All posts by bradyjones2019

Stoned drivers targeted by new breathalyzer technology

By Brady Jones
Medill Reports

Slowed reaction time. Reduced ability to make decisions. Impaired coordination. Memory loss. Difficulty in problem-solving. These are some of the symptoms listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describing people who drive under the influence of marijuana. And right now, it is very difficult for law enforcement officials to determine when these drivers are sharing the road with you—and may be responsible for causing an accident.

Detecting recent marijuana use by drivers is far more difficult for law enforcement than detecting the presence of alcohol. Currently, testing can’t be done for marijuana using on-site breath samples. Now, a new device that aims to provide a reliable solution to this growing concern is being developed—and law enforcement officials welcome the potential of the new technology.

As more states move to legalization for recreational purposes, marijuana is more accessible to people with limited or no experience using it. The ability to successfully detect drivers that have smoked or ingested the drug becomes paramount to keeping drivers safe. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that produces the feeling of being high, does not show up on current, traditional breathalyzer devices used by law enforcement to detect blood alcohol content.
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How to ensure your electric vehicle is powered by renewable energy

By Brady Jones
Medill Reports

Driving an electric vehicle plays a critical role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but the impact of this reduction gets diminished if the electricity comes from fossil fuels. The sources of electricity used to power your car must be green too and several choices are available to make that happen.

It all comes down to this: how can you ensure that you are maximizing the amount of electricity that comes from renewable sources used to charge your vehicle?

The two highest contributors of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 were transportation and electricity production, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In Illinois, 40 percent of the state’s electricity is produced by coal and natural gas—only 7 percent is produced by wind and solar, reports the U.S. Department of Energy. Fortunately, some power companies offer green energy options for your power. And there are steps you can take to maximize the percentage of renewable sources for your electricity. How you do that depends first on where you live.
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Growth in European air travel expected to produce significant gains in carbon emissions

By Brady Jones
Medill Reports

Carbon emissions from European air travel could increase by at least 21 percent by 2040, according to a newly released study.

The 2019 European Aviation Environmental Report highlights the growth trend in the aviation sector throughout the continent. The number of kilometers flown in Europe has increased by 20 percent since 2014 and 60 percent since 2005.

This gain in travel, however, contributed an estimated 163 million metric tons of full-flight carbon dioxide emissions in 2017—an increase of 10 percent since 2014 and 16 percent since 2005. This is the equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 34 million cars, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions calculator.

The report, published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), examines this growth by the aviation industry in the context of the European Union’s stated goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In 2016, the aviation industry was responsible for 3.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions for the EU and 13.4 percent of its overall transportation emissions. This represents the second highest release of transportation emissions after road traffic.
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Illinois soybean farmers wary of Trump’s proposed farm bailout

By Brady Jones
Medill Reports

President Donald Trump’s announcement July 24 pledging up to $12 billion in aid for American farmers, intended to offset potential losses from recent tariffs imposed by China, is receiving a lukewarm response as harvest nears in Illinois.

Among a multitude of American exports targeted by China, the 25 percent tariff on soybeans stands out as particularly significant for Illinois. The state ranks first in the country in soybean acreage and production, producing 611.9 million bushels in 2017, according to the Illinois Soybean Association. The United States sends an estimated 1.1 billion bushels of soybeans to China annually.

While he acknowledged the concerns voiced by American farmers about the financial impact of the competing tariffs between the U.S. and China, Trump issued the directive for the temporary aid while additional negotiations continue to take place between the two countries. Local soybean farmers, while appreciative of the financial assistance, say they don’t see this as a viable long-term solution.

“If trade is our problem, aid handouts are a poor solution,” said Lynn Rohrscheib, chairwoman of Illinois Soybean Growers, an organization with a membership of more than 43,000 Illinois soybean growers. “As producers, we would rather be able to sell our crop for a fair price and grow both agricultural export and market opportunities. Government handouts only provide short-term relief. The effect on our soybean supply chains could be disastrous if the U.S. government continues to pick winners and losers amidst this tariff spat.”
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New funding pushes lab-grown meat closer to reality

By Brady Jones
Medill Reports

Netherlands-based Mosa Meat announced Tuesday that it had secured €7.5 million in new funding to support its efforts to produce the world’s first lab-produced commercial meat product, prompting them to predict the culinary revolution could appear on the market by 2021.

The funding, which equates to roughly $8.7 million, came mostly from large European companies M Ventures and Bell Food Group, in addition to several smaller investors. The funding allows Mosa Meat to continue its focus on decreasing production costs and building a pilot production plant, according to a press release by the company.

Mosa Meat raised eyebrows in 2013, with a sizzling announcement that they had successfully developed a real meat product in a laboratory using cells obtained from the muscle tissue of living cows. Chief scientific officer and company co-founder Mark Post introduced the first “cultured hamburger” to the world, celebrating the potential of meeting the demands of a rapidly growing global population without harming the animals and lessening the human impact on the environment.
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