Amen – One Definition

This word or phrase, “amen” or “Amen”, is generally an expression of agreement, ratification, and confirmation utilized during spiritual worship and/or religious services or ceremonies conducted by Greek, Jewish, Nordic, Gnostic, Christian, Muslim, Ancient Egyptian, and other spiritual leaders as well as having been introduced into spells of “Anathema” (i.e., originally meaning an “offering to a god” during the time of the Ancient Greeks but later in history this word evolved into meaning “accursed, denounced, exiled”, etc.). Note that all spells, spellwork, or spell casting are not performed for negative or evil purposes let alone intent or results; spells are also cast for purposes of spiritual benefaction via the elementals of Mother Nature, namely–Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Aether (i.e., a spirit entity or spiritual energy) for positive outcomes.

This word derives from an etymological, Semitic (Hebrew) root word meaning “fixed” or “sure” with many different pantheistic (i.e., the worship or divination of all goddesses and gods along all lines of creeds) scriptural references. Another etymological note, regarding the word “Semitic”, and according to the Merriam-Webster definition:

“…of, relating to, or constituting a subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic language family that includes Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Amharic….”

To continue, the word, “Amen”, is generally capitalized in many circles. “Amen” is also considered to be a form interjection-spoken and grammatically. “Amen” is also a word that is sung (or found in secular music such as in a hymn) and used as a form of salutation. “Amen” has been expressed by many people, in the United States during the 1960’s and 1970’s, as a form of agreement such as “Amen brother or Amen sister” and similar to the expression “Right On!” which is just as spiritual in many communities, cultural and non-secular circles. The Greek version of the Old Testament (or “diatheke”) often scripturally translates “Amen” as meaning “so be it” which is quite similar in connotation to the phrase, “So mote it be”, often found in many metaphysical spells and rituals of Witchcraft and Neo-Pagan Wicca. The word “mote” derives from Middle English and from the Old English word “mÅ

Social Efficiency versus Democratic Equality

Larabee describes social efficiency as an educational framework in which the school sees its role as that of preparing the students to become workers. Curriculum responds to society’s needs in a pragmatic manner; hence, it is seen as a public good designed to meet collective needs. Society depends on the school to meet its human capital needs in all phases of economic life. In this model, schools must necessarily adapt to existing socioeconomic and social structures. While maintaining the status quo, they realize their full educational, political, and cultural impact.

Society has the responsibility of enhancing productivity in all phases of life. This means that schools must seriously prepare students of all levels, for all levels. However, some very interesting assumptions are taken for granted. It is implicit that all societal positions are not equitable. The objective of social efficiency is not to elevate or demote people socioeconomically, or socially. It is the overall, collective benefit of the public that is being served. Hence, schools are induced to replicate, with unerring accuracy, society’s hierarchical form and complete structure. Tasks in the society need to be done by everyone. So it is everybody’s place to contribute and do what needs to be done for the public good.

To get this model to work, certain institutions had to be artificially contrived. Tracking, on the basis of perceived abilities and preferences, vocationalism, ability testing, educational standards, and other forms of stratification were all instituted with one aim. They separated students into different groups to fill different societal roles. Many of the roles were based on society’s historical perceptions of which groups of people should be performing what tasks, or on actual abilities and talents the students possess. Hence, the question came down to whose children should be educated for what roles in society. People upholding the social efficiency ideology can be perceived as blocking chances for social mobility and political equality.

As said earlier, social efficiency is not designed to alter the status quo of society members. In other words, children of the elite will not be trained to fill societal roles not already consistent with their status. Nor will children of people working in menial positions be expected to be trained for those held by the elite. These would be taught vocational skills for different array of jobs, and would be channeled directly into these jobs. In this sense, education can be seen as a duplication of what already exists. The education is designed to predict working class job roles for working students and to prepare them so precisely as to render all other options impossible. Some would see this as not being unfair since it does not rob those who already have nothing. What specific groups had previously is what they continue to have. Society’s needs are met, and things continue to run as they always have.

But not so, some say. Democratic equality must prevail. It must be interpreted to mean equal access to all students for all possible positions. Here as everywhere else, the philosophical framework of educators, parents, the community at large, and the students come into play. Certain questions emerge as important: What responsibility do teachers have toward their students in terms of pushing them towards a type of education that does not coincide with the the student’s social background? How motivated should a teacher be to push certain students toward more advanced classes? How inclined should a teacher feel or feel impelled to make available certain types of information that may permanently and favorably alter the student’s future? Which students get pushed toward a more vocational education? Which ones get steered toward a more academic program?

