“It’s almost here!”

AP tests are almost here! Around this time of year, Advanced Placement classes and students prepare for the national Advanced Placement tests. These classes offer advanced, college level curriculum, but are for high school students. In the first two weeks of may, national AP tests occur for high school students taking AP classes, and the scores for these tests take months to return, and can be important for getting into universities and colleges because they demonstrate a student’s expertise and “advanced-ness” in school subjects. In one week, the AP tests begin, and the antics are only building up.

Studying is quote hard and tedious, especially since I have 4 classes to study for. At least I don’t have to study too much for AP English, it’s just responses. I feel live I have studied enough for AP United States History, but I have barely studied for Biology and Calculus. Which means I have a busy couple of days before the test, and now there’s less than a week left for that.

The AP test is quite scary, but as of right now, I felt more worried about a history presentation I did earlier today. Not only was presenting it pressuring, there would be people studying off of these notes too. I had to cover everything. At least that is one way of lifting the burden off of the incoming test, whether intentional or not.

Definitely things are going better for the people around me when it comes to preparing for the test. I saw someone during our school’s annual Baron Games, a spirit competition between the grades, studying their AP Biology study book in between minigames. “Dang, I’m not that dedicated, should I be doing more?” This event has made my very nervous, because I assumed that I would have enough time to study, but now I’m thinking that I need to plan my time and set thing straight because it’s very simple: There’s not much time left.

And watching everyone else, taking after school practice tests for their classes, and I attended one for Biology, for an FRQ, in which I did decently on. Not to say that the results mean I’m ready, because I am nowhere near that. Heck, I should be studying right now. But anyways, I should definitely be prioritizing things in my life right now, I mean the future is pretty important.

Before writing this, I was agonizing myself over not studying for calc, and while doing practice test homework, I spent time studying for it. Despite not a full study of the subject, it felt very beneficial to have just referenced to notes and correct myself. I don’t know if I can do the same for Biology, maybe flashcards and practicing chronology, but I suppose reading something is better than reading nothing. Practice makes (almost) perfect, right?

Knights Looks Cool!

I don’t know how or when, but I also had an interest in knights when I my age was still single digits. Is it their admittedly awesome looking armor, made from only the finest iron or steel? Is it their intricate, difficult training and their not so difficult training from a lowly page to a fully-fledged knight? Is it their code of chivalry where they protect their lords and less folks such as peasants from “evil” (bandits)? Is it their tales of wearing shiny armor, going on fantasy like adventures, slaying huge fire breathing dragons, rescuing and consequently marrying princesses? Okay, the last point likely never happened in history but it probably what drawn me to knights.

©2014 Emperor Maximus [CCO 2.0]

Well like I have mentioned earlier, what likely drew me in to the awesomeness that are knights were probably tales that involved one slaying a fire breathing dragon and saving the princess and such. Now as I’ve grown older, and actually listened in my history class, I’ve learned that knights never actually saved princesses from stone towers or slayed dragons and what not (I mean over my so-and-so years alive, I have never seen one dragon).

Firstly, let’s learn a little bit about the training of a knight. Training starts once a boy reaches the ripe age of eight years old, but not just any boy. One must be born into it or specifically chosen out. Boys do not become a knight straight away, they start out as a page and must work their way up to squire then to knight. Training consists of writing, music, weapons, and of course the chivalry.

The Knights Code of Chivalry is an oath that must be taken by all knights. Once taking said oath, a Knight is expected to follow his lord or liege and protect his lord/liege’s land and people. The Knights Code of Chivalry also expanded to also protecting those lesser than him, such as peasants and common folk.

Even though knights aren’t the dragon slayers and princess savers that I have pictured them when I was younger, they are still honorable warriors who serve their lords and protect the innocents from dangers. They truly are awesome!

Baron Games(2015-2016) Rigged??

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©2011 Unduhsun (CCO 1.0)

The Baron Games carries this long legacy that it has been rigged so that the Blue team, which consist of freshman and seniors to win. For the past three years that I have attended Fountain Valley High school, I do believe that there is some sort of trickery going on in the Baron Games. Whether it be cheating or being completely rigged so that the last year of the seniors and the first year of the freshman is memorable.

