Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Bean Trees Essay

Example Essay on The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver is set in Tucson Arizona. Taylor Greer is from a poor rural part of Kentucky also known as Pittman County, a place where girls grow up to get pregnant at 17 and the boys grow up to harvest tobacco and pick bugs off bean vines. Taylor longs for something better. When a handsome Paul McCartney look-a-like offers her a job at the local hospital and she takesit. She works at the hospital for five years taking each adventure as it comes including the shooting of a fellow classmate and his wife. But when she saves enough money to buy an old Volkswagen Beetle with no windows and a broken clutch, she heads west. Along her way she suffers a broken rocker arm ( a part of the steering in a car). In Oklahoma she pulls over to get it fixed by a man named Bob Two Two. As she prepares to leave an Indian woman gives her a baby. Taylor's initial reaction was to say " if I wanted a baby I would of stayed in Kentucky I could have had babies coming out my ears'." However, she takes the baby, who is really a three year old little girl, and names it Turtle because she takes hold of people and things like a mud turtle. When she reaches Tucson she takes up work at the local burger derby only to be fired a week later. Moving in with Lou Ann Ruiz she settles into a new life as a mom. She begins working at a used tire place that doubles as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

Overall the book expresses the importance of leaving to start your own life. The main theme of The Bean Trees is you don't have to follow the path in life someone else has set for you. You are free to make your own choices.

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"A warmhearted and highly entertaining first novel in which a poor but plucky Kentucky girl . . . arrives at surprising new meanings for love, friendship, and family."--Kirkus Reviews Barbara Kingsolver has an engaging, neighborly writing style. She creates characters that you can believe in and want to get to know. The Bean Trees is at times witty, at others heartwrenching and always absorbing. It is a story of the coincidences and choices of life that bring miracles, friendships and community where we might least expect to find them.

The story revolves around Taylor Greer a young woman who leaves her home in rural Kentucky and heads west in a 55' Volkswagen. On her way throught Oklahoma a Cherokee woman begs here to take a three year old child away with her. Taylor calls her "Turtle" because of the way she hangs like a mud turtle. Together Turtle and Taylor arrive in Tucson, Arizona where they begin to belong in a group of unlikely everyday folks building hope out of desparate circumstances.


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Essay on Writing

Essay on Writing

Writing is a way for someone to express oneself, relay information, or to answer a question. Some use writing to get away from reality by writing poetry, some write as their profession, and some write for shear enjoyment. And then there is me. I am writing for assignment, but yet I don’t really like the topic. This is the final type of writing: writing that is done for school purposes, whether it is a prompt, or just an essay. There is no correct way of writing, as long as the final copy turns out correct. Some believe that writing is a linear, left-to-right process. However, it does not necessarily happen that way. Sentences can be scratched out and inserted as the writer wishes. Truthfully, writing is actually more chaotic than it is structured. Scribble all over the paper, revisions, and side notes clutter the paper.

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Last year, in my Great Ideas class, I learned a lot, mainly from the essays that Ms. Young put up on the overhead for the class to read and learn from. However, I also believe that writing is acquired and learned through reading other writing. If there is one way that writing should not be taught, that would be only if a teacher forced students to write a certain way. Students should be able to have their own style. Actually, I don’t know if there really is a correct way writing should be taught, as long as that method is proven to have great results. Grammar and mechanics, on the other hand, are important and should be taught to students. Reading cannot pick up correct sentence structure without it being pointed out by the teacher. The complexity of some grammar and mechanics are too much for someone with no prior English background to pick up. Grades received on writing should not include as much mechanics as much as context and whether or not the author got his/her point across. . I would personally like to thank Ms. Young for teaching me all she did last year, especially by sitting down with me and going over my papers with me. She offered ideas to improve my writing, and was the first teacher to do so.

Writing has always naturally come to me. However, I have seen my skills compared to others not develop as much, almost like I am behind. In contrast, those whom I thought had an advantage on me last year took lesser grades than I. My writing could also be much better if I wrote it in advance and revised it. Unfortunately, I generally write essays the night before they are due, as I am doing now, and do just enough to get by. I hope to fix this habit this year, but this isn’t a real great start. Early on in my life, I would have said I wrote narratives best. Now, I would say I write persuasives best. I find my poorer attempts of essays are when I am given prompts or chosen topics. I despise district prompts, because I find myself short on support in my writing.

Writing is very important in maturing and progressing in school and life. Newspaper articles and magazines make you aware of what’s going on around you. Writing is also a way for those who are shy to express themselves, and it also allows people to get their opinion across who would otherwise not be able to do so. I personally enjoy writing, because society today has made it difficult for one to express himself, especially a male, to his peers. Writing is a way for me to share what I need without the harassment from others.



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Monday, March 29, 2010

Ball Lightning Essay

Ball Lightning Essay

Jamie and Will are set into the mountains of Colorado to investigate a bizarre tornado touchdown that did not produce precipitation. While they are in the mountains, they fine an area of forest that is being clear-cut by a secret government organization and used to launch rockets. Apparently, this government organization is sending up rockets to pull down lightning to create their own deadly weather. When Jamie and Will experiment this hypothesis by sending up their own rocket, dozens or balls of lightning fall from the sky and bounce along the ground. Although this is only a scene from the movie "Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister," ball lightning actually is thought to exist. The question researchers ask is, what is ball lightning? The only aspect scientists know for sure it that ball lightning is a type of lightning that appears as a glowing ball of energy floating or bouncing through the air.

First of all, ball lightning is a sphere of light that can come in a multiple range of sizes, colors, and time of existence. According to Schonland lightning balls can range in size from a half of inch to six feet in diameter, the color can be red, white, yellow, or blue, and its life can last from a few seconds to a few minutes (54). He also explains the movement of ball lightning over the ground as bouncing, rolling, and hovering (54). Muir says that this type of lightning can shine like a one hundred watt light bulb but it does not seem to give off any heat (1). Many scientists say that ball lightning is an extremely rare event. Others go as far as doubt the existence of this phenomenon.

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This leads to the question of whether ball lightning is real or not. Meteorology textbooks in the first half of the twentieth century said a very little about lightning in the form of a ball and most people who witnessed ball lightning did not have the scientific training (Westrum 1). In the 1930's J.W. Humphrey's, an official of the U.S. Wheather Bureau, argues that ball lightning was used as an optical illusion (1). Accordingly to Stanley Singer, a lightning flash observed by a person out of the corner of their eye may appear in the form of a ball. The intensity of the lightning flash leaves a temporary blind spot on the retina and when the person moves their head, the ball of light they see moves with them, appearing to bounce of hover (1). However, with about 10,000 reported sightings of ball lightning in the past few decades, most scientists have agreed that it dos actually exist (Muir 1).

So if ball lightning is real, what is it made of?
There are countless theories on how ball lightning forms along with many more theories that have small variations to them. One of the main theories given by scientists is that ball lightning is made up of plasma trapped inside a magnetic field. Lightning usually has horizontal and sometimes vertical magnetic fields surrounding it (Mystery 1). When these horizontal and vertical fields are both present, they form a ball in which many scientists believe plasma could be held. Once this trapped plasma cools off, the electrons return to the atoms of the sir that they were taken from and the ball disappears (Mystery 1). The problem with the plasma explanation is that plasma always expands unless great efforts are taken to confine it and the force of the proposed magnetic fields that contain it would have to be enormous (Weiss 2).

Another popular theory is that ball lightning consists of silicon that is vaporized into a fine dust after lightning strikes the soil (Muir 1). This theory, thought up by John Abrahamson, a chemical engineers of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand says that the silicon dust is then combined together by electrical charges into a ball of energy that would give off its own light. Though this theory sounds plausible, Weiss explains that is ball lightning whenever struck the soil, then it would not be so rarely seen (3). Most scientists agree that ball lightning can only be explained through a combination of theories. There are scientists, says Muir, who believe that "the wisdom of more than tea fields of science will be needed to explain the bizarre effect" (1).

There are of course multiple far out explanations that have been created to try to explain ball lightning. Since science can not yet fully explain this phenomenon, people have claims that ball lightning could be matter-antimatter annihilation, spontaneous bursts of nuclear fusion, pr perhaps even the dark matter of the universe (Weiss 1). People fear what they cannot explain and therefore will try to explain it by whatever way they possibly can.

Scientists are now attempting to create their own ball lightning in the lab. Scientists believe that if they can make their own ball lightning and fully understan it, then it might be a way to contain high temperature reactions (Muir 2).

