Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Information Sharing in Supply Chain

Information Sharing in Supply Chain Introduction Supply chain management refers to â€Å"the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service packages required by end customers†. It involves movement, as well as, storage of materials, stock of work-in-progress and final goods. Consequently, supply chain management involves several actors which include suppliers, retailers, and transporters among others.Advertising We will write a custom research paper sample on Information Sharing in Supply Chain specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More The effectiveness of the supply chain is contingent on the extent to which the businesses involved in it are able to plan and coordinate their activities. Coordination of supply chain activities is enhanced through effective and efficient flow of information. This means that participants in the supply chain must be able to share all the relevant information in order to enhance the competitiveness of the supply chain. Thus, a lot of technologies have been developed in the last two decades to enhance the flow of information in supply chain systems. Effective sharing of information in supply chain will be the focus of the proposed study. Purpose The proposed study will focus on the use of information technology in supply chain management. In particular, the broad objective of the study is to investigate the use of modern information technology to enhance effective and efficient sharing of information within a supply chain. The specific objectives of the study include the following. The first objective is to identify the technologies, currently, being used to enhance flow of information. The second objective is to investigate the factors that determine the use of modern technology to enhance sharing of information. The last objective is to analyze the benefits of using information technology in supply chain. The expected practical outcome of the study is to i nform policy formulation. In this context, the result, hopefully, will help organizations to formulate policies that will enable them to use modern technologies to share information. Additionally, the findings will advance knowledge by contributing to the literature on the use of information technology to share information in supply chain systems. Background The main objective of supply chain management is to enable an organization to offer the best customer services in targeted markets. Customers not only demand high quality goods, but also require such goods to be manufactured and delivered in time. Thus, organizations must effectively coordinate the receipt of raw materials, manufacturing of goods and dispatch of final goods.Advertising Looking for research paper on business economics? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More In some cases, the quality of the goods can be compromised during transportation. This necessitat es effective sharing of information between the producers and the transporters about the quality of the goods. The customer service requirements in any given market are the basis for setting performance targets for the supply chain. In order to realize the expected level of customer service, all activities that do not add value should be eliminated from the supply chain. Thus, proper planning and synchronization of supply chain activities become apparent. Additionally, effective supply chain management facilitates optimization of supply chain investments and costs. It should enable organizations to deliver goods to the end customers at the least cost possible. Globally, most markets are characterized with intense competition and limited growth. Consequently, firms are focusing on cost cutting measures to enhance their effectiveness. Empirical studies reveal that adopting the right communication technology can help to reduce information costs significantly. Delivery of products often involves complex movements among several firms that make up the supply chain. Thus, inefficiency at any point in the chain translates into failure of the entire supply chain. All links within the supply chain are important since each link contributes to value addition and profitability. Due to lack of proper coordination or adequate resources, supply chain functions have traditionally been executed in isolation. This has always led to failures within supply chains. Consequently, it is important to recognize that the supply chain as â€Å"a whole is greater than the sum of its constituent parts†. The implication of this perspective is that all activities within the supply chain must be integrated through effective sharing of information. Thus, information management is the most important supply chain activity. This is because the movement of goods and money (payment for goods) is often initiated and facilitated by the relevant information. In this context, information technol ogy as a facilitator of information flow becomes an enabler of supply chain management.Advertising We will write a custom research paper sample on Information Sharing in Supply Chain specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More The importance of information in supply chain management has often been ignored. This is attributed to the fact that many agents in the supply chain lack a clear understanding of the value of information. The advancement in information and communication technology in the last two decades has led to a shift from paper based flow of information to electronic sharing of information. However, the factors that determine adoption of the modern information and communication technologies in supply chain management are still not well understood in academia and business cycles. Some empirical studies reveal that businesses are not likely to adopt a given technology if they do not understand its benefits. Constraints in technologica l transfer have been identified as one of the major factors contributing to poor understanding of the benefits of information technology in supply chain. In conclusion, three observations can be identified. First, effective and efficient sharing of information is necessary for improving supply chain management. Second, the factors that determine adoption of technologies that enhance sharing of information in supply chains are not well understood. Finally, the benefits associated with modern information technologies are not known to many firms. These observations justify the need for research on the use of information technology in supply chain management. Scope Given the objectives of the proposed study, a significant amount of time will be devoted to data collection and analysis. This is because data must be collected from participants who are located in different places. The study is expected to take three months. The fieldwork is expected to commence after the proposal is approve d. Prior to the fieldwork, two weeks will be spent on designing the data collection instrument. This will involve formulating the interview questions to be used during data collection. An additional two weeks will be spent on booking appointments with the participants. Data collection will be done in six weeks. Data analysis and preparation of the final report will be done in the remaining two weeks. Thirty managers in charge of supply chain activities will be recruited to participate in the study. The participants will be drawn from ten companies operating in different industries. Thus, a total of thirty interviews will be conducted to collect the required data.Advertising Looking for research paper on business economics? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Theoretical Framework Resource Based View (RBV) RBV is a theory used to identify a firm’s strategic resources and how such resources can be used to achieve competitive advantages. The RBV theory asserts that the competitive advantage of an organization is determined by the allocation of the organization’s valuable resources. A firm’s short run competitive advantage can be turned into a sustainable competitive advantage if the firm’s bundle of resources is heterogeneous and imperfectly mobile. Resources that meet the heterogeneity and imperfect mobility criteria are considered valuable. This is because such resources can not be imitated or sustained without great effort. Valuable resources can help a firm to consistently realize above average returns. In the context of supply chain management, information technology can be considered a resource. Thus, the RBV theory can be used to investigate the use of information technology in supply chain management in the following ways. First, a resource is valuable if it can enable a firm to formulate a strategy that creates value by minimizing the firm’s weaknesses or overcoming competition. Thus, the cost of investing in the resource should not exceed the expected returns. Determining the value of information technology will help in identifying its benefits in enhancing sharing of information in supply chain management. Second, a valuable resource should be rare. This means that the resource should not be available to majority of firms within an industry. Thus, this requirement is a basis for investigating the factors that determine access or use of information technology in supply chain management. Third, valuable resources should be in-imitable. A resource is expected to create competitive advantage if it is controlled by one or a few firms. Thus, this condition forms a basis for investigating determinants of access to information technology. Finally, a valuable resource should not b e substitutable. The implication of this requirement is that the benefits of information technology will no longer be a source of competitive advantage if competitors are able to counter its benefits using substitute technologies. Supply Chai n Integration Theory Supply chain integration describes the process of