Fraud in Nigerian Crude Oil Selling: Authenticating The Crude Allocation and Documents by Oil Buyers


This observation by the research report on the subject, done by the Africans in America News Watch, a New York based non-profit organization, in August 2010, sums up the issue:

“There are many genuine crude oil sellers in Nigeria but the problem is getting the real and verifiable ones. Crude Oil trade is a booming and thriving business and many people seem to want to go into it. Buyers from other countries contact sellers in Nigeria in order to buy Nigerian Crude Oil. [But the business is now full of]… scammers on the prowl.” It adds that “There are lots of crude oil sellers in Nigeria, but the challenge there is the ability to find genuine and verifiable sellers.”

In point of fact, as this author has amply documented elsewhere in another study, the assertion that in the arcane world of international crude oil buying and selling today the landscape is literally littered and crawling with fraudsters and scammers, is now a well-established, well-settled truth about which there can hardly be any serious argument or disputation in the contemporary international oil buying and selling industry.

In consequence, given that stark REALITY that “there are many genuine crude oil sellers in Nigeria but the problem is getting the real and verifiable ones,” the big million dollar question is this: AS A CRUDE BUYER, HOW THEN DO YOU GET THOSE SELLERS FROM AMONG THE WHOLE LOT WHO ARE THE “REAL AND VERIFIABLE” ONES?

THE KEY? Most experts, in the case of Nigeria, say that basically you (the crude buyer) would have to demand and insist on the purported Seller showing you AUTHENTIC documentation and other proofs of having genuine BLCO and FLCO allocation from the Nigerian NNPC, as well as proof that that product is still currently availability. (For Nigeria, the NNPC, which stands for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, is a Federal government-owned company that administers the buying and selling of petroleum, including giving allocation to genuine sellers of the crude oil in Nigeria).


There are some key documents that are crucial in the purchasing of the Nigerian crude oil transactions. They will include the following documents, among others:

– Seller’s shipping documents, such as: Clean Ocean Bill of Lading; Seller’s Commercial Invoice

– Seller’s Proof of Product (will comprise the License to Export & the Approval to Export, issued by the country’s government, statement of Availability of the Product, Port Storage Agreement, etc)

– SGS/Sayboat Certificate of Quantity and Quality issued at the loading port

– Certificate of Origin issued by the NNPC

– Certificate of Authenticity issued by the NNPC

– Charter Party Agreement on the vessel, issued to the charterer of the vessel and presumably showing that the vessel is actually chartered in the designated Seller’s name

– the Q88 questionnaire, filled out by the managers of the vessel providing the relevant information and specs of the vessel;

– Etc.


Probably the most important document of all that a crude buyer may need to see from the seller, is the proper Proof of Product (POP). This document, which has to be one issued by the appropriate department of the NNPC in Abuja, Nigeria, serves as a clear indication to a crude buyer that the owner of the oil commodity has true possession of the product, and also serves as an indication that, at least as at the time of the transaction (but only at that time), the seller has the commodity available for sale.

IMPORTANT: It should not just be any form of POP, however. It needs to be one that is in a format that will enable satisfactory verification to ascertain that it is valid and authentic. Based on this writer’s research, to ensure the optimum likelihood that this goal can be attained, there are basically two types of POP documents that are acceptable, and none others, and only sellers whose POP documents meet those “preferred” POP documents standards, ought to be entertained or attended to.


