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Exercise in our Fast Paced Lives

Exercise in our Fast Paced Lives
March 21, 2021

As soon as we hear or read the word exercise, the first thing that comes to our mind is crunches, weight lifting, push-ups, pull-ups and other such workouts that make us drip. But, this not what exercise is all about. Such workout or weight training does help us in building our physique, but not everyone has enough time or mental strength to persevere for weight training, especially in this fast paced life.

Working out in a gym helps you to reduce the stress hormones and stiffen your muscles to look good and improve your sex appeal. However, in this fast paced life most of us are not able to find enough time to fit gym in our busy schedules. An early morning walk in the park followed by light stretching or a sweltering jog is the need of the hour for all such individuals. This will help you cope up with stressful situations in life and look at the world with a new perspective. Physical well being is the first step to happiness and our complete well being.

Exercise is defined as any activity that is responsible for the well being of our body, mind or soul. Exercise could be anything from a walk in the park to a whole-hearted laugh, as they relieve us of the stresses accumulated in our mind and body.

Physical exercise plays a vital role in our well being, however that is not enough, for most of the exercises are meant for strengthening our muscles and physical well being, but what about our mind and soul? Yoga is a form of exercise that results in the well being of our mind and soul along with the physical well being.

Yoga can be performed by individuals of all age groups and can even heal most of our ailments which is not possible with any other form of exercise. It improves the flexibility of our muscles, relieves stress and takes us closer to our inner self or conscience. It makes our spirit pure and genteel. Yoga involves various deep breathing techniques, light physical exercises and meditation. It is an ancient Indian technique that was mostly adopted by ascetics or yogis which made them live longer and healthier lives. People have realised the importance of yoga lately and groups from all over the world are involved in its promotion.

For the individuals who can never find time to exercise, yoga is the way to go. It is performed for 15-30 minutes daily with not even a single drop of sweat and will leave you feeling fresh and healthy unlike weight training exercises that leave you feeling drenched and tired. Even the aged can easily perform yoga and will benefit a lot from it. Although, it involves professional training for at least a month to be able to perform it on your own in the appropriate manner.

Another form of exercise is ‘laughter’. More and more people are accepting this fact and are opting to laugh instead of dripping at a gym. “Laughter is the best medicine”, is a doctor’s favourite quote, but hardly any follow. Laughing hard can have the same effects as that of jogging and other stretching exercises. A laugh reduces the stress level instantaneously, though it’s not easy for each of us to develop the habit of laughing when we are stressed, but it can be adapted with perseverance and would definitely prove to be helpful.

It a nutshell, exercise is a must for every individual and must not be limited to its physical form, but extended to its mental and spiritual forms as well.

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Tiny Houses, Micro-Apartments: Yes Or No?

2013-WRThere seems to be a new movement growing n the USA; people, especially in big cities, are downsizing and starting to live in very small apartments and houses. Primarily, it is an economical decision because rent rates tend to be very high in large cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and smaller dwellings look like a good option for budget-conscious renters. Moreover, it seems to work the best for single people who spend most of their time at work and socialize outside. Many of the buildings with micro-apartments offer communal amenities such as gyms, media rooms, and outside recreational areas which provide the tenants with an opportunity to meet their neighbors and socialize.

Is it a movement which will catch up? Worldwide, people live in places which are much smaller than what an average American is used to, especially in such countries as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, India, Japan, and China. But, the question stands whether the American public ready for such a downsizing? As such, there were many reports which claim that living in small quarters might lead to depression, substance abuse, and domestic abuse; moreover, children who grow up in smaller places might develop learning disabilities. According to Susan Saegert, a director of Housing Environments Research Group, children who live in small apartments “can end up becoming withdrawn and have trouble studying and concentrating.” However, such claims need to be studied more because the experience proves them otherwise. After all, school children of Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other countries routinely outperform their American counterparts in all the school tests; and the lack of space does not seem to adversely affect them.

