55 Years since the Menzies Government Deployed Troops to Vietnam and Australians still don’t know how to Respond

“It is our judgement that the decision to commit a battalion in South Vietnam… The takeover of South Vietnam would be a direct military threat to Australia…  It must be seen as part of a thrust by Communist China between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” – Prime Minister Robert Menzies

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Front cover of The Sun newspaper, April 29 1965, announcing the Menzies decision to send Australian soldiers to Vietnam.

It’s been 55 years since Menzies announced to a near empty parliament his decision to deploy an Australian Battalion to Vietnam on the 29th of April, 1964. In his announcement, Menzies claimed, “The Australian Government is now ill receipt of a request from the Government of South Vietnam for further military assistance. We have decided-and this has been after close consultation with the Government of the United States-to provide an infantry battalion for service in South Vietnam.” 

The Australian public was misled into believing the South Vietnamese Government requested Australian aid when in fact, negotiations had the Vietnamese Government and American representative, Maxwell Taylor, reluctant to accept Australian offer of troops. The Vietnamese government was eventually persuaded to accept Menzies offer. It is commonly theorised that PM Menzies was driven by a political motivation: to strengthen military relations with the USA in case of a threat of communism. 

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In response to the question of the necessity of Australian aid in the Vietnam War, anti-war movements, such as the Save our Sons movement, protested against conscription. Jean McLean founded the Save our Sons movement,  composed mainly of middle-aged women with sons at risk. The country wide questioning of the motivation behind sending in Australian troops only exacerbated the protest against risking young Australian men’s lives. 

This image shows Jean McLean in a brawl with police at a demonstration in 1971. McLean was arrested on multiple occasions and once jailed for her anti-war agenda. In April, 1971, McLean, as well as four other women referred to as the Fairlea Five, served 10 days in the Fairlea Women’s Prison for trespassing in Flinders St Conscription Office. The Australian public was so enraged with their imprisonment that the Five were released before completing their sentence.

Jean Mclean in brawl with police, 1917

People went so far as to publicly deny their call to civil duty in protest of Australia’s involvement in the war. Bill White, a Sydney school teacher before he was conscripted, was the first Australian conscientious objector of the Vietnam war. This image includes Bill White and other conscientious objectors who followed in his footsteps, protesting against the conscription. 

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Bill White and other conscientious objectors protesting against conscription

In video footage of a protest he says, “I do not intend to comply with the call-up notice and I do not intend to present myself to the military or to obey any orders of a military nature.” He went on to say, “People saw that maybe the government isn’t always right. Maybe we can do something against what the government’s telling us to do, and still be loyal Australians, and yet refusing certain parts of what they were asking us to do.” Such a message questioned the Menzies government in their decision to send Australian troops to aid the south Vietnamese. White spoke of his unwillingness to be part of the Australian ‘war-machine’ but that this did not take away from the fact that he was a loyal Australian.  He did not believe sending troops to Vietnam was necessary for Australian safety of benefit and strongly agreed with the government’s decision, taking on the risk of imprisonment. 

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White challenged the decision to deploy Australian troops alongside the Save our Sons movement. Whilst the Australian government was seemingly desperate for military involvement, it was the Australian public, those conscripted and their families, who protested and disobeyed military orders. The politically based decision of the Menzies Government to send troops to Vietnam was strongly contrasted with the public’s protest. The government’s perspective decided it was worth the risk to send troops whilst the public disagreed. These perspectives are telling of the political ramifications of war, particularly how war is so often manipulated by the powerful and used advantageously. 

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Russia’s cyber crusade on Western Democracy is coming for you.

The 2016 election will probably stand as the most controversial election in US history. Wherever that be the election of Donald Trump or the political divide it created, one of the most important elements was Russia’s involvement.

Through leaking emails to creating fake troll accounts to provoke the two sides, there’s no denying Russia’s use of cyberspace was the ultimate deciding factor in the outcome of the election. But their campaign was never a pro-trump effort. It was always one to destabilize it’s western rival. And it succeeded. After the election, the divide between the left and right became wider. Mob mentality grew stronger and more hateful. The people lost faith in the integrity of journalism. This attack by the Russia’s on western democracy has changed everything

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But what may shock you is that this has not been Russia’s first hand in cyberwarfare. Rather, it’s part of it’s new cunning foriegn policy to interfere with democracy and to cause panic and chaos. It has struck Ukraine, France, UK, USA, Belarus, South Korea and many other victims we are yet to be aware of. It has ruined the integrity of democracy and created violent instability worldwide. Cyber Warfare is not the bullet of tomorrow, it’s the nuke of today. And until politicians catch up, we as the people will not be safe.

International Humanitarian Law and Cyber Warfare: Old Laws Vs. New  Phenomena | iLawyer

The Beginning

It’s hard to pinpoint when the Kremlin began incorporating the internet into their foriegn policy. The earliest known documentation of this was in 2003, by french journalist “Anna Polyanskaya” in her article “the virtual eye of big brother.” However, the first major use of this weapon against a foriegn nation can be traced to Ukraine. Russia has been trying to expand its influence in many former USSR states, one being Ukraine in 2014. During this time, the nation was considering not only joining the EU, but potentially even NATO. This would not only interfere with Russia’s economic control over the region (particularly it’s gas exports to Ukraine), but having more NATO influence on Russia’s border.

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However, Russia has one advantage here. Ukraine has a strong Russian Ethnic population. This population was still sympathetic to it’s eastern Brother and wasn’t too keen on moving to the west. Through online state made propaganda, Russia tapped into this group, claiming the pro european union movement was one of “Nazism” and “ultra-nationalists”. This caused a pro Russian movement to rise in such a large and violent wave that froze the nations ambitions of switching. Not only that, but the Ukrainian and Russian divide between the two ethnic groups caused violence and instability in the region. In the 2014 election, for example, pro Russian mobs threatened anyone that would participate in the election, causing only 20% of polling booths to actually remain open. The propaganda also led to Pro Russian unrest in Ukraine, resulting in violence and over 4,000 deaths.

EU ministers meet as Russia warns of civil war in Ukraine – EURACTIV.com

Russia had just used the power of the internet and propaganda to divide an entire nation, attack it’s democracy and even take lives. It had just discovered one of the most powerful weapons of the information age, and it was ready to take it out on some of it’s greater enemies.

2016 US Election

Russia first started it’s campaign using “troll farms”. Troll farms are centralised government groups that create thousands of trolling bot accounts with the intention to spread fake news and to promote mob mentalities. Russia used it’s troll form called the “IRA” (Internet research agency). Their ultimate goal was to support Donald Trump’s campaign and rise to power, through all means necessary.

