Shakespeare Today

     A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of going to see Measure for Measure at London’s National Theatre.

     As usual with Shakespeare’s plays, the audience had to be told the plot beforehand in the program notes, because everyone knows that Elizabethan English will leave you confused within seconds. There wasn’t even an intermission – I guess because the producers feared that half the audience would disappear. The woman on my left sat still throughout the whole performance seemingly impressed. At first, I assumed she must be a renowned Shakespeare scholar. But no, she was fast asleep.

     The truth is that Shakespeare is losing his appeal in his own country. A recent survey found that only 10% of Britons knew that the words “Now is the winter of our discontent” come from Shakespeare’s Richard III, while 71% could identify the words “If only you knew the power of dark side” as coming from the movie villain in Star Wars. This may seem troubling, but appreciation of Shakespeare has been on the wane for some time. British education authorities have even decided that 14-year-olds taking tests on Shakespeare will be able to get by without actually having to read any of his plays.

     Still, Shakespeare won’t go down without a fight. In fact, his works are almost beyond criticism in some circles. I’ve heard many an Oxford graduate say that Dickens is exaggerated, Austen lighthearted, and Dostoyevsky just plain dull; but I rarely hear them knock Shakespeare. The English are brought up to consider that Shakespeare’s brilliance lies in his literary correctness and its powerful form. 

     The result is that Shakespeare’s language invades different areas of our daily life. There are those who believe that to sprinkle his words into a conversation shows how smart they are. Discussing politics, you might hear someone say: “A peace above all earthly dignities, a still and quiet conscience.” You know it’s Shakespeare because you don’t have a clue what it means. But you feel obliged to nod knowingly. And then there are those who have to let others know that they appreciate a particular Shakespearean line. So when Casca, in Julius Caesar, says, “It’s all Greek to me,” a section of the audience laughs in an annoyingly deliberate fashion. It’s a line that wouldn’t cause even a titter if Shakespeare hadn’t written it. 

     But there are signs that cracks are appearing in this Shakespearean alliance, with the attempts to prop him up taking on an increasingly desperate air. One of Britain’s leading tourism websites, probably aimed at Americans, says: “If your previous experience of Shakespeare is confined to dreaded school lessons, give the stage version a try – you’ll be surprised how much better it is!” It’s the same tactic that parents use to persuade kids to eat their vegetables: “It’s not nearly as nasty as it looks, sweetheart.”

     The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is at it, too, boasting that one quarter of those who go to Shakespeare plays are under 25. But we all know that young people don’t go to Shakespeare plays by choice. Either they’re there on a school trip, or because they’re about to take an exam. 

    I believe that most people who attend Shakespeare plays find them to be dull and impenetrable. Try reading a Shakespeare play at random and see how comprehensible it is. I did, and I got the following sparking insight from Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale: “ Let me pocket up my peddler’s excrement. How now, rustics? Wither are you bound?” Any suggestions as to the meaning? So why bother with Shakespeare at all? Isn’t life just too short for theater in a language barely understandable – in iambic pentameter or blank verse – featuring a character called Bottom?

     I’ve found it rather liberating to say that I’ve had it with Shakespeare. And as with many things in life, once you admit it, you find all sorts of other people agree. Suddenly, everyone’s saying that Shakespeare has ruined their cultural lives.

     So, perhaps it’s time more people stopped feeling that they ought to like Shakespeare, and just admitted that they don’t. It’s time we pulled together and proclaimed enough is enough. As Shakespeare himself says: “To thine own self be true.” Actually that’s not a bad line.

Argumentative Essay: Video Games

    Take a look at today's generation. A student comes home from school at around three or four o'clock in the afternoon, sets his bag aside, debates whether he should take a shower, definitely eats his lunch, and begins his after school program: playing video games, playing video games, and playing more video games. Video games, unfortunately, have become an imperative part of the average teenager's life. Whether it's hours, day, or maybe even weeks, teenagers spend an excessive amount of time slaying monsters, killing zombies, or just shooting at each other's avatars for all time's sake. They lose track of time, deprive themselves of sleep, miss out on their homework, and deteriorate their health, all for the sake of the phenomenal world of 'Call of Duty' and fellow video games. A vast majority of the global population believes that playing video games can positively influence the lives of those who favor them, while others strongly disagree. Although playing video games may help stimulate and relax the brain, it is still considered detrimental because of the tendency to reward violence and create the ultimate aggressive player.

     To begin with, playing video games often leads gamers to accept what is conventionally and ethically dismissed. Violent video games offer a profoundly aggressive and bloody atmosphere. They are simply based on the notion that killing others is a reward. Furthermore, they teach the players how to disrespect life by picking up a gun and shooting at people, and thus integrating into their lives the fact that violence is a social norm everybody praises. Moreover, certain games, such as GTA, school players about how crucial it is to disrespect authority by simply adding points for those who manage to escape the cops, or even shoot some. Such games brainwash teenagers to think that authority figures are the bad guys, when in the truth they're not. Thus, they no longer feel a sense of reverence for law enforces, or the law itself for that matter. David Greenfield, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction argues that: "It (violent video games) conveys two things -- a lack of respect for human life and a desensitization to violent acts," "And it teaches them the skill set to enact the violent act with increased precision. And we call that entertainment.

     Apart from the ethics, overexposure to violent video leads to the development of bad conflict resolution skills. Playing these games allows players to express their feelings, whether anger, pain, or pleasure, through hostility and aggression. Gamers only grow familiar to the violent approach of sorting out problems and lose the art of communication. Thus, they resort to physical abuse to show their friends or siblings that they are bothered or irked by them. Brad Bushman, a psychologist at Ohio State University, was co-author of a study that examined 380 studies on video games; he stated, "The results show that playing violent video games increases angry thoughts, aggressive behavior, and decreases helping behavior, empathy and compassion for others." In another study, 161 college students were randomly assigned to play one of several violent games, neutral games, or pro-social games (in which helpful behavior was required). After playing, the students completed a task in which they could either help or hurt another student. Those who had played the violent games were more hurtful to other students, whereas those who had played the pro-social games were more helpful.

