Category: General


Steven Johnson’s ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’

Summary and Reaction to Chapter 3 (The Slow Hunch) of Steven Johnson’s book ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’

The main argument in the chapter is that great innovations are due to accumulative processes rather than spontaneous ‘eureka’ moments.  Almost in any major technological or scientific innovation of modern times, the break-through was made possible by the robust base built by accrued prior knowledge.

A key idea put forward by Steven Johnson is that of ‘convergence’.  This is the process of the gradual accumulation of information, concepts and their interrelationships that are precursors to the occurrence of ‘insight’. Although the decision to synthesize and analyze them is that of an individual, the fundamental facts and concepts can be fetched from a disparate range of sources. To this extent, though great innovations are not one-off events of brilliance, they are the result of ‘collective intelligence’. Collective . . . Read More

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Patient Safety and Health Policy

Triggle,Nick. Soaring costs prompt rethink of long-term care planning, Nursing Management 19.10 (Mar 2013) 6-7.

The article talks about how the public health budget in the UK has steadily grown over the years.  It has now superceded military spending and consumers 8.2% of national GDP.  But the bad news is that this trend is expected to continue in the future and could grow to 20% of GDP by 2061.  Considering an ageing population and shortage of funding and resources the country is faced with a large crisis in the near future.

In the article, some constructive suggestions were put forward by experienced healthcare professionals and policy makers. One important idea is to integrate social care and health care so that cost efficiencies are achieved. This is especially true for palliative, chronic or mental health issues.  Another important idea is focussing on preventative health measures so that instances of hospitalization are reduced.  . . . Read More

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Free the Children (FTC) – India Initiative

The Free the Children Initiative is a much needed social project.  It aims to free children in developing nations from bonded labor and other forms of exploitation.  The brainchild of Craig Keilburger, the project has attracted public attention in the United States and the rest of the developed world.  The relevance of such an initiative cannot be overstated, for in the era of globalization, it is grossly unjust how children growing up in different parts of the world experience markedly different standard of life. The most important message of the initiative is how children from one part of the world help their counterparts in another part of the world.  This way, a sense of global solidarity and fraternity is built into children at a very young age.

The Free the Children (FTC) – India Initiative has the basic objective of liberating children from child labor. But this cannot be achieved in isolation from social and economic factors that force children into work.  . . . Read More

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Is Race Real?

Racism as a construct for demographic and socio-political analysis is increasingly being contested.  Today, urbanization has become the norm due to process of industrialization, and cities are getting very cosmopolitan.  This makes it necessary that people from so called ‘different races’ cohabit and cooperate to achieve their shared objectives. Most advanced industrial societies today exhibit some degree of tolerance and adaptability when it comes to issues of race. But the situation is far from perfect and race continues to be a simmering point of contention.  In this backdrop new scientific and anthropological evidence on the veracity of race assumes significance.  They help demystify and demythologize race and racism as previously understood.  In this process the very legitimacy of racial classification is questioned.

The American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) consensus on the subject of race is a rebuke to historical perceptions of race.  The esteemed . . . Read More

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Critical Thinking Essay: Sony PlayStation 4

The upcoming release of Sony PlayStation 4 has created plenty of buzz among video gaming enthusiasts.  With the release of this latest video gaming console from Sony the company hopes to claim leadership position both in terms of technology and market share.  A set of new technological frontiers are set to be breached through the launch.  The console has incorporated advanced motion capture features.  It also offers new real-time networking and data sharing capabilities, which is set to enhance the gaming experience.  On the marketing side, Sony aims to avoid the mistakes it did with the previous version of the console, which was introduced too late into the market, when, by then, Microsoft’s Xbox had firmly established its presence.

