Archive for July, 2014

Case Analysis Report

July 30, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Analysis Report

Name:

Institution affiliation:

 

 

 

Introduction

Mary Kay Inc. is a privately owned corporation founded by Mary Kay Ash with a startup capital of only $5000. Her aim of starting this cosmetics company was to support her son Richard Rodgers and become an entrepreneur in the competitive market. Its headquarters are situated in the heart of Dallas, Texas and has had remarkable success for decades. The company is rated as one of biggest direct sellers of color cosmetics and skin care products in the world. As of 2009, the company recorded $2.5 billion direct sales of its product in the world market. The brand products from Mary Kay are sold in at least 35 markets on 5 continents. The top markets that are served by Mary Kay Inc. are: Russia, U.S., Mexico and China. The simplicity of Mary Kay’s principles remains a key concept in the company to date. The fact that she has put her priorities right has set her on the path of success since the commencement of the company. Her approach to matters pertaining to business, work ethics and success has assured her a position in winning some of the most prestigious awards. These include: America’s Most Influential Women, the National Business Hall of Fame and the Horatio Alger American Citizen Award. It is essential that some of these awards are mentioned to clearly ensure that the success of the company is acknowledged. Over the years, the company has expanded exceptionally and engages mostly in the manufacture, developing and packaging of makeup, skin care products, fragrance products for women and men, body and spa. The Mary Kay Inc. also offers extra-ordinary products such as cleansers, body and sun care products, anti-aging creams and eye and lip care products. The purpose of this case analysis report is to make a definitive case study based on Mary Kay Inc. and answer a variety of questions stipulated in the requirements.

Decision-Making Systematic Process: Decide

Define the Problem

The problem is the performance of hair care products in Mary Kay Inc. In the past, hair care products have not performed well in most countries. This is articulated to different reasons that have caused the reoccurrence of the underperformance of hair care products.

Emurate the Decision Factors

Segmentation and Targeting

As exemplified by CIRP Design Conference, & Bernard (2011), market segmentation is referred to as the process that involves dividing a whole market into different segments for customers. On the other hand, market targeting is referred to as the decision in which a company makes while trying to decide which potential clients it will focus on. It is only logical that market segmentation comes before market targeting because a company has to first point out to which segment they want to target with their products. The two marketing strategies work hand in hand and are essential in ensuring that the success of an organization or company is guaranteed. This is because segmentation involves the search of consumers’ needs and wants. These two aspects are crucial factors that Mary Kay India should evaluate in the decision making process of they want their hairline products to succeed in the competitive market.

In the case of Mary Kay India, the application of the marketing strategy based on segmentation and targeting is applicable in this case. The corporation should carry out a segmentation research to determine the needs and wants of the global people so that they can be in a better position of making models that are in alignment with the tastes and preferences of the global society. While using the targeting strategy, it is crucial that the hair care product line surveys the market and determine the best people to target for their different products. Their moves should be strategically placed in such a way that the segmentation and targeting work cohesively to improve the performance of the hair care products in the global market.

Consider Relevant Information

Suggested Opportunities for Improved Performance

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. As a consultant to Mary Kay India, SWOT analysis is a marketing strategy that is reliable and effective in improving the performance of the hair care product line in India. As seen by the underperformance in the global market, it is undoubtedly true that opposition is an irresistible and inevitable while dealing with different forces of the environment. The SWOT analysis is essential because it is a crucial tool in the identification process of the negative and positive aspects within a given organization. Having this in mind will aid in the strategic planning towards effective decision-making process all things considered. The record of accomplishment of SWOT analysis shows a remarkable efficiency and effectiveness for the organizations that have used it (Wang, Ng, Deb & SpringerLink, 2011).

In the case of underperformance in the global market, SWOT analysis can be an effective tool for improving the product. This is because SWOT analysis explores possibilities for solutions to various problems in an organization, refines and adjusts plans, determines the essential places where change is necessary and makes decisions based on the best path, which an initiative can take to be successful. SWOT analysis is designed in a way that it handles both the unusual and ordinary situations in any given organization. Mary Kay India would benefit a lot from the use of SWOT analysis to improve the performance on the sale of hair care products

The SWOT analysis will ensure that the positive forces in global market work together with the negative forces that needs to be focused into to avoid any inconveniences for the future. Before conducting a SWOT analysis, Mary Kay India should in the first place decide on how they want their analysis to look like. In this case, the adaptation of “Tows Matrix” would be handy. Here is a look at the table that the corporation could use in guidance for the SWOT analysis (CIRP Design Conference, & Bernard, 2011).

The use of “Tows Matrix” will relay a survey of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and weaknesses of each specific hair care product. The corporation of Mary Kay in India should take the initiative of completing a table like “Tows Matrix” of each individual hair product they have in the global market. By the end of the exercise, they will have a clear result of what went wrong and caused the under performance of the hair care product line especially in India. The application of a SWOT analysis will definitely be of great use if the company is to improve its performance in the global market despite the failed attempts in the past Solomon, Duke & Nizan, 2009). SWOT analysis has been an effective strategic tool for most of the organizations that have implemented this model. Mary Kay India should take the initiative and use this model as it is a guaranteed for success if proper implementation is used.

This table can be a good strategy that Mary Kay India can use to identify the main areas that have affected the performance of their hair care products in the global market. When conducting a SWOT analysis, it is essential that the truth is indicated in the table so as to have accurate results.

It is a rare chance that the project manager comes from the department of production. This is because in most instances, they are picked from the marketing department. As the production manager, there are many people in the production group that present certain qualities that are essential in filling the position with project manager. However, a few key aspects need to be considered before choosing the best candidate for the job. A suitable candidate for this of project manager from the group of production should be organized, goal oriented, passionate, and have a comprehension of how projects correlate in an organization. The individual for the position of project manager should also possess people skills, be able to work under immense pressure, be comfortable in dynamic environments and have the flexibility techniques of toolkit (CIRP Design Conference, & Bernard, 2011).

In the process of the project life cycle, the potential candidate for the position should be able to execute the five steps that are aligned in this cycle. The potential candidate should be able to initiate projects in a professional manner so that it meets the criteria of the set goals of the organization. The second step in the project life cycle that the potential project manager should execute is the proper project planning. This will eventually lead to the execution of a particular project. The development and implementation of various projects is an essential part that the potential candidate for the position of project manager should be able to handle.

The final step in the project life cycle that a potential candidate for the position of a project manager should execute is the project closure. This position will require an individual who has had at least an experience of two years in handling different projects that have been a success in the organization, Taking into consideration all the above qualities, it will be easier selecting a suitable candidate for the position of project manager. All these are concepts that Mary Kay India should consider implementing in the short and long run.

In some cases, the underperformance of products has been thanks to the employee training. New employee orientation is perhaps one of the most sophisticated and neglected areas when it comes to training. This aspect is used in the integration of new employees into an organization with the vision of ensuring that they feel acquainted to the organization and be a contribution to team work. Employee on boarding is a process of getting new employees oriented within an organization and ensuring that the first impression made is captivating to the first timers within the organization. It is undoubtedly true that on boarding of most employees has been disregarded in many institutions (Solomon, Duke &Nizan,2009).

 

Identify the Best Alternative

The best alternative in this case can be the implementation of the porter’s five forces for the hair care product line. Porter’s five Forces are referred to as an analytical framework that is used as a business strategy for the purpose of development and industry analysis. There are five forces in this framework and they determine the attractiveness and competitive intensity of a market. It is a simple and a powerful tool that is used for the comprehension purposes in a business situation. This framework is essential as it helps one realize the current and potential position of competition (CIRP Design Conference, & Bernard, 2011). This model ensures that a corporation can take advantage after identifying the point of strength and make the necessary improvements in weaknesses. This planning tool kit that is essential for organizations that have the urge of making it in the competitive business environment.

 

 

 

The Porter’s five forces are as shown in the diagram below.

The model is a good strategy that the Mary Kay India can use to win back the market in the global market against competitors. The threat of new entrants is one of the reasons that contributed to the underperformance of Mary Kay’s hair care product in the global market. The hair care product line of Mary Kay India should be keen when it comes to this force as it determines the profitability that a firm can make in the short and long run. It is essential that the threats of new entrants are pointed out and necessary arrangements made to ensure that customer loyalty is maintained. The four generic strategies that Mary Kay India should focus on include low cost focus, differentiation focus, differentiation strategy and cost leadership strategy.

The threat of substitute products is another crucial point that Mary Kay India should focus on if they want to perform better in the global market especially in India. It is a fact that there is a wide variety of hair care products in the competitive global market. . Customers have a wide range of alternatives to choose from due to the unlimited product boundaries. Mary Kay India should be keen on evaluating why their products have been substituted with others. In most cases, substitution occurs due to the products’ prices, differentiation, and a wide variety from competitors, quality depreciation and substandard products. It is up to Mary Kay India to identify the weak areas of their products and use it to make stronger products that will ensure customer loyalty (CIRP Design Conference & Bernard, 2011).

As illustrated by Cooper & Edgett(2009), bargaining power of customers is another force that has affected American Suzuki. This can be described as the ability that enhances customers to put a particular firm under pressure. The corporation needs to make drastic measures that will ensure effectiveness in buyer power. The implementation of a loyalty program will also be of use to providing opportunities for improved performance for the hair care products. The market of inputs is referred to as bargaining power of suppliers. The corporation should work with suppliers that have the best interest at heart for Mary Kay India. The corporation should be in a position of figuring out the suppliers that will take the hair care product to a higher level.

The intensity of competitive rivalry is part of the five forces by Porter. It is a generic strategy that Mary Kay India should consider using to their advantage if they want to recapture the global market. In the case of the hair care products, using this force is essential to determine the intensity of competitiveness in the beauty industry. The corporation should be in a position of ensuring that it identifies the competitive rivalry that made Mary Kay India irrelevant in the competitive market. On realization of this factor, innovation, advertising and transparency are some of the factors the corporation should consider in their plans for the global Market.

Develop a Plan for Implementing the Chosen Alternative

The implementation strategy of the Mary Kay India Company by implementing the five-year plan will be beneficial to the products of this company. This is in the aspect of the development of the products stipulated within five years (CIRP Design Conference & Bernard, 2011). The main product objectivity that is most certainly suitable for the five-year plan is customer royalty. Mary Kay India Company should be in a position to cater for their customers’ needs over the five years and ensure that their products maintain high quality. Most products in the market gain fame for a short period and after a few years are forgotten. This is due to poor managerial skills and misplaced product objectives (Cooper & Edgett, 2009).

It is essential for the company to ensure that their products are in alignment with the five-year plan of the company. This is in terms of marketing budget, pricing strategy and market segmentation. The products need to compliment the five year plan of the company in such a way that their value and worth increases over time. Products often have a life cycle, which they have to pass through over time. Each stage of a product has a specific work that it needs to perform to cohesively fulfill product objectives (Rainey, 2008).

Mary Kay India Company should consider entering their products into a life cycle over the five-year plan. This will ensure that their products develop in accordance with the new technological advances and designs. Every stage of a product life cycle has different objectives and strategies in place. Mary Kay India Company should consider widening their marketing strategies to fulfill product objectivity. If the company adheres to the five-year plan put in place then the product objectives will fall in place automatically.

Current performance appraisal is essential to all organizations in order to enhance and keep the performance of employees on track. Performance appraisal is a process that the management of an organization carries out to determine the performance of their employees in the workplace. It is essential to evaluate employees occasionally to determine whether the aims and goals of an organization are been met by the work performance of the employees (Cooper & Edgett, 2009).

An organization that does not carry out performance appraisal most of the times ends up with employee dispute. This is because the employees need to be accessed on a regular basis to increase the job performance. A successful organization requires that employees are evaluated to ascertain as whether the main objectives of the organization are met.

The performance of the employees is what will determine whether they have a future with the organization. The value of their work is also scrutinized, keeping in mind their capabilities. Current performance appraisal process determines the future of an organization to a vast extent. Performance appraisal process should be done regularly to avoid any mishaps that may collide with the main objectives and purpose of an organization.

Communication is a key tool in ensuring that an organization’s operations run smoothly. It is essential for an organization to facilitate how they communicate with their employees. This is mostly achieved through performance appraisal, which should be carried out on a routine basis. With an open communication between the employer and employees, an organization’s objectives and aims are usually met. Performance appraisal has been said to promote trust between employers and employees. This will ensure that both employers and employees have a common vision in uplifting the organization to a higher level.

Many employees require motivation to deliver quality work. Performance appraisal process is a motivational tool that will ensure employees are always working hard and smart to secure their jobs. This will also ensure that the organization detects which employees require more training to maximize their potential than others. It is proof that current performance appraisal process is effective in any given organization to deliver maximum output from employees (Cooper & Edgett, 2009).

Problems facing current performance appraisal process

Managers dread having to evaluate the job performance of their employees. This is because conducting a job evaluation has its own set of challenges. As much as the performance appraisal process has been effective in organizations, there are also problems that are faced due to this process. In performance appraisal process, there is the problem of past track record. Employees are met with the challenge that when they are evaluated, their past is always criticized with the present performance. No matter how much work the employee puts into his present improvement, his past will always be an issue. This will in turn which hinder the employee from achieving greater things in an organization.

As employees go through the process of performance appraisal process, it is hard not to criticize the work they are doing. In most instances, criticism may seem negative and biased towards employees’ work. This demoralizes the employees who feel that they have put their best in the work they do in uplifting the standards of the organization. The fact that the process is kept secret is also a great challenge among the employees. This is because the manager may be biased when conducting the job performance and no one would be able to know (Solomon, Duke, & Nizan, 2009).

