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How Gadgets Influence The World

in Technology by

The history of gadgets spans as far back as humanity itself — since hominids began creating tools to make their lives easier. Humans have always created devices and appliances with specific practical purposes that were initially thought of as novelties, due to unfamiliarity with and initial unwillingness to accept the technology. Today, industry has augmented the creation of new gadgets, while certain retailers, including Brookstone and Richard Thalheimer’s, specialize in popularizing them.

What famous inventors Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Leonardo da Vinci, among others, had in common was foresight. They understood that a lifetime spent playing with what others viewed as toys and senseless gadgets would eventually result in indispensable technology. From just that small group, the groundwork for electricity, communications, film, and flight was laid because of their gadgets, which obviously possessed more value than novelty.

Perhaps one of the earliest, most well known gadgets created is the wheel, many millennia ago. Take a ride in your car and witness how truly revolutionary such a gadget became and how much we now rely on it for transportation. A more recent gadget, the Apple iPhone, appears to be the beginning stages of yet another gadget-turned-necessity that will reshape communications.

“The iPhone may someday be looked upon as the device that started a second revolution in computing. Desktop computing was the first revolution. Hand-held computing will someday be regarded as the second revolution, and the iPhone is the product that started it.”
-Richard Thalheimer,

All gadgets were not created equal. In fact most inventions are built on the newest technology. The world of gadgets is tiered; devices fall into one of four categories: mechanical, electronic, programmable, and application. Mechanical gadgets include the wheel, as well as later developments such as the pulley, the bicycle, the sail boat, the thermometer and the sort. Following the advent of electricity, gadgets were taken to a new level as inventors began to discover different uses for the newly harnessed energy. The television, radio and quartz watch are examples of electronic gadgets. After electricity, inventors toyed around with electronic information via microprocessor, beginning an age of programmable devices such as computers, and later, MP3 players and the iPhone. Application gadgets include iTunes, Microsoft Office and other computer applications that customize our experience with programmable devices.

Richard Thalheimer, the President and founder of online gadget vendor, and founder and former CEO of gadget giant The Sharper Image, understands, maybe better than anyone, that there’s much more to gadgets than novelty.

“Certainly most people enjoy the novelty of a gadget that introduces new convenience to their lifestyle. What they forget is that solving these everyday problems is not just entertainment, but some of these devices become functional necessities. In my personal life, I rely on my iPhone, my garage door opener, my nose hair trimmer, my electric toothbrush, and other gadgets that were once regarded as novel gadgets. ”
– Richard Thalheimer,

Both his former brainchild and his current venture sell quirky, useful and fun gadgets of all types, from mechanical to programmable and application. He has seen some devices, such as the Ionic Breeze air purifier, spur sensational and lasting trends based on a realization of utility value, while others collected dust on the shelves after their novelty wore out. Specialty stores like The Sharper Image and Richard Thalheimer’s serve a greater purpose: spread new ideas, and give credit to the Franklins and Edisons of the world.

~Ben Anton, 2008

A Masterful Student Publishes His Work and Gains Worldwide Influence

in Arts and Design by

Take a poll asking which leaders have the best track records, and you’ll produce a list of those who have had the most written about them. That’s an inaccurate perception: The best-known leaders are seldom the most accomplished ones; rather these celebrity leaders excel in gaining attention.

If you are an unrecognized leader who performs well, how can you gain the recognition and influence that you deserve?

Some people might advise hiring an expensive public relations agency, employing a ghost writer to prepare articles for prestigious publications, and taking public speaking lessons. After spending a few hundred thousand dollars and engaging in several years of serious effort, many people successfully follow this advice to gain recognition. But even then, influence may elude the new celebrity if the media have latched onto some quality other than the person’s expertise.

There must be a better way. I know of one that’s well worth your time: a method Dr. Elijah Chingosho, Technical & Training Director for African Airlines Association in Nairobi, employed very effectively to gain worldwide influence.

Before starting his doctoral studies in strategic management at age 44 with Rushmore University, Dr. Chingosho had already immersed himself in learning like most people dive into a swimming pool on a hot day . . . with total commitment and enthusiasm. He had already earned not one, not two, but three master’s degrees — a Master of Engineering from Loughborough University in England, an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe, and a Master of Commerce degree in Transport Economics from the University of South Africa. Dr. Chingosho is one bright man, and he’s a very hard worker.

Professional recognition followed his academic successes. After fewer than ten years service in the Air Force of Zimbabwe, he was appointed a group captain and director of engineering, a role that involved leading over 1,000 people in critical maintenance activities. After leaving the air force, he took a position as general manager of engineering for Air Zimbabwe, a position he left for his current one with the African Airlines Association.

