Author Archives: Ken

Jail Pass

In 1996, a 19-year-old man was arrested, and charged with murder. Although, the man claimed he was innocent, he was convicted of the crime, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 2006, after serving ten years of his sentence, a man came forward with an incredible story; that he, in fact, was the person that committed the crime, and the wrong man had been in prison for the past ten years.

After an intense investigation, it was concluded that the man was, in fact, telling the truth; he committed the crime. He had too many details of the crime that were never released to the public, and was able to answer questions, that, until now, remained unanswered.

After a short trial, this man was convicted of the crime, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The 19-year-old man (now 29), that was wrongly imprisoned, was released the next day. He was issued a formal apology, and was given a check for a measly $300, to help him start a new life, and find a job.

Shortly after the man’s release from prison, a third man came to the police department, and confessed that he, and the now 29-year-old man, committed a robbery, in 1993. So, after being released for only 6 days, the 29-year-old man found himself arrested once again, and back in the court room. After a trial that lasted 5 weeks, and all the evidence was presented, along with a confession from both men, they were both convicted of the robbery.

The third man was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his part, and the 29-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison, for his part in the crime. Now, the 29-year-old man obtains another lawyer, and asks to have his case dismissed. His lawyer presents the argument that he should be released from prison. His sentence is ten years for the robbery; however, he has already spent ten years in prison for a crime that he was acquitted of committing.

The victims of the robbery seek justice, and want both men placed in prison.

What does the judge do? How does he decide the fate of the 29-year-old man? Should the man remain in prison, and serve his ten-year sentence, or should the previous ten years that he served for a crime that he didn’t commit, be applied to his current sentence? It was a sentence for a different crime, but he was wrongly convicted because of a failure in the justice system.

Should the man be required to give away another ten years of his life, or should the system give him a break, and set him free, with time paid?

  • Should the judge give him a jail pass?
  • Would it even be legal, for the judge to give him a jail pass?

Working with Sets

A set is a well-defined collection of distinct objects. The objects of a set are called elements. A set is well-defined, if it can be easily understood, whether or not, a given object, is an element of that set. Some sets do not have any elements. These sets are called empty sets, or null sets. They are denoted by using the symbol Ø.

N = Ø

A set of digits could be defined as:

D = {1, 2, 3, 4}

The set is labeled D and includes the digits 1 through 4. The left and right braces are used to enclose all of the elements of the set. This makes it easy to understand what is, and is not, an element of the set D. This method of defining a set is called the roster method.

Set-builder Notation is another method that can be used to define a set. An example of the same set, using set-builder notation would be:

D = {x|x is a digit between 1, and 4, inclusive}

This set would be read as “D is the set of all x, such that, x is a digit between 1 and 4, inclusive.” The horizontal pipe | is pronounced “such that.” Therefore, when x|x, is used, it should be read as “x, such that, x.”

When the word “inclusive,” is used, it means that both 1 and 4 are also included in the set; otherwise, a digit between 1 and 4 would be either 2 or 3.

Z = {x|x is a digit between 1, and 4}

In this case, set D (above) would have 4 elements, and set Z, would have 2 elements.

Elements Are Unique

Elements in a set should be unique, i.e., they should not appear more than once in the set. You would not create a set such as: {3, 9, 1, 3}, because the element “3”, appears more than once in the set. The order of the set does not matter. Both {3, 6, 9} and {6, 9, 3} represent the same set.

Equal Sets

When two sets are the same, such as: X = {5, 4, 3}, and Y = {3, 4, 5}, then it can also be said that X = Y. The set of both X and Y are the same, even though the elements are not displayed in the same order in both sets.


If one set contains all of the elements of another set, it is called a subset. As an example: P = {4, 9, 0}, and Q = {0, 9, 6, 4, 3}. In this case, P, is a subset of Q, because every element in P, is also an element in Q. The set of Q also contains 4, 9, and 0. When a set is a subset of another set, it is written as: P ⊆ Q.