Weiss says that one use or man-made balls of energy has already been though of by U.S. military scientists. Balls of a porous and lightweight material called aero gel could be used as a potential missile-decoys for war planes because they would emit missile-fooling infrared radiation when launched into the air (4).

Scientists have also discovered that some cases involving ghosts and many cases describing UFO sightings could be explained by ball lightning. Physical chemist David Turner believes that ball lightning may be responsible for the unexplained movement of objects that some people think is ghosts (Muir 2). There is already evidence that ball lightning can move through windows, walls, and doors. In January of 1984, a ball of lightning enters a soviet airliner that was in flight over the black sea. The pilots witnessed the ball hovering in the front end of the plane before it vanished only to reappear inside the plane. Once the plane landed, it was discovered that there were holes in the front and back of the fuselage of the aircraft (Corliss 1).

Scientists have used ball lightning to explain many UFO sightings as well, first of all, Hellman explains that, "A fifty-foot object half a mile away will create the same size image on the retina as a one-foot object fifty feet away" (142). Without there being some other object of known size close to it, the size of the object cannot be determined. People who spot UFOТs also say they the disappear at the speed of light, zooming away into the night. Hellman explains this by saying that it is an optical illusion caused by the rapid burnout of the plasma that may make up ball lightning. What someone may see as an object moving away is actually plasma shrinking in size (Hellman 151). UFO believers point out that a blip on a radar screen must be a solid object, in this case an alien spaceship. However, this is not true. Auroras occasionally show up on radar and obviously and aurora is not a solid object (Hellman 151).

Though scientist still are not sure of why or how ball lightning forms, they will continues working on this mystery because it could create a great source of energy for the future. With more evidence of ball lightning being discovered, it can explain some of the mysteries of UFOТs and ghosts. Eventually scientists may discover how ball lightning forms and be ale to create their own. However, do not expect to be rained on anytime soon by ball lightning that is pulled down from the sky by rockets.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Divorce and Children Development Essay

Essay on Divorce and Children Development

Divorce affects millions of people everyday. This is a long drawn out process that affects the whole family, especially the children. It is hard to imagine a more difficult transition for a child than to be a party to his or her parents divorce. Children of divorced parents have been known to have behavior problems, aggressive behavior, negative self-image, etc. These children are hurt when their family will no longer be living with both their mother and father as a single unit. This is a blow directly to a child’s mind and delicate psyche.

Alan L. Otten of the Wall Street Journal wrote a short article on the effects of divorce on young adults and children. The author used a long-term survey done by a non-profit research firm in Washington. The company surveyed 1,143 children, of divorced parents, who were between the ages of 7 and 11. Five years later these children were re-interviewed. The parents of these children were also interviewed at the two stages. The results were gathered when the second interview was finished. Among the subjects, 30% of them had poor relationships with their mothers, while two thirds of them had poor relationships with their fathers. One quarter of the population dropped out of high school for some time. One fifth had serious behavioral problems, while 40% needed some type of psychological help. The final stand of the article is summed up by a quote of researcher Nicholas Zill, “While we should be careful not to exaggerate the risks that paternal divorce poses to the young people involved, neither should we minimize those risks”.

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In general the article is correct with the research that has been conducted. However, the article, while presented the facts left out some of the more immediate effects. Effects based on other age groups and genders, suggestions, and alternative possibilities of divorce. The article was well written but due to the fact that it is only a small article, it cannot give all of the information for the subject needed for the big picture.

The first effects of the divorce happen well before the actual process begins. It begins with the constant strain within in the household. The two parents are usually found bickering, fighting, and generally getting along. The child seems to be caught right in the middle of the fighting. The child feels that he or she is the cause of the fighting. Everyday tasks take longer because both parents are stressed and distracted.

After the divorce, major factors in a child’s life will be altered. Many things will change, including but not limited to the fact that mom or dad will not be around. They may lose contact with extended family on one side or the other. Simple things like their bedtime, mealtime, and after school routines may change. However even these small changes can make the child feel like nothing will ever be normal again.

When the parents separate there may be feelings of abandonment. Most children have a realistic fear that if they lose one parent, they may lose the other as well. The children will fear being all alone. This may cause the child to become more attention seeking so that their custodial parent will not forget them. These children, who have a natural attachment for their parents, also fear losing other secure relationships such as pets, neighbors, and friends. Sometimes it is just the surroundings that can cause the attachment. The more things change to more resentful the child will become of the situation.

Children of different age brackets are affected differently when it comes to divorce. One would assume that that older children, over 13, should be better off than younger children because they would have had more contact with both parents. Another assumption would be that very young children, under five, would have an easier time due to the short time they had with their parents as a couple. However neither is true because those are the times when children need the most attention.

In those early stages a child is becoming an individual with its own likes and dislikes. The child uses its parents as a template for their own development, picking and choosing parts of its parents that suit him or her best. However, with only one parent, the child has a greater possibility of becoming a carbon copy of that one parent rather than a combination of the two parents.

The older child is already going through confusing changes in their own body. They need the support of their parents and family. When parents are divorced, access to the other parts of the family becomes much harder to find and become less reliable as a source of help.

In terms of which children are better off, the findings suggest that children between 5 and 12 years of age may do the best at coping with the loss. This is because these children are in a developmental transition. While yes, they will be affected by what happens during this time in their live, these children are not as dependent on the parents for their own development.

There are ways to ease the transition of a divorce. A few techniques that will make the entire process run more smoothly. Both parents must be involved with the life of the child. The Divorced parents must act civilly when around each other. There will be so much change going on that keeping to the routine will help the child adapt. Finally, all parties involved should not be afraid to ask for help.

When a couple is going into separation, the best thing that couple can do is reassure the child. The must remind that both of them will still be their parents. They will act like their parents and reward and discipline them as needed. They may need reassuring that both of the parents will protect them from harm. The parents must remind the child that they both love the child and always will.

The two parents need to respect each other. When the parents are calm, the child will not overreact to some of the changes. The child depends on the parents to be a role model for certain situations. If the child sees the parents getting along the child will be more at ease. Even if their anger is burning or you feel wronged in the divorce process, parents must not communicate that to their children. They can vent to a therapist or another professional if that type of help is sought, or possibly to friends relatives, but do not vent to the child.

Collaborate with your spouse regarding chores and bedtimes and other actions of routine. This keeps the transition between the houses simpler. This also allows the child to feel more at home in a foreign environment. Children feel more secure when there is a standard routine. Set aside a few hours just for the child that should be considered a top priority. This time should always be observed whenever possible.

One of the questions the article brought up was whether or not to stay as a family and “stay together for the kids”. While counseling can help a marriage it is important to know when to quit. Staying together when all one does is fight is dangerous to the child. In certain cases divorce may be the best option so that the children will have the least amount of harm done to them.

Divorce is a life changing event that affects all involved. The children are the ones who are affected the most. The repercussion of this event travels through their entire lifetime. Some take it in stride; others will take it to heart and have it rule their lives. One should be careful how one handles an event like this.


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Essay on Personality Theories

Essay on Personality Theories

Two personality theories which triggered insights about a part of my personality are the biological and evolutionary approach and the humanistic approach. I believe that people inherit traits from their ancestors because I have a lot of the same characteristics my mother and father have. Granted I did not inherit all of the same traits, but having many in common, and then being raised in the way my parents saw best, made me become similar to them. I believe the environment plays a large role in how a person develops but I think genetics are more prevalent because my parents were raised in a completely different way than I was, yet we are the same in numerous ways. The person I am today is mainly because the way my parents brought me up and I think if I did not have the same parents that I would have turned out differently. So I think it is a combination of genetics and environment because your genes can only take you so far.

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The other theory I can relate with is the humanistic approach. Carl Rogers describes an unconditional positive regard, which is supporting someone without question and positively reinforcing them. I agree with him that this will help people grow and develop because when there is someone there who does not question your feelings or thoughts and accepts you for who you are, you feel a lot more confident. I know if I fail at something or feel down, I can turn to my friends and family, because they love me unconditionally, no matter what may happen. Knowing this gives me a higher self esteem and lets me know that it is okay if I mess up because when I have to turn around and start over, I will have people there to help me. I can learn from my mistakes and not become depressed because things did not go my way, but rather learn from past experiences and grow as a person. Another aspect of the humanistic approach that I agree with is self-actualization. This is "a state of self-fulfillment in which people realize their highest potential." I can relate to this because I am on my way to self-actualization, in the sense that I accept myself and know what I am capable of. I am definitely not at a complete stage of self-actualization because there are still things I do not know about myself, but I think I do know the basics and what makes me happy. I think when someone finally realizes what they can be and achieve that, it will be the time he or she is truly happy.


