Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Learning is a simple word for many, it is a simple process for many, and is easily accessible to anyone. For some, education has become less of a priority. Skipping school, dropping out, and failing a class is becoming more accepted in our society. While there are a few success stories of dropouts; Steve Jobs (creator of Apple Inc.), Coco Chanel (fashion designer), Mark Zuckerberg (chairman and CEO of Facebook), Bill Gates (creator of Microsoft Inc.), Walt Disney (founder of Disney), Oprah Winfrey (chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Productions and former talk show host), Ellen DeGenres (comedian and talk show host), and F. Scott Fitzgerald (novelist and poet), all had an education they strived for on their own. They had determination, stability,Ã¢â¬ ¦show more contentÃ¢â¬ ¦High school education can give one responsibilities they never knew they would use in the real world. Assignments in high school that have deadlines can form good habits for oneÃ¢â¬â¢s future, as life is full of dead lines; especially in a workplace and paying bills. High school teachers can be forgiving with your grades and late assignments, but in college that wonÃ¢â¬â¢t slide. Forgetting to pay your bills, taxes, and mortgage on time can lead to hefty fees and getting a building a lousy credit score. Being punctual to every class can create a routine that is helpful for the rest of your life such as showing up to work on time or making a good impression being early to a job interview. Being late to work can result to being fired from your boss, and being late to a job interview gives the employer the idea that you donÃ¢â¬â¢t care about time management. Arriving to class prepared with the proper materials can build a custom for being qualified for anything, whether it be an employee, student, or even a parent. Coming to work without the tools necessary to complete tasks given to you can hurt your performance. Going to a college lecture without the ability to take notes can cause one to fai l their next test. One should not forget their childÃ¢â¬â¢s milk bottle or security blanket on a small trip to the grocery store! Education can help one find more about themselves, such as what they are good at and what they like. If oneShow MoreRelatedWho Are the Enlightened693 Words Ã |Ã 3 Pagesduring what is known as the enlightened period asked the world, who are the enlightened? Better still, What is true enlightenment? Since Kant states that true enlightenment is ones courage to use your own reasoning without direction from another, the answer is simple; we who chose to be self-thinkers are already enlightened(Kant, 263). Kant explains that the issue of Enlightenment is not if you have the means to reason for yourself. Since we all have an inalienable right to be self-thinkers, theRead MoreSiddhartha by Herman Hesse875 Words Ã |Ã 4 Pageshelps Siddhartha with his path toward enlightenment. The river serves as the instructor in SiddharthaÃ¢â¬â¢s journey when he a bandons his wealth and leaves the Samanas. The river is like life, it flows in a certain direction, depending on the journey you want to take. The function of the river is that it will give one answers depending on the direction it takes. Because of the philosophical meaning of the river, if one understands it, they will achieve enlightenment. VasudevaÃ¢â¬â¢s philosophical beliefRead MoreGreat Philosophers Like Adam Smith, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.1589 Words Ã |Ã 7 Pagesseries of important historical events have been presented with having a starting and ending point, like that of a line segment. However, great philosophers like Adam Smith, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Sarkar have proven revolutions to be a buildup of cyclical events. Political, economic, and social events have a pattern that they follow and move as never ending cycles rather than having specific starting and ending points. Revolutions originate from a convergence of cyclical economic, political, andRead MoreThe Four Noble Truths Of Buddhism760 Words Ã |Ã 4 Pagesbelieve that human beings are never truly satisfied. Most humans spend their whole lives trying to be successful but even when we do succeed there is still a void that we are trying to fill. Buddha believed that this Ã¢â¬Å"cravingÃ¢â¬ comes from not knowing yourself. Buddha also believed that karma and rebirth are closely linked to the second noble truth. The third noble truth puts an end to the suffering through practices that Buddha taught. This is where humans stop the never ending cycle to reaching for satisfactionRead MoreThe Unprecedented Success Of Revolution1594 Words Ã |Ã 7 Pagesdistribution of rights have often been the case in history when revolution is non-present. And only through revolutions such as the Enlightenment, Industrial, French, American, and Haitian Revolutions, has the world become as comfortable and fair as it is today. Though having its roots and stems in the Scientific Revolution and Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment is undeniably an imperative revolution as it led the way for other major revolutions to take place through its sprawling intellectualRead MoreKantian Enlightenment through Kafkas Colony1461 Words Ã |Ã 6 PagesOf the many intellectuals who have offered answers to questions of morality, freewill, and enlightenment, Immanuel Kant is one of the most challenging and intriguing. His writings have been used as the basis for analysis of contemporary writings of every age since first they were conceived and published. Benjamins views on law, the ethics of J. K. Rowling, race studies, and basic modern morality have all been discussed through the use of Kants philosophical framework. (Gray, Mack, Newton, Wolosky)Read MoreClosure in the Play Waiting for Godot845 Words Ã |Ã 4 Pages Closure is a very important aspect of a narrative. Closure or the lack of it accomplishes the goal of a c reating a text which readers would want to continue reading to find out the ending, it helps to lead the reader on. The term Ã¢â¬Å"closureÃ¢â¬ according to Abott is Ã¢â¬Å"best understood as something we look for in narrative, as desire that authors understand and often expend art to satisfy or frustrateÃ¢â¬ (Abott, 57).In the play Waiting for Godot, the lack of closure is very evident through out it. This playRead MoreEssay on The Enlightenment1246 Words Ã |Ã 5 PagesThe history of Western civilization cannot be neatly divided into precise linear sections. Instead, it must be viewed as a series of developing threads that combine, interact, and, at various intervals, take pervasive shifts. The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was one of these paradigm historical shifts, challenging the traditional notions of authority by investing reason with the power to change the human condition for the better. This ecumenical emphasis on reason and independent thoughtRead MoreT he Self Impact Self Esteem And Self Image1148 Words Ã |Ã 5 Pages23-24) This quote explains how the human soul, equivalent to the self, is eternal and cannot die, and because it cannot die, it is in an endless cycle of reincarnation, or samsara. The goal of Hinduism is free from this cycle of samsara and reach enlightenment, or moksha, to join Brahman. But to better understand atman, it is important to know that atman and Brahman are used interchangeably. Some believe that all atman is connected to Brahman (the dualistic view) and others believe that each individualRead MoreEssay on Buddhism916 Words Ã |Ã 4 Pagesreality of life and universal suffering. At age twenty-nine, he left his kingdom and new-born son to lead a plain, reclusive life and determine a way to relieve this universal suffering. Siddhartha meditated under a bodhi tree for six years, but he was never fully satisfied. One day, however, he was offered a bowl of rice from a young girl and he accepted it. At that moment, he realized that physical harshness was not a means of achieving liberation. From then on, he encouraged people to follow a path
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Students Name Professors Name Course Title April 12, 2013 The Experience of Gender in Gender-Biased Professions Ruth Simpson interviewed 40 males working in the female-dominated professions of primary school teachers, flight attendants, nursing, and librarians to better understand their experiences. Of those interviewed, only two found their career choice unsatisfactory and had plans to leave (356). The rest were glad they chose or stumbled upon their current career. Simpson contrasted the experiences of male flight attendants, nurses, librarians, and primary school teachers with the theory that minority workers are generally penalized by increased performance expectations, isolation, and limited opportunities for promotion (352). Researchers have shown that women in a male-dominated workplace suffer from what has been called token status. A token female employees high visibility often increases the pressure to perform at levels above their male peers, their isolation as male employees exaggerate the differences between men and women, and stereotyping which tends to limit opportunities for advancement. By contrast, men seem to benefit on several levels by choosing a career in a female-dominated workplace (Simpson 356-364). Simpson found four main effects that were experienced by her interviewees and these were: (1) career effect, (2) assumed authority effect, (3), special consideration effect, and (4) zone of comfort effect. The career effect experience wasShow MoreRelatedAge Stratification1183 Words Ã |Ã 5 PagesSocial stratification is not a new phenomenon; its roots extends far back into antiquity with some contending that archaeological evidence reveals that social stratification existed in Cro-Magnon society 10,000 or more years ago (Tattersall 1998:178). Social stratification may be based on many attributes; according to Arredondo Biological differences can produce, directly or indirectly, social stratification by factors such as age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Age stratification and ageismRead MoreWhat Does It Affect Job Stratification And Economic Placement?1 370 Words Ã |Ã 6 Pagessystems unknowing of the challenges yet to come and the stratifications they will face. No matter which factors these babies may be born into, each and every one will face some sort of stratification and inequality based on their society, and the way they are raised within it. Sexual orientation is just one factor of inequality in our culture, and I will discuss here how it affects job stratification and economic placement. Social stratification can be viewed in one of three ways, first is structural-Read MoreGender Inequality863 Words Ã |Ã 4 PagesFischer Gender Inequality in a Global Perspective What is Gender Inequality? Like others, a social problem that is widespread in American society is Gender inequality. It is a problem that has had a negative impact on American society. Gender inequality can be found in many sub-systems of America. It is important to understand what gender inequality is in order to identify and correct the problem. Two sub-systems that gender inequality can be found are in the family and in the workplace. GenderRead MoreGender Roles in the United States842 Words Ã |Ã 3 PagesThroughout history, women have been regarded as of lesser value than men particularly in the public sphere. This is the result of gender stratification. Gender stratification refers to the issue of sexism, Ã¢â¬Å"or the belief that one sex is superior to the otherÃ¢â¬ (Carl et al., 2012, p. 78). The theory that men are superior to women is essential to sexism. Sexism has always had negative consequences for women. It has caused some women to avoid pursuing successful careers typically described as Ã¢ â¬Å"masculineÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬âperhapsRead MoreThe Impact Of Social Stratification On Minorities1195 Words Ã |Ã 5 Pagesdiscrimination, gender stratification, environmental damage, population growth, and urbanization are among the social problems and controversial issues that still exist in the United States. What is Social Stratification Social stratification is defined as a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. For example, There are fundamental principles of stratification: slavery, caste, and class. The class system which is characterized by its social mobility social stratification is a characteristicRead MoreSocial Stratification And Gender Inequality Essay1486 Words Ã |Ã 6 Pages History has seen multiple forms of social stratification whether it may be social class, caste, slavery, race or even gender. Social stratification places groups of people in a hierarchy depending on their social status which is respective to their economic income. This in turn determines their social position in society. With social stratification comes social mobility. These two terms are commonly found together when describing social stratification. Social mobility is simply Ã¢â¬Å"the change of socialRead MoreGender Stratification Of Family Responsibilities And The Division Of Labor922 Words Ã |Ã 4 PagesDespite the increase of women entering the labor force in the last several decades, family responsibilities remain disproportionately part of the womanÃ¢â¬â¢s daily life on top of a full time job. This paper aims to explore the gender stratification of family responsibilities and the division of labor within families headed by a heterosexual couple, and asks why working women remain the primary caregiver in a nuclear family, and how this Ã¢â¬Å"second shiftÃ¢â¬ impact family and society. I will discuss the breadwinner/caregiverRead MoreEssay about The Effects of Gender Stratification on Women1258 Words Ã |Ã 6 PagesGender stratification is the cuts across all aspects of social life and social classes. It refers to the inequality distribution of wealth, power and privilege between men and women at the basis of their sex. The world has been divided and organized by gender, which are the behavioural differences between men and women that are culturally learnt (Appelbaum Chambliss, 1997:218). The society is in fact historically shaped by males and the issue regarding the fact has been publicly reverberating throughRead MoreGender Inequalities Of Workforce And Gender Inequality1594 Words Ã |Ã 7 PagesSociology 101 February 1 2017 Gender Inequalities in Workforce Over the years it has become evident that women face far more significant barriers in the workforce than men do. A clear representation of this barrier is established by the gender pay gap, which is the difference in monetary amount received between a woman s and a man s average weekly earnings. The economy, as a social institution, is affected by gender and sex inequality. The idea of inequality in the workplace is central to explainingRead MoreGender Discrimination : Women s Rights Essay1387 Words Ã |Ã 6 Pagesplace to protect womenÃ¢â¬â¢s rights, there is still gender discrimination that continues to limit Americas progression towards a more equally gender right country (Morabito 2016). Women today still face many struggles because just by being a woman alone can come at a disadvantage in many cases so although America has addressed some gender inequality issues in our history, we should also focus on the discrimination that women face daily merely for their gender (Morabito 2016). Arlie Russell Hochschild
