Category: General


The Main Memory System for a Computer

Memory is an important component of any computer.  A part of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of a computer, memory performs either of short-term or long-term storage functions.  At a conceptual level, memory can either refer to the storage devices themselves (hard-drives, DVDs, etc) or to the data/information stored therein. The Random Access Memory (RAM) is the most important for the functioning of a computer, for it is essential for immediate and high-speed computing operations.  But RAM has a limitation in terms of its capacity but the access time is very impressive.  In contrast, secondary memory devices offer vast storage capacities for information with the trade-off being slow access time.

Computer memory devices are mostly made of semiconductor circuits such as Integrated Circuits (ICs). The basic storage unit for semiconductor memory is called a cell which can store a unit of binary information (0 or 1). Cells are in turn part of memory words of lengths such as . . . Read More

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Media Analysis: Just a Minute (BBC Radio 4)

Introduction:

The media item chosen for this essay is Just a Minute – a flagship radio comedy show broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It is based on a 4-member panel format, where contestants have to speak on any given topic for a full minute without ‘hesitation’, ‘repetition’ or ‘deviation’.  Having premiered at 1967 as a weekly show the program is still running today.  It is one of the longest running in the history of radio and comedy. (Crisell, 2002, p.26)  The main reason for its success is due to how it allows endless creativity and humour within a simple framework of rules.  Though the three-point rules are simple to understand, the panellists seldom find them easy to follow during the impromptu situations they find themselves in. Though it is a competitive game-show format, winning is less important than amusing and entertaining the audience.  The audience for the show falls into two categories: radio listeners and in-studio attendance.  . . . Read More

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Reading Response to ‘Our Barbies, Ourselves’ by Emily Prager

This article takes a critical look at one of the most recognizable cultural icons in American history – the Barbie doll.  While admitting to the popularity and appeal of the Barbie doll across generations, Emily Prager finds certain faults with what it symbolizes.  The fact that the doll was first conceived and designed by a man is the first of Prager’s objections.  She contends that Barbie’s fulsome breasts and thin waistline accentuate her sex-appeal, thereby reducing femininity to the contours of body shape and skin color. Prager asserts that this physical perfection on part of the most popular doll undermines the feminist movement and other feminine ideals.  Prager acknowledges that Barbie does serve as a role model in terms of her liberated sense of style and living.  The showcasing of Barbie’s bohemian lifestyle, spanning condos, fashion plazas, swimming pools and beauty salons is appealing for young girls.  Yet, her combination of verve and freedom does not . . . Read More

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Germs that scrub our dirty oil

Outline:

By properly channelling scientific knowledge about oil-consuming bacteria, vast untapped sources of energy could be availed. Two main ideas for accomplishing this goal are being mooted. The first involves introducing bacteria that will attack antagonist bacteria, thereby reducing the emission of methane.  The second method involves applying bacteria that will serve as a catalyst for the oil, thereby aiding transportation.

Summary:

It is a little known fact that germs co-habit energy reserves underground and that the actively feed on select oil compounds and leave by-products. These tiny bacteria are called archaea.  Scientists are now exploring ways of tapping into these natural processes toward efficient production and transportation of energy. The cherished goal at the moment is to make extraction possible from oil sands – a resource that is abundant in Canada.

Scientists working for Genome Alberta . . . Read More

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Cell Phones and Brain Cancer

Cell phones are ubiquitous symbols of the technological age.  With a cell phone our aural and cognitive faculties are extended in an unprecedented manner, making our living experience very unique.  For example, wherever we may be located geographically, we can get in touch with family members anywhere in the world and at any moment we choose.  There are practical utilities such as parents checking on their children, making emergency calls when the elevator or the car breaks down, etc.  Such are the range of benefits of cell phones that presently, across the globe, there are more than 3 billion units in use.  That is nearly one in two people in the globe have a cell phone attached to their identity.  This statistic makes it clear that cell phones have become inevitable to our lives.  A link has been identified between some kinds of electromagnetic radiation and some cancers. These forms of electromagnetic radiation include “ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma rays. They . . . Read More

