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Opposing Viewpoints

Flat organizational structure is an organizational model with few or (in most cases) no levels of middle management between the executives and the staff level employees. It was designed with the idea that knowledgeable and well-trained workers will be more productive when they are directly involved in the decision making process of the organization, rather than being supervised by many management layers. In other words, employee involvement is promoted by decentralizing the decision-making process and elevating the levels of responsibility of employees. With this organizational structure, customer comments and feedback will reach all the personnel involved in the decision faster, enabling the company or organization to make a rapid response to customer feedback.

Often times, you will see this model used in very small businesses, where there is a lack of middle managers because there are too few employees to handle. In a small boutique shop, for example, the business owner or business head may perform some of the functions that middle managers in hierarchical organizations perform. Some companies, even when they have already grown or expanded retain a flat structure. This is especially true in those organizations with self-managing teams, where individual staff organizes and performs their own work without the need for close supervision.

Then, of course, flat organizational structure is for everyone. Startups and small business should weight its advantages and disadvantages before deciding to implement it in their own business.

List of Advantages of a Flat Organizational Structure

1. It Is Cost Efficient
As mentioned, in this organizational structure, there are fewer (or no) manager layers between the executive and the staff. This means that there are less wages, fringe benefits, and so on, to pay for management. Salary-related expenses are reduced, enabling the company to save money as well as provide better pay for its workers.

2. It Promotes Faster Decision Making
Another advantage about a flat organizational structure is there are less decision-making hoops. Fewer people have to be consulted about a decision, allowing the management to provide rapid response to any issues or concern. It creates a direct communication line between the person sitting behind the desk (the owner or CEO) and the people on the front line (the workers).

3. It Allows Clear Communication
What usually happens when information is passed on through a series of ears and mouths is that it ended up either distorted, puffed up, or deflated. When communication is passed across many management layers, there is a high chance of miscommunication. Flat organizational structure helps avoid this by allowing the upper management to take direct input from employees, and vice versa.

4. It Requires Less Dominance and Supervision
Many believe that a company’s head must be able to monitor and manage anything and everything that is happening inside his or her organization, including the employees. Some studies, however, show otherwise. This is because the less time managers have to helicopter and micromanage their employees, the more productive employees can get in day as these can give them a higher sense of responsibility.

List of Disadvantages of a Flat Organizational Structure

So, we have already pointed out the advantages of a flat organizational structure. Let us now take a look at its limitations.

1. Management Can Easily Lose Control
As mentioned above, this structure is ideal for startups and small business where the number of employees is still manageable. The system can pose a problem to the whole organization when the ratio of employees to managers become too out of proportion. The management can easily lose control when there are less people to put a brake to bad behaviors and less individuals to support or back them up on their decisions.

2. Work-Relationship Could Struggle
When managers have too many people to manage every day, they may find it difficult to connect with their employees on a personal level, which is crucial in maintaining trust and in stepping up the baseline of employees’ responsibility and accountability for the work and the organization as a whole. This con can have a great impact on the issue of respect and morale of an organization on levels of authority.

3. It Can Create Power Struggle
Under this organizational structure, it is observed that employees often lack a specific boss to report to, especially when the owner or CEO is not around. This can create confusion and possible power struggles among management employees.

4. It Makes Employee Retention Difficult
Who does not want a promotion? Excellent employees who are looking for an improvement in their rank, aside from an increase in their salary, may find it hard to find job satisfaction in this kind of organizational set up. They may end up looking for a job somewhere else where they believe their efforts will be rewarded with a promotion.

5. It May Hinder Growth
Change is often times difficult and poses a lot of what ifs. Because of this, management may decide against new opportunities in an effort to maintain the structure which, as a result, may limit the long-term growth of the organization.

6. There Is Less Motivation
While a flat organization structure may lessen the problems caused by unhealthy competition among employees, it makes it harder for ambitious workers to move up the ladder as there is very little room up there. This could easily erode motivation, giving people no reason to take the extra mile in their work.

7. Can Result to Role Confusion
An employee may go to work for a flat organization expecting to fulfill a defined role, but find out later that he or she needs to do many pieces of other jobs. This makes it hard for workers to focus on their tasks and specialize at their jobs.

Conclusion

Like many other organizational structures, the flat organization structure also has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Whether or not it is for your business, it depends on the size and type of your company. Thus, carefully consider the pros and cons discussed above before adopting this structure in your own organization.

With the evolution of technology, the lives of people became more convenient and faster. Business owners have made use of computers and the World Wide Web to operate virtually, thus making it a crucial element in thriving in the industry.

In technology, virtualization is the use of virtual or unreal version of resources such as devices or computer platforms which can be used in different applications. It can be a storage device, a network or an operating system. Partitioning a hard drive into several partitions can be considered virtualization as well as having a host computer to run several guest computers. It can be likened to the brain and the mind, wherein the former is the physical device while the latter is a virtual brain. In recent years, the term visualization has broadened and can now be classified into the following:

Hardware Virtualization – also referred to as platform virtualization, this entails creating a virtual machine that work similarly as a real computer.

Desktop Virtualization – is a more advanced form of hardware virtualization wherein connection can be to the host server without the use of a keyboard, monitor and a moue but instead through remote access via local access networking (LAN), the internet or Wireless LAN.

With this advance in technology, people can now enhance their computer experience by centralizing their activities with the use of different devices and computer platforms. Indeed, there are numerous benefits virtualization offers but there are also opposing views about its effects.

Here is an analysis of the positive and negative effects of this innovation in technology:

List of the Advantages of Virtualization

1. It reduces IT costs and business expenditure.
With the advent of virtual computing, business can take advantage of lessening their expenses in these three areas:

Capital Expenditure – With virtualization, a business owner need not have to invest in several units of computer hardware to run the business. By investing in a host server, different transactions can be made using virtual machines.