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Question: Discuss about the Company strategy and organisation evolution. Answer: Introduction Volkswagen Group, a German multinational automotive manufacturing company has its headquarters in Germany. Its main operations include designing, manufacturing and distributing of passenger as well as commercial motorcycles, commercial vehicles, engines and turbo machinery. Its offers relate to various services like financing, leasing and fleet management (Oldenkamp, van Zelm and Huijbregts 2016). In 2016 and 2017, consecutively the company maintained its market position as one of the largest automakers in the globe with respect to the sales. In 2017, it was ranked sixth in the Fortune Global 500 list of the biggest companies in the world. The group sells a large number of cars like Bentley, Audi, Bugatti, Porsche, Skoda, Lamborghini and others. It sells various other vehicles also (Audi.com. 2018). The company has its operations in China as well; the company has been doing well in the country and has become one of the largest companies. The company was found in the year 1937 and that first car they manufactured was the Beetle. Over the years, the company has adopted various strategies, in order to explore the new markets and expand their particular business around the globe. They have been successful in doing this in various fields however; they have often received backslash from many critics for their management and skills. The given report aims to throw light on the company`s performance. The chosen company for the report is Audi. The report will be divided into various sections each of which will be elaborating upon a certain component. The first section illustrates the Strategic Position of the company; the next part throws light on the resource evaluation and value system of the country. An evaluation of the product/portfolio mix will be done using the BCG Matrix and the last section shall elaborate upon the future direction of the company. Certain recommendations based on the move, which needs to be taken by t he company in order to establish them in a better position, shall also be provided. Strategic position of the company Strategic Positioning can be described as the relative position of a company within the particular industry in which it operates. The choice made by a company and the kind of value the company wants to deliver is reflected in its strategic position. The strategic positioning of a company should primarily translate into lower costs for the company or its entrance into the premium price market (Barrett et al. 2015). Strategic positioning of a company presents the overall intended objectives of the company and the approach it takes with respect to a particular situation. Company Strategy Audi is one of the most successful strategic business units of the Volkswagen group. For more than 80 years, the company has been able to construct the most effective automobile brand for customers. In ordered to achieve this position, the company has combined all essential features of a luxurious car into the particular brand cars (Sheldrick 2015). In its advertising and marketing strategy, the four-ringed company has reflected the key aspects of four major automobile brands. Another strategy followed by Audi to establish its position is to not pick out at its advantages; Audi tries to concentrate on the stereotypes, which have been associated with the drivers of the other brands. For example, BMW is stereotyped with a driver who cuts off others and Mercedes owner is often portrayed as an old man (the Guardian. 2018). This kind of commercial helps Audi to connect with the audience and hint to them that its customers are the normal crowd. Hence, Audi has been popular as a brand against the mass population and has established itself as a progressively luxurious brand. An evaluation of the resources and value systems of the company Resource Management of Audi Audi has factories and locations in various countries around the globe. It gets financial resources help from its parent company but the company has been doing sufficiently, well for which it does not require that help very often. Audi tends to fulfill its responsibilities efficiently and uses natural resources in a sustainable manner. It has taken out an e-gas project along with various other environmental commitments, which tend to address every component of the company values. The company has its own environmental research foundation and it has planted various trees and other natural plants near its facilities (Blackwelder et al. 2016). The company has collaborated with Desertec Industrial Initiative, and international consortium to help them find a way to produce solar power in the desert regions of Africa and the Middle East. The company has just not made these big steps towards the conservation of the resources but also integrated the aspect in its minute details. When the Audi vehicles are developed, the engineers tend to focus on the environmental (Morschett, Schramm-Klein and Zentes 2015). This is to only in the case of its parts but the efficiency of the manufacturing process as well, supply of energy as well as water cycle and logistic work flows. The systems installed in their factories ensure conservation of resources and runs mostly on green power. It also produces fuel savings models, which are lightweight and tend to cause minimum damage to the environment at large. It also tends to compile life cycle assessments for its vehicles. Audi has been consistently working on its auto transmissions and modular efficiency platform. Audi has been planning to diversify its portfolio in future by making use of the specially designed engines and bio0fuels product. It will also be selling hybrid vehicles and electronic models. Value System of the Organization The executive team of Audi believes that the stakeholders have put in immense trust in the organization, which needs to be paid back to them (Volkswagenag.com. 2018). For this reason, the company has come out with efficient resources and a code of conduct which serves as the company`s value system (Bartels 2013). The value system has been explained below from the various points of view of the company: Responsibility for compliance The main purpose of the organization is to see to it that they are able to fulfill the vision of the organization and maintain the reputation of the brand. For this purpose, the company makes sure that it is sustainable in its operations and that it takes care of all the compliances while carryout the business activities. It is the belief of the company, that compliance to various rules and regulations is extremely important in order t sees to it that the organization has a good brand name legally. This helps to raise the share price of the company and thereby increase the return to the given set of investors. Responsibility as a member of society The next aspect of the company comes as its responsibility as a member of the society. The directors of the company believe that, as the company is a part of the organization at large it needs to think about the welfare of its people and see to it that the members of the society do not face any harm (Garibaldo and Bardi 2015). The various components are covered by the company`s value system in order to comply with the norms of a society: Human rights Equal opportunity and Equal treatment Product conformity and safety Environmental Protection Donations, sponsorship and charity Communication and Marketing Political Lobbying Responsibility as a business partner As a business unit does not function on its own there are various partners of Audi, who help it to accomplish the goals and objectives and to make sure that the business runs successfully. On the other hand, it can be described as the duty of the brand to make sure that it encompasses integrity, transparency and fairness into its system. There are various conflicts of interest that might take place in a business enterprise; however, it is the duty of the brand to see to it that these conflicts do not come in the way of its supplier relationships (Greca 2015). It conducts various events and functions here all its suppliers are invited and treated with utmost respect and care. The company has certain strict policies with respect to corruption and it is strictly prohibited. It follows a strict conduct for financial laundering and the is against money laundering and terrorist funding (Algesheimer, Dholakia and Herrmann 2015). Various components in this aspect include Export Control, Tax control, Procurement, and free as well as fair competition. Responsibility in the workplace As a responsible worker, the company sees to it that it is able to fulfill the duty of company with respect to its workers as well. It is the fundamental interest of the company to protect the safety as well as the health of the customers. It takes various measures with respect to the occupational safety and health of its customers, Data protection, protecting of knowledge houses and intellectual property and lastly its IT security as well as company assets. The company wants to make sure that these above-mentioned components have the ability to look after the needs the employees and is able to provide help to them and protect their needs. An evaluation product/portfolio mix Product Portfolio A product portfolio ix can be defined as a collection of all the services as well as products, which a company has to offer. The product analysis provides various details of the company with respect to the stock price, type, company growth prospect, income contributors, market leadership and the risk involved (Stead and Stead 2013). This kind of an information is extremely important for the investors and decision makers of the company. Product portfolio proves to be an essential part of the financial analysis as it provides context into the research and one can distinguish between long term and short-term growth plans (Laudon and Laudon 2014). The particular portfolio analysis allows a user to nail down the specific drivers of the performance of the company, which can then be used to make future plans. It is often believed that a mature company like that of Audi will have a diversified product portfolio. The company often makes acquisitions and development, which are a source of growth for the company. They even tend to have larger resource pool for the development. When a company is geographically dispersed, even then it will be able to have a large variety of products. The main purpose of diversification is to limit the growth potential while reducing the risk of an organization. The Products and services offered by Audi are given below: There is a variety of products offered by the company. The below figure provides the segment mix of the offerings made by Audi. Analysis of the Product Portfolio Mix with the help of BCG Matrix BCG Matrix The BCG Matrix also known as the Boston Consulting Group Matrix tends to provide an overview of the product portfolio mix of an enterprise. It helps the decision makers as well as the company to understand which group of product or portfolio is the most profitable one and which group is not (Hill, Jones and Schilling 2014). The matrix has two dimensions the market growth and the market share. It is believed the bigger the market share the better it is for the company. Stars These products represent the high growth as well as high market share products. They are usually the high return products, which have an equally high investment. Application to Audi The A5, A1, TT series and the Q5 series are the stars of the particular brand. The demand for these cars is extremely high and in the same way, they have huge investments as they face fierce competition from other manufacturers like the BMW and the Mercedes (Hill and Jones 2013). The Cash Cow The source of income is that component of the brand, which has a low growth but a high market share. In the particular segment, the cash generation is extremely high but as the growth does the segment is particularly low, the investment is not much in the segment, which means this segment does not utilize much cash. The profits are generally high. Application to Audi For Audi, the Q7, Q3 are its sources of income because they are unique and highly in demand. These products are famous for their unique qualities and the ability to attract the customers even without any customizations. Dogs Dogs are the worst products present under a brand portfolio. Under dogs, the products that are present have a low growth as well as low market share. These can be stated as the brands, which have not, being doing well. These products should be liquidated and minimized in the cost of products offered by the brand. Application to Audi The products of the brand, which have the following model umber -A3, A7, A8, are dogs. These have little or no cash generation and do not fit well with the other products offered by the company. They should be liquidated instead of implementing turn around plans. Component 4 The last component of the BCG Matrix is the