Monday, 30 April 2012

Telepresence - the Growth of Technology

How many of us wish we could be in more than one place at a time? I surely do. Imagine the pleasure of laying in bed while being present at that board meeting. Is this possible? With today’s emerging technologies, a set of technology has made it possible for us to feel  as if we were present, as well as giving the appearance of being present, or to have an effect at a place other than their true location. This is known as telepresence. It works via telerobotics. So what are the benefits of telepresence and how is it implemented?

Telepresence is eco-friendly. For those companies and organizations that have decided that they would like to reduce travelling, carbon foot printing and environmental impact, as well as improve their employees’ ‘worklife’ and productivity, this is for you. Rather than travelling great distances in order to have a face-face meeting, it is now commonplace to instead use a telepresence system, which uses a multiple codec video system (which is what the word "telepresence" most currently represents). Each member or party of the meeting uses a telepresence room to "dial in" and can see or talk to every other member on a screen as if they were in the same room. This brings enormous time and cost benefits. It is also superior to phone conferencing (except in cost), as the visual aspect greatly enhances communications, allowing for perceptions of facial expressions and other body language.

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Members and sponsor of one of the NCU Microsoft Imagine Cup team

It is mobile. Nowadays, everyone is all about “smart technology”. Well, telepresence can work in conjunction with your mobile devices. This is done through mobile collaboration systems. Mobile collaboration systems combine the use of video, audio and on-screen drawing capabilities using newest generation hand-held mobile devices to enable multi-party conferencing in real-time, independent of location. Benefits include cost-efficiencies resulting from accelerated problem resolution, reductions in downtimes and travel, improvements in customer service and increased productivity.
So are you convinced that telepresence is for you? Telepresence provides the sensation of being present in remote from one’s own physical location. An individual would be able to move and actually receive stimuli as if they were present at the remote location. In order to fully implement this technology, three human sensory elements were integrated to provide users with this familiarity. These elements include; vision, sound, and manipulation.

With telpresence, the user’s field of view is filled with a view of the remote location and the viewpoint corresponds to the movement and orientation of the user's head. In this way, it differs from television or cinema, where the viewpoint is out of the control of the viewer. In order to achieve this, the user may be provided with either a very large (or wraparound) screen, or small displays mounted directly in front of the eyes. The latter provides a particularly convincing 3D sensation. The movements of the user's head must be sensed, and the camera must mimic those movements accurately and in real time. This is important to prevent unintended motion sickness. Another source of future improvement to telepresence displays, compared by some to holograms, is a projected display technology featuring life-sized imagery. Sound is one of those sensations that can be easily generated. Very high-fidelity sound equipment has also been available for a considerable period of time, with stereophonic sound being more convincing than monaural sound.

The ability to manipulate a remote object or environment is an important aspect for some telepresence users, and can be implemented in large number of ways depending on the needs of the user. This involves the movements of the user's hands (position in space, and posture of the fingers) are sensed by wired gloves, inertial sensorsor absolute spatial position sensors. Arobot in the remote location then copies those movements as closely as possible. This ability is also known as teleoperation. 

Here at Northern Caribbean University we still believe in face-to-face real time communication. We are required to attend work, and then navigate from work into a meeting. We have learnt that the art of multitasking while prioritising at the same time. Telepresence may take some time before it is implemented at the University, however, other forms of telepresence will soon be used in classrooms. For example: video chat to assist students in online learning. 

Mikki Clarke

Relationship Between God and Man

Did you know that God longs for a relationship with His people? In order to fully understand God’s relationship to man, we must first look at: creation of man, fall of man, and God’s plan of salvation for man.

Genesis 1:27-29So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

God created man His own image. To create something in your image would mean producing a replica of your own self. God’s intention was that man would be like Him. Not only did He create us to be in relationship with him, but He “breathed the breath of life into us”. ...and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; man became a living soul (Genesis 2 vs. 7). Man was created to be like God; think, speak and act like Him. He created man to fellowship with Him. Gen 3:8 makes us to understand that God would come and fellowship with Adam in the garden in the cool of the day. He made time to communicate with us. Here He illustrates that communication and quality time are two vital components of a relationship.

