Forum Posts

Sahil Katta
Aug 29, 2021
In ARTICLES
In a world where transportation is essential to most people’s daily lives, automobiles are nowadays owned by the average household. The technology behind cars and their functionality has been groundbreaking, practically allowing our way of life to having a much greater sense of convenience and accessibility. However, cars are not perfect. In fact, they are detrimental to the environment, producing CO2 emissions harming the atmosphere in the long run. This, in turn, drastically affects the entire human population on a global scale as the increase in CO2 emissions drives the effects of climate change and increases the ocean’s acidity. Based on estimation by the EPA, the typical gasoline-driven passenger vehicle emits around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (EPA). This obviously varies between vehicle build, usage, and other factors, but multiplying this number for every gasoline-driven vehicle on the planet would create an astounding amount of emissions released yearly. Luckily, some companies in the industry are starting to take the initiative to combat this issue. Most cars are run on gasoline, and the automotive industry has been following this norm for quite some time now. In our day and age now, electric vehicles are becoming more prominent on the roads due to their convenient charging capabilities and safety for the environment. Electric cars are starting to take over the industry as companies are going towards the idea of electric over gasoline-fueled automobiles. Some of the leading companies for automobiles have already begun to plans to go fully electric around 2030. The goal might seem far away, but it would require many resources and time for mass production to shift from one form of creation to another entirely. For example, General Motors issued a statement saying it would only produce electric vehicles by 2035, and Ford’s European line of automobiles would be fully electric by 2030 (British Broadcasting Corporation). However, most of the cars in circulation today are mostly gasoline-powered, indicating that a shift to electric vehicles will be both necessary for the environment and consuming resources and time. To give an approximation on how prevalent electric cars will be in the roads of the future, BBC News conducted a study in which they estimated that, “By 2025 20% of all new cars sold globally will be electric, according to the latest forecast by the investment bank UBS. That will leap to 40% by 2030, and by 2040 virtually every new car sold globally will be electric” (British Broadcasting Corporation). This evaluation looks pretty positive, but it is not a definitive indication of how the automotive industry will react to electric cars. As our primary means of personal transportation, automobiles profoundly impact both ourselves and the environment. With technology improving and allowing the electric alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles, the future for the automobile industry looks to be promising as a shift for electric automobiles seems to be probable. Sources: EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passenger-vehicle. Rowlatt, Justin. “Why Electric Cars Will Take over Sooner than You Think.” BBC News, BBC, 1 June 2021, www.bbc.com/news/business-57253947.
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Sahil Katta
Aug 02, 2021
In ARTICLES
California has always been known for its sunny weather and clear skies, but this state has recently been following a pattern of reaching a drought every few years. Water is essential to human life, so a water shortage is definitely concerning news, especially for a state with as large of a population as California. This past year, California’s rainfall had been a record low compared to recent years, putting the whole state into a drought. To put things into perspective, statistics from the National Integrated Drought Information System show that 100% of California suffers from moderate drought, and 94.8% of the state suffers from severe drought. The lack of rainfall coupled with the frequent use of water by millions of Californians has created a devastating impact on the environment. Without enough water to sustain a lot of the plant life, the vegetation in California has been drying up along with the many reservoirs and creeks which no longer have enough water. This, in turn, leads to a much drier climate, less water available for commercial and personal use, and also an unfeasible environment for vegetation. With plants lacking enough water in such dry surroundings, California has been increasingly prone to wildfires. In the past few years, this state has already been faced with many horrifying wildfires drastically harming humans and wild habitats. To make matters worse, the dryness and hot weather have once again returned to a record high along with the low rainfall, putting the lives of people and wildlife at risk of an uncontrolled fire. This is obviously very frightening to hear, so how exactly will we combat the issue of a drought in a state as large as California? It should be mentioned that while personal conservation of water is essential to help mitigate the harmful effects of the drought, it does not make a lasting impact on the water source for the whole of California. However, if most of the state’s population were to start a genuine effort to conserve water, there would be a noticeable decrease in water usage. Thankfully, California’s government has begun initiatives to counteract the problem in more ways than simply asking people to conserve their water use. For example, the state government has authorized a desalinization plan in response to the drought in recent years so that ocean water can be deemed safe to use. Along with this, restrictions on water usage are being enforced, and commercial systems are being enacted in order to “recycle” or reuse water for different purposes. California, the sunshine state, has been notorious for its frequent droughts, and now people are once again faced with a water crisis. Thankfully, there are efforts done by both the population and the government to gradually stabilize the situation, but the drought remains until we can get appropriate amounts of rainfall. Sources: “California.” Drought.gov, www.drought.gov/states/california.