     It is claimed that video games are mental stimulators that help sharpen the mind and relieve it of anxiety and stress. This is an absolute truth; however, playing video games has also proven to reduce certain cognitive brain functions. Certain studies have focused on how specific brain regions of players of violent games respond under varying circumstances. For instance, Rene Weber and his colleagues asked 13 experienced gamers to play a violent game while undergoing FMRI brain scan (functional magnetic resonance imaging). By imaging players' brain activity before, during and after each violent encounter, the investigators found that immediately before firing a weapon, players displayed greater activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. This area involves cognitive control and planning, among other functions. While firing a weapon and shortly afterward, players showed less activity in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (RACC) and amygdala. Because interaction between those brain areas is associated with resolving emotional conflict, their decreased functioning could indicate a suppression of the emotional response to witnessing the results of taking violent actions. Thus, the greater the experience with violent media, the lower was the activation of brain areas for thinking, learning, reasoning and emotional control.

     In conclusion, video games have become an indispensable part of this modern technological era, yet they persist to be deleterious to whoever latches onto them. Unfortunately adolescents do not perceive that they have been caught up in a current of false entertainment, and it might just be too late to get out ... or is it?

How to live to be a hundred

     For adults who remain vivaciously childlike in old age, there has to be a sustained enthusiasm for some aspect of life. If they are forcibly retired they should immerse themselves in some new, absorbing activity.

     Some people are naturally more physically active than others, and are at a considerable advantage providing their activities are not the result of stress. The more earnest aging exercisers display a conscious or unconscious anxiety about their health. If they take exercise too seriously it will work against them. Older individuals who take up intensive athletic activity are usually people who fear declining health. Yet it is crucial that physical exercise, as we grow past the young sportsman stage, should be extensive rather than intensive and, above all, fun. 

     A calm temperament favors longevity. Those who are sharply aggressive, emotionally explosive or naggingly anxious are at a grave disadvantage. Relaxation does not contradict the ides of passionate interest. Indeed, zest for living, eagerness to pursue chosen subjects are vital in long life. 

     Thinking about 'the good old days', complaining about how the world is deteriorating, criticizing the younger generations, are sure signs of an early funeral.

     Being successful is a great life-stretcher, and can even override such life-shorteners as obesity and fondness for drink. And success must always be measured in personal terms. A hill-shephered may feel just as successful in his own way as a Nobel Laureate. 

     Long-lived individuals seem to be more concerned with what they do than who they are. They live outside themselves rather than dwelling on their own personalities. 

     In personal habits, the long-lived are generally moderate. Extremes of diet are not common. A mixed diet seems to favor longevity. Many long-lived individuals enjoy nicotine and alcohol-in moderation. 

     Most long-lived people have a sense of self-discipline. The man who lives long because he walks a mile a day does so because he does it every day, as part of an organized existence.    

     Over and over, during my researches, it emerged that long life goes with a 'twinkle in the eye'. The sour-faced puritan and the solemn bore soon begin to lose ground, leaving their more amused contemporaries to enjoy the last laugh. 

     Finally, nothing is to be gained by a head-in-the-sand avoidance of the facts of life and death. The healthiest solution is to accept that one's span on Earth is limited and then to live every day, in the present, and to the full.

Cause & Effect Essay: Soil Pollution

     Although some environmental pollution is a result of natural causes, most is due to human activities. Soil pollution is one of the environmental problems which Lebanon has been suffering from and trying to figure out a way to lessen its effects on plant and animal life.

     Unhealthy soil management methods have seriously degraded soil quality, caused soil pollution and enhanced erosion. Treating the soil with chemical fertilizers and pesticides interferes with the natural processes accruing within the soil and destroys useful organisms such as bacteria. House hold hazardous wastes such as paints, cleaning chemicals, and batteries also contribute to crop failure because of the damage they cause to the soil when they aren’t dumped or sorted out in their proper places.

     It is always best to use organic substances when dealing with soil and proper disposal of hazardous materials reduces the damage pesticides and poisons can come into play as the final perhaps necessary elements in our anti-pest strategy. To reduce our own contribution to hazardous wastes, we should sort out and dispose them safely in separate pins. Put your leftover pesticides, solvent-based paints, and other dangerous items in special green points in your area to be safely disposed or recycled in special hazardous waste facilities.

     In brief, it’s the people’s responsibility the first place and the authorities the second place to eliminate the damage caused in our soil. Healthy and toxic free lands mean healthy animals, crops, and healthy people.

Expository Essay: Family Circles

     Well-knit families are closely connected to their wider family circles. By one way or another, parents and grandparents benefit from close ties with their children and grandchildren even if they cannot exchange visits very often. They usually get deep satisfaction when they make sure that love and care flow from one generation to another.

     Nowadays, an increasing number of grandparents care for their grandchildren and may even substitute parents. For example, when David Steel’s father died, his grandfather played an active role in his upbringing. He cared for him while his mother, a single parent, worked hard to build a successful business.

     On the other hand, children find special love in their relationships with their grandparents, and this helps them emotionally and mentally. Grandparents can become a major support when children face family problems. They can be both playmates and teachers for the younger generations as they teach values and pass on family traditions.

   In fact, wise parents foster loving relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. Exchanging letters and phone calls, sharing school work, and making personal contact-when possible-all of these build bonds of love and care between the two generations. Such bonds are very important because they strengthen the family unity. However, a loving relationship in a family requires much more than the feeling of love. It involves loving actions.

    A story is told of an old widow named Helen Reeves, who adored her children and grandchildren, all living some distance from her. She always longed to receive letters from them and made daily walks down a long pathway to her mailbox, anxiously anticipating a letter, but she was repeatedly disappointed. In contrast, Helen’s neighbors showed more concern than her own children and grandchildren did. 

     Only occasionally did Helen receive a phone call from one of her children, but she was hard of hearing and often asked, “What? What did you say?” during the calls. She pleaded with her children and grandchildren to write her letters. Yet, she didn’t receive any.

     Finally one day, when Helen checked her mailbox, there she found a letter. She got so excited that she rushed back home to get her glasses and read it. The moment she read the letter, she had a heart attack and died. It turned out that the letter was from Helen’s daughter, who wanted to take her to a nursing home for old people.