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These troll accounts posed as Americans and organised election rallies across the country, often favouring the republican candidate president trump. These russian bots also created online groups which would frequently spread fake news and conspiracy theories about the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Some of these pieces were retweeted by famous republicans and Trump proponents without releasing the troll’s true identity. The Russian government even bought Millions worth of advertising to promote the Republican candidate. Roughly half of all of the information spread by the IRA was simply untrue, aimed at inciting radical reactions against Hillary and creating a stronger right wing mob. Despite this, roughly 126 million have been estimated to have seen at least one of these ad’s, significantly influencing the election

Stanford report examines fake news in the 2016 US election - Twipe

One of the most important uses of cyberwarfare was the release of Hillary’s emails on wikileaks. Three days before the democratic national convention, more than 10,000 of Hilary’s emails were leaked online to wikileaks. This created an impression that the DNC was biased towards Hilary’s campaign, causing a widespread negative impression of the candidate all the way up to the election. 

This influence, many experts say, swayed the American public to elect Donald Trump in 2016. Throughout this process, they also intensified the political online bubbles and further divided the Left and Right, causing greater instability that would continue to plague the nation for years to come. 

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More importantly, as Donald Trump is more concerned for Domestic rather than foreign policy, Russia has been given more space to spread its influence. The US pulling out troops from syria saw Russia become the major power of the region. Trump’s Tariffs have created an economic division in the west, which Russia has been able to take advantage of. The US’s influence internationally overall has been compromised and Russia has been thriving because of it.

The Future Ahead

After the spectacular success of the 2016 election, Russia of course continued it’s strategy elsewhere to gain similar political power. In 2016, Russia influenced the Brexit referendum, spreading similar propaganda into british media, aiming for a british exit to destabilize the EU. Considering how close the vote was overall, it may be very well possible that without Russian influence we may have seen a different result. 

Brexit: Where now for business? | Delivered. | Global

Russia also launched a similar attack on the 2017 elections in France, where they aimed to support Right Wing candidate Marine Le Pen. Even as they leaked her opponent’s email, she would still go on to lose the election, only winning 33% of the vote. 

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Don’t let the French failure fool you. The Russian government’s influence on elections is strong, and it’s been caught once again trying to demonstrate this in the 2020 election. This time, However, the attacks have become a lot stronger and a lot more dangerous. Instead of just influencing the election with troll bots, hackers have directly accessed voters registration and data. They have also been creating troll accounts impersonating as “proud boys” a white nationalist organisation. The emails contain threats of intimidation to “vote for trump.” It’s unclear how significant the impact is, or exactly what they are doing with the data, but it could further the wide divide in the nation.

F.B.I. Warns Of Russian Plans To Interfere In 2020 Elections

Conclusion

The past four years of America, the violent division, it’s weakening international influence and everything else that has occured in the nation could’ve been very different without Russia’s influence. They have taken a strike at not only the United States government, but also democratic way of life. Thanks to their intervention, people cannot access the information they need. Rather, they are misled and manipulated by foreign powers to be brainwashed with conspiracy theories and to form dangerous mobs. And as more dictatorships such as Iran start releasing the power this form of cyberwarfare has, the most dangerous each election becomes. If we are to continue to have any sort of safety or trust in our democracy, than we need to catch up.

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THE ELECTORAL RACE: PART 2

Continued discussion and investigation on the Electoral Race between Biden and Trump- just a matter of days away.

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Florida:

Florida is known to be a tipping point battleground state that has generally predicted the President over the past dozen elections in the United States (with some exceptions e.g. H W Bush won the state in 92, despite losing to Bill Clinton). The state consists of many white voters between the ages of 50 and 65, a large portion of Trump’s base, however it also consists of many minority communities, namely Latina and Latino Americans of whom Joe Biden has had a smaller lead with then Hillary in 2016. Nonetheless, Joe Biden won the state in the Democratic Primary over Bernie Sanders in a shocking landslide victory with an incredibly high voter turnout- something Democrats are looking to replicate in the Presidential election. Biden leads with a 3-5% average over Trump in the state- in contrast to Hillary’s 0.7% at this time in 2016. Hillary ended up losing this state in 2016 by 112, 000 individuals- just 1.2% of voters in total. Once again, a tight race in this key state is suggested for the election.

Florida generally is won by smaller margins by the winning candidate- with only 537 votes deciding the victor of the state in the controversial 2000 election between Bush and Gore; of which relied on a recount.

Georgia:

Georgia is a state that hasn’t gone democratic since 1992, when Bill Clinton won over George H W Bush and Ross Perot, and before with Jimmy Carter- who was from the state itself- in 1980. Nonetheless, this traditionally red state has been trending blue since the 2018 midterms, with Stacy Abrams losing the Gubernatorial race by just 1.4%. The state is home to many of Trump’s base, however does consist of a high African American population that Joe Biden is hoping will elect him to the Presidency in this election. This race has looked consistently tight in recent weeks, with the lead fluctuating between Trump and Biden quite frequently- something it never did in 2016 for Hillary Clinton. Trump at this time in 2016 was polling at 4% ahead of Hillary, by modest accounts, and ended up winning by a larger 5.3%. In contrast, Georgia is currently in dead heat between the candidates; with a New York Times Poll, ranked highly in accuracy, putting both candidates at 45%. Other polls have Biden winning by 5%, while others have Trump leading by 4%. Ultimately, this will undoubtedly be a tight race- and indicative of the state’s blue-ward trend.

North Carolina:

North Carolina went for President Obama against John McCain in 2008 by less then a percentage point- and ever since this traditionally red state has gone for the Republican candidate; by 2% in 2012 for Mitt Romney and by 4% for Trump in 2016. Over the past few months, many disgruntled voters have pivoted from the Republican party to Biden as a candidate- looking for a more unifying voice in the White House. As such, Biden is shockingly leading over Trump by 4-8% in the state. Polls at this time arrogantly had Hillary winning by 0.7%- within the margin of error, but still highly innacurate. This does have many democrats worried, but fortunately for the party, their path to the White House doesn’t depend on North Carolina as a tipping state. Nonetheless, the race is still one to be suspicious about.

