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Monday, 20 March 2017 11:39

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — I rarely read newspapers or magazines here because they contain little or nothing at all about the Philippines, unless El Presidente is cursing about the United Nations’ meddling on his “war on drugs.” You get “news” about our homeland on Facebook from yellow or decolores trolls — one trying to outdo the other in fomenting “alternative facts”, and half-truths bordering on half-lies. I’d rather stick to Filipino newspapers, given out for free at Seafoods City or any Filipino-run store for real news and forthright commentaries that enthrall the mind, especially in the fields of politics and economics.

While waiting for my ride after watching “Logan”, I browsed over a magazine, “Newsmax”, published in this lazy city whose editor-in-chief is Ken Chandler. There’s a page on little-known facts that got my attention. I thought I’d share them with you.

- Hershey’s milk chocolate has reduced its sugar content by 40% after a breakthrough that enables it to use sugar without affecting taste.

- There were 1.79 billion users who logged on to Facebook during the third quarter of 2016. In 2012, the number was less than 1 billion.

- Valentinos don’t shy away from Valentine’s Day that last February 14, 250 million roses were purchased.

- For those who love to smoke, Philip Morris manufactures 870 billion sticks of cigarettes annually.

- There are approximately 99,000 people who die of hospital-contracted each year, nearly three times the number who perish in car accidents.

- There is 1-in-6,000 chance that a person alive today will reach 100 years old. But a child born today has a 1-in-3 chance of reaching the century mark.

- About immigrants, seven percent of 12-k schoolchildren in the United States have at least one undocumented parent residing illegally in the U.S. Some 3.9 million students have undocumented parents, up from 3.6 million in 2009.

- Here’s one for the self-centered dudes: the number of fatal accidents while taking selfies has risen from 15 and 39 in 2014 and 2015, respectively, to 73 in 2016. Researchers say that selfie-takers are dangerously perching on cliffs and other lofty vistas which tragically have them slipping and plunging to their deaths. Male fatalities outnumber the female, 3-1.

- There were 11 U.S. presidents who served during the span of Fidel Castro’s dictatorial rein in Cuba.

While Ferdinand E. Marcos was the longest-serving president of the soon-to-be Republican States of the Philippines, how long do you think will El Presidente sit as hefe del fuerza armada de Filipinas?

Here are other thoughts to contend: After actively exploring Alaska since 2008, Spanish oil company, Repsol, announced it has made the largest onshore oil discovery in 30 years — a 1.2 billion barrel find on Alaska’s north slope.

Daylight saving time (DST) - the Philippines imposed DST during the summer to save energy during the Marcos regime — was adopted to save energy. But research has shown that changing the clocks has little or no effect on energy use. Recent studies show that biannual time changes can harm your health. Immediately after an hour of sleep is lost during the March time change, the number of strokes, heart attacks and car accidents all go up. DST also does not increase consumer spending, as some have argued.

French-Canadian archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars, back in the late 1970s, discovered evidence of human habitation dating back 24,000 years in caves in the Yukon. For a dozen years, he published periodicals about his findings, but other scientists didn’t believe him. Most believed the widely-accepted theory that the first humans crossed over to Alaska and the Yukon from Siberia 13,000 years ago. Now, another archaeological team has confirmed Cinq-Mars’s findings, and the other theory has been set aside.