England-2011-sandra

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(New page: == Sandra's Journal == First question. * First response. Second question. * Second response.)
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== Sandra's Journal ==
== Sandra's Journal ==
First question.
First question.
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* First response.
 
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Second question.
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* Second response.
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The three most significant challenges (in order of importance) I think society faces include utilizing more sustainable energy sources, controlling and eventually eliminating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cholera, malaria and dengue fever throughout the world and finally modifying devices in order for them to last longer while maintaining peak performance.
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In my view the challenge of utilizing more sustainable energy sources arises out of the rapidly growing numbers of middle-class families in newly industrialized countries like China and India. Demographers have pointed out that India’s population could well surpass that of China in the next 30 or so years and what this means is that we can expect more families seeking out the general comforts in life such as televisions, refrigerators, cars and iPods. These are all materials that produce considerable amounts of waste that end up having catastrophic effects on our environment. I do not think this world has enough room for more countries like America, in terms of nonrenewable energy that is consumed and returned to the environment as waste, thus I think it would be very wise of today’s world leaders to actively invest and support research into sustainable energy resources. Much debate has taken place regarding the precarious state of our planet’s nonrenewable resources (oil in particular) and how the status quo benefits the few at the expense of the many in the long-term. However, I think that science has an extremely important role to play in providing this debate with a definite direction. Hazen and Trefil write "Science is one way of knowing about the world (p 4)"and when facing this challenge, I think that science can provide valuable data, not only detailing the negative impacts that humans have had on the planet but some positive impacts as well that can be augmented or modified. An example of what scientific research can bring about is New Zealand's Auckland airport which boasts one of the largest photovoltaic panels in the world, low energy way finding signage and high efficiency chillers for air conditioning. Basically, science with regard to this challenge does not solve the problem by providing a "one-fit-for-all" solution, rather it is a combination of seemingly little solutions that ultimately serve to increase the quality of human existence.
 +
 
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In many sub-Saharan African countries HIV/AIDS still remains a pandemic that affects large chunks of the working-age(21-55) demographic within populations. This in turn has an effect on the productivity of a countries economy who repercussions can be felt by the wealth and education that many of its citizens may have. I think that science provides a realistic solution to the challenge of finding cures and vaccines for diseases that still claim millions of lives today. In our first class we talked about scientific method and how it presented a model of sorts that show how scientists begin to ask the right questions about what they want to find out as how to build and integrate previous research that has been carried out on similar experiments. Given the nature of viruses such as HIV which continues to mutate thus rendering antibiotics ineffective after sometime, science in this case plays a particularly crucial role in that observations made in the past can help with future solutions. While some may argue that cures and vaccines do exist but are being held onto by corporations desperate to make a profit of them, or perhaps the transportation of these vaccines is what hinders much of the populations that need it from receiving it, however I think these two problems are externalities to the precedents set forth by science.
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Lastly,  I think that working on devices which last longer and still maintain the same levels performance is a challenge that will catch up with the human race within the next 50 years, if it has not begun to do so already. Our social lives are becoming increasingly connected to devices that utilize power i.e laptops, cellphones, iPods, iPads, and Kindles. The more we have devices like these, the more we find ourselves dependent on them- I for one use my Blackberry for everything from texting, to Facebooking to getting directions on Google-maps, and not surprisingly I find myself always seeking out a socket at whatever restaurant I find myself in (something that restaurant managers do not seem to like). While one answer to the challenge of longer lasting devices would be to use them for a shorter time, there are no indicators that this will be a trend quick to catch on in the near future. Thus it is not so much science as it is with technology that one may find one of many solutions to this challenge. If technology can find a way to make one's life easier, I think that it can equally find a way to make it more energy efficient. Although I was old enough to have a pager when those were the "in-thing" to have, I think they were very efficient in that they lasted long and you did what you needed to do- which was communicate with person B in location X. Today, we are literally spoilt for choice with how we choose to communicate and somehow we rarely think "This is the more energy efficient route to communicate therefore I will choose this" and end up becoming part of the never-ending cycle of constantly trashing the old and getting the new when we have overused and exhausted these devices.

