Friday, April 29, 2011

Symbolism Overused

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“Symbolism Overused”

Throughout the novel 'The Scarlet Letter' there is the repeated use of symbolism. To some readers the use of repeated symbolism is Hawthorne’s way to unify the novel and add a deeper level of meaning to the story. To others this symbolism is seen as a monotonous repetition that becomes mechanical at times.

Henry James found the symbolism in the Scarlet Letter very repetitious. James states that, “…In 'The Scarlet Letter' there is a great deal of symbolism; there is I think, too much. It is over done at times, and becomes mechanical…”. To prove his point James uses an example. James states that, “ …The Idea of the mystic A which the young minister finds imprinted upon his breast and eating into his flesh, in sympathy with the embroidered badge that Hester is condemned to wear appears to me to be a case in point. This suggestion should, I think have been just made and dropped…”. The A, which is imbedded into Dimmesdale breast, can be viewed as James stated. Although, others could argue that this A which covers his heart helps the reader to see that the minister will never be able to escape his sin even if he doesn’t have the strength to admit it. Dimmesdale is forced to take the A with him where ever he goes as a remembrance. Without the A imbedded on his chest, the reader would lose the valuable connection between the agonies that Dimmesdale must face without revealing his sin. Also, the A that is on Dimmesdale’s breast is repeatedly seen in the gesture of placing his hand over his heart. This is the ministers attempt to cover his mark of sinfulness and prevent his exposure. It also suggests his nervous condition and grieved state. Two examples of Dimmesdale caught in the act of trying to hide his sin by this gesture are when Hawthorne says, “…She will not speak!” “Murmured Mr. Dimmesdale, who leaning over the balcony, with his hand upon his heart, had awaited the result of his appeal…”. This scene takes place when Hester is on the scaffold and is asked to reveal the man who sinned with her and she refuses. The second example of this repeated symbolism is when Hawthorne writes “The mostly do,” “said the clergyman, gripping hard at his breast as if afflicted with an importunate throb of pain…”. This scene takes place when Chillingworth is trying to get Dimmesdale to confess to his sin. Without the repetition of Dimmesdale grabbing at his chest or putting his hand over his heart, the reader would lose site of the agony that Dimmesdale is experiencing keeping his secret locked away from the world.

Henry James also argues that the repetition of symbolism ruins the poetic writing of Hawthorne. This is supported by the scene where Dimmesdale is on the scaffold and calls Hester and Pearl to join him. James states that, “In this masterly episode the effect is almost spoiled by the introduction of one of these superficial conceits”. Henry James is impressed that it is an imaginative, poetic scene but the red A ruins it. James concludes, “ We feel he goes to far and is in danger of crossing the line that separates the sublime from the intimate neighbour. We are tempted to say that this is not moral tragedy, but physical comedy”. Another view of this scene might be that the A helps the reader to see that neither Hester or Dimmesdale, wherever they are, can ever escape the blood red A that haunts them both because of their sin. The A adds to the pain the characters are experiencing and allows the reader to become sympathetic. Without the repetition of the blood red A it is impossible to understand how deeply it effects all the characters in the Scarlet Letter and that it is a plague that will follow all of them till their deaths.

There are three scenes in the Scarlet letter that include the scaffold. In all three scenes the scaffold is a symbol of repentance and God’s platform on the day of Judgment. It is a reflection of appearing before the almighty in one’s weakness. At first Dimmesdale experiences great difficulty in standing on the platform and confessing his sin first when he asks Hester to tell the world of the man who has sinned with her and when he stands on the scaffold at night. But in the end, Dimmesdale is able to bravely stand on the scaffold and confess his sins in the light and before the Puritan people. With out these three scenes with the scaffold and the symbolism that the scaffold holds, the reader would be unable to experience Dimmesdale the coward or Dimmesdale taking a stand for the sins he has committed.

When reading a novel there is always going to be different ways to view the author’s style of writing. In Henry James’s case he founds Hawthorne’s repetition of symbolism to be overused and took away from the poetic style that Hawthorne creates. But others might have seen Hawthorne’s symbolism as the defining quality of the book. The symbolism helped the novel define aspects of the story and repeated them so the reader would not lose sight of the importance of them.




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The One

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Can't you see?

I feel the sense of security in your loving arms,

Being protected, but all it needs- is your love,

I need your love, your care, and attention.

Guys...who understands them? says

If you would only give me a chance,

My love, I can show you a new world,

Flourishing your life with colors that disappeared

When you are in need.

I want to be the one for you,

The one to listen to you - day or night,

To share your lows and your highs.

Why is it when I can offer you so much love,

You cannot do the same?

What must I do to make you see that I am for real?

That I want to be the one to bless your world.

Each new day on this land,

I try to be happy.

There are times I am successful,

Yet I fail more than I succeed.

Guess Im just a girl,

Confused in my surroundings,

Searching for an answer to the pain I bear deep within.

Life goes on no matter what,

But I sit here helpless,

Knowing you have moved on,

Trying with all your might to be happy

The love we shared lives in our hearts through eternity,

Memories will forever live in our life.

No wind, no storm will take away this love that once lived.

Once again, under the velvet blue sky,

My mind is weighing with thoughts of you,

The irritating feeling of missing the one I love,

The craving of hearing your voice, your touch, your kiss

Brings back images of the old times.

These memories I try with all determination to overcome,

Thinking only of the future ahead,

But deep deep down the truth remains.

That is to say you loved me for who I am with sincerity and true love,

This I cannot, with all attempt erase

While I was in love, we met.

I remember our first words were of computers & cigarettes

Funny it was, we didnt exchange names.

Every frequent hellos we said from then,

The more attracted I get to you.

Days went by,

Many things changed.

No longer attached am I,

My mind came to realise

My heart is now set on you.

Happy laughters, I laughed,

Glowing smiles, I smiled,

Nervous heart-beat, my heart beated.

All of which I carry in me when I see you.

Watching you laugh

Just makes me wanna laugh.

The fun we shared,

The talks we had

Through short sleepless nights

Only brings back happy memories.

Guys...who understands them? says

Now you've left.

Each day, memories replay in my mind.

Each time I walk the path of the beginning,

My mind casts back to the frequent hellos.

Never did I realise,

What layed ahead.

All that can be done now is nothing.

Patience and fate will be the key to the future.

Perhaps, fate will makes its way to destiny one day.




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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bells for John Whiteside's daughter

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The elegies of Ransom (“Bells For John Whiteside’s Daughter”) and Meehan (“Child Burial”) both use different diction, imagery, and scheme to achieve each of its desired effects, which essentially is to lament the loss of a child. Both use ironic word choices to demonstrate the mourning of a lost child; at the same time, the authors use the formal elements of a poem to support the essence of their respective poems.

In Ransom’s “Bells For John Whiteside’s Daughter,” he uses an ironic choice of words to give meaning to the poem, the melancholic mourning of a loss child. In the first stanza, Ransome gives life to the dead child “There was such speed in her little body;” however, in the next line, Ransome describes how the mourner was surprised by the death, which totally contrasted the child’s life “And such lightness in her footfall.” The mourner was “astonished” with the death. Ransom further uses his choice of words to tell his audience how the child was a vibrant, indefatigable young girl

“The lazy geese…

For the tireless heart within the little

Lady with rod that made them rise

From their noon apple-dreams and scuttle

Goose-fashion under the skies!”

In the last stanza, Ransom uses his word choice to show that death still “vexed” the mourner. The mourner was still confused how the once lively girl, laid still “To say we are vexed at her brown study, Lying so primly propped.” In a different way, Meehan also uses diction to clearly illustrate his elegy’s intent, to mourn the loss of a child. Meehan talks about how no longer can the mourner be in contact with the child using solemn words “So cold down in the dark. No light can reach you and teach you.” The mourner is telling that the child will never grow up, always “Ignorant…of the sun and its work.” The mourner then uses words filled with imagery to show his loss “my lamb, my calf, my eaglet, my cub, my kid, my nestling, my suckling, my colt.” She then talks how she would go “to a quiet mossy place,” which resembles the wording Meehan used earlier” they smelt of wood smoke, of October.” This, in essence, shows how the mother of the loss child’s pain is so great that she had rather not bore the child than endure the pain of losing him.

