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
Art

The Rebirth of Art: Renaissance and Baroque

Chapter Two of “The Annotated Mona Lisa” explores the historical periods known as the Renaissance and the Baroque. Artistic expression in the Middle Ages abandoned many of the traditions of the Classical period, and focused primarily on cathedrals and other architectural works that were intended to glorify God rather than the human form and the natural world. At the dawn of the Renaissance, the world “came back to life,” and artists once again began to focus on anatomical accuracy and capturing the human form and the natural world realistically and accurately. Many works of art from these historical periods reflected the rebirth of humanity’s interest in knowledge, learning and exploration.

            Leonardo Da Vinci, of Florence, Italy is one of the most well-known and respected artists of the Renaissance era. Only a small number of Da Vinci’s paintings still survive, and one of those surviving paintings is one of the most famous works of art in history: The Mona Lisa. This portrait of a young woman was painted with oil on canvas, and was “one of the first easel paintings intended to be framed and hung on a wall” (Strickland and Boswell, 2007, p.34). Da Vinci’s work on the Mona Lisa incorporated several of the new techniques seen in Renaissance-era paintings, such as the use of light and dark known as chiaroscuro and the use of linear perspective that drew all the lines on the painting to a distant point hidden by the young woman’s head. These techniques made her image appear much more lifelike than earlier, more two-dimensional techniques, were capable of doing.

            Another famous work of Michelangelo’s, and one that was done on a very different scale, is “The Last Supper,” a fresco that portrays the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples. The wall-sized mural, painted in Milan, uses perspective and chiaroscuro techniques and a pyramidal structure to place Jesus at the center of the image as all the lines converge at his head. The other figures in the image are captured in various poses that make them appear very lifelike, revealing “the fundamental character and psychological state of each apostle” (Strickland and Boswell, p.35).

            Along with these well-known works from Da Vinci the chapter covers other artists and works from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and demonstrates that many of the contemporary elements of art as they are known today were developed in these eras. I would define many of the works of art produced during these periods as exciting new forms of artistic expression that set the standard for what it mean to be an artist, and formed the foundation of the contemporary world of art.

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.

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
Ethics

Painkillers “Walgreens”

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
English

Environmental Issues

DiMento, JFC, Doughman, PM. (2007). Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren. The MIT Press, p. 3. Retrieved from           http://books.google.com/books?id=PXJIqCkb7YIC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_g   e_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

One of the major reasons that the world has yet to make progress towards slowing down and reversing human effects on the earth is due to social reasons. Many politicians argue that enacting climate change policy is too expensive and not worthwhile. In the United States, the division between the political opinions of Democrats and Republicans is a major contributing factor to this situation. Typically, Republicans claim that global warming is a hoax while Democrats actively advocate for environmental policies.

Knight J, KenneyJJ, Folland C, Harris G, Jones GS, Palmer M, Parker D, Scaife A. (2009). Do              Global Temperature Trends Over the Last Decade Falsify Climate Predictions?   Bull.Amer.Meteor.Soc,. 90 (8): S75–S79. Retrieved from   http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/j/j/global_temperatures_09.pdf

Global warming is typically thought of a process that involves the constant warming the earth’s surface. This study shows that global temperature change has slowed down within the last decade. Despite this, there is clear evidence that there has been climate change over a long time period and this is especially apparent when we graph temperature changes over each year.

NOAA. (2007). Patterns of greenhouse warming. GFDL Climate Modeling Research Highlights.             Retrieved from http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/cms-filesystem-            action/user_files/kd/pdf/gfdlhighlight_vol1n6.pdf

This pamphlet summarizes the findings of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. These studies traced the patterns of greenhouse warming and concluded that summer warming over continents may be accompanied by drier soils, the most warming is expected to occur during the winter in North America and north-central Asia, warming in this century will occur more over land than oceans, and the increase of surface air temperatures in response to increasing greenhouse gas levels will not be geographically uniform.

Raupach R, Marland G, Ciais P, Le Quéré C, Canadell G,  Klepper G, Field B. (2007). Global   and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions. Proceedings of the National          Academy of Sciences, 104 (24): 10288–10293. Retrieved from           http://www.pnas.org/content/104/24/10288

Carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere which is directly responsible for causing the Greenhouse Effect. These emissions have been increasing over the years as a result of several factors including more frequent use of fossil fuels and industrial processes. The article discusses the distribution of carbon dioxide emissions across the world, reasons for its release, and provides information on the growth of this practice.