A). It must have the Loaded vessel documents that are CURRENT (that is, must not be more than 2 days old, otherwise the document will immediately be rejected as it may mean that the vessel is no longer available), and should include the following documents:

i. A Current Authority to Board (ATB). Seller must provide, for the buyer’s inspection, the ATB that was specifically issued to the initial buyer (consignee) of the crude in whose name the vessel was issued. The name on the ATB must match exactly with the name on the POP and other documents named here. And, here again, the ATB MUST be CURRENT – that is, it must be no more than 2 days old. (An ATB that is more than 2 days old, should be automatically be viewed as representing a vessel which is no longer available and hence not acceptable).

ii. Certificate of quality.

iii. Certificate of origin

iv. Cargo manifest

v. Vessel ullage report

vi. Certificate of quantity.

vii. Bill of lading

viii. ATS (Authority to Sell) from the NNPC


Generally, the Buyer may require (and hence the Seller must be willing and ready to release them), vessel particulars such as the following: the name of the vessel, location of the vessel, the IMO name, call sign and other vessel details. The reason this is required is so the buyer can do the tracking of the said loaded vessel, and to ascertain its current availability.


As in the case of the POP which reputable buyers’ facilitating outfits like the Reliable Dealings International require from any AWR seller before they can begin to do business with them, the other things that may often be required from a seller, would include the following:

= the Lifting Lease/License from the NNPC, and

= the Letter of Authority to Sell (ATS) from the NNPC. The Letter of Authority to Sell, also called a Letter of Allocation, which should usually come from the NNPC’s Crude Oil Marketing Department, is basically the official document which shows the buyer that the seller actually has the authority from the official government agency for the crude product that he’s selling. (Must usually be in a paper format and on NNPC company letterhead; must contain the date of issue and expiration date, and be signed. Scanned copies of document are alright. All documents must be certified, valid, authentic and verifiable.)

= If, for example, the seller claims that the cargo has been cleared, then he should usually be able to provide the CPA (Charter Party Agreement), the ATL (Authority To Load), and Q88 vessel details.


OK, so let’s say you’ve assembled the proper Proof of Product and the other essential documents such as those that are outlined above. There’s one key, in deed critical, question that still remains for you – how do you assure that these documents you’ve gotten from the seller are even any good? That they are real, valid, AUTHENTIC and GENUINE to warrant your taking the Seller’s offer seriously?

This question is, perhaps, often the most critical for a buyer because, as a rule, most fraudsters and con artists who operate in the Nigerian crude oil industry, are simply masterful forgers and copiers of every bit of the legitimate industry documents that are used in selling and buying operations by refineries and government agencies, and who are highly skilled at the craft. Consequently, buyers are strictly wary never, ever to accept outright at face value or be ever fooled by, any document submitted by sellers or claims made by them, however seemingly convincing or real-looking!. And what it all means, is that one crucial facility that a crude oil buyer and his aides must quickly develop and have, are some good, fool-proof, tools or skills by which they can INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY the authenticity of at least the key, most significant pieces of documents from among the tons of documents that sellers and their agents will often present them in the course of hawking their products. And, above all, that they must have the skills and the knowledge and business sophistication to be able to detect which ones among such documents are genuine and legitimate, and which ones might be plain bogus.

To be sure, making such verification and confirmation may often be problematic for a buyer. However, it is not really that difficult a task, at least for the schooled and experienced eyes. You only need to know what and what to look for, the right questions to ask, and how to counter check and cross check facts and information. And, in any case, whenever in serious doubt about the authenticity of a document, you should always take the path of caution – ask for more proof, or even reject the offer, depending on the particular facts at issue in an offer.



Please see the instructional information in the author’s resource box below

Source by Benjamin Anosike, PhD

IVR: The History And Future Of Speech Recognition

By the mid to late 90’s, telephony was advanced enough for callers to interact with an IVR through both speech and telephone keypads. During this time, rumors fueled by industry experts about the new voice response technology and promises for more sophisticated applications were fiercely circulated. Yet, in looking at today’s speech IVRs, it’s painfully clear that very little real progress has actually occurred. Today’s models are acutely limited in scope, and are frequently implemented incorrectly. We’ll talk more about these points in a moment, but for now I’d like to highlight important characteristics of the newer technologies.

There are basically three popular tiers of speech IVR technology, provided by a single well known technology supplier. The tiers, which consist of keyword, key phrase, and natural recognition are each designed with a specific degree of sophistication to accommodate as many business settings as possible.

