Categories
History

SOUTHEAST ASIAN HISTORY

Southeast Asian countries, which largely include China and its neighboring countries, are greatly known for their being highly cultural and traditional. This basically imposes the idea that suggests that such countries depend much on how their ancestors tried to manage their communities through the utilization of religious principles alongside the oldest guidelines that are provided by their ‘elders’. Considering their background culture as a huge element towards the particular progress that they would want to incur, such regions give high regard to direction and proper guidelines that are provided to them through the history of their people. As noted, imperialist aggression shattered the fond dreams of the Chinese about learning from the West. It was very odd — why were the teachers always committing aggression against their pupil? The Chinese learned a good deal from the West, but they could not make it work and were never able

to realize their ideals (Mao Tse Tung, 3). This is the reason why the Chinese nation strongly depends on the aspects of communism and the principles by which it directs the society. In relation to this matter, this is practically the reason why the Chinese community [and all other nations noted to be related to their race] specifically follow the administration’s direction. They do believe that the constricts provided through the governance under a communist administration would provide them the chance to follow the path towards progress. Between the years 1945 towards 1947, this was evidently shown through the lifestyle of the people within the said region in Asia. Practically, this change has affected the overall economic condition of the country. People had the chance to seek the manner by which they were to actually take a role in relation to the path of progress that the country’s government wants to take as dictated by the administrators. Relatively though, while they were given the option to become excellent in what they are good in, they were not given the liberty to chose what they want to be excellent in. Nevertheless, this form of manipulation specifically boosted the economic status of the nations in the region.

            Children are categorized according to what they can do, lead to schools that help them perfect the said conditions of expertise. They are directed to become the perfect individuals who could make the society they are living in particularly ‘a better place to live in’. In a way, this approach of governance is considered as a restriction on the manner by which the rights of the people to freedom is recognized. Relatively though, for the administrators, this approach was one of the reasons why China and all its neighboring countries were able to withstand the different conditions that the years beyond 1947 offered them. Overall, it could be realized that even though the approach of the western countries towards progress was different, the path chosen by the Southeast Asians have become the best choice for their administration and their people as they embrace development towards a new and modern age.

References:

Mao Tse Tung. On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship: In commemoration of the twenty-eighth anniversary of the communist party of China. Selected Works of Mao Tse Tung.

1900: A Preview of the Twentieth Century.

Categories
History

Őtzi: Uncovering the Iceman

In September of 1991 two hikers in the Őtzal Alps near South Tyrol, Italy came across the frozen body of a man. Although the hikers first suspected that it was the body of someone who had recently died, it turned out to be the corpse of a man who had been frozen in that spot for thousands of years. The frozen was given the nickname Őtzi because of the region where it was discovered, although he also became known as the Iceman. Researchers believe that Őtzi is over 5000 years old, and that he lived during the Neolithic period known as the Copper Age. Because his body was so well-preserved in the ice and snow, scientists have been able to learn many things about how he lived, and even about how he died.

            Although the elements eventually stripped away all of Őtzi’s hair, some of his hairs were found stuck in his clothing, and researchers have been able to determine that he had short, dark, curly hair that had been recently trimmed prior to his death (Conklin, 2005, p.137). Some of Őtzi’s clothes were damaged or destroyed during the process of removing him from the ice, but the remnants of what was destroyed as well as the articles of clothing that were preserved offered many clues about his life. Őtzi appeared to be well-prepared for traveling, as he was wearing soft leather shoes and a jacket made of leather or animal hide (Conklin, p.137). He had been carrying some sort of large backpack, though it had been damaged over the centuries, so it is not clear what was inside it, although it does offer evidence that Őtzi was traveling for some purpose (Conklin, p.137).

            Őtzi was wearing a small leather pouch that contained several items, such as pieces of flint, some unfinished arrowheads, grass string, and a hole punch or awl that may have been used for sewing leather (iceman.it, n.d.). In addition to the items in the pouch, Őtzi was carrying a large bow that had not been strung yet, a flint knife in a grass sheath, and a copper axe. Although the people who have studied Őtzi have used a number of different techniques to determine how old he is and to learn about his health and his way of life, the copper axe offers some clues. Őtzi was alive in the period known as the Copper Age, but in the typical settlement that people from that period often lived, it would not have been common for everyone to have copper axes or other tools (Conklin, p.135). Some researchers believe that this axe is evidence that Őtzi was an important person, and may have been a shaman, a medicine man, or some other significant figure among his people (Hales, 2000, p.86). Along with the items of clothing and tools that were found with Őtzi, researchers also found several different types of food, such as pieces of animal meat and pieces of plum or some other form of fruit. The presence of the fruit may indicate that Őtzi died in autumn, when the growing season had ended but fresh fruit was still available (Hales, p.86).

            There were a number of areas that had been settled in the region between what is now Switzerland and Italy, and the people of this period usually lived by farming and hunting. Agriculture would not have been particularly advanced, but archaeologists have found evidence that people raised sheep and goats, planted grains and other crops, and had carts with wheels and other basic farming tools. These people had the capacity to cook and to bake bread, and there was evidence that Őtzi ate a significant amount of grains in his life, as the grains had worn down his teeth (iceman.it, n.d.).

            Researchers used a number of scientific techniques to study Őtzi. Although the existence of his axe made it clear right away that he was at least several thousand years old, it was not until Carbon-14 dating techniques were used that it was possible to make a fairly accurate assessment of his age. The results of the test showed that Őtzi had lived sometime between 3350 and 3100 B.C., and had been trapped in that spot for over 5,000 years (iceman.it, n.d.). Other studies of his internal organs showed that he still had food in his system when he died, meaning that he had eaten recently, and that he showed signs of parasitic infections (Conklin, p.138). Some of the plants and food items Őtzi had with him may have been intended for use as medicine to fight symptoms of parasites.

            X-rays of Őtzi’s body showed a number of interesting things, including the fact that he had signs of arthritis in his hips, knees, and ankles. The most significant find uncovered by the X-rays, however, was the presence of a small flint spearhead or arrowhead embedded below his left shoulder (Gay and Whittington, 2002, p.20). The discovery of this spearhead has led researchers to believe that Őtzi may have been attacked while traveling, and that his death was a result of blood loss (Gay and Whittington, p.20). It is unlikely that it will ever be known for certain how Őtzi died, but this theory seems as plausible as any other possibility. Other tests and studies have determined that Őtzi was approximately 45 years old at the time of his death, which would have been a relatively old age for a man of his era.

            It is not known exactly which culture Őtzi lived in, though there were several different cultures scattered throughout the region that had developed the use of stone and metal tools and the ability to make ceramics. The museum exhibit featuring Őtzi’s body also makes information available about how he and people from his time lived. The cultures from this time and place are described as “cults of the dead,” and funeral ceremonies, burial rituals, and graves were all central parts of the culture (iceman.it, n.d.). Őtzi’s people buried important items with the dead, such as weapons and tools, so that the spirits of the dead would be prepared for the afterlife. Some people of this time buried bodies in mass graves, and others built stone crypts. The graves of the dead would be visited for prayers and rituals on a regular basis. Őtzi had a number of tattoos on his back and legs, which may have been put there as part of some sort of religious ceremony, or in the belief that they would help with the pain of the arthritis he had in those areas (Gay and Whittington, p.21).

            The settlements and communities of the Copper Age had other ceremonial sites besides graves, and religion was a central part of life for people from Őtzi’s time period. The people of this time would have worshipped the spirits of deceased ancestors and engaged in rituals to commune with the spirit world and to ask for acceptance in the afterlife (iceman.it, n.d.). Natural forces, such as the wind and rain, would be believed to be controlled by the gods. Because Őtzi was carrying the copper axe, it is possible that he was a religious figure among his people, and he may have been traveling on some important mission or quest. It is impossible to know everything about his life, but the remarkable condition of his preserved body has mean that Őtzi has been able to tell us many things about how people lived thousands of years ago.

Works Cited

Conklin, Wendy. Mysteries in History. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Resources, 2005. Print.

Gay, Kathlyn, and Christine Whittington. Body Marks: Tattooing, Piercing, and Scarification. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2002. Print.

Hales, Sheila. Developing Literacy Skills: Pack Unit 1. Oxford, UK: Heinemann, 2000. Print. “Ötzi – the Iceman | Ötzi – South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.” Home | Ötzi – South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. N.p., 2013. Web. 15 June 2013.

Categories
Art

The Birth of Art and the Birth of Humanity

For tens of thousands of years humans have expressed themselves through works of art. Human predecessors such as the Neanderthals developed the capacity to make and use tools, but this capacity was limited to practical purposes, such as hunting. As Neanderthals were supplanted by Cro-Magnons, and later by Homo sapiens, the capacity for making and using tools was developed beyond simple practicality. These early humans and their Cro-Magnon predecessors used their tool-making capability to create paintings, sculptures, and architectural works. I see all three of these as forms of artistic expression. With the development of artistry, humans were able to express ideas and emotions that transcended the immediate physical world. Whether the form is sculpture, painting, architecture, or other more contemporary forms, art provides a means for expressing the ideas and emotions that define what it means to be human.

            Whether the form of artistic expression is a small and simple carving or a grand and elaborate architectural creation, each work captures the intention of the artists or artists, and signals to those who view it or who make use of it messages about both the individuals and the culture that produced it. One of the earliest known sculptural works that still exists today is a small carved figurine representing a stylized female form known as the Venus of Willendorf. This carving is believed to be more than 20,000 years old, and clearly shows that artists of the era were able to represent the human form in a realistic manner. This figure of a large-breasted and full-figure female is believed to represent fertility (Strickland and Boswell, 2007. p.4); my impression of this figure is that it may not only represent literal fertility associated with pregnancy and child-birth, but it may represent fertility as associated with health, vitality, and abundance. The female form is well-rounded, but she does not necessarily appear to be pregnant; she may just appear to be well-fed. In time when the challenges of life would have made it difficult for hunter-gatherers to always maintain a steady food supply, it may have been unlikely that many actual women would develop such proportions. In that sense, then, this figure might have represented an ideal, rather than serving as a realistic depiction of the human form.