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Man was to have total dominion on earth while God rules in heaven. (Psalm 115:16) Before He created man, He formed the world. He then created every fowl of the air, every fish of the sea, every cattle, every creeping thing that creepth upon the earth and gave man dominion over all. He gave man purpose and authority. He knew the potential of man and so He gave him his first duty. He provided all the means necessary for man to survive on the earth. Genesis 2:8-9 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The relationship between God and man depicts love. In Genesis 3 vs.7-8, God knew that Adam and Eve had sinned. They disobeyed him and ate of the tree of good and evil. Their eyes were now opened. Yet he clothed them. In verse 21 it says that “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”  And to express how much He loved man and desired a restoration of the kind of relationship He had with Adam and Eve, He gave His only son, Jesus Christ for mankind. (John 3:16)

Though man violated his relationship with God, God still loves us and He desires to enjoy the original relationship He had with man and all mankind. This is why He sent His son Jesus Christ, so that His word will be reconciled back to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:19) God desires that man assumes his original dominion on earth by walking in the precepts of God. He promises to supply our every need. "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver.

Mikki Clarke 

“All’s fair in love and war”- Paradoxical Mystery or is it Reality?

Many of us have often used or heard the popular cliché, “All is fair in love and war.” But do we really understand what it means or who said those words? I have heard and used the phrase many times, but never really understood what it meant, so I decided do some research in an effort to decipher this paradoxical mystery or reality. credits the phrase to English writer John Lyly who penned the words in his best known book “Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit”. Lyly wrote “the rules of fair play do not apply in love and war” how then did we arrive at “all is fair in love and war”? Can we conclude as I was led to believe that during situations where love is at stake, or during war, people are not bound by rules of fair play? Is it that because the intricacies of our “play” are not revealed then it is “fair”? Or can it be argued that because our motives are pure or the results were favourable then “all is fair in love and war”.

As clichéd as it may sound, I have to make reference to our politicians here in Jamaica.  Do they cling to this paradox as if their lives depended on it using it as their excuse for deception? ”I talked to the people about having to pay for the light bulbs, but they received the light bulbs didn’t they, so all is fair in love and war” or “we didn’t tamper with the ballots we just wanted to ensure that we won the election…all is fair in love and war.” Is it that we are constantly in a game where it is the “survival of the fittest”, so if all the deceptive tactics are used to my benefit its quite fine, maybe if you had thought of those tactics you would have used them against me too, so all is fair in love and war.

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Should we accept that the concept behind the phrase is that some areas of life are so important and overwhelming that you cannot blame someone for acting in his/her own best interest?  For war, this implies that spies, torture, lying, backstabbing, making deals with enemies, selling out allies, bombing civilians, wounding instead of killing, and so on are "fair game" in the sense that by taking these options off the table you are only hurting yourself: Your opponent has no reason to comply to your moral standards. (This entire concept is mostly void with regards to the current political atmosphere of Earth. Countries have actually declared certain things taboo with regards to war — with mixed success.) The point of adding love to the list is likely to compare it to a war. There are two main subsets here. The first and most relevant is the idea that you can wreak all the havoc you want during the pursuit of true love. This includes sabotaging the third side in a love triangle or using deceit and trickery to woo the object of your affection (including hiding from them past lovers.)

In the movie “what’s your number” Ally is on a mission to find her prince charming among the past 20 guys she has dated, she resolves to fit the persona that each guy wants/desires until she is successful. Colin, her neighbour agrees to help her and as predicted they develop feelings for each other, he finds her high school sweetheart Eddie (who she desperately wants to find) but does not reveal it to her because he feels he cannot compete with that guy so he keeps it a secret, she gets mad at him when she finds this out that he ‘deceived’ her on the premise that he loves her, but why is she mad wasn’t she deceiving all those 20 guys that she tried to rekindle the flame with…but hey…all is fair in love and war, right?

