Author: Sabrina Kim

Science in the Time of Trump

The Trump Administration’s recent budget proposal includes behemoth cuts and few details. It is necessarily vague—to President Trump, the nuances of budget cuts are inherently irrelevant so long as nuclear research and defense allocations skyrocket. This was his platform, and there are certain benefits to increasing funding in these areas. Sadly, scientific research is taking the brunt of Mr. Trump’s ruthless cuts. The proposed budget would deal a serious blow to many of the government’s science-driven agencies. It would slash the NIH’s funds by 18%, delivering a decisive blow to key biomedical research sectors. The EPA would be down by 31.4%. ARPA-E, the...

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SeaWorld: Fighting a Losing Battle

Shamu and other orca whales have been a pillar of childhood entertainment for decades. Many families, mine included, made the trip to the Orlando, San Antonio, or San Diego SeaWorld amusement parks to watch the whales launch themselves out of the water in spectacular fashion. For us, it was simply incredible. The show seemed so beautiful, the trainers seemed so gentle, and the whales seemed so happy. Or were they? The Truth Behind Captive Breeding All good things must come to an end. My childhood naïveté about killer whales also came to a screeching halt after the 2013 release of Blackfish. Killer whales are...

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Voluntourism or Vacation?

We’ve all seen it. A family friend crafts a dramatically lengthy Facebook post, remarking on the terrible state of an orphaned child in Nicaragua, Nigeria, Guatemala, or somewhere else cryptic and distant. This person will often begin with a platitude along the lines of “I am so lucky to have the opportunity to…” or “This is my calling.” Then, to cap off their sudden altruism, the punchline. “Please click the button below to help fund my spring break trip and save children’s lives!” This is the essence of voluntourism. Defined as “doing meaningful volunteer work while also participating in tourism,” it’s a...

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School Lunches Have It All Wrong

Last week, I briefly investigated the controversy behind the sugar industry. This week, I thought I would continue the food policy pattern by talking a bit about the nutrition standards for school meals. The National School Lunch Act was created in 1946 specifically to provide “nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free lunches”. For schools to participate, they are required to serve food that meet federal nutrition requirements as well as free or reduced-price lunches to eligible children. In return, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides subsidies, cash, and food to public or non-profit schools. Here’s the Problem If my skepticism wasn’t apparent enough...

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The Politics of Sugar

Unless you’re Coca-Cola, sugar is probably your worst enemy. The sneaky compound is responsible for all sorts of ailments, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease—yet the average American consumes over 126 grams of it each day. But if it’s so damaging, why hasn’t the government stepped in? Well, it tried. In the 1960’s, the U.S. government created the National Caries Program (NCP) in an attempt to eradicate tooth decay within the decade. As anyone who frequents the dentist’s office can attest, the simplest way to reduce tooth decay is to reduce the consumption of sugar. However, this never made the recommendation...

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