Tag: USA

History of the eradication of Smallpox

Smallpox has been one of the most fatal infectious diseases to have afflicted humankind in recorded history. From the earliest recorded occurrences of the disease we learn that the disease spread rapidly where ever human population was dense and killed one in five of infected persons. Children were particularly vulnerable, as it claimed one in three of them during an outbreak. Since the disease was spread by air, it was very difficult to contain it in congested human settlements such as cities. Not until the discovery of medical vaccination were humans able to protect themselves against smallpox. While vaccination option remained controversial throughout, there is no doubt that it greatly helped contain the disease and save thousands of lives. The improvement in sanitary conditions in cities and hygiene levels in hospitals had also contributed to controlling the disease. (Brickman, 2002)

As statistics from Britain’s National Health Service shows, the first stage in the . . . Read More

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The USA PATRIOT Act and issues of privacy

The twentieth century has been a transformational period for human societies.  As the process of industrialization advanced during this period, more people moved away from rural to urban settings.  As a result major cities became overpopulated and towns expanded into cities.  The meaning of ‘public space’ got expanded and redefined during this process.  And when millions of people share limited geographical space, individual privacy becomes a problem.  The problem is essentially twofold: firstly, it is challenging for government agencies to protect the privacy rights of its citizens and secondly, the city dwellers are faced with threats to their privacy by criminals and fraudsters.  It is in this backdrop that we must study the issue of privacy in the United States today.  As the most advanced nation in the world, the urban spaces in the United States are the nerve centers for global commerce and politics.  A loss of privacy in the form of loss of confidential . . . Read More

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Logical fallacies in an editorial piece: A case study

Print journalism has a long and rich tradition, reaching back more than two centuries.  The content disseminated by newspapers can be divided into two classes: reports and opinion.  While reports are expected to adhere to objectivity and neutrality, opinion editorials have no such restrictions.  As a result, the latter can at times come across as ideologically biased as they reflect personal views of the editor.  This essay will look into an editorial essay of recent times and will scrutinize if the author had committed logical errors.  The editorial chosen for this analysis is “Base drilling halt on results, not an arbitrary timeline”, published in USA Today on the 8th of July, 2010.  Since the author’s name is not disclosed, the views expressed therein can be attributed to the Editorial Board of USA Today.

In the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Adminstration issued a moratorium banning all . . . Read More

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Criminal Justice: Preventing rape as a weapon of war

The association between rape and war goes as far back as recorded history. Among all evil actions that human beings are known to commit, rape is only next to murder in terms of its barbarity and cruelty. It is also a sad fact that irrespective of widespread acknowledgement of the tendency of human beings to indulge in rape, no significant progress is made to prevent this social evil. Most instances of rape tend to coincide with war and its immediate aftermath. This has parallels in the animal kingdom when males of most species combat with each other to win access to females in heat. But the crucial distinction to be applied in this regard is that the animals are acting as per their nature. In the case of humans, they have a developed mental faculty that is capable of applying ethical principles to their actions. Hence there is no justification in mimicking animal behavior while at the same time undermining the faculty of reason and justice that is so uniquely human. While it is . . . Read More

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Arguments in favor of Year-round Schooling

Public opinion is divided on the issue of whether or not American schools should adopt year long curriculums. But conventionally, schools across the country have adhered to schedules that would give pupils a break of three months followed by nine months of study. In recent years, some journalists and commentators have suggested that year long schooling could benefit the students in the long term. This essay will foray into the arguments made by proponents of year round schooling.

At the root of the debate is the fact that the knowledge and acquired skill levels of students in America is on a steady decline. This is indicated by statistics pertaining to standardized test scores. The supporters of year-round schooling argue that such an arrangement would help improve the knowledge and skill levels of students. In other words,

“With the heightened emphasis on standardized test scores and the implementation of rigorous, mandatory tests for promotion and . . . Read More

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Relevance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to the Madoff Scandal

The investment scandal perpetrated by Bernard Madoff is the largest financial fraud in the history of capitalism. It is believed that Madoff’s secretive investment advice firm caused a loss of nearly $65 billions for the 4,000 odd investors who trusted his firm with their wealth. The investors consisted of several celebrities as well as people from middle and lower classes, thereby making the loss more acute for the latter group. This essay will explore the relevance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to the Madoff Scandal.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is an agency of the Federal government that is entrusted with the task of regulating the financial markets is one of the chief culprits behind this failure. The SEC had brushed aside several warning signals in the years leading up to 2008, either due to the incompetency of their auditing staff or due to collusion with the fraudsters. Ever since Madoff started his ponzi investment scheme two decades . . . Read More

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A critical analysis of the role of mass media in liberal democracies based on liberal theory and political economy

Conventionally, mass media was perceived as the Fourth Estate, implying that it is separate and autonomous from the three main branches of government.  While such is the idealized theoretical understanding of the definition of mass media, the reality is stark and discouraging.  Far from its founding ideals, journalism here in the UK, as elsewhere in the world, is conducted within a narrow framework of rules in concert with political and corporate powers.  Its primary role in a liberal democracy would include unwavering upkeep of ethical standards, unbiased reporting of political developments and a detached commentary of the cultural aspects of society.  But, evidence from electronic and print media today reveals that the media houses have largely failed to live up to their defined roles.  This essay will expound on this thesis by way of citing relevant examples from scholarly sources.

 One of the talking points amongst the . . . Read More

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How the poor are punished twice by Affluenza?

John de Graaf and team’s well researched and eye-opening book “Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic” brings up several issues ailing contemporary industrial societies, such as deceptive mass advertisements, over-population, environment damaging toxic dumping, corporate greed, etc.  Such lifestyle and social trends are no where more ostensible than in the United States of America.  The USA, being the world’s largest economy and the world’s only military superpower, can virtually dictate terms of trade for the rest of the world.  And being the torch bearer of unfettered laissez faire capitalism, American business interests often dictate government policy decisions.  This heady mix of wealth and power need to be counterbalanced by accountability and responsibility for the general public.  But, going by the evidence presented by the authors of this book, the outcomes so far have been harmful for the people at large and the environment in which they live.  The poor . . . Read More

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