Moreover, life in smaller places can also mean being more environmentally friendly because one simply spends less energy and leaves smaller carbon print when living in a micro-apartment. If the culture of competing with Joneses was considered outdated, many of Americans might have well agreed to live smaller because it would save them money and effort. – Becky Kospanova

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New Year Resolutions

New-Years-Resolutions 14

The advent of New Year stirs the desire to improve their lives for many people. As such, many imagine themselves thinner, healthier, and generally happier than they were in a previous year. Psychologists agree that it is productive to set goals: attainable, self-improving, and realistic. After all, it is in a human nature to want to improve things and what is the better time than the start of a New Year? However, when did the tradition to set New Year resolutions start? And, more interestingly, what are the most popular goals people generally set for themselves?

The tradition of making New Year resolutions traces centuries back. Historical research shows that ancient Babylonians, Romans, and Greeks made New Year resolutions to help the poor, pay their debts, and be better citizens. The goals of modern people seem to be more egocentric. Generally, people resolve to do the following:

1. Improve themselves physically (lose extra weight, eat more healthily, start going to the gym, abstain from alcohol and cigarettes, etc.)
2. Improve themselves mentally (think positive things, be nicer to immediate family, laugh more, enjoy life and surrounding beauty to a full extent).
3. Improve finances and career (pay the debts, apply for a dream job, perform better at a current job, obtain the long-sought promotion, or establish own business).
4. Get better education (develop a new hobby, learn a foreign language, start reading more, get a college degree, take some classes at a local college).
5. Volunteer (donate their time and effort to a worthwhile cause, help those in need, and get involved into community).
6. Improve themselves socially (meet new people, make a new friend, become active socially, travel).
7. Improve themselves spiritually (attend church more often, pray more, reflect on life).

Interestingly, recent research shows that in previous decades people were more concerned with doing good deeds for others, but nowadays people are more self-involved and mostly concentrate on themselves. Even then, most people fail to follow on their New Year resolutions; according to a study conducted by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol, as many as eighty-eight percent of people do not fulfill their resolutions, although initially fifty-two percent of people have absolute confidence in their eventual success.

However, there are ways to achieve success with New Year resolutions. For example, it helps to set them in steps—instead of generally resolving to lose extra weight; it is more productive to say “no” to a pound or two per week. More importantly, it is always easier to do things for others; it fulfills your sense of civic duty, it makes you feel better, and it makes a world a better place. Why not make this year a year to help others?
– Becky Kospanova

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Congratulation Bandleader Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie

 

Congratulation Bandleader Basses, Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie

Press Release July 10, 2017
by Valaie Flact

“Reggae Wellness Expo & Music Festival Mission Focus Is Honoring And Recognizing Unsung Jamaican Music Pioneers & Providing Exposing For Jamaica’s Next Generation Of Music Stars Each Year At The Annual Event. “RW” Mission Is To Always Be A Beacon And Champion Of Encouragement For Reggae Music Workers.”

The 2017 Honor Goes To Legendary High Symbol’s Band Leader Basses, Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie.


Jamaica is commonly known as the Reggae Capital of the world and home to many great well known reggae bands and even more great reggae singers. Behind every great reggae vocalist’s live show, there was always a great bandleader that help bring their music to life.

“Bingie” has been bandleader for hundreds of these act over the last 20 years, unlike the stars he played behind, many outside the reggae arena have no knowledge of his achievements over that time.

In 1987 Mckenzie form the band “FM Force Band” with Sanchez as lead singer, Sanchez left the band in 1988 to pursue a solo career. Afterward He decided to changed the name of the band to (High Symbol Band).High Symbol Band with original members consisting of members: Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd’ Mckenzie-(bandleader/bass), Bernard’ Powell-(drums), Elana Lewis-(guitar), Noel Davy-(keyboards),Garth Gray-(keyboards).

Current band member are Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie (bandleader/bass player), Bernard Powell(Drummer), Philip Porter(Guitarist), Everton “Bubbler” Bryan(keyboardist1), Theodore Bernard(Keyboardist2) Duhaney ‘Singing Green’ Green(Led Singer) and Kenton Boyd(Engineer)

“Bingie” has toured extensively in the Caribbean, Mexico, where he is revered as an icon in Cancun, US, Central America, Europe and beyond.

