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Ramya Balasingam

Potential ethical ramifications of the quinoa craze

Hailed as the one of the most nutritious, protein- and fiber-rich foods, quinoa has gained much attention in recent years. Many new recipes have been created that describe ways to cook and present this 4,000-year-old Incan food. However, with the sudden increase in attention for quinoa, some have started to wonder about the ethical ramifications of…

On regulating drones

On April 17, a British Airways flight that was returning from Geneva was thought to have been hit by a drone as it was approaching Heathrow airport in London. Although the damage was minimal — and it is unclear that the obstruction was a drone — this incident is a timely reminder that stricter laws and…

Almond milk: A worthy investment?

Almonds are unquestionably a healthy snack. In addition to providing protein, antioxidants and other forms of nutrition that are normally attributed to vegetables and fruits, eating almonds daily leads to a 3.5 percent lower chance of heart risk ten years later. However, the sharp increase in almond popularity and demand over the past decade has raised…

Problems with persistent DNA databases

Curiosity about where one comes from is a natural, human instinct. Everyone wonders who their ancestors were, where they came from, and what they looked like. Companies like 23andMe and have risen in response to these longings, allowing people to learn about the ancestors by taking DNA tests. Although they have found some success in quenching this need, they have also been dogged by privacy concerns.

Big money science prizes: How effective are they?

The $3 million dollar Breakthrough prize, created by a group of billionaires that included Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma and Yuri Milner, seeks to “celebrate the best scientific work and inspire the next generation of scientists.” However, despite the noble goals expressed in its slogan, since its inception, the Breakthrough Prize has…

Sharing: A case for the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The successful completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam should be a momentous event—not only for the country of Ethiopia, but also for the African continent since it would mark the triumph of the largest hydroelectric project in Africa. However, since its inception in 2011, the daring project has produced much controversy, especially amongst Egyptian politicians.

On recent findings about the sugar tax

Active debate has always surrounded the validity of the sugar tax, especially in the United States. Proponents argue that the sugar tax is a necessary measure to combat the extremely high childhood—and adult—obesity rates in America. However, critics argue that such “nanny-state” taxes are unnecessary because they limit the freedom of choice consumers have when they go to a supermarket or convenience store and want to buy a few snacks.

On Amazon’s move from clicks to bricks

Without a doubt, Amazon’s addition of “bricks” to “clicks” marks an important event in the book industry. Whether or not Amazon’s “brick” experiment will be successful is a question we will have to wait to answer, but I am excited by the possibility that this could help revive interest in conventional bookstores, even the small neighborhood variety.

The merits of carbon cap and trade

So, after a careful consideration of the options at-hand, it appears as though carbon cap-and-trade seems to be best economic policy to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate climate change. China made a smart move on September 25th. The question is: will the U.S.? Who will lead the agenda at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris?
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