In addition to diction, Ransome uses formal elements of an elegy to support the essence of his poem and its meaning of mourning the death of a child. In the first stanza, the mourner is “astonished” at the death, not ready to face it. However, the recurring memories of the child in the next three stanzas have helped him accept the death (Qoutes available in previous paragraph). Finally, the mourner is ready to accept death, although still perplexed by it

“But now go the bells, and we are ready,

In one house we are sternly stopped

To say we are vexed at her brown study”

Meehan also uses his formal elements in “Child’s Burial.” The two line stanzas allow the mourner to change views quickly "In the first half of the poem, the mourner talks about the child; however, in the second half, the mourner would rather no have gone through with having the child “You would spill from me into the earth drop by bright red drop." Through out the poem, the mourner is addressing the child directly symbolizing that maybe she has still not realized that the child is gone for good.

In conclusion, both Ransom and Meehan use diction and the formal elements of a poem to give meaning to their poems. They use word choice to describe and lament the loss of a child; furthermore, the use of the length of stanzas and formal elements add to this essence.



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Monday, April 25, 2011

Oedipus

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Oedipus

Fate is something that affects people of all kinds. Even tragic heroes have to deal with fate. Is someone capable of escaping his or her fate and can still be considered as a tragic hero? It may not be easy to defy the gods, but it can be done. In Oedipus the King, the main character, Oedipus, runs away from his destiny and becomes a tragic hero.

The first requirement to a tragic hero is that he or she must pass from happiness to misery. Oedipus perfect family life is ruined when he learns of his past. A perfect family brings happiness and love. When not having a god family, it can affect a person emotionally. However, a good reputation brings happiness. Oedipus looses his reputation because of his past. This ruined reputation brings misery to Oedipus. Finally, respect is important to bringing happiness. Oedipus becomes miserable when all respect is lost for him. All respect is lost for him because of his past. These are all qualifications of happiness to misery of a tragic hero.

Next, a tragic hero must have a downfall because of his or her tragic flaw. Oedipus makes the mistake of having bad judgment. Oedipus forces Tiresias to talk. Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the killer of Lauis, bringing on Oedipus curse. In addition, Oedipus also makes an error in judgment when sending for the Shepard. The Shepard holds the truth to Oedipus past. The Shepards story could determine the fate of Oedipus. Finally, Oedipus makes a third error in judgment by forcing the Shepard to talk. The Shepard ruins Oedipus life when telling the truth of his past. If he would not have done this Oedipus could still live a happy life. These are all results of Oedipus tragic flaw leading to his downfall.

Another quality a tragic hero must have is that he or she must not be perfectly virtuous and just. Oedipus is not virtuous when he shares his bed with his own mother. Sleeping with ones own mother is very wrong in terms of religion. This causes Oedipus to loose all of his respect from others. Besides sleeping with his own mother, Oedipus kills his father. By killing his father Oedipus helps bring along the curse he set upon himself. This also brings shame to his family. Lastly, Oedipus defies the gods. Oedipus defies the gods by running away from his destiny. Oedipus suffers deeply for this defiance against the gods. These are all non-virtuous and non-just actions that make Oedipus a tragic hero.

Oedipus is the tragic hero in the play Oedipus the King. Oedipus passes from happiness to misery because of his past. The tragic flaw of Oedipus leads to his tragic downfall. Oedipus sleeping with his own mother is non virtuous. These are all qualifications to a tragic hero. Oedipus is a tragic hero.




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Friday, April 22, 2011

Stress

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Stress

As every one knows that no matter how old and what kind of person you are, you will encounter stress in your life. Some people who will encounter stress are college students, children, and workers. I will explain what stress is, how it affects different kinds of people and their health, what strategies people can use to eliminate stress in life and how people manage stress better.

What is stress? Stress is a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health. Stress has physical and emotional effects on us and can be positive and negative. As positive influence, stress can force us to act; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression that can cause health problems such as headaches, mental problems, lack of sleep, upset stomach, insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Stress is only harmful when it is excessive. Much of the stress that we experience is helpful and stimulating. The challenges of life tend to be stressful and try to avoid stress thoroughly. The problem comes only when you experience too much stress. And stress is often caused by general unhappiness and a sense of aimlessness or lack of purpose.

College life can be very stressful. Some students say they find it difficult to adapt to the atmosphere and the stress of balancing extracurricular activities with schoolwork. Some other aspects of the college environment that cause stress are the competition for grades, the need to perform, relationship, and career choice. According to the American College Health Association survey taken last year, percent of students said that they sometimes feel overwhelmed by the tasks they have to perform. One third of these students said that their stress was severe enough to affect their grades.

Stress has invaded the lives of the youngest students too. Both good and bad events can cause children stressful. Middle and high school students say that academic pressure, fear of failure, dating relationships and friendships, and peer group pressure can cause them stress out. Some students say they get stress from their bosses who require them to work longer on school nights. Other students even have more unique stressors, such as having to contend with a physical disability, parents' divorcing, or financial pressure at home. Domestic violence, teasing, and other forms of abuse and neglect at home can also contribute to the stressful lives of some students. Parents who experience stress can create stress for children as well. In order to help children to cope the stress, children need to have a safe school and home environment, and supportive relationship with peers, family, and educators.

Job stress can be clarified as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job don't match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and injury. Everyone agrees that job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Some companies provide stress management training program and an Employee Assistance Program to improve the ability of workers to cope with difficult work situations.

There are some ways to eliminate unnecessary stresses such as end unhealthy relationship included friendships and partnerships, reduce the noise level around you, stop smoking, prevent "last minute anxiety," and relax. Relaxation can fight the stress response by helping the body return to a balanced state and reverse some of the physiological effects of the stress response.

There are also some guidelines to help people manage stress such as understand your role in stress reactions, develop a balanced life-style and effective personal organization, gain perspective on problems by discussing them, and learn specific relaxation techniques. One relaxation technique is meditation. People get the right balance of sleep, food, exercise, work, school, and recreation is also important for people to cope the stress.

In conclusion, sometimes people hardly find out what kind of stress they encounter and how they eliminate them. Stress is always following us in our lives. Without stress, life is meaningless because people need stress to force or to encourage them to compete and to success.




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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Explicit Lyrics

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Should Music with Explicit Lyrics be Banned? Compact discs sold in music stores clearly have an explicit lyrics label on the front cover. Explicit lyrics should not be banned because rap artists today use profanity to express themselves, sometimes artist take everyday life situations and make songs out of them, and its up to the buyer if he or she wants to buy the cd with explicit lyrics. It does not promote violence and without explicit lyrics in today’s music it would be boring.

Profanity is used on a everyday basic from people around the world. There is no reason to ban this kind of music because it is also used in television. Everybody that watches television would know that profanity is used and sometimes goes to far. So if music be banned for profanity television would have to be edited as well. Many people would like that. That’s what makes a song unique from the other.

Music with Explicit lyrics does not promote violence. Many people want to ban explicit lyrics because they say it promotes violence. When people do violent things its not because of music with bad language or what the song may say. When someone commits a crime like rape, murder, or even suicide. It wouldn’t be because a certain song said that they murdered or raped someone. It’s the person doing the crime not the song. The person should know right from wrong and knows what he is doing and should have more control of the actions being done.

Music is very important to many people theses days. People should have the right to listen to what ever they wish. If certain people would not prefer to listen to music to this type of music she shouldn’t buy it or turn the radio down if they think its not appropriate. Many CDs with explicit lyrics now have a nice big stick on the front cover saying Explicit lyrics. So if the buyer doesn’t want to hear that kind of music they know not to buy it because it has the explicit label on it. Music Company’s now sell two different cds one would have explicit lyrics and the other would be edited. So if a parent would want to buy their child a cd and that certain cd would have explicit lyrics. They have a choice to get the edited version of the cd and not worry about the child listening to Explicit Lyrics.



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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Index Investing vs. Active Money Management

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The biggest problem with investors today is confusion. A big issue that has left investors baffled is where they should place their money in order to make the most profit. Should you manage your portfolio personally or invest into an index? And which one will make more money. The only problem is that investing is not that simple. You can’t just invest your money in a particular fund. There are circumstances that come into play that can either benefit you or hurt you. This “age old” question has been under much scrutiny over the past couple of years. Where should you put your money? And Why? For avid investors who are looking to invest their money wisely and who plan on keeping their money tied up for a period of time, index funds are most beneficial. Index investing is very easy to learn, does not tie up a lot of your valuable time to manage; is tax efficient and based on past results index investing should give you higher returns. If that is not reason enough, I do not know what is.