Question mark. These are the products that belong to that group of products that require his investments and have extremely low growth chances. The products have high demands and low returns (BBC News. 2018). These products often absorb great amount of market share and become the dog of the company. They should be sold off or delivered in cash. Application to Audi The TT range of cars and the R8 are bringing question marks for the company. These products require extremely high investments and generate extremely low amount of cash. Implication of the BCG Matrix The Audi Company should not invest any more funds in the Dog component of the business matrix, which is the a3, a7 and a 8. These require huge turnaround plans but they often tend to fail. Instead, if possible they should invest in the Question mark component and in the star unit so that they become the sources of income and bring success to the business (Eden and Ackermann 2013). A critical analysis and evaluation of Key future directions for strategic growth Options available to the company and their adaptation From the various reports and analysis, it can easily be stated that the company has had a hard time in the previous YEAR. However, the company aims to remain determined, take a bold step in the future, and take up the present challenges (Slack 2015). The company aims to go ahead with its plan of strategic transformation. The company has made a variety of plans for the models, business operations as well as the technologies of the firm. They have been stated below: The company shall be rejuvenating their model portfolio and they plan to renew five existing core model series by the mid of 2018. They intend to expand their Q family by 3029 and even introduce new concepts of the Audi Q8 AND Q4. They intent to work more on their electric models. The company also plans to introduce its two models this year, which are A8 and A7. The products will be unveiled at an Audi Summit, which is a new concept; this shall help the company to gain popularity in the market. In future, the company also aims to systematize its synergies so that the relevant trending topics of the future can be applied in the business more efficiently. It has collaborated with Porsche for future architectural vehicles. This move by the brand shall result in costs savings of millions each year. Along with its traditional car, business the company aims to expand its digital services in the future. It aims to do this through My Audi, which provides a vast range o online services. It plans to extend this in more than 15 markets. The company aims to become the leading company in the Volkswagen group by implementing the autonomous driving. They also plan to finance its own resources in future and find robust solutions for the current problems. Analysis The current situation of the company was not good as it was faced by certain diesel crisis. However, as seen from the above analysis the company aims to change this in the future and become a global leader in automobiles. The plans and the path that the company has set out for itself is extremely logical and can be easily achieved with persistence and proper planning (Rothaermel 2015). One of the best paths available to the company is the rejuvenating of its existing portfolio and expanding the digital services. The existing portfolios need to be extended and the source of income products needs to be expanded in. The new move to strive towards the digital path is a extremely useful plan, which shall enable the company to access a new, sphere altogether which is potentially strong and profitable. Hence, it can be stated that these two options shall be best for the company. Recommendations After analyzing the case of Audi, the following recommendations can be made: Focus on emerging markets The company needs to focus its energy and resources into the new emerging markets. One of the primary emerging market is China. China has a great potential for manufacturing along with cheap labor and advanced technology options. Opening manufacturing houses in China will help the company to strengthen its position in the Asian Market and even save costs (Peteraf, Gamble and Thompson Jr 2014). The products that shall be manufactured in China can be exported to the other parts of the world. Hybrid and electric power train are priorities Audi should also consider and expand its offering on electric and hybrid cars. As witnessed from the analysis, Audi already has a range of hybrid and electric cars, which it should expand in order to make sure that it caters to the need of the current market ((Wheelen and Hunger 2017). Position itself as a pioneer in sustainable mobility and synthetic fuels The new mantra of the business is sustainability. Therefore, the company should take adequate actions to ensure sustainability in its operations. It should make sure that all the ethical norms and environmental laws are followed by the company. It should utilize minimum resources so that the future generation and their needs are adhered to. Conclusion Therefore, from the given analysis of the Audi company under the Volkswagen group it could be stated that the company has been doing extremely well in the professional as well as the ethical domain. The company needs to adopt newer strategies and determine its focus on new fuel saving and electric resources. Known for its image as a progressive brand, the company needs to alter its product offering and spend its resources strategically in order to ensure incorporation of sustainability and cost effectiveness in its operations along with providing satisfaction to the consumers. The company needs to prioritize its goals and concentrate on establishment of cars and parts, which conserve the environment. Once the company is able to do so it shall become a global leader in automobiles. The reason may be competitive advantage. The company needs to hold on to the present requirement, which requires cars with energy consumption. Once it is able to do that, it will receive appreciation from several environmentalists and can be able to receive various subsidies from the government. These subsidies will help the company in gaining more profits, which will ultimately help the company to give out better dividends. This will raise the value of the company in the eyes of the customers as well. The company has certain responsibilities towards the society as well which it needs to fulfill. References Algesheimer, R., Dholakia, U.M. and Herrmann, A., 2015. The social influence of brand community: Evidence from European car clubs.Journal of marketing,69(3), pp.19-34. Audi.com. ,2018.The World of Audi. [online] Available at: https://www.audi.com/en.html [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018]. Barrett, S.R., Speth, R.L., Eastham, S.D., Dedoussi, I.C., Ashok, A., Malina, R. and Keith, D.W., 2015. Impact of the Volkswagen emissions control defeat device on US public health.Environmental Research Letters,10(11), p.114005. Bartels, A., 2013, July. High Automated Driving Functions: Future challenges and research needs from the perspective of Volkswagen group research. 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Cengage Learning. Laudon, K.C. and Laudon, J.P., 2014.Essentials of management information systems. Upper Saddle River: Pearson. Morschett, D., Schramm-Klein, H. and Zentes, J., 2015.Strategic international management. Springer. Oldenkamp, R., van Zelm, R. and Huijbregts, M.A., 2016. Valuing the human health damage caused by the fraud of Volkswagen.Environmental Pollution,212, pp.121-127. Peteraf, M., Gamble, J. and Thompson Jr, A., 2014.Essentials of strategic management: The quest for competitive advantage. McGraw-Hill Education. Rothaermel, F.T., 2015.Strategic management. McGraw-Hill Education. Sheldrick, G.M., 2015. SHELXTIntegrated space-group and crystal-structure determination.Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances,71(1), pp.3-8. Slack, N., 2015.Operations strategy. John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Stead, J.G. and Stead, W.E., 2013.Sustainable strategic management. ME Sharpe. the Guardian. ,2018.Volkswagen (VW) | Business | The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/vw-volkswagen [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018]. Volkswagenag.com. ,2018.Volkswagen Group Homepage. [online] Available at: https://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/content/en/homepage.html [Accessed 22 Jan. 2018]. Wheelen, T.L. and Hunger, J.D., 2017.Strategic management and business policy. pearson.
Sunday, December 1, 2019
OF MICE AND MEN KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS SETTING This book is set in two places. It starts beside a stream, close to the Salinas River, a few miles South of Soledad. It then moves to a ranch, where the major part of the story is set. At the end of the novel, the setting comes back to where it started. The stream introduces George and Lennie. They are on their way to a near-by ranch. The surrounding land is thick in vegetation and has its own wild life. Men frequent it, as there are ash piles made by many fires and the limbs of the sycamore tree have been smoothed by the many men who have sat on it. The ranch, where the major part of the story takes place, appears isolated and lonely. It includes a ranch house, a bunkhouse where the ranch workers live, a barn, and a harness-room off the barn. CHARACTERS Major Characters George - the protagonist and main character of the book. He is a caring, compassionate, and understanding human being who dreams of owning his own piece of land. Lennie - the obedient friend of George. He has a child's mind and a giant's body. It is these contrasting qualities that cause him problems. Old Candy - one of the lonely ranch workers. He is a cripple, working as a 'Swamper'. Crooks - a black ranch hand. He is sensible and neat, with a mind of his own. He is a lonely character, who is discriminated against, due to his race. Slim - a ranch worker with leadership qualities. He commands respect from all on the ranch. Curley - the boss's son who is a light weight boxer. He picks fights with everybody on the ranch. Curley's wife - the only woman on the ranch. She is very flirtatious. Minor Characters Carlson - a brutal man. He objects to Candy keeping his old dog. Whit - a ranch worker. He is sent to town to fetch the Sheriff after Curley's wife is murdered. The Boss - a 'mice fella' (in Candy's words). He is more concerned about his work on the ranch than anyone else. CONFLICT Protagonist: The protagonist of the story is George. He is the kind-hearted ranch hand who is concerned about his friend Lennie and watches out for him. Antagonist: The antagonist of the story is George's trying to care for the handicapped Lennie. Because he has a giant's body and a child's mind, Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife; at the same time he kills the dream of owning a farm that has kept George and Lennie positive about the future Climax: The climax occurs when Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife. George knows that he can no longer save Lennie, for Curley will want revenge. Outcome: Of Mice and Men ends in tragedy. George feels compelled to mercifully kill his friend and companion, Lennie, in order to save him from a brutal death. The death of Lennie also marks the death of the beautiful dream they have been nurturing. MOOD The dominant mood of the story is that of expectation. This mood is developed through the dreams of the major characters. The other mood that prevails is premonitory, of impending doom. There are also other moods evoked through the actions of the characters reflecting sorrow, pity, and brutality. The novel ends on a tragic note. The mood at the end is definitely one of depression and frustration. PLOT (Synopsis) One evening, two men, on their way to a ranch, stop at a stream near the Salinas River. George, who is short and dark, leads the way. The person following him is Lennie, a giant of a man with huge arms. During their conversation by the stream, George repeatedly asks Lennie to keep his mouth shut on the ranch, suggesting that Lennie has some kind of problem. After supper and before going to sleep, the two of them talk about their dream to own a piece of land. The next day, George and Lennie travel to the ranch to start work. They are given two beds in the bunkhouse. Then Old Candy introduces them to almost everybody on the ranch. They meet the boss and the boss's son Curley, who is quite rude. They also meet Curley's wife when she comes looking for her husband. She wears heavy make-up and possesses a flirtatious attitude. George warns Lennie to behave his best around Curley and his wife. He also suggests that they should meet by the pool if anything unfortunate happens to either
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Pride and Prejudice Intro Summary Essays - Pride And Prejudice Set in the country village of Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story revolves around the Bennet family and their five unmarried daughters. They are the first family of consequence in the village, unfortunately the Longbourn estate is entailed by default to a male heir, their cousin Mr. William Collins. This is distressful to Mrs. Bennet who knows that she must find husbands for her daughters or they shall all be destitute if her husband should die. Mr. Bennet is not as concerned and spends his time in his library away from his wifes idle chatter and social maneuvering. The second eldest daughter Elizabeth is spirited and confident, wanting only to marry for love. She teases her eldest sister Jane that she must catch a wealthy husband with her beauty and good nature and support them. The three younger sisters Mary, Catherine and Lydia hinder their sisters chances for a good match by inappropriate and unguarded behavior. When Mr. Bingley, a single man of large fortune, moves into the ne ighborhood with his fashionable sisters he attends the local ball and is immediately taken with Jane Bennet. His friend, Mr. Darcy, is even richer with a great estate in Derbyshire, but is proud and arrogant giving offence to all including Elizabeth by refusing to dance with her. The whole community declares him the most disagreeable man, eaten up with pride.