synchronizing all supply chain activities and linkages in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness. Supply chain integration depends on two factors namely, linkage and alignment. Alignment illustrates the extent to which visions, goals and objectives are shared by participants in the supply chain. It ensures consistency in planning and decision making in supply chain management. Linkage describes the extent to which information can be shared and the level of interaction that planers and decision makers can engage in. linkage enhances the availability of information for decision making and the use of the same data throughout the supply chain. Linkage and alignment are ac hieved through the following factors. First, linkage and alignment can be achieved through communication and e-systems. Communication and e-systems include the technology used to gather and share information, as well as, the means of facilitating communication between decision makers. The e-system ensures â€Å"data availability, accuracy and timeliness†. Communication on the other hand enhances the use of information in decision making initiatives. Second, alignment and linkage can be achieved through organization and people. Organizational structures determine how individuals interact and share information in an organization. Important resources and relevant stakeholders can be excluded from the decision making process if the right organizational structure is not put in place. In this context, the employees’ skills and capabilities are central to achieving integration under the existing organizational structure. Third, alignment and linkage can be enhanced through tr ust. Trust affects people’s willingness to share information. In this case, the main concern is security over the given information. Finally, alignment and linkage can be achieved through metrics. This refers to the metrics and rewards that employees respond to in order to achieve the objectives of the supply chain. In conclusion, both RBV theory and supply chain integration theory emphasize the importance of sharing information in supply chain. Using these theories forms the basis for investigating the benefits and factors determining the use of information technology to share information in supply chain management. In particular, the theories help in formulating hypothesis for the study. For example, using the supply chain integration theory, we can hypothesize that information technology enhances timelines and accuracy of information. Method Research Design The proposed study will adopt a qualitative research design. Qualitative research is based on interpretative paradigm . According to the â€Å"interpretative paradigm, social reality is created and sustained through the subjective experience of people involved in communication†. The factors underpinning the choice of a qualitative design include the following. First, a qualitative research will facilitate a holistic study of the use of information technology in supply chain management. Second, it will facilitate the use of primary data. Through data collection methods such as interviews, the researcher is able to get first hand information on the research topic. Thus, the conclusions drawn from the data is likely to be reliable and accurate. Third, qualitative research enhances flexibility in the research activities such as data collection, analysis, as well as, interpretation. Flexibility will be needed in the proposed study to cater for unforeseeable risks that might limit the use of any of the proposed methods. Finally, qualitative research will facilitate an in-depth understanding of the research topic by allowing the researcher to interact with the participants. Variables and Measures The proposed study will focus on three variables namely, types of information technology, determinants of access/ use of information technology and benefits of information technology in supply chain management. Each of these variables has specific indicators that can be conceptualized as follows: Types of information technology: software, hardware and communication equipment Determinants of access or use of information technology: cost, skills, technology transfer, patents, research and development Benefits of information technology: cost benefits, timeliness of information, accuracy of information, performance of the supply chain Sampling Sampling refers to the process of identifying and recruiting the individuals who will participate in the study. The study will be conducted in ten companies based in New York. Three managers will be selected from each of the ten companies to part icipate in the study. Consequently, the total number of participants will be thirty. The stratified random sampling method will be used to recruit the participants. The companies will first be classified according to their industries. The list of companies will be obtained from industry databases. The industries to be considered in the study include retail, automobile, pharmaceutical, hospitality and food processing industry. Two companies will then be chosen randomly from each industry. Three managers will then be randomly chosen from each company to participate in the study. Choosing the companies through a stratified random method will help in achieving heterogeneity or representativeness. Consequently, it will be possible to use the conclusions of the study to make reliable generalization. Using a random method to select the companies and the participants also reduces bias in the recruitment process. This is because a random approach gives an equal opportunity to every participa nt or company to be selected. Data Collection Data collection refers to the process of gathering the data that is required for the study. Qualitative data will be collected through interviews. Structured questions will be used to guide the study. Unstructured questions that transpire during the interview will be used to obtain more information and to seek clarifications on answers. Additionally, probes will be used to seek more information from the participants. The interviews will be audio-taped to enhance data analysis. The choice of interviews is justified by the fact that interviews enable the researcher to clarify any question that might be ambiguous or seek clarifications on any answer that might be ambiguous. Additionally, interviews are easy to use and facilitate access to first hand information. Data Analysis The analysis will begin with transcribing the collected. The transcribed data will then be coded into themes. In this context, coding involves identifying and labeling similar words, as well as, phrases mentioned by the participants. Appropriate themes will be used in the labeling process. The themes will be used to make generalization about the research topic. Finally, interpretations will be made based on existing literature about the research topic and the adopted theoretical framework. Simple descriptive statistics will also be used in the analysis process. The final results and conclusions will be presented in the form of a report. Limitations The ability to complete the study or to make reliable conclusions will be limited under the following circumstances. First, the subjective nature of qualitative research is likely to compromise the reliability of the conclusions if the participants fail to give correct information. It is usually very difficult to authenticate the information collected through interviews. Thus, if the interviewees fail to give correct information, the findings of the research will not be reliable. Second, replicating th e study will require collecting data from the same respondents and companies. Thus, replication will not be possible if any of the respondents or companies refuse to participate in subsequent studies. Third, the in-depth analysis associated with qualitative research limits the scope of the study in terms of the number of participants that can be interviewed. Finally, lack of adequate resources will make it impossible to carryout or complete the study. For instance, interviewing the participants is expensive due to the travelling costs associated with it. Thus, lack of enough financial resources will negatively impact data collection. Conclusion The proposed study aims at investigating the use of information technology to enhance sharing of information in supply chain management. The objectives of the study include identifying the information technologies, currently, being used, the factors determining the use of information technology and the benefits of information technology in su pply chain management. The study will adopt the resource based view and the supply chain integration theoretical underpinnings to investigate the research topic. Additionally, the research will adopt a qualitative design, and data will be collected through interviews. The results of the study are expected to inform policy formulation and to advance knowledge by contributing to the literature on the use of information technology in supply chain management. References Blanchard, D., 2007. Supply Chain Management. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Larsen, T., 2005. Supply Chain Management. New York: CBS Press. McBurney, D., 2009. Research Methods. New York: Cengage Learning. McNeil, P., 2005. Research Methods. New York: Routledge. Mentzer, J., 2001. Supply Chain Management. New York: Sage Publishers

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Angels Demons Chapter 7073

