks realized they were orbiting jupiter. That was the first observational refutation of geocentricity.

The telescope he created was an invention in the sense that that was the first time magnifying glasses were used for astronomy.
He saw the moon with it first before see Jupiter's moons.

He is the inventor of magnifying telescopes for astronomy, that's for sure.

Amadeo said...

A nice lighthearted segue from more cerebral stuff, Dean.

And trying to ease into the uneasy role of petty nitpicker, I was ready to jump at colposcopy and say that maybe you probably meant colonoscopy since I was reminded about the latter by my very polite young FilAm doctor the other day during my annuals (not anals, HeHeHe).

Oops! Good that I had second thoughts. But then you can’t expect me to be familiar with something that would never be applicable to me. HeHeHe.

baycas2 said...

if there’s a MAGNIFYING telescope there certainly is a REDUCING one. a submarine periscope has both.

the trouble with a COLPOSCOPE is that it has gender. a CYSTOSCOPE has none…although oftentimes it is used in males with prostate problems.

blackshama said...

Telescopes magnify like microscopes do since both instruments have lenses. The modifier "magnify" is better used to describe how well the instrument magnifies, a science student needs to know this to estimate the scale of the object he/she is observing.

Correcting errors in our science textbooks is not just the job of people who expose these errors but also by science professionals. PDI editors and even Mr Calipjo-Go are not science professionals. Science professionals have a science degree preferably a PhD in a science discipline, with credentials in research and science education. I have to EMPHASIZE the word research.

Now you have probably heard why former UP chancellor Flor Lacanilao says why our science research culture sucks! Many of our science PhDs think that their dissertation caps their careers!

Research and the various checks that come with its practice like peer review is the way that science corrects itself. Now ONE OF THE MAJOR REASONS why our textobooks are filled with errors is that the writers of these textbooks even if they have PhDs simply don't do research. They don't do science at all. They don't realize that scientific theory develops and some are even falsified. These writers just rehash outdated textbook concepts.

As for the PDI, that blurb will be served well if it sends its science contributors to science journalism class. The first task is to train these journalists to think like a scientist. As a science prof myself, I find it difficult to train students to think scientifically. I exert extra effort to do so since that is my job.

Perhaps this is the first step to a science-literate Filipino society. And we should see less of this dependence on psychics and other charlatans by people.

blackshama said...

I don't know why Calipjo-Go is upset by the word "titi". The late Professor Ben Miranda of UP, who got a grant from the then NSDB to write a Filipino science dictionary once remarked that this word is the most objective term to describe that part of the male anatomy if we are going to teach biology in Filipino.

Prof Miranda also said that the most objective term in Filipino for the female external genitalia is "puki".

Semen is "tamod" and not "semilya" or "punla" which is best used to refer to activities in fish farming or planting vegetables.

Sexual intercourse is "pagtatalik".

Science demands objectivity. Prudery and class elitism (conditioned by our colonial experience) has to be cast aside.

baycas2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baycas2 said...

The reign of error in Philippine textbooks can be read .

The Rain of Error in Philippine Textbooks (a reaction to a July 9 PDI full-page ad):

Authors Lalunio, Ril, and Villafuerte of “Hiyas sa Pagbasa 5” fame would have been wiser (or would have possessed enough brains) to include in their book the word KUPAL (smegma preputii, the medical term for the white, creamy material underneath the foreskin of the penis) and the words SUPOT (foreskin or the prepuce – the skin covering the head of the penis or the glans penis) and SUPÓT (uncircumcised) along with the word TITI.

It is in the age group of the Grade Fivers* that boys get to be enlightened that in an uncircumcised penis there could be an accumulation of considerable amount of smegma around the head or the glans of the penis. This accumulation may lead to irritation in the area and possibly may give rise to infection. Effective cleansing of the area…if ever the prepuce can already be pushed back to expose the glans (TAGPOS, an additional word for the book) or if already circumcised (TULÍ, another potential word that can be added)…has to be inculcated in the young minds not only to prevent infections but also to avoid penile cancer later in life.

TITI may be abominable to some (esp. to Mr. Antonio Calipjo Go) if considered alone but alongside KUPAL and SUPOT or SUPÓT, the seemingly objectionable word may prove to be relevant after all because…

Maaaring mangapal
Nakaririmarim na kupal
Sa loob ng supot
Ng mga titing supót

*most Filipino boys aged around 11 years are subjected to circumcisions

Tiki said...

Was the telescope example the only error that Go mentioned? Weren't there dozens of errors mentioned in his ads?

Does one need a PhD to identify these errors? Take a look at the errors listed in his ads and see if this point is true.

Is it reasonable to argue that public school students should learn about "lowlifes" because they will end up as "lowfiles" anyway?

Finally, how does "academic freedom" and "freedom of speech" make these errors correct?

DJB Rizalist said...

One gets what one pays for. How much History or Math or Science do you think anybody could put into a text book at P30 each, which is what the public schools averages per textbook?

Academic freedom does not correct these errors, which are mostly typos anyway that are only funny if one assumes they were written intentionally out of sheer ignorance.

This particular example of the telescope is just to demonstrate that not even the error finders are correct all the time!

Which is why, at least in the private sector, it is the market that decides and causes the general improvement of textbook products over time by punishing inferior manufacturers.

I think Go represents interests who want the government to take over the industry -- again -- as it did in the olden times, when the getting was REALLY good at DECS as far as corruption.

Tiki said...

Are they also sold for P30 each in local book stores?

Re: academic freedom, I am reacting to what you wrote about what editorialists ignore.

The fact that you gave a "particular example" puts your argument into question. Why did you ignore the other examples?

Your argument about the market deciding actually supports Go, because he is part of that market.

This makes your last statement highly questionable, unless you can prove that Go is working for the government.

DJB Rizalist said...

The particular example proves that some people who think they are smart (like Go) and the editorialists who supported him, are actually ignoramuses. They laugh at what they claim are errors, which are not. PDI even wrote an editorial once in which it claimed that Ed San Juan "invented" the Moon Buggy and that some Pinoy named Flores invented the fluorescent bulb.

It's just funny because a pot is calling the kettle black.

As for my last statement, you are maybe not aware of the history of copyrights in this country, which is why you call it "highly questionable".