Friday, November 22, 2019
How to Stay Safe in College Staying safe while youre in college doesnt have to be complicated. These fifteen tips can be done with minimal effort and can avoid lots of problems later. Top 15 College Safety Tips Make sure the main door to your hall or apartment building is locked at all times. You wouldnt just leave the front door to your house open, would you? Dont let anyone into your hall or apartment building that you dont know. Not letting someone in doesnt make you look like a jerk. It makes you look like a good neighbor and, if the person is supposed to be in your hall, theyll be grateful for it. Make sure your room door is locked at all times. Yes, this even means when you run down the hall to borrow a book or hop in the shower. Be careful with your keys. Also, if you lose them, dont depend on your roommate to keep letting you in, thinking that your keys will just pop up. Pay the fine and get a new set. If you have a car, lock it. It seems so easy to remember, yet its so easy to forget. If you have a car, check on it. Just because you havent been using your car very much this semester doesnt mean someone else hasnt! Get a locking device for your laptop. This may be a physical lock o r some kind of electronic tracking or locking device. Watch your stuff in the library. You may need to take a quick run to the vending machines to clear your mind...just as someone happens to walk by and see your iPod and laptop unattended. Keep your windows locked. Dont be so focused on locking your door that you forget to check the windows, too. Put emergency numbers in your cell phone. If your wallet is stolen, will you know what phone number to call to cancel your credit cards? Put important phone numbers in your cell so that you can call the moment you notice something is missing. The last thing you want is someone cashing in on the money youve been budgeting for the rest of the semester. Use the campus escort service at night. You may feel embarrassed, but its such a smart idea. And besides, who wouldnt want a free ride?! Taking a friend with you when going out at night. Male or female, big or small, safe neighborhood or not, this is always a good idea. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Heading to a club downtow n? Going out on a date? Theres no need to spill all the intimate details, but do let someone (a friend, a roommate, etc.) know where youre going and what time you expect to get back. If you live off-campus, send someone a message when you get home.Ã If youre studying for finals with a friend late one night at the library, make a quick agreement that youll text each other you get home later that evening. Know the phone number for Campus Security.Ã You never know: you may need it for yourself or for something you see from far away. Knowing the number off the top of your head (or at least having it in your cell phone) may be the most important thing to remember during an emergency.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Outsourcing with pros and cons - Research Paper Example There are several reasons why many firms utilize outsourcing of their services, such as enhanced efficiency, cost reductions, increased flexibility and focus on core competencies. Outsourcing offers many benefits, although clearly with many caveats. The loss of skilled, expert staff is expected with outsourcing. Other risks involved with outsourcing include: loss of innovation, creativity, and flexibility and loss of control, continuity, and cooperation. However, these risk associated with outsourcing can be controlled and minimized if executed effectively. The immediate challenge facing organizations is how to make an informed offshore outsourcing decision that maximizes the benefits while minimizing the risks. An effective way to achieve the goal is to inquire how decision-makers comprehend and evaluate the factors affecting their offshore outsourcing decision. Abstract Outsourcing allows organization to reduce cost and concentrate on its core competences and to improve its activit ies. Although, outsourcing is an attractive strategy bounded by appealing benefits but it also contains some significant risks. However, these risk associated with outsourcing can be controlled and minimized if executed effectively. The immediate challenge facing organizations is how to make an informed offshore outsourcing decision that maximizes the benefits while minimizing the risks. An effective way to achieve the goal is to inquire how decision-makers comprehend and evaluate the factors affecting their offshore outsourcing decision. Abstract Outsourcing allows organization to reduce cost and concentrate on its core competences and to improve its activities. Although, outsourcing is an attractive strategy bounded by appealing benefits but it also contains some significant risks. However, these risk associated with outsourcing can be controlled and minimized if executed effectively. The immediate challenge facing organizations is how to make an informed offshore outsourcing deci sion that maximizes the benefits while minimizing the risks. An effective way to achieve the goal is to inquire how decision-makers comprehend and evaluate the factors affecting their offshore outsourcing decision. Outsourcing with Pros and Cons Introduction Outsourcing has become one of the most important management activities in recent years (Bromage, 2000). To outsource or not to outsource is one of the questions managers are increasingly asking themselves (Gunn, 2003). It is necessary to examine the degree of outsourcing and its pros and cons. The author posits that outsourcing is very beneficial to the growth of a company as it allows organization to reduce cost and to concentrate on its core competences and improve its activities. Outsourcing Outsourcing, as it applies to manufactured goods, is the practice of moving production to an outside supplier. Companies send this work to other domestic facilities or offshore. The outsourced activities can be thought of as new intermedi ate inputs or completed imports, shifting the entire production function done at home (Robert and Gordon, 1999). The outsourcing firm can then experience a reduction in the amount of labor required to continue operation. Outsourcing is a practice being used increasingly by organizations in order to combat the competitive forces within the global manufacturing sector. According to Michael Corbett, Firms extensively Ã¢â¬Å"use outsourcing everyday to improve the products and services they provide customersÃ¢â¬ ¦. More than 90 percent of companies state it is an important part of their overall business strategy.Ã¢â¬ (Corbett, 2004: p. 3) Pros of Outsourcing Cost Savings Cost savings is the most important and most commonly cited reason for outsourcing. According to Burmahl (2001) cost savings is among the top reason to outsource. Cost-savings calculations encompass fixed costs, which include capital and administrative overhead; variable costs, which include specific supplies, service s, and labor cost for all personnel
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Introduction to Marketing - PowerPoint Presentation Example outsourcing social media marketing services from the social media companies that have since been established and now, looking to dominate the industry. The overall market size for the social media advertising companies cannot be estimated precisely because to do so, one will need to count the ever-growing number of companies and institutions being established daily, and who essentially need to market their products. Thousands of existing companies and institutions are already outsourcing social media services, so an estimate of 50% of all businesses countrywide would be an appropriate market size, for now. 1. Placing adverts for companies and institutions on all the six most popular social media platforms. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus+ and You Tube. The choice of platforms to use depends on the social media sites preferred by the client and most importantly, the nature of products and serviced being advertised. 2. Content creation and campaign management services. In an effort to marketing a particular product or service, there has to be a campaign to sensitize its use and the content in that campaign needs to be original. 4. Research, monitoring and analysis of social media marketing.- success depends on your ability to measure and understand your efforts. Community measurement is an essential tool in social media marketing. 2. The top areas businesses want to flourish in are tactics and engagement processes - At least 89% of companies want to use the most effective social tactics and engagement plans for their social media audience. 4. Businesses want to make the most out of Google+ - While 54% of big corporations are using Google+, 65% of smaller companies want to know more about it and 61% plan on increasing Google+ activities this year. 5. Podcasting is on growth trajectory-Though only 6% of companies have utilized podcasting in their advertising, 21% plan to increase their podcasting activities this year. That is
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Share Holder Value Essay Public and private companies are under a great deal of pressure to create and sustain shareholder value by increasing both returns on capital and growth rates and companyÃ¢â¬â¢s stock price or equity value. Share holders would like to associate with a firm whose stock prices are not depressed. Who is a Shareholder? A share holder can be defined as the owner of one or more shares of stock in a corporation, commonly also called a stockholder. The benefits of being a shareholder include receiving dividends for each share as determined by the Board of Directors, the right to vote (except for certain preferred shares) for members of the board of directors, to bring a derivative action (lawsuit) if the corporation is poorly managed, and to participate in the division of value of assets upon dissolution and winding up of the corporation, if there is any value. A shareholder should have his/her name registered with the corporation, but may hold a stock certificate which has been signed over to him/her. Before registration the new shareholder may not be able to cast votes represented by the shares. (Enhancing share holder value, Dr William . e. Broxterman Chairman/CEO Chemquest Group,unc). Shareholder value is a business term, which implies that the ultimate measure of a companys success is to enrich shareholders. It became popular during the 1980s, and is particularly associated with former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch. ( In March 2009), Welch openly turned his back on the concept, calling shareholder value the dumbest idea in the world. The term used in several ways: To refer to the market capitalization of a company (rarely used) * To refer to the concept that the primary goal for a company is to increase the wealth of its shareholders (owners) by paying dividends and/or causing the stock price to increase * To refer to the more specific concept that planned actions by management and the returns to shareholders should outperform certain bench-marks such as the cost of capital concept. In essence, the idea that shareholdersÃ¢â¬â¢ money should be used to earn higher returns than they could earn themselves by investing in other assets having the same amount of risk. The term in this sense was introduced by Dr Alfred Rappaport in 1986. ) In (1981, Jack Welch made a speech in Hotel Pierre, New York City called) Ã¢â¬ËGrowing fast in a slow-growth economyÃ¢â¬â¢ (8. 12. 1981) this is often acknowledged as the dawn of the obsession with shareholder value. Welchs stated aim was to be the biggest or second biggest market player, and to return maximum value to stockholders. Strategic planning In todayÃ¢â¬â¢s fast-changing, often business environment, formal systems for strategic planning have become one of top managementÃ¢â¬â¢s principal tools for evaluating and coping with uncertainty. One of the key roles of Board of directors is to approve and adopt the strategic and annual business plans, the setting of objectives and review of key risk and performance areas. Corporate board members are also showing increasing interest in ensuring that the company has adequate strategies and that these are tested against actual results. While the organizational dynamics and the sophistication of the strategic planning process vary widely among companies, the process almost invariably culminates in projected (commonly five-year) financial statements. This enables top managers and the board to review and approve strategic plans in the same terms that the company reports its performance to shareholders and the financial community. Under current practice the projected financial statements, particularly projected earnings per share performance, commonly serve as the basis for judging the attractiveness of the strategic or long-term corporate plan. The conventional accounting-oriented approach for evaluating the strategic plan does not, however, provide reliable answers to such basic questions as: Ã¢â¬ ¢ Will the corporate plan create value for shareholders? If so, how much? Ã¢â¬ ¢ Which business units are creating value and which are not? Ã¢â¬ ¢ How would alternative strategic plans affect shareholder value? Managing shareholder value This management principle, also known under value based management, states that management should first and foremost consider the interests of shareholders in its business decisions. As shareholder value is difficult to influence directly by any manager, it is usually broken down in components, so called value drivers. A widely used model comprises 7 drivers of shareholder value, giving some guidance to manage. These drivers are, * Revenue, the amount of money that is brought into a company by its business activities. In the case of government, revenue is the money received from taxation, fees, fines, inter-governmental grants or transfers, securities sales, mineral rights and resource rights, as well as any sales