Jim Holt’s Code-breaker is a compelling story about Alan Turing who broke the code that German used during the Second World War. Holt's voice in this article is sympathetic, and his target audience is the general public. The story starts with the mysterious death of Alan Turing. This beginning grabs readers’ interest instantly. As it continues, Holt displays Turing’s life waved with his heroic achievement in computing and early artificial intelligence and his miserable treatment because he is a gay.

Holt uses a lot of logos to describe how complicated the German Enigma Code is. One example is that “…further layers of complexity were added, increasing the number of possible keys to something like a hundred and fifty quintillion” (342). Yet Turing not only broke the code, “as the Enigma evolved,” he “continued to devise new strategies to defeat [the code]” (342). “[T]he German High Command refused to believe that the Enigma could have been broken, suspecting instead espionage and treachery” (342). Readers undoubtedly admire Turing as a scientific genius. Because of his work, Britain’s fate in the Second World War changed.

However, for such a hero, not only Turing didn’t get the deserved recognition before he died because British kept this information classified, he had terrible time after he admitted his homosexual affair. He was arrested and charged “gross indecency,” and he was forced to take hormonal treatment (345). Holt effectively uses pathos when he describes Turing’s personal life. His use of emotional words such as “affectionate exasperation,” “moral turpitude,” and “romantic liaison” successfully shows different reactions to his conviction of being a gay from his mother, the society and himself (345).

It seems that Holt disagrees with Leavitt on Turing’s life after his arrest being “a slow, sad descent into grief and madness” because Holt thinks Leavitt’s description is “overly dramatic” (345). However, Holt shares Leavitt’s opinion that “Turing’s death… occurred in a period of acute anxiety about spies and homosexuals and Soviet entrapment” (345). Even though Holt is not able to answer if Turing’s death is a suicide or murder, readers can say that even if Truing ate the poisonous apple by himself, he was murdered by the non-inclusive society that he lived in.
Written by Thomas King , “Borders” is a story happens at the Canada-America border at Coutt. The main character is a mother from Blackfoot. She refuses to identify her citizenship either as Canadian or American; instead, she insists that she is Blackfoot, and because of that she and her 12-year-old son have to stay in between the border offices of Canada and America. The title “Borders” indicates two borders: one is the obvious physical border between Canada and USA; the other is the hidden metaphoric border between someone’s identity and citizenship, which is the main border Kings wants to show readers in this story.

King tells the story through the young boy, and that gives the story a light and relaxing tone; at some places, it is even humorous. For example, King describes the two border guards coming out of their office as “swaying back and forth like two cowboys headed for a bar or a gunfight” (135). An adult probably won’t think like that, but in a boy’s eyes, how they walk looks just that funny. Another example is during the second night, the mother is telling traditional stories to the boy, but the boy is so hungry that all he can think is if Mel will bring them some hamburgers (142). By telling the story from the son, there is no analysis on why this is happening and what will happen later, etc. That gives the readers a wide space to reflect the story and try to find the answers by themselves.

King writes in great details. It is amazing how well a 12-year-old boy can observe things. When a woman in American border office comes to talk to the mother, the boy notices that she has a gun, her gun is silver, there are “several chips in the wood handle,” and her name ‘Stella’ is “scratched into the metal butt” (136). Another place is the description of a media guy who is “good-looking”, “in a dark blue suit and an orange tie with little ducks on it” (143).

Comparison is used to show different personalities, attitudes and changes. One great example can be found from how the four guards talk with the mother regarding citizenship in different ways. The first guard asked directly “Citizenship?” at first; then he tried to get the mother to confirm if she was Canadian; after the mother insisted she was Blackfoot, he asked a question about firearms and tobacco before he asked “citizenship?” directly again (135). The second guard acknowledged that the mother and the son were Blackfoot, although he said “Blackfeet”; then he asked, “what side do you come from? Canadian side or American side?” (136) The third guard was a woman. This time she told the mother that she wouldn’t keep the record of what the mother said to her about citizenship. The readers can feel that by then the guard just want to get the job done and she is making compromise for the mother to pick a citizenship to claim (136). The fourth guard is a young woman from Canadian border. She asked the mother “are you both Canadians?” After the mother said Blackfoot, she told the mother that she had friend from Blackfoot; moreover, she said to the mother “I’d be proud of being Blackfoot if I were Blackfoot.” Even she is fond of Blackfoot; she can let the mother and the son enter Canada because the mother refuses to be either American or Canadian (138-139). From those details, readers might have the negative impression of American guards compared to Canadian guard. The first three guards are from America, and none of them shows sympathy or recognition to the mother, but the fourth one who is from Canada does.

Comparison is used not only among different people, but also on the same person. The sister Laetitia’s attitude towards Blackfoot changes dramatically in the story. Earlier, Laetitia was so eager to leave Blackfoot to go to Salt Lake City. Everything in Salt Lake City seemed better than Blackfoot: the temple, the ski sites, the mountains, the park and the zoo. She thought Salt Lake City was “one of the best places in the entire world” (139). However, after she saw her mom’s story at the border on TV, she feels so proud of her mom that she wants to hear the story over and over; even better, she tells her mother that she is thinking about moving back to Blackfoot (144). The shift of her attitude towards Blackfoot reveals that she recognizes her identity of being Blackfoot and feels proud of it.

