Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Research Paper on Computer Crimes

Research Paper on Computer Crimes

The development of technologies produces a profound impact on the contemporary society. At the same time, it should be said that effects of the wide implementation of new technologies is dubious. On the one hand, new technologies facilitate consistently the life of people, making it more comfortable, while on the other hand, they expose people to new threats, which have never been known before. In this respect, it should be said that technological threats do not always affect physical health or life of people, or their environment, but, contemporary technologies also create a serious threat of the identity theft. To put it more precisely, the security of private information of people becomes one of the major concerns in the contemporary world because the threat of the identity theft is constantly growing. In fact, this is a very serious problem which affects all people and it is hardly possible to estimate that a person is fully protected from the identity theft since even the largest and most secured companies cannot fully guarantee the protection of the private information of their customers and, therefore, people are exposed to this threat. In such a situation, it is important to assess the extent to which the threat of identity theft is widely spread and whether the threat will increase in the future.

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On analyzing the problem of the identity theft in the contemporary world, it should be said that it is a relatively new problem since the development of technologies in the past could hardly provide opportunities for such a kind of theft (Anderson, 2002). The development of IT, Internet, computing was apparently beneficial for ordinary people since it facilitate consistently their life while for business the development of IT became the basis for the unparalleled economic growth and the development of new industries (Boyle and William, 1999). As a result, the emergence of e-commerce and e-business was the natural result of the development of new technologies.

At the same time, along with numerous benefits and advantageous of new technologies and new business, the threat of the identity theft became particularly significant. In fact, the main problem was that society was not really prepared for such technologies either technologically, or legally. What is meant here is the fact that large masses of people were and, to a significant extent still are, ignorant of possible threats they are exposed to through the use of new technologies. People have readily started to use new technologies but they did not really care about the protection of their private information that naturally increased the threat of the identity theft dramatically. In such a way, people could be involved in some illegal machinations online, being unconscious of possible consequences and existing threats.

Actually, even ordinary online transactions were and still are not totally secured. In this respect, it should be said such a lack of security proves the technological unpreparedness not only ordinary people but also large companies operating in banking industry for the introduction and wide use of new technologies. In fact, it is possible to find numerous examples of breaches in IS of many large companies, including banks which apparently involved the misuse of the private information of people and, therefore, created the direct threat of the identity theft. The existing IS proved to be not really effective in regard to the protection of private information of people from breaches and misuse. In this regard, some researchers (Anderso, 2002) indicate to the fact that contemporary technologies are insufficient to fully protect people from the threat of the identity theft since even such traditionally highly protected system as banking system is susceptible to breaches and misuse of private information of customers.

Moreover, ordinary people are not less susceptible to such a threat. It should be said that private information stored on their PCs, for instance, as well as the information concerning their IDs, driving licenses, etc. are not really secured and the risk of misuse or thieving of this information is very high. However, it is ordinary users that are the most unconscious or ignorant of possible threats and, at the same time, they are the most exposed to such threats. At any rate, specialists on IT security (Adams, 1997) point out that the problem with the misuse of private information or the identity theft occurs not within the bank or any other company but rather on the end-user’s computer and this problem may be observed not only in such sensitive industry as banking but in e-business at large.

Technologically, the threat of the identity theft is clearly identified by IT specialists. They underline that the core of the problem may be found in the hackers’ ability to decrypt codes and obtain passwords by cracking into the software that was downloaded on the user’s computer. In such a way, offenders can receive any information they have and they can use them in any way they want. In such a context, the loss of money, for instance, in the result of elementary theft using such a technique seems to be the minor threat compared to the risk of the identity theft since, on retrieving all information on user’s identity, offenders can use it in their own interests (Lucas and Baroudi, 2002).

At the same time, the essence of the problem of the identity theft is not limited to the technological domain solely. In this respect, it is necessary to underline the fact that the lack of legislative regulation also plays an extremely important role. In fact, the development of legislation is, to a significant extent, characterized by certain backwardness compared to the development of new technologies. What is meant here is the fact that the implementation of changes in the existing legislation, especially in developed countries, is traditionally a long-lasting process since the stability of legislation and its unchangeable nature are the major factors that determine the economic and political stability in developed countries. In contrast, the development of technologies consistently outweighs the implementation of legislative changes and improvements (Lucas and Baroudi, 2002). As a result, the existing legislation cannot fully prevent the threat of the identity theft. At any rate, the recent efforts to prevent cyber crime on the legislative level are important, necessary, but they are apparently insufficient. The endorsement of the existing legislation and the focus on the protection of private information of people are very important but the legislative changes are rather a reaction in response to crimes that have been committed, including the identity theft.

On the other hand, it is obvious that the threat of the identity theft cannot be solved on the legislative level solely. Even the perfect legislation cannot prevent the violation of law, if there remain ample technological opportunities for misuse of private information of people or even for the threat of the identity theft. In this respect, specialists (Lucas and Baroudi, 2002) lay emphasis on the necessity of the introduction of new IS and their constant improvement. At the same time, the technological improvements should be focused on the security of ordinary users, people that are the most exposed to the threat of the identity theft (Mica, 1999). This means that it is not only large companies that should have access to the most effective IS, but ordinary people should be protected too. Though, it does not mean that each individual should be an IT professional to secure his/her private information, for instance, instead, he/she needs to possess technology, which could secure his/her private information effectively, minimizing the threat of the identity theft.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the contemporary society faces a serious threat of the identity theft. In such a situation, the simultaneous technological and legal improvement could, to a significant extent, minimize this threat and decrease the risk of misuse of private information of people.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Outcomes of Divorce on Children Essay

Outcomes of Divorce on Children Essay

As sad as it is, today one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. What is even more frightening is that one of every two families that are getting divorced have children. In fact, there is little that is more distressing and hurtful for a child than the divorce of his/her parents. Before, the researches did not believe that divorce always causes pain in children. It was considered that divorce could have both positive and negative results. Though, today more and more scientists realize that divorce is simply a disaster for children, with a negative impact for them both at the point of the divorce and later (Huges, 2005).

