Categories
World Literature

Christine de Pizan and Advice for Widows

Writing became a form of therapy for Christine de Pizan following the death of her husband when she was 25 years old. Her efforts to expel the pain of widowhood through lyric ultimately resulted in the formation of a distinct style based on the recurring subject matter. However, rather than simply describing the sorrows that are often experienced as a result of becoming a widow, de Pizan offers structured perspectives from a consistently female perspective and even provides advice on the treatment of widows by other members of the greater feminine society. Additionally, the message is extended to widows from all social classes through a focus on challenges of the situation that apply to women of all economic statuses. The first issue is the indifference of men to the plight of a widow. This is compounded by the stress of the many pieces of paperwork and lawsuits that will be brought upon the widow in response to their husband’s remaining debts and dealings. The third key challenge faced by all widows according to de Pizan is the evil gossip that will fuel unfair criticisms and judgements of those who have lost their partner. The author offers several pieces of advice that are meant to help women to protect themselves from the negative effects associated with the three primary trials of widowhood. In response to apparent cold-heartedness from others it is suggested that widows turn to God, focus on being a kind person to others, and if all else fails to sequester themselves from those who seek to cause harm. These approaches are also meant to help widows avoid lawsuits and criticisms that could ultimately ruin their lives.

            While de Pizan’s pieces of advice for widows were likely helpful in the time of their conception, they appear to be too dated to have practical implications for widowed women in developed contemporary societies. Similar challenges still exist in the form of gossip, paperwork, and a lack of empathy, but the standing of females in most modern regions has risen to a level that is no longer compatible with the environment in which the advice was developed. It is true that women are still unfairly treated as the lesser sex on an almost universal basis, but the degree of disparity based on sex in lawful and other judgements has been substantially decreased throughout modern systems. The threat of lawsuits and similar demands are thus less pressing on widows than had been the case in de Pizan’s especially repressed time period. However, it is still true that legal matters must be taken care of following the death of a spouse, and this applies as much to a widower as a widow. Unfortunately de Pizan’s advice is useless to both sexes under current law systems as these matters cannot simply be avoided through kindness or by going into hiding. Neither sex would be faced with the same legal threats today that would have existed when this work was written and so there is no need to be concerned with having no representation or acknowledgement as human beings.             The above relates to the situation for widows in most developed countries, but there are still many cultures in which females find themselves in circumstances that are sadly similar to those faced by de Pizan. It is possible that the advice offered in this piece would have some relevance to current widows in such cultures, though there would certainly be limitations specific to the sociocultural environment that would also need consideration. For example, the spiritual beliefs of a culture may overrule any constructed principles of law, requiring the advice to be reframed within the spiritual perspective so that it can counter the challenge at the most appropriate and impactful level.

Categories
World Literature

Everyman Lessons and Contemporary Communication

The primary lesson in The Summoning of Everyman is that the only aspect of life to accompany a person in death is their ledger of good deeds. The play symbolizes Good Deeds as a person, along with several other aspects of Everyman’s life, who represents his interactions with each as if recounting a personal relationship. In the Christian framework of this play, the characters serve to demonstrate that commonly misplaced values will ultimately be useless or even harmful to a person when they are called before God for judgement. For example, Beauty, Strength, Discretion, and Wits are revealed to dissipate with age while Knowledge cannot make the trip past life’s end. Relationships with people as represented by Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin demonstrate that they are in the same situation as Everyman and cannot aid him without letting their own ledgers suffer, thus showing them to be unreliable in death. However, no factor is as obviously negative as Everyman’s relationship with Goods. The play begins with God openly upset about the reliance of mankind on material objects. This displeasure is the motivation for the summoning of Everyman to judgement through Death. Everyman learns that bringing Goods on his journey would only make the situation worse by emphasizing his lack of charity in life.         Though Good Deeds is the only character available to strengthen Everyman’s case before God, there is another that is vital to the cause by providing the energy to survive the journey and to be a significant factor upon their arrival at the judgement. Everyman had not established a strong relationship with Good Deeds through his life, and thus required the absolution available by begging for Penance in the presence of Confession. Doing so allowed Confession to declare Everyman absolved and greatly boosted the impact of Good Deeds as a ledger component             As a standard morality tale, Everyman is still easily relatable to Christian values and should be clearly interpreted as a warning against materialism in combination with the promotion of charitable acts as vital components of the faith. The use of allegorical characters remains an effective means of conveying these and other important messages within the play. Materialism is perhaps more prominent of a moral issue today than it has ever been, and this piece presents the issue in a uniquely Christian manner by contrasting the matter with the impact of good deeds during judgement by God. Also, the often misunderstood role of confession and penance in the religion is perfectly demonstrated in this work, giving it an enduring quality of relevance that stands out among the wealth of complex religious adaptations found throughout the history of performance art. However, one of the emerging topics in all of academia is the need to use a multicultural perspective when forming current and future hypotheses. This issue has arisen as the world continues to undergo a mixing of cultures that is changing the nature of previously assumed standards based on ethnocentric perspectives. Accordingly, it is necessary to consider the contemporary effectiveness of Everyman in delivering traditionally Christian values to the modern multicultural society. An immediately noticeable concern from this viewpoint is that the notion of discounting other people in the assessment of personal value through judgement or any other form is in direct conflict with the ideas held by most collectivist cultures. However, the importance of good deeds is perfectly in tune with collectivist values. This inconsistency could pose a threat to the widespread impact of this work or it could motivate the viewer to more closely inspect the particular Christian views that underlie the apparent discord and may actually lead to a better understanding of the religion.

