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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Amphibious Buses – They Float on Water and Ride the City Streets

Posted by Ihor Cap
By User:Leonard G. (Own work) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Amphibious vehicles have been around for centuries. Some of the earliest known ones existed around the mid half of the 18th century.  The land/sea coach or land/sea carriage invented by Neapolitan Prince Raimondo of Sansevero in 1750 is the earliest known example. Amphibious vehicles were steam-powered in the 19th century. They became petrol combustion-engine powered in the 20th century. There purposes and applications have since expanded. There uses today are as varied as the colors of the rainbow.
Amphibious buses or “amphibuses” are all the fuss these days. They ride on hard surface roads and water. This is particularly evident in the tourist industry all around the world. No longer do they look like the old styled trucks and barges deployed in World War 2 for military use. Replacing these old, amphibious DUKW assault vehicles, (a.k.a. duck boats) are an assortment of new, 21st century, sleek-looking amphibious tour buses in harbor and river cities everywhere.
Amphibious Duck Tour Bus Videos
See for yourself why these amphibious tour buses are growing in popularity. The  amphibus ride and launch videos compiled here include but are not limited to Canada’s Lady Dive in Ottawa, the amphibus in Old Montreal, Harry Hippo Bus Float Tours in Toronto, Harbour Hopper Bus Tour in Halifax, the Amphibus in Glasgow (Scotland), the Splashbus in Rotterdam, the Riverride in Budapest, the Busboat in Croatia, London Duck Tours on the Thames, the Amphibian Coach in Malta, the amphibious bus in Liverpool, Singapore Duck Tours, the San Francisco Duck Bus Tour, Duck Tours in Boston and the Arizona desert, Austin Texas Duck Adventures, the Terra Wind RV motor coach home and amphibious bus, Philadelphia’s Ride the Duck, and other amphibian bus related videos in Korea, Japan, Dubai, and elsewhere around the globe.

If you do not see the video playlist above, then click the following link:
See Wikipedia and do an “Amphibious vehicle” search for more information on this topic.

Ihor Cap, Ph.D. is a Web Author and Dad.


by Lubomyr Luciuk

          Only seven people came to bury him. He rests beneath a simple stone in New York’s Mount Hebron cemetery, the sole clue to his historical importance an inscription incised below his name - “Father Of The Genocide Convention.”
Raphael Lemkin, People of Truth Poster
  As a graduate student I was obliged to read his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress, frankly more door-stopper than page-turner. Nowadays, with advocates for “humanitarian intervention” shilling the notion of a “duty to intervene” whenever and wherever necessary to “stop genocide,” Dr. Raphael Lemkin’s name and words are better known. After all he fathered the term “genocide” by combining the root words – geno (Greek for family or race) and – cidium (Latin for killing) then doggedly lobbied the UN’s member states until they adopted a Convention on Genocide, 9 December 1948, his crowning achievement.
          Because of the horrors committed by Nazi Germany in the Second World War what is often forgotten, however, is that Lemkin’s thinking about an international law to punish perpetrators of what he originally labeled the “Crime of Barbarity” came not in response to the Holocaust but rather following the 1915 massacres of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians within the Ottoman Turkish empire.
          Likewise overlooked were Lemkin’s views on Communist crimes against humanity. In a 1953 lecture in New York City, for example, he described the “destruction of the Ukrainian nation” as the “classic example of Soviet genocide,” adding insightfully: "the Ukrainian is not and never has been a Russian. His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion, are all eliminate (Ukrainian) nationalism...the Ukrainian peasantry was sacrificed...a famine was necessary for the Soviet and so they got one to order...if the Soviet program succeeds completely, if the intelligentsia, the priest, and the peasant can be eliminated [then] Ukraine will be as dead as if every Ukrainian were killed, for it will have lost that part of it which has kept and developed its culture, its beliefs, its common ideas, which have guided it and given it a soul, which, in short, made it a nation...This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of the destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation."
          Yet Ukraine’s declaration that the Great Famine of 1932-1933 (known as the Holodomor) was genocide has secured very little official recognition from other states, Canada one of those few. Most have succumbed to an ongoing Holodomor-denial campaign orchestrated by the Russian Federation’s barkers who insist famine occurred throughout the USSR in the 1930’s, did not target Ukrainians and so can’t be called genocide. They ignore key evidence – the fact that all foodstuffs were confiscated from Soviet Ukraine even as its borders were blockaded, preventing relief supplies from getting in, or anyone from getting out. And how the Kremlin’s men denied the existence of catastrophic famine conditions as Ukrainian grain was exported to the West. Millions could have been saved but were instead allowed to starve. Most victims were Ukrainians who perished on Ukrainian lands. There’s no denying that.
          A thirst for Siberian oil and gas explains why Germany, France and Italy have become Moscow’s handmaidens, refusing to acknowledge the Holodomor and blocking Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, kowtowing to Russia’s geopolitical claim of having some “right” to interfere in the affairs of countries in its so-called “near abroad.” More puzzling was a 28 January 2009 pronouncement by Pinhas Avivi, deputy director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry: “We regard the Holodomor as a tragedy but in no case do we call it genocide…the Holocaust is the only genocide to us.” Yet if only the Shoah is genocide what happened to the Armenians, or to the Rwandans, not to mention to those many millions of Ukrainians?
          This year the 28th November is the date on which the Holodomor’s victims will be hallowed. Thousands of postcards bearing Lemkin’s image and citing his words have been mailed to ambassadors worldwide with governments from Belgium to Botswana, from Brazil to Bhutan, being asked to acknowledge what was arguably the greatest crime against humanity to befoul 20th century European history. There is no doubt that Lemkin knew the famine in Soviet Ukraine was genocidal. If the world chooses to ignore what he said than what this good man fathered – the word “genocide” – will lose all meaning, forevermore.

           Professor Lubomyr Luciuk teaches political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada and edited Holodomor: Reflections on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine (Kashtan Press, 2008).

