Saturday, March 31, 2012

Essay on Historical Films

Essay on Historical Films

All kinds of culture, including books, films, pictures, have always played a significant role in the conveyance of particular historical events and facts, in the forming of people’s outlook and perception of history. Therefore, the number of historical films is really great and nearly all of them aim to let people know more about certain epochs in history. What is the significance of historical films for the society? Is it a difficult process to shoot a historical film? What role do director and his crew play in the formation of people’s outlook on history? All these questions will be answered in this paper. While historians discuss the importance of films as historical artifacts, we see films as works of art, which were made due to great work of filmmakers and which bear particular, sometimes hidden, message. The message helps us to see history from another point of view and very often to discover the truth about certain historical events.

The guarantee of success of any film is a skillfully written script, a gifted director and talented cast. The guarantee of success of a historical film is the same components plus the truthfulness and historical accuracy. It is necessary to mention that it is even more difficult and responsible to shoot a film about political events, as very often many things cannot be said openly and then the authors of the film resort to symbols, metaphors, which bear hidden meaning. Thus, by the example of the films “Man of Marble” and “Man of Iron” we see all these means in practice.

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Andrzej Wajda’s films are bright examples of finely made movies, which depict a certain period in history of Poland, to be more precise the formation of Solidarity movement in the conditions of rigid Soviet regime, reigning at that time in Poland. The films embrace a large period in Polish history from 1960s to 1980s.

In order to better understand the crucial role of these films for Polish history it is necessary to outline the political situation in Poland of those times. Soviet regime, which thrived in the USSR from 1920s, came to Poland after World War II and set strict rules. The USSR was the center of Soviet regime and Poland absolutely depended on it. Polish government reported to the Soviet government. Therefore, Solidarity movement became a significant event in Polish history, as it was a manifestation of people’s protest against the existing regime. Solidarity movement united almost a third of population in Poland and became a powerful force, confronting the political government. In fact, this movement was a logical consequence of political oppression of the working class in Poland.

While the official ideology of Polish government was the glorification of the working class and ensuring good living conditions for them, in reality workers were oppressed much. They were instruments in the hands of government. Both Polish and Soviet Union government implanted a false idea of building a socialist state in people; being guided by that idea, they did everything for their countries. When they began to realize the unreality of the situation, they began to revolt and organized the Solidarity movement.

Andrzej Wajda’s films show all the controversies and conflicts in relations between the population and the government in Poland and between Poland and the Soviet Union at those times. “Man of Iron” is a sequel to “Man of Marble” and both these films tell us about the real situation in Poland and arouse many important questions, particularly about the role of the Soviet Union in political and economic life of Poland and many other countries in Eastern Europe, about the role of the Communist Party in the society, etc.

Taking into account the gravity of the political situation in Poland under communist regime, we may understand how difficult and how important it was to shoot these movies. The difficulty is quite clear in the context of total control over people. Certainly, when these films were released, they were banned. Judging by the reaction of the government, we may say, even before watching them, that “Man of Marble” and “Man of Iron” revealed the truth about the regime and the director said many undesirable things to people.

Andrzej Wajda uses a lot of symbols in the film in order to convey the atmosphere of that time. The characters of the film unite in themselves millions of people all over the country. They symbolize certain types of people, living in those times. All the characters have prototypes, which makes the film absolutely true. Watching “Man of Marble” and “Man of Iron”, people recognize themselves in the characters.

In the first film, “Man of Marble” we see Birkut, a bricklayer, and understand that he is that very Polish worker, who is the support of the state as he sincerely believes the government and works for the common good. His principles and views are mostly formed by the Communist Party. Due to the situations, in which he finds himself during the film, we see the discrepancy between his honesty and the falseness of the government, which does everything in its power to keep the image of Poland as a socialist country.

The opposite image of Witek is deliberately used by Wajda in order to show two types of people. In the context of political struggle we watch the development of two destinies of two characters who chose different ways out of the problem. Witek and Birkut started their career together; however, when their life changed and they were treated as spies, their ways parted. Again we see the skillfulness of the director, who manages to show the rottenness of the Soviet system with the help of a small but expressive episode. During the Stakhanovite movement, widespread under the rule of the Communist Party, at a factory workers passed hot bricks one to another. Witek and Birkut were among them, but Witek was in gloves and did not feel the heat of the brick, while Birkut was without them and burnt his hands. This small incident was treated by the Polish government as a protest against the Stakhanovite movement and both Witek and Birkut were tried and sentenced as spies. By this example, the viewers make sure that the Soviet system capitalized on its workers and did not appreciate their labor and contribution to the economy of the country and their own authority. After such turnabout Birkut cannot get used to the fact that his principles and his faith to the government are ruined and now nobody needs him. Neither country nor his friends want to know him, as he is “a traitor”. Thus, he turns to drinking and further is killed during one of the demonstrations of Solidarity. So, we watch the destiny of the ideal worker, who is finally killed by those hands, for which he has always worked.

Witek is absolutely another type of person – when he sees that the government does not need him any more, he does everything in order not to be left out of the communist system. He is a timeserver, so he easily changes his principles and views according to the situation. Soon he gains a good job and is satisfied with his life.

In “Man of Marble” Wajda develops another subplot, concerning the difficulties, faced by Agnieszka, a young director, who tries to tell people the true story about Birkut’s life. All the difficulties and obstacles on her way convey the difficulties, which Wajda and his crew faced while shooting the movie.

The film “Man of Iron” is not as sharp as “Man of Marble”. Rather than criticizing the existing communist regime, the film describes the changes and disturbances in the society, in those times and returns us back to the times of Birkut. The viewers see his son, Maciek, who remembers how his father was shot; the brightest and the most characteristic episodes of those times. The director shows the instability of Solidarity movement despite its benefits, and the split of the country due to all these changes. This time the main character of the film is another person, Winkiel, who, however, has the same destiny as Birkut. He is also lost during these political discords. His views are betrayed but he cannot find himself in new Poland. He searches for truth but he cannot find it.

By the example of two great films “Man of Marble” and “Man of Iron”, we see the enormous work of the crew while shooting these films. Historical films play a significant role in the formation of people’s outlook and views. They have many functions in art and make a great contribution into the history. They make history closer to people and let them better understand it. Living in this or that epoch people do not always fully realize the situation and it is difficult for them to take a sober view of things. The creators of historical films help people to do it, while there may be cases when films are tinged with proper director’s point of view.

The main aim of any historical film and of the crew, working on it, is to send a particular message to people, to show the advantages and disadvantages of certain phenomena. In his films Wajda tried to open people’s eyes on the reality, to make them see the rottenness of the regime, reigning in Poland in the second half of the twentieth century.

Undoubtedly, making a film every director aims to depict important events in the history of a country and to preserve this depiction for future generations, for them to know the real facts of the history.

In order to achieve all these aims the director and his crew should carry out great work. Wajda together with his crew and cast managed to do it. In my opinion, the guarantee of success and truthfulness of his films is the historical accuracy, the veracity of characters, the play of actors and the symbolism of events and people. Andrzej Wajda took nearly all the events from real life; besides, the main characters of the film either had their prototypes in life or were general images of people, living in the society. Such symbols in films as the rail line, which connected Katowice and the Soviet Union and symbolized the dependence of Poland from the USSR, and the posters and statue of Birkut, which were hidden as a sign of quick change of national heroes.

