Archive for December, 2015

December 31, 2015

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The Story of Walter McMillian’s Wrongful Conviction, in Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy”

Just Mercy is a memoir that amasses and distinguishes the legal accounts of an activist lawyer’s [Bryan Stevenson] struggle against legal injustice. Stevenson was born into a low-income family living in a racially segregated community in Delaware. He made it to Harvard Law School after successfully graduating from Eastern College that is present day Eastern University. In his legal practice, Bryan Stevenson started representing poor clients in Georgia and later in Alabama, where he became a co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. The book, Just Mercy, is founded mainly on the works of the Equal Justice Initiative’s team and the poor clients that Stevenson represented in his line of duty as a lawyer and activist.

The story of Walter McMillian forms the book’s backbone. The lawyer started representing McMillian in the late 1980s after he was put on death row for the murder of an eighteen-year-old white woman in Monroeville, Alabama. He was convicted of the capital crime and put on death row despite the fact that he was completely innocent. Various factors played a crucial and influential role in the wrongful conviction and the death row sentence. However, McMillian was exonerated in 1993. This paper analyzes and discusses the dynamics and nature of the events surrounding Walter McMillian’s wrongful conviction. It will therefore deeply examine the main factors that led to the conviction of an innocent man. On the same note, the paper will also analyze the judicial system in a bid to determine whether the underlying forces behind the unfair judicial verdict may have stemmed from the system’s adversarial nature.

 

Walter McMillian is a man of color who cut timber to make a living. He had never been on the wrong side of the law before (36). However, he once had an affair with a white woman, and this somehow contributed to his tribulations. His ordeal and conviction is outrageous and unwarranted and appears as a conspiracy and propagation of racial discrimination against blacks. The involved officers are white. Additionally, the case is handled by an all-white jury and a white judge, Robert E. Lee Key. The murder of the white woman, Rhonda Morrison, happened in Alabama, which coincidentally is Judge Lee’s hometown.

However, at the time of the murder, McMillian was at home with family and local parishioners selling fish fry for the church-fundraiser all day long. Many people, including a police officer, were also in attendance and could, therefore, confirm McMillian’s presence in the event and absence at the crime scene. Nevertheless, the authorities pin the case against McMillian without concrete evidence. They ignore the eyewitnesses who were with him at the fund-raiser event when the murder was allegedly committed. Therefore, prosecutors maliciously suppress vital testimonies, and on top of that, find false informants who come to court and testify against Walter McMillian.

The only evidence that links McMillian to the murder of Morrison is a testimony by a white career criminal, Ralph Myers.  He pleaded guilty to being a conspirator in the murder to get a lenient sentence for the murder of another woman that he had committed. The evidence also includes a fabricated testimony by Hook, who affirms Myer’s made-up accusations. Hook claims to have seen McMillian’s truck driving from the building where Morrison was killed and at the alleged crime time (Stevenson).

 

 

Consequently, following the events and information provided by the prosecution, McMillian is put on death row in the state penitentiary. The members of the jury find him guilty and propose a sentence of life in prison. However, the judge, Robert E. Lee Key, decides to convert this sentence into a graver one. In this case, Judge Lee hands McMillian a capital punishment before trial. The Alabama law gave presiding judge the authority to change a jury’s recommendation. At this point, it becomes clear to the reader and onlookers that indeed racial injustice exists within the United States’ judicial system (Edwards).

Stevenson is angered by the death sentence. It makes him think of the pain and psychological torture that convicts such as McMillian, their families, and the communities suffer due to adverse judicial sentences. Perhaps this is one endemic problem in the legal system that warrants reforms and the attention of legal activists. After the conviction, Bryan Stevenson decides to take up the case, much to the dismay of Judge Lee. He even calls Stevenson, asking him to withdraw from the case and let it be handled by another lawyer from outside Alabama who is not a member of the Alabama bar; citing that McMillian may be a “Dixie Mafia” (Stevenson 16-17).

In 1991, McMillian appeals the conviction and death sentence, but unfortunately, the sentence is affirmed. Relentlessly, he appeals again in February 1993, and this time round, the conviction and death sentence is reversed and a fresh trial is ordered. It becomes apparent that indeed as Stevenson puts it, “Walter McMillian had never met Ralph Myers, let alone committed two murders with him” as the criminal had told the court (Stevenson 24). This new trial sees McMillian exonerated on 2nd March 1993.

 

 

During the appeal trial, grave constitutional violation is discovered to be the primary factor that led to McMillian’s arrest and conviction. This was propagated in the form of personal differences, witness coercion, evidence fabrication, racial discrimination, and police negligence. As Stevenson puts it, Simon Benson- the ABI lead investigator, Sheriff Thomas Tate, and Larry Ikner-the district attorney’s investigator failed to do a comprehensive investigation of the charges against McMillian. Instead, they chose to arrest him on a pretextual charge based on the allegations of an illiterate attention seeker who was also a pathological liar and probably psychologically disturbed.

In addition to the murder charge, McMillian was charged with sodomy. Stevenson says in more than one instance that the sheriff “unleashed a torrent of racial slurs and threats” towards McMillian (Stevenson 34). A clear indication that racial discrimination was one of the forces behind McMillian’s wrongful arrest and conviction. A statement by the Sheriff at the time of arrest is particularly explicit in its portrayal of racial discrimination. Tate says, “we’re going to keep all you niggers [blacks] from running around with these white girls. I ought to take you off and hang you like we done that nigger in Mobile” (34). What more is required to prove that the conviction was prejudiced and racially instigated from the onset!

The prosecution hid vital evidence. This includes accounts of eye witnesses who had spent an entire day with Walter at home, located eleven miles from the crime scene; and another one who had seen the victim alive after the time that the prosecution alleges McMillian committed the murder. Records of Myer’s statements prove to be inconsistent and at one point, he complains that the officers are forcing him to implicate himself and McMillian in a murder that none of them committed.

 

 

By reading Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” and the story of Walter McMillian in particular, it becomes apparent that his story is just one of the many that have not yet been accounted for. Stevenson, being the author and legal representative of McMillian, treads a tricky path when it comes to illustrating how bad the system is or how good it feels to triumph amidst unfair and heartbreaking tribulations. In trying to determine the impact that the law has on a society, Rosenberg, examines whether the same institution that makes the law also influences the impact.

The scholar concludes that indeed, the institution has a role to play, and in one way or the other, influences the outcome and impact. When these institutions fail to act accordingly, then the law will not take effect.The scholar, gives an example of the Southern States where the court ordered an end to the existing segregation, but the seclusion was never brought to a stop because the Supreme Court contributed nothing to ending it (Rosenberg 582). The story of Walter McMillian is a mere microcosm of the many victims that are wrongly convicted within the United States judicial system.

Stevenson claims that even after some reforms within the system were made in the 1970s and early 1980s, despicable conditions, unfair treatment, and violence from the guards against the jail and prison inmates continue to claim the lives of hundreds of prisoners each year (Stevenson 27). Some of these were, just like McMillian, unlucky victims of an unfair judicial system. On the same note, the first round of appeal judges refused to grant relief to the convict despite the presentation of concrete evidence showing that the death sentence was erroneous and underserved.

 

 

It takes six long years for Stevenson and his legal team to get justice and exoneration for their innocent death row convict. This goes on to portray the judicial system as one that is afraid of confronting its errors and mistakes. The first appeal judges are afraid of correcting the erroneous mistakes that were made by their colleagues and members of the judicial system. Merry argues that the crucial function of law is to order life by intervening in times of conflict or disputes when ordinary people come to the law seeking help (Merry).

However, the law, in this case, has failed. The murder and indictment raise a lot of conflicts. The whites want someone arrested and convicted at any cost. They pressurize and criticize the judicial system, district attorney’s office, and the sheriff’s team act on the matter.  On the other hand, the blacks want justice for one of their own whom they are sure is innocent of all charges. They go to the authorities seeking the release of McMillian. They are sure that Walter neither murdered Morrison nor sodomized Myers and call upon the sheriff and his team to conduct proper investigations into the matter (Stevenson 36).