Source: Homin Ukrainy (Ukrainian Echo),  February, 2, 2010 Vol. LXII, No.5 (3345)
Photo: Raphael Lemkin
By Український інститут національної пам'яті - People of Truth, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Friday, May 20, 2016

Three Christmas Song Greats that Americans and Canadians Have Come to Love

by Ihor Cap
How did the Americans and Canadians come to know and love three great Christmas Carols?  
“Carol of The Bells”
“Carol of the Bells“ was composed by a Ukrainian choral conductor and teacher Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych in 1914.  The original song was called “Shchedryk” (The Generous One). It was based on a pagan four-note New Year folk chant believed to have magical properties. A swallow would fly into the house and foretell of wealth to come in the spring. After 988, the year Christianity came to Ukraine, the song became associated with the Feast of Epiphany which is known as “Shchedry Vechir” (Bountiful Evening). As such, Ukrainians sing “shchedrivky” or songs to welcome the New Year which, for them, arrives January 13 by the Julian calendar. 
“Shchedryk” made its first public appearance in 1916 in the city of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.  In 1919, the Olexander Koshetz (Koshets’) Choir then toured France and Germany with this song. It was performed in England in 1920. On October 5, 1921, the Ukrainian National Chorus performed this song in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.  Passaic, New Jersey Educator and Choral Director Peter J. Wilhousky wrote the English lyrics to this song in 1936. They have little in common with the Ukrainian lyrics. The song quickly became popular as a Christmas song in the United States and later in Canada.  Today, the Ukrainian “Shchedryk” is sung or played worldwide as “Carol of the Bells”, “The Ukrainian Bell Carol,” or “Ring, Christmas Bells.” 
“Silent Night”
Another Christmas song great in North America is “Silent Night” (Stille Nacht). The lyrics to this song were originally written in German by an Austrian priest, Father Josef Mohr in 1816. The Austrian headmaster, Franz Xaver Gruber, created the accompanying melody to this Christmas carol.  The carol made its first public appearance in the Church of St. Nicholas in 1818, Obendorf, Austria.  John Freeman Young translated “Stille Nacht” into English in 1819.  Folk singers from the Ziller Valley region toured Europe with this song but local performances would not credit the writers’ of this song. It was published in a songbook in the Salzburg area in 1866. The English version was published in 1871 in an American hymnal. St. Nicholas Church was demolished because of flood damage in the early 1900s. A new chapel, the "Stille-Nacht-Gedächtniskapelle" (Silent Night Memorial Chapel), and nearby museum were built in its place but in a safer location further up the river. Many tourists frequent this museum, mostly in the December.
The way “Silent Night” is sung today differs from the original 6/8 time upbeat guitar playing dance tune it once was. Today, we all know it as the soft and slow, lullaby-like version. The carol was first performed with the accompaniment of a guitar because the church organ broke down, according to Austria's Silent Night Society. However, there is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that Father Mohr simply wanted a new Christmas tune to play on his guitar. It was not until 1995 that Father Mohr and Franz Gruber were actually credited for creating this song for it is in that year that the lost manuscript was recovered. Until that time “Silent Night” was always thought to be a traditional Austrian folk song.  But experts authenticated the rediscovered manuscript at circa 1820. It clearly illustrates that Father Mohr and Franz Gruber were its authors’. Many myths abound about the lost manuscript. The most popular one includes the one about Karl Mauracher,  the organ repair technician who found the lost document in 1825 and gifted it to the Rainer and Strasser families who brought the song with them to Zillertal of Tyrol in 1819, to Russia around 1822, to Leipzig in 1832 and finally to New York’s Trinity Church in 1839. Christian missionaries further propagated this Christmas carol around the globe.
More than 300 recording artists have since popularized this song through radio, television, and music recordings throughout North America. Some of the more famous recording artists were Andrea Bocelli, Bing Crosby, Boyz II Men, Mahalia Jackson, Mannheim Steamroller, and the Irish group Enya. But many other versions of the carol exist, including several choral recordings.  Today “Silent Night” is sung in hundreds of languages and dialects and sometimes without the accompaniment of musical instruments.
“Jingle Bells”
The author of the “Jingle Bells” song is officially, James Lord Pierpont. However, the “little gem” Church History of UUSavannah says that Rev John Pierpont, Jr, composed "Jingle Bells" when he was called to minister to the Unitarian congregation in Savannah, Georgia in 1857.  J. Pierpont copyrighted the “Jingle Bell’s” song as “One Horse Open Sleigh” that very same year and even credited his brother James who was the church organist at the time for composing the song. He did this because he was to busy ministering his ever diminishing congregation that was in financial trouble then.  Two years later there was no money left to pay for a minister, practically no congregation to speak of and Rev Pierpont left the ministry for the insurance business with his brother-in-law.  In 1859, the song was re-copyrighted as “Jingle Bells or One horse open Sleigh” with the Oliver Ditson & Company publishing house. This time it included the title the public gave it as well. 
If there was ever any question about the “true” author of the “Jingle Bells” song, there are even more mysteries to solve that follow. American Ethnomusicologist Bill Edwards, say’s  that the song may have been written as early as 1850. Maybe at Simpson’s Tavern in 1850 over in Medford, Massachusetts, and not Savannah, Georgia or even earlier according to Jeff Westover in his article “The Battle Over Jingle Bells.”  To complicate matters, local historians contend that Pierpont resided in California that year and hardly ever a snowflake appears in balmy Savannah, Georgia.  In any case, the song was copyrighted in the state of Georgia, and Pierpont made Savannah his home after 1853. This issue will not rest any time soon since historians have recently unearthed evidence that Pierpont also played the same tune in Medford before a church audience in the 1840s.
As you can see, the authorship of the song is not the only debatable item in this Christmas story.  One might say that “Jingle Bells” has more to do with ones equestrian abilities than Christmas per se and the current words to the song are different from the original ones, to an extent. In short, the lyrics of the Jingle Bells song  “…talk about embarrassment (falling on one's back and being laughed at by a man in a sleigh, for example), liberation, and picking up girls”, says freelance musician and reporter Kim Ruehl. True as that statement is, you might also say the song is essentially about the joy of riding “In a one horse open sleigh.” A winter song perhaps, performed at Christmas time. In the end, none of these issues made this catchy song less popular with the public and adults do tend to sing different verses of the song than the ones selected for children. 
“Jingle Bells” was first recorded on a phonographic cylinder in 1898 by the Edison Male Quartette followed by the Hayden Quartet in 1902. Benny Goodman and his orchestra played it in 1935. It made the hit charts in the 1940s and 1950s with such recording artists as Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, and Les Paul in 1951. By 1955, dogs from Copenhagen, Denmark barked to the tune of “Jingle Bells” and this innovative gig helped them sell a million albums. Many other famous performing artists helped popularize the much-loved “Jingle Bells” song. Their voices were heard and loved by audiences around the world.  Some of the most famous of these earliest beloved artists were Perry Como and  Frank Sinatra.  The song continued on the up and up with American jazz musicians and singers such as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck,  Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, Count Basie, Ray Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Adams Coles (as Nat King Cole). The song took on different musical styles with the Southern Gospel singers “The Hoppers”, pop artists Boney M and recording and performing artist Ann Hampton Callaway. More recently, American adult contemporary pop/R&B singer Kimberley Locke brought the song back to the top of the charts in 2006.
Well-known Canadian Grammy Award jazz musicians and singers Oscar Emmanuel Peterson and Diana Krall provided their own unique musical and vocal arrangements to the “Jingle Bells” song. Today, you can hear the song in many languages of the world. The words may vary from the original meaning of the song, but the tune is definitely “Jingle Bells” whether it is sung as Feliz Navidad (Jingle Bells) in Spanish, Vive le vent (Long Live the Wind) in French, Chriskindl and Christmastime in German or Dzen’ Dzelen’ (“Ding-a-Ling”) in Ukrainian. Jingle Bells was even performed by American astronauts in space in 1965!
Author Information:
Ihor Cap, Ph.D. is a Web Author and Marketing and Promotions Manager for EzReklama.