To make a conclusion, historical films cannot be treated the same way as all other films because the play a particular role. They are a kind of intermediaries between people and history, which adds more responsibility to the directors of these films. However, only historically accurate films can play such role. The films “The Man of Marble” and “The Man of Iron”, which are bright examples of real historical films, prove that it is always necessary to take another look at the history not only of our days but of the past as well.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Drug Testing Essay

Workplace Drug Testing Essay

The humanity has now come to the point when drug abuse is a challenge to safety, health, and even life of the human beings. Most people stand for the privacy of life and freedom of choice. But the responsibilities we take while being a part of society (e.g. at work), are often more valuable than the all the fun of the private life. For sometimes a mistake of a pharmacist or a scientist may cost thousands of lives. I strongly believe that drug abuse is unacceptable and preventing measures in form of testing should be taken to prevent drug abuse among both private and public employees. There is no doubt people at different job categories have different levels of responsibility. Nevertheless, in my opinion, testing should be performed for both the job applicants and the employees in all job categories. Random testing is acceptable and even desirable. My reasons are: firstly, there is a strong need to eliminate drug usage among the population. Secondly, all employees, either a product designer, or a repairman, or even a CEO, have the responsibilities, and the quality of their work performance might be compromised with the drug abuse. Thirdly, a person taking drugs may not realize (or may not wish to accept) that he or she is addicted, and may need professional help before it’s too late. The latter is not a business interest but a question of humaneness and mutual aid and support.

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As a manager with responsibility for conducting a testing program, I would try to respond to any misconduct or any controversial case according to the corporate code of conduct. Certainly, there are cases when the need for strictness of judgment is questioned by additional circumstances, like friendship, good name, spotless work record, but the rules are the rules. I believe that everyone is equal when we deal with the matter of drug abuse.

If an employee who tests positive for marijuana on a Monday morning but has a spotless 10-year work record, I would still have to act according to the rules, even report to the management if needed, for if the deal is dismissed without further notice, the employee might think he or she will get away the second and the third time. I suppose there is not need to sit and wait till the user becomes the abuser.

If an airline pilot who refuses a random test, I believe he has certain reasons for that, but still, airline business is one of the most socially responsible businesses and the lives and destinies of many people depend on the safety and security of the flight. If the pilot rejects to prove his ability to aviate, he may not be allowed to the control column. We have the rules prohibiting drunk driving, why should we question the air safety then?

I do not find any principle difference between the cases of a job applicant who tests positive for cocaine use and an employee who tests positive for cocaine use. Both should get professional treatment, because cocaine is a highly addictive drug and results in physiological damage, lethargy, depression, etc.

Even if an employee comes to my office the night before an announced urinalysis and admits that he regularly uses a hallucinogenic drug off the job, or a productive worker who gives no outward sign of drug use but who is named as a drug abuser at work in an anonymous tip, there is still a great chance he or she would have to face the challenge of not meeting the corporate standards, even if the drugs are being consumed off the job. Addicted people may have lower concentration abilities and worse memory and reaction, due to drug abuse.

If an employee involved in a serious work accident refuses to take an immunoassay test based on her belief in the right to privacy, he or she will still have to pass the test or face the criminal investigation, especially if the health or safety of humans was threatened due to his or her misconduct.

I strongly support the recommendation of the union that management be given the same tests as workers. There is no difference between the employees in this case – the damage caused by the managers may be equal or even exceed the damage an average worker may cause – so why should there be any compromise?

Of course, some people would claim, there should be a difference in drug testing between a government office worker and a professional athlete, but in fact there shouldn’t. Some would say, there is a competition among the athletes and using drugs to achieve higher results is obviously a cheat. But of we treat the athletes and the government office workers as humans and society members, despite their occupation; it would become clear that there is no difference. Taking drugs is illegal; we live in a society that has voted for this rule and this law. Thus, everyone should obey the law.

Many people believe that the major league baseball agreement of 2005 has introduced tough penalties for drug use, including amphetamines. Indeed, in comparison to what was before. I believe, this agreement is still too lenient, especially if compared to the Minor League Baseball or the penalties enacted for Olympic athletes.

I realize a lot of people would stand for commutation or try to prove that a pilot taking drugs is more hazardous than the secretary doing the same thing. Others would claim people taking different drugs should be treated differently, but I see no difference. I have seen and heard so many stories of talented people who have wasted their lives due to drug abuse, no matter what they were – rock stars or office workers – they are humans, doing illegal things and often not able to help themselves. According to the American Psychiatric Association, drug abuse is illegal, nonmedical use of a limited number of substances, most of them drugs, which have properties of altering the mental state in ways that are considered by social norms and defined by statute to be inappropriate, undesirable, harmful, threatening, or, at minimum, culture-alien. It, thus, should be prevented and treated properly in all spheres of life, especially social life, and that is why we need proper workplace drug testing.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Research Paper on Mergers and Acquisitions

Research Paper on Mergers and Acquisitions

Modern businesses are determined to face the challenge of flexibility and ability to react promptly to the changes in the business environment. At the same time, numerous companies search for additional sources of generating income, often entering new markets and investing assets into other businesses. Within this framework, a lot of companies face mergers and acquisitions. The process itself is quite complex, and is even more complicated due to numerous differences between the companies that tend to be united.

When AssetOne decided to acquire TaurusBank, it has been looking for new opportunities in personal investment business. Choosing Taurus, AssetOne’s management staked on a smaller (and thus more flexible) business that had numerous professionals (even from other industries) that had brought new bright ideas into the businesses of online banking and personal investments. This approach was quite opposite to the trend AssetOne had in human resources management. And this has certainly caused some strains in the ranks of TaurusBank employees.

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Another problem that might have caused discomfort within the merging companies was the secrecy of the acquisition. The employees prefer to have a secure future and any changes within their workplace are desired to be known beforehand. Psychologically it is quite difficult to accept even minor changes, acquisitions are almost often treated as “hard times”, and, of course, the secrecy has caused negative effect in the acceptance of the deal among the employees.

When merging, it is very important to make sure employees know their job is secure, and they will not suffer. It is often better to emphasize nothing will change or that the changes will be minor, and will not worsen the course of business life. When the CEO of AssetOne proclaimed TaurusBank would become a “seamless extension of AssetOne”, he had certainly shocked the emloyees and brought panic into their minds.

Becoming a part of a bigger business often means fewer opportunities for career growth and development, no wonder within the first year one third of TaurusBank’s fund managers were lured away by competitors.

Thirdly, as private investment and online banking are the businesses subject to rapid change, AssetOne management should have considered leaving Taurus’ managerial style as it was, and not bringing “the value of detailed analysis and cautious decision making”. Sometimes, quick decision-making is critical for greater profits, and it is obvious TaurusBank’s specialists were good at that (otherwise, AssetOne wouldn’t have chosen it as a company to acquire). Bringing more bureaucracy and decision making at the top was harmful for the success of the business.

To avoid the corporate cultures clashes in future mergers and acquisitions, it would be useful for the AssetOne’s executives to carefully consider the correlation between the types of organizational management and the type of the businesses, and to choose the better ones appropriately. Moreover, it is clear that when some company is good at some business, its professionals should be given the maximum freedom possible. For example, TaurusBank might have been acquired but left to be as a separate unit, self-managed and working for gaining profit.

It is also extremely important to communicate the future changes beforehand. The employees should not be left with a feeling things are getting worse. The merger is most effective when it is almost imperceptible.