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In my short paper I would like to present some of the effects that a divorce may have on a child. A child’s response to the divorce may be very different. It depends on the age of a child and his/her ability to have a handle on what is occurring. Certainly, younger children have a harder time dealing with the problem of parents’ separation. It is obvious that upon facing the divorce of the parents children start to ask such deliberate questions as “What if my parents will leave me?”, “Did I cause the divorce?”, “What is going to happen to me now?” (Amato, 1993, pp. 24-25).

The effects of divorce on the child that are the most traumatic are the changes in the routine a child is used to and the feelings of loneliness. After the divorce of the parents a child mourns the loss of the complete family and the presence of two parents (Amato, 1993, p. 23). Thus, most children are sad and depressed. For others the apprehension reaches the point when they feel that they are going to be forsaken by one or both parents (Eleoff, 2003).

After a divorce one of the parents may have to move, this also has a great negative effect on the child. Firstly because moving brings separation and secondly because in some cases a child may have to move as well and adjust to a new school, friends, and environment. For children the holidays and special days are essential. Hence, not being able to participate in the family holidays the way it was possible before may have a harmful effect on the child’s emotional state. Lastly, after a divorce it is natural that a parent who the child is staying with gets a new spouse. Without a shadow of doubt, to accommodate to a new person in the house is a painful and complicated process.

As it was made clear previously in the paper, children who go through a divorce often face issues with self esteem, emotional stability, life perception and self actualization. Though, nothing can be done and sometimes, no matter how much the parents love their child and want to save him/her from harm they have to separate. Thus, the most important thing for parents is to understand that divorce is not easy for them, but they are adults who know how to cope with hardships, while children do not (Amato, 1991, pp. 26-46). Therefore, when going through a divorce the parents need to make sure the divorce affects their children as little as possible (Karuppaswamy, Myers-Walls).

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The Merchant of Venice 2004 Essay

The Merchant of Venice 2004 Essay

William Shakespeare, one of the most prominent authors in the world, went down in the history of literature as a classic, whose plays touch upon eternally important subjects. Shakespearian comedies are especially famous. No wonder that many of them are cinematized. The Merchant of Venice, which was shot in 2004 by Michael Radford, became a worthy version of Shakespearian immortal work.

If we define the main theme of the film, the points of view might be quite different, as the comedy deals with several significant topics. On the one hand, Shakespeare draws readers’ attention to such notions as hatred and mercy and their ability to return a hundredfold to people. Watching the relations between Shylock and Christian characters, we see that evil always comes back to those who have done it.

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On the other hand, we can state that the main idea of the play is mercifulness that is preached by the heroes, particularly, by Portia, but is rarely present in their behavior. Portia proclaims a long monologue devoted to the importance of being merciful, but when she, personally, has the opportunity to prove it and to show mercy to Shylock, she humiliates him and compels him to kneel.

Still another topic can be considered as the main theme of The Merchant of Venice. It is the opposition of egoism and love. Here it is again the confrontation of Christian characters and Shylock.

At first sight, Shylock is interested only in money. He is greedy and self-interested, everything he does is based on his mercenariness, while Antonio, for instance, often sacrifices his fortune for the sake of those whom he loves.

This problem develops throughout the film and with time we make sure that Shylock’s character is ambiguous and sometimes we observe some human motifs in his behavior but greed. We see that Radford decided to show Shylock not as an absolute villain but rather as a victim of his own drawbacks. He is definitely cruel and merciless; however, it is necessary to consider whether it is caused by the discrimination by anti-Semites, or by his nature.

I believe, Radford’s contribution to the film is immense and due to it the film is so impressive. The scenery of the play is so skillfully reproduced in the film that it seems you live together with the characters. Moreover, Radford managed to cast the actors in such a way that it is difficult to imagine another Shylock or Antonio. Al Pacino lives the part of Shylock, making him a many-sided and deep character. Jeremy Irons also manages to convey all the traits of Antonio’s character, besides not only according to Shakespeare’s play, but according to Radford’s message too.

Radford does not aim at simple retelling of the play. “Instead of trying to simplify it, to bring the story into some artificial balance, director Michael Radford embraces the complex and disturbing nature of the play and unlocks its panoramic understanding of life” (LaSalle). He tries to show the situation in the society in the light of the relations between particular characters.

To make a conclusion, in his plays Shakespeare aimed to show that people’s characters are very controversial and it is impossible to pin down their personalities at first sight. I believe the director of the film skillfully managed both to convey Shakespearian message and to express his own point of view on the play. Due to a fine casting of actors and spectacular scenery, the film became a real masterpiece of cinematography.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Research Paper on Mortgage

Research Paper on Mortgage

The mortgage and market crisis
The sub prime mortgage crisis is an ongoing economic issue in the United States. It started in late 2006 and caused a chain effect crisis in the financial markets worldwide in 2007 and 2008. The crisis began with the bursting of the US housing bubble and the big number of defaulted borrowers of “sub prime” credits and other adjustable rate mortgages made to people with lesser income or poor credit history. The mortgage crisis expressed itself in liquidity problems in the banking system and high number of foreclosures. The loan incentives and the trend of stable price rising in the housing sector pushed the borrower to assume mortgages, thinking that later on they will be able to refinance their loans at more favorable conditions. But when the prices of the real estate started going down in 2006 – 2007, refinancing became less feasible due to the rising adjustable interest rates. Borrowers had to pay more that their property was worth. During 2007 the default rate rose with 79% compared to 2006 and around 1.3 Million properties nationwide were subject to foreclosure. The first ones to be affected were the mortgage lenders who retained the credit risk – borrowers were unable or unwilling to make the payments. Major Banks and financial institutions suffered huge losses. As of April 30, 2008, the banks have written off approximately $280 billion.

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The sub prime mortgage crisis is the most severe real estate recession, it is far from over and it is growing drastically spreading in nearly every major US city. The prices of home decline and the number of filing for foreclosure rises with a pace unseen before. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index for 20 cities the house prices tumbled 12.7% in February compared with last year. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research this drop left around 9 million people who have to pay to the lenders more that their properties are worth. This amount is 10% of the mortgage borrowers, another 6% are behind their schedule for payment. At the subprime mortgage market 17% are in arrears. Loan providers are foreclosing on many houses amounting to more than a million. The pessimistic opinions is that the amount of defaults will rise more and more and it will exercise pressure on home prices pushing them further down. It is very likely to happen in short term whereas in long term there is light in the tunnel. The falling prices have made homes a bit more affordable, the government is also putting efforts into the ongoing real estate issue. The Bush Administration struggles to reduce or eventually prevent the surge of the mortgage default payments. The Congress is debating tax incentives but the main objective is the Federal Housing Administration to be permitted to refinance at a discount the problematic loans.