In the search to find and recruit him for the African Airlines Association, it became clear to the association that Dr. Chingosho was the best qualified person in Africa for dealing with engineering, operations, environmental, communication, navigation, and air traffic management issues as well as delivering great training in those areas. Despite this professional success, relatively few people who were not involved with aviation in Zimbabwe knew about him.

At that point, Dr. Chingosho joined Rushmore University as a student. He chose Rushmore because the university gave him the freedom to focus his learning on those areas that would directly help him achieve his learning and professional goals. As a busy executive, he needed a university that would provide him with a flexible format so that he could take the courses without having to leave his job.

As part of his Rushmore studies, Dr. Chingosho wrote a dissertation that he turned into a book called African Airlines in the Era of Liberalisation which was later published by his association. The book outlines the key issues for all stakeholders of African airlines over the coming decades and provides several blueprints for greater success.

This publication profoundly affected his life. Here is what Dr. Chingosho has to say about the experience:

“Publishing the book on African airlines brought me and my organisation fame and revenue, and assists our stakeholders in making informed decisions concerning airlines on the continent. The book is often cited by various stakeholders at conferences and in decision making as often there is no other credible source of comprehensive information about the African airline business.

“I have been surprised by the large number of people, many of whom I have never met before, who come to me and express appreciation for giving them a vehicle to learn about the aviation business in Africa. I now get invited to speak at various conferences on a wide range of topics. AFRAA is now recognized worldwide as the spokes body on issues affecting the African airline industry such as on safety, security, infrastructure, the environment, training people, etc. AFRAA is invited all over the world, including by the European Union and the USA, to share views on topical subjects pertaining to the airline business.

“I have gained fame and recognition as an expert in the industry and I am very pleased to be sharing my knowledge and expertise with others.”

I asked Dr. Chingosho to describe the role that his Rushmore education played in this success. Here’s what he told me:

“For African Airlines in the Era of Liberalisation, I needed to write a book for a worldwide audience. The Rushmore training assisted me in various facets of writing a commercial non-fiction book. I needed to know how to select a subject, conduct research on my topic, and check for competition. The Rushmore training helped me with ideas on how to design book covers. I needed to know how to make publishing choices. The Rushmore training enabled me to make informed choices as to whether to sell my book to a publisher or publish it myself. The training also guided me on how to find the appropriate publisher and agent should I so wish.

“For example, the course 1112, Poynter on Writing and Publishing Books, taught me (among other things) how to find free research material, quotations, art, and stories on the internet; develop core content into downloadable books, CDs, e-books, audio books, reports, articles, seminar and consulting material; how to find an editor and other help; and handling interviews, autographing and a throng of fans.

“The Rushmore experience also taught me how readers read books particularly appreciating the four levels of reading, namely elementary, inspectional, analytical, and syntopical. I learned the complex art of reading and the flexible application of some basic rules to different types of reading. By understanding how readers read books, I was able to use a writing style which made my book accessible to a wide readership. Indeed, I have since received positive and encouraging feedback about the book which the wide variety of readers found to be very enlightening, easy to read and understand, and very practical and relevant.”

Following his graduation in 2004, Rushmore recognized Dr. Chingosho’s excellent work by asking him to become an associate professor in 2005. I am proud to have Dr. Chingosho as one of my colleagues at the university.

Having developed such a fine ability to write business books, Dr. Chingosho has since written two other management books and is much in demand around the world for speaking engagements on airline issues.

What a difference one paper can make in a person’s life!

Influence of Modern Technology on Children

in Technology by

A double-edged sword; this is the best expression that can describe the effect that modern technology has on child development. Technology is ever changing and each day we are exposed to new gadgets. Television, videos, computers, movies, mobile phones and even toys are what children are exposed to. Since childhood is the most determining stages of a human’s life cycle, these devices obviously have a direct impact on the mental and intellectual development of a child. Understanding these aspects will be the first step in striking a balance between the setbacks and the positive effects.

The positive effects of modern technology on children
These effects are widespread and touch both on educational and social lifestyle of the kids. From the range of software and video games, these tools have had a lifelong impact on the critical thinking of a child who is exposed to them. Let us take a closer look at the advantages of the computer software. These software acts as powerful learning tools and visual aids for the kids. The software ranges from educational games to dictionaries inform of applications. Apart from the fun that comes with them, the children increase their expansive thinking and creativeness.
One might be forgiven to think that video games are a total ruin to the performance of a child in school. It is true that too much gaming will support the above notion. There is however the positive side of these video games. We have interactive video games which help the kid to learn the importance of turn taking and collaboration.