Unfortunately, the law enforcers turn a deaf ear to this ordinary people and decide to forge forward with their fabricated evidence. This form of treatment against the colored people is what Merry refers to as rhetoric criminalization. In this case, the scholar argues that the targeted population is more often than not, viewed as vicious, indolent, degraded, and licentious, and racially degraded (Merry 1). This claim is depicted in the manner in which the whites treat the minority blacks in the courtrooms, prisons, and the community as well.

 

 

Edward claims that the power of the criminal law to influence people’s conduct may take form of normative or “coercive crime control mechanisms” (Edward 51). In McMillian’s case, the power of the criminal law is employed, not to control crime, but to instigate a felony in the form of unfair conviction of the innocent. As much as the reader may want to overlook the possibility of racial influence in this matter, it is impossible, because discrimination against the blacks is a dominant theme in the cases recounted by Stevenson.

To sum it up, the case of Walter McMillian in Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” explicitly presents him as a victim of the judicial system whose predicament is worsened by the fact that he is black. The themes of constitutional violation, unfair conviction, legal activism, and racial discrimination are prevalent throughout. In a country where people are promised equal and fair treatment regardless of their gender or racial identity, Stevenson, through McMillian, shows the gory side of the reality that exists within the United States’ judicial system. A system that offers justice to some and victimizes others.

The story ought to work as an awakening call to all the parties and institutions involved in the legal and justice system. It is a challenge to all these authorities to look into areas within the judicial system that need reforms and clean up. Only then will the system ensure that justice and fairness are served to all without fear or favor. Therefore, the very crucial message of “Just Mercy” has been hammered home by the dramatic example of a man who just refuses to sit in silence and stomach injustices. Stevenson and McMillian are proof that evil and injustice can be overcome, a difference can be made, and hope should not be lost despite the horrible circumstances.

 

 

Works Cited

Edwards, Mark A. “Law and the parameters of acceptable deviance.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (2006): 49-100. Print.

Meer, Engle. S. “The criminalization of everyday life.” Everyday practices and trouble cases 2 (1998). Print.

Rosenberg Gerald, N. “The hollow hope: Can courts bring about social change.” The University of Chicago, Chicago and London (1991). Print.

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: a story of justice and redemption. Spiegel &Grau, 2014. Print.

 

 

December 31, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEGAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES SURROUNDING MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

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Marijuana, scientifically known as Cannabis Sativa has been in use all over the world for the last five million years. The fame of marijuana rose as a result of the various spiritual, cultural and medical beliefs associated with it. In the US, marijuana has been used for many years for medical and recreation purposes. Currently, marijuana remains one of the mostly used drugs among the young and middle-aged persons in the US. Prevalent and unregulated marijuana use was halted by a federal ban in 1970 when the United States Congress classified it as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act (Bostwick, 2012). Despite the federal ban, its continued use increased in the 1990s when states started to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purpose. The state of California was the first to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 1995. Denning (2015) indicates that to date, seventeen states allow the procession of marijuana for personal use while twenty-one states legalize its use for medical purposes. The use of marijuana is seen to be influenced by the social power and geographic availability of the drug. The legalization of marijuana in the various states overlooks the federal ban placed by the Congress under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. The issue has created a national crisis with the ground unclear on what law takes precedence in the drug and substance abuse control. This paper explains the differences that occur between the recreational and medical use of cannabis and their general implications for the health and social life of the users. The article also describes the national crisis brought about by state legalization of marijuana while citing possible remedies to the crisis.

Marijuana is not as widely used for the medical purpose as compared to recreational use. The interests in medical and recreational use also differ, with the latter aimed at achieving a feeling of being ‘high’ and detachment from the reality. According to Cerda, Wall, Keyes, Galea and Hasin (2012), state medical marijuana laws are seen as an indicator for approval of increased marijuana use. States allow the use of marijuana for medical purpose though insisting that it should be under prescription by a physician. It becomes harder to identify authorized cannabis users from the illegal ones. Cerda et al. (2012) indicates that medical marijuana is useful in the treatment of conditions like nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy and alleviation of unresponsive chronic pain. Bostwick (2012), adds that whooping cough, asthma and insomnia are other conditions treatable by medical marijuana. Despite these useful applications of marijuana, the negative implication of prolonged and unregulated use cannot go unnoted. Cerda et al. (2012) list withdrawal effects, unemployment, personality dysfunction, respiratory problems and psychiatric disorder as some of the negatives effects of marijuana abuse.

The federal crisis between the states marijuana laws and the controlled substance act leaves the country in a state of confusion. The question asked by many is whether the states have an obligation to put federal laws into consideration when making their laws. The Constitution gives the US Congress absolute powers to regulate people in the states. However, the constitution too gives the states the power to make independent legislative decisions. In legalizing marijuana, it is not clear as to whether the states are obliged to obey the Controlled Substance Act. Schwartz (2013), explains that only the Congress has regulatory powers to prohibit the manufacture, distribution or possession of marijuana by any person in the country. Regulation by the Congress has to be made regardless of whether or not it offends the state laws. To show the depth of this crisis, Schwartz (2013), gives an example of a police officer who ‘encounters a person in possession of marijuana in conformance with the state’s legalization laws’. In such a case, one is left to wonder whether the officer should arrest the person or just let them go. Either of the two decisions could lead to the officer facing legal charges for breaking the state or federal laws. The police officer is required to follow arrest orders from their employer, the federal government (Redbruch, 2006). The decision for arrest would however lead to the conviction of the officer in court. Redbruch (2006), asserts this arguing that the jurist does not recognize such requirement of the soldier to follow orders, and passes judgment only based on the law. In the same line, Milgram (1974), brings forth the issue of a dilemma in obedience that may at times leave the society worse off given the law enforcers seek to follow their law to the later. In the long run, the society is likely to experience more persons committing crimes under the guise of obedience. In essence, at most times the human beings allow morality to be stifled through legislation leading to escalation of some types of crimes.

The solution to the federal crisis surrounding legalization of marijuana could be found if the proper interpretation of two clauses is done; the anti-commandeering doctrine and the ‘federal preemption of state laws under the Supremacy Clause’ (Schwartz, 2013). The anti-commandeering doctrine holds that state officers, legislatures, and executives cannot be compelled to enact any federal laws or policies. As per this doctrine, the state has no obligation to take the Controlled Substance Act into consideration when formulating the state marijuana legalization laws. On the other hand, the supremacy clause gives power to the Congress to control the states legislation and other activities. To control the states, the Congress has the mandate to subject them to ‘generally applicable laws’ (Schwartz, 2013). An example of a ‘generally applicable law’ is the Controlled Substance Act. The argument thus suggests that the Controlled Substance Act is superior to any state law concerned with drugs and substance use. An application citing the supremacy clause if filed in court, the state laws that legalize the use of marijuana would be considered null and void. Denning (2015), however, argues that preempting a state law by federal law would be termed as commandeering and thus conflicting with the anti-commandeering doctrine. The confusion leads to Schwartz (2013), concluding that the two clauses do not offer any solution to the federal crisis.

Despite the high rate at which the states are legalizing marijuana, there exists only little scientific evidence to support such laws. According to Bostwick (2012), most of the state cannabis legalization policies are based on ‘political ideologies and gamesmanship’. Lack of existing medical evidence on the benefits and effects of marijuana serves as a satisfying factor that encourages its continued use. The little research done in the mid-20th century indicated that the cannabinoids presents in cannabis can cure various illnesses. According to Radbruch, Paulson and Paulson (2006), the law serves two purposes to foster justice while at the same time protecting the public benefits. Therefore, to fully illegalize the use of marijuana, the involved should ensure that parties are not disenfranchised in the deal. The snag, however, can only be resolved through increased research that gives separates myths from facts.

