Blogs - 5/114 - Merit Educational Consultants

Our population is rapidly increasing, and our food supply can barely keep up. Pests relentlessly attack crops, threatening the stability of our food supply. Pesticides are necessary to stop these pests, but the use of these only harm us and the environment around us. It seems as if it’s an inescapable dilemma — do we protect our environment or our food supply? But do we really need to answer this question at all? In his speech, Ishan discusses the application of the mushroom Cordyceps militaris as a highly effective pesticide that poses no threat to the environment, as well as the health problems that pesticides pose to us as humans.

About Ishan Bhatia:
Ishan Bhatia is a junior in high school and is interested in researching a variety of scientific ideas and topics, as well as specific fields such as biochemistry and neuroscience. He also plays the French Horn and in his free time, he likes to hang out with friends, sing, and play video games.

Come see Ishan Bhatia at TEDxMeritAcademy’s COUNTDOWN at the Rio Theatre on Nov 7th at 1:00-3:00 pm in Santa Cruz, CA.

October 24, 2021

There isn’t MUSH ROOM for Harmful Pesticides

Our population is rapidly increasing, and our food supply can barely keep up. Pests relentlessly attack crops, threatening the stability of our food supply. Pesticides are necessary to stop these pests, but the use of these only harm us and the environment around us. It seems as if it’s an inescapable dilemma — do we protect our environment or our food supply? But do we really need to answer this question at all? In his speech, Ishan discusses the application of the mushroom Cordyceps militaris as a highly effective pesticide that poses no threat to the environment, as well as the health problems that pesticides pose to us as humans.

About Ishan Bhatia:
Ishan Bhatia is a junior in high school and is interested in researching a variety of scientific ideas and topics, as well as specific fields such as biochemistry and neuroscience. He also plays the French Horn and in his free time, he likes to hang out with friends, sing, and play video games.

Come see Ishan Bhatia at TEDxMeritAcademy’s COUNTDOWN at the Rio Theatre on Nov 7th at 1:00-3:00 pm in Santa Cruz, CA.

October 24, 2021

Can we measure our way to a stable global climate?

Tim Niemier asks if we can come up with a universal way of measuring what we do as individuals, what our governments do, and what our corporations do or don’t do. Do we want to depend on our government or corporations to act and regulate or can we do it ourselves?

About Tim Niemier:
Tim Niemier grew up in Malibu and designed the first sit-on-top kayak, which became a multi-million dollar business, Ocean Kayaks. Tim lives in Bellingham, WA, where he is launching his most recent creation: the Origami Paddler — a paddleboard that folds into thirds for easy transportation. A true environmentalist, Tim has ideas worth spreading.

Come see Tim Niemier at TEDxMeritAcademy’s COUNTDOWN at the Rio Theatre on Nov 7th at 1:00-3:00 pm in Santa Cruz, CA.

October 24, 2021

Make a Miracle Happen

Many premature babies die each year because they do not have access to basic care and technology. Nishi created a low-cost neonatal incubator that can maintain a temperature of 34-35 degrees Celsius for up to four hours without the use of technology. So far, her Impact Incubators has distributed 100 incubators in rural areas of India.

About Nishi Dharia:
Nishi Dharia is a senior in high school from Milpitas, CA. Next year in college, she plans to major in Biochemistry and hopes to become a gynecologist after medical school. She also loves fashion designing and plans to explore this industry in her spare time.

Come see Nishi Dharia at TEDxMeritAcademy at the Rio Theatre on Nov 7th at 1:00-3:00 pm in Santa Cruz, CA.

October 24, 2021

Say No to Vinyl; Save Your House!

In 2020, over 18,000 structures were burned in wildfires across the country. These fires are often caused by small individual embers and not just engulfed by direct flame contact. As a result, the building materials used can be the difference between protecting a home and losing it to fire. Anush Anand identifies the problem with vinyl products and illustrates the risk homeowners take when relying on vinyl through statistics, reasoning, and a demonstration. He also discusses solutions and proposes potential legislation to have a positive, long-lasting impact on home protection in the future.