Carol of the Bells aka The Ukrainian Carol  

Carol of the Bells - Ukrainian choral work "Shchedryk"  performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra

Колядка "Щедрик" Schedryk - "Ukrainian Bell Carol"   (in Ukrainian)

 Mahalia Jackson -- Silent Night Holy Night

Diana Krall-Jingle Bells

“Shchedryk”, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
“Carol of the Bells”,  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Svoboda, The Ukrainian Weekly, “Український ,Щедрик’ та інші відомі колядки Америки”, [The Ukrainian “Shchedryk” and other well known American carols]. Vol 116, No. 49, Dec. 4, 2009, p. 20. (in Ukrainian)
“Silent Night”, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
“Joseph Mohr”, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
“Franz Gruber”,, The World’s Leading Q & A site,
“Silent Night - How We Got One Of Our Greatest Christmas Carols”,
“Carol History”,
“History of UUSavannah”,
“Jingle Bells or The One horse open Sleigh”,
"Jingle Bells" - James Lord Pierpont: History of an American Folk Song, By Kim Ruehl
The Battle Over Jingle Bells by Jeff Westover over at the site.
First published Dec 31, 2009 in

Ihor Cap is a web author and Dad.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Great Shlovko Performs Amazing Ukrainian Card Trick

After you have thought about this for a while, pass it on to those poor unsuspecting friends you just love to pull something over on.   

The Ukrainian  Card Trick. Performed by: Shlovko
Pick one of the following cards. Don't click on it; just keep it in your head.

scroll down when you have your card,

Think about your card for 20 seconds in front of Shlovko.

Shlovko will attempt to read your mind!

Scroll down after 20 Seconds

The Great Shlovko Has Removed Your Card!

Now scroll up and do it again, this will freak you out.
Don't ask me because I don't know. Its an "old" Ukrainian Secret"..
 Share the video version of Shlovko's card trick with your friends. You can see it at or view it below:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ukrainians Conquering The Frontiers Of Space

By Ihor Cap,Ph.D.
Ukraine Stamp 2007 marking 50th anniversary
of first satellite launch. By Ukrposhta (Ukrposhta)
[Public domain], via  Wikimedia Commons
Serhiy Korolyov – the Ukrainian Who Conquered Space Space flight today is far different from the Space Race between the United States and the U.S.S.R. in the 1950s and 1960s. Back then, the Ukrainian-born rocket engineer and designer, Serhiy Pavlovich Korolyov (a.k.a.  Sergei Korolev) masterminded the successful launches of Sputnik and Vostok 1 projects. Sputnik was a beach ball-sized satellite launched on October 4, 1957 and Vostok 1 was a  Soviet spacecraft that launched the first human being into space on April 12, 1961. The Soviet Union maintained his anonymity allegedly because of the key role he played in these projects. This anonymity continued for decades even though the “KGB knew that there was really no need to keep his name secret”, say’s Khrushchev’s son Sergei in the October 2007 issue of the in an article entitled “How Russia lost the moon."
Others maintain it was because of his ethnic background.  Many information databases still refer to Korolyov and prefer to think of him as “Soviet” (which is frequently and mistakenly interpreted as Russian). However, Korolyov himself registered his nationality as Ukrainian when he attended the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in 1924, says the 1973 journal “Forum” (A Ukrainian Review) in their article about “The Ukrainian Who Conquered Space.”  
Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite in the world
to be put into outer space, By U.S. Air Force photo
 (; exact source) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons.