Categories
English

Internet Privacy

            The internet has gained popularity in recent years and protecting one’s privacy has become a major concern. As a result, people who use the internet on a daily basis are concerned with how their privacy is being maintained and protected. Many companies are viewing people’s information via social networks and web surfing. Recently, AT&T has alleged that Google is profiling people for the NSA. According to AT&T, when a person agrees to use the Google toolbar, but does not opt out of the web history their information is stored. When customers do not opt out Google has the ability to observe what URLs the customer visited, other searches, and even see what pages were actually viewed. However, when a customer has nothing to hide they could care less if they are being monitored.  There have even been alleged cases of social network selling people personal information to telemarketing organizations, but that might be one of the prices we have to pay for safety. I would rather be annoyed by telemarketers than have my identity stolen. The internet is a fast-paced environment that is constantly changing. The government is now asking companies to not track people’s location, sites they visit on a regular basis, and sell their personal information to help ensure that the general public feels comfortable with monitoring. . I believe that government internet monitoring is necessary to help prevent and detect terrorist plots, pornography, and international crime.

Many American feel betrayed because of the find of this information, but it is quite necessary to ensure our safety. Agencies like the FBI and NSA collect and monitor information about internet activity in efforts to maintain national security. Dinev says, “If Einstein 3 can perform deep packet inspection to prevent botnets from accessing certain Web pages, for instance, could it also be used to prevent a human from accessing illegal pornography, copyright-infringing music, or offshore gambling sites?” (p. 230).  If Einstein can prohibit the access of pornography, I believe it has done a great job.   Although many Americans see the United States monitoring policies as too invasive, there are other countries that have far more invasive monitoring techniques. Some countries even block sites that they feel are inappropriate or unacceptable. I believe that government internet monitoring is necessary to help prevent and detect terrorist plots, pornography, and international crime.

            Public opinion about the government’s monitoring internet activity in efforts to prevent terrorism is somewhat divided among different aged Americans. Forty-five percent of Americans feel the government should monitor emails and online activity, while fifty-two percent believe that when the government does this they are infringing upon their privacy rights. It seems that younger Americans are more concerned with protecting their personal privacy than preventing terrorism when it comes at their privacy’s expense. People in the age frame of 18-29 believe it is more important for the government to not infringe upon their personal internet privacy rights even if this diminishes chances of the government counteracting terrorist plots. Nonetheless, sixty-one percent of people in this same age group feel it is acceptable for the government to track phone records for the same purposes. However, seventy-two percent of Americans aged 65 and older feel it is acceptable for the government to track phone and internet usage if it will prevent future terrorist acts. (Dinev, p. 222). No matter the age of a person, their safety is of the utmost importance and the government is trying to ensure that safety.

            In a perfect world, people who have access to the internet would be responsible enough to use it for the intended purpose it was made. However, that perfect world does not exist. There are some people who use the internet solely as a tool to rob and scheme unsuspecting people. As a result, the government or the law is often needed to help people who have become prey to internet predators. Not only are adults targeted, but so are children. It is the responsibility of parents to monitor their children’s internet usage. There are many access control tools that can prevent children from illicit material. Nonetheless, parents are unable to watch their children at all times. As a result, children are elicited for sex and victims of the sex trade at an alarming rate. Using the internet, deals and the exchange of sex for money is done without some key players ever even meeting each other (Liau, A. K., Khoo, A., & Ang, P. H. 2005).