Microsoft applications have certainly proven to be a blessing when it comes to school projects. The likes of Ms-word, spreadsheets and database applications are daily learning tools in school. Others such as search engines, online dictionaries and encyclopedias and the various learning tutorials have increased the level of autonomy among the children. These resources act as empowerment tools.
It is not only education that enhances the development of a person. Entertainment also has to be incorporated for someone to feel complete. The various forms of gadgets in the form of iPods, mobile phone games and mp3 players provide an entertainment base for the kids. If well moderated, they break the monotony of reading books without playing.

A child who is exposed to gadgets develops into a critical thinker than one who is not. The interactive games are what encourage both the intellectual and critical thinking among the kids. This kind of thinking is what leads to innovations and mind stretching. From the mentioned points, it can be seen that technology is not that disadvantageous after all. As long as it is not used to replace other activities such as education, it enhances a child’s growth to a great deal. This also allows the kids to enjoy both education and entertainment as they grow.

Negative impact of technology on child development
Technology also has some negative impact on child development. The video games, Internet, social sites like twitter and television have affected children negatively in various ways. From online dating and pornography, these tools alone are enough to see the destruction of a child’s life. There is also the issue of health concerns and lack of interest in sleep among the kids.

Video and online games have replaced the outdoor gaming and exercise that the older generation used to enjoy. Many of the kids stay indoors while playing these games, browsing through their mobile phones or even watching movies. This has led to the upbringing of lazy children which is quite a detrimental effect that technology has impacted upon the children.

The lack of exercise aforementioned has also led to the rising health concern issues. Cases of obesity among kids are on high alert. This comes as a result of lack of exercise due to the indoor staying. This has resulted to poor nutrition habit and lack of a well balanced diet thus the erosion of health. This is a negative impact that technology has among the children.

Another notable rising concern among parents is the lack of sleep interest among their kids. Sleep is a very important aspect of body development. Lack of sleep could really lead to adverse effects on the functionality of the human body. Most children sacrifice their sleeping time in order to watch movies, play games or even chat with their friends online. This is a negative impact of technology because it can lead to bodily fatigue in the long run.

There is also the issue of language and how the kids of today communicate. The use of slang terms is on high alert especially among the kids. It is obvious that you will not complete watching a single movie and fail to hear words such as ‘fuck’ and ‘bitch’. Since kids learn through imitation, they employ such words in their daily communication. This has led to the erosion of language.

The negative impact of technology cannot be discussed without mentioning the issue of morality and our decaying society. The Internet is a database full of all sorts of stuff with the inclusion of pornography. Since it is a free world, children also have access to them. The result is the upbringing of children with no moral values. They have no respect for the other genders and view sex as a tool of pleasure instead of its intended purpose. All these negative effects counteract the positive effects of technology on the development of the modern child. Taking away these gadgets from the kids will not give the solution since these tools are all over whether in school, the streets or at home. No parent knows what his or her child is exposed to daily.

Since technology is an ever changing factor, the negative effects seem to overwhelm the positive results. For a child to reap the benefits and see to it that the positive impacts overcome the negative impacts, moderation and balance ought to be reinstated. This is now entirely the responsibility of the parents. The parents ought to allow their children to reap and absorb the benefits while at the same time putting in measures to curb the setbacks that might arise.

Work cited
Active Healthy Kids Canada [2008 report card on the internet]. Available from: Children and the media: Advocating for the future Royal Australasia

Pluto And Its Influence On Astrology And Horoscopes

in Technology by

The only planet in our so far system which has not been visited by any space craft is Pluto. Even if trying to see through a very powerful telescope from the Earth, it remains a tiny spec in space. Astronomers have been able to see the planet with the very powerful Hubble Space Telescope.

Pluto is the farther planet from the Sun, but due to the odd behavior of its orbit, it gets nearer than Neptune for 20 odd years out of its 249 Earth year orbit. It is the second biggest known dwarf planet but the tenth largest orbiting the Sun. It was discovered in 1930 to the year 2006 it was thought to be the ninth planet in our solar system, but there have been some more discoveries after that.

International Astronomical Union named officially named the ninth planet Pluto in 1930 after the Roman god of the underworld. Pluto is the only and first planet to be discovered by an American, an astronomer called Clyde W. Tombaugh. Even though discovery of Pluto was made way back in 1930, there is inadequate information about this far off planet.