that are made. * Operating Margin, the ratio used to measure a companys pricing strategy and operating efficiency, if a companys margin is increasing, it is earning more per dollar of sales. The higher the margin, the better. Can be calculated as: Operating margin=Operating Income/Net Sales. * Cash Tax Rate, the cash a company pays to governments as a percentage, while looking at an unlevered company. * Incremental Capital Expenditure, additional cash invested by a firm in its long term assets in order to generate a dollar of new sales. * Investment in Working Capital, a measure of both a companys efficiency and its short-term financial health. The working capital ratio is calculated as, working apital=current assets-current liabilities * Cost of Capital, equity and debt capital and the related discount rate. * Competitive Advantage Period, advantage over competitors by offering consumers better value either through greater benefits or lower prices. Share holder value, and the Economic value concept The value that a shareholder is able to obtain from his/her investment in a company ,is made up of capital gains, dividend payments, and proceeds from buy back programs and any other payouts that a firm might make to a shareholder. In other words share holder returns exceed the required return to equity, and the company is deemed to have exceeded the required expectation. Share holder value in recent years is being measured using the Economic Value Added Concept (EVA), a measure of a companys financial performance based on the residual wealth calculated by deducting cost of capital from its operating profit (adjusted for taxes on a cash basis). Share holder value, and the WACC concept Investors use WACC as a tool to decide whether to invest. The WACC represents the minimum rate of return at which a company produces value for its investors. Lets say a company produces a return of 20% and has a WACC of 11%. That means that for every dollar the company invests into capital, the company is creating nine cents of value. By contrast, if the companys return is less than WACC, the company is shedding value, which indicates that investors should put their money elsewhere. It measures a trend of improving or declining share holder value and it helps managers to focus on projects, businesses, product lines and activities yielding more than a firms weighted average cost of capital WACC (The return that both debt holders and equity holders expect, WACC, in other words, represents the investors opportunity cost of taking on the risk of putting money into a company. Investors use WACC as a tool to decide whether to invest. The WACC represents the minimum rate of return at which a company produces value for its investors. Lets say a company produces a return of 20% and has a WACC of 11%. That means that for every dollar the company invests into capital, the company is creating nine cents of value. Current value of a business is fairly expressed by the share price, there fore increasing EVA should move prices upwards. This means an earning return greater than its cost of capital. Value creation for shareholders through strategic acquisition Acquisitions have known to create value for share holders, however this has to be done strategically, for example in the study of industry acquisitions in 1998(1999 The Chemquest Group. Inc) describing the adhesives industry, such acquisitions have integrated a number of companies in to a single unit with a positive EVA have added significant value and enhanced shareholder value of the company. In order for an acquisition to create share holder value it must generate a positive NPV. In other words it behaves the same as a capital investment. By carrying assets that maximize long term value of the firm for example outsourcing activities such as manufacturing. Dell investments are involved extensively in marketing but out sources distribution, inventory and manufacturing. Also hiring of employees should be strategic. Share holder value and capital structure design Share holders wealth can be improved with increasing leverage by using more debt in place of equity and or dealing judiciously with debt and equity, designing a capital structure that will reduce WACC and increase the value of the firm. This is based on the fact that the composite cost of debt lies between the least expensive debt and the more expensive equity. This approach enables the maximization of corporate profits and shareholders equity. By keeping an eye on the capital market for the firm, the Financial Manager should keep an eye on capital markets for the firm, substituting methods for more effective ones which can improve the firms value and so the shareholder value. Areas such as interest on loans and normal dividend rates as dictated by the market should be examined for decisions. Share holder value and expansion and diversification A company can increase shareholders wealth by diversifying for example addition of a new product line. When BOC gases wanted to expand its business there was consideration by the board for an acquisition of a business in a similar industry, Carbacid. Although this did not succeed, the focus to grow through this product is still on and there is a plan to buy a carbon dioxide mining well. Nakumat seeks sh 1 billion for expansion and is talking with commercial banks for a syndicated loan. The loan is a long term five year loan to be used for stocking new branches recently opened in Rwanda Kigali( Business Daily pg 23). Share holder value and replacement and modernization Finlay Kenya in kericho the tea producing company has replaced a large number of manual labor, with machinery for plucking tea leaves; in a bid to modernize the labor market, to improve on productivity and to reduce labor costs and there fore shareholder value. Boc gases is evaluating an investment for an additional air separation in order to improve performance of machinery (Annual Report 2007). As a firm continues to grow, it may consider improving its retail centers, availing information to customers , displaying sales ware while encouraging caller customers to come and buy the goods in the retail shop. Investors Africa transformation fund, are trying out new methods to tap Africa Agriculture aimed at double digit returns with programmes to boost food production. ( Top News Business Daily pg 3 Dec 6 2010). Share holder value and investment decision rule Through sound capital budgeting techniques, a firm may come up with appraisal techniques to measure economic worth of an investment project for example, coming up with an unambiguous way of separating good projects from bad projects, ranking projects according to profitability, and choosing amongst a number of projects, the project that maximizes wealth. Investment decision can be divided into long-term and short-term decisions and techniques. Capital investment decisions are long-term choices about which projects receive investment, whether to finance that investment with equity or debt, and when or whether to pay dividends to shareholders. On the other hand, short term decisions deal with the short-term balance of current asses and current liabilities; the focus here is on managing cash, inventories, and short-term borrowing and lending (such as the terms on credit extended to customers), for example treasury has signed up for a new World Bank fronted bonds trading plan, which should help the central bank in diversifying its forex reserve mix and cushion the shilling against wild swings(professor Njuguna Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Business Daily Dec 6). Share holder value and discounted/non discounted cash flow methods By recognizing that bigger and early cash flows are preferred, the shareholders value can be improved. Using discounted cash flow methods such as NPV and PI. When NPV is +ve, the project should be accepted and when it is Ã¢â¬âve it should be rejected. In the decision rule for profitability where PI is less than 1, then the project should be rejected while where PI is greater than 1 then the project should be accepted. In the non-discounted cash flow method, projects with higher ARR are preferable. In order to make the right investment decision, it is important that the project is thoroughly analyzed using available tools, remembering that the resources are minimal and can not be wasted. Increasing or liquidating part of shareholding This can be achieved by shareholders taking up shares and so increasing their investment in the business, or selling their rights and liquidate part of their investment. In theory, share splits have a positive effect on the shareholders wealth because they encourage beneficial price movements. This should be in line with the dividend policy. Cash cycle and cash management Firms should ensure that there is a match between accounts payable and accounts receivables and that payment to creditors is delayed while receivables are collected earlier. These may seem like daily chores but can cost the shareholder dearly if poorly managed. Many firms have closed down because of not managing accounts receivables appropriately. Summary In summary Strategies selected in creating share holder values should be strategic in the real sense. Strategies selected will usually cover three to five years and will incorporate the big picture. Strategies of substance that have been tested will ensure that the right programs for growth of the firms share value are selected and implemented.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Hustler v. Falwell Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Hustler Magazine versus Jerry Falwell was a case that involved many key elements. First of all it was a case that examined if a public figure such as Jerry Falwell could collect for emotional damages sustained to him by a parody that was published in an issue of Hustler Magazine. Secondly, did Hustler invade FalwellÃ¢â¬â¢s privacy by publishing the contents of the parody? The most important aspect of the case, that was under review, was if Hustler was in accordance with their First Amendment Rights, of freedom of speech, by publishing the parody. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The parody in question was published in an issue of Hustler in a faux advertisement for Campari Liqueur. In the advertisement entitled, Ã¢â¬Å"Jerry Falwell tells about his first time,Ã¢â¬ Falwell is portrayed as giving an interview. In the fake interview Falwell talks about his first sexual experience, which was with his mother, and describes how he was drunk and the experience took place in an outhouse. The interview also tells how Falwell doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t go out in front of the pulpit unless heÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"sloshed.Ã¢â¬ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The district Court found Hustler Magazine liable for FalwellÃ¢â¬â¢s emotional distress and granted him 100,000 dollars in damages. However, the court did rule in favor of Hustler in that they did not invade Falwell's privacy since he was a public figure. They also ruled against FalwellÃ¢â¬â¢s libel claim, stating that Hustler did not publish anything that a reasonable person would misinterpret as the facts. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The big argument in the case, when it was introduced to the Supreme Court, was if the District Court had deprived Hustler Magazine of their First Amendment rights. Since Hustler was a magazine of nationwide circulation and since Falwell is a national figure Hustler argued that the parody was in no way wrong since any reasonable person would identify it as humor rather than facts. The Court agreed and it found that Falwell should not be rewarded any damages. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The Chief Justice Rehnquist presided over the case. In his statement of opinion Rehnquist acknowledged that the article wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t of the best taste. He also acknowledged that there isnÃ¢â¬Ët really a good way to distinguish between cases of this nature. His argument of this was since all jurors have different views and opinions that verdicts in cases such as this would be of opinion rather than clearly defined by the law. He acknowledged that not all speech is protected equally by the First Amendment but this case didnÃ¢â¬Ët possess such speech.