Page 1





he fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics offer us ways of doing more with less, breakthroughs which aim to improve our quality of life. From dumbfounding drones to protein partners, here are some innovations which have promising applications in our developing communities. AltitudeX and SkyEye Altitude X and Skyeye are customized aerial drones independently developed by teams of geodetic and software engineers. These drones are hovered over a specific area to take aerial photographs which are then appended with geographical information, a process known as geotagging. Applications in responsible mining are envisioned in realizing the full potential of these startups in the Philippine setting. Bathala A group of engineering students from Mapúa University has developed a multi-functional appliance, Bathala. Its ingenuity lies in its capability of harnessing electricity from released heat energy in the cooking or boiling process. Indigenous peoples who face inclusivity problems with the national power grid can greatly benefit from this, shedding light on their plight. Read more in Catalyst 2018


Facts are universal truths or an information perceived in reality. It has been a part of everyone’s lives. However, these pieces of information undergo changes in validity and truthfulness. After many years of development, people have accomplished a lot of things in science. These progressions include the strengthening of different studies, laws and theories which brings an end to a lot of scientific ideas which were believed in for so long. Here are some scientific facts that changed over the years. THEN: Pluto is the ninth planet of the Solar System When Pluto was discovered, it was thought to be one of the Solar System planets but was demoted as a “dwarf planet”. Several rumors have spread about Pluto being reinstated as a part of the planets but according to NASA, it is still a dwarf planet. THEN: Diamond is the hardest substance in the world For so long, diamond had been the hardest substance on Earth earning a 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale until researchers from Australian National University had synthesized a harder form of diamond called Lonsdaleite. Samples of Lonsdaleite from meteorites originally register between 7 and 8 on the Mohs Scale but the compressed form of this material registers greater than 10. THEN: Great Wall of China is the only visible manmade object from space It was believed that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) declared that the Great Wall cannot be seen in the Lower Earth Orbit which is the first 161 to 322 km of space. In 2003, Yang Liwei, a Chinese astronaut who is the first person to be sent by the Chinese Space Progam in space said that he could not see the Great Wall when he was sent to space.

Back To thE Future and Beyond JOHN PETER HIMOR


ith each passing day, we get closer to living in the future. Just last October, a humanoid robot named Sophia has been granted a Saudi Arabian citizenship, which seems like the first step to an android integration to our community. Sophia and other artificial intelligence are just few of the countless inventions that were foreseen by science fiction. Such uncanny predictions by progressive writers bring about the question: which of the things I read about today will I be seeing in the future?

Some of our common luxuries now, such as the simple iPad or video chatting, were once regarded far-fetched and futuristic, considering the technology of the time. The 1968 Arthur Clarke novel (and similarly named companion movie) 2001: A Space Odyssey introduced the concept of an electric “Newspad” which the astronauts use to read the news from Earth, its purpose and design not unlike that of the iPad. The Machine Stops by E.R. Forster in 1909 predicted the possibility of video chatting, almost a century before the onset of Skyping or Facetiming. Some other machines that we now take for granted, such as earphones and flat-screen TVs (Fahrenheit 451 in 1953) or virtual reality headpieces (Back to the Future in 1989), were initially just figments of the mind before the science community has caught up with the idea.

Science fiction “predicting the future” is effective because they use science and technology as an attempt to solve contemporary problems and answer unsolved mysteries. Many inventions that are now commonplace were first conceptualized by forward-looking writers that usually do possess the required expertise to materialize their ideas. Although a bit rough at Several sci-fi books and movies the edges, these ideas soon inspire cover global phenomena caused the science community to turn them by hyper-industrialization or into reality. uncontrolled development, such as a caste system society (Brave New World), high surveillance (1984), or

even the dominance of self-aware artificial intelligence (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Although these concepts seem to be too far-fetched, these events may well occur if development takes a turn and diverts from its main purpose of building a better society. It is easy to get caught up in the appeal of the future, but we must remember to stay grounded and focus on the problems of here and now, thus preventing problems that may arise in the future. The realm of science fiction is deeply engaging and immersive, but its appeal is clearly beyond its entertainment value. Sci-fi provides a source of inspiration for the community to model their inventions on, as well as a mirror for the state of our future due to our technological advances. It is an active, predictive, and exciting type of fiction, which makes us ponder for what lies ahead. So, as we wait for the future to arrive, let’s all pick up a sci-fi book and ask: which of the things I read about today will I be seeing in the future?


