Recent published articles
BBC's Struggle for Independence
Predictions About the Future of Iraq
articles for UndercoverMedicine
Has the Iraq war created a medical disaster?
Governments lack the willpower to fight AIDS
Gary talks to UK MP Paul Marsden about the AIDS crisis in Africa
Web guides on various topics published by Ezywebguides - see Amazon.com
Writing Samples (excerpts from full-length articles)
Essentials for Every Webmaster
Online content is more than just copying text to a Web page and uploading the results. The increasing importance of online content has spawned a new breed of Internet worker; these are Online Content Professionals who emphasize that this diverse field also includes new forms of creative writing. Understanding Web content means being acutely aware of the medium in which you are working and the special demands and possibilities of online and Web content. In terms of writing content, being aware of the special environment of the Internet is imperative - which is a very different ball game in many ways to the printed page and traditional media. The role of online content has gradually changed over the last few years. Content is becoming an increasingly important element of Web creation and development, with users becoming more selective as they expect up-to-the-minute value-rich information. Simply put, content has to be essential, informative and entertaining. Web sites that are dated and display content lacking in creativity are simply being left behind. The increase in online content consciousness can be seen in the way that more print newspapers are taking to the Web, while those already established on the Web are radically increasing their presence. The reason for this interest in content is a natural development of the Web, where well-written information that is effectively displayed is replacing flashy and ineffective sites of the first Internet boom days. While design expertise is still essential, it is no longer enough; users are also looking for rich content that is specifically created for the online environment. Content runs the gamut from downloads to images and libraries, but it is text and database information that is assuming a much greater importance on the Web today.
Essentials for Every Webmaster: Writing - The Most Powerful Web
Writing for the Web means taking time to research who your readers are and to analyze what their expectations may be. The Web surfer is searching for information which may be difficult to find in the ocean of online data. While searching, the user is in need of concision, or data that is concisely presented, so that he or she can make a choice about exploring a specific Web site or not. On the Web, unlike printed media, the average reader scans the content on a site within seconds to determine if there's anything of value to justify an extended visit. In other words, there is a continual fight to attract and then retain a user's attention - and this is where the art of writing for the Web comes into play. Web usability guru Jakob Neilsen puts it in a nutshell when he states that Web users don't read at all - they scan the Web searching for indications of useful, and credible, information in the data maelstrom. This is what the webmaster must be aware of when preparing Web site content. Neilson adds another dimension to Web writing, by describing Web content and writing as a user interface in itself. He states that in spite of technological advances on the Web, writing is "the most powerful interface the medium has." (www.contentious.com) One of the often repeated statements about Web writing is probably the most important: a Web site should be structured and compiled so that it is suitable for rapid consumption. In other words, the Web requires condensed text and a style designed for short user attention-spans. A Web site is not a book or magazine, and the user is looking for rapid and easy access to knowledge - immediately. When preparing Web copy there are various methods to capture the short attention span of the Web user.
to Produce Your Own Online Movie
It's easy to create, produce and distribute your own movie, providing you are equipped with the right tools of the trade, and the necessary technical know-how. Online Movies What was previously only the domain of Hollywood movie producers and those with high-end and very expensive equipment is now within reach of the masses. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, there has been a drastic decrease in the prices of digital video cameras, as well as the introduction of very affordable and user-friendly computer editing software for both PC and MAC. Secondly, there have been increases in download speeds and broadband capability on the Internet. All of these developments mean the perfect playing ground for experimenting with a whole new medium of artistic creation and entertainment. The Internet has spawned an entirely new breed of creative artist and has allowed amateurs and semi-professionals to dabble in multimedia, and in combinations of video, audio, text and image as never before. Things to Consider: While many articles and books on the subject of online video wax lyrical about the ease and affordability of making one's own video production, there are still a few things to bear in mind. While the enthusiasm for the creation of online video is definitely warranted, one should also remember that video creation, capturing, and editing have, if anything, become even more complex and technologically dense than before. A vast range of products and components must be studied, and new formats need to be understood, before one can claim to know about video. While it is certainly true that creating an online movie is today relatively easier in comparison to a few years ago, one also has to be aware of issues pertaining to the quality and professionalism of the finished product. Of course anyone can edit and upload a video of their family vacation, but there are many aspects that have to be taken into account before a really worthwhile product can be produced. Aspects including the size of video clips that one uploads for viewing; streaming options and so on, need to be taken into account. Large video files are essentially useless on the Internet, because the normal user is still attempting to download video files using a 56K modem. Besides, there are many other technical issues that the incipient movie maker should be aware of when distributing their creations online.