However, after the establishment of the Controlled Substance Act, the scientific research on marijuana became more difficult due to the existence of several federal barriers. The restrictions have made it difficult to show the benefits and adverse effects of the drug. The researchers and marijuana users view the barriers as the Congress’ strategy to protect the Controlled Substance Act and ensure continued criminalization of cannabis. Despite more than twenty states legalizing cannabis as a medicinal plant, the US Congress insists that the drug does not have any acceptable medical value and thus remains illegal (Bostwick, 2012). The question asked by many is whether the Congress used any scientific data in criminalizing marijuana and degrading it to a schedule 1 drug, given that there lacks enough research outcome to support such claims. The Congress uses its powers to ensure that there are few or no marijuana research facilities. The only known marijuana research facility is a strain grown at the University of Mississippi. One is required to apply for permission from the federal government to access the facility. Bostwick (2012), observes that such regulations have led to most researchers bringing their study to cessation. Scientists see the barriers as a political ideology to try and cover the real truth about cannabis. Bostwick (2012), further indicates that proper scientific research must consider both the negative and positive implications of a substance, rather than concentrating on the negatives only. Action should be taken to ensure that the state laws that legalize marijuana and federal laws that criminalize marijuana are based on scientific data rather than political and false ideologies. As White (1985), notes the law can be reduced two basic elements namely policy choices and techniques of implementation. Therefore, for socially optimal outcomes to be achieved in the legalization of marijuana issue the laws should be used properly used to make the policies and guide their implementation

In conclusion, it is clearly seen that the various laws applied by the states or federal governments have an impact on the social life. Legalization of marijuana could have adverse effects on the society, just like criminalizing it would. Lack of enough scientific data and evidence has led to spreading of false information regarding the positive and negative effects of marijuana use. Whether used for recreation or medical use, regulation must be put in place. The regulations will help in combating the health and moral issues that can be brought out by illicit marijuana consumption. The government should provide research facilities so that the controversies surrounding the use of marijuana are cleared out. The states and federal governments must ensure that the laws that they come up with are friendly and based on scientific data. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has a responsibility to make interpretation and give guidance on the various state and federal laws concerning use and legalization/criminalization of marijuana

References

Bostwick, J. (2012). Blurred Boundaries: The Therapeutics and Politics of Medical Marijuana. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 87(2), 172-186.

Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: Investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug And Alcohol Dependence, 120(1-3), 22-2

Denning, B. (2015). Vertical Federalism, Horizontal Federalism, And Legal Obstacles To State Marijuana Legalization Efforts. Case Western Reserve Law Review, 65(3), 567-595.

Milgram, S. (1974). The Dilemma of Obedience. The Phi Delta Kappan, 55(9), 603-606. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20297701

Radbruch, G. (2006). Five Minutes of Legal Philosophy (1945). Oxford Journal Of Legal Studies, 26(1), 13-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqi042

Radbruch, G., Paulson, S., & Paulson, B. (2015). Statutory Lawlessness and Supra-Statutory Law. Oxford Journal Of Legal Studies, 26(1), 1-11. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3600538

Schwartz, D. (2015). High Federalism: Marijuana Legalization and the Limits of Federal Power to Regulate States. Cardozo Law Review, 35(567), 1-76.

White, J. (1985). Law as Rhetoric, Rhetoric as Law: The Arts of Cultural and Communal Life. University Of Chicago Law Review, 52(3), 684-702. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1599632

 

Examine_the_Iranian_Political_system_in_terms_of_brief_history__culture__bureaucracy__pressure_groups

December 28, 2015

Introduction: a brief history

Iran, also known as the Islamic republic of Iran is a country in Western Asia bordered by Armenia to the northwest, Afghanistan to the east and by the Persian Gulf to the south. Iran exerts a great amount of influence in international energy security and the world economy through its large reserves of fossil fuels thus making it a regional power. It has the largest natural gas supply and is among the top countries in the world with proven oil reserves.

Culture

Iran is a multicultural society as a result of migration of different communities to the country over the decades. Large parts of the population are Persian speakers, the remainder of the population speaks languages drawn from Indo-European, Turkic or Semitic language families.

Iranian culture is rich in cultural symbolism mostly drawn from prehistoric times. It is the only country in the Middle East which uses the solar calendar and the only nation on earth marking the advent of the New Year at the spring equinox.

Iran was originally a rural culture but this has changed in recent years. Iranians still value nature in spite of today’s rampant urbanization thus they make considerable efforts to spend time in the open air. The challenge here is that a large part of Iran is a desert therefore they improvise by creating gardens. Iranians also try to bring the outdoors inside whenever possible. Fresh fruit and flowers are a part of every entertainment, and nature and gardens are central themes in literature and poetry. The Iranian diet is composed of fresh fruits and vegetables although meat, usually lamb chicken or goat, is an accompaniment in meals. Staple starches include rice, bread either unleavened or semi-leavened with black tea being the primary beverage. The only dietary taboo is the Islamic prohibition against pork. Iranian women are in charge of their children marriages.

Bureaucracy

Iran combines the elements of Islamic theocracy and democracy. The supreme leader or Rahbar is bestowed with the highest power. Development of the civil society faces great pressure from the government. The complexity of Iranian bureaucracy is in many ways similar to the government’s complexity. Transparency is rarely practiced therefore making the decision making process unfair. Public services are controlled by the state and this makes corruption very dominant thus causing dissatisfaction of citizens. Lack of experience and training among bureaucrats is very popular with civil servants having very poor payments. Corruption is not only frustrating but also very discouraging for setting up businesses and attracting foreign investors. Iranian military has not played any role in intervening in political matters. Leaders that are appointed are loyal to the supreme leader. The clergy empowers families with government jobs.

Pressure groups

These are vigilante groups which have, over time, influenced society as well as politics in Iran. After Muhammad Khatami’s election in 1997, these pressure groups have become bolder and more violent. Their actions threaten the Iranian domestic reform as well as the United States efforts towards a gradual understanding with Iran. Iranian pressure groups act on behalf of various hard-line factions in the government therefore they cannot be considered as part of the opposition. These groups are often effective in their small tightly knit operations. Hardliners and reformists acknowledge their existence and their impacts are publicly discussed in Iran (Guy Dinmore, 2000). The convoluted nature of the Iranian government contributes to the rise of these vigilante groups (Hasan Yusifi, 1999).
 

Context of Iranian politics

The political situation of Iran and the government structure has been peaceful and legitimate enough to Iranians for a very long time. In recent years however there have been issues concerning the legitimacy of politics and government in this country. Reforms have been demanded as a result of the downward trend in the afore-mentioned aspect. Oppression is still high among Iranians from the authoritarian system which offers citizens little or no freedom at all. There are some aspects of democracy but they are mostly ignored. Gender inequality remains prevalent and women are always demanding better treatment and equality. The relevance of political problems faced by Iran grows in complexity as a result of transnational norms that restrain state conduct (Yaniv, 1987). The conditions expected to come up with democratic cultures, economic interdependence and power taming norms are often weak and rarely present.

Conclusion

There has been a continuous search for solutions to regional conflict in the Middle East since its founding. Despite it being a non Arabic country, Iran is an intimate part of the Middle East conflict and an integral part of its balance of power. Even though there are regions that strive to enforce order, the issue of authoritative leadership brings such development down. Major attempts to build regional order are faced with challenges as they fail to deal with the root causes of such conflicts.

-Digital Graphics: Task 2 and Task 3-

December 28, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Digital Graphics: Task 2 and Task 3-

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Task 2

We live in a technologically versatile world that has seen evolution of almost all aspects of life in the recent decades. The most disruptive technology so far has been witnessed computing industry (Li 2015; Regan 2015). The industry has seen the emergence of devices and technologies that are used to in daily lives. As such, developers and innovator are navigating the trend with the aim of remaining afloat in the fast-changing world (Wood 2015). Accordingly, this post explores the evolution of technology has impacted the graphics and business industry.

When we talk of graphics, two aspects are central; graphic editors and image viewers (Nelson et al., 2008). These are the main programs that are used to process images. Graphic editors are used to create, manipulate, and save image in any of the following file formats vector, raster, and metafiles. Image viewers on the other hand are only limited to opening and viewing images, but cannot perform any operation that alters the content of the image. The graphic editors and viewers determine the graphic file formats. The file formats are distinguished by compression and the amount of color used (Starks 2015; Wood 2015).