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Arizona: 

Arizona, like North Carolina and Georgia, is a state that wasn’t expected to come into real play in this election; having voted Republican consistently; even over Lyndon Johnson in 29164- following the assasination of JFK. It last voted Democrat for popular incumbent Bill Clinton in 1996 over Bob Dole in 1996. The state was home to the late great John McCain- a close friend of Biden’s up until the former’s death in 2018- of whom Donald Trump expressed resentment of on multiple occasions. Many Republicans in the state, including a large Catholic and Mormon population, have decided to vote against the Republican Party  for Joe Biden; many having previously voted for Trump in 2016. Arizona was polling for Trump by 2.2% on average at this time last election, and was won by the President by 4%. Biden however has had his lead in this state fluctuate recently, however has still improved since earlier months. He now holds a steady lead at 5-8%, with some estimating that number to be lower. Nonetheless it is looking likely that this state will defy traditional party lines and go for the Democratic candidate in this pivotal election.

Ohio:

Ohio went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 by small margins of 5% and 3%- before swinging for Trump by 8%. He had been polling at 2% in the state, and thus once again it was shown that polls had largely underestimated his base in this key battleground state. While polls are roughly equal for him this time, they are a lot closer and a lot less steadily in his favour. Some polls have Biden leading by 1-2% over Trump in a tight race, while others have Trump closely retaining the swing state with 2-3%. Undoubtedly though it is an important state for Trump to win, with no Republican President having lost Ohio and yet winning the Presidency at the same time. Trump campaigned on the message of bringing back jobs to the state, particularly in manufacturing, of which he did deliver to an extent prior to Covid 19. Due to the virus and the management of the pandemic however, such jobs have been erased- and global trends look as though they may not be coming back under Trump’s plan. Nonetheless though, it does look as though Trump will win the state- albeit by a smaller margin then in 2016. 

Iowa: 

Iowa looked as though it may not go for a Democratic President in sometime, however the 2018 midterms and this year’s senate race have contradicted this early assumption- and Biden seems to be doing fairly well in this state, often generating small leads over the President in recent weeks. Home to many farmers of whom faced bankruptcies in the face of Trump’s ill-executed trade war, and broader Covid 19 management, the President is facing the possibility of losing a state he won by 9% in 2016. Barack Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012 by 10% and 6% margins- and Biden seems to be leading by 1-2% in many recent October polls. However, some estimates have Trump leading with a 0.9% lead; 2% less then his 2016 poll lead. Such a concerning difference between 2016 and 2020 polling does spell trouble for the Republican candidate in this presidential race; especially since the majority of credible polls never placed Hillary with a lead in the state, in significant contrast to Joe Biden. Ultimately however, this state remains enigmatic in where it may give it’s 6 electoral votes- though it does look as though Trump may win by a small lead.

Farmer bankruptcies and the detrimental impact of the Covid Pandemic and Protectionism both have negatively impacted farmers and workers in the MidWest. Bankruptcies were up 20% prior to Covid due to the US-China Trade War, and 44% of farmers now have stated that they have difficulty managing increasing costs. Nonetheless, Trump has a lead with farmers in the region- though one massively lower than that of his lead in 2016.

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Overview:

Of course, there are multiple other states in this election that should be watched closely, and may just surprise us- such as South Carolina, Texas, Nevada, Missouri, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire and Virginia. Nonetheless, however- it is these 9 battleground states that will no doubt choose what vision the USA will follow for the next 4 years. 

Ultimately though, no matter what party you may belong to, this will go down as the most important Presidential Election of our time.

2020 Polls2016 Result2016 Polls
Michigan7-9%- Biden<1%- Trump4%- Hillary
Wisconsin7-12%- Biden<1%- Trump5%- Hillary
Pennsylvania6%- Biden<1%- Trump4%- Hillary
Minnesota10-13%- Biden1.5%- Hillary6%- Hillary
Florida3-5%- Biden1.2%- Trump<1%- Hillary
GeorgiaTIE5.3%- Trump4%- Trump
North Carolina4-8%- Biden4%- Trump0.7%- Hillary
Ohio1%- Trump8%- Trump2%- Trump
IowaTIE9%- Trump3%- Trump
General Election (Popular Vote)9-13%- Biden2%- Hillary2-4%- Hillary
General Election (Electoral College)351: Biden181: Trump306: Trump201: Hillary302- Hillary235- Trump
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THE ELECTORAL RACE: PART 1

On Friday (Thursday in the United States), the final Presidential Debate for this year’s eventful race will take place- with Democratic Nominee former Vice President Joe Biden tackling incumbent President Donald Trump. In what no doubt will be the most important presidential race since 1932 – when President Franklin Roosevelt unseated the incumbent Herbert Hoover in the midst of the Great Depression -both candidate’s campaigns have come down to the vision of Americans for their country over the next 4 years. 

Now, two weeks out from the election, polls have indicated that Joe Biden’s vision for the nation seems to be of greater appeal than that of the sitting President. 

Despite what many would assume, the polls in 2016 (though often unstable and always fluctuating) were actually rather accurate in their 2016 prediction- with many polls days before the election predicting that Hillary Clinton would win the popular vote by some margin, though may struggle to win in battleground states. However, it was the fault of the media that caused so many of us to wrongly predict Hillary Clinton’s victory over Donald Trump- this time however they have been warier. 

The 2016 election saw two relatively unpopular candidates face off in an election of poor voter turnout- and former Businessman and TV Star Donald Trump defeated the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in a shocking electoral college victory; despite losing the popular vote by 2 million Americans. 

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This year, however, Joe Biden’s lead in polling seems to be significantly more stable and of a wider margin than that of Ms. Clinton’s in 2016- with generally red states such as Georgia, Arizona, and Texas all proving to be rather challenging for President Trump to lead-in. Georgia and Arizona themselves have been leaning towards Joe Biden in recent weeks, and they don’t seem to show signs of slowing down. 

Quite simply, President Trump is losing- and he’s losing badly.

But what exactly are the states that should be looked at closely in unseating the controversial President- or, in other words, the states that President Trump will no doubt be amping up campaign efforts in. It is important to note that Hillary’s lead in the polls, in contrast to Joe Biden’s, fluctuated to a heavy extent- something it is yet to do for the Biden campaign. And yet despite the Trump camp’s worries, there is still some hope for a late minute comeback.

Michigan:

Trump’s brand of politics was successful in 2016 undoubtedly, flipping a traditionally blue state that went to President Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections by double digit margins. This traditionally democrat state in the rust belt region, home to many blue collar white working class men (a demographic that won President Trump the election in 2016), was declared in the President’s favour by less than 1% of the vote- just 10, 000 in fact. Joe Biden is leading between 7-9% currently in the state, in contrast to Hillary Clinton’s 4% lead in polls at this time in 2016. 