The position that principals, guidance staff, the community, etc. take depends on their philosophical stance. If these educators are operating from a social efficiency perspective, they may not very well consider themselves immoral, or unethical for choosing not to inform students of certain channels leading to positions that would enhance their lifestyle. They may feel that as long as they equip the students with the tools to help them fill positions like those held by their parents, they are fulfilling their obligation to their charges.

Joel Spring describes the type of community in which the labor market does not depend on a high level of education. He refers to these communities as inert. The primary consideration of educators with regard to inert communities is to provide the best possible basic education to students to fill just these needs.

Apparently, many schools adopt the social efficiency model for their students of color. This model is also being used in several African American and Hispanic communities which have come to expect that their members will hold only certain types of menial positions, simply because that is what they have always held. Hence, only certain professional expectations are developed and enmeshed within the community. Moreover, the dominant community overtly and covertly expect that members of the subjected community will continue to hold those positions.

Notions about what roles members in these societies will hold are reinforced and maintained by teachers responding to stereotypes about the quality of thinking, work ethic, disposition, etc. of minority students. Teachers can also make deliberate efforts to maintain the status quo of students’ potential social positions through their attitudes and behaviors, overt and covert. These behaviors and attitudes reinforce within students self-defeating ideas and help them enliven self fulfilling prophecies.

Defining or understanding concepts such as social efficiency and democratic equality is relatively easy. Being in a position of educator and knowing how to act fairly towards students depends on the educator’s embraced philosophy and sense of fairness and responsibility towards all students.

Larabee, D. Public goods, private goods: the American struggle over educational goals. American Educational Research Journal. Spring 1997, vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 39-81

Leveling the Playing Fields

There has always been criticism of the role the educational system plays in the preparation of our youth for a successful future. My criticism has been that even though the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic are covered, vital skills for success in life are not. But this opinion stems from my own definition of success.

My definition of success expands beyond the ability to obtain and keep a J.O.B. that pays minimum wages, or even a job that pays above average salaries. Rather, success is the ability to use one’s skills and abilities to achieve financial freedom.

I know from my only secular education at one of the best public high schools in California, entrepreneurial opportunities were never discussed. During my college studies, the focus was to obtain a J.O.B. after graduation. Networking marketing and small business ventures were only presented as risky.

The lifeplan of school, college, and get a job is the paradigm most are trained to follow. However, only a small percentage of those who follow this plan end up with any level of wealth or financial satisfaction in their secular life.

Then there are those who never even see college or a significant income as a possibility because they do not know anyone or was not mentored by anyone who achieved these goals in life. So they never open up their eyes wide to think big and achieve extraordinary results. Or they give up without even putting forth any real effort.

My aim is to level the playing fields. I wish to do this by tapping into the ways to generate income regardless of social or educational background. The idea is to be able to use the anonymous nature of the internet to generate income that can be started with no money, so therefore there are no barriers to entry for anyone. As long as they can get to a computer at a library, they could get started working for themselves, generating income for themselves on a pay for effort basis.

Do not get me wrong, school, college, and jobs, all have their place in society and the economy. But they are not enough to ensure that everyone who follows that lifeplan will be able to make ends meet, provide quality education and healthcare for their children, and provide for retirement, whether early to enjoy life or late because of aging.

There are too many barriers within recruitment, promotions and availability of work, to be able for it to be an even playing field for even those with identical resumes. I’ve hit the glass ceiling more than once in my career and I have no desire for my daughter’s needs to be muffled, due to my own lack of climbing the corporate ladder, quickly enough. I do not want any employer to be the one to say what school my daughter is good enough to attend. I want to have that control.

The only way I see to have that control is to level the playing fields, by generating multiple streams of income online, such that no one source of income provides for the bulk of my family’s financial needs. This is not a task that my secular education prepared me to pursue; but it is a journey that I see as imperative to ensure the financial well being of our family.

Sound – A Short View of Definition and Behavior

Sound is a mechanical vibration of a medium in the hearing range.

A medium can be practically anything: a gas, a liquid or a hard material. Most commonly we perceive sound propagation in the air, where it travels with the speed of 343 m/s at the room temperature (20°C). The speed varies with temperature, but in the human habitat’s thermal range, that’s not a big variation (a couple of percent).

Some aircraft can reach the speed which is higher than the speed of sound (343 m/s= 1,235 km/h), also called the supersonic speed. Some other phenomena in the nature can reach that speed, such as meteorites entering the Earth’s atmosphere, There are also scientific speculations about the fact that some dinosaurs were able to move their tail with the ultrasonic speed, generating intimidating sounds.

The speed of sound is different in different media: for example, in water, this parameter is 1,484 m/s, while for iron it is 5,120 m/s, again, both at the room temperature.