During the week leading up to the Baron Games which is held on Friday, ASB host a series of lunchtime events so that either team can score points. During these lunch time events the judges which mostly consist of seniors are extremely bias. One time during a dance competition the yellow team was clearly the winner of the competition while the blue team’s dance was lackluster and the judges called it a tie! It was like saying Kylo Ren has the same strength as Darth Vader, when we clearly know that Darth Vader is stronger. With the judges being so biased the only time the yellow team can we is when they clearly beat such as in a race which does not have a panel of judges.

Besides the bias senior judges, the Blue team also blatantly cheats and no one says a word. During the last race of the day which was a relay race which consisted of a watermelon eating contest, a hopping race where the participant had to be wrapped in saran wrap, a bike portion, and finally a scavenger hunt to find the combination inside a pool of slime, on the second portion of the race the yellow team was clearly ahead by a good 25 yards, the blue team decides to cheat by breaking out of the saran wrap and running to the bikes. By doing this they were able to catch up to us and win. That wasn’t even the worse part. Before starting the yellow team was up by 14 points and then the judges announce that the last event was worth 15 points and then the judges or whoever was judging this corrupt event changed the points to 20. Why did they need to change it to 20?? It was clearly a scheme so that the blue team would win since that is who the panel of judges consisted of. So in the end, the blue team came out victorious by cheating there way up to the top.

The win for the blue team this year meant that the winning streak would be continued once again. Before last year the blue team would always win and too many people would complain  that it was rigged. So, ASB decide to rig it again but, this year to the yellow’s team advantage so it would not looked rigged that the blue team was winning all the time. However, it was so easy to see through the facade that everyone still knew it was rigged.

No matter what anyone says, the Baron Games will always be rigged. It may not be fair, but hey, life is not fair, and after all its just a game.

 

The Change Throughout Society

Society continues to experience change over every decade. This remains true for both state and national levels.California has experienced massive change stemming from the events of the Great Depression and later the Dust Bowl. Personally, we as a state were not hit as hard as those in the middle of the country, at least physically. Socially we evolved. California adopted the attitudes of the migrant farmers who suffered in the chaos of the Dust Bowl. Their immigrant ideals shaped our society of both 1985, when Gregory outlined social changes and today where we still see norms that formed from the Oklahoma migrants of the Dust Bowl. Their values changed us for the better.

The Dust Bowl was an extreme natural disaster back in the 1930’s. It eradicated farmland in the middle of America, namely in Oklahoma. This caused many to leave their family farms and move out west to California, whose fields were not seared by the blistering sand. These migrants brought more than just a desire to farm and survive, they also brought with them a stricter, yet more carefree social system. The “Okies” preached for the importance of family values. Along with familial bonds, they expressed a deep passion for the Christian church. California at that time was in the midst of a mass radical reformation, but the arrival of the conservative Okies calmed tensions.

This relative calm period lasted for another 40 years. Gregory writes of this restful time and notes how beneficial it was for the state of California. The economy flourished, and not only the natives reaped the winnings. Few migrants were still embroiled in the agricultural field. Others found more lucrative ventures, such as those who struck oil or large natural gas deposits. The migrants were able to rise above the depression set forth by the loss of home and field. The Okies then could invest their new wealth back into the state. Even today this shows, as California has one of the highest cost of livings in the United States. Prices are higher here than elsewhere in the nation and its due in part to the massive resource quantities found by the Okies. Sadly not all of the values the Okies brought with them have transferred to the modern era. Today’s society has grown increasingly bitter and outspoken. No longer is it simply about having a simple life with family and the lord. Today it is all about race, violence, and corruption. I wish we could return to the values imparted on us by the Okies. Our society was once influenced by them, and as time passes that influence dwindles, though I wish it would continue to stay. That way we could all live on in the peaceful views set by them. -Zach

Quiz fill-in assignment: Steinbeck’s myth of the Okies

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel by John Steinbeck. The novel takes place in late 1930s America or namely, The Great Depression. The books focuses on the Joads, a poor family of farmers who have no choice but to abandon their farm due to things like economy, poor agricultural conditions, and bank foreclosures. The Joads soon decided to move to California after hearing about the good wages and how work was extremely plentiful.