Energy Expenditure – With less investment in hardware, there will be a reduction in the consumption of energy which can impact the cost of utility bills in the business.

Operational Expenses – With the use of virtual machines, more work can be accomplished in a short period of time and faster. This way, employees get their tasks done within the shift and there is no need to go overtime which can be an added expense to overhead costs.

2. It allows businesses to consolidate their resources, thus reducing costs.
A great thing about virtualization is it capability to allow businesses to use several applications in a server instead of several servers. Unlike older computer networking infrastructure types which do not typically permit this set-up, virtual computing can run multiple servers in a single host.

3. It prevents unnecessary downtime since it makes it possible for business owners to make the most of its resources.
With virtualization, computer environments can be maximized, allowing for the unused servers to be used since workload can be spread. In situations where new servers are needed, it can be done with just a simple click and no need to spend for new hardware so long as there are adequate resources. This is great for small business and for start-ups which utilize data for testing and tests.

4. Data recovery is faster and cost-efficient.
Overtime, files can be corrupted. In the virtual platform, recovering data is faster and a breeze. With the use of a virtual backup, corrupted systems and files can be deleted and restored using the backup.

5. It can be used by health care personnel to render services to patients.
Another application of virtualization that has also been discussed in health care is the use of virtual computing for the use of medical and administrative staff online to access medical records and orders by doctors. This also reduced the cost of hospitals when it comes to maintenance and help desk calls.

List of Disadvantages of Virtualization

1. It can be expensive.
One of the setbacks of virtualization is the cost. According to the CEO of an IT consulting firm, this can be quite a pricey investment upfront. A virtual server needs a one-time investment that is more than the cost of a conventional server. An entrepreneur who wants faster performance of tasks using technology might consider having to pay a little more to create virtual servers than upgrading new software and servers.

2. Virtualization might not be compatible with other servers and applications.
Another drawback is the possibility that not all servers and applications are virtualization friendly. This can be a problem when an investment has already been made on several servers or if the applications used to run your business do not have an upgraded version that allows for virtualization.

3. It needs training to network administrators and in the case of hospitals, additional trainings for personnel.
Another downside of virtualization is the need to spend for training for the network administrator which is an added expense. In the case of hospital personnel, the management will have to shoulder the expenses for training doctors, nurses and administrative staff. Moreover, not all personnel are ready to learn new computer skills especially those who are not technically savvy. This can pose as a challenge.

4. Added expense from easy server installation.
Another problem seen by opponents of virtualization is the impending concern that since adding new servers can be done faster and a time might come when there are more servers than network administrators available to monitor them. This means impractical expenditure and waste of time.

Conclusion

Virtualization has indeed come of age and will still be popular in the coming years. This technical platform has already showed its effectiveness and benefit especially in businesses. And though there are also downsides to utilizing this system, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. It is up to private individuals and the business owners to decide on up to what extent is virtualization allowed to run people’s lives and businesses.

In 1994, Oregon was the first state to express the legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) with the voters approving Measure 16 which subsequently enacted Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, also referred to as Physician-Assisted Dying (PAD). Implementation of the Act was put on hold, however, due to an injunction but was eventually lifted in 1997.

List of Pros of the Death with Dignity Act

1. It gives a person the right to die.
Proponents say that a terminally ill person who wants to end his or her suffering has the right to choose whenever he or she wants to die and should be spared from excruciating pain caused by the illness. They add that this is the same as a person’s right to live, get married, have children and refuse medical treatment if he or she deem appropriate. If the state prohibits this, it is similar to curtailing a person’s right to liberty.

2. It ends a dying person’s end-of-life suffering.
Advocates of this Act say that people who are suffering from terminal illnesses are looking for individuals like Jack Kevorkian to end their misery. They believe that Americans should be given the right not to suffer in connection to the European Declaration of Human Rights. For them, not allowing a dying person with sound mind to put an end to suffering is a criminal act with equal bearing with taking a person’s life without his or her permission.

3. It gives an individual self-autonomy in terms of making decisions about one’s life as opposed to withdrawing life support of a dying patient.
Proponents of PAD express that with this practice, a person is given the right to decide on his or her own if he or she wants to stop prolonging his suffering by being on life support which does not really cure or improve quality of life. They also added that putting someone on life support without consent is far worse.

4. It does not replace end-of-life care.
Allowing a person with terminal illness who has six months to live to spend the last days doing things he or she loves, choosing when he or she wants to die and dying in the comfort of his or her home, surrounded by loved ones is what the Die with Dignity Act entails. Patients can still have palliative care but not in a hospital, if this is what he or she prefers.

List of Cons of the Death with Dignity Act

1. It goes against the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.
Opponents of the Act say that prescribing medication that will cause the death of a person, regardless if the individual had asked for it is against the Hippocratic Oath, particularly the part where it states, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it nor will I make a suggestion to this effect”.

2. It will force dying patients to end life for fear of being a burden to family.
There are patients who have been diagnosed with long-term illnesses and elderly people alike who feel their loved ones are suffering from taking care of them as well as from financial crises for the expenses they incur from hospitalization and continuous care. With a law allowing for choosing one’s time of death, these patients or elderly might feel guilty and would want to just end their loves so as not to be a burden to their families. This issue, along with some concerns about family members coercing a terminally ill patient to request for PAD, is also one of the reasons why some people oppose the Dignity of Dying Act.

3. It is morally unethical.
Opposition against the Act also come from religious and moral leaders who believe that taking the life of someone or aiding a person to end his or life is not morally correct and go against the doctrine of the Catholic church, in particular. For religious and moral advocates, life is a gift from God, which mankind does not have dominion over.

4. It can be abused for monetary gains by unscrupulous individuals.
By making it legally lawful for a physician to prescribed lethal drugs to any person who is of legal age and is competent, family members who have vested interest might fool a dying patient to sign the document even without his or her understanding just so they can get their inheritance.

What Does Physician-Assisted Dying Mean?