Another thing to emphasize is the value of specialists. In further acquisitions, AssetOne’s management should make sure the employees of the company acquired do not have the feeling the opportunity of growth and development is threatened. For financial stimulation is sometimes less efficient and valuable than the chance for self-realization and psychological safety.
Corporate culture is a very vulnerable aspect. It is being learned for years and it not easy to change. No wonder, AssetOne has faced confrontation from the employees of the TaurusBank – the corporate culture they had was changed without their accordance and participation. With further mergers and acquisitions, it might be beneficial for the AssetOne to leave the merged company’s culture and way of doing business “as is” for a certain time. If the changes are to take place, the employees of both companies should feel they are one team and they both should learn new rules of behavior and gain common experience in the corporate culture.
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Essay on Health Care Organization

Essay on Health Care Organization

1. Main types of managed care organizations: group practice without walls, independent practice association, management services organization, and physician practice management company.

The major types of managed care programs include: Independent Practice Association (IPA), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Point of Service (POS), and Managed Care in indemnity insurance plans.

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2. Advantages of Managed care organizations include: increased efficiency, improved standards, better understanding between cost and quality. Critics of such organizations emphasize on the fact that managed care that seeks for profit cannot be successful health policy, it increase the quantity of uninsured people, move away health care providers, and has substantial pressure on quality.

3. Aetna is the HBO that provides the wide range of health care services, insurances and related products. It is a member of Fortune 100. Aetna was founded in 1850. The company provides dental, health care, group life, pharmacy, employee and long-term care insurance, by means of benefit programs. Among company’s members are a lot of medical, dental, pharmacy members, health-care professionals, primary-care doctors and specialists.

4. Medicaid differs from other managed care organizations by the fact that it is the national program for families as well as individuals with low incomes or lack of resource, it is also funded both by state and federal government. This company is more social protection program then social insurance one.

5. PPO- Preferred Provider Organization, a MCO of hospitals, medical doctors, and other providers of health care who have agreed with an insurer to provide care at lower rates to its clients.
Gate keeper­- is referred to the primary care physician in accordance with their role, frequently used during Congressional Health Committee.
Primary care physician- is the doctor first examines the patient when it is unknown what his health problem is and then continues care depending on what he had diagnosed.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Research Paper on Colonial America

Research Paper on Colonial America

Servitude/Slavery during Colonial America
In determining whether a statement that servitude and slavery promoted democracy is true, it is important to take a look at Afro-American history. Although there are no evident records, first Afro-American people, who came to Southern States, are believed to have been “indentured servants” (McColley, 1988). However, there is no evidence of them not being slaves as well. It is known that Englishmen at those times had a different understanding of the word “servitude”. When Afro-Americans came to the Land of Opportunities, they were embarrassed by unexpected working conditions. Instead of working in gardens and orchards, they were forced to go to plantations. Such skills as weaving and carpentry were greatly valued (Galenson, 1981). Theoretically, black people sold their labor. In reality, however, servants were much like slaves, violently treated by their owners.

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What is the difference between servitude and slavery? Theoretically, the answer to this question is quite clear: servants were supposed to serve for several years and receive money for their work, while slaves were exploited throughout their lives. They used to work hard on rice, sugar or tobacco plantations, facing different dangers, including swamps and poisonous snakes (Balagh, 1895). The slave-owners’ ideology lies in the social relationships in the Southern States and severe criticism of capitalism in the Northern States. The supremacy of private property and exploitation was considered an essential part of any society. The main problem was to decide what form of exploitation was the most suitable. In order to compare capitalism with slavery, it is important to distinguish the differences between the life conditions of slaves and servants, and those of capitalists and plantation owners.

Many supporters of slavery claim that servants were much like slaves, living in worse conditions. Servants are believed to have had no stability in life, being under constant threat of job loss. For this reason, they had to accept even low-paid jobs. In case of illness or physical disability, they were left without any sources for livelihood. At the same time, slaves were guaranteed a lifetime protection of their owners.

Speaking about the contribution of slavery into the development of democracy, it is important to consider an economic factor. Slavery greatly improved economy of Southern States, and strengthened transatlantic commercial relations. Some researchers believe that only black slavery can guarantee democratic rights to the whole white population. The elimination of slavery would inevitably lead to disrespect of white people, and they would have to do the work of black slaves. According to some researchers, such a situation took place in the Northern States. On the other hand, the hard work of Southern slaves is believed to have increased the social status and self-esteem of the lower classes of white population. It formed an opinion that all of them represented a ruling class. Only owing slavery, political rights and freedoms could be expanded among the white population. According to this point of view, only a slave-owning society gave democracy a chance to survive. Such views have much in common with racism, proclaiming the superiority of white race (Pappas, 2006).

Nowadays the nature of slavery and servitude has changed. Despite the fact that in the USA all representatives of both races are now equal before the law, there are still a lot of conflicts, concerning racial differences. And the nature of slavery has actually turned into a more complicated problem. The expansion of slave-trade becomes a disaster of the twenty-first century and concerns not only black population, but white people as well. It suggests that the neither racial conflicts, nor slavery can be exterminated, but we should seek compromise.
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My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Your Majesties, Your Highness, Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
My legs cannot stand still when I am honoured by your decision to reward me with this prize. Although I understand that the prize must have a clear winner, I feel tonight as a representative of million other pairs of legs who are being rewarded as well tonight for their tremendous achievements.

The streets of Oslo, as well as its theatres and dancing schools, are merely a reflection of a world-wide phenomenon. We can now safely say that we have prevailed in our endeavour to bring our basic message of sound and movement into the heart of the consensus.

Across borders and time zones, regardless of race, religion or economic standards, people have found tap dancing to be a possible answer for nature of being. We succeed where many have failed before, not only because we believe in the right way, but more importantly because we use the right kind of shoes. This is our little secret; this is what makes this century to be the golden era of humanity.

But what stands behind it? Shoes, effective as they are to provide stability and marvellous tapping sound, are only shoes. But like a scalpel in the hand of a trained surgeon, our shoes allow us to penetrate all outer layers and touch the building blocks of human life.

Our ancestors walked barefoot on the face of the earth. Being occupied with survival, they quickly learned to be careful from bigger animals, whose footsteps could be heard from a distance. Many of these mammals were rather harmless or even prove themselves as friendly to mankind; think about the horse, the donkey and the elephant. Humanity learned to respect and cooperate with them. They inspired us to hope that someday man will learn how to make noises while moving.

And indeed, some of us have never lost that hope. Mankind have developed and reached prosperity. The shoe, perceived by laymen as merely isolation between the feet and the earth, has been adopted by early tap dancers to fulfil the ancient dream. And the rest is history.

In the early days of my lifetime tap dancing career I often felt as the sole carrier of the message. People have always enjoyed the dance; however, those who dedicated their lives to it, with whom I became acquainted throughout the years, protected the streets and the dancehalls from the invasion of popular trends over the years which tried to prevent us from understanding. From this stage I thank them for their support and hope that they will thank their shoes on behalf of all nations of the world.

I would also like to use this opportunity to encourage young scholars to take the lead of the future of tap dancing. There is so much more to do and so much more dances to compose, and it is the young generation’s duty to bring us all forward and to the sides, as long as they remain on a solid surface.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Research Paper on Garden Design

Research Paper on Garden Design

1. Introduction
This paper is dedicated to the development of garden design. In this research paper I will investigate into different garden designs of world countries, Asia and Italy, in particular, and explore how different factors like culture, ecology, history and population influence designs of the gardens in general.