The least sophisticated tier, keyword recognition, works by having the IVR guide or direct caller requests. For example, the IVR might say something like “please say or press 1”. In the event that the caller said something that did not match the IVR’s script, the caller may be sent to the beginning of the menu – or even disconnected from the call entirely.

The next step up from that, key phrase recognition, works in a similar fashion as search engines. Basically, the IVR provides answers based on a predefined set of terms provided by the caller. The caller might say something like “please give me the number to the bank branch near Disney”, and the IVR would provide information about the key phrases “bank” and “Disney”. Obviously, because the caller does not know what the key phrases are in advance, communication is prone to breakdown.

Finally, the most sophisticated technology is dramatically different from the two previous examples given. With natural recognition, the IVR is designed (hypothetically) to fully understand the caller’s real, or natural language. In this case, the caller may say something like “I’ve already tried fixing my computer by restarting, turning off power, unplugging, now what do I do?”. In order for this type of technology to work successfully, three different things must first happen:

  1. The IVR needs to be programmed with an extensive list of vocabulary, and in addition, must also figure out how frequently these vocabulary items appear.
  2. The IVR needs to be able to understand complete sentences, so grammar must also be programmed.
  3. The IVR needs to be able to extract the caller’s actual intent, and not just rely on keywords or phrases.

It should be rather apparent to the reader that natural recognition is the preferred level of speech technology. However, at present these IVRs are restricted to the simplest applications of call routing. The reason more sophisticated applications are not being used is because the costs required for IVRs capable of extracting intent is astronomical! Rather than choose the lesser of three evils, there is yet another IVR technology on the market — IVRs powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

The newer IVRs are essentially still stuck in the 90s and have failed to deliver on the promises that were made during their inception. Modern IVRs that embrace technology from the current era have moved beyond promises of a better IVR, and on to doing what their predecessors only dreamed of.

Source by Jay E. Coop

Air Pollution, Its Effects and How to Reduce It

Air pollution is the introduction of harmful materials to the air like particulates, biological wastes and industrial wastes to the atmosphere. It has effects on the life on earth and also destroys buildings and other structures.

Types of Air Pollutants

Many of things pollute the air by exposing harmful gasses to the atmosphere, they include:-

Carbon Monoxide. Produced as a result of combustion of oil in vehicles, burning of forests, and also industrial wastes.

Radioactive pollutants from nuclear explosives, war explosives, and natural processes like the decay of radon.

Odors from garbage, sewage, and other industrial processes

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from burning of waste products.

Volatile organic compounds, in categories of methane and non-methane products

Carbon dioxide gasses from greenhouse effects

Particulate matter includes dust particles blown by the wind into the air, toxic chemicals, ash, soot, and cadmium

Ozone layer. It is an important layer in the stratosphere that prevents us from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. However, if it is below this layer, it can cause respiratory illness and damage ecosystems.

Nitrogen oxides from industrial plants and vehicles

Sulfur dioxide mainly from combustion at industrial facilities.

Sources of materials that pollute Air

The cause of air pollution has several sources as shown below:-

Volcanic eruptions which produce gasses like Sulphur, ash particulates, and chlorine.

Carbon monoxide from wildfires

Habits of smoking

Waste deposition on land which produces methane

Aerosol sprays

Dust from natural sources as areas without vegetation.

Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution has significant effects on the life on earth as well as the environment.

It causes problems with respiration and in particular Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide gasses.

Pollutioning of air also affects the productivity of plants

Gasses like carbon dioxide causes global warming which affects the climate and also causes skin diseases.

The gasses irritates eyes, nose, and throat causing breathing difficulties

A mixture of these gasses with water causes acid rain which causes corrosion to buildings and other metal structures; it acidifies water which ends up killing the living organisms and plants in the water.