            From the palm-sized fertility idol the Roman Colosseum, works of art have assumed countless forms, shapes, and sizes. The Colosseum was built for the practical purposes of hosting gladiatorial combat and other events, but it was not designed solely with such practical purposes in mind. While the Colosseum’s design was remarkably efficient, and allowed tens of thousands of people to quickly enter and exit the building (Strickland and Boswell, 2007, p.18), it was also crafted with aesthetic beauty. The Romans developed the capacity to build arches and other architectural features for a variety of uses, and I am just as impressed by the beauty and symmetry of these designs as I am by their functionality and practicality. The Colosseum uses a variety of arches in its design, serving to highlight the significance of the arch to the Romans. The Romans saw the arch as a powerful symbol, infused with “magic” (Strickland and Handy, 2001, n.p.); conquering generals returning from battle would pass through one of these magical arches to “purge themselves of hostility” (Strickland and Handy, 2001, n.p.) as they prepared to leave their military lives behind them. I cannot help but see a connection between the practical, physical strength of the Roman arches and the manner in which they resonated on an emotional level for the Romans, as if their ability to support things in the physical world was mirrored by the manner in which they supported the spiritual and magical components of the Roman culture and imagination.

            Strickland and Handy (2001, p.x) state that “the story of architecture is also the story of human history,” an assertion which only reinforces my sense that art forms such as painting and sculpture are not separate from architecture; rather, all three are simply different forms of art. If architecture is the “story of human history,” so too is the ability to carve fertility idols or paint scenes of hunting expeditions on cave walls. In each of these various forms of art, human beings have expressed their capacity to transcend the moment, and to connect with something larger than themselves. It is this capacity for transcendence that makes us, in fact, human.

Works Cited

Strickland, Carol, and John Boswell. The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History, from Prehistoric to Post-Modern. Kansas City, Mo: Andrews McMeel, 2007. Print.

Strickland, Carol, and Amy Handy. The Annotated Arch: A Crash Course in the History of Architecture. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Pub, 2001. Print.

Categories
History

Geographic and environmental influences on developing civilizations

The geography and environment influenced the development of early civilizations in a great way; this was evidenced in the way the beliefs, the cultures and the practices were coined. Geography and environment influenced the internal characters and perceptions of man during the ancient periods. Elements such as political power, religious belief and economic sustainability during those days were mainly derived from the environmental facets and geographic elements. It is in the light of the above facts that this study highlights how geography and environment influenced human thoughts, societal settings, religious beliefs and politics. The study takes a comparative stance by looking at various regions such as Egypt, India, China, Greece, Western Asia and Rome (Heinrich von Treitschke, 225).

            Geography claims to own scientific thoughts that were cultivated by the ancient people in the above mentioned regions, take a case scenario of climatic difficulties in Egypt due to the desert where the scientific solution available to the Ancient Egyptians was the invention of water irrigations methods that saw them harness water from River Nile for agricultural and domestic purposes. The Egyptian case highlights the advent of hydraulic civilization which was mainly influenced by the environment and climatic conditions.

            In India geographic and climatic patterns affected the not only their settlements but also the rise of political kingdoms and emperors. Climatic elements such as monsoons winds and rainfall patterns around the Himalayan Mountains had a great impact on the peoples believes. The ancient Indians believed that little rainfall was due to their failure to obey their laws of their gods. The geographic vastness of the Indian region can also be attributed to the collapse of early political powers such as Harrapan civilizations which were founded in Mohenjo Dero, historians believe that the collapse of these civilizations was due to poor organization of political power due to the vastness of the region.

Geographical remoteness during the ancient periods calls for the question of geographical proximity, take the case scenario of Greek peninsula and the Greeks located in such regions. The conquest of peninsula by the Turkish influenced the culture of the Greeks who lived in those areas; this therefore explains sources of Greek culture in some Asiatic and Turkish settings. The element of political rivalry in the ancient times was vested on the natural environmental resources and geographical proximity. This is also manifested in the advancement of the Roman Empire into areas of central Europe. The Roman Empire had strong political powers that were consolidated by the rich natural resources and favorable climatic conditions. Heinrich von Treitschke, 225).

            The influence of geography and environment on the development of ancient civilizations was also evidence in the development of art and craft of the ancient periods, take the case scenario of ancient Greek where art was used to communicate the feelings of the people towards the rulers and the climatic changes. Egypt takes a lead in the development as regards to the issue of arts; Pyramids were built to honor the pharaohs where they kept after passing a way with a lot of food preservations(Geraham. Chisholm, 342).

            Hydraulic civilization is better placed to explain the advent and development of ancient China, for instance history shows that early settlements in China started in the along the Yellow River also known as Huang He. The people depended on the river for their livelihoods, natural features such as hills and mountains were believed to be the homes of the gods.

Works cited

Heinrich von Treitschke, Politik,. Leipzig,. This whole chapter on Land und Leute is suggestive.           Vol. 1, p. 225. 2009.

Geraham. Chisholm, The Relativity of Geographic Advantages, Scottish Geog. Mag., Vol. XIII,           No. 9, Sept. 2010.

Categories
American History

A New Look at the Failures and Successes of Reconstruction

The era of U.S. history known as Reconstruction brought rapid and significant changes to the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. While the moderate policies of Abraham Lincoln, and later Andrew Johnson, supported a deliberate and relatively slow process of promoting political and economic change in the South, a more radical contingent of Republicans pushed for rapid change and a virtually complete overhaul of the politics and economics of the South. These Radical Republicans supported the rights of post-slavery Freedmen, affording them the right to vote and to engage in political activity. By most accounts, the era of Reconstruction was a failure, and many of the policies and changes pushed by the Radical Republicans were quickly reversed. Historians disagree about what forces were primarily responsible for the failure of Reconstruction; some maintain that individual and institutional racism undermined the Reconstruction efforts, while others assert that larger economic policies were the root cause of the failure of many components of Reconstruction. The truth seems to lie somewhere in between these competing views or Reconstruction: racism, economics, and politics were all factors in the failure of some aspects of Reconstruction, though it may be too simple to say that any one factor was the most significant, just as it may be an oversimplification to see Reconstruction as a complete failure.

            LeeAnna Keith writes about the battle at the Colfax Courthouse in Louisiana, and points to this event as a tipping point when the efforts by the Radical Republicans to overhaul the political and economic systems of the Southern states began to fail. The Colfax Courthouse had become a symbol to many disgruntled Whites in the South of the newfound political and economic freedoms afforded to the Freedmen (the former slaves) by the Radical Republicans in Congress. Anger and distrust was building among many Whites, and an organized group of men, some of whom belonged to groups like the “Old Time Ku Klux Klan” attacked the Freedmen who were holed up in the Courthouse on April 5, 1873. Dozens, or possibly hundreds, of Blacks were killed in the attack. According to historians such as Keith, this assault and slaughter became a symbol and a rallying cry for the Whites who opposed Reconstruction, and would mark the beginning of a growing movement to bring an end to the changes imposed on the South by Congress.

            Historian Heather Cox Richardson takes a different view on the failures of Reconstruction, claiming that political and economic circumstances in the North had as much or more to do with the situation as did the racism of Southern Whites. Richardson argues that Whites in the North opposed aspects of the labor movement associated with Freedmen, such as the redistribution of property and other decisions that the Northern Whites believed showed special favoritism to Southern Blacks. While many Whites in the North supported the notion of granting “Civil Rights” to Blacks, these rights were specifically about the rights to own property, to vote, to use the legal system, and other similar processes. At the same time, many Whites in the North believed that Freedmen, as well as some politicians, were attempting to write and pass legislation that would afford Blacks privileges that had not been individually earned. The opposition to this was based on the belief that Whites had to earn their own places in society and that the laws should not be used to grant Blacks special favors or privileges.

            Discrimination against Blacks by Northern Whites may not have been as strong or as violent as that of Southern Whites, but many in the North still opposed the idea that Blacks and Whites were socially equal, and believed that Radical Republicans who were trying to enforce the rights associated with labor were also trying to push for social equality for Blacks that was not earned. In a sense, the racism of Southern Whites and Northern Whites helped to undermine Reconstruction, and when combined formed a force of opposition that was too great for the changes of Reconstruction to withstand. Despite the fact that many of the changes brought about by Reconstruction were undone or reversed, however, those few years of relative freedom for many Blacks gave them a glimpse of the possibilities that could be theirs. This realization did not die with the end of Reconstruction, and would serve to support the eventual rebirth of the civil rights movement in the following century. By that measure, then, Reconstruction was not entirely a failure, though it would take nearly a century before the rights of Blacks that had been lost at the end of reconstruction would eventually be restored.

Categories
Astronomy

Impact of Earth’s Atmosphere on Optical Telescope Observations

The importance of visibility when making observations with an optical telescope may be an obvious consideration, but it can also be easy to discount the challenges faced in acquiring a clear image. One of the most potent barriers to optical telescope viewing is the atmosphere of the Earth (Chaisson & McMillan, 2011). Any astronomical observation is subject to the effects of the atmosphere as radiation must pass through it before it can be registered by an Earth-bound telescope. The air acts as a lens that prevents light from reaching an optical telescope at a flat angle and therefore distorts the image from any source outside of the atmosphere. Some common atmospheric effects include blurring and variations in brightness known as twinkling. This problem has been a target of research for much of the existence of optical telescopes, though it took the relatively recent development of launching telescopes into space to escape the effect in totality.

            The deformation of measurable object diameters is the most devastating effect of the atmosphere on observations made through an optical telescope. Diameter has historically been a key variable in the identification of celestial objects and the atmosphere causes refractive distortions that threaten the ability to reliably record such values. The primary cause of atmospheric refraction is the presence of turbulence and the resultant mixing of air components. Turbulence causes sections of air to flow in a way that impacts adjacent streams, resulting in apparent ripples throughout the atmosphere. These alterations can result in the blurs and twinkles that are common problems when making observations with an optical telescope.

            The degree of distortion caused by atmospheric turbulence is variable based on location and time. Accordingly, optical telescopes have been consistently placed in areas that are thought to be the least impacted by the atmospheric factor, such as those with low humidity like deserts and mountain peaks. The latter example has two qualities that are helpful in this cause as high altitudes reduce the amount of atmosphere that light must pass through before reaching the telescope. Additional steps have been taken to minimize this issue in the form of complicated techniques and tools known as advanced optics. However, not even these innovations are immune to the effect on a full-time basis. The development of the Hubble telescope helped to circumvent the confounding influence of the atmosphere completely, though deploying instruments outside of the atmosphere is not a simple task and thus will not be a widely available solution for some time.