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Pablo Picasso: A short biography

Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest visual artists of the twentieth century. Born in Spain in 1881, he later moved to France where he spent most of his productive years. Though the public remember him as a painter, he also excelled as a sculptor, graphic artist and ceramist. He gained reputation on the basis of his “technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, incredible originality and prolificity”. (The Columbia Encyclopedia)

Though a naturally gifted artist, Picasso honed his skills at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona at the turn of the twentieth century. He then moved to Paris as the city was famous for its art patronage. He lived here for the next four decades of his life which was also the most creative and productive phase in his artistry. He produced such works as The Old Guitarist (1903). This early phase is noted by biographers as Picasso’s ‘blue period’, typifying the liberal use of the color as well as the melancholy mood carried by the paintings. . . . Read More

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How can social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter be used to improve knowledge sharing, build social capital, support innovation, and aid problem solving in multinational corporations?

Executive Summary:

Social media has been successfully adapted by a few MNC’s as channels for research and innovation. They have also shown their potential in promoting knowledge sharing and team building. The value of social media technology to improving overall organizational effectiveness is borne by statistical and empirical evidence. The use of Twitter for professional enhancement is well established now. The educational philosophy of constructivism offers a strong rationale for greater social media integration within the organization. These days, just as the sweep and reach of social media has increased, so have the niche media spaces that facilitate the interaction. Hence, beyond the prominent household names of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, we now have other specialized avenues for interaction like wiki portals and Youtube repositories of learning videos. In today’s competitive business environment, it is imperative for mutli-national companies . . . Read More

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The psychosocial changes incurred during adolescence

Adolescence is a key developmental stage in an individual’s life. It encompasses substantial changes physiologically, cognitively and socio-emotionally.  Adolescence begins with the onset of puberty between 11-13 years and continues till the end of teenage years. Recent scientific evidence suggests that while physical growth stops in late teens, the cognitive development goes up to and beyond the age of 24.

Family dynamics undergo changes when children turn adolescents. Parents feel that their children are becoming rebellious and argumentative. While this is true, it is a natural developmental stage through which adolescents individuate from their parents.  While some amount of alienation from parents is requisite for healthy psychological development, adolescents still care what their parents think, and they still seek their love and guidance, albeit in an altered interpersonal setting.  Psychologist Laurence Steinberg observes that dealing with adolescents is akin to . . . Read More

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What would I tell the 9 Billionth Person In the world with respect to Globalization?

Based on the current rate of growth of world human population, the year 2050 is a fair estimate of when the 9 billionth baby will be born.  The rate of scientific and technological advancement in the last few centuries has happened at an unprecedented pace.  As recent as the beginning of the 19th century, societies across the globe were functioning on the feudalistic model, where local landlords and warlords ruled their dominions with brute authority.  The agrarian societies of the time quickly gave way to the mass industrial economic models, where, as Adam Smith famously pointed out, division of labor and efficiency of production were given great importance.  This era lasted a century and half till the 1970, by which time a new global economic paradigm was beginning to take shape.

The 1970s is the pivotal decade in which the neo-liberal economic model (also commonly called ‘globalization’) was being adopted as the core government policy. The United States . . . Read More

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The Case Against Perfection’ by Michael J. Sandel

The article in question offers an in-depth analysis of the emerging preference for genetic engineering (GE). The author identifies various reasons why instances of genetic engineering are on a rise and shows the fallacies and superficialities of those arguments convincingly. For this essay, the tendency to utilize genetic engineering for ‘enhancing’ an individual’s life is chosen as the most important item of criticism by the author. Sandel is in support of GE as a life-saving measure. He supports its incorporation into standard medical practice for strictly medical reasons. But where he is strongly critical is in co-opting this new technology so as to gain a competitive edge over peers in any walk of life. Sandel believes that just because a technology is available it should not be applied recklessly without considering all the moral dimensions of the practice.

Sandel highlights two areas where ‘performance enhancement’ is much sought after is in the worlds of . . . Read More

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