Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Self-Injury

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Self injury


When most people face stress, they talk to a friend or squeeze a stress ball. However, when a small number of people feel that their life is getting them down, they revert to dangerous behaviors in order to alleviate the feelings they are experiencing. These people, when under stress, may revert to cutting themselves, burning their skin, or engaging in other behaviors that cause themselves physical harm. Because other people view such behaviors as being very extreme, they may feel that the people who do them are merely trying to attract attention to themselves. However, when a person purposefully injures themselves, they are not attracting attention but instead are suffering from a disorder known as self injury.


Self injury is defined as a variety of behaviors, “resulting in the destruction of one’s own tissue. These behaviors, including scratching, burning or cutting the skin, pulling out hair, breaking bones, amputation, and eye enucleation, can have a likewise variable assortment of causes” (“Definition” 1). Because of the wide range of self injuring behaviors, scientists have come up with three major categories in order to classify them. These categories are based upon “the degree of harm, the rate, and the pattern of behavior.” The categories are major, stereotypic, and superficial self mutilation (1). Major self mutilation include “acts that severely damage a significant amount of body tissue. These are injuries that can only be inflicted once, such as eye enucleation, facial skinning, amputation of the limbs, breasts or genitals.” People who engage in major self mutilation often have other disorders which cause them to recede into a “zombie-like” state that enables them not to feel the pain of such drastic injuries (“Definition“ ). Stereotypic self mutilation describes “repetitive, sometimes rhythmic, acts, the most common form being head-banging. Other forms include orifice digging, hitting, throat and eye gouging (though usually not eye enucleation)...hair pulling, and self-biting.” The last type of self mutilation is superficial self mutilation. This category describes behaviors most commonly observed in people who self injure (). Superficial self harm is divided into three subcategories, compulsive, episodic, and repetitive (). A person who compulsively harms himself “unconsciously pulls out his own hair or picks at her skin.” People who engage in compulsive self mutilation harm themselves in a ritualistic way that is similar to the rituals in which a person suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders engages (). People suffering from the second subcategory of superficial self injury, episodic self harm, deliberately cut themselves, burn their skin, and prick themselves with needles. This type of behavior is what most people commonly think of when they hear the phrase “self injury” (). People who engage in cutting or burning are often ashamed of their scars and hide them. Unlike the episodic self harmer, a person who engage in repetitive self harm harms himself on a regular basis and “with a sense of ceremony.” Other than this fact, the behaviors of the repetitive self harmer are the same as the ones of the episodic self harmer. In fact, a person can easily shift from being an episodic self harmer into a repetitive one if he self harms regularly and becomes addicted to the feeling ().


The reasons for which people deliberately injure themselves range far and wide. Major self mutilators have mental disorders that make them unable to feel the pain of what they are doing. These mental disorders include “mental retardation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.” A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also demonstrate major self harm with no apparent feeling of pain or distress (“Definition“ ). Stereotypic self mutilators are often mentally retarded and have other disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and tourette’s syndrome. These disorders make stereotypic self mutilators unaware of their self injuring acts and unable to identify a specific cause for the occasion. The main difference between stereotypical and superficial self harm is the fact that superficial self harmers can often pinpoint a cause for their acts, while stereotypical harmers cannot (“Definition“ ).


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Acts of superficial self harm are often triggered by an event or series of events in a person’s life. Superficial self injury can be a result of previously experienced abuse or neglect. People who self harm in this way often appear to be normal, but they deal with their problems in a more harmful manner than most people do. Superficial self harmers often injure themselves to find “relief from overwhelming emotions.” People who injure themselves for this reason usually “have never developed the ability to feel and express emotions as others do. They may not have been allowed to show or release their true emotions. Yet their feelings still exist, whether they show them or not. They may have adopted self injury as a strategy for getting relief from these intense feelings” (“ Understanding” 1). Another popular motive for self injury is the “physical expression of emotional pain.” People who self injure “speak of their wounds and their scars as being a way to see the pain they feel inside. That by causing these injuries they are bringing out their pain to be seen and perhaps healed” (“Understanding” 1). It is often easier to feel


physical pain and deal with it than emotional pain. Others self injure because they feel that they are bad and punish themselves by cutting their skin. People who self injure for this reason feel that having feelings of anger or sadness means that they are weak and in need of punishment (“Understanding”1-). However, self injuring behaviors can be misinterpreted as suicidal behaviors. In contrast to this belief, self injury is actually the means by which a person takes to prevent himself from suicide. By cutting himself, the person releases the feelings inside that may make him want to commit suicide. Self injury eventually becomes a means to survive, and because of this, it is an extremely addicting behavior (“Understanding“ ).


Self injury can result in bruises and deep cuts, burns, and lasting scars in places in which it is difficult to cut or burn by accident. In cases of superficial self injury, wounds are relatively easy to hide and make excuses about. Most people who self injure will write off their injuries as mere accidents such as burning one’s hand while doing the cooking or being scratched by a household pet. Because self injurers make such good excuses for their wounds, it is very difficult to determine if a person deliberately hurts himself or is hurt on accident. However, because the person has to cut deeper each time in order to feel the way he did the previous time, most self injurers are eventually found out. A person who self injures can also become very socially withdrawn and depressed (“SI Discussed” 1).


The most obvious mental effect of self injury is depression. Depression causes people to self harm, self harming causes the person to be depressed all over again. The struggle the person has to face with depression turns into a vicious cycle of self injury. Self injury can also lead to feelings of guilt and guilt can lead to a feeling of worthlessness. If a person feels worthless, then he feels a need to punish himself for his worthlessness. This also leads to a cycle of self injury in order for the person to punish himself for all the things he feels he has done wrong in his life. The mental effects of self injury form a cycle which leads back to self injuring behaviors again and again, causing the person to injure himself more and more in order to escape from the growing depression he feels (“SI Discussed” 1-).


The society does not accept people who purposefully self mutilate in a way that does not enhance their beauty, such as “ear piercing, eyebrow plucking, and small tatoos,” which are “beauty enhancing and socially meaningful” (“Motivation” 1). Because the society shuns people who harm themselves, only a small number of people who self mutilate eventually receive the help they need. Furthermore, some doctors do not treat people with self inflicted wounds because “they are not as deserving of care as someone who has an accidental injury.” Self injurers are often ashamed to admit their problems because they are afraid of appearing “different“, or even “crazy.” Those who self injure are often ostracized due to their disease...those who self injure also tend to not confide in people for fear that the other person will view them negatively”(“Why Do People Self Injure” 1). Many people with self injuring behaviors are not diagnosed correctly and give the help they need, “doctors will sometimes believe that self injury is actually another disease. The results of such diagnoses could have adverse effects on the person who self mutilates” (Green 1-). Because most people cannot understand why a person will deliberately hurt themselves, they often think that people who self injure are “freaks.” The stigma surrounding the issue of self harm often causes people who self injure “to hide scars, blood or other evidence of the acts of self harm” in order to be accepted by society (). These acts can lead to the person not wanting to get help for the disorder until it is too late. The depression which envelops a person with self injuring behaviors can cause them to withdraw from society into self induced isolation (1-).


The tendency to self injure can be treated by using “a combination of psychotherapy and possibly medication” in order to “identify the feelings and emotions associated with self mutilation” (“Treatment” 1). There are many alternative behaviors that are a more positive response to adverse emotions than cutting or burning oneself. Certain medications “that alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and sleep impairment” can be used to reduce the tendency to self mutilate (“Treatment“ 1-). People who self mutilate often do not have enough serotonin, a chemical that makes a person feel happy and positive, and medicines that release serotonin can sometimes work in treating this disorder. Besides medication, there are also programs that unite people who wish to stop injuring themselves in order to achieve that end. A person who wishes to stop self mutilating can also obtain self help by buying books that put them through a series of exercises, “the books involve writing exercises that help them understand why they injure themselves and the results of their behavior, such as scarring and social isolation” (“Treatment” 1). It takes a great deal of work on the part of the person who wishes to help himself overcome the urge to self injure because different people injure for different reasons. It is necessary for the person to have a drive to get better and to experiment to find a combination of methods that work best. Some methods that have been suggested include relaxation techniques, listening to music, writing in a journal, stabbing at a piece of wood, holding ice, and drawing pictures. There is no miracle cure for self injury, and whether a person succeeds in overcoming it or not depends on the degree of his perseverance (“Self Injury“).


Because of the stigma surrounding self injuring behaviors, there is not much new research that is being done in this area. The most effective group of medications have been found to be “a group of antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s)” (“Healing”). Studies with these medications have been done upon small samples with a reasonable level of success. However, self injury is not a disorder that can be cured by medication alone. In certain cases, medication may help individuals, but self injury is treated greatly as a behavioral disorder rather than a mental disorder. Self injury is only treated as a mental disorder if it does not fall in the superficial category or is caused by a genuine mental disorder, such as schizophrenia. Most of the time, therapists work to help self injurers to change themselves behaviorally, rather than to burden sufferers with different medications (“Healing“).