Wentz FJ, Ricciardulli L, Hilburn K, Mears C. (2007). How Much More Rain Will Global         Warming Bring? Science, 317 (5835): 233–5. Retrieved from             http://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5835/233.abstract

This article discusses the relationship between global warming and rain. It has been determined using climate models and scientific observation that the amount of water stored in the atmosphere will increase as the surface of the earth becomes warmer. While former studies indicate that precipitation will be released at only a portion of this rate, the group discovered that precipitation and surface warming have a direct relationship and an increase in one will lead to a proportional increase in the other. Therefore, global warming will cause a greater extent of precipitation.

Categories
History

Fort Sumter and the Civil War

The Battle at Fort Sumter was the first battle of the Civil War. It was at this fort that the first shots of the American Civil War were fired- starting the battle between the Union and the Confederates. Fort Sumter is located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Between April 11 and April 12, 1861, fights broke out when the Confederate forces attacked the Fort–a strategically important, as well as metaphorically important site, for many reasons.

            By 1861, the balance of power in Congress between free and slave states had reached its peak time of conflict. Acts such as the Missouri Compromise, as well as the newly annexed American properties like Texas and California, were used as temporary bargaining chips–the balance between free and slave states was truly only the binding agent for the Union.

            These two separate trains of thought were apparent from the onset of the United States as a country, and perhaps foreshadowing the entire Civil War–simply making the events at Fort Sumter the unavoidable catalyst, or proverbial “spark”. The original document outlining the structure of the US Government, The Articles of Confederation, placed way too much power in the hands of individual states, and not enough in the Federal government. Though the Constitution was eventually ratified, it still left a gray area between the State and Federal Governments, leading to Hamilton’s Federalist’s and Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans. The idea of states’ rights versus power of the federal government was imbedded from the beginning.

            The economy of the South for raw materials, and the North with its manufacturing centers, were codependent. Lincoln was not an abolitionist–in fact, he was a slave owner himself. The Emancipation Proclamation outlawed slavery only in the South–border states such as Maryland, Delaware, and even Southern New Jersey had slavery until the passage of the 13th Amendment, way after the Civil War. Lincoln made the War about slavery to protect the Union, and stunt a British-backed Confederacy.

            Though the Southern attack at Fort Sumter formally started the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, the seed was planted many years earlier, virtually at the onset of the United States as a nation, and its overall structure of government.

References

National Park Service, “Fort Sumter.” Last modified 08 06, 2013. Accessed June 14, 2013. http://www.nps.gov/fosu/index.htm

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

Environmental Issues

As the use of technology becomes more prevalent, our need to monitor human impact on the environment also increases. Although technological advances make our lives easier, it is essential to understand how production of these items negatively impacts our planet. Factories that produce these products produce a large quantity of pollution that ranges from carbon dioxide emissions to paper waste products that deplete both the ozone layer and Earth’s forests. Therefore, it’s essential to educate others on the harmful effects of factory pollution and find ways to reverse the impact of this waste on our environment. To do so, we must we must begin by educating our youth about the consequences of pollution and determine effective ways to reduce the impact of carbon dioxide in the air.

            Many people today don’t believe that global warming exists and is a threat to our environment. Despite this, there is clear evidence that the Earth’s temperatures are changing, seawater levels are rising, and the ozone layer is shrinking. In order to dispel any myths that exist against global warming, we must educate our nation’s youth while they are still in school. I therefore propose the addition of an environmental science course at the elementary level. In addition to learning basic math, language, and history, students will be required to learn the basic science skills that will enable them to interpret scientific evidence on their own and draw their own sound conclusions. Since youth are the future of this country, educating on them on these issues early can have a positive effect on environmental policy in the future.

            Next, we must find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. These emissions create holes in the ozone layer which decreases protection from the sun’s UV rays. To do so, we must petition and lobby against factories that produce a significant amount of pollution. Many will not want to comply, but it is important to explain to them that there are clean energy alternatives that will allow them to continue their business as before and have a smaller carbon footprint on the Earth. Lobbying against these factories may help enact a national policy that will require them to find ways to produce their technology and products in a way that will minimally impact the environment.            

In conclusion, although factories that produce technology are harmful to the environment, there are ways to persuade these companies to switch to clean energy that will help protect the Earth. These strategies include educating youth, lobbying against factories that cause pollution, and trying to persuade factories to use clean energy. While this may not be enough to completely undo the effects of global warming, it’s certainly a start. It is essential for everyone to understand the importance of the environment and how our daily activities can contribute to its demise; only then can we start to make a true difference.

