Category Archives: Sciences

Popsicle Bridge Destruction (Pierce Moffett)

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Junior year comes with many ups and downs. It comes with long nights writing the thesis and longer days worrying about the finished product. But despite all the stress and worry, there are some surprising high points to junior year. One of those is the bridge project for physics class. My classmates and I were each tasked with building a bridge out of popsicle sticks that could hold some weight (emphasis on some). At first this task seemed daunting. After all, my engineering skills had barely gotten me through my Lego stage as a kid, and popsicle sticks were a whole new ball game. How does one even start building a bridge? Much less one out of popsicle sticks. Multitudes of questions went through my head. Like what design to use or how to get it to stand. The different options were endless. At a time like this, lord Google may seem like your friend, but do not let him deceive you. There are thousands upon thousands of ways to build a bridge that come up when you search for instructions. So I left Google feeling more confused than when I had started.

But once you finally make a decision on what to do, the bridge starts coming together. The hard part was designing, but the fun was the actual building. It took many hours to finish it. I would try to glue the sticks together, but many times they would just fall apart. Despite the obstacles, the finished product finally began to come together. It began to actually look like a bridge instead of just a pile of sticks. After finishing, the day eventually came for me to try and break it. I felt a tinge of sadness in watching it break. All those hours of work just going down the drain. But when I thought of the hours of pain and frustration it gave me, I must admit, I felt a little joy at its destruction.

Uganda’s Water Crisis (Jack Wilson)

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Potholes in the roads and filthy, unfiltered air attacked my senses as I looked out my van window. It was truly hard to juggle the continuous up and down rattling of the van while being bombarded by the unusual smells in the Kampala air. After a grueling twenty-eight hours of travel capped off with a nine hour car ride, I had finally arrived in Bundibugio, Uganda to minister the Gospel and support my missionary friends in their work.

Throughout the week I encountered one particular problem – the price of alcohol. In Uganda alcohol is cheap, and water is pricey and unclean. Since alcohol was in some places cheaper than water, alcoholism is a growing problem. In fact, I went with a friend to talk to a regional authority, who was clearly inebriated, which exposed the problem even more. Alcohol itself is not a bad thing, but the lack of an efficient way to secure water is. Rain filters and somewhat effective piping run in the more populated areas of Uganda. But nine hours away from the capital city Bundibugio, there are very few rain filtering devices and thus a heavy dependence on rivers from the Rwenzori mountains. Since it is easier to ship alcohol and overpriced water through the country, there needs to be a solution to the lack of water engineering ideas in Uganda.

The easiest way to solve Uganda’s dual problem of alcholism and water scarcity is not through eliminating alcohol, but through sending more inventive minds along and hard working hands to produce more helpful devices. There is some wisdom to raising the price of alcohol, but in reality the country needs cleaner water as a whole. (It still amazes me how the people of Bundibugio can stomach the parasitic river water that flows from the mountains).

Recently, I encountered a new program at Mercer University that reaches out to other countries called Mercer on Mission. If Mercer on Mission were to go to Uganda and find a solution to this problem, the nation would see a wonderful increase in public opinion toward the government.

To provide more means for filtering, Mercer on Mission could send students to build clean and efficient rain storages and filtering devices. Such devices gather water effectively and store it through the dry seasons. They are used throughout the nation, not just Bundibugio.

In the end, my personal experience in Uganda creates a longing in me to solve the problems there that could be so easily fixed anywhere else on this earth.

Tech Review: The iPad Pro (Heath Padgett)

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This December I purchased Apple’s brand new iPad Pro. The iPad Pro was the perfect addition to my Apple suite as it seamlessly communicates with both my iPhone and MacBook Pro. However, a serious question remains: is the iPad Pro a viable replacement for your computer?