This refers to a physician prescribing medication with lethal dose to a terminally ill patient who wishes to end his or suffering by dying at a time he or she prefers. Here, the patient will be the one administering the medication at a time he or she chooses. Before it became a law in Oregon, it was referred to as Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS). However, some groups did not approve of the term, arguing that a person who commits suicide is regarded as an individual with impaired judgment. A terminally ill patient, on the contrary, still has sound judgment but prefers to end his or her. Therefore, the former is someone who needs intervention to stop him or her to commit suicide while a dying patient should be supported on his or her will to end suffering.

There are at least five states in the United States that support the Death with Dignity Act either as an enacted law or a ruling of court. Oregon, Washington and Vermont states made the Act a law in 1997, 2009 and 2013, respectively while the state of New Mexico sees it as a constitutional right of a dying patient to request for lethal dose of medication following a court ruling by a judge in 2014. The state of Montana, on the other hand, does not have a law which is pro PAD but acknowledges that a physician is not to be charged for prescribing a lethal medication to a patient who requests for one.

The on-going debate has been present for years now, although according to some reports, more Americans are now expressing their approval on allowing a terminally ill patient dignified death. Different issues have been raised ethically, morally and legally with both proponents and opponents stating their views on the advantages and disadvantages of the Act.

Conclusion

Whether the Death with Dignity Act is for protecting one’s right to self-autonomy or a case of abuse, there will always be contentions about the issue. There will be varying points of view from people. The pros and cons of this Act is an unending debate. In the end, it is still the individual who knows what he or she believes in.

The “Right to Bear Arms” is the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, which became a law collectively with the 9 amendments composing the Bill of Rights. The commandment it holds states that “Well governed armed forces, which are vital to provide security and protection to the independent State, shall not disobey the natural right of a person to bear arms,” proclaiming the militias to recognize completely citizens’ rights. While there are benefits to it, there are also drawbacks. To get a well-informed insight of this law, let us take a look at its pros and cons.

List of Pros of the Right to Bear Arms

1. Symbol of Freedom
The individual right to carry arms is seen as an important symbol of individual freedom. In fact, it has become so important that it lasts expression to many people in the US of their individual liberty. There are few symbols as powerful, particularly as this right potentially allows citizens to join a militia and fight a tyrannical government. Much less tangible are the rights to free speech and religion, which lack the power and threat of violence as a check on government tyranny. This symbolic expression of freedom is resonating too deeply with many Americans for them to be deprived of it.

2. Personal Protection
With this law, people are permitted to own firearms for self defense or protection whenever they are physically or offensively attacked by other people. In fact, it does not corrupt protection power of citizens to save their selves and live a life free of harm.

3. Well-Regulated Militia
As mentioned above, the Right to Bear Arms secures its subjects the right of having arms for their defense, suitable to their degree and condition. In the construction of this law, owners are adhered to comply with the conditions to be responsible for the right they are given to. It even includes the field of hunting games. Certainly, we can reasonably hope that the people in this country will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty.

4. Better Individuals
This law enforces a requirement of firearm license, which can only be purchased after applicants undergo a background check that specifically scrutinizes the presence of a possible history of committed criminal cases. The Right to Bear Arms definitely excludes citizens who have a history of criminal acts against the community or a person.

It does not carelessly provide the right of a person to possess firearms. In fact, before one can purchase a gun, he has to go under a number of safety courses to verify the ability to own a gun harmlessly. Also, the public carrying of firearms is permitted if and only if the arms themselves are concealed. Convincing concealed gun permit should be obtained by the owner.

5. Tighter Controls of Guns
This means that there would less shooting. Taking into consideration what ordinary citizens and government officials claim, the fewer guns that are had, the less shooting will be. With such kind of restriction, cutting down on gun crimes can also made easier.

6. Type of Weapons You Have Should Be Negotiable
Mostly, gun control activists do not argue the right to own arms. However, they believe that stipulations to gun ownership should be placed but not made to be a limitation of the rights of the constituents.

7. Gun Control Does Not Need to Affect Law-Abiding Citizens
Gun control does not need to affect firearms that are used for legal purposes, where in fact, the latest technology allows the tracking of guns and ammo. The technology used also allows firearms to be traced back to their owners. Through this method, it will be simpler for law enforcers to recognize what happened if crimes are committed.

List of Cons of the Right to Bear Arms

1. High Costs
Usually, when you purchase a concealed gun permit to validate your ownership, it can be very costly. The said permit is not going to be free and can vary in prices in different states.

2. Irresponsible Gun Behavior
The Right to Bear Arms certainly includes a few flaws, such as in the case where the gun gets into the wrong hands like children who just do not understand how to use or manage it. As a consequence, accidents can happen. For a teenager, it might be a game, but it can kill in an instant. Aside from this, a gun can even be dangerous to older people, which is often observed if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even those who are known to be responsible can make the mistake of using a firearm when intoxicated.

3. More Risk of Violence
According to research, people carrying a gun for self-defense were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than those without a gun in the same situation. This means that firearms may not be the most reliable and effective form of self-defense.

Furthermore, many people claim that adults with guns are often not adequately trained, and there are some states that do not even require a lot of training for concealed gun ownership. Most importantly, the power of controlling the way owners would utilize their guns exceeds this law’s range of concern. Individuals who are committed with physical and emotional stress tend to be more vulnerable to extreme self-consciousness and anger, which most probably lead to homicide.

4. Higher Crime Rate
In contrast to crime rate reports by pro guns, there is research that found the Right to Bear Arms can lead to a higher crime rate. According to the research personnel, it appears that “shall-issue” laws had increased aggravated assaults between 1977 and 2006. Interestingly, reports about the connection between firearms and crime seem to contradict each other, but in one certain report, such laws increased rates of violent crime, rape and robbery.