In most cases, the current performance appraisal is assessed on an individual’s performance, not taking into consideration that most of the time people work as a team. An individual is scrutinized based on his/ her character traits and contribution to an organization. This may not be fair to an individual because in most cases, people work as a group, team or a department.

It is unfortunate that most of the managers that conduct this process are not qualified to access the performance appraisal of their employees. They are just appointed to scrutinize the work by their employees because that is their work. They do not have expertise on the performance appraisal process and therefore, cannot provide credible and reliable results. This process has been said to lower the working morale in an organization. This is because most of the employees are either scared of losing their jobs or having reports say that their work is not fulfilling (Wang, Ng, Deb &SpringerLink, 2011).

Solving problems facing performance appraisal process

As seen above, performance appraisal can present various problems to an organization. However, the good news is that there is a solution to every problem. Among ways that problems faced in performance appraisal can be resolved, is by ensuring that constant communication with the employees is made. It is the work of the management of any given organization to ensure that consistent communication. This will ensure that in case of a performance appraisal process, the employees will be aware of what is expected from them (Cooper & Edgett, 2009).

It is essential that once the performance appraisal process is concluded, the results are discussed between the manager and employee. Positive criticism should be upheld in this case, giving employees a chance to air their views. It is also vital to take the managers for training on how to conduct the performance appraisal process to avoid the problems that may be as a result of incompetence in job evaluation process.

Evaluate the Decision and the Decision Process

A marketing plan is referred to as a guideline that aids a business or organization in establishing the methods of interaction between the potential customers and given products. It is used as a directory to evaluate the needs and wants of potential clients. This is a good remedy in the decision process to aid Mary Kay India perform better than the previous years. Situational analysis is a method that the management of a company uses to examine the capability of the environment towards its customers. It is used to analyze the needs and wants of potential customers. This process goes hand in hand with a marketing plan and is a very effective method that is used to create a stable relationship with customers. In a situation analysis, methods like porter five forces, SWOT and 5Cs analysis are used to critically examine the business environment (Cooper & Edgett, 2009).

Currently, there is a lot of competition from other entities in the market. It is essential to conduct a survey to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the product. By carrying out these investigations, it is easier to access the position of the hair care products by Mary Kay India. The situational analysis clearly defines both the micro and macro environment that may affect the development of this product. Competitor companies should be critically analyzed to investigate why customers would prefer their products to Mary Kay India. .

It is essential that the marketing team come up with a marketing research and strategy to enhance the growth of their company. There are different strategies that are most suitable for enforcement in ensuring a good marketing plan. The positioning / comparison research is a marketing strategy that is used to compare different products of the competitors that may be similar. It is vital to use this marketing tool to establish the weaknesses and strengths of the competitor product, to improve the product.

As opined by Rainey(2008), brand name survey is another marketing strategy that is of essence in a marketing plan. This entails research on products that are marketable due to their brand name. It is a sure way of establishing whether the brand name of a product aids it more on the sales and popularity among customers. This is considered an effective technique that marketers in the corporation can use to evaluate whether the hair care products have a suitable brand name for their products.

Customer satisfaction research is a survey carried out to determine whether the customers are happy and satisfied with the services they receive from the given product. Test marketing is another strategy that can be used to evaluate the micro and macro environment. The vision of the team of girls is to expand their business across all campuses in the country. The corporation should be able to carry out a test analysis to get feedback from the global market based on the performance of the hair care products (Rainey, 2008).

The most crucial part when establishing a marketing plan is the customer satisfaction. Customers are kings of any given company or business, and their satisfaction is of the utmost importance for success. A questionnaire is one of the methods that can be used to acknowledge customer satisfaction. By customers filling a questionnaire, they are able to relay their views and opinions. They are also able to view the areas where they are not satisfied and the improvements that would ensure their loyalty. Aggressive advertising is also a strategy that can be enforced to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. Advertising and marketing of a product ensures that people are aware of the existence of the product.

Customer loyalty is essential in any given marketing plan. It is evident that customers determine the success or failure of any given company or business venture. It is therefore important to take into consideration the fact that customer loyalty should be looked into keenly. Offering discounts, coupons and special offers are some of the strategies that can be used to ensure customer loyalty. Promotions and free samples are also a strategy that can be used to ensure that customers are satisfied with the product (Gordon, 2010).

The market segments that the company will market to are especially women because these hair products are meant for them. They are the most suitable people to target because they can relate to some of the suitable variables that should be used in these segmentations are advertisement, promotions, gift vouchers and competition. Buying decision process deals with consumers’ decisions that are made after the purchase of a product. It is essential to critically follow buyer decision process for positive results regarding the products. The appropriate positioning for the product is ensuring that it is recognized throughout colleges, prominently displayed, setting up a website for the product and using advertising tools to let the world know of its existence.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the case study has discussed Mary Kay India in both an effective and efficient manner. As seen in the contents of the case report, there is a lot that needs to be done to ensure that the hair care product line thrives in the competitive market. The recommendations and solutions stipulated in the discussion should be taken seriously to ensure that the hair care products do much better than the previous years. The organization should monitor the progress of their employees on a regular basis. It should not only be during performance appraisal that the employee’s work is scrutinized. The management should provide incentives for employees to use anytime to ensure maximum output. The employees should be entitled to trainings sessions, seminars and conferences to improve their job performance and keep up with the competitive market


 

References

CIRP Design Conference, & Bernard, A. (2011). Global product development: Proceedings of the 20th CIRP Design Conference, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France, 19th-21st April 2010. Berlin: Springer.

Cooper, R. G., & Edgett, S. J. (2009). Product innovation and technology strategy. Ancaster, Ont.?: Product Development Institute.

Rainey, D. L. (2008). Product innovation: Leading change through integrated product development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Solomon, M. R., Duke, C. L., & Nizan, A. (2009). Launch! advertising and promotion in real time. Irvington, N.Y.: Flatworld Knowledge.

Wang, L., Ng, A. H. C., Deb, K., & SpringerLink (Online service). (2011). Multi-objective evolutionary optimisation for product design and manufacturing. London: Springer

 

writing assignment

July 30, 2014

Student
Professor
Course
Institution
Date

In many areas around the world land is being lost due to increased levels of construction and development which reduces the amount of land that is available to be kept in an untouched condition. This paper has therefore been written to provide an opinion on the problems of land development and increased levels of construction, especially in vulnerable locations around the world while providing an example of how over development can have an adverse effect on the environment.
Land will always be developed by people if they think they can make money, either from building houses and selling them for a profit, or by developing industrial sites which can be used to generate income for a country’s economy. A balance must be ensured between the development of land for housing as well as for industry, while keeping as much land as possible in its natural condition in order to maintain the ecology of the environment. Land which is maintained in its natural condition provides a natural habitat for animals, plants and birds, while it also provides an area which is available to the population for their subsistence or entertainment needs.
This balance must be made in order to prevent excessive destruction of vulnerable places and a good example of this is Male which is the capital of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The entire island has been developed so that there is now no freely available land left on the island. This example has repercussions for other islands with limited space and which are suffering from over development and excessive construction. McKee & Tisdell note that reducing the amount of naturally available land “means that the local poor may no longer have access to such land for enjoyment and for food gathering” (McKee & Tisdell, 1990, p. 54) which has serious implications because they “may be deprived of a part of their means of subsistence” (McKee & Tisdell, 1990, p. 54) and therefore survival.
References
McKee, D. L., & Tisdell, C. (1990). Developmental Issues in Small Island Economies. New
York: Praeger.

Film Title: The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas

July 29, 2014

Principle Stars: The main star is Bruno. Other stars are as Ralf, who is Bruno’s dad, Elsa who is Ralf’s wife, Shmuel who is a Jewish boy, Gretel who is Bruno’s sister, Liszt who is a teacher, and Pavel, a servant in Ralf’s family, among other minor stars.

Director and year: Mark Herman, 2008

Genre: historical drama

Plot character development, main character: Bruno is the main character. He forms friendship with Shmuel, a Jewish age mate who is in the camp. Bruno is innocent and does not understand what is happening. He mistakes the stripped uniform for pajamas, hence the title of the film. Their friendship grows and Bruno gets an insight of the horrendous treatment of Jews. In an ironic twist of events, both Bruno and Shmuel die by gassing.

Protagonist: Bruno

Antagonist: Bruno’s dada

Motifs: The dominant idea is the innocence of the protagonist in the midst of holocaust.

Patterns: The character and theme pattern are consistent throughout the film. Bruno starts as a curious and innocent boy oblivious of what is transpiring around him. He is flawless, or as flawed as a boy of his age is. His death represents a tragic end to an innocent life.

Overall theme: The implicit meaning is that holocaust was destructive to Jewish and Germans. The death of Bruno with his friend Shmuel show how horrendous holocaust was.

Sound: The music effect captures different moods. The dialogue between characters enables the audience to understand them better. Intensity varies according to situations.

Cinematography: Cinematography captures the mood of the film. The movie is filmed on location. Costumes mimic the historical context and period. Elsa, for instance dresses up like a typical woman in the particular period. The solders too have the appropriate costumes. What appears to diminish the movie is the clear crisp British accent as it bellies the setting in Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Heyman, D. (Producer). (2008). The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis of NASA FTP Hack

July 29, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis of NASA FTP Hack

Student’s Full Name

Name of University

 

 

Abstract

The 2011 hacking of NASA’s FTP server represented an avoidable breach of the organization’s security and privacy. It was carried out by Romanian hacker Razvan Cernaianu, who could have been motivated by a desire for entertainment, hunger for fame, or a desire to become a paid, ethical hacker. In order to prevent future incidents of this nature, NASA could employ a range of different measures aimed at boosting its security, including improving its DMZ, re-routing port numbers and installing effective NIDS and PIDS to detect intrusions.

 

 

Analysis of NASA FTP Hack

Cybercriminal Incident

In April and May of 2011, NASA’s Goddard Flight Center was hacked and screenshots displaying classified information from it were posted on an online blog. The perpetrator gained unauthorized access to the centre’s FTP server and transferred data from it without authorization. He alerted NASA shortly after the attack had taken place (Hoffman, 2011). An FTP server is the system that is used to send files between computers (Goyal & Redhu, Hacking via Password Cracking, 2014). By accessing this information, the hacker could potentially have monitored all files uploaded onto this server. It would also be possible to upload malicious files onto the server in order to cause damage to it or remotely control the server without permission (Goyal & Redhu, Hacking on FTP Server: A Review, 2014).

            There are a number of different ways in which access could have been gained to the FTP server. A technique known as ‘brute force’ could also have been used. This involves creating programs for cycling through combinations of letters, numbers and symbols until the password for an FTP server is cracked (Goyal & Redhu, Hacking via Password Cracking, 2014). However, the precise details of how he manipulated his intrusion against the TCP/IP port 21 are not known, as he has not publically disclosed his method for hacking the server (Smith, 2011).

Threat Actors Responsible

The threat actor responsible was a Romanian hacker by the name of Razvan Cernaianu, who used the username ‘TinKode’ (Info Security, 2012). He had a history of similar offences, having hacked a European Space Agency server a month previously and leaked sensitive information from it onto the Internet (Smith, 2011) and having hacked the British Royal Navy, the Pentagon and a variety of other United States government agencies. He is a twenty-year-old information technology university student from the Romanian city of Timisoara (Liebowitz, 2012).

Motivation of Threat Actors

There are numerous different reasons why Cernaianu might have perpetrated the FTP hack. He claimed that he was motivated by the fact that NASA was not disposing of secret data properly and wished to expose this fact (Smith, 2011). If this is true, then it means that the descriptive label of ‘hacktivist’ can be used to describe him. Protesting against inadequate disposal of sensitive data by NASA falls within this category.

            However, TinKode has also stated that hacking is a hobby for him (Smith, 2011). This indicates that his motivation might have been entertainment. The notion that entertainment is a source of motivation for hackers has been put forward by numerous different experts in the field (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2005; Chan & Yao, 2005; Donovan & Catz, 2009). Awan (2014) has described it as being amongst the most common motivations for this form of crime. Therefore, it is possible that this was his sole motivation, although it is notable that he might have used this excuse as a cover for his true intentions.

            Technology consultant Graham Cluley has stated that it is likely that bragging rights were the motivation for the attack (Moscaritolo, 2012). Fame has been identified as a common motivation for hacking (Ciampa, 2012), meaning that this is another likely possibility. It is especially probable, given the fact that TinKode boasted about his crimes on his blog after committing them (Constantin, 2012).

            It is notable that Tinkode acted as a grey hat hacker but claimed that he wished to become a white hat hacker, paid by NASA to expose vulnerabilities (Smith, 2011). Therefore, his motivation might have also been financial. He may have wished to make a career as an ethical hacker and demonstrated his skills by hacking the NASA website.

Defensive Actions and Motivations

There are a number of different motivations for defending NASA from cyber attacks of this nature. Firstly, the most obvious reason is to protect the server from being damaged or having the privacy of the information that is held within it compromised. It contained secret information that was not supposed to be viewed by unauthorized parties (Smith, 2011).

            Secondly, NASA also pays over one and a half billion dollars per year for cyber-security (Martin, 2012). This means that it is within the interests of the security companies that it pays to prevent its server from being hacked to successfully protect it. If these companies fail to do this then their earnings could be at stake.

            NASA is also mandated to prevent unauthorized access to its technologies by United States export control regulations (Government Accountability Office, 2014). It could be argued that by failing to protect its FTP server, it failed to uphold this regulation. Therefore, defensive action on the part of NASA is motivated by a desire not to fall foul of national rules governing protection of technology.