Persuasive Essay: Cruel Tests on Animals

      Do humans feel and animals don’t? Is it immensely immoral to kill humans but ordinary to kill animals? Is the suffering of millions of innocent animals worthy to save one human? Almost 40% of all animals are used in animal testing and more than 50% of these animals die. Animal testing is a controversial issue that some people find extremely normal while others find it extremely eccentric. Animal testing must be completely stopped due to the cruel behavior being applied to animals and due to the inaccuracy of these tests. 

First of all, animal testing should be banned because of the immoral cruelty people treat animals with. Animals in laboratories spend their life in cages, never feeling the warmth of the sun or the breeze on their skin. They are either locked up in over crowded cages or kept in isolation. They are never provided with pain relief after being subjected to painful tests, and are killed once the testing has been completed. It is simply cruel to abuse innocent souls like that even if it is for the sake of medical development. For example, writer Jane Goodall said in one of her books “ I Acknowledge Mine” where she talks about her visit to one of the labs that apply animal testing, “I am still hunted by the memory of her eyes, and the eyes of other chimpanzees I saw that day. They were dull and blank, like the eyes of people who have lost all hope...”

   Animal testing is not only inhumane, but also it is inherently inaccurate. Millions of animals suffer and die everyday testing medical drugs in the name of “cosmetic safety.” These tests are not even accurate. It is known from the pharmaceutical sector that 9 out of every 10 new drugs which appear to be safe and effective in animal tests turn out to be the opposite in human clinical studies. This is simply because the human body system is different from that of an animal, so what seems to be harmless in humans is harmful in animals and vice versa.  For instance, researchers working with monkey models of HIV tested a vaccine on the monkeys and subsequently gave the vaccine to humans who were harmed as a result. Also, a drug named TGN1412 was tested on animals and humans. All the human patients suffered life-threatening side-effects which didn’t appear in animals. 

In brief, cruelty towards animals and inaccurate test results are proof enough that animal testing must be ceased. We as people must show mercy to animals and value their lives as we value ours. They deserve to live as much as we do... 

Narrative Essay: The Battle of Old Age

      I have recently read about an area of the former Soviet Union where many people live to be well over a hundred years. Being 115 or even 125 isn’t considered unusual there, and these old people continue to do productive work right until they die. The United States, however, isn’t such a healthy place for older people. Since I retired from my job, I’ve had to contend with the physical and mental stresses of being “old.” 

For one thing, I’ve had to adjust to physical changes. Now that I’m over sixty, the trusty body that carried me around for years has turned traitor. Apart from the deepening wrinkles on my face and neck and the wiry gray hairs that have replaced my brown hair, I face more frightening changes. I don’t have the energy I used to. My eyes get tired. Occasionally, I miss something that was said to me. My once faithful feet seem to have lost their comfortable soles, and I sometimes feel I’m walking on marbles. To fight against this slow decay, I exercise whenever I can. I walk, stretch and climb stairs. I battle constantly to keep as fit as possible. 

Moreover, I’m trying to cope with mental changes. My mind was once as quick and sure as a champion gymnast. I never found it difficult to memorize answers in school or to remember the names of people I met. Now, occasionally have to search my mind for the name of a close neighbor or favorite television show. Because my mind needs exercise, too, I challenge it as much as I can. Taking a college course like this English class, for example, forces me to concentrate. This mental gymnast maybe a little slow and out of shape, but he can still do a back flip or turn a somersault when he has to. 

Surviving with the changes of old age has become my latest full-time job. Even though it is a job I never applied for and one for which I had no experience, I am trying to do the best I can. 

Narrative Essay: The Power of a Shoulder

Man has been showered with blessings; he has been given a heart to live, a brain to think, and most importantly a shoulder to rely on. The shoulder holds the head of a beloved one during hardships. It is the source of solace, comfort and relief. However, life turns into a battlefield when he has no shoulder to cry on. 

Hope Daniel, a fifty-year-old cancer warrior, suffered far beyond breast cancer. She was first diagnosed with stage two cancer during her early forties. Her husband passed away after being drafted for compulsory service in Iraq. Hope and her two twin daughters had a hard time moving on with their life. Eventually, the two girls traveled to London to pursue their education. Hope was left alone except for her girls’ once-in-a month visit. However, Hope was a fighter. She went through chemotherapy and had her tumor removed. Despite her recovery Hope felt as an outcast. So she befriended the pen. She wrote poems expressing the torture she was living through due to the lack of family relations. Her life, feelings and emotions were a wreck.

After Hope’s monthly scan, it turned out that her cancer was back. Her condition worsened to an extent that she had to be hospitalized. She had no one to confide to except for the regular attending nurse. Hope opened up to her; she told her about her life-long struggle with cancer and her battle for life. Nurse Angela was the only individual Hope had talked to for quite a while. Tears of torture, loneliness and grief filled Hope’s violet eyes. Angela also saw how reluctantly distant Hope was from her daughters. She realized that hope never had the guts to call her daughters, afraid that they might find out about her deteriorating condition. Instead, Nurse Angela made the call that changed Hope’s life for the best. Hope’s daughters came back to live with her and made their mother live the five most joyful years of her life. 

Everyone reaches rock bottom some time in his/her life; only the wise finds the means to get up and move on with the help of others who care. After all, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on, not only in times of distress but also during times of joy. 

Argumentative Essay: Parenting Battles

  Parents are the essence of our lives. They are the light that makes the dark tunnel of life glow. They lead us through that tunnel, teaching us how to distinguish between good and bad values, right and wrong behavior. Both, the mother and the father work hard to provide the best living for their children and to encourage the ultimate self-confidence dwelling within them. They both leave a deep mark in their kids lives, but whose mark is deeper? Who makes the better parent? Many people believe that the mother, with her love and tenderness is superior to the father, while others believe that the father, with his firmness and stoicism is the one superior to the mother. Although the father is the breadwinner of the family, the mothers love and responsibility certifies her to be the better parent. 