The iPad Pro is very similar to the iPad Air except for two main differences: the screen is much larger, and it is compatible with the Apple Pencil. The screen on the iPad Pro spans 12.9 inches, which makes it nearly the size of my MacBook Pro’s 13 inch screen. This allows many of the applications to run more like a computer. For example, Safari can run full size webpages that look just like those in a Mac. There is no more need for the annoying mobile websites that limit the functionality of smaller devices. Also, the larger screen allows for a full size digital keyboard (or Apple’s Smart Keyboard attachment). I have enjoyed the digital keyboard and am able to type effectively on it even though it does not have the physical feel of an actual keyboard. If typing is important for you in purchasing such a device, I would recommend either an attachable keyboard or just going with a MacBook.

The biggest difference between the iPad Pro and a MacBook is the touch screen. The iPad Pro is complemented with the Apple Pencil which allows great creativity. The Apple Pencil is unlike most styli because it works together with the iPad to accurately sense force and tilt. This allows you to draw much more precisely and use many new techniques such as shading and proper calligraphy.

The bottom line is this: if you want a very portable, lightweight device that inspires creativity and allows for general use of typical applications, then the iPad Pro is a wonderful option. Although sometimes a real computer is necessary for more professional applications, I have consistently found myself using my iPad Pro more than my MacBook Pro. Weigh how you want to use your device, and your decision should be obvious.

Searching for Sasquatch

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By Maddie Hoaglund, Class of 2017

An ancient Native American legend. A ghost story at a camp fire. Whispers of a creature. An ape man. Otherwise known as the American Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

The factual existence of this creature has never been proven despite thousands of sightings, though this could be due to the fact that most of these sightings tend to occur in rural areas. Most Americans would contend that such a beast does not exist. However, there are a select few who claim to have witnessed the beast. Sightings range from a shadow on the road, to a hairy primate peeking in a window.

Some witnesses to these phenomenons consider themselves an elite group. They founded a group called The Bigfoot Researchers Organization (BFRO). The BFRO includes Sasquatch enthusiasts from all over the country who search for the elusive beast and report sightings regularly. The organization has a large data base of over three thousand Sasquatch encounters in the U.S alone since 1921. Recently, the BFRO has aired an instructive program on Animal Planet in which members search for Sasquatch and question enthusiastic civilian witnesses.

With all the publicity surrounding this elusive creature in recent years, many skeptics believe that a large number of claimed Bigfoot sightings are hoaxes. Since the early 2000s,  yearly Sasquatch encounters have dramatically increased.  Just a few decades ago, most Americans simply discredited any possibility of a large ape like man roaming the American wilderness.

Skeptics might ask, with so many sightings widely spread throughout the United States, why have bigfooters never discovered definitive proof of Sasquatch? The overwhelming majority of evidence found by Bigfoot enthusiasts is disregarded, despite the legitimate scientific authenticity it holds. Others are further fueled to achieve their dream of capturing this animal in the flesh. From the Yowie Yahoo in the dusty outback of Australia, to the Skunk Ape of the Florida swamp, this creature has somehow stomped its way into the legends of people and cultures all around the globe.

In Defense of Solar Energy

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By Patrick McGucken, Class of 2015

President John F. Kennedy once said, “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” Even in the midst of total chaos, there is an opportunity for people to overcome the crises of life. It gives people the chance to improve the way of doing something while solving a serious problem. One of the major crises that plagues the world today is a worldwide energy shortage. Energy is a major factor of life; it provides electricity, transportation, heat. Unfortunately, it appears as if energy is getting harder to come by. As fossil fuels begin depleting, scientists are left trying to find an alternate source that is both efficient and environmentally friendly. Although there are a lot of good choices out there, solar energy stands out as the most promising

Solar energy is the paramount of success when it comes to energy. Solar energy comes from the sun, which is already a major factor in earth’s survival. This energy is obtained through the use of solar panels. These devices are flat panels that use sand to absorb the light from the sun and convert it into electricity. Many people are skeptical of  solar panels because of the cost, but they are greatly mistaken. Solar panels are capable of solving all of the world’s energy problems in the near future.

