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Location: Mandaluyong, Philippines

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades.

So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh.

The Japanese did not like the taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer.

However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, in to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.

Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?

If you were consulting the fish industry, what would you recommend?

As soon as you reach your goals, such as finding a wonderful mate, starting a successful company, paying off your debts or whatever, you might lose your passion. You don't need to work so hard so you relax. You experience the same problem as lottery winners who waste their money, wealthy heirs who never grow up and bored homemakers who get addicted to prescription drugs.

Like the Japanese fish problem, the best solution is simple. It was observed by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950's. "Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment".

The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a good problem. If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are happy. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged.

Therefore, instead of avoiding challenges, jump into them. Beat the heck out of them. Enjoy the game. If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge and more help.

If you have met your goals, set some bigger goals. Once you meet your personal or family needs, move onto goals for your group, the society, even mankind. Don't create success and lie in it. You have resources, skills and abilities to make a difference."

So, put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Producer Says 'Indy 4' Will Not Rely on CGI

Indiana Jones producer Frank Marshall is determined to shun the current trends in movie making - insisting the upcoming fourth installment of the hit franchise will avoid using computer effects.

Frank is adamant the sequel to the hit Harrison Ford adventure franchise will retain the tradition of its classic forerunners by utilizing real stunt work instead of high-tech graphics, giving it the feel of a B-movie. He says, "We didn't have computer effects in those days, we couldn't easily erase things and I think one of the unfortunate by-products of the computer age is that it makes filmmakers lazy. You become more creative when you have to hide ramps with a tree rather than erase it later as you can today.

In Raiders Of The Lost Ark, that's a real ball rolling behind him so Harrison really is in some danger running in front of that; these are real situations and that adds to the excitement and the creative energy on the set. When you start getting into computers you get fantastical situations like in The Matrix or movies like that. We don't want that, we want exciting heroism, we want seat-of-your-pants, skin-of-your-teeth action. We didn't have all the money in the world on the first films and we want to keep that B-movie feel. We want to make Indiana Jones 4 like we made the first three.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Opus from 'Bloom County' returns
Popular penguin to get own comic strip after 8 years

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is resurrecting Opus the penguin from the 1980s comic strip "Bloom County" for a new series to appear in Sunday comics this November.

THE SUNDAY-ONLY STRIP, to be called "Opus," begins Nov. 23, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

It will be syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group.

A 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winner for editorial cartooning, Breathed stopped drawing the daily "Bloom County" in 1989 when it was running in nearly 1,300 papers.

He began a Sunday strip, "Outland," with many of the same characters — including the penguin's hairball-hacking sidekick, Bill the cat — but quit that in 1995.

Partly chalking it up to artistic burnout, Breathed said at the time that cartoonists "die and go to cartoon hell for working beyond that magic intersection of art and fun."

He has since written children's books and sold the rights to an Opus movie that could start filming by the end of the year.

'Bloom County' Character to Star In Berkeley Breathed's New Strip
By Reilly Capps
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 9, 2003; Page C01

After eight years away from newspapers, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is creating a new comic strip called "Opus," starring his beloved penguin of the same name.

The Washington Post Writers Group, which will syndicate the strip, is expected to officially announce Breathed's return this Sunday. The reclusive Breathed, who rarely gives interviews, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

The new strip will appear on Sundays in The Washington Post starting Nov. 23.

Breathed drew the wildly popular "Bloom County" and "Outland" comic strips, which introduced the world to the naive Opus and his hairball-spitting sidekick, Bill the Cat. "Opus" will run on Sundays only and will fill half a page in the comics section.

"Bloom County" began in 1980, and Breathed won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987. He quit drawing "Bloom County" in 1989, when the comic was running in nearly 1,300 newspapers, according to Editor & Publisher magazine. Shortly after that, he began drawing "Outland," a Sunday-only strip featuring many of the same characters, but retired that strip in 1995.

Since leaving the world of newspaper comics, Breathed has written children's books, including "Goodnight Opus" and the upcoming "Flawed Dogs." He sold the rights to a movie about Opus to Dimension Films. The movie will be written and directed by Breathed, and could start filming before the end of the year.

Breathed has lamented the state of modern newspaper cartooning, which has had to deal with papers fitting more and more comics into a smaller and smaller space.

"Pity the poor modern comic page," Breathed said in a 2001 interview with the humor newspaper the Onion. "Frames the size of thumbnails. . . . It's just a page of inky blur that only a 10-year-old's eyes could focus upon."