The intersection of a set is defined as: A ∩ B. If a problem uses this format, it’s simply asking for a list of all elements that appear in both set A and set B. If the element “5”, appears in both sets, and all other elements are unique, then the answer would be {5}.

A = {4, 5, 9}; B = {5, 1, 2}; Then A ∩ B = {5}.


The union of a set is defined as: A ∪ B. If a problem uses this format, it’s simply asking for a list of all elements, that appear in either A or B, or both. If an element appears in both sets, it is only listed once in the union. Look at element “8” in the sample:

A = {9, 8, 4}; B = {2, 1, 8}; Then A ∪ B = {9, 8, 4, 2, 1}.

Universal Set

A universal set, written as ∪, is a set that consists of all elements that need to be considered.

Set Complement

The complement of a set, written as Ā (with a line above the set name), is simply a list of all of the elements in the ∪ (universal) set, that are not in set A. In this case, if ∪ = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9}, and A = {6, 7, 9}, then Ā = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8}.

High-Level Languages

High-level languages are a major advancement in programming languages. High-level languages are much easier to use than assembly or machine languages, because they are designed to use a more English-like syntax. Some examples of high-level language statements are: (a) total = 1 + 3, and (b) name = “Ken”.

High-level languages promote platform independency, i.e., they can be executed on many different machine types. High-level languages might require the use of a compiler. A compiler is used to convert the high-level language code, into machine language code, that can be understood, and executed by the computer. Some high-level languages might require an interpreter, instead of a compiler. An interpreter “interprets” the high-level programming code, line-by-line, as the code is executed. Interpreted languages are not compiled ahead of time.

Interpreted languages greatly increase platform-independency because the programming code is converted to machine language code on the machine in which the program is executing, instead of being converted to machine language code on the programmer’s computer.

High-level programming languages can either be procedure-oriented or object-oriented.

Procedure-oriented Languages

Procedure-oriented languages concentrate on the major tasks that the program needs to perform. Some examples are: (a) calculating sales tax, (b) totaling and order, and (c) inputting customer data. Procedure-oriented languages must be instructed line-by-line, from the start of the task, until task completion. The programmer decides the order in which the computer processes instructions, i.e., the correct sequence. Some examples of procedure-oriented languages are: (a) COBOL, (b) BASIC, and (c) C.

Object-oriented Languages

Object-oriented languages focus on objects that the program can use to accomplish its goal. These might be real-world objects, for example: (a) an employee timecard, (b) a customer, or (c) an employee paycheck. These objects can be used in more than one program, thereby promoting code reuse, which saves time and money. Some examples of object-oriented programming languages are: (a) C#, (b) Java, and (c) C++. These languages can also be used to create procedure-oriented programs.

Assembly Language

Assembly language is slightly more advanced than machine language, and it simplifies a programmer’s job by implementing the use of mnemonics, instead of 0s and 1s. Mnemonics are memory aids which serve as alphabetic abbreviations for computer instructions. There are a few mnemonics which are common amongst various assembly languages. ADD, and MUL, are a couple examples of common mnemonics. Example assembly statements (ASM) would be: (a) MUL bx, ax; and (b) ADD bx, ax.

A program needs to be written in machine language before a computer can understand it; therefore, all assembly language code must be converted into machine language code before the program can be understood and executed by the machine.

An assembler is a program that is designed to convert assembly language programs into machine language programs. This conversion process turns the mnemonic-based assembly language code into the binary code that is required for execution; therefore, assembly language provides an easier way to write machine language code, as the programmer does not need to work directly with the binary-based machine language.

Assembly language is easier to use than machine language; however, it still requires highly skilled and trained programmers to be used effectively. Like machine language, assembly language is platform dependent. This means that programs generally have to be (at the very least) slightly modified, before they will run on another type of machine.

Monkey “Cheese”

The selfie taken by NarutoThis image, provided by PETA, is a court exhibit in a case that states the photographer should be granted copyrights to the image, and therefore, receive monetary damages, because the photograph was used on the cover of a wildlife book.

The catch? The photographer is a macaque monkey (Naruto) who lives on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Reportedly, the monkey took this selfie using a camera that belonged to David Slater, a wildlife photographer.