Even though measures were taken by the Federal government and the Federal Reserve, the forecast for declining house prices remains until the excess inventory has been gradually removed. But the problem the US economy faces is not only the mortgage market shrinking but the three-fold effect that the price deflation brings along. The first one logically is the tougher credit conditions banks require for loans which, some experts believe, should have been done long time ago. Lax financial regulations are not advised, due to the consequences on the economy. The second effect is worsening of the labor market with rising unemployment and slowing salaries. The wages in the private sector have risen with 3.6%, in the year to March. This is the worst result since mid-2003. On the other hand the inflation hit a record of almost 4% for the same period which make the real pay falling. The third effect of the subprime market crisis is pushing the commodity prices high up, leading to increased fuel and food costs (the oil price hit the record of $120 per barrel on May 5th).

The strongest impact the crisis had, was on the financial markets. A chain effect was created around the world. As already mentioned above many banks like Bank of America, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, UBS and others have written off billions of dollars. Bear Sterns Bank was bailed out by JP Morgan Chase with the support of the government. These events made the policy makers in many developed countries to undertake more aggressive actions in order to soften the disastrous impact. The first step was to provide liquidity and undertake saving operations for some troubled bank (above ex.: Bear Sterns Bank). The second step was to cut interest rates. In order the boost the economy and to stimulate investment the Federal Reserve reduced drastically the discount rate down to 2%, the effect of which was not immediate. According to some observers this would give the opportunity for banks to borrow cheaply and lend expensively. They also fear another problem with the low interest rate: this was the reason in 2000s for the housing bubble. Now it could cause another bubble and a lot more trouble down the road. In help of the Federal Reserve the Bush Administration will pay out $117 billion between early May and mid-July in tax refunds. The average American family (with two kids) will receive from the Federal Government up to $1,800, the spending of which will help the economy.

Currently the home prices are still going down and the sales are decreasing. The experts do not see the situation otherwise until the credit markets loosen and nobody expect encouraging financial figures from the construction companies.

About the ongoing economic problem Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, stated: “The current credit crisis will come to an end when the overhang of inventories of newly built homes is largely liquidated, and home price deflation comes to an end. That will stabilize the now-uncertain value of the home equity that acts as a buffer for all home mortgages, but most importantly for those held as collateral for residential mortgage-backed securities. Very large losses will, no doubt, be taken as a consequence of the crisis. But after a period of protracted adjustment, the U.S. economy, and the world economy more generally, will be able to get back to business.” The forecast for economic growth for USA, EU and Japan were reduced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Essay on Jean Piaget

Essay on Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget and His Theories about Children
Jean Piaget, one of the most influential researchers in the area of psychology of the 20th century was born in Switzerland on August 9, 1896. Piaget’s scientific career started as early as he was ten years old. At that age he wrote a short work concerning his aggravation with the lack of attention and consideration people had for children. Though, being himself a child he was already concerned with the position kids set in the world and set his mind on improving it in the future. He decided to start his education with receiving an MA degree and then Ph.D. in Zoology, but went on to study Psychoanalysis that he was interesting in all through his studies.

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It can be said that Piaget became a pioneer of children’s psychology. Driven by a very strong desire to study others he moved to Paris to explicitly start to study children. Being absorbed by his effort, he worked day and night. Soon his discoveries, experiments, assumptions and conclusions led to the creation of several disciplines. These disciplines are Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Theory, and Genetic Epistemology. What is even more noteworthy is that he came up with several theories regarding the psychology of children. He was the first one to understand that children think differently from adults not only because they are less smart or lack life experiences, but there were other reasons for it. His theories revolutionized education and were recognized all over the world (Huett, Hummel, 2003).

In my short paper I would like to cover some of the theories that Piaget came up with. In this paper such theories as Cognitive Stage Theory, and two other theories that are based on it - Theory of Value, and Theory of Society, will be described (Huitt, Hummel, 2003). To begin with, it is important to say that he based his research and experiments mainly on descriptive case studies. Furthermore, whereas some of his ideas were later supported with experiments through “correlational and experimental methodologies”, others were not (Renner, Stafford, Lawson, McKinnon, Friot & Kellogg, 1976).

Cognitive Stage Theory by Piaget had several central theses. It laid down an assumption that children develop self-centric theories about their environment. This creation and development leads to the growth of the child. He also considered that children base these theories on their own personal experiences interacting with persons and objects in their environment. Other assumptions were that the child used “schemas” to gain information about the environment. According to Piaget the level of sophistication of the cognitive structures the child comes up with cannot be compared to the ones of grown-ups.

The path of child’s development was segmented by Piaget Piaget into four stages which began with birth and concluded in teen years. These stages are: Sensorimotor stage (0-2 yrs), Preoperational stage (2-7 yrs), Concrete operations (7-11 yrs), and Formal operations (from 11-15 and up) (Commons, Richards, 1984, pp. 120-140). A chief principle of Piaget’s theory is that these stages do not differ in order, they cannot be skipped, and should not be hurried. This theory is the basis for other theories that I will dwell upon later in the paper.

The next theory I would like to describe is the Theory of Value. The basic questions answered by this theory are what knowledge and skills are worthwhile learning, and what the goals of education are. According to this theory each child is his own scientist who explores and learns life from acquiring knowledge and personal experiences. Children interpret what they see according to the stage of development they are (Oxford, 1997, p. 39). Thus, teachers should consider the stage of children’s “understanding” and must be guided by it to improve teaching practice and evaluation (Taylor, 1996, p. 259).

