Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stress Management Essay

Stress Management Essay

Stress is a large part of every day life. Stress is has many definitions and there are many ways to manage stress. Most stress occurs at our busiest moments; school, work and home. Those are the most common places for stress to build. Nevertheless stress is unavoidable.

How do people know that they are stressed? The body responds to stress negatively. Many biological changes take place which include but are not limited to the following: muscles tension, breathing heavily, dry mouth, sweats, tremors, dialating of pupils, response are not clear and there are many more (Wagner& Taylor). These changes can cause health problems if experienced to frequently. The body often becomes worn down making it more susceptible to becoming sick. Depending on how serious the stress, can determine the severity of its impact.

For example, an individual may have a stressful week at work, and contract a virus, and end up with a common cold. Reducing stress may help the body recover faster, and may even keep a person healthier (Palmer).


The brain, nerves, and central nervous system interpret stress in our lives. Some factors effect the way people live and determine how stress is interpreted by their immune system, and what side affects stress will have. Nourishment is important because the immune system needs enough to weaken viruses (Palmer). Exercise is vital because it can relieve tension and keep the body healthy. However moderation is the key. Heavy exercise with no break can harm the body and wear it down with similar effects as stress. Personality is an important factor because that is the trait that helps individuals cope with stress. Easy going personalities are usually able to deal with stress better.

People with this type of personality don’t let as much upset them and reason better when faced with stress. Hostile personalities usually become angry more quickly when faced with stress (Pope).

There are several side affects that occur from stress. Insomnia is another factor that stress may bring on. This occurs when a person is disrupted with thoughts and questions that drive them crazy and cause an inability to sleep. Chronic pain, headaches and backaches can be stress induced when under pressure. The muscles in these areas become tense under stress. Heart problems are the most common side affect. The pain felt in the chest is tension caused by an oxygen shortage to the heart. Heart attacks occur due to high blood pressure and can be fatal.

Some behaviors that people take part in to reduce or cope with stress may also bring on heart problems. Stress can also hurt emotionally as with depression (Russel). Depression is another side affect from stress and that is a serious disorder to deal with. Pressures of life may really get to an individual making them feel down. Some of the symptoms discussed previously may be a sign of depression resulting from stress. Symptoms of depression may include diet, sleeping problems, headaches, body aches. Individuals who are depressed should seek counseling. (Palmer).

There are several different ways to manage stress. Not every way of managing stress is right for every person, because everyone’s reaction to stress is different. There is no right or wrong answer. One way is by practicing a simple breathing exercise. They calm down an individual and help them relax. There are many different techniques for breathing that can reduce stress.

Stress counselors can recommend a certain technique for a each person. Relaxing and breathing work together. Relaxing may include doing something enjoyable, such as taking a walk, listening to music, picking up a hobby, reading or simply sitting or lying down in peace and quiet.

Moderate exercising is another way of reducing stress, but it is important to remember not to over do it. Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean running the mile. It could simply mean stretching (Pope).

Biofeedback is also a way of managing stress. This involves monitoring specific areas of the body with an electrical device that is hooked up to an area of the body. The device makes a noise, and the pitch of the sound is determined by how relaxed the individual is (Palmer).

Eating well will help for managing stress. Healthy foods keep the immune system strong, as well as limiting the amount of caffeine that is consumed daily. Caffeine speeds up the heart and metabolic rate which can add stress. Quitting smoking is also an excellent alternative to reducing stress. Cigarette smoking has a similar effect that caffeine has on the body (Pope).

Individuals that are under stress should not turn to harmful stress relievers such as smoking, drinking or unhealthy eating. These unhelpful stress management strategies may seem like they are relieving stress, but instead they are hurting the body, which leads to more stress. Problems with work, relationships, school, and life in general should be dealt with accordingly. By using healthy strategies in moderation or seeking counseling a person can determine what works best for them in dealing with stress. By identifying stress, its causes and side affects managing stress will eventually become easier.

Warning!!! All free online essays, sample essays and essay examples on Stress Management topics are plagiarized and cannot be completely used in your school, college or university education.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Research Paper on Configuration Management

Research Paper on Configuration Management

Within this research paper I will discuss why software configuration management is important. I will introduce four principals of configuration management; configuration management planning, change management, version & release management and system building. I will also cover standards within configuration management and version identification.

Lehman’s first ‘law’ draws attention to a basic property of software systems, which is they evolve or die. One reason there is software change is new requirements, improvements are thought up and old ones become obsolete, evolving technology may cause this. Lehman’s second ‘law’ points to a fundamentally important precept that, when there is software change work has to be done to preserve quality of structure, let alone improve it if need be.


Configuration management
Configuration management is the development and application of standards and procedures for managing an evolving systems product. As discussed above there is many reasons for management of systems, another reason is many different versions within one system. Different versions involve proposals for change, corrections of faults and adaptations for alternate hardware or operating systems. Configuration management keeps a track of all changes made and how these changes have been implemented into the software. Configuration management procedures define how to record and process proposed system changes, relating to system components and methods used to identify versions of system. Configuration management tools are used to store versions of system components, build systems from components supplied and track the releases of version to the customer. Configuration management is sometimes seen as a general software quality management process this could be because manager share quality management and configuration management responsibilities. I have produced a simple diagram to clearly show the root from developer to configuration management;

Configuration managers are responsible for keeping track of differences between versions, ensuring new versions are derived in a controlled way and releasing new versions to correct customers at correct time. I can here you saying why have different configurations? The answer is many reasons for different configuration;
· Different computers (dell,hp)
· Different operating systems (linux,windows)
· Different client-specific functions

Configuration management standards
Configuration management process and associated documents should be based on standards such as IEEE 828-1983, which defines standards for configuration management plans. The standard should be published in the configuration management handbook or part of the quality handbook. Many standards can be used because all include important comparable processes. Taking some models as examples, ISO 9000 and SEI’s capability maturity model, organisations must define and follow formal configuration management standards for quality certification. Waterfall model the software is delivered to configuration management team after development complete and individual components tested. The team then takes control of builds and testing of complete system. If any faults are discovered during testing, the specific component is passed back to developer for repair then passed back to configuration management when fault is fixed. This approach influenced the development of configuration management standards and these have an embedded assumption that a waterfall model of the software process will be used for system development. Some organisations have therefore developed to configuration management that supports concurrent development and system testing. This relies on very regular (daily) build if the whole system from its components:-

· Time will be set for component delivery. All new versions must be delivered even if incomplete but should provide some functionality.
· New version is built, linking all components to make complete system.
· It’s then sent for testing, developers still work on components on previous faults and functionality.
· Faults found are documented and returned. These are repaired for next version.

Advantages of using daily builds include, problems can be found that stem from component interaction early in the software creation, it encourages thorough unit testing of components. Developer are put under pressure not to ‘break the build’ which causes whole system to fail. Breaking the build refers to the developer delivering a component with errors that wont allow the whole to compile therefore the build will fail, meaning time wasted. Another pro would be less system time is spent discovering and coping with faults that should be found within unit testing. Daily builds need very stringent change management process to keep track of problems that have been discovered and repaired. It also leads to a large number of system and component versions. Good configuration management is therefore essential for this approach to work successfully.

Configuration management planning
Configuration management planning is a plan describing the standards and procedures used for the configuration management. The start point for the plan is a general set of company-wide configuration management standards and are adapted as necessary for each specific project. Configuration management plans should be organised into chapters and include:-

· Definition of entities to manage and formal scheme of identifying entities
· Person responsible for configuration management procedures and submitting controlled entities to configuration management team
· Configuration management policies for change and version management
· Tools to be used and processes to be applied when using the tools
· Definition of configuration management database which is used to record configuration information

The most important part of the plan is the definition of responsibilities- who is responsible for delivery of each document or software component to quality team and configuration management. The person responsible for document delivery is not always same person who produced it. This makes it convenient to make project manager/team leader responsible for all documents produced by the team.

Configuration management documents
Large pieces of software will have thousands of documents many being technical documents which present snap shots of ideas for further development; theses are documents subject to frequent and regular change. Other documents include memos, meeting minutes, plans and proposals etc. During the configuration management planning process, you decide exactly which items are to be controlled documents or groups of related documents are to be put under configuration control, these are know as formal documents or configuration items. Projects plans, specifications, design, programs and pre-defined test data suites are maintained as configuration items, documents necessary for future maintenance should be controlled. The document-naming scheme assigns a unique name to all documents under configuration control. If there are relationships between these documents e.g. design documents will be associated with programs, the relations can be recorded by organising the naming scheme so that related documents have common roots to their name, leading to a hierarchical naming scheme. I have produced an example of a document configuration hierarchy.

The initial part of the hierarchy would be the project name, in the project there are four separate tools with the tool name used as next part of the name. Each tool is made up of different named modules which shows two formal documents are required for each managed entity, these are code of the components and set of tests for code. Upon reading about the document-naming scheme I can see one flaw, its project based meaning not reusable for other projects.

Configuration management database
The configuration management database is used to record all relevant information relating to configurations. Database functions are to assist with assessing the impact of the system change and provide management information about configuration management process. Also defining the configuration database schema with procedures for recording and retrieving project information also defined as part of configuration management planning process. The database will provide the answers to the following queries:-

· Which customer have which version
· What hardware and o/s is required for version
· How many versions are there and when was they created
· What version relies on particular components
· Outstanding changes required on version
· How many report faults exist on version

Configuration data should be integrated with version management system. Case tools makes it possible to link changes directly with documents and components affected by change. Links between documents such as design documents and code may be maintained so that it’s relatively easy to find everything that must be modified when a change is proposed. Many companies don’t use integrated case tools for configuration management but maintain their configuration database as a separate system. The configuration items may be stored in files or in a version management system such as RCS, a well-known version management system for unix. This configuration database stores information about configuration items and references file names in the version management system. Its cheep and flexible but the disadvantages are configuration items may be changed without going through the configuration database and cant be sure configuration database is up-to-date.

