Posted in Western Civilization

Western Civilization 2 L25

Who were the Levellers and what did they believe?

The Levellers were the people involved in a political movement during the English Civil War.  The movement involved equality before the law, religious tolerance extended as far as the English Catholics, who were despised by the vast majority of Englishmen, and popular sovereignty.

One of the key ideas of the Leveller movement, was that of free trade.  England, in that era, had very strict trade laws, so the principalities were able to give the right of producing or selling a certain item to only one favored person or group.  The Levellers believed that everyone should be able to produce or sell whatever they wanted to, and so prices would go down due to competition.  One of the major flaws of the biased trade system involved high prices because there was no competition whatsoever.

Posted in Western Civilization

Western Civilization 2 L20

What were the causes of the Dutch revolt? What was the “demonstration effect”?

The Dutch revolt was caused by religious oppression, as well as the ensuing taxation.

In the mid-1500’s many of the Dutch people where starting to turn Anabaptist.  The ruling Spanish viewed this as a potential threat to their power, and thence sent 10,000 troops to live in the Netherlands.  This in itself was disliked by the people, but this was magnified many times when an extra 10% tax was enforced.  The people eventually revolted under this severe leadership, but that isn’t what this is about.

The “demonstration effect” was in this case referring to the Netherlands after the revolt.  The term doesn’t directly pertain to the Dutch, but was used to explain how other countries took note of the prosperity of a fairly unregulated country.  England was one of the main countries to note this; after the Dutch revolt, their were very few oppressive laws in the Netherlands.  There was also no risk of your property being confiscated for menial or non-existent reasons.

Posted in Western Civilization

Western Civilization 2 L15

How was the English Reformation different from the German Reformation?

The English Reformation’s outcome was not very far from that of the German Reformation.  The key difference was that the English reformation was not intended in the first place.

King Henry VIII is probably known to most as Bluebeard in real life.  He unwittingly started the whole reformation by seeking a new wife to replace Catherine of Aragon to whom he had been married for fourteen years.  I won’t go into why he sought a new wife, aside from the fact that he wanted a son, and Catherine hadn’t given him any.

King Henry wanted his marriage to be annulled (in effect to say it was never valid in the first place,) and the pope wouldn’t grant an annulment.  Because of this, he decided to bypass the pope, and was granted an annulment by a lower clergyman in England.  The pope didn’t like being disobeyed and thence excommunicated King Henry VIII.  This resulted in Henry proclaiming himself to be the head of England’s church, and if anyone cared to dispute this, they would be beheaded.

The German Reformation was headed up by Martin Luther who introduced Protestantism.  It all started with the Ninety-Five thesis, which I talked about in my last essay.

Although indirect by far, the removal of papal authority in England was the first major step toward the reformation, and when Henry died, the protestant regents started to steer England towards Protestantism.  In the German Reformation, Martin Luther was directly against Catholicism from the get go, and thence it wasn’t at all an accident like the English Reformation was.

Posted in Western Civilization

Western Civilization 2 L5

What was the Ninety-Five Theses about? What was the basic message of Luther’s complaint?

Luther’s first move into the spotlight of Europe was the Ninety-Five Theses.  This was the basic idea which stated that indulgences were wrong.  Luther’s basic message was to not reform, but abolish indulgences.

An “indulgence” was basically how Catholics could have their sins forgiven, by paying a penalty.  This could be any sort of penalty decided by the priest; praying, fasting, working, even “donating” towards the construction of Catholic buildings.  An indulgence could also be taken on someone that was already dead, to release them from their torture in purgatory.  In theory, if someone got an indulgence on someone already dead, there was no guarantee of their release from purgatory, but some priests told people that their friends/relatives would be released instantly upon the indulgence being completed.

Luther wanted indulgences to be abolished.  He spoke all the time about how they were wrong, trying to convince people of how corrupt the Catholic church was.

The one thing that set him off originally, was the accepting of money to forgive sins.  That just seemed corrupt to him, but once he got started, he wouldn’t settle for a reform; he wanted indulgences to be abolished.

Luther ended up being the spark of the Protestant reformation, and the Ninety-Five Theses was the start of his public career, ending with one of the biggest reformations ever known.

Posted in English

English L155

What is a very unbelievable aspect of the novel Looking Backward so far?

Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy is an extremely weird book about Mr. Bellamy’s idea of a perfect world.  In the book, everything is run by the government.  Everyone works for the government, which runs all of the stores.  Every person would start working at age 21, and retire to a life of luxury at age 45.  Somehow this would all equal out, and enough money would be hanging around to keep retired people living in luxury until age 80 or so (the age at which Mr. Bellamy figured most people are dead by).

In the “perfect” world of Mr. Bellamy’s, everyone would be payed an equal amount, even though pay was not relative to the hours worked.  In order to compensate for some jobs being much less fun than others, the workers had shorter hours, and were payed just as much as those who worked all day.

Since everyone had to work for the government, all stores were run by the government, who in turn had some of the people working at its stores.  It would technically have been illegal to run your own store, and it would also be against the law to spend money anywhere other than government stores (there really shouldn’t be any other places to spend money anyway).

