The Jimmy Story

We’ve all experienced depression, but hopefully not to the degree that Jimmy did in this important poem by Pocahontas County High School senior Jonathan Valido. He bravely gave a live performance of the poem at our local opera house to help spread the word about why bullying is bad, and I am only passing it along to add momentum to his important message.

The Jimmy Story

By Jonathan Valido

 Hi, my name is Jimmy.
The kids at school like to hit me.
I thought my cool life had hid me,
But if only they didn't threaten me:

Their words cut like a knife,
They make me hate my life.
I am paying the price,
But still don’t get get nothing nice.

What's the point of living life,
If kids are punching you and shaking you with a knife?
What's the point of going to school,
Getting bad grades, and trying to be cool?

It's not working and I don't get why;
I live so dangerously and barely get by.
I pray to God but don't think he's listening
It might be just cause my soul isn't glistening

So this is my suicide song
And if you are reading it then I am already gone. 
So, you see, please don't do what those l kids did to me:
It’s not easy living if you are me. 

So here I go, I'm about to die,
Mom, see you, love you, and goodbye.
Jonathan Valido Heroically performs his poem, “The Jimmy Story.”

Our Favorite Word Games

My family and I enjoy a variety of word games which we use to improve our vocabularies, exercise our brains, and to pass the time during long car rides. They are fun, educational, and require no equipment! 

One such word game (which we invented just recently) we call word riddles. The object of this game is to guess a word based on its words related to its homophones or homonyms. The way it works is one person thinks of a word that has at least one homophone or homonym and then thinks of other words related to each of the homophones and/or homonyms. Once that person has all of these related words in mind, they say those words out loud to the other players, who then try and figure out what word the person whose turn it is (the “riddler”) was thinking of.

For example, one might choose the word ‘wear’, which has several different homophones, including ‘ware’ and ‘where’ (not technically a homophone), as well as ‘wear’, also a homonym. Next, one would choose more words related to each of the homophones and homonyms of ‘wear’. There would be many different options, but some possibilities include: clothes (one wears clothes), merchandise (another word for a ‘ware’), location (where something is), and erosion (a form of wear).

Challenge yourself with the following riddles, from easy to hard (answers at end of post):

  1. Trumpet (n.), antler (easy). 
  2. Gnat, wing, zipper (still pretty easy).
  3. Dish (n.), braid (v.) (requires moderate vocabulary skills).
  4. Soup, trunk, trample (Moderately difficult; easily misleading).
  5. Electromagnetism, feather, innocuous, diminished, fire (requires some knowledge of physics). 
  6. Keyboard, quiet (difficult for most people). 
  7. Lightining, eggs, immortality, roof (impossible for most people; requires very specific knowledge). 
  8. Stroke, subtle, pretend, notebook (Requires some thought, and a little obscure word knowledge helps). 

Well, I hope you enjoyed those, and let me know which ones you solved. Even better, post your own riddles in the comments! 

Another game we like to play is called ‘link’. In this game, we each take turns coming up with words that relate in some way to the previous word, i.e. in meaning, spelling, sound, etymology, etc. The first person to go simply comes up with any word he/she likes. Other players can challenge a player to explain his/her connection if they don’t see the connection or think that the connection is too tenuous. After the connection is explained, players can vote on whether they think it is good enough or not, and if they vote ‘no’, the player who came up with word is “out.” This is the competitive way to play the game, but we usually just try to come up with interesting or obscure connections to make each other think. 

An example of ‘link’ game-play:

Knife: Knight: Lunar: Crazy: Lazy: Stagnant: Buck: Matador: Executioner: President: Overseer: Eagle: Beagle: etc.

Did you get all of the connections? Let me know in the comments!

Other word games we play are simpler, but no less entertaining, like naming all of the words we can think of that begin with a certain letter or combination of letters, and the classic game of anagrams. The former is available on Lumosity, but don’t forget that you don’t need high tech phones and app software to exercise your brain; you can do it anytime, anywhere, and all in your head (which makes everything harder and more fun!)!

So, if you’re ever bored on a long car ride and your eyes are tired of staring at your screen, remember these word games!


Answers to word riddles:

  1. Horn
  2. Fly
  3. Plate
  4. Bowl
  5. Light
  6. Piano
  7. Hen-and-chicks
  8. Faint

Commonly Confused Words

Here is a list of commonly confused words, along with their more obscure definitions just for fun. Definitions  rephrased from the Oxford English Dictionary and Dictionary.com.

Abram Leyzorek

I.                   Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  Jurisdiction, custody, power, or charge. Obs.

2.                  A giving, delivery, or handing-over. Obs.

3.                  The amicable custody or charge of someone who would otherwise be imprisoned and has given security to ensure that they will be forthcoming at an appointed place and time. Obs.

4.                  Temporary release or delivery from prison upon finding securities to appear for trial. Obs.

5.                  Pending the trial of a prisoner, security given for his release from prison.

6.                  A person or persons who secure the release of a prisoner from prison or officer custody by becoming surety for his attendance at court for his trial.

7.                  Comb. Bail-bond: the security or bond entered into by a bail.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To deliver goods in a trust, upon a contract that the trust will be executed faithfully by the bailee.

2.                  To release a person from prison or immediate arrest on security being given that the person shall be duly presented for trial.

3.                  To liberate from imprisonment.

4.                  To become bail or security in order to procure the release of a person from arrest or imprisonment.

5.                  To secure, guarantee, protect.

 

II.                Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  A ring or hoop; a half-hoop for supporting the cover of a cradle or a wagon, the tilt of a ship, etc.

2.                  The hoop handle of a kettle or other similar vessel.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To hoop, gird.

III.              Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  The first line of defense in fortifications made of palisades, barriers, or stakes.

2.                  Of the outer court a feudal castle, the outer wall; extended to each successive wall separating the courts, thus sometimes used for the courts themselves.

IV.             Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  The bulwarks of a boat.

V.                Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  Any small container used to bail water from a boat. Obs.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To throw water out of a boat.

VI.             Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  A pole or bar used to separate horses in an open  stable.

2.                  (Australian) A framework for securing a cow while she is milked.

3.                  A cross bar. Obs.

4.                  The name for each the two pieces of wood laid across the three stumps to form the wicket in the game of cricket.

VII.           Bail

A.                 Noun

1.                  To confine.

B.                 Verb

1.                  In Australia, to secure the head of a cow in a ‘bail’ while she is milked.

VIII.        Bale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A bonfire. Obs.

2.                  A funeral pyre. Obs.

3.                  A signal fire. Arch.

IX.              Bale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A large package of merchandise tightly pressed, wrapped, tied up with cord or metal hoops, for transportation.

2.                  A measure of quantity, used with more or less precision.

3.                  Comb. Bale-goods: goods in a bale, as opposed to case-goods.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To make up into a bale or bales.

X.                Bale

A.                 Noun

1.                  A set of dice for any special game. Obs.

XI.              Bale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A pill or bolus.

XII.           Climb.

A.                 Noun

1.                  An ascent.

 

B.                 Verb

1.                  To raise oneself up a steep or perpendicular surface by clinging or grasping with aide of the hands and feet; to ascend, come or go up.

2.                  To mount, scale.

3.                  Of the moon or the sun, to move towards the zenith.

4.                  Of plants, to creep up by the aid of tendrils or twining.

5.                  To slope upward.

6.                  To move upward in the intellectual, moral, or social scale.

XIII.        Clime.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Climate. Obs.

2.                  A region considered in relation to its distinctive climate.

3.                  Atmosphere.

XIV.        Pair.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Two corresponding, similar, or identical things matched for use together.

2.                  Something regarded as or consisting of two pieces joined together.

3.                  Two individuals who are similar or associated in some way.

4.                  A couple, married, engaged, or dating.

5.                  Two mated animals.

6.                  A team or span.

7.                  Two members on opposite sides of a deliberative body who arrange to forgo voting.

a)                  This arrangement.

8.                  Cards.

a)                  Two cards of the same denomination regardless of suit.

b)                  Two card players matched together against different contestants.

9.                  Two pieces or parts so joined that they mutually prevent motion relative to each other.

10.              Two postage stamps either horizontally or vertically joined together.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To designate or arrange in pairs.

2.                  To match, couple.

3.                  To be a member of a pair.

4.                  To resemble or match with another.

5.                  To unite in close association with another.

6.                  (of animals) To mate.

7.                  (In a deliberative body) To form or arrange a pair.

XV.          Pare.

A.                 Verb

1.                  To remove the outer part, layer, or coating of something by cutting.

2.                  To gradually diminish or decrease.

XVI.        Pear.

A.                 Noun

1.                  The edible fruit of the Pyus communis tree.

2.                  The tree itself.

XVII.     Tare.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Any of various vetches, especially Vicia sativa.

2.                  The vetch seed.

3.                  In the bible, a noxious weed, possibly the darnel.

XVIII.   Tare.

A.                 Noun

1.                  The weight of the packaging, conveyance, or receptacle containing goods which is subtracted from the gross weight to ascertain the net weight.

2.                  Such a deduction.

3.                  The weight of a motor vehicle without fuel or accompanying equipment.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To calculate, make allowance for, or indicate the tare of.

XIX.        Tear.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A drop of saline liquid secreted by the lacrimal glands.

2.                  This liquid flowing from or appearing in the eye in response to emotion, particularly sadness.

3.                  Something resembling a tear, especially in shape.

4.                  A decorative air bubble trapped in a glass vessel.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To fill up or overflow with tears, regarding the eyes.

XX.           Tear.

A.                 Noun

1.                  The act of tearing.

2.                  A fissure or rent.

3.                  A rage, passion, violent flurry, or outburst.

4.                  Informal. A spree.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To pull into pieces by force, especially so as to leave ragged edges.

2.                  To violently pull or snatch away.

3.                  To put into great distress.

4.                  To disrupt or divide.

5.                  To lacerate.

6.                  To effect or produce by rending.

7.                  To forcefully remove.

8.                  To become torn.

9.                  To make a tear.

10.              To behave in a violently hasty, forceful, or energetic manner.

XXI.        Wail.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A prolonged vocal sound expressing pain or grief.

2.                  The action of wailing.

3.                  A sound resembling a cry of grief or pain.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To bitterly grieve.

2.                  To lament, deplore, bewail:

a)                  Misfortune, sin, suffering; of others or one’s own.

b)                  The dead or the loss of something.

XXII.      Wail.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Veil.

2.                  Vail.

XXIII.   Wail.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Wale.

XXIV.  Waile.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A Willow.

XXV.     Waile.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Obs. Var. Quail.

XXVI.  Wale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A ridge of earth or stone.

2.                  The ridge raised on the flesh by a blow.

3.                  A raised line or ridge of thread or string in a fabric.

a)                  A stripe of color.

4.                  Naut. The gunwale of a ship.

5.                  The individual timbers bracing the piles of a dam.

6.                  The individual horizontal bands around the body of a basket comprised of intertwined rods meant as a finishing-off course.

7.                  A ridge on a horse’s collar.

8.                  Comb. Wale-piece.

a)                  A piece of timber to be used for a gunwale on a ship.

b)                  A timber bracing the piles of a dam.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To raise a wale on the flesh.

2.                  To secure, fasten, or protect with a wale or wale-piece.

3.                  Weaving.

a)                  Mil. To wattle or weave a hurdle or gabion.

b)                  Basketmaking. To create a wale by intertwining rods, or to install a wale on a basket.

 

XXVII.                        Wale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A choice, or the group of things one of which is to be chosen.

2.                  Something chosen because it is the best out of a group.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To choose.

XXVIII.                     Wale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Obs. Rare. A current or wave.

XXIX.   Wale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  A general expression of praise, e.g. select, choice, noble, excellent, etc.

a)                  Ascribed to a person, his qualities, actions, etc.

b)                  Ascribed to a thing.