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Abstract- Public-key cryptography is a key technology for e-commerce, intranets, extranets and other web-enabled applications. However, to garner the benefits of public-key cryptography, a supporting infrastructure is needed. The MicrosoftÃ ® WindowsÃ ® 2000 operating system includes a native public-key infrastructure (PKI) that is designed from the ground up to take full advantage of the Windows 2000 security architecture.This paper describes the fundamentals of public-key security systems, including what benefits they offer and what components are required to implement them. It also describes how the Windows 2000 PKI components deliver the needed services while providing interoperability, security, flexibility, and ease of use. I. Overview Public-key cryptography offers significant security benefits when it's properly implemented. Like other enabling technologies, public-key cryptography requires an infrastructure to deliver its benefits.However, the public-key infrastructure, or PKI, isn't a physical object or software process; instead, it's a set of useful services provided by a collection of interconnected components These components work together to provide public-key-based security services to applications and users. This white paper has two goals: to explain public-key technology and its uses, and to describe the features and benefits provided by the native PKI in the MicrosoftÃ ® WindowsÃ ® 2000 operating system.Understanding both of these topics will help you to decide where you can use PKI technology to improve your business processes and increase your ability to securely handle transactions with others. In this paper, you'll learn what a public key infrastructure is, what desirable benefits it can offer your operations, and how the Windows 2000 PKI delivers interoperability, security, flexibility, and ease of use. II. History During the early history of cryptography, two parties would agree upon a key using a secure, but non-cryptographic, metho d; for example, a face-to-face meeting or an exchange via a trusted courier.This key, which both parties kept absolutely secret, could then be used to exchange encrypted messages. A number of significant practical difficulties arise in this approach to distributing keys. Public-key cryptography addresses these drawbacks so that users can communicate securely over a public channel without having to agree upon a shared key beforehand. In 1874, a book by William Stanley Jevons described the relationship of one-way functions to cryptography and went on to discuss specifically the factorization problem used to create the trapdoor function in theRSA system.Since the 1970s, a large number and variety of encryption, digital signature, key agreement, and other techniques have been developed in the field of public-key cryptography. The ElGamal cryptosystem (invented by Taher ElGamal) relies on the (similar, and related) difficulty of the discrete logarithm problem, as does the closely rela ted DSA developed at the US National Security Agency (NSA) and published by NIST as a proposed standard. The introduction of elliptic curve cryptography by Neal Koblitz and Victor Miller independently and simultaneously in the mid-1980s has yielded new public-key algorithms based on the discrete logarithm problem.Although mathematically more complex, elliptic curves provide smaller key sizes and faster operations for equivalent estimated security. III. What is public key cryptography? When most people hear the words encrypt or cryptography, they immediately think of secret-key cryptography, wherein two parties share a single secret key that's used both to encrypt and decrypt data. Loss or compromise of the secret key makes the data it encrypts vulnerable. By contrast, public-key systems use two keys: a public key, designed to be shared, and a private key, which must be closely held.These keys are complementary: if you encrypt something with the public key, it can only be decrypted w ith the corresponding private key, and vice versa. Public-key systems depend on the mathematical relationship between the public and private keys. It's not feasible to derive one from the other. There are two fundamental operations associated with public key cryptography: encryption and signing. The goal of encryption is to obscure data in such a way that it can only be read by the intended party. In public-key cryptography, if Bob wants to send Alice some private data, he uses her public key to encrypt it, then sends it to her.Upon receiving the encrypted data, Alice uses her private key to decrypt it. The important concept here is that Alice can freely distribute her public key in order to allow anyone in the world to encrypt data that only she can decrypt. If Bob and Chuck both have copies of her public key, and Chuck intercepts an encrypted message from Bob to Alice, he will not be able to decrypt it; only Alice's private key can do that, and she is the only person who holds it. These two operations can be used to provide three capabilities A PrivacyPrivacy is a necessity for businesses of all kinds, but it's of vital importance for ones that use the Internet. The Internet allows anyone in the world to communicate with anyone else, but it doesn't provide security. Even within your company's internal network, if someone can gain physical access to your network media, they can eavesdrop on any data that traverses it. Public-key cryptography provides privacy via data encryption, whether the data is in the form of e-mail messages, credit card numbers sent over the Internet, or network traffic.Because public keys can be posted freely, complete strangers can establish private communications simply by retrieving each other's public keys and encrypting the data. B. Authentication Any transaction involves two parties, whether they're a client and a server or a customer and a vendor. For many transactions, it's desirable for one or both sides to be able to authentic ate, or verify the identity of, the other. For instance, before a customer provides their credit card number to an e-commerce web site, they will want to know that they are not talking to an imposter.One way that a customer can do this is by making the web site prove that it holds the right private key. For example, a web browser might encrypt a piece of information using the site's public key and ask the web server to decrypt it, thereby demonstrating that the server has the right private key, and proving its identity. Authentication can also take the form of assuring your customers that you produced a particular piece of data and that it has not been tampered with. Public-key cryptography enables you to do this by means of a digital signature, a concept which is an extension of the public-key signing operation discussed above.If Bob wants to digitally sign his company's annual report, he first generates a unique fingerprint of the report using an algorithm called a hash algorithm. Hash algorithms are specially designed to guarantee that even a single changed byte in the document will generate a completely different hash. Next, he encrypts the report and the hash using his private key. Alice (or anyone else) can verify the origin and authenticity of the signed report by first decrypting it using Bob's public key, then calculating her own version of the fingerprint and comparing it to the fingerprint she received.If the two match, it proves two things: that the report has not been tampered with, and it came from Bob. C. Non-repudiation Businesses require the ability to enter into binding agreements, whether in the physical world or on the Internet. Suppliers and buyers need the assurance that if they enter into an agreement, the other party will not be able to repudiate the agreement at some later point. Digital signatures on electronic purchase orders, contracts, and other agreements are legally binding in several countries and in many U.S. states, and legal acceptance is rapidly growing. D. infrastructure Manage keys: a PKI makes it easy to issue new keys, review or revoke existing keys, and manage the trust level attached to keys from different issuers. Publish keys: a PKI offers a well-defined way for clients to locate and retrieve public keys and information about whether a specific key is valid or not. Without the ability to retrieve keys and know that they are valid, your users can't make use of public key services.Use keys: a PKI provides an easy-to-use way for users to use keysÃ¢â¬ânot just by moving keys around where they're needed, but also by providing easy-to-use applications that perform public-key cryptographic operations, making it possible to provide security for e-mail, e-commerce, and networks. E. A capability,not a thing A common misperception is that a PKI is a thing. In fact, it's a capabilityÃ¢â¬âthe capability to easily publish, manage, and use public keys. Think of a PKI like a municipal water system. A wat er system is made up of purification plants, storage towers, pumps, water mains, and so on, as well as the pipes and faucets in your house.All of the disparate service-providing objects work together to provide a capability for users to obtain water on demand. In a similar way, a PKI consists of a group of discrete components that work together to allow you to use public keys, and public-key cryptography, seamlessly and transparently. The best place to implement a PKI is in the operating system. Operating systems already provide a number of other infrastructures, like the printing infrastructure that moves documents to printers and the file service infrastructure that retrieves files from shared storage.In both cases, the operating system provides a capability to transparently and easily use a network service, just as a PKI does. F. Digital certificates:packaging for public key So far, this paper has mentioned public keys when talking about the objects that a PKI uses. While public keys are required for PKI-based security, they're usually packaged as digital certificates. (It's important to stress that only public keys are packaged into certificates. The private key is never shared, so it doesn't require packagingÃ¢â¬âit's simply stored securely). The certificate contains the public key and a set of attributes, like the key holder's name.These attributes may be related to the holder's identity, what they're allowed to do, or under what conditions the certificate is valid. The binding between attributes and the public key is present because the certificate is digitally signed by the entity that issued it; the issuer's signature on the certificate vouches for its authenticity and correctness. For a real-world analogy, look in your wallet. If you have a drivers' license, you have the equivalent of a digital certificate. Your license contains a unique key (your license number) and some attributes (an expiration date, your name, address, hair color, and so on).I t's issued by a trusted agency and laminated to prevent it from being tampered with. Anyone who trusts the agency that issued your license and verifies that the lamination is intact can rely on its authenticity. At that point, though, the analogy breaks downÃ¢â¬âin the real world, only the government can issue a driver's license, so everyone knows that a license issued by Joe's Really Good DMV isn't valid. How do you make the same determination with a digital certificate? The answer lies in the concept of a certificate hierarchy.In a hierarchy, as shown in Figure 1, each issuer, or certificate authority, signs (using its own private key) the certificates it issues. The public half of the CA's keypair is itself packaged in a certificateÃ¢â¬âone that was issued by a higher-level CA. This pattern can continue through as many levels as desired, with each CA certifying the authenticity of the certificates it has issued. Eventually, though, there must be a top-level CA, called a roo t certificate authority. Since there's nobody above the root CA in the hierarchy, there's nobody to vouch for the authenticity and origin of its certificate.Instead, the root CA signs its own certificateÃ¢â¬âit simply asserts that it is the root. Figure 1: What a certificate hierarchy looks like Clearly, it's not secure to accept a root CA's assertion of its own identity. To verify a root CA's certificate, a trusted copy of its public key is obtained via an out-of-band method-Ã¢â¬âthat is, it's delivered by a third party instead of over the networkÃ¢â¬âand the key is used to verify that the root certificate is bona fide. Microsoft provides the public keys for many popular root CAs in PK-enabled products like Internet Explorer, allowing users to verify those roots transparently.Root CAs can also provide copies of their public keys for downloading from public web sites. Once the root key has been delivered via an out-of-band means, the user can verify the root certificate, an d hence the entire certificate chain. Even better, because each certificate's digital signature protects it from tampering, certificate chains can be freely passed over insecure media like the Internet. G. Public key enabled application Once your PKI can issue, publish, and control certificates, the next step is to deploy applications that can use them.A well-written application that is tightly integrated with the rest of the PKI can make the use of public-key cryptography all but transparent to the user. The user should not need to know how cryptography works, where certificates are stored, or any of the other detailsÃ¢â¬âthey should simply indicate what they want done, and leave it to the applications and the PKI to make it happen. Applications can use digital certificates to deliver the benefits of public-key cryptography, and they can combine cryptographic functions like signing and encryption to make possible e-commerce, secure network access, or other desirable services.All Microsoft applications that use public-key cryptography are natively public-key enabled. For example, the Microsoft OutlookÃ ® messaging and collaboration client offers built-in signing and encryption support, combined with the ability to use certificate publishers and root certificates from a number of sources. Internet Explorer, Microsoft Money, and Internet Information Server provide the ability to set up encrypted web sessions. PKI-enabled applications can build on industry-standard protocols to speed development and allow easy interoperability with other organizations, too.H. Hardware support The increasing market demand for PKI implementations has spurred hardware vendors to develop cryptographic hardware, including smart cards, PC cards, and PCI cards that offer onboard cryptographic processing. These hardware devices offer a wide range of capabilities. On the low end, smartcards offer limited cryptographic processing combined with secure key storage; on the high end, multi processor crypto-accelerators allow high-volume web services to secure data without suffering from bottlenecks caused by software cryptographic modules.The best thing about PKI hardware devices is that they're optionalÃ¢â¬âif your application requires additional performance or security, you can add hardware to provide it as necessary, but you can still build a completely functional PKI in software. I. Models The standalone CA model The standalone CA model (see Figure 2) is probably familiar to you if you've used SSL-protected web sites. In the standalone model, some third-party entity holds the root key and certificate for your organization, and it issues and revokes all certificates for your users.This third party might be a commercial CA like VeriSign, Thawte, Belsign, or GTE Cybertrust; it could also be a bank, a law firm, a trade association, or any other organization that you trust to issue certificates