Most people think that people who injure themselves deliberately are either extremely dumb or seeking attention. However, self injury is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. In reality, people who self injure feel that they have no other way in which to express the emotions they are feeling. For them, the only way in which to express what they feel is to abuse themselves. Such people are not stupid or looking for attention. Instead, they are using the only way they can in order to deal with life and to survive in a world that seems to be against their very existence.


Works Cited


“Definition.” Date unknown. http//wso.williams.edu/~atimofey/self_mutilation (Dec.16, 00).


Green, Joy. “Living On The Edge.” Oct. 17. The North Star Online. http//www.cyc-


net.org/reference/refs-self-mutilation-green.html (Dec. 16, 00).


“Healing The Scars Within Treatment.” Date unknown. http//secretsswollen.tripod.com/treatmentframe.html (Dec. 16, 00).


“The In thing to do?- SI Discussed.” Date unknown. http//secretpain.netfirms.com


/introduction.html (Dec.16, 00).


“Motivation.” Date unknown. http//wso.williams.edu/~atimofey/motivation/


index.html (Dec. 16, 00).


Thompson, Colleen. “Self Injury.” Dec. , 00. http//www.mirror- mirror.org/selfinj.htm (Dec. 16, 00).


“Treatment.” Date unknown. http//wso.william.edu/~atimofey/treatment/in


dex.html (Dec. 16, 00).


“Why Do People Self Injure?” Date unknown. http//www.healthyplace.com/communi


ities/self_injury/bloodred/why (Dec. 16, 00).


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Theories on learning

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Theories of Learning


There are many theories on how we learn. I will try to present the theories that are known and accepted at this time. The theories I will cover are Cognition, Habit, Humanistic, and Psychomotor.


Cognition Theory


Edward Tolman proposed the cognition theory in the 10’s. He believed that our behavior was motivated by accomplishing a goal or to avoid displeasure. This theory stated that we have paths and tools, which we can use to reach our goals. One of his basic beliefs was that we do something as if certain behavior will accomplish definite goal.


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Tolman’s theory was different than most because he believed that we could learn without reinforcement. We can learn from experiences only if we are motivated enough to turn expectations in to behavior. Motivation has two purposes to allow internal tension to create a demand for the goal, and to establish the events that you will concentrate on (The Learning Curve, http//library.thinkquest.org/C005704/content_lt.php).


Tolman’s theory gained wide acceptance in the 160s. Other researchers began to expand on his ideals, including Julian Rotter. His theory, social-learning, was that our fondness for an experience in determined by what value we place on the outcome. If we enjoy doing something or enjoy the result then we learn how to accomplish that goal.


Habit


A habit is action we learn by repeating it many times, so many times that we can do without consciously thinking about it. There are different types of habits. Some are basic such as opening a bottle of soda. An adult can do this with almost no thought, but a child must learn how to do this. A different type of habit is one that affects others. These are called “habits of adjustment” that are classified as good habits and bad habits. A good habit would be proper manners while a bad habit would be interrupting a conversation.


Most experts believe that unless a habit is beneficial to us we will not learn it. This is based on the ideal if we enjoy the outcome of the action we will repeat it.


Humanistic Theory


The humanistic theory states that we learn from our need to show our creativity. All activities can be a creative outlet. Humanists believe we have an inner force motivating us to learn and express ourselves so we may gain a sense of control, growth and knowledge. They also believe we are responsible for our actions and that we can change our behavior at any time. Our actions must satisfy our whole self as we strive for self-improvement.





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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Close reading of To His Coy Mistress

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To his Coy Mistress


1 Had we but world enough, and time,


This coyness, lady, were no crime.


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We would sit down and think which way


4 To walk, and pass our long loves day;


5 Thou by the Indian Ganges side


6 Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide


7 Of Humber would complain. I would


8 Love you ten years before the Flood;


And you should, if you please, refuse


10 Till the conversion of the Jews.


11 My vegetable love should grow


1 Vaster than empires, and more slow.


1 An hundred years should go to praise


14 Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;


15 Two hundred to adore each breast,


16 But thirty thousand to the rest;


17 An age at least to every part,


18 And the last age should show your heart.


1 For, lady, you deserve this state,


0 Nor would I love at lower rate.


1 But at my back I always hear


Times winged chariot hurrying near;


And yonder all before us lie


4 Deserts of vast eternity.


5 Thy beauty shall no more be found,


6 Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound


7 My echoing song; then worms shall try


8 That long preservd virginity,


And your quaint honour turn to dust,


0 And into ashes all my lust.


1 The graves a fine and private place,


But none I think do there embrace.


Now therefore, while the youthful hue


4 Sits on thy skin like morning dew,


5 And while thy willing soul transpires


6 At every pore with instant fires,


7 Now let us sport us while we may;


8 And now, like amrous birds of prey,


Rather at once our time devour,


40 Than languish in his slow-chappd power.


41 Let us roll all our strength, and all


4 Our sweetness, up into one ball;


4 And tear our pleasures with rough strife


44 Thorough the iron gates of life.


45 Thus, though we cannot make our sun


46 Stand still, yet we will make him run.





Reaction / Close Reading Paper


To His Coy Mistress is, I believe, an extremely interesting and enticing poem about love. Love may be, perhaps, the most clich�d topic of poetry, but this poem has always been one of my favorites. I believe that this poem is written so suggestively, many writers must feel the need to expound upon its meaning. It is a dramatic monologue, in which the speaker is addressing his lady friend. This paper will combine a close reading or interpretation of the poem with my reactions to the poem itself.


The essential theme of this poem is the speaker attempting to persuade his coy mistress to have sexual relations with him. He (the speaker) appears to use three different tactics in order to convince his would-be lover to acquiesce. This poem includes an argument, a counter argument and a conclusion.


Had we but world enough, and time/ This coyness, Lady, were no crime. This line translates into if time and place were infinite, wasting time being modest and demure would be alright. He continues by saying, We would sit down and think which way/ To walk and pass our long loves day. These two lines are the speakers way of telling his mistress they could linger and decide slowly how to spend and/or consummate their love. I also believe that long loves day refers to the entirety of their love and not just the day at hand.


Love you ten years before the flood;/ And you should, if you please, refuse/ Till the conversion of the Jews. These lines are among my absolute favorite in this poem as they also carry a spiritual connotation in them. Ten years before the flood (which occurs sometime in Genesis after creation) until the conversion of the Jews (which is to happen at Armageddon) is a long passage of time. The speaker rhetorically expresses his clearly impossible ideas of timelessness intertwined with love. I feel this also clearly defines the newness of their relationship as these impractical ideas are often found in new love. Further more, My vegetable love should grow/ Vaster than empires and more slow shows the exaggeration of time and space that is also often associated with young love. I truly enjoy the use of vegetable in these lines as it implies the slow growing sense of the speakers love.


From the following lines, the speaker says that he would use hundreds of years to praise his lovers different body parts, and such an expression only foreshadows their lack of time which is inevitable in the poem An hundred years should go to praise/ Thine eyes, and on they forehead gaze;/ Two hundred to adore each breast, / But thirty thousand for the rest. Although the speaker declared that the lady did deserve such high praise, the fact is that such high praise was impossible, given their circumstances.


The second stanza, beginning with line 1, is where the speaker begins his counter argument. But at my back I always hear/ Times winged chariot hurrying near;/ And yonder all before us lie/ Deserts of vast eternity. This is the first change in the speakers tone. The speaker begins telling his mistress that they were losing time. The image he paints of the deserts suggests the uncertainties lying before the speaker and his lady.


Thy beauty shall no more be found, / Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound/ My echoing song; then worms shall try/ That long preservd virginity. In these lines, the speaker creates a terrifying image of the outcome if the lady should refuse his courtship. I believe the speaker essentially means if they dont enjoy themselves to the fullest at that very moment, they might not receive another chance. On the other hand, the speaker is trying to persuade his lover to accept courtship and to make love with him by telling her the horrifying image with sexual connotation (this referring to the worms taking her virginity).


In the last stanza, the conclusion, the meaning of the poem is elevated, because it talks about the universal human experience, not just courtly love. I believe this stanza is the climax of the poem. Now therefore, while the youthful hue/ Sits on thy skin like morning dew, / And wile thy willing soul transpires/ At every pore with instant fires. The images of morning dew suggest the quick passing and gradual disappearance of the ladys youth, and the words like transpires and instant fires suggest a sense of transience in human life.


In the final lines of the poem, Now let us sport us while we may;/ And now, like amrous birds of prey, / Rather at once our time devour, / Than languish in his slow-chappd power. / Let us roll all our strength, and all/ Our sweetness, up into one ball;/ And tear our pleasures with rough strife/ Thorough the iron gates of life. / Thus, though we cannot make our sun/ Stand still, yet we will make him run, the speaker reveals his desire to swallow time rather than to be swallowed. He called to his lady that they should gather their strength together into one ball, and conquer the tortures of life together. Here, the torture is implied by iron gates of life, which may also mean passages of time and life that each human must endure and experience. The last two lines are paradoxical, because the speaker had previously expressed his wish but he also wanted to make their sun run faster, which means that time could go faster, too.