Categories
Nursing

Cultural Impact

Introduction

Crack cocaine is a very addictive substance that had a unique beginning. Cocaine was initially extracted from the coca plant in 1862 and used in various medicines, some that could be purchased over the counter. It was even one of the common ingredients in the first Coca-Cola drink (Baumer, p. 312   ). Powder cocaine was first used recreationally by affluent member of society. It was very expensive to buy pure cocaine. Crack cocaine became a cheaper substitute for pure powder cocaine. Crack cocaine is produced by adding water and baking soda to pure cocaine. The substance is then baked and “cracked” into small pieces. This product produces an intense high, but only lasts about fifteen minutes. Crack cocaine became popular in the 1980’s and has had lasting negative effects on the black community. Black males are more likely to use crack cocaine than members of any other race. Crack cocaine has negatively affected the African-American community in several ways: crack cocaine usage increases sexual risk taking behaviors and violence among its users, users are at a higher risk of mental health issues, and chronic users develop health issues over time that could lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other gastronomical complications. Nonetheless, there are treatment plans geared toward helping African –American individuals overcome crack addiction. These programs range from out-patient to extended in-patient stays. They are operated by various organizations from hospitals to religious organizations.

Risky Behavior

Many crack addicts take part in risky sexual behaviors in order to fund their habits. When one thinks of prostitution or the exchange of sex for something else, one often thinks of women only. However, in the drug world men exchange sex for drugs just as often as women do. For example, one study conducted in an urban area found that both men and women engaged in trading oral sex for drugs or money; further, male respondents who acknowledged trading sex for drugs or money were more likely than women respondents to acknowledge having engaged in anal sex in trading for drugs ( Maranda, M.J., Han, C., & Rainone, G.A , p. 318) Also, more women reported using condoms than men, but also confirmed that if the customer insisted on not using a condom they would oblige. The study found that women often traded sex in efforts to gain access to more crack or to mentally escape the horrors of prostitution, while men reported heightened sexual urges when they were high on crack cocaine.  Maranda, M.J., Han, C., & Rainone, G.A reported, “Some women reported that they traded sex to support their drug addiction, others seemed to use drugs to cope with trading sex.” Consequently, the AIDS epidemic is growing due to the crack epidemic.  Maranda, M.J., Han, C., & Rainone, G.A adds that the best way to prevent the spread of HIV is to prevent behaviors that put people at risk. Using drugs often make people participate in risky behaviors in efforts to gain access to the drug.  (Maranda, M.J., Han, C., & Rainone p. 320)

Mental Illness

Crack cocaine use has also has been linked to onset mental issues.  Chronic crack use has been reported to produce side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, egocentric behavior, dysphoria, anorexia, and delusions. According to Baumer,

“Different routes of using cocaine are associated with different negative consequences. Crack users have a greater number of symptoms, and higher levels of anxiety, depression, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. Psychiatric comorbidity among cocaine dependent users is not only increased for other substance disorders, but also for personality disorders.” (Baumer, p. 319).

Years of chronic use has been linked to more serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Scientists believe that because crack alters brain activity the imbalance can lead to the disease. Crack use blocks certain neurotransmitters and substances that allow brain cells to communicate with each other. The brains of people with the schizophrenia have less gray matter and some areas of the brain display less or more activity, just as the brains of crack users.  Baumer adds that using drugs also adds to the probability that a person will be violent. When persons with mental illness or drug dependency become violent, it is usually directed towards a family member (Baumer, p. 321)

Effects on Black Community

            Although crack cocaine is use by people from various races, it attacked the black community the hardest. Cocaine use has been linked to the increases in murder and incarcerations. High school drop-out rates have also increased since the introduction of crack cocaine. It is estimated that crack markets account for between 40-73 percent of drop in black males’ high school graduation rate. In essence, the introduction of crack cocaine to the black community did three things: increased the probability of a black being murdered, increased risk of incarceration, and increased the likelihood of selling crack as a potential income in the black home. All of the scenarios limit the benefits of a proper education. Consequently, high school seems less attractive to the black because he/she will only end up in jail, or he/or she could be earning some fast money by selling it.