  First of all, mothers are soul feeders who enrich their children with love, kindness and care. The word mother is a synonym to someone who feeds, cares, nurtures, and protects. From the first day of conception, the mother frets about how to keep her soon-to-be child safe, happy, and healthy. She develops a sacred relationship with her little angel where she would basically go to the ends of the world to provide him/her with what he/she needs. It is simply her nature to love and care for her children. Also, a mother is always there to mend the physical and emotional pain of her children whether they are hurting from a bicycle accident or a bad break-up or a friend disappointment. Technically, a mother puts her children’s happiness on the top of her priority list where she is ready to shower them with unconditional love all her life until they reach that point of happiness. Sigmund Freud, who had a predominant influence in shaping the twentieth century’s cultural views of parenting, believed that since mothers usually fed and cared for their babies, they were biologically better suited to be parents.

  Apart from providing infinite love and pampering their children, mothers are also sensible and responsible parents. Girls are raised on the basis of having to be diligent mothers. They are taught, from a young age, how to clean, cook, and take responsibility of several duties. They are also trusted to babysit their younger siblings as a process of being involved in child responsibility for the future. Girls bear a prodigious amount of pressure in their teenage years which makes them grow into practical and responsible mothers. They become aware of the right methods of raising their kids and guiding them in the right direction, in addition to ruling their empire flawlessly. For example, if a child were to disobey his mom, she would definitely not stand there and just take it. She would ground him for his actions, not as a result of hate, but to teach him what wrong he did.

  Some people claim that it is in the fathers favors to be a better parent. It is true that the father is the breadwinner and the shelterer  of the family. It is his job to take care of the financial matters and provide his family with the money they need. However, in these modern days, mothers are also taking part regarding financial decision making. In fact, it is nearly, if not completely, an equally shared process between the mother and the father, not to mention that the mother is more qualified to handle finance in some cases. Facts state that 84% of women feel that they are equally or better qualified to handle financial decisions considering that they are more responsible. 

  In brief, the mother wins the battle of “better parent” for her irrevocable love and responsibility towards her offsprings. A mother is the exact definition of tenderness, dedication, and hard work. She is the anchor of our ships, and without her, we would just sink.  

How To Write an Outline, Paraphrase & Summary


   An outline is a plan to follow when writing a composition, a speech, or a report. It organizes material in a logical way into main ideas, supporting ideas, and supporting details.

   When you are ready to turn your ideas into an outline, remember that each main idea or topic becomes a main topic of the outline. All main topics will be indicated by roman numerals. Subtopics will noted by letters, and supporting details will be indicated by Arabic Numerals. 

    Decide whether to write a sentence outline or a topic outline. A sentence outline is written in full sentences. A topic outline is in words or phrases. 

Follow the guidelines below for writing an outline.
  1.  Center the title above the outline.
  2.  Every level of the outline must have at least two items (I and II, A and B, 1 and 2).
  3.  Put a period after each numeral and letter.
  4. Indent each new level of the outline.
  5. All items of one kind (Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numerals) should line up with each other. 
  6. Capitalize the first word of each item.
  7. The terms Introduction, Body, and Conclusion do not have to be included in the outline. They are not topics; they are merely organizational units in the writer's mind. 
    Study the sample topic outline below. Notice how it conforms to the rules in the chart above. All topic or sentence outlines have exactly the same structure. They follow the same pattern for lettering, numbering, and indenting. Here is a model topic outline. 

Benjamin Franklin - Scientist and Inventor

 I.   Experiments with electricity 
      A. Studied nature of electricity 
      B. Discovered lightning equals electricity 
      C. Invented lightning rod 

 II.  Other scientific work 
      A. Inventions 
           1.  Bifocal glasses 
           2.  Franklin stove 
           3.  Daylight saving time

      B. Scientific studies
           1. Charted Gulf Stream
           2. Worked on soil improvement

 III. Importance as a scientist
      A. Scientific honors
      B. Writings translated into other languages
      C. Experts' comments

Refer to the same topic outline above to write the answers to the following questions. 
  1. How many main topics are there?
  2. How many subtopics does the last main topic have? 
  3. Which main topic has both subtopics and details? 
  4. How many details are included under the subtopic "Inventions"?
  5. Which is the title of the report?


    To paraphrase is to state the written material you have read in your own words and in your style of writing. A paraphrase is more likely to be longer in length the the original text. 

When attempting a paraphrase, the following strategies might be of some help. 
  • Read the original text as many times as you need to understand all the ideas included.
  • Write these ideas in your own language. 
  • Mention the source from which you have taken these ideas.
  • Compare your paraphrase with the original text. 
  • Modify and edit to make sure your paraphrase is similar to the original text. 
   Native Americans were applying advanced planting techniques to corn long before Europeans traveled to the Americas. It was Squanto, a native American, who managed to increase corn production by 200 percent by using fish as fertilizer.   

Notice how the following paraphrase compares with the original above. 

    The writer of the above text believes that advanced planting techniques were known to native Americans long before the Europeans settled in the Americas. A well-known native American, Squanto, thought of using fish as fertilizer to multiply corn production. 


     A summary is a short statement that gives the most important information about a topic. To write a good summary, you need to consider all the information and decide what the main ideas are. You write only the most important ideas in as few words as possible. 

When attempting a summary, the following strategies might be of some help. 
  • Read the original text as many times as you need to understand all the ideas included. 
  • Identify the main idea as it indicates the most important information. 
  • Write the main idea in your own language.
  • Begin your summary by mentioning the source of the original text. 
  • Compare your summary with the original text. 
     Howard Carter did not enter the tomb right away. First, he sent a telegram to Lord Carnarvon, asking his friend to come quickly. If it really turned out to be the tomb of Tutankhamen, he did not want Carnarvon to miss the moment of opening it. 

One possible summary could be the following:

   The writer of the above text stated that Carter telegraphed Carnarvon to come for the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamen, and then he waited for his friend's arrival. 

   When you state the main idea of a paragraph, you are really summarizing the paragraph. Sometimes you may be asked to summarize something longer than a paragraph - say a text. You can go about it in the same way that you go about summarizing a paragraph. 

Read the following paragraph, and then choose the best summary.