            The police are motivated to prevent attacks of this nature, as hacking is illegal under federal statute 18 U.S.C. 1030, which states that conduct that is aimed at victimizing computer systems is strictly prohibited, including computer trespassing, which is another word for hacking (Doyle, 2010). Cyber crime is estimated to cost the U.S. one hundred billion dollars per year (Gorman, 2013), meaning that there is significant motivation for law enforcement authorities to clamp down on it.

Cybercrime also has a major economic cost in other countries across the world, with a study of twenty-four different nations revealing that it costs them an average of one hundred and ten billion U.S. dollars each per annum (Finklea & Theohary, 2013). It is generally agreed that international collaboration is the key to stopping this type of crime, on account of the global scope of the offences that are committed (Li, 2007). Therefore, the Romanian police force would also benefit from preventing Romanian nationals from carrying out further offences of this nature against the U.S., as demonstrating that are were willing to work alongside the U.S. authorities with regards to this issue would guarantee the cooperation of the U.S. if American cybercriminals compromised Romanian FTP servers.

Malicious Cyber Prevention Techniques

There are numerous different techniques that could be utilized in order to prevent further offences of this nature from being carried out. NASA could ensure that the passwords that it uses for its FTP server contain a large amount of characters and a combination of capital and lower-case letters and special characters, as this makes it harder for the server to be infiltrated by using a brute force attack (Dave, 2013). An ‘ethical hacker’ could be hired in order to test system vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed. This is somebody who hacks for testing purposes and has no background as a criminal hacker (Alisherov & Bhattacharyya, 2009). Technology consultant Graham Cluley (Cluley, 2012) has stated that the server could have avoided being hacked if it was properly secured, meaning that it could have benefitted from being tested in this manner so that security issues could have been identified and rectified. NASA could also improve its DMZs by setting up additional layers of defense on top of those that already exist (Singh, 2001), reroute port numbers (Chen & Wang, 2012), and make use of NIDS and PIDS to detect intrusions (Eloff, Oliver, & Venter, 2004; Hatamikhah & Laali, 2012).

Management and Policy Protection Controls

NASA could implement a policy of not employing individuals to test the vulnerabilities of the system who have previously been involved in cybercrime, as doing so would expose sensitive information to criminals. The organization could ensure that the hackers who are paid to test the system have participated in an ethical hacking course, such as the Certified Ethical Hacker course, in order to ensure that they are both competent and aware of their ethical duties (Alisherov & Bhattacharyya, 2009). The National Institute of Standards and Technology (2014) has suggested bringing in a national strategy aimed at improving the safety of sensitive Internet transactions. This would help to prevent organizations such as NASA from succumbing from future FTP server hacks.

           

References

 

Alisherov, F., & Bhattacharyya, D. (2009). Penetration Testing for Hire. International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology , 8, 1-8. Retrieved from http://www.sersc.org/journals/IJAST/vol8/1.pdf

Australian Institute of Criminology. (2005). Hacking Motives. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Australian Institute of Criminology: http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/1/B/A/%7B1BA0F612-613A-494D-B6C5-06938FE8BB53%7Dhtcb006.pdf

Awan, I. (2014). Debating the Term Cyber-Terrorism: Issues and Problems. Internet Journal of Criminology , 1-14.

Chan, S., & Yao, L. (2005). An Empirical Investigation Of Hacking Behavior. The Review of Business Information Systems , 9 (4), 41-58.

Chen, Y., & Wang, S. (2012). A Software of Intrusion Detection Mechanism for Virtual Platforms. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology , 6, 1020-1026.

Ciampa, M. (2012). Security + Guide to Network Security Fundamentals. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Cluley, G. (2012, October 5). TinKode sentenced after hacking Oracle, NASA and others to expose weak security. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from Naked Security: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/10/05/tinkode-hacking-sentence/

Constantin, L. (2012, October 5). NASA, Pentagon hacker TinKode gets two-year suspended sentence. Computer World . Retrieved from http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9232113/NASA_Pentagon_hacker_TinKode_gets_two_year_suspended_sentence

Dave, K. (2013). Brute-force Attack “Seeking but Distressing”. International Journal of Innovations in Engineering and Technology , 2 (3), 75-78. Retrieved from http://ijiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/12.pdf

Donovan, G., & Catz, C. (2009). Cookie Monsters: Seeing Young People’s Hacking as Creative Practice. Children, Youth and Environments , 19 (1), 197-222. Retrieved from http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/19_1/19_1_10_CookieMonsters.pdf

Doyle, C. (2010, December 27). Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Federation of American Scientists: http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/97-1025.pdf

Eloff, J., Oliver, M., & Venter, H. (2004). PIDS: a privacy intrusion detection system. Internet Research , 14 (5), 360-365.

Ezekiel, A. (2013). Hackers, Spies and Stolen Secrets. Harvard Journal of Law & Technology , 26 (2), 649-668. Retrieved from http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/articles/pdf/v26/26HarvJLTech649.pdf

Finklea, K., & Theohary, C. (2013, January 9). Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Federation of American Scientists: http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42547.pdf

Gorman, S. (2013). Annual U.S. Cybercrime Costs Estimated at $100 Billion. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324328904578621880966242990

Government Accountability Office. (2014, June 20). NASA Management Action and Improved Oversight Needed to Reduce the Risk of Unauthorized Access to Its Technologies. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-690T

Goyal, D., & Redhu, P. (2014). Hacking on FTP Server: A Review. International Journal of Innovative Research and Studies , 5 (28), 406-416. Retrieved from http://www.ijirs.com/vol3_issue-5/28.pdf

Goyal, D., & Redhu, P. (2014). Hacking via Password Cracking. International Journal of Computer Science and Mobile Computing , 3 (6), 830-836. Retrieved from http://ijcsmc.com/docs/papers/June2014/V3I6201499a65.pdf

Hatamikhah, S., & Laali, M. (2012). Reducing False Positives in Anomaly-Based NIDS. In V. Lysenko (Ed.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security (pp. 358-367). Seattle, WA: Academic Publishing International.

Hoffman, S. (2011, May 18). Romanian Hacker TinKode Breaks Into NASA FTP Server. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from CRN: http://www.crn.com/news/security/229502475/romanian-hacker-tinkode-breaks-into-nasa-ftp-server.htm

Info Security. (2011, January 11). Hackers sell access to military and government websites. Info Security. Retrieved from http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/15365/hackers-sell-access-to-military-and-government-websites/

Info Security. (2012, February 1). Romanian authorities arrest suspected TinKode hacker. Info Security. Retrieved from http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/23620/romanian-authorities-arrest-suspected-tinkode-hacker/

Li, X. (2007). International Actions against Cybercrime: Networking Legal Systems in the Networked Crime Scene. Webology , 4 (3). http://www.webology.org/2007/v4n3/a45.html

Liebowitz, M. (2012, February 1). ‘TinKode Suspect Arrested for NASA, DoD Cyberattacks. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/46221921/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/tinkode-suspect-arrested-nasa-dod-cyberattacks/#.U8FvaE1OXIX

Martin, P. (2012, February 29). NASA Cybersecurity: An Examination of the Agency’s Information Security. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from NASA Office of Inspector General: http://oig.nasa.gov/congressional/FINAL_written_statement_for_%20IT_%20hearing _February_26_edit_v2.pdf

Moscaritolo, A. (2012, February 1). NASA, Pentagon Hacker TinKode Arrested in Romania. PC Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399698,00.asp

National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2014, February 14). Ensuring a Secure and Robust Cyber Infrastructure (+$43.4 million). Retrieved July 12, 2014, from National Institute of Standards and Technology: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/cybersecurity2012.cfm

Shinder, D., & Tittel, E. (2002). Scene of the Cybercrime: Computer Forensic Handbook. Rockland, MA: Syngress Publishing.

Singh, K. (2001). IT Infrastructure Security-Step by Step. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from SANS Institute: http://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/basics/infrastructure-security-step-step-430

Smith. (2011, May 17). TinKode Hacked NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved July 12, 2014, from Network World: http://www.networkworld.com/article/2229275/microsoft-subnet/tinkode-hacked-nasa-s-goddard-space-flight-center.html

 

 

 

COSTS AND BENEFITS OF COUNTERTERRORISM RELATIVE TO THE THREAT OF TERRORISM IN AUSTRALIA

July 29, 2014

 

 

COSTS AND BENEFITS OF COUNTERTERRORISM RELATIVE TO THE THREAT OF TERRORISM IN AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Terror attacks are never isolated cases of insecurity to a country but have currently been witnessed in many countries all over the world. With many threats of terrorism, the international affairs become exposed to jeopardy since key trading partners keep distance from such countries. Poor international relations due to territory are economic impediment to the country, and this must not go uncorrected. Therefore, corrective measure to curb incidences of terrorism has both costs and consequences to the country and to the regional front where the country hails. This leads to the costs and benefits of applying counterterrorism techniques in the country. Principally, this research entails various significance of applying counterterrorism techniques in Australia and how it impacts on the country’s international relations. Australia comes from the APEC region, and its interaction with this confederation determines its success in international relations. In this context, any action made must highlights impacts it generates in the international relations with regards to the major trading federations like the APEC (Lynch, Macdonald, & Williams, 2007). Therefore, antiterrorism measures applied by the Republic of Australia have benefits and costs in almost equal measures. The consequences have direct impacts in the social, political and economic conditions of the country. State of the country is thus instituted on the strength of a country’s economic, political conditions, and social factors amid international relations. Today, most countries risk economic isolation due to constant insecurity emanating from terror act. For example, the Middle East countries, among African counterparts have been terror hubs thereby subjecting them to poor international relations. Efforts of culminating terrorists have had costs and benefits, some of which have led to economic decline of the entire country. Indeed terrorism is an impediment to social and economic integration within the country. With special attention to Australia, subjective policies and military interventions in fighting terrorism have led to immense consequences in the social and economic conditions of the country. Various theoretical lenses are used in justifying these consequences to this country. In this regard, particular attention shall be paid to theoretical constructs supported by empirical research based on the impacts of terrorism in the country.

Costs of counterterrorism acts in Australia

Costs of terrorism to the Republic of Australia are immense and vary from national to international concerns. The impacts are far raging to economics of the country, and require actions that capture both national and international interest. The first cost associated with counterterrorism mechanism is the immediate undermining of international trade. According to the theory of trade and investments, peace and security are avenues to meaningful trade and investments, and absence of security leads to poor trade in the country. In this context, the theory of trade and investments highlights the importance of peace and security to the country’s economic growth. On the other hand, trade is the key pillar to economic progress and stability. In economic sense, trade enhances balance of payment, which is a significant platform in supporting the economy of the country. Therefore, absence of peace ruins international relations that a country enjoys in trade and other exercises. Lack of international trade reduces imports to a county, and this ruins it national GDP and NNP (Klein, Mossop, & Rothwell, 2010). Such situations are lethal to progress and hinder potential trade from taking place. Empirical evidence that supports the impacts of bilateral trade amid the application of counterterrorism measures in 1968 to 1979 to over 200 countries revealed that the terrorist incidence decreased bilateral trade between these economies by 6%. Based on this survey, it is imperative to note that in just ten years bilateral trade in the affected countries with their trading partners had reduced by 6%. This condition is hazardous to the country; especially that it inhibits both economic growth of a country on the international front.

Terror attacks and counteractive efforts lead to deplorable international trade, as a result, of the shutdown of major airports and ports in the entire Australia. Ports and airports are major trade terminals that the Republic of Australia relies upon for her international exchange, and any incidence that undermines these terminals puts the country at risk of development isolation. The risk of having this terminals shutdown is immense, especially in the international affairs. For example, the close of ports and airports leads to low turnout in a number of foreigners visiting the country, and this leads to an economic meltdown to a country. According to the dependency theory, a terror hub slowly turns from first-world status to a developing category (Jackson, 2005). Therefore, costs associated with terrorism leads to the manifestation of dependency theory since a country can hardly support its population, which comes, as a result, of the balance of trade. Lack of formidable international trade is an avenue to poor balance of trade and investment. This is one of the long-term problems, especially within the application of antiterrorist techniques without considering its consequences. Validation of the cost of airports and ports shutdown is exhibited in two weeks lockout at the 29 US West Coast ports in 2002, which delayed the unloading at the port of up to 200 ships that carried 300,000 containers. The loss occasioned to this delay was immense to the US GDP, being estimated at 0.4%. This effects was not only felt in the US, but included other Asian countries which were involved in the delay. Based on empirical research, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore encountered a loss of 1.1% on the total GDP. This was a significant loss in just one month of delay. Therefore, a prolonged delay in these two terminals can have more effects on international trade to many countries that both directly and indirectly trade with the affected country. Australia economy is based on international trade. Thus international relations are key factor towards the development, lest dependency theory sets in. This is true considering that the US West Ports delay resulted to a significant decline in the nominal GDP of the affected countries.

Escalating threats of terrorism raises the cost of doing trade, and this leads to poor economic performance of the country. In this first case, increased costs of trade come about due to increased insurance cost for cargoes and passengers. The fear for terror threat leads to high-insurance costs and this amount to high expenses on international trade. With the high cost of international trade, most people will consider diverting to other routes since looming attacks risk ruining their business fortunes (Owens, & Pelizzo, 2012). This incidence is very costly to a country that depends on international trade for absolute economic sustainability. Risks of terrorism create an incentive to have higher levels of inventory, and this haphazardly reduces the benefits of Just-in-time manufacturing processes, which undermines supply chain management. In addition, security threats lead to vulnerability in the supply chain. APEC economies, in which Australia is a member state, depending on international information technology and automobile chains distribution get so vulnerable due to the poor state in supply chain. Research states that if the US must carry a 10% rise in inventories and pays 20% more for the sake of commercial insurance premiums due to increased terrorism menace; this will translate to 0.1-% and 0.3% of GDP per year. This estimated loss leads to US$7.5 billion, and US$30 billion per year respectively. Australia, being among the developing APEC economies, has integrated production chains which would face relatively higher costs due to the fact that trade holds significant position in her GDP internationally. Mush loss will result due to terror threats emanating from her borders, and this will have great impacts on the country’s nominal GDP.