Solar panels can do this because they are extremely efficient and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, because of the delay in support, they are not going to be able to be implemented until the near future. So why should we support the increased use of solar panels?

To begin, solar panels are able to solve most of the world’s energy problems because of their longevity. This is due to the fact that solar panels are given energy from the sun. Jesse Emspak, a columnist for Discovery,  writes, “The sun produces an enormous amount of energy. More than 1,000 watts of per square yard hits Earth’s surface every day. Even a tiny amount of that power could meet the energy needs of the entire planet” (2013, 1). This passage shows that the amounts of solar energy are off the chart. The sun contains a lot of energy, and the beauty of it is that the sun is not going away anytime soon. According to the NASA, the sun is going to survive up to 5 billion more years (Lawrence 2011). This means that the sun is going to last longer than any type of fossil fuel, which makes it the most enduring source. Solar panels will have plenty of time to absorb the sun’s energy long after the fossil fuels have run out.

Another reason to support solar energy is that the efficiency rate of solar panels is constantly increasing. According to an article, “Their new X Series panel currently stands at 21.5%, and it’s projected to increase to 23% by 2015” (Kelly-Detwiler 2013). The X Series is the company Sunpower’s newest model panel. It is capable of converting more energy than any other panel, but the astounding part is that the company is still increasing its efficiency. In the same article, the author writes that it has increased 6% in the last eight years. By 2020 they could be over 50% efficient. This would have an impact on the world so big that they would be vastly superior to the other options.

Furthermore, solar panels are environmentally friendly. During the past decade, more people have started worrying about the environmental costs of energy.  Solar panels are some of the cleanest sources of energy out there. The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote an article describing all the environmental effects of different type of energy sources. They wrote that solar power is a clean source, “The sun provides a tremendous resource for generating clean and sustainable electricity without toxic pollution or global warming emissions” (2013). Solar panels are not degrading to the environment like fossil fuels. Both fossil fuels and nuclear power contribute to global warming, but not solar panels. Nor do solar panels pose a threat to wildlife. Both fossil fuels and nuclear power can cause serious problems if there is a leak. The BP oil spill of 2010 is still causing damage to the aquatic life in the gulf. This simply is not a risk with solar.

In the final analysis, solar panels offer a lot of answers and raise few concerns. They are capable of providing a large amount of energy, which can be used in a number of ways. Even today, researchers are working on houses and cars that run off solar power. However, it must be re-stated that solar panels are not quite ready for usage. They are still somewhat inefficient and very costly. Once they have achieved a high efficiency rate, they will be in high demand. It is probable, if not certain, that in the coming decades solar panels will emerge as the best source of energy.

The Painful Truth: How Pain Management Professionals are Being Undermined by Vague Laws

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By Jack Stein, Class of 2015

Everyone has a different tolerance for pain.  Some people can have a dangerous injury and either not notice it or think that they can handle it on their own.  Others find themselves in great pain with every knock or bruise and think that they need drugs such as OxyContin to cure it.  As a result, it is almost impossible to judge objectively the level of pain that a given individual is in.  The common way doctors attempt to judge a patient’s pain is a 0 – 10 scale (0 being no pain at all, 10 being absolutely unbearable).  However, each person’s scale is subjective to their experience of pain in the past, making it almost impossible to have a consistent ranking of pain for the same injury suffered by two different people.  Because of this ineffective means of identifying pain, many exploit the system and trick their doctors into prescribing more drugs than are needed for the pain.

