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The Merits of Medical Research and the Population, Part 2

The debate that surrounds the application of embryonic stem cell research is intense and passionately fought, but is in fact just a small part of the wider issue of the role that medical research plays in the contemporary age. Apart from the debate that surrounds its purpose and ethical characteristics, there is also criticism of the amount of public revenue that is invested into it for a supposedly negligible return.

Medical research is something that has the potential to create vast improvements in the living condition and prosperity of those afflicted by illness, and as such has remained a significant beneficiary of public funding. Though the investigations and swathes of research that have been conducted have not necessarily made significant steps towards curing long term ailments, the continued and unrelenting pace of scientific progression suggests that this breakthrough is not especially far away.

Natural Selection vs. Scientific Advancements

The supposed lack of tangible results is not actually the main reason cited for opposition to investment in medical research, and it is in fact a moral principle which creates the most significant objection. This is based on the potential eradication of natural selection, which has for years been the single most influential regulator of global and national population. It is the natural process of death that forms part of the cycle of existence, and helps keep the world from the perils of mass poverty and over population.

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The Merits of Medical Research and the Population, Part 1

Stem cell research is a topic that has prompted much debate throughout the US in the last decade or so. In particular, it is the use of embryonic cells that has created the most historical discussion, with its opposition claiming that this practice is in direct disregard to legislation which prohibits the creation or the destruction of embryos for the purposes of research. The Bush administration of the US moved to curtail public investment into embryonic stem cell research, forcing private investors to contribute in reproducing the requisite cells.

The current government and its leader Barack Obama is in favor of the research however, and imposed rules in 2009 that allowed these privately funded cells to be used and tested in a controlled and well managed working environment. Subsequently, the Federal court last week gave Mr Obama’s administration the go ahead to continue their funding of embryonic stem cell research, lifting a previous injunction due to the ambiguity of the existing legislation on public spending in the US.

A Matter of Individual Opinion

It is thought that those who oppose embryonic stem cell research may well take their appeal to the supreme court, so the matter is likely to rage for the foreseeable future and beyond. It is a matter of individual opinion, with the previous administration of the US opposed to its practice and the more liberal government of Barack Obama in support of both the research and their role in funding and facilitating it.

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The Age of Cyber Theft for Profit

The act of stealing has always been considered as a form of personal violation, especially when an individuals home or personal space is invaded to obtain their possessions. The various modes of theft have diversified over time however, so that it is now far more likely that citizens will become vulnerable to online predators and the machinations of cyber thieves. The remote and anonymous nature of cyber theft makes it extremely difficult prevent, while also providing a degree of security for those who perpetrate it.

We live in the age of the cyber thief, whose aim is to seek both illicit and significant profit through the collection of personal data and financial information. This can be sourced from discarded household bills, poorly protected personal computers or even through the information contained on company specific databases. These can be stolen and traded between relevant parties, and the information can included can lead to the theft of your wealth and financial assets.

Recent Events and the Rise of Cyber Theft

Just last week the new broke that the personal information of over 77 million Playstation users has been exposed, after a computer intrusion compromised and accessed Sony’s relevant customer database. Although the identity or purpose of the thief has not yet been revealed, the most likely answer is that the database was infiltrated by a cyber thief who wished to use the information for financial gain, whether by using the personal information for themselves or illegally selling it on to interested parities.

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How Social Media Can Help Politicians Reach Society

As Barack Obama addressed the audience at a Town Hall event moderated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week, the significance of social media in the contemporary world was partially revealed. Not only did it afford the US leader the chance to address both influential technological innovators and the sites typically young subscriber base, but it could also be seen as a corporeal example of how the government can use new media to engage and excite the voters of tomorrow and effect social change.

Mr Obama used his hour long address to full effect, highlight the significance of scientific education and immigration reform to the technological innovators present, while discussing the virtues of informing and empowering youthful citizens within the boundaries of a democracy. His use of Facebook as an example to support the freedoms now afforded to citizens was key, as this is vindication for the site and social media as a whole entity. Given the efforts of social media brands to evolve their services, this is a critical signpost in their signpost.

The Changing Face of Social Media

Mr Obama is known to be a great fan of American innovation, as he believed this is the result of a freedom of thought that is synonymous with the US. Having cited Facebook in previous addresses, it is easy to see why he is so positive in his assessment of social media and their benefit to society. In 2010, Facebook became the most frequented online global resource, surpassing Google on the way to securing 500 millions users worldwide. This is a reflection of how it has evolved since its inception in 2004, and its progression from being a social network to becoming a core part of business and marketing strategies.

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The Right to Vote and US Citizens

The right to vote is a freedom afforded by democratic rule, and has seen many civil conflicts fought to establish or maintain its integrity. While different social demographics have historically been denied this right on the grounds of race or sex at some time or another, the contemporary idea of democracy is inclusive of all individual factions and their belief systems, and seeks to discriminate against no single group or social circumstance. However, if we accept that the idea of voting is a privilege afforded by democracy, then there is an argument to ensure that citizens have earned and appreciate this right.