In To His Coy Mistress, the speaker used many images and metaphors to express his opinions. The poem is special to me because the speaker did not take the conventional way to court his lady, and because the conclusion is not only the speakers feeling about courting the lady, but also everyones desire of not being devoured by time. Through this elevation, the meaning of the whole poem is expanded and elevated as well. As stated previously, this poem has always been on the top of my list of poetry. I may not have always understood what the poem meant, exactly, but the flow of the poem always captured my heart and held me to the reading. However, through this assignment, I have gained a better understanding of the underlying purposes of this poem and therefore, have increased the level of enjoyment I receive from the author and To His Coy Mistress.











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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Staffing Issues at Funwerks

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Human Resource Roles and Responsibilities


Isn’t that an oxymoron?


By


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Charles L. Floyd


Veronica Wilson-Brewster


MGT41


September , 00


Human Resource Roles and Responsibilities Isn’t that an oxymoron?


Is there really a department entitled “Human Resources” in the workplace? In most companies that answer is yes and that it is a true fully functioning department, but that is not the case at Funwerks. Funwerks is owned by Werks, Inc. a small a fast growing company based out of North Carolina. The company grew from a small two facility family fun center organization with approximately forty employees to a company with over six facilities in four states employing over 50 employees in less than three months time frame.


This type of growth wrecked havoc on the infrastructure of the company since there was no human resource department in the beginning of the company and it wasn’t added as a department until after the acquisitions of the other parks. The company basically grew faster than it should have and thus left everyone wondering what direction they were suppose to go in. The first error in the company is that the head of the HR Department is also the wife of one of the General Managers at one of the locations. The second error is that there are no employee manuals at all so there is no direction as to where the company is going and what is expected of its employees. Not only was there no direction as to where to go for employee issues there was no organizational flow chart so no one really knew whom they needed to talk to about what issues, and one vice-president would always contradict what the other vice-presidents had said. There was no accountability for actions, written memos or verbal agreements, upper management basically did as they pleased with out answering to anyone.


This type of company and lack of a proper human resource department is what killed the company’s workforce. Many of their top employees left to find better companies to work for, several even left to work for Werk’s, Inc. top competitor. Those that didn’t leave were lied to until they either left due to work conditions or were let go from the company. At least one of the employees that was let go was fired for unjust cause and a lawsuit is possibly in the works on that. With this type of company out there it is a wonder why they still have employees working for them and that hey are able to keep the doors open for business.





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Friday, January 27, 2012

Chess

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THE GAME OF CHESS


The game of chess is played between two people, with one person using the light pieces and the other using the dark pieces. The object of the game is to capture the opponent’s king, a condition called “Checkmate”. Checkmate occurs when the king is attacked and cannot escape being captured.


The person playing with the light chess pieces gets the first turn, and then each player takes a turn moving his/her pieces, moving only one piece each turn (except when “Castling”, a technique which will later be further explained.) A player may move his/her pieces onto unoccupied squares only, except in the case of capture of an enemy’s piece that is on the square where the piece is to be moved.


In the setup of the chess board, the light queen goes on a light square, as the dark queen goes on a dark square, with the king occupying the very next spot. The opposing king and queen of each player are placed directly opposite each other on the last row of either end of the board. On either side of the king and queen are the bishop, the knight and the rook, respectively. A total of eight bishops make up the row right in front of the aforementioned pieces.


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Of all the chess pieces, the queen is thought to be the strongest. The queen can move an unlimited number of squares in any one direction (vertical, diagonal, horizontal), as long as it is not blocked by any other piece. The next most powerful piece is the rook, which is also able to move unlimited squares but only in the vertical and horizontal directions, provided its path is clear of other pieces. The bishop may only move in the diagonal direction, and must also have a clear path. The knight can jump over other pieces between its old position and its new position, always forming an L shape, moving a total of three spaces. A good tip to remember is that the square the knight lands on is always the opposite color of its original square. The king moves one square in any direction but may never move onto a square on which the opponent can capture it. One must protect the king, as if it is lost, then the game is over. The last of the chess pieces is the pawn, which only moves forward, but can capture diagonally. The pawn moves one square at a time, but on its first move it can move forward one or two squares. If a pawn advances to the opposite end of the board, it is immediately promoted to another piece, usually a queen (never a king or pawn); this makes it possible for each player to have more than one queen or other pieces on the board at the same time.


The best first move to make is to move either one of the two central pawns, those in front of the king and queen. This move allows the player to gain some control over the center of the board, which would present some potential threat to the opponent. In the earlier stages of the game, it is best not to move a piece more than once. It is important to not attack the opponent too early in the game. It is very critical that the queen not be brought out too early in the game. If a player does so, he/she risks losing it or at best losing time moving it around while the opponent is attacking it. Most important, players must not forget about safeguarding their king. That is why the technique of castling is so essential early on in the game.


The technique of castling may only be used once by each player during the game. In castling, the king moves two squares to its left or right toward one of his rooks. At the same time, the rook involved goes to the square beside the king and toward the center of the board. Neither the king, nor the rook involved may have moved before.


Castling allows the king to be placed in a safe location, and also allows the rook to become more active. No pieces of either color can be between the king and the rook. Each player may castle either on the kingside or queenside. Since castling queenside leaves the king a bit more exposed, most players prefer to castle kingside because its easier to defend. Most importantly, a player must not sacrifice material unless it is being given up for another valuable piece in return.


The game of chess is great in that it requires tactics, logic and smarts. Once mastered, chess becomes a delightful pass time and has certainly proven to be one of the most popular and entertaining board games present.





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THE GREAT GATSBY/ THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY

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What do you see as the relationship between the two texts you have studied? How do form, structure and image used in each of the two texts you have studied?


The novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and its close contemporary counterpart, the film The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by Anthony Minghella, relate to each other by commenting on similar thematic concerns, particularly the American Dream. Both texts use appropriate techniques to depict and comment on The American Dream. The Dream is a symbol representing success and wealth in life, both materially and socially. As each text progresses, a character within each text pursues the success and prosperity of The American Dream but cannot attain satisfaction. This notion is emphasised by structure, image, and the form of media in The Great Gatsby, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.


The Great Gatsby deals with The American Dream in its 10s New York context. The setting reflects upon the social stratification present at the time; closely related to economic status. It expresses this through such characters as George Wilson, and his dilapidated house in the decaying Valley Of Ashes, a socio-economic wasteland. This Valley of Ashes is a direct symbol of lower class society, and is juxtaposed with the luxurious connotations of West Egg.


The novel form and structure allows for the key ideas to be expressed through the use of literary techniques. These ideas that are expressed create a positive image, or response, of the text from the audience.


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The plot is written as a first person narrative through the eyes of Nick Carraway, but a great deal of the story focuses on his next-door neighbour, Jay Gatsby. In the novel, Gatsby possesses a great deal of wealth, with an expensive estate, manifested by “a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side.” This is again shown in the following line “a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden”, with visual imagery further accentuating the size of his mansion. Additionally his large house is juxtaposed with Nick’s house, “my own house was an eyesore”, again adding emphasis to his wealth.


Although Gatsby has pursued and attained financial success, he is still devoid of satisfaction, because he does not have Daisy. To attain Daisy, Gatsby displays a false impression, as he believes his put-on class and sophistication will attract him to her.


His home is effectively a symbol of his falsity, and the semiotics of his house depicts an image of pretentiousness. This is elucidated by visual imagery in “enough coloured lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.” The lights act as a symbol, and the house is just a show that Gatsby has put on.





His falseness is also presented as a deficiency of taste, revealed by “high Gothic library, panelled with carved English oak, and probably transported complete from some ruin overseas.” The inclusion of the word ‘complete’ suggests to the reader that Gatsby did not himself compile the selection of books, but instead just attained them intact. This depicts the irony of how Gatsby is not actually the affluent character his fa├žade falsely suggests, and also portrays an image of not fitting in. Thus, the novel displays how a character does not always achieve the dream they set out to accomplish.








Such notions are also dealt with in The Talented Mr. Ripley, although in a different context. The lifestyle Dickie has, in the colourful, scenic Italian backdrop of the fifties, along with the recurring motif of jazz serve as the perfect lifestyle that the main character, Tom Ripley, wishes to attain.


In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Tom Ripley is a character in search of success and wealth. As the film progresses, the audience becomes aware of the fact that he is after ‘the ideal’, his perfect model, and will mould himself into that shape. This is related to The American Dream because it emphasises how he is in pursuit of success and perfection.





The start of his ‘search’ is signified when Mr Greenleaf says to him “Could you ever conceive of going to Italy, Tom…I’ll pay you to persuade my son to come back…” This is ironic, as instead of bringing Dickie back, he instead tries to assume Dickie’s identity. When sent over there, he falls in love with Dickie’s lifestyle in his Italian paradise, and will go to great lengths to remain in it.