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Sahil Katta
Jul 08, 2021
In ARTICLES
In our day and age, we have access to a large variety of food and drugs deemed safe to use. Modern technology can test the efficacy and safety of products in many different ways, but animal testing has been one of the most controversial methods. Medicine and food are essential for humans to survive, so scientists must decide whether or not something is safe to be put out on the market. Thus, many organizations have been performing experiments on living animals to understand whether a drug, food, or cosmetic item can be safely applied without having any unintended side effects. However, this process has been very ethically controversial due to animals being exposed to harmful chemicals which could permanently damage or even kill them. Along with this, the conditions many animals are placed in cause them to develop trauma and unnatural behavior after being caged for long periods of time and used for testing. Unfortunately, animal testing is a common practice in many countries, some even requiring it by law to guarantee the safety of products before being given to humans. It is even estimated that over 100 million animals die due to the significant and direct effects of experimentation per year. Not only is this number astoundingly large, but also this method is currently continuing in mass practice by many corporations and countries. Though some may argue that animal testing is necessary for keeping humans safe from being exposed to unintended side effects, these experiments have been proven not to be a definite answer to a product’s safety. An animal’s biological composition is not a clear indication of a human’s reaction to certain chemicals, which shows how animal testing is not only unethical but also open to a major error. This would mean that countless animals would be subjected to cruel treatment for a test that would not yield complete or accurate results. Thankfully, new technology has come forth to aid in determining the safety of chemical products for humans without the need for live animals. The European Union, along with many other countries following in their footsteps, have issued a ban on the use of animal testing for such purposes. Instead, they have started to adopt new procedures in which separated human cell and tissue reactions are studied along with various computer modeling techniques to further define a product’s safety. The world is starting to move in the right direction of finding new solutions for analyzing food and drug safety, but animal testing is still present in many nations. Though animal testing may arguably help the expansion of modern medicine and the safety of humans, it is simply an inhumane practice that needs to be replaced. Sources: “Cosmetics Testing FAQ.” The Humane Society of the United States, www.humanesociety.org/resources/cosmetics-testing-faq. “In Vitro Methods and More Animal Testing Alternatives.” PETA, 19 May 2021, www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives-animal-testing/. “The Truth About Animal Testing.” PETA, 19 May 2021, www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animal-testing-101/.
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Sahil Katta
Jun 16, 2021
In ARTICLES
In our day and age, computer processing chips are found almost everywhere. Moreover, it has become the norm for most people to have access to a personal computer or smartphone. The processing chip makes it possible for them and other everyday electronics to perform their respective tasks for these devices. As technology grows and innovation rises, the world has come to rely heavily on computer chips and the technology surrounding processing power. From hand-held gaming devices to NASA supercomputers, processing chips allow us to access computing power with versatile functions. Chips have always been in increasingly high demand due to their integration into almost every electronic device, which has recently surpassed the expectations of chip producers. Due to this, there is a worrying shortage of microprocessors currently available since the supply of resources and materials has not been able to meet the demand of companies requiring chips for their products. The tech industry has even projected that this shortage would continue into at least next year, which is unfortunate news for those handling the distribution of electronic chips and devices. This affects big companies such as Apple, Intel, and other tech leaders while also significantly harming smaller companies without the capacity for adapting like their larger counterparts. Another major impact of the chip shortage is its damage to the automotive industry due to modern cars using features requiring powerful chips. With everything around us needing chips these days, the shortage is a definite problem for many companies and consumers. How exactly did this shortage happen? One of the main reasons was the COVID-19 pandemic since it shifted planning and disrupted supply chains. Thus, it became harder for chip manufacturers and distributors to coordinate with the companies selling chip-related products. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the demand for chips was constantly increasing, but it had skyrocketed at an alarming rate over the past year. This made it even more difficult for chip producers to keep up with the required numbers, halting the intended plans of many companies. As a result, many electronic products are starting to sell out faster now and may even go up in price in light of the high demand. The shortage of processing chips is daunting, and the tech industry will ultimately suffer due to this setback. Not being able to approach the demand would force a hiatus on sales and the production of devices requiring chips. However, there is some good news about the future of processing chips as technology is further expanding. People are still finding ways to create faster and more efficient chips even during this unprecedented time. Though the chip shortage will land a blow on various players in the tech world, the supply is expected to meet the demand soon, and chip-related innovation will continue to surprise.