Incidence and Prevalence

            According to the data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), young black adults  aged 18 to 25 years of age represent the highest rates of lifetime (60.5%), past year (34.6%) and past month (20.3%) use of crack cocaine. In 2007, 17 percent of state inmates and 18 percent of federal inmate’s admitted that they commit their crimes while high or in efforts to get money for drugs.  Also, 60 percent of prisoners polled reported prior drug use, while 79 percent reportedly were still using drugs. Sadly, nearly 75 percent of addicts that enter a recovery program will relapse. In 2008, 18.8 percent of blacks reported using crack cocaine, while the national average of crack use in 19.9 percent. Astoundingly, blacks only make up about 11.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Treatment Options

            Implementing an intervention program can be difficult; it depends on each individual addict. If the addict has family, the family needs to be equipped with the tools to help the addict. However, if the addict is alone, he needs an appointed support system to help him maintain his sobriety. Financial difficulty is the main obstacle that addicts deal with. Most of them do not have insurance or the funds to pay for a treatment program. Often non-profit organizations may be willing to help out financially. There are some free programs that addicts may enter into, but these programs are often overcrowded and cold take as long as a year waiting period before being admitted. Some addicts chose to go through a detox program and then continue with an out-patient facility. With out-patient, the addict is able to go home daily, but is required to attend certain meetings. With in-patient facilities the addict is required to remain in the facility for the duration of the program. Often many addicts are more successful with in-patient facilities. Sadly, many of them relapse after they complete the program and are back in their old environments. Consequently, many therapists suggest that the addict moves to another location in order to have a better chance at remaining sober.  Consequently, the program has to be designed based upon the needs of the addict and his/her family.

                                     Specific Treatment for African-Americans

A range of treatment programs have been developed in the last few decades that endeavor to address the issue of substance abuse within members of the African-American community. A 2006 report (Liddle et al) examined an intervention and treatment program developed within the larger context of family therapy that was designed to address the specific needs and concerns of adolescent African-American males in terms of substance abuse. This program aims to be “culturally specific,” and is based on a several core components intended to provide a therapeutic framework that both considers and derives utility from a number of cultural references and touchstones relevant to the African-American community in general and adolescent African-American males in particular.

            The therapeutic framework is predicated on the notion that African-American adolescent males live in an “intersection” of cross-cultural frameworks (Liddle et al, 2006). These include the overarching mainstream American culture, the American minority culture, and the African-American-specific culture. As such the therapeutic framework utilizes culturally-relevant components, such as music and movies, which address issues related to the specific issue of substance abuse as well as larger issues about family, inner-city life, and other cultural components that may be relevant to African-American male adolescents. This culturally-specific therapeutic framework is intended to promote a strong level of engagement and participation among subjects, as opposed to a top-down model of information dissemination.

            The culturally-specific therapy is considered to be an adjunct of the larger model of Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), and it attempts to address the “oppositional culture” and the “code of the street” in which young African-Americans are often raised. By developing a treatment program which embraces these cultural components –rather than attempting to subvert the or simply ignore them- the treatment approach seeks to draw out positive cultural references that support the avoidance of substance abuse and to emphasize and reinforce such references as a means of promoting abstinence and avoidance of drug and alcohol use. In short, the MDFT approach attempts to make it “cool” to not use drugs and alcohol by promoting this view through the use of culturally-specific references that are likely to be acknowledged and accepted by subjects. The report asserts that this culturally-specific MDFT approach shows strong promise as an effective approach to helping young African-American males develop and individual identity that aligns well with their larger cultural frameworks and promotes the choice not to use drugs and alcohol.

Implications

            Crack addiction is just as much an emotional and psychological addiction as it is a physical addiction. Many crack addicts are afraid of being without the drug.  Crack addicts are often dual drug users, which mean their crack addiction is often brought on by the use of some other illicit drug. As a result, healthcare providers must address the problem in a dual method. They must first address the psychological issues that the addict may be dealing with. Once that is done, they can give the addict tools to use to handle stress and other life issues without turning to crack as a coping mechanism. Most African Americans are afraid of being labeled as mentally ill or a “crack head”. As a result, healthcare providers have to careful to treat them with respect in order to gain their much needed trust. Health care providers and mental health workers must collaborate, which will bring expertise from both backgrounds to the forefront in order to help crack addicts gain and maintain sobriety. Most importantly, health care providers must convey that they understand that crack addicts are essentially just like any other person. They have just made bad decisions, but have the potential to become productive members on society once again.

References

Baumer, Eric P. (1994).  Poverty, Crack, and Crime: A Cross-City Analysis. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 31. 311-327.

 Liddle, H. A., Jackson-Gilfort, A., & Marvel, F. A. (2006). An empirically-supported and culturally-specific engagement and intervention strategy for African-American adolescent males. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry75(2), 215-225.

Maranda, M.J., Han, C., & Rainone, G.A. (2004). Crack cocaine and sex. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 36, 315-322.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2012). Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/nsduh/2k11results/nsduhresults2011.pdf

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/