Although he wishes to ‘shape’ himself into Dickie’s lifestyle, he doesn’t quite fit in, particularly in the beach scene, shown by Dickie’s statement “You’re so pale! Look how pale he is, Marge!” In this scene, he is not only set apart from Dickie and Marge by his considerably lighter skin, but also by the fluoro-green bathing suit he wears. Additionally, in reaction to Dickie, Tom states, “It’s only an undercoat,” foreshadowing how he changes his ‘undercoat’ to fit Dickie’s lifestyle, moulding himself into his idea of ‘the perfect lifestyle.’


Tom builds an identity for himself, as Dickie Greenleaf, as he believes that it will bring him close to his ideal personality and with it, bring success, prosperity, and all that the American Dream represents. However, he does not find satisfaction in being this identity, and continues to kill to cover up his past mistakes.





This is evident after Freddie’s suspicious nature in “The only thing here that looks like Dickie is…. you” On one level, this statement acts as an irony, because immediately before Freddie’s arrival, the semiotics of the elegant room conveys a sense of success and sophistication. The grand piano, the expensive sweaters and the statue head momentarily create the impression that Tom has triumphed in his pursuit towards success. However, the change in the non-diegetic music to a more sombre, mysterious tone when Freddie enters, and the long and awkward silences, emphasise the deviousness of Tom.


This scene is consequential because it displays Tom’s false sense of success and his pursuit for this perfect life.


Both The Great Gatsby and The Talented Mr. Ripley hold parallels, particularly in the themes depicted by each. One such concept is the American Dream, which is expressed through the structure, form and image conveyed of each text.





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Thursday, January 26, 2012

growing up

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Growing up with two older brothers, one younger brother and two younger sisters, you would think I would have experienced relationships with them. This isn’t true with my family. See Shawn, my oldest brother at eighteen years of age, is five years older than me and had an interest in science (boring). Chad, next in line at seventeen, was always too busy with being Mr. Popular. People say we look exactly alike and I looked up to many aspects of him. Myself, I was thirteen and too old in my eyes for my younger siblings. It was a big family under one roof with no sense of relationship.


I spent most of my time playing sports, any I had time for, and expressing my artistic side through painting, drawing, and photography. My artistic ability was another thing that separated me from the rest of the family. Luckily, I loved playing sports and could play them all.


Basketball was one sport that Chad played as well. I had always tried to get him to shoot some hoops with me, but he never could fit me in around everything he was doing. I grew to be good at basketball and maybe even better than him. Basketball to Chad became second to the police cadets, a group that would pull him further away from the family. I remember thinking I would never get to play a game with him.


It was a great day. The sun was out with bright blue skies covering me. Things shouldn’t get better. It was a shock to me when Chad came out to shoot a couple rounds with me. Chad and I played all morning, competing back and forth each trying to prove to the other who was better. A couple rounds turned into five hours of play.


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We showed each other tricks and moves we had learned and gave each advice on becoming a better team captain. We had missed playing on the Middle School Cruisers team together by one year, one year! I had filled his spot as captain the year he moved to high school. I realized that even though we rarely spent time together I had learned so much from watching him play his life. It was the best time I had with any of my family.


About three that afternoon we stopped, so I could watch my younger brother, Mitch and little sister, Lisa. Chad wanted to go see a friend. I hated watching my younger brothers and sisters, but that day it was only for two hours. Mom came home; I filled her in on the whereabouts of everyone and around five that evening left for basketball camp.


Camp was four hours long, and Mom was always there to pick me up. That night Dave, my stepfather, was there to pick me up. I didn’t think anything about it until he told me Chad had run away. He filled me in on the conflicts my mom and Chad had been having, the way the cadets had convinced Chad to hide things from my mom, and that this didn’t mean Chad didn’t love me.


That night Chad had gone to a halfway house (A place for kids to discuss their problems) and had my real dad drive three hours from Indiana to come and pick him up. Dad had stopped coming to see my brothers and I five years before this, after he had my little sister, Kristen. I never knew why he stopped coming but maybe the drive was too long and he was too busy. I felt like they both had abandoned me, one thing I told myself I would never do to anyone. I wouldn’t see my dad or Chad for ten years.


My eyes opened that day. I realized family is too important to take for granted. That day we lost a family member, and at that cost the rest of us grew closer.





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Monday, January 23, 2012

Sophocles Uses A Well-Known Greek Legend, In Sophocles, To Engage His Audience

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Oedipus the King Essay


During the time before the birth of Christ many civilizations were born and broken. Ancient Greece was a particularly renowned civilization because of the many major leaps in all cultural and academic aspects. It was at this time that modern theatre began. The legend of Oedipus was a story that everyone knew but it was Sophocles who turned this story into a masterpiece. The legend of Oedipus is about Oedipus, the King of Thebes, and his quest to find the murderer of the previous King, Laius. The qualities of Oedipus’ character cause a prophecy to be uncovered, and the murderer that Oedipus is searching for turns out to be Oedipus himself. Sophocles had a unique playwriting style that fully engaged his audience, in both ancient and contemporary times. To engage his audience, Sophocles used universal and controversial themes, structured the play specially, used dramatic irony, and emphasized the character of Oedipus.


The interest of the audience is indisputably captured by Oedipus. Many novels feature a hero, for example, in fantasy texts there is often a hero who wields special powers or a magical item. This hero is used to engage the audience in awe, wonder and interest. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the hero. He has many fine Athenian qualities, such as determination, intelligence, nobleness, and being quick to act, and thus the plot revolves around this wondrous character. “So I will fight for him as if he were my father, stop at nothing, search the world…” This shows just what a heroic character Oedipus is. The audience is even more rapt by Oedipus when he inescapably convicts himself of murder and incest, and resolves to blind and banish himself. “I’d never have come to this, my father’s murderer�never been branded mother’s husband, all men see me now!” As Oedipus falls from a glorious hero to a blind and powerless murderer, the audience is further enthralled by this character. Sophocles uses this character to mesmerize the audience as they watch the play.


Sophocles uses dramatic irony in the play to captivate the viewer. Sophocles clearly uses this technique when Oedipus says, “I pity you. I see�how could I fail to see what longings bring you here?” Dramatic irony is evident because Oedipus is saying that he pities and can see the strife of the people, when really it is him, who is blind to the truth, and him that is to be pitied. This technique utilizes the fact that the audience, in ancient times, is aware of the plot although the characters in the play are not. Sophocles uses this technique to influence the audience to feel sympathy, compassion and pity for the characters. The audience feels the urge to aid the helpless characters as they hurtle forward in their quest for discovery.


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Sophocles has supplemented the well-known legend of Oedipus with universal and controversial themes to create the play Oedipus the King. His use of contentious themes fascinates the audience as they are largely interested in how the characters deal with murder, incest, arrogance towards the Gods, fate, prophecy and death. In addition, these themes are still relevant to today’s society. When Oedipus ridicules Tiresias and the Gods, the audience is fascinated by this conflict of beliefs in fate and free will, “…you and your birds, your gods�nothing.” By including these universal and controversial themes, Sophocles has created another aspect to enthrall the observer.


Sophocles captivates the spectators furthermore by the way in which he structures the chorus to participate in the play. The tragic chorus, often known just as the chorus, was an important part of Greek tragedy because of the way it interacted with the characters and the audience. During the play the chorus sang and conversed with the characters, often singing of extreme horror, love, joy, or hate. The chorus helped to engage the audience in many ways. Firstly, the chorus was often used to represent the public. This meant that the audience could relate first-hand to the characters and therefore the play too. For example, just after Tiresias the prophet has said that Oedipus is the murderer himself, the chorus reveals in their song, “Never will I convict my king, never in my heart.” These loyal words are portraying the public opinion. Secondly, the chorus frequently spoke of past or unseen events that were necessary for the audience’s appreciation of the plot. Finally, the chorus sung and danced regularly. This was often an exiting spectacle which undoubtedly captivated the onlookers’ interests. All together, the chorus played a crucial part in ancient Greece theatre. It definitely captured the viewer’s attention.


Sophocles does indeed use a well-known Greek legend to engage his audience. To do this he constructs the play around a hero, Oedipus, employs dramatic irony, exploits universal and controversial themes, and utilizes the chorus. Through these techniques Sophocles has changed an ancient Greek legend, to a play that is incredibly fascinating to watch. Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, is as relevant today as it was in the time of the great playwright himself.





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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sleep, Circadian Rhythms and Human Behavior

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Sleep, Circadian Rhythms and Human Behavior


Introduction


Sleep is paramount for the human body. At all stages in early human develop-ment and continuing into maturity, sleep provides the human body a needed respite to rejuvenate, to rest, and to energize both mentally and physically. We spend about one-third of our lives asleep. We are all personally aware of our “biological clock.” We know that depriving ourselves of sleep, even for one night, makes us irritable, confused and sometimes delusional. This biological need for sleep is of utmost importance not only in the general physical health, but also is determinate of short and long-term human behavior.