But even without close examination we are aware of the fact that it is a very cold planet or rather a frozen one whose surface is in most likelihood composed of crystallized nitrogen. It has a very tenuous atmosphere.

The pressure on Pluto is 100,000 than the sea level on our planet and consisting of mostly nitrogen with some traces of carbon monoxide and methane. The space craft New Horizons was initiated on January 16, 2006 and will make will be closest to Pluto around July 14, 2015. This will give more clarity on the characteristics of this odd dwarf planet.

Pluto and its satellites rotation period is 6.387 Earth days. Although it is not uncommon for a satellite to tour in a simultaneous orbit with its planet, but here Pluto rotates concurrently on the orbit of its satellite Charon. As a result Pluto and Charon all the time face each other traveling through the space. The atmosphere of Pluto changes according to its distance from the sun as Pluto’s eccentric orbit fluctuates between 4000 and 7000 million kilometers.

Like Uranus but unlike most other planets, Pluto rotates with its poles roughly in its orbital plane. The rotation axis for Pluto is tipped at 122 degrees. At the time of discovery it s comparatively bright south polar was seen from the Earth , but Pluto seemed to become duller as the viewpoint slowly changed from near the pole-on in 1954 to almost the equator-on in 1973. At present we can see Pluto’s equator from Earth.

Earth was aligned with the orbit of Charon along with Pluto from 1985 to 1990; this gave our astronomers a good chance to gather important data which led to the first precise calculation of Pluto and Charon size and other vital information.

At one time it was known as the smallest, coldest, and furthest known planet from the Sun, but Pluto has double characteristics, and has been surrounded by controversy since it was discovered in 1930. According to the new rules the planet did not meet the requirements of being a planet so on August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union officially downgraded Pluto from planet to a dwarf planet.

Cues that Influence Employee Behavior

in Arts and Design by

When asked to sum up his fifty years of work in the field, notable psychologist William James said, “people tend to become what they think about themselves.”

The corollary to this is that people tend to become what we expect of them. In his 1957 work “Social Theory and Social Structure,” Robert Merton pioneered the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy. According to Morton, this phenomenon occurs when “a false definition of the situation evokes a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true.” Another way of saying this is that once we believe a certain expectation to be true, we act in ways, both consciously and subconsciously, to make that expectation come true.

The self-fulfilling process is cyclical. We make assumptions about people and situations, which then influence our behavior toward and expectations of them. People then adjust their behavior based on the cues we send them. The result is that the original expectations become true.

Every work force has the potential to be highly energized and productive. The problem is that many management teams do not believe this and therefore it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. If the work force is not productive and energized, it is a leadership issue, not a worker issue.

Here are some cues, either conscious or subconscious, that managers gave give based on their expectations of people:

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they smile more and are more involved with people on an interpersonal level. They will be more supportive, friendly, accepting, and encouraging. Abrasive, impersonal managers cost businesses millions of dollars because of lower worker productivity and higher turnover.

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they involve them more in decision-making. They know that people will do the right thing if given the right information. Management usually underestimates the ability and intelligence of its work force.

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they solicit their opinions more frequently. They know that employees have valuable insights that could improve the productivity, quality, and cost. Effective managers understand that they can’t possibly know everything and rely on their people to keep them from making costly mistakes.

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they give them more positive feedback for doing good work and less criticism for making mistakes. They build confidence in people by allowing them to succeed on their own.

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they allow people to do their job. As Bill Oncken , the late time-management expert said, “Practice hands-off management as much as possible and hands-on management as much as necessary.” Many managers do the opposite. The term “micromanagement” is often used to describe a management style of low trust in people.

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they truly expect exceptional performance from people. In their hearts, they believe their people are capable of great things.

* When managers have positive attitudes and expectations about people, they get exactly that!

Win Friends & Influence People Through Music — Is It Possible?

in Science by

The idea that studying music improves the social development of a child is not a new one, but at last there is incontrovertible evidence from a study conducted out of the University of Toronto.

The study, published in the August issue of Psychological Science was led by Dr. E. Glenn Schellenberg, and examined the effect of extra-curricular activities on the intellectual and social development of six-year-old children. A group of 144 children were recruited through an ad in a local newspaper and assigned randomly to one of four activities: piano lessons, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons.

Two types of music lessons were offered in order to be able to generalize the results, while the groups receiving drama lessons or no lessons were considered control groups in order to test the effect of music lessons over other art lessons requiring similar skill sets and nothing at all. The activities were provided for one year.

The participating children were given IQ tests before and after the lessons. The results of this study revealed that increases in IQ from pre- to post-test were larger in the music groups than in the two others. Generally these increases occurred across IQ subtests, index scores, and academic achievement.