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin, another Rust Belt state, seems to be a problem for President Trump this year- with another blue state he managed to flip in 2016, trending in a fair democratic area. Obama’s 7% victory in 2012, a 7 point decrease from 2016, does suggest that this battleground state looks promising for future Republican candidates- but unfortunately for Trump, this state is polling unfavourably for the President. Polling has estimated a Biden victory between 7-12% in this state, with rural voters (particular farmers disgruntled by the economic impact of Trump’s trade war with China on farming bankruptcies) seeming to turn away from the President. Polling put Hillary at 5.3% above Trump at this time in October- however she ended up losing the race narrowly by 22, 000 votes. If democrats are able to produce a higher voter turnout this election, which so far they have, it looks as though this state will go blue despite the polling innacuracy of 2016. 

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Pennsylvania: 

Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s home state (and a state he should be doing better in), was another Rust Belt state that narrowly went to President Trump in 2016- and one home to many working class Americans disgruntled by the impacts of automation and outsourcing on local businesses in the area. It was Trump’s populistic message that managed to capture these voters in 2016, but considering the government’s undeniably blundered Covid response, he is finding it more difficult to inspire such voters this time around. Nonetheless, this race has been troublingly close for Democrats- causing VP Biden to spend $20 million in TV Ad spending in the state. Philadelphia’s suburbs seem to be heavily abandoning Trump since 2016, though rural voters still look promising for the incumbent. Hillary Clinton was polling at 3.7% above Trump at this time in 2016, however Biden seems to be faring largely better at an average of a 6% lead. Ultimately though, it is important to watch how Pennsylvania sways this election- as it may be indicative of heavy ideological changes in the Rust Belt region. 

Minnesota: 

A state that narrowly swung Clinton’s way in 2016 (having gone democratic for Obama both times), Minnesota is home to a large population of farmers and suburban women- a demographic of whom generally is indicative of who the President ends up being. Prior to Covid 19, this seemed like a race Trump would win- however polling has now been relatively unfavourable to him recently. Clinton won the state narrowly by 44, 000 votes, around 1.5%. At this time, she was polling at 5.8%. In contrast, Biden’s polling average extends from 10-13%- essentially locking this battleground state down to Biden for the election- though some recent tight polls (generally being viewed as outliers) do suggest some skepticism about an outright landslide. 

Trump and Biden have devoted much of their campaign spending to Rust Belt States such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin- both acknowledging their importance in deciding this year’s victor; something Hillary’s campaign neglected in 2016.

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Men & Women: Lives at War

The stories of the heavily damaged Australian partakers in the hideous and gruesome Vietnam War.

The Vietnam war affected many of those that were involved within this war and it’s important for us to understand what these men and women went through in the physical and psychological challenges that had the major capability of heavily harming those who went into the war.

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This comic from the Daily Mirror in 1996 covers that of the ongoing terror that the Australian soldiers endured once they arrived home as they were met with protest and anger by the civilians in Australia. Tired soldiers, instead of being welcomed with love and hugs from their community, were hit with the bubbling frustration by protesters who were focused on the fact that Australia should not have involvement in the war.

This comic perfectly captures the backlash of Australian civilians against fatigued and broken Australian soldiers of the Vietnam war and really makes you wonder why it is that the general public did not at least try to aid and care for those that were subject to the horrors of the Vietnam war, yet instead, they continued to protest and refuse to accept these hardworking and stressed soldiers.

On the other hand, Colleen Mealy, an Australian army nurse, tells her story to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in which she presents her experience with helping and aiding these dishevelled soldiers, thrown onto the battlefield and brutally hit by the opposing side on many occasions. The conditions she worked in were basic, yet she was overwhelmingly dedicated to the war.

Colleen talks about the hardships she encountered with aiding these soldiers, stating that these men had been completely shattered by the war and their wounds, even noting that you would hear them say things like, ‘My girlfriend won’t want me anymore.’

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She felt honoured to be able to help these men and take pride in aiding them, telling Department of Veterans’ Affairs that even the soldiers with the worst of injuries, such as a lost leg, would use the classic comedic Aussie attitude to help them get through such a hard time. Memories like these completely changed Colleen’s life for the better.

These two perspectives of the war, both from the perspective of a partaker in the war, help us to remember the events of the Vietnam war and Australia’s relationship with it.

They share the similarities of being from the same kind of perspective, both from someone who would have had a part in the Vietnam war and both touching on the ideas of the struggles and horrors of having to be an Australian Soldier in this war.

On the other hand, these two perspectives do, in fact, have a few differences between them. They contrast in the way that Colleen very specifically surrounds her entire interview around how the soldiers affected her for the better, and being grateful for helping these poor, injured soldiers. The comic, dissimilarly, tells us that of the perspective of a singular Australian soldier, enduring backlash from the general public, with no aid.

These sources and perspectives can be used to help us understand the gruesome and unfair way that soldiers were treated by those of their own people and how it’s heavily important for us to remember what these soldiers and partakers in the war went through, specifically during the Vietnam war, also known as one of the most unpopular wars to date.

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Heart Transplants, The Latest Innovation In Cardiovascular Medicine

Heart transplant is a type of surgery used for patients who are in ‘end-stage heart failure’. Were these diseases such as ‘Birth defect’, ‘cardiomyopathy’ and ‘coronary’ can lead to End-stage heart failure’. These are the three main diseases that can cause end-stage heart failure, but out of the three, Cardiomyopathy is most common among the three. 

Cardiomyopathy also known as heart muscle disease is a progressive disease where the heart muscle becomes bigger, thicker or stiff causing difficulties for it to pump properly. In rare cases, the muscle tissue in the heart is replaced with scar tissue. As it worsens the electrical rhythm of the heart becomes weaker and weaker. Without treatment, those who have Cardiomyopathy will have a discouraging future, among every three patients who are diagnosed survive for more than five years. This is one of the primary reasons why heart transplants have increased over the past years.

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There are many different types of Cardiomyopathy which individuals can be diagnosed with, such as:

 Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): where the heart has excessive thickening of the heart muscle with no obvious reason or cause, it could be inherited from genetics, or in other cases persistently high blood pressure.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): This causes the heart to enlarge or dilate as shown in diagram 1, there is no proper explanation why DCM can be developed, but researchers have discovered that excessive consumption of alcohol is known to be a cause. Dilated cardiomyopathy can build up over the years without showing any significant physical symptoms. However, as time advances the enlarged heart gradually will weaken, which is called heart failure.