XXX.      Wale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Obs. Alas!

XXXI.   Whale.

A.                 Noun

1.                  Any of the big, fish-like marine mammals in the order Cetacea.

2.                  Applied to the “great fish” which swallowed Jonah in the Bible.

3.                  Silurus Glanis, a large freshwater fish. Obs.

4.                  Something resembling a whale; in astronomy, the constellation Cetus.

B.                 Verb

1.                  To fish for whales.

XXXII.Whale.

A.                 Verb

1.                  To flog, thrash, beat.

2.                  To do something vehemently or continuously.

Sources

Oxford English Dictionary, compact edition.

Dictionary.com

Be Heading Towards Worm Regeneration

An earthworm at its one week post-execution check-up

Several weeks ago, I was working on repairing a set of stone stairs. Some of the stones had fallen loose and the whole hillside that they ran down needed a retaining wall anyway. Unexpectedly, this lead to an opportunity to learn about worm regeneration.

Stair-capped stone retaining wall
The stairs leading into our dooryard. We just love building this kind of long-lasting, beautiful, sustainable stone-work!

While digging, my shovel severed the head of an unfortunate earthworm. I was saddened by this, but also curious to see how much harm I had actually done to the poor creature. I had heard that earthworms had incredible regenerative abilities, and I wanted to see if this was true. So I gathered some tasty looking loam and left it above ground inside a jar along with my vermian victim. Definitely not a sound scientific study, but enough to satisfy my curiosity. A week later, I checked inside the jar. To my utter astonishment and joy, the afflicted annelid (a Lumbricus terrestris) slithered lethargically in the soil. And not only that, the severed stump of its head had completely healed over!

An earthworm at its one week post-execution check-up
A previously beheaded Lumbricus lazarus on the recovery one week post-execution.

And if this picture isn’t enough to convince you of the liveliness of this headless earthworm, here is some videographic evidence as well:

The undying earthworm, one week after an unfortunate encounter with a shovel blade.

After I had verified its indisputable vivacity, I replaced its loam and this time interred the jar and worm (not a burial as a funerary procedure, but rather as a return (in earthworm terms) to the land of the living) and waited two more weeks.

On the second checkup, the amazing annelid was nowhere to be found, and I presumed it to have returned to the great underground, to live tilling the soil till, tilling, it could till no more. While this experience put me in awe of the regenerative abilities of earthworms (on top of their amazing work ethic and indispensable role in soil health), it also has reduced my reservations about digging in the soil, which inevitably carries the risk of accidentally disturbing or dissecting them, if it is done for a good purpose.

Disturbing the ground is often an unavoidable part of essential building projects, such as building a house. Digging in the ground is often the only way to provide a firm, level foundation for a building. And for us hobbit-hole enthusiasts, it is absolutely unavoidable. This experience has added weight to my conviction that Tolkien’s hobbits were far more ethically, environmentally, and technologically advanced than we are in terms of housing. I think it is far better to temporarily disturb a hundred earthworms (most of which live in top soil, anyway) and build an underground house than to condemn a pregnant strip of land to be the bearer of a barren building for years. Even if worms are harmed in the process, most of them will regenerate; it seems they were designed to endure this kind of thing.

Learn more about earthworms’ regenerative capabilities: https://www.livescience.com/38371-two-worms-worm-cut-in-half.html.

Comment

Debates about Arguments for God in Youtube Comments Section

Here is an interesting debate I had in the comments section of a YouTube video called, “Dr. Niel DeGrasse Tyson is 100% WRONG About God“, published by a channel called Capturing Christianity presented by a man called Cameron Bertuzzi. In the video, Mr. Bertuzzi challenges the claims, ‘there is no evidence for God’, ‘faith is believe in something without evidence’, and ‘God and Evil are Incompatible’. I saw two comments challenging Mr. Bertuzzi’s arguments by claiming they were illogical, a claim I believed was untrue, so I decided to respond. Here is the chain of rebuttal that followed, which I hope you will find interesting. Also, don’t forget to comment or raise a question in the forum: I’d love to know what you think!

The video:

Thread #1

Simon Chubb

Simon Chubb 6 days ago
6:20 Evidence of Dependent Things. Evidence? It barely holds up as theory. This “evidence” uses a Special Pleading defence. Apparently everything depends on something, so everything depends on God…but God doesn’t depend on anything. Not logical
20 REPLY Hide 28 replies

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 3 days ago
The fact that everything we see in the physical universe depends on something, does not mean that we cannot posit something that does not in order to provide an explanation of where all of these dependent things came from. It is a sound theoretical proposition that God does not depend on anything. The fallacy which lead you to label the argument as “not logical” is in assuming that the argument was stating that the quality of dependency is universal to all imaginable things, when it in fact all it was saying is that all things we can observe seem to share this quality. Even though we may not be able to fully comprehend them, we can certainly imagine things that are not dependent (and have done so for thousands of years), e.g. God, steady-state universes, etc.Show less
5 REPLY

Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 3 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek Well I guess there is evidence for the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater – you know since I can imagine it.
4 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Veridicus Maximus The fact that we can imagine a flying purple people eater is not evidence for it’s existence, nor is it evidence for God. I was only refuting Simon Chubb’s claim that the dependent things argument is illogical.
2 REPLY

Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I think his original point was this: If you posit an independent thing based upon the evidence of all dependent things there is no justification to posit this supernatural independent thing given the evidence? The evidence is telling you that everything we observe is dependent thus if you imagine a God as independent of all other things based solely on this evidence then you are special pleading. You can’t base your positing that an independent thing exists based upon all other things being dependent and then say well the thing I imagine is not dependent and then claim victory.Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Veridicus Maximus Why not? If it were true that everything we see is dependent, it would logically follow that there must be some independent source of all the things we see, otherwise none of what we see could exist, right?
2 REPLY

TheLegendOfRandy

TheLegendOfRandy 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek “It is a sound theoretical proposition that God does not depend on anything.” No, it’s an empty assertion not supported by evidence as well as an argument from ignorance fallacy. Replace “God” with “Invisible Universe-Creating Unicorns,” or any other baseless unfalsifiable claim, and you have the same exact argument with the same amount of evidence, zero. Your claim needs to be demonstrated, not just asserted.Show less
1 REPLY

Sebastian Schulz

Sebastian Schulz 2 days ago
and how would you prove that? Cameron would argue that otherwise the whole explanation would collapse. True, the whole explanation he elaborates never takes off the ground in the first place.
1 REPLY

Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek It does not follow that it is supernatural – God. And furthermore the claim was that the Evidence was dependent things. How does the evidence of dependent things lead you to imagine a God as the independent foundation of all reality. The claim was not that something independent of all dependent things necessarily exist.
REPLY

Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 2 days ago (edited)
@Abram Leyzorek Another point here is the fallacy of composition. It does not follow that because the things made up of energy – that is dependent upon energy existing for there to be things at all (dependent things) – means that Energy itself is dependent. What you mean to say is that something must be eternal for there to be anything at all. I could posit Energy as the ground state of existence based upon the First Law and everything that we experience is dependent upon it’s existence. Energy is the independent reality.
REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago (edited)
@TheLegendOfRandy I wasn’t making any claims about or arguments for the existence of God. I only said that if he existed, he could theoretically be independent, which was in response to Simon Chubbs assertion that the dependent things argument is illogical. Please refer to the video above and other sources if you want actual arguments for the existence of God. I’m just posting here to check false claims about these arguments for the benefit of the audience.Show less
1 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago (edited)
@Sebastian Schulz I assume you are addressing my statement, “If it were true that everything we see is dependent, it would logically follow that there must be some independent source of all the things we see, otherwise none of what we see could exist…” The way I would prove this is by looking at how the objects we see got to be what and where they are and what roles other things may have played in there to journey to the point at which we perceive them. Doing this, we can see that many preceding things influenced this journey and you can trace this all the way back to the Big Bang. The unanswerable yet intriguing question, “where did the Big Bang come from?” follows. It is well worth examining the universe we live in for clues that may help answer this question.Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Veridicus Maximus You are correct: god does not follow from the dependent things argument. Rather, it points to some unknown thing that must share one of God’s characteristics, i.e. permanence.
1 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Veridicus Maximus About the alleged fallacy of composition, I do not think this exists at least as far as energy is concerned. I don’t think energy can be the independent reality because of the Second the Law of Thermodynamics. I admit that I don’t know much physics, so I could be misrepresenting this law, but it seems to me that if energy had been around forever then it would have reached the state of maximum entropy an infinite amount of time ago. Since it has not, I assume that the universe, including energy, must have existed for a finite amount of time.Show less
1 REPLY

Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek Granted, but there are a lot of models that would say otherwise. It may not be the case that when this ‘universe’ reaches its maximum entropy that it is impossible, particularly at the quantum level, for further fluctuations that allow for expansion again or another universe forming from this ground state. But we were first simply positing what could be imagined not what is scientifically explained. And the 1st Law does not contradict the 2nd Law. What we know so far now is that Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So for me to posit it as the ground state of all existence is much more justified given that we know we exist materially and that this law is in affect. All dependent things are just transformation of Energy. I don’t see any justification, other than mere assertion a priori that the supernatural exists let alone some religion’s God to be the ultimate permanent thing.Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Veridicus Maximus It sounds like you know more physics than I. I don’t understand how new universes could be formed from old ones at maximum entropy, nor do I even, now that I think about it, know what the point of maximum entropy would be. Would it be a uniform distribution of matter at the same temperature, or would it be all matter inside of a black hole? A black hole gets rid of gravitational potential energy but concentrates energy in one place, albeit a place it has difficulty escaping from, except by Hawking radiation. I suppose even a very large black hole made up of all matter and energy in the universe would eventually evaporate via Hawking radiation leading to the aforementioned uniform particle distribution at the same temperature? But this is just wild speculation. I have heard that steady state universes can exist in theory, but that they would be very unlikely due to the possibility of the universe either expanding forever or not being able to re-expand when it collapses. I don’t think steady state cosmology is mainstream these days, but I could be wrong. Also, I don’t know if your statement, “All dependent things are just transformation of Energy”, is true. What about matter? Aren’t matter and energy two different things? If so, I anticipate you will say that no matter is ever created or destroyed and thus is also an independent thing. The question then, I suppose is whether or not you would be correct, and for that to be the case, steady state cosmology must be true as well; there would have to be no final resting place for he universe and all processes would have to be reversible in some way eventually, which entropy, barring quantum fluctuations, would seem to rule out. Anyway, at our current level of knowledge I don’t think anything can be proved either way and we should look at what model of the universe seems more probable (see second paragraph). At this point you could invoke the anthropic principle, and then we would have to move on to a lengthy discussion of whether or not their are reasons to believe we are besides the fact that we are here. I recommend we end this discussion now (as we have reached it’s logical endpoint) and go read more books and learn more physics and live more life to continue gaining knowledge and experience to update our hypotheses about the nature of the universe and our place in it. If you want to learn more about how an intelligent person could come to believe in the existence of God and even accept Christianity as true, I recommend you read C. S. Lewis’ book Surprised By Joy. And if I may offer one final tip about religion, please don’t make the false assumption that if one religion is true than all others must be false. A true religionist would say that all legitimate religions contain elements of truth and point to the same thing and that, though there may be many mutually exclusive assertions in them, these are not about important things generally and they simply represent distortions in the light of truth caused by the unique imperfections in the lenses of the eyes of the people and cultures in which their religion arose; they are all looking at the same thing but with different perspectives, blind spots, and imperfections.Show less
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Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I used to be a Christian and have read C.S. Lewis. A few points though, at maximum entropy there would be no black holes but there also would not be uniform distribution at the quantum level there are still fluctuations – whether these could then start a new universe is not known yet. Matter and energy are not two different things at the basic ontological level – everything is energy. It might be helpful, as it was to me, to listen to Sean Carroll as he has some good insights on these things. Wiki has info and there are plenty of videos on YouTube that can be explored. Peace!Show less
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Sebastian Schulz