As soon as they’d arrived, Chinita and Glick had seen a veritable army of young men pour out of the Alpha Romeos and surround the church. Some had weapons drawn. One of them, a stiff older man, led a team up the front steps of the church. The soldiers drew guns and blew the locks off the front doors. Macri heard nothing and figured they must have had silencers. Then the soldiers entered. Chinita had recommended they sit tight and film from the shadows. After all, guns were guns, and they had a clear view of the action from the van. Glick had not argued. Now, across the piazza, men moved in and out of the church. They yelled to each other. Chinita adjusted her camera to follow a team as they searched the surrounding area. All of them, though dressed in civilian clothes, seemed to move with military precision. â€Å"Who do you think they are?† she asked. â€Å"Hell if I know.† Glick looked riveted. â€Å"You getting all this?† â€Å"Every frame.† Glick sounded smug. â€Å"Still think we should go back to Pope-Watch?† Chinita wasn’t sure what to say. There was obviously something going on here, but she had been in journalism long enough to know that there was often a very dull explanation for interesting events. â€Å"This could be nothing,† she said. â€Å"These guys could have gotten the same tip you got and are just checking it out. Could be a false alarm.† Glick grabbed her arm. â€Å"Over there! Focus.† He pointed back to the church. Chinita swung the camera back to the top of the stairs. â€Å"Hello there,† she said, training on the man now emerging from the church. â€Å"Who’s the dapper?† Chinita moved in for a close-up. â€Å"Haven’t seen him before.† She tightened in on the man’s face and smiled. â€Å"But I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.† Robert Langdon dashed down the stairs outside the church and into the middle of the piazza. It was getting dark now, the springtime sun setting late in southern Rome. The sun had dropped below the surrounding buildings, and shadows streaked the square. â€Å"Okay, Bernini,† he said aloud to himself. â€Å"Where the hell is your angel pointing?† He turned and examined the orientation of the church from which he had just come. He pictured the Chigi Chapel inside, and the sculpture of the angel inside that. Without hesitation he turned due west, into the glow of the impending sunset. Time was evaporating. â€Å"Southwest,† he said, scowling at the shops and apartments blocking his view. â€Å"The next marker is out there.† Racking his brain, Langdon pictured page after page of Italian art history. Although very familiar with Bernini’s work, Langdon knew the sculptor had been far too prolific for any nonspecialist to know all of it. Still, considering the relative fame of the first marker – Habakkuk and the Angel – Langdon hoped the second marker was a work he might know from memory. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, he thought. Earth they had found – inside the Chapel of the Earth – Habakkuk, the prophet who predicted the earth’s annihilation. Air is next. Langdon urged himself to think. A Bernini sculpture that has something to do with Air! He was drawing a total blank. Still he felt energized. I’m on the path of Illumination! It is still intact! Looking southwest, Langdon strained to see a spire or cathedral tower jutting up over the obstacles. He saw nothing. He needed a map. If they could figure out what churches were southwest of here, maybe one of them would spark Langdon’s memory. Air, he pressed. Air. Bernini. Sculpture. Air. Think! Langdon turned and headed back up the cathedral stairs. He was met beneath the scaffolding by Vittoria and Olivetti. â€Å"Southwest,† Langdon said, panting. â€Å"The next church is southwest of here.† Olivetti’s whisper was cold. â€Å"You sure this time?† Langdon didn’t bite. â€Å"We need a map. One that shows all the churches in Rome.† The commander studied him a moment, his expression never changing. Langdon checked his watch. â€Å"We only have half an hour.† Olivetti moved past Langdon down the stairs toward his car, parked directly in front of the cathedral. Langdon hoped he was going for a map. Vittoria looked excited. â€Å"So the angel’s pointing southwest? No idea which churches are southwest?† â€Å"I can’t see past the damn buildings.† Langdon turned and faced the square again. â€Å"And I don’t know Rome’s churches well enou – † He stopped. Vittoria looked startled. â€Å"What?† Langdon looked out at the piazza again. Having ascended the church stairs, he was now higher, and his view was better. He still couldn’t see anything, but he realized he was moving in the right direction. His eyes climbed the tower of rickety scaffolding above him. It rose six stories, almost to the top of the church’s rose window, far higher than the other buildings in the square. He knew in an instant where he was headed. Across the square, Chinita Macri and Gunther Glick sat glued to the windshield of the BBC van. â€Å"You getting this?† Gunther asked. Macri tightened her shot on the man now climbing the scaffolding. â€Å"He’s a little well dressed to be playing Spiderman if you ask me.† â€Å"And who’s Ms. Spidey?† Chinita glanced at the attractive woman beneath the scaffolding. â€Å"Bet you’d like to find out.† â€Å"Think I should call editorial?† â€Å"Not yet. Let’s watch. Better to have something in the can before we admit we abandoned conclave.† â€Å"You think somebody really killed one of the old farts in there?† Chinita clucked. â€Å"You’re definitely going to hell.† â€Å"And I’ll be taking the Pulitzer with me.† 71 The scaffolding seemed less stable the higher Langdon climbed. His view of Rome, however, got better with every step. He continued upward. He was breathing harder than he expected when he reached the upper tier. He pulled himself onto the last platform, brushed off the plaster, and stood up. The height did not bother him at all. In fact, it was invigorating. The view was staggering. Like an ocean on fire, the red-tiled rooftops of Rome spread out before him, glowing in the scarlet sunset. From that spot, for the first time in his life, Langdon saw beyond the pollution and traffic of Rome to its ancient roots – Citt di Dio – The city of God. Squinting into the sunset, Langdon scanned the rooftops for a church steeple or bell tower. But as he looked farther and farther toward the horizon, he saw nothing. There are hundreds of churches in Rome, he thought. There must be one southwest of here! If the church is even visible, he reminded himself. Hell, if the church is even still standing! Forcing his eyes to trace the line slowly, he attempted the search again. He knew, of course, that not all churches would have visible spires, especially smaller, out-of-the-way sanctuaries. Not to mention, Rome had changed dramatically since the 1600s when churches were by law the tallest buildings allowed. Now, as Langdon looked out, he saw apartment buildings, high-rises, TV towers. For the second time, Langdon’s eye reached the horizon without seeing anything. Not one single spire. In the distance, on the very edge of Rome, Michelangelo’s massive dome blotted the setting sun. St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican City. Langdon found himself wondering how the cardinals were faring, and if the Swiss Guards’ search had turned up the antimatter. Something told him it hadn’t†¦ and wouldn’t. The poem was rattling through his head again. He considered it, carefully, line by line. From Santi’s earthly tomb with demon’s hole. They had found Santi’s tomb. ‘Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold. The mystic elements were Earth, Air, Fire, Water. The path of light is laid, the sacred test. The path of Illumination formed by Bernini’s sculptures. Let angels guide you on your lofty quest. The angel was pointing southwest†¦ â€Å"Front stairs!† Glick exclaimed, pointing wildly through the windshield of the BBC van. â€Å"Something’s going on!† Macri dropped her shot back down to the main entrance. Something was definitely going on. At the bottom of the stairs, the military-looking man had pulled one of the Alpha Romeos close to the stairs and opened the trunk. Now he was scanning the square as if checking for onlookers. For a moment, Macri thought the man had spotted them, but his eyes kept moving. Apparently satisfied, he pulled out a walkie-talkie and spoke into it. Almost instantly, it seemed an army emerged from the church. Like an American football team breaking from a huddle, the soldiers formed a straight line across the top of the stairs. Moving like a human wall, they began to descend. Behind them, almost entirely hidden by the wall, four soldiers seemed to be carrying something. Something heavy. Awkward. Glick leaned forward on the dashboard. â€Å"Are they stealing something from the church?† Chinita tightened her shot even more, using the telephoto to probe the wall of men, looking for an opening. One split second, she willed. A single frame. That’s all I need. But the men moved as one. Come on! Macri stayed with them, and it paid off. When the soldiers tried to lift the object into the trunk, Macri found her opening. Ironically, it was the older man who faltered. Only for an instant, but long enough. Macri had her frame. Actually, it was more like ten frames. â€Å"Call editorial,† Chinita said. â€Å"We’ve got a dead body.† Far away, at CERN, Maximilian Kohler maneuvered his wheelchair into Leonardo Vetra’s study. With mechanical efficiency, he began sifting through Vetra’s files. Not finding what he was after, Kohler moved to Vetra’s bedroom. The top drawer of his bedside table was locked. Kohler pried it open with a knife from the kitchen. Inside Kohler found exactly what he was looking for. 72 Langdon swung off the scaffolding and dropped back to the ground. He brushed the plaster dust from his clothes. Vittoria was there to greet him. â€Å"No luck?† she said. He shook his head. â€Å"They put the cardinal in the trunk.† Langdon looked over to the parked car where Olivetti and a group of soldiers now had a map spread out on the hood. â€Å"Are they looking southwest?† She nodded. â€Å"No churches. From here the first one you hit is St. Peter’s.† Langdon grunted. At least they were in agreement. He moved toward Olivetti. The soldiers parted to let him through. Olivetti looked up. â€Å"Nothing. But this doesn’t show every last church. Just the big ones. About fifty of them.† â€Å"Where are we?