Noel Laporte

Eugene, OR, United States

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186395
Noel Laporte
Posted about 2 years ago
Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future
One thing that might stigmatize the transition towards a insect heavy diet is the creepiness of eating the entirety of the organism. Is it safe to eat the whole bug? Does it need to be processed or cleaned? In our modern lifestyles a slice of bacon looks nothing like the greater animal, the pig. We do not associate a steak with the image of a cow... only a part of it. In our diets the meat and poultry we eat are usually not associated with the whole organism that it came from. If we were to sell dried spiders at a market there would definitely be a "gross" factor that would need to be overcame before mass consumption became a reality. I think insects could and should be a greater part of our diets yet, many hurdles need to be tackled before this becomes a reality. Preparation needs to be paramount to make a visually unpleasant food into something delicious warranting the, "oh it's not so bad" praise. If we as a society can discover ways to prepare and present nutritious and delicious insects I would definitely be a supporter of this movement. It may be possible to incorporate bugs that are more "likeable" than others into our diets first as the start of a transition towards a diet including insects. For example, fried crickets might be more pleasing and fun to eat than something squishy, gooey or hard to prepare organisms. I'm excited for the future of bugs in our diets, not only would it help alleviate food shortage but it might add to our already amazing culinary world!
186395
Noel Laporte
Posted about 2 years ago
Can urban beehives increase food production?
I think it’s very important to create a more robust beekeeping industry in the United States. It’s very hard to pin point one key reason for colony collapse disorder due to an assortment of many threatening factors. Multiple factors harm bee colony health creating compounding effects leading to collapse. There is increased loss due to Varroa mite and diseases such as Israeli Acute Paralysis virus. These however, might be natural occurrences to keep population sizes in check. The real issues may be from human caused disturbances and pesticide use. Foreign chemicals sprayed on plants and flowers expose bees to poisons causing decreased fitness and physiological problems. Humans also can be blamed for habitat fragmentation as well as habitat loss. Bees may be able to cope with a few of these problems before the stresses become too great to sustain a healthy colony. Although we can name factors that hurt colony health there is no consensus on what causes this collapse disorder, just speculation. I think that before we implement specific strategies for “saving the bees” we need to do more research on which factors impact colony health the most.
186395
Noel Laporte
Posted about 2 years ago
Will the Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon River cause more harm to the environment or will it be a good source of energy for Brazil?
Up until April 2013 at least 800,000 dams have been constructed worldwide. Dams can provide positive and negative benefits to the nearby communities and ecosystems in which they reside. Dams deliver clean energy, water storage and the ability to control floods. Given the right implementation and location dams can have hugely positive effects for a society and have low operational costs. Although some dams can bring positive changes upon construction the plan to build the Belo Monte Dam is a very poor decision. Building a dam in the heart of the Amazon creates huge ecosystem destruction and massive land change. An estimated 85% of Brazils electrical energy that is produced comes from renewable hydroelectric dams throughout the country. Although energy independence is key for a country, the addition of the Belo Monte dam would cause massive environmental disturbance. This dam would affect local animals and the Bacajá Indigenous area by redirecting water due to flooding and reservoir location. Redirecting such great water volumes from the natural geographical inclination will either, strip land areas of water or over saturate them. Droughts, floods, deforestation, redistribution of species and displacement of indigenous species are all expected if the dam is completed. Dam completion would negatively affect many biomes and trophic levels at a magnitude never seen before in the Amazon basin. I believe alternative energy strategies could be implemented in Brazil to meet its energy needs without destroying the amazon basin. Solar, wind and tidal renewable energy strategies all could create renewable energy without impacting the environment in such a drastic way. Only through listening to the indigenous people can the government make a decision that both benefits the people and the growth of the country. http://www.brighthubengineering.com/geotechnical-engineering/71200-negative-impacts-of-hydroelectric-dams/ http://amazonwatch.org/work/belo-monte-dam
186395
Noel Laporte
Posted about 2 years ago
Purell now, Bacteri-ell later?
Yes! Exposure to the microbial environment is extremely important in development of a child's immune system. Microbes naturally found in soil may be linked to releasing serotonin, changing a persons mood. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/66838.php
186395
Noel Laporte
Posted about 2 years ago
Purell now, Bacteri-ell later?
I definitely agree. It's not a matter of eliminating microbes but selecting for the beneficial ones to our health and eliminating the detrimental ones. How we select between these two still needs development however, could revolutionize our buildings and the possibility of integrating microbes environments to the surface of everyday objects.
186395
Noel Laporte
Posted about 2 years ago
Purell now, Bacteri-ell later?
I'm curious to see if we can integrate specific microbes into households and everyday objects. Would it be possible to eliminate the need for a "Bacteri-ell" by creating a symbiotic relationship between technology and microbes. If it is possible to tailor specific microbes to grow preferentially on items such as phones, faucet handles, socks, we could select for the immune boosting concoction of "right" microbial species. We could make it possible to harbor the "right" microbes based on different locations in our house for the greatest beneficial health affects.