Sure he was the bandleader for acts that performed before Nelson and Winnie Mandela in Kingston National Stadium, or at the Bob Marley Song Celebration in Australia and if you ever saw any of the acts listed below performing live, its a good chance “Bingie” was the bandleader. Continue reading Congratulation Bandleader Ludlow “Bingie” Lloyd Mckenzie

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Choosing “Acupuncture” Over “KemeTones” Is Like Choosing Pain Over No Pain

TAEM Logo Final

Press Release

June 2, 2017

story by Erica Modell

KemeTones © is the Kemetic (Indigenous Ancient, African, Egyptian’s) approach to using Sound Vibrations as Healing Therapy

Definition of Therapist: One specializing in therapy; a person trained in methods of alternative Health care treatment and rehabilitation, without the use of chemicals or surgery

Tchiya Amet El Maat, Natural Health Therapist and Wellness Coach, Specializing in Kemetic Healing and Egyptian Yoga is one of those Therapist that provides therapeutic treatments using Acutonics© tuning forks.

KemeTones © is the Kemetic (Indigenous Ancient, African, Egyptian’s) approach to using Sound Vibrations as Healing with Acutonics©. Acutonics is similar to Acupuncture, except tuning forks are use to direct sound energy vibrations to the same area most Acupuncturist used to stimulate “acupoints” without the pain of the insertion of fine, sterile needles into different areas of the skin.

Tchiya Bening Kemmedacupuncturist 2

Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 1997, the US. National Institutes of Health (NIH) documented and publicized acupuncture’s safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of conditions. Continue reading Choosing “Acupuncture” Over “KemeTones” Is Like Choosing Pain Over No Pain

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People Living Alone: Good or Bad?

People_Living_Alone_1One of the telling features of modern world is that a person can live perfectly comfortably by himself or herself. Historically, people lived together as a large family for many reasons: poverty, food, safety, traditions, money, inheritance laws and such. In many parts of the world—Asia, Africa, some parts of Europe and Latin America— these reasons still play a big role in making people live together. However, most people in Western countries have long abandoned the notion of living together in order to gain some benefits; instead, they prefer the convenience of living alone. Is it a good or bad thing?

Living_Alone-elderlyApart from being a philosophical question, living alone seems to be a practical question for many in Western world. However, first we have to define what it means to live alone. According to most researchers, it means literally living alone: there is no spouse, children, parents, or other relatives living with a person in question in his/her house. It is understandable. Given contemporary economic conditions, many people have to move frequently around the country or world to find a job. As such, close proximity to their families and friends often becomes impossible. A person has to establish a single household. According to Eric Klinenberg, the N.Y.U. sociology professor and author of the book Going Solo, in the 1950s about 22 percent of Americans households were single; nowadays the number is about 50 percent. The increase in single households is quite astonishing.

Mid adult woman sitting on floor,

There are some obvious explanations. People are no longer ostracized because of living alone; it is becoming a norm. Moreover, compared to the 1950s, many women became quite capable of living by themselves, thus escaping centuries-old paradigm of being tied up to their husbands or families. As such, number of single households has increased. Moreover—thanks to modern technologies—most of us are now connected through the web, which gives us an illusion of being together with our families and friends, though virtually. Continue reading People Living Alone: Good or Bad?

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Literacy in the USA

children_learning-zbbjrxIt is undeniable that being literate is one of the most important things a person needs to achieve in order to have a normal existence. From everyday things such as reading food labels, medication information, or household bills to more complex tasks such as reading and comprehending books and more difficult texts,  reading enables a person to lead an independent and, hopefully, fulfilling life.

kids_working_togetherThe US Department of Education and National Center for Education Statistics differentiate between three types of literacy, “Prose literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to perform prose tasks (i.e., to search, comprehend, and use information from continuous texts, such as paragraphs from stories); document literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to perform document tasks (i.e., to search, comprehend, and use information from non-continuous texts in various formats, such as bills or prescription labels); and quantitative literacy is the knowledge and skills required to perform quantitative tasks (i.e., to identify and perform computations, either alone or sequentially, using numbers embedded in printed materials).” As such, according to their statistics dating from 2003, 22 percent of adults (those who are 16 or older) in the USA perform below basic in quantitative literacy, 14 percent of adults are below basic in prose literacy, and 12 percent in document literacy. Continue reading Literacy in the USA