This is a diagram 1 of a dilated heart. <svhhearthealth.com.au>

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC): is a genetically enhanced disorder where cells in the heart are gradually replaced with fibrous and fatty tissues. This causes the heart to also dilate causing the action of pumping to weaken. Yet again there is an unknown cause why or how this condition develops in the body, but has a tendency to run through family medical history.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM): The least common type of heart disease is restrictive cardiomyopathy which causes the walls of the heart muscle to become hard and stiff. This limits the flow of blood going through the heart. Later leading to problems with blood flow to the whole body. The cause is unknown but has been linked to very rare metabolic conditions which may have again been genetically inherited. 

If medical practices have failed to heal, cure the diseases, or if the symptoms become more severe, the heart will go to a stage called ‘End-stage heart failure’. This is  a condition when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively and will need a transplant, over 5 million people will experience this. 

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The heart is a muscular organ which acts as a pump in the circulatory system. It is approximately the size of your fist and is located slightly to the left of the middle of your chest. The heart muscle contracts and expands, the right ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood (low in oxygen from cell usage) directly into the lungs where it becomes oxygenated (oxygen-rich), returning to the heart where the left chamber transports it throughout the body. Without the heart our blood would be unable to release oxygen into the cells in our body causing our cells to not receive enough oxygen and nutrients to survive. Our blood is made up of salts, proteins, plasma red blood cells and even white blood cells. 

The red blood cells supply essential nutrients for our cells, like amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose. They remove carbon dioxide, urea and lactic acid from our bodies which are deadly toxins, we remove carbon dioxide by exhaling. Hemoglobin is the protein inside red blood cells that carries our oxygen. 

White blood cells (also called leukocytes or leucocytes and abbreviated as WBCs) have the role of defending the immune system, they are the cells that protect the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.

When your heart is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy your heart muscles become stiff and rigid, unlike the normal heart, causing abnormal behavior. This abnormal behavior is caused by scar tissue, restricting the heart muscles to contract and expand. Scar tissue is not like heart muscle tissue because it does not share the same qualities of a heart muscle, it cannot contract, not allowing the heart to pump. Scars form when the dermis (deep, thick layer of skin) is damaged. 

Why does the body form scar tissue? the body forms new collagen fibers (a naturally occurring protein in the body) to fix the damage of the heart, as an end result a scar is created. The new scar tissue will have a completely different texture and quality compared to the surrounding tissue. When too much scar tissue spreads over the heart, the heart becomes unable to pump at all leading to end-stage heart failure, if not treated properly. Comparing this to a healthy heart, it wouldn’t need to form scar tissue in the first place, because the heart muscles are all healthy and strong, not needing any mending. Unlike the diseased heart the heart will pump blood frequently with a strong electronic pulse. A healthy heart would pump the deoxygenated and oxygenated blood through the correct pulmonary vein. 

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Heart transplant is the medical procedure of replacing a diseased or damaged heart with a healthier one, from a heart donor. A heart donor is someone who has recently died with a healthy heart or is brain dead, meaning their body is being kept alive by a machine but has irreversible loss of all the brain’s functions, including the brainstem. These donors died as a result of a car accident, severe head injury or a gunshot wound.

 In order to get a transplant the patient must go through a process of a complicated screening process performed by a team of heart doctors, nurses, social workers, and bioethicists to review your medical history, diagnostic tests, social history and psychological test to see if you will survive the procedure and live a healthy lifestyle afterwards following the continuous care rules needed.

After this procedure is done successfully the patient will be placed in a type of ‘waiting list’ called a transplant list, then will have to wait for a heart donor. The wait may be very long and stressful but The healthcare team will monitor you closely to keep your heart failure in control until a donor heart is found. Some patients even use a Ventricular assist device while waiting in line. According to Mayo clinic “VADs are commonly used as a temporary treatment for people waiting for a heart transplant. These devices are increasingly being used as a long-term treatment for people who have heart failure but aren’t eligible for a heart transplant. If a VAD doesn’t help your heart, doctors may sometimes consider a total artificial heart, a device that replaces the ventricles of your heart as an alternative short-term treatment while you’re waiting for a heart transplant”.

Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)

Diagram 2 of VAD <mayo clinic.org>

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The VAD is a mechanical pump implanted in your chest that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart (ventricles) to the rest of your body, in diagram 2 you can see how the VAD visually looks. Each year in Australia there are an average of 70 people needing heart transplants, however there are only certain amounts of Donor hearts available. Since heart donors are people who have died recently or are brain dead like I’ve mentioned above, you would need to receive consent from the family or person whose died, not everyone agrees in sharing their or loved one’s organs to someone else, this is why heart donors are very limited. Once a donor’s heart is available for the patient to use, the medical practice staff will give the patient medications before the surgery to relax them soon, making them fall asleep.They will not be aware of what happened during the surgery. While they are asleep the doctor will make an incision down the centre of your chest, to open the rib cage and access the diseased heart, later connecting it to the heart-lung bypass machine, which pumps blood through the body while the heart is being operated on. Removes the diseased heart, leaving the back wall of the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, and then the back of the donor’s heart is opened sewn into place seen in diagram 3.

Diagram 3 <webmd.com>

The surgeon connects the new donor heart to temporary pacing wires (to temporarily control the heartbeat) Then gives immunosuppressant medication, to prevent your body from rejecting the donor heart. This complicated operation takes up four to ten hours. A disadvantage in going under the procedure of a heart transplant is receiving immunosuppressants. Immunosuppressant is a drug that reduces the strength of the body’s immune system, this drug is used for transplants so that it decreases the chances of the body rejecting the new organ. The dangers of using immunosuppressant is that it makes the immune system less able to detect and destroy cancer cells or fight off infections, immunosuppressant may even cause malignant tumors. Malignant tumors are made of cancer cells, they invade the nearby untouched tissues where some of the cancer cells spread into the bloodstream or lymph nodes, where they can take over other tissues within the body. 

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According to Health Direct “Lymph nodes (or lymph glands) are part of the body’s immune system, they filter out harmful bacteria and cancer cells from your body as well as taking the role of fighting infections”. For some patients who will be having to take immunosuppressant their whole life may be prone to have kidney damage, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a condition in which your bones become lean and weak (osteoporosis).The risks of undergoing heart transplant surgery is that it is an open heart surgery where there are high risks for complication during the surgery, such as Bleeding, Infection,Blood clots, Heart attack, Stroke or even Death. There are still dangers after a successful surgery, the body of the patient may even reject the donor’s heart, why this happens is because it is the human immune system’s job to find foreign things in the body that weren’t there before that may cause harm. 