Change management
Change is a fact of life for large systems. A defined change management process and associated case tool ensure changes are recorded and applied in a cost-effective way. Change management process comes into effect when associated document put under the control of the configuration management team. May be initiated during system testing or after customer delivery. The first stage of change management is CRF change request form where requests sets out change required to the system. Here is an example of a change management process:-

-complete(CRF) analyse change request if valid assess how to do change record in -database submit to control board if accepted repeat make change
-record submit to quality management until quality adequate
-create new version

As well as recording changes, CRF records recommendations regarding the change, estimate cost and dates when change was requested, approved, implemented and validated. CRF should be registered in the configuration database so configuration management team can track status.

Version management and identification
Version and release management are the processes of identifying and keeping track of different versions of the system. Version managers devise procedures to ensure versions may be retrieved when required and are not accidentally changed. They work with customer liaison staff to plan when new releases of system should be distributed. New versions should allows be created by configuration management, this makes it easier to maintain consistency in the configuration database as only the configuration management team can change version information. A system version is an instance of a system that differs from other instances. New versions may have different functionality, performance or may repair system faults. Some versions may have the same functions but are designed for different hardware of software configuration. If there is only a small difference one is called a variant of the other. A system release is a version with the intention to be distributed to the customer, each system release should either include new functionality or be intended for different hardware platform. There will be many more versions than releases because versions are created within an organisation for internal development or testing but not released to customer. Version management is always supported by case tools, which manage the store of each version and control access to components. Large pieces of software have hundreds of software components each way exist in many different versions. Version management should define unambiguous way of identifying each component version, specific versions of components may be recovered for further change. There are three basic techniques which may be used for component identification:-

· Version numbering – given unique version number
· Attribute-based identification- given name (not unique across versions) and set of attributes that differ in each version.
· Change-oriented identification

Version numbering
In version numbering the system name is joined to version number to create version id- excel 2.6. Excel is the system name and 2.6 is the unique version number. A first version could be v1.0 so the next would be v1.1, v1.2, unless it’s a release therefore it would be v2.0.Next versions on from this can be v2.1, v2.2. It’s a linear one based on the assumption that versions are created in sequence. Here is a diagram to try and make it clear.

The diagram arrows indicate from which version the new one was produced v1.2 was produced from v1.1. New versions can be produced from older version not just previous version as can be seen when v2.2 is created from v1.2. This can happen because problems in v2.0 and v2.1 have required them to revert back to their last working version. Version numbering is simple but needs good deal of associated information management to keep track of differences. Makes it hard to see which versions have which components.

Attribute based identification
Problems with explicit version naming schemes are that they don’t reflect the many different attributes that may be used to identify versions. Examples of these identifying attributes are:-

· Customers
· Development language
· Development status
· Hardware platform
· Creation date

If each version is identified by unique set of attributes, it’s easy to add new versions that are derived from any of the existing versions. Identified by attribute value, they share most values with their parent version so relationships are maintained. Versions can be retrieved by specifying attribute values, with queries such as the most recently created, range of date etc. Example:-
NJA03(lang=java, plat=nt4, date=june1982)

Attribute-based identification may be implanted directly by version management system. More commonly, however its implemented on top of a hidden version naming scheme and the configuration database maintains links between identifying attributes and underlying system and component versions.

Change oriented identifying
Attribute based of system versions remove some of the problems of version retrieval that are found with simple numbering schemes. Problem is operator needs to know attributes to retrieve and need to use change management system to get relation between version and changes. Change oriented identification is used for systems rather than components so that versions of individual components are hidden from users of the configuration management system. Change sets may be applied in sequence so that in principle at least a version of the system that incorporates any arbitrary set of changes may be created. Therefore, no explicit version identification is required. The configuration management interacts with the version management system indirectly through the change management system.

Within this report I have explained why and how configuration management is used and the processes to do so and covered version management. If you wish to find more information within this subject here are the materials I have used.

Warning!!! All free online research papers, research paper samples and example research papers on Configuration Management topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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Knowledge Management Research Paper

Research Paper on Knowledge Management

The frame of knowledge
The literature of knowledge management goes back over three thousand years. In the Western world, it began with The Instructions of Amenemopet. Written around 1,000 BC, this book was a training manual for Egyptian civil servants and a guide to wise professional practice. Fragments of this document survive in the Bible. We can still read traces of Amenemopet’s advice to young managers in the Book of Proverbs (Aitken 1968: 3; Johnson 1998: x; New Jerusalem Bible: 964-5).

Johnson identifies the wisdom literature of the Bible as intensely practical. The Hebrew word for wisdom – chokmah – “means skillfulness in dealing with the job that is before us,” writes Johnson (1998: viii), comparing it with the Greek word techne, “the rational application of principles aimed at making or doing something well.”

Many scholars contrast the wisdom embodied in techne to the wisdom embodied in sophia. The contrast is accurate in a linguistic sense. Browning (1997: 306) describes the writers of the wisdom literature as “intellectuals but not in the Greek tradition of speculative philosophers; Hebrew wisdom was exemplified in practical skills, knowledge about how to manage one’s life and about the purpose of life.”

Johnson erases this distinction. He asserts that the wisdom literature is perfect for anyone “who believes like the Greeks that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’” This person, he states, “is by nature a lover of wisdom: a philosopher” (Johnson 1998: viii).


This leads us to an issue that forms the core of knowledge management, the link between speculation and experience, theory and practice, thought and behavior. This link sustains the process of knowledge creation. The process is embedded in the two phases of a rich cycle. One phase is theorizing. Theorizing transforms tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. The second phase is behavioral adaptation. Behavior transforms explicit knowledge into physical practice.

Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) emphasize the cycle of transformation from explicit knowledge to implicit knowledge and back again. This cycle is the basis of an integrated concept of knowledge richer and more effective than a concept of knowledge based solely on theory and rational planning.

Knowledge creation requires nourishment. Behavior, practice, and experience feed knowledge along with rational cognition and theory building. Different ways of thinking and different kinds of thought shape organizational knowledge. This interplay requires a cycle that anchors new learning in the behavioral web of situated knowledge. In turn, situated knowledge forms the background to new theory.

Practice and reflection, action and theorizing on the results of action unite in effective theory-in-use. Effective theory also considers the system within which we think and act. Consequently, “knowing what” and “knowing how” increasingly involve “knowing why.” The concept of knowledge management has therefore developed a broader and more philosophical frame than most management literature in recent decades.

The earliest wisdom writings emphasize the link between theory and application. If the worthy life requires examination, it is impossible to keep the wisdom of theory – thinking – and the wisdom of practice – doing – apart. Since the Greeks, however, some Western thinkers have proposed a division between thinking and doing, knowledge and action. For Plato, the world of thought is an ideal, immortal world. Plato contrasts the world of idea and archetype to the mortal, physical world in which we live. For Plato, the world of human existence is an inferior shadow of that other, superior reality. Despite his brilliance, Plato himself failed to think through the implied lessons of his teacher, Socrates.

In Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates says that, “the superlative thing to know the explanation of everything, why it comes to be, why it perishes, why it is.” Explanation makes empirical demands. Aristotle understood this, and he was a practitioner of empirical observation. Although limited by human imperfection and available technology, Aristotle was concerned with apprehending the mortal, physical world in an attempt to explain. Aristotle, as much an empirical biologist as a speculative philosopher (Morowitz 1993: 160-163), has been ill served by the work of scholastic philosophers who concentrated on his other work to the neglect of his research and writing on the life sciences. By the middle ages, Aristotle was the hostage of empty scholasticism. Ignorance of the central role that biology and philosophy of science held in Aristotle’s Academy continues to this day.

But something was missing, even in the Academy. Of the “three great conceptual approaches to science – observation, experimentation, and theory – experimentation was unknown to the classical Greek savants. They worked back and forth between observation and theory and therefore lacked the powerful weapon of falsification to prune wrong theories” (Morowitz 1993: 161-2). Plato’s science stood on one leg, Aristotle’s on two. It was not until the great age of physics that Galileo, Newton and Bacon developed the concept of robust experiment that made scientific progress by stabilizing scientific method with its third leg.

No philosophical debate is ever settled swiftly. Some debates rage and smolder and rage again across the ages. The debates on theory and practice, idealism and realism, thinking and action are no exception. Even so, it seems fairly well resolved that learning precedes knowledge. To create knowledge, we must learn.

Individual learning and organizational learning
Although the process of learning and the nature of knowledge are not completely understood, there is wide agreement that knowledge creation requires experience. Kolb’s (1984: 38) definition of learning as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” offers a useful perspective.

Any kind of experience may, in principle, be transformed into knowledge. Kolb emphasizes the relationship between experience and knowledge as a dynamic process of continuous reproduction and regeneration. It contradicts the static model of learning as acquiring knowledge external to and independent of the learner. Information and facts are external to and independent of the learner. Knowledge inheres in human beings and the specific form of knowledge is often contingent on the learning process.

Because knowledge is human, developing knowledge requires thinking and practice, mind and body both. Mindless recording will not transform experience into knowledge. Learning requires human agency, a concept synonymous with Heidegger’s concept of care, the human tendency for each person to care about his own existence (Heidegger 1993: 238). For Heidegger, both practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge express of human care in an intimate relationship between action and knowledge.

Human knowledge is not only the product of past experience, but the product of anticipating the future. Knowing things involves feedforward as well as feedback, anticipating how things may be used, manipulated or acted on in the future. As children, politicians and scientists all discover, anticipatory knowledge – prediction – is not always accurate. It is part of the knowledge cycle nonetheless.

Kolb’s definition of learning fits together with Heidegger’s concept of care to suggest a model of individual learning that shifts the focus of learning from the adaptation of external behavior to the internal process of knowledge creation. The model outlines the ways in which human beings monitor and control knowledge through three human capacities. These capacities are 1) the ability to act, 2) the ability to apprehend action and the environment within which action takes place, 3) critical comprehension.