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Sahil Katta
May 06, 2021
In ARTICLES
Traditionally, the government requires children to undergo elementary school all the way up to high school, with laws in place for all children between the ages of four and sixteen to go to school. Education is essential to shaping a child’s future as well as giving them a segway to finding their interests. Of course, education is not the only deciding factor in one’s future, but it offers a stable path for many who would like to pursue a certain career. Once primary education and high school are completed, there are many options for the coming years from different types of jobs, trade schools, and colleges. Most of the applicants for a college come from people who have just graduated from high school, but applications also include transfer students or people who want to pursue a specific field of study later on in their life. Educational institutions hold tremendous importance for all these people looking to continue their passions, but recently college acceptance rates have been on a significant downward trend. Though many colleges offer high admission rates or even instant admissions, some others tend to be much more selective in the process of choosing a student to attend their school. The prestige of a school does not determine whether one might succeed there, but it does bring attention to the value of an education and access to opportunities at that particular institution. Therefore, many applicants choose to apply to these selective colleges for their high ranking in a specific major. However, these schools already tend to have incredibly low acceptance rates, making the recent decline in admissions even more worrying. Getting into college is already difficult enough, but then comes the payment issue, which is tough for people who did not qualify for financial aid nor received sufficient assistance to cover the costs. In a country where many jobs require specific skills or a degree in a major, it seems the college process is becoming increasingly challenging. We already know that many institutions are highly selective in their admissions, but why are admissions rates on a decline as of late? Not only is it because of the increasingly competitive nature of high school students in grades, extracurriculars, and so on, but it is also because of the new testing policies released due to the current global pandemic. Applying to college has always been demanding with more competition and higher standards each year, but the new test-optional and test-blind regulations that colleges recently adopted have made the process even more unpredictable. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, colleges realize that it is not plausible to expect students to take standardized tests during the current conditions safely. By removing the barrier for SAT or ACT scores, colleges have now allowed students to apply without submitting their scores for their applications. These new adjustments initially sound promising since standardized tests are no longer mandatory for admissions, but this has, in fact, made admissions even more unpredictable than it already was. Due to these new guidelines, the number of students applying to colleges has skyrocketed since their scores no longer play a significant factor compared to previous years. Though these implemented policies sound like a push in the right direction to not judging students based on a test score, this arrives with a catch as it has shown to dramatically add to the pool of applicants for a certain school. This increase in applicants does not only affect the highly prestigious institutions but also colleges all across the nation, no matter their ranking. Thus, the battle for college admissions has turned into an even more cutthroat process, which will likely continue for the following year’s cycle and possibly the years to follow.
