Ice Age Reincarnated

With films such as “Twister,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and the most recent release “2012” depicting some of the most horrific weather conditions with impressive special effects, who would have thought we would see these scenes practically come to real life? Although not as extreme in severity, the recent changes in weather conditions around the globe keep scientists speculating just how similar, theoretically speaking, these treading conditions will be in comparison to the Hollywood’s adaptations. From major blizzards to record-breaking temperatures, attributes such as global warming and solar output put together a more precise explanation of why there seems to be a “role reversal” in climatic changes. While glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are decreasing in mass, other parts of the world are either experiencing out-of-season unusually cold temperatures in Summer, abnormally high temperatures in Winter, or vice versa.

Aside from the all the other scientific theories, another intergalactic phenomenon that has slowly yet efficiently progressed over the years may also be a contributing factor as to why the earth seems “upside down.” From 1982 to 2005, the Earth’s geographical poles have changed locations, moving at a speed of approximately 6 centimeters per year according to a research conducted at the University of Texas in Austin. Data collected by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) was used to determine if the shifting of the North and South Pole have had any affect on the changes in weather. The results concluded the exact opposite: the changes in weather caused by global warming have affected the Earth’s positioning; for example, the North Pole is gradually moving southward.

However, there is more to the changes in the weather than just being attributed to a shift in geographically polarity and global warming. The Sun’s atmospheric motions, which includes sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, proposedly has an enormous impact on the Earth’s surface, thus creating a cataclysmic pattern of intensified earthquakes and increased volcanic activity. Japan’s worst earthquake in history occurring on March 11, 2011 followed by the Philippines on April 11, 2012 along with the most recent of earthquakes on January 20, 2014 in New Zealand clearly demonstrates the increasing trend of seismic activity along with the various volcanic eruptions occurring within the 21st century.

Conclusively, all changes in weather conditions has made a gross impact on our lives and daily routines regardless of its origin, with seemingly no relief in sight for the near future. All we can do is hope these changes do not become so increasingly dramatic that it really does seem as if we are living in a science fiction movie.

©2014 Learus Ohnine

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NASA

The Plastic Plague

Outrageous. Abominable. Stupefying. Unbelievable…

These are just a few words that blatantly describes the catastrophe bestowed upon possibly as many as 110 million credit and debit card owners between the months of November and December in 2013. With Target being one of the top-selling leading retailers during the busy holiday shopping season, their announcement of a data breach of confidential information left millions to question whether or not the retail chain was capable of adhering to quality security policies to protect their customers’ information. Hackers reportedly have gained access to approximately 70 million names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses as well as email addresses with little to no further confirmation as to what or not other information was obtained during this invasion of privacy.

But this outlandish activity does not stop there…

Neiman Marcus, another high-end retail store, has recently announced a similar breach of security to its system. On January 1, 2014, evidence of a cyber-security intrusion has result in an investigation that has yet to determine just how many Neiman Marcus customers have been affected. While there is no confirmed statement of this breach being linked to the same Target scandal at this time, the most impertinent suspicious factor of evidence points to both malicious breaches of security being originally discovered approximately at the same time – mid December.

So what does it all mean for consumers? In a nutshell, having the pleasure of enjoying one’s in-store shopping experience without the added nuisance of carrying large amounts of cash around is not only a convenience – it is a luxury. Being able to make purchases from the comfort of your own home via the internet is a convenient luxury in its own right, yet lately the risks involved seem to inadvertently outweigh its advantages.

The main question is this: is there simple solution to protect consumers from the vile acts of privacy invasion? At the moment, the only feasible and seemingly safest way consumers can do their shopping is by carrying lump sums of cash on them at all times. For the banks, this solution spells financial troubles. For the retailers, this should not have any substantial affect on their sales revenue although their accounts receivable department may have less or more work cut out for them. In the end, all that really matters is regaining that trust bond between consumer and retailer once again, and with the rate things have been going lately, there is no current equitable solution to this being offered by retailers… except to advise all shoppers to shop at their own risk.

