Solar Panels getting a makeover.

When you think of solar panels, you probably think of those bulky unsightly eye catching panels that you got introduced to when you were younger. They seemed like a thing of the future that doesn’t really fit in with modern day technology. Hearing about solar powered cars and houses powered by solar energy use to be a thing of the far future. Thing is, things have changed, and so have the appearance of Solar Panels.

As stated by Stephanie Rogers from MNN, “The next generation of solar panels will bear little resemblance to their predecessors, at least on the outside. Companies like SRS Energy, Kyocera and Suntech Power are working with building suppliers on alternatives to clunky solar panels that will satisfy the demands of picky property owners, creating products like solar roofing tiles that blend in with the traditional clay versions found on many Southern California homes.”

At the moment, people do have the ability to choose to switch to solar powered energy sources, but with that it brings a lot of problems and incontinence as they have to deal with a gap in energy provided to the house, and often they are displeased with the end appearances of the solar panels. In the near future, Solar powered houses will be an option in real estate. It will make people be able to choose an environmentally friendly option for their energy source, without sacrificing the looks of a normal suburban house. For right now though, this new innovation is in its early stages so real estate buyers will have to hold out for a few more years before this is on the market.

-Tiffany Thai

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Fate of the world

Now the question is, how do we educate a younger generation about the importance of our planet and cause them to want to apply themselves to protecting our planet? Well of course we’re going to have to make it fun, we’re going to have to hit them in this generation’s home element, technology. Well let’s be more specific, we’ve got to find a way to infuse educational values into a technological game play. This is exactly what Fate of the World is.

Fate of the World is a game created in England that was released in November. It’s a role-playing game that allows kids to make the executive decisions for our planet’s future. The game gives the players a 200 year time line where scenario  are decided upon their choices.  As stated by Nina Chestney, “‘Fate of the World’ puts the Earth’s future in players’ hands, placing them in charge of an international environmental body which could save the world from the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions or let it perish by continuing to rely on emissions-heavy fossil fuels.”  At the moment this game is only at its trial phase, but the full version is to be released in February if feedback deems positive.

-Tiffany Thai

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Water Woes

With the recent floods in the United States, we can see that water prices, water shortages, and disaster flooding are problems being dealt with all around the international community. Currently countries like Bolivia, have failing water pipes and the water sector is being privatized which is driving prices for water. It is suggested that the United Nations pay for the upgrade of the water system. They are an international organization that specializes in helping countries that are in need. Multiple countries are a part of the U.N and they are mostly all developed countries. They have the obligation to chip in pay help out a country in need. The water pipes should all be fixed and even privatized like in United States. Because there is a shortage of water, first fixing pipes and allowing the Bolivian government to deal with it will allow for it to be a prosperous industry in the future. A shortage of water in Saudi Arabia will cause water wars in the Middle East that will spillover into the oil industry. This will affect investors and drive up oil costs as well as create conflict in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is a corner stone country that is integral to the international community. A shortage of water will affect the economy of the country because it is so heavily reliant on oil and with water wars, the country will eventually crumble. Humans don’t prepare for floods with urbanization because the soil from land is capable of absorbing the water, but building the streets will prevent that from happening. To reduce these effects, we can reduce urbanization, improve sewage/drainage systems, and prepare for flooding disasters.

-Nicholas Chan

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The Not So Silent Spring Summary

The author of Silent Spring is Rachel Carson and it was published on September 27, 1962. The book focused on the detrimental effects of certain pesticides on birds such as DDT. The pesticide causes harm to birds eggs and makes the shells thinner. The book even suggests that DDT caused a decline in the reproductive rates of birds. She mentions how the chemical industry that produces this pesticides using disinformation to misinform the public about the effects of DDT.  Uncontrolled and unexamined pesticide use in the environment has the potential of harming and even killing not only animals, but also affecting humans as well. The title even suggest the long-term effects of DDT could produce a spring season where birds are extinct and society is unable to hear the songs of birds; creating silence. It became quite popular after its publication and made its way to the Book-of-the-Month-Club as well as the New York Times best seller’s list. Finally, the novel became so popular in 1972 that it generated enough support to ban DDT in the United States. Finally, President John F. Kennedy directed the Science Advisory Committee to investigate the claims made. After investigation, there was an immediate strengthening of the regulation of chemical pesticides all around theUnited States. We can see how our environment was threatened and through voicing a strong opinion, change in policy can make a long-lasting difference in our community.

 -Nicholas Chan

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it’s a pillowpet world

http://vimeo.com/23059558

Kerr Speech and Debate recently finished up compeating in the yearly The People Speak Competition.We have been participating in this competiton every year and it has been extremely successful every year. The people speaks is a program that raises awareness for students around the world about what is going on in their world. one of the activities that some of our students participated in were PSA’s. These are self made public service announcments that are left up to interpretation by the students. One of our students that particpated in this was Tam Tran, a freshman. Her video takes a comedic approach to the issue this year of immigration and intergration. Instead of using real people, she uses an attention getter by incorperating some of the most trendiest toys on the market today, pillowpets, as her main character. She uses a variety of different animals to represent how in the future how intergration will result into a wonderful melting pot of different cultures. She uses typical racial sterotypes portrayed by different animals and through this comedic video she further shows how interesting it could be to have a future where cultures are mixed and interacting with each other. Though this PSA makes the viewers entertained comediclly, it still holds many educational values that pertain to migration and how it is a positive change.

Tiffany Thai

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Koffing and Weezing.

Currently, policy analysts are arguing for a reduction of restrictions on air pollution because society has made so many developments in reducing the impacts of air pollution. However, even though there has been significant process, it doesn’t mean the problem of air pollution is eliminated altogether. Granted, we have been able to reduce outdoor air pollution, we have not eliminated the problem. High concentrations of air pollution still kill people and cost lives. We continue burning coal which emits pollutants and still rely on fossil fuels as an energy source, so until we find alternatives to all of these problems, we will continue to have problems of air pollution. Also, diseases are said to be linked to air pollution such as a high exposure or concentration of nitrogen oxide, but because nothing concrete has been found, regulations should be reduced too. Although we haven’t tracked nitrogen oxides as the root cause of some diseases, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t the cause of it either. There is still the high possibility that they are related. I don’t think the regulations should be relaxed or tightened because neither side can be proven, but we can’t rule out any possibilities so we should just keep policies the way they are. A significant step forward is not a signal to stop, but to continue stepping in the right direction.

-Nicholas Chan

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Electronic disposal

As we all should know, electronics have to be specially disposed of. Now, the question is, how many people actually do that? I’m pretty sure many people have been guilty of simply throwing a battery or two straight into the trash simply because the trip to your local recycle plant wouldn’t be very convenient. In this new more eco-aware time and age, disposing electronics have become a much simpler task when it comes to the smaller items like print cartillages and cell phones. Those recycle boxes are everywhere. I bet all of you have seen one or two of them every now and then. They’ve come to a point where most office supply stores and schools offer then at their entrances. Now, what about the bigger electronics? broken laptops, tv’s, stuff like that? Well that still remains an issue. The group called Electronics TakeBack Coalition has been trying to steer companies to making the option avalible for consumers to return products to them for disposal. Sadly, it is stated in mnn, “Most companies, got big fat Fs — like Brother, my stereo maker Sony, and my camera maker Canon. Interestingly, a good handful of these flunkies actually have take-back programs! It’s just that these programs are (intentionally?) tough to use for average consumers…” It seems that we’ve still got a long way to go to advocate the proper removal of our electronics.

-Tiffany Thai

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