In addition to crime, some even argue that firearms can increase suicide risk. In fact, in 2005, more than half the number of all suicides in the country involved a firearm. Not only do people believe that firearms can increase crime, but they also think that these guns can also increase suicide.

5. Nervous People Around
Many people claim that armed citizens are making other people very nervous, where there were reports that scared citizens were informing the police about suspicious people who are looking armed with a handgun. Also, some of them claim that it is difficult for the authorities to tell or distinguish normal responsible citizens who have legal firearms from criminals with firearms.

6. Armed Criminals
In contrast to how armed citizens will deter criminals from attacking them, there is the idea on armed citizens can encourage criminals to arm themselves . Criminals would arm themselves so that they can threaten armed citizens which in effect would deter them from resisting the attackers.

7. Danger and Lethality
One big issue with firearms is that they sometimes can be dangerous or can turn lethal, especially when a person is under the influence or intoxicated. Even adults who are responsible could make the mistake of having or using guns when intoxicated. In addition, the right to carry firearms can increase the chances of unintended shootings.

According to a study by Matthew Miller (PhD), Deborah Azrael (PhD) and David Hemenway (PhD), approximately 50 people are unintentionally shot every day in the US, and children under 14 years old die every other day from unintended gunfire. As you can see, even with responsible law abiding citizens owning guns, there can be a lot of tragic accidents if guns are not restricted.

Conclusion

The Right to Bear Arms has become a controversial section under the Bill of Rights that concerns the enforcement or prevention of acts that restricts people from keeping gun possession or complete a ban from owning one. The Second Amendment’s function is to guarantee people with their right to bear arms is limited. There are lots of federal laws that prohibit the ownership of guns and other firearms. The concerns about this law under the Bill of Rights greatly contradict several federal laws which, in this case, continue to be a controversial issue. Since the belief of one individual to another is different, we have to understand why some of us desire to carry weapons while others do not. Whether you are in favor of carrying weapons or not, you should determine its influence on your society. And to protect its citizens, a country would make its government officials to often prohibit carrying illegal firearms.

You should know that obtaining firearm ownership legally conveys a personal thought of both defending and protecting yourself, keeping you safe from offensive attacks. Remember that self protection is the basic unit of national protection, but though you are enjoying this right, abuse is possible to break other laws. Thus, a sense of responsibly obeying underlying rules that makes up this law and a measure of self control must always be exercised.

As of 2013, all 50 states permit adults to carry a concealed handgun in public, in accordance to the Concealed Carry permit laws. These are categorized in four different permits:

1. “No-issue” prohibits citizens from carrying a concealed handgun.
2. “May-issue” means that concealed carry permit may be granted upon the discretion of local authorities.
3. “Shall-issue” will grant permits for as long as an applicant meets minimum requirements, no recent commitments to a mental institution and no prior felony convictions.
4. “Unrestricted carry” is when everyone can carry a concealed handgun without the need for permits.

Among the four permits, the “shall-issue law” has the most impact. In a 1998 publication, More Guns Less Crime, by John Lott PhD, an economist and political commentator who analyzed FBI crime data, he correlated the decrease in violent crimes with the state regulation. He even argued that thousands of rape, murder, robberies and aggravated assaults that happened between 1977 and 1992 would have been prevented in states that did not permit concealed handguns if they allowed the opposite.

The book also spurred studies that will support and criticize the results presented in Lott’s publication. This is a move that can be considered responsible for creating supporters and oppositions of the Concealed Carry law.

Proponents believe that this will deter criminals from attacking someone who is armed. They also claim that most of the adults who carry guns are responsible and law-abiding citizens. Opponents, on the other hand, say that granting permission to carry guns will only increase incidents of gun-related crimes and unintended injuries. What are the odds that arguments would turn lethal when both parties are armed? People tend to feel more aggressive with their guns in tow as well.

List of Pros of Concealed Carry

1. Deter crime
Under the 2nd Amendment, people are granted the right to “keep and bear arms” as a form of protection and crime deterrent. This is further supported by statistics based on a 2000 analysis by John Lott that showed a decrease in murders, rapes and aggravated assaults by 8.5%, 5% and 7%, respectively in states that allow concealed carry. Larry Craig, Chief of Police in Detroit, also backed Lott’s findings, saying that concealed weapons and “Good Americans with CPLs [concealed permit licenses] translates into crime reduction”. 91.3% of police officers also support civilians carrying concealed handguns.

2. Create a sense of security
People have enough of gun-toting criminals having the upper hand. With weapons of their own, citizens will be able to defend and protect themselves, especially when going out at night and when working in crime-prone establishments, such as convenience stores. Women with concealed handgun will be able to protect their homes as well. This only shows that concealed carry provides a sense of security and safety.

In cases where people can’t always rely on the police for protection or to provide prompt response; their own firearms will make an excellent substitute.

3. Stops a public shooting spree
Imagine how many lives would have been spared if someone was able to shoot the gunman in the recent Tunisia attack. The situation would have been similar to a 2007 shooting spree where the attacker who opened fired was shot by a volunteer security guard, effectively putting an end to his murderous intent.

List of Cons of Concealed Carry

1. Increase crime
It is quite contradictory, but concealed carry can also lead to more crimes, as much as it can deter them. Plenty of studies have shown that enactment of “shall-issue” laws increased the number of crimes. Based on a 2009 Econ Journal Watch, a peer-reviewed study, aggravated assaults increased between 1977 and 2006.

2. Turn confrontations to lethal incidents
In 2014, in a movie theater, a retired police officer shot and killed another man because of an argument over text messaging, a reason that is, admittedly, too shallow to murder someone. This only confirms what the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says about concealed carry, “members of the public who carry guns risk escalating everyday disagreements into public shootouts, especially in places where disputes frequently occur—in bars, at sporting events, or in traffic.”

3. Gives dangerous people easy access to firearms
The Concealed Carry Law is only good if responsible and law-abiding citizens receive the permits. But what are the guarantees that such individuals will continue to abide by the law under all and any circumstances. But the worst thing that can happen is when people with malicious and criminal intent are given the right to carry handguns. What will stop them from carrying out their plans?