On April 12, 1961, Soviet Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human to travel in space placing the Soviet Space Program ahead of the American one. Korolyov selected him personally for the mission. Twenty-three days later, astronaut Alan Shepard completed a sub-orbital space mission for the United States. The Soviet Union’s struggle to keep ahead of America and win the Space Race ended in 1969 when American astronaut Neil Alden Armstrong set foot on the moon for the United States of America. Korolyov’s premature death in 1966 apparently delivered a severe blow to the Soviet Space Program from which it has still not recovered. According to Olha Kopyl, director of the Korolyov Space Museum, in the January 2005 Kyiv online newspaper Den’ article “Vmity borotysya,”  only Korolyov had the “fight within him” to withstand prison, the Gulag and the “enemy of the state” label which stayed with him until his release in 1944. Full rehabilitation of his “enemy” label status arrived only in April of 1957. Forgiven because of his outstanding service to the state, he nevertheless remained an enemy. Even so, Korolyov knew the challenges before him and only Korolyov had the leadership qualities necessary “…to rally support, have people follow him, choose a strategic direction, foresee its consequences, take personal responsibility, and finally, take that risk”, concluded Olha. .More often than not, it turned out to be the correct one. By this time, the ballistic missiles created under his direction were soon to become intercontinental, and the start of the human space era was but 6 months away.  

By MASTER SGT. DAVE CASEY ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. The An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian:  Мрія  NATO reporting name: 'Cossack') is a strategic airlift transport aircraft which was built by the Antonov Design Bureau, Ukraine. It is the world's largest fixed-wing aircraft. The design, built to transport the Buran orbiter, was an enlargement of the successful An-124 Ruslan. Mriya ( Мрія ) means "Dream" (Inspiration) in Ukrainian.
Ukraine – a Hotbed of Astronauts Many Ukrainians contributed to the study of rocket flight.  For example, the same Forum (A Ukrainian Review) journal points out elsewhere that:
Mykola Kibalchich (who made a bomb that assassinated Russian Tsar Alexander II) while in prison in 1881 designed a rocket-powered spaceship. His words, “I am preparing this design in prison, a few days before I am to die,” made a deep impression on young Serhiy Korolov. Incidentally, Korolov, according to Vladimirov, was arrested in 1938 and spent time in a Stalin prison.
     Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of Russian space study, apparently traces Ukrainian ancestry through his mother.
     Yuri Kondratiuk (1900-1942) from Lutsk, Ukraine, was also an early researcher in rocketry. His 1929 book The Conquest of Interplanetary Space provided the two-stage rocke[t] (sic) theory to reach the moon, which was followed precisely by the United States in its historic moon landing on July 20, 1969.
Pavlo Romanovych Popovych, (a.k.a. Pavel Romanovich Popovich), the first Soviet Ukrainian astronaut to visit space, consciously deliberated on the number of Ukrainians that flew to space, reports  Ihor Holod in the “Moloda Halychyna” (“MH”) August 8, 2002 newspaper interview with him entitled ”Pershym buv ne Haharin, a Popovych” (Gagarin was not first, but Popovych). According to Popovych, 12 ethnic Ukrainians have seen planet Earth from space as well as 16 representatives of other national minorities from Ukraine. Many more died because of the careless behavior of their colleagues in the aviation and rocket tests.
Mykola Kibalchich (a.k.a. Nikolai Ivanovich Kibalchich) – rocket propulsion pioneer, Yuri Vasilievich Kondratyuk (real name Oleksandr Gnatovich Shargei) – astronautics and spaceflight pioneer, Serhiy Pavlovich Korolyov (a.k.a. Sergey Korolev or Sergei Korolev) – aircraft/rocket engineer and designer, Volodymyr Chelomey (a.k.a. Vladimir Nikolayevich Chelomey) – physicist, rocket engineer and satellite designer, Mykhailo Yanhel (a.k.a. Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel) – missile and satellite designer Valentyn Petrovych Hlushko (a.k.a. Valentin Petrovich Glushko) – creator of the Proton rocket and Energia/Buran reusable space shuttle, and Hlib Lozyno-Lozynskiy (a.k.a. Gleb Evgeniyevich Lozino-Lozinskiy), - Kyiv (a.k.a. Kiev)-born "Spiral" and space shuttle Buran designer, all Ukrainians. Even Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky – the father of theoretical astronautics had some Ukrainian in his blood, as well as some Russian, Polish and Tatar too. His brother seemed more certain of his Ukrainian heritage because he always used his customary signature, “Tsiolkovsky-Nalyvaiko”, which gives away his Ukrainian Kozak lineage, said Popovych in his “MH” interview.
Independent Ukraine Space Missions
The Chinese were the first to fire rockets in battle against the Mongol hordes in 1232. The term itself comes from the Italian word Rocchetta (i.e., little fuse) that was created by the Italian artificer Muratino in 1379. Ukrainian Zaporozhian Kozaks (Cossacks) demonstrated their ingenuity with rocket technology in their battles with the Crimean Tatars as early as 1516. Twentieth century Ukrainian expertise lifted these rockets into space under the flag of the Soviet Union. The infamous Dnipropetrovs’k rocket carriers (MH, August 8, 2002, p. 31.) launched over 400 space apparatuses’ into orbit. That changed as of 1991.  Ukrainians now conduct their space missions under the flag of independent Ukraine but the Dnipropetrovs’k industrial and missile facilities still figure prominently in the research and planning of these missions. Leonid K. Kadenyuk was the first person to fly in space under the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine on May 13, 1997. 

Leonid K. Kadenyuk, By Post of Ukraine / Укрпошта (scanned by Vizu) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The National Space Agency of Ukraine made 97 vehicle launches during 1991-2007, accounting for 12% of all worldwide space launches. Ukrainian launches typically take place from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur and Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodromes, and the partially owned international mobile platform, Sea Launch.
Stamp of Ukraine 2013 . By Укрпошта [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1995, Ukraine was the tenth country in the world to join the ranks of other space powers capable of launching their own satellites. (Wikipedia, see National Space Agency of Ukraine) By 2009, Ukraine launches 123 space apparatuses’ into orbit placing Ukraine fourth in the world, after Russia, USA, France and China sharing third place, in terms of rocket-carrier payloads launched, according to the latest National Space Agency of Ukraine report. That's 9 rocket launches more than the previous year (See Novynar, Jan. 22, 2010 article, “Nauka ta zdorovya” [Science and health])  and a testament to the reliability of Ukrainian rocketry and science. Ukraine not only intends to maintain its space power status in the world, it is boldly continuing its trek to conquer the frontiers of space.