A lawsuit was filed by PETA in San Francisco, on September 22, 2015.  Slater states that he should be the copyright holder of the photograph, because (1) he setup the camera so that the photograph could be taken, and (2), he was the owner of the camera, and the “intellect” behind the photograph.

PETA claims that Naruto should own the copyrights to the photograph and should receive any benefits that are gained from the photograph, which was used on the cover of a wildlife book. PETA stated that macaque monkeys are a critically endangered species, and that their numbers have decreased by around 90%, over the past 25 years.

PETA also sought a court order that would grant both PETA and Dr. Antje Engelhardt (a primatologist), the rights to administer Naruto’s benefits, on the condition that all benefits would be used specifically for the benefit of Naruto, his family, and community. The benefits would be used to help preserve Naruto’s habitat.

Can a monkey be granted photographic copyrights?

Control Structures

All computer programs are written in one or more of three basic control (logic) structures. These control structures are: (a) sequence, (b) selection, and (c) repetition. Control structures control a program’s flow of logic.

Sequence Structure

The sequence structure is used in every computer program. This structure instructs the computer to process instructions one-by-one. An example of this type of structure might be: (a) reading a recipe, (b) driving directions, or (c) solving math problems. The processing starts at step one, and follows through, step-by-step, until step N. The steps used to solve problems are called algorithms. The sequence structure can be used inside of the selection structure, or, inside of a repetition structure.

Selection Structure

The selection (decision) structure directs a computer to make a decision based on a specified condition. An example of a selection structure might be: (a) if an order total is less than a customer’s credit limit, authorize the transaction, otherwise, decline the transaction. A selection structure can be used inside of a repetition structure.

Repetition Structure

The repetition structure, sometimes referred to as an iteration, or loop, directs a computer to repeat one or more instructions until a specified condition has been met. An example of a repetition structure might be: (a) read a file line-by-line, until the entire file has been read. The repetition structure can be used inside of a decision structure.

Central Processing Unit

The central processing unit, more commonly referred to as the processor, is the brain behind the computer. There are three primary components that make up the central processing unit (CPU). These components carry out the instructions that allow the computer to function.

Arithmetic Logic Unit

The Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) contains all of the electrical circuits that are used to carry out instructions. The processor is capable of executing many different types of instructions, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponentiation, logarithms and so on. The processor can carry out logical instructions such as, greater than, less than and equal to.


Registers are tiny storage components located on the processor. The registers are used to store data that is needed frequently, or quickly. Because registers are located on the processor, they are incredibly fast. Registers are volatile storage, meaning, they are unable to maintain data storage without a power source.

An example usage of registers is the addition of two numbers. Each of the numbers to be added are stored in a register, on the processor. The ALU will pull these numbers out of the registers, add them together, and then store the sum into another register. Data is constantly moving in, and out, of the registers.

Control Unit

The control unit has two primary functions within the processor. Just as its name implies, the control unit is in charge of moving data around inside of the processor. It can pull data out of the registers or move new data into them. It is also able to access program instructions and feed commands into the ALU.

The control unit is also in charge of external data movement between the processor, primary and secondary storage devices, and other I/O devices.


Registers offer incredible speed. They are faster than primary storage devices, such as Random Access Memory (RAM). The primary reasons why this type of memory is not standard throughout the computer, is because of its cost. This type of storage is extremely expensive, and not practical for general usage; therefore, slower, more economical memory, such as RAM, is normally used for primary storage.

Real Numbers

The following is a listing of real numbers:

Natural 1, 2, 3, 4, …
Whole 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, …
Integers … -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, …
Rational Any number that can be written in the form of p/q, where p and q are integers and q ≠ 0.
Irrational Any real number that is not rational.
  • Every natural number is a whole number.
  • Every whole number is an integer.
  • Every integer is a rational number.
  • All real numbers can be written in decimal form.
  • Rational numbers in decimal form are either terminating or repeat forever.
  • Irrational numbers are decimals that never terminate or repeat.
  • Integers are rational numbers because they can be written in the form:
Terminating Example .15, .128
Repeating Example 1.33, 4.7234

Irrational numbers are decimals that never terminate or repeat. An example would be π (pi).