Kolb (1984: 107) writes that, “Comprehension ... guides our choices of experience and directs our attention to those aspects of apprehended experience to be considered relevant. Comprehension is more than a secondary process of representing selected aspects of apprehended reality. The process of critical comprehension is capable of selecting and reshaping apprehended experience in ways that are more powerful and profound. The power of comprehension has led to the discovery of ever new ways of seeing the world, the very connection between mind and physical reality.” Critical comprehension is the pivotal force in learning.

Learning through critical comprehension
This process integrates experience into knowledge through cycles of action and feedback. Knowledge, in turn, supports the human capacity to understand present situations and shape future action. Experience is transformed into knowledge in several ways. One is reflection on the past. The other is the strategic judgment that human agents make as they design the future. These judgments link human beings to the environment by projecting future possibilities in a complex network of cause and effect. Things are understood through their perceived positions in these networks.

Generalized knowledge
The interaction between experience, anticipation, critical comprehension and knowledge is only part of the story. Situated knowledge also relies on generalized knowledge distinct from – and abstracted from – immediate situations and intentions.

Generalized knowledge guides perception and thus it guides action. It is common knowledge shared among groups of actors. Community among actors depends, in part, on shared common knowledge and the shared nature of general knowledge implies a social process. This social process plays a major role in knowledge creation. While individual actors also create generalized knowledge, every creator of new knowledge builds in part on what has come before. Even the greatest individual creators see farther because they stand, as Newton famously put it, “on the shoulders of giants.” Even individual knowledge creation is thus a social process.

Two more aspects of human agency drive knowledge creation, habit and tacit knowledge. Garfinkel’s (1967) experiments demonstrate that a general store of knowledge is essential even to the most mundane activity. This general store of knowledge depends on many factors. These include habituation, tacit knowledge and the larger social stock of generalized knowledge, together with learning based on experience, anticipation, and critical comprehension.

One fascinating aspect of habitualization is the fact that it plays a role in many different theories of knowledge creation. Berger and Luckman (1971: 70-71) write that, “All human activity is subject to habitualization. Any action that is repeated frequently becomes cast into a pattern, which can then be reproduced with an economy of effort and which ipso facto, is apprehended by its performer as that pattern ... In terms of the meanings bestowed by man upon his activity, habitualization makes it unnecessary for each situation to be defined anew, step by step. A large variety of situations may be subsumed under its predefinitions.”

Habitualization need not prohibit critical comprehension. The two processes work together in dialectical relationship. They are distinct yet related dimensions of learning that depend intimately on each other. One form of habitualization results from repeated acts of critical comprehension that transform experience into knowledge. Critical comprehension depends on a generalized store of knowledge generated by habitualization. The knowledge spiral describes the relationships between these aspects of knowledge.

The knowledge management framework posits knowledge creation as a spiral moving through epistemological and ontological dimensions (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995: 70-73). The epistemological dimension can be portrayed as a spectrum running from explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge. The ontological dimension describes levels of knowledge moving from individual knowledge through group knowledge, organizational knowledge and inter-organizational knowledge. Human beings shift knowledge from one frame to another. As they do so, they embrace knowledge, enlarging it, internalizing it, transmitting it, shifting it, recontextualizing and transforming it. Humans create new knowledge by acting on and working with knowledge. Knowledge creation requires social context and individual contribution.

Dimensions of learning
Intentional human action is sometimes treated as the only influence on social process. While we know that that is not so, the theories-in-use that shape our behavior often rely on purposeful, rational action to the exclusion of other forces.

The world of rational intention described by Weber’s bureaucracy (1969), Fayol’s hierarchy (1949), or Taylor’s scientific management (1947) doesn’t mirror the rich, developmental quality of human enterprise. These models fail to account for knowledge creation. Despite the acknowledged need for innovation and engagement, we often rely on purely rational, models of organizational development. Rational, technocratic models of organization that neglect the existential role of care and agency in human behavior make knowledge creation difficult. In mistakenly rationalizing emotional factors out of human behavior, bureaucracy tends to kill the innovation and resourcefulness on which human enterprise depends. Evolution has not designed human beings to work as the cogs of a grand machine. The Modern Times visualized in Chaplin’s classic film suggest the emotional tone of a world void of human agency and the existential caring on which knowledge creation depends. The endpoint of technocratic, scientific management is the gray, bureaucratic world of Whyte’s (1956) Organization Man.

A robust understanding of knowledge and knowledge creation embraces many issues. In addition to generative innovation, purposeful design and conscious adaptation, knowledge creation demands response to environmental change. Behavioral adaptation and the evolutionary feedback of complex adaptive systems is a central force in social process. Evolution, and therefore chance, play powerful roles in learning and innovation. Evolutionary chance involves the element of response to random influence comparable to genetic change in the process of random selection. Biological mutations occur at random under the influence of limited entropy when radiation or other environmental influences affect genetic structure. Shannon and Weaver’s information theory would describe this as a disturbance in the signal for the genetic code. While this is always a form of signal degeneration, however, some genetic deformations create viable new options for survival and growth. When a new genetic development finds an appropriate ecological niche, it survives to become an evolutionary development. Knowledge often works this way. So do many complex adaptive systems.

The process has parallels in human culture and society. New signals change social context, paradigms and world-views. These signals may be purposeful, or they may begin in an unplanned way. They may be the result of signal interference to messages in transmission. They may result from sudden insight. There are many possibilities. When change and chance are embodied in new form, they cease to be random and become evolutionary. Chance is closely allied to experimentation. Feedback from purposeful change, experiment, and chance all contribute to a dialectical progression that spirals upward from tacit knowledge to explicit and back again, crossing levels of learning as the spiral grows. This process closely parallels the growth of scientific knowledge.

Before examining the process of social learning in greater depth, we will develop a model of learning that accounts for both critical comprehension and habitualization as aspects of learning. In doing so, we are aware that habitualization is not always seen as a learning process. This perspective violates the notion of learning as conscious effort by the learner, particularly in models that see learning as the acquisition of external knowledge. Rather than being framed as part of the knowledge creation process, habit is often associated with stagnation and the absence of learning. This can certainly be the case, but it is also clear that comprehending things anew at each encounter is impossible. Habit is as important to human understanding as critical comprehension. The teachers of skills in activities from sports and music to mathematics and surgery are aware of this. The essential learning issue in habit is selecting, developing and rooting habits that serve us. This, too, is why examining patterns and habits is one aspect of learning.

Several models of learning involve the twinned process of building new frames of habit while examining current patterns of behavior and belief. These include Schön’s (1983) concept of reflective practice, Argyris’s (1977) concept of double-loop learning, and what Senge (1990) terms generative learning. As we learn to do things and know things, we also reflect on the frame of knowledge itself. Systematic knowledge of what we know must incorporate knowledge of how we know and embrace the value-laden considerations of why we know and why we act.

Incorporating habitualization into a model of individual learning offers a richer perspective than earlier models. (Figure 2) While this model fails to distinguish between the modes of explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge respectively associated with special and general knowledge, it is a useful simplification.

Individual learning
The model represents the interaction between two dimensions of two aspects of learning. First, it represents the processual and ephemeral dimension of time in contrast to the enduring dimension of time. Second, it represents the special and situated dimension of knowledge in contrast to the general dimension of knowledge. We will next discuss a third aspect of learning, existence in space. This aspect of learning distinguishes between the individual and social dimensions of learning.

Individual learning and social formation
Systems theory explains action as a function of social structure. Mainstream theories of organizational learning locate individual learning within organizational entities. In contrast, we view individual learning as one of the processes that transform collective interaction and mutual experience into an aligned and interconnected collective fabric. This social fabric exists over and above the individual. It is an enduring fabric that may be described in terms of Giddens’s (1979) concepts of system and structure.

Giddens’s concepts of system and structure correspond to the situated and generalized dimensions of individual knowledge. Giddens (1979: 66) defines social systems as “reproduced relations between actors or collectivities.” These are sustained patterns of relationships created by actors with mutual, situated knowledge about each other and their environment. These patterns are produced and reproduced through processes of social positioning (Giddens 1984: 83-92). Individuals align themselves through this process and negotiate critically comprehended experience into networks of mutually acknowledged relations. These relations enmesh individuals in integrated networks of opportunity and obligation. Being mutually acknowledged, they assume a supraindividual quality. In other words, no individual is fully able to define his or her own position within the system.

Giddens categorizes social structure as rules and resources representing generalized knowledge shared among individuals. The social system defines an idiosyncratic social position for each individual. The social structure represents shared stores of knowledge that permit mutually understood, regularized conduct among individuals. Like generalized knowledge, social structure is implicit in social practice. It is generated through social routinization and regionalization in time and space. First, it denotes the creation of socially aligned individual practices. Second, it demarcates their confinement to specific sectors of time and space (Giddens 1984: 60-64; Giddens 1984: chapter 3). The social processes of groups resemble the individual processes that are their counterparts. Routinization and regionalization result from repeated processes of systemic positioning. At the same time social positioning requires the mutual understanding implicit in routinized and regionalized social practices.

We may summarize these concepts by locating them within the dimensions of three aspects of learning. These are (1) the ephemeral versus the enduring dimensions of existence in time, (2) the situated versus the generalized dimensions of knowledge which conform to Giddens’s distinction between the syntagmatic and the paradigmatic and (3) existence in space, the distinction between the individual and collective dimensions of learning.

Three aspects of learning
In much the same way that individual action and experience are grounded in the specific capacities of human body and mind, social interaction and mutual experience are grounded in integration. Giddens defines integration as “reciprocity of practices between actors” in “circumstances of co-presence” (social integration) or “across extended time-space, outside conditions of co-presence” (system integration) (1984: 376-377).

Unlike the human mind and body, this reciprocity has no organic quality. First, it rests on physical co-presence, possibly mediated. Second, it requires the existence of mutual understandings implicit in a social structure. Third, it demands the network of active social relations that exist in social systems. These three factors configure individual action and experience into mutual interaction and experience. They lead to the alignment and negotiation of individual strategic judgment and practices into collective processes of social positioning, social routinization and social regionalization.