† Langdon asked. Olivetti pointed to Piazza del Popolo and traced a straight line exactly southwest. The line missed, by a substantial margin, the cluster of black squares indicating Rome’s major churches. Unfortunately, Rome’s major churches were also Rome’s older churches†¦ those that would have been around in the 1600s. â€Å"I’ve got some decisions to make,† Olivetti said. â€Å"Are you certain of the direction?† Langdon pictured the angel’s outstretched finger, the urgency rising in him again. â€Å"Yes, sir. Positive.† Olivetti shrugged and traced the straight line again. The path intersected the Margherita Bridge, Via Cola di Riezo, and passed through Piazza del Risorgimento, hitting no churches at all until it dead-ended abruptly at the center of St. Peter’s Square. â€Å"What’s wrong with St. Peter’s?† one of the soldiers said. He had a deep scar under his left eye. â€Å"It’s a church.† Langdon shook his head. â€Å"Needs to be a public place. Hardly seems public at the moment.† â€Å"But the line goes through St. Peter’s Square,† Vittoria added, looking over Langdon’s shoulder. â€Å"The square is public.† Langdon had already considered it. â€Å"No statues, though.† â€Å"Isn’t there a monolith in the middle?† She was right. There was an Egyptian monolith in St. Peter’s Square. Langdon looked out at the monolith in the piazza in front of them. The lofty pyramid. An odd coincidence, he thought. He shook it off. â€Å"The Vatican’s monolith is not by Bernini. It was brought in by Caligula. And it has nothing to do with Air.† There was another problem as well. â€Å"Besides, the poem says the elements are spread across Rome. St. Peter’s Square is in Vatican City. Not Rome.† â€Å"Depends who you ask,† a guard interjected. Langdon looked up. â€Å"What?† â€Å"Always a bone of contention. Most maps show St. Peter’s Square as part of Vatican City, but because it’s outside the walled city, Roman officials for centuries have claimed it as part of Rome.† â€Å"You’re kidding,† Langdon said. He had never known that. â€Å"I only mention it,† the guard continued, â€Å"because Commander Olivetti and Ms. Vetra were asking about a sculpture that had to do with Air.† Langdon was wide-eyed. â€Å"And you know of one in St. Peter’s Square?† â€Å"Not exactly. It’s not really a sculpture. Probably not relevant.† â€Å"Let’s hear it,† Olivetti pressed. The guard shrugged. â€Å"The only reason I know about it is because I’m usually on piazza duty. I know every corner of St. Peter’s Square.† â€Å"The sculpture,† Langdon urged. â€Å"What does it look like?† Langdon was starting to wonder if the Illuminati could really have been gutsy enough to position their second marker right outside St. Peter’s Church. â€Å"I patrol past it every day,† the guard said. â€Å"It’s in the center, directly where that line is pointing. That’s what made me think of it. As I said, it’s not really a sculpture. It’s more of a†¦ block.† Olivetti looked mad. â€Å"A block?† â€Å"Yes, sir. A marble block embedded in the square. At the base of the monolith. But the block is not a rectangle. It’s an ellipse. And the block is carved with the image of a billowing gust of wind.† He paused. â€Å"Air, I suppose, if you wanted to get scientific about it.† Langdon stared at the young soldier in amazement. â€Å"A relief!† he exclaimed suddenly. Everyone looked at him. â€Å"Relief,† Langdon said, â€Å"is the other half of sculpture!† Sculpture is the art of shaping figures in the round and also in relief. He had written the definition on chalkboards for years. Reliefs were essentially two-dimensional sculptures, like Abraham Lincoln’s profile on the penny. Bernini’s Chigi Chapel medallions were another perfect example. â€Å"Bassorelievo?† the guard asked, using the Italian art term. â€Å"Yes! Bas-relief!† Langdon rapped his knuckles on the hood. â€Å"I wasn’t thinking in those terms! That tile you’re talking about in St. Peter’s Square is called the West Ponente – the West Wind. It’s also known as Respiro di Dio.† â€Å"Breath of God?† â€Å"Yes! Air! And it was carved and put there by the original architect!† Vittoria looked confused. â€Å"But I thought Michelangelo designed St. Peter’s.† â€Å"Yes, the basilica!† Langdon exclaimed, triumph in his voice. â€Å"But St. Peter’s Square was designed by Bernini!† As the caravan of Alpha Romeos tore out of Piazza del Popolo, everyone was in too much of a hurry to notice the BBC van pulling out behind them. 73 Gunther Glick floored the BBC van’s accelerator and swerved through traffic as he tailed the four speeding Alpha Romeos across the Tiber River on Ponte Margherita. Normally Glick would have made an effort to maintain an inconspicuous distance, but today he could barely keep up. These guys were flying. Macri sat in her work area in the back of the van finishing a phone call with London. She hung up and yelled to Glick over the sound of the traffic. â€Å"You want the good news or bad news?† Glick frowned. Nothing was ever simple when dealing with the home office. â€Å"Bad news.† â€Å"Editorial is burned we abandoned our post.† â€Å"Surprise.† â€Å"They also think your tipster is a fraud.† â€Å"Of course.† â€Å"And the boss just warned me that you’re a few crumpets short of a proper tea.† Glick scowled. â€Å"Great. And the good news?† â€Å"They agreed to look at the footage we just shot.† Glick felt his scowl soften into a grin. I guess we’ll see who’s short a few crumpets. â€Å"So fire it off.† â€Å"Can’t transmit until we stop and get a fixed cell read.† Glick gunned the van onto Via Cola di Rienzo. â€Å"Can’t stop now.† He tailed the Alpha Romeos through a hard left swerve around Piazza Risorgimento. Macri held on to her computer gear in back as everything slid. â€Å"Break my transmitter,† she warned, â€Å"and we’ll have to walk this footage to London.† â€Å"Sit tight, love. Something tells me we’re almost there.† Macri looked up. â€Å"Where?† Glick gazed out at the familiar dome now looming directly in front of them. He smiled. â€Å"Right back where we started.† The four Alpha Romeos slipped deftly into traffic surrounding St. Peter’s Square. They split up and spread out along the piazza perimeter, quietly unloading men at select points. The debarking guards moved into the throng of tourists and media vans on the edge of the square and instantly became invisible. Some of the guards entered the forest of pillars encompassing the colonnade. They too seemed to evaporate into the surroundings. As Langdon watched through the windshield, he sensed a noose tightening around St. Peter’s. In addition to the men Olivetti had just dispatched, the commander had radioed ahead to the Vatican and sent additional undercover guards to the center where Bernini’s West Ponente was located. As Langdon looked out at the wide-open spaces of St. Peter’s Square, a familiar question nagged. How does the Illuminati assassin plan to get away with this? How will he get a cardinal through all these people and kill him in plain view? Langdon checked his Mickey Mouse watch. It was 8:54 P.M. Six minutes. In the front seat, Olivetti turned and faced Langdon and Vittoria. â€Å"I want you two right on top of this Bernini brick or block or whatever the hell it is. Same drill. You’re tourists. Use the phone if you see anything.† Before Langdon could respond, Vittoria had his hand and was pulling him out of the car. The springtime sun was setting behind St. Peter’s Basilica, and a massive shadow spread, engulfing the piazza. Langdon felt an ominous chill as he and Vittoria moved into the cool, black umbra. Snaking through the crowd, Langdon found himself searching every face they passed, wondering if the killer was among them. Vittoria’s hand felt warm. As they crossed the open expanse of St. Peter’s Square, Langdon sensed Bernini’s sprawling piazza having the exact effect the artist had been commissioned to create – that of â€Å"humbling all those who entered.† Langdon certainly felt humbled at the moment. Humbled and hungry, he realized, surprised such a mundane thought could enter his head at a moment like this. â€Å"To the obelisk?† Vittoria asked. Langdon nodded, arching left across the piazza. â€Å"Time?† Vittoria asked, walking briskly, but casually. â€Å"Five of.† Vittoria said nothing, but Langdon felt her grip tighten. He was still carrying the gun. He hoped Vittoria would not decide she needed it. He could not imagine her whipping out a weapon in St. Peter’s Square and blowing away the kneecaps of some killer while the global media looked on. Then again, an incident like that would be nothing compared to the branding and murder of a cardinal out here. Air, Langdon thought. The second element of science. He tried to picture the brand. The method of murder. Again he scanned the sprawling expanse of granite beneath his feet – St. Peter’s Square – an open desert surrounded by Swiss Guard. If the Hassassin really dared attempt this, Langdon could not imagine how he would escape. In the center of the piazza rose Caligula’s 350-ton Egyptian obelisk. It stretched eighty-one feet skyward to the pyramidal apex onto which was affixed a hollow iron cross. Sufficiently high to catch the last of the evening sun, the cross shone as if magic†¦ purportedly containing relics of the cross on which Christ was crucified. Two fountains flanked the obelisk in perfect symmetry. Art historians knew the fountains marked the exact geometric focal points of Bernini’s elliptical piazza, but it was an architectural oddity Langdon had never really considered until today. It seemed Rome was suddenly filled with ellipses, pyramids, and startling geometry. As they neared the obelisk, Vittoria slowed. She exhaled heavily, as if coaxing Langdon to relax along with her. Langdon made the effort, lowering his shoulders and loosening his clenched jaw. Somewhere around the obelisk, boldly positioned outside the largest church in the world, was the second altar of science – Bernini’s West Ponente – an elliptical block in St. Peter’s Square. Gunther Glick watched from the shadows of the pillars