Sebastian Schulz 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I find the statement everthing is dependent very vague and open to quite a lot of interpretation and this is therefore no evidence for anything. As cor cosmology, I cannot answer what happened in the big bang as many things happened in the tiniest time scales, where eras now last for billion of years. The expanding universe will eventually be so diluted that no new stars will form and things will be dark, temperature so low that no life as we know it can exist.Show less
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Lil Christian

Lil Christian 2 days ago
God by definition doesn’t depend on anything or He’s not God
1 REPLY

Simon Chubb

Simon Chubb 2 days ago
@Lil Christian or he doesn’t exist. Effectively it makes no difference
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Veridicus Maximus

Veridicus Maximus 2 days ago (edited)
@Lil Christian How convenient, a definition based upon nothing other than wanting a conclusion. In other words just define things that suite your own conclusions a priori.
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Sebastian Schulz As I see it, there is a very specific definition for dependent, which is an adjective that describes anything that required something else to be what it is. Now, you’re right, the word ‘everything’ in the statement “everything is dependent” is open to interpretation. I disagree that it is vague however, as it, interpreted literally, means that everything (which means all things that exist, have existed, could exist, couldn’t exist, can only be thought of, can’t be thought of, concepts, abstractions, etc.) is dependent. Thus, I think that the statement should be amended to, ‘everything we can observe is dependent.’Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Simon Chubb The statements ‘God does not exist’ and ‘God is not dependent’ are clearly two different statements.
2 REPLY

Lil Christian

Lil Christian 2 days ago
Veridicus Maximus okay then let’s apply that to Laurence Krause trying to re define nothing just change it to whatever I mean if someone on my side does it someone on yours does to and vice versa both sides have their ups and downs and ultimately it comes to one thing your worldview anything you read on this topic will be interpreted to your worldview, and same for me I’m gonna admit it I do interpret it to my worldview so do you
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Sebastian Schulz

Sebastian Schulz 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I you allow me to put ypir words differently, dependence can be a consequence of causality. Applying this shifts the whole thing towards the Kalam Cosmological argument which requeires the postulate of a first uncaused cause. This postulate is unprovable. Plus the Cosmological argument could prove any god not necessarily the Christian who uses it intends to prove. So in science this method of proving something is flawed. Because the whole thing is vague as I put it. Sure matter and particles and radiation interact, so there is time and causality and therefore you can see pattern of dependence in events. But dependence is also limited. There are regions too far away to interact with each other. Events in a black hole will never affect us. Everything is dependent is a statement with so many consequences, if you pull one consequence from it to serve a particular chain of arguments, you need to check whether all other conclusions therefrom do not contradict your hypothesis. Many Christian apologists are too lazy and too insincere to do that. Show less
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Sebastian Schulz

Sebastian Schulz 2 days ago
I am also not impressed with Cameron pulling some thoughts together which are totally meaningless. Cameron is trying to battle science with philosophy. And this is why anything he says is pointless.
1 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 1 day ago
@Sebastian Schulz I disagree that the “first uncaused cause” is unverifiable. The way I see it, there are only two options: either their was a “first uncaused cuase” or an infinite amount of time has passed before the present day. I doubt whether the latter can be true for the following reasons:
1. The universe appears to be developing through time towards some end, i.e. is not static, and it has yet to reach that end. A possible objection is that, due to quantum fluctuations, given an infinite amount of time the universe will restart itself an infinite number of times and we just happen to be living in one of those times. I’m not sure this is even possible given infinite time, though, as it seems to violate the second law of thermodynamics. I don’t even know if it would possible just considering quantum mechanics, but I have a very limited understanding of that subject.
2. I don’t think it would be possible to traverse an infinite amount of time, as William Lane Craig argues in the Kalam Cosmological Argument.
Now, you may object that the concept of a beginning-less, changeless, omnipotent being is just as incomprehensible as the concept of infinity. This is a valid objection, but I don’t see why we should favor one completely incomprehensible alternative over the other. Personally, I think the discussion should end here and we should look in other areas of knowledge and experience in an attempt to tip the scales towards one or the other. I’m curious what other consequences (other than the “first uncaused cause”) of everything we observe being dependent you think many christian apologists are missing?Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 1 day ago
@Sebastian Schulz I did not find anything Cameron said to be meaningless. You may disagree about whether or not it is true, but please do not deny that it has meaning. This is just a cowardly cop out to avoid thinking about what he says and it will stunt your understanding greatly. I’m not saying you should view it this way or that this was your intention, and I hope it doesn’t offend you, but this the consequence of your statement from my point of view I wanted to protect you from that. I also think it is wrong to say that Cameron is ” trying to battle science with philosophy.” All he is doing is taking observations (science) and trying to interpret their meaning, to fit them into an overarching structure (or theory). This is the science of philosophy. Science is not at odds with philosophy in any way; rather, it is what fuels philosophy.Show less
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Angus McMillan

Angus McMillan 1 day ago
Logic is, shockingly, deterministic. It is a formal system, whose set of rules are applicable to this deterministic system. The rules of any formal system are only applicable for the things it is applicable to. Not just random everything. This system is four dimensional. X, Y, Z and time. So, it is deterministic in time and space. Time and space were created by the creator – how can they apply to him? Tthe creator may very well depend on “something”. Yet he does not depend on anything in this system. That would be a circular reference. How would God create something which he needed to function in the first place? Whether the creator himself was created by a creator is a different question. And it seems likely to me, but most certainly possible. We see this pattern in this world over and over, the pattern that patterns are repeating themselves (fractals – as above so below, and I don’t mean the upside down satanic version of that principle – it is turned around). Could we ever hope to experience the existence of the creator of the creator? I don’t think so.Show less
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Thread #2

Marco

Marco 6 days ago (edited)
“Today, ordinary matter, which includes atoms, stars, galaxies, and life, accounts for only 4.9% of the contents of the Universe”. “More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to have died out” -Wikipidia. 🤔 The vast majority of the Universe doesn’t have ordinary matter, let alone life, and even where this exists, the Universe is very efficient in destroying it. The Universe is fine tuned to kill us. 😅Show less
13 REPLY

Marco

Marco 6 days ago
@DManCAWMaster you’re right 😅, I’m lazy. Don’t be like me, search for “Universe composition” and “mass extinctions” in Google Scholar for more academic articles on the subject or visit your local library.
4 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 3 days ago
First of all, I don’t understand why the first factoid you cite is relevant to the discussion. As for the second factoid, isn’t it amazing that five billion species HAVE lived on Earth, which would be impossible without them dying out successively? As for your personal assertion that there is no life in the universe besides those carbon-based creatures on Earth, please provide some evidence. As far as I know, astronomers are still searching for signs other life in the universe and whether or not it exists or not is still an open question. There is considerable evidence that life may have lived in the past on Mars in its younger days, so I think there is reason to be hopeful about finding other life in the universe. As for your final cynical comment, it seems that, as per your second factoid, the universe (at least on Earth) is actually great at producing abundant, diverse life. As I said before, this abundance and diversity would simply not be possible without death. I wouldn’t view mortality as an opposing or opposite force to life: it is actually an essential component of life.Show less
1 REPLY

Caleb Hukill

Caleb Hukill 3 days ago
Its pretty clear that even this planet alone isn’t designed for humans. About 20% of the entire surface of the globe is habitable to humans. Only by living in groups can humans even survive; basically any animal could kill us.
4 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 3 days ago
@Caleb Hukill I agree that humans have not been given special consideration when it comes to habitat availability (although more than some species), but how is that relevant to the discussion? My last comment applies to your last comment, as well, but I will say that it is actually humans that do the lion’s share of the killing in this world and we firmly situated at the top of the food chain.Show less
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Caleb Hukill

Caleb Hukill 3 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I agree that its amazing how many species have lived on Earth. I agree that death is inevitable in this universe and necessary for evolution. Neither of these facts(one is actually an opinion) rebut Marco’s criticism, though. Really, the fact that organisms have to evolve to survive in the first place disproves fine tuning. The point about no observed planets, other than Earth, having life demonstrates how non-life-permitting the universe is. Maybe Mars had life, we don’t really know. The vast majority of space rocks and planets have no life at all.Show less
1 REPLY

Marco

Marco 3 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek  Abram Leyzorek  I’m not claiming that life cannot exist elsewhere in the universe, actually I think It’s possible, I’m just saying that even if life was in every galaxy, it would be a negligible part of the universe, not something the universe is made for, life doesn’t receive a special treatment and it’s not the Universe’s “core business”. However yes, I do agree death is necessary to life to evolve, old life forms must give way to new ones, more adapted to conquer new habitats, fighting the (not so) fine tuned Universe to survive. 😉Show less
2 REPLY

Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 3 days ago
@Marco Okay, I see what you are saying now. I agree with your statement that life, even if abundant in every galaxy, would make up only a tiny fraction of the matter, energy, and whatever else the universe is made of. But I can’t follow along with your assertion that this is not the universe’s “‘core business.'” Whether or not this is true or false, I have no idea, but you can’t just assume that insignificance in physical size or scope translates into valuative insignificance: If you saw a settlement with people in it, would you assume that the people are not the main point or cause of the settlement’s existence just because the materials used to make all of the houses and tools necessary for the people’s sustenance would make up a larger proportion of the matter in the system? Obviously, a theist could make the same analogy with the entire universe. Whether or not this would be apt still needs to be discussed, but you see my point. If I may take a moment to expand the former analogy to the whole universe, I think it will yield interesting results. It is actually demonstrably true that a good chunk of all this matter and energy you see as irrelevant to live is actually necessary for it. Take the Sun, for example. It is 333,000 times the mass of the Earth (let alone the biomass on the Earth). This massive Sun is necessary to fuse atomic nuclei in order to produce the solar radiation that powers all life on Earth. Similar suns make up much of the observable mass of the universe where they may provide heat for other life forms. About dark matter and energy, I don’t think scientists have any idea what function it plays in the universe, so speculating about it is pointless. I think we should be wary of asserting that certain things don’t have an impact on something important, life or otherwise, because our, at least my own, understanding of the universe is far too limited. About your last statement on death being necessary for evolution, I suppose I have to agree, because if no organisms died and continually reproduced, then pretty soon all resources would be consumed and all that life would die out. That wasn’t my original point about death, though, which was that for any life forms, evolving or not, to be sustainable, death needs to be apart of the process to give back nutrients to future generations and control population levels, as well as make way for future generations. Here, I would like to make one final point about death and evolution. You, pessimistically I presume, stated in your original comment that 99% of all species have gone extinct. I pointed out that one way to look at that positively is to reverse he observation and say that current life forms on Earth only represent a tiny fraction of all the wonderful life forms that preceded them. Another positive way to look at it is that none of our antecedents died in vain because without them we wouldn’t be here; we share their genes and they were a necessary step in our evolution. In reality, we owe them everything. And it is worth realizing how dependent we all are and were on the benevolence of the larger universe providing the right conditions for life to arise in the first place and for continuing to provide the energy required to sustain it.Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 3 days ago
@Caleb Hukill Thanks for your reply. The necessity for adaptation to changing conditions does not mean that the universe did not have to meet certain very specific criteria to make any kind of life possible at all. I see what you are saying, though, and it is a clever argument. Clearly, this isn’t the kind of universe that supports a single, static form of life. Even if your last assertion is true, it doesn’t mean that all those lifeless space rocks don’t serve some purpose in supporting what little life DOES exist. For example, the planet Jupiter is thought be to an essential comet shield for Earth. And just because we’re not intelligent and knowledgeable enough to come up with any reason why other things are necessary, for life or otherwise, doesn’t mean those reasons don’t exist.Show less
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Caleb Hukill