Other than costs discussed above, threat of terrorism reduces investment and economic growth of the country. The terrorism specter of future terrorist acts generates uncertainty, which magnifies perceived risk in the investment and commerce into a country. The first effect that is associated with such fear is the increased costs through several channels, which dampens economic activity (Husband, & Alam, 2011). The escalating risk perceptions undermine the confidence of investors, thus reducing their willingness in committing to new projects. This fact is accelerated due to increased premium rates, which increases the rates of returns on investments. All these conditions reduce the equity prices and lead to biasing investment decisions. All these effects impact cumulatively on the country’s economy thus reducing investment and retarded economic growth. Australia economy responds negatively to the higher risk premiums since it has substantial external financing requirements, which pays more for capital thereby lowering investment and output growth. Reduced level of investment to a country leads to the manifestation of ethnic conflict theory, where regional quotas within the APEC region engage in frequent feuds over terrorism menace. This theory explains why most countries have had sluggish economic growth. These are some costs associated with terrorism.

Benefits of Counter-terrorism

Counter-terrorism measures have various benefits to the Republic of Australia, and the APEC federation in entirety. The measures applied in culminating effects of terrorism in the country have led to a progressive economic development in Australia as well as the region. This fact is attributed to the growth and developments that have steadily been witnessed in the country. The first benefits attribute to the investment opportunity against future attacks. With viable counterterrorism techniques applicable in the country, the investment prospects are fully assured (Gopal, & Rumley, 2007). In this context, application of new counter-terrorism measures lay viable portfolio of a one-time investment in new infrastructure, and this may sometimes lead to short-to-medium term increases in costs of doing business internationally. Good background of investment in the country is a factor of many considerations, including security measures. Therefore, contingents of security initiatives are best made and implemented through such short-to-medium development platforms. In this context, investments come in the form of security initiatives, which generate economic development and prosperity in the country. An empirical study on the US security measures taken with regards to the 11th September attack cost, which rose from 1 to 3% of the North American trade flows. This increment was an equivalent to a rise in the traders’ annual costs from between US$5.6 and US$15.8 billion. This measure was rated as a top achieving project in the security sector. However, if such a measure would have been applied in totaling 2001 world merchandise trade, the extra cost would be between US$60 billion and US180 billion. The significant rise in the example below is attributed to the extra investment undertaken in the security field. This rise in security investment, with the aim of countering terrorism, is believed to as the cause of such a huge investment. Other than this study, another research indicates that world welfare would be on the verge of decline by an estimated amount of US$75 billion annually for a corresponding annual 1-% increase in the costs of trade. The two illustrations are supportive of the fact that security investment leads to an increase in the level of investment of the country through innovation. The hospitable grounds created, as a result, of viable investment promote growth innovation. This illustration is in favor of the normative theory, which states that states the world is controlled by social values. In this context, values render good choices that people make in the society. Therefore, the investment decision in the security field comes amid normative interventions, which lead to the establishment of conducive business environment. The application of normative theory is of utmost importance of applying counter-terrorism acts in enhancing regional development as well as international relations in the entire Australia. The costs associated with security investments are thus viewed as avenues that reduce the threat of terrorism by paying for future dividends through reduced risk premiums and increased trade efficiency.

Other than being an avenue for future investments, security measures act as facilitation for both local and international trade. It is imperative to note that the Australian economy and the APEC region entirely depend on national stability through the fights against terrorism. At the national level, terrorism subjects a country to severe security pilferage and exposes its national intelligence to a collapse. Therefore, the security situation is Australia is strategic towards its national development through trade and commerce; thus the fact is valid for APEC’s trade facilitation and improved security objectives, which are mutually reinforcing (Fischhoff, Brewer,& Downs, 2011). Benefits of reducing exposure to terrorism include technological advancement, which increase security and thus enhancing efficiency of cargo handling and people movement. The result of having such incentive is low-trade costs and thus making trade flows more efficient. The theory of economic efficiency aids in the advancement in international trade and investment. There are various empirical researches which have showed how security measures facilitate trade in the country. One such area where security measures have improved trade relates to the acquisition and utilization of advance passenger information and other electronic identification techniques at key terminals of Australia. Such aforesaid techniques are essential at improving security at the border. This research shows that enhanced security measures at airports and other public transport terminal lead to improved services. In addition, there is increased the level of confidence in the country due to the security measures it puts across. With such incentives, Australian trade and international relations will improve and thus encouraging growth in the entire country. In the recent past, APEC region has witnessed a high turnover in trade fortunes due to security initiatives that it puts across. The policy-relevant theory is in favor of security measures in Australia. In this context, this notion of one hazard leads to the benefit on another front. This is how Australia has benefited in terms of having sophisticated security system within the country.

In conclusion, the impacts of having counter-terrorism measures in Australia leads to both costs and benefits. However, before considering a given benefit, it is important for a country to consider its IR portfolio and how such moves can impacts into the country’s economy. Adopting such platform is essential in curbing instances of costs, while advancing benefits. The nature of any operation depends on the circumstances under concern, and this makes it viable to have relevant attributes in the application of security measures. In addition, every measure must be supported by relevant theoretical ideals of International relations.

 

 

References

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. (2010). Annual report … for the period. Canberra, The Centre.

Australian National University. (2005). The Australian yearbook of international law. Sydney, Butterworths.

Bobbitt, P. (2009). Terror and consent: the wars for the twenty-first century. New York, Anchor Books.

Chalk, P. (2006). West European terrorism and counter-terrorism: the evolving dynamic. Basingstoke [u.a.], MacMillan [u.a.].

Chalk, P., & Rosenau, W. (2004). Confronting “the enemy within” security intelligence, the police, and counterterrorism in four democracies. Santa Monica, CA, RAND Corp. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=197450.

Davis, J. (2010). Terrorism in Africa: the evolving front in the War on Terror. Lanham, Md, Lexington Books.

Fischhoff, B., Brewer, N. T., & Downs, J. S. (2011). Communicating risks and benefits: an evidence-based user’s guide.

Gani, M., & Mathew, P. (2008). Fresh perspectives on the ‘war on terror.’ Canberra, ANU E Press.

Gopal, D., & Rumley, D. (2007). Globalisation and regional security: India and Australia. Delhi, Shipra Publications.

Husband, C., & Alam, Y. (2011). Social cohesion and counter-terrorism: a policy contradiction? Bristol, Policy Press.

Jackson, R. (2005). Writing the war on terrorism: language, politics and counter-terrorism. Manchester [u.a.], Manchester Univ. Press.

Klein, N., Mossop, J., & Rothwell, D. (2010). Maritime security: international law and policy perspectives from Australia and New Zealand. London, Routledge.

Library Information and Research Service. (2008). The Middle East, abstracts and index. Pittsburgh, Penn, Library Information and Research Service.

Lynch, A., Macdonald, E., & Williams, G. (2007). Law and liberty in the war on terror. Annandale, NSW, Federation Press.

Mueller, J E., & Stewart, M. G. (2011). Terror, security, and money: balancing the risks, benefits, and costs of homeland security. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Owens, J. E., & Pelizzo, R. (2012). The War on Terror and the growth of executive power?: a comparative analysis. London, Routledge.

Pillar, P. R. (2011). Terrorism and US foreign policy. Washington, D.C., Brookings Inst. Press.

Primoratz, I. (2004). Terrorism: the philosophical issues. Basingstoke [u.a.], Palgrave Macmillan.

United States. (2001). Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.

Viotti, P. R, & Kauppi, M. V. (2011). International relations theory. Harlow, Pearson Education.

Wardlaw, G. (2009). Political terrorism: theory, tactics, and counter-measures. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire], Cambridge University Press.

Post-Industrial or Network Society

July 28, 2014

Topic: Post-Industrial or Network Society
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Introduction
Societies have been in a constant change; Man has been transforming to a better being biologically, socially and economically. From the cradle of humankind to the current man, there have been numerous changes. As man continues to change, so does the society he lives in. Many factors contribute to these changes; among them is information and technology. A few decades ago, countries were driven by the amount of energy they produced. This has however changed. Despite energy being a crucial fabric in the society, information has surpassed it. Today, countries are depending more on efficient flow of information (Castells, 2000b). With good systems of information, work is easily done and out increases in the different sectors of economy. According to Castells (2000a), the society has been intensively connected to network today to a point where it can be referred to as a global village. Networking has made it possible for people based in Asia to receive updates on what takes place in Europe on timely basis. With this speed, many people have become successful while others have continued to languish in abject poverty. Wacquant recognizes the situation and elaborates how some people become victims of segregation. This paper addresses the inequalities generated by the changing society to a more networked society and the effects such as dark ghettos (Wacquant, 2008).
Information acts as a double-edged sword cutting both sides with equal precision and depth. Many countries especially those in Europe and states in North America are continually expanding their economies. Other countries in Asia are also expanding their economies. However, a number of countries based in Asia and in Africa have continued to lag behind in terms of development. There has been inequality in the major in which growth has been occurring. Castells uses Africa as a perfect example. Technology is identified as one factor that has contributed to a huge success in turning around economies. With advancement in technology, western countries have succeded reducing the poverty levels. However, this has been the reverse in Africa (Castells, 2000a). In essence, technology appears to have failed to benefit Africa; the advancement of technology has failed substantially to take place. Technology is highly developed in industrialized regions such America, Europe and parts of Asia such as China and Israel. Therefore, it is a fact that the growth of technology mostly occurs in matters pertaining to industrial production. Africa, on the other hand, is not industrialized hence the technology does has not posed major impact. the adverse situation has turned Africa to be an agricultural continent where it does not even feed its entire people.
A network society has also created inequality in terms of labor. As countries develop better communication systems and advance in technology, more people are absorbed in communication sector of an economy. In addition, many people become informed and cannot accept wages below a certain level. According to Castells, the global economy is still capitalist because many organizations are after making profits. The current economy, just as the previous ones is based on property rights. As a result, companies look for all ways to ensure that they capitalize on all options to increase their profits. One of the ways to increase profits is by cutting the production cost. In production cost, cost of labor in some many cases is very high (Castells, 2000a). Consequently, many organizations have opted to cut on labor cost. With the current knowledge and flow of information, companies have opted to obtain cheap labor from countries in Asia and Africa. A good example is the Nike; the company has outsourced its operations to parts of Asia because the region has abundant cheap labor. Workers in the region receive wages far less than what was offered to workers when the entire operations were based in the United States. This is the height of inequality presented by the trend in society despite the rise of network. While some economies have grown through advancement of technology, some are deteriorating because of relying on cheap labor; poor children are exploited in Africa to work for various organizations. Subsequently, they forget the value of their studies and hence remain illiterate with high levels of illiteracy, poverty remains at high levels.
Many people have purported that poor governance and lack of political will is the main reason for poverty in Africa. However, Castells recognizes the effect these aspects have on the economy, but goes ahead and explains that the network society causes the major part of inequality in society. Politics and governance are not directly linked with production but communication and technology are part of production. The systems of communication are not homogenous in all organizations and countries. The situaion creates a gap between those with efficient communication systems and those with poor systems. As a result, production levels are high in organizations and countries with good communication systems and lower in those with moderate to poor systems.
Castells developed the theory of the social theory of space to explain the advancement of human life. The social theory of space stipulates that space played an instrumental role in conducting a society. Built space such as the landscapes, cities, and buildings influence how human life as selfhood, cognition, politics, power, ideological and social relations. The process of articulating concepts of built space is a fundamental instrument of understanding identity, and conciseness of humankind. On a similar note, Castells being an urban geographer addressed the issue of space in space of flows and space of places. The space of flows recognizes the internet as an area where business can be made more efficient.
Today, most companies have adopted the use of websites in their marketing policies. In social media, companies advertise their products and also have time and space to interact directly with their customers. This clearly brings out the idea of a space that is not geographically based. The space of flow, however, is not purely electronic space. It is a combination of technological infrastructure, transportation lines, and telecommunications (Castells, 2000b).
In the creation of the global city, many people claimed that space would be lost. However, Castells, firmly denies their claims that no space will be lost. He bases his facts on accounts that the space is not what many think it is. He defines it as the material support brought about by time-sharing practices especially social practices (Castells, 2000b). The space of flows, therefore, brings together locations that are a distant away through the sharing of functions and use of electronic circuits (Friedmann, 2004). These factors combined with fasts transportation systems.
The space of flows posed serious implications in the society that are segregated in terms of infrastructure lag behind in development. In defining space of flows, it is made clearly that social practices are crucial to success of any society as it brings societies together. This together with connectivity to internet forms the fabric of developing economy.
Waquant describes the existence of dark ghettos in US and the Red Belt in France. These two societies are the resultant of a neglected society (Wacquant, 2008). The government neglects them and societies for being blacks, racism influence the formation of the ghettos. The Latinos are equally affected by racism. The government fails in its duties for failing to provide reliable infrastructure. Without fast transportation systems, service delivery is slow. This way, very few if any organization may be located in the ghettos. The ghettos are also highly populated. With resources being scarce, many of the youths tend to enter into drug trafficking deals while others in crime (Wacquant, 2008). This has made them susceptible to frequent arrests. Due to racism, space of flow in the ghettos is not functional. There is no good information exchange between people living in the ghetto and the neighboring communities. The poverty levels in these ghettos are also very high. As a result, many children do not get a chance to attend school. Those that get the opportunity to go to school excel and are able to shift from the ghetto because they are exposed to adequate information. Additionally, they attend schools where internet and infrastructure are good.
With poor roads, frequent arrests by police and poor communication systems, societies living in the ghettos languish in poverty (Garnham, 2001). They are discriminated by the rest of society. Black people are often termed as urban outcasts especially in the cities. The inequality exists in society as revealed by statistics that a black American is more likely to be arrested in the US than any other community is. Prison has in fact become a common place for the blacks (Wacquant, 2009). Many people recognize the hand of the government in this segregation especially because the government does very little if any to reform the ghettos. Additionally, for a long while the government has been silent in the levels of racism. The concept of space of flows can be used to improve lives in the dark ghettos. Without the flow of information and quick delivery of services, the economy is hard to grow.
Conclusion
The analyses by both Waquant and Castells bring out the main problem in the contemporary world. It presents the cause of the trends in today’s world and focus on the future of societies and economy as well. Advancement in technology has had a great impact in the contemporary world. It has promoted production as industries can now produce more units at the same time when compared to some years back. However, this advancement in technology and the rate at which information flows has also had negative impacts on the society. Countries in Africa are the worst hit by the effects of flow of information and high technology. Many of these countries have been used to provide labor for the developed countries. Laborers are lowly paid hence they always depend on the developed society for help.
The concept of space of flow is yet another factor that is very important in the contemporary world. Without fast communication and transport systems, development is slow. A social practice, which is part of space of flows, plays a huge role in society. With practices such as racism, dark ghettos have formed in the US. To correct this, the government and other stakeholders should ensure that they eliminate the inequalities brought about by the rise of a network society.
Reference
Castells, M. (2000a). Materials for an exploratory theory of the network society. British Journal of Sociology Vol. No. 51 Issue No. 1 (January/March 2000) pp. 5-24.
Castells, M. (2000b). The rise of the network society (2nd ed.). U.S.: Blackwell Publishing
Friedmann, J. (2004). Reading Castells: zeitdiagnose and social theory. In F. Webster & B. Dimitriou (Eds.), Manuel Castells, Volume III (pp. 152-164). London: Sage Publications.
Garnham, N. (2001). Contribution to a political economy of mass-communication. In M.G. Durnham & D. M. Kellner (Eds.), Media and cultural studies (pp. 225-252). U.S.: Blackwell Publishing.
Wacquant, L. (2008) Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Wacquant, L. (2009) Prisons of Poverty (expanded edition). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Is Scrooge the True Hero of a Christmas Carol?