While music teachers across the country greeted the new research enthusiastically, in fact, many other studies have previously shown a correlation between music study and academic achievement.

In 1997, well known music researchers Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw and their team at the University of California (Irvine) reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science. A group led by the same two scientists had earlier showed that after eight months of piano lessons, preschoolers showed a 46 percent boost in their spatial reasoning IQ.

The March 1999 issue of Neurological Research published a report by another group of researchers, also at the University of California (Irvine), who found that second-grade students given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time playing newly designed computer software, scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than other children.

Students with coursework and experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT, according to a Profile of Program Test Takers released by the Princeton, NJ, College Entrance Examination Board in 2001. This report stated that students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation.

Another part of this same study shows that longer music study means higher SAT scores. For example, students participating in the arts for two years averaged 29 points higher on the verbal portion and 18 points higher on the math portion of the SAT than students with no coursework or experience in the arts. Students with four or more years in the arts scored 57 points higher and 39 points higher on the verbal and math portions respectively than students with no arts coursework.

Another study also found support for a relationship between math achievement and participation in instrumental music instruction. The researchers found that students who participated in instrumental music instruction in high school took on the average 2.9 more advanced math courses then did students who did not participate.

In fact, various studies over the last 10 years suggest teaching kids music can heighten their aptitude for math, reading, and engineering. (One explanation for improved ability in mathematics is that music theory is based on mathematical truths. Rhythms are divided into fractions – half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes. Scales have eight tones, and the steps between them follow an equation.)

A McGill University study in 1998 found that pattern recognition and mental representation scores improved significantly for students given piano instruction over a three-year period. The researchers also found that self-esteem and musical skills measures improved for the students given piano instruction.

And data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 revealed music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non- participants receiving those grades.

In 1994, a report entitled “The Case For Music Study In Schools” was printed in Phi Delta Kappan, the professional print journal for education. It included details of research conducted by physician and biologist Lewis Thomas, who studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. Thomas found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group.

The same report asserted that the very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry were, almost without exception, practicing musicians.

The world’s top academic countries also place a high value on music education. In a study of the ability of fourteen year-old science students in seventeen countries, the top three countries were Hungary, the Netherlands, and Japan. All three include music throughout the curriculum from kindergarten through high school.

St. Augustine Bronx elementary school, about to fail in 1984, implemented an intensive music program, and today 90 percent of the school’s students are reading at or above grade level. And a ten-year study at UCLA tracked more than 25,000 students, and showed that music making improves test scores. Regardless of socio-economic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.

Music training helps under-achievers as well, according to research published in Nature magazine in May 1996. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grade classes. Half of the classes became “test arts” groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training. In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The “test arts” group had caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22 percent. In the second year of the project, the arts students widened this margin even further. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior. Classroom teachers noted improvement in these areas also.

In 2005, it appears the pace of scientific research into music making has never been greater. The most recent evidence from the University of Toronto confirms what many other researchers have already detected – that music boosts brainpower, academic achievement,socialization skills, and emotional health.

It’s logical, when you think about it. People who learn to play an instruments are in groups — bands, choirs, orchestras, combos, worship teams, etc. And working and making music with others is bound to help relateabilty with people and foster close bonds with fellow musicians.

So it appears that learning to play music, whether guitar, piano, or some other instrument, actually does contribute to your ability to “win friends and influence people.”

The Important Influence Of Baghdad On The Development Of Western Medicine (Part 1)

in Health and Medical by

Some would say that we are living in interesting times, particularly as another US-Iraq confrontation at this stage seems almost inevitable. Such is the present power of the United States that only a few voices in the rest of the world suggest that the United Nations should be the only party to be involved in any future decisions about the coming conflict. Nobody in the West is brave enough any longer to take a moral stance against the imposed economic sanctions, which by now have killed more than 1.6 million Iraqis, mostly children, according to the UN’s own statistics. On the eve of the Eid-Al-Fiter (the most widely observed Islamic festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan), the well-respected Qatar-based Arabic news network Aljazeera reported that in the past three months (from September to November 2001), more than 31 thousand Iraqis (including 21 thousand children under the age of 5) died due to the UN-imposed economic sanctions against Iraq, a figure even higher than the 1999 UNICEF estimate of an average 5200 Iraqi child deaths per month. This comes at the same time as warnings from Iraqi physicians about an escalating crisis of increased cancer cases in the southern part of the country. The report adds that the fear of having babies with birth defects is so great that many pregnant women choose to have abortions. I myself must accept some blame for not reorting this, having recently turning down an opportunity to visit the suffering patients in the hospitals in Baghdad in the interests of personal safety.