Machine Language

All data in a modern-day computer is represented by microscopic, 2-state switches. These switches can either be on, or off. There are no other existing states for these switches. These switches are called transistors.

When the switch is in the off state, represented by 02, the circuit is open, and there is no power flowing through the switch. When the switch is in the on-state, represented as 12, the circuit is closed, and there is power flowing through the switch.

This process can be roughly equated to basic household light switches. When the light switch is in position 12, the circuit is closed, and the light is operating. When the light switch is in position 02, the circuit is open, and the light is non-operational. Assuming the lack of potentiometers within the circuit, no other state exists within the light switch.

Von Neumann computer technology has not currently advanced to the point where minor power fluctuations within a circuit, can be detected (economically), therefore, von Neumann computers are only able to understand these basic 2-state switches.

This limitation meant that the first stored computer programmers had to write all of the computer’s instructions using a base 2 numbering system, known as binary. Unlike the n10 (base 10) decimal numbering system, the n2 numbering system can only be represented using the digits 0 and 1.

Instructions written using the n2 numbering system are known as Machine Language Instructions. Machine language is a platform-dependent language, i.e., each machine type will have its own machine language set. Machine language is a very important concept, because it is the only way to communicate directly with a stored program computer.

Cultural Explanation Essay

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies has become a very popular novel since its first publication in 1954. The novel has been translated into 26 different languages and become a standard in English readings in both high schools and colleges (Lambert, 1993). But what is the reason for this popularity? Why does Lord of the Flies stand out so much from other novels?


The popularity of Lord of the Flies is not something that’s understood very well. In fact, Lord of the Flies didn’t start off very popular at all. When it was decided to produce the Lord of the Flies movie in 1960, the novel was still a commercial failure (LIFE magazine, 1963). In fact, a Web site that was designed and dedicated to the Lord of the Flies states that the novel’s popularity can be blamed on nothing more than a stroke of good luck (LIFE magazine, 1963). There are, however, others that believe there are specific reasons why Lord of the Flies became so popular, and they don’t believe that it was just a stroke of good luck.

After being rejected by a number of prominent American houses, the novel was published in the United States by Coward-McCann. The novel was originally published in a hard cover edition. The sales, however, were very minimal. Edmund Epstein, who was the editor of Capricorn Books, wanted to see if Lord of the Flies would catch on in modern literature courses. So, the novel was then published in a paperback edition in 1959, so that it could be sold to various schools. It turns out that Epstein’s instincts were spot on. Not only did the novel catch on, but it sold nearly a half million copies by the end of 1962. By the time William Golding decided to visit the United States in 1961, the book had become so popular that Golding was inundated with requests for personal speaking engagements (Weber, 2012).

So, what made Lord of the Flies so popular within modern literature courses? One of the things that this novel demonstrates, is that human nature is violent, even in children. When a group of young boys is left alone on an island, they slowly start to break off into groups, with one group being rational and the other irrational. The novel goes on to provide a depressing assessment of humans and their chances of survival, not only on this island, but also as a civilization. This type of view echoes that of a young child’s often-gloomy worldview. This is what some claim makes the novel so popular with students, or young readers (Braunr, 2012).

Lord of the Flies is also a very symbolic novel. It has a wide array of different symbols to decode. This is considered to be another reason that young readers are so attracted to the novel. Lord of the Flies provides many scenes which are very realistic, and believable. The novel offers readers many different scenes of haunting, and memorable moments, to help the reader remember what they’ve read, far into the future (Braunr, 2012). Lord of the Flies is not a book that someone can read, and then easily forget about.

The novel starts when a plane filled with young boys crash lands on an uninhabited island, with no adults around. There is no one to answer to, and no one to give orders. It’s a dream come true for most young readers. It symbolizes freedom, and a way to get away from the challenges that a young child’s life may bring (Braunr, 2012). The freedom, and lack of challenges, of course, comes to an end soon enough, as both Ralph and Jack fight for leadership of the boys.