surrounding St. Peter’s Square. On any other day the man in the tweed jacket and the woman in khaki shorts would not have interested him in the least. They appeared to be nothing but tourists enjoying the square. But today was not any other day. Today had been a day of phone tips, corpses, unmarked cars racing through Rome, and men in tweed jackets climbing scaffolding in search of God only knew what. Glick would stay with them. He looked out across the square and saw Macri. She was exactly where he had told her to go, on the far side of the couple, hovering on their flank. Macri carried her video camera casually, but despite her imitation of a bored member of the press, she stood out more than Glick would have liked. No other reporters were in this far corner of the square, and the acronym â€Å"BBC† stenciled on her camera was drawing some looks from tourists. The tape Macri had shot earlier of the naked body dumped in the trunk was playing at this very moment on the VCR transmitter back in the van. Glick knew the images were sailing over his head right now en route to London. He wondered what editorial would say. He wished he and Macri had reached the body sooner, before the army of plainclothed soldiers had intervened. The same army, he knew, had now fanned out and surrounded this piazza. Something big was about to happen. The media is the right arm of anarchy, the killer had said. Glick wondered if he had missed his chance for a big scoop. He looked out at the other media vans in the distance and watched Macri tailing the mysterious couple across the piazza. Something told Glick he was still in the game†¦ Angels Demons Chapter 7073 As soon as they’d arrived, Chinita and Glick had seen a veritable army of young men pour out of the Alpha Romeos and surround the church. Some had weapons drawn. One of them, a stiff older man, led a team up the front steps of the church. The soldiers drew guns and blew the locks off the front doors. Macri heard nothing and figured they must have had silencers. Then the soldiers entered. Chinita had recommended they sit tight and film from the shadows. After all, guns were guns, and they had a clear view of the action from the van. Glick had not argued. Now, across the piazza, men moved in and out of the church. They yelled to each other. Chinita adjusted her camera to follow a team as they searched the surrounding area. All of them, though dressed in civilian clothes, seemed to move with military precision. â€Å"Who do you think they are?† she asked. â€Å"Hell if I know.† Glick looked riveted. â€Å"You getting all this?† â€Å"Every frame.† Glick sounded smug. â€Å"Still think we should go back to Pope-Watch?† Chinita wasn’t sure what to say. There was obviously something going on here, but she had been in journalism long enough to know that there was often a very dull explanation for interesting events. â€Å"This could be nothing,† she said. â€Å"These guys could have gotten the same tip you got and are just checking it out. Could be a false alarm.† Glick grabbed her arm. â€Å"Over there! Focus.† He pointed back to the church. Chinita swung the camera back to the top of the stairs. â€Å"Hello there,† she said, training on the man now emerging from the church. â€Å"Who’s the dapper?† Chinita moved in for a close-up. â€Å"Haven’t seen him before.† She tightened in on the man’s face and smiled. â€Å"But I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.† Robert Langdon dashed down the stairs outside the church and into the middle of the piazza. It was getting dark now, the springtime sun setting late in southern Rome. The sun had dropped below the surrounding buildings, and shadows streaked the square. â€Å"Okay, Bernini,† he said aloud to himself. â€Å"Where the hell is your angel pointing?† He turned and examined the orientation of the church from which he had just come. He pictured the Chigi Chapel inside, and the sculpture of the angel inside that. Without hesitation he turned due west, into the glow of the impending sunset. Time was evaporating. â€Å"Southwest,† he said, scowling at the shops and apartments blocking his view. â€Å"The next marker is out there.† Racking his brain, Langdon pictured page after page of Italian art history. Although very familiar with Bernini’s work, Langdon knew the sculptor had been far too prolific for any nonspecialist to know all of it. Still, considering the relative fame of the first marker – Habakkuk and the Angel – Langdon hoped the second marker was a work he might know from memory. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, he thought. Earth they had found – inside the Chapel of the Earth – Habakkuk, the prophet who predicted the earth’s annihilation. Air is next. Langdon urged himself to think. A Bernini sculpture that has something to do with Air! He was drawing a total blank. Still he felt energized. I’m on the path of Illumination! It is still intact! Looking southwest, Langdon strained to see a spire or cathedral tower jutting up over the obstacles. He saw nothing. He needed a map. If they could figure out what churches were southwest of here, maybe one of them would spark Langdon’s memory. Air, he pressed. Air. Bernini. Sculpture. Air. Think! Langdon turned and headed back up the cathedral stairs. He was met beneath the scaffolding by Vittoria and Olivetti. â€Å"Southwest,† Langdon said, panting. â€Å"The next church is southwest of here.† Olivetti’s whisper was cold. â€Å"You sure this time?† Langdon didn’t bite. â€Å"We need a map. One that shows all the churches in Rome.† The commander studied him a moment, his expression never changing. Langdon checked his watch. â€Å"We only have half an hour.† Olivetti moved past Langdon down the stairs toward his car, parked directly in front of the cathedral. Langdon hoped he was going for a map. Vittoria looked excited. â€Å"So the angel’s pointing southwest? No idea which churches are southwest?† â€Å"I can’t see past the damn buildings.† Langdon turned and faced the square again. â€Å"And I don’t know Rome’s churches well enou – † He stopped. Vittoria looked startled. â€Å"What?† Langdon looked out at the piazza again. Having ascended the church stairs, he was now higher, and his view was better. He still couldn’t see anything, but he realized he was moving in the right direction. His eyes climbed the tower of rickety scaffolding above him. It rose six stories, almost to the top of the church’s rose window, far higher than the other buildings in the square. He knew in an instant where he was headed. Across the square, Chinita Macri and Gunther Glick sat glued to the windshield of the BBC van. â€Å"You getting this?† Gunther asked. Macri tightened her shot on the man now climbing the scaffolding. â€Å"He’s a little well dressed to be playing Spiderman if you ask me.† â€Å"And who’s Ms. Spidey?† Chinita glanced at the attractive woman beneath the scaffolding. â€Å"Bet you’d like to find out.† â€Å"Think I should call editorial?† â€Å"Not yet. Let’s watch. Better to have something in the can before we admit we abandoned conclave.† â€Å"You think somebody really killed one of the old farts in there?† Chinita clucked. â€Å"You’re definitely going to hell.† â€Å"And I’ll be taking the Pulitzer with me.† 71 The scaffolding seemed less stable the higher Langdon climbed. His view of Rome, however, got better with every step. He continued upward. He was breathing harder than he expected when he reached the upper tier. He pulled himself onto the last platform, brushed off the plaster, and stood up. The height did not bother him at all. In fact, it was invigorating. The view was staggering. Like an ocean on fire, the red-tiled rooftops of Rome spread out before him, glowing in the scarlet sunset. From that spot, for the first time in his life, Langdon saw beyond the pollution and traffic of Rome to its ancient roots – Citt di Dio – The city of God. Squinting into the sunset, Langdon scanned the rooftops for a church steeple or bell tower. But as he looked farther and farther toward the horizon, he saw nothing. There are hundreds of churches in Rome, he thought. There must be one southwest of here! If the church is even visible, he reminded himself. Hell, if the church is even still standing! Forcing his eyes to trace the line slowly, he attempted the search again. He knew, of course, that not all churches would have visible spires, especially smaller, out-of-the-way sanctuaries. Not to mention, Rome had changed dramatically since the 1600s when churches were by law the tallest buildings allowed. Now, as Langdon looked out, he saw apartment buildings, high-rises, TV towers. For the second time, Langdon’s eye reached the horizon without seeing anything. Not one single spire. In the distance, on the very edge of Rome, Michelangelo’s massive dome blotted the setting sun. St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican City. Langdon found himself wondering how the cardinals were faring, and if the Swiss Guards’ search had turned up the antimatter. Something told him it hadn’t†¦ and wouldn’t. The poem was rattling through his head again. He considered it, carefully, line by line. From Santi’s earthly tomb with demon’s hole. They had found Santi’s tomb. ‘Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold. The mystic elements were Earth, Air, Fire, Water. The path of light is laid, the sacred test. The path of Illumination formed by Bernini’s sculptures. Let angels guide you on your lofty quest. The angel was pointing southwest†¦ â€Å"Front stairs!† Glick exclaimed, pointing wildly through the windshield of the BBC van. â€Å"Something’s going on!