            The atmosphere has had such a dramatic impact on astronomic optical imagery that humans have been forced to abandon the planet in order to achieve a desirable quality of representational accuracy. Though space bound telescopes like the Hubble offer the best image, there are several other techniques that allow for a much improved reliability in optical telescope viewing. However, these tools are similarly expensive and difficult to implement. It is possible that the most efficient approaches to the atmospheric problem will come from interferometry and its associated concepts. Turbulence in the air is a form of interference because it is essentially a pressure wave that is interacting with electromagnetic waves. Instruments called interferometers have been developed from this perspective and address the issue by observing the waves from multiple reference points that can then be used to deduce and reduce the impact of interference on visible waveforms.

Reference

Chaisson, E., & McMillan, S. (2011). Astronomy: A beginner’s guide to the universe. (6th ed.).             Benjamin-Cummings Pub Co.

Categories
Astronomy

Interferometry and Problems in Radio Astronomy

The study of the universe would be extremely limited if the only available frame of reference was visible wavelengths. The waves that we interpret as visible colors only comprise a small portion of the entire radioactive spectrum. However, waves of all electromagnetic frequencies can potentially carry valuable information about the nature of the universe and observable reality. For example, radio frequencies have become useful in a manner of applications including serving as the foundation for an eponymous form of astronomy. Radio waves include those that oscillate at a rate of 3 kHz to 300 GHz and are plentiful throughout the observable universe. An assortment of celestial objects has been identified as sources of radio waves (Chaisson & McMillan, 2011) including stars, galaxies, quasars, and pulsars. The most famous source of radio emissions is the Big Bang and findings from radio astronomy helped to uncover the cosmic microwave background (CMB) which is theorized to have originated from the momentous event.

            Radio astronomy uses a variety of advanced tools and techniques to make telescopic observations of radio waves and their sources. However, despite continual advances in the field, much of the information gathered by these procedures would be lost if not for the application of radio interferometry. Interferometry is a group of techniques that employs the idea to reduce and ideally eliminate the effect of interference in readings of electromagnetic radiation. Interference occurs when waves interact to result in summations, subtractions, and other altered states that obscure the characteristics of the initial waveforms. This is a serious threat to the validity of electromagnetic data on every scale, especially that taken from distant sources as the waves have had more time and space to be altered by interference. Fortunately, the study of waves via interferometry can even account for complex interactions in most cases.

            The most important concept supporting the application of radio or other forms of interferometry is that of superposition, which refers to the combination of waveforms. The results of a vast number of wave interactions provide the framework for the application of interferometry as they allow for the identification and removal of changes to waves that have resulted in the form of those that are observed. Radio interferometry was developed in direct response to the difficulties that arose from excessive interference in radio wave observations that was otherwise only thought to be treatable by increasing the size of radio telescopes to unrealistic levels. Radio telescopes were difficult enough to use due to atmospheric resistance and the need to operate at high elevations. Tools known as radio interferometers were implemented to achieve this task by providing a number of reference points in the form of multiple radio telescopes. This system also provides increased signal volume and resolution, though it does require a large distance between telescopes and thus may face an expansion barrier over time.

            Radio astronomy has become a key part of many astronomical endeavors by providing information from a band of wavelengths that would otherwise remain unavailable for human observation. Like all forms of wave observation radio astronomy is prone to the effects of interference. The study of interferometry provides tools and methods to address this issue by examining the effects of superimposition on the observed waves. These influences can then be removed from the equation to reveal a closer approximation of the original waveform. Giant multi-telescope arrangements known as interferometers are used to collect the required information while advanced mathematic programs are used to determine and reduce the influence of interference on astronomical observations of the radio wave bandwidth.

Reference

Chaisson, E., & McMillan, S. (2011). Astronomy: A beginner’s guide to the universe. (6th ed.).             Benjamin-Cummings Pub Co.

Categories
Astronomy

Lunar and Solar Eclipses

Most people on the planet are aware that both the sun and moon can appear to be blocked out at certain times. In both forms the event is known as an eclipse and is a type of syzygy, which is a term that is used to describe the nearly straight-line arrangement of three bodies in a single gravitational system. Eclipses can occur in many kinds of gravitational configurations and are not limited to our observations from Earth, though the terms lunar and solar eclipse are almost universally understood to be in reference to our own moon and sun respectively. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the similarities between solar and lunar eclipses are virtually non-existent beyond these fundamental characteristics. There are many important differences between these observable occlusions of the sun and moon that demonstrate the characteristics that are unique to each event Chaisson & McMillan, 2011).

            A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. The gravitational arrangement in this situation has the moon on the far side of the Earth in reference to the sun. The Earth casts a shadow that obscures the sunlight that would otherwise illuminate the moon for regular viewing. Only a relatively small and especially dark central portion of the shadow known as the umbra can cause a total eclipse, while the larger outer segments of the shadow form the penumbra which is not completely free of solar radiation. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only part of the moon is in the umbra and a penumbral eclipse refers to the darkening of the body while in the penumbra. A total penumbral eclipse is possible when the moon is still completely in the outer shadow, though the side closest to the umbra can still appear to be darker than the rest. Lunar eclipses are the most common to be observed by humans. This prevalence is based on many factors including the availability of viewing access from the planet, as lunar eclipses can be seen from the entire nighttime side of the planet. Also, the total eclipse can last for nearly two hours dependent upon the positioning of the planet, with partial coverage being present for up to four.  

            Solar eclipses are a much rarer observation than their lunar counterparts. A major reason for this scarcity is the fact that the moon is responsible for the occlusion when the relatively tiny body passes between the sun and Earth. The moon casts a shadow in this situation and a total solar eclipse occurs when the umbra reaches the surface of the Earth. The total eclipse will then only be seen by those who are within the area of the Earth covered by the umbra, which lasts for only a short time in any given spot. Should the small area fail to reach the planet then viewers directly in line with the moon would experience an annular eclipse where the sun appears as a bright ring around the smaller circular darkness of the moon. An especially rare solar eclipse is the hybrid type that describes a situation where the eclipse may appear to be annular from one vantage point but total from others. A partial solar eclipse is the most common form to be viewed because it can occur in the penumbra during total eclipse events and it can be the only observable result of a total eclipse when the umbra passes beyond the Earth’s poles. One of the most commonly known differences between solar and lunar eclipses is that you can safely look directly at an occluded moon while doing the same for a solar eclipse could cause serious eye damage.

            It can be tempting to assume that eclipses should occur on a monthly basis due to the orbit of the moon around the Earth. However, these events are far rarer in reality because our planet is not orbiting the sun on the same plane as the moon orbits the Earth. Accordingly, the three bodies will not form a straight line every pass as the moon may be above or below the plane of reference, and an eclipse of either type will not occur on a monthly basis.

Reference

Chaisson, E., & McMillan, S. (2011). Astronomy: A beginner’s guide to the universe. (6th ed.).             Benjamin-Cummings Pub Co.

Categories
Astronomy

Discoveries of Galileo and Support for Copernicus

In the first half of the sixteenth century Nicolaus Copernicus developed the first thorough mathematical model of our solar system as a heliocentric arrangement. However, he was very aware of the resistance he would encounter from Church figures should his theory be published because it was in direct conflict with the traditional geocentric beliefs that are supported by scripture. Additionally, the science behind his theory was revolutionary for the period and Copernicus recognized that he would also be bombarded with criticisms from a variety of scholarly perspectives including philosophical inquiries. Despite his attempts to downplay the theory it would quickly spread by word throughout academic and related channels throughout Europe. Eventually Copernicus would consent to the publishing of his heliocentric model in his famous book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Copernicus would never have to face his fears of questioning as he died before it was released.

            Galileo Galilei became a champion of the Copernican heliocentric model in the early seventeenth century, coming to the defense of the theory as it had become subject to much opposition as the original author had predicted. Galileo found support for the theory through observations using a telescope (Chaisson & McMillan, 2011), one of the most advanced scientific instruments of the time and a luxury not had by his predecessor. The first discovery made by Galileo that favors the heliocentric model over geocentric was made shortly after the dawn of the seventeenth century. He observed that a star later identified as Kepler’s supernova moved in a manner that was incompatible with the theory of an immutable universe as held by the Aristotelian geocentric perspective. A few years later Galileo identified objects moving in line around Jupiter. He saw them disappear and reappear from behind the gas giant and laid the ground for the planet/moon model, a major astronomical discovery that was extremely supportive of the Copernican heliocentric system in comparison to geocentric theories by demonstrating that these objects were orbiting something other than the Earth.

            Further viewings of planets by Galileo gave even more evidence of deficiencies in non-heliocentric theories, though the astronomer may not have recognized much of it at the time. Saturn’s rings became a confusing mystery as they appeared to be orbiting moons from certain angles with some disappearing at apparently random intervals. Despite a lack of clarity about the nature of the objects, Saturn’s rings would come to represent another example of non-geocentric orbiting. Venus may have been the most significant of his planetary observations as it relates to support for the Copernican geocentric perspective. The existence of Venus’ perceived phases was in direct conflict with predictions from all forms of geocentric theories as well as other planetary models that were up for debate at the time. Accordingly, several transitional models emerged that combined both heliocentric and geocentric concepts to account for Galileo’s findings, each of which would eventually give way to purely heliocentric designs.

            The extent of Galileo’s various contributions to astronomy and physics through telescopic observations cannot be understated. However, one of the most prominent of his findings is that the Copernican heliocentric system is vastly superior to geocentric models in accounting for repeatable and testable observations of heavenly bodies. Even some of his more local investigations uncovered aspects in the moon phases and sunspots that further reduced the feasibility of any theory other than heliocentric being apt, while extremely distant stars and the dense clouds of the Milky Way presented a seemingly unending testing ground for future research that would also support the theory.

Reference

Chaisson, E., & McMillan, S. (2011). Astronomy: A beginner’s guide to the universe. (6th ed.).             Benjamin-Cummings Pub Co.

Categories
English

The King Tut Curse

The stories surrounding the curse on King Tutankhamen’s tomb began during the spring of 1923 when Lord Carnarvon, the person who was responsible for funding the tomb’s excavation, died shortly after its discovery. Lord Carnarvon’s misfortunes began when a mosquito bit him on the cheek and he accidentally aggravated the spot by shaving; shortly after this mishap, the wound became infected and he fell sick. His symptoms became extremely exaggerated and although a doctor was sent to help cure his fever, Lord Carnarvon died before help arrived. According to observers, all of the lights in Cairo went out at the exact moment he died (KingTutOne, n.d.).