2. Historical background of garden design development
Even though the plants already exist for a long time, the first evidences about ornamented plant and trees were found in the tomb paintings of Egypt, which dated back to the 1500 BC. There were lotus ponds shown that are surrounded by the palm and acacias rows. The other ancient garden design tradition comes from Persia, where Darius the Great is said to own paradise garden. Later Persia had the great influence upon the garden traditions of Greece. The most prominent ancient gardens are said to be that of Ptolemy. In the fourth century the gardening traditions moved to Asia, Japan and China. Garden design in Asia was significantly retransformed and received new features, in the form of little aristocratic landscapes surrounded by ponds. As to the emergence of early garden design in Europe, in the 13th century it was revived in France and during the Renaissance period in Italy. French pattern of gardening had the great influence upon the designs of gardens all over Europe. The new perspective upon this craft was opened only in the 18th century in England. In the middle of the 19th century flower gardens reached their peak of popularity.

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3. Four movements in garden design development
In general there can be name just four main movements that influenced the development of modern garden design. The first period is called Moorish gardens. The first known gardens were designed not for aesthetic beauty, but on the effects of irrigation on the very dry soil in Africa. The example of fertile soils was taken from the banks of rivers of Tigris and Euphrates, and it was evident that the cropland along those rivers was far more fertile. So, people understood that the water is the key element of rich soil and small oases became to appear as the idealization mean of agricultural land. Small oases were generally crossed with water channels and had a lot of trees that provided those places with shadows, which were a real miracle for the desert regions. Oases were commonly surrounded with high walls tat served as the protection from the outside high degrees. Such places were a real relief for those, who were passing across the desert. Then, such first gardens became very common upon the Moorish territories all over northern Africa. Spanish Moors started laid the foundation for the development of garden design, a new culture with the totally new environment. These gardens began to be reconstructed, updated and more structured and profound approaches were involved for their building. They were no longer just the mean of making the soil more fertile, they were also utilized for the purpose of temperature of garden and the building regulation. People were experimenting a lot with the basic elements of those gardens, which lead to the constant evolution of the Moorish garden style and increase in its overall effectiveness. The Moors with their design and approaches were at the higher level of garden design development then the rest of the world. Such gardening included vast knowledge in the spheres of horticulture as well as agriculture and through extensive researches and testing and the usage of experiences of past cultures, it grew and developed with high speeds. The Moors developed independent and free guidelines regarding the aesthetical views upon the design of the garden and its relation to the house. Culture’s favorite design was the hillside gardens, which were terraced, and were separated with white stucco walls. The influences of this culture are still evident in the garden and palace designs all over Western Europe. One of the brightest examples and Moorish gardening and architecture is the El Generalife in Grenada. It was originally built as the summer house for the king, and the structure was situated on the valley wall above the level of the city. The entrance immediately brings the visitor to the inner court, called the patio. In the center of the garden the long channel of water is situated, which leads to the main house. For the cooling purposes of the place, the channel was surrounded by high arcs of spouting water. There were two main buildings in the garden, and the ground floor of each was edges with ornate arches. The most spectacular feature of Generalife is the view down the patio from that open arcade of the ground floor. In the north, there was another water garden, called the Patio de los Cipreses. That yard had a lot of water jets and high buildings around. The main structure of the garden is surrounded with boxy hedges, which compliment the building and add more intensive color to the blank white walls. Many terraces still contain the original design of those times, but some rebuilt in later years.

So, the Islamic garden design began as the direct agriculture imitation and transformed to the study of temperatures and irrigation and overall plant growth. Gardens of the period were well-thought and relaxing, and remain impressive even nowadays. The next movement is called the Italian Renaissance. The emergence of new concepts and advancements in music, art, literature lead to the development of garden design as well. The heart of this new gardening movement was in Italy. During the correspondent period, the feudal system began to fall apart and rich families replaced feudal lords. Medici family in Florence was one of the most influential at that time. That family was erecting villas in the countryside of Florence. It is important to mention that the word ‘villa’ in Italian means not only the house, but also ell developed surrounding area. Therefore, in Italy, the grounds round the house and the level of their design had the same importance and influence as the house itself. There were no separate definitions or entities; it was the one to be evaluated. And therefore, it became the new trend in garden design called the formal combination of the outdoor and indoor to make the integral space. Returning back to Medici family’s property, Villa Medici at Fiesole deserves special attention, for the garden that seems the undividable part of the surrounding area. But still the best example of Italian garden design remains Villa Lante that is situated 50 miles from Rome. The villa was built in the sixteenth century by several people. The place is laid out in the almost flawless bilateral symmetry. There is a central axis and everything from on side finds the mirror reflection on the other. There are four terraces, which step back into the hill long the axis line. Terraced gardens are separated from one another, but still the movement from one to another is very smooth. There is a Lower garden that is arranged on a grid of squares with the fountain and the pool of four pieces. Gardens have box-like hedges and pathways of reddish gravel. There are almost no flowers in the Lower garden, instead, to make it more colorful, blue pools and color gravel was used. There are twin casini in the back corner of the lower garden. The second level is between the ground slopes and those buildings. The Fountain of Light, which is formed by concentric circles, is the most noticeable at this level and leads to the third level. In the center of the third level the large stone table can be found, which leads to the Fountain of the Giants. There are pools covered with moss and amidst them there are two stone men with two staircases (men’s backrests), which lead to the last forth level. On the lat level the Fountain of Dolphins is situated. It is an octagonal fountain with many layers, its pours into the central axis channel and nourishes the upper level of the Fountain of Giants. The whole villa can be observed from the standpoint of the geometrical experiment and is evidently the most prominent example of garden design of Italy of the period.

As the outstanding features of the Italian gardening style can be named: geometrically shaped beds, fountains, a lot of sculpture and the contrast of sun and shade.

The next movement is said to be Modernistic one. It refers to the spread of the Italian Renaissance to England and France. The concept of this movement had romantic origins and made an emphasis upon the natural beauty of the garden, and not its modern design. Nature at that time was percepted as the ultimate perfection that should be emulated as much s possible. The basic idea of the garden design during that period was that the garden should look like the man never touched it at all. But still it should have been not the nature itself, but the representation of it. Among outstanding designers of the period can be named Lancelot Brown and Frederick Law Olmsted. Lancelot Brown’s most outstanding work is the garden of Blenheim Palace, to which he was hired to improve the existing garden’s view and to make it more natural. To reach the set goal, the first thing that was done is the rise of the water level in the two lakes to make just one. The water rise was not only done for the purpose of lakes unification, but also for the complimenting of the stone bridge. To make an accent upon the old stone structure, the shoreline near the bridge was molded. Many spaces were redone to obtain meadows and rolling hills. This palace remains the bright example of the English Romantic Movement and reflects the essence of Modernism with its curving shorelines and irregular planning patterns. There is an impression for the visitors that landscape they observe is wild one.

Speaking about works of Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park in New York, being one of the most famous parks in the world, remains his best masterpiece. Central park is the real natural oasis in the middle of the industrial city and high buildings. It seems that the existence of the park in the center of New York is impossible, but it still it exists. It emulates nature despite the place, where it is situated. There are a lot of winding paths, dense forestland and irregular curving lake shoreline. It is obviously the romantic landscape and there is a drastic contrast from the mad busy city and the soft and attracting green nature.