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Sahil Katta
Apr 22, 2021
In ARTICLES
Air pollution has recently become increasingly prevalent globally due to the spread of contaminants and emissions, which sets into motion the impending disaster of global warming and physical harm on people who breathe contaminated air. Air pollution is caused by many factors such as the smoke and dust from wildfires, personal emissions, or fossil-fuel combustion. According to the World Health Organization, 4.2 million people die per year due to ambient air pollution exposure (WHO). This astronomical number puts the world in perspective and begs the question: how safe is the air I am breathing? Another statistic recorded by the World Health Organization indicates that 91% of the world’s population lives in areas where the air quality does not meet proper safety guidelines (WHO). This detail puts into perspective how problematic air pollution has become since it is more likely for people to be living with unsafe air as a result of humanity’s advancements taking a massive toll on the quality of the atmosphere. The problem is clearly evident in our world, but it also has been shown to disproportionately affect those with a lower financial status to make matters worse. In a study by the Atlantic, research indicates that people in poverty are exposed to more fine particulate matter than people living above poverty (Newkirk). The reason for this is because there is a correlation between poverty-ridden areas being in closer proximity to industrial facilities giving off harmful emissions, putting people living in these areas under unsafe conditions. Along with this, poverty-ridden regions tend to be smaller in size, with living quarters being more compact, which means that the air quality would be much worse than in an area where living quarters are larger and more spread out. Through some studies conducted by the American Lung Association, it was found that a “low socioeconomic status consistently increased the risk of premature death from fine particle pollution” (American Lung Association). With air pollution already affecting most of the population’s wellbeing, the fact that lower-income areas face a more devastating effect makes the situation even worse. With this ongoing harsh reality, we must ask ourselves what measures we need to take in order to prevent more potential harm. Therefore, one way to combat this issue would be to prohibit houses from being constructed near factories or other industrial facilities to protect the potential inhabitants from hazardous exposure. Another way to counteract this problem is to have people in low-income areas near high emission producing facilities be resituated to other regions. Though this would require heavy planning and expenses, it is vital to do since the effects of air pollutants put lives at risk. Fortunately, policies have already been put in place to limit the magnitude of air pollutants being put in the air near residential areas, but this still poses a threat. Lastly, reducing the population’s personal emissions is essential to making a lasting impact, so the gradual implementation of electric cars on our roads is necessary to prevent further harm to the atmosphere and people’s well-being. Air pollution has been worsening, but society must take drastic action to develop a means of prevention and protect the people who are directly and disproportionately impacted.
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Sahil Katta
Apr 01, 2021
In ARTICLES
In our world, diseases and disorders constantly plague the population. Some have modern-day medical treatments, but this remains a mystery for many other illnesses, mental or physical. Stem cells, which have been steadily increasing in popularity in the healthcare industry, take a stance in contributing to a solution for this issue. So you might be wondering, what exactly are stem cells? They are unspecialized cells in the human body, split into various categories such as embryonic, fetal, and adult stem cells. There is a multitude of types of stem cells, but mentioning these three, for now, will give a relevant example of where stem cells are typically found. The most “effective” stem cell is the embryonic due to its fast growth rate and early stage prior to specialization. Embryonic stem cells usually come from fetuses (sometimes cloned exclusively for research purposes), fetal stem cells come from aborted fetuses, and adult stem cells are typically extracted from an adult’s bone marrow. Since embryonic stem cells are the most effective for researching and treatment purposes, they are commonly used in the medical realm of scientific studies. As previously mentioned, obtaining embryonic stem cells may require cloning procedures performed on a fetus solely for scientific purposes. However, the use of these techniques and the debate over abortion have been quite controversial over the coming years. Since the acquisition of stem cells is not currently universally accepted, there remains an ethical dilemma. Both sides have valid arguments and clear grounds on what they stand for, but this article’s content will not take a definitive stance on what ethics science should follow. Now that we know what stem cells are, what exactly do they do, and how are they used for treatment and research? Since stem cells are unspecialized, they have the ability to rapidly differentiate into a particular cell of an organism for specific purposes. Not to mention, their rate of regeneration is very high and offers the capacity for self-renewal and repair in the human body. This property of stem cells allows stem cell transplantation to provide effective treatments in diseases such as Type-1 Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, various types of heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. However, keep in mind that stem cell therapy does not serve as a definitive “cure” to a condition. Instead, it sets out preventive and protective measures to treat suffering patients due to its regenerative capabilities. Along with this, the application in healthcare extends to drug tests and studies of different diseases. First, cells are set up to acquire the traits of a specialized cell targeted by a specific drug in its trial phase. Then, researchers could determine whether or not the drug performs its intended purpose of counteracting the disease. By doing so, medical practitioners are able to identify the capability of a drug, screen any unintended side effects, and find more details regarding the specific disease being researched. The use of stem cells has been ground-breaking in the scientific field, and it makes one wonder how stem cells could further impact modern-day medicine in the coming years. There is still so much left to learn and discover since scientists have just scratched the surface regarding the potential stem cell research holds in gathering treatments, defining the properties of diseases, and ultimately finding effective medicine. Clearly, the future for stem cell research and therapy sounds very promising. As advancements in science follow, stem cells will likely hold a profound position in developing new medicine, treatments, and studies.
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