            It’s important to understand that before this situation even occurred, there were a multitude of stories handed down throughout history about how mummies had magic powers. As a consequence of the pre-existing legends, it is likely that the researchers who approached the tomb had been gossiping amongst themselves about the fears and wonders they had about uncovering this burial site. When Lord Carnarvon fell ill, it made sense to explain his death in terms of the curse. While it is nearly impossible to tell what he really died from, we do know that his death began a series of rumors that increased the legacy of the curse of the mummy.

According to legend, anyone who dared to disturb a mummy’s grave would suffer a series of mishaps that are the mummy’s way of protecting its resting place. Before the discovery of King Tut’s grave, there were no known Egyptian tombs that remained untouched by grave robbers. Therefore, this dig had a certain stigma because this team would be the first to disturb a grave of a mummy that had been resting peacefully. After Lord Carnarvon mysteriously died, the media was drawn to this case which contributed to the perpetuation of the myth. It was they who claimed that King Tut enacted vengeance upon Lord Carnarvon and whoever entered the tomb would suffer the consequences. In addition to this, the media spread two more rumors; the first is that a cobra killed Howard Carter, who discovered King Tut’s tombm

OThey claimed King Tut wanted vengeance and announced a mummy’s curse, which targeted those who had entered the tomb. Not only did the death of Carnarvon get all the people in an uproar but other stories began to surface as well. Of the stories that surfaced, two remain prominent. One of the prominent stories is that a cobra killed Howard Carter’s (explorer who discovered King Tut’s burial place) and the other is the Carnavron’s dog suddenly dropped dead at the same moment his owner did.

Despite the myth that Howard Carter was killed by a snake, it has been documented that he lived for ten years after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. During this time he researched the artifacts found in the tomb and compiled an extensive database of the history of the items, their relationship to the king, and successfully connected the role of King Tut’s importance in Egyptian history. Skeptics note that Howard Carter was the first person to enter the tomb and spent a lot of time in the tomb thereafter this initial entry; therefore, if the curse of the mummy is true, why didn’t Carter die around the same time as Lord Carnavron?

Many scientists and researchers are currently interested in determining why Lord Carnavron actually died and what could be contained within King Tut’s tomb that caused this. The most realistic explanation for the myth is that the story is so old and told by so many people that we don’t know the actual facts of what happened when Lord Carnavron died. In addition, there is no documentation on whether his dog also died, why the lights in Cairo went out, if the lights in Cairo actually went out at the same exact time that Lord Carnavron died, and whether a snake killed Carter or he died for some other reason. Overall, belief in this myth depends upon whether a person believes there is compelling evidence to prove the scenario that has been proposed.

            According to a May 2005 National Geographic article entitled “Egypt’s “King Tut Curse” Caused by Tomb Toxins?”, scientists believe that there may have substances contained within the tomb that caused the supposed “curse deaths” (Handwerk, 2005). The article states that tombs are teaming with meats, vegetables, and fruits that can support growth of insects, molts, and bacteria. Physicians have reported that two types of mold called Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus are typically carried by ancient mummies; these can both cause allergic reactions that range from basic allergy symptoms to lung bleeding. The article continues to discuss several other kinds of pathogens and chemicals that could have caused Lord Carnarvon’s death. Other researchers believe that Lord Carnarvon was already ill before the expedition. These experts cite that he didn’t die until after a few months of exposure to the tomb; if the wrath of the mummy were true, one would likely expect this to happen instantly.

            Although many people still believe in the curse of the mummy, it is interesting to note that media continues to perpetuate this mystery. Even with modern science and technology, we are still not able to completely explain the mysteries surrounding King Tut’s tomb. It is likely that we will never have an explanation as to what really happened in 1923 and that we will continue to tell stories about this incident in the future. It’s true that unsolvable mysteries make the most interesting tales.

References

Handwerk, B. (2005). Egypt’s “King Tut Curse” Caused by Tomb Toxins? National Geographic.             Retrieved from             http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0506_050506_mummycurse.html KingTutOne. (n.d.).

King Tut’s Curse. Retrieved from        http://www.kingtutone.com/tutankhamun/curse/

Categories
Management

Request for Proposal Response

Abstract

Reviewing the opportunities on the Federal Business Opportunities website my small business is in search for a particular opportunity to support Microsoft applications.  This support would encompass both technical support and project management opportunities.  Solicitation Number: HC1028=13-D-0023 encapsulates the core business model my company offers.  The synopsis is “Microsoft Enterprise Technical Support Services (METSS) necessary to obtain highly- trained “Microsoft Blue Badge Cardholder-support”. These services require access rights to Microsoft’s proprietary (closed-source) code, which is licensed under exclusive legal right of Microsoft. The core requirements are for the contractor to provide Microsoft Consulting Services that include software developers and product teams to leverage a variety of proprietary resources and source code, and Microsoft Premier Support services such as tools and knowledge bases, problem resolution assistance from product developers, and access to Microsoft source code when applicable to support Department of Defense’s mission. The period of performance is a one-year base period and four one-year option periods for a total period of five years. Performance will predominantly be within the continental United States; however, support services may also be required at multiple overseas locations.”

The level of support and sustainment activities will extend beyond the normal customer support functions and will require hands on management of the core Microsoft technical support.  This level of support will rely heavily on project management best practices to implement the appropriate support services as well as develop and launch the sustainment model that will lead to first in class support.  The key members of the team will range from functional and technical subject matter experts, project managers, programmers and business analysts.  This mixture of IT and business experts will ensure that the requirements from the business are properly translated and implemented into the technical solution required by the business.

Cover Sheet

Administrative Business Lead:

Tamaste Jones

1313 Mockingbird Lane

Marengo Falls, Idaho

Phone: 812-898-5555

[email protected]

Technical Lead:

Cathy Jenkinson

7474 Julius Orange Lane

Sacramento, California

Phone: 812-798-5555

[email protected]

Solicitation Number

HC1028=13-D-0023

Name of Project

 “Microsoft Enterprise Technical Support Services (METSS) Program”

Subcontractors

N/A

Estimated Cost

$410,200,000

Duration

5 years (1 plus optional year by year extension for 4 years)

Key Staff Members

Resumes

Tamaste Jones

EDUCATION                     

University of Arkansas March 2004

Master of Science, Operations Management

University of Louisville May 2001

College of Business and Public Administration, Finance Major

Project Management Professional (PMP) certified through PMI

ITIL Foundation Certified

EXPERIENCE

Digitization Program Manager

May 2011-Present

  • Program Manager for Financial Management and Sourcing programs
    • Sourcing Financial Reporting
      • Improved 7 day financial review to instantaneous through continual process improvement and lean management techniques
      • Increased accuracy and precision of financial reporting by eliminating non-value add inputs and review
    • Reduced amount of unclassified financial data from $500M to $20M allowing enterprise wide cost allocation to specific operating units
    • Train, implemented and sustain quoting and bidding tool reducing overall costs for goods and services by 17% in first six months
  • Sourcing functional leader for Enterprise Resource Planning project for total revitalization and improvement of Procure to Pay business practices and function

Continual Service Improvement Program Manager

2007- 2011

  • Continuous Service Improvement Project for family delivery business
    • Reduced downtime of delivery downtime by 50%
    • Diminished worker overtime hours spent outside of delivery duties by 12.5% resulting in increased productivity for dollar spent
  • Financial Statement Review/Reconciliation and Budget Preparation
    • Review of Income Statement, Budget Sheet and Cash Flow Documentation
    • Streamlined process of financial management review by setting up a continuity folder and scheduled conferences with stakeholders to review budget and projections
  • Computer Repair/Upgrade/Utilization for small home businesses and individuals
    • Software/Hardware installation and maximization
    • Training on how basic computer skills
    • Training on Microsoft Office applications and internet use
    • Website Design/Enhancement


Cathy Jenkinson

EDUCATION                     

University of Kentucky March 2005

Master of Science, Information Technology

University of Idaho May 2001

College of Business and Public Administration, Basket Geneology

Microsoft Certification

ITIL Foundation Certified

ITIL Service Management Certified

IT Project Manager

2001-2007

The project manager is responsible for the ability to initiate, formulate, and deliver on a project which is fundamental to business achievement.  The Technology Project Manager supports business position by designing, planning, and executing innovative technology solutions in a dynamic environment.  The PM role understands IT strategy, development lifecycle and application/infrastructure maintenance.  Understanding of IT service and support processes promote a strategic advantage, create efficiencies and add value to business. 

  • Responsible for managing and leading enterprise wide IT projects which have a direct impact on  the IT Operations environment that support Humana’s business units
  • IT Service Management Program Manager for all current CSIP/ITIL initiatives
  • Established new processes to allow the free flow of communication alleviating silos of information and allowing updates to senior leadership with real time information
  • Performed Gap Analysis, product roll out schedule, project plan and integration schedule
  • Project Leader for IT Perfect Service
    • Formed a team of director and higher leaders from all three VP’s
    • Planned and executed the initial IT Perfect Service Summit
  • 85% (186/212) of all the Voice of the Customer concerns were resolved with ITIL initiatives, Communication efforts in which I lead as Project Manager
  • Served as the Project Manager for the enterprise wide adoption of three ITIL initiatives
    • The original roll out date was June 2009 with the criteria of all three scoring a three on an ITIL based Maturity assessment. All three scored above a three and all three were at least five months ahead of schedule
  • Service Catalog-Security Access Front End
    • Project Manager for the entire lifecycle of the product from initiation to software implementation utilizing Agile Project Management methodology
    • In charge of 12-15 programmers during 1.5 year project resulting in enterprise wide adoption of forward facing web portal to address Role Based Access Control and Segregation of Duties to comply with SOX and industry requirements
  • In charge of vendor relations, requirements gathering, system integration, risk management, scope, schedule and cost management of multiple projects ranging in complexity, cost and schedule


Cyril Leroy

DoD Financial Manager

February 1998-Present 

  • Financial manager for multiple acquisition programs with budgets exceeding $50M while leading and managing five team members
  • Duties include planning, programming, budgeting and execution funds
  • Directs and formulates funding strategies/execution for squadron programs
  • Provides scheduling support for project planning and forecasting for 60-70 projects annually
  • Initiates and maintains communication with Major Commands, HQ Air Combat Command, Secretary of the Air Force and Air Logistic Centers
  • Ensures resources are effectively managed to meet war-fighter’s requirements-delivering on time and on cost
  • Identifies requirements and works with program managers to submit on time and on target budgets supported by estimates to funding Major Commands
  • Prepares funding program reviews for all levels of management up to Air Force level
  • Implements Earned Value Management (EVM) for projects to ensure project performance is on track in relation to technical, schedule, and cost performance
  • Identifies requirements and works with program managers to submit on time
    and on target budgets supported by estimates to funding Major Commands