This suggests the comprehensive model (Figure 4) on which we build to develop a concept of organizational learning.

The relationship between individual and social knowledge
From information to knowledge
Daniel Bell’s 1967 book on post-industrial society developed two main themes. First, he argued that that the character of knowledge was undergoing significant transformation. Second, he believed that a professional knowledge elite was emerging to manage the new knowledge. Moving from an era of empirical knowledge and practical expertise to an era of theoretical knowledge and technical expertise means that industrial output depends on knowledge-based solutions to an increasingly greater degree. At the same time, we are moving from definitive production concepts to sensitizing production concepts. Developing and using these concepts requires what Bell labeled the professional knowledge elite.

This transformation might itself be described as a knowledge-based process:

The knowledge-based company
This pattern describes a process leading from intellectualized work to competence embodied in social change. In the 1990s, we are seeing the first major wave of a social transformation that will change our perception of how people work. These will eventually change the way that work is organized.

This can be illustrated as a transformation from knowing what to knowing how. This transformation finally leads to the process-oriented change in organizational learning described in Senge’s Fifth Discipline and Zuboff’s In the Age of the Smart Machine. We can visualize the transformation this way:

The dynamic use of technology as a learning tool
Learning and Knowledge
This reorganization is part of a trend that moves from an emphasis on transforming material resources to an emphasis on transforming intellectual resources (Ginman 1987). This is not entirely new. To the contrary, the first great classic of economics emphasized the application of intellect to human resources as an essential factor in material production. Adam Smith’s (1986: 109-117) famous example of the pin factory emphasizes the power of intellect applied to structuring the flow of labor. Smith’s era and the era of industrial revolution that followed placed his concerns in a resolutely material context. In today’s perspective, however, it is possible to see in Smith’s work some of the arguments that emerge again in the discussion of structural capital.

If knowledge management is a relatively new framework, it has been emerging for several decades. W. Edwards Deming’s (1986; 1993) work in Japanese industry after World War 2 reflect an early version of principles now seen in the literature of knowledge management and organizational learning. Deming (1993: 96) called for a profound knowledge comprised of “four parts, all related to each other: appreciation for a system; knowledge about variation; theory of knowledge; psychology” (Deming 1993: 96). The concept of profound knowledge establishes a toolbox for broad understanding linked to predictable results.

Nearly 3,000 years separate Amenemopet’s writings and Deming’s work. Five decades separate Deming’s great breakthrough in reorganizing industrial work to the reorganization of work in the post-industrial, knowledge economy. At the Norwegian School of Management Department of Knowledge Management, we are as concerned about the long waves of human development and social change as we are convinced of the need for rapid innovation and swift response to the fluctuating currents of change. Both needs are reflected in the dialectical knowledge spiral that links action to thought and practice to reflection. Theory and behavior both form the substance of good management practice, a fact as true in Amenemopet’s time as in our own.

A mere millenium after Amenemopet launched the tradition of wisdom literature, the gospelist John reflected on the relationship between thought and action. His prologue (John 1:1) reminds us that “in the beginning was the Word.” The word was identified with sophia, wisdom (Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 7:22). The word, the idea – knowledge – came before creation, that ultimate act of feedforward. But creativity, generative innovation demands more than idea alone. It requires action, and only in the act of creation did the word find meaning. For the gospelist, it is only when the word becomes flesh (john 1:14) through human action that existential care is born.

We cite the Bible not to persuade but to link a rich stream of contemporary management thought to the long lines of human care. Every person must reach his or her own conclusion on the nature of divine wisdom. Human wisdom, whatever form it takes, requires existential care.

Knowledge management and organizational learning clearly involve the search for technical excellence and productivity. But the difference between the knowledge management perspective and technocratic perspectives involves the question of existential care. Caring as instrumental behavior does not give rise to organizational learning in the best sense. True learning begins with caring as agency.

The authors represented here reflect on many different aspects of knowledge, information and agency. Each has his or her own perspective. In introducing the Norwegian School of Management Research Annual, we wanted to raise a broad series of philosophical questions. We also want to share with you an important idea. Work is one of the most important arenas of human activity. We spend nearly half our waking hours at work or involved in work. Work is a source of human identity and human action, individual pride and livelihood. Work is far too important a part of human experience to be considered only in the light of social technology. It is an arena for wisdom. Life must be examined to be worth living, and this examination must also frame our working life. In examining work through the perspective of knowledge management, we frame questions and issues on a grand and important forum of human experience.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Land Management Essay

Land Management Essay

Part One: Wapusk National Park
Wapusk National Park, located near Churchill Manitoba has been a designated park since April 24, 1996. ‘Wapusk’ is the Cree term for “white bear”. This national park became the 37th of the presently 41 national parks in Canada. Wapusk National Park is home to the largest polar bear denning area on earth. During peak season, up to 1,200 polar bears may occupy the park at one time. Polar bears consume large amounts of seals. More specifically, they enjoy the ringed seal and the bearded seal. For this reason, Polar bears spend much time on the coast. Furthermore, other arctic predators share the land with the polar bears such as the lynx, wolverine, as well as arctic and red fox. During the summer months the higher temperatures bring more southerly animals to the park such as migratory birds and smaller animals since food is found in abundance and polar bears fast during this season. Polar bears fast in the winter months due to their hunting method, they find seals by searching out their breathing holes in the ice packs, in the summer the ice retreats and thus the seals are inaccessible. Wapusk is approximately 11 475km² in area and is found in the Hudson plains ecozone.


The Purposes of A National Park: A View of Wapusk
Purpose 1: To protect representative natural area that are of Canada-wide significance.
Wapusk national park meets this purpose. Wapusk protects polar bears in their natural environment and allows for the wildlife and ecosystem surrounding the animals to occur naturally. (Figure 1-2.) Wapusk is surrounded by a highly monotonous area of flat landscape, the Wapusk area has been slowly rising by approximately 8 meters per century and thus it is of significance due to its dramatic ecological changes occurring and the fact that it does not fit in with the dull level countryside. It is important to protect area that stand out in Canadian geology.

Wapusk is almost entirely made up of wetlands, bogs, lakes, fens, streams and rivers. Most arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems have a remarkably small quantity of diversity of vegetation. However, Wapusk has a notably high level of diversity of plant species since it is on the edge of the boreal forest.

Lastly, Wapusk is of Canada-wide significance and is protected because of the high amounts of wildlife, which occupy the park. Primarily this wildlife includes, polar bears, lynx, wolverines, arctic and red fox, and many different migratory birds and small mammals.

Wapusk national park achieves the purpose of protecting a natural area of Canada-wide significance because it is inhabited by the largest polar bear population in the world, it is unique in the geological changes rapidly occurring and the diversity it has from its surrounding areas, and it is home to a huge variety of plant and animal species’.

Purpose 2: To provide for public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the natural environment
Wapusk National Park has a highly fierce environment. The temperatures in the summer months can drop from 30°C to 5°C in just 20 minutes. Blizzards have been known to appear in the last week of June and as early as mid-august. During the winter months the temperatures can be as low as –45°C, however with wind chill the temperature can achieve roughly –80°C. These weather patterns are cause to deter most visitors from experiencing the land of the white bear. Also, most areas of the park are very difficult to access due to the tundra, permafrost, and other natural barriers. However, five tour companies are authorized to provide for tourists. Because of the difficulty of access to Wapusk national park, tourism rates are substantially lower than many other national parks of similar caliber. When one does choose to visit Wapusk there is a detailed list of precautions, which must be taken to ensure safe tripping. It is highly recommended that an accredited tour guide be hired. However, if one does choose to reject the hiring of a guide, they must prove their capability of being able to conduct their trip in a safe fashion.

Based on the fact that tours are permitted and that there are audio-visual presentations available, in addition to small-scale tours such as short hikes in the safest areas of the park, it can be said that Wapusk national park meets the criteria of for understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the area.

Purpose 3: To maintain the parks in an unimpaired state for future generations
Wapusk national park is a very simple park in which to achieve this criterion. Due to the climate and the extensive permafrost and tundra, in addition to the high level of arctic predator population there is very little demand to bring in large tour groups or to build extensive infrastructures throughout. Wapusk has minimal building and development and for the most part is run by the animals and therefore it is mostly unimpaired and should be able to be maintained for future generations.

Furthermore, Wapusk is the core of a larger protected area, since the provincially managed Cape Churchill, and Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Areas surround it. This core and buffer zone setup ensures that the ecological integrity of this section of the Hudson James Lowlands for the future.

Land Use Conflicts and Reasons for Degradation
As previously explained in regards to the environment in Wapusk national park, the climate is fierce and it is very difficult to get tours into Wapusk let alone building any infrastructures and such and thus there is no demand to build highways or other such developments through the park. However, there is a demand to conduct mining and other use of the land however due to the status of the area as a protected national park this is illegal. Therefore land us conflicts are an open and shut case with no need for debating as there are no requests to build hotels or other such building through the polar bears dens!

The land degradation occurring in Wapusk national park is primarily due to the natural occurrences of the earth. Degradation such as the tundra melting due to global warming has caused the polar bears to move their habitat more southerly and abandon defrosted regions, which wears away at the earth deeming it useless in some respects. Besides the natural wearing away with tundra and earth movements there is very little earth degradation in Wapusk national park.

Part Two: Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is located near the southern boarder of Kenya (Figure 2-1). The highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, can be seen from almost anywhere in the park. Amboseli has very diverse wildlife habits, including the seasonal Lake Amboseli, sulfur springs surrounded by swamps and marshes, open planes, woodlands, and lava rock thorn bush.

Amboseli is an important area for both natural life and the culture of the Maasai indigenous people. The Amboseli region is home to many unique species of animals, including lions, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, rhino, baboons, about 425 different species of birds, and is also known for it’s great elephant herds and the best chance for spotting black rhinos. The Maasai people have lived in the region of Amboseli for over 400 years.