When one thinks of prostitution the actual physical act of sex comes to mind, but in the tech savvy world people are paying for visuals. There are various sites that one could go to and purchase a live camera sexual act. Often the people performing these acts are minors or sex slaves. Knowing that various sites are the government is helping to monitor illicit material is comforting to me, parents, and concerned citizens. For example, I was watching a talk show recently where a young lady was speaking out about being a former sex slave. She spoke about the acts she had to perform and how her life was threatened if she tried to notify anyone or escape. Luckily, it was the efforts of monitoring systems that were able to locate her and several other women been held captive. A local police department sat up a sting. They went onto the site and solicited the services of one of the girls. When they made arrangements to meet, the squad team was there to apprehend the pornography leaders. The site was found after the mother of one of the victims was able to view the emails of her daughter. The mother had become suspicious of her daughter’s behavior and had a device installed on the family’s computer. When she disappeared, the mother printed various bits of evidence from the computer. She was able to assist the police in the return of several girls.  Knowing that servers like Google could actually be gathering information on the type of searches one makes is comforting as well. Also, now that the public knows this is taking place, I believe that people will be more reluctant to view illicit material over the internet. As a result, people in the pornography business will lose money.

            Since the tragedy of 9/11, many Americans are more conscientious of the world around them. People have naturally become more vigilant of their surroundings.  As a result, many terrorist groups have begun using the internet as a way to spread their message. There are numerous sites that support anti-Americanism. These sites elicit the help of people with like views. Often, the information is encrypted to try to ensure secretiveness. As a result, the American government has founded groups that monitor these sites. As a result, several terrorist plots have been foiled due to information gathered on these sites. Many Americans seem to agree that monitoring terrorist sites is acceptable, but still feel monitoring everyone else is an invasion of privacy. It is necessary because people with terrorist views aren’t always what one expects. Many people have a visual in their mind as to what a terrorist should look like, but in actuality it could be the next door neighbor, the banker teller, the local butcher, or even the taxi driver. With certain activities been monitored, all people are being monitored equally without profiling.

            With today’s economy, many people have been trying to find work by any means necessary. As a result, many people are working nontraditional jobs at home. Consequently, there are many internet scams and international crime rings operating via the internet. There are some internet scammers that offer at home work, but the potential employee must first pay a fee for the start-up kit.  There are others that contact potential victims stating that they have won a large sum of money, but must first pay the shipping and handling fees for the check to be delivered to their home. There are endless possibilities to be scammed by online internet companies.  According to Salbu,

“The Bureau of Consular Affairs receives daily calls about international scams involving Internet dating, inheritance, work permits, overpayment, and money-laundering. Many scams are initiated through the Internet; victims range in age from 18 to 81 and come from all socio-economic backgrounds. While such confidence schemes have long existed, the advent of the Internet has greatly increased their prevalence. Individual U.S. citizens have lost considerable money on these scams, ranging from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.” (Salbu, p. 439).

Salbu goes on to say that if a person feels they have become a victim of an online scam, they should notify the administrators of that website. The victim should end all communication with the alleged scam artist. Nonetheless, it is extremely rare that the victim recovers the lost money because scams evolve constantly. However, if the victim feels threatened in any way, they should contact their local law enforcement office. (Salbu, p. 459-62).

The invention of the internet had made our lives much easier and convenient.  However, it has also exposed us to scams, extortion, and other negative possibilities. As a result, monitoring has to be done in order to ensure our safety. Although government monitoring may be a little invasive or annoying at times, in the long wrong it is more beneficial to Americans than it is harmful. Consequently, I am accepting of the fact that the government is monitoring certain sites or key words. As a law abiding citizen, who has nothing to hide, I have moved passed the issue of privacy in favor of overall safety.

Works Cited

Dinev, T. (2008). Internet privacy concerns and beliefs about the government surveillance. Journal of Strategic Information, 17(3), 214-233.

Liau, A. K., Khoo, A., & Ang, P. H. (2005). Factors influencing adolescent’s engagement in risky Internet behavior. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 8(6), 513-520.

Salbu, S. (1998). Who should govern the internet?: monitoring and supporting a new frontier. Journal of Law & Technology, 11(2), 430-462.