he 2014 film “Interstellar” was a blockbuster that grossed $47.2 million worldwide. The movie delves into black holes, wormholes, and alien planets. This movie is fiction, but it throws a lot of science on the screen for space enthusiasts to enjoy. The director, Christopher Nolan, ensured that the movie’s storyline was as close as possible to the complex physics that govern the universe. So where did the movie get the science right and where did it take narrative liberty? Here are a few of the key plot points and the verdict from the scientists (Warning! Spoilers ahead.)

#1 A PLANET ORBITING VERY CLOSE TO GARGANTUA COULD ENDURE THE RESULTING GRAVITATIONAL FORCES Verdict: True The planet could somehow endure the resulting gravitational forces despite being very close to Gargantua (which was about 100 million solar masses, placing it firmly as a supermassive black hole). Physicist Kip Thorne himself thought it was intuitively

impossible, but after a few hours of calculations proved that it is in fact, possible. He explained,” The black hole needs to be spinning very fast, but is possible for the spin to be fast enough for a planet in the necessarily close, stable, circular orbit to not be ripped apart.”

#2 A WORM HOLE COULD OPEN IN SPACE, PROVIDING A SHORT CUT FROM ONE SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE TO THE OTHER Verdict: True Worm holes are theoretical passages through spacetime that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe. The idea is that if you think of space-time less as a void than as a sort of fabric— which it is—it could, under the right circumstances fold over on itself. Punching the necessary holes in that fabric so that you could make your universe-transiting trip would be a bit more difficult. That would require what’s known as negative energy—an energetic state less than zero—to create the portal and keep it open, says Princeton cosmologist J. Richard Gott.



INTERSTELLAR Carol Dianne Olivar

BLACK MIRROR s 0 3 e 0 6

r e v i e w


lack Mirror, a Netflix sci-fi television anthology series, is known for its unconventional way of presenting dilemmas of the modern world. It showcases both the ups and downs of technology and the consequences that come along with it in the society. Black Mirror’s general theme of techno paranoia was explicitly shown on its Season 3 finale, Hated in the Nation. It is set in the near-future in which certain species of animals were extinct due to drastic climate change. In the setting, technological advancements were made to intervene on ecological imbalances brought about by the phenomena. The British government developed Autonomous Drone Insects or ADIs, which are essentially robot bees that aid in pollination to balance the ecosystem. The story started to unfold when a controversial journalist was found murdered. A team lead by Karin Parke investigates together with her new tech-savvy assistant, Blue. After another victim, their investigation leads them to tracking a hashtag “#DeathTo” on Twitter. The duo discovered that the “#DeathTo” tweets are somewhat votes for the next victim and that the ADIs or the robot bees were the instruments for the killings. An anonymous hacker gained access to the government’s project and had full control of thousands of ADI swarms. The government’s secret was then exposed— the ADIs were capable of facial recognition which enables them to kill a certain person. As they try to uncover the mastermind of the killings, they soon discover the hacker’s main purpose: kill the social media users who used #DeathTo. Read more at CATALYST XVIII



hen you’re running out of headspace for all the tasks at hand, google keep will keep you in check. You can tick off finished tasks, and archive whole virtual sticky notes for future references. You’ll never miss a task again with this app.

stuck in a cycle of lack Fhelpeeling of motivation? Forest can with that. The app has a


reward system that rewards users by planting a tree in their virtual forest every time they complete a 25-minute work cycle. Your virtual seed dies if you leave the app during the 25-minute period.Keep planting, kids!