July 28, 2014

Is Scrooge the True Hero of a Christmas Carol?
Name:
Institution:

Is Scrooge the True Hero of a Christmas Carol?
A Christmas Carol focuses on the spirit of Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge is a hero in the story because he allows the reader to understand the value of Christmas. He is a miserable old man that fails to see the value of Christmas. However, through it all he remains the hero of the story(Dickens, 2009). This is because he proves that there is a bit of good in everybody, regardless of how miserable a person will be. In addition, he proves that the spirit of Christmas lives within us all even though it is masked by misery and unhappiness. Therefore, Ebenezer Scrooge is a hero based on his ability to illustrate kindness beyond his unhappy life.
In the First Stave (Marley’s Ghosts and the Three hundred Spirits), Ebenezer Scrooge is reluctant to give Bob a break on Christmas day. The rationale behind his reasoning is the value of ensuring that the business keeps operating during the holidays. “What good is Christmas that it should shut down bus-iness”(Dickens, 2009). However, even with the thought of losing business on the day, Scrooge allows Bob the day off on Christmas. He chooses to do his part and at the expense of his happiness (of making money and not working too much). It illustrates that Scrooge is willing to make sacrifices even though he remains a miserable man.
Though Scrooge is not willing to embrace the spirit of Christmas in the same vein as Fred and Bob, he is a symbol of practicality(Dickens, 2009). There is no doubting that Ebenezer Scrooge is a sad man and lacks any sense of compassion; however, he has business sense. For example, his refusal to purchase or add an additional lump of coal to add extra heat to the office ensures that Bob is not complacent in his manner of working because of the heat. Extra warmth would reduce concentration, which is a valid aspect of business. Therefore, the lack of extra heat in the workplace may appear mean or portrays Scrooge as a miser, but the reality is that it is good for productive purposes.
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim are heroes in their own right based on the unfortunate aspects that negatively affect their lives(Dickens, 2009). Bob is a kind-hearted man who seeks to do the right thing at any opportunity. Inaddition, he is subjected to unfair treatment for Scrooge who is his boss. To a certain degree, Bob is the depiction of an employee in the modern; underpaid, overworked, and making an effort to make ends meet through the problems. He is a hero because he remains positive even though the various problems that occurthrough his life and to his family. He even manages to remain cheerful and optimistic that Scrooge would give him Christmas day off even though he knows that his boss is cruel and a miserable man.
Tiny Tim is Bob’s son who is a cripple. He was crippled at birth and he embodies the aspects of hardship and struggles of life. His is the image of sympathy because his helpless was not his fault and his parents could do nothing to avert the problem. He is a hero because he takes his situation in stride and is willing to make something of his life regardless of his problem. He is a source of inspiration for Bob who works towards providing a better life for his family(Dickens, 2009). Tim is essential for the story because he embodies the ideology that even through the various problems in life, a person can enjoy life, which was the case at Christmas day. Though the premise is to look down on him, Tim illustrates his willingness to rise above his problems, which is a source of motivation for a reader.
Scrooge and Fred illustrate the nature of extremes in the story. While Scrooge is a bitter and miserable person, Fred is an up-beat person who is always willing to enjoy the holidays(Dickens, 2009). He always makes the effort to invite Scrooge for the Christmas, even though Scrooge always rejects his invitations. Fred is Scrooge’s nephew, and is a positive individual always willing to celebrate the festivities to the extreme. He is a hero based on his likeable character. He can inspire joy based on his demeanor and his approach to socializing.
In contrast, Scrooge is a symbol of hope for humanity in that goodness is within us all. Scrooge endures a period of speaking to ghosts to realize that it is important to be kind. Though he rejects the notion of the ghosts, his hallucination serves as a means of awakening the good in him and embraces the aspects of Christmas. This suggests that Scrooge has always had well in him, but he chose to be miserable out of his own accord. Therefore, Scrooge proves that being miserable is a choice and good resides in everyone regarding of the situation (Dickens, 2009). Therefore, the nature of the characters in the story presents how happiness exists. In the case of Scrooge, his aspect of good is introverted and he extenuates the misery in people. However, majority of the other characters exude happiness. This illustrates the various elements of social values and perspectives.

Reference
Dickens, C. (2009). A Christmas Carol. London, UK: Cricket House Books.

‘Little people’ is less offensive than ‘dwarf’ or ‘midget’ and those words should be banned. speech about justice so link justice in.

July 28, 2014

Speech presentation

Name
Instructor
Course
Date

All the protocol observed, ladies and gentlemen, good morning, we all gathered here for a mission and a vision. Who are the little people everybody keeps talking about? Listen to these dear classmates “The little people is less offensive than dwarf or midget, and those words should be banned. Justice in this case is a concern, for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people” Dwarfs, midgets, smurfs and many other disrespectful names are used for the little people of our society. I am not speaking about short people like pannunz, I am talking about the Tryon Lannisters and Mini me’s of the world. Hello, Miss Roirden and my fellow classmates, it comes to my attention that many individuals do not know how to refer to the little people and they end up “be-little-ing” them to the new ‘low’. Little people is the plural term for the bellow height citizens and the little person for one singular being Is proper and less offensive than the words ‘ dwarfs’ or midgets to denote them by.
Listen to the call and the voice of the little people who are outraged and are calling for justice, they are tired of being referred to with very bad, humiliating terms. Look at the media, listen to it carefully, when referring to this group of people, how do they call them, how do they feel about them? What is the government doing about it, nothing, it does not give justice to the little people. The society looks at them as less important people, even the jobs they give them. Despite the height, they are human too, they have the talents to explore, come on, fellow citizens, where do we find justice? The ‘Dwarfs’ want to ban word midget from being broadcasted on TV and other media sources, like the internet, social media, newspapers, among others. It is the cry of the little people that the media keeps referring to them as dwarfs, making them feel less important than who they are, they also want to be appreciated, they want to look important.
However, justice does not recognize them at all; it cannot hear their cry. Where is justice, then, they justice is there for every citizen, but is this justice my fellow colleagues? Where is justice? I wonder what justice is then, if it cannot open its ears and listen to the cry of the minority, the little people. They refer to them as pigmies, dwarfs, even some people go to the extend of calling them that the developing people, meaning they have not yet finished developing into human beings. How sad is this, I too feel it, my people, how do you feel if you were in their shoes? The cry of the little people still haunts justice, what can be done to change these offensive words from the media, and the society? They call the terms euphemism, the words that sound more polite and respectful, are there no other good and appreciative words that can be used instead of little, dwarfs, smurfs and the likes. Come on my fellow classmates, listen, and listen carefully to the cry of the innocent “short or little people” they are equally important and they would wish to be referred to in a more respectful manner with good terms.

References
Peffley, Mark. (2010). Justice in America. Cambridge University Press.

Monitoring and Control of Pollution Practical- Soil Microbiology

July 28, 2014

(Author’s name)
(Institutional Affiliation)

Monitoring and Control of Pollution Practical- Soil Microbiology
Introduction
Actinomycetes are the organisms that belong to the Actinomycetales, which is a major subdivision in the kingdom Prokaryotae. This is the kingdom that makes up all organisms that have a prokaryotic cell. The name Actinomycetes is sometimes used to restrictively refer to only the members of Actinomyces genus. For a long time, the Actinomycetes were being regarded as fungi. The organisms are usually a transitional form between the bacteria and fungi, which are sometimes referred to as higher bacteria or even filamentous bacteria.
Just like the bacteria, Actinomycetes possess cell walls that have muramic acid. The organisms also possess prokaryotic nuclei and are highly susceptible to antibiotics. However, just like the fungi, Actinomycetes form filaments known as hyphae, which look like the hyphal forms that are in fungi. The difference that exists between the Actinomycetes and fungi involves the cell wall composition where the Actinomycetes do not possess cellulose and chitin which are abundant in the cell wall of fungi. The group of Actinomycetes includes those bacteria that are mainly found in soil, humans, decaying vegetation, and animals. Some of them establish symbiotic association of nitrogen fixing with about 200 plant species such as soapberry, Australian pine, bitterbrush, alders, coffee berry, and mountain mahoganies (Go Pets America, 2013).
The Actinomycetes are very important members of the soil microbial community since they are involved in the decomposition of plants and animal debris as well as in the formation of humus. They also involved in the transformation of mineral, and they play a crucial role in biomediation process. The dominant bacteria like the Pseudomonas, as well as, Bacillus are involved in almost all biochemical transformation that occurs in the soil. Bacteria play a crucial role in the maintenance of soil fertility and remediation of the contaminated soil. The ability of the bacteria to have rapid growth, adaptation to adverse conditions and the ability to degrade or immobilize a huge quantity of the pollutants has made the bacteria to be an important tool when handling soil contamination.
On their part, fungi are mainly decomposers of plant and animal debris and their mycelia form around soil particles, improving soil texture. They produce diverse number of enzymes than can breakdown complex organic compounds to simple molecules. They play a vital role in recycling nutrient, as well as, degrading organic pollutants in soil.
The variation in the physical features such as temperature, pH, and nutrients composition has led to the variation in the microbial community. For instance, acid soils will have increased number of fungi when compared to alkaline soils. Intracellular and extracellular enzymes have significant roles in biodegradation and nutrient recycling. For example, β-glucosidase is the rate limiting enzymes in the microbial degradation of cellulose to glucose and nitrate reductase is responsible for transforming nitrate ion to nitrate ion to nitrite ion.
The activity of organisms in the soil contributes to the soil structure and nutrient content. This experiment is thus aimed to study the composition and distribution of microorganisms in soil, examine microbial enzymatic activities as well as demonstrate the role of microbes in nutrient recycling.
Experiment 1 – Enumeration of Soil Microorganisms
Aim
The experiment was done with an aim of determining the number of bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi present in soil using the plate count technique.
Materials
The materials that were used for the enumeration of soil microorganisms were as follows.
1) Spatula
2) Sterile tips
3) Weighing boat
4) Filter paper
5) 100ml Measuring cylinder
6) Garden soil
7) 6 sterile bottles
8) 3x99ml sterile water
9) 12 Petri dishes
10) 1000µl and 200µl Gilson pipettes
11) Molten Tryptic soya agar (TSA)
12) Molten Glycerol yeast extract agar with antifungal reagent (GYEA)
13) Molten Sabouraud’s dextrose agar (SDA)
14) Bunsen burner
15) Colony Counter
Method
Onto sterile filter paper, 1g of garden soil was weighed and the weighed soil added into 99mL of sterile water. The cap was replaced and the content mixed by shaking for 1 minute. Care was taken not to produce aerosols. Into a second bottle of sterile water, 1mL of the 10-2 (1:100) dilution was added and mixed to make up a solution of in 10-4 dilution. 1ml of the 10-4 dilution was transferred in to the final bottle of sterile water and the content mixed to bring the total solution to a 10-6 dilution. The Petri dishes were labeled as follows
Tryptic soya agar (TSA) – bacteria 10-4 to 10-7
Glycerol yeast extract agar (GYEA) – actinomycetes 10-3 to 10-6
Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) – fungi 10-2 to 10-5
Using the 1000µl or 200µl pipette and aseptic technique, 0.1mL of each soil dilution was transferred to each of the Petri dishes as indicated in Table 1.
Table : Volume of microbial solution required to achieve the final dilution (µl)
Final Dilution
Microbial Solution at

10-2
10-4
10-6
10-2
1000


10-3
100


10-4

1000

10-5

100

10-6


1000
10-7


100
(-) = Not applicable
The agar bottle was singly removed from the water bath and poured in about 20ml of agar to each of the appropriate dishes and mixing was done thoroughly. The content was allowed to settle and the procedure repeated for each of the agars. The plates were inverted and incubation done at 250C for 7 days. The plates that had colonies of between 25-250 colonies were counted and the number of the bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi, present in 1g of soil determined.
Results
After the period of incubation for 7 days at 250C, the plates were removed from the incubator and those containing (25 – 250) colonies counted and recorded. The counts were recorded in Table 2 below where the plates that had 25-250 colonies were TSA 10-4, GYEA 10-3, and SDA 10-2. Counting of the colonies was done using a colony counter. The plate 10-4 had colony count of 220 colonies of bacteria the plate labeled GYEA 10-3 had 178 colonies of Actinomycetes and plate labeled SDA 10-2 had 100 colonies of fungi. The other plates that failed to have colonies within the 25-250 colonies range to be counted were discarded.
Table : Collective Data of Number of Colonies in Cultured Plates
Final Dilution

Number of Colonies counted in each Cultured Plate

SDA for Fungi
GYEA for Actinomycetes
TSA for Bacteria
10-2
100
NC
NC
10-3

178
NC
10-4


220
10-5



10-6
NC


10-7
NC
NC

Where (-) = Too little to count and NC = Not Cultured
The number of colonies in 1 gram of soil was calculated using the formula below.