The Theory of Society describes the questions of what the society is and what institutions are involved in the process of children’s education. The thesis of this theory is that children are social beings who do not develop in cognitive separation from others (Taylor, 1996, p. 259). They identify the outside world the way they perceive it and their thinking is always in terms of their own perspective, their own position within. The scientist assumed that that experience in cooperative relationships with age group was necessary to attain mature thinking. Thus, for the children to think as adults, according to Piaget, they have to prevail over compliance to authority of grownups and cooperate with the peers (Youniss, 1995, p. 376).

Today many pre-school and elementary school programs are modeled according to Piaget’s theories. These theories help the educators to improve the learning and understanding of children and to adjust the material according to children’s development stages. With the help of Piaget’s theories parents and educators learned that the child should be challenged, though not far beyond the child’s level. Jean Piaget’s input into the world’s psychology is immense, it is not surprising that his works were said to be “a discovery so simple only a genius could have thought of it” by such a genius Albert Einstein.

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Essay on "My Last Duchess" and "Ulysses"

Essay on "My Last Duchess" and "Ulysses"

Many people believe that critically analyzing a poem takes away the enjoyment that comes from its reading. They say that analyzing just breaks down the structure of the poem into little pieces that are analyzed separately and become pointless and dry. However, I would like to defend the opposite view. I strongly consider that analyzing a poem makes the enjoyment bigger. When analyzing one learns to understand every aspect of the poem, and only when every aspect is understood the poem can be really enjoyed. For this paper I decided to analyze two remarkable poems “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning and “Ulysses” by the prominent Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.

“My Last Duchess" is a vivid and striking monologue written in 1842. This poem represents the first part of the joint pieces called "Italy and France". The poem consists of twenty eight rhyming couplets that are, in my mind, dominated by iambic pentameter. Robert Browning main tool to use in the poem is breaking the lines for regular and irregular pauses. This tool makes the poem very easy and enjoyable to read, and creates easy conversational flow.

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The poem begins with the line "Ferrara". When reading the first line one already imagines old conservative Italy. The reader finds himself in a house of a very wealthy duke with a lengthy title and immense power. At the beginning of the poem we are shown that the duke represents the amazing specially made collection of art he possesses. We hear the voice of the main character when he and his guest stop next to the painting with the duke’s last wife. The narrator starts to describe the painting, though rapidly moving to the describing of the duchess herself. From his monolog it becomes obvious that the narrator considered his late wife to be also one of his possessions that were commissioned for him according to his will.

From the very beginning of the poem the narrator is clear to be portrayed as a person depleted of morality and honesty. The poem shows corruption and wickedness of the speaker's character with this presenting similar traits of the society of that time. The people then wanted to possess everything can be naturally possessed or not.

In his poem “Ulysses” Tennyson transports us to the Victorian times. The poem structure is also a dramatic monologue. Throughout the poem Tennyson uses enjambment in order to reproduce the meaning and content of the poem which is that of sailing beyond death. Tennyson’s poem is deep and resonant, he uses high-sounding verse, particularly by setting different vowel sounds closely against each other.

In the poem “Ulysses” the main character is a hero, a warrior and a famous Ancient Greek traveler. He refuses to sit behind and unwind. His whole life is concerned with traveling, taking on adventures, competing and battling, he simply rejects that a man can be an “idle king” (Davis).

Both of the poems, ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning and ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson, are examples of dramatic monologues. As it was already mentioned above they both exclusively consist of the monologs of the protagonists. In both poems there are powerful noble men ruminating about past, though they are very different. What is also different are the poetic devices used in the poems to present these two main characters.

The first difference between the main characters is the way they came into power and how they exercise it. The rich Italian duke has acquired all his riches from the “nine-hundred-years-old-name”. He was born with lengthy titles, in the family with already established name. In his life he never had to do anything to achieve some position. His whole life he went with the flow, expecting others to admire him and his name and follow his orders. On the contrary, Ulysses has earned his status of a hero after battling in Troy, where he showed his nobility and courage. He is respected by people not because his name tells enough for him and leads to common obedient admiring. They respect him because he is a warrior fighting for Greece.

At it can be seen from the previous paragraph the characters of the duke and Ulysses are very different. Even though they both get killed at the end of the poems, the reads see that the ways they took death also says a lot about who they are. Wee see that Ulysses is killed as a hero, while the Duke of Ferrara’s killing is very far from being heroic. What is interesting is that the way the duke was killed was not even personal. Even for his death he gave out orders and expected the job to be done for him.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

"The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" Essay

"The Unknown Citizen" and "Harrison Bergeron" Essay

From personal experience I find it very complicated to analyze poems. I find it even more complicated to compare two equally amazing poems. This is due to the fact that when analyzing or comparing poems one is stating his or her opinion, thus it is very subjective. What is even harder is comparing a poem with a short story. Though, in this short paper I would like to compare a poem “Unknown Citizen” and a short story “Harrison Bergeron” by imminent authors W.H. Auden and Kurt Vonnegut. This poem and a story are in many ways alike especially in the subject matter they cover, which is the role of man in the today’s industrialized world where the morals and values tend to disappear.

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“The Unknown Citizen” is a poem written by W.H. Auden. The poem reflects a very hard period in the history of the United States of America – the Great Depression. It was the period of change in the way the citizen perceived the government as well as the way the government perceived them. Auden makes the “Unknown Citizen” an example of the government’s view of the perfect modern man. The tone of the poem is both ironic and chilling. The poem is made very bright and distinctive by Auden’s use of metaphors throughout the text.

The poem assumes that for the government men are just simple numbers, all the same, all equal, indistinctive. The poem “Unknown Citizen” weeps for the loss of individuality, personal identity and uniqueness. The author is howling for those times, thus this poem can be considered to be written in the nostalgic tone. The poetic form of the poem underlines in looking backward to lost times, lost individuality and lost morality. When reading the poem one may see that the author is at all times showing the absences, the absence of something that was dear to him. In that context the absence is the Citizen who had changed greatly and would never be the same.

The short story by Kurt Vonnegut was written also in very complicated times. Though, not of Great Depression, but of the Cold War. Kurt Vonnegut in his short story presents how everybody in the modern world is made equal by various political movements. He, in fact, does not deny that all people are created equal, with endless potential and everyone should have an opportunity to achieve what he/she wants (Longenbach). At the same time, Vonnegut thinks that people are not the same and it is impossible to avoid leveling between those who achieved different things.