Caleb Hukill 3 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek Your settlement analogy doesn’t really work because all of the materials that went into the settlement clearly benefit the settlers in the form of shelter and tools while there’s no clear benefit for life from most space matter. The fact that the vast majority of species that have existed are extinct is neither pessimistic nor optimistic; its neutral, as all things should be when discussing the nature of the universe.Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Caleb Hukill The extent to which the settlement analogy can be applied to the universe depends on knowledge I don’t think scientists yet have. We already know that a vast quantity of matter is required to form the planets that life lives upon and that hundreds of thousands of times more matter beyond that is needed to form stars that are the energy source for most life. Yet, you’re right, this is still only a tiny fraction of the stuff out there, i.e. dark matter & energy. Since we can only detect it by it’s gravitational (or anti-gravitational) effects, I think it is pointless to speculate at this time about it’s role in the universe and impact on life, which may be good, bad, or neutral. Plus, as I keep hinting at, we shouldn’t say that all this stuff in space has no purpose even if we can’t see a benefit to life from it. It may serve some other important purpose unbeknownst to us. It would be very arrogant and egocentric to think that the only way anything could have meaning is by benefiting us. About neutrality when discussing the nature of the universe, I think this is generally a good thing. But a discussion of the nature of the universe as it pertains to life and ourselves should not end in objectivity for anyone who values their own lives and those of other creatures.Show less
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Caleb Hukill

Caleb Hukill 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I think we should make as few assumptions as possible to ensure our view of the world is as true as possible. It follows from this that we shouldn’t assume that anything has a purpose until that purpose is demonstrated. I think that’s the main difference between your thought process and mine. I could be mistaken though.
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Caleb Hukill Yes, I completely agree. I am only trying to guard against the assumption that certain things DO NOT have a purpose.
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Caleb Hukill

Caleb Hukill 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I should probably clarify, in the context of certain things such as math, assumptions can make the problem easier. In the context of the scientific method or some case where you’re testing a hypothesis, more assumptions will generally mess up your results. Speaking of purpose, Jean Paul Sartre has written some pretty interesting stuff on where purpose comes from, what has purpose and what doesn’t. I’d recommend reading some of his stuff like Existentialism is a Humanism if you like Philosophy.Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@Caleb Hukill Thanks for the clarification and reference to Sartre; I do like philosophy, but I admit I am not terribly well read on the subject, so I will definitely check Sartre out at some point. Thanks for a great discussion!
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dogma jones

dogma jones 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek yeah, it’s not like the planet has been hammered by more than TEN mass extinction events since life has existed upon it.
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 2 days ago
@dogma jones Actually, according to current paleontology, that is what has happened. You agree with this obviously, I assume you were being sarcastic, and I don’t deny. Please elucidate your point further as I’m not sure what point you are trying to make by sarcastically stating that fact. Thanks.
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Jo' Okk

Jo’ Okk 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek I’d “buy you a drink” if I could 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽You too @Caleb Hukill, I enjoyed reading every bit of this discussion, and I love how you both wrapped it up (I’m on Abram’s side btw)
1 REPLY

dogma jones

dogma jones 2 days ago
@Abram Leyzorek the point I’m trying to make, is that if this planet was created for life in mind by a benevolent being, then life wouldn’t be constantly receiving a game over screen every few million years.
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 1 day ago
@dogma jones Thanks for clarifying your point. I want to say several things about it. First, I don’t think that the extinctions you mentioned were really as bad as you think. I do think they were bad in the sense that many many individual creatures were killed, but I’m not sure they were bad for the reason most people think, which is because so many species went extinct. I don’t think a certain species going extinct is really very bad at all as long as it is replaced by a new (and perhaps better) species. Most of the individuals of all the species that went extinct got to live natural lives and it was only the relatively few unlucky individuals at the time of the extinction events that perhaps got their lives cut short (which wasn’t a rare occurrence in the “natural” lives of their predecessors due to predators and disease). Second, I think the extinctions were good in that they provided a driving force for life to evolve. Without those extinctions, we would not be here today and the world would still be ruled by reptiles. A being capable of higher thought processes like us may not have evolved by now. I wouldn’t view the extinctions as a setback to life since they helped it evolve, even the seemingly unlucky reptiles (they now have the ability to fly as birds). If there is a benevolent creator, it seems he is grooming life to become better and better instead of remaining static and stagnant. Yes, he is willing to kill off large numbers of individuals at one time, but death was already a natural, necessary, and acceptable part of the world he created. What do you think of this point of view?Show less
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Abram Leyzorek

Abram Leyzorek 1 day ago
@Jo’ Okk Glad to hear someone’s enjoying it; thanks for letting me know!

The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Power

Here is another paper on nuclear power that I wrote for my ENGR 140 class in April of 2019. I cheated slightly and reused most of the content from my nuclear power essay, “Nuclear Power Subsidies: Are They Worth It“, that I wrote for my English 102 class around the same time. So there is only a little new content in this one, but I thought I’d share it any. Any critiques would be much appreciated.


Nuclear power is a huge industry comprised of about 450 nuclear reactors around the world that together supply eleven percent of global electricity demand (“Nuclear Power”). However, this vast enterprise that he world has come to depend on was not always here. In fact, nuclear power is a relatively recent development compared to other energy sources. The first nuclear reactor to deliver electricity to the power grid began operating in the Soviet city of Obninsk in July of 1954. It was a five megawatt electric (MWe) reactor called AM-1, standing for Atom Mirny (Peaceful Atom). The name alludes to its peaceful use as a power generator as opposed to the weapons-focused atmosphere under which nuclear power was developed. The year before it was built, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower had enacted a program he called “Atoms for Peace,” the purpose of which was to reallocate research funds from weapons development to electricity production. It bore its first fruit in 1960 with the Yankee Rowe, a 250 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR). Throughout the 1960s, Canada, France, and the Soviet Union developed their own nuclear reactor systems, with Canada devising a unique reactor type called CANDU, France beginning with a type similar to the Magnox design developed in Britain in 1956, but then settling on the PWR reactor design, and the Soviet Union with two small reactors, a PWR and another type called a boiling water reactor (BWR). Britain later settled on the PWR design, as well. By the end of the 1960s, the US was manufacturing 1,000 MWe reactors of PWR and BWR design. The Soviet Union lagged a little, but by 1973 it had developed its first high power channel reactor (RBMK) rated at 440 MWe, a design that was later superseded by a 1000 MWe design.  Kazakhstan and Russia went on a brief tangent developing so called fast neutron reactors, but other countries almost invariable embraced the light water reactor (LWR) design, which includes the BWR and PWR designs. (“History of Nuclear Energy”).

            Despite all of this growth, however, during a period from 1970-2002 nuclear power underwent a “brown out” in which demand for reactors declined and previous orders were cancelled (“History of Nuclear Energy”). During this period, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster struck. However, the stagnation did not last for long, and by the 1990s nuclear power was blossoming again, beginning with the Japanese Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 6, a 1350 MWe Advanced BWR. In the 2000s, some new reactors were built in Europe and North America, but the bulk of construction occurred and is ongoing in Asia. (“History of Nuclear Energy”).

This revival in nuclear power can be attributed to several factors: policy makers around the world began searching for a sustainable, reliable, low-cost, limited carbon and secure power source to address the global energy crisis (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 3) and provide their countries with energy security (“History of Nuclear Energy”). These considerations continue on to the present; because of concerns about conventional energy sources like coal and oil, the need to stabilize harmfully volatile energy prices, and a growing fear of global warming, nuclear power is being considered as a possible answer to global energy exigencies (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 3). These ideas have garnered significant support, as an effective and well-organized effort to increase public investment in nuclear power to unprecedented levels is ongoing (Koplow 11). Nuclear power is receiving strong support from organizations like the US Department of Energy (DOE), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Energy Agency (IEA) (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 3). All of these policy makers seek great benefit for society from nuclear power, but it is worth considering its drawbacks, too.

            Since the development of nuclear power, there have been many tragic accidents. In fact the most recent accident was one of the worst in history. A 15-metre tsunami caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake off the Eastern coast of Honshu island shut down power and cooling to three reactors at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear site on March 11, 2011, causing all three reactor cores to melt down over next three days and release 940 PBq radiation, giving it a 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). 100,000 were evacuated from site, of which 1,000 died as a result of extended evacuation. (“Fukishima”). According to Swiss bank UBS, this catastrophe was more damaging to the reputation of nuclear power than the more severe Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1968, because it occurred in Japan, a highly developed economy (Paton 2011). Even Japan was unable to control the inherently risky nature of nuclear power.

            The processes that occur inside of a nuclear reactor are just the same as those that operate inside an atomic bomb, only slower and, usually, more controlled. While everything is designed to function nicely under ideal conditions with some margin for error, sometimes reactors are struck with more than they can bear, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. When this happens, the reactions in the reactors can “runaway” with devastating results. A report by the Guardian shortly after the 2011 meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, counted thirty-four nuclear and radioactive accidents and incidents since 1952, the year the first one occurred “Nuclear Power Plant Accidents”).  Later in 2011, another incident occurred (“Factbox”), this time in France, bringing that total to thirty-five. A 2010 estimate by energy expert Benjamin K. Sovacool placed the number at ninety-nine, but he used different criteria; Sovacool expanded the definition of a nuclear incident to something that causes property damages in excess of 50,000 USD (“A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power”). He estimated that these incidents’ total costs in property damages exceeded twenty-billion USD, and this was before the extremely expensive Fukishima incident that occurred a year later. Even with all of these accidents, however, some still argue that nuclear power is one of the safest forms of power generation.

           The World Nuclear Association defends the nuclear industry with the following statistics: only three major accidents have occurred in over 17,000 collective reactor years of nuclear plant operation; a terrorist attack via airplane would be ineffective; few deaths would be caused by reactor failure of any magnitude; other energy sources cause many more deaths: fatalities per TWy for coal (597), natural gas (111), and hydro (10,285) all dwarf the figure for nuclear (48 (“Safety of Nuclear Reactors”). However, this does not consider several important factors: thousands have been killed either as a direct result of conditions caused by the incidents or indirectly as a result of evacuations (“Fukishima”). Another important factor that some ignore or underestimate is that there have been very significant numbers of cancer deaths attributed to nuclear accidents, not including unquantified irradiation from regularly produced nuclear wastes (Sovacool et al.); little is known about fuel cycle safety (Beckjord et al. ix). Nuclear weapons expert Lisbeth Gronlund has estimated with ninety-five percent confidence cancer deaths of 12,000-57,000 from the Chernobyl accident alone (Gronlund). It is clear, then, that nuclear power has had a much greater negative impact on society than many suppose.

            In addition to the risk of irradiation, there is the unique risk of nuclear proliferation. Several countries have successfully managed to covertly advance their nuclear weapons programs behind a clever guise of nuclear power (Sovacool et al). Because of this, nuclear power will always require government oversight to oversee waste management and control proliferation risks. According to the authors of a 2003 interdisciplinary MIT study, if the nuclear industry is to expand new international safety guidelines will be needed to overcome proliferation risks. (Beckjord et al. ix).