Plenty of states have seen how gun-related crimes involve individuals with concealed handguns permit. In Florida, for example, 128 permit holders have active injunctions for domestic violence, 216 have outstanding warrants and 1400 pleaded guilty to a felony.

4. Encourages criminals to carry guns
Criminals will always have guns at one point or another, but one of the reasons that they bear arms is to protect themselves from potential victims who are also armed. A survey conducted by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, with incarcerated felons as respondents, showed that 75% of criminals carry a gun because of the possibility that a victim is also armed.

5. Make non-carrying public vulnerable
As a non-carrying individual, what would you feel knowing that other people in a bar or restaurant is armed? In the event that an argument ensues and everyone starts pulling out their guns, you would be the most vulnerable. You would probably want to crawl out of there before anything bad happens. Well, you are not alone.

Students in 15 colleges who responded to a peer-reviewed study admitted that they will feel less safe if students, faculty and visitors are allowed to carry weapons in school premises.

There are always two sides of a story and the Concealed Carry law has both good and bad sides, advantages and disadvantages. Whether you are for or against it could depend on whether or not you own a gun and what you use it for. This only shows that guns can both protect and take away lives.

Man’s needs for fuel, since the old times, have been met through fossil fuels, which are extracted from the organic remains of prehistoric animals and plants. Comprising mainly of coal, oil and gas, they are used for most of the world’s electric power and other energy demands, but are foreseen to be in short supply in the future, as our fuel needs continue to grow at a fast rate.

The use of fossil fuels is one of the most popular topics during debates, considering what it can do for us and how it impacts our lives. To give you a good perspective on this matter, here are the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels:

List of Advantages of Fossil Fuels

1. They produce large amounts of energy.
These energy sources are easily combustible, where most combustion engines just need a little amount of them to power up. Industrial revolution has popularized their use, where all machines, vehicles and some devices depend on the fossil fuels, may it be petroleum, coal or natural gas.

2. They are easily available.
Since fossil fuels have been of such a great utility, more extractions are done every day. With the advancements in science and technology, refineries and extraction procedures have also improved a lot, making their availability even easier.

3. They are stable.
Composed of the molecules of mainly carbon and hydrogen, fossil fuels are very stable. They are easy to store because of the constancy in their molecular constitution, not forming other compounds if stored in cans for a longer periods of time. This is the same reason why carrying them is also easier than other forms of fuel.

4. They have high calorific value.
All energy we produce has a specific calorific value, and the more it is, the more it is effective. When it comes to fossil fuels, they are the highest producers of calorific value, which is why they are still preferred over renewable or alternative energy sources.

5. They can be easily stored and transported.
One big advantage of using fossil fuels is that they can be easily stored and transported. Having a stable composition, they are strong enough to be carried from one place to another. Even natural gas is already being transported to different areas.

6. They are easy to set up.
Since fossil fuels are easily available, their power plants can be constructed anywhere in the world. They are also easier to extract and process, as well as capable of producing large amounts of energy at a single location.

7. They cost low.
Due to their availability throughout the world and easy extraction methods, fossil fuels are that expensive. To obtain them in a refined form, they just need to be properly treated without a wide set up, so it is economical. Unlike alternative energy sources, like wind or solar, investments needed for their facilities are too high, preventing many people from installing solar panels and wind turbines at home.

List of Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels

1. They pose environmental hazards.
When burnt, fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas that is the main culprit of global warming. It is important to note that temperature rises have resulted the polar ice caps to melt, leading to rises in sea levels and flooding of low-lying. These conditions would be devastating to many people on the planet.

2. They contribute to acid rain.
During combustion, fossil fuels also produce sulphur dioxide, which is a factor for acid rain. This phenomenon destroys monuments that are made of brickwork or marbles and even crops, which are affected due to loam acidification.

3. They are non-renewable.
As fossil fuels are extracted to an unlimited level, they would surely deplete one day. They are non-renewable, so it is likely that fuel expenses will face a hike in near future, and it would take millions of years to replace them. There are on a limited amount, and we are not actually sure where that limit is.

4. They affect human health.
The ozone layer is being worn-out by the greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels. Ozone holes allow harmful UV rays to enter the Earth’s atmosphere, affecting human life through diseases, particularly skin cancer. Remember that melanin reacts with high wave radiations, creating infra-red rays and pigments that are harmful to our skin.

5. They come with coal-mining dangers.
Extracting coal from areas with huge reserves is not only a difficult and dangerous task, but is also a risk of contracting health conditions to the workers. Aside from this, coal mining destroys vast lands, which can result in ecological imbalance.

6. They affect marine life through oil spills.
Fossil fuels, being needed to be transported to their processing plants via land, air and water poses a threat to the environment. The process can involve leaks in oil tankers or ships getting drowned deep under the sea. The crude oil contains some toxic substances that, when mixed up with water, pose serious hazards to marine life.

7. They need huge amounts of reserves.
Coal power plants need regular and huge supply of resources to produce large amounts of electricity on a constant basis, which means they need reserves of almost train-loads of fuel for the power stations to carry out their operations.

8. They have rising prices.
Countries in the Middle East have huge oil and gas reserves, so many other countries are dependent on them for constant fuel supply. They comprise the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is are responsible for almost half the world’s oil production, even holding the majority of oil reserves. It constantly monitors the volume of oil consumption and then adjusts its own production to maintain desired barrel prices. This results oil price fluctuations around the world.

Conclusion

As consumers, it is really important to know the good and the bad of what we use every day. For fossil fuels, we can now have the capability of making an informed decision on their use with the advantages and disadvantages listed above.

Over the years, studies are clear about what factors make a school successful. These include families who nurture their children’s academic endeavors, communities that value education, school administrators who create a positive and productive learning environment, and classroom teachers who know how to inspire children to excel. The formula is the same among schools, including traditional public and private institutions.