History of Amboseli National Park
The beginnings of Amboseli National Park were established in 1906, as the Amboseli Game Reserve. This model of land conservation allowed the Maasai to use the area, and its goal was to protect wildlife from being depleted through hunting. The policy of the park was not to interfere with indigenous people or legitimate human development, and it managed to maintain a balance between the Maasai and wildlife until 1945, when the national park model was introduced.

In 1948, a traditional conservation approach was implemented, and the Amboseli Game Reserve became the Amboseli National Reserve. Following this, in the 1960’s and 70’s, the Maasai were placed in a difficult situation finding grazing land for their cattle, and problems with the pH level in the water of Lake Amboseli and swamps. This pushed the Kenyan government to give Amboseli complete national park status, and Amboseli National Park was created in 1977, leaving the Maasai to live on the boarders of the park.

The Purposes of a National Park: A View of Amboseli
Purpose 1: To provide representative natural areas that are of nation-wide significance.
Amboseli National Park certainly fulfils this purpose. The land within the boundaries of Amboseli is exceptionally diverse, and is home to 5 distinct habitats for animals. The animals themselves are of nation-wide significance, and the park was created for the protection of these animals. Many animals unique to Kenya live in Amboseli live in Kenya, like the elephant. As well, Amboseli is currently the best place to go to attempt to find the black rhinoceros.

Additionally, the land is also of national importance as it is extremely culturally important to the Maasai people.

Purpose 2: To provide for public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the natural environment.
Amboseli offers many different opportunities to learn about and experience Maasai culture. (Figure 2-2) A traveler going through Amboseli can see Maasai enkang, or manyatta (traditional housing) and speak to Maasai and learn about their cultures.
As well, in the park one can participate in the Elephant Research Project, where researchers give lectures.

Purpose 3: To maintain the parks in an unimpaired state for future generations.
The Amboseli National Park, so far, has done a fairly adiquate job of trying to keep the park in an unimpaired state. Much good has been done to help the ecosystem, for example, elephant and rhino numbers are rising because of reduced hunting, and zebra and wildebeest populations have risen because they have less competition with the Maasai domestic stock. Additionally, wildlife populations are moving in much more natural patterns.

While the park has done a good job in keeping the animal populations increasing, tourists are impairing the ecosystem itself. The park especially, harms the Maasai people. Exploitation of local tour guides, illegal photographs, the introduction of dangerous drugs, and other cultural violations all eventually lead to harming of the Maasai culture and way of life.

Land Use Conflicts and Causes of Degredation
A few of the land use conflicts that arise in Amboseli National Park revolve around water, Maasai rights, and effects of tourists on the ecosystem.

The Amboseli region is often very dry, and water is a limited resource. 80% of the park’s water sources are found near the centre of the park, and there is just enough water for both elephants (amoung other animals) and humans to co-exist. Maasai women and children have to walk 10-15 kilometers to find fresh water in the park, and this increased human presence in the park, coupled with human-elephant-livestock convergence at the watering points, creates tremendous tension resulting in occasional deadly conflicts as elephants have attacked when extremly thirsty. In addition, bring additional tourists to an already water-strained ecosystem can only lead to further land degridation.

Another land conflict issue arrises between the Maasai and the park. The Maasai lifestyle is dependant on their herds of cattle, sheep, and goats, and traditionally follows the same patterns as area wildlife. When the park was created, the Maasai were no longer allowed to use the land for their herds to graise. After an attempt to develop a 600 square kilometer Maasai Park failed, many Maasai returned to herding illegal in the national park.

A third land conflict is the impact of tourists on the park. As previously mentioned, the tourists themselves have had negative effects on the Maasai people. As well, because of its exceptionally dry climate, Amboseli has sufered more than any other park in terms of damage done by minibuses. For a good part of the year, Amboseli is basically a dust bowl, and quite often the minibuses or jeeps stray from the tracks and harm wildlife off the road.

Part 3: Compairing the Two
Can a popular national park fulfill all 3 purposes of a national park?
In short, no. A popular national park cannot possibly obtain all three purposes of a national park to a reasonable extent due to the following equations:
Providing understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment to the public for a popular national park = extensive use of land.

Extensive use of land = degradation of land and demand for infrastructure.
Degradation of land and demand for infrastructure ≠ an unimpaired state of the park for future generations.

Degradation of land and demand for infrastructure ≠ protection of land of Canada-wide significance.

As shown above, there is not possible way to co-ordinate the different purposes to the extent that popular national parks attempt to do. One becomes trapped in the loop and is unable to meet all objectives because of the high demands placed on a popular park.

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Essay on Crisis Management

Essay on Crisis Management

This particular section will assess the role of Shell’s PR practitioner as a crisis manager. In the first part, we will consider the perception of this aspect at SML, how it is dealt with and then we will use the 3Ps: Prevention, Preparation and Provision as benchmarks for assessment purposes.

The Institute of Crisis Management (ICM) defines a crisis as a “significant business disruption, which stimulates extensive news media coverage.” (

At SML, though, depending on the level of risk involved and the probability of occurrence (i.e., time scale), two different appellations have been given to such probable calamities. In fact, the ‘crisis management’ and ‘issue management’ concepts used at SML are just different words which bear the same meaning as Jefkins’ (1998) 2 kinds of possible crisis namely, ‘unlikely’ and ‘likely’ respectively.


Thus, at SML, ‘crisis management’, as they understand it, is a rather broad and vague concept, which relates mainly to unlikely (but not impossible events). What they do cater for is the concept of ‘issues management’. According to Mrs Teeroovengadum, this appellation describes more likely crisis, which have a high risk of occurrence. Hence, at Shell, they consider this concept as being more focussed. However, as Ashcroft (1997) stated: “ Issues management is the latest American import, which, as yet, has rather a rather blurred division from crisis management. There are many similarities… an issue can develop into a major crisis”.

Whatever be the appellation, SML, does consider these probabilities. As a matter of fact, at SML, they have a crisis plan as to how to deal with any crisis situation or any major issue that may crop up. This is fully supported by Ashcroft (1997) who claimed that “an organisation’s reputation is as important as any other corporate asset, and many organisations have some kind of crisis plan intended to protect that reputation should something go wrong.” In addition, at SML, this plan is not rigid. Rather, it is reviewed each year to cater for unexpected changes. At SML, a crisis team has devised this particular crisis plan, which focuses more on issues management. The team comprises such people as the MD, the Brand and Communications Manager from the Department of Public Affairs and managers. Furthermore, all team members know specifically what their roles should be in such situations. In fact, each department has a plan, as to how to deal with a crisis situation, which is fully aligned and integrated with the overall crisis plan.

At SML, quite interestingly, not all cases related to the oil industry have direct repercussions for the Mauritius branch. For instance, major oil spills happening will not have so much impact on the local company, though publics may ask certain questions. Even, if a major international affair occurs in Mauritius, this becomes a Group issue, i.e., it concerns the whole of Shell Group and so, it is the Public relations practitioner at the international level, who tackles the problem.

Quite surprisingly, even the Iraq War is not a crisis, not even an issue, for SML. In fact, according to the Brands and Communication Manager, SML, is only a distributor of petrol in Mauritius. It is the government through the State Trading Corporation that imports this product, and so it is not an issue for the company.

Nevertheless examples of probable cases, as given by Mrs Teeroovengadum, that may affect SML are for instance, say, a Jet Al Lorry has an accident or there is the explosion of a gas cylinder while moving from depot to the airport. If ever, such likely issues are to occur in reality, well, SML is prepared to face the ordeal. In this connection, they have set down plans on how people should deal with it, i.e., who to contact and what to do.

Before the assessment part, let us consider one latest case considered under the issues management concept, rather than as a crisis management situation – the Leaded/Unleaded petrol issue.

The Leaded/Unleaded Petrol Issue
Regarding this issue, by virtue of its sense of social responsibility, there was a deliberate attempt on the part of SML, to launch a sensitisation campaign to inform its stakeholders, and this was done in collaboration with other oil companies and the Ministry Of Environment. In this connection, brochures (See Appendix…) were published on ‘ Frequently Asked Questions’. Also, to cater for other publics that might have missed the information campaign, they decided to train gas stations’ managers and pump attendants to respond to queries from clients. In this context, workshops were organised by Mr Gino Finette, Training & Marketing Manager and the main aim was to make the managers and attendants “ULG” Champions” (See ULG Champion Assessment).

Assessment Of The PR practitioner role as Crisis or Issue Manager
Based on what has been discussed, we can see that the 3Ps of crisis management namely Prevention, Preparation and Provision can be applied, to a certain extent to SML.

The prevention procedure should be based on trying to anticipate what could go wrong. This is in line with the classic crisis management-adopting a “better safe than sorry” policy. Also, “…the thinking is to avert, rather than deal with, disaster by looking for issues that might arise over a set period – an issue audit.”(Ashcroft, 1997). The two lists under the appellations of crisis management (more unlikely issues) and issues management (likely cases) devised at SML, caters for this prevention aspect.

As far as preparing for crisis is concerned, seconding Jefkins (1998) idea, we would say that “it is essential that any organisation should set up a permanent crisis management team.” Like the typical crisis management team of Jefkins (1998), SML basic crisis committee does comprise the MD, the Brands and Communications Manager from the Department of Public Affairs and other departmental managers. What is a shortcoming here is perhaps, the fact that there is no regular contact by meetings or correspondence to enable review and update of the crisis plan. At SML, the latter is reviewed only once per year. For more effectiveness and efficiency, this exercise should be done more frequently.