Even though The Grapes of Wrath, is a novel that described the conditions of the Great Depression, could this book actually be seen as a source of accurate history? A man named Keith Windschuttle says “the novel is either outright false or exaggerated beyond belief.”

©2012 ThatsABigIf [CCO 2.0]

In Keith Windschuttle’s essay, Steinbeck’s Myth of the Okies, Windschuttle refutes most if-not all social, climatic, economic, and political conditions.

In the novel, Steinbeck writes that one of the biggest reasons for the great Okies migration was due to the great dust storms that would overtake the farms. Windschuttle claims that this detail is highly exaggerated and through information from the historian, James N. Gregory, discovers that roughly only six percent of farmers were actually affected by the dust storms at such a degree.

Windschuttle even refutes Steinbeck’s claim on the bank or “the monster”. Steinbeck writes that the banks were the plight of all farmers, forcing farmers from their lands and replacing them with tractors. Windschuttle writes that the banks weren’t the ones to blame for the farmer’s move, but the policies of the New Deal which limits the production of cotton, farm goods, and such.

Windschuttle also talks about how most migrants weren’t farmers, how the Okies were better informed about California, and even how most Okies were actually employed in California due to the economic boom of 1940. I have responded positively to all of Windschuttle’s claims on the history of the Okies due to his use of actual historians who studied the history of the late 1930s.

Steinbeck’s novel is by no means an accurate representation of the Great Depression and will not help anyone who would want to understand the history of California. From the book itself, I always thought that the immigration were due to the great dust bowls and the monstrous bank. But after reading Windschuttle’s essay, I found out that my understanding of American history is incredibly clouded.

With all these in mind, should a novelist be true to facts, to history? Unless it’s a biography, I believe that authors do not have to be true to facts or history. Sure The Grapes of Wrath sets in a real moment of America history but people have to understand that Steinbeck’s novel is still a fiction. People have to understand that this novel will not be the most accurate source of history and that Steinbeck didn’t have any real obligations to make his story accurate, he just wanted to write for the sake of writing. Personally, I really like that Steinbeck exaggerated some events of the Great Depression as it made the novel much more enjoyable whilst giving me some insight on the conditions of the depression, which I treated as a sort of luxury.

In the end of the day, The Grapes of Wrath is not a historically accurate novel but a fictional story of a family trying to survive the exaggerated events of the Great Depression.

Grapes of Wrath greatly exaggerated???

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Books nonfiction or fiction are for readers enjoyment or the writer’s pleasure. Fiction for the most part are stories that are made up, even if they embodied the ideas of true event.

In the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, there has been some controversy over Steinbeck greatly exaggerating the events of the Great Depression. While this may be true, the book is suppose to used for enjoyment, but at the same times it embodies the essence of the Great depression. No one claimed the book to be completely accurate and it isn’t. It allows people to grasp the big picture of the Great Depression and the Dust Bust while still being enjoyable to read.

Steinbeck did not have an obligation to be accurate. He just wanted to pursue his passion and write. While some of his facts may be true such as the people migrating to California, the reason for their migration was not. The Dust bowl of 1930 and the Great Depression only contributed to a small percentage of the migration. While the majority was due to the economic boom of 1940. Steinbeck wanted to embody the movement of migration. He didn’t necessarily care if it came from the Dust bowl or the economic boom, but the dust bowl ties in with the theme of the story so much better. That is the job of the author. History can be confusing so Steinbeck changed some information around and made the book more interesting and enjoyable, as it is a fictional book.

The Grapes of Wrath is a fictional book based on the events of a true story which can often allow readers to mix up fact from fiction very easily. While I was reading the book I always thought the the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of 1930 were the reason people migrated to California, but now I know the real reason they migrated was due to the economic boom of 1940. After reading Steinbeck’s myth of the Okies by Keith Windschuttle, I now have a better understanding of the history behind the Grapes of Wrath. While reading the essay about all the inconsistencies in Steinbeck’s book I was completely bored. If Steinbeck wrote the truth about the Dust bowl, he wouldn’t have sold over 14 million copies of the book. The facts are just too boring to read and Steinbeck found the perfect combination of fiction and non fiction to inform the people about the migration while still being enjoyable to read.