   Some authorities say that the only true pyramids are the ons built in Egypt. These solid structures have a square or a rectangular base, smooth sloping sides, and a pointed top. The Egyptian pyramids were designed as burial places for the pharaohs. However, elsewhere in the world, pyramid like structures were built. These pyramids were often as temples or building for astronomical studies. Notable examples are the ziggurats of Mesopotamia and many others scattered around the world. 
  1. The most famous true pyramids are the ones in Egypt.
  2. Pyramids were built in many parts of the ancient world. 
  3. Although some authorities say the only true are Egyptian, pyramid like structures were built in other places. 

The Environment

    Human technological advancement, rashly known as progress, is becoming a threat to the environment and to all living organisms within it: vegetable, animal, and human alike. One of the latent but ultimately most dangerous types of pollution is that of sea water. Polluting the sea is in fact the last ring in the pollution chain, and probably the only one irreversible, given the sheer size of the bodies of water on our planet. As a matter of fact, many technological products cause sea pollution, and the effects are drastic. 

       Technology has contributed numerous inventions that have caused sea pollution. These include things as simple as fishing boats and plastic bags and landfills, as well as some quite more complex, such as chemical wastes from factories, oil spills, or plastic refuse. Consequently, the side effects of these technologies are the destruction of sea bottoms and the death of many marine animals. Plastic bags and chemical refuse have killed many animals; oil spills have caused lack of oxygen into the water, and wastes from factories have endangered many marine species. The result is a depleted, infected environment which in turn can take its toll on human existence through reducing yield, causing famine, and transporting contamination to humans through the normal food chain.

         Although many believe that the earth is too wide to be dirtied, humans are proving that by being careless with their technological by-products, they are endangering their entire natural environment. If no correcting action is taken immediately, a healthy future will not be possible.

The Cinematic Art

    For the first half of the 20th century the cinema dominated all other forms of popular entertainment in the world. During the heyday of the 'movie theatre' or the 'picture house'-as the Americans and British variously called their cinema halls-millions of people throughout the world developed the habit (almost the addiction) of going to see a film at least once a week. This was the golden age of Hollywood, film capital of both the United States and the world. 

     The first silent films (in black and white, of course) were shown during the 1890s as part of music-hall entertainment, taking turns along with various live acts such as singers, dancers and magicians. Such films were simply to give the audience a thrill; the vision of a huge locomotive racing towards you out of the screen usually produced the effect that both the promoter and the audience desired. Indeed, this thrill element continues to be very significant in movies, as is witnessed by the demand for more and more spectacular 'special effects' in various science-fiction extravaganzas. 

     A Frenchman, Georges Melies, created the first actual story-related movies around 1900 and the first American story film was The Great Train Robbery in 1903. From then until 1914, American and European film-makers were more or less equal, but after the outbreak of the First World War Europeans had other more pressing concerns, and far away in California, near the city of Los Angeles, the film-makers of the New World went ahead on their own, producing first the 'talkies' and then 'technicolor'. Many European countries (including France, Britain, Russia and Germany) have continued to make films, but they have never really managed to catch up with the lead that Hollywood established during and after the Great War. 

     The only nation that can nowadays be said to rival the United States in the volume of films produced, money made and numbers entertained is India, which has an extremely successful home and export business in films; it makes movies available both to Indian communities established in other parts of the world and to countries whose people are culturally closer to Bombay than to Hollywood.

     The cinema, since its inception, has been in direct competition with a variety of other forms of entertainment. These include: participating in and watching sports and games, acting in or going to the live theatre, performing for or listening to radio, watching television, and-most recently- playing video games. The live theatre has not done particularly well in the face of competition from the cinema, while in turn the cinema has not done too well when faced with the domestic miracle of millions of private screens in people's own homes. Looking back at the way in which television has displaced the movies since the early 1950s, we might even say that the cinema was the dinosaur ancestor of TV, rather than that TV is a miniature cinema. 

     The only clear advantage that the public movie has over the private tube is the size of the picture offered. Even that advantage may not last much longer, however, as more people in affluent parts of the world become interested in large TV wall screens for their living rooms. 

     Not, of course, that Hollywood is going to stop making films; the TV companies will need them for a long time to come, as will the videotape industry. The framing of celluloid dreams goes on, with whole galaxies of 'stars', 'starlets' and 'superstars' whom we can watch, love, hate, envy or disdain (according to our inclinations). It is a state of affairs that could never have been imagined in, say, 1839, the year when Sir John Herschel first offered the world the term 'photography'. 

Home Schooling

     Nowadays, a large number of children are being taken out of school and educated by their parents at home. Nationally, up to a 100 children a month are leaving the classroom because of their parents' disillusionment with the educational system. Around 15000 families are now teaching their youngsters at home, a rise of 50 percent from last year, according to latest figures.
     The popularity of home tuition (home schooling) has traditionally been blamed on the rigidity of the examination system, parents being unable to get their children into the school of their choice, and dissatisfaction with teaching methods. Some parents also prefer to keep their children at home because of bullying and lack of discipline in schools. Academics now claim, however, that a significant proportion of families educating at home do so because they feel that the concept of institutionalized education is a thing of the past. Professor Meighan said many academics now thought schools, as we know them, could become obsolete within 20 years. Instead, children will be taught at home using the internet, computers, and video. He said, "The schools of the future will be small pockets of children, sharing equipment in each other's homes, with teachers taking on  a new role as advisers, sorting through the available information.
      Under the law, parents must ensure their children are educated, whether at school or at home. It is the responsibility of local authorities to safeguard their schooling. Professor Roland Meighan, a senior lecturer in education at Nottingham University, said parents were fed up with the constrictions of the existing education system. He said, "Schools have become an outdated concept from the days of the town crier, when information was scarce and a central figure was needed to impart knowledge. Parents are now coming to the conclusion that education is moving on, and they do not want their children to be stifled by conventional methods.
     The future institutionalized schooling was recently called into question by Sir Christopher Ball, the director of learning at the Royal Society of Arts. He predicted the education system of the future would include a global curriculum and a worldwide qualifications system. He said, "Some existing marginal models of schooling will move into the mainstream-community schools and home schooling, for example. No doubt, other models yet unseen will emerge."