Symptoms of rejection researched by Fairview say are “Feeling tired or weak, fever or chills, shortness of breath, fast or irregular heartbeat, drop in blood pressure, swelling of your feet, hands, or ankles, sudden weight gain, flu-like aches and pains, reduced amounts of urine, dizziness or fainting, nausea or loss of appetite.” Positive aspects of heart transplants are that patients can enjoy a high quality of life. Depending on the condition, the patient may be able to return to doing their daily life activities, such as returning to work, participating in their hobbies and sports, and exercise. But will have to discuss with their doctors what activities are appropriate for them. Some women who have had a heart transplant can even become pregnant, giving joy to many young couples who thought they might not be able to have a child of their own, but however will have to discuss with their doctor about considering having children after the transplant. Before they can become pregnant they would need to make adjustments to their medication that are suitable for a pregnant patient since some medications can cause pregnancy complications.

New John Hopkins research suggests that “Heart transplant patients who receive new organs before the age of 55 and get them at hospitals that perform at least nine heart transplants a year are significantly more likely than other people to survive at least 10 years after their operations.” Is it right or wrong to use science in this way? There have been many events in the past which have raised many ethical, moral and societal issues regarding the supply of donated organs to the right patients, the price of a new organ and if transplants are really that efficient. Is it right to use science to fix these issues? I believe that it is right to use science for the sake of saving others and helping others in need. If science was not used for transplants, many innocent citizens of earth would have died due to an untreated diseased heart or an inexperienced procedure which hasn’t been tested yet causing them more difficulties to their heart. In science it is extremely valid to perform several experiments to test something before it can be proved as accurately correct and safe. Imagine if transplants and medications given weren’t tested or scientifically proven safe! Society should be focusing more on medical treatment, since health goes first, without a healthy working body you can’t do anything you enjoy in life, so there is no point in focusing on something else. If medical practices and medicines are more improved it will help reduce the amount of people suffering in the world from sickness. Even though it is an issue , I believe it is right to use science in this way. My thoughts on heart transplant is that it is a very clever way of saving those in need. Especially to those who are diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, when someone dies with perfect healthy organs, I have a strong feeling that it is a complete waste for it to just stay in a coffin and slowly decompose away into nothing, when it could have been used to save a young bright adult or beloved grandparent. So many lives can be saved with those who are leaving this earth, those who have lived a long happy life can now save those who are too young to pass away. Life is too precious to lose.

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REFERENCE LIST:

Dilated cardiomyopathy n.d., Illustration, St.Vincent Hospital Heart Health, accessed 20 October 2018, <https://www.svhhearthealth.com.au/conditions/cardiomyopathy#section-1>.

Evolution of the Human Heart n.d., Illustration, Co.Thought, accessed 22 October 2018, <https://www.thoughtco.com/evolution-of-the-human-heart-1224781>.

Ventricular assist devices n.d., Illustration, Mayo clinic, accessed 25 October 2018, <https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&source=imgres&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjwlq7VsaveAhUQdCsKHflLBpkQjhx6BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mayoclinic.org%2Ftests-procedures%2Fheart-transplant%2Fabout%2Fpac-20384750&psig=AOvVaw2odvMlS9tTPHQNcPPDOUMB&ust=1540893478390093>.

WebMD 2018, Heart Disease and Heart Transplant, URAC Seal, accessed 29 October 2018, <https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/transplantation-treatment#1>.

Heart Foundation 2018, Cardiomyopathy, accessed 26 October 2018, <https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/your-heart/heart-conditions/cardiomyopathy>.

NSW Government 2016, Cost of care in NSW Hospitals, accessed 21 October 2018, <https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Hospitals/Going_To_hospital/cost-of-care/Pages/default.aspx>.

Health Direct 2017, Lymph nodes, Australian Government, health department l, accessed 21 October 2018, <https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Hospitals/Going_To_hospital/cost-of-care/Pages/default.aspx>.

Heart Transplant Surgery 2018, What is a heart transplant?, accessed 19 October 2018, <https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/transplants>.

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Exploring the Vaccine Debate

Is there any legitimacy behind the anti-vax argument?

Due to the rising occurrence of measles, a disease once thought to be eradicated, Australians are being encouraged to vaccinate to protect themselves. However, there is speculation as to whether vaccinations are as effective as reputed.  Should vaccinations be compulsory or should Australians be allowed to determine for themselves whether to vaccinate?

Vaccinations quicken the immune response to infectious diseases by allowing lymphocytes to familiarise themselves with the pathogen prior to infection. Vaccines are administered to increase immunity of individuals and decrease the spread of diseases corporately. Infectious diseases are spread among organisms via pathogens such as viruses and bacteria compared to noninfectious diseases which cannot be transmitted.

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Vaccinations work in partnership with the immune system, via white blood cells (lymphocytes). When a pathogen penetrates the body and the antigen is detected the immune system responds with B-Lymphocytes and T-Lymphocytes. B-Lymphocytes produce antibodies which, by producing proteins that bind with antibodies, can destroy or deactivate pathogens. T-Lymphocytes produce substances that attack pathogens, activate phagocytes or assist B cells in the production of antibodies. Each pathogen requires certain antibodies to be destroyed so lymphocytes usually take 10-17 days to produce the right antibodies. Subsequently, lymphocytes produce memory cells which remain in the bloodstream resulting in increased immune system response (2-7 days) upon further penetration. Vaccines quicken the process by convincing the immune system the inactivated forms of the virus are live pathogens causing the body to produce memory cells to prepare for future penetration by the pathogen. (NSW Australian Curriculum Science, Stage 5, 2018)

(Figure 1: How do Vaccines Work, 2014)

Upon analysis of medical history it is evident that vaccinations have drastically reduced the spread of disease. The drop in measles cases corresponds with the legalisation of measles vaccines in 1963 and Haemophilus influenzae type b experienced a sudden drop in the 1990’s when the vaccine was introduced. Additionally, Great Britain, Sweden and Japan reduced their intake of the pertussis vaccine and immediately reaped the consequences when epidemics recurred. Great Britain experienced over 100,000 cases in that year, Sweden, over 13,000 cases and Japan jumped from 700 cases in every 100,000 children to 3,200. (Global Vaccine Safety, n.d.)


