Max

Resource Proposal #1 (more on proposals)

I wish to explore the regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seeds as well as herbicides in the United States. I want to explore GMO and herbicide Regulation specifically in regards to Monsanto and the role Monsanto has played in influencing these regulations through activities such as lobbing. As far as I know now, GMO seeds and herbicides are regulated and approved through two different regulating bodies (GMOs through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and herbicides through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)). As I continue my research I may wish to narrow my topic of research down to one of either GMOs or herbicides, and I may wish to expand my topic to countries outside the United States or companies other than Monsanto.

Well, GMO seeds and herbicides are intimately linked.

Some people argue that the United States Government and its agencies are too sympathetic towards companies like Monsanto and that Monsanto has too much influence on the United States Government and regulations. These people argue that Monsanto is in a way regulating itself. I believe that this is true to a certain extent, but I want to look at the whole situation through a consequentialist point of view. I would argue that the United States is in no position to limit the power of companies like Monsanto.

Do you mean it can’t match Monsanto’s power? Or it has no legitimate claim to?

The United States government does not have the resources to tackle the problems that Monsanto tackles. The United States is essentially putting the agricultural future of the United States in the hands of Monsanto. This is somewhat similar to the large financial institutions and the Securities and Exchange Commission. People who used to work for these companies go to work for the government agencies that regulate the companies they used to work for. I’m not sure what the answer to the problem is, but I hope to explore a range of possibilities and the implications of each possibility, even if I do not find an option that I think is better than the status quo.

Monsanto has a whole area of its website designated to public relations, which includes explaining the company’s actions and safety of its products. This information is important because it shows one side of the story. The source is 100% biased in favor of Monsanto, but is necessary to include in the research for the paper. Alone, it would not represent a fair view of the situation, but couples with information from other sources; it provides an important aspect to the research. http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/issues-and-answers.aspx

So, this is your business source?  As it is drawn from Monsanto?  Ok.  Obviously USDA or FDA would be good to look at for government.

It would be interesting to find examples of GMO technology not so closely guarded.  Like, kind of like hackers advocate open software, is there a movement for “open genomes” so that value is derived from innovation, not direct control of information.  Similarly, if GMOs are _really_ about reducing hunger, then we need to get them to poorest farmers.  IS that really Monsanto’s business model?  Are there social entrepreneurs or government agencies trying to do this?

Resource Proposal #2 (more on proposals)

Name of Resource and Citation:

Drunk Driving by the Numbers

Chambers, Matthew, Mindy Liu, and Chip Moore. “Drunk Driving by the Numbers.” United States Department of Transportation. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/by_the_numbers/drunk_driving/index.html&gt;.

Topic of Paper: Distracted Driving

This publication is definitely a government source as it is a product of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in the United States Department of Transportation. One thing I have learned from research on Monsanto is that the government compiles an incredible amount of data and research that is available online through their agency websites. The topic of my paper is distracted driving, which is more general than drunk driving because drunk driving is only one part of the problem. There are other problems within distracted driving like talking on the phone, texting, eating, changing music on an ipod and of course driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some of these issues are more important than others, but I hope to at least focus on talking and texting while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

This publication has incredible statistics like the fact that every two hours in the United States three people are killed in alcohol related highway crashes. Aside from a number of other statistics and graphs, the publication also talks about how the increase of blood alcohol limits for operating motor vehicles has decreased the number of highway fatalities that are the result of alcohol. The article also talks about boating fatalities that included alcohol as a factor. The article mentions alcohol related statistics for transportation as a workplace. This includes public transportation like airplanes, buses and subways. The best part of this article, however, is the eleven other United States Department of Transportation publications, studies and statistics regarding impaired operating of vehicles. Each of these sources offers additional insight into the topic.

Resource Proposal #3 (more on proposals)

Name of Resource and Citation:

Distraction.gov – Official United States website for distracted driving

“State Laws.” Distraction.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/state-laws.html&gt;.

Topic of Paper: Distracted Driving

Distraction.gov is a particularly interesting source because it is an entire website that the United States Government designates to curbing distracted driving. The website is broken down into sections: teens, parents, educators, employers, and community groups. Within these sections there are additional sections of facts and statistics as well as research and state laws. I find it interesting that the Federal Government has a website designated to distracted driving, but that the government is still not doing enough to curb these dangerous and potentially deadly practices. The website defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include, texting, using a cell phone or smartphone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, including maps, using a navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player.”

Part of my paper will focus on the statistics and effects of distracted driving while the other part will focus on solutions to distracted driving. The part of distraction.gov that I found particularly interesting is the state laws section that shows a map of the United States and for each state the map gives the laws, if any exist, that relate to distracted driving. I found this section of the site particularly interesting because one possible solution is for states to have strictly enforced laws on distracted driving. From the map on the site, it is clear that many states do not even have legislation to address this issue. I would think that the legislation should be in place in every state and the hard part would be to get people to follow it. Perhaps I will have to explore other possible solutions like campaigns raising awareness for distracted driving, which would mostly qualify as a society source. During the Masters golf tournament there was a commercial with Jordan Spieth about distracted driving.

 

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