Science and Journalism in Society

Brandeis University JOUR 130B

Author: sarah

Energy for the Ages

What’s up with Mother Nature? Environmental change, which is the disturbance of the environment often caused by human influences and natural ecological processes, is a huge controversy in terms of finding the best solution or the best way to slow down its damaging effects. Energy scarcity, environmental pollution, and climate change are three major challenges aiding in environmental change. They all have to do with one another but they also share one big common theme: fossil fuels. Energy scarcity has to do with the increasing lack of energy sources such as crude oil. Introducing contaminants into the natural environment triggers environmental pollution. Climate change, which we also refer to as global warming, is the ongoing rise in the temperature, mostly caused from increasing concentrations of green housing gases in the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels supports these three unfortunate outcomes that are affecting the environment.

The Chinese government invests more than any other country in the wind and solar energy business and they have come up with a plan to create a global electricity network. The State Grid Corporation of China, the largest electric utility company in the world, plans to link existing solar farms and wind turbines and/or other electricity plants across four continents (Asia, Europe, Africa, and the America’s). They need to get large investments from all over the world for it to be functional by 2050. The business plan is called the Global Energy Interconnection. The goal is to generate a global network that could mean clean energy for up to eighty percent of the estimated global consumption, clean energy meaning recycled or reusable energy that generates little to no emissions. This would displace fossil fuels as the earth’s principal energy source. Solar farms use hundreds to thousands of panels that convert the suns light directly into electricity. We can put the panels on big motorized towers where the motors allow the panels to track the sun so they have higher electrical output. They put power into the utility grid so businesses and consumers can use the power during the day. Therefore, fewer fossil fuels are burned.

Global Energy Interconnection investigates the current condition and complications of global energy development and with calculated rational and a proper construction method for the development of global energy network. This is hard task and will face difficulties at times, but researchers and analysts involved say that it is possible with the correct funding and with a practical and efficient design. It could be a huge and extremely influential change not only for the environment but also for people. It is important that countries are starting to think about ways to make a difference in the environment for future generations. Energy transmission technology is economical and the proposal is ambitious but the plan is really good news for the world.



The cluelessness of vaping; so whats the buzz?

Vaping, which was recently added to the dictionary in 2014, is becoming a new craze. “Vaping” is essentially the new term for “smoking”, you “vape” an e-cigarette and “smoke” and cigarette. It is the inhalation and exhale of vapor containing nicotine or other chemical substances, produced by an electronic cigarettes or similar devices that are battery-operated and use a heating element to heat a liquid cartridge.

“Vape” juice is made of nicotine mixed with a base (most often propylene glycol) and flavorings. The growing popularity is increasingly fast, especially amount young adults. There are hundreds of brands, thousands of flavors, but they are all unregulated by the FDA. This raises a few questions: what chemicals are people exactly inhaling if this product is unregulated? Can’t people say one thing and it be another? What are the health’s affects? We don’t know if the second hand smoke from an E-cig is less, just as, or more dangerous than that of a cigarette. Nicotine is also an addictive substance. There are a number of affects nicotine has on the brain in terms of development, memory and retention, and behavioral and cognitive behaviors. Recent studies show noticeable amounts of cancer causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde from the heating up of propylene glycol. There is so little known about E-cigarette smoking, at least in the public eyes, there needs to be something done.

The public is unaware of the full health effects of electronic cigarettes. There are too many potential consequences to keep a blind eye to it. With no safety checks and requirements, anything goes and often people do not understand what they are consuming. Why vape when there is not an understanding of its consequences? Restrictions and warnings need to be put in place. Any way you light it, not smoking at all is the best way to go.






Was it Medical Malpractice?

As the surgeon at NYU medical center is ready to close up his patients chest after a lengthy heart surgery, he accidentally pokes and small extra whole in her heart. For the next 48 hours the woman’s heart is beating twice as fast as it is suppose to and she is pretty touch and go. The doctors are not sure if they should open her up again or if the heart will heal itself. Having been sedated for the last couple of days, when the doctors decide to try and take her breathing tube out, they realize she still cannot breathe on her own. Before they sedate her again, she writes: “No flowers, no something (they could not read it), and no obituary”. Doctors and nurses wouldn’t even allow her significant other into the ICU room for more than 10 minutes at a time. What could possibly be going on in her mind? How does she feel? Does she actually know what is going on? Was this medical malpractice?

The doctors rushed a woman into surgery because they found scar tissue from a previous surgery clotted in her intestine. She had been unable to fully digest her food for a few days. At eighty years old, surgery is already a bit risky, but of course what adds to the complications is when the doctor accidentally punctures her lung, causing her lung to collapse and eventually goes into heart failure. The icing on the cake was that the doctors didn’t stitch her up correctly and soon after, she had an infection in her blood. Doctors and nurses told her family to expect the worse that she probably wasn’t going to make it. She spent two weeks in the ICU, another week in the hospital, touch and go for about half of it. After, she spent a month in a rehab facility. She had sores on the back of her head from lying in bed so much, endured weeks of physical therapy, used a walker to move around for the first time in her life, and had to undergo speech therapy. Was this medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is hard battle. It is an act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment delivered is below the accepted standards of medicine and causes injury or death to the patient. It is important to acknowledge medical malpractice when it happens, even though it can be hard to justify. The case is generally complicated start to finish. It could take months, even years to complete. The cases are expensive, time consuming (taking off work), and sometimes-just plain impractical. There are many types of medical malpractice. Just a few are: incorrect incision, incomplete surgical procedure, and inappropriate postoperative care. Claims require sophisticated medical knowledge and strong defense from both sides, generally from experts in the field. Though the injury has to be physically damaging, the malpractice takes an emotional toll on the person and the family too. Even though these cases were accidental, they were definitely harmful. So, were these two situations malpractice?

*These two woman in the stories are related to me

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