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Friday, March 26, 2010

Essay on Deontological Ethics

Essay on Deontological Ethics


Ethics attempts to categorize situations as morally acceptable or not morally acceptable. However, every situation or topic discussed appears to blur the line between the two categories. The topic of privacy is no different. When presenting an argument for informational privacy, there are many situations that one can imagine where “big brother” or someone else may be out to get someone. It is not that easy with physical privacy. Drug testing is a necessary violation of physical privacy.

Most individuals who love all of the freedoms America protects are willing to concede some forms of privacy for the greater good. This concept reeks of utilitarianism ethics providing businesses with leverage to accomplish some underlying evil, but this is not the case. Honestly, there is no way to successfully argue the usefulness of drug testing from a deontological view point.

Deontological ethics requires individuals to disregard the positive outcome of an act when determining whether the act was morally right or not. Even the most compelling argument for drug testing, safety, would come into suspicion because one would have to assume drug testing would prevent some future act of injury or death attributable to drug use. The aforementioned situation requires one to look beyond the act for positive outcomes that may or may not transpire. There are some duties according to deontological ethics that are universal. W. D. Ross, in an attempt to revive deontological ethics, argued, “That our duties are "part of the fundamental nature of the universe…

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Ross believes that when we reflect on our actual moral convictions they reveal the following set of duties:
• Fidelity: the duty to keep promises
• Nonmaleficence: the duty to not injure others.”

Both of these duties can be applied to drug testing. Fidelity is applicable when an employee promises to abstain from drugs and nonmaleficence is applicable when discussing the safety issues surrounding drug use. However, these duties place the onus on the employee to remain drug free not a provision for companies to drug test. Even though deontological ethics may view drug testing as unethical, utilitarian ethics present a valid ethical argument for drug testing in some situations such as issues concerning safety, individuals who uphold the law, and companies who project themselves through image.

Providing safe situations and products is the strongest argument any company can present to validate drug testing. This is also an argument that few will contest. It is scientifically proven that drug use alters motor skills and judgment. This being the case, it would be unethical for a company to not employ measures such as drug testing in an attempt to prevent injury to other employees or beneficiaries of the company’s services. In this particular situation, the company has a greater sense of duty to those individuals who may be in danger rather than employees who feel threatened by a violation of physical privacy. There are many occupations that civilians are dependent upon for safety: doctors, bus drivers, civil engineers, etc. One does not have to be an opponent of drug use to realize it would be hazardous for thousands of individuals if an airline pilot were under the influence while operating an airplane. Safety presents nearly indisputable rationalization for company drug testing, but the argument for drug testing law enforcement personnel is just as logical.

Law enforcement personnel take an oath to enforce and uphold the law whether they agree with the law or not. It not only makes sense that they adhere to the laws they have been entrusted to enforce, but is very important to those who are in their care. Civil unrest would become a major issue if law enforcement were not held to the same standard of the law that they enforce. First, the perception of law enforcement personnel would become distorted thus causing distrust. Law enforcement personnel represent a very small portion of the population and it would only take a few drug-related incidents to form a negative opinion, much like the Los Angeles Rampart Police Division. Also, the trust among law enforcement personnel who chose not to take drugs as opposed to those who did would be negatively affected. There is no positive outcome to total disregard of the law by those who must enforce it. In the case of law enforcement personnel, the lack of drug testing could result in civil unrest and distrust of authority by the civilian population, but the implications of an absence of drug testing by a private corporation would be of somewhat less consequence.

It is not uncommon for businesses to make decisions based upon money. In some cases, as with sports, that is the basis and foundation for most of their decisions. Image is a huge factor in the sports world. Although some sports figures do not want to be looked upon as role models, executives want them to be emulated by children and adults alike. The more consumers and fans adore a sports figure and the team they are associated with, the better the memorabilia sales, the more fans want to attend the games, and the generation of revenue is greater. Drug usage takes away from the appeal of the player and the team. If the image of the player and team is damaged the less likely consumers and fans will be to spend their money in support of the organization. The drug usage of a couple of individuals on a team could jeopardize his/her earnings, the earnings of the organization, and the reputation and earnings of the league (due to revenue sharing). In an occupation where image is everything, it is best to put forth the best image possible to induce others to aspire to imitate if only through purchases.

Many consider personal drug use a harmless crime and an invasion into that aspect of one’s life through drug testing considered unethical. From a deontological perspective, this may be true. It is difficult to condemn drug use and justify drug testing without considering the possible outcomes, results and consequences, all of which are not to be considered with deontological ethics. The justification of drug testing would be difficult because all do not consider drug usage morally wrong and one could not use the excuse that drug testing could prevent harmful acts that may or may not occur. However, utilitarian ethics does support the issue of drug testing for the benefit of the larger population. For safety issues, the logical conclusion that those who enforce the law should abide by it, and companies whose majority of business is derived from image, drug testing of employees and executives should be mandatory. In some situations, the safety of unknowing individuals, the masses’ perception of a group of individuals, and the life of a business override the desires of a few individuals.


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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Human Sciences and Family Essay

Essay on Human Sciences and Family


In the past I haven’t really had any experience with human science besides interacting with my family and a small encounter with nutrition . In the eighth our school hosted a career day and there was a nutritionist there she caught my attention and then briefly gave me her job description. She was a nutritionist for the Fairfax County Public Schools and her job was to serve over the basic needs for food and nutrition for the county. After this experience I wanted to become a nutritionist. I began to research the profession on the internet and learn more about it. I felt as though this was the career for me.

When I hear the word human scientist I think of a person who deals with human development in children and families, food,nutrition, and dietics, and fashion design. I see a career that enhances the lives of individuals, families, and communities over time. Human scientist are also nutritionist/ professionals that support families and individuals needs for nutrition. This is a career that is in need.

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I could refer the term human scientist to myself but I don’t think that I am quite there yet. I have some qualities that would relate me to the profession whether it is in the child / family organization or the food and nutrition organization. As for family I am a very family oriented person and can truly understand the complexity within a family. When it comes to food and nutrition my experience isn’t as strong but I do know the importance of all health issues. It important to have a balanced diet and take of your body. Everyone is different in the way that there body takes in food and digests it only you and maybe your nutritionist know your body.

A family is a unit or team. A unit and a team are similar because it is working together for a common goal just like a family strives to keep their household together. Family to me whether it’s a tribe or a stock cannot me destroyed. A family equals one whole. Keep in mind that just because a family cannot be destroyed doesn’t mean that they don’t have problems. The wellness of family is dependant on the people that are within it. Everybody doesn’t and won’t always get along and that’s where the emotional and verbal communication in the family kicks in. Family is priceless and should be not be played with without family you have a sense of loneliness, your family is always there to fulfill a place when it is feeling empty so love and keep your family close to you.

In this profession family is of most important elements. Our profession specializes in family development and family and consumer resources. So we as human scientist need to understand family and the background of it in order to perform our duties accordingly. If we don’t have a keen sense of understanding then how can we as professionals serve families and support them and their needs.

My speciality is nutrition and to my knowledge “thinking about families” does not have that much of an importance value. I feel as though nutrition is more focused on food and nutrition programs, they help with healthy eating habits and try to prevent illness. Nutritionist help with medical and nutritional needs they also manage food health departments. Families don’t really tie into it unless maybe it is a family that’s deals with obesity or vise versa. It can even be a family that just wants to be healthy.

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Essay Analysis

Essay Analysis

What do we know about essay analysis? The narrative writing prompts that I have completed were composed for practice to improve my essay writing. First, I had to write on the topics that I was given. Then, by completing the prompts, I received scores to find out where my problem areas were. Now I am going to analyze these areas and find methods I can use to improve my skills in them. Subsequently, I am enhancing my writing. I have chosen to analyze three weak areas of my writing and give techniques that I can use to improve my writing. On each prompt, there were five categories that I was scored in: focus, content, organization, style, and conventions. Each of these areas is an essential part of writing. They enable the essay to be read easily, and they help the reader to better understand the concept of the writing. The three main categories I found that I needed to improve in were content, style, and organization. I determined these weak areas by adding my scores together in each category from each of the five essays, and the sections with the lowest scores were the ones that I chose to evaluate. The first area I need to improve is content.