Revision as of 14:07, 28 January 2011

Sandra's Journal

First question.


The three most significant challenges (in order of importance) I think society faces include utilizing more sustainable energy sources, controlling and eventually eliminating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cholera, malaria and dengue fever throughout the world and finally modifying devices in order for them to last longer while maintaining peak performance.

In my view the challenge of utilizing more sustainable energy sources arises out of the rapidly growing numbers of middle-class families in newly industrialized countries like China and India. Demographers have pointed out that India’s population could well surpass that of China in the next 30 or so years and what this means is that we can expect more families seeking out the general comforts in life such as televisions, refrigerators, cars and iPods. These are all materials that produce considerable amounts of waste that end up having catastrophic effects on our environment. I do not think this world has enough room for more countries like America, in terms of nonrenewable energy that is consumed and returned to the environment as waste, thus I think it would be very wise of today’s world leaders to actively invest and support research into sustainable energy resources. Much debate has taken place regarding the precarious state of our planet’s nonrenewable resources (oil in particular) and how the status quo benefits the few at the expense of the many in the long-term. However, I think that science has an extremely important role to play in providing this debate with a definite direction. Hazen and Trefil write "Science is one way of knowing about the world (p 4)"and when facing this challenge, I think that science can provide valuable data, not only detailing the negative impacts that humans have had on the planet but some positive impacts as well that can be augmented or modified. An example of what scientific research can bring about is New Zealand's Auckland airport which boasts one of the largest photovoltaic panels in the world, low energy way finding signage and high efficiency chillers for air conditioning. Basically, science with regard to this challenge does not solve the problem by providing a "one-fit-for-all" solution, rather it is a combination of seemingly little solutions that ultimately serve to increase the quality of human existence.

In many sub-Saharan African countries HIV/AIDS still remains a pandemic that affects large chunks of the working-age(21-55) demographic within populations. This in turn has an effect on the productivity of a countries economy who repercussions can be felt by the wealth and education that many of its citizens may have. I think that science provides a realistic solution to the challenge of finding cures and vaccines for diseases that still claim millions of lives today. In our first class we talked about scientific method and how it presented a model of sorts that show how scientists begin to ask the right questions about what they want to find out as how to build and integrate previous research that has been carried out on similar experiments. Given the nature of viruses such as HIV which continues to mutate thus rendering antibiotics ineffective after sometime, science in this case plays a particularly crucial role in that observations made in the past can help with future solutions. While some may argue that cures and vaccines do exist but are being held onto by corporations desperate to make a profit of them, or perhaps the transportation of these vaccines is what hinders much of the populations that need it from receiving it, however I think these two problems are externalities to the precedents set forth by science.

Lastly, I think that working on devices which last longer and still maintain the same levels performance is a challenge that will catch up with the human race within the next 50 years, if it has not begun to do so already. Our social lives are becoming increasingly connected to devices that utilize power i.e laptops, cellphones, iPods, iPads, and Kindles. The more we have devices like these, the more we find ourselves dependent on them- I for one use my Blackberry for everything from texting, to Facebooking to getting directions on Google-maps, and not surprisingly I find myself always seeking out a socket at whatever restaurant I find myself in (something that restaurant managers do not seem to like). While one answer to the challenge of longer lasting devices would be to use them for a shorter time, there are no indicators that this will be a trend quick to catch on in the near future. Thus it is not so much science as it is with technology that one may find one of many solutions to this challenge. If technology can find a way to make one's life easier, I think that it can equally find a way to make it more energy efficient. Although I was old enough to have a pager when those were the "in-thing" to have, I think they were very efficient in that they lasted long and you did what you needed to do- which was communicate with person B in location X. Today, we are literally spoilt for choice with how we choose to communicate and somehow we rarely think "This is the more energy efficient route to communicate therefore I will choose this" and end up becoming part of the never-ending cycle of constantly trashing the old and getting the new when we have overused and exhausted these devices.

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