“How do meat thermometers work?”
Meat thermometers are used every day to measure the temperature of meats. However, how exactly do they work? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. If we were to deconstruct one of these machines, then we would find out that inside the thermometer are two strips of metal with different heat coefficients. Upon the application of heat, both of these will expand at different rates, inducing twisting and therefore changing the dial at a constant rate!
The Paris Agreement
“What is the Paris Agreement?”
Ever since some particular orange haired man decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement, people have been wondering what exactly it is and what a pull out what mean. Well, as I always say, let’s use our scientific mindsets to find out.
Ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the climate of the Earth has been rising at an exponential rate, so much so that we have come to the point that immediate global policy must be taken. Back in April 2016, nations from all over the world convened in the city of Paris to sign a treaty that stipulates the following:
- Keep the future global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
- Aim to limit this temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid environmental catastrophes
- Curb global emissions as much as possible
- For all nations to come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science
- Report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets,
- Track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system.
- For developed countries support and assist developing countries in implementing such policies and curbing emissions
By withdrawing from this agreement as one of the heaviest global polluters, the United States will become a dead weight that will slow the rest of the world to achieving all of these goals. If you are reading this and are an American citizen, please, call your senator to urge the president to rescind their previous statement regarding withdrawal.
“How do engineers analyze the speed of an automobile?”
The Automobile is one of the most omnipresent devices on the planet. And as such, when being analyzed, all studies must be done with great precision. So how can engineers look at one component, velocity, with extreme detail? Well, thanks to the hard labors of many researchers, a tool known as the drive cycle has been developed. In essence, a drive cycle is a collection of data points representing a vehicle’s velocity in contrast to time. This system is often used by engineers to estimate the amount of fuel that a car has used since a car operating at higher speeds will burn more petroleum.
“How does NASA grow plants suspended in the air?”
With the advent of hydroponics, the roots of plants have been liberated from the soil, allowing for far more sustainable agricultural systems to develop. One of these methods actually involves suspending the roots of the plant in the air and then filling the environment with a nutrient mist. Scientists have termed this process aeroponics, and allows for a higher density yield and allow for the roots to more efficiently absorb oxygen. However, one drawback is that this system must be constantly sprayed with a 35% hydrogen peroxide to prevent the spread of impinging fungi and bacteria. NASA uses aeroponic systems to grow food for astronauts on year long missions.
“Can we grow plants without soil?”
For the vast majority of human civilization, human agriculture has relied on the soil it rested upon to grow plants. However, with the ascent of global urbanization, global warming, and soil acidification, we must find novel ways to generate agriculture in order to survive. So what is one way we can achieve this? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. One of our major roadblocks is that we need to rely on soil material to grow our plants, so what if we were to create a way to grow such lifeforms without the use of soil? Well, a fascinating technology known as hydroponics accomplishes this using a technique in which minerals in a water solute are directly substituted for soil, therefore enabling sufficient nutrition for plant growth. Hydroponics is being used all over the world to create urban agricultural systems, and might become a major agricultural powerhouse in their own right one day!
“How do we measure distance while traversing the ocean?”
One of the most important pieces of information needed for transportation is the distance that one needs to cross. This fact holds regardless if it’s by land, sea or air. Speaking about the sea, have you ever wondered how people measure distance when they are out on the ocean? Well, after many centuries of improvements, navigators have created the unit of the Nautical mile for traversing aquatic distances. Despite sounding like a unit based on the imperial system, the nautical mile is actually an SI-based quantity, with one NM being equal to 1852 meters. This unit is so fundamental to navigation that not only has the field of aviation begun using it, but that the unit for aquatic speed, the knot, is equal to one nautical mile per hour!
How the poor will be disproportionately affected by climate change
“Is it true that fighting climate change will also fight poverty?”
In the current political discourse over climate change, there seems to be people camped on to two sides, those who value action to increase the impact of sustainable systems and those who value fighting poverty. However, if one were to analyze this issue scientifically, then one would realize that this is a false dichotomy. An increase in global temperatures would cause a corresponding devastation in agriculture. Not only would this inhibit the daily productivity of impoverished farmers worldwide, but it would also cause a rise in food prices. Since the global poor spend the majority of their income on food, this would cripple their livelihoods. On top of this, since much of the developing world lives near the equator, increased global temperatures will make this already balmy region even hotter, throwing the entire system out of equilibrium and devastating people of lesser economic means. Therefore, if you see a politician talk about how investing in sustainability is a “waste of money” please tell them to analyze the facts and then make an informed decision.