            These same authors of the MIT study suggest that a once-through fuel cycle where a significant amount of fissionable (although expensive to recover) uranium is wasted is the best option in terms of cost and proliferation and fuel cycle safety. The only disadvantages, they say, are in long-term fuel disposal and resource preservation considerations (Beckjord et al. 4-5). However, this, as the authors admit, leads to more toxic waste and a faster consumption of limited resources. They propose a model in which by the year 2050 1,000 new LWR reactors will be built to help displace CO2 emissions by dirtier forms of energy production. They are willing to accept the predicted four nuclear accidents that would occur during this expansion. (Beckjord et al.). To consider what the full impact of such a proposition would be on society, it is worth looking back at all of the impacts of the current nuclear industry.

            The nuclear power industry has several other ill effects, social and environmental, not previously discussed. First of all, it causes direct environmental damage: it kills much wildlife through water filtration and contamination (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 6), as well as creating such damage at certain sites that environmental remediation expenses sometimes exceed value of ore extracted at uranium mills (Koplow 6). It also causes indirect environmental damage by contributing to global warming.

            Nuclear power produces significant carbon dioxide emissions. This is contrary to the claims of some that nuclear power is carbon-free (Beckjord et al. 2). This common misconception arises from the fact that nuclear reactors themselves produce no emissions, but if one includes the entire nuclear fuel cycle in the calculations, this misconception is exposed. One estimate ranked greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for power plants per unit of electricity generated in order of highest to lowest: industrial gas, lignite, hard coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, photovoltaic, wind, nuclear, and hydroelectric. Although hydroelectric is ranked at the bottom, hydroelectric plants operated in tropical regions can be 5-20 times higher than in temperate regions making their emissions on the same level as biomass. (Dones et al. 38). In this list nuclear is ranked second best, but later estimates contest this figure: Sovacool analyzed 103 studies of nuclear power plant GHG equivalent emissions for currency, originality, and transparency. He found that the mean value for nuclear power plants is 66 gCO2e/kWh, placing nuclear power above all renewables (“Greenhouse Gas Emissions” 1). And the prospects for nuclear power emissions will only get worse as time goes on. Quality of ore used can greatly skew estimates of GWH emissions (Storm van Leeuwen). As high-quality uranium reserves are depleted, the nuclear power industry will be forced to turn to lower and lower grades of uranium ore, which will drastically increase the energy required to produce fissionable nuclear fuel. Since refinement processes are powered by fossil fuels, this will also significantly increase the carbon footprint of nuclear power. Thus, emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle will match those of combined-cycle-gas-fired power plants in only a few decades. Although advanced fast-breeder or thorium reactors could potentially reduce this problem, they are not likely to commercially available for at least a couple of decades. This combined with the long deployment times for nuclear reactors effectively proves that nuclear power is not a viable long-term solution for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. (Diesendorf 8-11). Nuclear power is a significant environmental burden, but it is also a significant social burden.

            From its beginnings, the nuclear power industry received heavy subsidies from governments, meaning the general public was forced to fund this private industry. On September 2, 1957, the Price-Anderson Act, designed to limit the liability incurred by nuclear power plant licensees from possible damages to members of the public, attained force of law in the United States. This first of nuclear power subsidies was intended to attract private investment into the nuclear industry by shifting liability for nuclear accidents from private investors to the public, making it pay for damages incurred upon itself. (“Backgrounder on Nuclear Insurance”). Since then, subsidies in various forms have continued. One form of subsidy that the nuclear industry receives comes in the form of research and development funds. Out of the total energy research and development fund of International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries of about 12.7 billion USD, nuclear power received twenty percent in 2015; one third the 1975 figure (“Energy Subsidies”). Other subsidies can be categorized as follows: output-linked, production factors, risk and security management, intermediate inputs, and emissions and waste management. Output-linked subsidies grant financing based on power produced. Subsidies to production factors help cover construction costs. Risk and security management subsidies shift liability for accidents either to consumers or the government. Intermediate input subsidies lower the cost of obtaining resources necessary for generating power such as fuel and coolants. Emissions and waste management subsidies either eliminate or reduce the cost of waste disposal. (Koplow 12-13). Examples of such subsidies can be found in every aspect of nuclear power in the form of federal loan guarantees, accelerated depreciation, subsidized borrowing costs for publicly owned reactors, construction work in progress (CWIP) surcharges to consumers, property tax reductions, subsidized fuel, loan guarantees for enrichment facilities, priority access to cooling water for little to no cost, no responsibility to cover costs of potential terrorist attacks, ignored proliferation costs, lowered tax rates on decommissioning trust funds. (Koplow 5-8). Governments also covered the 70 billion dollars needed to defray excess capital costs of nuclear power plants in recent years. Furthermore, the nuclear industry is not forced to pay the true cost of the numerous accidents, some which have been estimated to exceed 100 billion dollars. (Bradford 14). If the projected model from the MIT study of 1,000 new reactors by 2050 becomes reality, the immense cost to taxpayers of the nuclear industry will only increase proportionally.

            However, there are doubts about whether this plan is even feasible. According to a 2003 interdisciplinary MIT study, there is enough uranium to fuel 1000 new reactors for forty years (Beckjord et al. 4), leaving no sustainability issues for nuclear power in the near future. However, this figure does not include an important factor: the quality of the uranium. As uranium ore quality decreases, energy costs to extract increase exponentially (Storm van Leeuwen 23). Factoring in uranium quality, energy expert Benjamin K. Sovacool estimated that global uranium reserves could only sustain a two percent increase in nuclear power production and would disappear after a mere seventy years (“Second Thoughts” 6). Furthermore, the most economical uranium ore deposits have already been discovered and nearly all are currently being mined. New deposits such as these are very unlikely to be discovered for many geologic reasons. (Storm van Leuuwen 71). Additionally, nuclear power may become a non-viable option if climate change significantly increases water demand, since according to energy researcher Doug Klopow, nuclear power is “the most water-intensive large-scale thermal energy technology in use” (7). Another sustainability concern for nuclear power plants is waste disposal. Health and environmental risks posed by spent fuel from nuclear reactors last for tens of thousands of years (Beckjord et al. 22). To date, even the authors of the favorable MIT study admit that “no nation has successfully demonstrated a disposal system for these nuclear wastes” (22). If this is the case, how can the world expect to support an over 200% increase in the number of nuclear reactors?

            In short, although nuclear power experienced intense growth throughout the 1950s and 60s and then into the beginning of the 21st century, when the true costs are considered, it seems that it may have done more harm than good. It has proven to be unsafe in many ways from the numerous accidents which have caused great direct property and environmental damage as well as indirectly caused thousands of fatalities, not to mention the risks of nuclear proliferation and the day-to-day environmental destruction involved with running nuclear power plants. The authors of the MIT study sum it up well; if new technological solutions to current problems are not developed, “nuclear power faces stagnation and decline” (ix), similar to in the later quarter of the 19th century. Thus, nuclear power is not likely to play a significant long-term role in power generation in the foreseeable future, at least not in its current state.


Works Cited

“Backgrounder on Nuclear Insurance and Disaster Relief.” United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, January 17, 2018,                                       https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/nuclear-insurance.html. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Beckjord, Eric S. et. al. “The Future of Nuclear Power.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003,                                                                                http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-full.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Bradford, Peter A. “Wasting Time: Subsidies, Operating Reactors, and Melting Ice.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 73, no. 1, Jan.                      2017, pp. 13–16. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00963402.2016.1264207.

Diesendorf, Mark. “Is Nuclear Energy a Possible Solution to Global Warming?” Social Alternatives, vol. 26, no. 2, 2007 Second Quarter                      2007, pp. 8–11. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=26314563. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Dones, R., Heck T., and S. Hirschberg. “Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Energy Systems: Comparision and Overview.” Paul Scherrer                        Institute, 2004, https://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:36002859. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Energy Subsidies.” World Nuclear Association, February 2018, https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/economic-                                  aspects/energy-subsidies.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Factbox: A brief history of French nuclear accidents.” Reuters, September 12, 2011, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-nuclear-               accidents/factbox-a-brief-history-of-french-nuclear-accidents-idUSTRE78B59J20110912. Accessed April 27, 2019.

“Fukishima Daiichi Accident.” World Nuclear Association, October 2018, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-                   security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Gronlund, Lisbeth. “How Many Cancers Did Chernobyl Really Cause?—Updated Version.” Union of Concerned Scientists, April 17, 2011,                     https://allthingsnuclear.org/lgronlund/how-many-cancers-did-chernobyl-really-cause-updated?. Accessed April 27, 2019.

“History of Nuclear Energy.” World Nuclear Association, April 2019, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-             generation/outline-history-of-nuclear-energy.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Koplow, Doug. “Nuclear Power: Still not Viable without Subsidies.” Union of Concerned Scientists, February 2011,                                                         https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/nuclear_power/nuclear_subsidies_report.pdf. Accessed                     April   26, 2019.

“Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2019.” Energy Information Agency,             February 2019, https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Nuclear Power in the World Today.” World Nuclear Association, February 2019, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-                                       library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-power-in-the-world-today.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Nuclear power plant accidents: listed and ranked since 1952.” The Guardian, 2011,                                                                                                           https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/mar/14/nuclear-power-plant-accidents-list-rank. Accessed April 27, 2019.

Paton, James. “Fukushima Crisis Worse for Atomic Power Than Chernobyl, UBS Says.” Bloomberg, April 4, 2011,                                                         https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-04-04/fukushima-crisis-worse-for-nuclear-power-industry-than-chernobyl-ubs-             says. Accessed April 26, 2019.

“Safety of Nuclear Reactors.” World Nuclear Association, May 2018, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-                         security/safety-of-plants/safety-of-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Sovacool, BenjaminK. “A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia.” Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 40, no.             3, Aug. 2010, pp. 369–400. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00472331003798350. Accessed April 26, 2019.

—. “Second Thoughts About Nuclear Power.” Research Support Unit (RSU), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of                 Singapore, January 2011, http://www.fukuleaks.org/edanoleaks/Scribble_Japan_Earthquake/pdfs/201101_RSU_PolicyBrief_1-                   2nd_Thought_Nuclear-Sovacool.pdf. Accessed April 26, 2019.

—. “Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power: A critical survey.” Energy Policy, 2008, https://www.nirs.org/wp-                             content/uploads/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Storm van Leeuwen, Jan Wilhelm. “Nuclear power- the energy balance: Part D: Uranium.” Ceedata Consultancy, October 2007,                                   https://www.stormsmith.nl/Media/downloads/partD.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Nuclear Power Subsidies: Are They Worth It?

Here is a paper that I wrote in April of 2019 for my English 102 course. It examines the merits of nuclear power as weighed against other power sources in an attempt to answer the question of whether or not tax money should be spend to subsidize the industry. It will be incorporated into my upcoming expanded dissertation on nuclear power which I will call, “Nuclear Power: History Harm and Hope.” It will be about the history of nuclear power, from the first stars to the modern day industry, the harm the industry has caused, and whether or not their is enough hope for improving the industry to justify its continued existence. As you might expect, it will be very lengthy. Anyway, I hope this current essay on nuclear power subsidies will be thought provoking and please tell me what you think down below and in the forum, because that will help me with my final dissertation. Thanks!


Introduction

Today, nuclear power is a huge industry, the most visible part of which is 450 nuclear reactors around the world. Together they supply eleven percent of global electricity demand (“Nuclear Power”). However, it was not always this way; nuclear power is a relatively recent development compared to other energy sources. The first nuclear reactor to deliver electricity to the power grid began operating in the Soviet city of Obninsk in July of 1954 (“History of Nuclear Energy”). On September 2, 1957, the Price-Anderson Act, designed to limit the liability incurred by nuclear power plant licensees from possible damages to members of the public, attained force of law in the United States. This first of nuclear power subsidies was intended to attract private investment into the nuclear industry. (“Backgrounder on Nuclear Insurance”).