About Anush Anand:
Anush Anand is a high school senior in Sunnyvale, California and enjoys community service, soccer, and Boy Scouts. He also competes in FBLA and Robotics and works as a youth soccer referee. Anush hopes to dramatically reduce the vinyl used in home protection and plans on continuing to advocate for fire prevention.

October 24, 2021

Record numbers of men are giving up on college…

In 1831, Mississippi College was the first coed college in the US to grant a degree to a woman. Imagine that. Women fought to gain the right to earn bachelor’s degrees, then master’s and PhDs/MDs/JDs.

Now 60% of all college students are made up of women – an all-time high. In 2020-2021, men only made up 40% according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

This trend has been escalating for about 40 years, and if it continues, the number of women may be twice that of men in the next few years.

When looking closely at these numbers, poor and working-class white men are enrolling at lower rates than young Black, Latino, and Asian men from the same economic background. Hmm. What’s going on?

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October 22, 2021

Repurposing Glass Bottles

I’ve decided to only drink liquids out of glass – not plastic, which is fine when I’m at home, but not when I go out. It’s almost impossible to buy water or drinks in glass bottles so I started drinking kombucha. To be honest, the first time I tried it I spit it out because I thought it was rotten juice. It took some getting used to, and now I’m on connoisseur of kombucha.

I also love the thick glass bottles that kombucha comes in, and found it difficult to put them in the recycling can. I saved a few to refill with water, but soon found that I had over 50 glass bottles in my cabinets. Not wanting to recycle them, I decided to reuse or repurpose them.

Putting pen to paper, I designed a simple shelf system to house over 50 bottles. My buddy Mario and I put it together and installed it in just a few hours. That was the easy part.

Then I decided to reorganize my entire tool shelves. I pulled out every drawer and sorted drill bits, router bits, screws, hooks, and every odd piece that sat in my drawers. I like this new system better because I can see everything in the bottles instead of having to read labels and pull open drawers.

My daughter Nicole and I both share this uncanny enjoyment of sorting and organizing things. We find it therapeutic to transform messes into organized systems. I think she’s the only one who appreciates my latest project. A good friend teased me by asking if Nicole and I share the same therapist! Some people just don’t have a sense of humor…

October 22, 2021

Making silk flower hair pieces

Sometimes I just want to make something beautiful… just for me. Didn’t care that it wasn’t fashionable. Bought silk flowers online but they looked like fake plastic flowers. So I went to Beverly’s Fabrics and bought a dozen bouquets of my favorite flowers (silk), pulled out my hot glue gun, and created 24 silk hair pieces. Had so much fun making a variety of designs to go with different outfits that I didn’t realize it was 2:00 am when I finished! I love the way it makes me feel to wear beautiful flowers in my hair. I guess I really am a child of the ‘60s!

October 21, 2021

History and Science “Dim Bulbs”

by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

A minority of Americans engage in malpractice against the rest of us, who with even high school education understand something of how science operates and history enriches and informs us.

The loud-mouthed bullies shouting at school board meetings proclaim that nobody has the right to tell them to wear masks or get vaccinated. They howl about freedom, their freedom to do as they like with their own bodies. Apparently, they understand nothing about public health, laws designed to protect us all from disease and premature death.

Every school child is taught early that “your fist ends at my nose.” Your rights do not override another’s rights. Yet these same loudmouths who care so much about their own body rights find nothing contradictory about howling that pregnant women should have no rights over their bodies.

They are so ignorant that they do not realize that they are alive and howling because scientists over the centuries have taught us to clean our drinking water; to bathe; to inoculate ourselves from historic killers such as smallpox, polio, and measles; and to legislate against sellers of tainted food and drugs. They are so ignorant that (with the encouragement of our bad-loser former president and the cynics of Fox News) they sneer at “science” and believe conspiracy theories that vaccines implant computer chips in them and prefer to ingest horse medicines instead.

