Putin meets with NATO leaders and algaculture

4 04 2008

ArticlesI personally have nothing against the University of Cincinnati’s newspaper, The News Record, but seriously…

On the front page of the April 3, 2008 issue, there is a headline above a picture reading Solar-power alternative. The picture depicts a field in front of one of the college buildings covered with pinwheels. Then beneath that is the caption for the photograph, which reads, “Pinwheels in the ground on McMicken Commons represented the 1,000 people that die from some form of terminal cancer every day.”


I am now absolutely lost on the intended meaning of the photo.

Perhaps the headline is implying that, because solar-power is not a worthwhile endeavor, we should offer our resources to some alternative cause, such as curing cancer. The irony, of course, would be that the pinwheels imitate sources of wind power, which is an alternative to solar-power. But what then does wind power have to do with terminal cancer? I would really like to know.

Or perhaps the the headline implies that a good alternative to solar power is wasting resources. Solar power is usually tagged when speaking of alternative forms of energy and environmental causes, but here there is none of that at all. All I see is a magnificent waste of plastic, in the form of pinwheels, promoting ideas completely contrary to those usually related to solar power. What else are we to believe other than that the university does not support environmental causes?

That last possibility is that someone wished to tag a photograph with a completely irrelevant headline to make it appear as if the University has some sort of relationship with alternative energy research that is most easily disseminated subliminally. If this is the case, I recommend insert random keywords like green, conservation, and algaculture into headlines whenever possible. Nothing sends subliminal messages like “Ethnic Unrest Continues in China and Algaculture.”

Sue the sun for global warming: Part Two

11 03 2008

NewsRecently I posted Sue the sun for global warming, in which I observed the growing trend of people suing for damages caused by things completely out of their control (like the Sun). In just a few weeks, however, things have worsened much more quickly than I expected. Three conservation groups are now suing the U.S. Government (specifically the Department of the Interior) for not deciding whether polar bears should be listed as endangered or not quickly enough.


They aren’t suing because the Government promised to help an endangered species and have failed to do so; The Department of the Interior is literally being sued for not deciding whether an animal is, in fact, endangered, thus (I suppose) endangering it. “Doing nothing means extinction for the polar bear,” the groups have said, backing their actions. Likewise, if a doctor initially said he would know whether a patient has cancer or not in a week, and if when that date arrives, he says he needs one more day, he’d better just give up now, because the patient will die of cancer.

Speaking of patients, what about patience? Putting polar bears on an endangered species list won’t automatically cause them to survive longer. Research must be done anyway, and research takes time. Deadline dates for decisions to either put or not put an animal on an endangered species list seem trivial.

Most important of all, suing? They are suing the government for money? “You told me that you would know whether one of the millions of animal species was endangered by today! But you still don’t know. Give me a million bucks to cope with the trauma you have caused.” Yes, I admit conservation is expensive, but this just seems like a scheme to steal from the government when they slip up a little. Give the government a break and let them decide if any of your efforts to save an animal from extinction are even necessary (and in effect, if your suing is necessary). That is, after all, what you asked them to do.

Discovery that over-harvested plants are slowly disappearing concerns some

19 01 2008

NewsBBC News has just released a dispiriting article on the gradual disappearance of many important medicinal plants. After collecting information from over six hundred members of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, it was revealed that 400 plants are at risk of becoming extinct. Local cultures as well as worldwide medicine-producing companies are worried about the disappearance of the plants. And we have no idea why they are disappearing…

Oh, wait, yes we do! They are being harvested by the same companies that are worried about their gradual depletion. And this was just discovered now? Someone finally realized that the Earth doesn’t have an infinite supply of everything? This reminds me of a certain oil crisis that is rocking the world at the present. Something extremely valuable to nearly every citizen of the planet is being destroyed voluntarily. It’s unfortunate that they both are so nonrenewable.

Oh, wait, plants are! In fact, I am fairly certain that a majority of them take a relatively short time to grow. I am also fairly certain that they are inexpensive to grow and for the most part easy to replace. Why is this news being reported as if the entire future of medicine is at risk when there is an obvious cure sitting before us? Who are the company owners insisting that plants necessary for company survival be harvested to extinction before realizing that they probably should have grown some replacements?

It’s like if an old-fashioned farmer grew his crops and sold them, only to discover he forgot to keep any seeds to plant for the next season. Only this time around, the lives on the line and the money involved are thousands of times greater. Considering this is an international effort, I’m surprised the entire future is being overlooked just for the sake of some quick money.

Oh, wait, no I’m not.