Must-Have Apps for Kids Gabrielle Nunag


f you’re having trouble waking up for school, Rocket Alarm is here to jolt you wide awake. It works by having you complete a game before you can snooze it. There’s no place for those immune to alarm clocks here! The app also offers customizable wallpapers that are delightful to wake up to.

re you itching to watch that A K-drama you love without subtitles? Get the headstart

takes approximately 21 days to Iistform a new habit. Habit Tracker the perfect app to keep you on

you need with Duolingo. It teaches you with both written lessons and dictation using your phone’s microphone, all with a sleek and easy-to-use interface. Absolutely free, with 26 languages to choose from.

course. It’s a fully customizable app that can help cultivate good habits. How it works is you set habits and how often they should be completed. You can also set reminders and place inspirational quotes for each habit category.

Cost-Effective Phones at Different Price Points >>Read at CATALYST XVIII

na! hpaaktu ata DIY

By: Jude Toledo


hen you think of potatoes, the first things that actually go to your mind are fries, chips, and mashed potatoes since this starchy tuber contains carbohydrates necessary for energy just like rice. However, these earth eggs are actually more than just a side dish. Here are some experiments that you can do with potatoes:

What to do:

POTATO BATTERY What you need:

Potatoes Zinc-plated nail Copper wire (insulator removed) Alligator clips LED

1. Clean at least 2 potatoes. 2. Cut two slits on the potatoes slightly away from one another. 3. Insert the zinc-plated nail into one slit and the copper wire onto the other, while making sure that the two metals won’t touch. 4. Clip one end of one alligator clip to the zinc-plated nail of the first potato and the other end to the copper wire of the second potato. 5. Clip one end of another alligator clip to the copper wire of the first potato and the other end to the positive probe of the LED. The positive probe of an LED is the longer one. 6. Clip one end of another alligator clip to the zincplated nail of the second potato and the other end to the negative probe of the LED. The negative probe of an LED is the shorter one. 7. Notice that the LED lights up the moment that you put the clip on the probe. 8. If the light isn’t sufficient yet, add more replicated of parts 1 to 4 and create a circuit. This will give more power to the LED and will become brighter.

What is happening?!/

Biodegradable Plastic film making: What to do:

POTATO Bioplastic What you need:

Potato starch 250mL beaker Distilled Water 0.1M HCl 0.1M NaOH Petridish 25mL graduated cylinder pH paper Hot plate

1.Put 2.5g of the starch in the 250mL beaker. Add 25mL of distilled water, and 3mL 0.1M HCl then stir to mix. 2.Add 2mL of glycerol then mix. 3.Heat the solution in hot plate and boil for 15 minutes. 4.Check the pH of the solution using pH paper. The solution is expected to give red color on the paper. Add enough amount of 0.1M NaOH (around 3mL) to neutralize the solution, making the pH paper green. 5.Pour the solution into the petridish then spread. Add some food coloring for added aesthetic effect. 6.Leave to dry for a few days.

What is happening?

Potato Starch Making What you need:

100g of clean, peeled potatoes Grater Strainer Distilled Water Bowl Paper towel 500 mL Beaker 100mL graduated cylinder

What to do:

1.Grate the clean potatoes. 2.Put the grated potatoes in the bowl then pour 100 mL of distilled water. Lightly massage the potatoes and add 100 mL of distilled water more. Do this twice. 3.Strain the mixture into the 500 mL beaker. After some time, potato starch will settle at the bottom. Leave the beaker for 1 hour. 4.Decant the liquid and clean the starch produced by pouring distilled water and mixed thoroughly. Leave for 30 minutes to allow starch to settle at the bottom. 5.Decant the liquid and clean again 2 to 3 times. 6.Put the starch on the paper towel and dry for few days. You may also use oven (180oC) to dry the starch quickly.

POTATO GLUE Potato glue making: What you need:

Potato starch Pan Hotplate Stirrer Water

What to do:

1.Heat two and a half cups of water at low temperature heating. 2.Add one-fourth cup of potato starch to the water. 3.Continuously stir the solution using a stirrer. Do this until you get the right viscosity and consistency. 4.Release from heat then cool. 5.The potato glue can now be used as an adhesive.

What is happening?

Katal 18  
Katal 18