 (Figure 2: Herd Immunity, 2014)

Herd immunity, achieved via vaccinations, is when sufficient people (90-95%) in a community are vaccinated to halt transmission. Reviewing the Varicella vaccine, from 1994 to 2007, chickenpox cases decreased dramatically however, from 2004 to 2007, not one child under age one (being too young for vaccination) died from chickenpox. This is due to older children being vaccinated therefore reducing transmission of the disease. (Vaccine and Herd Immunity, 2014)                                                                       

Yet, some claim, for religious reasons, vaccinations shouldn’t be forced. Among the Islamic community vaccinations are denied due to containing gelatin from pigs. Despite purification of the gelatin it is against Islamic law to consume meat that hasn’t been killed according to Sharia laws. (Vaccination: Influencing Factors and View from an Islamic Perspective, n.d.) Further, Christian Scientists chose not to vaccinate, rather they rely on prayer for healing. (NSW Australian Curriculum Science, Stage 5, 2018)

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Some are excluded from receiving vaccines for medical reasons. For example, the measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, influenza, rotavirus and live zoster vaccine should not be taken by those who have compromised or weakened immune systems due to diseases such as cancer, HIV or aids or medical treatments including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, steroids.  Further pregnancy prohibits the administering of the HPV, Influenza, MMR, MMRV, Meningococcal, Varicella and Zoster vaccine. All vaccines have lists of conditions prohibiting people from taking them meaning forcing vaccines on these individuals would have detrimental impacts. (Who should not get vaccinated with these vaccines, 2017)

The vaccination process is readily available and affordable. Medical centres and pharmacies provide the recommended vaccines and in terms of finance, vaccines are often covered by government subsidies and/or health insurance. Certain vaccinations are distributed to Australian school students. The vaccination system has been reviewed and tailored to population needs to enable effective distribution.

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Reviewing the above information, vaccination should not be compulsory for the entire population. However, those who do not vaccinate should be required to provide convincing medical or religious reasoning as to why they will not vaccinate.  This exemption from vaccination should not apply across the board to all vaccinations but should be restricted to specific vaccines as appropriate.  For the health of the general population strict guidelines need to be in place to minimise the size of the unvaccinated population.

To conclude, vaccinations are not only beneficial but essential to the health of Australian society and ought to be administered to the vast majority of the population.  Exceptions ought to be in place for a minority population where stringent medical or religious criteria have been satisfied

Bibliography

Centers for disease control and prevention 2017, Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated with these Vaccines?, Australian Government, viewed 19 August 2019, <https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/should-not-vacc.html>.

Engku, Z, Khairool, M & Athirah, A n.d., Vaccination: Influencing Factors and View from an Islamic Perspective., pdf, viewed 18 August 2019, <http://iiumedic.net/imjm/v1/download/volume_17_special_issue_2/ISSUES-2-273.pdf>.

Healthcare Triage, G 2014, Vaccines and Herd Immunity, online video, 4 August, viewed 19 August 2019, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuiHFg_nfnE>.

Herd Immunity 2014, Pdf, Michigan Live, viewed 22 August 2019, <https://advancelocal-adapter-image-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/image.mlive.com/home/mlive-media/width2048/img/mlive_statewide_river_candidates/photo/herd-immunityjpg-e2a094c9040c0789.jpg>.

How do Vaccines Work? 2014, Pdf, Michigan Live, viewed 22 August 2019, <https://advancelocal-adapter-image-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/image.mlive.com/home/mlive-media/width2048/img/mlive_statewide_river_candidates/photo/how-vaccines-workjpg-4124fe097a13d163.jpg>.

Warnat, P, Arena, P, Burrows, K, Lofts, G & Evergreen, M 2018, NSW Australian Curriculum Science, Stage 5, Second edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Milton, Qld.

World Health Organisation n.d., Global Vaccine Safety, viewed 18 August 2019, <https://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/initiative/detection/immunization_misconceptions/en/index1.html>.

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The End of Google? US Government Takes Tech Giant to Court.

On Tuesday the 21st, the US Department of Justice along with 11 other US states filed an Antitrust lawsuit against the $1 trillion mega cooperation. This comes after months of talking in Washington about taking down some of the big tech companies over their monopoly in the industry.

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The lawsuit could see not only the end of Google as a company and the leading website browser, but could also begin a crusade against big tech and their tyranny in the industry.

Where Is The Headquarters Of Google Located? - WorldAtlas

Google has been underneath the radar for years now for it’s incredibly shady behaviour. Software companies, such as Apple, have to provide a default web browser for their users. Consumers will typically then use the browser provided, not bothered to change them. 

Google took advantage of this, and paid billions to these wealthy corporations to make it’s search engine the default web browser on every single one of their products, controlling the entire market. In 2020, Google controls 86% of the search engine market, giving them full control of not just search engines, but also the internet as a whole. Google has used its control over the search engine market to make it harder to access non Google products, giving their other products such as Youtube and Gmail an effective monopoly.

Search Engine Statistics 2017

(Daily searches)

It’s unprecedented control over the internet has resulted in dangerous consequences for the consumer and daily life. In 2019, Google paid $170 million for collecting children’s personal information to sell them targeted ads on youtube. It’s also monopolised on online news, stealing a large chunk of advertising revenue from articles. It’s even given bias to big businesses so they get exclusive treatment with searches. Experts have found that Google’s search algorithm has favoured those that are using Google’s advertising service, such as Facebook, Amazon and many more. In 2019, Google made a whopping 3,200 changes in it’s search algorithm to favour certain results.

Google Has a Monopoly Problem. What happens when consumer's choices… | by  Joshua McKenzie | Medium

Google has been charged for violating the Sherman Antitrust act, an incredibly serious accusation. It has been used in the past against similar corrupt monopolies to essentially break apart the business. US standard oil, for example, once controlled 90% of the oil industry in the US. After it was found guilty, it was broken apart into 26 different companies! A former US department Justice member said that a successful trial could see Google’s many products, such as the Android phone and Chrome, break off into their own companies.

(Standard oil’s monopoly influenced the US economy and many businesses, similar to Google)

However, Google isn’t the only tech company under red alert. This lawsuit could be signifying the beginning of a crusade from the government against the monopolies in the tech sector. Google is just one of five major tech companies who have also been accused of several illegal acts. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are all considered to be the “big five” of the tech sector, with a combined net worth of 7 trillion dollars, roughly a ⅓ of the US economy. A lawsuit on Google could potentially see further action on the other 4.