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Refugees and Their Plight

refugees 2The United States of America is one the most popular countries in the world for people looking for asylum. According to US Department of State, since 1975 the USA has accepted more than three million refugees from different parts of the world; and, as The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development statistics demonstrates, in 2012 out of total number of 449 420 asylum seekers into OECD countries and Russian Federation, 68 thousand people came to the USA (next three major OECD countries for refugees are Germany (64540), France (54940) and Sweden (43890)). Who can be considered a refugee?

refugees migrantsAccording to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” As such, asylum seekers differ from refugees in their legal status, i.e. he or she can claim to be a refugee, but unless their claim is definitively evaluated by national asylum centers and they are granted official refugee status, an asylum seeker can be sent back to their home country. To further complicate things, in modern times millions of people choose to migrate in order to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families (for example, the so-called economic migrants), while refugees absolutely have to flee their home countries because of the fear of prosecution. As such, refugees and other types of migrants are subjects to different international and national laws. Continue reading Refugees and Their Plight

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The Religion Of Bob Marley, The Rastafarian Movement

Bob Marley Crop 9th Logo1The Rastafarian movement was born in Jamaica in 1930 when news of the crowning of Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie) as King of Ethiopia, attracted the attention of various Jamaicans who had been to some extent influenced by Marcus Garvey.   Haile Selassie is known to be JAH because of his direct descendancy to King Menelik, (son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba) and King David and because of his inherited title, King of Kings, Lord of Lord, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, which identifies him as the living JAH whose coming was foretold in the Bible, Psalm 68.4, Revelation 5:2-5, 19:16, 22:16,

Various persons connected Garvey’s prophecies of the crowning of a black king who would deliver black people from their oppressors, with certain biblical passages that confirmed to them that Selassie was indeed the Messiah.

Interestingly, these persons are said to have reached this conclusion quite independently of each other.

Among the key figures in this birth of the Rastafarian philosophy were Leonard P. Howell, Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert, H. Archibald Dunkley and Robert Hinds. All were ministers, who formed separate groups based on this revelation.

Howell is the man most credited with the initial spreading of the Rastafarian way of life.  He was a well-travelled man and was reported to have fought on African soil and to have command of several African languages.

Howell had stationed himself for a period of time in North America where the social ravages of racism were common practice.  This directed his intent in working for necessary reforms.  He began his ministry in the slums of Western Kingston, Jamaica. Continue reading The Religion Of Bob Marley, The Rastafarian Movement

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Interracial Marriages in the USA


Interracial MarriagesWhile it might seem implausible today, but not until very long ago it was illegal to marry someone from a different race in the United States. Only on June 12, 1967 in the landmark case Loving vs. Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. As the court stated, “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” With that ruling, many people were finally free to marry whomever they wanted—no matter their race and ethnic background—with no fear of being legally prosecuted for their actions.

19MIXEDRACE1113Anti-miscegenation laws were adopted in the United States since 1660s—first in Virginia and Maryland and later in all the original thirteen states—to prohibit people from entering into interracial (i.e. between white and non-white people, mostly blacks, but sometimes Native Americans and Asians) marriages, sex, and cohabitation. As a trial judge in Lovings vs. Virginia case asserted, “Almighty God created the races of White, Black, Yellow, Malay, and Red… and He placed them on separate continents…And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages…The fact that He separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” As such, the sentiment against interracial marriage ran deep within the American population, especially in the South. For example, in 1958 Gallup polls as many as 96 percent of white Americans were against interracial marriage. However, starting in the 1960s this attitude started to change and today we have a society in which interracial marriages are no longer taboos.

interracial-marriageAccording to 2010 census, almost 15 percent of marriages in the United States were interracial. There are many configurations of interracial marriages in the country, some of which are more prevalent and some are less so. For example, 9.4 percent of whites, 17.1 percent of blacks, 25.7 percent of Hispanics and 27.7 percent of Asian
s married someone outside their race. Some of the combinations are more prevalent while others are rarer (for example, white male/asian or black female are much more prevalent than asian male/black female). In any case, given the melting pot which the United States is made of, it is not surprising that interracial marriages are on the rise.

Aarathi3.jpgInterracial marriage is still a hot topic for many people. Whether you are pro- or against them, there is a good chance that you will encounter different races’ couple in the course of your life. No matter what one’s beliefs are, one needs to be respectful and treat interracial couples no different from others. Today, when the boundaries between ethnicities and races become more and more obsolete, one can envision a future where race and nationality do not play a role at all. In The Time Will Come That Everyone On Earth Will Be A Shade Of “Beautiful Beige”

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Community College: Is It for You?