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People who do not get enough sleep report more health problems and have more hospitalizations than people who meet their sleep requirements. This suggests that the loss of sleep in as small as a few hours a night over a period of time impairs or dimin-ishes the functioning of the immune system (Barlow& Durand, 00). It is also recog-nized that sleep disturbances are a hallmark of most mood disorders, especially major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety-related disorders.


The fact that most people are sensitive to day length at the latitudes they live in suggests that the ‘biological clock” in them controls many physiological aspects such as eating and sleeping, but that any interruption in circadian rhythms is problematic for ge-netic vulnerable individuals and has a correlation to human behavior ( Barlow & Durand, 00).


Scope


Sleep problems in the United States are estimated to cost from $0 to $5 billion per year in lost worker productivity, absenteeism and related outcomes (Chilcott & Shapiro, 16; Walsh & Ustun, 1). We know that adults of all ages average about 7 hours of sleep in every 4-hour period, but that many people are dissatisfied with the amount of sleep they get. In fact, insomnia is a frequent complaint. Almost a third of the general population within the United States report some symptoms of insomnia during any given year (American Psychiatric Association, 000), and 17 percent indicate their problem with sleeping are severe.


Sleep needs change over time and complains of insomnia differ in frequency among people of different ages. Children who have difficulty falling asleep usually tan-trum at bedtime, or do not want to go to bed. Estimates of insomnia among young U.S. children range from 0 to more than 45 percent (Van Tassel, 185). In other countries, specific percentages range from “inadequate sleep” for 0 percent for women over 80 in Norway to “persistent sleep disturbances” for 75 percent of those over age 70 in China (Berger, 001).


Apnea, a breathing-related sleep disorder is thought to occur in 1 to percent of American males, leading to insomnia like symptoms (Barlow & Durand, 00) and po-tential physical and behavioral problems. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is be-lieved its cause is an unsteady breathing reflex in sleeping children between and 4 months of age (Berger, 001).


Biological Aspects


“Spring forward, fall back” people in most of the United States use this mne-monic device to remind them to turn their clocks forward or backwards one hour in the spring and fall. While this is a minor inconvenience for some because of all the clocks in their lives, it is surprising how disruptive this act is for many individuals. For a least a day or two, they experience sleepy conditions during the day and have difficulty falling asleep at night. The reason for this disruption is not that they gain or lose one hour of sleep; their bodies can adjust to this very quickly. The difficulty has to do with how their “biological clocks” adjust to this change of time. Convention says go to sleep at this new time while their brains are saying something different. If this struggle continues for any length of time, they could develop what is called a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (Bar-low & Durand, 00).


Fortunately, our bodies have mechanisms that continually attempt homeostasis. Our “biological clock” is in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus. The ability to reset this clock depends upon when light enters the retina and the production of the hormone melatonin by the pineal gland. This gland has greater production of melatonin occurring during night and low production during the day.


Light signals from the retina are conveyed by nerve fibers directly to the su-prachiasmatic nucleus. The suprachiasmatic nucleus transfers information to the hypo-thalamus. After traveling in the spinal cord, the signal reaches the pineal gland. In the absence of a light signal, the gland begins the production of melatonin. When melatonin reaches receptors in the hypothalamus, the body thinks it is dark. Light is the main setter of the human “biological clock”. This sensitivity to light probably evolved over eons of human development, but now researchers believe melatonin influences the time center as well.


Melatonin is of interest because it helps explain the sleep mechanism in our bod-ies. This hormone may help medical and human service professionals treat some of the sleep problems people experience. For example, blind individuals are without clues from the sun, their clocks continually run out of phase. Circadian rhythms for them are reset by giving them melatonin, which tells their brains it is night time even though their eyes cannot determine the time of day.


Winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is thought to occur be-cause of the over production of melatonin. Affecting as much as 5 percent of North Americans in northern latitudes, these individuals tend towards excessive sleep. Mela-tonin is produced only at night and tends to increase in winter when there is less sunlight. This increased production of melatonin might trigger depression in vulnerable people (F.K. Goodwin & Jamison, 10). Some clinicians reasoned that exposure to bright light might slow melatonin production in individuals with SAD (Blehar & Rosenthal, 18). Their efforts have shown that early morning light exposure is superior to evening light exposure due to the fact that morning light produced phase advances of the mela-tonin rhythms. This suggests that returning circadian rhythms to a normal routine are an important factor in treatment not only for SAD, but maybe even effective for nonseasonal depression (Kripe, 18). It is easy to observe that even minor interruptions of sleep rhythms caused by time and seasonal changes have the potential to influence human be-havior. These factors could easily combine with psychological, cognitive, and genetic stressors to dramatically affect behavior, resulting in both acute and chronic progression


Social Work Awareness


Possible circadian rhythms disruptions are difficult to obtain from self-reporting clients. Many individuals believe or rationalize that their present sleep or circadian rhythms are normal. Research has shown that people with sleep and circadian rhythms disruptions have unrealistic expectations about how much sleep they need (“I need a full 8 hours”) and about how disruptive disturbed sleep will be (I won’t be able to think or do my job if I sleep for only 5 hours”) ( Morin, Stone, Trinkle, Mercer, & Remsberg, 1). These studies illuminate the role of cognition in circadian and sleep dysfunctions. Basic concepts of how things should be are influenced by how things were perceived in previ-ous historical contexts. These ideas are based on shared perceptions of a society more than objective reality. This social construction is important because most Americans be-lieve in the 8 hour concept, but completely practice something different.


Social workers should use direct inquires to see if possible sleep disturbances are present that would indicate behavioral complications. Women report insomnia twice as often as men simply because they may be more aware of their sleep patterns than their gender counterpart. As a result, women are diagnosed more with sleep problems.


A sleep problem is only a disorder when the person experiencing it is having dis-comfort over it. A multidimensional view of sleep disorders, whether insomnia or it op-posite hypersomnia, reveals several assumptions The first is that at some level biological, psychological, and cognitive factors are present in most sleep rhythm cases and the sec-ond is that these multiple factors are reciprocally related.


Take the case of Kathryn, who was 7, who re-ported having serious sleep problems ever since her husband died 1 years earlier. She could not fall asleep until she had lain in bed for several hours, and she awakened a number of times each night. She had an average of 4 to 5 hours of broken sleep per night. It is not surprising she was chronically tired throughout the day and complained that fa-tigue interfered with her friendships. She no longer enjoyed going out with her friends because she fell asleep in public, which was very embarrassing to her.


Kathryn used nonprescription sleeping pills on and off over the rears and sometimes she just lay in bed listening to the radio and nodding off occa-sionally. When her sleep problems started, Kath-ryn recognized that her distress over her husband’s death was probably to blame. As the years passed, she assumed poor sleep was normal for a person her age and her fatigue was also part of the aging proc-ess. However, during the past months she began to realize she wasn’t playing with her grandchildren or leaving her house because she was too tired. On the advice of a friend, she decided to get some help (Barlow & Durand).


Kathryn’s treatment involved a multidimensional framework which recognized the need to integrate biological, cognitive and psychological approaches for a successful cure. She first received a regiment of a medicine in the benzodiazepine class. This is recognized to be short-term (four weeks) because of several drawbacks including dependency and re-bound insomnia. Psychological and cognitive treatments were then introduced. She was instructed to limit her time in bed to about fours hours of sleep time (sleep restriction) about the amount of time she actually slept each night. The period was lengthened when she began to sleep through the night. Kathryn was also asked not to listen to the radio while in bed and to get out of bed if she couldn’t fall asleep (stimulus control). Finally, therapy involved confronting her unrealistic expectations about how much sleep was enough for a person of her age (cognitive therapy). Within three weeks of treatment, Kathryn was sleeping longer and had fewer interruptions in her sleep. She felt more re-freshed in the morning and had more energy during the day. Kathryn’s normal activities began to emerge because of the resumption of homeostasis in sleep rhythms (Barlow & Durand). Research suggests that short-term use of medication in combination with other types of interventions may prove to be a quick and lasting treatment for normal human behavioral functioning with regards to sleep and circadian disruptions (Morin & Azrin, 188).


The Issue


A growing number of researchers indicate that American’s sleep problems, such as narcolepsy, apnea, and insomnia, have reached epidemic proportions and may be the country’s number-one health problem (CNN, Aug. 15, 17). The article claims that nearly one-half of all Americans have difficulty sleeping and while this figure may be hard to substantiate, it certainly suggests that the problems of sleep and circadian rhythm disruptions are a serious issue. With the probability that such an issue exists and that it might be of a broader scope than previously imagined, state and federal governments are now turning their attention to the legality of the issue.