Cost is a very important factor when it comes to investing. How much does an investor want to spend? According to Evanson Asset Management, “Active investors must overcome many costs to match the returns of the average passively managed portfolio. These include Trading costs, much higher management fees, market impact costs as active managers affect the prices they pay, dilution from maintaining higher cash positions than passive managers, taxes in taxable accounts due to high turnover rates, and, commissions, if an investment “product” is purchased through a broker” (“A Comparison of Active and Passive Investment Strategies” www.evansonasset.com/index.cfm). The cost of an actively managed professional portfolio typically range between 5% to 50% per year more than passively managed professional portfolios (Radcliffe). This can prove to be very costly to an investor who chooses to invest a large sum of money into the market. It can also be damaging to an investor’s assets over a period of time. If an investor is paying a money manager commission at the average, then that means that the active investor they are paying must outperform the index by this margin plus all other costs allocated over time. This can be a big problem for investors, especially when an index fund averages a dismal . Indexing still probably makes the most sense for core large-cap exposure. Its just so dominant over the long haul, even after hurting in recent years (investopedia.com/universities/indexes/). It is possible however, for an active fund manager to beat a relevant index over the long haul. Bill Miller, known the “The Man Who Beat the S&P 500,” has beaten the S&P consecutively since 10. This is very rare though. As noted earlier, in order for Mr. Miller to be able to outperform the S&P, he has to account for all the costs that he accrues by actively trading his funds. This is nearly impossible unless you know what you are doing. In fact less than 20% actively managed diversified large cap mutual funds have outperformed the S&P over the past ten years (investopedia.com/universities/indexes/). That is because in order for actively managed funds to beat an index it has to outperform a fund by the costs it accrues. All of the fees that an actively managed stock ensues, it has to outperform the fund by that amount. For instance, let’s say that if a fund charges, then you have to outperform the market by that percentage just to break even. Cost for an investor is very important and when they pay less to trade funds, they have more to invest, which in turn means they have more money to grow, which makes for a good investment.

Another factor in choosing where to invest your money is return. You want to invest into something that will make you money. That is just common sense. There is no one in their right mind that would put their money into the market where they know that they could possibly lose money. Peter Di Teresa reviewed “William Harding and Brian Portnoy studied when and where actively managed funds were competitive alternatives to index funds. Harding and Portnoy compared the actively managed funds in each of the nine Morningstar domestic-equity style-box categories (ranging from large value to small growth) with the relevant Russell indexes. For large-cap blend funds, they compared the funds with the standard S&P 500 benchmark, as well as with the Russell 1000. The Results were as expected; Harding and Portnoys study confirmed that indexing can be tough to beat over the long haul. Actively managed funds in the small-growth and small-blend categories beat the Russell 1000 Growth and Russell 1000 Indexes for the 10 years ending December 1, 001, and mid-growth funds came reasonably close to beating the Russell Midcap Growth Index, but that was it. In the other categories, the indexes clearly triumphed (http//news.morningstar.com/doc/article/0,,810,00.html).”


Another reason for S&P funds’ lofty return has a lot to do to with the great success of most large cap stocks. “The S&P 500 funds are on a tear because the companies that dominate the index are large, successful multi-nationals that are well positioned to thrive in the global community.” (Laderman).

Like most Wall Street propaganda, the latest onslaught of active managers will beat the market because of its recent rough shortcomings is a lie. Jason Zwieg, of Money Magazine, wrote, “Over the past 15 years, the S&P 500 fell in 2001. Just 7% of active funds beat the market in 1970 and 4% last year. Only in 2000 did a majority, 66%, beat the S&P 500 (Zwieg). In truth, the primary factor in determining whether active funds will beat the S&P 500 is how the smaller stocks perform. Since the S&P doesnt contain lots of small stocks, active funds almost always beat it in years when little stocks outperform big ones like in 1977.

Many experts however, do not believe in the numbers. Jonathan Clements of the Wall Street Journal writes, “Investing isnt just about making money. Its also fun. And what could be more fun than buying and selling stocks using your computer? He goes on to say that It sure beats sticking your money in an index fund and merely matching the performance of a market average. Clements then turns around and bashes index funds from the viewpoint of full-service brokerages, which he calls more comforting than an index fund. True, most investors would get better results by putting their money in a market-tracking index fund, he admits. But have you seen all the doggy stocks in those funds? Its so much more comforting to have a broker looking out for you. (Stewart http//groups.google.com/groups?q=index+investing&start=100&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8). More comforting, but with worse results! How much would an investor have to pay for this cold comfort? I believe that this is not what investors want. Who cares about fun when you are making money? Investors are called investors for a reason. If they wanted to have fun they would go to Disney World! I believe that these investors really want is greater return. Index investing has a greater return and even critics of the index can not deny that.

Now do not get me wrong, active money management is not bad, if you know what you are doing. There are some cases where managed funds do beat out indexes, but it does not happen often (less than 10 percent). In a time where there is no money in the market, active investing can be very beneficial. According to Dunn’s Law, “When an asset fund is doing well, an index fund tracking that class should deliver superior returns. Likewise, when that asset class suffers, the index fund should do worse than its actively managed competitors (Di Teresa). To simplify, when things are good, they are great, but when they are bad they are even worse for an index. Active managed funds are a gamble if you “bet” right, you are a hero, but if not you are back to square one. This can make for an exciting adventure for an investor, compared to index investing.

Index investing just makes more sense. The returns are better, it is more cost efficient and not as high of a risk opposed to active trading. I know that there will be certain critics that do not believe that what I am saying is always true and believe that active money management is more beneficial. In some aspects they are correct, but overall index investing is just better to the investor. There will be some people that will challenge this by saying that the market is down and as of now active funds are more reliable, but if you are in it for the long run, index funds are the only way to go. The evidence is staring you right in the eyes. The numbers are there, index investing produces higher returns and less costs. Why every investor decides to invest money? It is to make more money and with an index and a little bit of patience they can sit back, enjoy life and watch their money work for them. The proof is in the pudding, index investing rather than active trading is much more beneficial to an investor.



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Monday, April 18, 2011

A Trip

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Fibromyalgia About the Unknown

Few people have heard of Fibrmyalgia syndrome (FMS). It is a sever disorder in which not a lot of people know much about. So what actually is FMS? Fibromyalgia syndrome is a widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons- the fibrous tissues in the body. FMS used to be called fibrositis, implying that there was inflammation in the muscles, but research later proved that inflammation did not exist.

Most patients with FMS say they feel flu like aches all over. They may feel as if their muscles have been pulled or overworked. The muscles often twitch and even burn. Every muscle, ligament, and tendon shouts out in pain.

Fibromyalgia can occur by itself, which is called primary fibromyalgia, or it can be overlaid on top of another chronic illnesses, such as lupus or cancer and then it is referred to as secondary fibromyalgia.

Although the definite cause of FMS is unknown, researchers have several theories about causes or triggers of the disorder. One theory is that below-normal levels of growth hormone may cause it. Growth hormone deficiency has been associated with low energy, muscle weakness, sensitivity to cold, weakened ability to remember and think, and other problems-, many of which are seen in patients with fibromyalgia. Some scientists believe that an injury or trauma may cause the syndrome. This injury may affect the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia may be associated with changes in muscle metabolism, such as decreased blood flow, causing fatigue and decreased strength. Although researchers have many different theories, no one truly knows why it happens.

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms mimic those of other disorders. The physician reviews the patient’s medical history and makes a diagnosis of fibromyalgia based on a history of chronic widespread pain that persists for more than three months. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has developed criteria for fibromyalgia that physicians can use in diagnosing the disorder. According to ACR criteria, a person is considered to have fibromyalgia if he or she has widespread pain in combination with tenderness in at least eleven of eighteen tender point sites.

The pain of fibromyalgia is more than normal muscle aches common after physical exertion. It can sometimes be sever enough to disrupt a person’s daily work and activities. With FMS often comes unrestful sleep, fatigue, and morning stiffness. Less common symptoms or conditions that can accompany FMS include Headache, Raynaud’s Syndrome , and irritable bowel syndrome . Fibromyalgia is not a psychological condition, although it has some components that are related. As with many conditions that cause chronic pain, anxiety and depression are common in people with FMS and may make symptoms worse. Many people with fibromyalgia report that their muscle pain is made worse by cold or damp weather, poor sleep, fatigue, stress, overexertion, and anxiety. The skin may be ultrasensitive, reacting to a firm touch with tingling, numbness or a “pins and needles” sensation.

People with fibromyalgia have periods when their symptoms become worse and periods when they have no symptoms. Flare-ups of fatigue and muscle and joint aches are common, especially following physical or emotional stress.

