From Earlham Cluster Department
Overpopulation is not only the fact that there will be more people on the earth, behind that word lies is a huge consequence of earth not being able to produce enough resources. Because by increasing number of people on the earth we will still have the same amount of resources since it is a fixed factor that can go only down (example: fossil oil) Final consequence can be population collapse. This problem is more evident in developing countries because they do not have access to good “updated” education that will teach them how to conserve resources. Since they are also suffering economically they do not have access to birth controls. Most of them work in agriculture and have huge families because they think that one more mouth is acceptable to feed because two more hand swill be helping with the labor. It is approximated that on the earth are 6,896,700,000 people at this moment. And that every second ten people die while another thirty are born. Which means that every second we have 20 people more than second ago. In my opinion, the problem of overpopulation is still underestimate (and that is exactly why we are facing the problem) and majority of people do not believe that it is happening (same scenario happened with the problem of global warming – it was predicted many years ago but got significant attention recently). So I think that we should use science and technology in order to stress the importance of this problem on a global level. Scientists from different fields (Computer scientists, Sociologists...) can produce a great models of overpopulation that will be able to present their horrible consequence as well. And noways technology can contribute by handling those models (complex models with huge number of arguments).
Renewable energy is in my opinion very important and serious issue. At this moment, 85% of energy that we use is coming from fossil fuels that are fixed factor on earth and wont last forever. We can be free and say that nowadays world literally works and is dependent of fossil fuels. It is also well known that use of fossil fuels as another consequence will have creation of serious pollution. This is a great example where science and technology work together in order to produce something better, something called renewable energy sources. In my opinion green energy is consider as a serious problem and is getting significant attention. This problem will be solved when price of energy that is produced by renewable technology reach the price of energy that is produced by non renewable energy. This is a great challenge for science.
Clean water is a huge problem for some places at this moment. And the number of those places is getting bigger as time is passing. It is very scary and terrifying to know that ancient Romans had better water quality than a half of our population now. And that half of the world's hospitalization is caused by water diseases which results in 3,575 million deaths. This problem is in my opinion not getting the significant amount of attention because the people who control money are not affected with this issues at all. However, in my opinion this is a great task for scientists to produce technology capable of handling this problem. It is very sad to know that water covers 70.9% of the Earth's surface but some people are still having troubles to have it. By making technology that is very efficient in taking water out of air (and for that use renewable energy source like sun) we would help to many people. Another goal would be efficient and reliable transforming of see water to drinking and usable water should be another step closer to solving this problem.
I think that by fixing one problem we are creating another because in my opinion other reason why we are facing a problem like overpopulation is because some time ago we improved our medication treatment (which use to be issue before). By doing that we lover child mortality and increased life expectant. With overpopulation we will increase pollution...
The “designers of atmosphere” did a great job and on a very clever way managed to successfully (through interactive technology tools) show how atmosphere works, what might happen and what are our options in the future. I have learned many details but one that took my attention is the fact that the mixture of gases in the atmosphere has taken over 4.5 billion years to evolve. How hard and long it takes to create something but how short and little takes to destroy something. The most engaging kiosk for me was related to the section of “what we can do” and to be more specific it was a “green car” with “open source” technology that showed success so far (at least with software) :) I think that all kiosks were very engaging and I enjoyed spending time in all of them.
I definitely enjoyed in this play especially because of great incorporation of actors and special effects. Personally I was very surprised that somewhere out in the world exists play like this, play about global warming. People who care about these issues are trying to approach to general public trough many different ways, starting from documentaries, newspapers, movies, web-pages, interactive games, radio shows... But I never before heard of approaching trough play. I was personally surprised by the number of people that visited the play and I was happy to see that this way of approaching and shaping public opinion really works. I learned some new things and after checking proved to me that they used very accurate facts in the pay. Hope that there will be more plays on this topic and personally think that this is a great idea especially because stressing the importance of global warming trough this media is very new and attractive to people.
