We may know the latest gossip about One Direction or how Beyonce’s sister Solange attacked Jay-Z in an elevator, but is our interest in celebrities a bad thing? Within the past few weeks, students analyzed how our fascination with celebrities impacts society in our #DoNowCelebrity post. We asked students, Given the context of income inequality and changing demographics across the country, is the American obsession with celebrities good or bad for our culture? Why?
Since the first Earth Day event in 1970, there’s been major progress in environmental stewardship–the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Water Act, an increased number of recycling programs, and even curbside composting in some places, like San Francisco. Should government funds support the development of hydrogen fuel stations over other green transportation initiatives?
With increasing concern about carbon dioxide emissions, climate change and American energy independence, environmentalists, politicians and the oil industry have been butting heads over the development of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which requires the Obama administration’s approval before construction can begin. Do you think the Obama administration should approve this effort?
Science has identified two major influences which affect the person you grow to be: nature (your innate qualities and genetics) and nurture (your personal experiences and environment). These two factors play a major role in the upbringing of a human, but to what extent does each contribute to how a person behaves?
Moon Express’ ultimate goal is to start mining the moon for precious metals that could be used in everything from electric car batteries to missiles. Moon Express is not the only company considering mining the moon. In fact, NASA is opening up non-financial support to help private companies develop robotic lunar landing capabilities which could ultimately be used for commercial activities as well as scientific and academic research. What do you think is the most important scientific or ethical concern to consider about mining the moon?
Florida is a state that prides itself on its oranges, producing more than 80% of our country’s orange juice. However, that status has been under serious threat. Do you think genetic modification of citrus trees is a good step towards a solution?
Recently China successfully launched their first moon rover, Chang’e-3, into orbit. Unfortunately later that day pieces from the launch rocket fell off and destroyed the homes of two citizens. Although nobody was harmed, the falling spacecraft still worried many people.
Each year, tens of thousands of elephants are being slaughtered due to illegal poaching. Poachers kill elephants for their precious ivory tusks, which are now valued even higher than gold. This past March, over 60 scientists from around the world published a paper titled Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa, which portrays a bleak future for African elephants as a result of this poaching. According to the study, in just nine years the African elephant population has decreased by 62 percent, and African elephants have lost 30 percent of their geographical range. If the current rate of poaching continues, elephants could face extinction in as early as 10 years.
In recent years, scientists have discovered carcasses of frozen woolly mammoths with intact tissues and preserved DNA. With this DNA, and that from other extinct animals, researchers are trying to actually clone the extinct animals and bring them back to life. Current technologies are on the verge of making this possible. So far, the closest we’ve come is to de-extincting the passenger pigeon, thanks to frozen DNA samples and the DNA of its closest relative, the band tailed pigeon.