Ukraine Aerospace, Rocket, and Military Technology

Author Information:
Ihor Cap, Ph.D., Ihor is a Slavic Studies graduate from the University of Ottawa and a member of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Canada. 
This article first appeared January 28, 2010 in

Writing Tools, Tips, and Tricks You Wish You Knew

by Ihor Cap

Image by Paty montano, Wikimedia commons
There are as many different styles of writing an article, as there are styles of dance or music. What we hear less of are the “behind-the-scenes” strategies used to create those articles. What strategies you have available in your toolbox and how much experience you have using them will determine how satisfied the reader is with your message. My aim here is to increase your choice of tools, tricks and tips to help you with the task of writing  your article.
Providing Structure and Coherence to Your Article
The remaining part of the article deals with the more mundane task of establishing structure and coherence to your article. Think of it as the choreography behind the performance. The approach that I would like to share with you here is one that I have used for decades while attending school.  In my undergraduate training, I used the “V” strategy. I do not remember where it came from exactly, but I am sure our elders passed it on to us from years gone by.  Does it work? Hey, I graduated, so that counts for something.
You will need to get a few things from your toolbox before you get started. The minimum supplies that you should carry in your toolbox consist of a yellow and green highlighter, pencils or pens, notepads or sticky notes, and access to a Computer. Note that you can use the computer to highlight and group your contents by color. You decide which tools you prefer to work with. Personally, I use a combination of all of these tools, including the computer.
The “V” Strategy explained
Begin by Looking for a Title
V Photo by KES47
The first thing we want to do is to establish a title for your article. We do this by narrowing our broad interest down to one topic. At first, you may find several topics within a subject area that interest you or that cause you some uncertainty. Write a few of these topics down and then try to reduce it to one first draft title of your topic. If it seems that you are stuck with two topics in your title, do not worry about it for the moment. Move on. We will make it manageable later as you discover the availability of contents for your title.  Do not get disappointed, many of us struggle to find an appropriate title. What we want to write about gets much clearer as we get more involved in the effort. You will discover that the pen has a life of its own and the article may take you somewhere that you did not intend to go in the first place. That may not be a bad thing. As long as you still are on the same topic. Use your notepad to record your ideas for your title.
We all have different motives that drive us to do something and continue doing it. What is your reason for wanting to write an article? To explain how something works, to inform people about your product or service, or simply to share your thoughts and experiences about something you are expert in or wish to explore.  Think about your reason for a minute. Your motives should help define the title for your topic. They give it meaning or to borrow the French phrase “raison d’etre”, a reason for being. Does your title reflect your main intent? Is it interesting enough to make you want to continue researching the topic and continue writing about it? As you reflect on the new information that you acquire along the way you may want to revisit that title of yours. It may change later again and more than once. So, do not get too attached to the title. The main thing is to always have your main goal in front of you and steer your ship so. Remember, topics are specific domains of learning. Many topics form a general subject area. Do not try to cover the world.  Investigate only a part of this world.
Do a “V-Search” for Available Resources
Now, cast that “V-search” net to see what resources are available out there on your topic of interest.  The smaller the holes in your net, the more resources you will be able to “reel in”. If the net has large holes in it, then all the details will escape you. So best, to begin with a wide search of your topic and get as much information as you can about your topic. It is always easier to delete contents than to go looking for them later, I say. If you decide on something to narrow so early on in your search, like baking an apple pie, you may just box yourself into a corner so quickly that you have nothing more to write about beyond providing the list of ingredients in that recipe you found inside Mama’s kitchen shelf.