Reflections on Climate Change
Many researches showed that a regular person is more likely to remember some facts after seeing it in a visual form (movie, and nowadays tether) than by reading it from the written form (books, journals, research papers...). That is the reason why tether and the museum were a bit more effective for me than the assigned reading. I also believe that interaction will attract more people because it is proven that people like to watch more than to read. I am glad to see that more and more people are starting to realize that global warming and the climate changes are happening more rapidly than they should and that people are actually the main reason for this. I am very sad to say that in my country, most of the population do not realize at all what is a global warming and what consequences is it bringing. It is because government is not spending any money on this very important issue. The reason for this is money and education lack. But at the same time I am glad that developed countries like United States and international organizations like United Nations care much more about this issue. I remember that Barrack Obama said in his State of the Union that United States aspiration is to take the leading position in the green energy production and stimulation.
Science at Kew Gardens
I was pleasantly surprised with our visit to the Kew. Honestly I could not even dream that I will enjoy that much. Beautiful weather contributed and placed that day to my top 10 London days. Kew Gardens has more than 500 employed scientists. With the budget of more than 50 million dollars they do different branches of science. Ranging from sequencing plants genes to discovering potentials of plants. In my opinion, the reason for success of this organization is in their internationalism (sending their scientists all over the world). Society already supports Kew Gardens work but I think that it should get even more support because this part of science is still not well researched (~10% is known to us) and I am sure that there are many good things buried inside of those, to us still, unknown plants. I see a near-term principle as a learning part because everyone can benefit from information that are presented and researched my Kew scientists. Also public can enjoy in many plants samples at one place. As a long term benefit I see it as a cure for many diseases and bank of plants. It can also be very beneficial to our successors especially if present population do nothing about global warming.
I found Fibonacci sequence very interesting. At the Kew I saw a few examples of it. In one of the water aquarium I saw a shell (mussels) that was a pure example of Fibonacci sequence. Other example of it at the garden would be pine cones and flowers. And of course the bridge :)
Technology and Sustainability Talk.
I definitely enjoyed in the presentation and really like the way you managed to incorporate and successfully connect and present “how did we get here”, “how serious is here” and “what to do in order to get out of here”. I personally think that it is an art to talk about those three things in such a short time period and make people understand everything and allow them to create their opinion (even if they haven’t had one before). I personally think that this presentation should be done at Earlham as one of the Earlham’s convocations. The only thing that I would suggest is more interaction with audience and try to encourage them to ask more questions. Great job :)
At the beginning of the chapter, the author is saying that the sequencing genome is extreelly expensive as well as any on technology related to genetic engineering. Do you think that once we make this technology more accessible that human population will be in greater danger? (some modified bacteria "escaping" from the laboratory)
Is the embryo morally equivalent to a human being? What is the biggest advantage of embryo stem cell compared to adult stem cell?
Federal founding for steam cell research and implementation?
Second STC Question
Some of contemporary inventors would be Dean Kamen (Segway), Steve Job (IPhone), John Saw (Clearwire)... but non of those names sounds like Edison, Morse or Bell. So main question is why today's innovators are not as famous as their predecessors. IPhone is much more complicated, more sophisticated and technologically advanced than product called phone designed by Alexander Graham Bell but more people know who is Bell than Steve. I think that we can very easily see the relationship between products that are planed to be made and products that became what they are by coincident and not planed. When William, John and Walter invented transistor, they had no idea what it will be used later on and that most of technology will consist it as a main part. Bell was planing to make a device to transfer music from concert to the households but telephone was borne...
It looks logical that nowadays, in time when a news can be heard everywhere in the world in very short time, but reality is that inverters are more and more prominent (because we don't have nay core inventions (explained later in paragraph)). I think that lately we haven't had some major break troughs in inventions and how inventions can be divided to core inventions and supplement inventions where only core inventors will get the popularity trough the time. For example almost everyone knows who invented the phone (core invention) but much less people knows who invented the cellphone (supplement to one of the core inventions) using the same principals (voice communication). I think that, in general, only core inventions are bringing prominent status.