Balancing Democracy With the Well Being of the Country

While it is undoubtedly undemocratic and abhorrent to discriminate against voters on the generic grounds of race or sex, this is because it degenerates a specific social group without genuine purpose or foundation. However, this does not necessarily mean that every individual should automatically be afforded the right to vote, especially where they have chosen to segregate themselves from general society or hold divisive views that oppose the principles of democratic rule.

A similar logic applies to those who have a minimal interest in or knowledge of politics, who although retain the right not to vote are often pressurized by social expectation to do so. In this instance, individuals may vote without a broad or appreciable understanding of the prevalent social issues, which means that their input is misdirected and that the chosen government of the US may not be a reflection of their true support. Put simply, the drive to ensure that citizens vote could prove to be detrimental to the integrity of the final result.

Any of these circumstances can deter the course of democracy, and create a situation where the elected government regime is either unrepresentative or reflects the interests of those opposed to democracy. What the US and other democratic nations therefore need to assess is whether allowing everyone the right to vote is in the interests of society as a whole, and whether creating stipulations for eligibility could ever be enforced in a liberal rule. What must be elevated above all else is the integrity of the election process, and the importance of selecting a desired government.

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The Spectre of Racism in Contemporary Society

Many democratic governments of today pride themselves on the measures they have implemented to challenge racism in their society, and will point to the reduced instances of racial abuse of hate crimes over the last 2 decades as evidence of their success. However, as news this broke this week that the police were investigating a wooden cross being burned outside the house of a mixed raced citizen in California, there is concern as to whether racism has been eroded from the social fabric or is merely lurking with intent beneath its cover.

More pointedly, it is fair to enquire as to whether governments have successfully challenged racist attitudes and theory, or simply forced its perpetrators to become more covert and organized in their operations. As the social climate has changed since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, racism has been become increasingly unacceptable in society, but whether it’s values have been entirely rejected is debatable. One thing is for sure, and that is that racism will always been a feature of any society regardless of its meld of cultures or appreciation of knowledge.

Racism Through the Ages

Hostility or persecution between different races has existed since the dawn of civilization, with alternative epochs of time seeing different creeds, cultures and religions targeted by others. Historically, racism could be considered as being largely focused on religious groups and beliefs, as the absence of global interaction and multiculturalism meant that people of different cultures and skin colors did not mix within geographical locations. However, as immigration increased and America in particular became a weave of mixed culture, different creeds were forced to live together creating resentment and overt hostility.

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Can Democracy Function Amidst Civil Unrest?

When you assess the current circumstances of the US, then you can see a nation that experiencing serious civil unrest, and becoming frayed and battle weary at the seams of its social fabric. As it continues to tackle domestic economical and social issues, in addition to continuing to play a significant mediation role in the affairs of the Middle East, there are growing concerns as to whether its current model of government is equipped to handle such demands.

Undoubtedly, the US has one of the most liberal and diverse set of principles of any global nation, and as a democratic power its core value is the notion of government for the people by the people. While this itself is an aspect of US rule that should not be questioned, it is becoming increasingly strained as individual demands can often not be met by the economic or corporeal resources of the country. Whether it is working pay and conditions, reducing unemployment or tackling violent crime and morality, the needs of the people may be beginning to outweigh the current capacity of the government.

The Needs of the Individual against the Needs of Society

Before we understand this, it is important to note that democracy is the only true and fair way to govern society, and its principles should form the bedrock of any progressive nation. However, as it essentially grants personal freedom and liberty to individual citizens, this allows them to form independent thought processes and opinions and create demand and a certain expectation of living. As these are unique to each person, and developed in the name of personal interests, they can prove to be difficult to satisfy while maintaining the overall needs of society as a whole.

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Telecommuting and the Changing Face of Employment

One of the most notable aspects of contemporary existence is its speed of advancement. From technological innovations to the evolution of how daily tasks are performed, there is an ever increasing drive to constantly adapt and change methodology to improve performance. Though this can rarely be considered a damaging state of affairs, it is at least challenging to society and its generations, as individuals are constantly being asked to react and amend their behavioral trends to suit new demands.

Employment is one such example, and the way in which many individuals now find themselves working is evolving to meet employer requirements. Remote working from home, or telecommuting as it is often referred to, has become an increasingly common activity, so much so that the number of telecommuting opportunities available have risen by over 400 percent in the US over the last three years. Though there are obvious benefits to both employers and employees, there are also potential issues that could result from this practice.

Why is Telecommuting such a Frequent Occurrence?

Telecommuting positions have arisen as a direct consequence of the global recession. Though the US economy is in the midst of a recovery, it corporations and organizations are still cautious in their expansion plans and keen to save money wherever possible. To that end, telecommuting provides an opportunity for employers to hire staff to work from the comfort of their own home, negating several expensive and time consuming aspects such as gas or electric usage and health and safety precautions.

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