This subject is explored in Tina Rosenburg’s New York Times article “When is a Pain Doctor a Drug Pusher?” which discusses the dilemma doctors face when treating a patient as to how real their pain is and what dosage to give the patient.  She argues that there is a problem in the way the law allows doctors to prescribe opioids.  One doctor may prescribe an unhealthy, even fatal amount of opioids to a patient without breaking a law.  Another might be scared to prescribe a reasonable amount for fear of the patient misusing them, which could result in the doctor being arrested. Federal law for the distribution of pain medication uses imprecise legal definitions of terms, and Rosenberg argues that this allows for confusion between real patients and addicts.  It is this very law which thousands of addicts try (and often succeed) to break for personal benefit.  Basically, the law puts the distribution of opioids in the hands of the doctors, some of whom are far less educated about pain than one would hope and expect.

Rosenberg cites the case of Ronald McIver, a pain management doctor with an aggressive style of treatment.  He often prescribed double the amount of opioids usually recommended, sometimes even sixteen times the recommended amount. Because pain can only be measured subjectively, McIver always overcompensated in his treatments, aiming for the pain to be a 2 instead of 5 on the 0 – 10 scale.  However, McIver’s style led him into some serious problems.  Some of his patients would fake pain to use the drugs for their ad

dictions.  Others would sell the excess drugs on the black market.  Some patients would drive hundreds of miles just to see McIver, who attempted only weakly to investigate the reality of their pain.  Even before all the  forms were filled out from the patients’ previous doctors, McIver would still prescribe an unusually high amount of drugs.  In cases of doubt, McIver always erred on the side of giving too many pills rather than not enough.

oxycontin-withdrawal-symptoms-addiction-treatment

Rosenberg’s main argument is that the laws about pain management and medication are too vague.  In fact, many jurors and investigators could not find an exact law that McIver broke, despite a clearly harmful and dangerous method for giving prescriptions for opioids.  Many doctors are being prosecuted for stepping over a line that has not even been established, and with pain education being taught in so few medical schools, it is likely to continue like this for some time.  Rosenberg maintains that misconceptions dominate public opinion.  Many doctors live in fear of prosecution for prescribing controlled substances for pain. This needs to be resolved sooner rather than later, says Rosenberg, because real patients are living in pain.  Despite the potential for abuse, opioids such as OxyContin help thousands of pain victims get back to their normal lives.  As it stands, the laws about opioid distribution fail to account for the benefit of such drugs, and as a result many legitimate pain patients have no where to go and no hope for successful recovery.

Rosenburg states that a huge part of the problem as it relates to pain management is the general ignorance of the problem and a proper solution.  Because of this, she is able to form the argument from a legal perspective, examining what approaches are and are not allowed.  Ultimately, she makes the right call based on the evidence provided.  According to the facts that she presented, I agree that the government should do a better job of defining its terms of pain medication and increase its awareness across the country. The medications that are being prescribed today are real and dangerous, especially for those who underestimate their power.  In order to understand the dilemma faced by thousands of pain doctors, it is crucial to remember the purpose of medicine in its most basic form: to help the victims of pain and suffering.  Anything other than that should not be legal, and all attempts to avoid the illegal distribution and abuse of the drugs should be punished harshly.

Pain is debilitating, and often the only solution is for doctors to prescribe heavy drugs.  Abuse is rampant and unavoidable, and often the good drugs are misused for bad results.  Doctors are facing persecution for giving their honest opinion, and pain victims are the collateral damage when the doctors get scared away.  After reading Rosenberg’s article, one is left with an uneasy feeling of pessimism as to the way out healthcare system is being run.  The article touches on many of the flaws in the legal system, and it leaves the reader to determine whether or not it should be amended.

Busch Gardens: Good Friends, Good Physics

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by Patrick McGucken, Class of 2015

Next to the Grand Tour, the junior’s field trip to Busch Gardens is the most anticipate event of the Westminster experience. The trip allows students to ride some world class roller coasters in Florida, bond together as a class, and see some of our physics lesson put to use in real world applications.

The trip began on Thursday, December, 5, 2013 when our class began the ten hour drive down to Tampa, Florida. By the time we arrived, most of us were ready to ride. After spending a night learning about the physics behind some of these coasters, we woke up the next morning to go into the park. The class spent the entire next day riding roller coasters in the park and making some great memories.

