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Biology and Society

Please help with the following questions.

Chapter 2: Biology and Society, Question 14, p.34-

? One solution to the problem of acid precipitation caused by emissions from power plants is to use nuclear power to produce electricity. The proponents of nuclear power contend that it is the only way that the United States can increase its energy production while reducing air pollution, because nuclear power plants emit little or no acid-precipitation-causing pollutants. What are some of the benefits of nuclear power? What are the possible costs and dangers? Do you think we ought to increase our use of nuclear power to generate electricity? Why or why not? If a new power plant were to be built near your home, would you prefer it to be a coal-burning or nuclear plant? Why?

Chapter 3: Biology and Society, Question 15, p.53-

? Each year, industrial chemists develop and test thousands of new organic compounds for use as pesticides, such as insecticides, fungicides, and weed killers. In what ways are these chemicals useful and important to us? In what ways can they be harmful? Is your general opinion of pesticides positive or negative? What influences have shaped your feelings about these chemicals?

Chapter 4: Biology and Society, Question 12, p.71-

? Doctors at a university medical center removed John Moore's spleen, which is standard treatment for his type of leukemia. The disease did not recur. Researchers kept the spleen cells alive in a nutrient medium. They found that some of the cells produced a blood protein that showed promise as a treatment for cancer and AIDS. The researchers patented the cells. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled against Moore, stating that his lawsuit "threatens to destroy the economic incentive to conduct important medical research." Moore argued that the ruling left patients "vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of the state." Do you think Moore was treated fairly? Is there anything else you would like to know about this case that might help decide?

Chapter 5: Biology and Society, Question 14, p.87-

? Lead acts as an enzyme inhibitor, and it can interfere with the development of the nervous system. One manufacturer of lead-acid batteries instituted a "fetal protection policy" that banned female employees of childbearing age from working in areas where they might be exposed to high levels of lead. Under the policy, women were involuntarily transferred to lower-paying jobs in lower-risk areas. A group of employees challenged the policy in court, claiming that it deprived women of job opportunities available to men. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the policy illegal. Nonetheless, many people are uncomfortable about the "right" to work in an unsafe environment. What rights and responsibilities of employers, employees, and government agencies are in conflict in this situation? Whose responsibility should it be to determine what makes a safe environment and who should it be to determine what makes a safe environment and who should or should not work there? What criteria should be used to decide?

Thank you for your help in advance!

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Interesting questions! Let's take a lcoser look. I also attached two supporting articles, some of which this response and are made reference to below.

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RESPONSE:

Chapter 2: Biology and Society, Question 14, p. 34-

One solution to the problem of acid precipitation caused by emissions from power plants is to use nuclear power to produce electricity. The proponents of nuclear power contend that it is the only way that the United States can increase its energy production while reducing air pollution, because nuclear power plants emit little or no acid-precipitation-causing pollutants.

? What are some of the benefits of nuclear power? Proponents argue that well designed, well constructed, well operated and well maintained nuclear energy is not only clean, but it is also safe, reliable, durable and competitive. It is clean: Nuclear energy produces almost no carbon dioxide, and no sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides whatsoever. These gases are produced in vast quantities when fossil fuels are burned. It is safe: far fewer fatalities have occurred in the civilian nuclear power industry in half a century (Chernobyl included), than occurred in any year in the fossil fuel industries. Coal mine accidents are common occurrences and often cause tens or hundreds of fatalities, reported one day and forgotten the next, adding up to about 15,000 per year worldwide, 6,000 of which are in China. It is reliable, durable and completive (see attached article for further explanations, which is also available on-line at URL:
http://www.ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_english/BENEFITS-of-NUCLEAR.pdf).

? What are the possible costs and dangers? According to Dr. Caldicott, an opponent of nuclear energy, claims that that nuclear power adds to global warming, increases the burden of radioactive materials in the ecosphere and threatens to contribute to nuclear proliferation (see explanation at http://healthandenergy.com/nuclear_dangers.htm).

? Do you think we ought to increase our use of nuclear power to generate electricity? Why or why not? Based on ...

Solution Summary

This solution addresses questions about biology and society on several controversial issues debating both sides of the controversies e.g. nuclear power plant emissions, the use of pesticides, controversial medical research and working in an unsafe work environment. It is supplemented with links and articles for further research on the topics.

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