Content is the presence of ideas developed through facts, examples, anecdotes, details, opinions, statistics, reasons, and explanations. Content is an imperative part of writing, and I need to improve my proficiency in this category. After reviewing each of the five narrative essays, I realized that if I did not enjoy or had problems writing about the topic of the prompt I lacked sufficient content. I found this to be true because the writings that I received all of the possible points for content were essays that I enjoyed writing. Adding all of my scores together for this category, I received a total of seventeen points out of the possible twenty. This score conveys to me that I did not always show substantial, specific, or illustrative content that demonstrated strong development and sophisticated ideas. There are a couple solutions that can help me overcome this problem. One solution is to connect the topic with a personal experience. When I can relate the topic I must write about to an experience that has happened in my life, I find that it is much easier for me to think of and convey ideas. For example, the first writing prompt I finished this year had a topic of fate. I chose to write how it was my fate to become a dancer. I am very passionate about dancing, and the whole experience of me becoming a dancer could be connected with fate. Therefore, it was much easier for me to write about this theme when I could associate it with an actual event in my life. Subsequently, I did not lack content and received an excellent score. Another solution is to make the essay fictional. I did not try this approach to writing in the prompts that I have finished. I like to write fictional stories, and I believe that writing an entertaining paper would make the task more enjoyable. Having the prompt be similar to a story would assist me in including high-quality content because I can write more fluently when I am writing a story.


For instance, one prompt topic that I received was to describe a storm and its effects on me. I could have made myself into an animal or an object. Therefore, I could twist the story and make the topic more pleasurable to write about. For example, I could have pretended I was an apple tree. I would have described the storm from the perspective of an apple tree. The effects would be easier to write because I could explain how the wind blew so hard that I was leaning over, and my apples were flying in the air. I believe that this would have aided me in including content because I could easily write about my experiences in a fictional sense. Although I do need to work on adding content to my writing, the second area that I need to improve is style.

Style is the choice, use, and arrangement of words and sentence structure that creates tone and voice. I need to improve my skills in this vital element of writing. As I examined each of my individual writings, I noticed that if I had problems connecting the prompt topic with my life, I had a troublesome time incorporating style into my writing. I came to this conclusion by reviewing all of my writings and noticing the prompts that I received all of the possible points for style were ones that I could easily connect with my life. I observed that it was especially easy for me to integrate style into my writing when I was passionate about the topic as well. I received a sum of seventeen points out of the possible twenty, after totaling all of my scores for this area.

This score informs me that I did not continually show a precise and illustrative use of a variety of words and sentence structures to create consistent writer’s voice and tone appropriate to the audience. There are a few methods that I think I can use to improve my scores in the category of style. One way to do this is to brainstorm experiences in my life that could possibly connect with the topic before I start to write. I feel that this will really help me to incorporate style into my writing because I can select the experience that I can best relate to the topic and the one that I am most passionate about. For example, the obstacle writing—about my eating disorder—seemed effortless to write. I am extremely passionate about the topic I chose as my obstacle, and the words just flowed from my mind onto the paper when I was writing about it. My style involuntarily incorporated itself into my writing. Subsequently, if I can always select an experience that I am passionate about and can connect to the topic I am given, I am more likely to have better style. Another way to improve my scores in the area of style is to make my essay into a fictional story. I believe that this would aid in adding style to my writing because when I invent an anecdote my writing flows more freely. Therefore, my style would most likely appear effortlessly as I wrote, and I would not have to toil exceedingly hard to place it in the writing. I find that natural style in writing is better than style that has to be intentionally added. I could have done this in one prompt that I had difficulty writing. It was the lesson prompt. I was supposed to describe a lesson that I learned in school and write about what it taught me. I feel that if I would have made the writing into a fictional story, instead of trying to connect it with a recent lesson I learned, I could have scored higher in the style category. I could have written a story about how I was a small girl, and I learned that running in the halls was wrong and dangerous. I could have incorporated an incident of how I was running in the corridor and broke my arm. This would have made the writing more fun and easier to write. And when I can write easily, my style seems to effortlessly flow out from inside of me onto the paper. Therefore, I could have improved my style and received a better score for the area. Style is important in writing, but I also need to enhance my skills in the category of organization.

Organization is the order developed and sustained within and across paragraphs using transitional devices and introductions as well as conclusions. This is an essential part of writing. Organization helps writing to flow smoothly, which aides in reading. Adding together all of my scores for this area, I received a total of eighteen points out of the possible twenty. My score in this category shows me that I did not continually illustrate sophisticated arrangement of content, and that I did not always have evident or subtle transitions. As I reviewed each of my essays, I noticed that if I was not partial to the topic of the essay, I had poor organization.

However, I believe that I need to work on the category because I do not feel as confident in this area as I do in the others. I have found that there are various techniques that I can use to improve my organization, and I have chosen two that correspond with what I believe I need to work on. One technique is to write stronger transition sentences. I realize that transition sentences are a key ingredient to an outstanding essay because they help the reader to shift into the next idea smoothly, instead of coming to an abrupt stop with one thought and then suddenly moving on to another. Enhancing my skills in writing stronger transitional sentences would make my writing more flowing and smooth. One way I can improve my transitions is to make the last word of my transition sentence the first word in the initial sentence of my next paragraph. Personally, I really like this suggestion, and I feel that it would truly help strengthen my transitions. As I reviewed my essays, I found one transition in my writing prompt on the topic of describing a storm that would really be strong if I used this technique. The last sentence of one paragraph was: As I lay, I could hear the storm surging outside. The first sentence of the next paragraph was: The rain began to turn to hail as it fell from the sky. If I were to use the technique I described I would keep the last sentence of the paragraph the same and add the word outside to the beginning of the next sentence. Thus the transition would read as follows: As I lay, I could hear the storm surging outside. (Next paragraph) Outside, the rain began to turn to hail as it fell from the sky. I feel that I would have had a stronger transition by doing this. I also like how the sentences read smoothly and connect with one another. Thus, this technique would thoroughly aid in my transitions, giving me better organization. Another way to improve my organization is to do more specific and in-depth prewriting. I notice, as I look back on my writings, that I used more detail in the prewriting outlines that I did for the topics I enjoyed writing about than the ones that I did not. I received excellent scores on the essays that I did better prewriting on. Therefore, I believe that if I give more details in my outlines before I actually start writing the prompt I can improve my organization immensely. For example, on the writing about a memorable event in my life I chose to write about the day that I had surgery on my wisdom teeth. As I glanced over my prewriting, I noticed that I mapped out exactly what I was going to write and put all of the day’s events in their respectable order. However, when I looked at the prewriting for the prompt on the lesson that I learned in school, I found that I just superficially outlined the idea of my essay. I find that it is much easier for me to write when I have a solid foundation to start with. Subsequently, I can make the foundation of my writing my in-depth outline. With both of these techniques, I feel that I can improve my writing.

To improve my writing, I have completed and analyzed the narrative writing prompts that I composed for practice. I found that not constantly showing considerable, detailed, or descriptive content that displays strong development and sophisticated ideas caused me to lose points in the content category. When I write in the future I am going to try to connect the topic with a personal experience or make the essay fictional. Not always showing an exact and illustrative use of an array of words and sentence structures producing regular writer’s voice and tone suitable to the audience caused my score in the category of style to go down. There are two ways that I plan on raising my score in the style area. One way is to come up with occurrences in my life that could possibly relate to the topic I need to write on, before I start to write. Another way is to make my paper into an imaginary story. Finally, I found that not continually demonstrating sophisticated order of content and not always having obvious or ingenious transitions lowered my score in the organization area. There are two strategies I am going to use to improve my organization. One is to write stronger transition sentences, by making the last word of my transition sentence the first word in the first sentence of my next paragraph. The second strategy is to make my prewriting outlines mores explicit and thorough.

After examining each of my weak categories of writing and finding ways to enhance my skills in them, I believe that I have a strong grasp on what I have to do to improve my writing. Since I now have specific ways to improve my writing, I can put them to use in the future. These strategies will not only help me with writing impending prompts, but they will also aid me in all of my writing: research papers, biographies, reports, essays, etc. Thus, I can use these methods of improving my writing all throughout my life.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Essay on Evolution

Evolution Essay

From the slow moving process of evolution, to the sun that rises and sets each day, science has the foundation of our lives. It presents itself in such a manner that not many people realize the effects it has on the universe. Our world is continuously growing and morphing from scientific creations and advancements. For example, today, we can send people into space, rocketing out of Earth’s restraints at unbelievable speeds. Years ago, this task would have seemed impossible and certainly unrealistic. However, times have changed and many new doors of possibilities have been unlocked and opened. The subject of science permeates everything we do, generating ideas and positive changes for the future.