Both pieces the poem “The Unknown Citizen” and short story “Harrison Bergeron” portray a conflict between individualism and government control and desire to generalize everyone. The authors are sad that the government has taken full control of the people persuading them that what the laws say is true. The authors are mourning for the times when a human was individual, had a free choice and was not influenced by the power of bureaucrats. Another idea pointed out by both authors is that the modern government learned how to manipulate human intelligence to the point that it ultimately has total control over not only people’s lives, but also minds.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Essay on Ghada Amer

Essay on Ghada Amer

"Ghada Amer: Love has No End".
The Brooklyn Museum is now presenting the artworks by a very talented artist - Ghada Amer, who uses various techniques, including embroidery on canvas to depict the major idea of female pleasure. The needlework has played an important role in the development of female art (it has always been treated as the “female” type of artwork) and consequently has been selected as the symbol and the tool of the feminist art. That is probably why Ghada Amer selected embroidery on canvas as her main media.

The works she offers to the public are truly feminine, and are sometimes a curious combination of the Disney’s cartoon and pornographic images, or a sensitive depiction of love, relationships and pleasure. The role of the pornographic images underlies in the idea of the female pleasure are the core of the female happiness and the feminist art. The pornographic pictures she offers are copied from the old sex-industry magazines but use of paint and embroidery laminate a new meaning to the process of satisfaction, because it conveys the physical and emotional state, the strokes of sensuality and power, giving a newer tone to the topic.

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The women on Ghada Amer’s pictures are mostly being on peak or approaching the summit of bodily and emotional pleasure - that is probably the secret of their mystical power and attractiveness. Bodily sensations are attractive and beautiful, and although the sexuality and pornography were rejected by earlier feminists, Ghada Amer insists there is immense beauty and power in the act, if a female chooses to be seductive and is not force into it. Her work And the Beast, 2004, (acrylic, embroidery, and gel medium on canvas) is the reflection of her combined techniques, depicting the act of bodily enjoyment of a young woman, while the portraits of Walt Disney’s animation “Beauty and the Beast” serve as the background. This work may serve as the model for Ghada Amer’s unique style and creative approach towards the meaning of the feminism.

Another installation offered now by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center or Feminist Art in the Brooklyn Museum is Judy Chicago’s "The Dinner Party", which is known to be one of the symbols of the feminist art of the 1970s. This oeuvre provokes a controversial feeling of shock and excitement, most of all due to the richly decorated by vulvar and butterfly motives china-painted porcelain plates, dedicated each time for a certain woman. The impression of thirty nine names immortalized on the table in such a creative manner is being intensified by the other nine hundred ninety nine names inscribed in gold on the white tile floor. The work of Judy Chicago is quite controversial, no doubt, but it will certainly not leave you indifferent. And that is probably one of the most important goals of the artists.

Every piece of feminist art proves females have fresh distinctive ways to emphasize their role in the world and uniqueness they bring to the artistic environment. And that is also a considerable part of modern art, so if you feel like a fresh look at the female sensuality and beauty – visit the Brooklyn Museum.

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The Neue Galerie Essay

The Neue Galerie Essay

The Neue Galerie offers an exciting trip to the beginning of the previous century, showing the collection of Gustav Klimt’s eight paintings and more than 120 drawings and sharing the results of work of one of the most talented Austrian artists of his time. Klimt’s works are bedazzling. It takes a tiny lifetime to observe all the curves of bodies and closing of his gorgeous models, all being wonderfully enigmatic and attractive. The rich colors of mosaic outfit cover the tender bodies full of juicy tenderness and sensuality of the women. The pale skin contrasts the black, pastel or golden surrounding of the woman’s figure. Klimt obviously loves the woman’s body as an object of depiction. Gustav Klimt’s women portraits, including the famous Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), sold for an immense sum, are captivating, grabbing attention to the ornate details and ensuring the admirer would spend more time observing each masterpiece.

Klimt’s works are different to most contemporary art of his time. His unique style and manner guarantee faultless recognition – mosaics and gold technique add up in the outstanding imagery of a mystic gorgeous and independent women that seen to be created for allurement and sensual pleasures. The eroticism and sensuality of the femmes fatales, each time different, yet always unique, proves Klimt was both talented in painting and in seducing.

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Some of the artworks presented in the Neue Galerie show truly outstanding masterpieces that will take you breathe away for a long time and will bring joy to both eyes and the senses.

Another collection being shown at the Neue Galerie has a lot in common with the one described above.

Wiener Werkstatte’s masterpieces created in about the same time – the first two decades of the XX century by the prominent masters like Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Carl Otto Czeschka, and Dagobert Peche and others - pendants, broches made of gold or silver, partly gilt and richly decorated with mother-of-pearls, agate, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, and other semi-precious stones were inspired by fashion designer Emilie Floge, Gustav Klimt’s favorite. The latter collected numerous masterpieces Wiener Werkstatte jewelry in his lifetime.

What makes the Wiener Werkstatte jewelry differ from the other pieces is the combination of refinement and avant-garde colorful vividness. The exhibition offers an opportunity to enjoy the encounter of the old and new eras of the jeweler’s art. The pieces presented in the collection inspire the beauty of thoughts and feelings, and waken a desire for finesse and the joy of life.

I was particularly enchanted by Koloman Moser’s silver and mother-of-pearl belt buckle created in 1905. My grateful eyes could not stop following the graceful curves of the masterpiece.

Wiener Werkstatte jewelry collection presented in the Neue Galerie is definitely worth seeing, because although some of the models are almost a century old, they still look stylish and up-to-date, and arouse a desire for possessing them. Especially taking into consideration the fact that the jewelry rises in price as it matures, just like good wine or outstanding paintings.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Essay on Art Museum

Essay on Art Museum

The 2008 Whitney Biennial may truly be referred as the reflection of the state of American art today. The exhibitions include art projects by various talented modern designers and artist – most of them working not with a certain type of art – sculpture, drawing, painting, photography or video – but offering a mix of visual communications denoted to depict an idea, a message from the author to the rest of the world. The materials used are truly diverse from lately discovered materials to the junk and mud. With a use of light and sound, modern artists offer the visitors an insight to the world of meaningful beauty. The installations convey the meaning of the world’s order through the eyes of the artist.