is XML? - The Basics & Beyond
XML Markup Extensible Markup Language, or XML, is quite literally changing the face of the Web as it gains in popularity among Webmasters and other online specialists, who require greater functionality in their Web pages. While most documents on the Web are stored in HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language), this trend is changing as more developers begin to realize the numerous advantages of XML. According to the authors of The XML Files (www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/may1999/), XML's beauty lies in that it can perform even the most sophisticated data-management tasks: "Imagine that you could give each electronic record or each unit of information in your office a tag that explains what the data means, whether to a person or a computer programmer. For example, Jane Doe would no longer be just the name of a person but rather identified as a corporate client in Kansas; similarly, $322.28 would be labeled as an accounts payable item to Acme Office Supplies. Even if the tags were in plain English, your computer system would understand them." XML makes this possible. Another expert has stated that one should think of XML as HTML 'without the training wheels.' XML is newer than HTML, but its design is based on SGML or the Standardized Generalized Mark-up Language. According to Connolly, Khare and Rifkin in their article The Evolution of Web Documents (www.xml.com/pub/a/w3j), SGML predates both HTML and the Web, and was designed to give information managers the flexibility to say exactly what they mean - no more and no less. XML brings this flexibility to the Web and because it allows you to develop your own custom tag-sets. In other words, XML is used to define tags and the structural relationships between them. This also means that as there are no predefined tag sets, all the semantics of an XML document will be defined by processing applications or style sheets.
Smith G. Blogging: The Next Communication Wave KLixxx Magazine. 2004. Accessed May 4, 2005.
The Impact of the Internet on Society
One of the many reasons for the increasing popularity of Weblogs is their ability to function as filters of the mass of online information. But this is not the only reason for the estimated one million Weblog pages at present. Weblogs also provide a unique way of communicating and networking over the Internet, which is proving to be highly successful. Weblogs are also starting to make their influence felt in the world of online commerce and corporate business as well as in journalism. Blogs allow for the all important element of self-expression and self publishing in an organized, linked and syndicated environment.
While there are almost as many critics as there are enthusiasts of the Blogging phenomenon, there are signs that Weblogs are becoming more than just a passing fad. A strong indication of the seriousness with which Weblogs are being viewed can be seen in the recent purchase of the popular Pyra labs' Weblog tool by Google. An indication of the competitive activity surrounding Weblog technology can also be seen in the launch of by Six Apart, which sells the popular Weblog tool Movable Type, in answer to Google's initiatives.
Another interesting move that augurs well for the future is the new , which is promoting Weblogs as a new and exciting technology, “We're excited about how this technology might be used in university activities, particularly faculty members, administrative personnel, students, and alumni.” On the other hand personal Weblogs are also becoming more sophisticated and intruding. One of the most popular and readable Weblogs around is an individual Weblog on the inner workings of the porn industry.( see sidebar)
Crisis for Children in Iraq Worsens
By Gary Bruce Smith - Freelance Journalist
Orphans now homeless after being driven from children's homes… children too scared of unexploded bombs to play in parks and sport fields… patients being operated on without proper hospital care or anaesthetic. These are just a few accounts of the horrendous conditions currently affecting children in Iraq.
The Media and Fallujah. http://ics-www.leeds.ac.uk/papers/vp01.cfm?outfit=pmt&folder=193&paper=1532
Interpretations of Iran. http://ww2.onislam.net/english/politics/asia/424693.html
Academic papers: ( extracts)
An Analysis of the significance in the "role of reason" in Kant's fundamental approach in his "Metaphysics of Morals".
For Kant, an understanding of knowledge is circumscribed by the limitations of sensory experience. Of necessity, we cannot know anything of worth outside of the mind. Neither can any pure knowledge of morals be obtained through contingent knowledge. In the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals Kant delineates an understanding of the Law and Duty which has its source a priori and is necessarily uncontaminated by empirical volition and data. Furthermore, his moral philosophy insists that knowledge that is contingent of context and conditions is not the highest knowledge and in fact dilutes pure understanding. Kant explores the ramifications of his view of moral understanding in a rigorous analysis of the action of a priori synthetic reason in the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, and shows how reason acts ‘ in itself' to produce the groundwork for a metaphysics of morals.
The Rape of the Lock
The Rape of the Lock is a “mock-epic” poem. It is a mock or false rendition of a style of poetic creation known as the “heroic” or epic poem. In essence the “mock-heroic” poem is an exaggeration of trivial events. In The Rape of the Lock it is the purposive exaggeration of the cutting of a lock of hair from a woman, Arabella Fermor, which incites an argument between two families and results in a petty social quarrel.