Howard_Community_College_QuadHigh cost of college education in the USA is a subject of concern for the majority of ordinary people. According to the College Board, an average price for an in-state public college in 2013-2014 was about $ 22,826 and an average cost for private college was about $44,000. Compounded by rising cost of living, troubled economy and unclear job perspectives, college education can become an unattainable dream for many people.

However, there are many reasons for getting a college degree: the main one is that, on average, a four-year college graduate earns $ 800,000 more than a high school graduate by the retirement age. As such, it is certainly better to explore your educational opportunities and maybe consider less expensive options such as community colleges, on-line educational institutions, and such.

Many people believe that the quality of education one receives at a community college is much more inferior to the one at four-year colleges and thus is not worth the effort and time. Also, there are many additional negative stereotypes associates with community colleges such as that only those who could not get into a four-year college resort to them; if you decide to transfer to a four-year college, only few transfers will be allowed; quality of teachers is much worse; and that community colleges provide little benefits career-wise.

615_Harvard_Geneticist_Professor_ReutersHowever, if one approaches the decision to attend community college with due diligence, he or she can certainly be assured that they can present an excellent basis for a lifetime of gainful employment and good earnings. First of all, the cost of attending community college is much less than the one associated with four-year colleges (generally, it is about tenth of the amount). Also, community colleges offer greater flexibility and students can work full-time while taking classes—another huge financial incentive.

Besides, many people who attend community colleges are already living close-by thus saving the cost of living at the dorms, etc., which can be quite expensive in many areas of the country. However, the excitement of living on campus is something many students look forward to; but on the other hand, there are fewer distractions from studying when one lives at home. Continue reading Community College: Is It for You?

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Movies and Their Impact on People

the-passion-of-the-christ-movie-poster-2004-1020194251Film industry plays crucial role in today’s economy, society, and culture.  Not only a source of employment and revenue for thousands of people, films are a major form of art, which can inspire, provoke debates and deep reflections, expose societal and other problems, open up new cultural horizons, and lead to future endeavors. Of course, not all movies necessarily become cultural phenomena, but many of them have big impact on their audiences and deserve the acclaim they receive from critics and/or people who come to value them.

Given the diversity of human condition, there are many subject matters, which can serve as a basis for a film. However, one of the riskiest decisions for any movie director is to make a film on a subject which is controversial, ideologically or culturally divisive, or unpopular with general audience. At the same time, such movies, when done right, can truly demonstrate their creators’ talents and instigate a meaningful discussion among moviegoers. Among some of the recent movies, which fall into this category, are such movies as “12 Years a Slave” and “Son of God.”

12-years-a-slave-quadThe movie “12 Years a Slave” has been released in 2013 and received three Academy Awards—Best Picture (Steve McQueen directed), Best Supporting Actress (played by Nyong’o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (screenwriter John Ridley). The movie, which depicts the life of Solomon Northup, a free man from Upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery where he spent horrible 12 years, was a huge success and made a lot of money (shot for a budget of about $ 20 million it earned, as of May 2014, over $56 million in USA and about $187 million worldwide). The subject of the movie is definitely a difficult one because it shows, unflinchingly and sometimes cruelly, the malice humans can inflict on one another and the depravity of slavery. However, at the same time it demonstrates the strength of human spirit and perseverance.

“Son of God,” released in 2014 is a movie based on mini-series “The Bible” which aired on History Channel and became quite popular. It was produced by husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Romy Downey and depicts the life of Jesus Christ. The movie was widely promoted in the USA through church groups and Christian leaders and earned more than $59 million (as of May 2014). Inevitably, it was immediately compared to another Christian movie produced by Mel Gibson “The Passion of the Christ,” which was produced in 2004 and became one of the highest grossing movies in the film industry earning more than $600 million. While both movies are devoted to the same subject, i.e. Jesus Christ, they are very different in their style, message, and focus. While Mel Gibson’s movie concentrates on the last hours of Jesus’ life, “Son of God” covers the whole life of Jesus Christ. Both movies drew their followers and critics; however, most people agree that “The Passion of the Christ,” despite being very graphic and violent in its portrayal of Christ’s death, was a much more powerful and memorable movie.movie-reels

One of the marks of a great film is, certainly, the impact they have on people who have watched them. If the movie makes a person to learn something new, consider previously known issues from a different perspective, or allows one to open up his/her mind to new ideas and concepts— the movie can certainly be considered a success. Undoubtedly, “12 Years as Slave,” “Son of God,” and “The Passion of the Christ” have been such films.