Certain factors may increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia. Being female greatly increases your chance of developing this syndrome. It is possible that having a rheumatic disorder (such as rheumatioid arthritis), an infectious disease (such as Lyme disease), or a psychiatric condition (such as major depression) may increase your chance of developing FMS. Fibromyalgia affects approximately 4-6 million people in the United States, mostly women of childbearing age, according to Tiffany Field, PhD, a researcher with the Touch Research Institutes in Miami.

For anyone with fibromyalgia, effective treatment is exclusive and the quest is frustrating. The treatment requires a comprehensive approach. It is, for the most part, unsatisfactory. Maybe that is why sufferers often have a considerable degree of anxiety and depression. The physician, physical therapist, and the patient may all play an active role in the management of fibromyalgia. Exercise has proven helpful in some studies in reducing tender-point pain; its general effect on the poor mood in fibromyalgia subjects has been questionable. These problems may require specific treatment, such as antidepressants. Using antidepressants does not mean that the condition is “all in your head.” Antidepressants may help by improving sleep, mood, or by blocking pain signals. Many people with fibromyalgia appear to benefit from the use of these medications. Other medications or therapies sometimes used include dietary supplements, vitamins, and herbal products. In general, medications are not very useful for the long-term treatment of fibromyalgia. They may help break the cycle of pain and sleep problems when symptoms flare up, but they usually are part of a larger treatment plan that focuses on exercise and other types of treatment.

Previous studies have shown that massage therapy can provide relief for people with FMS. Massage therapy has also been shown to reduce pain, stiffness, fatigue, and sleeping difficulties. But researchers have not known exactly what massage does to provide relief. In a five-week study, 20 adults with fibromyalgia received either massage therapy, or relaxation therapy twice weekly. The massage was a combination of several types, including Swedish, Shiatsu, and Trager, all using moderate pressure. People in the other group went to progressive muscle relaxation sessions. “Both groups showed a decrease in anxiety and depressed mood immediately after the first and last therapy sessions,” writes Field. The big difference showed up in their sleep. Only the massage therapy group reported an increase in hours of sleep and a decrease in their sleep movements, as well as lower levels of the chemical messenger for pain- called “substance P.”

A variety of other treatments have been used for conditions that cause chronic pain. Most of these complementary or alternative therapies are not proven treatments for fibromyalgia; however, they may be helpful for some people when symptoms flare up and may improve quality of life. Studies show that other relaxation techniques, besides massage therapy, may be effective in relieving pain caused by FMS, including SAM-e, which has been used to treat depression, Biofeedback, Acupuncture or electroacupuncture, meditation or prayer, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and counseling, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. In general, complementary or alternative treatments are not harmful, and patients may find one or more of them helpful in relieving some of their symptoms.

Although little is known about fibromyalgia, research has proven that it is real and the pain is real. Research has also proven that medications seem to be a simple answer, they are rarely the only answer and patients with fibromyalgia are encouraged to try and change their entire lives and they way they go about living them in attempt to rehabilitate and have less symptoms. The most important thing to remember when being diagnosed with fibromyalgia is not to lose hope, ongoing research is being done, and eventually everyone will find a cure for himself or herself.


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Abortion

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Abortion, Is It Wrong or Right?

The dictionary defines abortion as the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus. The abortion process starts by making an appointment and taking a pregnancy test. If you are definitely pregnant then you will come back in two weeks for the abortion. When you return the next two weeks a nurse will take you to an examining room where you will lie down on the exam table covered by a white paper cloth and your feet in metal stirrups. As the procedure begins a long metal tool is inserted into the vagina and opens it to hold the vaginal walls apart. A painkiller is used to numb the cervix. The opening of the cervix widens about half an inch or about the width of a pen. A small tube attached to a vacuum aspirator machine, which is like what the dentist uses to remove saliva from your mouth, is inserted. The machine sucks up the contents of the uterus with a curette- a spoon-shaped instrument- to make sure everything has been removed. The whole process takes only ten minutes. Afterwards you have some cramps, those similar to severe menstrual cramps, for about an hour. The doctor will give you a prescription for an antibiotic and a twenty-four hour emergency number. Then in two weeks you would come back for a check up to make sure the process was complete. This procedure that I described is the most common type or method of abortion. About ninety percent of abortions are preformed this way. There are about 1.6 million women who have legal abortions each year in the United States. Of those 1.6 million, about one in four are teenagers. This is the main reason it is such a controversial procedure. Whether you side with those teens that think girls should have the right to abortion or those who think girls should not, you can always find support for your point of view. One group is called “Pro-life” or “Right-to-Life.” They believe that a fetus’ right to live comes first, before the right of the pregnant woman. In a religious perspective they believe it is immoral. The New Testament strictly says it is wrong. The pro-life movement has pursued this debate of immorality for twenty years. They say that interests and personhood exist in the fetus from its origin, and rights flow from society’s recognition of these interests. Just as society recognizes the interests of future generations, it should recognize the interests and rights of the unborn fetus. American culture places high value on human life and should sanctify it in all its forms. On the other hand there is the “Pro-choice” group. They believe it is a woman’s fundamental human right to decide when and whether or not to have a child. They think abortion is a moral choice that protects women from involuntary parenthood. In their religious perspective a fetus is not a person until its eighth week. The Catholic Church doctrine today, holding that all abortions are the killing of human beings, contradicts its own historical position. The argument that abortion disregards the sacred character of human life is distinct from the contention that it violates the rights or interests of the fetus. The pro-choice groups say that if early abortion is wrong, it is not because it violates the interests of the immature fetus; well, the early fetus has no interests. So, after all this information of what an abortion is and the point of view of both sides, you ask yourself who is right? You will have to decide for yourself. Your view on abortion is distinctly a personal choice. No one can make it for you. The Supreme Court decided to make abortion a legal option in 17 during the Roe v. Wade case. Now, whether or not you agree with this is up to you


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that bewilders use all... The reason why I chose this diseases was because my mother has been diagnosed for two years already. She’s slowly but surely recovering but they still haven’t found the right medicine to get herself back on her feet. Scientist today still have no known cause for it yet. They do know that MS (multiple sclerosis) is a disease where the myelin breaks down and is replaced by scar tissue. The demyelination can slow down or block the flow of signals to and from the central nervous system to the rest of the body, impairing such functions as vision, strength, and coordination.

While we do know what MS is we still dont know why, where and when people contract the disease. It has been proven that MS generally appears between the ages of twenty to forty and it strikes women at more than twice the ratio it strikes men. Statistics have also shown that the disease strikes the middle and upper class more than the lower class and poor. Worldwide research shows that MS has a broad geographical distribution. It has long established that MS is more prominent in colder regions and rare in tropical areas. Maine being a colder climate has shown some of the highest rates of MS.

There is evidence of a slight increase in MS among first relatives-parents, siblings, and children. It is also suspected that the same family members may inherent a genetic susceptibility to MS. While it is possible to inherit a genetic susceptibility to MS, it is not possible to inherit the disease. And even people who have all the necessary genes dont necessarily get MS. The disease, experts believe, must be triggered by environmental factors. So MS is not considered a hereditary disease.

Until the definite cause of MS is proved the treatment cannot be truly scientific. But there are treatments that are effective in dealing with symptoms. For instance, there are the common sense treatments that everyone, with or without an illness, should treat themselves with, which are A healthy diet, exercise, sufficient amount of rest and to live your life as you would normally. There are also lots of drugs that treat many of the different symptoms. Since there are so many symptoms and treatments, I will only list a few Treatments that increase the blood flow, that decrease blood clotting, treatments for chemical eccess or deficiency, treatments to prevent infection and treatments for the immune system.

Treatment and rehabilitation have also been joined together. Weakness is one of the major symptoms of Ms and can be treated with physical therapy and strengthening exercises. One of the best exercises for reducing weakness in the limbs is hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is done in the water. Hydrotherapy exercises use the benefits of buoyancy. Another way to eliminate weakness is to stay off a weak limb. Overall, by recognizing limits and using common sense, weakness can be greatly diminished.

Spasticity, another MS symptom, is most effectively treated with physical therapy. Cold is an excellent temporary measure for relaxing the spastic limb. Hydrotherapy is, again, the most effective exercise for relief, combining stretching and cool temperatures. There are also many medications for spasticity, such as Baclofen, Dantrollene, and Diazepam. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, transcendental meditation, biofeedback, have been successful with spasticity as well.

Some MS patients might have mild to sever balance trouble. In mild cases, the person can learn how to compensate easily by standing and walking with a little wider base and taking short steps rather than long strides. When balance trouble is a little more severe, a four-pronged cane, crutches or a walker may be necessary.