©2014 Learus Ohnine

Violence-101: A Syllabus of Higher Awareness

Violence is, and always will be, that uncensored part of human existence to which we are all subjected to becoming exposed to it in one form or another; either as perpetrator, victim, or spectator. For those who have suffered violent acts at the hands of their attackers, there’s a road to recovery for them that seems optimistic for some survivors and yet exasperating for some. Over the past few years, there have been numerous repetitive situations of violence involving a generation that retains a monstrous amount of uncontrollable rage, with their focal point being a desire to strike fear into the hearts of innocent onlookers in one of our most highly regarded traditional environments: our schools.

On December 13, 2013, Karl Pierson opened fire at his school, the Arapahoe High School located in Centennial, Colorado, critically wounding a 17-year old student before killing himself. Originally, detectives had several leads as to a possible motive for the gunman’s violent rampage, however, the most reliable source of information would have to come from the person themselves.

Prior to this incident also in the state of Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered the Columbine High School located in Littleton to carry out a terroristic massacre that resulted in 15 deaths before both students turned their guns onto themselves. Both suspects left a trail of clues for detectives to decipher the meaning behind this premeditated killing spree with all of their conclusions directing towards the most obvious cause: mental illness.

Both of the above cases, as disturbing as they may be, seems to point to an even bigger issue with youths who suffer from incurable psychological illnesses that, if left ignored, can alter one’s perception of reality in the most tragic of ways. It’s sad when youths turn to violence as a solution for the pain and rejection they feel for not being deemed as “normal”, for so many innocent bystanders have had to have their lives ended without warning or defense. It is time for society to stop brushing this issue under the rug and start taking into consideration the innocent blood that is continuously being shed among the students of our educational institutions.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

Woman’s Work Is Never Done

For decades on end, woman have been fighting for their equality to be recognized, in one form or another, within the workforce. Former President John F. Kennedy endorsed it – President Barack Obama ensues to enforce it. The Equal Pay Act, signed by Kennedy in June 1963, was the latest attempt to put an end to gender discrimination pertaining to unequal wages earned by women versus men who are employed in identical positions that are of equal job content. President Obama sponsors John F. Kennedy’s Equal Pay Act (or EPA) for gender wage equality with the Paycheck Fairness Act (or PFA), a legislation to end the approximate 77% difference in compensated wages earned by women when compared to that of men. This bill was approved in January 2009 by the House of Representatives, however, the United States Senate fell short of 2 votes for the 60 votes needed in order to move the bill forward. The bill was presented again for a second time in June 2012. Consequently, the United States Senate only acquired 52 votes in favor of proceeding the bill to its final consideration. Why?

Republican Senators, of whom comprise the small minority of congressional voters opposing the PFA, believe that the bill could adversely affect small businesses by making it easier for female employees to file litigation suits in regards to wage discrimination. Ironically, out of the number of Republican Senators who blocked the bill, five of them were women: Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Senator Susan Collins, also of Maine.

In a statement made by Senate Republican Susan Collins on June 5, 2012, she believes the existing workforce laws are already sufficient: “We already have on the books the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Act in which I support, and I believe that they provide adequate protections. I think this bill would impose a real burden, particularly on small businesses.” In a similar statement made by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky supporting Collins’ viewpoint, McConnell states “We don’t think America suffers from a lack of litigation.” In another statement made by Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, he makes it clear that he does not support pay discrimination within the workforce based on gender, but instead focuses on the issue of workforce inequality in itself: “The question is, will the Paycheck Fairness Act actually address workplace inequality? And the simple answer is no.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act, in comparison to the Equal Pay Act, would provide remedies for the loopholes found within the act signed by former President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The bill would require wages to be paid based on education, training, and/or experience, not sex-based. This bill would also protect employees from retribution from their employers should they happen to discuss their wages for the purposes of evaluating whether or not a gender differential exists. Although American women have come a long way when it comes to putting an end to being shortchanged within their professions, it is still evident that women will have to continue fight even harder for their right to be heard and understood. As the old cliché goes: “Men work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.”

©2013 Learus Ohnine