Most graphic editors work on specific file type, while some can handle both file types. For instance, a quick review of the digital graphics market points that applications such Adobe Photoshop allows you to handle both raster and vector graphics interchangeably (Wood 2015). As a result, you may be able open a raster image and save it in vector image format respectively. Likewise Adobe Illustrator, although primarily meant to work with vector graphics, it has some raster graphics features such as outer glows and drop shadows. Such features available in these examples of Adobe applications have greatly contributed to advancement of digital graphics without much concern on whether it is raster-based or vector-based. As a result, graphic designers can concentrate on quality and creative aspects of graphics rather than interoperability in different platforms such as mobile, web, Bluetooth, tablets, and ordinary PCs among other deployment, storage, and transmission environments.

However, there is undisputed evolution of the graphics output media that has since revolutionize graphics industry posing businesses and graphics enthusiasts a great, but a worthy challenge. For instance, the emergence of touch-screen technology was not only solving output problems, but also offered input solutions (Wood 2015). As an input cum output interface, the technology greatly impacted graphics industry. Designers are looking at ways of utilizing the screen to create as well as view graphics. One notable invention that followed touch screens new digital pens. To solve note-talking needs of travelling business and graphic community, the digital enables one to create bitmaps that can also be exported as vector images. The images can also be exported to graphic editors such as Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for further processing. The same image could be send through Bluetooth technology (AOL Inc. 2015).

Another notable aspect of evolution is printing and computer technology. Previously, graphic designers relied on other professionals to process their products. There were typesetters, now they have disappeared. Currently, clients only present their problems to graphic designers and what follows is preprocessing. Modern printers are emerging that can even do 3D-printinting (digital printing). 3D printing, also referred to as digital printing, involves the creation of printable 3D designs. This technology draws a lot from digital graphics hence the technology has also influenced graphics industry. Graphic designers are riding on this development, particularly the vector-based graphics that can be enlarged and printed in any size without losing detail and quality of the image (3ders.org 2015; Evans 2015).

Talking about evolution of computer technology without mentioning the role of the Internet is an incomplete statement. Therefore, let’s put it this way, the sophistication of the Internet has also greatly impacted on the graphics industry. The internet is both the destination (online businesses) and the source of digital graphics (downloading of images) (Wood 2015). The latter has bred copyright infringements where amateurs or even professionals are downloading images, for instance from Google Images, do a few tweaking for their clip art needs. This was not the case before; graphic designers did a lot to come up with simple graphics such as logos. However, this comes with some positives, with the Internet connection, any form of image you ever imagined, whether raster or vector graphic, is a search away from you. Could this be breeding creative stagnation? This is a question of full research.

Further Adobe, a software company, has really contributed a lot in impacting the graphics design industry (Wood 2015). There are several Adobe products that allow graphic designers to manipulate almost anything ranging from simple fonts to even videos, animations, and images. The software suites are extremely user-friendly hence users without any advanced training can work and experiment on their products. Examples of Adobe application suites that have impacted digital graphics include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign,, and Lightroom among other applications that can be used to perform several graphic designs and saving the images in formats that can be opened on various platforms (Adobe Systems Inc. 2015). This is slowly eliminating the need for hiring designers in the graphics production chain (Regan 2015).

 

 

 

 

Task 3

Computer graphics are classified into two major categories; raster-based and vector-based graphics. Many at times we come across different graphics serving different purposes, for instance company logos, graffiti, movies, photographs, texts, and even printings among other images. Notably, the choice of graphics used for these purposes may vary depending on the goals and media for storing or processing the images (Starks 2015). The graphic files are usually created and saved in various graphic editors supporting various file formats. Examples of such editors include Microsoft Paint, Adobe Photoshop, and Macromedia Freehand. It should also be noted that some graphic editors work only with specific graphic type. For instance Freehand generate only vector graphics same to MS Paint that works only with raster/bitmap graphics. However, some applications such as Photoshop work with both categories of graphics (Wood 2015).

Raster graphics also known as bitmaps are generated from millions of pixels combined to form an image. Pixels are very tiny square boxes that when combined collectively form an image (Wood 2015).  Such dots usually carry image information such as color in form of hue and shades. A good example of raster graphic is a photograph. A raster image can be identified through a close observation. When a raster image is zoomed, one can actually see the outline of individual pixels. However, when raster images are sized up, the quality and details of the image become compromised and blurred since every raster image is made of a fixed number of pixels (see fig 1). Therefore, zooming raster images comprises the resolution of the image. In summary, the quality of raster graphics is limited to specific resolution. There are a number of standard raster/bitmaps graphics file formats including Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg/.jpeg), Windows Bitmap (.bmp), Tagged Image File Format (.tiff) (Wood 2015).

On the other hand, unlike raster graphics that combine dots to form an image, vector graphics are defined by mathematical formulas implemented through line and curves, and other polygonal primitives (see table 1). The paths generated by lines & curves are assigned colors values, positions, and lengths among other perimeters. As a result, a vector file only stores image’s mathematical formula that can be converted by appropriate applications to form an image. This makes vector images smaller as compared to their raster counterparts (Wood 2015).  Most importantly, vector images are not resolution-specific thus can be sized up without losing the image details and quality. This is the graphics program computes image mathematically as is gets enlarged. Therefore, a vector image can be identified by closely observing the edges of an enlarged image; vector images appear smooth at any zoom size (see figure 2). Vector graphics can be stored in the following file formats; PDF (Portable Document Format), EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), PSD (native Adobe Photoshop), and AI (native Adobe Illustrator) (Starks 2015).

 

Figure 1. A raster image. The image demonstrates how resolution of a raster image gets distorted when zoomed; also individual pixels can be seen from the enlargement (source: The Printing Connection n.d.).

Figure 2. A vector image. The image quality is maintained even with enlargement (source: The Printing Connection n.d.).

Table 1

Comparison Between Raster-based and Vector-based Graphic.

Vector Files Raster Files
Made of mathematical formulas Made of pixels
Are infinitely scalable. Can be enlarged and printed at any size Becomes blurry when enlarged due to fixed number of pixels
Smaller file size, only mathematical formula stored large file size, stores pixels making up the image
Editable-can manipulate individual elements in an image Files such .png and .jpg are not editable without other elements of the image
Limited in details. Details are determined by mathematical formulas Rich in detail; can be enhanced by the dots per inch (dpi). Pixels also carry its own hue or shade
Less rich in effects. The paths used to generate vector images cannot handle certain styling effects Can support many styling effects such as drop shadow, etc.
Easy conversion to raster Time consuming to covert to vector

 

 

List of References

3ders.org. 2013. 3D Printing Basics. [online] Available at <http://www.3ders.org/3d-     printing-basics.html> <Accessed November 28, 2015>.

Adobe Systems Inc. 2015. Adobe Digital Publishing Solution. [online] Available at <                 https://www.adobe.com/products/digital-publishing-solution.html?promoid=KLXMC#&gt;            <accessed November 28 2015?>.

AOL Inc. 2015. Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen Hands-On. [online] Available at             <http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/12/wacom-inkling-digital-sketch-pen-hands-on-      video/> <Accessed November 28, 2015>.

Evans, B. 2012. Practical 3D printers. New York: Apress.

Li, P. 2015. Disruptive innovation in Chinese and Indian businesses : the strategic implications   for local entrepreneurs and global incumbents. London New York: Routledge.

Nelson, B., Philips, A., Enfinger, F., & Steuart, C. 2008. Guide to Computer Forensics and       Investigations. 3rd ed. Course Technology: Massachusetts.

The Printing Connection. n.d. Raster Images vs. Vector Graphics. [online] Available at:             <http://www.printcnx.com/resources-and-support/addiational-resources/raster-images-vs-           vector-graphics/> <Accessed November 28, 2015>.

Regan, G. 2015. Pillars of Computing: A Compendium of Select, Pivotal Technology Firms. Cham:          Springer.