Many years ago, we were confined to land. Above and below us were almost forbidden territories. We lived with the world around us as strangers. Afterward, simple science advancements and a few brave people began to change the current standards. They pushed the limits and studied the figures and soon, ventured into the heavens above and deep seas below. Awareness of surrounding sciences affect how we learn and revolutionize. Science is always present, the new and the old, just waiting for someone to come along and challenge it. We would be glued in time, stuck in neutral, without discoveries and the simple question “why?”

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Convenience is science. Computers, cell phones, washing machines, and yes, even the beloved TV remote control, are all convenience items. The passing of time and realization of possibilities eventually form reality. For example, the idea of studying space came long before the first space shuttle was launched. Science can be slow moving and tedious, but beneficial and astonishing. Our past studies and skills have enabled us to see outside of the box. We are no longer restrained to the ground, to safe and solid Earth. Science can, and will, take us anywhere. The degree of impracticality or the number of hours spent brainstorming, can’t stop the future from developing in our hands.

If the movement of science has continued for so long, why stop here? We have an unending journey ahead and many paths to choose. Our present life and future years will depend on how we scientifically act now. We can use it to our advantage by searching for more opportunities and answers. Of course, we can also stop now, leaving things the way they are. However, as fine as some aspects of science may seem, room for improvement is always available. If we didn’t improve the science of today, we simply would not move forward in technology or in our lives.

Already, we are brewing innovative ideas. Many people underestimate science in their lives and aren’t grateful enough. The future is a gigantic question mark to scientists. However, we never stop thinking. As for now, we bounce around with the proposals of antimatter and virtual evolution. We are opening our minds to extreme suggestions and no longer do we travel up or down, but to another galaxy and back.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Essay on Enzymes

Essay on Enzymes

Enzymes are catalytic proteins that accelerate the rate of biological reactions while experiencing no permanent chemical modification as a result of their participation in a reaction. In order to initiate a reaction from a reactant (called a substrate) to a product, a certain amount of energy, otherwise known as the activation energy (EA), is required. An enzyme functions by lowering the required activation energy (which is usually provided by heat), thus, expediting the reaction. Enzymes may function in lowering the activation energy by bending and weakening the bonds between the reactants. Since the bonds become weakened by the enzymes, the amount of heat that is required to agitate and break the bonds is reduced. Moreover, an enzyme can provide an optimal environment for a reaction to occur by maintaining a certain pH within the enzyme-substrate complex. These are a few enzyme functions that allow reactions to occur more rapidly so that the catabolic processes within the body will not become congested. Also, since enzymes are proteins, they may be denatured by factors such as temperature and pH and alter its function. Other factors such as inhibitors may block the sites in which the substrates bind to the enzymes, therefore, decreasing the rate at which products are produced.

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Polyphenoloxidase (also known as Tyrosinase) is an enzyme that is found in various plants and animals. It reacts with a colorless phenolic compound found in plant cells called catechol by oxidizing it and eventually producing a strongly pigmented product (ortho-quinone) and water. The rate at which ortho-quinone is produced is directly related to the catabolic rate of the enzyme, Tyrosinase; therefore, by use of a spectrophotometer, it is possible to experiment with and measure the rates at which the Tyrosinase enzyme catalyzes catechol.

The following experiments will test and measure the rate at which Tyrosinase oxidizes catechol into ortho-quinone and water. The rate of enzyme activity will be measured by units of optical density given by the spectrophotometer. The results should yield a higher optical density as a result of the following: a higher concentration of the Tyrosinase enzyme, a favorable environment (related to temperature or pH) that permit the enzyme to react with the substrate, the availability of active sites for substrates to bind, or any combination of the three.

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Euthanasia Essay

Essay on Euthanasia

The answer to this question I feel must be entirely based on opinion. The issue of Euthanasia is itself highly controversial, and has become an increasingly contentious issue in contemporary society. There are so many conflicting views in existence that there can be no ultimate right or wrong answer. In this essay I will be looking at the differing opinions of those for and against, but will also offer my own thoughts and understanding of the difficult subject.

To this day the European Commission and Court of Human Rights, have not considered the question of Euthanasia, Voluntary or involuntary. In fact Euthanasia is not a word known to English Law. It is a Greek word derived from those for "good" or "Well" and "Death". According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was first used in English to simply mean a quiet and easy death, then the means of procuring this, and then the action of inducing it. The last meaning, being perhaps the most common in use today.

As law stands at the moment, the patient and/or the immediate family can stop the use of extraordinary means to prolong the life of someone when biological death is imminent. The American Medical Association (AMA) policy statement, states that euthanasia is "intentional termination of the life of one human being by another" but denies that the cessation of treatment is "intentional termination of life". "It is permissible at least in some cases, to withhold treatment and allow a patient to die, but it is never to take any direct action designed to kill the patient" (James Rachels: 1990: 1). This is the view accepted by most doctors and endorsed by the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1973.

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This is what is legally justified in terms of "letting die", however, there are many different types of, or should I say circumstances in which the act of euthanasia may occur. I shall take this first part of the essay to describe the various cases. It is these types of killings that are held up for moral questioning.

Euthanasia is often referred to in the media as Mercy killing, this is the term given to the intentional termination of the life of one human being by another. However, euthanasia can then be split into categories of active, passive, voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary euthanasia is essentially assisted suicide, where the patient asks a doctor to help them die. Non-voluntary euthanasia, is along the same lines as voluntary euthanasia, however in this case the patient cannot be asked for consent. For example if treatment was withdrawn from a patient in a deep coma, or persistant vegetative state, but for their own benefit.

Involuntary euthanasia on the other hand occurs in the circumstance where the patient is killed "supposedly" for their sake, but without having given their consent.

Active euthanasia is when somebody purposely brings about the death of a patient, so that for example the patient would die of say a lethal injection rather than the cancer that ailes them. Passive Euthanasia however, would be an example of where the actual illness such as the cancer is the eventual cause of death, but this death is made possible by the conscious cessation of treatment from doctors, which if continued could have lengthened the patients life. So while passive euthanasia is when a doctor does nothing to bring about the patient's death and the patient dies of whatever ills already affect them, active euthanasia is when the doctor does something to bring about the patients death i.e. giving a lethal injection to a cancer patient. As it stands however active euthanasia is clearly forbidden by the law.

In favour of euthanasia, is the view, held by many in fact, that if a patient in terrible agony is going to die anyway, the continued use of treatment would only serve to needlessly prolong their suffering. In opposition of passive euthanasia is the argument that simply withholding treatment would mean more pain for the patient in the long term as it would then take them longer to die. It is therefore proposed that a lethal injection or immediate death of some means would be a more humane method. Where being allowed to die is relatively slow and painful, having oneТs life terminated would be quick and painless. It is this humanitarian impulse which prompts some to decide not to prolong life in the first place.

There are many arguments as to whether euthanasia is justifiable in any of these circumstances, but they all mainly refer to terminally ill, and dying patients. The main justification of any is to relieve the pain of the powerless and dying. In my reading however, I discovered a significant amount of writing on another justification for the use of euthanasia, on people who aren't in fact dying or even necessarily in pain. There are in fact those who view euthanasia as a means of unburdening society of all those considered to be unfit. As far back as in ancient Sparta not just those who were regarded as incurable, or physically unfit, but all who were deemed useless to the state were killed, or permitted to die. (McFadden: 1962: 208). This idea is not by any means restricted to the thoughts of those in ancient Sparta, however, it is in actual fact a view that has been harboured throughout the twentieth century.