John Steinbeck did not ask his book to define the era of Great Depression but it just so happened to do so. Readers have to remember that it is a fictional book which means that  every word can not be trusted, but it allows reader to grasp the essence of the Great Depression. In that area the Grapes of Wrath exceeds which compelled so many people to read the book and win the Pulitzer prize of Fiction.

Passing the time, Somehow

 

 

Boredom is when we have nothing to do, we’ve done everything that needs to be done for the day.When we feel bored, we try to find something to do to not be bored, like busywork, which can often be considered boring,  but in the heat of the moment, it’s at least something to do.  Boredom is an attitude that can often lead to great things, like productivity or creativeness with one’s surroundings.

Boredom doesn’t have to be just boredom. When we are bored, we sit around, and most of the time, we look for something to do to pass the time. I often find myself doing chores that I would normally not want to do, especially if I had other things to do. But often in boredom, we fall into a deeper state. A study reported on NPR observed that the more bored people found themselves, the more creative their ideas were for doing something with the surrounding objects. Many were very imaginative and creative with a plastic party cup,Aside from doing ordinary things, we can often see things around us from a more creative angle. When I have nothing to do, I usually find myself drawing or fiddling with the things around me, or on Saturday mornings, hunger and boredom combined usually makes a very good plate of scrambled eggs.

If you aren’t convinced by food yet, consider that whatever you do is a reward or a gift to yourself. A cleaner house, a nice-looking meal, or maybe a little arts-and-craft trinket or drawing can liven up your home or brighten your day. Of course boredom isn’t something that we should be in all the time, just those few occasions where you feel accomplished with your day and you “don’t” want to do anything else. It should be something more after a successful day, to reward yourself with an item or a memory, an experience that you will remember.

But of course, with modern day technology and phones, “we never have to be bored ever again.” NCR’s and WNYC’s podcast host, Manoush Zomorodi, had stated, it “fills every bored moment in our day with entertainment.” It is very much true, I see people, including myself, using my unspent time on my phone, apps, and social media so that I don’t sit around and sharply stare at the slightest movements in the area around me. I usually find myself in situations where there is too little time to do anything real with that small gap in the schedule, like in a waiting office, in the passenger seat of a car, or somewhere else. Especially the bathroom.

I, and possibly others, should try to spend less time on our phones, and a little bit more time in boredom to try and cater to our creativity. I need to see what is beyond the visible and imagine the possible. After all, what can we do?

Question Exploration: Money

What exactly is money? Money is an item, preferably items such as coins, papers, and banknotes, that is recognized as a medium of economic exchange for items that ranged from food, clothes, furniture and services that range from classes, house cleanings, or repairs. To this day, we as people rely universally on money to buy the things I had recently mentioned, money makes the world go round after all. With our extensive use of coins and paper, people soon began to question if money is the answer to our problems in the world. If so, could money solve any sort of problem? Admittedly, it is obvious that money had proved to be quite useful in things like food, clothes, shelter, and general survival. However, things becomes less obvious and more vague when asked if money is able to solve problems like depression or even a death of a loved one. Even with that in mind, I believe that money is a great answer to many if not all problems.

In John Steinbeck’s popular novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the protagonist, Tom Joad, and his family had experienced a money problem. Due to the Joad’s lack of money, the bank had taken ownership of the Joad family’s land and forced them out of said land to make room for the new tractors that would now be working the fields. Met with this unfortunate event, the Joads had decided to venture off to California for work as they have heard about how prosperous and how great America’s Golden State was. This became a common trend in the entire novel as almost every farmer had experienced a money problem and had been forced off their land as they had little to no choice what so ever. However, even with the severity of the problem, this problem could have easily been solved with one simple solution, money. Money could have allowed the farmers to support their family. allowed the farmers to keep their land, allowed the farmers to no venture to California for work. Later in the novel, the grandpa Joad had suffered a “stroke…a good quick stroke” (138) and died. Although the family mourned for their loss, they almost immediately got over it as they knew they still had to get to California and look for a job. Did money just solve the problem of losing a loved one? Perhaps.