Should we revisit our varying morals, values and societal norms in an effort to explain our views on “all is fair in love and war”? Could it be that the cliché could indeed be true based on our definition of the words “fair”, “love” and “war”? In the final analysis does the outlook rely on who or what a person is in love with, does that then make everything all right? Is all really fair in love and war…Maybe it will forever remain an issue of controversy. So… is it a paradoxical mystery or reality? You choose.

Lafaine Wiggan 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Eat 'Regular Foods' And Still Lose Weight

There are no quick fixes when it comes to losing and maintaining healthy weight. Healthy weight is linked to how food is prepared, amount consumed and when consumed.
How a food item is prepared determines how much is eaten. For example, ripe plantain, high in carbohydrates and fibre, if boiled, steamed or microwaved, a serving is considered two to three inches compared to one inch of the same plantain, if fried.
Fruits are good sources of carbohydrates with their natural sugar, but when sugar, honey or molasses is added to juices, they increase the sugar and caloric content and excess sugar is stored as fat. Four ounces, or half cup, of whole fruit or unsweetened fruit juice is recommended with each meal.
Complex carbs
Carbohydrate-rich foods that are high in fibre (complex carbohydrates) such as yams, potatoes, wholegrain products (wholewheat flour and brown rice) should be eaten.
A slice of commercially sliced bread (not hand-broken hard dough); four ounces yam, Irish potato or sweet potato; four ounces, or half cup macaroni (white or whole wheat); four ounces, or half cup cooked rice (brown or white); and one cup dry cereal (unsweetened without milk) provide 75 calories.
Peas and beans
Peas and beans (legumes) are high in protein and fibre and low in fat. It is recommended that at least half-cup of peas and beans be eaten every day which provides about 60 calories. The energy or calories from vegetables depends on how they are prepared. Raw vegetables, without salad dressing, provide less than 20 calories per cup, whereas half-cup, or four ounces, cooked vegetables such as pumpkin, callaloo or string beans provide 25 calories. Raw vegetables alone should not be eaten as a meal, as they do not provide enough energy and may cause low blood sugar. The fibre from peas, beans, complex carbohydrates and whole fruits and raw vegetables causes a feeling of fullness so less food is consumed.
Remove skin and bake
Foods from animals such as chicken, fish, meats (goat, cow, pig), milk and cheese are high in protein and fat. To make foods from animals healthier, trim all visible fat, remove skin and bake, roast, steam and stew instead of frying, and choose low-fat dairy products. One ounce of cooked meat, cheese (amount that can hold in a match box without the skin and bone) and half-cup milk is a serving and provides 55-75 calories.
A serving of fat is one teaspoon cooking oil, margarine (whether made from corn, coconut, soybeans, olive); three single ackees provide 45 calories, and intake should be limited. Water should be substituted for sweetened beverages.
Three regular, or up to six small, meals are recommended daily. Meals should consist of staples, foods from animals, or legumes and fruits, vegetables and a little fat.
Marsha N. Woolery is a registered dietitian/nutritionist in private practice and adjunct lecturer at Northern Caribbean University

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Does Wallowing in "Mud" Make me a...?

It is he who is uncertain of whom he is that is afraid to get muddy, lest he be seen as a pig.

Two scenes from the life of Jesus immediately jump out at me: the one is where He was accused of associating with publicans, with His detractors intimating of Him, “birds of a feather flock together;” the other was where He so willingly accommodated the parents who brought their children to Him to be blessed.  Here His Disciples, then the wannabes, would have driven them away, for they had no political collateral to offer.