Most of the world impress both with the artistic design and the creative realization. There rarely is an artwork that could not be called impressive.

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The curators of this year’s Whitney Biennial carefully selected the representatives of the modern artistic circles whose oeuvres would reflect the state of the modern American art. That is probably why the works are all unique but they all have the dynamism and sense of up-to-datedness.

The installation by Carol Bove, the Night Sky over New York offers a modern glance at the surrounding life and beauty of the place around us. The author herself calls the delicate mechanics the surrounding environments “the ambience cues”, and this phrase surely conveys the essence of her artworks. Though simple and delicate, it is always a way of depicting reality through the displays and various objects that do not restrict the imagination and the meanings, but to the contrary – offer a flesh look at the meaning of modern life.

Another artist worth mentioning is Charles Long. His works draw attention of the visitors mostly because it is a combination of sculpture, photography, forces of nature and wastes left by humans in the course of life, with the application of creative thinking and artistic view of the surrounding. The artist himself calls it the “implosion or explosion” of materials. The Poem of the River, for example, is a steel armature covered with frozen drips of plaster covering the wastes collected from the river in LA. The forces of nature, the fight of good and evil, the role of humans in the existence of the world are the eternal topics not alien to the author. The aliens he presents to the public seem to be able to tell us about the cosmic design of the being, the truth about our past, present and future.

The given approach provides space and opportunity for creative thinking and deeper exploration of the underlying messages. It is also very inspiring because everything we see, use or have is collected and becomes the basis for Charles Bove installations.
The Whitney Museum of American Art provides a unique opportunity to meet the talented artists of the modern era and enjoy the mystic ability of light, sound and various materials, including those we consider wastes to become an impressive depiction of the modern life and art as the basis of meaningful existence.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Research Paper on Economics

Research Paper on Economics

Economic Situation in USA
In accordance with astonishing official statistics of the United States of America, the country is almost facing the new economic recession in 2008. The level of unemployment rises, prices for food and energy increase, and industries and financial markets are facing hard times.

Currently the U.S. economy is in the very dangerous state, and government should be very careful, as even small shock can be crucial to pushing the economy over the safe edge. According to the Blue Chip consensus, the probability of the recession in the country is about 40%, which is very high. There are about seven main threats to the economy of the country that touch credit markets, capital spending, oil prices, exports, housing, consumer spending and taxes. Speaking about credit markets, it is necessary to pay attention to Libor rate and interest rate spreads. The spread between the Libor rate and the 3-month Treasury bill is about 75 basis points, when usually this spread is not greater then 10. The crisis can be only overcome if the spread returns to its normal state. The other big problem in the sector is short-term credits, on which big businesses rely very much.

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Capital spending are facing problems in the sectors of investments in core equipment and profits. If many companies are unable to borrow money from banks for their immediate funding needs, they have to turn to their own internal funds, and as profits significantly slowed down for many companies in 2008, they experience lack of current assets and thus unable to increase their profits. Managers are not willing to start new projects and to invest a lot, when the economy of the USA and global economies are slowing down.

Oil prices are very much interconnected with core inflation rates. What is good for the economy of the United States is that core inflation is moderate so far. But there is still the threat that inflation can push prices even at higher levels. And even though global economy was able to adjust the price for barrel oil at level of $ 80, it is still the question whether the global economy is able to develop and thrive with slow down of American economy.

A good sign for American economy is exports, which are growing due to dollar weakening. U.S. producers are taking larger market share at the global market and U.S. economy is slowing transforming from being nation-oriented and building many homes for its citizens to the country that produces tradable goods. This kind of transformation is expected to diminish the huge current account deficit. But still growth of export depends on two other variables: dollar value and growth rates in America’s trading partners.

United States situation with housing is very harsh, and even though building companies are trying to decrease their inventory of unsold homes, they are not successful enough, as sales are constantly falling along with new construction. Even official inventory statistics do not reflect real situation on the market, as it doesn’t take into consideration canceled sales.
Consumer spending is connected with employment growth, which keeps high wages. But the problem is that the job growth has decreased significantly for the last three years and the same tendency is keeping in 2008. Blue Chip consensus predicts that in 2008 the consumer spending can be the lowest for the last 17 years.

It is important to mention that federal government is very much concerned with the prospect of recession and thus has cut rates of fed funds by a full percentage point, but it might be meaningless, as people already have taken so many debts that they will not take on more.

Speaking about unemployment rate in the United States, it is important to mention that as to the March and April 2008 the level is 5.1, while in January it was 4.9 and in February, 4.8. The productivity level was 1.9 as to the December, 2007. Inflation level as the April, 18 2008 is 4.0, with the 4.1 overall forecast for the whole month. The inflation is expected to decrease up to 3.4 % in September, 2008. GDP growth (April, 18 2008) is at the level of 0.58 %.

American people are facing many taxes on the day-to-day basis. The most apparent taxes are payroll and income taxes. There are also sales and excise taxes, property and many others.

Government is trying to cope with the difficult economic situation in the country. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 was signed by the President Bush. The tax deduction of $600 per person was made to stimulate the country out of the current economic crisis. And even though President Bush is not willing to accept publicly that the United Stated are facing the recession, he will spend about $150 billion dollars (or 1% of the GDP) to struggle with the stagflation on inflation to prevent the recession. But most economists, politicians and analysts believe that Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 will not be successful enough in stimulating economy of the United States for several reasons. First, they suppose that most people will immediately spend obtained tax deductions. And the problem is that most people (according to statistical data) prefer to buy goods and merchandise that are manufactured in other countries, and thus stimulate foreign economies. The other reason is that annual budget of the United States have already borrowed a lot of money from other countries, especially from China. And therefore the propose stimulus package implies the purchase of more Chinese goods by American people. The best way to cope with the recession is the creation of new working places, and it becomes obvious that tax rebate will not create many in the country, as it is too little to encourage the start of new businesses. It could be more efficient to make the larger tax cut for new businesses or small companies for the creation of new jobs. The economy needs stimulation also because of the mortgage crunch. As tax rebate has no influence upon the monthly wages of the employees, they will continue to make their mortgage payments on the monthly basis. From one side, tax rebate is a good aid to people to pay off their rising debts, but from the other side, it is still not enough and some additional programs or financial aids will be very valuable.