Executive Summary/Approach (Technical/Business)

A project is by definition a temporary endeavor to produce a unique deliverable at the conclusion of the endeavor (PMI 2008).  Just as the foundation of a house supports the entire home to stand the test of time the definition of the scope of a project establishes the entire trajectory of the project and determines what resources and schedule will be needed to accomplish all of the requirements that constitute the scope.  Understanding what is needed within the project helps define the scope of the project and what will be needed to complete all of the requirements outlined by the customer.  My company’s focus on the principles of project management and ensuring the deliverables meet the quality expectations of the customer allows for a superior level of support and sustainment services.  The planning phase of project management includes developing the project management plan, collecting the requirements, defining the scope, assigning resources in a work breakdown structure and defining the activities.  Planning in a project establishes the ground work for the entire project’s lifecycle and will inherently become the foundation for success or failure when the project comes to a close.  In order to understand what is to be delivered at the end of a project there must be boundaries and guidelines established to set the parameters or scope of the project.  Defining scope is the process of determining a common understanding of what the project will include in or exclude out of the final deliverable (Magal and Word 2011).  Before the work is initiated a thorough review of the requirements are conducted and if possible the end user or customer is contacted to discuss in detail the specific details of the project. 

Scope management is a key success factor in completing any project.  Prior to submitting the proposal for this project a preliminary request for information (RFI) was sent to the Defense Information Systems Agency to ensure the requirements were interpreted correctly by my organization and the level of support and project management was understood by both parties.  With any project my company undertakes the process becomes a partnership at which both parties benefit from the relationship. This type of symbiotic engagement creates an environment for success and encourages open communication and understood expectations.

The business approach will ensure that project management best practices outlined by the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) are utilized during the project management phases of the obligation but there is also a technical support aspect of the project.  As part of the project team there are multiple highly skilled and certified technical resources that provide the insight and intellectual horse power to service and support the closed-source Microsoft code.  The Microsoft Consulting Services will also be provided by the certified Microsoft representatives that are employed by my company and will be assigned to the project to address any necessary development, support and resolution assistance that is required around the key Microsoft applications.  The ultimate objective is to provide project and technical resources to leverage the proprietary resources of Microsoft to benefit the Department of Defense’s mission.

            Through the utilization of the key functional leaders the sustainment and support levels required by the Defense Information Systems Agency will achieve their outlined key performance metrics which are outlined in the request for information.  Each one of these key metrics such as project inputs and outputs, service level agreements, functional and technical ability as well as accessibility to closed-source Microsoft application code is not only achievable but also can be met or exceeded by the current talent pool my company already employs.  The current business model utilized by my organization meets or exceeds all the required delivery and sustainment metrics outlined by the DoD and DISA.

Goals and Impact

            In order to meet the requirements of the project there must be a clear understanding of the key performance metrics, requirements and the desired end state expected by the Department of Systems Agency.  There also should be a clear and distinct factor or factors that provide that level of separation between this organization and that of its competitors.  The competitive advantage offered by this organization is the purpose driven tactics and the strategic intent for fulfilling the contract effectively and efficiently not only for the guaranteed one year opportunity but for the entire five year term of the proposal. 

The requirements of the project include:

  • Provide Project Management Oversight to METSS projects
  • Provide trained/certified Microsoft Blue Badge Cardholder-Support
  • Access/Service to Microsoft Closed-Source Proprietary Code
  • Licensed under legal right of Microsoft
  • Consult on Software Development
  • Program Software implementation/ Code Reviews
  • Provide Knowledge Base/Knowledge Transfer
  • Access to Source Code for DoD use

Each one of these requirements includes a breadth and depth of knowledge not only in the Microsoft applications and access but also key skills in programming and technical prowess.  The goals of the project are to meet the desired quality standards set forth by the customer and to meet the expectations of those quality standards.  To ensure that expectations are established and set prior to the project award, my organization took the additional forethought and requested a detailed listing of each requirement and walked through the details with the program manager listed on the solicitation.  This level of detail and purpose driven actions can be expected throughout the life cycle of the project.

After understanding the requirements my organization created a detailed response to each requirement with an outline of the organization’s ability to meet the defined requirements.

  • Provide Project Management Oversight to METSS projects

My organization applies the best practices outlined in the PMBOK.  These project management best practices transcend the nature of the project and can be applied to each project management initiative.  As a supplement to the best practices framework there are multiple subject matter experts on the team that cover project management, information technology systems, Microsoft applications, code/quality review, implementation and sustainment activities.

  • Provide trained/certified Microsoft Blue Badge Cardholder-Support

Once the project is awarded there will be four (4) Microsoft Blue Badge Cardholder leads assigned specifically to the METSS project.  These will be assigned 100% to the project and there will be four (4) additional certifications obtained within 6 months contract award.  While the certifications take longer than 6 months to obtain my organization’s focus is on Microsoft programming and our core business model includes maintaining the leading edge in education, access and ability.  The proactive approach to education and preparedness allows my organization to provide the leading edge experience while also maintaining the agility and flexibility to meet customer demands.

  • Access/Service to Microsoft Closed-Source Proprietary Code

            As part of the agreement between my organization and Microsoft there is a review process for access, modification and support of the proprietary code they provide.  The process is a documented and effective utilization of the change management process outlined in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s framework.  This framework is another best practice tool my organization utilizes to provide superior service and deliverables.  The access to the proprietary code is only awarded to those that utilize the best practices and adhere to the change management process.  All of which my organization utilizes and fully understands.  This facilitation will provide the seamless integration between requirements, project implementation and technology development that is unparalleled in the industry.

  • Licensed under legal right of Microsoft

As outlined in the legal agreement between Microsoft and my organization, only those certified will conduct code review, change, modification or other changes outlined in the change management charter.  This charter outlines all technical and operations changes that are allowed and the process for making those changes. 

  • Consult on Software Development

As part of the sustainment activities there is a level of consultation between my organization and the Defense Information Systems Agency.  This consultation is inherently limited to the METSS project.  While the limitation is specific to the METSS project all consultation regarding development is included in the contract.

  • Program Software implementation/ Code Reviews

The software development lifecycle will be managed from beginning to end by my organization as outlined in the project charter.  The project, from inception to closure, requires management of the scope, cost and schedule to be effective and promote the best environment for success.  This is included in the contract as the project management ability is a key and distinct aspect of my organization’s ability.

  • Provide Knowledge Base/Knowledge Transfer

My organization specializes in Microsoft based applications and programming.  This alignment with project management execution creates a unique competitive advantage for my organization.  This knowledge base is unparalleled in the industry when integrating DoD projects.  During the project my organization will generate and sustain until project completion and knowledge management database that can be referenced during the course of the project.

  • Access to Source Code for DoD use

The access to the source code for DoD use is available through the appropriate requests, processes and procedures through a tri-lateral agreement between my organization, the Department of Defense and Microsoft.  This is an agreement that has been accomplished by my organization in the past and the established process to obtain such access is within the realm of the project team’s ability.

Technical Plan

The technical plan outlines the approach my organization will take in regard to the project’s outlined in the requirements.  There are two major frameworks utilized by my organization with regard to project management and information technology projects.  That includes the use of the PMBOK for project management and ITIL for IT support and services.  These technical and business tools allow for best practices to forge the path to successful project implementations.  The technical framework provides the clear guidance on change, incident, problem and service management.  All of which will be required for this project.  The technical plan will outline the key milestones of the project that will focus on support, sustainment, enhancements and development of functionality for the DoD.  These key focus areas will be limited to the Microsoft applications outlined in the requirements documentation.

Management Plan

The team will consist of the following:

1-Program Manager

3-Project Managers

3-Technical Leaders

3-Business Analysts

4-Certified Programmers

4-Certification in Process Programmers (transitioned after 6 months to certified)

2-Hardware/Configuration Leaders

1-Logistic Coordinator

1-Service Support Team Leader

10-Service Support Representatives

Each member of the team will play a critical role in implementation, sustainment or support.  There are multiple aspects of the project lifecycle that will take place over the course of the initial contract award as well as the following option four year period.  My organization focuses on low turnover of personal which allows for organizational continuity and sustainment of the integrity of the knowledge base.

The Program manager is the overall responsible and accountable individual for the entire program.  This includes three distinct areas of the program.  The first is the enhancements, next is knowledge base creation and lastly is the sustainment and support of the applications.  Each area will have a veteran project manager leading these functions.  To support the project manager there will be a technical leader that works in conjunction with the programmers and developers to facilitate the project’s development efforts.  Each one of these members provides key inputs and efforts to provide the necessary deliverables per the customer’s requests.

The business analysts are trained professional leads that help develop the requirements and user stories required for the sub-projects of the contract.  The business analysts take the burden of project requirement development off of the primary organization so that they can focus on their primary objectives.  The objective of the project managers, business analysts, developers and other project members is to create the necessary changes or enhancements to the applications so that the Defense Information Systems Agency can perform to the DoD’s expectations.

Cost Management

Within the project there will be costs associated with meeting the goals and objectives of the project.  In order to provide the highest quality for the most reasonable cost there are certain tools and techniques required to monitor and control costs. Project cost controls are vital in managing and establishing a framework for success of any project.  Depending on the complexity and intricacies of the project there are multiple ways to manage and control the costs.  The important aspects of managing and controlling costs include establishing a baseline, determining the tools necessary to manage and control the variations and taking corrective actions to keep the project on track regarding schedule and cost variance.  This project is utilizing a bottom-up cost estimation analysis which provides a cost and duration for specific work packages.  With this information we can use Earned Value Management to help monitor the cost and schedule variances.  Using the baseline project cost and implementing the EVM tool my organization can provide a superior level of monitoring and controlling ability.  To do this my organization will use key performance indicators and best practices to manage the project.