How to avoid and minimize air pollution

Increased levels of pollution can have high and advanced impacts on life on earth. The following are some of the measures that can be used to reduce air pollution and its effects on land.

Always use products that are recyclable and that minimize power in their production.

Stop the smoking habits as this increases the pollution. Seek medical assistance if you are addicted to smoking and they will help you to halt the practice.

Plant a garden. Trees from this garden will assist in clearing the air by providing more oxygen to the air and reducing the levels of carbon dioxide.

Make it a habit of using water- based or solvents free of paints

Use public transport like buses and train. If the distance is short, you can walk or ride a bike.

Use environmentally friendly cleaners

Use solar power or wind power

Use natural gas for cooking purposes instead of charcoal to reduce emitting of harmful gasses to the atmosphere.


Polluting air has significant impacts on our lives as human beings and the lives of other living creatures. It is our duty to ensure that we protect our lives by taking care of the environment and avoiding exposing gasses to the atmosphere that end up polluting the air. Strive to use the tips above on how to prevent exposure of gasses to the air and this will help in reducing the pollution and its impacts.

Source by James Nguma

Mushroom Growing Business for Uganda: The Real Magic Uncovered

‘In just 90 days, I was able to get over Shs. 50 million from the 7,000 stems of oyster mushrooms I grew. Each stem produces an average of 1.5kg of mushrooms in that 90 day period, and a kilo of mushrooms ranges from between Shs. 5000 and Shs. 8000.’

Mr. Kiddu Abel of the African Grower’s association (U) Limited

Mr. Kiddu who is referred to above is right, mushrooms do grow quick. Their complete growth cycle is on average 15 weeks (about 4 months), even when using rudimentary methods. In Uganda it is common to grow them by having polythene bags suspended from the ceiling/roofs of dark grass thatched huts. The polythene bags being stuffed with damp cotton seedlings as well as maize brand, cotton or timber waste. With modern methods however, the mushrooms begin to sprout after 1-3 days.

So with the above in mind, how do you set about to make money to “feed the gods” of Kampala and it’s surrounding areas?


1. Small Market.

Whilst mushrooms are technically not vegetables, they are often classified as such and owing to a low-level of disposable income, they are often not considered a necessity by Ugandans and therefore market is often limited to supermarkets and a few markets. The East African and International markets as per a few other research reports I have viewed seem to show that exports from Uganda would not be competitive when compared to other countries. The market will not therefore be significant but I however believe that the demand still outstrips the supply and with an increasing middle class, it is expected that demand for mushrooms will continue to grow.

2. Perish ability

Mushrooms are highly perishable and need to be consumed fast or properly preserved immediately after harvest; either through drying them or freezing. For the more advanced farmer, I recommend that you preserve them by drying them using a tunnel dryer. A tunnel dryer is estimated per Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to cost $250. At September 2012’s exchange rate this is about Shs 632,000. I however expect that to be the non commercial type as the commercial ones are in the range of $6,500 but I believe the non commercial is a good starting point. There is of course a possibility that the creative manufacturers of Katwe near Kampala can make you a local tunnel dryer.

An alternative to drying is to have refrigeration facilities to keep them fresh as some consumers including export markets prefer fresh to dried mushrooms.

3. Water.

Mushrooms need constant supply of water and a moist dimly lit environment to grow favorably. We therefore recommend having an underground water tank to ensure constant supply of water.

4. Edible types.

Identifying and consuming only the edible types is a challenge, poisonous types with harmful toxins can easily be mistaken for edible ones. I would recommend that you contact an experienced grower to help you find the commercial and edible type of mushrooms. The most common types in Uganda being the oyster and the button types.


1. Little Space.

Growing mushrooms doesn’t need a lot of land or space. It is particularly suited for even a Kampala suburb dweller and mushrooms can be grown in your backyard or store.

2. Simple process.

Mushroom growing is simple and doesn’t require a lot of expertise and intensive care. The art of mushroom growing can be mastered quickly and easily as compared to other agricultural products or plants.