And finally the last influential movement is connected with Asian garden traditions design. In Japan the natural approach for garden design is very significant form the standpoint of the religion. The main religion of Japan called Shinto goes around key elements of the Universe. The deep respect is shown to the sky, the sun, the earth and the animals. The idea of this movement is the combination of everyday life and landscape with the religion. Intellectual enlightenment is proposed through the contemplation of the surrounding nature. Garden became the thing to adore, respect and worship. It became the part of the everyday experiences. It represents the connection between the man and the nature. There are three main categories of Japanese gardens- the Tea Garden, the Flat Garden, and the Artificial-Hill Garden. The Artificial-Hill Garden, called Tsukiyama, usually consists of hills that serve as the representation of mountains, and they are usually places in the background of the place. Those hills form the stage for water in form of streams and ponds in the foreground. Rocky island surface in the ponds are often planted with weathered pine and grasses. Turtle and crane are represented there as the symbols of long life and luck. The pond’s shoreline is formed involving small plantings and rock arrangements. In general the garden is planted with evergreen plants that symbolize vitality and life even in winter. Symbolism is very important to the Asian garden design traditions, but I will discuss them later in the separate paragraph more detailed. Waterfalls with tall stones are traditionally placed in the left side of the garden. There are also winding paths for visitors to enjoy picturesque views. The Artificial-Hill Garden, Tsykiyama, has obviously the most scenic and romantic garden design.

The Flat Garden, called Hira-niwa, is the garden with no water and no hills. But still particular means are chosen to symbolize elements of water and ground. This type of landscape is often called Dry Landscape, or Kare-sansui. There are a lot of rocks in such garden, which are carefully placed in the gravel and grass. Flat Garden is walled from all sides and form all other types of garden design is the most harmonious one and is greatly appreciated for its tranquil atmosphere and religious significance of details. And finally the last important Japanese style is Cha-niwa or the Tea Garden. It is the most ceremonial type of garden and it took its name from the historical placement near the teahouse, where tea ceremonies were held. The Tea Garden is usually divided into two parts - the outer and the inner garden. The outer garden, called roji, consisted of the entrance to the garden and actually served as the transition point between the out-of-garden space and the inner garden. It served as the mean of breaking connections with the rest entire world. Outer garden has the narrow shape with the path and amazing natural views upon plantings. It is a kind of preparation to the inner garden and the mean to forget all troubles. And finally the inner Tea garden contains the small place, where everything is small and miniature.

It is essential to remember the difference between Japan and China garden design. Even though both garden tradition are supposed to evoke the natural landscape of rivers, lakes and mountains, Chinese gardens are intended to be view as the part of people’s everyday life, while Japanese gardens, mainly, are viewed from the house, like diorama. Other insignificant differences include that in Japan the climate is wetter then in China, and therefore Chinese gardens include more ponds and lakes. Chinese gardening traditions also prefer to treat plants in their naturalistic ways, while in Japanese tradition plants are usually sheared into the shapes of mountains. And the tip regarding stone placement- stone elements in Japanese garden can be places as the part of the landscape, while in China, one stone can be placed upon the pedestal for everyone to appreciate it.

4. Japanese Garden
So, returning back to the Japanese garden design, that is one of the most inspiring to me, I would like to pay more attention to garden style details. As I have already mentioned, Japanese garden involves the combination of such natural elements, as water, stone and plants, aiming to create tranquility, purity, reverence and harmony. Pond tradition in the Japanese garden design is very old and dates back to about 1000 years ago, when noble people used to build their palaces and surround them with water corridors. The pond, called kokoro, is said to be the soul or the heart of the whole garden. Water is generally viewed as the blood, and the pond, being the heart, distributes and nourishes the garden, as the body, with it. Tortoise islands are very popular in Japanese garden design, as Japan is the island itself. Tortoise islands symbolized immortality in ancient myths, where immortal people lived. Waterfalls are also called veins and arteries of the pond. They can be of two types. The first one is like water cascades like on Mount Fuji. In the second type of waterfall, the water flows gently and quietly like waterfalls in Kyoto. Stones are placed in the water to direct the water, as well as to provide the stream with more natural look. The special attention is paid to the plant and the planting method. The planting method is called “conceal and reveal” and goes about careful plants placing so that they hang over the water edge and slightly hide it. The overall picture of the garden in this case appears to be deeper. It enlightens and revives visitors’ real spirit. Such evergreen plants, as Japanese black pine and Hinoki cypress, are often used. But their texture is rather harsh, and for the balance, flowering and fragrant plants (aucubas, azaleas, camellias, etc.), which add softness, color and beauty, are installed in the picture.

Even though I mention stones in the last line, I must say that each garden design should start with their installation. The important task of the designer is to pick right stones and place them properly. There are several particular Japanese tips for placing stones. They include: stones should be placed in odd-number arrangements (groupings of three, five or seven); there should be the definite place for each stone so that chi energy flow smoothly. Stones can also be used as walls and edges or serve as the indication of the pathway. Japanese legends claim that each stone is an actual being with its own spirit; therefore they should be treated carefully and with respect.

5. Chinese gardening traditions.
Speaking about Chinese gardening tradition, there are two key elements that deserve particular attention: feng shui and the art of bonsai. Feng shui is the ancient art of placing things and it literally means “the wind and the water”. According to this ancient art, the energy flow through the garden and home can influence the well-being of their owner. Feng shui specialists claim that all spheres of people’s everyday life, including success, fame, finances, and health, can be easily manipulated and desired results achieved by means of balance garden design and proper placement of furniture and stuff in the house. The key goal of practicing this art is achieving harmony through proper use of the life force, called chi energy. In the garden, according to this Chinese tradition, to use the chi energy correctly, there should be present three basic elements- mountains, greenery and water. There are also many useful tricks and tips in case when the person is not able to have the pond in the garden or mountains in the backyard. There can be created the sense of elevations imitating mountains. Balance is the key principle of feng shui, and therefore all three elements should be places in the strict sequence and be close to one another. According to this tradition, having the flat garden is not very good for chi energy as there should be different layers and levels so that chi energy could flow easily for the well-being of garden’s owner. Pathways in the garden should not be straight, but circular or meandering, as straight paths, especially directed to the house, create fast moving chi, which will bring discomfort to the owners. Another interesting thing about feng shui and the garden design, is that it is believed that particular place or area in the garden correspond to the definite part of person’s life. For example, when the person enters the garden, the far left corner is the representation of wealth. Therefore, to be wealthy, the person should plant bright flowers, for instance, in the area, as everything bright and light attracts chi energy. Fame and reputation are represented by the center of the garden. In order to attract them, archway can be rather helpful. The far right corner of the garden represents love, marriage and happy family life and this area can be enhanced with white, red and pink flowers- they attract love chi energy.

As to the bonsai art, it cannot be called in the fullest extent the garden design, it is more the tree design, but yet it is undividable part of the garden. Even though Japanese bonsai trees are very popular at the present moment, originally this kind of art was started about thousand years ago in China. In order to practice this art, the person should start with the simple pot to grow the tree. Roots of the tree should be trimmed, tree anchored into the pot with wire help and soil added. And from this very point the true design begins. The person should decide the future shape of the tree and where he or she wants it to grow. Trimming should be done at least once a year. If the tree grows very big and the person doesn’t want to replant it, roots can be cut again. What is important about this art is that any tree can be cut into the bonsai. Big trees go through all staged of annual transformation –they can flower or loose their leaves. In general bonsai art demands a lot of care and daily interaction, so if the person is going to neglect it, it is better not to plant it at all. Bonsai is a real decoration of each garden, and adds the spirit of magic to it.

6. Conclusion
In the conclusion I would like to summarize all key points of my research that was interesting not only from the standpoint of acquired knowledge about garden design, but also laid the foundation for me and my future inspiration in gardening. When finding out things about how garden design was developing, I received the primary source for my knowledge. Hope, I will be able to see as many gardens as possible with me own eyes I order to be able to evaluate them through the frame of my personal experience. So, different geographical areas have different garden designs. In Africa, development of garden design was not aiming to provide people aesthetic pleasure and satisfaction, reasons for first oases to be constructed were rather practical- to hide from the heat for visitors and develop agriculture in general.