How Opting Out Brings O-Level Success at 13

     Leslie Barson is already running a prototype of the type of school educationalists predict will educate children in the future. Based partly at a community center in Brent and partly in family homes, the Otherwise Club is comprised of some 35 families around north London. Professional teachers are brought in where necessary to help with more specialized subjects, but for the most part parents and children work together on projects, such as study of the Greeks and the American Civil War, reading up on events, making costumes, and learning how people used to live.
     Parents opting out of school claim the flexibility of home learning means some children sit one of two GCE's by the age of 13. Ms. Barson's own children, Luis, age12, and 7-year-old Lilly, have never attended school. She pays around 2000$ a year for private tutors to help in specialized areas. She set up the Otherwise Club six years ago with just a handful of youngsters. She said, "The whole idea of educating children should be to develop their self-confidence.Our children do not see adults as disciplinarians." Her son agrees. Luis, who is currently teaching himself math, said, "I like the freedom to learn things that interest me, particularly music. I don't feel I am missing out on anything by not being at school because I am a member of various clubs and have friends who attend normal school.

The "Danger" of Isolating Children

    Home schooling could affect children's relationships with their peers and adults because of prolonged periods spent with their parents, educationalists have claimed. Most academics concede that education in the future will be increasingly centered around the home, and they fear children could become isolated and withdrawn, Professor Michael Barber at London University's Institute of Education, said pupils could spend half their time at school and half at home as a compromise. He said home tuition would play an increasingly significant role in educating children in the coming years. "I believe very strongly that children need to have the experience of school," he added. "There is the quality control issue of ensuring pupils are taught the basics and assessed. Children also need to spend time with their peers to learn the rules of work in a democratic society and learn to deal with relationships with adults other than their parents." Margret Rudland, head teacher of Godolphin and Latymer School, Hammersmith, said children needed to experience the "rough and tumble" of peer associations.

Global Warming

     Global warming is the greatest challenge facing our planet. It is, in fact, the increase in the temperature of the earth’s neon- surface air. It is one of the most current and widely discussed factors. It has far-reaching impact on biodiversity and climatic conditions of the planet. Several current trends clearly demonstrate that global warming is directly impacting on rising sea levels, the melting of ice caps and significant worldwide climate changes. In short, global warming represents a fundamental threat to all living things on earth.
     Global average temperature rose significantly during the past century. The prevailing scientific view is that most of the temperature increases since mid-20th century has been caused by increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations produced by human activity. Most scientists agree that planet’s temperature has risen 0.5 degree Celsius since 1900 and will continue to increase at an increasing rate. As a result, the world is getting warmer. The year 1990 was the hottest year in the last century.
     Together with 1991, the years of 1983, 1987, 1988 and 1989 have been measured to be the warmest six years in the last hundred years. The year 1991 was the second warmest year of the past century. The consequences of the rise in temperature is being felt all over the globe the findings of scientific research done in this field reveal that the temperature of the earth is likely to rise from 1.4°C to 5.8°C within a period of 100 years.
     Unfortunately, the imbalance which we have created between our life and earth is already showing the signs disasters in the form of flood, cyclones, landslides, tsunami, drought, etc. If the imbalance continues to rise, one day this will pose a question mark on the existence of this planet. Carbon dioxide (C02) which is an important constituent of environment is causing a warming effect on the earth’s surface.
     It increases the evaporation of water into the atmosphere. Since water vapor itself is a greenhouse gas, this causes still more warming. The warming causes more water vapor to be evaporated. The C02 level is expected to rise in future due to ongoing burning of fossil fuels and land use change. The rate of rise will depend largely on uncertain economic, sociological, technological and natural developments. Other gases such as methane, CFCs, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone are also responsible for global warming. Increases in all these gases are due to explosive population growth, increased industrial expansion, technological advancement, deforestation and growing urbanization, etc.

     Trees play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. They are the largest land-based mechanism for removing carbon dioxide from the air. Deforestation is checking these positive processes. It is the second principle cause of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation is responsible for 25 per cent of all carbon emissions entering the atmosphere, by the burning and cutting of 34 million acres of trees each year. Everyday over 5500 acres of rainforest are destroyed. As a consequence of massive loss of forests, global CO, levels rise approximately 0.4 per cent each year, the levels not experienced on this planet for millions of years. As we know the forests are the great absorbers of CO.
There is a close relation between global warming and population growth. Today the large population on earth is using the technologies which are destructive for the earth. Approximately, 80 per cent of atmospheric C02 increases are due to man’s use of fossil fuels either in the form of coal, gas or oil. A large portion of carbon emission is attributed to the burning of gasoline in internal-combustion engine of vehicles. Vehicles with poor gas mileage contribute the most to global warming. Besides, the sulphur group gas is the most harmful for this. Its contribution is 30 per cent in global warming. This gas is also emitted from the burning of fossil fuels.

Increase in global temperatures will cause rise in sea level.
     It will lead to melting of glaciers, changes in rainfall patterns, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather. As per the latest survey report the rate of melting of glaciers has seen sharp increase in recent times. Even those glaciers are affected from global warming which have been considered permanent. The shrinking of glaciers is going to pose a major problem of drinking water.
     The sea levels as a result of melting of glaciers have risen from 0.35 mm to 0.4 mm. Scientists have warned in their reports that most of the glaciers will disappear within a period of 15 to 25 years. It will create problems of drinking water and food grains in most of the North American countries. India is not unaffected from it. The Himalayan glaciers have shrunk about 30 per cent after 1970.
      The rise in sea levels is a major cause of concern. A large number of cities located in coastal areas will submerge in the sea. Besides, many island countries will ultimately “lose their existence and will be washed away from the surface of the earth. The damage of rising sea levels is diverse. Buildings and roads close to the water could be flooded and they could suffer damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. Experts believe that global warming could increase the intensity of hurricanes by over 50 per cent. In addition, as the sea rises, beach erosion takes place, particularly on steep banks.
     Wetlands are lost as the level rises. Rise in atmospheric temperature will lead to the outbreak of air¬borne and water-borne diseases. It would also contribute to the rise in death caused by heat. The problem of drought would be frequent. Consequently, malnutrition and starvation will pose serious challenge before humanity.
     Global warming is a great threat to the flora and fauna of the earth. A large number of species of them may become extinct.
    The expanse of desert would increase. Low rainfall and rising temperature could add to the intensity and frequency of dusty storm. This in turn will immensely affect the quality of agricultural land, ultimately causing adverse effect on agricultural produce. It would have far-reaching socio-economic impact.
     The growing concerns over global temperatures have led to the nations, states, corporations and individuals to draw out a plan of action to avert the situation. As a result the world’s primary international agreement on combating global warming was reached in Kyoto in 1997 which came to be known as Kyoto Protocol. However, ten years have passed; the situation does not appear to be very changed. It seems that the member countries are not very serious about its devastating effects.
     In addition, forestation can be of great help in this regard. Planting more trees and reducing timber cuts worldwide will help restore the imbalance. Secondly, we must follow on environmental policy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, i.e. promoting the reuse of anything. Thirdly, the use of fuel-efficient vehicles should be promoted as these vehicles have lower emissions of harmful gases. Fourthly, every individual should be aware of the importance of the protecting environment. Besides, eco- friendly technologies must be promoted, and must be substituted with the technologies which cause great emission of global warming gases. Public awareness campaign can be of great help in this regard because unless each and every individual is aware only governments’ effect cannot bring desired difference.