A word of caution, despite the ease of learning, it is worth visiting a farmer in Uganda to get first hand training. You can try Kabale district which owing to its cooler climate is renowned for mushroom growing and even has modern commercial facilities.

3. Profitability and return on investment.

I estimate the Return on Investment for this sector is as follows:

  • Start up capital (A): Shs.4,420,000
  • Profitability (B): 19,170,000
  • Return on Capital (A/B): 0.23 years

Final word

Mushroom growing is easy to learn and with low start-up costs and returns in about 3 months as shown above. This is therefore a cracking venture to start. It is also a sustainable venture as mushrooms are a very good alternative source of protein.

Mushroom growing therefore has the double benefit of being profitable and good for the community (as a healthy living option).

Otherwise best of luck!

Source by D E Wasake

Negative Energy and How Mental Telepathy Can Affect Things

There is no way to go through life avoiding people. One of the things that you should understand though is that the law of attraction is something that could potentially help you with dealing with these people. If you find that you are thinking negatively then you will attract others who are negative. If you are thinking positively then you will find others who are positive.

While this sounds simple enough, it is actually something that is very difficult to master. This is because while you can affect others with your negative energy, theirs can also affect you. So if you know someone who you always feel angry, sad or any other negative emotion around then you might need to spend less time around that individual. Likewise if you know someone who makes you feel happy or even like laughing then you will want to spend more time around them.

The one thing that can truly affect each and every aspect of your life is negative energy. You will find that this includes how you are feeling and your current state of health. Plus you will also find that you are not able to accomplish all of your goals and that things do not seem to be going your way when you think about the negative rather than the positive.

There are people who seem to have bad luck and sometimes even misfortune follow them no matter where they might try to go. These individuals are probably not the most positive people. Through changing their negative energy into positive energy they might actually be able to improve a multitude of different areas of their lives.

Of course when it comes to life some things are bound to make things easier while others are certainly more likely to make things harder as they required a lot more energy to solve. The reason for this is that the law of attraction requires that people be positive in their decision making and thought process. This is one thing that could potentially assist you with trying to find the best way to be able to carry out tasks.

You should make it your duty to understand the energy behind everything in your life as well as the energy that is coming towards you from others as well as your environment. You are not separate from your environment because the energy you are experience will eventually saturate your aura affecting your thoughts and then how you feel.

Source by Daniel Hinds

Where to Buy Fashionable Wholesale Clothes

Most women love fashionable clothes, especially those who need to go to work everyday and uniforms are not provided. They feel good whenever they get out of the house and find people staring at their good looking dresses. Women who love clothes love to shop. And they prefer to buy their clothing wholesale, because they want to have every type and style of clothing ready whenever they feel they want to use it.

Besides shopping for your own personal use, you may also buy wholesale clothing because of your buy and sell business. If you are in this business, it is likely that you are always in the market for women’s clothes like skirts, dresses, pants, jeans, and even plus size clothing. You may also be looking for wholesale women’s tops such as tank tops, camisoles, halter tops, tube tops, t-shirts, and blouses. You can buy all these things locally, but you may also want to purchase from overseas manufacturers and wholesalers like Korea, Japan or China.

People in the clothing business usually order their merchandise from China, one of the major manufacturers of China wholesale clothing. Their clothes have great designs and materials that can match the name brands. Most women love to wear these clothes, making the clothing always in demand, so people who are running online shops find this business very profitable. However, you need to have a business license and a Tax Identification Number (TIN) before you can purchase wholesale from overseas wholesalers. These license and TIN will exempt you from taxes because these items are business related.

Besides the license and TIN, there are many other things to learn about buying clothes wholesale for business on the internet. For example, you may want to consider using drop shipping. A company maintains a large number of fashionable items on their store or warehouse. If you sell their items, they will deliver the items for you. This makes things convenient because you need not worry about shipping the things to your buyers.