At the National Cartoonists Society meeting this May, he seemed itching to return to his old broadsheet format.

"I can't say it wouldn't be appealing to bring back Opus to the Sunday pages," Breathed told those gathered, according to Editor & Publisher. "It was painful to sit through the war without a public voice."

After that, rumors began circulating on the Web of his imminent return, and the prospect of a once-a-week dose of Opus has been welcomed by his fans.

"It's one of those strips that, when it left the comic pages, the comic pages were quite a bit lesser for its absence," says Harry Knowles, editor in chief of the Web's Ain't It Cool News and an avid fan of newspaper comics. "I think there's been three great strips that have gone away over the last five, 10 years that I really miss: 'Bloom County,' 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'The Far Side.' Those are the three strips that never should have ceased."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Black hole sings the deepest B-flat

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — Big black holes sing bass. One particularly monstrous black hole has probably been humming B-flat for billions of years, but at a pitch no human could hear, let alone sing, astronomers said Tuesday.

"THE INTENSITY of the sound is comparable to human speech," said Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, England. But the pitch of the sound is about 57 octaves below the middle C at the middle of a standard piano keyboard.

This is far, far deeper than humans can hear, the researchers said, and they believe it is the deepest note ever detected in the universe.

The sound is emanating from the Perseus Cluster, a giant clump of galaxies 250 million light-years from Earth. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers), the distance light travels in a year.

Fabian and his colleagues used NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory to investigate X-rays coming from the cluster’s heart. Researchers presumed that a supermassive black hole, with perhaps 2.5 billion times the mass of our sun, lay there, and the activity around the center bolstered this assumption.

Black holes are powerful matter-sucking drains in space, and astronomers believe most galaxies, including our own Milky Way, may contain black holes at their centers. Black holes have not been directly observed, because their gravitational pull is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it.

So researchers have concentrated on what happens around the edges of black holes, just before the matter is pulled in. When scientists trained the Chandra observatory on the center of Perseus last year, they saw concentric ripples in the cosmic gas that fills the space between the galaxies in the cluster.

"We're dealing with enormous scales here," Fabian said in a telephone interview. "The size of these ripples is 30,000 light-years."

A color-coded X-ray image shows roughly the same area covered in the image above, with the bright surroundings of a black hole at the center of a figure-8-shaped pair of dark cavities.

Fabian said the ripples were caused by the rhythmic squeezing and heating of the cosmic gas by the intense gravitational pressure of the jumble of galaxies packed together in the cluster. As the black hole pulls material in, he said, it also creates jets of material shooting out above and below it, and it is these powerful jets that create the pressure that creates the sound waves.

To scientists, he said, pressure ripples equate to sound waves. By calculating how far apart the ripples were, and how fast sound might travel there, the team of researchers determined the musical note of the sound.

Fabian said the notion of singing black holes might well be extrapolated to other galaxies, but not necessarily to the Milky Way.

Chandra has looked at X-ray emissions from the Milky Way's center, and astronomers believe there is a black hole there, but because it is a young, rambunctious galaxy with lots of activity at its heart, this may interfere with any note our black hole might sing, Fabian said.

Batanes isle’s only 2 jeepneys collide
By Jack Castano; The Philippine Star

SABTANG, Batanes — This island-municipality has proved too small for its two passenger jeepneys.

The two vehicles collided recently, completely paralyzing Sabtang’s fledgling transportation business.

The Land Transportation Office’s only employee, Severino Calvez Jr., who holds office in the main island of Batan about two hours away by sea, had been invited by local police to effect the arrest and apprehension of the erring drivers of the two jeepneys. The arrest took place around two weeks after the incident.

Calvez identified the drivers involved in the collision in sitio Maho, Barangay Savidug as Reynaldo Cultura and Luis Gabilo Jr.

According to Calvez, Cultura was driving the jeepney owned by the Sabtang Fisherman’s Cooperative (Safideco), while Gabilo drove the other vehicle owned by Francisco Ramos.

Although both vehicles suffered only minor damage, Calvez has suspended operations of the two jeepneys.

Calvez found out the Safideco jeep had been operating for more than a year without the necessary registration and/or franchise papers. Gabilo, on the other hand, was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor.

In the meantime, the public has to flex their leg muscles hiking to and from this town proper to the outlying villages: three kilometers to Savidug; eight kilometers to Chavayan; five kilometers to Nakanmuan, and eight kilometers to Sumnanga.