Someone with MS could have visual problems. The problem varies from decreased acuity, blurred or cloudy vision, and double vision. The treatment depends on the stage of the problem. If it is a new part of an attack, visual loss responds to steroids. If it is a persistent problem, glasses or special lenses might be the best treatment.

Bladder problems are unfortunately not uncommon with MS. The most common are frequency and urgency. There are three good medications that relieve symptoms when they are present for more than a week or two Pro-Banthine, Ditropan and Tofranil. If bladder problems do not respond to medication, a complete bladder training problem may be prescribed.

The treatments and medications used ten years ago are still effective and still being used but there are medical breakthroughs being announced regularly. In October of 14, there was a medical breakthrough. Researchers found out that an anticancer drug stops the most crippling form of MS. The drug is Cladribine and the results are dramatic. A study was done on 4 patients with progressive chronic MS, which effects about 5,000 Americans and is the most severe form of MS. Half of the patients were given the drug and the other half were given a placebo. For the patients that were given Cladribine the spread of MS stopped for all patients and some improved. Their legs no longer shook and they no longer needed canes or braces. Dr. Ernest Beutler stated Its the only agent that has clearly been shown to stop the progression of the disease.

Another treatment that is not new or a medical breakthrough but is very effective and gaining popularity with MS patients is Apitherapy, which is the scientific name for the bee venom that is used by MS patients. Doctors arent exactly sure why the bee venom is effective. They know that the venom contains two powerful anti-inflammatory agents, melittin and adolapin which appear to fight the neural sheath inflammation itself. One woman with MS is quoted after two months of bee venom treatments My hearing was totally back and I was out of the wheelchair and walking with a cane. Another example was a young woman who had bladder problems. After her venom treatments she hasnt wet the bed since she first contracted MS. Others have noticed more balance, more energy and less numbness in there legs and feet.

Overall, whether its medication, exercise, rehabilitation, the most important factor in the treatment of this disease is to have a positive attitude, hope for the future, and a desire to live your life as you normally would from day to day.

Socially MS can be just as difficult to fight as it is physically. Dating, marriage, children, careers, parents and friends can be difficult barriers emotionally.

Dating is hard for anyone regardless of sex, age, appearance or status in life. If your MS has visual symptoms that are apparent to others. You should go about this in whatever way is most comfortable to you. For people with mild or invisible MS, disclosure to a dating can and probably should wait. Like any other person some relationships work out and some dont. The best advice is to date, explore new relationships and dont be afraid to fall in love.

MS will have an impact on your marriage. Management of MS requires patience and understanding. When your MS is in remission there may be no problem to face. When youre in a new attack, your mate need to take over shopping, cooking, mowing, and caring for the children if any.

The most patience and understandings comes to an end when a person with MS becomes disabled. This is the real test of love for most couples. This is when you should really take notice of what kind of problems you had before. Dont expect your partner to feel guilty. If the marriage was meant to work it will work.

If you have MS your children have probably already figured out that something is wrong before you tell them. The best approach is to be honest with your children. with each knew attack there needs to be communication. parents with MS should watch their children for any emotional difficulties they may be having.

After MS patients have dealt with physical therapy, doctors, treatments and medications you may ask yourself where would therapeutic recreation come into the picture? The answer to that would depend on the person and what type of lifestyle and goals they had for themselves.

Todays society is pushing everyone to physically and emotionally fit with activities such as mountain biking, swimming skiing, and walking. The reason these and many other activates are so popular is because its fun, its a hobby, receives stress and its exercise whereas riding a stationary bike is exercise but you dont hear to many people say its their hobby or its a fun pastime. TR (therapeutic recreation) come into place with people with MS and other mental and physical disabilities because their is a need for them to fulfill their goals and expectations like everyone else. Since they have a special need a TR program or specialist can help them fulfill that need. People with MS should have the maximum participation with the fewest adaptations. Just like any other part of their life style they should develop a leisure lifestyle that is normal a possible. I think it is important for Ms patients to choose their own activates and set their own goals, within reason!

Overall when they say MS is a mystery disease I would have to agree. I think there is definite hope for a cure for the future. We have medical breakthroughs and have several clues to the disease. This research paper has taught me a lot and hopefully you.



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Community Service

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Personal essay
Freshman Forum

ST. JOSEPH’S HOME

A community service in my high school is considered compulsory for everyone who wishes to complete the IB (International Baccalaureate). It is an activity that has to be done in 50 hours of the final years of the IB course. Before I go on to the main story, I would like to start by telling a short snapshot of my traveled life; I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to Atlanta, Georgia when I was 5. I lived there for about 10 years then my family moved again to Singapore. These movements were due to my dad’s job as a manager for Singapore Airlines. In Singapore, I was enrolled in an international school called UWC of South East Asia.

The IB course offers a wide range of community service, from taking care of mentally handicapped children, to dealing with old folks. And students can choose any service that interest them the most, in this case I chose on dealing with old people. The reason for this is because I wanted to learn how to take care the old, so when my parents get old I would know how to treat them.

There are numerous of old folks’ homes in Singapore, and it is not possible for me to visit each of them due to lack of time and transportation problem. Thus the IB assigned me to go to ST. Joseph’s home every Monday after school. At first I didn’t like the activity, because the place gave out bad odor and the atmosphere was so depressing. But the feeling changed when I met an old guy by the name of John Edwards, John is an ex British soldier who got captured by the Japanese and for some reason had to stay in Singapore till now. John lost all his friends during the war, and he never found out what happened to his family back in England. He would tell all the sad war stories and his experienced as a soldier. Our conversation varied from the hottest news to personal things, like school, friends and families. We would also play chest and Chinese poker, if we didn’t have anything interesting to talk about.

I’ve learned many things from my 50 hours visit at St. Joseph. Now I’m more appreciative towards the elderly, because they have been to so many bitter experiences and for some reason they still have a desire to carry on. I also learnt that their generations are much stronger than mine, this is due to the pain and hardship they have been through and these old folks have survived those. Also from the visit I admire their courage, honesty, and strong will to live in this crazy world.


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Employee Training

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Each day billions of people worldwide report to work and carry out their assigned tasks. How do they know how to do their work? How do they know what is expected of them? Is their job a career job? Is their room for advancement? Does their company provide any education for employees? These are just a few of the questions that will be addressed in this paper. The main focus of this paper will be to discuss training habits of multinational companies and to provide the reader with a good review of what training and development is all about in a 1st century company.

First, it is important to distinguish if there is a difference between training and development. “Training refers to the methods used to give new or present employees the skills they need to perform their jobs” (Dessler). Development can be most loosely defined as the advancement of an employee’s existing skills to help them meet new needs or to prepare them for new roles. Therefore, the difference between the two can be decided as development builds on existing skills for more than direct job related activities and training gives employees new skills or knowledge that will assist in their job performance. However, both are used hand-in-hand as employers seek to make their employees more knowledgeable and their companies more competitive.

“Training’s focus has broadened in the past few years…to also mean remedial education training, because quality improvement programs assume that employees can produce charts and graphs, and analyze data” (Dessler). This is a change from jus thirty years ago when training was teaching employees how to mold parts with their hands and run assembly lines with buttons. Today computer-generated programs run those same sequences. The skills necessary for those same tasks now require a higher level of training from the companies who employee those people.

In order to provide that level of training there are several things that must take place within an organization. “The first step in training is to determine what training, if any, is required” (Dessler). Training would include the evaluation of what skills are needed to perform a job and also the assessment of the skills employees already have. Therefore, the gap between the two becomes the subject of training.

There are two methods by which to measure training needs. The first being task analysis. This is used mainly for new employees and breaks the job into subtasks according to what the employee is responsible for (Dessler). Once the tasks are surveyed it becomes much easier to know what is the responsibility of the employer to give the employee the tools to succeed.

The other option for training analysis is to use performance analysis. This method applies to existing employees. “Performance analysis means verifying that there is a significant performance deficiency and determining whether that deficiency should be rectified through training or through some other means (such as transferring the employee or changing the compensation plan)” (Dessler). Almost any of the performance reviews discussed in class would work in determining these needs. Once these needs are evaluated it is then open to the employer what method of training they should use.

The text identifies the next step in training as setting training objectives. “Training, development, instructional objectives are defined as a description of a performance you want learners to be able to exhibit before you consider them competent” (Dessler). It is necessary to set these objectives within reach of the employees that will complete the training program. The most personal way to do this is to create a personal achievement plan for each employee. In the ideal world this would make for the most success for the employee and employer.

