Rohan Borkar

Someone is shy

Rohan hasn't completed a profile. Should we look for some other people?

Comments & conversations

186976
Rohan Borkar
Posted about 2 years ago
Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future
You know if more people watched The Lion King, bugs would probably be more acceptable. That movie is awesome. Anyways, it's possible that insects are already subtly included in many foods we eat. I cannot find a news (or any official) source for this, but according to many websites there are an average of eight bug legs in a piece of candy or chocolate bar. Think about that the next time you pull out your midday candy snack! I don't think people cope with the fact that we consume bugs all the time. Not to freak anybody out even further, but we swallow a non-zero amount of bugs (particularly spiders) while we sleep and it is not dangerous or unhealthy at all! Even the United Nations seems to think bugs are a great alternative source of various nutrients, supposedly a good replacement for "chicken, pork, beef, and even fish." Additionally, bugs produce very few greenhouse gasses (especially compared to cattle), are easy to grow and maintain (due to short generation cycles). The only counterargument against eating bugs is that they tend to taste inferior to conventional foods, understandably. However I believe with a few spices, refined cooking techniques, and public education regarding the benefits of eating insects, humans can create a larger market for bug eating that will not only save us money but will also help our planet. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/13/should-we-eat-more-insects-the-u-n-thinks-so/
186976
Rohan Borkar
Posted about 2 years ago
Can urban beehives increase food production?
We touched on something similar to this idea in discussion this week. The study showed that the biological diversity of pollinating insects was analogous (proportional) to the efficiency and amount of food production and growth of sunflowers. I do believe this is a good idea, but the problem for society is that bees must be "bad", and cute fuzzy animals must be "good". While setting up beehives could be a good idea for agricultural areas, I don't understand the advantage to putting them into cities, where barely any plant life is present. Of course if rooftop gardens (great idea) were to be implemented, urban beehives would thrive and (to rational people) would most likely be accepted by the general public if somehow constricted.
186976
Rohan Borkar
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?
I actually had no idea the Brazillian government had planned on erecting multiple dams across the amazon in order to acquire energy. While the video did suggest wind and solar energy would be good alternatives, these require high maintenance (especially solar panels) and are a large initial investment. Additionally, while it is guaranteed that the amazon river will continue to flow and thus supply a dam's turbines with flow, there is no certainty that solar and wind energy will be sufficiently available to meet the high and growing demands of such countries as Brazil. As for an alternative to all this, I do not have a solution besides the fact that the most efficient way to cope is to use less energy per capita.
186976
Rohan Borkar
Posted about 2 years ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
Hahah, interesting proposition with the cat hunting. I do like the idea of consequences; perhaps by educating the general public (or somehow targeting cat owners) about the impact of cats on different animals, we can somehow increase the awareness of what's actually happening. By publicizing the global and long term consequences some people may take action by compensating with their cats (somehow). This is definitely a hard issue to discuss considering people's emotional connections to their pets
186976
Rohan Borkar
Posted about 2 years ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
I'm very much a cat lover so if any of my comments seem biast I apologize. Like the situation in New Zealand, a ban on felines (or even certain kinds of more agressive, predator felines) would not be well received in the United States, as the appeal for cats as pets is far too strong. However, I understand something must be done to help prevent cats from killing so many animals. I'm surprised that declawing cats has had no effects on the loss of bird/rodent species, as intuitively I would've thought that removing claws would physically handicap cats (as they would only be able to use their paws and teeth to hunt -- much more difficult). The idea of keeping cats indoors is cruel in my view; they are naturally outdoor animals,and if they are to be kept as pets, "members of the family," they should have the right to go outside. I do think the best option would be to put bells on their collars, or something that makes noise when the cat moves, in order to warn prey that a predator is near. While it'd most likely be frustrating to the cats, it's a necessary step to preserving biological diversity among bird and rodent species. Another idea would be to restrict cats to smaller outdoor areas. A friend of mine only allows his cats into his backyard, so I'd assume his cats would have little effect on the bird/rodent population in the area. One problem with this would be the lack of backyards in a given rural area (perhaps due to a creek or other biome existing around a house. Another problem is (if a household doesn't have a fence), the cost of building a fence just for the ability to own a cat... I could be wrong with this assumption that restricting cats' access to prey will work, but for now I think this could be another feasible option
186976
Rohan Borkar
Posted over 2 years ago
Purell now, Bacteri-ell later?
Your inquiry reminds me of the problem with chicken pox. I'm not excessively educated in the subject, but I think if you fall sick with chicken pox very late in life, the sickness is many times more severe than if you got it at a young age. This is a good example of the decline of the immune system throughout life. I think this concept can also be applied to your question about microbes. Exposing humans to harmful viruses or bacteria early in life may save them later on, because their immune systems may be able to sufficiently deal with the threat due to its versatility in making antibodies. It's quite unfortunate that the human immune system declines (literally turns into fat) and becomes less able to compensate with foreign invaders throughout life. On another note, I'm surprised at the lack of products containing microbes these days. While there are a few (yogurt, kombucha, etc), science has proven that micro-organisms are extremely important to human health, both inside and outside the body. We all have Escherichia coli in our bodies, so what's wrong with adding additional (unharmful) bacteria into our systems? Because we must be careful with ingesting new strains of these kinds of organisms, I think additional research into health benefits and new methods of intaking these microbes should be conducted.
186976
Rohan Borkar
Posted over 2 years ago
What form of renewable energy has or will have the lowest impact on biodiversity?
While solar, wind, and tidal energy are extremely efficient, they're not as dependable as immediately obtainable sources of energy. While fossil fuels are a current primary source of energy, I believe hydrogen can be a valid future source. I talked about this in my 2nd convo-starter in my discussion of hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe, consisting of 75% of all mass. A hydrogen fuel cell runs on isolated hydrogen, kept on a metal substance to prevent it from escaping, and combines it with atmospheric oxygen to form water and electrical energy. Because no CO2 is produced, I assume this will not have a negative environmental impact on biodiversity and atmospheric CO2 levels. While this isn't the most rapid chemical reaction, there are significant catalysts (platinum in particular) that can work to help the reaction along. This brings me to why these fuel cells may not be realistic yet. Hydrogen fuel cells are expensive, modern car manufacturers spend roughly 1 million to create a functioning car. Additionally, these fuel cells are very delicate, and only work under optimal conditions (temperature, pressure, etc). The last issue is that hydrogen isn't easy to isolate, and readily escapes; so collecting and containing hydrogen requires more advances in technology. Despite all this, I think hydrogen fueled cells have a potential future in our growing economy, not just in cars but for many other products.