Besides, more emphasis should be laid on communication among team members so as to be consistent and agreeable on what and how to divulge to the media, hence improving even on the ‘provision’ stage of crisis management. The latter seems to be a real pitfall at SML and this should be counteracted since “communicating effectively was now more often seen as of the same importance as putting problems right.”(IPR Journal, 1995, p.14). It should never be forgotten that “effective management of information at a time of crisis is even more vital, when damage to an organisation’s reputation or damage to established goodwill can result in severe damage to operations.” (Ashcroft, 1997)

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Research Paper on Russian Revolution

Research Paper on the Russian Revolution

Since revolutions are complex social and political upheavals, historians who write about them are bound to differ on the most basic questions--causes, revolutionary aims, impact on the society, political outcome, and even the timespan of the revolution itself. In the case of the Russian Revolution, the starting-point presents no problem: almost everyone takes it to be the "February Revolution" of 1917, which led to the abdication of Nicholas II and the formation of the Provisional Government. But when did the Russian Revolution end? Was it all over by October 1917, when the Bolsheviks took power? Or did the end of the Revolution come with the Bolsheviks' victory in the Civil War in 1920? Was Stalin's "revolution from above" part of the Russian Revolution? Or should we take the view that the Revolution continued throughout the lifetime of the Soviet state?


In his Anatomy of Revolution, Crane Brinton suggested that revolutions have a life cycle passing through phases of increasing fervor and zeal for radical transformation until they reach a climax of intensity, which is followed by the "Thermidorian" phase of disillusionment, declining revolutionary energy, and gradual moves towards the restoration of order and stability. The Russian Bolsheviks, bearing in mind the same French-Revolution model that lies at the basis of Brinton's analysis, feared a Thermidorian degeneration of their own Revolution, and half suspected that one had occurred at the end of the Civil War, when economic collapse forced them into the "strategic retreat" marked by the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921.

Yet at the end of the 1920s, Russia plunged into another upheaval--Stalin's "revolution from above," associated with the industrialization drive of the First Five-Year Plan, the collectivization of agriculture, and a "Cultural Revolution" directed primarily against the old intelligentsia--whose impact on society was greater even than that of the February and October Revolutions of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918-1920. It was only after this upheaval ended in the early 1930s that signs of a classic Thermidor can be discerned: the waning of revolutionary fervour and belligerence, new policies aimed at restoring order and stability, revival of traditional values and culture, solidification of a new political and social structure. Yet even this Thermidor was not quite the end of the revolutionary upheaval. In a final internal convulsion, even more devastating than earlier surges of revolutionary terror, the Great Purges of 1937-8 swept away many of the surviving Old Bolshevik revolutionaries, effected a wholesale turnover of personnel within the political, administrative, and military elites, and sent more than a million people (by latest counts) to their deaths or imprisonment in Gulag.

In deciding on a timespan for the Russian Revolution, the first issue is the nature of the "strategic retreat" of NEP in the 1920s. Was it the end of the Revolution, or conceived as such? Although the Bolsheviks' avowed intention in 1921 was to use this interlude to gather strength for a later renewal of the revolutionary assault, there was always the possibility that intentions would change as revolutionary passions subsided. Some scholars think that in the last years of his life, Lenin (who died in 1924) came to believe that for Russia future progress towards socialism could only be achieved gradually, with the raising of the cultural level of the population.

Nevertheless, Russian society remained highly volatile and unstable during the NEP period, and the party's mood remained aggressive and revolutionary. The Bolsheviks feared counter-revolution, remained preoccupied with the threat from "class enemies" at home and abroad, and constantly expressed their dissatisfaction with NEP and unwillingness to accept it as the final outcome of the Revolution.

A second issue that has to be considered is the nature of Stalin's "revolution from above" that ended NEP in the late 1920s. Some historians reject the idea that there was any real continuity between Stalin's revolution and Lenin's. Others feel that Stalin's "revolution" does not deserve the name, since they believe it was not a popular uprising but something more like an assault on the society by a ruling party aiming at radical transformation. In this book, I trace lines of continuity between Lenin's revolution and Stalin's. As to the inclusion of Stalin's "revolution from above" in the Russian Revolution, this is a question on which historians may legitimately differ.

But the issue here is not whether 1917 and 1929 were alike, but whether they were part of the same process. Napoleon's revolutionary wars can be included in our general concept of the French revolution, even if we do not regard them as an embodiment of the spirit of 1789; and a similar approach seems legitimate in the case of the Russian Revolution. In common-sense terms, a revolution is coterminous with the period of upheaval and instability between the fall of an old regime and the firm consolidation of a new one. In the late 1920s, the permanent contours of Russia's new regime had yet to emerge.

The final issue of judgement is whether the Great Purges of 1937-8 should be considered a part of the Russian Revolution. Was this revolutionary terror, or was it terror of a basically different type--totalitarian terror, perhaps, meaning a terror that serves the systemic purposes of a firmly entrenched regime? In my view, neither of these two characterizations fully describes the Great Purges. They were a unique phenomenon, located right on the boundary between revolution and postrevolutionary Stalinism. This was revolutionary terror in its rhetoric, targets, and snowballing progress. But it was totalitarian terror in that it destroyed persons but not structures, and did not threaten the person of the Leader. The fact that it was state terror initiated by Stalin does not disqualify it from being part of the Russian Revolution: after all, the Jacobin Terror of 1794 can be described in similar terms. Another important similarity between the two episodes is that in both cases the primary targets for destruction were revolutionaries. For dramatic reasons alone, the story of the Russian Revolution needs the Great Purges, just as the story of the French revolution needs the Jacobin Terror.

In this book, the timespan of the Russian Revolution runs from February 1917 to the Great Purges of 1937-8. The different stages--the February and October Revolutions of 1917, the Civil War, the interlude of NEP, Stalin's "revolution from above," its "Thermidorian" aftermath, and the Great Purges--are treated as discrete episodes in a twenty-year process of revolution. By the end of that twenty years, revolutionary energy was thoroughly spent, the society was exhausted, and even the ruling Communist Party was tired of upheaval and shared the general longing for a "return to normalcy." Normalcy, to be sure, was still unattainable, for German invasion and the beginning of Soviet engagement in the Second World War came only a few years after the Great Purges. The war brought further upheaval, but not more revolution, at least as far as the pre-1939 territories of the Soviet Union were concerned. It was the beginning of a new, postrevolutionary era in Soviet history.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Research Paper on Silent Spring

Research Paper on Silent Spring

Chapter 1 - A Fable for Tomorrow
Rachel Carson begins her book Silent Spring by telling a story of a town in the heart of America. She describes the town as being very beautiful and full of life. The spring time of this town is the nicest time of the year and many people enjoy experiencing it. She starts off by describing the town as perfect as it can be, and then begins to pick away at its beauty by introducing harmful components that damage the environment. This story never really happened. Instead, it is just describes what has or will happen to the United States and the world to a much smaller scale. This book will try to explain what has silenced the spring of many towns in America.

Chapter 2 - The Obligation to Endure
This chapter begins with a very important line that I thought stood out. "The history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings." I think that this is true because as humans, in order to survive we need to take from all aspects of the environment to provide us with our essentials. Carson brings up an important aspect of our interaction between us and the environment. She states that for the most part, the way we live has been modeled by the environment. Only recently in history have we influenced and modeled the environment. It is primarily the people who have caused this to change. She states that the worst "assault" that we as humans have done to the environment is the contamination of different aspects of the environment such as the air, soil, and water with chemicals and lethal materials. The worst result of the usage of the chemicals is that once they are released upon the earth, they can not be removed. She states that the chemicals can stay in our soil and effect all different kinds of organism causing a domino effect of death. These chemicals can also pass through are waters and be evaporated into our air. They spread throughout our environment without the average person knowing what is going on. Carson also explains how earth can balance itself with harmful materials, it's just the process of life. However, she believes that people have tampered with this process and have given no time for the environment to balance itself. "Unlike the natural process of chemicals coming into the world where the earth takes millions of years to adjust to it, there is no such time for the earth to adjust to every synthetic chemical introduced into the world." Carson goes on to talk about new chemicals and what they are used for. She states that there are 500 new chemicals introduced to us each year. These chemicals are used for things in nature that seem to hinder the human race. They can include insect killers and pest killers. They can be found in almost any home, business, and farm. "These things should be called 'biocides' instead of 'insecticides' because they kill all living things, not just insects." The use of these chemicals can cause what we now call a "Flareback." This is when an animal or insect becomes immune to the power of the chemical causing a more deadly and powerful chemical to be produced. She also brings up a concern with the idea of chemicals and heritage. She believes that when the chemicals enter a human, plant, or animal, it can alter the very genes of the creature to cause change in heritage. She believes that it is are own fault that the insect problem has increased over the years. One major fact that she brings up is the plant product we have imported into our country. It is said that over 200,000 plants have been introduced into the United States that carry all sorts of insects with them. She believes that instead of spraying massive amounts of chemicals around the U.S., we should learn about the insect and their plants and try to promote a "healthy balance." This chapter is Carson's way of showing us the concern of the use of chemicals in the United States. She does not truly hate the usage of chemicals, she just believes that they are being used in the wrong way and by the wrong people. This chapter helps us see the history behind the insects and chemicals used against them.