One of my favorite roller coasters was named Kumba, a fourteen story tall steel coaster known for its ferocious roar as the cart speeds through the track. Located in the back of the park, Kumba can be heard and seen from most anywhere in the park. Kumba provides the riders with seven inversions and a max g-force of 3.8. To put this in perspective, the G’s felt on this ride are roughly double that felt by the crew during the space shuttle’s launch.

Busch-Gardens-Tampa-Cheetah-Hunt

Another great coaster that all of us enjoyed was Cheetah Hunt. Cheetah Hunt is the newest of the coasters and is known for its 60mph launch and its zero G’s barrel roll. The purpose of Cheetah Hunt is to resemble what it feels like to be a cheetah hunting its prey. The coaster is fast and smooth with banked curves resembling the tail of the cheetah. The coaster is a great ride for both thrill seekers, and not so enthusiastic coaster riders. Cheetah Hunt provides a fun, high paced ride that gives the riders a feel for being a cheetah.

I personally, have both a love and fear of roller coasters. I like to ride coasters, but I still get nervous before I ride any one, and have even talked myself out on some of them. Without the encouragement of my classmates I probably would have not ridden any of the coasters at Busch Gardens.

The bonding during the trip is what made it so memorable to me, going alone just would not have been the same. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the coasters along side my friends, and having the opportunity to make some great memories along the way. The trip to Busch Gardens provided the class with an opportunity not just to learn, but to get closer as a class and have a good time. I would recommend to any upcoming Junior to strongly consider going on this trip, even if you do not like roller coasters. There is a lot more to get out of it than you might realize. Overall, this trip to Busch Gardens was a wonderful opportunity, and the memories that my friends and I made will last for the rest of our lives.

Love and the Science of Bionic Limbs

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By Josh Moore, Class of 2014

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“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” This quote by Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician and renowned medical historian, points to the foundation of all medicine: helping those who are sick and disabled. When technology and science are used to accomplish this goal, the quality of people’s lives is improved. The latest breakthroughs in medical technology have literally enabled the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk.

Bionic limbs are an especially exciting development that provide tremendous benefits for people who have suffered amputations. Doctors have observed that many times nerves in the leg of an amputee continue to transmit signals as if the limb were still attached. These signals alone, however, are too weak to be detected by the receivers in a bionic limb. In order to solve this problem, surgeons have directed the severed nerves to the muscle groups in the residual limb. When the brain sends signals to the residual limb, the new muscles twitch, amplifying the signals. The electrode sensors are able to detect these movements and send them to a computer chip that controls the bionic limb. This astounding process enables individuals with an amputation to function almost as effectively as before their injury. Unfortunately, technology like a bionic limb is often unaffordable for the people who need it most.

Ralph Merkle, a famous researcher of molecular nanotechnology, once said, “If we can reduce the cost and improve the quality of medical technology . . . we can more widely address the medical conditions that are prevalent and reduce the level of human suffering.”  The truth of this quote became evident to me through a close friend of mine with cerebral palsy. Her wheelchair was old and barely functioning after years of use, but the financial burden of a new powered wheelchair would have been extreme. It would have been impossible without financial assistance. Luckily for my friend, her local church came through for her. But there are others out there without this kind of support. This is why one of the most pressing medical needs of our day is technology that will not only advance patient care, but also lower the cost of that care.

 

Strength and Courage – Joshua Moore

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It was 1990, and the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, was just finishing their expansion of the New Headquarters Building. Submissions had come in from all over the nation for artwork to adorn the courtyard. The only qualification for this $250,000 commission was that it should inspire feelings of well being and hope (Clues to Stubborn Secret in C.I.A.’s Backyard). The winner, a modern sculptor named Jim Sanborn, was partnered with Edward Scheidt, a retired CIA cryptographer, in order to design an encoded sculpture. Over twenty years later, Kryptos has yet to be fully decoded.