Raising the Driving Age: Restrictions of Going Crazy

     In 2009, 3,500 teens died in automatic accidents and 35,000 went to ER. In 2006, 974,000 crashes occurred involving drivers between the ages 15-17. Also, 3,490 drivers in this age group died in motor vehicle crashes and an additional 272,000 were injured. Are you stunned at these cold facts? Are you shocked by this frightening piece of reality? Many people believe that the driving age should be raised, others simply disagree. The driving age must be raised to reduce crashes involving young drivers and to maintain a greener, healthier environment. 

     First of all, raising the driving age would enormously cut teen death rates. Teenagers are still immature, and their brains still haven't completely developed. This is why the highest death rates for drivers is amongst the age group 17-25. Moreover, teenagers can be easily distracted. It is most probable that a teenager is caught texting, drinking, talking, or even eating while driving! They still don't know the responsibility of driving and simply think of it as a game. Facts state that the driving age 15 to 20 years old accounted for 12.9 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes and 16 percent of all the drivers in police-reported crashes. In addition, according to Gary Landry, the insurance councilor in Florida "teenagers are still inexperienced and haven't reached the maturity level to be capable of driving a car."

     Raising the driving age would also promote to a better environment. When teenagers aren't allowed to drive, they are forced to use public transportation (bus, train, subway...) which leads up to a greener environment. In addition, raising the driving age would diminish the number of cars on the road. This would immensely reduce overcrowding and the emissions of toxic gases especially CO2 which is emitted massively by cars. It has scientifically been proven that cars release about 12,000 pounds of CO2 every year. Every molecule of this gas is added to the atmosphere and stays there for about 100 years which contributes to climate change. Therefore, any measure which reduces car use should be supported.

     To wrap things up, raising the driving age is essential to help decrease teen fatalities and promote to a better environment. It is a must that parents give their children's brains a chance to mature before handing them the car keys. This way, they might space the life of an innocent soul ...  

Pro/Con Essay: Advantages and Disadvantages of Television

     Although people differ as to whether television is good or bad, TV programs have both advantages and disadvantages. As regards the advantages, television can be viewed as a means of amusement, information, instruction, education and advertisement. Through TV people can pass their leisure time pleasantly and enjoyably. Besides, the public can be informed of the most up-to-date events and world news. TV also contributes greatly to the development of people's thoughts; it can enlighten them on a variety of subjects such as science, art and general knowledge. Additionally, TV plays a fundamental role in the field of business, for it promotes a wide range of products and commodities through the advertising campaigns it arranges and presents. However, this is only one side of the coin, namely the positive side.

     Concerning the negative side, TV can be viewed as a means of corruption and a wast of time. With the introduction of TV to our modern world, people have become more and more of spectators and listeners and less and less of actors and participators. The custom of exchange visits with one's neighbors and relatives that marked social life before the introduction of TV has declined dramatically recently. Moreover, pupils have become so much attached to TV that they sometimes forget to do their duties simply because they prefer to sit comfortably and lazily at home watching certain TV programs or films for long periods. This is regardless of the fact that some of theses programs and films encourage violence, crime and indecency.

     To sum up, we can say that TV programs can be useful and harmful. It is, however, the duty of censors and parents to select and time the programs which enrich character and personality rather than spoil them. This code of behavior is to be heeded if people want TV to carry out a constructive and noble role, not a harmful and destructive one.