† Macri dropped her shot back down to the main entrance. Something was definitely going on. At the bottom of the stairs, the military-looking man had pulled one of the Alpha Romeos close to the stairs and opened the trunk. Now he was scanning the square as if checking for onlookers. For a moment, Macri thought the man had spotted them, but his eyes kept moving. Apparently satisfied, he pulled out a walkie-talkie and spoke into it. Almost instantly, it seemed an army emerged from the church. Like an American football team breaking from a huddle, the soldiers formed a straight line across the top of the stairs. Moving like a human wall, they began to descend. Behind them, almost entirely hidden by the wall, four soldiers seemed to be carrying something. Something heavy. Awkward. Glick leaned forward on the dashboard. â€Å"Are they stealing something from the church?† Chinita tightened her shot even more, using the telephoto to probe the wall of men, looking for an opening. One split second, she willed. A single frame. That’s all I need. But the men moved as one. Come on! Macri stayed with them, and it paid off. When the soldiers tried to lift the object into the trunk, Macri found her opening. Ironically, it was the older man who faltered. Only for an instant, but long enough. Macri had her frame. Actually, it was more like ten frames. â€Å"Call editorial,† Chinita said. â€Å"We’ve got a dead body.† Far away, at CERN, Maximilian Kohler maneuvered his wheelchair into Leonardo Vetra’s study. With mechanical efficiency, he began sifting through Vetra’s files. Not finding what he was after, Kohler moved to Vetra’s bedroom. The top drawer of his bedside table was locked. Kohler pried it open with a knife from the kitchen. Inside Kohler found exactly what he was looking for. 72 Langdon swung off the scaffolding and dropped back to the ground. He brushed the plaster dust from his clothes. Vittoria was there to greet him. â€Å"No luck?† she said. He shook his head. â€Å"They put the cardinal in the trunk.† Langdon looked over to the parked car where Olivetti and a group of soldiers now had a map spread out on the hood. â€Å"Are they looking southwest?† She nodded. â€Å"No churches. From here the first one you hit is St. Peter’s.† Langdon grunted. At least they were in agreement. He moved toward Olivetti. The soldiers parted to let him through. Olivetti looked up. â€Å"Nothing. But this doesn’t show every last church. Just the big ones. About fifty of them.† â€Å"Where are we?† Langdon asked. Olivetti pointed to Piazza del Popolo and traced a straight line exactly southwest. The line missed, by a substantial margin, the cluster of black squares indicating Rome’s major churches. Unfortunately, Rome’s major churches were also Rome’s older churches†¦ those that would have been around in the 1600s. â€Å"I’ve got some decisions to make,† Olivetti said. â€Å"Are you certain of the direction?† Langdon pictured the angel’s outstretched finger, the urgency rising in him again. â€Å"Yes, sir. Positive.† Olivetti shrugged and traced the straight line again. The path intersected the Margherita Bridge, Via Cola di Riezo, and passed through Piazza del Risorgimento, hitting no churches at all until it dead-ended abruptly at the center of St. Peter’s Square. â€Å"What’s wrong with St. Peter’s?† one of the soldiers said. He had a deep scar under his left eye. â€Å"It’s a church.† Langdon shook his head. â€Å"Needs to be a public place. Hardly seems public at the moment.† â€Å"But the line goes through St. Peter’s Square,† Vittoria added, looking over Langdon’s shoulder. â€Å"The square is public.† Langdon had already considered it. â€Å"No statues, though.† â€Å"Isn’t there a monolith in the middle?† She was right. There was an Egyptian monolith in St. Peter’s Square. Langdon looked out at the monolith in the piazza in front of them. The lofty pyramid. An odd coincidence, he thought. He shook it off. â€Å"The Vatican’s monolith is not by Bernini. It was brought in by Caligula. And it has nothing to do with Air.† There was another problem as well. â€Å"Besides, the poem says the elements are spread across Rome. St. Peter’s Square is in Vatican City. Not Rome.† â€Å"Depends who you ask,† a guard interjected. Langdon looked up. â€Å"What?† â€Å"Always a bone of contention. Most maps show St. Peter’s Square as part of Vatican City, but because it’s outside the walled city, Roman officials for centuries have claimed it as part of Rome.† â€Å"You’re kidding,† Langdon said. He had never known that. â€Å"I only mention it,† the guard continued, â€Å"because Commander Olivetti and Ms. Vetra were asking about a sculpture that had to do with Air.† Langdon was wide-eyed. â€Å"And you know of one in St. Peter’s Square?† â€Å"Not exactly. It’s not really a sculpture. Probably not relevant.† â€Å"Let’s hear it,† Olivetti pressed. The guard shrugged. â€Å"The only reason I know about it is because I’m usually on piazza duty. I know every corner of St. Peter’s Square.† â€Å"The sculpture,† Langdon urged. â€Å"What does it look like?† Langdon was starting to wonder if the Illuminati could really have been gutsy enough to position their second marker right outside St. Peter’s Church. â€Å"I patrol past it every day,† the guard said. â€Å"It’s in the center, directly where that line is pointing. That’s what made me think of it. As I said, it’s not really a sculpture. It’s more of a†¦ block.† Olivetti looked mad. â€Å"A block?† â€Å"Yes, sir. A marble block embedded in the square. At the base of the monolith. But the block is not a rectangle. It’s an ellipse. And the block is carved with the image of a billowing gust of wind.† He paused. â€Å"Air, I suppose, if you wanted to get scientific about it.† Langdon stared at the young soldier in amazement. â€Å"A relief!† he exclaimed suddenly. Everyone looked at him. â€Å"Relief,† Langdon said, â€Å"is the other half of sculpture!† Sculpture is the art of shaping figures in the round and also in relief. He had written the definition on chalkboards for years. Reliefs were essentially two-dimensional sculptures, like Abraham Lincoln’s profile on the penny. Bernini’s Chigi Chapel medallions were another perfect example. â€Å"Bassorelievo?† the guard asked, using the Italian art term. â€Å"Yes! Bas-relief!† Langdon rapped his knuckles on the hood. â€Å"I wasn’t thinking in those terms! That tile you’re talking about in St. Peter’s Square is called the West Ponente – the West Wind. It’s also known as Respiro di Dio.† â€Å"Breath of God?† â€Å"Yes! Air! And it was carved and put there by the original architect!† Vittoria looked confused. â€Å"But I thought Michelangelo designed St. Peter’s.† â€Å"Yes, the basilica!† Langdon exclaimed, triumph in his voice. â€Å"But St. Peter’s Square was designed by Bernini!† As the caravan of Alpha Romeos tore out of Piazza del Popolo, everyone was in too much of a hurry to notice the BBC van pulling out behind them. 73 Gunther Glick floored the BBC van’s accelerator and swerved through traffic as he tailed the four speeding Alpha Romeos across the Tiber River on Ponte Margherita. Normally Glick would have made an effort to maintain an inconspicuous distance, but today he could barely keep up. These guys were flying. Macri sat in her work area in the back of the van finishing a phone call with London. She hung up and yelled to Glick over the sound of the traffic. â€Å"You want the good news or bad news?† Glick frowned. Nothing was ever simple when dealing with the home office. â€Å"Bad news.† â€Å"Editorial is burned we abandoned our post.† â€Å"Surprise.† â€Å"They also think your tipster is a fraud.† â€Å"Of course.† â€Å"And the boss just warned me that you’re a few crumpets short of a proper tea.† Glick scowled. â€Å"Great. And the good news?† â€Å"They agreed to look at the footage we just shot.† Glick felt his scowl soften into a grin. I guess we’ll see who’s short a few crumpets. â€Å"So fire it off.† â€Å"Can’t transmit until we stop and get a fixed cell read.† Glick gunned the van onto Via Cola di Rienzo. â€Å"Can’t stop now.† He tailed the Alpha Romeos through a hard left swerve around Piazza Risorgimento. Macri held on to her computer gear in back as everything slid. â€Å"Break my transmitter,† she warned, â€Å"and we’ll have to walk this footage to London.† â€Å"Sit tight, love. Something tells me we’re almost there.† Macri looked up. â€Å"Where?† Glick gazed out at the familiar dome now looming directly in front of them. He smiled. â€Å"Right back where we started.† The four Alpha Romeos slipped deftly into traffic surrounding St. Peter’s Square. They split up and spread out along the piazza perimeter, quietly unloading men at select points. The debarking guards moved into the throng of tourists and media vans on the edge of the square and instantly became invisible. Some of the guards entered the forest of pillars encompassing the colonnade. They too seemed to evaporate into the surroundings. As Langdon watched through the windshield, he sensed a noose tightening around St. Peter’s. In addition to the men Olivetti had just dispatched, the commander had radioed ahead to the Vatican and sent additional undercover guards to the center where Bernini’s West Ponente was located. As Langdon looked out at the wide-open spaces of St. Peter’s Square, a familiar question nagged. How does the Illuminati assassin plan to get away with this? How will he get a cardinal through all these people and kill him in plain view? Langdon checked his Mickey Mouse watch. It was 8:54 P.M. Six minutes. In the front seat, Olivetti turned and faced Langdon and Vittoria. â€Å"I want you two right on top of this Bernini brick or block or whatever the hell it is. Same drill. You’re tourists. Use the phone if you see anything.† Before Langdon could respond, Vittoria had his hand and was pulling him out of the car. The springtime sun was setting behind St. Peter’s Basilica, and a massive shadow spread, engulfing the piazza. Langdon felt an ominous chill as he and Vittoria moved into the cool, black umbra. Snaking through the crowd, Langdon found himself searching every face they passed, wondering if the killer was among them. Vittoria’s hand felt warm. As they crossed the open expanse of St. Peter’s Square, Langdon sensed Bernini’s sprawling piazza having the exact effect the artist had been commissioned to create – that of â€Å"humbling all those who entered.