The kind of hostility that characterised the Disciples when they strove for position is what often defines persons who are in the employ of someone else.  These individuals often fear that civility opens the door to familiarity, which eventually leads to contempt.  Hence they must maintain strict lines of protocol, so no one forgets “who’s in charge.”  

Persons who are not defined by positions held are less concerned about the implications to self when they are civil, helpful, and not defensive of their “turf.”  These more attractive persons make much better leaders, because they love to see everyone do well.  Their counterparts, on the other hand, feel threatened whenever their peers or subordinates do well. These individuals are cynical, grumpy, and play with the team only when they are in charge, or can clearly get direct benefits – anything less, for them, is like wallowing in mud like a pig (and they are emphatic about not being pigs). But some would argue that cynicism, grumpiness, and mean spiritedness are types of mud.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Getting High

What gets you high? What is it that fuels your adrenaline rush? Around the world, many individuals misuse medications and popular food products for the wrong reasons. They often “get high” to relax and unwind after work, to let go of the day's tensions and to adjust their mental attitude. Abusers usually feel a slight euphoria, happiness, or sense of well-being. Many mundane things suddenly seem more intriguing and alive. Problems become less severe and pressing. So what is it that makes these individuals “feel good?”

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays vital roles in a variety of different behaviours. The major behaviours which dopamine affects are movement, cognition, pleasure, and motivation. It is the chemical that is produced when “thrill seekers” set out to fulfil their adrenaline rush. Evidence has shown that people with extroverted (reward-seeking) personality types tend to show higher levels of dopamine activity than people with introverted personalities. Dopamine is released (particularly in areas such as the nucleus acumens and prefrontal cortex) by rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral stimuli that become associated with them.

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Celebratory period - file 

In certain areas of the brain when dopamine is released it gives off the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. These feelings of satisfaction often become desired, and the individual develops a desire for that satisfaction. This explains why many persons continually seek to fulfil that urge. The urge for drugs, immoral and spontaneous behaviours often results in an addiction. This addiction is due to the effect of dopamine and it can have a negative effect on the individual’s well-being. So is it then wrong to increase your dopamine levels?
While dopamine produces a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction, too little can cause slowed movement, apathy and lack of motivation while too much is associated with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The correct balance of dopamine gives the brain and nervous system plasticity, the ability to move, think effortlessly and to keep a healthy balance in emotions. Dopamine in the form of L-DOPA is given to patients with Parkinson’s disease. This drug serves to replace the missing dopamine in the brain. So while it can cause an addiction, it is widely beneficial to others for survival.

Here at Northern Caribbean University, many students get high for Jesus every day. Students can be seen on the campus in the prayer garden at noon conducting devotional sessions. Every Monday at 2:00 p.m, NCU’s assemblies are devoted to worship and inspirational thoughts. These sessions are sometimes conducted entirely by members of staff, departments, academic clubs, and students. Opportunities are given to allow students and staff to tell of God’s goodness in their lives.

Come and be apart of our family. Let us increase that feeling of satisfaction in a Godly atmosphere. What are you high on today?

Mikki Clarke

Friday, 20 April 2012

How Buildings Could Come to Life

Everyday a child is born. With each passing moment lives are created and destroyed. It is estimated that by 2050, the population of cities around the world will triple. So how will we adjust to the rising increase in population? How are we going to provide adequate space to accommodate this growing population? To facilitate a sustainable architecture, a concept called “bio-mimickery” has been developed. This idea stemmed from the concept of “designs copying nature.” Let me introduce you to the emerging technologies of sustainable architecture.

Biology is being merged with traditional architecture. Buildings are now built with sensor technology, that allows the building to detect how many persons are inside, and it knows how to adjust the temperature. In Barcelona, this technology is used with a light sensitive mechanism which adjusts to protect those inside and help moderate the temperature. Green roofs and walls are being integrated in buildings to allow those who live in the buildings to enjoy a healthier environment. 