on your behalf. Figure 2: The standalone CA model This model allows trus t both within and outside your organization, so you can exchange secure e-mail and e-commerce transactions with outsiders. Standalone CAs also free you from the complexities of issuing, revoking, and tracking certificates.However, it requires you to trust some outside entity with your certificate management, and many third-party CAs levy an individual charge for each issued certificate. The enterprise CA model In this model (see Figure 3), your enterprise acts as its own CA, issuing and revoking certificates subject to your business requirements. Because no outsourcing provider is involved, your organization maintains complete control over its PKI. In addition to that control, though, you can guarantee that no one outside the enterprise can obtain a certificate unless you issue it to them.This model works well for controlling access to internal resources, or for generating certificates whose attributes would be meaningless to an outside entity. For example, you could issue certifica tes to managers that would allow them to make electronic travel reservations through the company travel office. Figure 3: The enterprise CA model Enterprise CAs with subordinates You can expand the flexibility of the enterprise CA model by adding subordinate CAs for individual departments, business units, or subdivisions of the organization. Most organizations already delegate some amount of administrative control to their subunits.For example, individual managers at most companies have some level of purchasing authority; higher-ranking managers can write bigger checks. Even though there's a centralized purchasing department that does much of the enterprise-wide buying, individual units still have the ability to perform day-to-day purchasing tasks. Choose your trust model If the choice of a CA model is the most important one you face when implementing a PKI, choosing a trust model comes in a very close second. When you trust a root, you're making an implicit statement that you trust them to be careful about who they issue certificates to.In this case, careful isn't quite the right word; what you're really saying is that you trust them to follow their prescribed policies and procedures to verify the identity of a certificate holder when they issue the certificate. When you choose to trust a root certificate, you're also choosing to trust certificates signed by that root. Depending on the CA model you use, the practical impact of this choice could be large (as when you choose to trust a large, widely used commercial root CA) or small (like deciding to trust your own accounting department).Normally these decisions are made for the enterprise as a whole; however, the Windows 2000 PKI allows individual users (or their administrators) to make their own trust decisions. In addition, administrators may override or augment user trust decisions with group policies. You also have to choose what you trust certificates to be used for. The X. 509 v3 certificate standard all ows you to specify whether certificates can be used for signing, encryption, or both. For example, you might want to give everyone signature certificates but restrict the use of encryption-capable certificates to certain departments or individuals.Microsoft has extended this feature to allow you to specify additional uses, including signing software components, logging on using a smart card, or recovering an encrypted file. When using the Windows 2000 PKI, the issuer has total control over what the certificate can be used for. IV Conclusion Public key cryptography offers critical business advantages, including the ability to conduct e-commerce and normal business operations with increased privacy, security, and assurance. To deliver these benefits, a public-key infrastructure is necessary that makes it easy to manage, publish and use public keys.Windows 2000 offers a PKI that is completely integrated with the operating system and provides flexible, secure, interoperable services tha t are easy to use, easy to deploy, and easy to manage. References N. Ferguson; B. Schneier (2003). Practical Cryptography. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-22357-3. J. Katz; Y. Lindell (2007). Introduction to Modern Cryptography. CRC Press. ISBN 1-58488-551-3. J. Menezes; P. C. van Oorschot; S. A. Vanstone (1997). Handbook of Applied Cryptography. ISBN 0-8493-8523-7. IEEE 1363: Standard Specifications for Public-Key Cryptography Single Sign-On Technology for SAP Enterprises: What does SAP have to say?  ^ Ed Gerck, Overview of Certification Systems: x. 509, CA, PGP and SKIP, in The Black Hat Briefings '99, http://www. securitytechnet. com/resource/rsc-center/presentation/black/vegas99/certover. pdf andhttp://mcwg. org/mcg-mirror/cert. htm ^ Stephen Wilson, Dec 2005, Ã¢â¬Å"The importance of PKI todayÃ¢â¬ , China Communications, Retrieved on 2010-12-13 ^ Mark Gasson, Martin Meints, Kevin Warwick (2005), D3. 2: A study on PKI and biometrics, FIDIS deliverable (3)2, July 2005
Saturday, November 9, 2019
It was a small tribunal this time, not like the trial for Kyle's life. Ian brought only Jeb, Doc, and Jared. He knew without having to be told that Jamie must not be allowed anywhere near these proceedings. Melanie would have to give that goodbye for me. I couldn't face that, not with Jamie. I didn't care if it was cowardly of me. I wouldn't do it. Just one blue lamp, one dim circle of light on the stone floor. We sat on the edge of the ring of light; I was alone, the four men facing me. Jeb had even brought his gun-as if it were a gavel and would make this more official. The smell of sulfur brought back the painful days of my mourning; there were some memories that I would not regret losing when I was gone. Ã¢â¬Å"How is she?Ã¢â¬ I asked Doc urgently as they settled in, before they could get started. This tribunal was a waste of my small store of time. I was worried about more important things. Ã¢â¬Å"Which one?Ã¢â¬ he responded in a weary voice. I stared at him for a few seconds, and then my eyes grew wide. Ã¢â¬Å"Sunny's gone? Already?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Kyle thought it was cruel to make her suffer longer. She wasÃ¢â¬ ¦ unhappy.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I wish I could have said goodbye,Ã¢â¬ I murmured to myself. Ã¢â¬Å"And good luck. How is Jodi?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No response yet.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"The Healer's body?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Trudy took her away. I think they went to get her something to eat. They're working on finding a temporary name she likes, so we can call her something besides the body.Ã¢â¬ He smiled wryly. Ã¢â¬Å"She'll be fine. I'm sure she will,Ã¢â¬ I said, trying to believe the words. Ã¢â¬Å"And Jodi, too. It will all work out.Ã¢â¬ No one called me on my lies. They knew I was saying this for myself. Doc sighed. Ã¢â¬Å"I don't want to be away from Jodi long. She might need something.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Right,Ã¢â¬ I agreed. Ã¢â¬Å"Let's get this over with.Ã¢â¬ The quicker the better. Because it didn't matter what was said here; Doc had agreed to my terms. And yet there was some stupid part of me that hopedÃ¢â¬ ¦ hoped that there was a solution that would make everything perfect and let me stay with Ian and Mel with Jared in a way that absolutely no one would suffer for. Best to crush that impossible hope quickly. Ã¢â¬Å"Okay,Ã¢â¬ Jeb said. Ã¢â¬Å"Wanda, what's your side?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I'm giving Melanie back.Ã¢â¬ Firm, short-no reasons to argue against. Ã¢â¬Å"Ian, what's yours?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"We need Wanda here.Ã¢â¬ Firm, short-he was copying me. Jeb nodded to himself. Ã¢â¬Å"That's a tricky one. Wanda, why should I agree with you?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"If it were you, you'd want your body back. You can't deny Melanie that.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Ian?Ã¢â¬ Jeb asked. Ã¢â¬Å"We have to look at the greater good, Jeb. Wanda's already brought us more health and security than we've ever had. She's vital to the survival of our community-of the entire human race. One person can't stand in the way of that.Ã¢â¬ He's right. Nobody asked you. Jared spoke up. Ã¢â¬Å"Wanda, what does Mel say?Ã¢â¬ Ha, Mel said. I stared into Jared's eyes, and the strangest thing happened. All the melting and melding I had just been through was shoved aside, into the smallest part of my body, the little corner that I took up physically. The rest of me yearned toward Jared with the same desperate, half-crazed hunger I'd felt since the first time I'd seen him here. This body barely belonged to me or to Melanie-it belonged to him. There really wasn't room enough for the two of us in here. Ã¢â¬Å"Melanie wants her body back. She wants her life back.Ã¢â¬ Liar. Tell them the truth. No. Ã¢â¬Å"Liar,Ã¢â¬ Ian said. Ã¢â¬Å"I can see you arguing with her. I'll bet she agrees with me. She's a good person. She knows how much we need you.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Mel knows everything I know. She'll be able to help you. And the Healer's host. She knows more than I ever did. You'll be fine. You were fine before I was here. You'll survive, just like before.Ã¢â¬ Jeb blew out a puff of air, frowning. Ã¢â¬Å"I don't know, Wanda. Ian's got a point.Ã¢â¬ I glared at the old man and saw that Jared was doing the same. I looked away from that standoff to level a grim glance at Doc. Doc met my eyes, and his face clenched with pain. He understood the reminder I was giving him. He'd promised. This tribunal didn't overrule that. Ian was watching Jared-he didn't see our silent exchange. Ã¢â¬Å"Jeb,Ã¢â¬ Jared protested. Ã¢â¬Å"There's only one decision here. You know that.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Is there, kid? Seems to me there's a whole barrel of 'em.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"That's Melanie's body!Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"And Wanda's, too.Ã¢â¬ Jared choked on his response and had to start over. Ã¢â¬Å"You can't leave Mel trapped in there-it's like murder, Jeb.Ã¢â¬ Ian leaned forward into the light, his face suddenly furious again. Ã¢â¬Å"And what is it that you're doing to Wanda, Jared? And the rest of us, if you take her away?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"You don't care about the rest of anybody! You just want to keep Wanda at Melanie's expense-nothing else matters to you.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"And you want to have Melanie at Wanda's expense-nothing else matters to you! So, with those things being equal, it comes down to what's best for everyone else.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"No! It comes down to what Melanie wants! That's her body!Ã¢â¬ They were both crouched halfway between sitting and standing now, their fists clenched and their faces twisted with rage. Ã¢â¬Å"Cool it, boys! Cool it right now,Ã¢â¬ Jeb ordered. Ã¢â¬Å"This is a tribunal, and we're going to stay calm and keep our heads. We've got to think about every side.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Jeb -Ã¢â¬ Jared began. Ã¢â¬Å"Shut up.Ã¢â¬ Jeb chewed on his lip for a while. Ã¢â¬Å"Okay, here's how I see it. Wanda's right -Ã¢â¬Å" Ian lurched to his feet. Ã¢â¬Å"Hold it! Sit yourself back down. Let me finish.Ã¢â¬ Jeb waited until Ian, the tendons standing out in his taut neck, stiffly returned to a seated position. Ã¢â¬Å"Wanda is right,Ã¢â¬ Jeb said. Ã¢â¬Å"Mel needs her body back. But,Ã¢â¬ he added quickly when Ian tensed again, Ã¢â¬Å"but I don't agree with the rest, Wanda. I think we need you pretty bad, kid. We got Seekers out there lookin' for us, and you can talk right to 'em. The rest of us can't do that. You save lives. I got to think about the welfare of my household.Ã¢â¬ Jared spoke through his teeth. Ã¢â¬Å"So we get her another body. Obviously.Ã¢â¬ Doc's crumpled face lifted. Jeb's white caterpillar eyebrows touched his hairline. Ian's eyes widened and his lips pursed. He stared at me, consideringÃ¢â¬ ¦ Ã¢â¬Å"No! No!Ã¢â¬ I shook my head frantically. Ã¢â¬Å"Why not, Wanda?Ã¢â¬ Jeb asked. Ã¢â¬Å"Don't sound like a half-bad idea to me.Ã¢â¬ I swallowed and took a deep breath so my voice wouldn't turn hysterical. Ã¢â¬Å"Jeb. Listen to me carefully, Jeb. I am tired of being a parasite. Can you understand that? Do you think I want to go into another body and have this start all over again? Do I have to feel guilty forever for taking someone's life away from them? Do I have to have someone else hate me? I'm barely a soul anymore-I love you brutish humans too much. It's wrong for me to be here, and I hate feeling that.Ã¢â¬ I took another breath and spoke through the tears that were falling now. Ã¢â¬Å"And what if things change? What if you put me in some-one else, steal another life, and it goes wrong? What if that body pulls me after some other love, back to the souls? What if you can't trust me anymore? What if I betray you next time? I don't want to hurt you!Ã¢â¬ The first part was the pure and unadorned truth, but I was lying wildly through the second. I hoped they wouldn't hear that. It would help that the words were barely coherent, my tears turned to sobs. I would never hurt them. What had happened to me here was permanent, a part of the very atoms that made up my small body. But maybe, if I gave them a reason to fear me, they would more easily accept what had to be. And my lies worked, for once. I caught the worried glance Jared and Jeb exchanged. They hadn't thought of that-of my becoming untrustworthy, becoming a danger. Ian was already moving to put his arms around me. He dried my tears against his chest. Ã¢â¬Å"It's okay, honey. You don't have to be anyone else. Nothing's going to change.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Hold on, Wanda,Ã¢â¬ Jeb said, his shrewd eyes suddenly sharper. Ã¢â¬Å"How does going to one of those other planets help you? You'll still be a parasite, kid.