To begin with, Kryptos is made of red granite, green granite, quartz, petrified wood, and four large copper panels, into which the encoded messages are engraved. The sculpture is curved, like the letter S, and lies in the Northwest corner of the New Headquarters Building. One half of the message is a ciphertext, a style of encryption which uses an algorithm to encode. This first part contains eight hundred sixty five letters and four question marks. Sanborn also intentionally incorrectly spelled a few words to make the decoding process more difficult. The second half of the code is encrypted with Caesar ciphers. This is a style of code where one letter will represent another. For example, if B represented A, C represented B, and so on the word DOG would become EPH. However Sanborn made it much more complicated than this by using different sets of Caesar Ciphers. This technique is called a Vigenere Cipher.

The Vigenere Cipher is a seemingly complicated form of encryption. This code is attributed to Blaise de Vigenere. It is categorized as a polyalphabetic cipher, in other words a cipher based on multiple different alphabet substitutions. The first documentation of a polyalphabetic cipher is from the Renaissance artist Alberti. Within an encoded document, Alberti would switch alphabetical substitutions. This was the first step towards the Vigenere Cipher. The second occurred in 1508 with Johannes Trithemius. He invented the Tablua Recta, which is necessary for encoding in the Vigenere Cipher and a labor saving tool for Caesar Ciphers. The Tablua Recta is a chart made of the alphabet; twenty six letters by twenty six letters (See last page). But with each row, the alphabet is spelled in a different order. Giovan Bellaso was the first person to describe the concept of the Vigenere Cipher. Bellaso took Trithemius’s Tablua Recta and added the concept of changing the Caesar Cipher by a keyword. Blaise de Vigenere later published a description of a very similar code. The Vigenere Cipher is named after him, but many say that Bellaso was the true inventor.

In order to create a Vigenere Cipher, there are two necessary parts: a keyword and a Tablua Recta.  Here is the process of encoding the word MATH in a Vigenere Cipher if the keyword is DOG. First you rewrite MATH using the keyword, so MATH becomes DOGD. Then you find the row on the Vigenere Square beginning with D, and find the letter to replace M. But to encode the second letter, you use a different row on the Vigenere square, so the code for the second letter is completely different than the code for the first letter. So MATH encoded with a Vigenere Cipher if the keyword is DOG becomes POZK. The longer the keyword, the more difficult it is to crack the code. For example if the keyword is MATHEMATICS, then MRCHAMBLESS would become YRVOEYBEMUK. Try decoding that!

Getting back to Kryptos, the first two messages are encoded with Vigenere Ciphers, the third section with Ciphertext, and the last part with an unknown encryption. The first message reads, “Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of illusion,” and is encoded with the keyword PALIMPSEST. The second message is much longer: “It was totally invisible, how’s that possible? They used the Earth’s magnetic field. The information was gathered and transmitted underground to an unknown location. Does Langley know about this? They should; it’s buried out there somewhere. Who knows the exact location? Only WW; this was his last message. ‘Thirty eight degrees, fifty seven minutes, six point five seconds north.'” The third message is encoded with a ciphertext, and is a quote about the opening of King Tut’s tomb. “Slowly, desperately slowly the remains of passage debris that encumbered the lower part of the doorway was removed with trembling hands. I made a tiny breach in the upper left hand corner, and then widening the hole a little, I inserted a candle and peered in. The hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker, but presently the details of the room within emerged from the mist. ‘Can you see anything?'” This is a quote from The Tomb of Tutankhamen  by Howard Carter. From these three messages alone, Kryptos already creates an aura of good feeling and hope.