So what brought us to the point of the precipice, this point where two belligerent nations want to draw swords against each other in the region once known as the cradle of civilisation. This was the land of the Sumerians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians where advanced civilizations flourished long before that of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. This Garden of Eden, this land of Abraham, where the Hanging Gardens on the River Euphrates were once considered amongst the Seven Wonders of the World and where the origins of our medicine once flourished . There is little doubt that any historian would say that the Mongol invasion of Mesopotamia was one of the turning points in the history of this region. Its long shadow and memory has left formidable imprints that are still discernible in thought formation of Iraqi political leaders right into this century. The destruction of many centuries of learning, being ruled for a period by barbarians, Ottoman Turks and later the British has left a lasting stamp on these proud people who want to protect their recently found freedom. I would like to take time for a moment to consider life in this part of the world before the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols. I would like to identify the influence of the Baghdad School of Medicine on the medicine we practise today in the Western world. This influence has been neglected and unjustifiably overpassed by scholars in the West and this article is written to allow us for a while to acknowledge that fact and try and restore this missing part of our history. We must remember that medicine, as we know it today did not develop overnight and this knowledge over the centuries has been handed from one country to the other. Between the ancient civilizations of Egyptians, Greek, Roman, and the Renaissance era in Europe, there was a gap, commonly called “the dark ages”, during which the flames of the knowledge of medicine was hosted, not by the West, but by the Arabs or Moslems. The nomenclature, “the dark ages” reflects the civilization in Europe between the 7th and 13th centuries, but by no means it expresses the state of affairs in the Arab world or the Islamic Empire at that time. By the ninth century, Islamic medical practice began to advance beyond the talisman and the people of Mesopotamia became avid for the wisdom of Galen, Hippocrates, and Paul of Aegina. By the tenth century, their zeal and enthusiasm for learning resulted in all essential Greek medical writings being translated into Arabic in Baghdad. The Islamic Empire continued to grow and extended its influence from the Atlantic Ocean on the West to the borders of China on the East. Arabic became the International Language of learning and diplomacy and the centre of medical knowledge and activity shifted eastward as Baghdad emerged as the capital of the scientific world. This era also saw the introduction of hospitals with wards, the introduction of medical terminology and the regulation of medical students who by now had to pass rigorous examinations. Baghdad General Hospital soon became the envy of the Islamic world and incorporated innovations, many of which still sound modern by today’s standards. The hospital used fountains to cool the air near the wards of those afflicted with fever; it was the first hospital to have a ward exclusively devoted to the mentally ill. The Baghdad School brought a refreshing spirit of dispassionate clarity into psychiatry, which was free from the demonological theories that swept over the Christian world. It is known that Najab ud din Muhammad, a contemporary of Razi, carefully compiled observation on actual patients made up the most complete classification of mental diseases theretofore known. He described agitated depression, obsessional neurosis, Nafkhae Malikholia (combined priapism and sexual impotence). Kutrib (a form of persecutory psychosis), Dual-Kulb (a form of mania). At night, the pain of the restless in Baghdad General Hospital was soothed by soft music and storytelling. I still remember the open courtyard of the Ibn ‘al Bitar still being used in this fashion, just before the Gulf War, by the patient’s relatives at night as I strolled back from my night rounds.

There were also social policies introduced by the governing regime to Baghdad General Hospital, which assured that the prince and pauper received identical attention and the destitute received five gold pieces upon discharge to sustain them during convalescence. We must remember that this was at a time when the streets of Paris and London were still paved with mud and open sewers. Baghdad General Hospital was amongst the first to introduce separate wards for male and female patients and these were staffed by attendants of both sexes. This medical centre of excellence contained both a library and a pharmacy and it is known that medical staff attended outreach clinics to attend to the disabled or the disadvantaged who lived in remote areas.

Baghdad also introduced regulations to maintain quality control on drugs, they advocated that pharmacists became licensed, and legal measures were taken to prevent doctors from owning or holding stock in a pharmacy. Methods of extracting and preparing medicines were brought to a high art in Mesopotamia and techniques of distillation, crystallization, solution, sublimation, reduction and calcination became essential processes of pharmacy and chemistry. With the help of these techniques, the Saydalanis (pharmacists) introduced new drugs such as camphor, senna, sandalwood, rhubarb, musk, myrrh, cassia, tamarind, nutmeg, alum, aloes, cloves, coconut, nuxvomica, cubebs, aconite, ambergris, and mercury to the world. The important role of the Baghdad School and others in developing modern pharmacy is memorialized in the significant number of current pharmaceutical and chemical terms derived from Arabic: drug, alkali, alcohol, aldehydes, alembic, and elixir among others, not to mention syrups and juleps.