Analytical Essay: The Story of an Hour

     Short stories are a unique genre of writing because the meaning conveyed by the author should be expressed within a limited length. The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is a perfect example of how implication and symbolism can make writing layered. The story raises a theme of an unhappy marriage as a way of a woman’s oppression, which prevents her from being happy and free.
     The piece of writing describes an hour in Mrs. Mallard’s life, which changes her life completely. She is mistakenly informed that her husband was killed in a train crash, which comes as a shock to her first. However, even a more serious shock to her is her own thoughts and feelings after this news. She suddenly realizes that she feels relief and happiness because she does not have a husband now. The woman understands that she is free to do whatever she wants now and that her past life was just a cage for her. She is ashamed of feeling like this because her husband has always treated her properly, but she could not love him back. Mrs. Mallard feels exultation of a freed bird, yet her husband who appears to be alive suddenly returns. The woman has heart decease and cannot cope with it; however, as others think, she dies of happiness.
     The idea of a woman who is locked and imprisoned by her marriage is the key one throughout the story. A number of techniques are used by the author in order to convey this meaning. Thus, the setting of the story is arranged exclusively inside the house, which creates an impression that the woman is locked inside and has no opportunity to get outside. A window in her room is, in fact, the only connection with the big world, to which she has no access. Descriptions of the sky and clouds refer to feeling of space, which she lacks, and it also an implied comparison to her as a bird: some spots of blue sky would appear now and then through the clouds, and they would meet and pile one atop of the other as she could see them through her window (Chopin). It is remarkable that the author uses the word “patches”, which suggests that Mrs. Mallard’s life is incomplete, that it consists of numerous small pieces, which do not make a single harmonious picture. However, this does not occur to her so strongly until she is informed about her husband’s death.
     The window is like a channel for her, and it is related to the feeling of hope which suddenly reveals to her. For the first time, it acquires a different, positive meaning, promising change. Therefore, figuratively speaking, the window is like a monitor for her, which broadcasts past, present and future. When the woman realizes that her future can be bright now, even patches of the sky start looking promising. The author describes an epiphany that Mr. Mallard has about her future:
     There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination (Chopin).
     The expression “a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” is, in fact, the description of her family life. The author demonstrates how people tend to unconsciously crash human beings, which seem to be the loved ones. Possession instead of love is similar to a fate of a caged bird, who longs for freedom. The bitter irony about the situation that the woman does not realize how unhappy she is until she has a real thought of living without her husband.
     The author does not expose why she stays with her husband and why there is no way out of the situation. The most probable option is that, in the epoch described by Chopin, women were totally dependent on men and could hardly cope without them financially and socially. However, the theme is more complex than that because even when women have an opportunity to leave their husbands, many of them prefer not to do it. This is a point about human nature and the nature of human relationships, which the author addresses. In fact, it is often impossible for a person to break up because they are attached to another person by a whole range of controversial feelings, which make the situation chaotic. Thus, it is clear that the woman feels guilty about her attitude to her husband, which is suggested by the phrase “a monstrous joy”. This phrase reflects a controversy that she has about the situation: she realizes that she has to feel sorrow, but she feels happy instead.
     In conclusion, the story by Kate Chopin gives a glimpse of emotional life that a woman has, which is triggered by an extreme situation. The theme of an unhappy marriage as a burden is not presented by the author in a straight-forward way. Instead, she prefers implications and symbolism, which also suggests that human motivation can be very complex. Unfulfilled potential as a woman and a personality is something that makes further life unbearable for the main character, so her death symbolizes a crash of hopes and expectations.

The Effect of Culture in our Society

     Culture is a set of practices, ideas, beliefs, and customs which make a community or a society distinct from any other society. The culture of a society influences how the people talk, how they reason, and how they relate to each other (Mead & Andrews 2009). Culture may be adaptable to change in some communities, while in others it is not. However, it is evident that culture has and continues to undergo a transformation.
     Culture and environment have shaped social, economic, and political development of various nations across the globe. In turn, culture also influences the life an individual leads in the society. This is attributed to the role that cultural practices play in imparting knowledge and passing societal norms from one generation to the other. Due to globalization, traditional nation-states have been forced to meet many new demands.
     With the onset of technology, information and resources are surpassing geographical boundaries, hence reshaping the relationships between the states, citizens, and marketplace (Kotter & Heskett 1992). In particular, the expansion of the mass media industry has significantly impacted on societies and individuals across the globe (Schein 1992). Though advantageous in some ways, an increased accessibility has the ability to negatively influence a society. With easy distribution of information throughout the world, cultural sense, tastes, and values run the risk of being homogenized. Consequently, the power of identity of persons and societies may begin to wane.
     Claxton and Mclntrye (1996, p. 360) recognize the value of understanding cultural differences in globalization. The recent years have witnessed an increased desire to align global activities with culture. The ‘social programming’ model, traceable to Hofstede, is a powerful tool for a cultural analysis. People attach different values and attitude towards work. It is critical for international companies to carry out cultural studies in the foreign countries before investing in those countries. This will enable companies strategically position themselves in such countries. By aligning strategies with the people’s culture, the companies receive broad and quick recognition in the foreign countries.       
     Culture has significantly influenced operations in companies. Organizations adopt different mechanisms of recruiting staff to promote diversity. Culture has also undergone a radical transformation encouraging a large number of people to use technology throughout their life. There has been an increase in the use of mobile phones and computers. Those who embrace the new technology slowly end up adopting new cultures (Schein 1992). Technology also follows the aspect of fashion. There was a time when Walkmans appeared fashionable but they were substituted by mobile phones. The technology may have a positive impact on the human life, but still it has negative impacts on the culture.
     Some people, particularly those with strict religious beliefs, uphold that it is in the best interests of humanity in general that all people stick to a definite model of society. For instance, evangelical missionaries, such as the New Tribes Mission followers, work to sustain social changes that other people would consider harmful to cultural diversity by trying to change the remote ethnic societies to the Christian faith.
     Today, communication with different countries has become more frequent than before. Many students, for example, choose to study overseas to experience culture diversity. They want to widen their horizons and build themselves. In the Chinese education, Chinese professors are the authorities and, therefore, command attention from students, and in return, students show immense respect to their teachers. This is unlike in the United States of America where students regard their professors as equals. The open discussion on diverse issues emanates from the academic freedom that the majority American institutions propagate.
     A technology change alters people’s culture. Technological inventions are not absorbed into the culture but eliminate the existing cultural aspects. Religion, traditions, social beliefs, and morals take a new form due to the technological changes. This means that technological evolution leads to cultural evolution; thus, old cultures ultimately die. It is a collective phenomenon since it is partly shared by people living within the same social environment where the same culture is upheld.
     Conflicts normally occur when cultures with different priorities try to work together since they exist in a different time line and can irritate one another in the course of work. Other challenge may occur due to the difference in the way people from different cultures view leadership, time, and status and in the way they communicate. The way people in an organization behave socially, for instance, if they support racism and other forms of discrimination, normally trickles down and affects the opportunities and improvement in services offered by the organization. For example, in the United States, during the times of segregation, African-American families were denied bank loans to use for housing and business activities, while the white family’s loans were approved. The remedy for social inequality is accepting one another in an organization as equal with a common aim of building up a well and successful organization (Shapiro 2004).
     Knowledge of cultural differences is crucial in international business. It is essential that global companies take time to appreciate the cultural differences exhibited in different countries. Studies indicate that there exist considerable differences in the attitudes that people from different countries attach to different aspects of life. These cultural differences shape the work culture of the given people. For multinational companies, it is necessary to identify the cultural differences between countries; this enables avoidance of importation of a model from one country to another. The knowledge gained from the analysis of cultural differences provides companies with crucial information on what to do to be successful in the foreign countries.
     In conclusion, for a company to conquer the global market, it should set strategies that appeal and respect different cultures. For proper and efficient administration, the cultural dimension of employees should be respected.