But Kryptos is not necessarily famous for its characteristic good feeling and hope, but its aura of mystery. This atmosphere is created by the unsolved fourth message. Thousands have unsuccessfully tried to crack this code, but Sanborn proved each of them wrong. In 2003, a Yahoo! Group dedicated to solving the remaining portion of Kryptos was solved. It actively coordinates the work of over 2,000 members. Interest in the Sculpture drastically increased in 2010, when Sanborn decided o give the CIA a hint, that within the fourth part, the 64th through 69th letters encode the word Berlin. After this clue, Richard Gray, a former NSA and current CIA operative, claims to have identified the encryption of the fourth message. He believes that the last section is encoded with a Playfair system and a keyword, but he has yet to actually decode the message. He is not the first to believe he has solved it; some code breakers have begun accusing Sanborn of lying about the message. Yet with all of the current technology, it seems that a 20 year old code would be easy to crack. But Kryptos has proved everyone wrong.

Bioplastics by Joey Gissendaner

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Joey Gissendaner

Mr. Carrell 10b Chemistry

October 3, 2012

It might be hard to believe that the plastic fork you used at the ball park while watching Auburn beat Louisiana Monroe the other day could have once been corn. In fact one percent of all the synthetic plastics manufactured is bioplastic or corn plastic (HowStuffWorks.com). Bioplastic is defined as “a form of plastic derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch…etc.” (Wikipedia.com) Environmentalists boast that bioplastics are better for the environment because they are biodegradable or compost-able, produce less pollution, and come from a renewable resource. However, all three of these reasons are flawed. The long-term effect of using bioplastic is not a world free from the evil petroleum companies, but the possible end of recycling as we know it and possibly also a lack of farm land used for food.

Firstly, bioplastics are not as biodegradable or as easily composted as is claimed. Companies that manufacture bioplastics say that their products decay similarly to an apple core. However, the truth is that it takes hot, moist temperatures like in commercial composting plants to make the plastic decay properly (HowStuffWorks.com). If bioplastics become prevalent, then gone are the days of the curb-side recycling. If even a few bioplastic items find their way into a normal plastic recycling batch, the entire batch is contaminated and prevented from being reused, due to the difference in melting points of the two substances (FoxNews.com). It would take major changes in the recycling industry to be able to meet the demand. Recycling plants would need to find ways of either separating the two types of plastics or mixing the two. However, even if one decides to throw the fork or bottle into the compost pile in the backyard or it ends up in a landfill, the plastic will not decay at rate that the companies advertise (Guardian.co.uk).

And bioplastics do not actually produce less pollution, but a different kind of pollution. When the plastic decays it releases methane, a greenhouse gas (HowStuffWorks.com). Methane has been linked to global warming or climate change. Additionally the manufacturing of the bioplastics produces carbon dioxide (FoxNews.com). According to eco-scientists carbon is the leading cause of climate change.

Finally, even the growth of the crops that make the bioplastics poses problems. According to article posted on Discovery.com by Jessica Marshall, a study by Landis Research Group found that the bioplastics have “higher impacts for eutrophication, eco-toxicity and production of human carcinogens.” In layman’s terms this means rivers polluted by fertilizer, harmful effects of chemicals on an environment, and radiation causing cancer, respectively. They linked these mostly to the crops that produce the bioplastics, specifically the pesticides used in their production.

In conclusion, bioplastics will, in the end, have negative effects. They will bring the end of recycling as we know it, and they will put composting into the hands of scarce commercial composting companies.

Works Cited

“Bioplastic.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. n.d. Web. October 1, 2012.
Lamb, Robert. “What is corn plastic?” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, Inc. n.d. Web. October 1, 2012.
Jewell, Mark. “Green Plastics Find Cautious Market.” Fox News. Fox News Network, LLC. October 2007. Web. October 1, 2012.
Marshall, Jessica. “Bioplastics not so Green.” Discovery News. Discovery Communications, LLC. December 2010. Web. October 1, 2012.
Vidal, John. “’Sustainable bio-plastic can damage the environment.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. April 2008. Web. October 1, 2012.