So in conclusion, I think that the idea of government being all-powerful is the most unbelievable of them all.  I realize that a lot of people don’t care how much freedom they have, but since I do, the idea seems pretty bad to me.

Posted in Western Civilization

Western Civilization L155

Discuss some of the key ideas of the Renaissance.

The Renaissance was a time in history where many people, called humanists started looking at art and literature with much admiration.  Since most art and literature was coming from Greece and Rome, the humanists looked up to many Greek and Roman artists.  Beginning in the fifteenth century, lots of Italians thought that by reviving the ideas, art, and architecture from antiquity, they could bring about a “rebirth” of greatness in their own cities.  The result was the Renaissance, which means “rebirth”.

Humanism was a way of thinking that was popular in the fifteenth century and influenced much of Italian culture.  Humanists considered that each person has great potential, and they thought that individuals reached the highest potential in ancient Greece and Rome.  Because of this, humanists wanted to relive the greatness of antiquity and so they were at the forefront of trying to support the activities, art, and engineering of the classical world.  Many artists and architects, who may have been influenced by humanism or were hired by humanist patrons, borrowed ideas from ancient texts, from statues that were found, or from old Roman buildings when they created new works.

Posted in English

English L150

Why will a blog site with lots of content will help me get my first full-time job after college.

This question is assuming that the only option after high school is to go to college and thence to a full-time job.  I don’t think that this is the route that I will be taking, but I will do my best to answer the question as if it were someone else.
There are a few reasons that a flourishing blog could help you get a job: for one, your potential employer will know that you are a good writer.  There are many work positions that will require good writing.  Another reason would be the references that a large blog can bring.  An employer will nearly always do as much research on you as possible.  That’s why you won’t ever want to post anything that you might regret later.

Good writing is always a good thing, and employers know it.  Having a successful blog pretty well implies that you can write well.  Your potential employer also knows that you may qualify for a higher position that may require writing reports and such.

The better your resume looks when you apply for a job, the more likely the employer will be to accept it.  A good blog will most likely find its way onto your resume in one way or another.  In addition, if your writing is scruddy, it will be hard to come up with a good resume, and even if you are the most qualified person out of the whole batch, you can lose it because your resume was written poorly.

Posted in English

English L145

Is it important for students to pursue college or other higher education after high school?

College can be an important tool if your desired profession will require it.  It can also be a complete waste of a few years and many thousands of dollars if you don’t really need it.

If I decided that I wanted to become a doctor, I would need to go to college directly after high school, and would be there for eight years or so.  After I had received all of my education, I would go to a hospital looking for work.  Assuming they gave me a job, I would then be making quite a bit of money.  Unfortunately I would still have a bit of debt, (the average for doctors is $166,750.  After a few years, say 10-15, the debt is payed off, and I am finally debt free, (assuming no house payment) and making a good bit of money.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t accomplished until age 35 or 40.

Next scenario, an electrician.  Right out of high school I am an apprentice for an accomplished electrician with his own business.  After maybe two years of this, I can go through the process of becoming licensed.  Then I can buy my own equipment, (maybe take out a small loan) and start my business.  Assuming everything goes as planned, the business should be on its feet within a couple of years, making a decent amount of money.  At this point I am 23-25 and already debt free and expanding my business.

You can do the comparison yourself, and I will leave you with your own judgement, but I would certainly go with the latter option myself.  I think the only reason that someone would want to go with the first option would be if they had always wanted to be doctor etc.

Posted in Biology

Biology L140

Describe what happens to it as food passes from your mouth to your colon. What are the major steps along the way? Which organs act upon it?

Chewing is done with your teeth and your tongue.  The teeth are important to break the food down into small digestible pieces.  Your tongue helps keep the food between your teeth so it actually gets chewed somewhat evenly.

Swallowing is done to get the already chewed up food out of your mouth and into your stomach.  It is done by muscles rippling down your esophagus pushing the food in front of the ripple.

Stomach Digestion
This is where the food gets digested.  From the chewed up fragments to partially digested goop.

Small Intestine Digestion
This is where the magic happens.  The food from the stomach (pretty much digested), slowly wends its way through the small intestine.  Along with getting digested the rest of the way, it is also absorbed into your bloodstream as it passes through.

Waste Elimination
Once fully digested and absorbed, the “food” goes into your large intestine, aka. colon.  This is where it is stored until you feel like disposing of it (pooping).

Posted in Western Civilization

Western Civilization L140

Based on the video lessons and your reading, what were the reasons behind the conflicts between the emperors and the popes during this period?

The emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were constantly squabbling with the popes over what may seem to me menial things.  However, pretty much all of their conflicts can be traced to a power race.  The emperor wanted to be all powerful, and not have to look up to a pope.  The pope didn’t want the emperor bossing him around.  With these  two conflicting interests, it was hard to make both sides happy.  As in one case, the pope didn’t want the emperor to unite the Holy Roman Empire with Italy (a geographical region rather than a country).  The emperor was dead set on uniting them, so even after swearing that he wouldn’t, he went about it anyway.  The pope ended up excommunicating him because of this, and it escalated all the way to clashing armys.

So in the end, I think the main motive for all of the conflicts was just the want for power.