Ã¢â¬ Ian flinched around me at the harsh word. And I flinched also, because Jeb was too insightful, as always. They waited for my answer, all but Doc, who knew what the real answer was. The one I wouldn't give. I tried to say only true things. Ã¢â¬Å"It's different on other planets, Jeb. There isn't any resistance. And the hosts themselves are different. They aren't as individualized as humans, their emotions are so much milder. It doesn't feel like stealing a life. Not like it feels here. No one will hate me. And I'd be too far away to hurt you. You'd be saferÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ The last part sounded too much like the lie it was, so I let my voice trail off. Jeb stared at me through narrowed eyes, and I looked away. I tried not to look at Doc, but I couldn't help one brief glance, to make sure he understood. His eyes locked on mine, clearly miserable, and I knew that he did. As I quickly lowered my gaze, I caught Jared staring at Doc. Had he seen the silent communication? Jeb sighed. Ã¢â¬Å"This isÃ¢â¬ ¦ a pickle.Ã¢â¬ His face turned into a grimace as he concentrated on the dilemma. Ã¢â¬Å"Jeb -Ã¢â¬ Ian and Jared said together. They both stopped and scowled at each other. This was all just a waste of time, and I had only hours. Just a few more hours, I knew that for certain now. Ã¢â¬Å"Jeb,Ã¢â¬ I said softly, my voice barely audible over the spring's gushing murmur, and everyone turned to me. Ã¢â¬Å"You don't have to decide right now. Doc needs to check on Jodi, and I'd like to see her, too. Plus, I haven't eaten all day. Why don't you sleep on it? We can talk again tomorrow. We've got plenty of time to think about this.Ã¢â¬ Lies. Could they tell? Ã¢â¬Å"That's a good idea, Wanda. I think everyone here could use a breather. Go get some food, and we'll all sleep on it.Ã¢â¬ I was very careful not to look at Doc now, even when I spoke to him. Ã¢â¬Å"I'll be along to help with Jodi after I eat, Doc. See you later.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Okay,Ã¢â¬ Doc said warily. Why couldn't he keep his tone casual? He was a human-he should have been a good liar. Ã¢â¬Å"Hungry?Ã¢â¬ Ian murmured, and I nodded. I let him help me up. He latched on to my hand, and I knew he would be keeping a tight hold on me now. That didn't worry me. He slept deeply, like Jamie. As we walked from the dark room, I could feel eyes on my back, but I wasn't sure whose. Just a few more things to do. Three, to be precise. Three last deeds to be completed. First, I ate. It wouldn't be nice to leave Mel with her body uncomfortable from hunger. Besides, the food was better since I'd been raiding. Something to look forward to rather than endure. I made Ian get the food and bring it to me while I hid in the field where half-grown sprouts of wheat replaced the corn. I told Ian the truth so that he would help me: I was avoiding Jamie. I didn't want Jamie frightened by this decision. It would be harder for him than for Jared or Ian-they each took one side. Jamie loved us both; he would be more evenly torn. Ian did not argue with me. We ate in silence, his arm tight around my waist. Second, I went to see Sunny and Jodi. I expected to see three glowing cryotanks on top of Doc's desk, and I was surprised that there were still just the two Healers, set in the center. Doc and Kyle hovered over the cot where Jodi lay inert. I walked quickly to them, about to demand to know where Sunny was, but when I got closer, I saw that Kyle had an occupied cryotank cradled in one arm. Ã¢â¬Å"You'll want to be gentle with that,Ã¢â¬ I murmured. Doc was touching Jodi's wrist, counting to himself. His lips pressed into a thin line when he heard my voice, and he had to begin over again. Ã¢â¬Å"Yeah, Doc told me that,Ã¢â¬ Kyle said, his gaze never leaving Jodi's face. A dark, matched set of bruises was forming under his eyes. Was his nose broken again? Ã¢â¬Å"I'm being careful. I justÃ¢â¬ ¦ didn't want to leave her alone over there. She was so sad and soÃ¢â¬ ¦ sweet.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I'm sure she'd appreciate it, if she knew.Ã¢â¬ He nodded, still staring at Jodi. Ã¢â¬Å"Is there something I'm supposed to be doing here? Is there some way to help?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Talk to her, say her name, talk about things she'll remember. Talk about Sunny, even. That helped with the Healer's host.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Mandy,Ã¢â¬ Doc corrected. Ã¢â¬Å"She says it's not exactly right, but it's close.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Mandy,Ã¢â¬ I repeated. Not that I would need to remember. Ã¢â¬Å"Where is she?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"With Trudy-that was a good call there. Trudy's exactly the right person. I think she's gotten her to sleep.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"That's good. Mandy will be okay.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I hope so.Ã¢â¬ Doc smiled, but it didn't affect his gloomy expression much. Ã¢â¬Å"I've got lots of questions for her.Ã¢â¬ I looked at the small woman-it was still impossible to believe that she was older than the body I wore. Her face was slack and vacant. It frightened me a little-she'd been so vibrantly alive when Sunny was inside. Would MelÃ¢â¬ ¦? I'm still here. I know. You'll be fine. Like Lacey. She winced, and so did I. Never like Lacey. I touched Jodi's arm softly. She was much like Lacey in some ways. Olive skinned and black haired and tiny. They could almost be sisters, except that Jodi's sweet, wan face could never look so repellent. Kyle was tongue-tied, holding her hand. Ã¢â¬Å"Like this, Kyle,Ã¢â¬ I said. I brushed her arm again. Ã¢â¬Å"Jodi? Jodi, can you hear me? Kyle's waiting for you, Jodi. He got himself in a lot of trouble getting you here-everybody who knows him wants to beat him senseless.Ã¢â¬ I grinned wryly at the big man, and his lips curled up at the corners, though he didn't look up to see my smile. Ã¢â¬Å"Not that you're surprised to hear that,Ã¢â¬ Ian said beside me. Ã¢â¬Å"When hasn't that been the case, eh, Jodi? It's good to see you again, sweetheart. Though I wonder if you feel the same way. Must have been a nice break to get rid of this idiot for so long.Ã¢â¬ Kyle hadn't noticed his brother was there, attached like a vise to my hand, until Ian spoke. Ã¢â¬Å"You remember Ian, of course. Never has managed to catch up to me in anything, but he keeps trying. Hey, Ian,Ã¢â¬ Kyle added, never moving his eyes, Ã¢â¬Å"you got anything you want to say to me?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Not really.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I'm waiting for an apology.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Keep waiting.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Can you believe he kicked me in the face, Jodes? For no reason at all.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Who needs an excuse, eh, Jodi?Ã¢â¬ It was oddly pleasant, the banter between the brothers. Jodi's presence kept it light and teasing. Gentle and funny. I would have woken up for this. If I were her, I would have been smiling already. Ã¢â¬Å"Keep it up, Kyle,Ã¢â¬ I murmured. Ã¢â¬Å"That's just right. She'll come around.Ã¢â¬ I wished I would get to meet her, to see what she was like. I could only picture Sunny's expressions. What would it be like for everyone here, meeting Melanie for the first time? Would it seem the same to them, as if there were no difference? Would they really grasp that I was gone, or would Melanie simply fill the role I had? Maybe they would find her entirely different. Maybe they would have to adjust to her all over again. Maybe she would fit in the way I never had. I pictured her, which was picturing me, the center of a crowd of friendly faces. Pictured us with Freedom in our arms and all the humans who had never trusted me smiling with welcome. Why did that bring tears to my eyes? Was I really so petty? No, Mel assured me. And they'll miss you-of course they will. All the best people here will feel your loss. She seemed to finally accept my decision. Not accept, she disagreed. I just can't see any way to stop you. And I can feel how close it is. I'm scared, too. Isn't that funny? I'm absolutely terrified. That makes two of us. Ã¢â¬Å"Wanda?Ã¢â¬ Kyle said. Ã¢â¬Å"Yes?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I'm sorry.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"UmÃ¢â¬ ¦ why?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"For trying to kill you,Ã¢â¬ he said casually. Ã¢â¬Å"Guess I was wrong.Ã¢â¬ Ian gasped. Ã¢â¬Å"Please tell me you have some kind of recording device available, Doc.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Nope. Sorry, Ian.Ã¢â¬ Ian shook his head. Ã¢â¬Å"This moment should be preserved. I never thought I'd live to see the day that Kyle O'Shea would admit to being wrong. C'mon, Jodi. That ought to shock you awake.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Jodi, baby, don't you want to defend me? Tell Ian I never have been wrong before.Ã¢â¬ He chuckled. That was nice. It was nice to know that I'd earned Kyle's acceptance before I left. I hadn't expected that much. There was no more I could do here. There was no point in lingering. Jodi would either come back or she would not, but neither outcome would change my path now. So I proceeded to my third and final deed: I lied. I stepped away from the cot, took a deep breath, and stretched my arms. Ã¢â¬Å"I'm tired, Ian,Ã¢â¬ I said. Was it really a lie? It didn't sound so false. It had been a long, long day, this, my last day. I'd been up all night, I realized. I hadn't slept since that last raid; I must have been exhausted. Ian nodded. Ã¢â¬Å"I'll bet you are. Did you stay up with the Heal-with Mandy all night?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Yeah.Ã¢â¬ I yawned. Ã¢â¬Å"Have a nice night, Doc,Ã¢â¬ Ian said, pulling me toward the exit. Ã¢â¬Å"Good luck, Kyle. We'll be back in the morning.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Night, Kyle,Ã¢â¬ I murmured. Ã¢â¬Å"See you, Doc.Ã¢â¬ Doc glowered at me, but Ian's back was to him, and Kyle was staring at Jodi. I returned Doc's glare with a steady gaze. Ian walked with me through the black tunnel, saying nothing. I was glad he wasn't in the mood for conversation. I wouldn't have been able to concentrate on it. My stomach was twisting and turning, wringing itself into strange contortions. I was done, all my tasks accomplished. I only had to wait a bit now and not fall asleep. Tired as I was, I didn't think that would be a problem. My heart was pounding like a fist hitting my ribs from the inside. No more stalling. It had to be tonight, and Mel knew that, too. What had happened today with Ian had shown me that. The longer I stayed, the more tears and arguments and fights I would cause. The better the chance that I or someone else would slip up and Jamie would find out the truth. Let Mel explain it after the fact. It would be better that way. Thanks so much, Mel thought; her words flowed fast, in a burst, her fear marring her sarcasm. Sorry. You don't mind too much? She sighed. How can I mind? I'd do anything you asked me to, Wanda. Take care of them for me. I would have done that anyway. Ian, too. If he'll let me. I've got a feeling he might not like me so much. Even if he won't let you. I'll do whatever I can for him, Wanda. I promise. Ian paused in the hall outside the red and gray doors to his room. He raised his eyebrows, and I nodded. Let him think I was still hiding from Jamie. That was true, too. Ian slid the red door aside, and I went straight to the mattress on the right. I balled up there, knotting my shaking hands in front of my hammering heart, trying to hide them behind my knees. Ian curled around me, holding me close to his chest. This would have been fine-I knew that he would end up sprawled out in all directions when he was really asleep-except that he could feel my trembling. Ã¢â¬Å"It's going to be fine, Wanda. I know we'll find a solution.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I truly love you, Ian.Ã¢â¬ It was the only way I could tell him goodbye. The only way he would accept. I knew he would remember later and understand. Ã¢â¬Å"With my whole soul, I love you.Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"I truly love you, too, my Wanderer.Ã¢â¬ He nuzzled his face against mine until he found my lips, then he kissed me, slow and gentle, the flow of molten rock swelling languidly in the dark at the center of the earth, until my shaking slowed. Ã¢â¬Å"Sleep, Wanda. Save it for tomorrow. It will keep for the night.Ã¢â¬ I nodded, moving my face against his, and sighed. Ian was tired, too. I didn't have to wait long. I stared at the ceiling-the stars had moved above the cracks here. I could see three of them now, where before there had been only two. I watched them wink and pulse across the blackness of space. They did not call to me. I had no desire to join them. One at a time, Ian's arms fell away from me. He flopped onto his back, muttering in his sleep. I didn't dare wait any longer; I wanted too badly to stay, to fall asleep with him and steal one more day. I moved cautiously, but he was in no danger of waking. His breathing was heavy and even. He wouldn't open his eyes till morning. I brushed his smooth forehead with my lips, then rose and slid out the door. It was not late, and the caves were not empty. I could hear voices bouncing around, strange echoes that might have been coming from anywhere. I didn't see anyone until I was in the big cave. Geoffrey, Heath, and Lily were on their way back from the kitchen. I kept my eyes down, though I was very glad to see Lily. In the brief glimpse I allowed myself, I could see that she was at least standing upright, her shoulders straight. Lily was tough. Like Mel. She'd make it, too. I hurried to the southern corridor, relieved when I was safe in the blackness there. Relieved and horrified. It was really over now. I'm so afraid, I whimpered. Before Mel could respond, a heavy hand dropped on my shoulder from the darkness. Ã¢â¬Å"Going somewhere?Ã¢â¬