Philip Beesely, a professor in architecture at Waterloo, imagines a new generation of responsive buildings that act as an immersive interactive installation able to move and breathe alongside their occupants. Mr. Beesley explains that “deeply defused, hovering clouds of materials that work together in very delicate ways will be a part of the structure of the buildings. However when these materials are compressed these materials will be used as roofs and walls that breathe and filter light and process materials in the atmosphere that may harm the occupants.” These intelligent buildings will sense how they are used. For example the building may sense when a carpet needs to be changed, it would then adjust the light to encourage persons to walk a different route. Quite fascinating isn’t it?

With each day that goes by, the human mind goes to work exploring the world of endless possibilities. Different solutions are generated to improve the living standards of each of citizen. Alternate measures are tested in clinical trials to reduce cancer cells, and to figure out how Alzheimer’s slowly takes over the body, and to generate memory cells to improve the functioning of the pancreas in secreting insulin.

Our creative nature has led us to use knowledge in many innovative ways all over the world. God has created each us with extraordinary gifts and talents. What subject area are you good at? What fuels your adrenaline rush? Don’t just sit around on a talent or exceptional gift that you may possess, use it. Use this talent to glorify your Father who is in heaven and also to help those in need. Always find suitable ways to provide help to those less fortunate than yourself.
Be a part of something worthwhile today. Volunteer some of those “video game times” and the time spent sitting around the computer browsing the internet to a non-profit organization. Make a difference in someone’s life while you can. Become an ambassador of change.

Here at Northern Caribbean University, the Department of Mathematics and Engineering boasts exciting, brilliant lecturers who strive to engage our creative side of thinking. Come and join us. Contact us at

Mikki Clarke

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Problem Solving

Who would have thought that our arithmetic skills are useful outside of the classroom? Around the world many students shun the concept of utilizing their arithmetic skills throughout their daily lives. Not everyone enjoys solving problems; but those few individuals who embrace the challenge of solving problems are revolutionizing the world one day at a time. It is through solving problems that we create a better place to live. Let us explore how you can begin solving problems today.

The truth of the matter is that no one enjoys problems. I recall sitting in class listening to my lecturer who spoke about solving problems. He articulated that “people should find a problem to solve everyday.” I thought to myself “why would I want to find a problem and solve it?” Not everyone can deal with as simple mishap that may occur each day in their lives. Sometime later I realized what my lecturer was getting at. Sometimes we “limit” our minds to certain possibilities. Instead of listening to what was being said and reasoning it out, block out the very concept of visualizing how to find ways to solve problems.

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Science student Jason Black (right) explains a method to Phillip Paulwell - file

Always be open minded. No one enjoys stress. However, from that concept you can decide to make life easier. Allow me to reflect on one such problem solver; Alexander Graham Bell, an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator, who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. His father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf. These conditions propelled Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876. Alexander saw a problem and he solved it.

If you observe the biography of most successful persons, you will realize that their successes started with pure observation and a problem solving mentality. Take Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook and Jane McGonigal, world renowned game designer, for example. These individuals saw a need and they aimed to solve it. 

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American computer programmer and internet entrepreneur. He is best known for co-creating the social networking site Facebook, of which he is chief executive. This site was created based on his knowledge of computer programming and his psychology intelligence. It was co-founded as a private company in 2004 by Zuckerberg and classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes while they were students at Harvard University. In 2010, Zuckerberg was named Time magazine's Person of the Year. As of 2011, his personal wealth was estimated to be $17.5 billion making him one of the world's youngest billionaires. 

Jane McGonigal is a game designer, game researcher, and author, specializing in pervasive gaming and alternate reality games. McGonigal has been called "the current public face of gamification." She writes and speaks about alternate reality games and massively multiplayer online gaming, especially the way that collective intelligence can be generated and utilized as a means for improving the quality of human life or working towards the solution of social ills. She has stated that gaming should be moving "towards Nobel Prizes." In 2006, she was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. 