If you ever find yourself in that kind of corner, remember the letter V.  The letter V stands for a very wide search of your topic, but manageable.  Start with an internet search. Try using general key words to do your search. I like the internet because unlike many years ago, today the information comes to you instead of you going outside your home in the freezing rain to go get that information. Today, the world’s best libraries and museums are but a few seconds away from your fingertips. Try a variety of term and synonym searches that speak to your title. You should be able to know almost immediately whether there is enough information out there to complete your assignment.  General search words like poverty will generate far more hits than you have time to review these documents. Remember, you want to keep your project manageable. In the course of writing this article, my Google search generated 10,900,000 hits for the broader term “poverty worldwide.”  It gave me 1,160,000 hits for “poverty winnipeg .” I think you get the idea here. You want to do a general search but keep it specific enough to keep your sanity throughout the project.  Extend your search to include visits to your local libraries to get other resources generally not available on the internet. Then think about how you will sort and label that information into folders on your computer or little piles on your study table. Give each folder a name for easy recognition and retrieval. Getting organized this way will make your life easier. Each Folder or study pile will become a Subtopic. So, in effect, you will have a string of Folders or Subtopics between your Title and Ending. Does that sound like a plan? Now, let us work that plan.
Use the “V-Filter” to Group Your Contents into a First Draft Outline
Now, take the contents you found from your V-searches and pass them through your “V-filter”.  The V-filtering process classifies or groups contents according to a series of specific Subtopics. Remember, the Subtopics are compiled from your Folders on the computer where you store your relevant search contents or study piles that you have already printed). Each of these Folders comes from those contents that you have highlighted in yellow.  Therefore, use the yellow highlighter to surf and highlight general contents that appear applicable to your topic. Then use the green highlighter to mark specific contents that you will definitely use under each Subtopic that you have created. You can follow the same process using yellow and green sticky notes if you wish. Just remember to pencil in your remarks on the documents for additional “notes to self” so to speak. Make sure your Subtopic Post-it notes stick outside enough the margins so the writing is visible to you. The idea here is that once you finish filtering your contents with your highlighters and sticky notes, you will then group your color-coded contents by Subtopic and start working  your contents into a first draft outline of your article. It is important to keep notes along the way because you might fail to remember your best ideas. It has nothing to do with age. We tend to be forgetful about things if we do not write them down. They serve as useful reminders. These may be such things as finding out that some of the contents you have labeled in the categorizing process may be more suitable to your Introductory section. If that is the case then move them there. Or it may be that your “notes to self” told you that it is inappropriate for the audience you have selected. In short, previously highlighted contents become the various Subtopic areas located in the Body of your article. Do not be afraid to shuffle things. Move paragraphs, even sentences to where they are most suitable. Whatever is irrelevant to your title or Subtopic, get rid of it. You want to use materials that have made it past your V-filter only. That is what makes it manageable.  Whatever you are unsure of, hold on to it until you have finished your article. If you take notes on your computer, I found that moving those unsure of contents to the bottom of your article can be a handy “storage place” for easy retrieval. You can revisit these “storage places” to see if anything still belongs at the end of it all. If not, delete it.
Revise your First Draft contents into a Final Draft
Now, get back on your computer, begin a review of your Subtopics, and flag those contents that need revising.  Move sentences to another Subtopic or a different area within a Subtopic if there is a better fit of contents. Re-sequence Subtopics for that matter to achieve flow of contents. Look for ease of reading, easy transitions from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph and Subtopic to Subtopic. We often ask ourselves, when do I stop rewriting everything? When it talks back to you, I say. At this stage of the game, a lot will depend on the number of Subtopics you have, number of page and time requirements you have set for yourself. Again, keep your exercise manageable. Myself, I do at least three to four revisions. Revisit your content for accuracy , grammar and spelling errors. Nothing turns a person off more than when you have not taken the time to run a spell check through your article. There are time intervals in between as well. Sometimes leaving things sit for a little while helps to clear the fog. It helps you regroup your efforts. However, if it acceptable to you and you can live with it, maybe that is enough.
Writing an Ending for Your Article
Every article needs an ending. It can be as simple as providing a summary statement for your article. You can also end your article with a concluding statement or ask a question if you wish. You may even provide additional recommendations for your readers at the very end of your article. Whatever you decide, just write something for your ending. It can be any one or all of these suggestions.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
To summarize, we examined a few strategies for coming up with a title for your article. We also looked at “V-search” and “V-filtering” techniques to help you come up with your Subtopics.  Color-coding and note taking were important aspects of compiling and organizing your information into a coherent structure. Coherence is important to absorb information properly. Suggestions on how to end your article concluded the article.
Writing your article does not have to be difficult. However, it helps to follow some plan of action to nudge the process forward. You can use the plan in here or modify it if you like. It is not the only way to get things done. You may even decide to get a second opinion on the article. In any case, make a plan for writing your article. Then, follow it. Review your article as it nears the end and redo portions where necessary until you feel the article is finished. Have fun writing.
Ihor Cap, Ph.D., is a Web Author and Marketing and Promotions Manager for EzReklama.
This article first appeared Dec 5, 2009

Small and Medium-Size Enterprise Growth Continues in Canada: Facts, Trends and Success Factors

By Ihor Cap
In the 1980s, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) created most of the jobs in Canada. The Canadian government did not overlook this fact. In turn, it has influenced policymaking to the extent that the government still relies on SMEs for continued employment growth. By 2007, small and mid-size business formations grew by 11 % to a little more than 300,000. World market analysts and economists are certain that this growth will continue into the next decade in spite of difficult economic conditions.
Facts and Trends Shaping Economic Activity in the Coming Decade.
-SMEs with less than 5 employees continued to decline but larger firms increased their pace of growth.
-SMEs with less than 50 employees increased by 1.6% in 2007.
-SMEs with less than 100 employees accounted for about 39% of all new jobs or 130,000 new jobs in the economy by end of March 2008.
-SMEs employed about 70% of all construction and real estate workers.
-SME entrepreneurs will be increasingly older, and in most cases, do not have a clear succession plan with family or business partners.
-SMEs that are immigrants comprise about 20% of all self-employed. This is twice as many as observed in the 1980s.
-SMEs that perform better at exporting their products correlate positively to the size of the business operation. A business with more employees tends to mean more business success.
-SMEs using the internet for conducting online export business transactions tend to have much greater success than companies that are not internet savvy.
-SMEs that are immigrants will continue to play an important global trade role but at the same time, they are ill prepared to deal with regulations and laws governing the import and export business.
-SME net business formations in 2007 by province vary with Alberta making the largest gains, Ontario, BC and the Atlantic Provinces with relatively strong business formations and Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan experiencing a decline in SME momentum formations suggesting that these regions have yet to experience a positive economic momentum. Analysts expect this trend to reverse itself for the latter regions in the next few years.
-SMEs in large urban centers account for 64.8% of all 2006-2007 growths.

Top Six Factors Contributing to SME Success
What characteristics differentiate weak performing SMEs from the successful ones beyond the obvious “above average revenue growth”? The CIBC World Markets Small Business Report identified and shared the following six keys to SME financial success.
1. Prior paid-employment experience.  Anyone with such experience enjoyed 60% greater revenue growth compared to someone who opened shop with no previous paid-employment experience.
2. Use of advisors.  Individuals who used professional consultants like accountants, bankers or lawyers experienced a 75% faster revenue rise than SMEs who did not use any advisors. Slightly more than 10% of Canada’s SMEs use a type of advisory panel or board.
3. High level of education. Individuals with post-secondary degrees enjoyed twice as many revenue increases than those with less than a secondary education.  Forty per cent of SMEs have a post-secondary diploma.
4. Partnership.  Small firms with partners experienced a 30% faster revenue rise than sole proprietorships.
5. Technology adoption and connectivity. SMEs reporting a high level of internet connectivity and e-commerce capabilities increased their revenues twice as fast as firms with limited or no web connectivity. About 38% of SMEs have a web site but only 7% of them use it as a serious business tool.
6. Market/Exports orientation.  Most SMEs are domestically oriented. Those that are export-oriented tend to grow faster. SMEs that had a global earning focus grew at a rate 20% faster than domestically oriented firms.