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Mid-Term 2014 Elections and Media Coverage: Do Big Money and Corporations Rule Politics?

Rupert_Murdoch_-_Flickr_-_Eva_Rinaldi_Celebrity_and_Live_Music_PhotographerOn November 4, 2014, American citizens are going to re-elect their representatives in Congress, where all 435 seats at the House and 33 out of 100 seats at the Senate will be up for grabs. Currently Republican Party controls the US House; 232 Republican seats, 201 Democrat seats, 2 vacancies; and Democratic Party, 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents control the Senate. In the Senate, Republicans need to gain six seats to obtain majority; in the House, Democrats need to get that much desired 218th seat in order to gain control. Given current political climate in the country, the upcoming elections are of great importance.

It is not a secret that many American citizens are disillusioned by the course the government has taken: for example, 2013 annual job approval rate for Congress of 14 percent was the lowest since Gallup started taking the poll in 1974. Similarly, Obama’s job approval rate was only mere 40 percent in December 2013. Divided nature of Congress—where Republican Party controls the House and Democrats control the Senate—is often to blame for inefficacy of American government. Practically every initiative proposed by either party is met with opposition from its political counterpart. The situation clearly manifested itself in October 2013 when the government shutdown over Obamacare showed that both political parties are predominantly driven by their ideologies instead of constructive concern for the well being and progress of the whole country.

Consequently, the 2014 elections will be instrumental in ensuring that Congress, instead of being torn by bipartisan bickering, might at last become productive and effective. As such, it is imperative that American people vote and unequivocally tell their government what is expected of it. However, therein lays a big problem. Special interests, big money, and powerful corporations, thus effectively shutting down the voices of ordinary citizens, contaminate political campaigns in the USA. In January 2010, Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission has declared that corporate political spending does not affect political representatives and has given corporations, labor unions, and other influential groups the same rights as to individuals to spend their money on political campaigns, including TV commercials, print advertisement, and such. Now, the big companies have means to effectively buy political campaigns and elected officials in order to promote policies advantageous to their corporate interests.120629_kochs_adelson_trump_ap_605

Moreover, American media is highly consolidated. For example, today, six major companies (Comcast, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS) control most of the media in the USA, thus effectively managing what kind of information is available to people.  The same goes for cable, radio, and Internet, —which for all their seeming diversity—are in fact owned and controlled by just few large corporations. According to Common Cause Initiative, since 1990, the entertainment industry, including television, motion picture companies, music industry, etc., has put $283.5 million into federal elections. And in 2008-2010, about the same amount was spent by the industry on lobbying. In fact, Telecommunication Act of 1996, which lifted the limits of ownership, has had an opposite effect by allowing rich and powerful corporations to monopolize. As such, political ads, which run on TV, radio, and other media outlets, are often financed by big money and fail to provide unbiased views and diverse opinions.

It is of utmost importance to have access to true information regarding who, why, and how influences and finances political candidates and their campaigns. 2014 elections are fast approaching and American people need to act quickly.

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Water, Food, Energy and Our Future

Microsoft Word - Perfect Storm Scenario and Nexus Thinking

Our planet’s population is growing each year and is fast approaching eight billion mark. Our climate is changing due to carbon footprint, which influences all aspects of our lives. As such, widespread concern whether natural resources which supply water, food, and energy for people will be sufficient enough to provide all the necessary means for life is well-grounded and timely. In recent decades, many people—including scientists, researchers, and public figures—have voiced their worries regarding the future of our planet and insisted that we must develop new policies which would stress the necessity of sustainable growth and development.