Fortunately for the human gene pool, the unvaccinated are leaving us in droves as they spurn this easily avoided COVID hospitalization and death. But they continue to make many of us, even vaccinated, sick.

The history dim bulbs (ignoramuses) howl from both the far left and the far right. Neither group has ever learned about what history tells us and why we need to be informed before howling.

The current left-wing dim bulbs do not understand that many of the people we honor in history were people of their time: with behaviors and attitudes they did not invent but inherited. We do not honor George Washington and the Founding Fathers for owning slaves. We honor them for providing us with the unusual values that people around the world honor by wanting to come here. They have voted with their feet that our constitution is a treasure.

History dim bulbs impose current cultural values on our predecessors, while ignoring the reasons that we honor them. They even find fault with Abraham Lincoln, wanting to tear down his statues along with all the others they misunderstand. If they had their way, they would change the name of Washington, DC (because he was a slave owner) and even America (because Amerigo Vespucci lived in a time that the Inquisition raged).

The dim bulbs now studying at Cabrillo College want his name erased because his bravery as an explorer was blighted because he did what Europeans in his time did: enslave people. If they were really studying history, they would learn some fascinating things about Cabrillo.

Biographers have long noted that there is little known about his origins. Was he Spanish or Portuguese? The mystery is solved when we learn that his people were Spanish Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism and when even that didn’t protect them from the Inquisition, they moved to Portugal. The daring among them became explorers and some even pirates, who got revenge against the Spanish by capturing their gold and silver fleets and bringing them to Amsterdam, gaining their religious freedom in exchange. Isn’t that history worth learning?

The dim bulbs on the right also abuse history. They howl at school board meetings that the young should not be taught about slavery, about the genocide of Native Americans, or about lynchings because “that will make children hate their country.”

The dim bulbs on both ends of the political spectrum have nothing to offer. They have rejected learning and prefer instead to be permanently enraged. How pathetic they look in the glare of TV cameras as they try to bully the rest of us.

Proper understanding of science makes us live and prosper. Proper understanding of history makes us proud of how far we have come.

— Written by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of “How Do You Know That? Contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.

October 21, 2021

Never too late for an apology…

My entire extended Japanese American family was interned for over 3 years during WWII. I remember when I first learned about this from my grandfather, I was taken aback by his matter-of-fact tone as he told me how he dressed in his Sunday-best suit with his suitcase in hand and his family of 4 in tow, as he waited at the gates at the Manzanar Relocation Center. Listening to how he lost his home, his business, and his dignity, infuriated me.

Even when then-president Ronald Reagan paid $20,000 reparations to the living Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII (most had died by then), I felt that it was a day late and a dollar short… And now, USC just formally apologized for refusing to release transcripts of the 120 Japanese American college students (who were forced to drop out of college) so they could study elsewhere. For those who wanted to re-enroll at USC after the war, they were told that they would have to start over and that none of their credits would be honored. Disgraceful.

I realize that times were different back then, and so I take a deep breath and think that I am glad that they are offering posthumous degrees to all of their USC students who weren’t given the opportunity to gain that coveted college degree. It took almost 90 years to right the wrong, but I guess it’s never too late for an apology.

SOURCE

October 19, 2021

We have a big fracking problem!

Come hear Alisha’s talk on Sunday, November 7th, 2019 at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.

Our world is transforming into a dangerous place full of people dying from carcinogens in our drinking water. This water contamination occurs as a result of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is a process where high pressure fracking fluid is injected underground to extract fuel and natural gas. The fracking fluid contains over 1100 chemicals, and these chemicals seep into our drinking water. Alisha discusses the adverse health implications of these contaminants as well as her progress in finding a water filtration solution.

About Alisha Bhatia:
Alisha Bhatia is a junior in high school who is interested in biochemistry, neuroscience, and psychology. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching movies, and taking personality tests. Her goal is to spread awareness about the urgency of the clean water crisis yet provide hope in the midst of these challenging times.