Finally, SMEs will tend to experience a greater revenue rise if they adopt any combination of the above-mentioned characteristics, and the latter two factors in particular.
“Job Creation by Company Size Class: Concentration and Persistence of Job Gains and Losses in Canadian Companies”. Statistics Canada. Issue Information Publication.
Benjamin Tal. (2008). Braving the Storm. Publisher: CIBC World Markets Small Business Report, October 6, 2008
Author Information:
Ihor Cap, Ph.D. is a web author and Marketing and Promotions Manager for EZREKLAMA. 

This article first appeared November 7, 2009 in

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Standards for Interpreting Statistics Made Easy

By Ihor Cap
Cartoon by John Landers, Courtesy of
One of the biggest problems faced by researchers and practitioners alike is the lack of helpful standards to make sense of all the research data. All the statistical data results I mean. The problem becomes more pressing if you are the person who must read that data, analyze it and even worse, present or discuss it with members of your audience. There is no time to waste because you needed it yesterday, right? If this sounds like you, then this article sums it up for you briefly.
More specifically, this article will expose you to a range of useful statistics and provide you with meaningful “tools” that will help you easily explain their worth to others. The meaning of those short classifying phrases is limited to interpreting PPM coefficients, test-retest stability coefficients, adjusted R-square values, index effect sizes, reliability or internal consistency coefficients, difficulty indices, item-discrimination indices or point biserial correlation coefficients. These apply to any research study.
Interpreting Pearson Product Moment Correlation or PPM Coefficients
Davis (1971 in Chappell,1984) labeled Pearson coefficient (zero order) correlations between .01 to .09 as “negligible”, .10 to .29 as “low”, .30 to .49 as “moderate”, .50 to .69 as “substantial” and .70 or higher as “very strong.” These short classifying phrases will help facilitate consistency in the interpretation of size (or strength) of all Pearsonian and adjusted R-Square values obtained in any study. These interpretations apply to simple correlation coefficients (or PPM correlation coefficients) as well as Pearsonian test-retest stability coefficients.
Interpreting the index Effect Size (ES)
The index Effect Size (ES), defined as “the mean difference between the treated and control subjects divided by the standard deviation of the control group,” (Smith, Glass & Miller, 1980) is often used to evaluate the magnitude of the experimental effect in standard deviation units. Schermer (1988) reviewed ES outcomes and devised a set of standards to facilitate consistency in the interpretation of these outcomes. Any researcher can adopt these standards. In quantitative terms, point size estimates of less than .2 are “small” effects, .5 as “medium” in size and higher than .5 as “large.”  Use these benchmarks to estimate the magnitude of the effect over the posttest or delayed posttest measure.
Interpreting Reliability Correlations or Internal Consistency Coefficients of Exams or Teacher-Made Tests
Fox (1969) labeled reliability correlations between 0 and .50 as “low”, .51 to .70 as “moderate”, .71 to .86 as “high”, and above .86 as “very high” for the purposes of educational research. Another researcher’s review of evaluation devices identified minimum reliability coefficient values of .85 for making effective decisions about individuals and .65 for groups (Ridley, 1976). Nothing below .50 for the latter would suffice (Jordan, 1953; Nunnally, 1967). Additionally, Diederich (1960), states that most teacher-made tests “…regarded as good, usable tests achieved reliabilities between .60 and .80.”  Lower test reliabilities may be acceptable for group research projects in education (Borg and Gall, 1989). Short form tests can expect slight drops in reliability in spite of retaining the best test items (Borg and Gall, 1989). If the reduction in length represents a negligible decrease in reliability, you will gain substantial savings in time-spent writing an exam. These short classifying phrases will facilitate consistency in the interpretation of size (or strength) of reliability coefficients for all instruments or exams used in any research project. Some well-known statistics that fall into this category include Cronbach’s Alpha, the Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 (KR-20) and the Kuder-Richardson Formula 21 (KR-21).
Interpreting the Quality or Power of each test item (or question) for the purposes of Item or Exam Analysis
Selection of  final composite test items (or questions) proceeds with the goal of obtaining a representative range of difficulties, and the highest possible item discrimination values balanced vis-à-vis the highest possible coverage over the Table of Specifications for content validity maintenance, thereby reducing researcher bias in the selection process (Richter, 1980).
Using the guidelines proposed by Kromhout (1987), test items passed by 80 percent of exam takers are extremely easy and items passed by less than 20 percent are extremely difficult for exam takers in a field-trial “test” study. In other words, removing difficulty indices above .80 and below .20 ensures that all exam takers receive a test with a moderate range of difficulty.
The item-discrimination index, which analyzes the power of each test (question) item, is the “Point Biserial Correlation Coefficient” (PBCC). Researchers consider this coefficient “… to be the single best measure of the effectiveness of a test item” (Lewis, 1989). Lewis (1989) proposes the following range of numbers and interpretations. A test item (or question) with a PBCC of .30 and above is a very good discriminator of the top 24% from the bottom 24% scoring groups. A test item with a PBCC of .20 to .29 is reasonably good, but subject to improvement. Test items with PBCCs of .09 to .19 are marginal, usually needing improvement, and those below .09 are poor, to be improved or discarded.  
Conclusions and Recommendations
This concludes your reading on “Standards for Interpreting Statistics Made Easy.” Researchers and practitioners are encouraged to use these standards and benchmarks in their future efforts related to analyzing, interpreting or explaining, and presenting their statistical data.  I hope that this read has made you a little less fearful of statistics and a little more confident in your newly acquired knowledge of the meaning and worth of these numerical performance benchmarks.
Author Information:
Ihor Cap, Ph.D. is an Education Research Specialist, Web Author and Marketing & Promotions Manager for EZREKLAMA.
The complete reference to each of the cited sources is available in the following document cited below.
Cap, Ihor. (1995). The usefulness and effectiveness of a self-instructional print module on multicultural behaviour change in apprentices in Manitoba. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Available from University Microfilms Inc., P.O. Box 1764, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1764 USA.  (377 pages)
Cartoon Picture by John Landers, Courtesy of
This article first appeared August 24, 2009 in
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“Super Foods” for Health and Weight Control