Throughout the project execution there will be multiple tollgates the project must proceed through in order to not only level set the stakeholders on the process of the project but to also ensure the project track the team is on is still on track for delivery of the expect results.  Through the project management life, the business will go through operating cycles, budget cycles and project evaluation.  Through the use of project cost management and the tools of monitoring and controlling the project by documenting and utilizing EVM, the stakeholders will have a fair and accurate depiction of the project’s scope, schedule and cost as well as areas that have meet, exceeded or missed meeting their intended objectives.  Each functional area will report up their costs associated to each work package and it will individually be measured against the scope, schedule and costs associated to that work package.  The overall project will then include all of the individual tasks brought together into an overall project budget, including overhead and other associated costs that are necessary for the project as a whole but not necessarily attached to a specific task.  If each of the functional areas are moving along according to the project plan, meeting their specified deliverables while also meeting their intended schedule requirements there are no necessary changes.  If there are areas that need adjustment the project manager must take action and make the appropriate changes to scope, schedule or costs.  It is ultimately the responsibility of the project manager to identify and flag risks to the project (Cooper, Grey, Raymond, & Walker. 2005).

Summary

The project requirements will be met by my organization by providing key leadership ability; functional expertise and the access to the key develop resources required by the Defense Information Systems Agency.  The management of cost, schedule and scope will be managed by project management professionals and will be held accountable not only up my organization’s chain of command but will be held to the highest standards to ensure the entire contact is fulfilled to the specifications outlined in the requirements document.  The balance and integration between technical expertise and adherence to project management best practices establish a unique and absolute distinction for my organization.  This ability to meet the goals and objectives of the contract as well as provide the key metrics and measurable achievements provide solid quantifiable results as well as a transparency into the management of the program.

References

Budd, C. I., & Budd, C. S. (2009). Earned value project management. (2nd ed.). Vienna, VA: ManagementConcepts.

Cooper, D. F., Grey, S., Raymond, G., & Walker, P. (2005). Project risk management guidelines, managing risk in large projects and complex procurements. John Wiley & Sons

Dobson, M. (2004). The triple constraints in project management. Vienna, VA: ManagementConcepts.

Fleming, Q. W., & Koffleman, J. M. (2010). Earned value project management. Project Management Institute.

Magal, S. R., & Word, J. (2011). Integrated business processes with erp systems. RRD/Jefferson

            City: Wiley.

Project Management Institute, P. M. (2008). A guide to the project management body of

            knowledge. (4th ed.). Newtown Square: Project Management Inst.

Categories
Management

Making a Case for Corporate Social Responsibility – Carpeteria

Introduction

Corporate Social Responsibility has become an important facet in business activities during the last few decades. However, not all companies have embraced what is known as the ‘triple bottom line’ – Carpeteria included. Therefore, as part of a new initiative, the company will undergo some major changes in the designing and implementation of corporate social responsibility throughout each and every area of the company; from the supply chain to customer relations. The importance of such an initiative, and what it means for company in terms of corporate culture and overall management implementation, is discussed herein.   

Corporate Social Responsibility Explained

The main purpose of corporate social responsibility is to serve society in a positive way in addition to the pursuits of profitability and legislative requirements undertaken by the company. Usually embraced by larger companies, smaller companies have come to understand the importance and benefits of implementing corporate social responsibility initiatives in all parts of business. The main benefits are a result of what is known as the triple bottom line.    

The three points in the triple bottom line are people, planet and profit. Though the traditional type of companies usually were driven by the bottom line, that is profit, the turn to people and the planet as equally important is a realisation that is necessary for every business. People are the company; without any employees, a company cannot function well.

Therefore, employee practices and human resource management should be efficiently and effectively handled in relation to fair labour, recruitment and retention improvements, and similar initiatives. Planet refers to environmental practices and how the company disposes of waste, engages in recycling, and makes the location in which the company operates and even beyond, a better place for future generations and the future of the company as well.

It is important to note that when companies invest in corporate social responsibility; the investment is recovered many times over. This is because the organisation undergoes a change for the better, and driven by this change, the company becomes more profitable and more receptive to customers, employees, stakeholders and stockholders alike.

Therefore, it is necessary for a business to embrace corporate social responsibility, so long as there is a lasting change and the effects of implementation are noticed by all those involved.

Furthermore, corporate social responsibility is not a new concept, although it is a recent move for the company regarding a step in the right direction. Many companies have incorporated corporate social responsibility previously, as seen by our main competitor, Interface.

The main difference between our competitor’s implementation of corporate social responsibility and our own, is that we are undertaking an initiative that will be efficient, effective, and long-term. It will be visible in all parts of the business, and its benefits will assist in making Carpeteria expand and become a pioneer in carpet manufacturing.

Strategy Outline

When outlining the need for corporate social responsibility, the strategy behind this new initiative is five-fold. It requires creating balance, effective management, opportunity identification, development of business practices and organisational capacity.

Contrary to popular belief amongst business managers, corporate social responsibility is not simply an add-on to company objectives. It requires a holistic investment on the part of the company, and only then will it have holistic rewards. Therefore, the first step in using a strategic approach to corporate social responsibility is creating balance; in terms of economic value and societal value.

These are not mutually-exclusive alternatives, and both can be achieved. However, both of these objectives need to be maintained by operating the business with economic value as an underlying purpose, and societal value as a powerful driving force.

The second step is effective management, in regards to business relationships that are of high importance to the company. Usually, there are a few that are not worth retaining if incorporating corporate social responsibility. 

Therefore, it is necessary that those business relationships that do not embrace our new company initiative or refuse to comply with the company’s focus on positive societal impact should be severed from further business dealings. Any individual or business that does not partner with the company on this front is not worth having.

The third step is identification of opportunities, as well as responding to any threats the business may have. In terms of opportunities, there are several avenues that the company can consider when implementing corporate social responsibility initiatives; whether it is investing into community projects, using environmentally-friendly products and services, or spearheading increased corporate quality testing and certification in the manufacturing stages of operation.

The possibilities are endless, and will be covered in context later on. However, there are always some threats to the business, in terms of competition. To prevent our corporate social responsibility initiative being labelled a copycat scheme in opposition of Interface and other related competitors, our company should be able to find ways of differentiating in order to create a lasting competitive advantage, as will be discussed in the corporate culture section.

The fourth step is the development of sustainable business practices. Sustainable refers to long-term changes that can be readily measured and identified by all those involved. These practices should be in the best interests of the company itself and society at large. It is unnecessary to implement changes that are not foreseeable as beneficial for the future. Therefore, all changes should be in line with the direction of the company, the customers we interact with, and the surrounding environment in which we operate.

Lastly, the capacity of the organisation, in regards to engaging in charitable causes, should be considered. Philanthropy is a good part of re-investment into the community, especially for those who need it most.

There are major clients and individual customers who should be rewarded for their loyalty and also their need, and this will be a major driving factor for our philanthropic cause. This will be in addition to any charitable activity that we may be involved with currently, with a focus to expand on this area for the long-term.

Business Implementation

The implementation of corporate social responsibility in regards to the way the business is operated spans a numbers of key stages. Highlighted here are four stages of the corporate social responsibility design and implementation process, including: engagement, conduct, creation and establishment (Maon, Lindgreen and Swaen, 2009).

Stage one requires the engagement of employees to whom corporate social responsibility applies. Since the company is taking a holistic approach to this initiative, all staff will be initiated into the new policies and procedures.

These will also be written into company manuals and documentation. It is also our duty to inform all those who have business relationships with the organisation of any and all changes to our company outlook for the present and the future.

For the conduction of corporate social responsibility training in stage two, both management and employees will be briefed on how the company plans to carry out changes in the workplace, and also the operating environment. This will consist of various informative corporate meetings over the span of a few months, in order to roll out changes efficiently and effectively.

Stage three is the creation of internal and external communication plans. This will consist of improving the consistency between employees who operate out of the office and those who interact directly with customers. In addition, any communication channels that have any inherent issues are to be fixed within a relatively short period of time within the timeframe of the changes being implemented.

For the establishment of mechanisms which allow the business to operate smoothly, there will be improvements to all business divisions, in terms of streamlining processes and introducing the corporate social responsibility initiatives. This will ensure that there are no problems later on when the business is experiencing increased productivity and growth.

In regards to some of the new programmes to be implemented as part of the corporate social responsibility initiative, the manufacturing stage of operation will be improved, in terms of higher safety protocols and quality materials used for customer preferences. This will allow for the company to be at the cutting edge of production and ensures that the amount of hazardous waste is significantly reduced.

The type of carpets and other products used in customer residences or professional locations will be used with respect to any physical allergies or customer preferences. In addition, only environmentally-friendly products and services will be used, to reduce our carbon footprint and improve company image in a professional manner.

Finally, the investment into community endeavours and charitable organisations will ensure that we give back to our clients, employees and societal interests at heart. This will also increase customer loyalty and bring in new clients for the business. Furthermore, it will increase the philanthropic activities that we already have in place, making our reinvestment into the community that much more valuable for the long-term.

 Importance of Stakeholder and Stockholder Perspectives

There is a difference between stakeholder and stockholder perspectives, although both are important to the company. Firstly, the stakeholder sees suppliers, employees, customers, and other societal groups are crucial to the operation and management of the company; whereas the stockholder perspective sees shareholders as the owners of the company, and the chief duty is to look out for their interests and therefore increase their value.

Usually, the company cannot serve competing interests, therefore it is in the best interests of this business to take a stakeholder perspective, for three main reasons. The first reason is that many of the stakeholders have a major influence in the operation of the company, in terms of sustainable growth, profitability and environmental impact. Without stakeholders, there would be no foundation for the business at all, and the owners of the company would be rendered almost useless.

The second reason is that stakeholders support the company physically and financially, in regards to employees and support groups. Therefore, if there was no support base for the company, it would be next to impossible for the business to function efficiently and effectively. These stakeholders are needed for both the short-term and long-term.

The third reason is that the stakeholders are heavily involved in the company’s goals and future. Although owners of the company may change, stakeholders often outlast individuals, and are quite loyal to the business in many respects. It is important to maintain stakeholder ties and give them priority and input in company decisions, since the corporate social responsibility initiative is ultimately for their benefit.

Inadvertently, when stakeholders are valued, the owners of the company will also feel valued, because the company will continue to grow and become more profitable. This will become part of the benefits of corporate social responsibility, as stakeholders will be involved in both the giving and receiving end of the new initiative.

Not only is value maximised, but also employees and support groups will be more motivated to invest their time and effort into the company, not just for the sake of the company, but for their benefit as well. This will add to future benefits, as they will be able to reap the rewards, all in due time.