Italian garden design was greatly influenced with the ideas of Renaissance and inspired the further gardening revolution in Europe and Great Britain. Italian Renaissance gardens contained many scenes from ancient mythology, sculptures, fountains, terraces, tree labyrinths. They were all masterpieces in their geometrical decisions.

Asia, with Japanese and Chinese gardening traditions, remains the unique and separate garden design school. Design is tightly connected with religion there, which only adds attractiveness to it and leaves an impression of touching something divine. But the general idea is still the same- the water (streams, lakes, ponds, waterfalls), trees (including bonsai art), and stones put in particular order.

So, it becomes obvious that different climate, cultures and populations form different approaches to garden design to be admired and followed.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The War of 1812 Research Paper

The War of 1812 Research Paper

The War of 1812: Who Won?
The War of 1812 had a profound impact on the development of North America and the relationships of the local territories with Great Britain, whose position was traditionally very strong in the region. In this respect, it should be said that basically the conflict had broken out between two major opponents who struggled for the domination in North America, between the USA and Great Britain. At the same time, it should be pointed out that this war may be viewed as an imperialistic war in a way because interests of both Great Britain and the USA were not only to protect its national interests and preserve its territories but also to maintain its power and gain the leadership in the region. On the other hand, in spite of the military actions that had taken place for almost three years from 1812 to 1815, it was still quite difficult to define the winner in this war because the territorial frontiers in North America had not been changed and the status quo had been preserved. In such a situation, it is necessary to take into consideration the position of all parties of the conflict, analyze their goals and effects of the war on their further development and their role in North America.

The US in the War of 1812
Basically, speaking about the role of the US in the War of 1812 and the effects of the war on this country, it should be pointed out that formally the US initiated the war and launched the military campaign against the British and its North American coloniesi. However, it would be a mistake to estimate that the US was an aggressor who is solely responsible for the breakout of the war. In actuality, the war became a natural result of the growing tension between the US and Great Britain which affected not only political but mainly economic sphere that apparently threatened to the national interests of the US. In such a context, the declaration of the war on Great Britain was a logical response of the US on the restrictive measures undertaken by Great Britain concerning the trade of the US with other countries, namely France. At the same time, it should be pointed out that the conflict also had a significant historical background of the competition between the US and Great Britain in North America.

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In this regard, it should be said that the US targeted not only at the elimination of barriers in the international trade of the US with other countries, but the country also targeted at the territory expansion. At any rate, the US attempted to strengthen its position in the North, i.e. in the colonies of Great Britain, which were known as British North America at the epoch, and which later became Canada.

Taking into consideration the reasons for the war and goals of the US, it would be quite logical to use them as the basis for the assessment of the outcomes of the war. Basically, the winner in the war is the country that meets its goals, while if it fails than the country may be viewed as the loser in the war. However, the War of 1812 was quite a different and such a definition of the winner in the war can hardly be applicable to the US or any other country in the war. As the matter of fact, the US did not get any new territories after the end of the war, but still the country got rid of the barriers established by Great Britain and limiting consistently the American trade other countries of the world. At this point, it is possible to estimate that the US had reached the major goal of the war and thus it had won the war, even though it had failed to occupy new territories.

Obviously, the retreat of the British navy and elimination of barriers in the international trade of the US restored the pre-war status quo, but it is necessary to remember that the war had brought a lot of other benefits for the US and during the war the US had strengthened its position in North America consistently. In fact, it is possible to speak about the indirect effects and benefits of the war, which make it possible to estimate that it is the US that has won the War of 1812. In this respect, it should be pointed out that Great Britain did not really pay a lot of attention to the military operations in America, since it was mainly focused on European military campaign against Napoleon. As a result, the military and technological superiority of Great Britain could not be fully used in the war and the British chose the defensive strategy, which proves to be extremely beneficial for the US.

The reason is quite obvious – being free to act, the US army could develop and improve its strategy and tactics to defeat the enemy, which did not push on American but just defended its position. At any rate, the US army dealt only with a small part of the British military machine and the War of 1812 gave Americans valuable experience, which they could use in the future. In such a way, the War of 1812 could be viewed as a perfect training for the US army, if there were no victims among Americans and destructions, such as the “burning of Washington”ii. Nevertheless, the US army had acquired experience and it was extremely important since before the war Great Britain dealt with a weaker and less experienced army and due to its military and technological superiority it could probably defeat the US army if the British did their best and were not involved in the Napoleonic wars. In contrast, after the war, the US army became a strong and experienced rival whose power had become unchallengeable and arguable in the region and during the 19th and 20th centuries the US had been the main military power in the region.

Moreover, such a strengthening of the US army was determined by the significant economic and technological progress of the US. Paradoxically, this progress was the result of the blockade of the US organized by Great Britain. Being deprived of an opportunity to import strategically important products and equipment that were necessary to the US army, Americans developed the production of these strategically important goods on American plants. On the one hand, it stimulated the development of American industry, which compensated economically the stagnation of American agriculture in the result of the blockade, while, on the other hand, the country got a strong military-oriented industrial facilities, which could supply the national armyiii. As a result, even though the US did not get any new territory, this country may be viewed as the winner in this war because it have overthrown Great Britain as the hegemonic power in North America, it managed to develop free trade, its international politics and economy became absolutely independent from Great Britain and, what was more important, the US got a strong army and industrial basis for the further strengthening of the army and the national economy. In fact, after the war, the US became at least equal rival of Great Britain. Moreover, due to this war the US created the basis, military, technological and economic, for the future dominance in the region.

Great Britain in the War of 1812
As the US has been just defined as the winner of the War of 1812, the only logical conclusion that can be made in regard to Great Britain is the fact that this country has lost the war. However, it is important to underline that the defeat of Great Britain should be viewed in short-term and long-term perspectives. In such a context, it should be said that in short-term perspective Great Britain can hardly be viewed as a loser and, what is more, taking into consideration the goals of the war, it can be viewed as a winner. But, in the long-run, it is obvious that the War of 1812 was the beginning of the end of the British dominance in North America.

First of all, it should be said that the major goal of Great Britain was to stop the trade between the US and France. In fact, Great Britain does not really take seriously the war in America, when Europe was affected by the Napoleonic wars. In this respect, it is important to underline that it was the victory in Europe that was the primary goal of Great Britain because the victory of Napoleon would threaten to the ruling regime in Great Britain and other European monarchies, while American continent was viewed by the British as the colony and the sphere of economic interests, which were not vitally important at the moment for Great Britain.

Moreover, Great Britain did not really launch the war on the US, instead, it just attempted to meet its strategic goals by means of restricting American export to other countries, especially France. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that Great Britain and its North American colonies successfully developed trade with New England, which was a part of the US but refused to support financially and military the US army. In such a way, the main goal of Great Britain in the war was the blockade of American trade with France. From this standpoint, Great Britain may be viewed as a winner in this war since it had managed to prevent the US from trade with France during the war from 1812 to 1814. In actuality, Great Britain dominated on the sea and the US navy could not really compete with Great Britain. At the same time, the end of the War of 1812 in America may be viewed as a logical conclusion of a military campaign or blockade of the US by Great Britain. In fact, by 1814, when the Treaty of Ghent was signed, Great Britain practically solved its problems in Europe and there were no threats from Napoleon and France. In such a situation, Great Britain did not need to waste forces and money on the war in America after the devastating Napoleonic wars in Europe. As a result, Great Britain agreed to sign a peace treaty to preserve the status quo in America.