For charter schools, they also experience success and horrifying failures, like any other educational institution, making them a topic of several valid debates whether they are a good or a bad thing. So, what are the pros and cons of these schools? Here’s a summary of what researchers and policymakers have to say.

List of Pros of Charter Schools

1. The offer flexible options for families.
This is probably the most powerful and compelling argument for charter schools. Even in communities that have excellent public schools, the educational options are not fitted for everyone. It is important to note that a neighborhood school is not necessarily a good environment for every child because it may be too academically ambitious or not ambitious enough, too big or too small or prone to a peer group that might be problematic. There is a lot of reasons why parents should seek other alternatives and why some other options do not exist.

2. They encourage competition.
It is believed that competition makes educators improve how they teach. While competition is not really proven to be the cause of rising test scores, it has made traditional public schools more conscious about how customer service is offered and how curriculum and other decisions would affect enrollment. Fact is, there is less of the “take it or leave it” attitude in public education.

3. The foster innovation.
Some of the most exciting educational experiments in the US occur in charter schools, including those that are run by the Harlem Children’s Zone and KIPP. Because they are unconstrained by union rules and bureaucracy, charter schools easily adopt reforms, such as longer school weeks or years. With this in mind, many educational reformers have noted that most of these schools are not that innovative, so they become places where the hopes for school movements are largely to be fulfilled.

4. They carve out a niche.
One thing about regular public schools is that they have to be all things for all people, while not having the luxury to decide what kind of families they want to serve. On the other hand, charter schools are able to adopt a specific vision that attracts families who are interested.

List of Cons of Charter Schools

1. They risk fiscal inefficiency.
Educational institutions are funded based on enrollment, and going charter mean loss of finances for the traditional K-12 programs. As experts say, would it make more sense to make more investments in a school if you want to improve it? Also, it is quite ironic that the same policymakers encourage school consolidation in order to promote fiscal efficiency and support charter school expansions. As a result, more small districts will be proliferated.

2. They sometimes have an unfair playing field.
It is believed that charters open their doors to all, but actually, they tend to target their audience. For example, they offer a rigorous curriculum that would discourage academic slackers or offer lack of transportation that would filter out low-income families. They also tend to have a lack of special education services which might discourage special-education enrollment.

3. They provide less money for the classroom.
A huge number of charter school students are supported by for-profit companies, which generally spend about half of their budget on instruction compared to most of traditional public schools. It is observed that most educational management organizations (EMOs) obtain their profits by spending less in four areas, namely special education, teacher compensation, transportation and concentration on K-8 schools, while in high schools, extracurricular activities and electives are driving up costs. Three of these areas are not available in traditional public schools.

4. They observe less transparency.
Due to the fact that charter schools are privately run, they are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, which includes provisions to address transparency in schools, of which sufficiency still remaining to be seen.

5. They have less local accountability and control.
Considering that their boards are appointed by charter organizations instead of the public, charter schools have less avenues for protests when controversies and other problems arise. For example, the Oakland Academy in Portage terminated a popular principal, and there was not anything that parents could do.

By contrast, when the school board bought out a contract of their superintendent, which drew community outrage, two of the board members were replaced and a recall of three others was suggested. A similar case happened at the Grand Valley State University when it closed the Kalamazoo Advantage Academy.

6. They are less diverse.
Given that charter schools have a target market, they would implement more economic and racial segregation. To be sure, the process is done by parental choice, where families specifically choose this environment, raising public policy concerns for some people.

Generally, the charter-school movement fell short of the expectations of many educational policymakers and reformers to boost test scores or lead to significant innovations and cost savings from tax. Though there are some excellent charter schools, it is not proven that these institutions as a whole can produce better results for less money.

However, fears that these schools would just serve white, middle-class students has not realized. Rather, they have become popular for diverse communities, where the traditional school system is struggling. However, parents are used to having options, and it is difficult to imagine going back to the old days when educational systems had geographic monopolies.

Conclusion

The bottom line is, a public education system’s mission is to develop the talents of schoolchildren and maximize their opportunities. We should know how to best spend our money to do this and how to get the biggest return for such an investment. So, what do you think about charter schools?

Gender inequality is so severe in the past that a proposal to add the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States constitution has to be made. It was introduced in Congress in 1923, but was only approved by 35 States 50 years later. But because 38 States has to approve the amendment to make it a law, its addition to the constitution remains a hot, controversial issue to this day.

Why are some states opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment when the population is a mix of male and female? Perhaps they are not in favor of the amendment’s context.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

It was designed to ensure equal rights for women. It also specifies that only the Congress will have the power to impose the provisions of the ERA, and two years after its ratification, the amendment will take effect.

The Equal Rights Amendment was written by Alice Paul in 1923, just years after women were granted the right to vote by the 19th amendment. She was the founder of the National Woman’s Party and a suffragist leader. Since its introduction until 1972, the ERA was brought up in almost every session, but falls short by 3 states so it can be put into the Constitution. What would it mean if the Equal Rights Amendment becomes a law? What are its pros and cons?

List of Pros of Equal Rights Amendment

1. Abolition of gender discriminating laws
Once the ERA becomes part of the Constitution, all federal laws and family court laws that discriminate on account of sex would be completely abolished. Gender favoritism would become illegal as well as any prejudice shown based on gender. Although it won’t stop people from holding specific views, it will minimize gender discrimination. It would also be easy to take legal action against anyone who violates the law.

2. Equal rights are made for all
The US Constitution does not guarantee that citizens’ rights are protected and equally held by everyone. But with the addition of the ERA, everyone will now have legal civil, human, and diplomatic rights from any and all types of prejudice.

