Archive for April, 2011

Kerr High School – TPS Public Debate – Part 1

As part of The People Speak competition, Kerr High School hosted a debate over migrant rights. The following videos allow all visitors to view the opposing sides within this in a standard Public Forum style clash. We hope you will enjoy it.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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The Wolves of Yellowstone

The wolves of Yellowstone were wiped out because ranchers hunted the wolves and felt as though they were dangerous. Between 1850 and 1900, an estimated 2 million wolves were shot, trapped, and poisoned by ranchers, hunters, and government employees. The idea was toe make the West and Great Plains safe for livestock and for big-game animals prized by hunters. The reintroduction of wolves was a success because in 2005, the park had 118 gray wolves that had been brought from Canada.  The rancher’s main concern was that it hurt livestock and killed too many big-game animals.  Their arguments are valid because they did hunt their animals, but their existence is necessary to control other populations. Elk gathered around streams less which helped with plant growth, stabilized stream banks, and lowered the water temperature for trout. They also cut coyote populations which helped the growth of smaller animals and also provided more food for eagles and hawks. In order to make both sides happy, the park should be fenced off or the ranchers can fence off their cattle to protect them from wolves so they can continue their habitat without harming the livestock. I think the human intervention is necessary because it was human intervention in the first place that caused the wolves to be endangered and it’s their duty and obligation to bring them back toYellowstonepark. We can see that each species, regardless of the dangers they might posess to one group, can be an integral part of our biodiversity and environment in the long run.

-Nicholas Chan

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Being Eco-friendly while having fun

When going to a party, having a night out, or having a relaxing night in, the environmental probably would be the last thing on your relaxed mind. The thing is, there are so many things that can be done that not only helps out the environmental, but it helps out your wallet also.

  • Movies. When you want to have a day in watching a movie, instead of buying a movie, you can rent it. thousands 0f DVD’s are trashed every year and instead of throwing out the movie, you can rent it. Also, an average DVD costs around 16 dollars, where as you can rent a movie for a night for only one dollar!
  • Ordering drinks at restaurants. Instead of asking for bottled drinks, take the tap. It honestly doesn’t taste much different, and you reduce the bottle usage. Also, most of the time, tap drinks are much cheaper than the bottled version.
  • Turn off the games. Most of the time game stations like wii and ps3’s normally have three settings, on, off, and stand-by. When most people turn the console off, they hold the button down too short, hence putting it on stand-by instead of fully off. Eliminate this mistake by watching until the power light turns red. With this, you save energy and your console doesn’t over heat !
  • Read your news on the internet! You can now subscribe to a greater variety of news on the internet. With this you save paper, and you get a bigger variety of news, plus a lot of it is available for free if not for a small subscription rate.

-Tiffany Thai

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Adopt-A-Beach Clean up

Have you heard of adopt a sibling? what about adopt a pet? YOU HAVE TO HAVE HEARD of adopt a street! Okay so maybe these programs have nothing to do with each other, but their goals are pretty much the same. You take something , and you make it your responsibilitiy to make it better! That’s exactly what the Adopt-A-Beach program is. Every year, students, volunteers, and just regular people go out to the beach and do their best to clean it up! Kids miss school days to have a day on the beach with their peers making the beach a better place. This year, the emphasis was on Texas. It was stated that this spring’s event with take place at sites up and down the Texas coast. Anyone needing to make arrangements to stay near the coast during the event will be happy to know several hotels are offering special Adopt-A-Beach rates. The Texas GLO encourages anyone interested in the coast or environmental issues to participate. However, they do recommend volunteers take a few common sense safety precautions. Anyone interested in going above and beyond the normal volunteer duties, is also welcome to apply to be aBeach Guardian and help nurture a stretch of beach year around.If you are interested in this or any other programs similar to this, talk to your city and orgainze your own beach “Adoption” program!

-Tiffany Thai

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The Reactor Renaissance

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a new form of nuclear reactor that shows promise. It uses fusion energy instead of the status quo uranium. The reactor produces more energy through plasma physics and is a lot safer than uranium reactors. The Chernobyl accident, excess toxic nuclear waste, and uranium mining health effects are all 300px-ITER-img_0239negative aspects that come from the current reactors. The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown killed many lives. The excess toxic waste is hurting the environment and the government is forced to dump it all in the Yucca Mountain which might be fatal because it is said to leak. Uranium mining also hurts the lives of Native Americans because they’re forced to work in these dark dusty mine shafts where toxic uranium if filling up in their lungs—causing lung cancer. The ITER reactor is currently used by the French and is developing in India. The program is the cornerstone to powerful international relations and is key to science diplomacy. If the United States is to retain its power hegemonic status, then science diplomacy needs to be kept alive with the ITER reactor. The major setback is its current funding and development. Congress appropriated money and funds to the project, but its just not enough to support the project. The cost-benefit analysis needs to be implemented to understand and use the promising reactor in the near future.  The recent disaster in Japan with the Daiichi nuclear power plant shows the uncertainty of the nuclear renaissance. The radiation leaks and toxic wastes proves more of a reason why nuclear energy should be perfected with better reactors to restore faith in investors.

-Nicholas Chan

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Save the Sea Cows

Earth day was a few weeks ago. What did you guys do for it? I know I took pride in the hourly get out and play thing, and a lot of other stuff. What about you people who want to do more than just simply recycling and turning off a light, what did you guys do? What about animal relief? Well, Apparently, there is this program called “Keep Manatee Beautiful” Yes this is talking about the beach, but it’s also the beach where a lot of Manatee come to rest. We need to keep these beaches clean so the Manatees have a home! Apparently this past year, The haul last year totaled 48,833 pounds of trash and 17,864 pounds of recyclables. In all, volunteers cleaned up 264 miles of roads and 223 miles of shore. They also scrubbed 75 graffiti sites and planted trees and flowering shrubs.The annual attention to all that debris pays dividends, with volunteers hauling in less and less from some locations. It has gotten some attention as media has taken interest in it also! Apparently, it’s gotten the whole community working to stay clean as people are becoming much more aware of cleaning up after themselves and if they see trash. It’s a great day to save the Sea Cows guys.

-Tiffany Thai

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BioChar: The New Approach to Carbon Sequestration.

Coal, a fossil fuel, emits foul and harmful gasses into our atmosphere, and with a lack of political support for clean coal, a new alternative is here, biochar. Biochar is a newfound way of trapping carbon with so called “green coal”. Biomass waste we would never think of using, such as peanut shells actually release carbon when it decomposes. However, by burning the remains in a process known as pyrolysis, what’s left over is biochar or green coal. South American societies began this process and dug back this green coal in the ground in order to lock in carbon instead of allowing it to widen the hole in the ozone layer. If this process is applied efficiently and effectively, scientists agree that billion of tons of carbons could be sequestered in soil instead of being released into our atmosphere. Carbon sequestration can be an effective approach to runaway global warming. This new green coal is proved to be more effective than nature’s natural approach to the problem. While trees or plants lock in the carbon for only 15-20 years, biochar could possibly lock in carbon for possibly 100 years. Along with its obvious benefits, the nutrients brought back into the soil could also spur the industrial agriculture sector, signifying a thumbs up from not only farmers, but those attempting to combat climatecharcoal_d change.

-Nicholas Chan

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