Quick Science Survey

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by DublinBass, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    For one of my research classes I need help brainstormingsome world issues in science.

    So I thought where better to get global perspectives than tMP.

    What do you lot think are some important world science issues?

    PLEASE...Feel free to repeat previously mentioned items as it will give me some perspective as to there importance.

    I'll get the ball rolling...

    Energy Conservation
    Natural Distasters (Tsumani's, floods, hurricanes, etc...)
    Global Climate Change
    Ozone Layer Depletion
  2. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Finding alternative fuels to fossil fuels is a high priority.
  3. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    That is quite possibly the most important scientific issue for me at the moment. Where will we be without oil?

    Cutting down on greenhouse gasses to restrict global warming, especially in the develpoing world, trying to delay climate change. i.e. what would be the score if the ice caps continue to disappear at the current rate?
  4. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Cloning - should it be allowed?
    Genetic Modification - should this be allowed for medical reasons? or should people be able to make a super baby? i.e. choose its sex, hair colour, eye colour etc.?
  5. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Obesity, particularly in children
  6. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I too agree with (1) global warming and (2) depletion of fuel supplies (hydrogen instead of fossil fuels? fusion reactors? and don't forget that oil and gas are not only used as fuel, but also to produce all types of plastic!)
  7. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Isn't it ironic that some might argue that not only obesity, but malnutrition are two great world concerns in science.
  8. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Global Climate Change - this ultimately affects a lot of the other important issues.
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Disease control: with the ease of movement around the world lesser known diseases can be quickly carried to parts of the world where they've never been encountered before, and have no form of natural immunity.
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    In many ways a lot of the issues mentined in the thread are political issues more than scientific ones, particularly energy conservation and malnutrition. We mostly know how to deal with malnutrition, but since that basically comes down to the richer countries giving the poorer countries money (or stopping taking it away) and the poorer countries spending it on food rather than arms, it's a political/diplomatic problem. Similarly energy conservation isn't difficult, but for most of us it's inconvenient. How many of us leave lights on that we're not using, or leave the computer on all day in case we want to us it later? Guilty as charged, I'm afraid. If the government put punitive taxes on energy use we'd all make an effort, but that's not a votewinner so it won't happen.

    In mho, the most pressing scientific issue is the need for cheap, non-polluting renewable energy (especially in the US and China), and in the long term the most likely candidate for this is cold fusion. Somebody announced years ago that they'd managed this in a lab but the experiment hasn't been replicated since. Also, although the current vogue in the UK is for wind farms (anyone who was at Pontins would have seen the huge one in the Irish Sea), harnessing tidal energy would actually be a much more reliable source of energy - after all, in the UK at least, there are always 2 tides a day - and I think much more effort should be put into this by countries with an ocean coastline.

    In the meantime there are a number of other issues but they are all linked to the problem of the world's energy consumption and/or the rate of pollution entering the atmosphere. The ozone hole (which some scientists believe may be partially repairing itself), the melting of the polar ice caps, global warming, deforestation - these are all different aspects of the same problem, and would become less of a problem if we stopped burning oil, coal and gas overnight. Climate change is more difficult - the causes are reasonably well known (and sorting out our energy supply would solve a lot of them) but the effects are not yet clear, nor do we know if these effects are reversible, or how long it would take to see a difference.

    I'll stop now, sorry, didn't mean to be verbose.

    [/gets off soapbox]
  11. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I find it quite ironic that Global Warming is considered a great 'scientific' issue. There is very little true science to say that it is a man-made phenomena at all. The 'science' usually being emotional propaganda from the green organisations who have an anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation agenda. I don't deny its happening but its not due to me using my car to commute to work.

    I think a true scientific concern of our time is the lack of 'proper' science in decision making.
  12. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Fair point. Global warming is actually a natural phenomenon and in geological terms we are still coming out of the last ice age. Plus the world experienced a "mini ice age" from about 1700-1850, and the climate is still warming up from that.

    However, there is clear evidence that warming has accelerated over the last 50-70 years and that this acceleration is man-made. Ice core samples taken in Greenland and Antarctica show clear correlations between atmospheric CO2/particulate levels and global temperature increases. The problem is whereas our environment can cope with the slow pace of natural warming, it is struggling with accelerated warming. The real irony is that one of the impacts of climate change in the UK may be that the Gulfstream stops (it is already slowing down), which will make the seas around the UK much colder and make our climate more like that of Norway. Global warming may actually make us cloder and wetter:mad:
  13. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    But it is!

    To be more precise, it's (at least partially) due to (almost) everyone of us using their cars to commute to work! So also due to you using tour car!

    The challenge for science is to come up with new, cleaner forms of transportation! And that's why global warming is a science issue...
  14. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Is life sustainable on another planet
  15. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    As opposed to research funded by pro-capatalist global corporations? Funny how any research that refutes global warming is usually funded by oil companies or the US government (basically the same thing, as Bush is an oil baron).

    Are you really saying that the mass amount of traffic is not causing any pollution at all?

    Agree with your last sentence though. There is way too much pseudo-science about.
  16. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    This is analogous to the problem of species migration throughout the world - for example, the zebra mussel is killing off native species in much of the world's fresh water, having been introduced through ballast water in ships.
  17. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Can I just say, what a fantastic topic! :clap: And so far some brilliant debate.

    IMO the pressing urgency is to find alternative and clean methods of fuelling our power and transport needs. If we could crack that it was go sooo far to helping to resolve alot of the other issues mentioned above.

    Power generation using coastal winds in Britain? It's an even more logical solution when you condsider that there is nowhere in the UK that is further than 70 miles from a part of the coast, and most places are much nearer than that.
  18. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    the problem with wind power, is that it is very unreliable and unpredictable. What are you going to do on a day with very little wind? Switch of all electrical appliances? You need to have some backup capacity (e.g. nuclear or in the future cold fusion?) to cover for sudden drops in wind power.

    I'm all in favour of exploiting wind power to its maximum extent, but it will never be possible to generate all electricity from it. Maybe 20% or so would be a more realistic number?
  19. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The real issue with electrical power is that it is easy to generate, but difficult to store. An efficient storage method for electrical power would make all of the "environment-based" generating methods (wind, solar, tidal, etc.) much more viable.
  20. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    There was an interesting topic on the News a couple of days ago. A University (?) found that the methane given off by trees, has an adverse effect on Global Warming! Who do we believe? I don't care about global warming (I think it's a myth) but I'm pretty certain the world will destroy itself in the future. When the volcanos around St Helens and under the Yellowstone (?) National Park erupt, we've had it. And wind farms are a waste of money, spend the huge cost on solar power grants for normal households.

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