Starks, J. 2015. Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Wood, A. (2015). The Graphic Designer’s Digital Toolkit. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

 

 

 

December 28, 2015

81552510—Business_Ethics1

Walmart product line analysis

December 23, 2015

Walmart being the largest ammunition retailer in the United States, it has been widely affected by the Government policy on the sale of ammunition. Over the past three years, the company has registered a 9.6% drop in revenue in its sports fitness and outdoor departments. The company is considering three products to be added to the product line to balance the lost revenue from the controlled sale of ammunition. With the continuing terror attacks and shootings in the country, the policy on ammunition is expected to be more unfriendly to Walmart’s sports, fitness and outdoor department. The department intends to assess three product lines that would generate 15% annual returns.

The department intends to analyse the three products and determine the product that would offer returns that would match the ammunition returns. The desired product should be one that has the potential to deliver higher rates of returns that would match the set threshold. This report employs Payback, Accounting Rate of Return or Return on Investment, Internal rate of return, and Net present value to evaluate the three products.

Proposal

Walmart realized revenues exceeding $480 billion in the year 2014 compared to its revenue for 2013 amounting to $476 billion. It is one the largest retail outlets in the world. The American multinational has a chain of department stores and warehouse stores. The company’s headquarters is in Bentonville, Arkansas in the United States.

The company has returned $7.2 billion to its shareholders through dividends and share purchases. Since its establishment, the company has realized significant increase in shares value. The company was ranked first in 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies by revenue.

In august 2015, the company announced that it will stop selling its AR-15 assault rifle among other modern sporting rifles. Being the world’s largest retailers of firearms and ammunition, this product is a main product line for the retailer. In 2014, Walmart registered drops in sales of firearms as firearm makers are faced with declining sales. Remington Outdoor Group registered a 13% drop in sales of its firearm while Smith & Wesson registered 12% in its first half year revenues.

Ammunition which is a product that has a recurring sales pattern caused the widest dent in the department’s revenue. The sports, fitness and outdoor department benefited significantly from the supermarket chains position in ammunitions sales. A reduction in sales of the product necessitates an introduction of another product line that would balance the revenues from the department.

Walmart is considering a number of products to stock its department. The products include fishing equipment, traditional hunting equipment, and horse racing equipment. These products are intended to target the same market that the guns and ammunition target. However, the company has the option of choosing one product line to replace its dwindling guns and ammunition sales. The table below illustrates the various investments for the various products that are intended for the market.

Investment layout

Product Investment ($)
Fishing equipment 1,680,000
Traditional hunting equipment 3,405,000
Horse racing equipment 1,920,000

 

The table below indicates the expected sales revenue from the listed products

Product \ year 1 2 3 4 5
Fishing equipment 120,000 238,000 870,000 880,000 892,000
Traditional hunting equipment 456,000 472,000 1,483,000 1,487,000 1,459,000
Horse racing equipment 239,000 309,000 446,000 521,000 632,000

 

The following financial tools are effective in determining the best product line that will bear the most profit from the company..

Payback period

The payback period is an accounting metric that is used to determine the period within which each product will have returned the investment made to Walmart (Kaplan, and Atkinson, 89). The best product based on this metric is one that takes the shortest time to break even and start delivering profit. The product with the lowest value of payback period takes the shortest time. To determine the payback period, the cost of the project is compared to the annual cash flow (Kaplan, and Atkinson, 89). The equation below applies

Payback period =cost of project/ annual cash inflow

The table below illustrates the payback period for the various products

Product Investment Total Revenue Net income annual cash flow Payback
Fishing equipment 1,680,000 3,000,000 1,320,000 264000 6.363636
Traditional hunting equipment 3,405,000 5,357,000 1952000.00 390400 8.721824
Horse racing equipment 1,920,000 2,147,000 227,000 45400 42.29075

 

From the computations above, fishing equipment has the lowest payback period. It will take the company 6.3 years to recover its investment from annual cash inflows if it invests in fishing equipment as a substitute for guns and ammunition. Horse racing equipment are the least attractive product for investment. Walmart will need to make sales for 42 years before it breaks even and recovers its invested funds. On the other hand, the company will need 9 years to balance its investment on traditional hunting equipment such as bows and arrows. Based on the payback period analysis, fishing equipment is the most attractive product line for Walmart.

Accounting Rate of Return or Return on Investment

The accounting rate of return abbreviated as ARR of the return on investment is the other metric that can be used to compare the three product lines to determine the most profitable (Zimmerman, and Massood, 258). This tool is essential in capital budgeting. ARR is a financial ratio facilitates the determination of profitability of a venture. Through the ARR the return per dollar for a year can be determine before an investment is made. Walmart decision will be heavily influenced on the outcome of ARR on the better product line to invest in (Zimmerman, and Massood, 259).

The desirable rate of ARR for the department is 15%. This level would match the return generated by the sale of guns and ammunition prior to their dwindling sales. To determine ARR, the average return during the period of assessment is compared to the average investment such that

ARR=average return during period/ average investment

The table below illustrates the computation of ARR for the three considered product lines

Product Investment Total Revenue Net income annual cash flow ARR
Fishing equipment 1,680,000 3,000,000 1,320,000 264000 16%
Traditional hunting equipment 3,405,000 5,357,000 1952000.00 390400 11%
Horse racing equipment 1,920,000 2,147,000 227,000 45400 2%

 

The fishing equipment has the potential to deliver an ARR of 16%. This value exceeds the returns for guns and ammunition within the department. The product has the potential to perfectly replace guns and ammunition and maintain the income stream within the department. It is the preferred product or investment option based on the analysis.

Traditional hunting equipment measure an average rate of return of 11%. This value is high but it does not match the revenue from guns and ammunition to the department. Investing in this option would still leave the company with a deficit in its expected revenue. The department flow of income would not compare to what guns and ammunition generated.

Horse racing equipment are the least profitable product among the compared products. The company would only make 2% for every dollar if it invests in the product. Moreover, the product would leave a huge gap in returns to cover the gap that is left following the withdrawal of guns and ammunition from the shelves. The product is not as profitable as required. Based on the ARR, the best product line to invest in is fishing equipment.

Internal rate of return

Before making an investment, one of the most essential tools of assessing the investment is the internal rate of return. This metric has the ability to determine the profitability of the venture before commitment is made (Doupnik, and Hector, 77). Walmart needs to assess the various investment intentions in product line and select the best option based on the expected rate of return (Bebbington, Jeffrey, and Brendan, 90). It is imperative that guns and ammunition plaid a central role in the revenue streams of the sports, fitness and outdoor department. Guns and ammunition was product line that put Walmart on the global scene as a primary retailer. A competitive product must be selected to close the gap thus the need for analysis using internal rate of return.

The internal rate of return is a discount rate the forms the net present value of cash flows from a project equal to zero. IRR is determined from the NPV formula. The formula below is used to calculate the NPV for the products

Where

=net cash inflow during the period t

=total initial investment cost

r=discount rate while t is the time period

For initial rate of return NPV=0, therefore the rate of return is deduced form the equation

Years Fishing equipment Traditional hunting equipment Horse racing equipment
Investment -1,680,000 -3,405,000 -2,147,000
1 120,000 456,000 239000
2 238,000 472000 309000
3 870,000 1483000 446000
4 880,000 1487000 521000
5 890,000 1459000 632000
IRR 17% 14% 0%

 

The fishing equipment has the highest internal rate of return. The product line has an internal rate of return of 17% which is the highest among all the other products. Traditional hunting equipment has an IRR of 14% while the horse racing equipment has IRR value of 0% because within the five years period it will not have broken even and returned the value invested.

Conclusion and recommendation

The best investment option for Walmart is investing in Fishing equipment. This product line not only has the potential to substitute guns and ammunition but it also has the ability to exceed the performance of the guns and ammunition in the department. An assessment of the accounting metric presents it as a product that would have the shortest payback period even as it would result to higher rates of return. It is the best option among the three. Investing in horse racing equipment is however unprofitable and should be avoided. The product line is the least profitable and has a low potential for increased revenue streams.