In such a context, it is obvious that Great Britain, similarly to the US, may be viewed as a winner because it achieved its strategic goals. But it is necessary to underline that it was a short-term, local victory, which, in a long-run, meant the defeat of Great Britain. What is meant here is the fact that the War of 1812 strengthened its major rival in the region, the US, and practically put an end to its plans concerning the further colonization of the continentiv. Moreover, the emergence of nationalism in its colonies in North America practically marked the end of Great Britain’s presence in the continent in the long-term perspective that could not be interpreted otherwise but as the defeat.

Canada/British North America in the War of 1812
At this point, it is possible to speak about the third party, which were not the most significant and powerful in the conflict and which actually fulfilled the role of an ally of Great Britain, British North America, which lately became Canada. Formally, British North America could not be viewed as an equal participant of the war because it was a colony of Great Britain. However, British North America probably benefited the most from the War of 1812. To put it more precisely, the weakening of the position of Great Britain in a long-run was strategically important for British North America as well as the failure of the US to invade its territories.

In actuality, the War of 1812 led to a very favorable situation for British North America to gain independence from Great Britain. On the one hand, British North America preserved its territory and proved its ability to protect from the foreign expansion from the part of the US. This local victory provoked the emergence of nationalism that contributed to the spread of ideas of the independence and creation of the new state in North America. This trend was enforced by the weakening of the position of Great Britain, which could not launch military operations in the region without a risk of facing a military opposition from the part of the USA.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the War of 1812 brought controversial results. In fact, speaking about the immediate results of the war, it is hardly possible to speak about a winner or loser because the status quo was preserved and formally the situation in North America had not changed at all. However, the major outcome of the war was the weakening of the position of Great Britain in the continent and an unparalleled strengthening of the US. Such a result of the war makes it possible to speak about the victory of the US in the war, in strategic terms, because the war gave the US not only a significant military experience but it also stimulated the development of national industry, made the country less dependent on import and, what was more important, the war put the end to the hegemony of Great Britain in North America. However, such a situation was the most favorable for British North America/Canada because this war actually paved the way to the independence of British colonies in North America.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Accrual vs. Cash Accounting Essay

Accrual vs. Cash Accounting Essay

Nowadays, the variety of accounting methods can be uses, but, as a rule, cash-basis accounting and accrual-basis accounting are the most widely spread. Basically, many politicians tend to choose cash-basis accounting, instead of accrual, but this rather indicates to their conservatism than to the logical and reasonable choice they make. In fact, cash-basis accounting can hardly be applied effectively at large scale, especially on the level of the state. In actuality, the higher effectiveness of accrual-basis accounting seems to be beyond doubts.

In this respect, it is possible to refer to the experience of large companies which operate nationwide or which enter international market. It is not a secret that they chose accrual-basis accounting that may be viewed as evidence of its higher effectiveness compared to cash-basis accounting. However, it is worth mentioning the fact that the choice in favor of either cash-basis accounting or accrual-basis accounting highly depends on the size of the capital, transactions, etc. In other words, the larger the company, or state budget, for instance, is the more logical is the choice of accrual-basis accounting.

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Basically, cash-basis accounting is a method of bookkeeping that records financial events based on cash flow and cash position. Consequently, revenue is recognized when cash is received and expense is recognized when cash is paid. Obviously, this method of accounting seems to be quite simple and logical and this is why many politicians tend to choose it. In addition, cash-basis accounting permits to follow cash flow strictly that create an impression of strict control over revenues and expenses of the state budget, for instance.

However, in actuality, cash-basis accounting is not really effective and, what is more important, specialists (Heilbroner and Milberg, 2000, 271) estimate that it can hardly give a true and fair view on the financial performance, especially in a long-run. In this respect, accrual-basis accounting seems to be more preferable because it has a number of advantages compared to cash-basis accounting. Firstly, accrual accounting records financial events based on economic activity rather than financial activity. Obviously, in terms of a state this may be viewed as a significant advantage because the economic life of a country cannot depend on the financial activity solely, instead, a country has a complicated economic system that involves various activities and cash payments, which are the basis of cash accounting, cannot always reflect the true situation. In contrast, accrual accounting guarantees that revenue is recorded when it is earned and realized, regardless when the actual payment is received. Expenses are matched in the similar way. As a result, accrual accounting provides more precise information on the current situation, while cash-basis accounting defers all credit transactions to a later date.

Obviously, accrual accounting is more complicated compared to cash accounting and naturally evokes apprehensions of politicians concerning possible errors or even frauds. However, the contemporary information technologies and the use of modern software minimizes the risk of mistake and makes the use of accrual accounting not only more effective but also cheaper. Thus, in spite of the complexity of accrual accounting this method is more preferable to use at the state scale.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Research Paper on Near-Death Experiences

Research Paper on Near-Death Experiences

1. Introduction
Death had always been considered as something to be afraid of. It is like the border between live on Earth and something else which is unknown. And everything that is unknown is frightening. Near-death experiences (NDE) are very complex and extremely interesting topic for research and study not just from the standpoint of trying to find out what is behind the edge of life, but also from the standpoint of analyzing and comparing how people are describing and interpreting their NDEs and whether they actually saw everything that they tell about. In this paper I would present results of my research done on regard on NDE issue, as well as present my own ideas on the basis of the research.

I had always been skeptical, when I heard people telling of their NDEs. When such people are speaking on public or even writing books about their “amazing” experiences, they are telling the same things- they flew out of their body, saw themselves from the ceiling, then tried to talk to people, but nobody heard them, their bodies were edged with light and they were not knowing whether they were alive or not. There can be two explanations for such similar evidences of NDEs. The first one implies that they really saw and experienced the same and things went actually as they described. And the second explanation implies that all they experienced were imaginary things, the way they thought of death, as well as there are a lot of movies and cartoons about ghosts and how they behave when being out of body. I strongly believe that the second explanation is more adequate and I will explain why. People through their lives gather information that they believe or not, the information that astonished them, and they describe what they see with the notions that are familiar to them, but world is such a mystery, that people cannot know everything about it and explain what is going on in reality. They can do that just from the frame of reference of their personal experiences. People that experienced NDE usually speak about the tunnel of light, but it is the tunnel only because they know nothing, but the word “tunnel” (Mauro 35). I have found eight scientific theories, which attempted to explain the phenomenon of NDE from physiological and psychological points of view.

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2. Near -Death Experience Theories
NDE Theories are: Dying Brain Theory, Charles Darwin Theory, Hallucination Theory, Temporal Lobe Theory, Lack of Oxygen Theory, Depersonalization Theory, Memory of Birth Theory and Afterlife Theory.

Dying brain theory, which was supported by Dr.Susan Blackmore in her book “Dying to Live” (46-54), questions that if people are having the same visions when having NDE, and they pass through the same stages when they do that, that might be explained that it is the spiritual journey to the place, where all people are anticipated some day. But it equally can be not real experience and not the spiritual trips at all, but only the way the dying brain functions. As all brains are physiologically the same, they are dying in the same way, and that is why they can induce the same visions in people’s minds. But I am wondering- if people think and percept the reality with the brain, then how they can percept NDE and explain afterwards, what happened to them. Probably the consciousness is not located in the head, or skull or brain and there is another organ by means of which we percept environment. And if the brain is just a sophisticated lump of tissue how its death can make people experience such extraordinary things. It becomes clear that this theory presents poor explanation or at least is not comprehensive enough to provide the whole picture of NDEs. A psychological approach should also be involved in the process of finding the right explanation. During NDEs people claim that they are being told that what they are experiencing is not death, and that they will be brought to life in a moment- which is totally unexplainable by Dying brain theory.