What problem can you solve today? It doesn’t have to be as strategic and complex as what Mark and Jane has done. Take a look around you, what could be improved? I believe that it first begins in the mind. Whatever we can perceive, we can achieve.

Mikki Clarke

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Seasonal Changes

Have you ever stopped to notice the changes in nature as it goes from one season into the other? Did you know that the changes in the climate can affect the manner in which our entire body functions? Throughout the 365 days of the year, our small blue planet experiences many changes daily.  Our water levels are slowly receding, polar ice caps are slowly melting, grape-fruit sized hail stones are falling from the sky, and some tectonic plates are sliding past each other. These small changes in nature affect our behaviour and cognitive skills. Let us explore how a change of climate may impact our daily lives.

A season is a sub-division of the year, marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight. Seasons result from the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the plane of revolution. In Temperate and Polar Regions, the seasons are marked by changes in the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface, variations of which may cause animals to go into hibernation or to migrate, and plants to be dormant.

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During May, June, and July, the northern hemisphere is exposed to more direct sunlight because the hemisphere faces the sun. The same is true of the southern hemisphere in November, December, and January. It is the tilt of the Earth that causes the Sun to be higher in the sky during the summer months which increases the solar flux. However, due to seasonal lag, June, July, and August are the hottest months in the northern hemisphere and December, January, and February are the hottest months in the southern hemisphere. In temperate and sub-polar regions, generally four calender-based seasons are recognized: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. 

 At the dawn of the first day in the New Year our minds are awaken and refreshed. We start writing down our New Year resolutions. In January, we are still experiencing the winter season. The days are shorter and the nights are longer. During this season, some persons wear an extra layer of clothing to trap the heat within our body to generate warmth. In some countries, with winter comes snow and temperatures fall as low as -29˚C. To survive the harshness of the winter, many animals adapt morphological and different behavioural patterns for overwintering. Some of these include hibernation, resistance, and migration. As with animals, so too does humans change.

During our Christian pathway, we sometimes get crippled by the sins that so easily beset us. Everyone has a weakness that we all need to resist. In order to overcome temptation, we must take daily strides to strengthen our resistance against sin. We were born in sin and shaped in iniquity, but that does not determine the path that our lives must take. Once we grant God the permission to take full control of our lives, He will forever lead us in the right direction.
Spring is one of the four temperature seasons, the transition time between winter and summer. Spring and springtime refer to the season. It also associates to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. During spring, the birds have awakened and their newborns have all hatched, the flowers begin to bloom flamboyantly displaying their colours and the trees are blossoming as well. Similarly as Christians we need to follow likewise. Our minds need the constant renewal of God’s word. This will foster the growth and development of our lives as Christians.

Summer is the warmest of the four temperate seasons, between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice (an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole), the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. During this time of the year, we often find enjoyable ways in which we can cool down. Conversely as Christians we need to cool down by meditating on God’s grace. Since many persons take vacations at this time of year, it is the ideal time for us to schedule family time. Family time includes bonding, sharing, and creating new memories.

Why not bond with God? He is the key member of our family. He is our Creator - the one who gives life. He yearns to be integrated of our daily lives. Include Him today and see the greatness that can be fulfilled when we allow Him to take full control.

Mikki Clarke 

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ask and it Shall be Given

“And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. (Luke 11 vs. 9) Most persons are sometimes afraid to ask for what it is that they desire. Here the Bible explicitly instructs us to ask. But how do we go about asking? Will what we seek always be granted unto us?

In St. John 14 vs. 13, God says “and whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father in heaven may be glorified in the Son. God says “whatsoever ye ask in my name;” it could be that house you’ve been dreaming of, that fancy car, a husband or a wife ask in His name and it will be granted unto you. However, the scripture further states ... “that the Father in heaven may be glorified in the Son.” When we communicate with God through prayer the desires of our heart, as long as it is according to the riches of the grace of God, He will grant us our desires. Sometimes when we pray, we may ask for things that are not according to the will of God. He knows our mind, body, and spirit. He knows every strand of hair that protrudes from our head. If our desires will not glorify the Father in heaven, they will not be granted.