Work cited

Bebbington, Jan, Jeffrey Unerman, and Brendan O’Dwyer. Sustainability accounting and accountability. Routledge, 2014.

Doupnik, Timothy, and Hector Perera. “International accounting.” (2011).

Kaplan, Robert S., and Anthony A. Atkinson. Advanced management accounting. PHI Learning, 2015

Zimmerman, Jerrold L., and Massood Yahya-Zadeh. “Accounting for decision making and control.” Issues in Accounting Education 26.1 (2011): 258-259.

Leadership / Health Care

December 21, 2015

Leadership / Health Care

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe

The author posits that the leadership practices are critical to ensuring the success of a person and that of the organization. People are not born with the leadership skills; rather they are acquired as a person grows in the society. The process only requires a person to gather the morale and have the desire of becoming an effectual leader. Therefore the development of leadership skills is an ending process that is enhanced through the activities of education, experiences, and training (Sinek, 2014). Leadership skills are learned by obtaining great knowledge from different levels and occurrences of activities in the management society.

Opinion

Leadership is a choice that people have to make in a bid to serve people in a given setting. Good leaders always ensure that people feel safe with the tasks bestowed on them. This is achieved through various callings such as providing the appropriate remuneration when a task is well handled, or even promoting diligent employees. Besides, the work environment should be one that favors the callings of all the stakeholders. By creating a conducive and amicable environment for work, employees not only feel safe, but part of the initiatives set to ensure the successful accomplishment of tasks.

Good leaders also brew trust among them and the team being influenced. For example, a good leader will be transparent during the performance appraisal whereby he will explain clearly the parameters used to assess the employees. Besides, he will ensure that the employees are given a chance to explain themselves in case of a conflict at the place of work. Therefore, good leadership brews harmony and peace in the society; hence, fosters correlations and interdependence among stakeholders.

Why We have too Few Women Leaders

The author explicitly posits that few societies have obsolete thoughts regarding what leadership positions are fit for women. Besides, only few businesses permit or disregard lewd behavior in the work environment or apply strategies that put either ladies or men at an out of line inconvenience (Sandberg, 2010). Many women also claim to have many house chores and family callings to attend to, which prevents them from juggle work and home responsibilities. Besides, they consider vocation breaks or be disregarded for promotion; hence, dents the calls for equality at the workplace.

Opinion

Women always fail to believe in their abilities because of the social strata in whichever areas they conform to. First, they are never accorded a chance to negotiate on their own since they believe that their male counterparts are well placed to air out views on their behalf. When people stem out from male chauvinistic societies, they have no option than living to the callings of the society. Women have also found it difficult to maneuver the business world, especially in line with accessing leadership positions. Despite various societal realms calling for gender equality at the places of work, gaps still exist in line with achieving the set targets of most leadership settings.

Women also tend to give up extremely easily at their given duties. For example, most women always detest challenges, and may give in to the demands of pressure. They tend to promote the notion that men are required to handle the difficult tasks either at work or at home. In this case, it is necessary to have a change in their mindset, which will not only promote the development of a rational society, but ensure that the future generation of the female gender does not succumb to the pressures of the male chauvinistic societies.

Therefore, unless efficient control measures are taken against the societal factors that dent the achievement of the set targets for gender equality, there will be no progress in the quest for realizing an increase in the number of women leaders. Besides, women will keep on shying away from the leadership roles since they believe that the society does not give credence to their essence in such callings.

The Antidote to Fragmented Health Care

The author posits an example a case where a patient did not receive the best care in a hospital despite the presence of doctors. What aroused his thinking was the fact that the documentation at the health facility was extremely wanting. Besides, there were no structures to ensure that the patients do not end up facing further problems in future. Therefore, because of the lack of efficient control structures at the hospital, the patient ended up suffering from other health ailments. The author suggested better ways of tackling the issues such as a universal health records systems and crediting the work done by the care givers (Kedar & Compton-Phillips, 2014).

Opinion

Most healthcare systems are still offer services that are pegged on the historical records of a patient. However, there is need for healthcare systems that give credence to the current condition and personalized state of a patient, rather than the information offered by third parties, worse of it, by family members who always lack adequate medical skills. Despite the fact that the history of a patient may affect the treatment plans, times have greatly changed, which calls for more strict measures to tackle the ever-demanding ailments that emerge in the societies daily.

For example, when people go for treatment and end up accruing new forms of diseases, it is the healthcare providers to blame in such a case. Some of the ailments stems from environments that do not have the best structures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

The use of integrated systems is the best solution to this case, whereby the payments, universal electronic health records, and the minimization of disruptions, are all considered under one system. Besides, the care givers will be credited for their work since the performance appraisal systems will be managed from one front; hence, increase the efficiency of all concerned parties. Therefore, with an integrated system, which not only factors in the callings of the patient, but also the desires of the healthcare givers, the provision of perfect healthcare services will be a reality.

The biggest US Healthcare Challenges are Management Challenges” 2/6/15

The article shows that healthcare provision is one of the most important systems that an economy must ensure to its citizens. Besides, it posits that due to improvements in almost every sector of the modern human society, a lot of emphasis has been dedicated to the healthcare sector by both private and public initiatives to ensure human suffering caused by disease and ailments are reduced. The U.S. has invested a lot of resources to ensure a sustainable healthcare system. These systems are varied across world countries, depending on economic capacity and policy formulation (Merrild, 2015).

Opinion

I believe that the healthcare spending in the United States is one of the greatest in the world. The U.S. government has allocated a lot of funds for the healthcare sectors, which shows its essence in the society. Despite the huge spending, the U.S.’ accountability and management of funds is still wanting, especially in terms of efficiency of the healthcare system. Notably, this poor ranking does not reflect the commitment of funding into the sector, but on the policy framework with which the authorities in the US handle healthcare provision. Priorities in the management of the healthcare sector do not seem to favor a proportionate healthcare concerns which aggravates the given realm’s issues. Administration costs for instance make the largest share of the direct costs which makes healthcare provision very expensive for individuals and the government.

Without efficient control and management structure, the U.S. healthcare sector will keep on languishing in resource-misappropriation and strategy cases. The government should ensure that it tackles the mismanagement issues in the sector to prevent a continuous slump in the cases at hand. Therefore, it is worth reckoning that there is a huge disparity between healthcare concerns and the management of the health structures at hand in the US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Kedar, M. & Compton-Phillips, A. (2014). The Antidote to Fragmented Health Care.

Retrieved from

https://hbr.org/2014/12/the-antidote-to-fragmented-health-care

Merrild, P. (2015). The Biggest U.S. Health Care challenges are management challenges.

https://hbr.org/2015/02/the-biggest-u-s-health-care-challenges-are-management

challenges

Sandberg, S. (2010). Why we have too few women leaders. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders/transcript?language=en

Sinek, S. (2014). Why good leaders make you feel safe. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe/transcript?language=en

Ethnographic Analysis of Fast Food Restaurant

December 18, 2015

Ethnographic Analysis of Fast Food Restaurant

Analysis of fast food restaurant

The decision making process of customers in a fast food restaurant is influenced by several factors. Additionally, the consumers have a prior knowledge concerning the market that affects their purchasing power. According to consumer behavior model, it indicates that the consumers are aware of their desires and needs and they know the best way to satisfy them (Counihan & Van, 2013). When certain conditions prevail within the environment of consumers, they develop a specific character that is logical. The ultimate objective is to receive maximum value of the money spent. As a result, the price of the commodity forms the basis of the final decision. Additionally, the amount to be paid is determined by the income. Therefore, there is a significant impact on the price and income of respective buyer (Counihan & Van, 2013).

Moreover, when Marshallian consumer behavior model is applied in the fast food restaurant, it is found that many consumers spend their money on food items that reap greatest satisfaction. Therefore, the purchasing power is influenced by taste and preference. Additionally, their purchasing decision can be influenced by the price of related items. Conversely, it results into earnings and substitution influence of the buyer behavior theory (Counihan & Van, 2013). The Marshallian theory presents the cardinal output of the Marshallian utility function. That is given by U= AB, the variables A and B represents two quantities of two fast food. Therefore, the buyer obtains full satisfaction after consuming both commodities. As a result, the utility increases as the consumer continues to obtain unlimited quantity of both products in a fast food.