By Ihor Cap
Most of us are busily engaged with all kinds of diets and forms of exercise these days. After all, most of us already know that eating right and being physically active are two important cornerstones of health and longevity.  Less of us know, however, that our food choices may be killing us.  Statistics show that a whopping 35 percent of all cancers are associated with what we eat.  The good news here is that it may be prevented. The key is choosing the right foods. We can make healthier choices, says Dr Bridget Farham, by selecting foods with certain compounds that help prevent or significantly reduce the risk of colon, rectum, oesophageal, and stomach related cancers.
Super Foods
While many experts will tell you that eating a balanced meal is vital to your whole essence, more research scientists are also coming to know that certain foods have better fighting power against a host of cancers and cardiovascular disease. Often referred to as “superfoods”, Maria Croce lists 15 such special cancer-fighting foods.  Each of these foods purports to counteract or neutralize the negative effects of cancer and other illnesses. However, it’s U.C Santa Barbara environmental toxicologist, Dr. J. Robert Hathrill and his book, Eat to Beat Cancer (Renaissance Books, New York, 1998) that is stimulating greatest interest among professionals and the public alike. Dr. Hathrill also produced a list of so-called super foods, plant-based albeit, but what makes his effort particularly appealing is that he organizes them into eight neatly prearranged categories to help you with your personal “anticancer” solutions. He brings together the most effective foods from around the world and places them in one “straight-forward” diet. He also discusses lifestyles and habits, environmental hazards and supplemental formulas, and provides you with many practical tips to reduce the prospects of specific ailments and illnesses associated with a Western diet.    
“Dr. Hatherill likens eating Super Eight Foods to wearing your full anticancer body armor; each part of the armor provides an exclusive form of defense that is not duplicated by other segments, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” says VegSource who recommends his book and diet. VegSource is a web site source for vegetarian recipes, discussion forums, and articles and information from health experts and nutritionists who share an interest in health, nutrition, and the environment. The table below lists “The Eight Super Food Groups.” Each of the food groups and associated super foods are reproduced here in alphabetical order for your convenience and easy reference. It is not a course of study and the foods are not intended to be consumed in the sequence shown.
The Eight Super Food Groups

The Eight Super Food Groups
from Eat to Beat Cancer
by R. Robert Hatherill, Ph.D.
Cruciferous Group
broccoli, bok-choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, garden cress kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress
Fruit Group
apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes (red and Concord), grapefruit, honeydew melon, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, watermelon
Grass Group
corn, oats, rice, wheat
Legume Group
beans (green and waxed), peas, soybeans
Nut and Seed Group
almonds, flaxseed, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, sesame seeds, walnuts
Onion Group
asparagus, chives, garlic, leeks, onions, scallions, shallots
Solanace Group
beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
Umbelliferous Group
angelica root, anise, caraway, carrots, celeriac, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, lovage, parsley, parsnips
Other Important Foods
Cucumber, ginger, lettuce, pepper (green and red), pumpkin, seaweed squash, spices, spinach, turmeric
All persons making use of the super foods contained within the eight categorical groupings are reminded to consult with Dr. Hathrill’s original work and your own Doctor, Nutritionist and/or Health Care Professional for all purposes of interpreting and applying the “anticancer” diet.” This same recommendation will apply to anyone pursuing any diet program especially if you are ill, pregnant, are diabetic or have problems related to your kidney.
Five a Day
The Five a Day article provides additional credible and trustworthy support for the above-mentioned super foods.  The MRC Human Nutrition Research unit last medically reviewed this article in July of 2008. Only five portions of fruits and vegetables of differing colors are recommended and the same health benefits can be derived from this mix be they “fresh, tinned (in natural juice), frozen, cooked, juiced or dried versions”, excluding potatoes, says the Five a Day article. They are also low in calories so long as you avoid the butter, dips and sauces. However, the phytonutrients contained in super foods are not enough in and of themselves. Variety is the secret because “each variety of fruit and vegetables contains its own combination of vitamins, minerals and fiber” the article concludes. Dietary fiber is an important contributor toward weight management. Our bodies digest fiber more slowly with an accompanying slow and steady glucose release that allows us to feel fuller for a longer period. In contrast, foods with a high Glycaemic Index (GI) will frequently leave you feeling hungry very soon after you have eaten.  Examples of high GI foods can be white bread and rolls, waffles, pretzels, cornflakes, rice krispies, instant potato, baguettes, brown rice pasta and parsnips.
South Beach Diet Plan
According to the South Beach Diet Plan, Low GI foods have an index of 55 or less. Medium GI foods have an index between 56 and 70, and High GI foods have indices over 70.  Carbohydrate foods and their effect on blood glucose levels form the basis of all GIs.  Low carbohydrate GI foods produce the least fluctuation in our blood sugar levels. Choosing Low GI foods ensures health and longevity. High GI foods produce the most fluctuation and increase your weight and risk of heart disease. Consult the South Beach Diet Plan Glycemic Index Food Chart  for a complete list of foods and their associated ratings to help you make healthier food choices and control your weight.  The South Beach Diet Plan insists it is not about eating less that is important but about eating well. It is about eating foods that do not renew your cravings as quickly and store a lot of residual fat.  It is about eating the right mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and changing your lifestyle for the good of your cardiovascular system.
Author Information:
Ihor Cap, Ph.D. is an Education Research Specialist, Web Author and Marketing & Promotions Manager for EZREKLAMA.  
This article first appeared August 6, 2009 in