Most importantly, the company reputation and image will also improve as a result of this stakeholder perspective, due to the implementation of the corporate social responsibility initiative. As there have been some issues with customers in regards to our lack of initiative in this area in the past, our new initiative will be able to meet and possibly exceed their expectations.

All major stakeholders will come to embrace this new change, as it will be beneficial to many, and will spark a positive reciprocity, in terms of improved business relationships. As a result, it will be easier to handle customer relations, and employee satisfaction will be set to increase due to the new initiative.

Corporate Culture Change and Competitive Advantage

When incorporating corporate social responsibility into not only the core functions of the business, but every department, there are major changes that will occur as a result, in terms of the corporate culture of the company.

To ensure that the changes that are made are smooth, and the transition if effective, there are six main guidelines that should be followed as a rule of thumb, which also lead to the company’s competitive advantage.

Firstly, there needs to be a clear vision for the company, in regards to how corporate social responsibility will change our outlook for the future. If there is no vision, there can be no visible changes in the company and the way it runs; therefore, this should be clarified as a sustainable move for the sustainability and improvement of the company for the long-run.

Secondly, senior management should display commitment to the goals of the company, especially the new initiative that requires commitment to societal stakeholders. By ensuring that management hold to and believe that corporate social responsibility being the next step forward for the company, it will provide leadership and direction for the rest of the business as well.

Thirdly, modelling the culture change at all levels of the company is important for the building of trust in the new initiative and rapport among those who are involved in the business process. For this to function efficiently and effectively, the new business practices and policies should be reflected by all those who are part of the company.

Fourthly, the company structure should be modified to reflect the new changes. This also includes the company culture as a whole, which is part of the organisational structure. As this takes time, it also requires the cooperation and effort of employees, management and even the owners of the company. This will be discussed further in the organisational restructuring section.

Fifthly, employee engagement is critical to the company, in order for the corporate changes to be successful. There are many ways to engage employees in transition between corporate cultures and when the change takes place; incentivising employees who encourage others to be involved in the corporate social responsibility initiative, making the workplace more suited towards corporate social responsibility by modifying ergonomic design, and also introducing a reward scheme for customers who refer environmentally-friendly products and services related to the company to new clients.

Finally, corporate social responsibility measures should be launched to make sure that all those involved with the business are aware of the changes, understand them, and take up the responsibility of making the changes last. This will ensure that the corporate culture of corporate social responsibility spreads throughout the whole organisation.

If the corporate culture is valued by those who espouse it, it will be a source of sustained competitive advantage for the business. This will become our driving force for spearheading the new initiative, and will ensure that corporate social responsibility is here to stay. In order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, the new corporate culture should be rooted and sustained by stakeholders and stockholders alike.

Customer Expectations and Global Market Perceptions

As aforementioned, corporate social responsibility is not a new concept in the business world, as many companies have been engaging and using this facet in different areas of business. However, it has only been widely embraced by most companies in the past few decades, and is certainly the newest initiative in regards to our company moving forward in the direction of sustainable, efficient and effective change in the area of social improvement.

Many of our customers have raised concerns about the lack of sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in our company, as well as the embracing of the concept of corporate social responsibility by many of our competitors, particularly Interface, which has been experiencing rapid growth in recent times.

However, our company takes corporate social responsibility more seriously than just a concept; it is the new face of our company, it will stand for everything that this company represents, and it is a new initiative for the improvement and sustainable direction of our business.

In particular, customers have questioned our company’s environmental impact, fair wages, community involvement and supply chain activities. As outlined above, the business is moving forward in the right direction regarding all voiced concerns by customers, as we have taken these into account and are implementing new changes.

Therefore, our environmental impact will become positive due to the use of environmentally-friendly products and services; the introduction of incentives for workers who embrace the new corporate social responsibility will be implemented; reinvestment back into community projects will move to the forefront of our initiative; and all suppliers and others involved in the company’s supply chain will be reviewed and monitored for the highest level of quality and the embracing of our new corporate social responsibility’ policies and practices.    

Dynamic interaction between and amongst multiple stakeholders allows for the successful development and dissemination of environmentally sustainable practices (Rusinko, 2010). Therefore, by valuing the stakeholders mentioned earlier, it will be easier to maintain and sustain the changes necessary for corporate social responsibility to take effect in our company for both now and the future. Furthermore, as the carpet industry has taken into consideration such initiatives, it is an important and necessary step for our company to use this new initiative to pave the way for continuous improvement.

On a global scale, corporate social responsibility is having positive effects on all companies involved, especially for those who have realised its value and importance, taking this into account by allowing corporate social responsibility to be the driving force in all areas of the business.

As the push towards globalisation increases, it becomes more and more important for corporate social responsibility to take a central role in the function of a business, especially ours. It has become crucial for companies to endeavour to reduce their carbon footprint, use renewable energy sources, and maintain the competitive edge of green programmes inherent in the business.

            Most companies have embraced corporate social responsibility for three reasons: (1) to increase market potential; (2) creating future opportunities for improvement; and (3) provide products and services that enhance customer service and stakeholder investment. Firstly, tapping into a viable source of sustainability such as corporate social responsibility allows the company to diversify and expand business operations into different avenues, the most obvious being new market niches. With the support of customers and clients, it is possible to increase development into these areas as well as increase profitability simultaneously.

            Secondly, by improving the business processes that are currently in place, it is easier to improve business practices in the future, for the simple reason that change is continuous. By implementing such change, it becomes a socially and culturally viable investment that reaps rewards if correctly implemented. Therefore, the company becomes more sustainable for the long-term.

            Lastly, introducing new and improved products and services to customers and investors allows the company to experiment in more ways than one. By using such test cases and environmentally-friendly initiatives, the general public has come to know the positives and negatives of such a move; and benefits from the former, and limiting the latter.   

As it is expected by the customers and perception is determined by the global marketplace, it becomes that much more important that we as a company are seen to and implement such changes in order to establish our presence in the business environment and increase our social change initiative to become socially and financially stronger.

By doing so, the company will be able to move forward with vision, instead of moving backwards without momentum. It is crucial that we are seen to be doing the right things by stakeholders, and are implementing the correct changes in the company. This will ensure that our company is stepping forward in the right direction. 

Research shows that influence, perception and performance of the organisation rely heavily on the focus of corporate social responsibility (Johnston, Swaen and Lindgreen, 2009). Therefore, it is an important initiative that this company is proud to be making, and one that will not be taken lightly, as it becomes the focus of our business’ function in the marketplace.

Although expectations of the company may change over time, the perception of the company is set to become more positively acquainted with corporate social responsibility on a holistic level. For this to remain a positive change, it will require the support and effort of those both inside and outside the company, which is what the new initiative strives to serve.

Organisational Restructuring

For effective design and implementation of corporate social responsibility throughout the company, it is imperative that the organisation undergoes some critical restructuring for the purposes of efficient and effective functioning in the business environment.

Although the company has been successful in the past, there have been many issues and customer complaints have been increasing to a point where the business is at an impasse: it must change in order to become more sustainable. Therefore, the change from a traditional structure to a flat structure is to be proposed.

Also known as more of a horizontal structure as opposed to a vertical structure, there are many differences to the future model of the organisation in regards to the former. For the most part, the shift from many levels of management to fewer levels of management will allow more autonomy for employees to implement corporate social responsibility at every part of the organisation.

Furthermore, there will be a new division of change management for the purposes of spearheading the new initiatives, with change agents to be mobilised and dispersed throughout the organisation with the responsibility of ensuring that business practices and policies will be smoothly, efficiently and effectively introduced into the business.

The senior management of the company will also be responsible for holding corporate change meetings, as aforementioned, with the highlights of progress for the months and years ahead, with a focus on corporate social responsibility and how it is being embraced throughout the organisation. This will ensure that there is still top direction, but a more bottom-up focus.

This new structure will allow for managers and salespeople to work together on the same level, communicate more effectively, and become more geared toward corporate social responsibility. Understanding that corporate social responsibility challenges the long-established, traditional idea of maximising financial gain alone, and rather turning to positive societal impact, is one that should not be ignored (Carroll and Shabana, 2010).

By streamlining the business process, productivity is set to increase due to the introduction of the new initiative, a more organic corporate culture, and a flat organisational structure. This also removes the threat of a centralised chain of command, as the company wishes to make sure that all those involved in the business are confident that this new direction and vision is in the best interests of the business.

For the company to realise that corporate social responsibility is to be implemented as a core driving force, and not simply as an add-on facet to the business, this organisational restructuring is needed. More importantly, it is completely relevant regarding the current position of the business, and the state of the company is set to rapidly grow and improve once major changes take place.

It should be noted that this organisational restructuring is not to be taken as change for change’s sake. It is an important move that will have an impact throughout the company, in every area we operate, and with all stakeholders involved. Therefore, this move should be taken with all sincerity, focus and effort for those involved in making this initiative work for the improvement of the company. 

As can be seen, an organic culture and a flat organisational model is part of the new initiative to be more flexible in the functioning of our company and more receptive to our stakeholders. To be effective in the business world, we must be efficient as a company. In this way, we will make a positive impact in our environment and on our society. 

Corporate social responsibility benefits the social stakeholders, employees, customers, and the government on the whole (Turker, 2009). Therefore, it is important that this new initiative begins internally and works externally, so that there is an efficient and effective move towards the sustainable future.

Conclusion

 In summary, Carpeteria has faced some challenges in the face of competition and customer feedback. Therefore, it has begun a new initiative to embrace and implement corporate social responsibility in every area of the organisation. As a result, the corporate culture will change to a more organic form, in compliance with the restructuring of the organisation from a traditional model to a flat organisation. This will ensure that all stakeholders will support and sustain the new policies and procedures of the organisation, that environmentally-friendly products and services will be introduced, that philanthropic reinvestment into social causes will increase, and that the staff and customers of our company will be valued in light of our new direction and vision for corporate social responsibility both now and in and the foreseeable future. 

References

Carroll, A. and Shabana, K. (2010). The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(1), 85-105.

Johnston, W., Swaen, V. and Lindgreen, A. (2009). Corporate Social Responsibility: An Empirical Investigation of U.S. Organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(2), 303-323.

Maon, F., Lindgreen, A., and Swaen, V. (2009). Designing and Implementing Corporate Social Responsibility: An Integrative Framework grounded in Theory and Practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 87(1), 71-89.