† Langdon certainly felt humbled at the moment. Humbled and hungry, he realized, surprised such a mundane thought could enter his head at a moment like this. â€Å"To the obelisk?† Vittoria asked. Langdon nodded, arching left across the piazza. â€Å"Time?† Vittoria asked, walking briskly, but casually. â€Å"Five of.† Vittoria said nothing, but Langdon felt her grip tighten. He was still carrying the gun. He hoped Vittoria would not decide she needed it. He could not imagine her whipping out a weapon in St. Peter’s Square and blowing away the kneecaps of some killer while the global media looked on. Then again, an incident like that would be nothing compared to the branding and murder of a cardinal out here. Air, Langdon thought. The second element of science. He tried to picture the brand. The method of murder. Again he scanned the sprawling expanse of granite beneath his feet – St. Peter’s Square – an open desert surrounded by Swiss Guard. If the Hassassin really dared attempt this, Langdon could not imagine how he would escape. In the center of the piazza rose Caligula’s 350-ton Egyptian obelisk. It stretched eighty-one feet skyward to the pyramidal apex onto which was affixed a hollow iron cross. Sufficiently high to catch the last of the evening sun, the cross shone as if magic†¦ purportedly containing relics of the cross on which Christ was crucified. Two fountains flanked the obelisk in perfect symmetry. Art historians knew the fountains marked the exact geometric focal points of Bernini’s elliptical piazza, but it was an architectural oddity Langdon had never really considered until today. It seemed Rome was suddenly filled with ellipses, pyramids, and startling geometry. As they neared the obelisk, Vittoria slowed. She exhaled heavily, as if coaxing Langdon to relax along with her. Langdon made the effort, lowering his shoulders and loosening his clenched jaw. Somewhere around the obelisk, boldly positioned outside the largest church in the world, was the second altar of science – Bernini’s West Ponente – an elliptical block in St. Peter’s Square. Gunther Glick watched from the shadows of the pillars surrounding St. Peter’s Square. On any other day the man in the tweed jacket and the woman in khaki shorts would not have interested him in the least. They appeared to be nothing but tourists enjoying the square. But today was not any other day. Today had been a day of phone tips, corpses, unmarked cars racing through Rome, and men in tweed jackets climbing scaffolding in search of God only knew what. Glick would stay with them. He looked out across the square and saw Macri. She was exactly where he had told her to go, on the far side of the couple, hovering on their flank. Macri carried her video camera casually, but despite her imitation of a bored member of the press, she stood out more than Glick would have liked. No other reporters were in this far corner of the square, and the acronym â€Å"BBC† stenciled on her camera was drawing some looks from tourists. The tape Macri had shot earlier of the naked body dumped in the trunk was playing at this very moment on the VCR transmitter back in the van. Glick knew the images were sailing over his head right now en route to London. He wondered what editorial would say. He wished he and Macri had reached the body sooner, before the army of plainclothed soldiers had intervened. The same army, he knew, had now fanned out and surrounded this piazza. Something big was about to happen. The media is the right arm of anarchy, the killer had said. Glick wondered if he had missed his chance for a big scoop. He looked out at the other media vans in the distance and watched Macri tailing the mysterious couple across the piazza. Something told Glick he was still in the game†¦

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tab M Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words

Tab M - Essay Example The present duty of the Missouri Secretary of State includes overseeing different crucial areas, which are generally election related, business related and other government related operations. In the election related operations, the Secretary of State often play the role of the main election official during the state elections. Secretary of State also regulates the office where registration of candidate takes place. In business duties, the Secretary of State is responsible for the registration of all the profit and non-profit based organizations within the state. Additionally, the Secretary of State does have to keep an eye over the libraries and archives of the state along with handling of other operations such as issuing of automobile registrations among others (sos.mo.gov, â€Å"Publications & Forms†). The ‘Streamlined Sales and the Use of Tax Agreement (SSUTA)’ is generally a kind of agreement implemented by the government of the United States, so as to carry out the sales process and the tax administration system within the member states in a simplified and transparent manner (mobudget.org, â€Å"Streamlined Sales And 2 Use Tax Agreement†). Currently, SSUTA is implemented with the prime intention of making Missouri capable enough to adopt the definition along with the procedures of the sales tax that has been agreed upon by all the 22 member states (Blouin, â€Å"Missouri House Committee Substitute Streamlined Sales Tax Bill Contains Significant Negative Policy Consequences†). The Streamline Sales tax Project (SSTP) is highly effective in simplifying the tax regulations and the sales process. The guidelines of the SSTP have subsequently helped multiple states within US in terms of upgrading their sales and tax systems (Streamlined Sales tax Project, â€Å"Welcome to the Streamlined Sales Tax Registration System†). The archives of the Missouri

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Honda in Europe Case Study Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2250 words

Honda in Europe - Case Study Example The paper tells that the issue of cultural diversity, in regards to international marketing, is of utmost importance. It is, therefore, critical for Honda to treat the culture of each country in its own context. Furthermore, different countries from the European region have different cultural values, which significantly affect their thinking behaviors and actions. Honda appears to have made a grave cultural mistake while designing its global marketing strategy and, therefore, it will be very wise to understand the cultural practices and values of each country and design strategies that resonate the individual’s country’s culture. The poor performance of Honda in Europe has been thought to have resulted from the failure of the company to understand the culture of European countries and instead treating the market as a homogenous block. The differences amongst different European countries have been split between high-context versus low-context cultures – Honda ough t to design its marketing strategies to be in line with these cultural divisions, to enhance acceptability of its products in the respective countries. Ideally, Honda ought to have understood that the kind of advertisement that is suitable for low context cultures is different from that which is suitable for high context cultures. In essence, the advertisement for high-context culture should encompass an embedded approach where the weight is put on the general view and feel instead of providing the literal information.... In conclusion, it is not wise for Honda to market its products the same way in all countries because it is improbable that an advertisement intended for a low-context culture will work in a high-context culture and vice versa. Given that Europe is a multicultural block, Honda should take into account the two cultural segments when designing a market strategy. Is it wise for Honda to market its products the same way in every country? It is not wise for Honda to enter the global market with a similar strategy in every country because, actually, this is the mistake the company committed, in the past, leading to poorly performance in different regions especially in Europe. It is important to pay attention to various political, social and economic forces that influence business in different countries and design strategies that resonates to those factors. These factors are very essential because they are used to define the decisions to take when producing, selling and delivering products a nd services to consumers from different parts of the world. Honda should carefully assess the style, taste, culture and values and believes of its customers from different countries because these factors are essential when designing an international marketing plan. For instance, Honda should apply marketing mix that is unique to individual countries, based on factors such as language barrier, economic circumstances among many others. Socio- economic considerations, technically, are important factors that influence the company’s taxation, transport cost, people’s taste and needs as well as the competition from other companies. From the statistics, Honda is facing stiff competition from different regions, especially the

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rome Essay -- History, Architecture