Additionally, the consumer behavior can also be analyzed by critically understanding the interaction between the fluctuation in price and the buyer demands. Fast food industry is not a monopoly market; hence, there are other restaurants that compete for the share of the buyer’s income. Therefore, the consumer behavior is most likely to be influenced by the prices in other stores. Apart from internationally known fast food chains, there are local fast food shops that provide similar services. Therefore, the fast foods are closely related and they satisfy the same consumer needs, despite having different utility (Counihan & Van, 2013).

Similarly, the consumer behavior can be influenced by the ingredients used to make fast food. The consumer can be willing and able to buy a particular food due to specific ingredient that has been used to make the product. Additionally, different gradient generates varied types of brands that can impact the consumer purchasing decision. Price fluctuations of particular fast food affect the demand of products in the market. Consequently, when there is a decrease in a certain brand, the demand of that particular brand increase in the market. The high demand is triggered due to a decrease in price of the commodity. At that period, the consumer behavior is altered and they are willing and able to obtain that particular brand in large quantities. The affect can also be as a result of substitution effect, because the products serve the same purpose (Counihan & Van, 2013).

Interior design of fast food restaurants

The interior design of a fast food significantly affects the revenue generated and the amount of income spent by the customers. There are other factors that can influence consumer decision, but the interior design has a long term advantage (French et al., 2001). The ambience can influence the whole thing form perception on receptiveness and dependability. Additionally, it determines how fast the customer eats, amount of money spent and the duration taken in the fast food restaurant. Therefore, the interior design acts as an attractive factor that lures buyer to visit the restaurant again (French et al., 2001). If the owner of a restaurant creates conducive environment, the customer feels more comfortable and appreciates the experience at the restaurant. Some of the factors to consider for interior design are spacing, lighting, sound system and staff. Therefore, the interior design makes fast food fast (French et al., 2001).

Architecture of fast food restaurants

Architectural design of a fast food restaurant has a great impact on the behaviors of the consumer. For instance, most people tend to admire the architectural design of residential homes. Such admiration can be extended into places of recreation such as restaurants. A fast food restaurant with a magnificent hospitality design is in a position to attract more customers (French et al., 2001). Architectural design also adds some utility to the product that is consumed by the buyer making them to have a great experience at the restaurant. Therefore, during designing of fast food restaurant, it requires architecture with a wide experience in the field. Once the consumers are attracted by the architecture, the sales of fast foods automatically increase (French et al., 2001).

Layout of fast food restaurants

The sales of fast food product can be affected by the layout plant and the staff interactions with the customers. A successful restaurant requires an integrated layout plan that is appealing to the customers. In most fast food restaurants, the layout plan is developed based on the comfort of the customers. The layout is designed based on expected buyer during peak hours. Therefore, a fast food restaurant with a well developed layout plan can attracts more customers that increase the sales of products. The sale of food is fast because restaurants have a unique layout plan than any other business premises (French et al., 2001).

Moreover, the staffs that are employed in the fast foods are well trained and they handle customers professionally. Additionally, they use good command of language that influences the turnout of buyers at the premises. When customers are served accordingly, there is high probability that they can come back to the restaurants. Similarly, the fast food restaurants are highly organized (French et al., 2001). Every department is assigned specific responsibility thus eliminating errors that can arise due to poor delegation of duties. When the customers realized that there is order in service delivery, they feel satisfied and that can boost the sales of fast food (French et al., 2001).

The restaurants have a great impact on the social well being of people who are found within the vicinity. For instance, many people can hold meetings and conferences in such places; hence, bringing people of different race together and they develop mutual understanding. A new culture can be developed due to the existence of the restaurant (Counihan & Van, 2013). People who visit fast food have different cultures; therefore, the management integrates their service so that they meet the demand of every person in terms of culture diversity. When the restaurants are in a position to meet the needs and demands of varied cultures, then the fast food can move faster (Counihan & Van, 2013).

Ethnography of coffee chain

In most of the fast foods, there is disintegration of buyers that depict a specific character that requires a lot of consideration. That can help in products modification that meets consumer needs. Most young people tend to visit fast food, because they are not satisfied with the food prepared at home (Watson, 2006). Additionally, they go to restaurants when there is no one to cook or they are far away from home. Similarly, most people find themselves in restaurants when they want to socialize with friends. Therefore, such attitude increases the sale of fast food (Watson, 2006).

Some are addicted to fast food because of nutritional value of the food. The foods that are prepared at the restaurants have more value than homemade foods. Similarly, fast foods are famous as they are served fast and they are relatively cheap. Therefore, restaurant foods are substitutes of home made food. Fast foods are growing at a rapid rate since most people are always busy, hence they do not have time to prepare their own meals (Watson, 2006). These foods are commonly known to contain high level of calories, fats and sugar, but majority are reluctant to change from that habit of eating in restaurants.

According to the observation made in some of the coffee restaurants such as coffee bean, there are a number of factors that made fast food to be fast. Some of the factors include quality of the products, serving services, and physical environment.

Quality of product

Consumers’ needs and expectations are fully satisfied by the quality of the products. According to the staff in the restaurants, they claim that when the quality of commodity is low, the number of buyers reduces and it affects the sales (Watson, 2006). Additionally, apart from the quality, there are certain elements that attract customers in the fast food. They suggested that product presentation and variety are also vital in restaurants. Additionally, the products freshness and temperature are the determining factors of product quality (Watson, 2006).

Serving services

Apart from the food itself, serving is another element that is quite significant in a restaurant. Some customers suggested that, the quality of serving greatly determines their decision. A strong relationship is established between the restaurants and the customers through front-office staff. Their skills and performance influence the customer’s moods (Watson, 2006).

 

Physical environment

Another significant component in a restaurant is the physical environment. Therefore, the restaurants must be spacious enough for serving purposes and food preparation. Additionally, the sitting areas must be widely spaced. There are several factors to consider when evaluating physical environment. First, the physical condition refers to the internal temperature and noise (Watson, 2006). Secondly, there is physical space in terms of equipments that allows free movements of customers and staff. Finally, signs and symbols must be properly allocated that shows different directions within the restaurants. When the managers invest heavily on physical environment, the general performance of restaurant is improved (Watson, 2006).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Counihan, C., & Van Esterik, P. (2013). Food and culture: A reader. New York: Routledge.

French, S. A., Story, M., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Fulkerson, J. A., & Hannan, P. (2001). Fast food restaurant use among adolescents: associations with nutrient intake, food choices and behavioral and psychosocial variables. International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 25(12), 1823-1833.

Watson, J. L. (2006). Golden arches east: McDonald’s in East Asia. London: Stanford University Press.

ROUSSEAU’S IDEALS OF FREEDOM AND CONTRACT

December 18, 2015

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French born philosopher, writer and novelist, was part influential personalities of the French revolution and Romantic generation. He defined in his document, The Social Contract, what it truly meant to be free or “being forced to be free.” For Rousseau, being free means a person is not bounded by any limitations to do whatever he wills to do. However, when one enters to a social contract, defined as an implicit agreement between people in a society to behave in an acceptable manner in order for them to achieve their goals (Cafferky 2015, p. 234), they have to give up their other freedoms such as the thought of living for themselves. This is because in a social contract, it is understood that people will deal with each other and that is inevitable.

            Having freedom in the context of social contract entails everyone to have morality and be rational with thoughts and actions. Only a civil society will agree to this set up according to Rousseau. Thus, people in a community should have regards to their social contract as this protects them from causing harm to each other, while at the same time, upholding their morals and personal values. Since the freedom a person has is because of the social contract, it is also fitting to know that actions are validated by the society and not only with one person alone for the group collectively is more important than the individuals making the group. At a higher level, Rousseau believes that if people give much regard on the social contract, then the contract itself is far more important than the society or the individuals themselves.

