Tag: Canada


Huxley’s effective use of conflict and control in reinforcing the dangers of technocracy in Brave New World

Brave New World is a profound literary work that encompasses themes of philosophical discourse, projection of societies in the future, the impact of technology on human relations, etc.  The major theme in the novel, however, is the link between dystopian societies and an underlying technocratic socio-political order.  Huxley uses conflict and control in the realms of politics, human relations, culture and technology to showcase all the malefic aspects of a technocracy.  This essay will flesh out this thesis in detail.

One of the constant undercurrents in Brave New World is the dehumanizing effects of technological progress.  It would be simplistic and false to blame technology per se for the situation, for there is a political angle to it as well.  In other words, if sophisticated technology is wielded by powerful political institutions for vested gains then the results can be disastrous for humanity.  Eugenics and scientific planning are two . . . 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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Problems with traditional ethnographic film-making as exemplified by Nanook of the North

The film Nanook of the North is a pioneering effort by film-maker Robert Flaherty.  Released in 1922 and filmed in the immediately preceding years, the film was a tentative experimentation in two genres – ethnography and documentary.  At a time when the written word was the primary mode of information dissemination, Nanook of the North attempted to achieve what an ethnographic book on the Eskimo would have done.  When motion picture as we know it today was taking its early steps as a medium of popular culture, Flaherty, who called it a non-fiction film, can be credited to have made the first documentary.  Looking back at the ninety years since the release of Nanook of the North, one can see vast improvisations in film-making technique and technology.  The addition of synchronized sound would be another cornerstone in the history of films. (Ellis & McLane, 2005)

As can be expected in this early example/experimentation with narrative film, there are a few obvious . . . Read More

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Analysis of The Moment by Margaret Atwood

The poem titled “The Moment” is a beautifully illustrated and compactly presented work, and its meaning is especially relevant for contemporary societies. The poem is organized in three stanzas of six lines each. The first stanza sets up the narrative by making the claim about human beings’ ‘ownership’ of earth. The second stanza counters the first stanza by explicating the inherent folly behind the notion of ‘ownership’. The final stanza qualifies the second stanza by giving reasons for why human beings cannot be owners of the planet. The poem can be summed up thus: Whenever human beings start believing that they have mastered their environment and start believing in a misplaced sense of superiority over mother nature, then they are setting up their own doom. We as a species will always remain products of nature and to that extent subordinate to the wellbeing of our natural environment. Through the course of our planet’s history, we as a species are only recent . . . Read More

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Documentary Film Analysis: The Corporation

The documentary film titled The Corporation attempts to present to the viewer different facets of this institution.  The points of view presented in the mainstream media are quite different from the actual realities associated with business corporations.  The documentary is based on a book written by Joel Bakan titled The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, and is made by the team comprising of Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott.  As the title of the book suggests, business corporations are all too often guilty of pursuing profits over the interests of people and the environment.  This thesis is suitably demonstrated in the documentary through a compilation of interviews, film clips and case studies from the past.  Divided in three one-hour episodes, the documentary succeeds in showing to the viewer the various negative aspects of a business corporation, which often gets little attention in the mainstream media and popular discourse.

One of the major . . . Read More

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Book Review: Gambling with the Future by Yale D. Belanger

The history of the social and economic impoverishment of aborigines of North America in general and Canada in particular is fairly well documented.  But the effect of European colonization and settlements in Canada has had a destructive effect on aboriginal gaming and gambling as well.  This latter aspect of the  history of aboriginal life under European rule has not attracted the attention of scholars and researchers in the past.  Yale Belanger attempts to fill this void by carrying out a detailed and systematic study of the subject.  This book is an important contribution to the relatively small collection of Canadian literature pertaining to the aborigines.  As a result, it could be invaluable for students, historians, government officials, policy makers, social activists, etc.

The book also briefly compares the native gambling institutions of Canada to that of the United States.  What emerges is that the course taken by the gambling industry in these two countries . . . Read More

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A brief review of W. Kymlicka’s article “Equality for Minority Cultures”

The reading ‘Equality for Minority Cultures’ deals with the set of issues that are common to societies where there are a few dominant cultural groups and numerous minority groups.  In the case of Canada and the United States, the Native American population (also called the aborigines) comprise one such group.  Kymlicka analyzes the contentious issue of ‘special’ rights and privileges provided to aboriginal people by law.  Kymlicka argues that such ‘affirmative action’ is a breach of principles of equality, which is such an integral part of the Constitution of these democratic nations.  The author criticizes the basis of such entitlements, which are founded upon an “abstract egalitarian plateau” that provides inadequate justice to minority communities.  Citing the views of prominent legal thinkers such as John Rawls and Dworkin, the author states that such special entitlements would not be effective as long as “the effect of market and political decisions made . . . Read More

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The Cultural Division of Labour and Internal Colonialism: A brief review of Walker Connor’s “Eco- or Ethno- Nationalism?”

Walker Connor’s article titled ‘Eco- or Ethno- nationalism?’ addresses an oft discussed issue, namely the impulse underlying ethnic conflict.  Connor asserts that attributes such as race, language, religion, etc, which comprise an individual’s ethnic identity are at the heart of an ethnic conflict only so far as there is evidence of tangible discrepancy in these attributes among the groups involved.  The author further points out that far too often measures of economic disparity between the conflicting groups is not paid attention to.  A closer scrutiny would lead to the conclusion that economic stature of the two groups is a significant factor.  The reason why economic factors behind ethnic conflict are not obvious at the outset is due to the fact that comparative studies of ethnic conflicts show a near-universal relationship between ethno-national conflict and economic causation.  Further, “analysts have been beguiled by the fact that observable economic . . . Read More

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Defining Multimedia

Multimedia is an emerging knowledge-based industry which is creating a lot of sustainable job opportunities for workers and new market opportunities for their employers. Multimedia companies tend to be small businesses with less that a total of 10 employees.  In a recent survey, it was estimated that nearly 51% of all companies in this industry tend to belong to this category.  While most of the employees get ancillary benefits, a small percentage of the employees work on short-term contracts.

The prime source of revenue for multimedia companies is through website development.  The next biggest source . . . Read More

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Language Development and Socioeconomic Status

Abstract:

Parent’s education level which is a reasonable measure of their SES is found to influence language proficiency of their children. Substance abusing parents from low SES tend to be negligent of their children, which affects their language development. Ethnic and racial minorities, especially whose first language is different from the dominant language of the region, have historically found social mobility difficult. Parents under mental stress tend to be poor caregivers and this affects the language acquisition of their children – most such adults are from lower SES.

Introduction:

Research indicates that of all the parent-child activities, reading to children has a major influence on the subsequent language development of the child. This is so, because the other verbal interactions between . . . Read More

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