Categories
American History

THE ROLE OF RAILROADS IN THE GREAT WEST SETTLEMENT

Introduction

The rise of the railroad system in the American West between 1865 nand 1900 was integral to the region’s economic development and the Great West settlements. In addition, the railroad system was also instrumental in promoting ethnic diversity in the American West, as it drew Caucasian settlers from the East, African-American settlers from the Deep South, and Chinese settlers to work on the railroads[1].  The Great Plains and the Far West were popular settlement locations brought about by industrialization, partly fueled by the railroads. The railroads were also integral in the implementation of new developments, as well as encroaching economic adjustments in the area that led to the eventual defeat of the western Indians and southwest Hispanic communities. However, this also led to the growth of the presence of Asians, Mexicans, and Europeans who migrated to this area. Also, it is reported that railroad operations in Indian Territory in Oklahoma sparked competition by district settlers, and this led to the implementation of the Homestead Act of 1889 which opened the door for many settlers to gain occupancy and ownership of the land[2].

What the Railroads Accomplished

            The invention and building of the railroads in the American West accomplished many siginificant events, such as improved transportation, imports, and exports. This gave way to the extension of capitalist initiatives, as well as new business and innovation, causing the growth and expansion of the settlements, as gold, mercury, agricultural products, livestock, and other forms of wealth were easily funneled into the West[3].

References

Henrietta. A Maturing Industrial Society, 1877–1914. Bedford St Martin, 2009.

Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900. n.d. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/riseind/west/.

Schwantes, C. A., and J P. Ronda. The West the Railroads Made. 2008. http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/SCHWES.html.


[1]  (Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900 n.d.)

[2]  (Henrietta 2009)

[3]  (Schwantes and Ronda 2008)

Categories
Geography

Global Warming

The Natural Resources Defense Council states that global warming is caused by a collection of carbon monoxide and air pollution within the atmosphere. This event causes an effect such as that of a thick blanket covering the earth, by trapping heat from the sun. This is called the Greenhouse Effect and is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Two main sources of these emissions are coal-burning power plants and automobile exhaust (NRDC). According to the National Geographic magazine, global warming cyclically affects climate rhythms and the lives of all living things on earth (Global Warming). In short, the earth is heating up which will continue to threaten life on earth as it is known.

Global Warming Statistics

            Currently, there are no signs that global warming will cease to exist, as the earth is already showing damage from its effects. As reported by NASA, average worldwide earth temperatures have risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.8 degrees Celsius since the year 1880, and the majority of this climb in temperature occurred within recent decades and the rate is increasing. In addition, climate studies show the last two decades of the 20th century had the hottest temperatures during the last 400 years and possibly the last 1,000 years. Moreover, as reported by the United Nations, 11 out of the last 12 years were warmer since 1850, and even scarier is the fact that the Arctic is getting warmer. Average temperatures in this region (which includes Alaska, parts of Canada, and eastern Russia) have doubled the global average, according to a report from the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment organization (NRDC).

Consequences of Global Warming

With ice melting in the Arctic, polar bears, penguins, and other Arctic wildlife, as well as indigenous cultures are threatened. Also, glaciers and mountain snow tops are also melting such as in Glacier National Park in Montana which is down to only 27 glaciers instead of 150 that were there as recently as 1910. In addition, sea temperatures are rising and coral reefs are dying off at rates of up to 70 percent. Global warming has also caused a record amount of natural events such as tropical storms, tornadoes, wildfires, heat waves, tsunamis, and floods in various parts of the world (NRDC). All of these events create domino effects throughout the circle of life on this planet and affects all living things – animals, plant life, and humans.

Predictions and Efforts to Change Global Warming

            It is reported that the United States is the largest culprit as a source of global warming pollution, producing 25 percent of the problem by burning fossil fuels (NRDC). Clearly, an obvious prevention opportunity is for the United States to curtail its use of fossil fuels. There are technologies in place to help with this effort; however, they are not yet completely mainstream. Using renewable energy sources such as from the wind and the sun will help the global warming problem, and some states have already regulated this to be put in place by large utility companies by 2017 (NRDC). This is a relief; however, this effort needs to be expedited by the United States as well as other nations of the world. Everyone can do a part to conserve energy and not pollute any more than we already have. Too many people are oblivious to the facts about global warming and they do not pay much attention to it. There should be more in-your-face awareness and more broadcasts about the current and future effects of this threat to humanity. Global warming is everybody’s problem.

Works Cited

Global Warming. n.d. <http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/>.

NRDC. Global Warming Basics. 18 October 2005. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/f101.asp>.

Categories
Nursing

Healthcare as a Commodity

Healthcare is a general need of the human society. It is then important that they [the people] be given the chance to have full access to the provisions of healthcare facilities that could improve the status of their health. Notably though, the current situation in the society indicates that healthcare is not considered as a commodity. This means that the control on the pricing of medicines and other medical elements still belong to the administrators owning the companies who are producing the said products for the society to consume. There are some entities in the healthcare industry controlled by the government, however a large part of the said industry still belongs to privately owned companies that are of course most often than not dependent on the desire to acquire profit. In fact, it could be realized that the pharmaceutical industries belong to the top five highest grossing industries around the globe at present.