Doctor Foster Kennedy in 1939, advocated the legalisation of euthanasia, so that "we might be allowed legally to grant a dreamless and unending sleep" and to "relieve of living the young person or child who should never have lived at allТ. It is this sort of view which, I can not help but find morally unjustifiable. Kennedy is referring to those who are born with what he calls Сa hopelessly damaged brainТ or "defective children". Kennedy feels justified to judge the quality of life available to these individuals and seems to want to "dispose of" children born with mental and physical handicaps and disabilities from society. If indeed "mercy killings" of those Kennedy suggests were to be carried out, the benefit would be entirely on behalf of the parents and guardians who feel burdened by their child, and not, as I believe it should be, at the consent of, and to the benefit of the person whose life is being considered. Kennedy even recommends that action be considered up until as old of the ages of five and above. At which point he believes that should someone "decide that the defective has no future nor hope of one" it is a merciful and kindly thing to relieve that defective - often tortured and convulsed, grotesque and absurd, useless and foolish, and utterly undesirable - of the agony of living" (American Journal of Psychiatry, 1942-1943, Vol. 99, p13). This is however a somewhat extreme view and the general consensus on euthanasia is that it is used for the relief from a painful and unbearable existence.

Contemporary medicine is typically obliged to expand the boundaries of life, and the Hippocratic oath in itself is dedicated to the preservation of life. However, perhaps It shouldn't always be our prime motive to keep people alive. In doing so we may actually be inflicting and prolonging unnecessary pain, and denying good quality of life.

Killing has always been portrayed as evil, particularly in the media. We therefore instantly regard it as wrong. However, when it comes to debates about euthanasia, death can be seen as something positive, a sort of release from a pain filled life. Advances in technology and medicine mean that it is no longer necessary to die in pain. In fact death can be instant and painless.

This proves to be an increasingly popular view, as the number of those in favour of Euthanasia has risen in the last decade, as the subject has been brought into the public consciousness. It seems many people believe that we, should have the right to retain control over our lives, including the right to live or die. It is also seen to be important that we are able to retain our personal dignity to the very end of our lives. The Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES), founded in Britain in 1935, found that one of the most cited reasons for joining the society was to be able to control ones self in the circumstances of one's own death. This sort of "Humanitarian" view is today shared by increasingly more doctors and organisations, who clamour for the legalisation of Euthanasia. In 1937 a poll by the institute of public opinion reported that the medical profession itself was so much influenced by the arguments for euthanasia that 53 per cent of the doctors polled favoured "mercy killing". (p 209). Doctor Frederick Bancroft, member of the New York City Cancer Committee for example, was quoted as saying "I do not see why a person should be condemned to agony; I do not see why we should not give humans the same treatment we accord to animals". (McFadden: 1962: 206)

As I say, the call for the legalisation of euthanasia is mainly to put an end to the pointless pain and impersonal indignity suffered by many people dying slowly, everyday of terminal and incurable illnesses. Something which it seems today, is not exactly rare, "As people live longer, so they are more likely to die of cancer and to need institutional care." (Lee and Morgan: 1994:108). For some, this quality of living is so unbearable that death is preferable. In this case the argument is that death is surely no more wrong than the patient's continued painful existence. Though it sounds an unpleasant to say, in some circumstances people believe that their life is so bad, that they would be better off dead.

Unfortunately there things are not this simple and It is possible that not all acts of euthanasia would be carried out in the person's interest. This could be said to be particularly true if there are others who stand to benefit from the person's death, such as family members involved in a will. The act of euthanasia is supposed to be to the benefit of the person whose life is being terminated and not to the person who commits the act of termination. Although for Doctors there is seemingly no personal gain, in their killing of a patient.

So although I do find euthanasia in many cases to be morally justifiable I do acknowledge the problems that could arise in the event of its legalisation. For example, if euthanasia were permissible, what if it were to be abused and mistakes were made. It could cause people to disvalue life, and the old and ill to fear medical treatment, for concern that their wishes were not respected. The elderly could be killed against their wishes, but with euthanasia as a an easy reason to justify their deaths. It begs the question, would legalising euthanasia makes tragic murders, like those carried out by Dr Harold Shipman, easier and more common? On the other side of things, you could say that those who are critically ill, often being treated by drugs etc, may not be in the right frame of mind to make such an important life or death decision. In both instances, no matter how desirable an option euthanasia may seem in some cases, we have to think about what could happen to the vulnerable, if there was this loophole in the law. We must think of the safety and the protection of all lives.

Hale neatly summarises some of the key issues of the Euthanasia debate, when she cites her three principles, a) autonomy - individual freedom of choice, b) Paternalism - what others think will be best for the individual and c) Value - a transcending respect for the sanctity of life (Hale: 1996: 89). One side of the argument is that the individual should have the right to live or die. However, there is the worry that the individual's best interests are not being protected as decisions on their lives are being made. Finally many feel that the value and sanctity of life is being lost.

Most people think that there is an important moral difference between active and passive euthanasia, they think that killing someone is morally worse than letting someone die, but is killing and letting die, really morally different? You may let someone die for humane reasons so why may one not kill for humane reasons?

Another of Hale's points which I found particularly poignant was; "On the face of it, the choice of when and how to end one's life involves only oneself. We do not owe a legal duty to anyone else to keep on living indefinitely." (Hale:1996:87). It is this notion that compels me to view euthanasia on the whole as morally justifiable. I strongly believe in the freedom of the individual, and the choice to live or die should be ours alone, and as we are all going to die at some point, anyway, why should we not have the opportunity to decide how and why?

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Black Death Essay Example

Essay on Black Death

By the mid-1300’s, over 3 million people had died from what was known as to be the worst epidemic in the history of mankind. The bubonic plague, or the notorious Black Death, was a mystery to the medieval time period as it took 1/3 of Europe’s population. Many people, like myself, have heard of this disease but the facts behind this infamous killer are unknown. I shall explore the background and the effects of the Black Death and how this horrific disease had found its way to the shores of England.

There is some information that I have collected about the famous plague in English history before starting the in-depth research process. The Bubonic Plague, also known as the “Black Death”, wiped out one-third of England’s population in the middle ages. The disease is contagious and passed on through blood contact from one person to another. Mice were the major carriers of this virus. The disease can be transferred not only to other humans but also to animals. The disease causes death in about 3-5 days of contact with the virus. So many people were affected in a short period of time. This was due to two reasons. One, the plague was an outbreak that happened without any warning. The second reason was that no one had any scientific information about this virus. The plague entered England sometime during the middle ages. During this time period, the medical field of research was very low and much of the vast information that is known today hadn’t even been touched or thought about back then. So, not only was this virus dangerous, but no one had any idea what it was to begin with and there was no cure. This is some background information that I have recovered from my knowledge about this horrible disease. This knowledge will give me a head start to answering questions about the Bubonic Plague.

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There are many key elements about the “Black Death” that need to be studied to gain valuable knowledge and information for this research. The main question is where the bubonic plague originated and how did the disease make its way to the rich population of England? I want to focus in on the interesting facts of the types of effects this disease had on humans and animals. The final component that needs to be understood is how did the bubonic plague epidemic disappear? These are important as well as appealing questions that I want to learn about one of the worst epidemics ever to sweep through England.

The research process is where I find the answers to my questions about the bubonic plague. The Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague, was the main idea of my research project. Next, I took this research assignment to the next level. I wanted to know the answer to the question of where exactly did the Bubonic Plague originated, were there different types of diseases that as a whole became to be known as the Black Death, and how did it disappear. These questions became the base of my research project. I searched through books written on this disease for answers.

Spending a mere twenty minutes in the library I found two well-written books about the Black Death. The other sources were online sites about the Black Death created by universities. Most of the information on the websites I had already obtained from the two books but little vital details aided my overall essay. Due to the large amount and quality of the information, this project has been tremendously easy. Let's take a look at the answers to the questions.

Where did the plague originate and how did it reach the shores of England? The origination of pestilence point and how this disease created an outbreak for the British came in a unique yet logical way. The plague began in the grasslands of Asia where there was an everlasting population of the bacteria among the region’s wild rodents (Nardo 41). Latin and Arabic historians know for a fact that sudden changes in the environment, such as earthquakes, flooding, and famines initially started the pandemic. These ecological disasters might have disrupted the rodents’ prairie fields where shelter and food supplies were abundant. The rodents then probably fled into areas where they came into contact with domestic rodents and humans. From the grasslands in the middle regions of Asia, the plague spread south into China and India and then traveled west creating outbreaks in Persia and rest of the eastern Mediterranean region.

This certain path taken by the plague was solely based on the trade routes of the fourteenth century. Communicable diseases like the plague followed major trade routes from Asia to the Middle East (42). It is said that the plague is to have pursued the land route from Central Asia to the region around the Black Sea (44).