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NCU's recent International diversity week activities - file

When we approach God through prayer we should always believe by faith that the prayer will be answered. Faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. One may ask how can you hope for something you have not seen.  We do it all the time. We anxiously await our pay cheque at the end of every fortnight or month. Some may even go as far as to credit furniture. We ‘hope’ that the cheque reaches our bank accounts in time so that we can make a down payment. Eternal life depends on the existence and exercise of faith Mark 16:16

We all hope to make it into heaven. We dream of walking on roads paved with gold, a place where sin does not abound, no more pain and sadness, drinking the water of life which proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb daily.
Exercise your faith today, ask God for something you desire. You may not be able to see the tuition for entry into University, but alas, Northern Caribbean University provides options for students for more than 100 years to get quality tertiary education. The School of Religion and Theology provides degrees in Religion and Theology as well as have required religious courses interwoven in each programme of study. Apply now online at   

Mikki Clarke 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Power of Silence

Silence is deafening. It has an amount of energy like no other source. It has the power to get people to think, to act, and it also helps to slow the mind. It is a vital tool used in areas such as counselling and life coaching. We live in a culture that values sharing every thought and feeling as it occurs. Some of us don’t often pause to reflect on what we have just said. This lack of reflection can lead to a superficial connection with ourselves. In contrast, by paying attention to the silence within our conversation, we can connect more deeply with ourselves. This deep connection is the basis of an authentically engaged and self-actualized life.

Paying attention to the silence as the space between our verbal exchanges allows the meaning of these exchanges to be assimilated and from that place of depth, our creative engagement naturally flows. This creative engagement along with our internal processes allow us to discover more of whom we are, taking in previously hidden aspects of ourselves, and aids the process of reconfiguration. This lets us refocus our attention on the present moment. By being more focused, we become more self-actualized, and that permits us to impact our world in powerful ways.

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Verbal communication balanced with moments of silence are both useful in meaningful communication. They marinate as one forming the parts of a whole that we can dance between. Verbal communication expresses to the world what is going on inside the mind of an individual. The silence, the gap between our talking, frees us to digest what was said and to discover what we want to say next as it emerges in the present moment. Our communication becomes a forum to explore new territory in ourselves by listening to what we say, rather than talking about what we already know.

By valuing silence we are able to rediscover what is taking place. We are enabled to listen in a finely attuned way to what is being said. This provides the listener the opportunity to understand more of the subtleties of what makes the person tick, and how the individual makes meaning of life. The same benefit of valuing silence that occurs in a therapist-client relationship is relevant to any relationship, whether it is spouse to spouse, or parent to a child.

Consider pausing the next time you are talking to someone and you find yourself automatically saying what you normally say. Reflect on what you just said -- does it resonate? Then, see if what you say next seems true to who you are in the moment. See if what you say leads to a self-discovery. At this very moment you will experience the power of silence.

To discover more about the power of communication apply online to and enjoy one of our programmes in Communication Studies. 

Mikki Clarke 

The Pledge of Life

Do you remember those days in primary school when you had to recite the Jamaican National Pledge? 
Before God and All mankind
I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart...

As a child in primary school I can recall reciting the pledge with my left hand placed diagonally across my chest while standing uprightly. Have you ever thought who wrote the Jamaican National Pledge? One would wonder what frame of mind was this person in to pledge their love, the loyalty of their heart, the wisdom and courage of their mind, the strength and vigour of their body, their service to follow citizens, to stand up for justice, brotherhood and peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly. Would you or could you allow a pledge to dictate they way you should live?