The number of in the soil was calculated as follows:

The initial concentration of soil was 1 gram in 100 mL of sterile water. Therefore, the in 100 mL, there were:

This represents the number of organisms that were in 1gram of soil. The amount of fungi in the 1 gram of soil was, therefore, organisms.
The number of in the soil was calculated as follows:

The initial concentration of soil was 1 gram in 100 mL of sterile water. Therefore, the in 100 mL, there were:

This is a representation of the number of organisms that were in 1gram of soil. The amount of Actinomycetes in the 1 gram of soil was, therefore, organisms.
The number of in the soil was calculated as follows:

The initial concentration of soil was 1 gram in 100 mL of sterile water. Therefore, the in 100 mL, there were:

This represents the number of organisms that were in 1gram of soil. The amount of bacteria in the 1 gram of soil was, therefore, organisms.
Discussion
The Tryptic sota agar abbreviated TSA refers to the general purpose medium that provides enough nutrients that enable growth of a wide variety of microorganisms. The agar is applied in a number of applications such as storage of cultures, enumeration or counting the organism, pure culture isolation and in simple general culture applications. In this experiment, TSA was used in the enumeration of bacteria in soil.
The medium is made up of enzymatic agents that digest casein and soybean meal to provide amino acids as well as other nitrogenous substances. This makes the medium to be a nutritious medium that can be used for a variety of organisms. The medium has glucose as the energy source and sodium chloride being used as the agent that maintains the osmotic equilibrium. The dipotassium phosphate salt is used as a buffer that maintains pH levels in the medium. In some instances, the medium is supplemented with blood and this facilitates the growth of bacteria that are more fastidious or antimicrobial agents in order to allow for the selection of a number of microbial categories from pure flora.
The methods that are available for enumerating microorganisms include the use of spectrophotometer in the measurement of the optical density, serial dilution of bacteria and placing the diluted bacteria on media that support the organism. The current method used serial dilution of bacteria and plating the dilutions on TSA medium to grow the bacteria. Although this method is time consuming, it is the only method that is capable of providing accurate results statistically and has results that are repeatable in case the experiment is done again. The method is also ideal for the enumeration of microorganisms in a population since it identifies only the organisms that are living in a given population.
The soil has been one of the major reservoirs of microbial life. In a typical garden soil, there are numerous numbers of bacteria in each gram. One of the most numerous microorganisms is the bacteria, which include the aerobes, as well as, anaerobe bacteria. These bacteria have a wide variety of nutritional requirements ranging from chemoheterotrophs to photoautotrophs. The population of microbes in the soil increases in a rapid manner as the usable nutrients as well as suitable conditions in their environment becomes available. Some of these conditions include temperature, light and aeration. The population increases until these conditions have started depleting or when the physical conditions around them change (Case & Carter, 2013).
The method of serial dilution that was used to determine the number of bacteria in 1 gram of soil resulted in 2.2×109 bacteria.
Glycerol Yeast Extract Agar, abbreviated as GYEA refers to a selective medium that is used to enrich for a majority of the antibiotic producing spore forming bacteria in the Bacillus, Actinomycetes, as well as, in the other groups of Gram positive bacteria that are not taking part in the spore formation.
GYEA medium is composed of 0.2% yeast extract, 0.5% Glycerol, 0.1% dipotassium phosphate, and 1.5% agar. Actinomycetes organisms are bodacious, attractive, and charming filamentous bacteria that are Gram-positive and have true aerial hyphae. The organism belongs to Actinobateria phylum and order actinomycetales. Most of the Actinomycetes bacteria are free living, saprophytic, spore forming and are distributed widely in water, soil and colonizing plants (George, Anjumol, George, & Hatha, 2012). The method of serial dilution that was used to determine the number of Actinomycetes in 1 gram of soil resulted in 1.78×108 Actinomycetes.
The medium that is used to cultivate fungi is known as Sabouraud agar. This type of agar contains peptones and is known for their main use in the cultivation of dermatophytes (Sandven & Lassen, 1999). The dermatophytes are the fungi causing infection of the hair, skin, or nails. The agar was created by Raymond Sabouraud in 1892. A typical Sabouraud agar is composed of 40 g/L dextrose, 10 g/L peptone, and 20 g/L agar with a pH 5.6. The method of serial dilution that was used to determine the number of Fungi in 1 gram of soil resulted in 1×107 fungi.
The number of fungi that are acceptable in 1g of fertile soil is about 400000 (Griffiths, Ritz, Ebble White, & Dobson, 1999). However, in this experiment a total of 498 microbial isolates comprising of fungi, actinomycetes, and bacteria were found after analyzing garden soil samples taken. The experiment demonstrated that bacterial colonies were more than those of fungi and actinomycetes. The high number of bacterial isolate supported an earlier research that indicated that bacteria secrete various kinds of enzymes which suppress the other organisms in soil (Westover, Kennedy, & Kelley, 1997).
Having been collected from the garden, the soil was organic. This explains the reason as to why bacterial isolates were more than the fungal as well as actinomycetes isolates since bacteria have the ability to tolerate harsh soil microclimate. They are also able to degrade organic material and sporulate properly making the soil more nutritive with the aid of a number of enzymes that they secrete (Westover, Kennedy, & Kelley, 1997). The organic soil with also offered a conducive environment for diversity of microorganisms thus the microbial diversity obtained from the experiment.
From the experiment, it shows that the soil had a rich in diversity of bacteria, 220 colonies as compared to the diversity of fungi, 100 colonies, and the actinomycetes, 178 colonies. This could also have been contributed by the season during which the soil samples were collected from the garden. According to a study done previously on enumeration of soil microorganisms, the soil samples were collected during the fruiting period when there is an exchange of production of mineral with different micronutrients gave high number of bacteria than the other organisms (Fouzia & Amir, 2011). These are illustrated below.
Table : Occurrence of colonies of fungi in serial dilution technique, in inorganic and organic soils
Table : Occurrence of colonies of bacteria in serial dilution technique in inorganic and organic soils

Experiment 2 – Demonstration of β-Glucosidase Activity in Soil
Aim
To measure the β-glucosidase activity in soil microbes
Materials
The materials that were used in the demonstration of β-glucosidase activity were as follows.
1. Weighing Boat
2. Water shaking bath at 370C
3. Spectrophotometer
4. Garden soil
5. Spatula
6. Toluene
7. Modified universal buffer (MUB), ph 6.0
8. Filter paper (Whatman 2v)
9. 0.5M CaCl2
10. 0.1M Tris buffer (pH12 and 10)
11. p-Nitrophenol standard solution
12. 25mM p-Nitrophenyl-β-D-glucoside (PNG) solution
13. Pipette
14. Cuvette
15. 2x50ml Erlenmeyer flask
Methods
One gram of moist, sieved (2mm) soil was placed in a 50ml Erlenmeyer flask, and 0.25ml of toluene, 4ml of MUB solution, 1ml PNG solution added to the flask. The flask was stoppered and the content mixed thoroughly and incubated for 1hr at 370C. The procedure was followed omitting the addition of PNG, in order to prepare a blank. After the incubation, 1ml of CaCl2 solution, 4ml of Tris buffer (pH12), were added, and the flasks swirled. The soil suspension was filtered immediately. In order to prepare the blank, PNG was added at the incubation before the CaCl2 and Tris buffer were added. The color intensity was measured at 400nm making sure that the optical intensity was not too high. In case of too high optical intensity, the filtrate was diluted using Tris buffer (pH10). The results were read from the standard calibration curve (between 0 – 100 µg/ml) that was provided. The concentration of p-Nitrophenol per ml of the filtrate was calculated using the following equation:

Where
C = concentration of p-nitrophenol (µg/ml)
dwt = dry weight of 1g of moist soil
v = total volume of soil suspension in ml
SW = weight of soil sample used
T = incubation time
Results
The absorbance readings for the standard solutions that were measured at 400nm were as recorded in Table 5. The absorbance readings increased proportionally as the solution concentration increased.

Table : Table for standard calibration curve
X-axis
Y-axis
Concentration (µg/ml)
Absorbance (nm)
0
0
20
0.076
40
0.145
60
0.315
80
0.426
100
0.613
The absorbance reading of the sample solution was determined to have a color intensity of 0.088nm. The absorbance obtained from the various standard solutions, and their concentrations were used to plot a graph of absorbance on the Y axis against concentration (X-axis) (Figure 1).

Figure : A graph of absorbance on the Y axis against concentration (X-axis)
Using the absorbance obtained, and the equation of the graph, the concentration of p-nitrophenol in µg/ml was calculated.

Where y is the absorbance (0.088nm) and x concentration of p-nitrophenol

The concentration of p-nitrophenol was, therefore, 21.57μg/ml.
The concentration of p-Nitrophenol per ml of the filtrate was calculated using the following equation:

Where
C = concentration of p-nitrophenol =21.57µg/ml
dwt = dry weight of 1g of moist soil = 0.7586g
v = total volume of soil suspension in ml = 1ml
SW = weight of soil sample used = 1g
T = incubation time = 1 hour

The concentration of p-Nitrophenol was, therefore, 28.43μg/g dry wt/h
Discussion
The primary mediators that are usually employed in the understanding of soil biology are the microorganisms as well as the enzymes that are found in soil. Some of the soil processes that take place in the soil include degradation of organic matter, nutrient recycling as well as the mineralization. The microorganisms and enzymes in the soil play a crucial role in the maintenance of the quality of soil ecosystem and the functional diversity. The enzymatic activities in the soil have also been used as indicators of the changes in the organic matter in the soil quantitatively. One of these enzymes is beta-glucosidase, whose activity has been indicated to be sensitive to the management of soil and thus proposed to be an indicator of the quality of soil. This gives an indication on whether there have been changes in the soil status in terms of the organic matter as well as in its turnover (Stege, Messina, Bianchi, Olsina, & Raba, 2010).
The β-glucosidase is one of the glucosidase enzymes and works on the β1->4 bonds that link either two glucose molecules that are substituted from glucose such as the disaccharide cellobiose. The enzyme catalyzes the hydrolysis of the final non-reducing residue in beta-D-glucosides to release glucose. The β-glucosidase enzymes are important in organisms such as bacteria, some fungi, and termite since they assist them in the cellulose consumption (Cox, Lehninger, & Nelson, 2000).
The β-glucosidase enzyme is currently being used in the production of biofuel (Chauve, et al., 2010).
This is by using wood as the raw material and changing it into bioethanol through enzymatic hydrolysis. The process involves five main steps with the first one being pre-hydrolysis. The structure of the wood is divided into two, the lignin and cellulose. Cellulose enzymes access the wood structure and acts on the structures. The second step involves hydrolysis using the cellulose enzyme hydrolyses the cellulose content in the wood. After this, in the third step, an endoglucanase enzyme participates in the degradation of the chain that is in the centre of the molecular cellulose structure. The exoglucanase enzyme is used in the fourth step to bind and isolate the ends of the chain that are available. The units of cellobiose are cleaved and finally β-glucosidase enzyme divides the molecule of cellobiose forming two glucoses.
One of the simple and direct ways of determining the activity of beta-glucosidase enzyme is by using p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucoside as the substrate. The activity of β-glucosidase is determined directly without conducting any pretreatment processes activity directly in biological samples without doing pretreatment. The substrate is specifically hydrolyzed by β-glucosidase to give a product that is yellow colored. This product absorbs light at 405nm, and the rate of reaction has a direct proportionality with the activity of the enzyme.
The activity of β-glucosidase in this experiment was 28.43μg/g dry wt/h. This value falls within the range of β-glucosidase activity of 1.04 to 63.4μg/g dry wt/h obtained from a previous study. The soil samples used in this study were collected fields with different land use including forest, pasture as well as agriculture. This β-glucosidase activity was affected by the type of land use as well as soil order as shown in the table below.

Table : Statistical analysis for activities of enzymes. The activity of β-glucosidase had a significant difference of below probability of 0.1 (Veronica, Leo, David, & Luis, 2007)
Activity of β-glucosidase in this study was high in Oxisols soil orders in comparison to Inceptisols as it is indicated below.