You also need to know which styles and designs are saleable. To do this, you can go to the flea market of your locality and observe which clothes are best sellers. And you can think of a way to know the supplier’s name of those women’s clothing. In flea markets, you can also find copies of Wholesale White Pages, a book that contains list and information, including contact numbers, of clothing wholesalers in other countries like the US and China. There is also a wholesale list online that you can purchase. Look at classified ads and eBay or similar auction sites. You can use the information contained in it like the Wholesale White Pages.

Having a clothing business is to learn continuously. You must know how transactions are done, so are the pricing. Knowing some marketing techniques coupled with having an excellent webpage can help your online business grow quickly. Looking at all these, there seems to be a lot to do, but it is not that difficult, really. And once you have found your own niche of product, you will realize that fashionable clothing is such a lucrative business.

Source by Mel Olmst

George Foreman 10th Anniversary Grill

The George Foreman 10th anniversary grill was a jumbo machine designed to celebrate the popularity of the grills and to celebrate healthy eating in general. The history of the grills goes back to 1994.

In 1994 at the age of 45, Foreman regained the heavyweight championship title he had lost to Muhammad Ali two decades earlier. The comeback was unexpected in the boxing world. George attributed his success to a healthier lifestyle, a better attitude and healthier eating.

The grill’s unique design was invented by Michael Boehm. Because of the ridged surface and the angled cooking area, the meat does not sit in fat as it cooks. The fat drips out and drains away. The amount of fat removed from the meat is visible by looking at what is caught in the drip tray.

Between 1994 and 2009, over 100 million of the grills were sold worldwide. New designs and innovations were introduced each year. Some people bought the new grills and sold their used ones at yard sales or on popular auction sites. There is no way to calculate the number or resold grills.

The George Foreman 10th anniversary grill was introduced when the name was owned by Salton. Applica bought Salton in 2007. The name of the parent company is more familiar to some people. Russell Hobbs Inc. is currently the owner of the brand.

The grills are available all over the US and in the United Kingdom. The main US headquarters are located in Miramar Florida. The UK headquarters are in Manchester.

There is no doubt that Foreman’s endorsement was and is still responsible for the popularity of the grills. He was well-rewarded for that endorsement. Salton reportedly paid him over $135 million for the use of his name in 1999.

The unique non-stick coating is one of the selling points of the George Foreman 10th anniversary grill, the models that preceded it and the newer versions. The coatings eliminate the need to use oil or added fat of any kind. Even cooking sprays add calories and fat to the foods you cook with them.

The sizes of the grills have varied greatly over the years. The small grills able to accommodate only two burgers have always been popular. The original model known as the lean, mean grilling machine was of the smaller size.

The popularity of the George Foreman 10th anniversary grill had a lot to do with the size of the cooking surface. It could accommodate as many as 10 burgers, but some users found that rearranging the burgers was necessary to get even cooking.

Because of the top and bottom grilling surfaces, there should be no need to flip a burger or a salmon filet. Rearranging the foods should be unnecessary too. Checking for desired doneness is about all that anyone should have to do, which makes cooking easier, especially for people with little kitchen expertise.

Buying the George Foreman 10th anniversary grill today might not be possible, since it was released over 5 years ago. But the newer models are just as good.

Source by Audrey J

How to Read the Serial Number on a Banknote While Blindfolded!

How The Trick Appears To The Audience

An examined paper bag is placed over the magician’s head. A spectator then hands the magician a banknote. By running his fingers over the banknote, the magician is able to read the serial number of the note! The magician then asks the spectator to give him a playing card, so it is facing away from him. By running his fingers over the face of the card, the magician can identify which card it is!

How The Trick Is Done

Take a large brown, paper bag and place it over your head. Pinch the bag slightly at the spots where your eyes are and remove the bag. Then take a pin and make small pinholes, where your eyes were. They should be so small, that they will not be noticeable.