As inflation, or cost of living, is rising quicker then salaries do, economy needs a great stimulation. To be more precise, salaries and jobs are decreasing. The price of gas and oil are the primary concern. And tax rebate has nothing to so with creating new jobs, as I have already mentioned in the previous paragraph, as well as with increasing salaries. It will be most likely just spent on expensive gas, instead of improving the state of U.S. economy.

And finally referring to the most important reason of the difficult economic situation of the country- it is war in Iraq. As tax rebates are planned to be made, it ill only increase country’s borrowings and hurt the economy further. It has nothing to do with the problems of war financing at all.

To my opinion to cope with crisis, the government should directly address main reasons for it and try to solve existing problems directly. The tax percentage decrease for the first time will be very efficient, as when taxes are decreasing- economy starts to rise immediately, along with rising salaries and creating new jobs.
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Essay on State Policy

Essay on State Policy

Governors’ Role in Shaping State Policy
The twenty first century is, in many respects, a very special time for American politics. The importance of political executives continued to grow as the policy implications of an expanding governmental sector affected more and more citizens. Despite the apparent setbacks of Watergate and Vietnam, the American president remains at the center of the federal government. In a similar vein, governors are the central figures in state governments.

The importance of governors has increased for two interrelated reasons. First, over the last thirty years numerous states have initiated reforms to enhance the power of the governor (Albrow, 2001). Second, states have continued to expand their role in the development and implementation of policy initiatives that affect the lives of an increasing number of citizens. As a result of these developments policymakers have seen public recognition of the governor increase as has the public’s overall image of state government. In addition, contemporary governors appear to be more qualified, innovative, and powerful (Bevir, 2006).

Evaluations of executive performance are usually based upon an activist view of government and executives. In contemporary state affairs there is a similar bias in favor of activist governors. Reforms in recent years have been aimed at increasing gubernatorial power (Spicer, 2004). Subjective evaluations or listings of such governors as Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger tend to be headed by activist governors who are described by words such as innovative, dynamic, and energetic.

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Even though this bias in favor of activist governors is likely to remain, it is important to recognize that achievement or success need not imply a positive subjective connotation in favor of governmental expansion. It is only necessary for the analyst to consider that success can involve either the expansion or contraction of either executive or state power (Bevir, 2006). For example, an evaluation of the Reagan presidency must consider the administration’s ability to reduce federal power which is action traditionally associated with “weak” presidents. While such action would traditionally be associated with “weak” presidents, reduction of federal power would have to be judged as a success because it conforms with the philosophical thrust of Reagan’s administration. As such, achievement or success of policy goals should form the basis for evaluating executives.

Even an acceptance of achievement or success as a legitimate basis for evaluation, however, does not simplify greatly our task. All governors enter office in different state cultures, institutional settings, partisan alignments, and economic settings. Most importantly, power and success are not coterminous.

A more appropriate approach to the study of gubernatorial power requires the analysis of power relationships. That is, one must not only consider a governor’s ability and willingness to utilize his or her formal power but one must also consider the powers of the other important institutional actors such as state legislatures. For example, while the formal powers of governors have generally increased over the last thirty years, so too have the powers and professionalism of state legislatures (Spicer, 2004). It simply remains unclear how these concomitant increases in formal powers in both institutions have fundamentally affected the power balance or relationship between the two institutions.

It makes little difference whether one is interested in analyzing governors, legislatures, court systems, interest groups, or other institutional actors; an examination of the formal power of any one institutional actor, without an examination of the powers of other institutional actors, can be misleading. The potential to utilize political power does not exist in a vacuum. The importance of political power must be evaluated in terms of the political power of other institutional actors attempting to affect the political phenomena of interest.

Yet a singular focus on even relative power still cannot form the basis for a fully developed understanding of gubernatorial achievement or success in policymaking because the ability and willingness to exercise gubernatorial power are simply never in a one-to-one relationship with success unless there is total and absolute disagreement between the governor and the other institutional actors in the policymaking process. A simple example can be used to illustrate this point.

Define a gubernatorial bill as a bill that is supported by the governor. Define the level of gubernatorial-legislative congruence as the percentage of all gubernatorial bills that will pass a legislature because of fundamental policy or partisan agreement between the governor and the legislature. When there is fundamental agreement, there is no need for the exercise of gubernatorial power. For simplicity, gubernatorial power can be defined as the percentage of all gubernatorial bills that will pass a legislature when there is fundamental partisan or policy disagreement between the governor and legislature. 1 If there are 100 bills on which the governor and legislature disagree and gubernatorial power is 20 percent, then 20 bills will pass because of the governor’s exercise of power (Bevir, 2006).

The legislation supported by Schwarzenegger often passes a legislature merely because a sufficient number of legislators are in fundamental agreement with the policy implications of the legislation. It seems that US policymakers often have a tendency to assume that it was the governor who used his or her influence to get the legislation passed. At the same time, such legislation may never have reached the stage of legislative action if the governor had not acted to get the item on the public agenda. But, the governor may have felt compelled to place the item on the public agenda because of political forces, many of which might be the same as those resulting in legislative support. In such a manner, Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced green foreign policy, aiming to attract attention of international environment to global warming and means of fighting it. He negotiated with authorities from other countries (for example, on May, 4 2007 he signed the Memorandum of understanding with Steve Bracks, the premier of Victoria, Australian State, upon sharing technologies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, developing international carbon trading markets, etc.) upon environmental issues and promotes investing in clean cars industry.

Jeb Bush introduced education policy, which focused upon school accountability, increased payment to teachers and introduction of vouchers, which allow children to go to private schools at the expense of the state. He established the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Foundation for Florida’s future. His most successful educational policy was A-Plus accountability program, which aimed to evaluate, reward and punish schools upon the basis of their test results. But the voucher policy was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court.