In 636 A.D., the Muslims conquered the Persian City of Jundi-Shapur, and after this period, Islamic medical schools mostly developed on the Jundi-Shapur pattern. In the late seventh century, only Baghdad and Jundi-Shapur had separate schools for studying basic sciences. In Baghdad Medical School, doctors learned anatomy by dissecting apes, skeletal studies and didactics while other schools only taught anatomy through illustrations and lectures. During the eight century, the study of medicinal herbs and pharmacognosy was added to the basic training and a number of hospitals in Baghdad maintained barbel gardens as a source of drugs for the patients and a means of instruction for the students.

Surgery was also included in the Baghdad curriculum many surgical procedures such as amputation, excision of varicose veins and haemorrhoids were required knowledge. Orthopaedics was also widely taught in Baghdad and doctors routinely used plaster of Paris for casts in the reduction of fractures. Interestingly, this method of treating fractures was only rediscovered in the West in 1852. Ophthalmology was practiced in Baghdad, but it was not taught as part of the curriculum in medical schools, rather an apprenticeship to an eye doctor was the preferred way of specialisation. The ophthalmologists of Baghdad exhibited a high degree of proficiency and it should be remembered that medical words such as retina and cataract are of Arabic origin. lbn al Haytham (965-1039 A.D.) wrote the Optical Thesaurus from which such worthies as Roger Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Kepler drew theories for their own writings. In his Thesaurus he showed that light falls on the retina in the same manner as it falls on a surface in a darkened room through a small aperture, thus conclusively proving that vision happens when light rays pass from objects towards the eye and not from the eye towards the objects as thought by the Greeks. He presents experiments for testing the angles of incidence and reflection, and a theoretical proposal for magnifying lens (made in Italy three centuries later). He also taught that the image made on the retina is conveyed along the optic nerve to the brain. Razi was the first to recognize the reaction of the pupil to light and Ibn Sina was the first to describe the exact number of extrinsic muscles of the eyeball, namely six. The greatest contribution of Islamic medicine in practical ophthalmology was in the matter of cataract. The most significant development in the extraction of cataract was developed by Ammar bin Ali of Mosul, who introduced a hollow metallic needle through the sclerotic and extracted the lens by suction. Europe rediscovered this in the nineteenth century.

The Influence Of Research And Development In A Modern World

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Across the world, research and development is being conducted in the pursuit of knew knowledge and improving modern technology. The terms scientific research and experimental development, SR&ED for short, encompasses a wide range of sciences and disciplines. In France and Belgium scientists are trying to find anti-matter, while in the US companies are trying to find better ways to conduct manned space travel. Whether you’re a biologist, mathematician, astronomer, engineer or belong to any other scientific discipline, there’s a good chance the knowledge you currently use came from researchers.


This is widely regarded as the new frontier by most scientists. Potentially, the uses of micro-creations are endless. They could help unclog arteries, clean up oil spills along with a wide variety of other applications. Scientists do this by building tiny machines comprised of the most basic forms of matter. Many, cannot even be seen by the naked. In the next few years SR&ED in this area is likely to bring new innovations and possibly life saving creations to life.

Government Funded Research And Experimental Development

One of the largest contributor to all research sectors is governments. They know that the key to economic success in the modern world is to have developers create new technologies and treatment in their own countries. They do this by funding Universities and other organizations with grant money. Usually there is an application process involved, and routine government checkups to make sure everything is going as planned.

Space Exploration

Though there have been cuts in SR&ED in this area, it still remains very popular. One of biggest areas of research is that of trying to understand the universe. Much is still unknown about things such as black holes. Continuing research in outer space could potentially lead to a knew understanding of our existence. Oftentimes, new technology and experimental designs created for this purpose find their way into the public sector. NASA is probably the single largest contributor to the technology movement we are now in.

Computer Sciences

While we have come a long way in what our modern computers can accomplish, there’s always room for improvement. Nanotechnology has helped improve processor speeds, fabrication and much more. Computers are no longer a tool we use, they are an extension of social and business lives. Improvements in this sector are likely to continue revolutionizing modern existence. What researchers and developers will create is unknown, but chances are most everybody on earth will be affected by these new creations.