However, costs prevent companies from creating an individual plan for every employee. Instead, companies are setting other methods to supervise employee progress. The insurance industry has begun to hire training managers and place them under the human resources division of their companies (Horner). This is the key to cost efficiency and to employee training. Organizations have learned that training is needed, but costs are also important. By hiring a professional to handle the training process, companies save big money in splitting human resource functions.

There are several training techniques. On-the-job training is the most familiar of the training methods. However, there are several sub-methods of this section. The first is apprenticeship training. This is where new employees are matched to older and more experienced employees (Dessler). They build their skill base by watching and performing tasks with the veteran. The next type is simulated training. It is a technique in which trainees learn on the actual or simulated equipment they will use on the job but are actually trained off of the job (Dessler). This method is popular in jobs where putting new employees right to work is costly in terms of mistakes and slow speeds. The industries include auto-industries and other expensive product driven businesses. Vestibule training is the final type of on-the-job training. This is where employees are trained on the job with simulators opposed to real experience.

Audiovisual and distance learning techniques are also popular in today’s workplace. This method includes the use of films, closed-circuit television, audiotapes, and videotapes (Dessler). Teletraining is the use of television equipment to make up for distance in the training process. Dessler identifies AMP Incorporated as an industry that uses this form of training. With facilities in twenty-seven countries outside the United States, this form of training has proved to be the most inexpensive and the most effective. It allows for consistency across national borders and in all areas of training. This method is at the forefront of training for 1st century multinational companies.

Computer based training has also become a popular method of employee training. “In computer based training the trainee uses a computer-based system to interactively increase his or her knowledge or skills” (Dessler). Pacific Northwest uses the training programs at all of their facilities to train employees. It allows for an objective training regime to be implemented and be measured on the same scale. FedEx Corporation also is a subscriber to this form of training and expects to save more than $100 million with the plan (Dessler).

Training can occur in several forms. Two other methods are the use of CD-ROM and the Internet and the use of learning portals at job sites. These both allow flexibility in the way managers choose to train their employees. The location is more elastic as is the time of the training session. Each offers advantages to businesses that are smaller. Multinational corporations would have a more difficult time with this method because it limits the number of employees who can use it at one time.

The issue of training is presented in organizations around the world. Some nations seem to have a better grasp than others on what training should entail. “Canadian workers are well educated but inadequately trained” (Canadian Labour Congress Report (CLC)). The same report finds that “less than 10% of the employed adult workforce” participates in training programs. This figure is 10% less than that of the United States. It also outlines a program provided by the government that would seek to close the gap between Canada and the United States. The plan would be cooperative between the government, private businesses and higher education institutions. It would cost around $7 billion and would provide up to seven weeks of paid leave for employees who seek training (CLC).

Japan is a country that does extremely well in the area of training. It was found that Japan spends slightly more per employee on training than does the Unites States. Japan has a theory that workers should be well educated and they will perform well if they are. This leads companies to spend billions of dollars each year on development (Overman). Training begins with hiring in Japan and continues throughout employment. The United States has been found to only train part of the workforce and only when convenient. The article discusses that only recently have American companies begun to realize training is the key to productivity and profits. In perspective, it was found that members of the Asian Business Council “spent on average 5% of their payroll on training” (Bangkok Post). This figure is very similar to American multinational organizations.

Beyond employee training, it is also important to train the managers, supervisors and executives who will be leading the training. “Management development is any attempt to improve managerial performance by imparting knowledge, changing attitudes, or increasing skills” (Dessler). Professional management training should include in-house programs such as courses, coaching, and rotational assignments, professional programs such as seminars and executive programs at universities. The training of management serves several purposes, to change attitudes, to prepare executives to be good supervisors, to prepare young managers to become executives and to provide good leadership for the future of the organization.

There are several types of managerial training and development. “Job rotation means moving management trainees from department to department to broaden their understanding of all parts of the business” (Dessler). The advantage to moving a manager around is to diversify that person’s experience. As they move up in management those experiences will become more valuable as they are forced to make broad decisions that effect more than one division. The relationships formed while moving are also essential to a good managers ability to stay connected with the many employees in a company.

Action learning is giving managers time to work on large projects, projections and problems solving in order to sharpen their management skills (Dessler). This type of work is often solo and does not cost much for the company. The manager is, however, more likely to have the ability to solve complex problems for the company. The case study method is very similar to this. The manager is given a scenario and is asked to work it out (Dessler). This allows he or she to develop skills necessary in handling all situations that might occur as manager.

Management games are also a very important component of the management-training curriculum. “Trainees are divided into five or six person companies, each of which has to compete with others in a simulated marketplace” (Dessler). These companies are asked to set goals and their performance is monitored by the instructor. This type of training provides the trainee with team learning and the simulation of a real management experience.

The other two types of management training are outside seminars and university related programs (Dessler). Each offers benefits separate from the company on-the-job training. This type of training is more theory based and offers the trainee an opportunity to get educated on the latest ideas in management theory and application. The education benefits the company because managers are more confident in what they do and more importantly they are educated on what to do in scenarios that are presented in a technologically advanced workplace.

Many companies are finding that leadership training should be applied to more than just potential managers and executives. “Employees who are given the opportunity to develop leadership skills are more inclined to take responsibility and feel pride in their work. When they are empowered to make decisions and be accountable for their actions, potential leaders take ownership in the success of the company, and often become superior performers” (Gale). Unisys Corporation is a large multinational group based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Their management has begun a new program that will train 1,500 employees throughout the organization in areas of leadership. The hope is that this training will foster employee spirit and loyalty and will increase productivity because of it (Gale).

Multinational companies are also identifying new training needs. They claim that there are new lessons to be learned to fit a 1st century workplace. Employees should be, “learning to work in a multinational business organization, meeting cross-cultural needs, managing career paths within group management resource, and understanding the environment in a rapidly changing world” (Jones). Jones is referring to British Petroleum’s (BP) commitment to training employees for the best profit of the organization. To meet these new demands, BP has begun training in several areas. They train the employees for their job related functions and then prepare senior management for supervision of work. They believe that job specific training seeks to create a fit for each employee. No doubt that this multinational company is doing a good job as it relies on group training, simulation training, seminars and on-the-job training to prepare its employees for business.

With all the job-related training that’s going on, sometimes employers forget that they should also train employees on issues such as cultural appreciation, diversity awareness and domestic matters. One such company makes its money by assisting other companies in implementing these programs. LanguaTutor says that “relocation and cultural training are the biggest areas of growth” for multinational companies (Strong). “By becoming multiculturally aware, you become a better employer…and you are promoting harmony in the workplace” (Strong). This theory has been adopted by countless industries. In particular, the auto and agriculture industries make this a part of their employee training curriculum.

If training programs are so expensive, why then do companies continue to spend billions of dollars to make their employees the best? The need for training is often “correlated with the mix of learning programs with desired outcomes, such as employee, retention, personal development and business growth” (Walker). It has also been proven that a strong training program reduces absenteeism, improves employee relations, improves productivity and overall increases employee longevity at the company.

As it has been discussed there are many ways in which companies can educate, train and develop their employees. There is no clear one way in which a company must train. In fact, it is best for each company to design a curriculum that works best for them. What then is the next wave in human resources management in the area of training? As each nation becomes more interdependent, multinational organizations will be forced to incorporate more cultural awareness components in their training. Companies will also see that assisting employees in areas of domestic violence understanding and diversity acceptance will produce a more peaceful and productive workplace. Therefore, it will be necessary for management to go beyond the traditional job-related training. “HR professionals must extend their value beyond traditional practices by helping senior management create and maintain a shared mission and culture, both of which are absolutely essential to the ultimate success of a global business strategy” (Wellins)


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Friday, April 15, 2011

Spanish History

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Medieval Spain is a complex but fascinating period to research, with various cultural influences from the Visigoth Kingdom in the 5th century AD to the Arab invasions in 1711, to the final episode of the Reconquest, with the fall of Granada in 1714. I decided to put the Golden Age in the fifteenth century aside, and to concentrate on the Middle Ages in Spain before the arrival on the scene of Ferdinand and Isabella. The research on the web was quite disappointing there were not many websites on the subject, and the ones I found were not very exciting. Most of them only provided scant information, did not expand on the subject and were not very interactive.