Third STC Question
I think that the Patent System, as it is now, is more encouraging for potential innovators than it is discouraging. General idea of patents is to protect hard work and to provide a "price" for that work. In another hand I definitely think that patent system needs some sort of reform as soon as possible. World is getting more and more flatter and people are thinking about same things and getting same ideas. That was the case in the past as well and history witnessed completely same or similar work done by two people in roughly same time (Telephone, math, et cetera). First come first served is not really fair. But it is a part of fairly old global business structure and it is time for it to change and adopt to new time.
Current system is doing a great job in competition. Since Apple managed to patent their amazing and the most precise touch screen (especially on iPhone) that great feature can't be used by anyone else. I like Apple products and they are great, but there are many other smart phones that are better than iPhone (faster, open source...) but the only thing that is lacking for them to make break trough is better touch screen technology. But good thing about patent is that others are than trying to make/find something better and competition is getting greater dimensions. I was reading and learned that people are mainly advocating for shortening the patent period as an alternative but I personal think that it is not a great idea and simple solution because many technology are consider "old" a year after they have been invented but and the best advantage of them would be if that technology was available earlier than a year for others to work on it and develop it... we should stop thinking about this and start patenting :)
Fourth STC Question
The question of Helga Wanglie, a 86-year-old woman, was a topic of many debates and discussion and answer to it is not that easy and it is not one sided. I personally think that spending $800.000 in order to maintain vegetable state life of an 86-year-old woman is not the best use of that money. I was just thinking how many lives in Africa could be saved with that amount of money, or how many schools in Somalia could be built or how many new small businesses could be started. Even taught doctors suggested termination of treatment, family decided to continue. I rally understand the love of family, but I also understand that she was 86 years old, which is much more that average life expectancy in 1990s. Living 17 months on antibiotics and on respirator was not that easy for Helga and that is another fact families should consider while bringing such a big decisions. In another hand I completely understand that $800.000 was earned/inherited by that family and they have full right to do what they want with their money, but the real question is, is it ethical, responsible and good usage of their money? I also think that the joy of having someone alive is not worth of their suffering.
Fifth STC Question
Law of intellectual property is based on the hypothesis that “without exclusive rights, no one will be willing to invest in research and development”. While answering one of the previous questions I learned more than 3 million genome related patent applications have been filed only in the United States. By the rules of United States Patent and Trademark Office, all those applications for patents are confidential until patent is issued so it is impossible to know what sequence is patented; some scientists can work on discovering for a long time and than discovered that it has been patented and they may face penalties and this is very discouraging and controversial to intellectual property hypothesis. Argument for patenting genes is the fact that that is making brave researches to go research new and what they think unexplored areas. Another advantage is that patents owners can monopolize which is not always productive.
Sixth STC Question
If we remember previous chapter was talking about beginnings of newspapers and later about their mass printing. At the beginning, only a few newspapers and a few titles and after expansion we have millions of them. By increasing number of them it is logical that content is getting more diverse. I am sure that first books that were written were not about violence. But today we have millions of them on that topic. Same is happening wit television but the only difference is that children can’t read violent books but they can watch violent movies… I completely agree with chapter’s general conclusion about television influence on violent behavior. It is very sad to know that average individual by the age of 18 will approximately see 200.000 violent acts and I think that this is very disappointing information. After seeing something many times children are tempted to repeat it and that child is more likely to behave aggressive towards others. I was somewhere reading that another product of seeing much violence is that children can become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Levering violence on television would solve many problems and would make the world better place to live but realistically it is very hard mission. In my opinion parents are the one who should be more educated about consequences of regularly watching violence on their children and they should be one making sure their kid don’t see much violence at lease before they are 18 years old. I am sure that we will have a great discussion in the class about this issue.