In just about every country, SR&ED projects are underway. Nearly every scientific discipline is doing research that will hopefully expand our knowledge of the world we live in. In terms of experimental design, this is the way we create and implement new technologies. Without such programs, which are often funded by the government, we wouldn’t have many of the modern devices we do today. Ironically, technologies developed and information gained doesn’t always help the area the researchers were focusing on, but can applied in many other aspects of human life.

Architecture design ideas that influence modern lifestyles

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From functional living spaces to sustainable materials and art as well as other decor, there are a number of things that influence architecture and create the right mood that depicts the lifestyles of residents. It is common for architects to factor in the home owner’s personality and lifestyle when they build homes and design structures. Purpose built rooms and designs that inspire an urban living are becoming the basis of today’s architecture. Both indoor and outdoor living areas are designed with care to give an overall harmony to the design.

Here are a few architecture design ideas that influence today’s modern lifestyles:

Kitchens focused homes
Traditionally, kitchens were hidden away in some corner of the house and were usually closed and compact. Today’s kitchens are the epicentre of every home and are getting bigger and better. Dining rooms are sometimes included as a part of the kitchen and not only used as a sitting place. Spacious kitchens are becoming the central hub of your homes where families sit around and spend some quality time.

Inside and outside areas are one
Modern architecture considers indoors as important, but gives equal importance to the outdoors too. Some architectural styles include exquisite outdoor living areas complete with furniture and seating arrangements. The two areas that were once defined distinctly by walls are now more in sync without any solid distinctions. The outdoor areas look like perfect extensions of the indoors.

The open concept
With the minimalistic interiors concept emerging, implied spaces have gained a lot of importance rather than well defined ‘walled’ areas. Rooms are visually connected so that the overall interiors ‘feel’ larger. This concept can be applied to multiple floors too so as to create an enlarging effect for all the interior spaces.

Health awareness in design
Energy conservation and sustainability are the prime focus of many designers these days. Using appropriate materials for building structures is becoming more and more important. Well, the asbestos and lead paint used in the past is now truly a thing of the past. Today’s designs focus on green constructions and chemicals are tested so that they do not emit harmful fumes.

Larger windows
Larger windows bring in the view of the outside and add beauty to the rooms. Large windows are not simply used for looks, but also contribute to the green homes concept by adding natural light to the room that in turn reduces the need for internal lighting.

Well, the world of architecture keeps evolving and new design ideas are always just around the corner. The construction industry is also subject to constant dramatic changes, and what techniques are quite ‘in’ today is a thing of the past within a few years. The new designs break the sprawl and give way to innovative architecture ideas that are more futuristic in nature. Architecture in general is not only about building exquisite structures, it’s about designing for functionality, and being in sync with the demands and expectations of the customers.

The Saatchi Influence On London Art Gallery Aesthetics

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One of the most prolific places for displaying fine art is London. Art gallery listings in magazines and online consist of a plethora of private views, open studios and public exhibitions available for the art lover to go to. Many of these exhibitions are worth travelling to, as London and its 400 odd art galleries attract major artists from all over the world. But what is it that the London art gallery has that is worth looking at. We take a peek at some of the more famous artists to have been privileged enough to have a London art gallery exhibition.

One of the most famous collectors of art in London has to be Charles Saatchi; the one time partner in crime of the largest and most successful advertising duo in the world, Saatchi and Saatchi. Having created some of the best adverts during the 1980s, it is no surprise that the man has an aesthetic eye for detail, and turned to collecting fine art after leaving the business of advertising.

He obviously has an appreciation of the unusual, which once was evident in his adverts, and is now evident in his collection of fine art. From Tracey Emin’s bed, to Sarah Lucas’ photos of phallic fruits and of course, the grotesque and macabre offerings of Damien Hurst, the collection of Charles Saatchi has shaped British art. His County Hall London art gallery was home to an ever expanding collection of works made by artists that came to be known as YBA’s.

Young British Artists had a dangerous, experimental, and often offensive range of artworks on display at many London art galleries, but County Hall was the main residence for the works. These artists were usually discovered personally by Charles Saatchi, who then went on to commission more works to be put in his gallery. The Chapman Brothers were infamous as one of his artist employees, and it has been said that he used to frequent their flat, looking for anything that could be classed as art, despite the protests of the brothers themselves, that some things were just works in progress, or experimental pieces.

However Charles Saatchi has amassed his collection of priceless works, it has definitely been his eye for something special that has guided plenty more young artists since, and changed the views of art lovers worldwide. Whether or not the future of British art aesthetics still lies with his personal taste remains to be seen, but the recent collection of art from Chinese artists in his new London art gallery could be a sign of changing times.