The history of medieval Spain can be very confusing and the best way to start is by establishing a chronology, located in sites on the general history of Spain. The best one is to be found at http//www.sispain.org/SiSpain/english/history/, a site on Spain, its current affairs, linguistics, geography, etc, with several pages on Spanish history. These are divided into chronologies, from the first human settlements, to the current parliamentary monarchy. Medieval Spain is broken up into 4 pages the Visigothic Kingdom, Muslim Spain, the Reconquest and the Catholic Monarchs. The site offers some good basic information in a clear and simple way. Two other websites offer a diverse approach to the history of Spain. http//americanhistory.si.edu/csr/nnc/spain/Spain.htm views Spanish history through its coinage. It is quite interesting and a good starting point, although it does not have much on medieval Spain and it is very short. http//www.uncg.edu/rom/courses/klrauch/civ/art.htm portrays Spanish history through its artists, from the gothic period to the contemporary age. It provides illustrations and commentaries on the artists works, as well as their biographies. This website provides a good alternative way to get to know the history of Spain, and offers a link to another similar website, http//www.kfki.hu/~arthp/tours/spain/index.html, well worth visiting.

On Medieval Spain in particular, one can find interesting texts from the Medieval Source Book such as the Egyptian historian Ibn Abd-el-Hakems account on the Islamic conquest of Spain (http//www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/conqspain.html). The Medieval Source Book also contains extensive bibliographies. Another academic website is that of the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain http//www.uca.edu/aarhms. It contains newsletters, archives, which include copies and commentaries of charters, and a library of Iberian Resources Online. It is a very useful, rich and well designed website for those enormously interested in the subject. There is not much on the Visigoth Kingdom in Spain. The Columbia Encyclopaedia Online gives a good summary of it (http//www.bartleby.com/65/vi/Visigoth.html), but I did not find any other websites worth looking at. Most of the websites concentrate on Visigoth names, or costumes, and it is difficult to avoid re-enactors or role games sites.

On Moorish Spain, there is more material to explore. http//srproj.lib.calpoly.edu/projects/engl/Zapata_Liziel_L/index.htm is the main one, referred to by many other websites. It encloses the main dates on the Arabs in Spain, and pages on the culture of Moorish Spain, mainly on the music and on the architecture. The main attraction of the site is pictures of artefacts from various museums across the world, and maps. An alternative, less European point of view on Muslim Spain and it signification in European culture is to be found at http//www.xmission.com/~dderhak/index/moors.htm. http//www.baroquespain.com/mulus.php is one of the most interesting website, unfortunately in Spanish, although some of its pages are actually in English. However, the Spanish used is very simple, and could be an incentive for those who are learning the language. One of its pages, Espana Musulmana is quite attractive, divided by subjects (history, geography, literature, art, economics, etc) and containing a lot of pictures and images. For each subject there is a short text in Spanish along with pictures, and then sources relating to other web pages, either in Spanish or in English (see for example the page on music). Sites on the technological, literary and philosophical achievements of Muslim Spain are numerous, and almost all linked to the history of Islam in general. As always when the subject touches on religion, it is difficult to find objective websites. http//www.muslimphilosophy.com/main.htm gives very good biographies with numerous links on Moorish philosophers, such as Averroes.

If you want to know more about specific people in Medieval Spain, there are not many websites. Even El Cid does not seem to be that popular, and a search with his name will get you more restaurants and hotels than anything on the conqueror of the Kingdom of Valencia against the Moors in the eleventh century. One of the few sites is http//www.legends.dm.net/paladins/cid.html, which contains links to texts, as for example the wonderful play Le Cid by the French playwright Corneille. The most complete biography on El Cid is to be found at http//lilt.ilstu.edu/bekurtz/elcid.htm.



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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Anabolic Steroids

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Anabolic Steroids

Since the 1950s athletes have been using many different assortments and variations of anabolic steroids in order to increase their muscle mass and athletic performance. Yet, only recently over the last ten to twenty years has the general public also began to indulge in anabolic steroid use. The main sect of the population that has allowed anabolic steroids to become so widespread over the years has been athletes at all levels of competition. From paid professional athletes to high school and junior high school performers, anabolic steroids has become a recent epidemic in all facets of athletics. The only way to prevent anabolic steroid use from growing is by defining what an anabolic steroid is, by discussing reasons for potential use, through teaching others about the physical and physiological effects of anabolic steroids, and some recent programs to prevent steroid use.

The origin of anabolic steroids comes from the male sex hormone taken in order to increase growth and weight gain. They work by increasing the metabolic process during protein synthesis. The world was first introduced to this sex hormone during the late 1950s where most steroids were used to treat hypogonadism, which is a condition when a male does not produce sufficient testosterone for normal growth, development, and sexual functioning. Also during the 1960s it was discovered that anabolic steroids increased the skeletal growth of laboratory animals, which subsequently led anabolic steroids to be used by body builders and weightlifters. The use of anabolic steroids in these athletic fields were soon banned from the sports because habitual use of the drug often affected the outcome of these contests. This is why today most steroids are illegal and the only way to acquire them is through illegal smuggling of the product. Besides true anabolic steroids there are steroid supplements that can be used as alternatives to this illegal drug. Some examples of steroid supplements that can be purchased legally are aredehydroepian-drosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione (Andro). These types of steroid supplements along with other true illegal anabolic steroids can be taken orally, injected into the muscle, or rubbed on the skin in the form of gels and creams. Most anabolic steroids are used in a pattern called cycling where an athlete takes multiple doses of the steroids rotating being on and off the drug over a certain period of time. Also many anabolic steroid users often combine different types of steroids in a process called stacking where users believe that by taking an assortment of steroids that they will produce a greater muscle development then taking the steroids individually. Finally, another way of taking steroids is through a method called pyramiding where users slowly increase steroid use until they reach a certain point where they then slowly decrease steroid use until they are completely off the drug. No matter how or what type of steroid or steroid supplement a person decides to use there are reasons for every athletes or ordinary persons rational to indulge in and become a statistic of the soaring increase in anabolic steroid use.

Surprising it is not only football players or weightlifters that are users of anabolic steroids but steroid users range from every possible spectrum. White and blue collar workers and females are also common anabolic steroid users, but recently anabolic steroids have become popular among adolescents who feel steroids will help them look, feel, and perform better in every facet of their young lives. Recent surveys have shown that 4.8% of 8th graders, 2.5% of 10th graders, and 2.5 % of 1th graders (Drug Facts) have reported using steroids at one point in their lives. Also among 1- year olds surveyed in 2000, 18.5 % reported having a friend who was a current user of anabolic steroids. In each category, anabolic steroid use is up considerably since the previous year for high school students and young adults. These statistics make it obvious that anabolic steroid use has increased each year and has become more common for high school students and athletes. The main reason for their use in many adolescents is that it is believed anabolic steroid use will help improve their athletic performance. Yet, no anabolic steroid legal or illegally improves an athletes agility, skill, or cardiovascular capacity. The only way an anabolic steroid can improve athletic ability is through increased muscle mass and strength. For this reason, anabolic steroid use typically depends on the type of sport with weightlifters and football players being the most predominant users. The reason weightlifters, football players, and many athletes in general turn to steroids is because of the must win personality of many competitive athletes. Often athletes are caught up in winning and lose sight of what really counts and that is to enjoy themselves and have fun as a team. Yet there is always one athlete who is truly dedicated and yearns to go as far as possible in his sport and win a championship. Sometimes athletes will take an “at any cost” approach in which they are willing to do anything for the betterment of their team and their own personal success. This type of give it everything you have approach is diagnosted by doctors as a compulsive personality where success and winning means everything. This winning attitude is often a great attribute but when it is not handled sensibly athletes may turn to steroids to help give them an advantage over their competitors. This need to win and drive to be the best has caused some athletes to risk any danger just to get the winning edge. This compulsives to be the best even forces some athletes to increase their steroid consumption, subsequently increasing the effects of steroid use. People who have this type of win at any cost attitude feel that if they lose than they failed as human beings. Another intention for people to turn to steroids besides athletic reasons is that some people have a distorted perspective of their bodies often become anabolic steroid users. This group of people who feel this way are often described as having muscle dysmorphia which means that some men feel that they are small and weak and some women feel they are fat and flabby. This sect of people who suffer from muscle dysmorphia often become anabolic steroid users because they have distorted their own physical image of their body. Another reason for anabolic steroid use besides for athletic or mental reasons is for those who have experience forms of physical and sexual abuse. People who fall into this category often feel that they need to increase their muscle mass in order to protect themselves and discourage further attacks because they believe men would find them either intimidating or unattractive and free them from abuse. Because of the recent increase in anabolic steroid abuse in all age groups and that users can be pinpointed as athletes, muscle dysmorphia patients, or trying to prevent physical abuse; the only way to help slow down the growing rate of steroid abuse is through teaching others the possible effects of steroids.