Lord of the Flies is also filled with childish humor. There are scenes of the children making fun of Piggy, the fat boy who wears glasses, both signs of weakness. There are dances, face painting, and play fighting. There is a point in the novel, where one of the boys claims that he saw a beast while out in the woods after dark. When the boy is asked why he was out in the woods after dark, another boy screams: “he was taken short!” (Golding, 1962). Then there’s Piggy’s hilarious ass-mar. These are all childish behaviors in which most young readers will be able to relate with.

Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory

Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory is a literary theory, that can help describe the human mind. This theory fits perfect with Lord of the Flies and can be used to help describe the ways in which the novel matches with the human psyche, and why the novel is so popular among modern literature.

Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory has three primary parts that will be covered hereafter. Those parts being the “superego”, “ego”, and “id”. Both the superego and the id are flawed components. The superego would require 100 percent perfection and the id is too instinctual, i.e., no civilized thought processes would take place within the id. The ego is a mix of both the superego (rationality) and the id (fear). When the two come together, you are left with the ego (Project Lit Crit, 2011).


In the Lord of the Flies, the superego can be used to describe Piggy. Piggy has great ideas and wants to do things according to plan, but at the same time, lacks the knowledge, and skills, to carry out most of those plans. Piggy’s character tries to implement things learned from society. Piggy tries to do what’s right, and obey the laws, even when those laws, and cultural boundaries, have been removed, because they are stranded on an uninhabited island, with no adults.


Ralph’s character could easily represent the ego. The ego shows great balance between the superego and the id. As the little kids approach the group, and start talking about beasts, and monsters, in the woods, Ralph exclaims that no such beats can exist. At times, Ralph makes claims of being scared, and the id starts to show. Ralph then uses the superego to talk the fear down and remind the other children that something like that can’t exist in real life. This is an example of how the id (Ralph’s fear) and the superego (what Ralph has learned from social and cultural laws) can come together to create balance.


Jack is a perfect example of the id. Jack’s character is very impulsive. Jack has complete disregards for all rules, and laws, and is completely irrational. Jack has many inner desires, such as killing, not only for food, but also to secure a position as a leader of the group. When other children refuse to obey what Jack says, they are beaten and sometimes even killed. Jack’s character represents the complete opposite of the superego, where social and cultural boundaries are followed perfectly.

Popularity Revisited

So how does all of this fit into the popularity of the novel amongst young children? The parts of the Freudian Psychoanalytical approach discussed here can have a reflection on the human psyche at many different developmental stages throughout a child’s life. When a child is born, they are driven by pure emotion (the id). When a baby is hungry, it cries; when the baby is happy, it laughs. There are no extra thought processes that take place, until later in the developmental process.

As a child starts to mature, the child may flop back and forth between the various stages of the id, ego, and superego. There are times when what children do is completely irrational, and clearly not thought out, and other times when things are too idealistic, i.e., the child might have great ideas, but not the logistics to carry out those ideas, representing the superego. There are also times when there is balance and rational thinking. Peer pressure starts to set in, and the child is suddenly aware of how they are perceived.

All of these processes take place within an educational environment, as children start to develop mentally, and emotionally, and children will probably be able to relate any past or present life experiences with what is happening in the Lord of the Flies. There are many ways that a child, or any other reader, can start to connect with the characters in the novel, and also with what is happening during the different scenes.

It’s almost certain that every educational environment will have children at each stage in the development process. There will be a Piggy, Ralph, and Jack, in any environment that can be studied. Piggy can be related to the children that are teased and tormented, while Ralph might be the over-achiever that everyone dislikes, and Jack might be the bull-headed football star that everyone “likes” because he’s purely rebellious-no one wants to be on Jack’s bad side.


There are many different ways in which a reader can relate to what is happening during the various scenes of the Lord of the Flies, and this can be part of what helps bring the novel to life, and part of what makes it so memorable and enjoyable to read. This novel has a story to tell, and that story goes a lot deeper than a group of young boys stranded on an uninhabited island.

References – Cultural Explanation Essay