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Jamaica’s National Pledge was written by Sir Hugh Sherlock. Sir Hugh Braham Sherlock was born in Portland, Jamaica on the 21st of March 1905. He was educated at Beckford and Smith School (now St. Jago High School), Calabar High School and Caenwood Methodist Theological College in Jamaica. He founded the YMCA and the Boys' Town Sports Club in Jamaica. He was also a social worker, cricketer and a clergy man. He was a champion among underprivileged children. In 1962, he wrote the lyrics of Jamaica, Land We Love, which became Jamaica's National Anthem on Independence Day.

Like Sir Sherlock, we make daily decisions to become a better person. Some of us were taught to write down our goals on a paper or recite it daily. We then would visualize these goals day by day, taking the necessary steps to guarantee that they can be accomplished. However, to achieve a dream or fulfil a goal requires much discipline, perseverance, hard work and dedication. work diligently and creatively...Hard work always pays off in the end. Never think about the long hours that you will have to put in get the work done. Instead think about the lives which you can impact or the benefits it will bring to your father in heaven, your family and to yourself. Creativity is like a precious software. Many yearn for it; but it cannot be bought nor sold, nor can be downloaded via the internet. This software already exists within each one of us; free of cost. All we have to do is activate it. think generously and honestly...Husbands make a vow to their wives, police officers vow to protect and ensure that the laws of the country are upheld. We sometimes make pledges and don’t even know it. When you are employed to a firm, organization or institution, we sign contracts agreeing to their terms of condition. We excitedly follow all the rules, trying to please the boss. But some way along the line we “fall short”; slacking off here and there. Is it right?

Let’s pause for a moment and recall that promise we made; whether it was at school, work, church, or on the corner of the road while encountering an old friend. Let us stand to attention and proudly take that small step to reconstituting our pledge; a pledge of service, love, the loyalty of our heart, the wisdom and courage of our mind, the strength and vigour of our body, standing up for justice, brotherhood and peace (even when no one decides to), to work diligently and creatively, and to think generously and honestly, so that, Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty fellowship and prosperity, and play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

Mikki Clarke 

A Soft Answer

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15 v.1). Oftentimes it is in the heat of an argument that one word ignites the fire. The fire created can sometimes be fatal. People may get burned. Some may be lucky enough to live and tell about it. But like any devastating event there is a calm ambience with my many “what ifs” floating around. So how can you prevent this wild fire from negatively affecting your life?

Gentleness will often disarm the most furious rage. People disagree all the time. We all have different opinions; however it is the response that begets the other. One angry word will always beget another. The disposition of one spirit always begets its own likeness in another: thus kindness produces kindness, and rage produces rage.

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As Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence, the power of the tongue will either build or destroy the nation 

A soft answer turneth away wrath. When someone annoys or insults you, it is only natural to consider retaliation. But this truly solves nothing. Usually it only encourages more trouble. A gentle expression delivered with kindness, tenderness, humility, and submission; can weaken resentments, and break and disperse the storm of wrath minutes before it is released. Body gestures and facial exertions also help to extinguish a blaze. A smile warms the heart. A first glance of this illuminating action by the facial muscles melts the blazing fire from the core. Instead, answer slowly and quietly. Your positive response will achieve positive results. 

Grievous words stir up anger. We have not mastered self-control if we do not control what we say. Words can cut and destroy. The author of the book of James recognized this truth when he stated that “even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5). Self control first begins with our tongue. The Bible asserts that “death and life are in the power of the tongue. So stop and think before you react or speak. If you can control this small but powerful member, you can control the rest of your body.
Wise people have a quiet confidence. Insecure or unstable people feel the need to prove themselves. If you are modest, people may not notice you at first, but they will truly respect you later.

Godly living safeguards your entire life. Evil choices follow the same pattern, but in the opposite direction. Each decision we make to obey God's Word will surely bring a greater sense of order to each of our lives, while the decision to disobey will bring confusion and destruction. The right choices you make reflect your integrity. Obedience brings the greatest safeguard and security.

Mikki Clarke