Since then, subsidies in various forms have continued. One form of subsidy that the nuclear industry receives comes in the form of research and development funds. Out of the total energy research and development fund of International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries of about 12.7 billion USD, nuclear power received twenty percent in 2015; one third the 1975 figure (“Energy Subsidies”). Other subsidies can be categorized as follows: output-linked, production factors, risk and security management, intermediate inputs, and emissions and waste management. Output-linked subsidies grant financing based on power produced. Subsidies to production factors help cover construction costs. Risk and security management subsidies shift liability for accidents either to consumers or the government. Intermediate input subsidies lower the cost of obtaining resources necessary for generating power such as fuel and coolants. Emissions and waste management subsidies either partially or completely shift the cost of waste disposal from investors to the government, and ultimately to the taxpayers. (Koplow 12-13).

Examples of such subsidies can be found in every aspect of nuclear power in the form of federal loan guarantees, accelerated depreciation, subsidized borrowing costs for publicly owned reactors, construction work in progress (CWIP) surcharges to consumers, property tax reductions, subsidized fuel, loan guarantees for enrichment facilities, priority access to cooling water for little to no cost, no responsibility to cover costs of potential terrorist attacks, ignored proliferation costs, lowered tax rates on decommissioning trust funds. (Koplow 5-8).

Despite such subsidies, during a period from 1970-2002 nuclear power underwent a “brown out” in which demand for reactors declined and previous orders were cancelled (“History of Nuclear Energy”). However, policy makers around the world are now in search of a sustainable, reliable, low-cost, limited carbon and secure power source to address the global energy crisis. Because of concerns about conventional energy sources like coal and oil, the need to stabilize harmfully volatile energy prices, and a growing fear of global warming, nuclear power is being considered as a possible answer to global energy exigencies (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 3).

Furthermore, an effective and well-organized effort to increase public investment in nuclear power to unprecedented levels is ongoing (Koplow 11). Nuclear power is receiving strong support from organization like the US Department of Energy (DOE), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Energy Agency (IEA) (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 3).

Despite all of this support, it is clear that governments should discontinue current subsidies and scrap plans for new ones, because they entail use of taxpayers’ money to forward an inefficient and risky solution to a problem that could be better addressed by renewable technologies.

Concerns about nuclear Power

Reliability

            The first concern is that nuclear power plants are subject to various phenomenon that can disrupt their power output, damaging their reliability. For purposes of this paper, reliability will be assumed to mean the ability of a power plant to consistently produce power without unpredictable disruptions in power output. The reliability of an energy source depends on the reliability of intermediate inputs, what keeps the power plant running, and the likelihood of failure. The most important intermediate inputs for nuclear reactors are water for cooling and, of course, fuel, i.e. uranium. A lack of either of these two things would cause a nuclear reactor to stop functioning. This means that during drought a nuclear reactor might be forced to shut down, as water consumption of even a single reactor is immense, amounting to 115 million liters per day (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 7). The reliability of uranium fuel supply varies from country to country depending on level of uranium fuel self-sufficiency. For example, China imports about eighty-eight percent of its uranium from other countries. This factor is significant because thirty percent of the global uranium supply comes from countries such as Uzbekistan that have a climate of political instability (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 5). Since the very nature of droughts and political unrest consists of unpredictability, nuclear power will necessarily be subject to some level of unpredictable disruptions in power output.  

           Other natural phenomenon can disrupt nuclear power plant operation, as well. A 15-metre tsunami caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake off the Eastern coast of Honshu island shut down power and cooling to three reactors at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear site on March 11, 2011, causing all three reactor cores to melt down over next three days and release 940 PBq radiation, giving it a 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). 100,000 were evacuated from site, of which 1,000 died as a result of extended evacuation. (“Fukishima”). According to Swiss bank UBS, this catastrophe was more damaging to the reputation of nuclear power than the more severe Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1968, because it occurred in Japan, a highly developed economy (Paton 2011). Thus, it is unclear if nuclear power will ever become reliable.

Sustainability

            The second concern is that nuclear power is highly unsustainable. For the purposes of this paper, sustainability will be measured as the ability of an energy source to provide power over the long term. For nuclear power plants, sustainability, then, mainly depends on the long-term availability of uranium at a sufficiently low cost so that energy expenditures on refining do not exceed energy generated. According to a 2003 interdisciplinary MIT study, there is enough uranium to fuel 1000 new reactors for forty years (Beckjord et al. 4), leaving no sustainability issues for nuclear power in the near future. However, this figure does not include an important factor: the quality of the uranium. As uranium ore quality decreases, energy costs to extract increase exponentially (Storm van Leeuwen 23). Factoring in uranium quality, energy expert Benjamin K. Sovacool estimated that global uranium reserves could only sustain a two percent increase in nuclear power production and would disappear after a mere seventy years (“Second Thoughts” 6). Furthermore, the most economical uranium ore deposits have already been discovered and nearly all are currently being mined. New deposits such as these are very unlikely to be discovered for many geologic reasons. (Storm van Leuuwen 71). Additionally, nuclear power may become a non-viable option if climate change significantly increases water demand, since according to energy researcher Doug Klopow, nuclear power is “the most water-intensive large-scale thermal energy technology in use” (7). Another sustainability concern for nuclear power plants is waste disposal. Health and environmental risks posed by spent fuel from nuclear reactors last for tens of thousands of years (Beckjord et al. 22). To date, even the authors of the favorable MIT study admit that “no nation has successfully demonstrated a disposal system for these nuclear wastes” (22). This highly questionable sustainability is linked to the economics of nuclear power.

Monetary cost

           The third concern is that nuclear power is very costly compared to many alternatives. According to the MIT study, “The U.S. public is unlikely to support nuclear power expansion without substantial improvements in costs and technology” (6). Nuclear power is the fourth most expensive energy source, not even considering costs of waste storage, decommissioning, interest on loans, and power transmission infrastructure construction costs (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 4). In uncontrolled markets nuclear power is uncompetitive with natural gas and coal (see table 1) (Beckjord et al. ix).

Table 1. Comparative Power Costs (Beckjord et. al. 7).

Even with proposed cost reduction such as in construction, nuclear power still trails behind combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power with favorable fuel prices. Many renewables also beat the price of nuclear power. According to data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), the unweighted average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for nuclear power in 2018 is 7.75 cents/kWh, with the lowest LCOE being that of geothermal power at 3.83 cents/kWh (“Levelized Cost”).

            Furthermore, these are only the known and easily quantifiable costs of nuclear power. For example, it is hard to quantify the environmental cost nuclear power. It kills much wildlife through water filtration and contamination (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 6), as well as creating such damage at certain sites that environmental remediation expenses sometimes exceed value of ore extracted at uranium mills (Koplow 6). Even without considering environmental factors, economic challenges facing nuclear power include a competitive generation market in which investors will bear risks of permit obtention and construction and operating  cost uncertainties, unpredictable operation and construction costs, political and regulatory challenges associated with obtaining a permit, and certain risk of plants being cancelled (Beckjord et al. 37-38). None of this factors in the cost of nuclear accidents, either, which some have estimated can exceed 100 billion USD, such as Fukishima. It is no wonder, then, that without government subsidies such as the 70 billion dollars spent to defray excess capital costs in recent years and free nuclear waste disposal services, no commercial reactor could ever be successful (Bradford 14). And whatever the true cost of nuclear power, it will always be very volatile. According to Sovacool, “Lack of certainty about the availability of uranium is likely to fuel price spikes which will increase the production costs of nuclear energy” (“Second Thoughts” 6). Since uranium prices on which nuclear power prices are dependent are highly volatile, nuclear power is unlikely to stabilize energy prices, especially considering the climate of political instability in countries such as Uzbekistan that account for thirty percent of current Uranium production (Sovacool, “Second Thoughts” 5). But even with this high cost it is worth considering whether nuclear power is worth retaining to help battle climate change.

Emissions

            The fourth concern is that nuclear power produces significant carbon dioxide emissions. This is contrary to the claims of some that nuclear power is carbon-free (Beckjord et al. 2). This common misconception arises from the fact that nuclear reactors themselves produce no emissions, but if one includes the entire nuclear fuel cycle in the calculations, this misconception is exposed. One estimate ranked greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for power plants per unit of electricity generated in order of highest to lowest: industrial gas, lignite, hard coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, photovoltaic, wind, nuclear, and hydroelectric. Although hydroelectric is ranked at the bottom, hydroelectric plants operated in tropical regions can be 5-20 times higher than in temperate regions making their emissions on the same level as biomass. (Dones et al. 38). In this list nuclear is ranked second best, but later estimates contest this figure: Sovacool analyzed 103 studies of nuclear power plant GHG equivalent emissions for currency, originality, and transparency. He found that the mean value for nuclear power plants is 66 gCO2e/kWh, placing nuclear power above all renewables (“Greenhouse Gas Emissions” 1). And the prospects for nuclear power emissions will only get worse as time goes on. Quality of ore used can greatly skew estimates of GWH emissions (Storm van Leeuwen). As high-quality uranium reserves are depleted, the nuclear power industry will be forced to turn to lower and lower grades of uranium ore, which will drastically increase the energy required to produce fissionable nuclear fuel. Since refining processes are powered by fossil fuels, this will also significantly increase the carbon footprint of nuclear power. Thus, emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle will match those of combined-cycle-gas-fired power plants in only a few decades. Although advanced fast-breeder or thorium reactors could potentially reduce this problem, they are not likely to commercially available for at least a couple of decades. This, combined with the long deployment times for nuclear reactors, effectively eliminates nuclear power as a viable long-term option for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. (Diesendorf 8-11). When all this is considered, nuclear power subsidies seem especially insulting: due to the long construction time and high expense of nuclear reactors, nuclear power subsidies come with a high opportunity cost when it comes to reducing emissions, because they will reduce investment in lower-cost alternatives (Koplow 9). Even though nuclear power may not be of use in stopping global warming, perhaps it can be justified on grounds of safety.

Health and security risks

            The fifth concern is that nuclear power production represents a health and security risk in many ways. The first way is in the form of nuclear accidents. The processes that occur inside of a nuclear reactor are just the same as those that operate inside an atomic bomb, only slower and, usually, more controlled. While everything is designed to function nicely under ideal conditions with some margin for error, sometimes reactors are struck with more than they can bear, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. When this happens, the reactions in the reactors can “run away” with devastating results. A report by the Guardian newspapershortly after the 2011 meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, counted thirty-four nuclear and radioactive accidents and incidents since 1952, the year the first one occurred “Nuclear Power Plant Accidents”).  Later in 2011, another incident occurred (“Factbox”), this time in France, bringing that total to thirty-five. A 2010 estimate by Sovacool placed the number at ninety-nine, but he used different criteria; Sovacool expanded the definition of a nuclear incident to something that causes property damages in excess of 50,000 USD (“A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power”). He estimated that these incidents’ total costs in property damages exceeded twenty-billion USD, and this was before the extremely expensive Fukishima incident that occurred a year later. The World Nuclear Association defends the nuclear industry with the following statistics: only three major accidents have occurred in over 17,000 collective reactor years of nuclear plant operation; a terrorist attack via airplane would be ineffective; few deaths would be caused by reactor failure of any magnitude; other energy sources cause many more deaths: fatalities per TWy for coal (597), natural gas (111), and hydro (10,285) all dwarf the figure for nuclear (48 (“Safety of Nuclear Reactors”). However, this does not consider several important factors: thousands have been killed either as a direct result of conditions caused by the incidents or indirectly as a result of evacuations (“Fukishima”). While some ignore or underestimate this factor, there have been very significant numbers of cancer deaths attributed to nuclear accidents, as well as unquantified irradiation from regularly produced nuclear wastes (Sovacool et al.); little is known about fuel cycle safety (Beckjord et al. ix). But, nuclear weapons expert Lisbeth Gronlund has estimated with ninety-five percent confidence cancer deaths of 12,000-57,000 from the Chernobyl accident alone (Gronlund). In addition to all of these risks, there is the unique risk of nuclear proliferation. Several countries have successfully managed to covertly advance their nuclear weapons programs behind a clever front of nuclear power (Sovacool et al). Because of this, nuclear power will always require government oversight to oversee waste management and control proliferation risks. If the nuclear industry is to expand, new international safety guidelines will be needed to overcome proliferation risks. (Beckjord et al. ix). The authors of the MIT study suggest that the once-through fuel cycle is the best option in terms of cost and proliferation and fuel cycle safety; only disadvantageous if long-term fuel disposal and resource preservation is considered (Beckjord et al. 4-5). However, this, as the authors admit, leads to more toxic waste and a faster consumption of limited resources. There seems to be no acceptable option for nuclear power.