I continue my research by looking through my class’s english textbook The Language of Composition, namely chapter seven The Economy. The book refers economy to as “the production, trade, and consumption of goods and services” (393). As I continue to read further into the chapter, I was met with a short excerpt about Barbara Ehrenreich, a best selling author who wrote a book called Nickel and Dimed. Nickel and Dimed is about the author’s experience at working minimum wage in the 1960s; she learned how stressful and low-paying the life of an everyday person was. In The Language of Composition, she talks about “a fat person’s hell” (394), which was having every sort of food around you but the catch it you had to pay for all the bites you take. With that in mind, one would lose all their money at a record pace. However, with sufficient money, this problem could have easily been remedied as one would could eat as much as one want to without the worry of any sort of money problem.

I have decided to look to the internet to help me find the answer to the age old question if money solves all problems. I soon came upon a post from a woman named Kathleen Elkins. The post reads about millionaire Steve Siebold’s research on over twelve hundred wealthy people for thirty years. The self-made millionaire Siebold had found that the majority of the wealthy people he researched on admitted that money had “solve most problems”. As you can see, money is a great problem solver, admitted by the wealthiest people in the world. The post continues to talk about how it may be uncomfortable to believe that money could be one’s salvation as many have believed that money leads to corruption. But as shown from this post, money isn’t always seen as a necessary evil but as more reassuring.

Through hours of research, I can confirm that money is a great problem solver. Money is what keeps us motivated as shown in The Grapes of Wrath. Money is what keeps us alive as shown in The Language of Composition. Money is what keeps us happy as shown in Kathleen Elkins’s post.

How Effective is Our Current Economy?

The theory of economics is based upon multiple waves, the largest being the Kondratiev wave. It is the proposed idea that the economy fluctuates based upon technological advances. Kondratiev waves typically last between forty to sixty years, during which there are four stages our economy goes through. First, there is prosperity, followed by recession, depression, and eventual improvement. According to the cycle, we are currently on the tail end of a recession and about to move into a depression. Why do these constant patterns keep appearing? As a country we should be able to maintain a stable economy, one that will not suffer extreme depressions as in the past. The United States current, capitalistic economy creates unnecessary hardships and needless anger.

Our economy is about to hit another depression, one that could pass the Great Depression as the hardest hitting event in modern times. We as a country can change this fate. The government needs to step in and radically alter our current state. A complete overhaul is needed. I propose for a plan similar to the successful economy post World War Two Britain obtained. Their economy completely changed for the better. Even though taxes were increased, Britain saw rapid economic growth over the next fifteen years. Their industries were nationalized and their welfare state was created, along with national healthcare, pensions, and social security. This socially economic reform could be what saves America from another large and destructive depression. The larger taxes are needed, especially on the rich. Many economists have stated just that, in which the rich need to be taxed more than the poor. Adam Smith, famously stated in The Wealth of Nations that, “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” Even those in the time of America’s founding realized this important method of gaining revenue. Warren Buffett has around fifty billion dollars, so much that he cannot possibly spend it all well in his lifetime. That money is better used to spread the welfare of the nation. A redistribution of wealth will conducively fix our nation’s economy.

Luckily for us and the survival of our country, a candidate in the upcoming election is advocating for an economic revival. One candidate will implement the economic policies needed to overhaul our country and make America great again. I am talking of course of Bernie Sanders. He plans to follow the path Britain took after the disaster of World War Two and steadily increase our GDP. A more nationalized economic system is vital to improving America’s standing in the world. Reducing the budget, especially the overly large defense fund, will get us the required resources to jumpstart the program. Sanders is the perfect man for the job, having experienced all the cycles of the Kondratiev wave. He has first-hand knowledge of all four stages. Sanders knows of the uncertainty the nation faces during the trying recession and depression stages of the cycle. With him as our nation’s leader, our gross income will remain a steady increase over multiple decades, rather than the constant spikes of depression and economic wellness.

