Earth Science Information Age and Essay

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Continental tropical (cT) air masses are hot, dry, unstable at low levels and generally stable aloft (upper-level ridge); they originate in northern Mexico. Continental polar (cP) or continental arctic (cA) air masses are cold, dry, and stable originating over northern Canada and Alaska as a result of radiational cooling. (Oklahoma Climatological Survey, 2004)"

The greenhouse effect has been in the news for the last several decades especially with the resulting negative effects it has on climate change and global warming. Generally, the greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon that contributes to the survivability of living organisms here on Earth. The earth's atmosphere contains trace gases, some of which absorb heat. These gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide) are referred to as greenhouse gases. (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 2010) The inability to absorb heat produces abnormal environmental and climatic conditions because the equilibrium has been imbalanced due to over production and release of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Earth is not the only planet that has a greenhouse effect but other planets as well particularly Venus and Mars. Whereas the Earth's greenhouse effect brought balance that made the planet livable, Venus and Mars are extremes where the former is extremely hot and the latter is very cold. The greenhouse gasses serves as an insulating blanket for the Earth's atmosphere and has "just the right thickness, trapping sufficient solar energy to keep the global average temperature in a pleasant range. The Martian blanket is too thin, and the Venusian blanket is way too thick. (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 2010)"

4. General Earth Science WA-5

Stars are celestial bodies in the universe found in various solar systems and these produce intense heat and bright light. In our solar system, the most prominent star is the sun and is made up of "94% hydrogen, 6%, and 0.13% of oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. The Sun also has traces of neon, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, and iron. (Strobel, 2011)" Although the sun produces intense heat, there are cooler regions therein and the cold regions of the sun are known as sunspots. Aside from being colder relative to the general heat intensity of the sun, sunspots "are regions of strong magnetic fields. This affects the spectral lines in the sunspot spectral. Hundreds of years of observing the sunspots on the Sun show that the number of sunspots varies in a cycle with an average period of 11 years. (Strobel, 2011)" Sunspots and the 11-year cycle have effects on human behavior and activities. In one study by Russian scientist A.L. Tchijevsky, "he discovered that the solar minimum is the lag period when repression is tolerated by the masses, as if they lacked the vital energy to make the needed changes. He found that during the sunspot maximum, the movement of humans is also at its peak. (Borges, 2000)"

"The determining factor for categorizing the star is its mass. Any star less than about three solar masses (one solar mass is the mass of our sun) will spend almost all of its life transiting what is called the 'main sequence.' About 90% of all stars are like this. (Mihos, 2006)" Aside from categorization based on mass, there is the life cycle of the star where it starts of as a giant at the beginning of the life cycle and ends up as a dwarf when the end of life is near. This also means that giant stars are at their hottest temperatures and dwarfs stars are in their cooling or dying off period. Often, dead stars turn into black holes especially those that collapse and retained more mass. Aside from originating from dead stars, "black holes are the densest, most massive singular objects in the universe. Formed in one of three main processes, they exert so much gravitational force that nothing - not even light - can escape their pull. Since nothing can ever come out, it is called a hole. Since not even light nor other electromagnetic radiation can escape, it is called a black hole. (Mihos, 2006)" Our solar system has at its center the sun and there are the planets surrounding this star. The planets are divided into two categories: Jovian and terrestrial. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars became the rocky, terrestrial planets of the inner solar system, while Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune became the gas or Jovian giants of the outer solar system (Mihos, 2006).

5. Living in the Information Age WA-2

Search engines are invaluable tools of the Internet especially those using these technologies to conduct research. Like any other tool or application, some tools are better than others and there are also specialized and generalized tools or applications. For instance, while using Google search engine and EBSCO using the keywords "privacy and security on the Internet," Google produced hits totaling 316,000,000 while EBSCO did not even come close to more than 2,000,000 results. Further, results were achieved faster with Google while EBSCO had several nanosecond delays. This may seem trivial but for the more tech-savvy researcher, speed is of utmost importance especially when timing is critical to the accomplishment of the research.

Another major difference between a Google search and an EBSCO search is that the former provides "almost everything under the sun" using those keywords. The problem with the 316,000,000 hits is that the researcher must be able to weed out the "chaff from the wheat" to determine the most suitable research materials. For my part, I had to go through several web pages before I am able to find a suitable article on the subject matter. Unlike EBSCO where there are connections to academic and professional organizations producing peer-reviewed materials, the hits are mostly from these highly scrutinized materials. Thus, I chose a generic article from the Guard Privacy & Online Security website entitled How Do You Stay Safe On The Internet? from my Google search. The article is your basic how to and A to Z. Of protecting yourself while surfing the Internet. The EBSCO database took me to ISACA, a global organization of information systems professionals. The article that interested me was C. Warren Axelrod's. Achieving Privacy through Security Measures, which appeared in the 2007 issue of the Information Systems Journal, the official publication of the ISACA.

Although the results vary between Google and EBSCO, both tools are invaluable depending upon the type of research required. The overall viability of Google is that it provides free and accessible articles and materials while EBSCO requires a paid subscription.

6. Living in the Information Age WA-3

Reading both articles sourced from Google and EBSCO, I realized that multitudes of threats and risks that are existing in cyberspace. Fortunately, the Guard Privacy article started off with an assurance that "by being aware of what the risks are, you will save yourself money and have more effective protection (2010)." This is a back to basics approach that tells the reader that knowledge and learning are the keys to protection from cyberspace threats and risks. The ISACA article on the other hand, gives principles and technical approaches to cybersecurity. This provides the reader with higher level of understanding what to protect and how to protect what is critical especially whilst on the Internet particularly "areas and technologies that affect and are affected by privacy and security including access control, data protection and operational risk management, including incident response management (Axelrod, 2007)."

In relation to the question as to which is more critical, cyber crime directed against individuals or terrorist cyber attacks on national institutions, I believe both are important because of the dependence of one on the other and vice versa. For instance, if terrorists hit national institutions with cyber attacks, these institutions will not be able to provide the necessary services to individuals. Individuals being attacked and if these are taken collectively, the compromised computers of these individuals could be used to launch attacks on national institutions. Indeed, there is a synergy and dependency on both that the protection will have to be done at both levels. Absent any protection from either and there will be a negative chain reaction that will cause several problems. The good news from all these of course is that there are private and public organizations tasked to protect both individuals and national institutions from any form of cyber attack and the government judiciously goes after these attackers in order to bring them to justice or curtail their nefarious cyber activities.

7. Living in the Information Age WA-4

My educational and career goals center on attaining a law degree and becoming a law enforcement officer thereafter. Attainment of these goals could and will never bear fruition without not only the rudimentary knowledge of information technology but mastery thereto. The reason being is that information technology is now part and parcel -- and a reality, of modern…[continue]

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