Figure : activities of enzymes that took part in cycling of N, C, P, and S in soils (Veronica, Leo, David, & Luis, 2007)
This enzyme’s activity was higher in soils pasture soil than it was in the forest as well as agricultural soil as shown below.

Figure : activities of enzymes that took part in cycling of N, C, P, and S in soils (Veronica, Leo, David, & Luis, 2007)
The β-glucosidase activity ranged amongst the soil samples used in the study between 1.12 and 6.12 μg/g dry wt/h dry soil as illustrated below.

Table : Samples of soil collected from every land use and soil order (Veronica, Leo, David, & Luis, 2007)

β-glucosidase is utilized by soil microbes in reaction to the availability of appropriate substrate. Consequently, the enzyme’s activity would be anticipated to be a sign of turnover of labile organic carbon in the soil, which is supported by the correlations between activity β-glucosidase, as well as the ratio of Cmic, microbial biomass, to Ctotal, total biomass (Benjamin, David, Philip, & Nick, 2002). In this study, it was further discovered that there was a high microbial biomass that resulted from the content of higher organic matter as well as differences in the quality of organic matter between soils from cooler areas and those from warmer areas.
β-Glucosidase activity was also discovered to vary among different soil types. For instance, organic matter breakdown was found to be more than the rate at which humus was synthesized in warmer areas. On top of this, the lower activities of enzyme in the tropical area may have been due to dissimilarities in the kind of clay minerals available in the soils from the warmer areas. Clay minerals in cooler areas have a tendency to be less weathered than the minerals in soils from warmer areas, which have a tendency to be weathered highly (Veronica, Leo, David, & Luis, 2007).
In yet another study by Benjamin and others, the β-glucosidase activity ranged from 1.12 to 6.1212 μg/g dry wt/h dry soil in 29 soil samples used as shown below (Benjamin, David, Philip, & Nick, 2002).
Table : Soil properties and β-glucosidase activities of 29 samples of soil (Benjamin, David, Philip, & Nick, 2002)

The results suggest that, in the lack of substrate-limitation (a scenario unlikely to occur in cellulose-loaded pasture soils), substrate-induced β-glucosidase activity is regulated by processes that control general heterotroph activity. The β-glucosidase activity for this study was illustrated as below.

Figure : β-glucosidase activity in soil (Benjamin, David, Philip, & Nick, 2002)
Comparing this experiment to the previous studies, it can be hypothesized that there was high microbial biomass in the garden soil, thus the high enzyme activity.
Experiment 3 – Demonstration of Denitrification in Soil
Aim
To understand the role of soil bacteria in denitrification
Materials
1. Zinc powder
2. Sulphanilic acid
3. Alpha napthylamine reagent
4. Pseudomonas aeruginosa broth culture
5. Garden soil
6. Spatula
7. Pasteur pipettes
8. 1 tube of nitrate free broth
9. 2 tubes of nitrate broth with Durham tubes
Methods
One tube of nitrate broth containing a Durham tube 1g of soil was inoculated. Shaking the culture tubes was avoided during inoculation. Another tube of nitrate broth that contained a loopful of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was inoculated. One tube of nitrate free broth containing a Durham tube with Pseudomonas aeruginosa was also inoculated. All the tubes were incubated at room temperature for 7 days and the production of gas observed. One ml of alpha napthylamine (corrosive) and 1ml of sulphanilic reagent (corrosive) were added to the tubes and the content mixed thoroughly. The appearance of a red color by the 30th second gave an indication that nitrite was present. For the tubes that failed to develop a red color, a pinch of Zn powder, which is a strong reductant that can reduce any nitrate (NO3-) to nitrite NO2-)was added and any further color change observed.
Result
The experiment to demonstrate the process of denitrification in soil was done using nitrate broth as the substrate. The experiment also involved a positive test, where an organism known to be a denitrifier was added to give a comparison for a positive result. There was also a negative test setup where an organism known to be a denitrifier was added in a tube (Tube 3) that had no nitrate as the substrate for denitrification. The results for the experiment were confirmed positive with the production of gas.
Different results were obtained from three groups that did the experiment. From the first group (Table 9), there was gas production in Tube 1 and Tube 2 while Tube 3 did not produce gas. After napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent was added, Tube 1 and 3 did not result in color change while Tube 2 resulted in a color change. Since Tube 1 and 3 did not show color change after the addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent, addition of zinc powder resulted in color change in Tube 1, while Tube 2 did not result in color change.
Table : Demonstration of denitrification in soil results for Group 1

Tube 1 (Soil in nitrate broth)
Tube 2 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa in nitrate broth)
Tube 3 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa in nitrate-free broth)
Gas Production
+
+

Color Change upon addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent

+

Color change upon addition of Zn powder
+
NA

‘+’ = positive result (yes) ‘–’ = negative result (no) NA = Not Applicable
The results from the second group (Table 10) indicated production of gas in Tube 1 and 2 while Tube 3 did not have any gas production. After the addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent, there was no color change in Tube 1 and 3 and a change in color while in Tube 2 color change was observed. Since Tube 1 and 3 did not show color change after the addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent, addition of zinc powder did not result in color change, in either of the tubes.
Table : Demonstration of denitrification in soil results for Group 2

Tube 1 (Soil in nitrate broth)
Tube 2 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa in nitrate broth)
Tube 3 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa in nitrate-free broth)
Gas Production
+
+

Color change upon addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent

+

Color change upon addition of Zn powder

NA

The results from the third group (Table 11) indicated production of gas in Tube 1 and 3 while Tube 2 did not have any gas production. After the addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent, there was no color change in Tube 1, 2 and 3. Since all the tubes did not show color change after the addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent, addition of zinc powder was done with tube 2 having a change in color. However, Tube 1 and 3 did not result in color change.
Table : Demonstration of denitrification in soil results for Group 3

Tube 1 (Soil in nitrate broth)
Tube 2 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa in nitrate broth)
Tube 3 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa in nitrate-free broth)
Gas Production
+

+
Color Change upon addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent



Color change upon addition of Zn powder

+

‘+’ = positive result (yes) ‘–’ = negative result (no) NA = Not Applicable
Discussion
Denitrification refers to a process that is facilitated by the microbes and involved reduction of nitrate resulting in the production of nitrogen gas. The process occurs through a sequence of intermediate product production such as nitrogen oxide. Ultimately, there is a reduction of oxidized nitrogen forms due to the oxidation of the donor of electron such as the organic matter. Some of the preferred acceptors of electron include nitrate, nitrite and nitric oxide. The process of denitrification is done by the heterotrophic bacteria like the Paracoccus denitrificans. However, there have been some autotrophic denitrifiers such as Thiobacillus denitrificans that have been identified (Carlson & Ingraham, 1983).
There are techniques that have been developed aimed at differentiating bacterial species. One of these techniques is based on the ability of the bacteria to reduce nitrate forming nitrite or even nitrogenous gases. The use of nitrate reduction test enables the differentiation of different species on whether they are positive or negative for the nitrate reduction test. The biochemical pathway through which nitrate is reduced follows the path from nitrate to nitrite. The formed nitrite is converted to nitric oxide then to nitrous oxide, which is finally converted to nitrogen gas (CDC, 2011).
The test for the reduction of nitrate is based on nitrite detection in the medium where the organism had been incubated. Once the nitrite compound is formed in the medium, addition of the sulfanilic acid (nitrate reagent A) will result in a reaction between the two substances. This reaction results in the formation of a colorless complex known as nitrite-sulfanilic acid. This complex will then react with alpha-naphthylamine (nitrate reagent B) forming a red precipitate known as prontosil. When there is no red color in the medium after the sulfanilic acid and alpha-naphthylamine are added, thus there is no nitrite that has been made in the medium. This may have been caused by the fact that reduction of nitrate did not happen, or the nitrate reduction took place till the last stage and thus no nitrite left in the media. This means that such a microorganism is nitrate positive (CDC, 2011). The entire denitrification process may be illustrated as in Figure 5 below.

Figure : Nitrate reduction pathway (CDC, 2011).
Where there are no positive results, zinc is usually added to the media to determine whether there is any nitrate that has not reacted. In case there is any nitrate available, there is a change in color, which is indicated by the turning of color to red after zinc has reacted with the unreacted nitrate reagents.
The soil in the first group gave positive results in the production of gas. This is an indication that there was activity of denitrification that was going on in the soil. This may have been caused by the presence of enzymes such as nitrate reductase and nitrite oxidase that reduce the nitrates down to nitrogen gas, which finally escapes from the reaction mixture forming the bubbles. In the sample that had Pseudomonas aeruginosa put in the medium with nitrate broth, production of gas was witnessed as this organism has the necessary mechanisms for the reduction of nitrate into nitrogen gas. This test acted as the positive control providing the results that were to be expected. The tube that had Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but no nitrate broth had no production of nitrogen gas as the substrate for the process was not available.
In group 2, the tube with the soil sample resulted in gas production indicating denitrification activities in the soil. The success of this experiment was confirmed by confirmed by the production of gas in the tube containing nitrate broth and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The tube that had no nitrate broth but had Pseudomonas aeruginosa did not produce gas since the nitrate broth was to be the substrate for denitrification activity.
In group 3, the tube with the soil sample resulted in gas production indicating denitrification activities in the soil. The tube containing nitrate broth and Pseudomonas aeruginosa did not produce gas as it was expected. This may have been caused by errors in the preparation of the experiment. The tube that had no nitrate broth but had Pseudomonas aeruginosa produced gas, although this was not expected. There could have been contaminations, which introduced nitrate broth into the tube providing the substrate for denitrification activity.
Addition of napthylamine and sulphanilic reagent helps in the detection of nitrite presence in the medium. Presence of nitrite results from those organisms that are capable of reducing nitrate to nitrite but cannot reduce nitrite to nitrogen gas. The presence of the nitrite is indicated by the presence of a precipitate that is red in color. In group 1, the tube 1, which had the soil sample, and nitrate broth did not give a positive result for the determination of nitrite presence. The organisms present in the soil may have exhausted the nitrate content in the medium by converting it into nitrogen gas.
In the second tube, the nitrite test resulted in a positive result with the production of a red colored precipitate. Pseudomonas aeruginosa may have not fully reduced the nitrate substrate to nitrogen gas, and some nitrite intermediates may have been available to take part in the reaction with nitrate reagent A and B to produce the precipitate. Tube 3 gave a negative result for the nitrite test. In this test, although an organism that can convert nitrate to nitrite was available, there was no nitrate substrate to be converted to nitrite.
In group 2, the tube 1 with soil sample and nitrate broth did not give a positive result for the determination of nitrite presence. The organisms that are capable of denitrifying nitrate may have exhausted the nitrate content in the medium by converting it into nitrogen gas. In the second tube, the nitrite test, as in group 1, resulted in a positive result with the production of a red colored precipitate. This may have been caused by lack of full reduction of nitrate substrate to nitrogen gas by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This resulted in some nitrite intermediates taking part in the reaction with nitrate reagent A and B to produce the precipitate. Tube 3 gave a negative result for the nitrite test. In this test, although an organism that can convert nitrate to nitrite was available, there was no nitrate substrate to be converted to nitrite.
In the third group, the tube 1, which had the soil sample, and nitrate broth did not give a positive result for the determination of nitrite presence. The organisms present in the soil may have exhausted the nitrate content in the medium by converting it into nitrogen gas. This was similar in all the three groups. In the second tube, the nitrite test resulted in a negative result with no production of a red colored precipitate. Pseudomonas aeruginosa may have fully reduced the nitrate substrate to nitrogen gas, and thus no nitrite intermediates were available to take part in the reaction with nitrate reagent A and B to produce the precipitate. Tube 3 gave a negative result for the nitrite test. In this test, although an organism that can convert nitrate to nitrite was available, there was no nitrate substrate to be converted to nitrite.
Addition of zinc granules was done to confirm the denitrification process. In the presence of nitrate, there is a reaction between zinc and the nitrate to form a product which is red in color. In group 1, the experiment was done in tube 1 and 3 that did not show a positive result for the nitrite test. In tube 1, the test had a positive result meaning there were nitrate compounds that were present. The organisms in the soil may have not completely reduced nitrate. However, tube 3 gave a negative result as no nitrate was in the medium.
In group 2, the test was done in the test tube 1 and 3 and the two gave negative results. In tube 1, this may have resulted from the complete reduction of the nitrate while, in tube 3, no nitrate was available in the medium. In group 3, the test was done in all the tubes. Tube 1 and 3 resulted in a negative result while tube 2 had a positive result. This confirmed full denitrification of the nitrate substrate by the nitrifying organisms in the soil, in the case of tube 1 and lack of nitrate in the third test tube. The positive results in tube 2 for this group may have resulted from the nitrate substrate that was in the medium which was not reduced as witnessed by failure in gas production, in the first test. This may mean that there was no Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the reaction mixture to denitrify the nitrate. This is possibly due to error where introduction of the organism was omitted.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known to be a denitrifying organism reducing nitrate to nitrogen gas. Other bacteria such as Escherichia coli are known to reduce nitrate to nitrite without reducing them to nitrogen gas. Others such as Alcaligenes faecalis and Neisseria lactamica have the capability to reduce nitrite to nitrogen but cannot reduce nitrate. Denitrification, which is the nitrate reduction to nitrogen or nitrous oxide, is the key biological mechanism though which fixed nitrogen goes back to the atmosphere from water and soil. Microbes that have the capability to denitrify are broadly dispersed in the environment (Henry, et al., 2005).