State such as California, West Virginia, Florida and Virginia have passed laws covering the issue of sleep deprivation. In a land mark decision, according to The Na-tional Sleep foundation, a Virginia man was sentenced to five years in jail and two years probation after he fell asleep at the wheel after driving for over forty hours. This was the first conviction for sleep deprivation involving a non-commercial driver. The Judge ex-ceeded state sentencing and stated, “If you’re tired and falling asleep as you drive, you need to get off the road. The lesson from this case is you go to jail” (www.voidd.com 7/5/0).


The Federal government is also aware of the issue of sleep deprivation. Statistics compiled for The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that 755 fatalities and 1,705 injuries occur each year on the nation’s roads because of drowsy, tired or fa-tigued Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) (DOT, FMCSA, 00). The statistics from the private sector are even greater, with an estimated 100,000 accidents, resulting in a 150,000 injuries and fatalities (www.thehistorychannel.com 7/8/0). The FMCSA re-vise its hours-of-service regulations to require motor carriers to provide drivers with bet-ter opportunities to obtain sleep. One recommendation included the use of electronic on-board recorders used by drivers in long-haul and regional operations in a direct attempt to reduce accidents (http//www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hos/05000p.txt. 7/5/0).


Sleep derivation is as bad as alcohol impairment. Some tests shows that indi-viduals who drive after being awake for 17 to 1 hours preformed worse than those with blood alcohol count of .05 (CNN, Sept. 0, 000). These figures have further implica-tions than for just drivers. People who work long shifts or night shifts, such as medical personnel or other emergency workers, may also have troubles.


Information Themes


There has always been some interest in sleep among health professionals. Freud was extremely interested in dream analysis, but little was really accomplished in the study of sleep until the last fifteen to twenty years. More and more research is being conducted with emphasis toward understanding the correlation of sleep towards human behavior and general health, but judging from the tremendous scope of the issue and how it crosses all gender, ages and class, research efforts have barely touched the subject.


Even though this is true, research psychologists are the leaders among the health professions. Even if a person suspects a problem with circadian rhythms and seeks medi-cal advice, it can be difficult to find a doctor who understands sleep disorders because most medical schools don’t offer courses on sleep. There is an extreme lack of commu-nity resources addressing these issues. This is particularly worrisome for individuals in rural areas which have higher rates of suicide. Correlations between higher suicide rates and sleep cycles have not been researched specifically, but most professionals logically conclude there is a connection.


National organizations such as the National Sleep Foundation maintain excellent web sites. This organization offers a broad range of information for lay persons seeking information on the possibility of having sleep disorders. There is a sleep test that can be taken to determine the possibility of sleep disorders and a list of sleep laboratories in their area. While this information is available for all people, professional care givers should rely on more technical information. What information is available is readily accessible with a subject search into most psychological libraries. Researchers should expect a cer-tain degree of vagueness about specific issues regarding human behavior and sleep cycles and may have to synthesize information to extract the needed material for intervention.


Recommendations


As pointed out in the awareness portion of this document, most people will not seek professional help simply because they are not sleeping well. They will only venture forth towards treatment because of the presence of other problems. Therefore, we would often think of intervention for them originating towards the person, but to be truly a to-tally effective intervention, social workers should consider moving past the Microsystems of the individual and into the surrounding Ecosystems. With the high estimated cost to employers due to lost worker productivity and absenteeism, employers should welcome seminars and instructional sessions designed to help make their employees become aware of how to change lifestyles that will improve their sleeping habits, their general health, and as a result, cut costs for the employer. These recommendations to improve sleeping hygiene could be carried into high risk areas of long distance drivers and emergency per-sonnel and other occupational shift workers. Sleep hygiene recommendations could be introduced into schools and parent groups to improve sleeping habits among children. Because so many children display disruptive sleep problems, this type of preventive ef-fort could serve to improve significantly the lives of many families. Similar preventative methods to educate the general public could reduce the amount of lives and property lost due to driving accidents while sleepy. Education could change the social construction of how vulnerable individuals are when they disrupt normal sleep and circadian rhythms.


Until such social constructions could be changed, it is paramount for social work-ers and clinicians to be aware that when clients come to them with a self-perceived prob-lem of depression, anxiety or other mood disorder, intervention assessment must take into consideration that resumption of normal sleep patterns must be a part of overall treatment. They should understand the importance of sleep and circadian rhythms to the overall suc-cess of any treatment. As a part of a physical examination, clinicians might recommend the use of sleep laboratories to gain valuable information about the sleeping habits of the individual and ultimately clues to his or her unique behavior. Other clues to sleep rhythms and behavior could be obtained by occupational screening. Chances are greater for behavioral deviation in workers who are in high risk occupations.


We observe that human behavior is affected by the lack of sleep. That deficiency causes a range of behavior from abnormal, to criminally negligent, and in Kathryn’s case, to simple isolation. We see that the scope of the issue is enormous, and that sleep dys-functions are most likely epidemic in the United States and prevalent in the entire world. We note that research is continuing and advancing knowledge about specifics, but much remains to be discovered. Americans are concerned about their sleep, with probably ex-plains why billion of dollars are invested in bed mattresses with the promise of better sleep, but they often exhibit cognitive errors about sleep. Social workers, clinicians, and other health care professional must recognize the biological, psychological, and cognitive aspects of sleep deprivation and its direct correlation to human behavior.








Glossary


Apnea Brief interruption in breathing, sometimes occurring during sleep.


Circadian rhythm Biological rhythm with a 4-hours cycle.


Circadian rhythm sleep disorder Sleep disturbance resulting in sleepiness or insomnia caused by the body’s inability to synchronize its sleep pattern with the current pattern of day and night.


Cognitive therapy Treatment approach that involves identifying and altering negative thinking styles related to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety and re-placing them with more positive beliefs and attitudes�and, ultimately, more adaptive behavior and coping styles.


Hypothalamus Part of the diencephalon of the brain broadly involved in the regulation of behavior and emotion.


Insomnia Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested where there is no apparent medical or psychological cause.


Melatonin Hormone produced by the pineal gland that is activated by darkness to con-trol the body’s biological clock and to induce sleep. It is implicated in seasonal affective disorder and may be used in treatments for circadian rhythm sleep disorders.


Narcolepsy Sleep disorder involving sudden and irresistible sleep attacks.


Pineal Gland Endocrine gland located in the third ventricle of the brain that produces melatonin.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Mood disorder involving a cycling of episodes corresponding to the seasons of the year, typically with depression occurring during the winter.


Sleep hygiene Psychological treatment for insomnia that teaches clients to recognize and eliminate environmental obstacles to sleep. These include the use of nicotine, caf-feine, and certain medications, and alcohol as well as ill-timed exercise.


Sleep restriction Treatment for insomnia that involves limiting time in bed to the actual amount spent sleeping so that the bed is associated with sleep and no other competing activities.


Stimulus control Deliberate arrangement of the environment so it encourages desired behaviors and discourages problem behavior. For example, insomnia may be combated by limiting time in and associations with, the bed.


References


American Psychiatric Association (000)


Practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias of late life Compendium 000 (pp.6-17) Washington, DC.


Barlow, D. H., & Durand, M. V., (00)


Abnormal Psychology an integrative approach Sleep Disorders 00 (pp.1-


68) Belmont, CA.


Berger, K. S., (001)


The Developing Person through the Life Span (pp.1-66)


Worth Publishers, New York, NY.


Blehar, M.C., & Rosenthal, N.E. (18)


Seasonal affective disorder and phototherapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 46, (pp. 46-474).


Chilcott, L. A., & Shapiro, C. M. (16)


The socioeconomic impact of insomnia An overview, Pharmacoeconomics, 10,


(pp 1-14).


Goodwin, F.K., & Jamison, K, R. (10)


Manic Depressive Illness (pp. 16-161) Oxford University Press, New York


Kripe, D. F. (18)


Light treatment for nonseasonal depression Speed, efficiency, and combined


Treatment. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, (pp. 10-117).


Mader, S. S. (00)


Human Biology (p 08) McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.


Morin, C. M., & Azrin, N. H. (188)


Behavioral and cognitive treatments of geriatric insomnia. Journal of Consulting


and Clinical Psychology, 56, (pp.748-75).


Morin, C. M., Stone, J., Trinkle, D., Mercer, J., & Remsberg, S. (1)


Dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep among older adults with and


without insomnia complaints. Psychology and Aging, 8, (pp. 46-467).


Van Tassel, E. B. (185)


The relative influence of child and environmental characteristics on sleep


disturbances in the first and second years of life. Journal of Developmental


and Behavioral Pediatrics, 6, (pp.81-85).


http//www.cnn.com/HEALTH/70/17/wfm/deprivation/index.htm. 07/5/0.


http//www.cnn.com/000/HEALTH/0/0//sleep. deprivation/ 07/5/0.


http//www.thehistorychannel.com 07/6/0.


http//www.voidd.com 07/5/0.