Conclusion

            Taken together, all five of the above-discussed concerns about nuclear power seem to make a strong case that all subsidies to the nuclear industry be discontinued. First, there are significant concerns about the reliability of nuclear power. Then, there are devastating concerns about the sustainability of nuclear power, at least at its current technological level. Next, there are damning concerns about the true cost of nuclear power, which even considering only straightforward financial expenses is uncompetitive with all forms of renewable energy. After that comes irrefutable evidence that nuclear power is incapable of addressing global warming concerns, unlike renewable alternatives. Finally, concerns about nuclear accidents and the consequences of nuclear proliferation outweigh the seemingly higher death tolls of other energy sources when only on-the-job fatalities are considered. After all this, it is no wonder that even the authors of the pro-nuclear MIT study admit that “Nuclear power faces stagnation and decline” (ix). If energy subsidies are to make a difference in the global energy crisis and for the climate, they must be shifted away from nuclear power and directed towards renewables.


Works Cited

“Backgrounder on Nuclear Insurance and Disaster Relief.” United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, January 17, 2018,                                       https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/nuclear-insurance.html. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Beckjord, Eric S. et. al. “The Future of Nuclear Power.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003,                                                                                http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-full.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Bradford, Peter A. “Wasting Time: Subsidies, Operating Reactors, and Melting Ice.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 73, no. 1, Jan.                      2017, pp. 13–16. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00963402.2016.1264207.

Diesendorf, Mark. “Is Nuclear Energy a Possible Solution to Global Warming?” Social Alternatives, vol. 26, no. 2, 2007 Second Quarter                      2007, pp. 8–11. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=26314563. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Dones, R., Heck T., and S. Hirschberg. “Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Energy Systems: Comparision and Overview.” Paul Scherrer                        Institute, 2004, https://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:36002859. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Energy Outlook 2019.” Energy Information Agency, February 2019, https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf.                      Accessed April 26, 2019.

“Energy Subsidies.” World Nuclear Association, February 2018, https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/economic-                                  aspects/energy-subsidies.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Factbox: A brief history of French nuclear accidents.” Reuters, September 12, 2011, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-nuclear-               accidents/factbox-a-brief-history-of-french-nuclear-accidents-idUSTRE78B59J20110912. Accessed April 27, 2019.

“Fukishima Daiichi Accident.” World Nuclear Association, October 2018, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-                   security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Gronlund, Lisbeth. “How Many Cancers Did Chernobyl Really Cause?—Updated Version.” Union of Concerned Scientists, April 17, 2011,                     https://allthingsnuclear.org/lgronlund/how-many-cancers-did-chernobyl-really-cause-updated?. Accessed April 27, 2019.

“History of Nuclear Energy.” World Nuclear Association, April 2019, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-             generation/outline-history-of-nuclear-energy.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Koplow, Doug. “Nuclear Power: Still not Viable without Subsidies.” Union of Concerned Scientists, February 2011,                                                         https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/nuclear_power/nuclear_subsidies_report.pdf. Accessed April   26, 2019.

“Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2019.” Energy Information Agency,             February 2019, https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Nuclear Power in the World Today.” World Nuclear Association, February 2019, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-                                       library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-power-in-the-world-today.aspx. Accessed April 25, 2019.

“Nuclear power plant accidents: listed and ranked since 1952.” The Guardian, 2011,                                                                                                           https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/mar/14/nuclear-power-plant-accidents-list-rank. Accessed April 27, 2019.

“Number of nuclear reactors operable and under construction.” World Nuclear Association, 2019, http://www.world-nuclear.org/nuclear-               basics/global-number-of-nuclear-reactors.aspx. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Paton, James. “Fukushima Crisis Worse for Atomic Power Than Chernobyl, UBS Says.” Bloomberg, April 4, 2011,                                                         https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-04-04/fukushima-crisis-worse-for-nuclear-power-industry-than-chernobyl-ubs-             says. Accessed April 26, 2019.

“Safety of Nuclear Reactors.” World Nuclear Association, May 2018, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/safety-of-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Sovacool, BenjaminK. “A Critical Evaluation of Nuclear Power and Renewable Electricity in Asia.” Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 40, no.             3, Aug. 2010, pp. 369–400. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00472331003798350. Accessed April 26, 2019.

—. “Second Thoughts About Nuclear Power.” Research Support Unit (RSU), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of                 Singapore, January 2011, http://www.fukuleaks.org/edanoleaks/Scribble_Japan_Earthquake/pdfs/201101_RSU_PolicyBrief_1-2nd_Thought_Nuclear-Sovacool.pdf. Accessed April 26, 2019.

—. “Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power: A critical survey.” Energy Policy, 2008, https://www.nirs.org/wp-content/uploads/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

Sovacool, Benjamin K., et al. “Comment on ‘Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear                     Power.’” Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 47, no. 12, June 2013, pp. 6715–6717. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1021/es401667h.

Storm van Leeuwen, Jan Wilhelm. “Nuclear power- the energy balance: Part D: Uranium.” Ceedata Consultancy, October 2007,                                   https://www.stormsmith.nl/Media/downloads/partD.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2019.

The Ancient History of Antibiotics

Here is a paper I wrote in February of 2018 about the little known ancient history of antibiotics. When most people think about the history of antibiotics, they think were invented only about a century ago, but they actually go back thousands of years. I hope you enjoy learning about the ancient history of antibiotics and let me know what you think or if you have any questions or ideas for further research (for the latter two, we’d appreciate a comment in the forum).


Abram Leyzorek

2/14/2018

The Ancient History of Antibiotics

            Names like Alexander Fleming and Paul Ehrlich come to mind when we think of the origin of antibiotics. It was Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery of the antibiotic mold penicillin in 1929, that seemed, at the time, to overcome humanity’s age-old adversary, the bacterial infection. Paul Ehrlich’s research led to an effective treatment of syphilis via antibiotics. These pioneers ushered in the modern age of antibiotics that has saved countless human lives. (1).

            Little is known, however, about an even earlier use of antibiotics by Emmerich and Low in 1899. They used a compound known as Pyacyonase derived from Pseudomonas aeruginosa in an attempt to cure various bacterial diseases, but soon found the substance to be unfeasible due to excessive toxicity. (1).

            Even less is known is known about certain discoveries that show the use of natural antibiotics by ancient humans; Tetracycline has been found in the bones of Sudanese Nubians dating back to 350-550 AD. Late-Roman skeletons from the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt were found to contain markers that indicated the regular intake of tetracycline. The red soils of Jordan have long been used as a cheap alternative to prescribed antibiotics that treat skin infections and were found to contain an actinomycete1 bacterium that produces the antibiotics actinomycin C2 and actinomycin C3. Many herbs in the tradition of Chinese medicine have antimicrobial2 properties, including the artemisia, or the mugworts, from which a potent, anti-malarial drug, qinghaosu or artemisinin, was extracted. (1).

            This tradition goes back thousands of years, but the arms race between bacteria and antibiotics has been ongoing for millions of years, long before humans joined in. The phylogeny3 of certain genes for antibiotic resistance against natural antibiotics, reveals that they developed long ago; the serine and metallo-β-lactamases enzymes, for example, developed two billion years ago. They have been present in plasmids4 for millions of years. (1).

            Modern humans are making big waves in the world of microbes with new, synthetic antibiotics, but they were not, as is commonly believed, the first organisms to use antibiotics. Pre-modern humans used antibiotics extensively, and before them, microorganisms secreted antibiotics. The microbiota inside of animals that consumed plants and soils containing natural antibiotics needed to develop resistance.  (1).

            Humans are suffering today from antibiotic resistant microorganisms, but we have only been mass producing antibiotics for the biological blink-of-an-eye. Much of the resistances have developed over the millions of years that microorganisms were exposed to natural antibiotics. (1).

            But they are capable of extremely rapid mutation to evade our best efforts to exterminate them. Most of the antibiotics that we have developed are already ineffective and the golden age of new antibiotic discovery is long passed. All of the “new” antibiotics developed today are actually just modifications on previous compounds. Their is a delicate equilibrium between the rate at which humans develop “new” treatments, and the rate at which microorganisms develop new resistances. Our rate of discovery seems to be slowing down. Humans may be losing the battle. (1).

            But a new discovery may warrant new hope: researchers at the Rockefeller University in New York have discovered what could be a genuinely new class of antibiotics. They have called it malacidin, short for metagenomic5. acidic lipoprotein6 antibiotic cidin7. It was found in soil samples containing calcium dependent genes; the researches were searching for new treatments related to an exceptionally effective and long-lasting antibiotic called daptomycin, which uses calcium to rupture the cell walls of bacteria. But, in the long run, the microorganisms will always mutate and we will need new treatments. (2).


Footnotes

1.  Actinomycetes are filamentous, rod shaped bacteria of the order Actinomycetales. (3).

2.  Antimicrobial and antibiotic are essentially synonymous, and both have an adjectival form. But here, to avoid confusion, “antimicrobial” describes things that kill microbes, and “antibiotic” refers to drugs that do this. (4) (5).

3. Phylogeny is the evolutionary development of a species or higher taxonomic group. (6).

4.  A plasmid is a genetic cellular structure capable of replication independent from the chromosomes. (7).

5. Describes things associated with the metagenome, the collective genome of all the microorganisms in an environment. (8).

6. Proteins  that combine with and transport lipids in blood plasma. (9).

7. Comes from Latin root cid- meaning cut. (10). In English it has come to mean death or kill, e.g. infanticide, herbicide, etc.


References.

  1. Aminov, R. I. (2010). “A Brief History of the Antibiotic Era: Lessons Learned and Challenges for the Future.” NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3109405/. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  2. Healy, M. (2018). “In soil-dwelling bacteria, scientists find a new weapon to fight drug-resistant superbugs.” Los Angleses Times. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-new-antibiotic-soil-20180213-story.html. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  3. “Actinomycetes.” (2018). Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/actinomycete. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  4. “Antibiotic.” (2018). Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antibiotic. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  5. “Antimicrobial.” (2018). Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antimicrobial. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  6. “Phylogeny.” (2018). Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phylongeny. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  7. “Plasmid.” (2018). Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plasmid. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  8. Hover, Bradley M. et. al. (2018). “Metagenomics.” Nature. https://www.nature.com/subjects/metagenomics. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  9. “Lipoprotien.” (n.d.). Google dictionary. https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=define+lipoprotein&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.
  10. Schodde, Carla. (2013). “Far too many Latin words for kill.” Found in Antiquity. https://foundinantiquity.com/2013/07/20/far-too-many-latin-words-for-kill/. Date-accessed: 2/14/2018.

A Short Bilgraphical Sketch of Antony van Leeuvanhoek

Here is one of my earliest research papers. It presents a short biographical sketch of one of the most important figures in the history of the science of biology, Dutch scientist Antony van Leeuvenhoek. I hope this inspires you to learn more about this amazing scientist.