Replace the bag on your head and make sure the holes are positioned right in front of your eyes. If you have done it correctly, you will be able to see quite clearly through the holes. You are now ready to perform the trick.

Tell the spectators that you are going to place the paper bag over your head, so it is impossible for you to see. Prove that the bag is normal by placing it over a spectator’s head. However, when you do this, make sure that you put the side of the bag without the holes in front of his face. The spectator will testify that it is impossible to see through the bag.

Take the bag off his head and put it over your own head. However, as you do this, reverse the bag, so the side with the holes is in front of your eyes.

Ask someone to hand you a banknote and start feeling it carefully with your fingers, as though you were reading braille. You will of course be able to see the serial number quite easily. After a bit of pretend difficulty, slowly and dramatically call out the serial number.

Then ask a spectator to hand you any playing card from a deck of cards. Ask him to hand it to you so that the card is facing away from you. Hold the card in both hands, with your right hand holding the top narrow end and your left hand holding the bottom narrow end.

Move your fingers over the face of the card, as though you are trying to read it with your fingers. However, as you are doing this, bend the card slightly, so the center bends towards your body. This will allow you to see the index of the card at the bottom, left-hand corner. After you have seen the index, continue feeling the card and allow it to straighten again. After a suitable dramatic pause, slowly reveal the name of the card.

Source by Michael Breck

Essay Writing – Using Reasoning to Support the Thesis

Reasoning satisfies the human need for justification and a sense of ‘rightness’ that all intelligent communication needs, especially in an essay.

What is “reasoning,” anyway? When talking about the meaning of reasoning, we can get into confusing philosophical issues much too quickly. So let’s start with a down-to-earth definition of reasoning as a process—

Reasoning involves a conscious attempt to discover what is true and what is best. Reasoning thought follows a chain of cause and effect, and the word reason can be a synonym for cause.

By this definition, reasoning involves cause-and-effect relationships, whether it be a single cause-and-effect relationship or a chain of cause- and-effect relationships. But what is a cause-and-effect relationship?

Cause and effect is a relationship in which one thing, called the cause, makes something else happen, and that “something else,” that result, is called the effect. For example, a boy hits a ball with a bat and the ball goes through a window, breaking it. In this instance, the cause is the boy hitting the ball, and the effect is breaking the window.

Cause-and-effect reasoning is something we all use every day, whether we’re particularly conscious of it or not. So I’m sure you’ll recognize these common, informal rules of cause and effect:

1. Sequence— The cause comes first, and the effect follows after.

2. Present— When the cause is present, the effect is always present.

3. Absent— When the cause is absent, the effect is always absent.

Now, here’s a true, commonly accepted, yet typically loose, example of those rules being applied to an historical situation—

For centuries in Europe, only white swans were ever seen. All sightings, records, and information on swans in Europe showed that they were always white. So it was okay to assert as a truth that, “All swans are white.” (Another way to put it: “If it’s a swan, it’s white.”)

The cause in this instance is this: Ever since Europeans had kept and tracked records—anecdotes, diaries, family hand-me-down stories, histories, journals, legends (local, regional, cultural), memoirs, myths, oral history storytelling—they had known swans as only white. No other color of swan had ever been known in Europe, and no world traveler had ever brought word from their travels to Europe that there was ever a swan of any other color than white.

Because of all that experience and evidence, the effect was that Europeans believed that all swans everywhere in the world were white. It was good reasoning, based on centuries of accumulated evidence throughout an extensive geographical region and across varied cultures.

But guess what? A Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh, discovered a black swan in Australia in 1697, undoing centuries of European observation, experience, and thought involving the color of swans.

One lesson from the black swan incident is that reasoning does work most of the time, but not always, because we cannot actually examine all the world on any particular question or fact (at least, not yet; but the world’s sciences and technologies do keep advancing, however… ). And that’s what it takes to authoritatively say, “always present” or “always absent.” Of course, in the absence of having all knowledge, all of us will continue using reasoning to help fill in our gaps of knowledge, and that’s why it’s so important to understand the proper use of reasoning in essays.