It would also clarify the legal standard for court rulings on cases related to gender discrimination, which is currently absent. At present, nearly everything women receive has to go through the courts where officials have an opportunity to use ‘protective laws’ to place women in their rightful place in society, effectively ending further arguments. But when the ERA is passed, all forms of gender discrimination will no longer be tolerated and legal rulings will have a set standard.

3. Women’s rights will have legal basis
The ERA will effectively put an end to the discussion or debate regarding gender equality. Men and women will be finally recognized as equals, sparing women from the need to fight for their standing in the society and to have level footing with men. Women will be able to get credit or run a business without asking for her husband’s consent. She will be able to take advantage of medical care, travel, vocational training and a wider range of associations.

List of Cons of Equal Rights Amendment

1. Problems with the language used
The language used on the Equal Rights Amendment is considered tricky that may lead to the lack of gender equality and confusion. It also leaves plenty of room for interpretation, which is why those who oppose the amendment say that it will take away some rights for women, while adding others.

For instance, in states where there are laws that require husbands to support their wives and families, the ERA will cause problems. But, as it is, unless they are divorced or separated, the court can’t do anything if the husband chooses not to support his wife.

Opposition also claims that the benefits women enjoy today under the Social Security, Sexual assault and Protective Labor laws will be taken away because of the ERA. But proponents say that it would be extended to include men instead.

2. Can cause problems with the Constitution
When the ERA was first introduced, a major concern is how it can influence the way laws will be made, what with it being confusing. When added to the constitution, it can cause more problems, especially with whatever laws that will be made following it.

3. Raise concerns over implementation
Section two of the ERA specifies that only the Congress will have the power to enforce the provisions outlined in the amendment, which did not sit well with the states concerned. This is because it gives the federal government more power, while taking away the rights of every state.

Supporters of the amendment, however, pointed out that the states still have the right to enforce the provisions of the article, the same way that they did with the 13th, 14th and many other amendments. They will also have two years to make changes to any laws that are in conflict of the provisions or those that show sexual discrimination.

4. Expose women to risks
One of the protective labor laws that proponents point out as particularly discriminating is the rule that forbids women from “working in and around mines except in an office in a clerical capacity”. Considering that mines provide jobs with better pay, barring women from these employment opportunities is an example of gender inequality. Those who support the ERA believe that such jobs are not detrimental to the health and physical well being of women and should be opened to her. If time comes that women can work in mines, they will be exposed to plenty of risks that the men have experienced all throughout their careers. Would a high pay be compensation enough for the repercussions?

It is true that adding the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution will cause major changes with the laws, but what amendment didn’t? Before you decide to oppose or support the ERA, it is vital that you understand the context and the full extent of its provisions.

As changes in climatic temperatures melt sea ice, the US Geological Survey predicted that two-thirds of the polar bear population will die out by the year 2050. A dramatic decline in polar bears is already occurring in our lifetime, which, according to historical data, is but a very small fraction of the time these animals have roamed the vast seas of the Arctic.

The main threat to the polar bears is the loss of their sea-ice habitat that is caused by global warming. As suggested by these animals’ specific scientific name, Ursus maritimus, they are actually a species of marine mammals that spend a great deal of time at sea than they do on land. It is on the Arctic ice that the polar bears make their living, which is why rising temperatures of the Earth’s atmosphere is such a serious threat to their well-being.

What Are the Effects of Global Warming on Polar Bears?

1. Decline in the Species’ Population Size.
In the southern portions of these animals’ habitat’s range, such as Hudson Bay, Canada, there is no sea ice during the summer, and they must live on land until the bay freezes in the fall, where they can hunt on the ice again. While on land during the hot months, these bears eat little or even nothing.

In just 2 decades, the ice-free period on the Hudson Bay has increased by an average of 20 days, cutting short the polar bears’ seal hunting season by nearly a third of a month. The ice is freezing later in the fall, but it is the earlier spring ice melt that is especially difficult for these mammals, when they have a narrower time-frame during which they hunt on a critical season when seal pups are born. As a result, the average weight among the bears has decreased by 15%, causing their reproduction rates to decline. The animals’ population on the Hudson Bay is now down more than 20%.

Research predicted that the declining sea ice could see two-thirds of the world’s polar bear population becoming extinct in the middle of the 21st century. Another study, which used 10 global climate models, even projected a decrease in the polar bear numbers in the Beaufort Sea of 50% to 99% by the end of the century.

Now, to keep their numbers relatively healthy (though these are still low), scientists strongly suggest that global temperatures should not exceed 1.25 degrees Celsius above the 1980-1999 average.

2. Retreating Sea Ice Platforms.
Retreating sea ice platforms imply many threats other than the obvious habitat loss. Remaining ice is moving farther from the shore, which makes it less accessible to polar bears. Aside from this, the larger gap of open water between the land and ice is also contributing to rougher wave conditions, which makes it more hazardous for these mammals to swim from the shore to sea ice.

In fact, biologists discovered 4 drowned polar bears in the Beaufort Sea in 2004, and suspected the actual number of bears that have drowned might have been considerably higher. It was never before observed that these scientists attributed the drowning incidents to a combination of rougher seas and retreating ice.

3. Less Time for Polar Bears to Hunt.
The effects of the reduction in sea-ice thickness and extent, shorter periods of maximum ice extent and the changes in sea-ice structure and dynamics probably varies in different regions of the Arctic, but all of these are potentially harmful to the condition and reproductive success of these mammals and their prey.

With regards to the polar bears in the southern range, for example in James Bay and Hudson Bay of Canada, sea ice is now melting earlier in the spring and forming later in the autumn, and the time bears have on the ice is their best season, when they hunt seals and fish easily, and they restore their body fat and fitness. However, this critical time for storing up their energy for the hot season (when there is less ice and little available food) is becoming dangerously limited. As the periods without supply of food have become longer, the overall body condition of polar bears have decreased.

This is particularly serious for pregnant bears or those that are nursing their young, as well as for the cubs themselves. In Hudson Bay, scientists have discovered the primary cause of death among bear cubs to be either the lack of fat on nursing mothers or lack of food.