In a previous study by Doudoroff and Palleroni (1974), Pseudomonas aeruginosa was selected in order to demonstrate denitrification. This is because of its availability commercially, abilities to denitrify as well as physiological versatility. This bacterium is usually present terrestrial soil and may be grown in a number of conditions with low nutrient levels (Doudoroff & Palleroni, 1974). P. aeruginosa represents a broad range of other denitrifying bacteria that include Alcaligenes denitrificans, Pseudomonas denitrificans, as well as Paracoccus denitrificans (Koneman, Allen, Dowell, & M.Sommers, 1979).
A study carried out by Rudolphi and others researched on enzymatic steps of an organism that is similar to strains of Pseudomonas, Paracoccus that can utilize dimethylphenols and methylphenols in oxygen lacking condition along with nitrate reduction (Rudolphi, Tschech, & Fuchs, 1991). Having the ability to breakdown organic matter, they discovered that denitrifying bacteria take part in an important function in reduction of organic carbon, thus lowering soils nitrate (Song, Palleroni, & Häggblom, 2000).
Conclusion
The counting of microorganisms is a very useful toll in basic science and has been employed to determine the amount of bacteria that are present in a given ecosystem. The knowledge on the number of bacteria that are in a culture may help in the determination of the protein or DNA amount that may be isolated from the population. Enumeration of microbe is also done as a routine in areas that are concerned with health where specialists such as microbiologists do tests on milk, food, or water to know the number of microbes present. This helps in judgment on whether the product produced is safe to be used by human. Although various methods of enumerating microorganisms such as use of spectrophotometer in the measurement of the optical density are available, this experiment used serial dilution of bacteria and placing the diluted bacteria on media that support the organism. Through this method, the amount of bacteria, Actinomycetes and fungi in soil were successfully determined using different culture media to selectively grow the desired organism.
The experiment also found the activity of beta-glucosidase enzyme in the soil sample. The availability of the enzyme in the organisms that were in the soil enabled the metabolism of the substrate introduced into the test and the product produced detected through spectrophotometer. The concentration of the product was quite significant and fellow within the range that has been reported in other studies.
The process of denitrification, which involves four enzymes to convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, belong to the main biological mechanisms. The microorganisms that have the denitrifying capability are distributed widely. The main technique that has been used in the detection of their presence is the use of the nitrate test, which utilizes the nitrate substrate and gas production to detect denitrifying activities. Through this procedure, the sample soil in question indicated to have microorganisms that have the capability to denitrify nitrate leading to nitrogen gas. There have been a number of methods that are used in the quantification of the denitrifying bacteria such as the most probable number method. Other methods used include the use of PCR to detect a specific gene for nitrite reductase (nirK), which is only found in denitrifying bacteria. The experiment was, therefore, successful in detecting the activity of denitrifying bacteria in the soil sample.
Reference List
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Carlson, C. A., & Ingraham, J. L. (1983). Comparison of denitrification by Pseudomonas stutzeri, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Paracoccus denitrificans. :. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 45, 1247-1253.
Case, C. L., & Carter, P. (2013). Soil Productivity – Plate Count Method. Retrieved April 19, 2013, from http://www.smccd.net/accounts/case/envmic/index.html#anchor105131
CDC. (2011). Nitrate Reduction Test. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/lab/tests/nitrate.htm
Chauve, M., Mathis, H., Huc, D., Casanave, D., Monot, F., & Ferreira, N. L. (2010). Comparative kinetic analysis of two fungal b-glucosidases. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 3(3), 1-8.
Cox, M., Lehninger, A. L., & Nelson, D. R. (2000). Lehninger principles of biochemistry. New York: Worth Publishers.
Doudoroff, M., & Palleroni, N. J. (1974). Gram-negative Aerobic Rods and Cocci. Family I: Pseudomonaceae.Genus I: Pseudomonas in Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Microbiology. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.
Fouzia, I., & Amir, K. (2011). Isolation, Identification and Comparative Study of Fungal and Bacterial Strains Found in Organic and Inorganic Soils of Different Agricultural Fields. Recent Research in Science and Technology, 3(11), 30-36.
George, M., Anjumol, A., George, G., & Hatha, A. A. (2012). Distribution and bioactive potential of soil actinomycetes from different ecological habitats. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 6(10), 2265-2271.
Go Pets America. (2013). Actinomycetes, Actinomycetales. Retrieved April 17, 2013, from http://www.gopetsamerica.com/bio/bacteria/actinomycetes.aspx
Griffiths, B. S., Ritz, K., Ebble White, N., & Dobson, G. (1999). Soil microbial community structure and their effect on substrate loading rates. Soil biol. Biochem, 31, 145-153.
Henry, S., Baudoin, E., López-Gutiérrez, J. C., Martin-Laurent, F., Brauman, A., & Philippot, L. (2005). Quantification of denitrifying bacteria in soils by nirK gene targeted real-time PCR. J Microbiol Methods, 61(2), 289-90.
Koneman, E. W., Allen, S. D., Dowell, V. R., & M.Sommers, H. (1979). Color Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology . Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co.
Rudolphi, A., Tschech, A., & Fuchs, G. (1991). Anaerobic degradation of cresols by denitrifying bacteria. Archives of Microbiology, 155(3), 238-248.
Sandven, P., & Lassen, J. (1999). Importance of selective media for recovery of yeasts from clinical specimens. Journal of clinical microbiology, 37(11), 3731–3732.
Song, B., Palleroni, N. J., & Häggblom, M. M. (2000). Isolation and characterization of diverse Halobenzoate-degrading denitrifying bacteria from soils and sediments. Applied and Envionmental Microbiology, 66(8), 3446-3453.
Stege, P. W., Messina, G. A., Bianchi, G., Olsina, R. A., & Raba, J. (2010). Determination of beta-glucosidase activity in soils with a bioanalytical sensor modified with multiwalled carbon nanotubes. Anal Bioanal Chem, 397(3), 1347-1353.
Veronica, A.-M., Leo, C., David, S.-R., & Luis, P.-A. (2007). Enzyme activities as affected by soil properties and land use in a tropical watershed. Applied Soil Ecology, 35, 35–45.
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Grassroots Innovation Initiative

July 28, 2014

Running Head: Benefits and Challenges associated with Grassroots Innovation initiative

Grassroots Innovation Initiative

Name

Institution

Date

Abstract
Grassroots innovation is new organizational tools and arrangements that are niche reforms that are different from typical business innovations. From social enterprise to innovative technologies, grassroots innovation ensures locally sustainable solutions that respond well to the needs and interests of people directly involved. According to DTI (2005), innovation is described as the successful exploitation or use of ideas that incorporate design, technology and best practice as key components to help corporations compete effectively in the global business environment. A sustainable grassroots innovation policy helps companies engage in open developments that seek wider participation from base-level employees and hence contribute to the overall growth of the company.
Modern grassroots innovation has however shifted from traditional improvements in production systems towards scaling up the social and technical systems. Niche reforms are application domains that give space for ideas and new practices to be developed to work within specific functionalities that branch out to develop new product markets (Hoogma et al, 2002). Grassroots innovative ideas are however not alternatives to mainstream innovation and can therefore not be blueprints that would cause regime change within the company (Smith, 2004).
Grassroots Innovation in Microsoft
Microsoft has driven change around the world through innovation by combining innovative technology and value creation. Mainstream innovation at Microsoft that took a top-down approach had a bigger impact around product and services development. However, considering these innovations were facilitated by a high cost infrastructure, it can be argued that they tend to restrict alternative innovations. Hence growth opportunities around grassroots innovations are hindered and can only be embedded into existing wider infrastructure. In recognition that vast expertise on Microsoft products and practices was not out there but within the company, Microsoft decided to tap ideas for new business and profit growth from its employees. This approach was meant to program solutions that existed within the company products in order to generate better solutions for the market. However, Microsoft employees could only improve on original ideas with guidance from the top and expertise from the bottom. An example being innovation initiatives such as Quest and Think Week that originated from founder Bill Gates.
Grassroots initiatives such as IdeAgency also found it difficult to integrate into the overall Microsoft product divisions within its first year of launching. The idea was as good as on paper but its implementation was hindered by the existing business practices and product groups. This according to Smith (2004) tends to discourage employees morale to generate ideas since their uptake and sustainability is low. Thus employees become confined to their job description and fear to go the extra mile. The established technological and institutional norms and product processes tend to lock out possible alternatives that could sustain growth of the company. However, the uptake of such alternatives generated from the grassroots innovation should also be gradual and should well synchronize with existing processes. This is because different innovations and approaches could spiral out of control and destabilize the in-house model.
Company succession especially within a technological organization could change the norm and pioneer grassroots innovations. In Microsoft, the company vision on paper could not be visualized in product despite the extraordinary nature of the ideas. The innovation challenge however brings the vision closer when a challenge is given to employees to innovate. Employees are engaged in idea review and exchange by the innovation sponsor. The employees could generate close to 20 ideas in a period of 4 to 6 weeks. The second phase would be the idea development stage where scenarios are created, business modeling, alignment of ideas to Microsoft business, IP development and 10 selected seed funding is done in a period of 6 to 8 weeks. In the third phase, priority scenarios are taken up putting in consideration its compatibility and ease of integration. If the scenario is validated, its evaluated for business modeling and funded as a prototype within 16 weeks and later adopted in the product group as a successful innovation. Microsoft has specifically developed innovative umbrellas or mechanisms in seven innovative product processes.
The IdeAgency and IdeaExchange are processes that serve grassroots innovation sought from over 90,000 of its employees worldwide. According to Hoogma et al (2002), policy recommendations should be developed and implemented to allow greater interaction of employees and specific actors of a product line such as customers and product intermediaries to promote social learning of product innovation. The employees should also not be tied down by appraisals and technical performance if they are to have courage to innovate in their prescribed niches. Nurturing niche innovation run from technical experts that are involved in product development but also in sales and marketing executives that have feedback from the product clientele. Microsoft have been able to achieve these two level of innovation through IdeAgency and also through Field Innovation process. The Field Innovation Process utilizes the quick customer interactions to give solutions and address specific needs and create fast solutions for customers. This approach should always adopt an interactive policy that do not tie down employees to failure and success but also acknowledge the learning process in innovation.

Challenges of Grassroots innovation initiatives
a. Survival through funding shocks
Innovation was managed in research labs focusing on the technological developments of the future. However, product group necessitated the innovation to address short term needs of the market as technological innovation in the competition evolved almost daily. The mainstream innovation labs tied down the capital for grassroots innovation hence the uptake for mining and implementation of ideas was slow. In Microsoft, grassroots innovation is funded as prototypes but not in the same way that Microsoft Research funds mainstream innovation and product development. This is because the research department is important to day-to-day product enterprise and also in the long term product development. Both innovation teams work alongside to promote sustainable innovation complementarily. However grassroots innovation will depend on mainstream innovation to build capacity, confidence and skills without intending to compete given they may provide alternatives that may cash with mainstream innovators.

b. Policy Limitations
Adherence to policy and market rules in technological practices tends to slow down acceptance of technological evolution within institutions. This makes the uptake of grassroots innovation and embedment into company practices stricter since only what is seen to be satisfactory in line with norms and practice is taken up. In Microsoft, the company’s radical innovation saw improvements in products and services in channel such as product groups all of which followed the traditional licensing approach. In Microsoft, however, the grassroots initiatives were taken up to face up to intense competition in the industry as a direct approach to counter these challenges. As a result, to necessitate growth and sustain the company in its lead, traditional licensing model could no longer be depended upon hence business had to be grown from within. Grassroots innovation acts as a source of mainstream innovation which becomes diversified gradually. Thus, grassroots innovation should be allowed to operate under different rules different from the conventional innovation and then fully developed and incorporated into the mainstream to compete in the market. However, the business and investment commitment should be significant for grassroots innovations to be successful and sustainable.

c. Risk Aversion
The existing mainstream innovations tend to be widely accepted in the markets due to the established networks available hence it gets riskier to invest in new innovations. The mainstream innovation also tends to follow market trends in cognizance with the competition from other producers and routines. This is therefore easier to predict user expectations and future trends as indicated by the market norms and lifestyle hence companies become incrementally dependent mainstream innovative practices and less on grassroots innovations.
Benefits of Grassroots innovation initiatives
a. Employee skills and personal development
Grassroots innovations have benefits to an organization such as skills development and growth of employees. In Microsoft, the grassroots innovation draws the self confidence of employees to levels of their superior since their participation in innovation could mean a proportionate impact to the contributions of their senior executives. This also promotes work commitment by employees who feel they own the company by rewards such as stock options or grants.
b. Sustainability
Employees involved in grassroots innovation are able to develop the ‘best-fit’ range of solutions since they have knowledge of what works due to their interaction with the product unlike the inflexible production procedures driven by targets from the top. The product processes are directly relevant to them and are well placed to develop them. They can also identify what is unpopular in the market which is factors that mainstream innovation could not have considered.

c. Micro-level transformation
Technological development could be realized by giving employees exposure and freedom to innovate and encourage new ideas. This could provide a bottom up approach to uptake of innovation and reduce contradictions. This should ensure compatibility in integration of old and new product divisions in order to drive transformation and growth. This is in realization that the new innovative ideas would help resolve incompatibilities within the product divisions and simplify products and services.

References
DTI (2003) Innovation Report: Competing in the Global Economy, the Innovation Challenge London: DTI
Hoogma, R., Schot, J. Kemp, R. & Truffer, B. (2002) Experimenting for Sustainable Transport: The Approach of Strategic Niche Management London: Spon Press
Smith, A. (2004) Alternative Technology Niches and Sustainable Development, Innovation, Management, Policy and Practice 6: 220-35