The following is a response to the article “Breaking Away From Coal” by Clifford Krauss, which originally appeared in the New York Times Opinion section. Krauss starts the article by explaining how several of the coal burning plants of North Carolina are switching to using natural gas generators. The article explains that this is because of the lower prices, and easier maintenance that natural gas has to offer. The sudden decision to switch from coal to gas is also because of the new pollution laws that have been established by North Carolina. According Michael Zenker, a gas analyst at Barclays Capital, coal is losing its advantages both as a suitable energy source, and as an affordable one. Dan Eggers, a Credit Suisse energy analyst goes on to say that the transition from coal to natural gas has the potential to reshape the entire energy consumption rate of the United States, especially with the E.P.A. pressing to lower carbon emissions. Despite this, some investors believe that coal prices can remain low enough to still be efficient, but most people agree that gas plants are more likely to replace coal plants in the coming years.
Every day, I see people using coal in some way or another. Most of the time, people don’t notice because they’ve grown too comfortable with thinking that its a never-ending energy source that has no damaging consequences whatsoever. That’s why I found the article interesting, because it acknowledges the consequences of burning coal from both an environmental and economic perspective. I thought Krauss’s article to be informative and more uplifting than other articles I have read. Unlike so many articles I read in the newspaper, this one pointed out one of the positive things that America is doing to try to better itself. Krauss’s article was also easy to understand from an average person’s perspective. I think that this article relates to everyone who uses coal as their primary source of energy, whether it be in a house, work building, or any other man-made, energy using creation. This also think that this an important issue to keep up on, especially considering the fact that coal accounts for at least fifty percent of the entire country’s energy supply. For those who aren’t good at math, that’s a lot. I feel that this energy transition is an excellent breakthrough for getting the country’s economy and environment back on the right track.
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The following is a response to the article “Searching the Brain for the Roots of Fear” by Joseph Ledoux, which originally appeared in the New York Times Opinion Section. In the article, he tells how science defines fear and anxiety as two separate mental states, although there are few who are able to make the separate distinctions. Scientifically speaking, fear is a negative state that is caused by a presence that has the potential to harm, while anxiety is a negative state that anticipates a threat, and this state can be extremely heightened for humans due to imagination. Recently, scientists have been able to pinpoint the region of the brain that associates with fear and danger; this area is known as the amygdala. This research shines hope to perhaps one day treat those who suffer greatly from anxiety.
At the very beginning of the article, I was immediately able to connect with the example of a fearful experience, which was encountering a potentially dangerous animal while taking a walk in the woods. I take walks in the woods often, and although I personally have never had such an experience, I was able to relate with the passage and understand the point of the article. Since fear is such an unconscious function of the brain, I also became some-what intrigued as to how science is able to physically locate the area in which fear is processed in the mind. Fear is a universal feeling amongst both humans and animals, so the article was relate-able to anyone, however I struggled to fully understand some of the concepts with defining areas of the brain. I felt that Ledoux’s article was very informative and had a good scientific background, especially around those who suffer greatly from issues associated with fear. Although I found it interesting that scientists are now able to figure out the functions of the brain when it comes to fear, I felt that the issue of anxiety disorders was a little over-exaggerated. Despite this, I truly believe that figuring out the functions of the human brain in order to treat and prevent mental disorders is important, as are all forms of medical treatment.
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