Basic parameters

The basic shape of a pure uniform oscillation is a sine wave. This is what we use as a basic signal shape in sound, too, especially in electronics. This is the shape that we use for most measurements to test the behaviour of sound equipment.

This signal is defined by two parameters:

  • amplitude (A), which is directly connected with the loudness, therefore how loud or quiet the sound is, and
  • frequency (f), which determines the pitch of the sound – it tells us how many times per second a sound vibrates.

The signal makes its full turn when it equally passes positive and negative half-period creating a full cycle.

The time needed for this signal to terminate a full cycle is called a period (t0) or wavelength and it is measured in seconds. Frequency determines how many periods are completed in one second. The unit for frequency is 1/s or, more commonly, Hertz (Hz).

For example: if a signal oscillates with a hundred periods in a second, that’s 100 Hz.

From the definition “sound is a mechanical vibration of a medium in the hearing range”, we have already covered a part of a medium, but “what is the hearing range”?

The hearing range is the range between the lowest and the highest audible frequency. For a human, this is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz (20,000 Hz). Different animal species have different hearing ranges. For example, a mouse can hear from 1 kHz to 100 kHz and a chicken from 125 Hz to 2 kHz.

Now we have covered the whole definition of sound: we know what a medium is and how the speed of sound behaves in it, and we know what the hearing range is.

Dynamics

Previously we have said that a sound/signal is defined with two parameters: frequency and amplitude. As there is a definition for the hearing range in frequency, there are also limits in amplitude: what is the quietest sound we can hear and what is the loudest sound we can bear?

The amplitude range for a human hearing is defined between 0 and 120 dB, where 0 dB is the “loudness” of breathing, and 120 dB is a threshold of pain.

dB is not really a unit, but a logarithmic way to define a ratio between a reference signal and a measured signal.

0 dB means that the ratio between a reference and a measured signal is 1:1, while 120 dB is 1:1,000,000, therefore we can’t bear the sound that is a million times louder than our breathing. Another interesting ratio is 6 dB (1:2).

Just to give you a real life example of what dB means as a noise:

  • 0 dB – minimal perceivable sound
  • 30 dB – whisper
  • 60 dB – conversation
  • 98 db – hand drill
  • 115 dB – loud rock concert
  • 120 dB – pain threshold
  • 140 dB – jet engine
  • 180 dB – death of hearing tissue

In music notation, we use two extremes for the loudness definition: ppp (pianississimo, which equals to whispering) and fff (fortississimo, equal to yelling).

Child Labor Laws Around the World

Even in today’s modern world, an estimated 168 million children still remain trapped in child labor, several of them for even full time. Most of them do not get a chance to receive formal education and several of them do not even get proper food and nutrition. Moreover, at least half of them have been involved in the worst of the working conditions, slavery and other illicit activities such as prostitution and human trafficking. However, the United Nations, the International Labor Organization, and the national governments have been trying their best to get this inhuman practice eradicated and bring back the childhood of these innocent children. However, let us know a bit more about the child labor laws worldwide.

Categories of Child Labor as Defined by The International Laws:

  • Human Trafficking, slavery, debt bondage and other forced labors, prostitution, pornography and forced recruitments into armed conflicts are termed s the unconditional worst forms of child labor.
  • Any kind of labor performed by the child, which is not permissible at his specific age (as defined by the national legislation) which might hinder the child’s education and development.
  • Labor that might hinder the mental, physical or the moral well-being of the child. It usually includes working in hazardous conditions or the nature of the work being performed.

Minimum Working Age:

Most of the countries retain strict laws and have restricted the minimum age for working to 14-15 years. However, there are some exceptions, which have been set by the International Labor Organization. For developing countries, where the economy of the country might be dependent on the working children, it might be permissible for children of above 12 years of age to do light work in suitable conditions and as long as it does not affect their formal education.

Age Restrictions and Types of Works:

Along with setting the minimum working age of 14 years, the ILO has restricted the minimum working age to 18 years for work in hazardous conditions, such as working on a construction site, dealing with machines which could cause any kind of harm or any other worst kind of works. “Worst Forms” of works as defined by the International Labor Organization, includes slavery, prostitution, human trafficking and several other inhumane practices.

Penalty Imposition:

The penalties which are imposed for the violation of any kind of child labor laws depend on the situation and the location. For eg., in California, violating any child labor laws may lead up to 6 months of imprisonment in the county prison and/or $500-$10000 of a monetary fine. In most of the countries, companies can face fines and legal suits against them if found guilty of the violation of child labor laws. However, huge cultural differences and other legal complications make the laws difficult to be implemented strictly in several countries. Moreover, as per Right To Education Project, the child labor law implementation still lacks back in several countries as they do not possess enough means to enforce the laws strictly.