Sleep, Circadian Rhythms and Human Behavior


Introduction


Sleep is paramount for the human body. At all stages in early human develop-ment and continuing into maturity, sleep provides the human body a needed respite to rejuvenate, to rest, and to energize both mentally and physically. We spend about one-third of our lives asleep. We are all personally aware of our “biological clock.” We know that depriving ourselves of sleep, even for one night, makes us irritable, confused and sometimes delusional. This biological need for sleep is of utmost importance not only in the general physical health, but also is determinate of short and long-term human behavior.


People who do not get enough sleep report more health problems and have more hospitalizations than people who meet their sleep requirements. This suggests that the loss of sleep in as small as a few hours a night over a period of time impairs or dimin-ishes the functioning of the immune system (Barlow& Durand, 00). It is also recog-nized that sleep disturbances are a hallmark of most mood disorders, especially major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety-related disorders.


The fact that most people are sensitive to day length at the latitudes they live in suggests that the ‘biological clock” in them controls many physiological aspects such as eating and sleeping, but that any interruption in circadian rhythms is problematic for ge-netic vulnerable individuals and has a correlation to human behavior ( Barlow & Durand, 00).


Scope


Sleep problems in the United States are estimated to cost from $0 to $5 billion per year in lost worker productivity, absenteeism and related outcomes (Chilcott & Shapiro, 16; Walsh & Ustun, 1). We know that adults of all ages average about 7 hours of sleep in every 4-hour period, but that many people are dissatisfied with the amount of sleep they get. In fact, insomnia is a frequent complaint. Almost a third of the general population within the United States report some symptoms of insomnia during any given year (American Psychiatric Association, 000), and 17 percent indicate their problem with sleeping are severe.


Sleep needs change over time and complains of insomnia differ in frequency among people of different ages. Children who have difficulty falling asleep usually tan-trum at bedtime, or do not want to go to bed. Estimates of insomnia among young U.S. children range from 0 to more than 45 percent (Van Tassel, 185). In other countries, specific percentages range from “inadequate sleep” for 0 percent for women over 80 in Norway to “persistent sleep disturbances” for 75 percent of those over age 70 in China (Berger, 001).


Apnea, a breathing-related sleep disorder is thought to occur in 1 to percent of American males, leading to insomnia like symptoms (Barlow & Durand, 00) and po-tential physical and behavioral problems. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is be-lieved its cause is an unsteady breathing reflex in sleeping children between and 4 months of age (Berger, 001).


Biological Aspects


“Spring forward, fall back” people in most of the United States use this mne-monic device to remind them to turn their clocks forward or backwards one hour in the spring and fall. While this is a minor inconvenience for some because of all the clocks in their lives, it is surprising how disruptive this act is for many individuals. For a least a day or two, they experience sleepy conditions during the day and have difficulty falling asleep at night. The reason for this disruption is not that they gain or lose one hour of sleep; their bodies can adjust to this very quickly. The difficulty has to do with how their “biological clocks” adjust to this change of time. Convention says go to sleep at this new time while their brains are saying something different. If this struggle continues for any length of time, they could develop what is called a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (Bar-low & Durand, 00).


Fortunately, our bodies have mechanisms that continually attempt homeostasis. Our “biological clock” is in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus. The ability to reset this clock depends upon when light enters the retina and the production of the hormone melatonin by the pineal gland. This gland has greater production of melatonin occurring during night and low production during the day.


Light signals from the retina are conveyed by nerve fibers directly to the su-prachiasmatic nucleus. The suprachiasmatic nucleus transfers information to the hypo-thalamus. After traveling in the spinal cord, the signal reaches the pineal gland. In the absence of a light signal, the gland begins the production of melatonin. When melatonin reaches receptors in the hypothalamus, the body thinks it is dark. Light is the main setter of the human “biological clock”. This sensitivity to light probably evolved over eons of human development, but now researchers believe melatonin influences the time center as well.


Melatonin is of interest because it helps explain the sleep mechanism in our bod-ies. This hormone may help medical and human service professionals treat some of the sleep problems people experience. For example, blind individuals are without clues from the sun, their clocks continually run out of phase. Circadian rhythms for them are reset by giving them melatonin, which tells their brains it is night time even though their eyes cannot determine the time of day.


Winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is thought to occur be-cause of the over production of melatonin. Affecting as much as 5 percent of North Americans in northern latitudes, these individuals tend towards excessive sleep. Mela-tonin is produced only at night and tends to increase in winter when there is less sunlight. This increased production of melatonin might trigger depression in vulnerable people (F.K. Goodwin & Jamison, 10). Some clinicians reasoned that exposure to bright light might slow melatonin production in individuals with SAD (Blehar & Rosenthal, 18). Their efforts have shown that early morning light exposure is superior to evening light exposure due to the fact that morning light produced phase advances of the mela-tonin rhythms. This suggests that returning circadian rhythms to a normal routine are an important factor in treatment not only for SAD, but maybe even effective for nonseasonal depression (Kripe, 18). It is easy to observe that even minor interruptions of sleep rhythms caused by time and seasonal changes have the potential to influence human be-havior. These factors could easily combine with psychological, cognitive, and genetic stressors to dramatically affect behavior, resulting in both acute and chronic progression


Social Work Awareness


Possible circadian rhythms disruptions are difficult to obtain from self-reporting clients. Many individuals believe or rationalize that their present sleep or circadian rhythms are normal. Research has shown that people with sleep and circadian rhythms disruptions have unrealistic expectations about how much sleep they need (“I need a full 8 hours”) and about how disruptive disturbed sleep will be (I won’t be able to think or do my job if I sleep for only 5 hours”) ( Morin, Stone, Trinkle, Mercer, & Remsberg, 1). These studies illuminate the role of cognition in circadian and sleep dysfunctions. Basic concepts of how things should be are influenced by how things were perceived in previ-ous historical contexts. These ideas are based on shared perceptions of a society more than objective reality. This social construction is important because most Americans be-lieve in the 8 hour concept, but completely practice something different.


Social workers should use direct inquires to see if possible sleep disturbances are present that would indicate behavioral complications. Women report insomnia twice as often as men simply because they may be more aware of their sleep patterns than their gender counterpart. As a result, women are diagnosed more with sleep problems.


A sleep problem is only a disorder when the person experiencing it is having dis-comfort over it. A multidimensional view of sleep disorders, whether insomnia or it op-posite hypersomnia, reveals several assumptions The first is that at some level biological, psychological, and cognitive factors are present in most sleep rhythm cases and the sec-ond is that these multiple factors are reciprocally related.


Take the case of Kathryn, who was 7, who re-ported having serious sleep problems ever since her husband died 1 years earlier. She could not fall asleep until she had lain in bed for several hours, and she awakened a number of times each night. She had an average of 4 to 5 hours of broken sleep per night. It is not surprising she was chronically tired throughout the day and complained that fa-tigue interfered with her friendships. She no longer enjoyed going out with her friends because she fell asleep in public, which was very embarrassing to her.


Kathryn used nonprescription sleeping pills on and off over the rears and sometimes she just lay in bed listening to the radio and nodding off occa-sionally. When her sleep problems started, Kath-ryn recognized that her distress over her husband’s death was probably to blame. As the years passed, she assumed poor sleep was normal for a person her age and her fatigue was also part of the aging proc-ess. However, during the past months she began to realize she wasn’t playing with her grandchildren or leaving her house because she was too tired. On the advice of a friend, she decided to get some help (Barlow & Durand).


Kathryn’s treatment involved a multidimensional framework which recognized the need to integrate biological, cognitive and psychological approaches for a successful cure. She first received a regiment of a medicine in the benzodiazepine class. This is recognized to be short-term (four weeks) because of several drawbacks including dependency and re-bound insomnia. Psychological and cognitive treatments were then introduced. She was instructed to limit her time in bed to about fours hours of sleep time (sleep restriction) about the amount of time she actually slept each night. The period was lengthened when she began to sleep through the night. Kathryn was also asked not to listen to the radio while in bed and to get out of bed if she couldn’t fall asleep (stimulus control). Finally, therapy involved confronting her unrealistic expectations about how much sleep was enough for a person of her age (cognitive therapy). Within three weeks of treatment, Kathryn was sleeping longer and had fewer interruptions in her sleep. She felt more re-freshed in the morning and had more energy during the day. Kathryn’s normal activities began to emerge because of the resumption of homeostasis in sleep rhythms (Barlow & Durand). Research suggests that short-term use of medication in combination with other types of interventions may prove to be a quick and lasting treatment for normal human behavioral functioning with regards to sleep and circadian disruptions (Morin & Azrin, 188).


The Issue


A growing number of researchers indicate that American’s sleep problems, such as narcolepsy, apnea, and insomnia, have reached epidemic proportions and may be the country’s number-one health problem (CNN, Aug. 15, 17). The article claims that nearly one-half of all Americans have difficulty sleeping and while this figure may be hard to substantiate, it certainly suggests that the problems of sleep and circadian rhythm disruptions are a serious issue. With the probability that such an issue exists and that it might be of a broader scope than previously imagined, state and federal governments are now turning their attention to the legality of the issue.