US lawmakers detail Big Tech's market abuses and press for strict reform |  BusinessWorld

It may be years, however, until a final verdict for Google is reached as legal battles as these can be lengthy. But it may very well be the most important case of the modern 21st century world, changing not only the technology market, but a breakup of Google could liberate the international market from Google’s reign.

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Stem Cells, Ethical or Not?

The versatility of pluripotent and multipotent stem cells means that there are many diseases that can be hindered by the use of stem cells in medicine. Multipotent stem cells can develop into a number of cells in the body, and they can come from the bone marrow, be epithelial stem cells, or osteoblasts. Stem cells that are collected from the bone marrow develop into blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and/or plasma.) However, stem cells, in general, develop or differentiate into the constituent types of cells in the tissue or organ where the stem cell is located. (Journal of Stem Cell Research, n.d.)

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

In relation to the ethics of using stem cells (specifically embryonic stem cells), many believe that it is wrong and that it is a violation of human life. They believe this because many people argue that an embryo is a human life, and due to the fact that when stem cells are extracted from the embryo it is destroyed, using embryonic stem cells is considered unethical and wrong by some people. (Their case is furthered by stating that induced pluripotent stem cells, which are normal liver, skin, fat, or muscle cells which are changed to behave like embryonic stem cells. It is stated that since the embryo has the ability to develop into a human, it should be treated as one. (TED-Ed, 2013) This is a fair point, especially because everyone around us once started out as an embryo, and if those embryos were destroyed by extracting the stem cells from them, then they wouldn’t be alive today.

Embryonic stem cells are taken from in vitro fertilisation facilities and are donated with full consent from a couple. However, the embryo (by some) is considered a human, and much controversy has ‘stemmed’ from the debate on whether or not the embryo has legal human rights and status, and whether we have a moral responsibility to provide those rights.

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There are some cultures and traditions that believe that embryos are of the same status as a developed human, while others believe that this is not so. There are many factors that influence this – one such factor is religion. In certain systems of faith, it is believed that human life is sacred and has a greater meaning and that the natural cycle of life should not be disrupted by ‘artificial’ factors, such as technology. There are also cultures which are of the belief that human life commences at the moment of conception (when the sperm meets an egg), and that the extraction of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst and the essential destruction of the embryo is commensurate with murder, or that the two things are virtually the same.

However, another way to look at this is that the embryo is not a human yet and that there should be a more specific ‘milestone’ that dictates which stage of fertilisation should mean that it – whatever ‘it’ is, whether an embryo or a foetus – is considered human and is given human rights. Many suggest that it should be the foetus, which is in the prenatal stage that is located between being an embryo and being born – a stage in which some of the organs (such as the lungs and liver) have developed because it is believed that humans that are fully developed and need some sort of stem cell transplant take priority over a blastocyst. Researching these cells to cure illnesses that seem incurable today will take some sacrifices, such as overlooking ethical and moral differences. This is a clear example of differences in priorities when it comes to ethics, because some believe that already-developed humans and medical research take priority over embryos and not-yet-developed cells, whereas others take the stance that this should not be the case, because they are of the opinion that embryos, too, hold the status of a human. Due to the controversy over the use of embryonic stem cells, research in this field has been suppressed.

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However, pluripotent stem cells are an invaluable source of research in the field of studying human development and gene regulation, as well as new drugs and vaccines. Another use of this is for monoclonal antibody production, as well as treating many diseases that are considered incurable today. In addition to this, in vitro fertilisation facilities (which is where embryonic stem cells are extracted) only take stem cells from fully consenting couples, who are made aware of the fact that the embryo will be destroyed. Some go so far as to state that since the embryo has not yet developed a brain, it is still the ‘property’ of the couple and that if the couple’s consent is given, there should not be any more debate about it. This point is also quite a strong one, due to the fact that it is correct it its scientific knowledge – the embryo, although containing stem cells which have nuclei, does not have a human brain, or any human organs, and is basically just a lump of cells, and people who are in need of stem cell transplants, or who would benefit greatly from further research in this field, are fully developed and shouldn’t be placed as lower in status than an embryo, and especially not a blastocyst. Pluripotent stem cells are an invaluable source of research in the field of studying human development and gene regulation, as well as new drugs and vaccines. Another use of this is for monoclonal antibody production, as well as treating many diseases that are considered incurable today. In addition to this, in vitro fertilisation facilities (which is where embryonic stem cells are extracted) only take stem cells from fully consenting couples, who are made aware of the fact that the embryo will be destroyed. Some go so far as to state that since the embryo has not yet developed a brain, it is still the ‘property’ of the couple and that if the couple’s consent is given, there should not be any more debate about it. This point is also quite a strong one, due to the fact that it is correct it its scientific knowledge – the embryo, although containing stem cells which have nuclei, does not have a human brain, or any human organs, and is basically just a lump of cells, and people who are in need of stem cell transplants, or who would benefit greatly from further research in this field, are fully developed and shouldn’t be placed as lower in status than an embryo, and especially not a blastocyst.

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I Used To Hate Frogs (Now I Love Them)

Liz

Welcome to my very first post which I happily dedicated to frogs. Frogs are cool and honestly, I think we should all appreciate them more. I, myself used to hate frogs. I used to think they were gross, disgusting, and slimy. But now I love them. Here’s just a few random facts about these fascinating creatures.

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There are at least 4,000 frog species in the world believe it or not. While a group of cattle is called a herd or a group of birds is called a flock, a group of frogs is called an army. Frogs can come in multiple different forms for example there is the Barbourula kalimantanensis which is found in Indonesia and a unique feature about this frog is that it’s known to have no lungs and entirely uses its skin to get oxygen. Frogs can also come in different colours; did you know that brightly coloured frogs are coloured this way so they can warn predators they’re poisonous. Going back to the Barbourula kalimantanensis, all frogs don’t need to drink because they absorb water through their skin. A little gross fact for you is that once every week frogs completely shed their skin and eat the dead skin they pulled off. Frogs eyes pop out of their head so they can see while most of its body is under water and they also blink their eyes every time they swallow pray, pushing their eyes on top of their mouth to help push the food down its throat.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My favourite frog species is the Hyalinobatrachium Dianae which is also known as the Diane’s bare-hearted glass frog. It’s called this because they’re translucent so you can see their organs. These 1-inch long frogs made the headlines as they were just recently discovered and were pulled up for their recent celebrity look-a-like Kermit the frog. The Diane’s bare-hearted glass frog is unique for the sound of its colour, the sound of its call and of course its Kermit eyes. A good factor about the translucent Kermit-like frog is that it’s a ‘good indicator of the general health in their ecosystem”.

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