Rousseau explains that later on, people need to come together in order to fulfil a goal and to survive as well. For Rousseau, this is a challenge because people must unite and think as one in order to preserve their social contract and more importantly, their sovereignty and freedom. More so, it is a test because the social contract obliges to give up each individual’s complete surrender under the society which includes their own personal freedom as well but not their natural freedom.

           With these notions on hand, Rousseau received critics with his work on the social contract most especially with his statement that a man is “forced to be free.” People who are in a social contract gave up their freedoms in order to join a society that will protect them, but they were forced to respect the laws of the land (Buchanan 1954, p. 122) This is where the ideals of being democratic to Rousseau came in. He believed that a person cannot be free outside the society, he gave up his complete freedoms simply because a different social order might not be aligned to the values and ideals that he has. Rousseau believed that the concept of equality goes hand in hand with the ideas of social contract. However, people in a society are forced to be free as well because they cannot do whatever he pleases to do most especially if it concerns harming another person, most especially if they are in a same society to which same laws apply. This explains why he is mainly a democratic philosopher because people could only be forced in as far as agreeing only on the actions that the society have agreed upon.

           An example would be during elections. The winning party is obviously voted by the majority of the public which denotes that it is the general will. More so, the party is aligned with what the majorities would want for their society to be. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who voted completely opposite from the ideals of the winning camp. People who did not vote for the winning party are forced to be free; blindly, they are following, but being obedient on the social contract. The term “free” in the statement means the freedom that he states when a person enters the social contract: that at the bottom line, everyone should uphold rationality and morals for the common good of everybody. People who violate the laws of the social contract do not only disobey the law itself, but the meeting of the minds within the people in the society.

Many complications may arise when people give up their freedoms for the common will of everybody. Rousseau broke down to three factors. First, everyone will want the rules easy for all since they will be coexistent in one society. Next, since the people gave up their freedoms, they have no right to go against the state since the laws are agreed by all (as stated in the first item. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, people do not lose their natural freedom, defined as simply the capacity to will, to choose, to make choices freely when they entered the social contract. In general, it seems that Rousseau’s idea of freedom is bounded by the fact of people coming together, agreeing on the same concepts and obedience on general public will.

With these notions on hand, Rousseau received critics with his work on the social contract most especially with his statement that a man is “forced to be free.” The term “free” in the statement quite means the freedom that he states when a person enters the social contract: that at the bottom line, everyone should uphold rationality and morals for the common good of everybody. People who violate the laws of the social contract do not only disobey the law itself but the meeting of the minds within the people in the society.

It is by forcing the people to obey the social contract that allows the society to be human with morals, while at the same time, keeping their freedoms. The thought is somewhat close to the saying that one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins. If one decides to go against the law of the land, he also chooses to forego any benefits from the freedom he enjoys. By having this, Rousseau meant that people agreeing in a social contract are forced to be free. Rousseau claimed that each citizen still is contained to obey their general will, but the abidance on the social contract and the rules it encompasses for the people in the society guarantees each against personal dependence.

Rousseau rose to fame with his ideals of “Man was born free but chained everywhere (Gauthier 2006, p. 53)” and the people existing in a social contract as “forced to be free”. His ideals about freedom and the composition of a society is much like the ones Marx and Nietzsche’s theories. The basic foundations for it are the strong sense of the people to be as one – in actions and more importantly in principles. However, there are weak points as to the freedom and social contract validity for all and some of the arguments from Rousseau can be quite misleading as well. He believes so much on the freedom of the masses rather than on the personal freedoms of each individual.

Rousseau seems to believe in the weak statement that each person’s freedom is not quite essential as opposed to the freedom of everybody. On one thought, this might be the case since in a social contract, everyone agrees with the rules and manner on how they must act. However, it is not truly free when you are only forced to do something out of your will. Achieving the very same will for all, down to the very complex idea might be a challenge due to the fact that Rousseau wrote his ideals on the social contract way back war era. The harmony between the people, their ideals and the freedom they are willing to forego will all have the law as the common breaking point (Gauthier 2006, p. 57).

With everything taken into consideration, it can be concluded that forced to be free ideal of Rousseau means that the people will come up rules for their society to keep the peace and harmony. By having this in their social contract, the people agreed to abide in it. However, with criticisms on Rousseau’s ideals for individual freedom, it can be also noted that the freedom cited in his social contract can be misleading as well. In the end, in the world today, one would always hope for unity may it be on a nationwide or community wide scale. It cannot be denied that the freedom one will enjoy must still be bounded by laws and morals set by no less than the society he lives with.

References

Buchanan, J M, 1954, Social Choice, Democracy and Free Markets. Journal of

             Political Economy, 62 (2), pp. 114-124.

Cafferky, M E, 2015, Business Ethics in Biblical Perspective: A Comprehensive     Introduction. Intervarsity Press, Illinois.

Gauthier, D, 2006, Rousseau: The Sentiment of Existence. Cambridge University Press, New

York.

Peer-Reviewed Article Critique

December 17, 2015

Research Question: The purpose of the article was to examine whether competition between the sympatric populations of M. montanus and M. pennsylvanicus resulted in habitat segregation?

Study design: A scientifically rigorous field study was undertaken between 1961 and 1962 at the National Bison Range in western Montana. Two live-trap plots of 25-ft were set in surrounding dry grassland and hydrosere where both species of vole inhabited. The plots were set 0.75 miles apart covering an area of 2.48 and 3.26 acres. The captured voles were marked for individual identification by tie clipping and by ear tagging. From September 1961 to May 1962 trapping was undertaken in a mesic habitat in smaller plot or experimental plot and on the adjacent mesic 25-ft strip of the xeric habitat of a larger plot or control plot. The M. pennsylvanicus captured on the experimental plot were removed continually. The population density was estimated using Schnabel method and the average distance between successful points of capture performed to determine the effect of M. pennsylvanicus removal on the movement of M. montanus.

Summary of Results: The results of the study have been clearly presented. Removal trapping reduced the population density of meadow voles to nearly 24 animals per acre. The average distribution for the six M. montanus formerly identified in xeric habitat and captured in mesic habitat was 102-ft. The number is much greater than the average distribution for M. montanus throughout the whole study and declined to 60-ft, signifying that the movements were beyond the range of the usual movement patterns. The six marked and 70 unmarked M. montanus that were captured in the mesic habitat shows that the animals shifted their centers of activity into areas previously dominated by M. pennsylvanicus.

Article Critique

In the article, the specific environmental or ecological issue that the authors have clearly managed to examine is that the removal of Microtus pennsylvanicus from mesic grasslands in western Montana allowed Microtus montanus to move into the vacated habitat—the latter was formerly restricted to adjacent xeric habitats. As such, the authors are in a position to elaborate their postulation that competition is responsible, at least in part, for the habitat segregation of M. pennsylvanicus and M. montanus microtines.

Despite the clear research finding, the one thing the authors could improve upon in terms of the layout of their study is that they stated the purpose of the research was to find out how competition between Microtus pennsylvanicus and Microtus montanus caused habitat segregation, but they did not stress on the mechanism itself and how it works to cause and maintain habitat segregation. Most of the study focused on how the niche overlap, during normal activities between the two, measured for the intensity of the competition. I feel that the authors should have placed a greater emphasis on the measurement of the intensity of the interactions (competition exclusion) to fully address the topic of this study. The rationale should be that the subordinate species (Microtus montanus) might show higher emigration rates, lower survival rates, and smaller or negative weight gains in the presence of the dominant species than when alone, which, therefore, causes it to live mostly in xeric habitats than mesic; vice versa—habitat segregation caused by competition.

In conclusion, the study presents an inadequate test of the competition hypothesis, because of differences in densities and conditions of the plots. The experimental plot in this study was fenced and not grazed by bison and had 4 to 5 times more animals than the control. Replications of emigration experiments at two densities of the species by increasing the area of study will provide significant information concerning the effect of population size on species interactions.

 

 

 

Reference

Koplin, J., & Hoffmann, R. (1968). Habitat Overlap and Competitive Exclusion in Voles (Microtus). American Midland Naturalist,, 80(2), 494-507.