Chapter 3 - Elixirs of Death
This chapter begins with Carson explaining how chemicals have affected many of us in one way or another. She explains how the demand for these chemicals have been increasing after certain periods for different uses. She states that most insect killing chemicals were evolved from chemical warfare testing. She explains how synthetic pesticides not only attack the surface but enter the body attack different enzymes that protect the body. This is were the idea of how chemicals can cause cancer. One chemical that Carson goes over in this chapter is arsenic. This organic chemical is used in most weed and insect killers. It is a tasteless chemical that has been used to kill humans in the past. It has been used over the past as crop killer for farmers. She states that farmers who have used this chemical have been reported to become sick and some die. Even so, it is still used in many houses around the United States and the world. She says that these organic chemicals are very dangerous, but synthetic chemicals are even more harmful. She then goes on to explain the famous chemical DDT. This chemical is based on the carbon atom (DDT is short for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloror-ethane). It was created in 1874 but was not truly used as a chemical until 1939. DDT was used during the war to help kill the lice on soldiers. It was sprayed across there bodies, and killed the lice while not getting the soldiers sick. Many believed that this chemical was not harmful to humans. When the chemical was put on the bodies, the fat cells would store it. When tested on animals, DDT would cause harm to different aspects of the animals. In some cases, a heart enzyme was destroyed along with liver cells. She explains that people have a fare amount of DDT in them through a system in which the can transfer itself. IT can spread through food chains in farms.Another set of chemicals that are explained in this chapter are chlorinated naphthalenes. These chemicals have been found in workers who make their place in electronic and agricultural fields. They are known to cause hepatitis and other forms of liver disease. They have also been know to kill humans and some forms of cattle. The three most poisonous forms of this chemical are dieldrin, aldrin, and endrin. IT was stated that the dieldrin form is almost 40 times as strong as DDT and cause people to go into convulsions. Even with the strength that it has, it is still one of the most wildly used insecticide across the world. Some who have manually used these chemicals have died. The aldrin form has also caused many problems when it has been used. It damages the liver and kidneys and can sometimes cause sterility. Of the the three, endrin is the most toxic of all. It is about five times as strong as dieldrin. Carson explains one case where a young child was severely injured by the spraying of this chemical. Another group of pesticides are organic phosphates. They were first developed in the 1930's by the German government for uses of war. These insecticides also attack the enzymes of any organism. One of these chemicals that is widely used is Parathion. It can cause death to a human in a short time but was still used across the United States at that time. In this chapter, Carson gives an explanation of the many used chemicals around the world. In some parts of the chapter, I was lost in the whole "scientific explanations" of each, but was still getting the point. She wanted people to know the harmful effects of the chemicals that are used every day.

Chapter 4 - Surface Water and Underground Seas
This chapter explains the problems with our earth's water. Carson goes on to explain that it is our most important resource to us. She explains how our waters are becoming less and less available to us. Even though water covers the majority of our earth, most of it is salt water, and more and more is becoming contaminated and polluted. This pollution comes in many ways. It comes from radioactive wastes, from nuclear explosions, from domestic waste, and from chemical sprays. We know that polluting the waters is bad, but it is more convenient to do so for us. This chapter is Carson's way of telling us how selfish we really are. In many areas, chemicals are being used just like insecticides. They are dumped in water to kill of unwanted fish, plants, and organisms. Others just find there way into the waters though the cycle of life (like though soil and rain). The chemicals that are used inland can seep though the ground and travel by streams and rivers into bigger bodies of water like lakes and oceans. She goes on to explain many areas in which massive amounts of insecticides and other chemicals have been found. She gives many examples of how in some areas there were chemicals meltdowns and areas miles away were affected. This is because of the underground system of water transferring. She also explains the spread of chemicals through different life forms in water. Her one example included Clear Lake where chemicals were used to kill gnats in the area. Soon, people of the area began to notice a certain bird beginning to die out. It was found out later that the birds were dying because they ate the fish that were in the lake. The chemical had spread from life form to life form damaging organisms not intentionally planned. She then goes on about the politics of cleaning agencies and the how they deal with problems like the one at Clear Lake.

Chapter 5 - Realms of the Soil
In this chapter, Carson explains the problems with our soil on earth. She also believes that soil is a very important part for our existence on this planet. Without soil, we would have no plants for us and other animals to eat probably not allowing use to be able to survive. She explains how soil has been created over time through the emission of acids on rocks, nothing to important. She says that the soil is constantly changing because many living things inhabit it. She also says that many new matter is added to the soil while other matter is taken away. She goes on to explain how the smallest things in the soil are the most important like bacteria, fungi, and algae. She says that these three components are very important because they create decay. This is when they break dead things down into their component minerals. Carson then begins to talk about the importance of the earthworm and how it helps keep the soil in rotation to keep it fresh. Carson uses the begging of this chapter to show the importance of all the creatures in the soil of the earth. She then begins to start talking about the dark side of pesticides and chemicals. When these pollutants are dumped into the earth, they hinder the soil to complete certain life cycles. One of these cycles she talks about is nitrification. The insecticides that are put into the soil mess up the very balance of all the living creatures that make life in it. She goes on to say that the chemicals that are put into the soil have been known to stay in the soil for up to twelve years. She uses the example of arsenic on tobacco plants to show the how the chemical stays in the soil. Even if plants that have grown in the contaminated soil are removed, the soil will stay contaminated and continue to set birth to new contaminated plants.

Chapter 6 - Earth's Green Mantle
This chapter takes a turn and talks about the green portion of the earth. Carson makes a good point by saying that plants connect with all different parts of our earth. They connect with soil, animals, plants themselves, and humans. So using chemicals on weeds and plants would mean that a lot of interactions could be harmed. One example that Carson uses to show the relationship between plants and the surrounding earth is with the sagebrush lands of the west. Cattle owners wanted to destroy all the sage with chemicals to make grassy lands instead. Along with killing the sage, other animals that have adapted the way they lived based on the amounts of sage will not be able make a living anymore and eventually die in the end. The chemicals sprayed on the sage would also kill other surrounding plants leaving more destruction. Many other areas are sprayed in the United States with multiple herbicides that kill targeted plants. Carson goes into detail about roadside destruction of beautiful plants by herbicides. She also talks about how a normal plant has been dubbed the name "weed" because chemical companies want to sell their product no matter what the plant. These companies use the herbicides 2,4D, 2,4,and 5-T. These herbicides are considered safe, but they have been known to cause severe neuritis and even paralysis in people using them. They also have been shown to damage chromosomes. When eaten, these contaminated plants have also know to cause metabolic problems in animals and livestock. She also talks about how the chemicals when sprayed on that plants damage the soil when released into the ground by the plant. While seeming like nothing is happening on the outside, herbicides can cause damage to the surrounding earth.

Chapter 7 - Needless Havoc
In this chapter, Carson tries to tell the reader that true loses that insecticides bring upon earth and life itself. This chapter helps sort two different stories of the truths of insecticides. Each story is by two different types of groups: those who are against the usage of chemicals (biologists and scientists) and those who agent the companies that use the chemicals. The conservationists the chemicals have caused severe damage and things will only get worse if nothing is done. They say that animal and plant life have been been subject to many lethal obstacles. On the other hand, the companies that run the chemicals say that their product only does what it says it does: kill the target that it says it will kill. Carson goes on to say what happens when a certain area is hit or sprayed. When this happens, all the life will most likely become infected by the chemical that is sprayed. She uses the example of the Japanese Beetle in Michigan. Almost 30,000 acres were to be sprayed with the chemical Aldrin that I mentioned earlier. Aldrin was used because it was the strongest and cheapest. The plan went on and pellets of the chemical fell on people, animals, houses, and crops. For the most part, life went on with no problems. Then days later, many birds and other animals began to die suddenly while others became suddenly sick. Then people started to become sick and the city just told them that the symptoms were from something else. This "covering up" of the truth also happened in many other cities including Sheldon, Illinois and other towns of Illinois. This chapter allows Carson to show her readers that insecticide companies should not always be listened to for what they want to do might not be what is expected.

Chapter 8 - And No Birds Sing
Hence the name of the chapter, this part of the book deals with the relationship between birds and the chemicals I have been talking about. Carson begins by stating the fact that more and more birds are disappearing throughout the United States. During the time of this book, she talks about how many complaints from different parts of the country were starting to be developed. In such states as Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, people were reporting the drop in the number of bird sightings in places where they usually were seen. The disappearance of the birds have been licked back to usage of insecticides again. IN some areas, disease carried by bugs were eating away at different types of trees. In order to stop the spread of the disease, insecticides were sprayed among the infected areas to kill the bugs. The birds would then eat the contaminated bugs and therefore become contaminated themselves and eventually die. Another case included the usage of the chemical DDT, once again. When certain trees were sprayed with this chemical, the leaves of the trees would become contaminated. When they eventually fell in the fall, earthworms would eat them. Then, not only would birds eat the worms, but also small animals such as raccoons and hawks. This creates a problem in the circle of life as Carson explained. Since the chemicals were killing of the birds, the birds could no longer eat away bugs that were harmful to us (not directly to us, but things like eating away are gardens and trees). Since the trees of the community seemed to be the biggest part or contributor to the spraying of insecticides (because they hold the bugs that need to be killed), Carson believed that an easy solution to stop the spreading of bugs was to not plant the same tree in massive amounts. If only a certain bug can eat a certain tree, then only those trees can be affected. If more of a variety of trees were planted then the bugs could not migrate from tree to tree and increase there population. In this chapter, she tries to show the reader, seeming small, the birds can play an important part with the environment and therefore should be protected from insecticides.

Chapter 9 - Rivers of Death
Carson begins this chapter by explaining the paths that salmon fish take every year to return to their place of birth. She starts by using the example from Miriamichi River were salmon return every year to lay eggs. Carson explains it to be one of the most finest streams for salmon in North America. She states that the new-born salmon eat the insects that inhabit the water of the River. This river was also home to an insect called the bud worm. This worm was becoming increasingly populated during that time and the Canadian Government wanted to get rid of it. To do so, they sprayed DDT on thousands of acres of land to attempt to kill it off. Along with the acres of land being sprayed, so were the rivers. It was severely damaged killing of many insects and many fish. The DDT killed the insects of the river and therefore leaving thousands of fish without food. The whole environment of the river had been altered from plant life to animal life. However, the bud worm's population increased making it a total failure. This example shows that dangers of spraying rivers because it can cause a chain reaction of destruction to occur. Other examples were giving in this chapter of similar occurrences. Carson goes on to explain that the chemicals used in these sprayings, scientists don't really know what the future will hold. They may know the initial attack of the chemical, but they can't predict what will happen when these chemicals enter streams and underground water systems and mix with other chemicals. It is just on to much of a large scale. Time is precious, and as long as people know that the chemicals can do what they say, the future goes not really matter at that time.