The other theory is that of Charles Darwin, which do make some sense, but is not also comprehensive enough. It claims that NDEs are the ploy for the human race not to be afraid of death and to accept it calmly. According to Darwin, people are the only complete masters on the Earth and they decide what will happen to them, which is very questionable statement.

Hallucination theory explains NDEs by the fact of dying secrete endorphins, which are hormones that act on the central nervous system to crush the pain. But this theory is groundless for the reason that endorphins are not hallucinogens and are not able to recreate the same state the person experience during NDE. It may participate in the action of NDE, but cannot explain the whole process. There is also an idea that anesthetic ketamine participates in the process of NDE, as it can reproduce many states people have during NDE (Becker 6-9).

Temporal lobe theory explains that some features of that occur during NDE as the type of epilepsy that is associated with the damage to the brain’s temporal lobe (Greyson 327-34). This chemical mechanism cannot be denied and is obviously present in the brain, but it doesn’t imply that there are nothing more than that chemical reactions happening.

Lack of oxygen theory implies that the explanation for NDEs can be found in the oxygen shortage in brain, or on the contrary with too much of carbon dioxide. But this theory is not able to explain why people, who had such experiences, were able to describe everything what was going on around them when they were not in conscious state. Oxygen shortage brain states are generally characterized with confusion, fear and disorientation, while people having NDEs report the feelings of comfort, calm, tranquility. Evidences of people who experienced both NDEs and lack of oxygen states claim that it is impossible to confuse them.

According to depersonalization theory, what people are doing is just trying to replace the idea of frightening illness and death with the pleasurable fantasies about heaven to protect themselves. And thus they “depersonalize” by going out of body, but still features of depersonalization do not match that of NDEs.

Memory of birth theory seems ridiculous to me, as it states that NDEs has nothing in common with death, but with birth n during NDE a person remembers his factual being born. The main argument against this theory is that nervous system of the baby is not developed enough to be able to store memories about the process of birth.

After life theory seems to be the most rational as it doesn’t seek for explanations, and just take things as they are (Moody 112). It says that there is no explanation for the light and the tunnel, and claims that human experiences cannot be just reduced to the biological processes, and insists that NDE is primarily the transcendental experience.

Bruce Greyson in 2003 wrote the following regarding this issue: “No one physiological or psychological model by itself explains all the common features of NDE. The paradoxical occurrence of heightened, lucid awareness and logical thought processes during a period of impaired cerebral perfusion raises particular perplexing questions for our current understanding of consciousness and its relation to brain function. A clear sensorium and complex perceptual processes during a period of apparent clinical death challenge the concept that consciousness is localized exclusively in the brain.”

3. Conclusion
I have never had NDEs, but I have an impression that it is something that cannot be explained with words. Something divine that brings universal knowledge to the person, and s/he will never be the same again, as s/he will know that death is not the end and there is nothing to be afraid. These are jst words and real experiences are far more powerful. I believe that physical and spiritual bodies that are undividable since we are alive and our physical bodies are just temporary, while our spirit is eternal.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Government Regulation Term Paper

Government Regulation Term Paper

Government Regulation of Financial Institutions
In reference with the term of financial economics, financial institutions are agents that provide a wide range of financial services to their clients. There are several types of financial institutions, such as building societies, stock brokerages, asset management companies, banks, credit unions, etc. As their business is tightly connected with money and other financial instruments, all financial institutions are regulated by correspondent institutions of government authorities. Government regulation of financial institution varies from country to country and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is obvious that before starting its activity, each financial institution should receive the license for carrying out particular financial activity. There are particular license requirements that should be kept by each company. For example, asset management companies generally should receive license for carrying out asset management activity at the stock market, or there are special requirements imposed on banks, the minimum most important one of which is minimum capital ratio.

Government regulation of each separately taken financial institution has definite objective and is very important. For example, bank regulation objectives are the following: constant and systematic risk reduction (to decrease the risk of disruption that can be resulted from adverse conditions of trading for banks causing multiple banks failure), prudential (to decrease the risk level of bank creditors, to protect clients- depositors, etc.), to secure and protect confidentiality of the bank, credit allocation (to guide credits to the necessary sectors of the country’s economy) and, of course, avoid misuse of banks (meaning to decrease risk of the banks being utilized for criminal purposes, including money laundering). The stated goals are objectively very important to all financial institutions and correspondent government authorities set definite rules and regulations; require reporting on the daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis from financial institutions.

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Government regulation is important and necessary not just to ensure that particular laws and requirements are followed, but primarily to protect financial institutions from unexpected risks and losses.

Returning to the example with banks, there are a series of requirements that must be met by banks in general. First is the capital requirement, which sets the framework and principles on how banks must handle their capitals in regard to their assets. There is special capital measurement system (latest version of which is referred to as Basel II) that is very complicated, but in the same time risk sensitive. Then, there are reserve requirements that set the minimum necessary reserve for each bank to hold. But nowadays this requirement is losing its importance, giving way to capital adequacy. There are also requirements concerning corporate governance, which are aimed to encourage banks to be successfully managed (may regard corporate body, location, minimum number of directors, organizational structures with set number of offices and officers, approved articles with particular clauses describes, so that directors and staff act for the best interests of the company, etc.).

Financial reporting, disclose and prospectus requirements are essential to protect interests of the government, clients and the company itself. Banks are generally required to prepare annual financial statements in accordance with financial reporting standard, which must be checked and signed by the auditor, registered and published in commonly accessible source. More frequently financial disclosures are also expected, as well as it is required that directors attest the identity and accuracy of such disclosures, etc.

Banks can be also required to receive and uphold credit ratings from approved rating agency, which is very valuable information for investors and prospector investors.

Banks may be also restricted from having large exposures to individual counterparties or connected ones. There are also related party exposure restrictions, activity and affiliation restrictions, payments systems requirements, etc. All those regulations are imposed to control financial market and secure money flows, as well as protect interest of all interested parties.

Prevention of money laundering obtained in the criminal way is a very important objective of government regulations, as it can be carried out in any kind of financial institution, and the purpose of government institutions is not only to minimize the possibility of its occurrence, but make it impossible to carry out such financial operations. In each country there are different authorities responsible for such issues, or a series of interconnected ones.

For example, in the United States banking sphere is regulated at state and federal levels. I am mentioning the case of the US, as it has one of the most regulated financial environments in the world. There are a lot federal-level and state-level laws and regulations, and therefore occurrences of financial crimes are less frequent as, for example, in European countries (especially Eastern Europe).

Government regulations are also assigned to decrease operational risks of financial organizations, which include potential occurrences of loss from deficiencies of internal controls, errors of personnel, physical systems failures, external events, etc. Government regulation in such cases demand placing of appropriate procedures and processes to identify, measure, monitor and control operational risks.

Financial institutions’ face risks on the daily basis, and it is task of government authorities to protect them from it, or at least minimize its consequences. Those risks include risks from default, market price fluctuations, fluctuations of exchange rates, operational losses, and others.

In the conclusion I would like to summarize that government regulation of financial institutions is the most important constituent of successfully managed market of financial services and the country’s economy in general. Structured approach to regulation of financial institutions allows not only minimize possible internal and external risks, but also promotes companies’ revenues to increase. Government regulation serves primarily for the benefit of financial institutions to support their reputations, secure confidentiality and stimulate for the best performance. Government authorities also act for the benefit of the market and its clients, protect their investments and overall interests. It is known that markets that are strictly regulated have less corruption, and therefore are very attractive for investors, and so existence of financial institutions is impossible without government regulation.

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