Rusinko, C. (2010). Evolution of Environmentally Sustainable Practices: The Case of the US Carpet Industry and CARE. International Journal of Sustainable Economy, 2(3), 258-276.

Turker, D. (2009). Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility: A Scale Development Study. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(4), 411-427. 

Categories
Religion Sociology

How does religion influence human being

Religion plays an important role in everyday life. A person’s religious beliefs can affect various aspects of his/her life. Religion is not always about accepting or living by a certain set of beliefs, but it can be about the way those beliefs indirectly influences one’s life. Religious beliefs may instil morals and values in a person that will in turn influence the decisions he/she makes about the type of life he/she leads. Religion is defined as a set of beliefs, cultural systems, or views of the world that relates the human being to the supernatural realm. Numerous studies have been conducted to determine why religion plays such an important aspect in society. Great debates have been pursued about various religions and the people who practice them. Religion has a much greater impact on society than the average person realizes. Human society is built on religion, so even if one doesn’t believe in a particular religion, he/she is still inadvertently affected by a religious society. Consequently, almost every aspect of one’s daily life is influenced in some way by one religion or another. One of the greatest influences that religion has on everyday life is the fact that many of the laws and social and cultural beliefs that are practiced are based upon religious teachings. These laws are the foundation of the society that humans know. Because these laws govern our daily behaviour, in essence humans are behaving according to religious doctrine. Religious beliefs are an intricate part of each human being that shapes their social interaction, family life, type of job they work, whether or not they attend religious services, the role they play in society as a female or male, and their economic life.

Religious beliefs help to keep and maintain order in society. Religious practices also help to comfort humans and explain why tragic events happen. By nature humans are naturally sociable creatures. Humans learn from each other and often work better with the help and ideas of others. Without religion, people would not be able to live together and function in society. Religious beliefs govern the way people interact with one another in society. Religion is used by society members to comfort one another in time of crisis. Religious groups ban together to pray when tragic events happen. Many religious people admit that they are able to face a world of crime and violence because of their strong religious beliefs. Religious beliefs are used in to comfort bereaved families. Funeral, wakes, tributes, memorials, and other rituals all have their foundations in one religion or another. Many of the Ten Commandments are actual state laws that one could be penalized for violating. Nonetheless, most cultures have vowed to separate church and state. One religious belief can also affect one’s social status. Many time in small town when someone is seeking political office, one of the aspects of their lives that is mentioned is their religious affiliation. In order to live productively in society together, humans must be able to resolve conflict in a peaceful manner. Again, religion plays a role in conflict resolution. Must religions have a set of guidelines that govern how conflicts should be resolved among believers. Most religious believers follow these guidelines and only revert to state law when no other actions can be taken.

Religion also affects aspects of family life. The act of marriage is a religious convention. Whether or not a couple gets married, has children, divorces, use contraceptives, or attends some type of religious services each week all depends upon religion. With nearly fifty percent of all marriages today ending in divorce, many scholars are examining whether or not a family’s religious beliefs has an effect on its cohesiveness. Marriages end in divorce over many dilemmas from money to the best way to raise and discipline children. Many studies have concluded that families that practice religious beliefs and rituals together tend to be happier and more loving. When couples have religious grounding in their relationship they tend to not argue as much as couple who do not because many religions have the role of each person in the relationship outlined. If each person is willing to abide by the guidelines set for him/her, the possibility of arguing of the general government of the family is slim. Statistics also show that children who come from loving, two parent homes have a better chance at success than their counterparts. Religious people feel that these statistics are no mistake because a higher being designed it that way. Many religions have guidelines as to the role of the mother and father. Many religions convey that the role of the woman is to bear children, while the role of the man is to provide the finances. Disciplining children has become a huge controversy lately. The law says that whipping is a crime, while many religions teach that discipline is necessary. Nonetheless, it is quite obvious that in order for a marriage to work, the couple must be operating under some type of guidelines.

One’s profession may be influenced by religious beliefs. Many people were taught that an honest dollar was a good dollar, but many people refuse to work certain types of jobs due to their religious beliefs. There have been many heated debates in the news lately about abortions and casinos. Many religions teach that abortions are wrong because it is murder. As a result, people who support this will not work for physicians or clinics that perform abortions. They may feel that if they work in a place that performs abortions that they are somehow condoning the action. Likewise, many people will not accept the services of a doctor or nurse that performs or assists in the act of abortion. Religious people often ask their doctor or nurse these questions before eliciting their services. Likewise, many religions profess that gambling is wrong too. Consequently, no matter how desperate a person may be for a job, he or she will not take a job at a casino because of religious beliefs. Another example is massage parlours. There are an endless number of religions that convey that the woman’s body should be covered properly and not seen by strange men. Most women at massage parlours wear very skimpy clothing to elicit male customers. Likewise, some women do not patronize massage parlours out of fear of being stereotyped.

Attending some type of religious service is a religious ritual. Surveys have confirmed that a high percentage of people attend some type of religious service on a regular basis. In some instances, people don’t attend religious services because they believe in the particular religion, but because it has become a routine for them. They grew up attending a service and they continued when they were grown. As a result, they now attend with their family. Or, attending a religious service may be expected by the community in which they live. Many people attend services because everyone else in their neighbourhood does or because people they work with attend the same service. Whatever the reason may be, people seem to go. Some people even attend more than one service per week. Although many people are unaware of it, in some denominations people hold offices in their religious establishments. With these offices comes societal and economic prestige.  Some religious organizations demand that their member donate a certain percentage of their family’s earnings.

The role of males and female in society has been determined for years. As children, humans are taught that some roles are feminine, while others are masculine. Female children are given dolls and male children are given trucks. These teachings stem from the false assumption that women are naturally passive and men are naturally aggressive. Nonetheless, societal roles are being transformed in today’s society. Women are going out and working while men stay home and take care of the home and children. There are men who decide to become school teachers and women who want are professional truck drivers.  The way people teach their children about these roles are rooted in religious beliefs. As a result, humans grow into the roles they will have later in life. Sadly, those people who do not fit into the cookie cutter design are ostracized by society. The religious connotation of these roles is still state law in many places. The institution of marriage is defined as a woman and man in many states today; the same way it is defined in most religions. People who object to these rules are deemed deviants and trouble makers.

Deciding to live meagrely or extravagant is also rooted in religious beliefs. Most people who are religious practices decide to live meagrely. Living extravagantly is seen as a waste by most religions. Donating to charities, volunteering, tithing, and helping the poor in general are seen as wealth to religious people. In most religions, the main teacher was of poor upbringings. For example, in Christianity, Christ was poor. He didn’t own anything and live the life of a nomad, moving from place to place. As a result of this teaching, and others like it, many people believe it is a sin to be wealthy.

The roots of religious practices are manifested in various aspects of human life. Even people who profess that they are not religious are still inadvertently affected by religion. Every member of the civilized world is subject to societal laws, and depending upon where one lives those laws could come directly from some religious teaching. Some type of religion has been present to humans from the very beginning of existence. Many practices have evolved and changed over time, but can be traced back to one particular religion or another. Much research has been conducted to try to uncover the meaning of it all, but one definitive meaning has remained elusive. People who practice religious beliefs seem happier, content with life, and more purpose driven than people who do not practice at all. Religion affects how members of society interact with one another. It determines if one will get married or cohabitate. Religion determines the type of job or career one pursues.  Religion affects all aspects of one life both directly and indirectly.

Categories
English

Overcoming Obstacles

A Turn of Events

My early experiences in life led me to adopt a motivated mindset to overcome daunting obstacles and achieve my goals. If there is anything I have learned to realize about the reality of life is that, ‘nothing is naturally that easy to accomplish’. Through the years of struggling to achieve my dream of becoming the first one in the family to finish a college degree, I found out that nothing is free in this world and every single matter that gives one a sense of achievement should be handled with proper application of effort and hard work.

Everything was going smoothly. My mother had her job and was able to put me in school thus providing me the education that I need to achieve my dreams. I thought then that everything would remain as ‘easy’ as it seems. However, everything changed one my single mother came in the house one night looking drenched and powerless. She lost her job. She looked at me with no words, but it was as if I can hear her say “how can I support you now?”  I was speechless, all I could do was try to figure out how I would be able to ease her paid. The hardships began to come in like flood. It became hard to put even just the simplest meal in the table for the family to share. I realized that at this point, I had to stand up for my own sake and be stronger as I am to face larger challenges as these problems come sweeping our family.  I knew that this was the only thing I could do to make sure my mother’s pain could be eased somehow.

Part of my step towards achieving my goal is dedicated to putting my attention focused on my studies. I admit it was not easy to keep my attention on my studies amidst all the different conditions I had to deal with in relation to my mother and my family as a whole. I needed all the help I can get. Sadly, my teachers were preoccupied with their own problems. I had to learn matters on my own and become dedicated to my studies. Financial problems became the main hindrance to my goal but I pursued my dream any way I could anyway.

As I entered college, my dream became even harder to achieve as the financial support I needed pressured me at an even harder cause. I then resorted to searching for the most possible scholarships available that I could apply for; working while learning also became a stepping-stone towards the completion of my goals. Relatively, nothing was easy; but I know I do have to undergo all these trials. I always keep in my mind the words of my mother as she says ‘nothing comes from nothing, every good thing comes from another good thing’, I figure, if I keep on choosing the good path then perhaps I would finally be able to reap the fruits of my efforts later on in life. My determination apparently was not enough for me to achieve my dreams. Every single desire should be worked upon, every single step towards my goal should be seriously taken into consideration and every obstacle should be realized as opportunities towards growth and a closer bridge towards what I want to achieve.

Through the years, I realized that with one twist of events in my much easier life when I was younger, everything could take another phase and my determination immediately grew. It was as if I was forced to become a lot more mature at such an early age. To some, such an experience might seem specifically devastating. To me though, such part of my life became the turning point of everything, a realization of what I really want and a source of indication on the path that I want to take as I grow into age. My mother, my inspiration, gave me the most compelling source strength allowing me to see through the bright side of life even though everything started to seem shattered. As my mother never gave up on me or on the idea of giving me what I needed as an advancing student, I learned not to give up on myself either. I knew I had to stand up and it was not only for me nor for my dream, but for my mother and my family who I want to lead in a much better state of living as I tend to graduate from college and gain a better job that would allow me to give them the American dream that my mother longed to realize for us when we were still young.