When anabolic steroids are taken in prescribed doses it is because a male adolescent does not produce sufficient testosterone, even in this prescribed case an adolescent can still be develop numerous side effects from the steroids. Therefore, if a person is taking non-prescribed anabolic steroids the risk for danger and detrimental health problems only becomes more prevalent. Dr. Walder who is a Medicine professor and part of the effort to educate the public about the dangers of anabolic steroids says, “There can be a whole panoply of side effects, even with prescribed doses. Some are visible to the naked eye and some are internal. Some are physical, others are psychological. With unsupervised steroid use, wanton ‘megadosing’ or stacking, the effects can be irreversible or undetected until it’s too late.” Additionally Dr. Walder also complies, “unlike almost all other drugs, all steroid based hormones have on unique characteristic their dangers may not manifest for months, years, and even decades. Therefore, long after you gave them up you may develop side effects.” Because of the wide range and long time frame in which anabolic steroids may develop, they have been related to an extensive list of possible side effects from physically unattractive to life threatening consequences. Most consequences can be reversed if the user halts taking anabolic steroids yet often there are some permanent side effects. Some of the areas that are affected by anabolic steroid use are the hormonal system, musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, liver, skin, and misuse can also lead to psychiatric effects. Anabolic steroid affects the hormonal system by disrupting the normal production of hormones in the body. Some of these problems that result from anabolic steroid use on the hormonal system can be very serious and often irreversible. Some of the irreversible effects on males are that anabolic steroids will cause baldness and breast development. Males also experience some temporary side effects of reduced sperm production and shrinking of the testicles. Often these effects can be reversed if the user discontinues anabolic steroid use. In males the effects of anabolic steroids seem minor, while in females the effects of anabolic steroids are much more serious because they often cause masculinization. This means that females experience a decrease in breast size and body fat. Also the skin becomes coarse, the clitoris enlarges, the voice deepens and women experience growth of body hair but seemingly lose hair on their scalp. Anabolic steroids also effect the musculoskeletal system because anabolic steroids cause rising hormones which causes growth spurts. When these hormones reach certain levels it causes the bones to stop growing and locks a person in their maximum height. This especially effects adolescents because anabolic steroids will cause the bones of a person to stop growing sooner than they normally would and thus effecting the musculoskeletal system by inhibiting growth. Dr. Wadler confirms, “Once these growth plates are closed, they cannot reopen so adolescents that take too many steroids may end up shorter than they should have been.” Besides effecting the musculoskeletal system and the hormonal system, anabolic steroids also lead to many serious consequences by effecting the cardiovascular system. Steroids effect the cardiovascular system by changing the amount of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood causing heart attacks and strokes. Steroids are able to cause these serious conditions because anabolic steroids can lead to atherosclerosis, which causes fatty substances to deposit inside a user’s arteries and disrupt blood flow. If blood is prevented from reaching the heart the result can be a heart attack, while if blood is prevented from reaching the brain the result can be a stroke. All of these vary serious conditions affect the cardiovascular system because anabolic steroids increase the risk of blood clots and eventually can lead to death through a heart attack or a stroke. Besides causing serious harm to the cardiovascular, hormonal, and musculoskeletal systems, anabolic steroids can also cause detrimental damage to a user’s skin and liver. Steroid use can cause the skin to become oily leading to acne and cysts all over a user’s body. Anabolic steroids can also cause liver tumors and a condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts take harbor in a user’s liver. The tumors and cysts can often rupture causing internal bleeding which can lead to a whole new wave of problems. Because anabolic steroids may be used through nonsterile injection techniques abusers can acquire life-threatening illnesses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C.

Anabolic steroids also have many unfortunate effects on behavior often causing increased levels of irritability and aggression, therefore an excessive steroid user can be in a very unstable state of mind. Dr. Walder confirms that, “They can go from bouts of depression or extreme irritability to feelings of invincibility and outright aggression, commonly called roid rage. This is a dangerous state beyond mere assertiveness.” Some users report that they have engaged in physical fighting, armed robbery, or use force to obtain something when they take steroids rather than when they are drug-free. Researchers have also suggested that steroid users may commit aggressive acts and property crimes not because of the effects of steroids but because users have been affected by the media to believe steroids are linked to aggression. Because of this users often use this excuse to commit aggressive acts and property crimes. Besides aggression related crimes, anabolic steroids are also found to cause other behavioral effects including euphoria, increased energy, sexual arousal, mood swings, distractibility, forgetfulness, and confusion. Because of all these negative social problems that relate to anabolic steroid use many researches believe that in some cases steroid use can become addictive. Addictive behavior is shown through people continuing to take steroids in spite of the numerous physical problems, the negative effects in relationships, and irritability. Also, people spend large sums of time and money in order to obtain anabolic steroids. Furthermore, many users experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, when they discontinue anabolic steroid use. One deciding factor that leads researches to believe that steroids are indeed addictive is that users often experience depression because it sometimes leads to suicide attempts. Dr. Walder observes that, “Addiction is an extreme of dependency, which maybe psychological, if not physical, phenomena. Regardless, there is no question that when regular steroid users stop taking the drug they get withdrawal pains and they start up again the pain goes away. They have difficulties stopping use even though they know it’s bad for them.” Because of the adverse effects of anabolic steroids on a user’s body and behavior there has been a continual effort to educate students and athletes about preventing steroid use before it becomes a problem. Recently the NIDA funded a drug abuse prevention program in order to show high school athletes that they do not need to take anabolic steroids to build powerful muscles and improve athletic performance.

Today this program has become the ATLAS (The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) program with its sole purpose to prevent student-athletes from using anabolic steroids in high school sports. “ATLAS uses a team-oriented educational approach that motivates and empowers student athletes to make the right choices about Licari steroid use,” says Dr. Linn Goldberg, who led the research team that developed and tested this special program. The program gives student athletes knowledge and skills to resist steroid use yet still allows them to achieve their athletic goals in healthier and more effective ways. One main component of the program is time spent in the classroom where students begin learning about anabolic steroids. The classroom sessions are conducted by football coaches and student leaders who discuss the effects of steroids, the elements of sports nutrition, and strength training alternatives. For the most part the sessions are run by their piers who conduct and run the discussions themselves. According to Dr. Goldberg, “It’s kids talking to kids; that’s an important ingredient in our program.” Another component of ATLAS is its weight training aspect where professional trainers are able to teach athletes the proper weight training techniques. This helps students to build the strength and agility they desire and to achieve their athletic goals without the intervention of steroids. The final aspect of the ATLAS program is the parent information component where parents participate in an information and discussion about preventing steroid use in their household. The ATLAS staff provides the parents with a sports nutrition guide and helps them to reinforce the non-steroid approach at home and encourage the parents to provide healthier meals. Besides providing information on the dangers of steroids, ATLAS helps broaden the student’s knowledge of proper nutrition and exercise habits. “The program’s positive effects flow from changing the student athletes’ attitudes and perceptions about steroids and then changing their nutrition and exercise behaviors,” says Dr. Goldberg. A series of studies has shown that team-centered approach reduces adolescents from using steroids in high school sports by 50 percent (drug facts). Not only are anabolic steroids physical detrimental but also physiologically because of all the negative behaviors that result. Yet overall society has become aware of the steroid problem that has struck the world and is now effortlessly trying to educate and end the anabolic steroid epidemic.

Today there are more than one hundred different types of anabolic steroids that have been developed and every single steroid is illegal unless prescribed by a doctor. This should be every potential users first inclination of the harmful nature of anabolic steroids because of the sheer number of steroids that are illegal in the United States. Yet, these drugs are available legally only by prescription in order to treat conditions that occur because the body produces low amounts of testosterone, such as delayed puberty. Today, anabolic steroids are not primarily used to treat patients but rather are used to enhance performance and also to improve physical appearance. Whether they are taken orally, injected or rubbed on the skin, anabolic steroids still yield numerous possible hazards and side effects that a user may never recover from. It may not seem logical to an ordinary person to use steroids because of the numerous side effects but often users feel pressured by society and often feel steroids are the only answer. Athletes feel that in order to win a championship or become the next high paid professional athlete that they need an edge and use steroids to become bigger, stronger, and faster than their competitors. Also, society makes people feel that every male must have bulging muscles and every female bust have a rock hard body and because of this pressure people become addictive to steroids by using them in excessive amounts for the sole purpose of being accepted. Overall a person must weigh the pros and cons of steroid use and realize that there are more important things than being the best-trained athlete or having the most toned body and that is a person’s health.



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