“Borders” is a very insightful story, and its main idea is that to well protect the pride and gain justice, you must honour your identify first. As Mel told the mother in the end, “justice was a damn hard thing to get, but that we shouldn’t give up” (143). This is a great story for people living in Canada, especially for the Native people and immigrants. You can easily changing your citizenship, but your identity wouldn’t change because it is deeply bonded to your history and culture.
Jennifer Turpin’s “Women Confronting War” examines impacts of a war on women from the gendre perspective, and discusses that gendre inequality as a major cause for women war victims.

Turpin looks at various ways in which women are war victims, directly and indirectly. The direct impacts of a war on women include casualties, war refugees, rape victims, and the indirect impacts include prostitution and domestic violence. In the order of most direct impacts to most indirect impacts, Turpin delivers a clear idea to the readers that women suffer more from the war than men – the majority of civilian casualties are women and children; more than “four-fifths of war refugees are women and young girls”;(325) women are raped or forced into prostitution in a massive scale; the number of domestic violence increases during wartime.

Turpin uses logos most effectively in this article. Shocking numbers are used to demonstrate the depressive status of women war victims and strongly stimulate readers’ sympathy for the women and young girls who are hurt physically and mentally in the war. For example, civilians for the percentage of casualties raised from 50% in World War II to 90% in 1990s, and most of them were women and their children; by the end of 1992, 36 million out of 46 million war refugees were women and girls (325).

Stunning facts provide another strong proof to support Turpin’s argument. The fact that “even the United Nations peacekeepers…have committed rape and sexual abuse against women and young girls” (327) powerfully leads the readers to the deep thought that “sexual violence is endemic to military culture.” (327)

Ethos is another tactic that Turpin effectively uses in “Women Confronting War.” She mentions that women and young girls are sexually abused by refugee camp guards (326). This is astonishing! Another example of ethos is that local government actually lets poor girls to satisfy soldiers’ sexual demands because the militaries bring capital investment into local communities. There is a strong conflict in terms of ethics. What the militaries or the refugee camps supposed to do is to provide shelter and protection to local civilians and refugees; on the contrast, they add more hurts on those poor women and girls, unexpected.

Turpin’s ultimate purpose is to peel through the suffering truth of women being war victims to analyze the cause for the impacts of war on women – gender inequity. She achieves this goal successfully. Why so many women are raped in the war, from young girl to old granny? “Rape has been used as a weapon for ethnic cleansing, using attacks on women to humiliate and attempt to exterminate another ethnic group,” because if a woman gets pregnant, her child will inherit the father’s ethnicity. (326) Women are not equally valuable as men, not only in certain areas and countries, but also in the military culture at international level. In the opinion of the commander of United States Pacific Command, a girl’s dignity is not even worthy the cost to rent a car!

The only point I don’t agree with Turpin though is that she thinks gender inequality is a cause of war. I think gender inequality is not really a cause of war, but a catalyst for women suffer in the war and from the war.
Global supply chains have difficulties in ensuring the products from an ethical supplier. For example, the material for a cell phone could be from an artisanal mine in Eastern Congo where children are forced to work by armed men; then the cell phone might be manufactured in a factory in Shenzhen China, where over a dozen suicide happened in a year related to overwork. Another example is heparin produced in China. As a pharmaceutical product, heparin is supposed to be clean when it gets into hospital; however, there was a scandal two years ago, which about 80 people died because of contaminated heparin. Even worse, some suppliers use mimicked heparin to substitute the real one, because the cost for mimicked heparin is only $9 per pound, while it is $900 per pound for the real heparin. Both Chinese and American government failed in auditing and supervision to prevent such a tragedy to happen.

The critical problem of global supply chain is that it is supranational. On one hand, national governments only focus on local problems and don’t want to subordinate local interests to international issues. On the other hand, most companies don’t have any mechanism to ensure ethical supply chain. To solve this problem, in 1996, President Clinton organized a meeting for industry, human rights NGOs, trade unions and the Department of Labour. After three-year discussion, they figured out a solution; that is, multinational corporations will set the code of conduct and apply it throughout the global supply chain. Because suppliers don’t want to lose contracts with big brand names, the code of conduct is actually more powerful than local laws and regulations related to human rights, environment and labour.

But we can’t leave global supply chain management completely to business because of their profit-oriented nature. We need a platform that multinational corporations, civil society and others can work together to achieve greater global public good. Fair Labour Association (FLA) provides such a place. There are now 4,000 company members. Under the principle of “trust, but verify”, FLA enlists multinational companies, gives them tool to protect human rights along supply chain, audits them through random inspection, and discloses the audit results online to the public. The speaker encourages everyone to join the effort to take the responsibility that governments have failed and make sure the product we use are from someone working with dignity.

-- TED Talk, Auret van Heerden
Being a famous hockey player, Ken Dryden looks through the benefits of being a celebrity, such as gifts and admiring letters from the fans and other special treatments, and examines the nature of being celebrity – the game of image. With professional help, a celebrity builds up the image to meet people’s expectation; for example, as a hockey player, you must not only play well on ice, but also be good at other things off ice. It doesn't matter if this image is accurate; what matters is if this image fits what people think. Unfortunately, the celebrity is not the only one in this “game”; everyone is in, and the public plays a large role in it. If we can treat a celebrity more like usual human being, not an idealized idol, pay more attention on a celebrity's reputation instead of image, we will be able to see who he/she really is better.



June 2013



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