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Tutor profile: Nicky L.

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Nicky L.
BA in Humanities and Music and a Master of Public Health Degree
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Questions

Subject: Health and Medicine

TutorMe
Question:

What failings in public health led to the Love Canal disaster?

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Nicky L.
Answer:

Love Canal was one of the worst environmental and public health disasters in American history. But it wasn't the result of corporate greed like the Pacific Gas and Electric hexavalent chromium incident. Rather, it was a failure to fully respect the dangers of dumping toxic waste and implement policies to mitigate those harms. During the mid twentieth century, pesticides and other toxic chemicals were regarded as new technology. Pesticides, in particular seemed to provide the promise abundant food sources and the eradication of disease carrying organisms. At the time that the Hooker Chemical Company (yes, that was the real name of the company) used it as a dump site, there were few regulations about how and where toxic waste could be disposed of and how close humans could live to a dump site. Perhaps there was a general idea that these chemicals would not pose a public health hazard (pesticides were being used to protect humans from insects and worms). Maybe politicians and health professionals assumed the efforts of the Hooker Company to cover the landfill with clay were sufficient. Regardless of the thinking that led to few regulations on toxic waste dumping, the fact remains that what the Hooker Chemical Company and the Niagra Falls Board of Education did were not illegal or against any health policy when they clearly should have been. While Hooker Chemical Company is frequently blamed for the disaster, they included a written warning in their contract with the Niagra Falls Board of Education not to build on the land. It was the Niagra Falls Board of Education who built the school and exposed children to high levels of chemicals leading to widespread health problems. Love Canal became a public health nightmare because politicians and health professionals failed to enact laws and procedures that would regulate toxic waste disposal to reduce harm to people and the environment. They also failed to implement laws and policies to reduce human exposure through building controls. It was only after the enormous rates of illness and birth defects among residents that any laws were enacted to protect people. The oversight of public health authorities to anticipate the problems of human residential exposure to toxic commercial dump sites remains a tragic oversight.

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

Name three literary device in Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay". How do these devices express the theme of the poem?

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Nicky L.
Answer:

Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" feature alliteration, rhyme scheme, and symbolism. The poem is about fleeting nature of perfection, so Frost makes the poem as perfect as possible. The use of alliteration creates a feeling of concordance: "green is gold", "hardest hue to hold", and "dawn goes down to day". The words match up in harmony to create the sense of perfection. The rhyme scheme also contributes to this effect with the AABBCCDD rhyming. This gives the poem a feeling of completeness as the rhyme scheme is simply and pleasant and fills our expectations about a fitting rhyme coming with each line. The symbolism highlights the fleeting nature of perfection: the first green of spring and spring blossoms, leafs growing and dying each year, Eden and the day itself. All are transient no matter how lovely. And thus title of the poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay".

Subject: Music

TutorMe
Question:

Wagner's music is still considered revolutionary today. Name three techniques that originated in his operas that are still widely used music today.

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Nicky L.
Answer:

Wagner is notable for his use of leitmotifs (musical themes attached to a specific character, idea or situation), expanded chromaticism, and an expanded orchestra. We see leitmotifs not only in contemporary operas and musical compositions, but in popular works such as musical theatre and movie themes. Leitmotifs allow the story to be told and understood on multiple levels with the music reinforcing certain themes and ideas. Wagner also expanded the use of chromaticism (use of notes outside of the diatonic scale). This became the precursor to 20th century atonal music of composers such as Schoenberg and Bartok, but continues to be used by composers such as Matteuci. Wagner's vision of the orchestra was one that is more or less hand-picked by the composer for the piece to express it best. Wagner's vision of a much larger orchestra has now evolved into an orchestra that has expanded not only in size but breadth of instrumentation as composers now freely add popular elements like electric guitar or non-Western instruments to their compositions.

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