Let’s look at three popular essays to see how they use cause-and-effect reasoning rules to support their original ideas, or new view thesis statements. Let’s start with the simplest essay, George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” (you can bring up free Internet copies of each of these essays by putting quotes around their titles in Google).

In his essay, George Orwell presents his new view of a reverse cause and effect in his second paragraph:

If one gets rid of these [bad language] habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

Let’s break that down into a series of causes and effects:

CAUSE: If one gets rid of these [bad language] habits

EFFECT: one can think more clearly,

CAUSE: and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards

EFFECT: political regeneration

We should add this, too, to clearly establish the old view—

CAUSE: political regeneration is a necessary step towards

EFFECT: reversing the decadence and collapse of civilization

………………(reverse of the accepted old view that language must degenerate and collapse, along with civilization)

As you can see, that first EFFECT becomes the second CAUSE, and that second EFFECT becomes the third CAUSE, which forms a short chain of cause-and-effect reasoning.

Now let’s see how well Orwell fulfills the rules of cause and effect to support the new view in his thesis:

Sequence— first, get rid of bad language habits

……………………(WEAKLY SHOWN by two small examples)

……………………after, think clearly and reverse civilization’s decadence

……………………(NOT SHOWN by any story or example; merely asserted as true)

Present— when good political language usage is present,

……………….clear thinking and improving civilization is always present

……………….(NOT SHOWN by any story or example; asserted as true)

Absent— when good political language usage is absent,

………………clear thinking is always absent

………………(many old view examples show clear thinking as always absent)

Did you notice that I entered “WEAKLY SHOWN” for the first part of the Sequence rule, based on Orwell’s following two brief examples of getting “rid of bad language habits”–

Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists.

As far as showing how those two examples had the effect of helping politicians “think clearly and reverse civilization’s decadence” for the after part of the Sequence rule, that’s definitely “NOT SHOWN.” No stories or examples or reasoning is provided to support that effect.

And “NOT SHOWN” for the Present rule? Whoa! Orwell does not use any stories or examples or specific speculations to show that what he is proposing actually works or will work-or even has worked at any time or place in history.

And, although Orwell shares his 6-item formula for getting rid of bad language usage towards the end, he supplies no story or example or specific speculation to show any of those suggestions really working or actually having some sort of positive effect.

Wow! How does he get away with that? Why don’t we notice that when we’re reading his essay?

After much thought, I think I discovered the reason-it’s the amount of time Orwell spends propping up his old view with all those examples of poor language usage by politicians.

We can see what he is saying is true about each one of those examples. But there are so many of them that it’s-well, it’s very much like a slick salesman who bends our ear with such a torrent of words that we get mentally tired trying to follow what he’s saying. And then we’re just grateful to get to the end of all the talk, without mentally filtering all the reasoning of what’s being said.

I think that’s it. However, I honestly don’t think Orwell was trying to put anything over on us. He just didn’t have examples of the effects of his new view thesis to share with us because what he was suggesting hadn’t been implemented by a large group of people yet, so there were no effects to see. And maybe, just maybe, all his examples tired him out, too!

What Orwell should have done is supply some examples of specific effects that he predicts would happen, as well as how they would progressively, logically happen, if his six suggestions were followed. That would have done the trick, I think.

Interesting, don’t you agree?

Teachers and publishers, in general, seem to love Orwell’s essay despite its faults-why? Because of the important new insight, the new view, that Orwell provides, that’s why. Orwell’s principle of ‘good language makes for good thinking’ rings true to all of us, even though his reasoning support for it is rather weak and he provides no new view examples.

Just goes to show you what a truly great new view thesis-plus an overwhelming number of solid old view examples-can do for you, right? (Please see my next article to finish this discussion with the analysis of two more published essays.)

Source by William Drew Jr

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