State such as California, West Virginia, Florida and Virginia have passed laws covering the issue of sleep deprivation. In a land mark decision, according to The Na-tional Sleep foundation, a Virginia man was sentenced to five years in jail and two years probation after he fell asleep at the wheel after driving for over forty hours. This was the first conviction for sleep deprivation involving a non-commercial driver. The Judge ex-ceeded state sentencing and stated, “If you’re tired and falling asleep as you drive, you need to get off the road. The lesson from this case is you go to jail” (www.voidd.com 7/5/0).


The Federal government is also aware of the issue of sleep deprivation. Statistics compiled for The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that 755 fatalities and 1,705 injuries occur each year on the nation’s roads because of drowsy, tired or fa-tigued Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) (DOT, FMCSA, 00). The statistics from the private sector are even greater, with an estimated 100,000 accidents, resulting in a 150,000 injuries and fatalities (www.thehistorychannel.com 7/8/0). The FMCSA re-vise its hours-of-service regulations to require motor carriers to provide drivers with bet-ter opportunities to obtain sleep. One recommendation included the use of electronic on-board recorders used by drivers in long-haul and regional operations in a direct attempt to reduce accidents (http//www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hos/05000p.txt. 7/5/0).


Sleep derivation is as bad as alcohol impairment. Some tests shows that indi-viduals who drive after being awake for 17 to 1 hours preformed worse than those with blood alcohol count of .05 (CNN, Sept. 0, 000). These figures have further implica-tions than for just drivers. People who work long shifts or night shifts, such as medical personnel or other emergency workers, may also have troubles.


Information Themes


There has always been some interest in sleep among health professionals. Freud was extremely interested in dream analysis, but little was really accomplished in the study of sleep until the last fifteen to twenty years. More and more research is being conducted with emphasis toward understanding the correlation of sleep towards human behavior and general health, but judging from the tremendous scope of the issue and how it crosses all gender, ages and class, research efforts have barely touched the subject.


Even though this is true, research psychologists are the leaders among the health professions. Even if a person suspects a problem with circadian rhythms and seeks medi-cal advice, it can be difficult to find a doctor who understands sleep disorders because most medical schools don’t offer courses on sleep. There is an extreme lack of commu-nity resources addressing these issues. This is particularly worrisome for individuals in rural areas which have higher rates of suicide. Correlations between higher suicide rates and sleep cycles have not been researched specifically, but most professionals logically conclude there is a connection.


National organizations such as the National Sleep Foundation maintain excellent web sites. This organization offers a broad range of information for lay persons seeking information on the possibility of having sleep disorders. There is a sleep test that can be taken to determine the possibility of sleep disorders and a list of sleep laboratories in their area. While this information is available for all people, professional care givers should rely on more technical information. What information is available is readily accessible with a subject search into most psychological libraries. Researchers should expect a cer-tain degree of vagueness about specific issues regarding human behavior and sleep cycles and may have to synthesize information to extract the needed material for intervention.


Recommendations


As pointed out in the awareness portion of this document, most people will not seek professional help simply because they are not sleeping well. They will only venture forth towards treatment because of the presence of other problems. Therefore, we would often think of intervention for them originating towards the person, but to be truly a to-tally effective intervention, social workers should consider moving past the Microsystems of the individual and into the surrounding Ecosystems. With the high estimated cost to employers due to lost worker productivity and absenteeism, employers should welcome seminars and instructional sessions designed to help make their employees become aware of how to change lifestyles that will improve their sleeping habits, their general health, and as a result, cut costs for the employer. These recommendations to improve sleeping hygiene could be carried into high risk areas of long distance drivers and emergency per-sonnel and other occupational shift workers. Sleep hygiene recommendations could be introduced into schools and parent groups to improve sleeping habits among children. Because so many children display disruptive sleep problems, this type of preventive ef-fort could serve to improve significantly the lives of many families. Similar preventative methods to educate the general public could reduce the amount of lives and property lost due to driving accidents while sleepy. Education could change the social construction of how vulnerable individuals are when they disrupt normal sleep and circadian rhythms.


Until such social constructions could be changed, it is paramount for social work-ers and clinicians to be aware that when clients come to them with a self-perceived prob-lem of depression, anxiety or other mood disorder, intervention assessment must take into consideration that resumption of normal sleep patterns must be a part of overall treatment. They should understand the importance of sleep and circadian rhythms to the overall suc-cess of any treatment. As a part of a physical examination, clinicians might recommend the use of sleep laboratories to gain valuable information about the sleeping habits of the individual and ultimately clues to his or her unique behavior. Other clues to sleep rhythms and behavior could be obtained by occupational screening. Chances are greater for behavioral deviation in workers who are in high risk occupations.


We observe that human behavior is affected by the lack of sleep. That deficiency causes a range of behavior from abnormal, to criminally negligent, and in Kathryn’s case, to simple isolation. We see that the scope of the issue is enormous, and that sleep dys-functions are most likely epidemic in the United States and prevalent in the entire world. We note that research is continuing and advancing knowledge about specifics, but much remains to be discovered. Americans are concerned about their sleep, with probably ex-plains why billion of dollars are invested in bed mattresses with the promise of better sleep, but they often exhibit cognitive errors about sleep. Social workers, clinicians, and other health care professional must recognize the biological, psychological, and cognitive aspects of sleep deprivation and its direct correlation to human behavior.








Glossary


Apnea Brief interruption in breathing, sometimes occurring during sleep.


Circadian rhythm Biological rhythm with a 4-hours cycle.


Circadian rhythm sleep disorder Sleep disturbance resulting in sleepiness or insomnia caused by the body’s inability to synchronize its sleep pattern with the current pattern of day and night.


Cognitive therapy Treatment approach that involves identifying and altering negative thinking styles related to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety and re-placing them with more positive beliefs and attitudes�and, ultimately, more adaptive behavior and coping styles.


Hypothalamus Part of the diencephalon of the brain broadly involved in the regulation of behavior and emotion.


Insomnia Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested where there is no apparent medical or psychological cause.


Melatonin Hormone produced by the pineal gland that is activated by darkness to con-trol the body’s biological clock and to induce sleep. It is implicated in seasonal affective disorder and may be used in treatments for circadian rhythm sleep disorders.


Narcolepsy Sleep disorder involving sudden and irresistible sleep attacks.


Pineal Gland Endocrine gland located in the third ventricle of the brain that produces melatonin.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Mood disorder involving a cycling of episodes corresponding to the seasons of the year, typically with depression occurring during the winter.


Sleep hygiene Psychological treatment for insomnia that teaches clients to recognize and eliminate environmental obstacles to sleep. These include the use of nicotine, caf-feine, and certain medications, and alcohol as well as ill-timed exercise.


Sleep restriction Treatment for insomnia that involves limiting time in bed to the actual amount spent sleeping so that the bed is associated with sleep and no other competing activities.


Stimulus control Deliberate arrangement of the environment so it encourages desired behaviors and discourages problem behavior. For example, insomnia may be combated by limiting time in and associations with, the bed.


References


American Psychiatric Association (000)


Practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias of late life Compendium 000 (pp.6-17) Washington, DC.


Barlow, D. H., & Durand, M. V., (00)


Abnormal Psychology an integrative approach Sleep Disorders 00 (pp.1-


68) Belmont, CA.


Berger, K. S., (001)


The Developing Person through the Life Span (pp.1-66)


Worth Publishers, New York, NY.


Blehar, M.C., & Rosenthal, N.E. (18)


Seasonal affective disorder and phototherapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, 46, (pp. 46-474).


Chilcott, L. A., & Shapiro, C. M. (16)


The socioeconomic impact of insomnia An overview, Pharmacoeconomics, 10,


(pp 1-14).


Goodwin, F.K., & Jamison, K, R. (10)


Manic Depressive Illness (pp. 16-161) Oxford University Press, New York


Kripe, D. F. (18)


Light treatment for nonseasonal depression Speed, efficiency, and combined


Treatment. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, (pp. 10-117).


Mader, S. S. (00)


Human Biology (p 08) McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.


Morin, C. M., & Azrin, N. H. (188)


Behavioral and cognitive treatments of geriatric insomnia. Journal of Consulting


and Clinical Psychology, 56, (pp.748-75).


Morin, C. M., Stone, J., Trinkle, D., Mercer, J., & Remsberg, S. (1)


Dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep among older adults with and


without insomnia complaints. Psychology and Aging, 8, (pp. 46-467).


Van Tassel, E. B. (185)


The relative influence of child and environmental characteristics on sleep


disturbances in the first and second years of life. Journal of Developmental


and Behavioral Pediatrics, 6, (pp.81-85).


http//www.cnn.com/HEALTH/70/17/wfm/deprivation/index.htm. 07/5/0.


http//www.cnn.com/000/HEALTH/0/0//sleep. deprivation/ 07/5/0.


http//www.thehistorychannel.com 07/6/0.


http//www.voidd.com 07/5/0.


























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