Antony van Leeuwenhoek (Layu-wen-hook) was of trades-person lineage born in 1632 in the microscopic (compared with today) village of Delft, Holland. Here, he branched out rapidly in every direction of knowledge, but especially towards biology, on which the numerous fruits of his inquiries weighed heavily.

His formal education at Warmond relocated him to Benthuizen with his uncle. At 16, Leeuvenhoek apprenticed to a linen-draper (merchant). 6 years later, upon his return to Delft, he became a fabric merchant. Yet this by no means consumed his ranging attentions which became captivated by the microscope, in a cell forged by the reading of Robert Hooke’s popular Micrographia. Already, in 1595, compound microscopes capable 30 times magnification had been invented, however Leeuwenhoek through indefatigable patience and skill, ground his own lenses capable of over 200 times magnification. These mounted on a simple 3-4 inch long brass plate with adjustment screws and a mounting needle formed a simple, yet powerful microscope that became the primary tool of his real occupation: biology.

In this field Leeuvenhoek joined the luminaries of his time at the Royal Society of London. Letters beginning in 1673, and widely published, to the Royal society constituted his vivid descriptions of micro-biota and a drawing by his hired illustrator. He observed whatever could be placed on the end of his needle; plaque, pond water, blood, etc. He made the first observation of bacteria, sperm cells, blood cells, various nematodes and rotifers, free living and microscopic parasitic protists, and microscopic foraminifera; these only being the tip of the microscope.

Dutch, his native language, remained Leeuvenhoek’s only throughout his entire 91 years. Thus, his Dutch letters required translation before there publication in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the publication of the Royal Society of London that he held membership in. His work turned towards him the attentions of such persons as Tsar Peter the Great of Russia who’s, like that of so many others, curiosity brought him to Delft where, at any time between 1654 and August 30, 1723 at the time of his death, one might catch Leeuwenhoek adjusting a microscope over some hitherto unknown specimen.


                                                                           References

W., B. M. “Antony Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723).” Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, University of California, Berkely, 1996, http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/leeuwenhoek.html.

Life in the Bathypelagic Zone

Here is a paper I wrote in March of 2018 about the outlandish life of the bathypelagic zone, part of the deep ocean layer known as the midnight zone where pressures are extremely high and no light penetrates. I hope you enjoy learning about it and let me know what you think below and comment in the forum with any questions.


Oceanographers divide the open sea into layers, drawing boundaries according to the distance that light penetrates through the ocean. The surface layer of the ocean is known as the epipelagic zone, the sunlit zone, or the euphotic zone. Photosynthesis is prevalent in this zone to utilize the abundant sunlight. It extends from the surface of the ocean down to 200 meters below. Here, little to no light can filter through; the quality of the lighting is eternal dusk. Levels of light are insufficient to support photosynthesis in this zone, but here a new light source shines, known as bioluminescence. This zone is known as the twilight zone, mesopelagic zone, or disphotic zone. It extends from 200 meters below sea level to 1000 meters below sea level. The next layer receives no sunlight whatsoever; it is called the aphotic zone or the midnight zone. This layer is commonly divided into three sub-layers: the bathypelagic zone, abyssopelagic zone, and hadalpelagic zone. Sometimes the bathypelagic zone by itself is called he aphotic zone or the midnight zone. Since no sunlight passes past 1000 meters below sea level, the next layers must be determined on an alternative basis: The  bathypelagic zone beginning at the continental slope and extending past it, extending from about -1000 meters -4000 meters; Below is the Abyssopelagic zone which is the zone beginning where the continental slope levels off, extending from approximately -4000 meters to -6000 meters; The lowest zone is the hadalpelagic zone which is the volume inside oceanic trenches, extending from around -6000 meters to a maximum depth of -10994 meters (2). (1).

            Since light penetrates to varying depths in different areas according to the transparency of the water, the boundaries determined according to light penetration cannot be absolute or precise. For example, in some tropical waters, light can penetrate as far as 600 meters (3), but in other places . The same degree of uncertainty applies to the aphotic zones as the continental slope is not entirely uniform and oceanic trenches vary in depth (2).

            The particular focus of this paper shall be the bathypelagic zone. It is unique in several ways: there is no sunlight, there is very high pressure (100-400 atm.), it is relatively cold, it has a high mineral and nutrient density, and the conditions are constant, due to lack of wind, sunlight, and because water in the deep sea comes from dense, polar water which sinks to the bottom and slowly flows across the ocean floor and thus the deep sea water is a constant temperature. These extreme conditions have selected for some rather extreme adaptations, the lack of sunlight having the greatest adaptive repercussions; since there is no sunlight, there is no photosynthesis which means that almost no primary production occurs. All of the food in the bathypelagic zone comes in the form of organic particles drifting down from the layers above. There is only enough to support a very low population density; even though the bathypelagic zone accounts for ninety percent of the oceans’ volume,  it has a very low population and biodiversity relative to the layers above. And these things continue to decline as a function of depth. (4).

            What few organisms are supported by this organic snow are not over-abundantly supplied with sustenance; they were forced to develop means of conserving energy and, in a world of dark darkness, of luring the prey to them. Creatures, such as jellyfish and angler-fish of the deep can often be found floating motionless. (2). Due to cold temperatures, they have very low metabolic rates which helps further to conserve energy. Since they don’t move very often, they don’t waste energy in forming a streamlined body; they tend to be bulky and lumpy. Many are merely living lures; traps baited with light. (4).

            The light is produced by a phenomenon called bioluminescence, caused by reaction between a molecule called luciferin and oxygen. Some animals that produce luciferin also produce a catalyst to speed up the reaction called luciferase. An organism can control the intensity and color of the reaction called bioluminescence, as well as when they light up. Some organisms borrow bioluminescence from glowing bacteria; they provide a favorable environment and the bacteria glow for them. (5).

            This is a tool used all throughout the animal kingdom from insects to plankton to deep sea fishes and invertebrate. Even humans bioluminesce, although the intensity is one thousand times fainter than would be visible and does not involve luciferin or serve any purpose (6).. Nor is it limited to the deep sea; the phenomenon can be observed all throughout the water column, only it is very common in the aphotic zone; about ninety percent of deep sea species have the capability to produce bioluminosity. Bioluminescence can serve multiple purposes from mate attraction to luring prey to startling predators. (5).

            Living in an area devoid of visibility, the organisms inhabiting the bathypelagic zone have developed alternative sensory techniques, enhanced old ones, and dropped others. Some organisms, like angler-fish, have long tentacles that act like feline whiskers to increase the distance at which they can detect predators and prey. (7). Another adaptation of the angler-fish is its extreme sexual dimorphism and sexual parasitism. The male is minute in comparison to the female and lacks a fishing rod and bioluminescence. He locates a female mainly utilizing his enlarged nasal orifices, but also perhaps by the female’s bioluminescence once he reaches the appropriate proximity. When he finds her, he bites into her underside and fuses with her body, sharing her blood in exchange for sperm. This is often how bioluminescence is used, to distinguish between the sexes. (8).

            But some organisms lack functional eyes because they serve no purpose in a world of darkness, save for detecting bioluminescence. And if an organism has no eyes, it can’t be lured in the bell of a jellyfish or the maw of an angler-fish. (9).

            This leads to an interesting question: why are organisms attracted to the light in the first place? At night, when humans introduce an artificial light, little zooplankton become illuminated. This makes them a target for small fish that hunt by sight to whom they were invisible prior to illumination. When the little fish begin feeding, they too become illuminated and attract larger predators, and so on. Fishermen take advantage of this phenomenon. (10). A similar chain of events may occur in the bathypelagic zone as well.

            Another important characteristic of the bathypelagic zone is the extreme pressure. This does not have an enormous effect on the creatures because they were born there and spend most of their lives their, so the pressures inside and outside their bodies are equalized leaving no net effect. But, at least one adaptation has arisen due to high pressure and it involves an organ common to many fish species called a swim bladder. It is a gas-filled chamber inside some fish that allows for passive flotation. Regulation of the amount of gas stored can help the fish rise or sink. The swim bladder is absent from the physiology of bathypelagic organisms, or it is filled with fluid, not gas. This is because gases are compressible while fluids are not. This also explains the complete lack of air spaces in deep sea organisms. (11).

            Oxygen is something that might be expected to exist only in very small amounts in the bathypelagic zone; Because no photosynthesis occurs, no oxygen is replenished and it is constantly consumed. But, the cold polar waters are actually saturated with oxygen. (4). However, above the bathypelagic zone exists, from about -300 to -400 meters, a so called oxygen minimum zone. Here, adaptations to this lower oxygen environment may include the utilization of more efficient oxygen processing enzymes (12) and increased surface area. (13).

            Many deep sea organisms at some point travel nearer to the surface, for various reasons. An innumerable quantity of small organisms move up at night and descend to safety during the day, when they would be visible beyond the bathypelagic zone. At night, they like to take advantage of the increased availability of food in shallower, warmer layers. (10). This exposes them to varying pressure and temperature, which alters certain bilayer membranes of functional importance. Adaptations are required to handle this. (14). Some organisms, like the angler-fish, rise near the surface to breed, and require the same environmental versatility to survive, although many of them don’t survive anyway (7).

            Those described above are just a few of the numerous adaptations necessary for the survival of life in the bathypelagic zone.


References

  1. Nelson, Rob. (2018). “Deep Sea Biome.” Untamed Science. http://www.untamedscience.com/biology/biomes/deep-sea-biome/. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  2. Stenstrom, Jonas. (2018). “Pelagic Biome.” Untamed Science. http://www.untamedscience.com/biology/biomes/pelagic-biome/. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  3. The editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2015). “Bathyal Zone.” Encylopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/bathyal-zone. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  4. “Ocean Zones.” (n.d.). Ocean Explorer. http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/edu/curriculum/section5.pdf. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  5. The Ocean Portal Team. (2017). “Bioluminescence.” Smithsonian National Mutseum of Natural History. http://ocean.si.edu/bioluminescence. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  6. Kobayashi, Masaki et. al. (2009). “Imaging of Ultraweak Spontaneous Photon Emission from Human Body Displaying Diurnal Rhythm.” PlOS ONE. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  7. Langin, Katie. (2018). “Exclusive: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’ Video of mating deep-sea anglerfish stuns biologists.” Science. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/03/exclusive-i-ve-never-seen-anything-it-video-mating-deep-sea-anglerfish-stuns-biologists.
  8. Pietsch, Theodore W. (2005). “Dimorphism, parasitism, and sex revisited: modes of reproduction among deep-sea ceratioid anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes).” Ichthyological Research. file:///C:/Users/Abram/Downloads/20-Dimorphism.pdf. Date-access: 4/42018.
  9. NOAA Ocean Explorer Webmaster. (2013). “The Bulk of the Ocean is Deep Sea Habitat with no Light.” Ocean Explorer. http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/facts/light-distributed.html. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  10. Carilli, Jessica. (2016). “Why Lights Attract Ocean Life at Night.” Scitable by nature education. https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/saltwater-science/why_lights_attract_ocean_life. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  11. “If a giant squid has a soft body, how can it survive in such deep water pressure, when even the best submarines can’t got as deep that deep?” (2004). USCB ScienceLine. http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=685. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  12. Han, Huazhi et. al. (2011). “Adaptation of aerobic respiration to low O2 environments.” PNAS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3161551/. Date-accessed: 4/4/2018.
  13. Levin, Lisa A. (2002). “Deep Ocean Life Where Oxygen is Scarce.” American Scientist. http://levin.ucsd.edu/research/Am%20Sci%202002.pdf.
  14. Cossins, A. R. Macdonald, A. G. (1989). “The adaptation of biological membranes to temperature and pressure: fish from the deep and cold.