The plague was now causing havoc on the region of Crimea. Muslim merchants returning from the east brought the plague here. Trade ships belonging to the Genoese brought the disease from Crimea into Kaffa unnoticed (45). From a factory located on the outskirts of Kaffa, the pestilence finally reached Europe (44). A Genoese fleet left Kaffa because they were trying to escape Tatar warriors who had seized their city (Altman 19). While the traders were fleeing, rats carrying the disease had slipped unnoticed onto the ships. The fleet docked in Messina, a port city in Sicily. When the ships arrived in Messina, the crewmembers were either dead or dying and the rats spread to the shores of Sicily causing the epidemic to spread into Europe.

After three months of its arrival in Sicily, the Black Death ravaged Florence, Italy and began its charge into the heart of Europe (Nardo 46). Next, the disease struck the city of Marseilles by a ship that had left Italy. The pestilence now progressed through Spain. The Black Death traveled northward landing on the northern coasts of France by August of 1348. The following month, the plague had invaded the southern shores of England by crossing the English Channel and slowly paced north. The Black Death had now arrived in England only to add to the death toll. But another question arises in the minds of those who had lived through the terrifying years of the fourteenth century.

What exactly was the Black Death? Yersina pestis is a bacillus bacterium that causes the fatal disease (Mack). The bacteria lives in the digestive tract of the Xenopsylla cheopis, the Oriental Rat Flea, which is the common rat flea that carried the plague (Mack and Richard). Overall, there are about one hundred species of rat fleas that can pass the disease onto humans (Janis). Some of the more other common fleas are Nosopsylla fasciatus, Xenopsylla brasiliensis, and Pulex irritaus. The flea then regurgitates blood taken from the rat and infects the human bringing death to both the rat and the human (Knox 5).

Three different types of plague that are extremely fatal cause the Black Death. The disease is a combination of bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic plague (Altman 20). Bubonic, arriving from the term buboes, which meant painful swellings of the lymph nodes, is the most common type of plague (Knox 5 and Altman 20). Buboes are seen in the groin and armpit areas causing pus and blood to ooze out (Altman 20). The swelling is black in color and visible (Knox). Blood vessels break causing internal bleeding beneath the skin (Janis). Victims will bleed uncontrollably beneath the skin until death (Altman 20). The incubation period is about six days from the first infection to the first symptoms (Richard 1). Bubonic plague causes death usually within four to seven days and with great pain (Altman 20).

The other two types of plague are less common but more lethal. Pneumonic plague, transmitted through the air, attacks the respiratory system causing pneumonia, high fevers, constant coughing, bloody sputum, and the chills. This deadly type of plague kills its victims in less than two days. When a person contracts septicemic plague, the bacterium invades the bloodstreams without ever harming the lymph nodes. The germs reproduce at such rapid rates in the blood that the victim’s blood becomes poisonous. People can die within hours after being diagnosed with septicemic plague. The death rate is almost one hundred percent.

Even though all three types of plagues are unique yet fatal in their own ways, they produce the same symptoms once infecting its victims. Early symptoms include shivering, vomiting, headaches, giddiness, intolerance to light, pain in the neck and limbs, and a white coating on the tongue (Janis and Mack). Later symptoms include headaches, nausea, hemorrhaging, and fevers reaching one hundred one to about one hundred five degrees Fahrenheit. Hemorrhaging causes the nervous system to be intoxicated producing neurological and psychological disorders such as insomnia, delirium, and stupor. The Black Death brought much suffering to its victims (Richard 2).

What was the reason behind the end of the suffering the epidemic had caused? After knowing somewhat of a clue as to what was the Black Death, there were some efforts to stop the spreading of the disease. Governments locked up houses thought to contain the plague and port cities isolated all incoming ships on nearby islands (Mack). Some people breathed the pure air from fires because the plague bacillus cannot survive in immense heat. The plague primarily occurs in areas where there are numerous amounts of burrowing rodents and unsanitary conditions. Creating sanitary conditions greatly aided the process to exterminate the disease (Janis).

Because of these unsanitary conditions, the plague killed twenty-five million people. This was three times as more people than died in WWI and more than the total population of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware combined (Mack). The Black Death traveled on major trade routes from Asia to Europe to arrive in England. The disease ravaged numerous cities and countries along its path of destruction. The three fatal types of plague caused painful and quick deaths to all those who became infected from the pestilence. Without sanitary conditions, the plague spread uncontrollably.

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ZOO Essay

Essay on Zoo

I visited the St. Louis Zoo on 16 November 2003. I took off work early since it was such a lovely day outside. I thought the 55-degree weather would be perfect for a day at the zoo. I arrived around 1:30 p.m. to find the zoo filled with people of all ages, mainly children. When I arrived in the primate house, it was not as busy as I thought it would be. I take it people, especially the parents, did not want to stay in there any longer than needed. For me, my journey would not end until 5:00 p.m.

I looked around at a few different types of monkeys. I wanted to observe the baboons since they were so energetic but I had heard that many people chose to observe them. My eyes were drawn to the long black and white tails that were merely perfect that belonged to the Black and White Colobus Monkeys. I lucked out because there happened to be a bench right in front of the cage. I placed my book bag down and began my work.

The Black and White Colobus Monkey or the Colobus guereza, belong to the Mammal category and the Primate Order. They tend to be in groups of around six. Usually the groups have one or two males. The monkeys from the zoo were from Africa. It did not give specifics on the description of the monkeys but I researched and found that the majority come from eastern Nigeria to Ethiopia and Tanzania.

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The Black and White Colobus monkeys at the zoo were about two and a half feet tall. The male baby monkey was quite smaller, about 16 inches tall. There were two female adults that were almost the same size as the male. The male, who was the father of the baby, seemed to be about two inches taller than the females. By looking at the monkeys, the adults looked to weigh around 45 pounds.

The monkeys have very small facial features. Their ears were also tiny but fit their body sizes. They have a long black and fluffy white tail that exceeds their entire body length. Their faces are surrounded by white hair that almost looks like a beard. The monkey’s backs are also covered with a strip of white, fluffy and long hair. The Colobus have white calluses that enable them to sit for long periods of time.

If I had to guess, I would say the baby was around two years old. I asked the workers but they did not know exactly. It did not have a pink face and was not all white like the young infants are. The Colobus monkeys mature between the ages of four and six and but it’s actions and size, it was nowhere near that age. The baby still acted like a child and was more playful than the other three monkeys.

What I found interesting were the eating habits. I was lucky enough to observe the monkeys being fed and how they reacted. Needless to say, they were hungry. The monkeys were fed lettuce and long stalks of celery. I also observed them munching on what appeared to be twigs. The father and only adult male was very distant from the females and the baby. He sat in the upper left hand side of the cage on a rock fixture whereas the other three sat up on the right hand side on rock fixtures near branches. I focused most of my attention on the male because I found him most interesting. He would pick up the celery, stare at it for a while, and then break it with his incisors and take a bite. He would also look around as if he was protecting his food. He was very careful when he was eating. After he broke off a bite smaller enough to fit in his mouth, he would chew for at least 20 times with his molars and then swallow. The male would never lay the rest of the celery on the rock, he would hold it with his right hand.

The females did not seem to be as worried about their food as the male. To me, they seemed like they ate faster and were preoccupied with the baby. Unlike the male in the group, once they finished, they moved locations to the center of the display near more branches and limbs. The male kept venturing down to get more celery but would always return to his original location. What I noticed about all four is that while they ate, they held their feet with their one open hand. I think it was comfortable for them or their feet itched. The only time anyone shared was with the baby. The father held his hand open with celery in it and offered it to his son.

After about an hour, the baby boy came to his father’s corner. He mocked everything his father did. After what seemed like a command, the baby laid down and the father searched and cleaned him of any bugs or other pests that could have been on the baby. He also cleaned under both his and his child’s nails. The father patted and rubbed the baby and then the baby went to be with his mother and “aunt.” The father went back to leaning against the back wall and holding his feet.

I never observed any of the four monkeys in a bipedal position for more than one minute. They traveled on all fours making their front hands scoop the ground as they walked. I observed that their fifth toe is much longer than the others and looks like a finger. It is at a 90-degree angle from the other toes. I think this must give them balance and allow them to move with more ease. They acted more like a dog than a human if I can make that relation. Often, the monkeys would scratch their ears and other parts of their head with their feet. Maybe the toe was good for scratching behind an ear.