Apart from the apparent allure of an entertainment gadget, one can look at the upcoming product launch from critical angles.  The foremost is the social implication of video games in general and PlayStation in particular.   It is a . . . Read More

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Reading Response: “Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?” by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. makes a cogent case for pluralism in the American cultural context. In the American academia of today the formation of curricula is largely dependent on the ethnic composition of the enrolled students. This implies that courses that come under the purview of liberal arts are seldom offered in colleges with a high ethnic/racial diversity. Gates Jr. sees this practice as discriminatory and divisive. He alerts us to how “political representation has been confused with ‘representation’ of various ethnic identities in the curriculum”. (214) Hereby, instead of real diversity in the classroom, what we have is notional diversity of perspectives in the course content. The effect of this trend is one of promoting a concocted common American identity where none such exists. Political conservatives have tried to justify this practice by citing fears of ‘tribalism’ and ‘fragmentation’ in society. But considering that plurality is at the very core of American . . . Read More

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A response to Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd movement

Ludwig van Beethoven’s music is generally understood as the composer’s personal expression of his deep-felt emotions. The mercurial composer not only suffered from a progressively worsening deafness but also turbulent romantic relations.  His music is said to capture the high and low moments of his personal and professional lives.  His music is also divided into those that were meant for public performance and those that were written for private/intimate enjoyment. The Moonlight Sonata falls into the latter category. The first movement, which is set as Adagio sostenuto sets the romantic mood to perfection. It is very intimate and an expression of longing and anticipation. This is followed b the second movement which is a short Allegretto that provides sharp contrast in tempo and rhythm to the first movement. And finally the third movement, set as Presto agitato, offers an apt conclusion to the sonata. The meaning of the third movement can be . . . Read More

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What have been the prevailing creationist/intelligent design explanations for the origin and development of organic beings and how have these views been challenged by Darwin’s theory of evolution?

Charles Darwin’s publication of the theory of evolution through natural selection is one of the pivotal moments in the history of science. But the theory was unveiled only in the middle of 19th century, by when great strides have already been made in other fields of science. Yet, when compared to the complexity and cumbersomeness of theories in the fields of astronomy, quantum physics or discrete mathematics, Darwin’s theory is remarkable for its simplicity.  Despite this fact the theory has generated a lot of controversy – both among the general public and among intellectuals. Leading the aggression are the religiously orthodox, who see a threat to the tenets of their faith. To overcome their insecurities they adopt one of two approaches. First, they try to reject evolution as valid scientific theory for want of adequate evidence supporting it. When this fails, they co-opt the theory into a religious understanding and project the process of evolution as God’s . . . Read More

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Steve Jobs and the invention of the iPhone

Introduction:

Thesis Statement:

Steve Jobs is one of the prominent inventors and pioneers in the field of information technology.  Some of his creations such as the iPhone speak highly of his vision in recognizing technologies of the future.  By introducing products such as the iPhone, he took Apple Computers to new heights through its exceptional performance and features.

Invention:

In order to grow any business innovation is a key element.  Without innovation the business would stagnate and will soon be consumed by more competitive firms. At the beginning of Apple Computers’ corporate life, the Mac computers were a great product innovation. In more recent years, it is the iPhone.  The quality and popularity of iPhone is such that it has even overtaken companies like Blackberry. At the beginning of the IT revolution in the 1990s companies like Microsoft were taking huge strides in Graphic User Interface . . . Read More

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The decline of Community Oriented Policing since September 11, 2001.

Prior to September 11, 2001 many police agencies nationwide practiced Community Oriented Policing.  The aftermath of 9/11 saw many police agencies revert back to traditional policing.  Describe why you believe this is or is not beneficial for a police organization.

The September 11, 2001 terror attack on American soil, carried out by Al-Qaeda, is a significant politico-historical event in many respects.  In its aftermath the nation saw a slew of counter-terrorism measures, some of which (like the PATRIOT Act) have been very controversial. The effects of stringent security measures that were taken in the wake of 911 have percolated even to the police department.  Since 911 there have been structural and functional changes witnessed in police departments across the country.  A major change is with respect to Community Oriented Policing, which has been nearly done away with.  Although efficiency and rapid co-ordination to act upon intelligence has been . . . Read More

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