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Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of children's stories such as 'The Secret Garden' in which the characters suffer hardships before finding happiness, herself suffered great hardship and loss in her own life leading her to a spiritual quest for healing (read more)

Featured Article: Plastic

Plastics have become an indispensable part of our technological society.
The term plastic is applied to a wide range of synthetic and semi-synthetic products, and a few naturally occurring materials as well. The name plastic is derived from the fact that many of these materials have the property of plasticity—that is, they can be shaped in different forms, including various boards, films, and fibers. Given their adaptability, general uniformity of composition, and lightweight, plastics are being used for numerous products, including those used in homes, schools, offices, factories, recreational facilities, and means of transportation and communication. Plastics have become an indispensable part of our modern technological society. Yet plastics are also associated with certain environmental problems, such as the release of chemical pollutants during manufacture or incineration, and the problem of plastic litter that is not biodegradable. To help solve these problems, plastic recycling programs have been instituted in many countries.

Popular Article: Social work

Social work involves ameliorating social problems such as poverty and homelessness.
Social work is a discipline involving the application of social theory and research methods to study and improve the lives of people, groups, and societies. It incorporates and uses other social sciences as a means to improve the human condition and positively change society's response to chronic problems, such as poverty and homelessness. Social work is also the name of the profession committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the enhancement of the quality of life, and to the development of the full potential of each individual, family, group, and community in society. It seeks to simultaneously address and resolve social issues at every level of society and economic status, but especially among the poor and sick.

Social work, as a profession or pursuit, originated in the nineteenth century, beginning primarily in the United States and England in response to societal problems that resulted from the Industrial Revolution. The settlement movement's emphasis on advocacy and case work became part of social work practice. During the twentieth century, the profession began to rely more on research and evidenced-based practice as it attempted to improve its professionalism. Eventually an increasing number of educational institutions began to offer social work programs.

As ideas of social responsibility developed, social work became more and more integral to the functioning of contemporary society. Although originally instituted as emergency measures in times of dire need, social work is now considered an essential function that not only saves the weak and needy but also supports the general health of society.