The purpose of the poem is to skillfully exaggerate the incident for two purposes. The first is for comic effect; we laugh at the wit and obvious exaggeration of trivial individual and social events. The second purpose of the poem is satire, which is the use of comedy for more serous purposes – often to expose societal or individual flaws and to make a point through the use of laughter. Satire, defined as a term in literature, “whose objective is ridicule”; it also intends to “expose foolishness in all its guises such as vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, sentimentality and to effect reform through such exposure”. ("Satire ") The Rape of the Lock achieves this end and exposes the foibles and indulgences of English society. In order to achieve this irony the poet uses the conventions of heroic poetry. The comparisons become laughable when, for example, the trivial daily event of a women's ‘toilet' are compared with great and heroic events.
The uncanny of Freud, Urban life, and contemporary art
Freud's 1919 paper “The Uncanny' has elicited a considerable amount of debate. This concept of the uncanny has been adopted by contemporary thinkers and artists in the development of a modern understanding of the uncanny as it relates to postmodern and poststructuralist issues. In essence, and somewhat simplistically, the Freudian uncanny could be summarized as that “something' that emerges when the familiar becomes strange. The uncanny is created or emerges in that fissure formed by a tension that results from a collapse of fixed certainties and accepted familiarity. Central elements in the idea of the uncanny, which has been adopted by the post-structural community and by elements of contemporary art, includes the idea of dislocation, de-centeredness, the un-homely and nothingness in place of habitual identity. Furthermore, the meaning of the uncanny has the potential to disturb the logocentric views of modernism.
Heidegger's discourse on fear and dread, leading to the intervention of Nothingness, can also be related to an understanding of the uncanny. Modern art, from Surrealism to conceptual art can be linked to the disturbing discourse that the concept of the uncanny initiates. This is particularly true of postmodern architecture where the sense of the urban uncanny has been extensively explored.
Shakespeare's Hamlet: A bibliographic Essay
Shakespeare's Hamlet is possibly one of the most commented on and criticized literary works in the academic world. The character of Hamlet, as A. C. Bradley says, 'has been the subject of more discussion than any other in the whole literature of the world.' (Bradley) There are many approaches and views that have been applied to this famous work. Due to its depth and complexity, Hamlet has been used as a literary medium for discussing sociological, psychological and philosophical issues, as well as aspects of modernism and post-modern theory and cultural views. The figure of Hamlet has also been used as a means to debate a diverse range of views ranging from Freudian theories of the repressed subconscious to views about existential anxiety in society.
There is an intense denial of the spiritual in contemporary art , which reflects the general cultural shift towards secular materialism in our age. This is patently obvious in art that aligns itself with the postmodern deconstruction of anything with spiritual overtones. A central problem that modern art faces is the conflation of the spiritual with religion and religious institutions. However, the fundamental and cardinal problem is reductionism – a reduction of everything to the human; or rather the collapse of all human vision and endeavor into the narrow perceptive of humanistic materialism, as Rene Guenon warns us in The Reign of Quantity (1945).
While modern art and theory assert a transcendence and denial of the past modernisms, most postmodern art still reflects humanist intentions and ideals. This irony has been emphasized by Martin Heidegger , with his intense and overwhelming critique of the humanist metaphysical tradition.
The denial or rather the ‘forgetting' of the spiritual has a long history, which some argue extends back to the very beginnings of human history; the only true reverberations of relatively uncontaminated spirituality being the remnants of Shamanic art and myth. However, for centuries artists have struggled towards a sort of anamnesis, a recollection and revivification of what the spirituality actually means. Kandinsky is possibly one of the most relevant of these artists, especially with regard to his writing and theories on art. His artistic manifesto calls for a new artistic pathway that emphasizes an expansiveness of intention and perception that transcends humanist materialism. The following quote from Concerning the Spiritual in Art provides insight:
Primitivism in Modern Art
The modernist period of art, from late nineteenth to early Twentieth centuries, has a number of central characteristics that relate to the attraction for “primitive art'. During this period the effects of various social changes that had proceeded the last Century, such as the Industrial Revolution and developments in psychology and philosophy, had a profound effect on conceptions of modern art. A central facet of modernist art was the questioning of and dissatisfaction with the traditional views of life and art, and the concomitant rejection of established standards in the search for the new and different. Social factors such as the First World War also lent impetus to this search for alternative views of reality that was expressed in modernist art. In their search for alternative styles and means of expression, artists were attracted to the unusual and exotic. African art was one of the areas that supplied images and artistic energy that inspired many artists of the time. Artists like Picasso and Gauguin found formal ideas and images in the so-called primitive societies that resonated with energy and a new artistic rhythm.