Since the monkeys have a digestive system that uses bacteria to detoxify and digest leaf matter, the monkeys have very little energy thus resulting in light activity. The four Colobus monkeys sat in the same location for 30 minutes or more at a time. As I mentioned earlier in my paper, the male was, the majority of the time, sitting or laying in the corner. He often laid with his hands crossed and his head resting on them. The “aunt,” as I call her, sat rested on what was a rope bridge for several minutes on end. I thought she would lose her balance or become uncomfortable but it didn’t phase her. It was interesting because the two females argued and fought with each other. One (we’ll call her A) pulled the other’s hair (B) over and over again. A kept taunting B until B finally hit back and jumped at A. This was all in the presence of the child. (It was also the most interesting thing that happened all day!)

From my time spend at the St. Louis Zoo, I became very familiar with the Black and White Colobus Monkeys. They are not very active but also interesting. Like in any family, they have distinctive qualities such as grooming and eating patterns. The father, though distant, loves his son and “wife” very much. The glances across the room showed he cared. The mother and aunt were very close and loving to the baby. I did not expect the monkeys to pull each other’s hair. That was very appalling.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Germany and Its Culture Essay

Essay on Germany and Its Culture

Germany has a rich culture built upon a foundation of Art, Literature, Sports, Food, and Music. Due to Germany's war torn past many of its modern day aspects are very different from that of our own, But very similar in other ways. Its art, literature and music have gone through a sort of renaissance that have helped evolve the culture into one very much its own. With its own style and grace that makes Germany the country it is today.

"Art in Germany has evolved very much in the past 50 years. From the rubble of the holocaust and world wars, a new and exciting breed of artist has emerged. "A variety of innovative and avant-garde styles that transformed the artistic landscape of Germany between the establishment of the Wilhelmine Empire in 1871, and Hitler's takeover of the short-lived Weimar Republic in 1933. This period of cataclysmic political and social change also witnessed the dramatic rise of the artistic movement called Expressionism."(German Art)

Germany has a wide variety of art history that accounts for its vast array of modern art styles. Expressionism is a style of art in which the purpose is not to reproduce a subject accurately, but instead to portray it in such a way as to express the inner state of the artist. The movement is associated with Germany in particular, and was influenced by such powerful styles as symbolism, fauvism and cubism. Such artists that made this style popular were, Franz von Stuck, Kathe Kollwitz, and Emil Nolde. (Artists)

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Much of the Art of today has a very strong patriotic and nationalistic nature to the works. They are very much influenced by the happenings of world war one. There have been many paintings memorializing the horrific events of that era that still haunt many people. Shortly after the end of world war one there were many events held to showcase the works of art that were being painted. Much of this art was very patriotic. This was the cause of much controversy in Germany in the mid 1900's. The debate between the socialist third Reich and the newly freed liberalists that were held captive during the war was fueled by these exhibitions. But while it was a source of controversy it also help to bring people together as groups and form strong bonds that still hold strong today.

Another major art style that helped define the art of today's Germany is "symbolist". The first major exhibition of German Symbolist art was held in Britain. In the Birmingham Museum, and Art Gallery. This was the first time British audiences had a chance to witness this remarkable period of creativity in Germanys culture. "Erotic and challenging images of fantasy and legend are depicted in the works of artists such as Arnold Bocklin, Max Beckmann, Franz Von Stuck and Max Klinger."( KINGDOM)

Paintings were not the only part of Germany’s artistic community that grew during this period. Sculpture and other forms of art had a rebirth, but no where near that of the painters emergence. Some of the more famous sculptures of the time are Van der Straeten, Hans Reinhart, Benedikt Dreyer, and Loy Hering.

Germany's deep seeded roots in literature have helped develop an interesting and distinctive flavor that is found in much of Germany's modern day literature. Writers such as Bertolt Brecht, Anne Frank, Johann Goethe, and Franz Kafka have had some of the best selling books of all time. Not just in Germany but through out the world, a testament to their outstanding ability to capture an audience. They did so by writing pieces that held drama, action, and a sense of truth. “German poets, playwrights, and theatrical reformers whose epic theater departed from the conventions of theatrical illusion and developed the drama as a social and ideological forum for leftist causes.” (Bertolt)

Food and Music both have an important role in Germany's modern culture in both uniting Germans as a nation and help the nation maintain a sense of its roots. The foods most associated with Germany are Sauerkraut and Brautwurst, with a pitcher of lager. These traditional foods hold special meaning in the hearts of many Germans and will do so for years to come. But the food of today contains a variety of styles and flavors that vary throughout the different regions of Germany. Much of today’s cooking has switched to a lighter style of cooking, and also a revival of a more regional cuisine in Germany. “Germany is a very small country, with a lot of differences. The North is near the stormy North Sea with the Frisians, speaking a complete different language, and eating different things like "Labskaus," a mix of corned beef, potatoes, beet roots, herring and such, or gravied fishes, or "hamburger eel soup" which doesn't contain eel at all. Or it is the Germany of the South, with Bavaria and the Alps. They eat differently: Nice crusty "Braten" and they have "Brotzeit" a late breakfast with wonderful brown breads and "Wurst."( A Challenge) While German food still uses many of the same elements of the traditional style, such as using large amounts of oil and butter, some things have changed. The advances in health care have taught Germans that fats and oils have a less fattening effect on the body if not eaten with a starch to cause it not to be burned. So this is one of the main reasons for the change into a lighter style of cooking. But the foods of traditional Germany are still severed all over the country but not eaten on a regular basis as once was. Because of this they tend to hold an even greater importance to people reminiscing about their past and their roots. Foods such as braised beef with horseradish, potato pancakes fried with onion and butter, and mixed sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes are foods that help remind of the past.

The music of Germany has under gone many changes throughout the history of Germany. From the days of classical artists such as Motzart and Bach, to the industrial rock of today from bands like Ramstein. “But the roots that came from such great composers such as Mozart and bach, that have been influenced by the swing artists of the 40’s and 50’s, have come together to create an amalgam of sound and style that Germany and much of Europe and the America’s enjoys.”(Book) While there is an influence of the older styles of music, not much of that style is seen in the music of today. The modern music charts of Germany are populated by many of the same artists as our own charts but with a few key differences. Many more of the artists that reach fame in Germany are not as many “rap” or “pop” artists but more “dance” and “rock” groups. And there is also a large sub-culture of people that listen to and live a style of life that is to most very taboo and considered disgusting by most. They are a group that is very much influenced by Industrial rock and death metal bands. With Germany being such a conservative country, it seems as though it leave a large void left where openness and certain freedoms are suppressed and therefore create area’s of dark and twisted things that are expressed through music.

While this culture is not a large part of normal German life it does exist. But at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum there is the dance and club life that exists in Germany and in much of Europe. With anthems such as “99 left balloons” and bands like “Eiffel 65” playing rhythmic beats and captivating pulses much of Germany’s youth is sucked into the night life of clubbing, drugs, and promiscuity.

But despite the negative aspects of the extremes of the spectrum there is still a large population of people that listen to the pop rhythms of “Kylie Minouge” and “Justin Timberlake” that are normal and as a collective maintain a normal German ethic and sense of pride and togetherness in their country.

Sports are a big part of life in Germany. While there are many sports played in Germany such as baseball, basketball and rugby, one sport stands out above all others. Soccer is one of the most watched sports all over the world, and Germany is no exception. Its no secret that soccer fans are some of the most enthusiastic and loyal fans in the sports world. And Germans are no exception to that either. With riots and other maladies being the result of a lost or won soccer game. The experience of being in a country that enjoys soccer as much as Germany during a world cup game is one all its own. The amount of energy that is present all through the region is overwhelming. The sense of pride in the country that is displayed during the event shows that this sport helps to bring a country together as a whole.

Another sport that Germany is famous for is auto racing. With its high speed autobahn’s and very fast racing circuits such as the Neurenburg Germany’s racing style is distinct and interesting. With automakers competing for the top spot in the racing world, companies such as BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes back some of the most technologically advanced race teams in the world. This makes for very fast and very competitive racing that is very easy to get caught up in. And the availability of this race technology on the streets of the autobahn, where speeds of two hundred plus miles per hour are seen on a daily basis. As seen in many situations of intense competition, there is a brotherhood that forms between individuals that makes the entire group as a whole stronger and more united. Because of the past history and present rebuilding of the country that is Germany, there is a great variety in many aspects of German life. Everything from food to sports has its own styles, all of which as a whole make up one great land. And culture cannot be considered great without variety.

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