The idea that natural resources will get scarce as population grows is not new.  One of the most famous people who brought it to everyone’s attention was the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), an English scholar, cleric, and author. In his seminal work An Essay on the Principle of Population, he argued that while population grew geometrically, food supply grew arithmetically; thus, in the future, food supply would not be able to keep up with people’s needs. His work, while provoking a lot of criticism, nevertheless initiated vigorous scholastic debate for years to come and gave rise to many works devoted to the subject of population growth and its economic consequences.

Food

In recent years, the concept of water-food-energy nexus introduces by Stockholm Environment Institute and supported by such renowned organizations as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Food Policy Research Institute, Stockholm International Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and others, steadily gained in popularity. To put it briefly, the nexus concept promotes integrated approach to securing water, food, and energy supplies across the globe. While it might seem that water, food, and energy belong to separate sectors, they are much more interconnected than previously imagined. As a result, the disturbance in one of the sectors will inevitably result in disturbances in the other two, which will lead to catastrophic consequences all over the world.

renewable, energy

As such, concerted efforts should be made in managing, developing, and governing various areas of water, food, and energy sectors by all world countries.Despite all the progress the humanity has achieved over the centuries, 550 million people in Asia and Pacific still do not have enough food; more than 600 million people in the world have no access to electricity; and about 55 percent of world population does not have access to clean and safe drinking water. At the same time, it is obvious that natural resources are not limitless and should be managed in a most efficient and productive manner, should not be overexploited, and should be sustainable. Consequently, water-food-energy nexus approach offers a wide variety of policies to achieve such an end. For example, these policies include an active promotion of green economy principles, increase of the productivity of various resources, use of waste as a resource in multi-use systems, integration of poverty alleviation and green growth, and stimulation of sustainable development through economic incentives.

Water Shortage

The need to build sustainable and green world economy is pressing. As such, people at all levels— be it individual, business, or country—must take steps to secure a future for our children.

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Nature vs. Nurture: Perennial Debate

physical traits of parentsWhen a person looks in the mirror, he or she can easily see some of the physical traits inherited from their parents or other relatives such as eye color, shape of one’s nose and mouth, skin color, hair color, and so on. However, when it comes to psychological traits and character, the answer is not so easily found. Why our personalities are as they are? What factors contribute to each person’s character being one-way and not another? For years, researchers have tried to determine whether person’s character, individuality, and special talents are mostly pre-determined by genes or shaped by the environment a person grows up in.

Perennial Debate

The proponents of “nature theory” (known as nativists) stipulate that their genes largely determine people’s innate characteristics, personality, and abilities. As such, each of us has predetermined IQ, special talents, or inclinations, be they bad or good. While environment can make some difference, genes play a much more important role in shaping one’s personality and capacities. On the other hand, supporters of “nurture theory” (known as behaviorists) argue that their environment mostly forms people’s characters. As such, they believe that each person is born as kind of a “blank slate,” (or “tabula rasa” as introduced by philosopher John Locke) which gets “filled up” by one’s experiences, environment, and social determinants. Consequently, the environment can determine whether a person will grow up to be a success, for example in academic or creative field, or a failure. However, most people agree that both nature and nurture play somewhat equally important role in shaping one character, abilities, and personality.

Perennial Debate - how environment effects people behaviorThe debate regarding what makes us what we are is a significant one. For example, if one considers the problem of addiction (such as addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling) from the point of nativist, then it is clear that the research should be directed towards discovering specific genes responsible for such behavior and, if possible, manipulating them in order to cure people from their addictions. However, when one believes that environment is mostly responsible for people’s behavior, then the effort should be directed at providing stable and nurturing environment where these types of addictions are actively discouraged and disapproved.

Lately, the debate regarding nature vs. nurture came into limelight due to the discussion whether there is a gene responsible for people being gay. Given the pressure gay people often find themselves under, it is indeed important to understand the mechanism of homosexuality and whether it’s predetermined by one’s genetic make-up or societal factors.

Nature vs Nurture 4The relative importance of both nature and nurture is best understood when one considers twins. Both fraternal and identical twins have many more similar innate characteristics than other types of siblings. Still, if one is a believer of “nature” theory, identical twins who are reared in the same environment and exposed to the same social norms and culture should be much more similar in their personalities than they usually are. At the same time, when twins are brought up in different families and even in different cultures, they still share many common traits and talents.

Obviously, both hereditary and social determinants play crucial roles in shaping one’s character, abilities, inclinations, and personality.

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