4. Polar Bear Food Becoming Scarce.
This is directly related to the previously mentioned effect of global warming on polar bears. Exacerbating the problems caused by the loss of these animals’ hunting areas, it is expected that the shrinking polar ice cap will also cause the number of seals, polar bears’ prey, to decline. The decrease in ice platforms near productive areas for fish that seals eat is affecting their reproduction rates and nutritional status. These mammals are going hungry for longer periods of time, which results in them developing cannibalistic behavior. Though it is already known that they would kill for dominance or kill cubs to breed with the females, outright predation for food was not observed by biologists in the past.

5. Polar Bears Being Classified as a Threatened Species.
The polar bears were listed as an endangered species in 2008 under the Endangered Species Act mainly because of the drop of their primary habitat—sea ice. Though this is the case, they are restricted the law’s protections, so their future is still very much in jeopardy.

What Can We Do To Solve The Problem?

Considering that humans have caused this problem, it is arrogated that humans can also fix it. Research shows that time has remained to conserve polar bears if people would act soon significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This means that all communities around the world should work together now in playing individual roles to ensure these animals a better future.

Will Our Actions Make a Difference?

Although taking immediate action to stop climate change does not yield immediate results, new studies suggest that we could see favorable effects in about 10 years. So, our actions today can do well in preventing potentially catastrophic changes from taking place, not only for polar bears but also for all of us in this world.

Like many people, you’ve probably heard about open source software and are thinking about giving them a try. After all, why should you pay for Photoshop when you can edit and enhance pictures through Gimp? Why should you fork out money for Microsoft Office when you can enjoy almost the same features with LibreOffice? Why should you spend a substantial amount on the Windows operating system when you can do your work in Ubuntu?

However, you have to realize that using open source software is not all milk and honey. Before you jump into the bandwagon and download the products you’ve been eyeing on, do your homework and find out if open source software is worth your while. Start your research by going through these lists:

List of Advantages of Open Source Software

1. Cheaper than commercially marketed products.
According to studies, open source software collectively help business owners save around $60 billion a year. This might seem unbelievable at first, but it’s not really surprising since these programs are developed to be accessible to anyone (especially those who can’t afford to buy commercial products). For one thing, they’re usually offered for free and don’t require you to pay for any additional copy you download. Since many of these programs are created to work with almost any type of computer, they can also help you lengthen the life of your old hardware and avoid the need to replace them every now and then.

2. Created by skillful and talented people.
Large and well-established software companies have the financial capability to hire the best talent in the business to create their products. Because of this, many people opt to buy computer programs from these firms because they think they’ll get great value for their money by doing so.

The fact that big companies hire experienced, fully trained and highly qualified people is true. But what consumers have to know is this: not all software developers care deeply about money. Sure, most of them do get a job to have a steady income and be able to financially support themselves and their family. However, a lot of these experts don’t just base their worth on the salary they earn; rather, they strive to build a program that will earn the admiration of their peers and hopefully make a difference in the world.

This is why many software developers turn to open source products as an outlet for their ideas and creativity. By doing so, they won’t be confined by the rigid rules of the corporate world, and they’ll have the freedom to experiment and come up with high-quality programs. These, in turn, benefit consumers since they’ll have access to world-class and state-of-the-art software without having to pay too much.

3. Highly reliable.
There are two main reasons why open source software are reliable. First of all, they’re developed chiefly by skillful and talented experts who do their best to create high-quality programs. Second, they’re worked on by tens or hundreds of people, which means there are numerous eyes that can monitor for the presence of bugs and many pairs of hands that can fix these defects within the shortest amount of time. Both of these factors lead to products that have excellent quality and helpful features and perform well most (if not all) of the time.

4. Help you become more flexible.
Since you’re not tied to a proprietary product, you don’t need to abide by a specific IT architecture that might require you to upgrade your software and even hardware often. Rather, you can mix and match your software and create a unique IT infrastructure that best suits your needs. There’s no need to fret since there’s a wide range of options in the market, so you only have to browse through them and pick one those that match your requirements and specifications. Can’t find anything you like? You can modify existing open sources software or hire someone who can do it for you.

List of Disadvantages of Open Source Software

1. Vulnerable to malicious users.
Many people have access to the source code of open source software, but not all of them have good intentions. While a lot of people utilize their access to spot defects and make improvements to the program, others use this privilege to exploit the product’s vulnerabilities and create bugs that can infect hardware, steal identities or just annoy other users. These rarely happen with commercially produced software since the companies who make them have stringent quality control processes and ensure that the program is almost perfect when released to the market.

2. Might not be as user-friendly as commercial versions.
This is not true for all open source software since many of them (such as LibreOffice, Mozilla Firefox and the Android operating system) are incredibly easy to use. However, there are several programs which are created mainly to cater to the developer’s wishes and bring his ideas to life. As a result, not much attention is given to the software’s user interface, making it difficult to use especially for those who aren’t really tech-savvy.

3. Don’t come with extensive support.
Those who favor commercially produced programs say that these software gives them peace of mind. After all, since they know exactly who designed, created and distributed the product, they have a clear idea of who they can hold liable if the program doesn’t function properly or causes damage to their hardware. This isn’t exactly the case for open source software. Since it’s developed by numerous people, users exactly don’t have a specific person or company they can point a finger to.

But, before you get discouraged by this, it’s important to take note that major software firms also wash their hands of any responsibility. If you read their End User License Agreements, you’ll see that companies usually disclaim all liabilities and that the responsibility for the product falls on you, the user. These mean that you won’t really receive any support (nor hear someone else take the blame) when your software would incur problems and disrupt productivity. So, unless you’re willing to spend time and money on filing lawsuits and going after huge corporations, it’s better to use open source software and acknowledge the fact that their low cost and easy accessibility come with a trade-off.