Categories
Literature

The Immigrant Experience

Tomas Rivera, born in 1935 to migrant farm workers in Texas, went from incurring regular racism in his difficulties getting published to becoming one of the most prolific Mexican-American writers in history. Mr. Rivera used upward social mobility to eventually become a published writer, as well as a renowned literary professor, by using his own education as an advantage.

Categories
Philosophy

Arguments on Representing Las Vegas

What constitutes the real viable description of any city is the process by which all angles of life that thrives in it is being represented one way or another. Relatively, based on this argument, it could be noted that CSI Nevada represents Las Vegas in a more distinct way compared to how Las Vegas [the TV series] tries to represent the life and the being of the people residing in the city. Relatively, Las Vegas [TV Series] focuses on casinos and the administration that works behind their existence. While it is true that Las Vegas [the city] is known for gambling and huge casinos, it is not justifiable that the city be stereotyped as some placed only focused on such matter. CSI Nevada on the other hand, although it is more focused on the areas of Nevada alone [which is merely a part of Las Vegas city], it defines the people and the life they live in a more distinct way that makes it easier for the viewers to see what Las Vegas really is about. It tries to expand in defining the people, their characteristics and the issues that they have to deal with in relation to the culture of the society in the city through the occurrence of each criminal case they intend to investigate upon.

Categories
Business

Level of Organization Change

Chapter 6 explains the three different levels of organizational change: individual, group and larger systems based on the processes, responses and methods for introducing gradual and dramatic changes.

            Individual Level Change

The authors explain that the major changes in the organization result in training, change of position, development programs and coaching. The main focus when introducing change on the individual level should be on gaining commitment, developing the individual’s skills according to the new requirements and effective communication patterns that highlight the benefits of the change for the individual. Likewise, selection and recruitment models also have to be adjusted to the changes in the organization’s needs and priorities. Individuals usually respond to changes going through five different stages; all to be addressed by managers: shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Categories
Business

QSO Final

Executive Summary

In today’s information environment, more people are turning to the internet for their forwarding and messaging. As emails grow, and the purpose of sending faxes through emails, it is a question if the United States Postal Services is going obsolete. The once profitable billion dollar a year company has been losing billions since the mid-2000. In an effort to save the postal service, they have been streamlining layoffs to compensate for their losses, closing down post offices, and Congress even passed that the Postal Services should cut Saturday deliveries.

Categories
World Literature

The Position of Women in the Islamic World

The issue of women’s rights is age old, and has existed in almost every culture seen on every continent to some extent. There is evidence of this in almost every contemporary religion–analyzed best by the cultural differences the religion exists in. With specific regards to the Muslim world and women’s rights, the correlation in the contemporary world exists more as a cultural norm than a product of the religion itself, best illustrated by the recent Muslim uprisings, as well as the assimilation seen by Muslims existing in Western countries.

Categories
English

Religion as the Cause of War

War and religion are two entities that have existed since the beginning of time. War is an organized and prolonged conflict between two or more opposing sides. Often, one or more of those sides are driven by religious thoughts and beliefs. The questioning of the cause of war, as well as the questioning of others’ religious beliefs has gone on just as long as war and religion themselves. Many believe that the two are intertwined and that religion is usually the cause of most major wars. In places like Palestine, Iran and throughout the Middle East, religion has been fueling wars and conflicts for centuries. There are even wars that are started within one specific religion over various beliefs or territorial rights- like the fighting between the Islamic sects in the Middle East. Because of the wide and prominent occurrence of wars in the name of “god”, many people tend to believe that religion can be a leading cause of war all over the globe.

Categories
English

Political vs. Religious Leaders

Religion and politics are two of the most important forces that shape a society and America’s founding fathers were well aware of this fact. Thus, it is not a surprise that they went to great lengths to ensure that church and state will remain separate institutions in America. Like any other institutions, there are leaders in religious and political arena, too. A comparative analysis reveals that even though there are some differences between religious and political leaders, the similarities outnumber the differences.

Categories
English

Personal Experience

I was twelve years old, and I had never used a camera before, nor could I have possibly conceived what a simple camping trip with my family would result in. However, I can recollect every single moment of that trip, and every odd, and yet horrifying moment. I think brushes with death tend to leave an impression on a person.