Early Rome was an architecturally diverse place. For the first centuries after its founding all the people of Rome lived in very simple huts devoid of any significant meaning. But during the rule under the Etruscans, they learned how to build more complex structures with specific purposes such as a sacred place where a god can be thought to dwell. Etruscan buildings cannot be seen though without Greek architectures’ indelible mark. Through the Etruscans, Rome learned how to build huge and complex structures where before that knowledge did not exist. This period of Roman architecture can be defined along with Rome’s governmental development. Republican Rome began in 509 B.C. and with it entered the beginning of Rome’s architectural greatness. â€Å"With the expulsion of the Etruscan kings Rome was free to shape her own destinies† (Sear 14). Since Rome was not restrained because of its conquerors it was free to create whatever they wished, however they wanted. While there was still a heavy Greek influence, a style developed that was distinctly Roman, but as Rome conquered nations across the Mediterranean Sea it absorbed their styles of building and it was shown in the buildings of their capital. Imperial Rome saw the highest and lowest point in Rome’s history. But during this time an enormous number of innovative and massive structures were built that defined Rome as the dominant power in the ancient world. During this time Rome reworked its earlier principles to be used in the government and religious buildings. Cement also played an important role in the ability to construct complex domes and ornate arches. Another major change that occurred was the extensive use of marble in construction, unlike earlier brick buildings.... ...ed the small farming village on the banks of the Tiber into a thriving city. Throughout the Republic of Rome, advances were made in complexity and design alongside the introductions to new cultures during Rome’s conquests. These conquests gave Rome the wealth and inspiration needed to create its massive buildings. All through the Empire, magnificent and colossal buildings were built which reflected the height of Roman power and wealth. â€Å"It is said of Augustus that he found Rome a city built of bricks but left it a city built of marble† (Clayton 22). This is very true of how Rome was rebuilt during its time as an empire and the dominant power in the world. From beginning to end, the Roman concept of architecture was based on shaping matter around space, and this only changed in complexity and in meaning, but never changed the foundation upon which it was built.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Family Essay Essay

Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove – Freedom Essay by Callum Powell 8A The phrase to â€Å"set himself free† is used a lot throughout a bridge to Wiseman’s cove, whether it is to do with family issues or just common everyday tasks. Carl is constantly trying to let himself free and sometimes succeeds but other times doesn’t. Some examples are that if he’ll see his mother or every stop looking after his little brother Harley. Throughout â€Å"A bridge Wisemans cove† he goes through a mental journey facing evil family member (usually Beryl) and friends. An example of setting himself free is at the end of the novel where throughout the book where he has been looking after Harley, feeding him, caring for him and most importantly keeping him out of trouble. Such as when Harley is caught stealing from the local store, by the time he gets back to Aunt Beryl’s house she lashes out and threatens to kick Harley out but Carl intervenes and give Beryl some of the money that Sarah gave him earlier on in the book so that she can be kind to Harley. So by the end of the book when Harley moves in with the Duncan’s. Carl feels a sense of relief and freedom, because he no longer has the responsibility for Harley and he no longer has to worry about him. â€Å"â€Å"When Beryl chains Harley up, Carl finds the courage to confront her at the bowls club where she has been all day playing the pokies. If you’d stayed with him, kept an eye on him, if you cared about him, he wouldn’t get into trouble. † This is another part of the book where Carl â€Å"sets himself free† he finally sets free how much he despises aunt Beryl, she has been mean and cruel to them and trying to find any reason to kick them out. So this is when Carl sets free how he feels and puts his foot down. Another example of setting himself free is also at the end of the book when Carl finds out that whilst on her way home from her ‘holiday’ Kerry died in a bus crash. â€Å"Carl Matt opened up too, letting go and feeling a freedom flood into him †¦ he knew at last that he was alive to feel it† (page 241) this moment was probably one of the biggest revelations for Carl as he finally felt the sense of freedom as he was always wondering when his mum would return or if she would return. So when he finally finds out that his mother had died of course he felt sad and depressed but at the same time he felt closure and freedom as he didn’t have to worry about her or didn’t have to always be thinking of if she will come and pick him up. This is a very important part of the novel as the premise of the book is based on family and love but Carl and Harley don’t have either all they have is each other so when they find out their mum is dead it hits them hard but also sets them free. One last example of letting himself free is whilst Carl is working at Skips barge. Because working on the barge helps Carl get away from all his troubles and more importantly the people that don’t accept him such as Beryl. Whilst working on the barge Carl finds the freedom to try a lot of new things. â€Å"You love that barge, don’t you, Carl? †¦You’re the best thing that could have happened. † Finally people were starting to notice Carl, then he had the freedom to show himself. Throughout the book he was shown as a very shy, lonely and awkward kid who didn’t know many people and didn’t really talk or try to communicate with them. â€Å"Carl shared in†¦the freedom of the bird itself. Elation, freedom. He felt them both† (page 158) in some sense Carl wished that he was the bird so that he could fly away from all of his problems ad just leave them all behind. Although Carl keeps working at the barge by the end of the book he still senses a feel of freedom being away from everyone and having somewhere just to relax and forget all of your troubles. To conclude Carl found many ways to find freedom whether it was mental or emotional freedom. The ways he exampled freedom in the text were standing up to Aunt Beryl for Harleys sack, working at the local barge and finally he having the freedom to stop worrying about is mother as he didn’t know she died on her way back home. So by the end of the novel Carl found the freedom for a lot of things and didn’t regret any of the decisions he made.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Handmaids Tale Plot Analysis Essay - 1913 Words

The Handmaids Tale is written by Margaret Atwood and was originally published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. The novel is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Handmaids Tale explores themes of a new totalitarian theocratic state society that is terrifying and horrific. Its main concentration is on the subjugation of women in Gilead, and it also explores the plethora of means by which the state and agencies gain control and domination against every aspect of these womens lives. Restrictive dress codes also play an important factor as a means of social order and control in this new society. Offred, not her real name but the name given to her by her occupation, is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. The Republic of Gilead is a†¦show more content†¦She had a former husband named Luke, and they had a little daughter together before the new regime took over. Offreds purpose is to serve the Commander and his wife, Serena Joy. When Offred is at the crucial point in her menstrual cycle when she is most fertile, the Commander must have passionless sex with Offred in order to accomplish the objective of impregnating her. This is Offreds third attempt; she was not successful with the two Commanders before this one. If Offred fails again she will be declared an Unwoman and sent to the colonies for hard labor. Offreds freedom is completely restricted. She can not have the door to her room totally shut, and she can leave the house only on specific purposeful trips such as to visit the wall or for purchasing grocery items. All the while, Gileads secret police forces, known only as ‘Eyes, are scrutinizing every move she makes. As the female narrators reads the story to the audience we realize that she often has flashbacks to former times, when the United States was still a nation. She recalls the happier times she had with her mother, her close friends, and her lover and husband Luck. In the Pre-Gilead period, she also had a little daughter, June, with Luck. Offreds mother was a single mother and feminist activist. Her best friend was Moira, who was also fiercely independent. Using the military, the founders ofShow MoreRelatedTheme Of Women In The Handmaids Tale1784 Words   |  8 PagesThroughout history, women have been shamed and oppressed in different aspects of life. In The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the oppression of women continues into the dystopian future. One cannot read The Handmaid’s Tale without seeing the problems of gender separation among roles and treatment in society. Although a feminist story, The Handmaid’s Tale gives some surprisingly sympathetic portrayals of men while those of women can be critical. Men are the most mysterious characters; theyRead More`` The Road `` By Cormac Mccarthy2000 Words   |  8 PagesLiterature has always been a medium to express writer’s concerns; in her award winning book The Handmaids Tale Margaret Atwood warns of the instability in our patriarchal society, likewise Cormac McCarthy in his acclaimed book The Road also gives a warning; that of the fragility of hum an nature. Using the setting of hostile, post-apocalyptic America these authors explore what happens to both individuals and the wider society when rights and basic human necessities are taken away. Atwood createsRead MoreEssay on Silent Spring - Rachel Carson30092 Words   |  121 Pagescom/studyguide-silentspring/ Copyright Information  ©2000-2007 BookRags, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The following sections of this BookRags Premium Study Guide is offprint from Gales For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further