Our current capitalistic economy may seem excellent on paper, and compared to authoritative administrations, is actually good, but compared to the other “top” economies, ours is statistically weaker. America’s free market capitalism promotes competition but weakens the foundation of the nation. Without a nationalized central economy, America will constantly be behind other first-world nation. Canada and Britain both have universal health care and advanced benefits for citizens while the “Greatest Country in the World” does not. All that would occur to achieve this welfare state is an initial tax increase. While tax brackets across the board will increase, most of the taxes will focus on the rich, those people who can afford to give up more of their income for the greater good. Britain achieved post World War Two success using this economic approach. They experienced a steady GDP increase with no major fluctuations, like the ones we currently face. As Britain’s economy reached a stable high, taxes were cut to their original state. The economy stayed afloat during this tax cut, as it was successfully self-supported. America’s current economy is in bad shape. We can fix this through following Britain’s postwar strategy by making a welfare state. The man who can get this done is Bernie Sanders. He will be able to fix our economy to the point of constant success. -Zach

 

Money is the answer to all your problems

  It is often thought that money can solve problems, and that is true, whether it be during the times of the great depression or in 2016. Money is usually thought of as a medium of exchange used to pay for things. It seems that today many problems can be solved solely through money, like paying off America’s 19 trillion dollar debt or just having enough money to pay off college tuition. Either way, money is great and can solve many of the problems that arise in everyday life.

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©2016 Geralt CCO Public Domain

    In the novel, The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck, we see that the Joad family’s problems start to arise when the land starts to become unprosperous and yields very little profit, and in return they don’t have enough money to sustain the farm and thus, must sell their house and all the belonging in an effort to make enough money for the big move to California, where prospects seem much more promising. This problem that seemed to affect not only the Joad family, but all of America could have been eased if the government stepped in and gave welfare to the farmers, which would have helped stabilize some families that were still able to live off the land, but the government was in no position to do so. Because, the government did not take action, there is a downward spiraling trend that the America’s economy starts to take. For example once the Joads lost the ability to live off the land and the big banks saw farming as unprofitable, then their neighbors lost their farms to the banks and soon the entire state was unprofitable for farming and this was the start of the chain reaction of horrible events that all could have been solved by money. The Joads were continuously threatened by the problem of money as they made their way to California. They had to be cautious as how they spend their money as “they want a lot for a ol’ tire”(Steinbeck 120), and the Joads were not looking for any unnecessary spending. The Joads had to make the drive in fear guessing when the tire would give out. All the stress could have been alleviated if they could they could of bought that tire and know comfortably that they still had money left to make it to California.  Money plays a crucial part in the economy and everyday life. Without it the world would not function.

    Even 30 years after the great depression everyday Americans are pressed with problems of money. In The language of Composition, it goes over the economy and gives several readings about it. One which particularly stood out was a short excerpt from the book Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich goes undercover from her well paying job as an author and takes on the life of an everyday working american in the 60’s. She starts out working as a waitress for a restaurant but soon finds it pays “only about $7.50 an hour” (Ehrenreich 399). With this nominal amount of money she couldn’t even afford to pay her housing fees, so she was forced to compromise and obtain a second job. This means that most working Americans have to work two jobs just to get by life every single day. Ehrenreich later deemed it too hard to live as an everyday lowly paid working american and decided to quit and continued to pursue her career as an author. Millions of Americans have to work two jobs just to get around! They have to endure an enormous amount of stress each day thinking about it they will have enough money to eat or pay the taxes. If they just had a little bit more money than they would not have to look over their shoulder every time they buy food or any other item. Life would be so much easier if everyone had enough money to live comfortably.

    It seems that money is the root of the problems. Money or the lack of it can even split families apart. Shyima Hall a little Indian girl was sold into slavery by her family in order to pay off a nominal amount of money. For four years she had to work 20 hours a day for 7 days a week, constantly being abused by her owners. It was not a happy life and this type of atrocities happened in 1998. To think that child slavery still occurs in the start of the 21’st century, in a time or relative prosperity is just astonishing. A family could have been spared huge grievance if they just had a little bit more money. This is only one of the many cases that have been reported of child slavery and there still remain millions of stories like this that go unreported. Millions of families are living under the poverty line that they must sell their child, just to pay off a debt. Imagine if everyone had money to live comfortably today. How great would the world be?

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    Money is constantly on people’s mind and is a sole source of many problems. With more money people could pay off the debt they had or even just live comfortably knowing that they are financially secured. Money is the cause of many problems, but also the answer to all of them.