Chapter 10 - Indiscriminately From the Skies
This chapter deals with the usage of insecticides that are sprayed form airplanes. She states that the spraying has increased heavily during her time. She also says that people have seemed to worry less about the increase because they feel as though they have become safe over time. This chapter starts by giving two insects that have called for major spraying in the states. One is the gypsy moth in the northern states and the fire ant in the southern states. The gypsy moth was introduced into the states in the 1860's and began to increase in population. It was contained temporarily by importing certain predators. Then in 1956, they decided to wipe out the moth using chemical techniques. It was decided that DDT would be sprayed in all areas including densely populated ones. The spraying included all farm land, people, housing, and cattle. Reports of crop failure was huge and wildlife was also severely hurt. There were also reports that huge amounts of DDT were found in cattle products (such as milk) and in vegetables. Like cases before, many aspects of life were hurt, but the main problem, the gypsy moth, was not hurt at all. It was the same deal for the fire ant. Agencies reported that they were a threat to human productivity and needed to be dealt with. Chemicals stronger than DDT were sprayed in areas causing massive deaths and infertility in cattle. Carson's main point that she tries to get across are the fact that the aerial campaigns against thought-to-be-threats are very expensive, damaging, and ineffective.

Chapter 11 - Beyond the Dreams of the Borgias
Carson takes a step down from the large-scale destruction of aerial spraying and massive chemical attacks, and talks about the individual in this chapter. She states that people are subject to daily chemical poisoning in small dosses (I would like to know how true this still stands today). She goes into the very details of household appliances and necessities. This chapter was, I feel, more intended to put some questions in the brains of the average daily housekeeper, not a biologist. Carson talks about many things that don't seem to be much of a threat to the everyday person. Things such as bug sprays, lotions, paints and varnishes, and even a pocket-sized insecticide dispenser are mentioned to help show the everyday dangers we encounter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture even encourages the use of insecticides in the home, urging people to spray their clothing with oil solutions of DDT, Dieldrin, Chlordane and other moth killers. In the garden, many products that were sold in stores were very lethal to people. Only until some cases of death, was something done to stop it. Carson also explains in one situation were a person applied such chemicals as Chlordane and Dieldrin to the lawn by use of an attachment to the garden hose. This method can hurt the person applying the chemicals and it can also lead to poisoning of the public water supply because of the underground water systems talked about earlier. One physician used this method to apply DDT to his lawn weekly. Suddenly, he became severely debilitated. Tests showed an accumulation of 23 parts per million of DDT in his fatty tissues. She then goes into the camisoles found in our diet. Back during the time of the book, many animals were contaminated with residues of chlorinated hydrocarbons. When the meat was eaten, the chemicals were entered into our body. Carson finally writes a chapter not about water, land, or animals, but about humans, She goes into the details that the reader probably has been wondering about since he bought the book.

Chapter 12 - The Human Price
This chapter starts our with Carson explaining the new age of health problems, the old age being health problems such as smallpox, cholera, and plague and the new age being the hazards of chemical poisoning. Things such as the water we drink, the air we breath, and the food we eat, have all come under concern at this point. Carson goes into detail that are still unclear to me. She talks about how the chemicals may not seem to be damaging at one point but over time hurt the body. She goes into details about how the chemicals are stored in the body's fatty tissue and released with stress related issues. She also talks about the chlorinated hydrocarbon chemicals that effect the liver over time. When these chemicals effect the liver and damage it, the liver can no longer detoxify the body of other chemicals and therefore cannot protect the body. The two major types of insecticides talked about earlier greatly effect the nervous system. Some tests on animals and humans have been done in the past to help prove this theory. Carson then goes into more detail, causing some confusion for me, about how chemicals are harmless when in the body alone, but can evolve into something more serious when mixed with another. THis chapter is more on the side of medical and scientific terminology that was confusing and many points. I think that she is trying to make the reader feel as though we as humans are not subject to immunity from the chemicals that we unless on the rest of the world.

Chapter 13 - Through a Narrow Window
For me, this was probably the most challenging chapter. Carson goes into fine detail of the cells of the body because she feels to understand the true effects of the chemicals, we need to go deeper than just the outside. She starts to explain the process of the cell. She states that energy is produced by the cells of an organism from a transformation of matter. Each step that is made to make this energy is controlled by a different enzyme. When this energy is produced, the cells release waist. She then goes into details about how Mitochondria are packs of enzymes that are necessary to this process that I am not to sure what she is talking about. She then starts talking about the development of energy called ATP. Then it loses some phosphate groups to evolve onto ADP (this is were I begin to get confused). I have gotten out of this that is ATP is lossed, then different parts of the body are effected. She then loses me again when she talks about mitosis and cell radiation. All I know is that the usage of chemical poisoning effects all the process talked about in the cell. Overall I am still confused on this chapter and will wait for class discussion for future reference.

Chapter 14 - One in Every Four
This chapter deals with the human fight against cancer. Carson begins by sayaing that the battle of cancer had "began so long ago thats its origin is lost in time." One thing that I read that I did not know and seemed interesting was that Carson stated people were the first species to creat canser-casuing agents. One thing mentioned was that soot was a carcinigion. Other cancers began to show their faces after the descovery of the cancer from soot in the 1770's. One interesting fact that was brought up was that in 1900, only four percent of deaths were by cancer. Then by 1959, that number had risen to fifteen percent. It was also stated that cancer was the leading cause of death among school children in the mid-century. After some history in cancer, Carson starts to put cancer and chemcials togther. When the poisonous chemicals were tested on animals, most of them developed some kind of cancer. One of the earliest chemical known to cause cancer in the human body is arsenic. She gives an example from a town were their drinking water was contaminated with arsnic. On to another note, Carson tells the reader about how the FDA tests chemiclas for cancer-causing agents. It is sometimes hard to test for these things becuase certain cancer will not show up in a persons body for up to fifteen years after exposure. One example that Carson gives us is when a woman who hated spiders decided to srpay her house with a form of DDT. Soon after she did that, she began to felt sick. When her symptoms left, she sprayed again. This time her symptoms got worse and needed to go to a hospitle. She was later diagnosed with leukimia, the most common cancer from chemcials. In the past, many who have used some kind of chemical poison or insectisied have always been known to develop leukimia. Carson then goes into cell mutation from radiation or poisons. When it divides irregularly, a malignant cancer could develop. It is also true that the chemcials in the body can damage vital organs and parts that are essentail to fighting against cancers.

Chapter 15 - Nature Fights Back
In this chapter, Carson talks about how nature is responding to our attempts to change it. She begins to talk about how insects are adapting to the insecticides that are being used to against them. She goes into the theory of natural selection. This means that they are becoming to survive the chemicals being used on them. Their immune systems are outsmarting the poisons that once almost killed them. The poisons that were used to kill the insects also harmed the predators that are supposed to keep them in check by nature. And also, the insects that they thought had killed, returned after time. Carson's main argument in this chapter is that the poisonous chemicals used have upset the balance of nature itself. Chemical control proponents overlook two key facts of nature. First, nature applies the most effective control of insects. Second, insects have an explosive capacity to reproduce once they have adapted to chemical control methods. Carson goes on and talks about human attempts to break the balance of nature. She gives example of the coyote, the deer predators, and insects. She talks about how at first the idea seemed to work, but in the end there was some kind of backfire that made every effort pointless. Carson then goes to talk about the impact of insects and how scientists say they make up 70 to 80 percent of the earth's creatures. She then talks about the importance of insect predators and how that should be the natural way of keeping things balanced. She believes that is people would just sit back and study what happens when nature takes care of itself, many of our problems would be solved.

Chapter 16 - The Rumblings of an Avalanche
This chapter starts off by Carson giving insects the credit of survival. She begins by saying that if Darwin were still around today, his theory of survival of the fittest could not fit more perfect. Through the years of chemical spraying against insects, their species have ditched the weak and reproduced the strongest to form a more power arsenal and an even bigger threat. She says that it is known for a fact that insects have become resistant to sprays. At the highest time of spraying, Carson states that new chemicals were needed to be produced every couple of months to help deal with the resistance. Now a days, all the chemicals needed to get rid of the strong breed of disease carrying insects are in some way a danger to human health. One example of the resistance that Carson gives is the attack on houseflies after WWII. During the war, DDT was used to help kill the insects, so it was later used at the house. When the insects were finally able to resist the chemical, another one one was added to the mixture to help make it stronger. Then the insect would become resistant to that chemical and another one would have to be added, making the mixture stronger and stronger. This happened year after year until The flies became abundant as a result.

Chapter 17 - The Other Road
"As a society, we have two answers to the problem of insect control. The first, chemical poisons, has proven already to be costly, ineffective, and extremely, lastingly dangerous. The second, biological controls, has proven already to be cheap, effective, and safe for humans and non-pest animals and insects." Carson says that biological controls are the best of the two because they do not interrupt the balance and rules of nature. By using natural controls, such as predators, nothing in the environment is damaged or harmed. She says that people look past the importance of insects, and just want to kill them all bemuse they cant see the truth behind what they were put on the earth to do. In this chapter, Carson ends with new ways of biological control instead of chemical control on insects. On method is the sterilization method. The sterilized males would compete with the normal males and after a while, only infertile eggs would be produced and the population would die out. Many tests have been done throughout the world to help make this method a full proof plan. The only problem is that chemicals used in the process of developing this method could be worse than the insecticides themselves. However, if proper care is taken, it should not pose a problem. Chemical sterilants are of two main kinds. One interferes with the metabolism of the cells of insects. The second affects the genes, causing the chromosomes to break up. Some people believe that this use of these chemicals could lead to new carcinogens. New methods of using the insects to our advantage are also in process. Using things such as the insect's scents and sounds can be used to our advantage in wiping out large breeds.

Another method of destroying populations of insects includes destruction by bacterial infection and by parasites. Talks of introducing insect viruses are also in the works. Introducing more and more predators in a small area will also have a huge impact on insect population. Predators such as spiders, birds, and small animals will kill or eat many insects in their lifetimes. Carson ends the book by saying some words of wisdom. She spent the whole book talking about the negatives of chemical usage. She feels that the human as one species of the world should not try to control nature, but instead just let it take its course like it has since the beginning of time.

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