How does one evaluate the success of a governor, legislature, or any institutional actor in such a complex matrix of potential interactions? When discussing agenda setting, analyses often seem to get bogged down in what is probably a question without an answer: Who thought of the idea first? Given our current state of understanding, traditional modes of specifying gubernatorial power, success, and achievement may also be attempting to deal with a question that currently cannot be answered: Who or what is more powerful or successful? The question implies confrontation and this may seem reasonable because politics is, in a sense, about conflict. However, political cleavages and the conflict surrounding them occur in different spheres of political action. The cleavages and coalitions associated with a conflict in one political sphere may or may not be reflected in another sphere of political action.

In this sense, gubernatorial action is often undertaken in an atmosphere that is not dominated by confrontation but one dominated by linkages to political actors with similar policy orientations. This is not to suggest that political disputes do not exist in multiple spheres of political action. In the legislature, for example, there may be a number of cleavages and political disputes resulting from these cleavages. However, governors are not likely to receive support for their programs by confronting those forces in opposition to their programs in a direct power struggle. Instead, their success depends upon establishing linkages with those legislators who have similar policy orientations. It is for this reason that executives who are most successful in having their programs passed are typically those who have a majority coalition in the legislature.

The question of who or what is more powerful or successful, therefore, may simply not have a readily apparent answer that can be considered theoretically satisfying. The application of power may simply not be very useful or applicable in most policymaking situations. Of course, these may, in some sense, be critical situations. A definition of success may also be difficult to specify outside the parameters of a particular contextual situation or narrowly defined research project.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Research Paper on Wind Power

Research Paper on Wind Power

Wind power as renewable energy source
In this paper we are going to consider the issues of wind power as one of possible energy sources, namely the short history of its usage by people, possible spheres of its application, likely positive and negative if any outcomes of this energy source.

Natural resources, such as wind, sunlight, rain, geothermal heat and so on can be used as sources of renewable energy. 

Thousands of years ago people learnt, that wind can produce energy, which they can use for their goals. Already in ancient Egypt people used wind for sailing their ships on the Nile River (Bernard, 1990). Time passed and windmills appeared in Persia, later they were developed by Dutch people, adding blades with sails. In America windmills were used for grinding wheat and pumping water. In 1920s such windmills became also the source of electricity in some regions. In 1980s California became the leading state using wind energy, spreading this experience to other states as well. Nowadays, wind is mostly applied for electricity production. Wind is a renewable energy, as it blows as long as shines the sun. The only problem for wind machines is the time, when the wind is not blowing; however this problem can be sold through temporary substitution of wind power with other sources of energy.

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“In 2005, wind machines in the United States generated a total of 17.8 billion kWh per year of electricity, enough to serve more than 1.6 million households” (Bezdek, 2007). This was the result of rapid growth of wind power application since 1998. Researches showed, that America is the third country in world in wind power capacities, this is first of all due to support from the government of the wind power development programs and also due to taxation systems.

Speaking about any type of energy source, this is always important to consider the possible impact of this source upon environment. By 1990s, when the researchers proved, that changes of global climate are possible, concerns for environment caused the renewal of search for alternative sources of energy. Wind, if compared to fossil fuels, has considerable advantages, it is absolutely clean and can not cause any pollution of air or water. “Growing concern about emissions from fossil fuel generation, increased government support, and higher costs for fossil fuels (especially natural gas and coal) have helped wind power capacity in the United States grow substantially over the last 10 years” (Motavalli, 2005). The most serious problems, which can be caused by the wind energy are related to wild bird populations.

Till nowadays two major types of wind machines were in use, they are also called turbines; the difference between them lies in the position of axis – horizontal and vertical. In general wind machines are of different sizes and thus can be applied both for small houses and also for commercial purposes with the capacity of 5 million watts. Often these turbines are grouped and make wind farms. Wind farms are used as sources for electricity production; one wind farm may consist of tens of machines, placed within a huge area. “The world’s largest wind farm, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas, has 421 wind turbines that generate enough electricity to power 230,000 homes per year” (Chapman, 2003).

There are various wind power projects worked out, some aim at reducing the electricity costs, others are done in order to correspond to the “green pricing” programs. If to take an area with good wind resources, than a big wind power project might sufficiently reduce the cost of electricity in comparison to a new power plant. The output of wind power is however not always consistent, thus special utilities are used for integrating wind power with other electricity generators. In the United States the wind resource is quite sufficient, this means, that it should be theoretically enough for all electricity needs, for example one third of all needed electricity could come from North Dakota. In total 46 states have the corresponding winds for producing power. At the moment, however, only around 1% of electricity comes from wind power. The further wide development of wind power usage is quite feasible and needs only energy policy support from the government. The minimal figure, which is potentially defined for wind power is 20%; this confirms, that wind power is ready to be used as an energy source in the United States.

“The main incentive for wind, the production tax credit (PTC) is an effective policy to facilitate wind power development, as evidenced by today’s growth in the use of wind power” (Bezdek, 2007). In this case the owners of wind projects would have the chance to pay taxes only for the produced energy and can apply better technologies for each wind turbine.

It is of vital importance to create long-term policies for wind energy, as for example for oil and gas there are permanent tax codes, used since the 1920s, whereas PTC expired and was renewed five times already and is expected to expire at the end of 2008 again. As a result of this, subsidiaries for clean energy technologies are temporary and most subsidiaries for older energy are permanent (Bezdek, 2007). The benefits of wind energy introduction are evident, including domestic energy sources, considerable savings for waste clean up and reduced health.

Recently America managed to increase the capacity of wind power by 45%, which made 16.8 gigawatts in 2007. Texas and California were said to be the largest producers of wind energy. One megawatt of wind energy is equal to electricity consumption of around 250 households of the country (Bezdek, 2007). The Wind Energy Association states, that in 2008 the wind power could be enough for 4.5 million households. U.S. Department of Energy in its turn proves, that three states in America are able to provide wind power for the whole country, including offshore wind farms.

Overall, it can be concluded, that wind power is an alternative energy source for the United States under the conditions of corresponding support from government. The major advantages of the wind power are: no consumption of any natural sources and avoiding of pollution of atmosphere and worsening the so-called greenhouse effect.
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