Odyssey -- for adventures in science!

What Do You Think?

Responses to Past Opinion Questions
and other contributions

March 2001:   Why do kids kill?
Violence in our nation’s schools is on the rise, and scientists are trying to figure out why. Some researchers believe that genetics play a part in a person’s tendency toward violent behavior, while others studying this disturbing phenomenon believe that an individual’s upbringing contributes more toward their later violence (or lack thereof). Other proposed causes are drugs, violence on TV, and free will, the simple choice to be violent.

What is the cause of violence among today’s kids?
Here’s what you thought:
I think the reasons kids kill is because of their surroundings. If kids live in bad homes and their parents are abusive they might try to be like them and be violent. I also think that if you get bullied and made fun of, the pressure starts to build up and it reaches the limit and kids lose it and kill to get revenge. Another reason I think kids kill is because they get way too absorbed in violent TV shows and music lyrics.

March 2001:   Should we rename “chicken soup” when it’s used as a cold remedy, since it’s now been scientifically proven to work?
In this month’s Science Scoops, we reported that a researcher at Nebraska Medical Center has proven that the age-old remedy for a cold – chicken soup – actually works by reducing inflammation in the nose, throat, and lungs. The soup counters the immune cells, called neutrophils, which cause the inflammation in the first place. The researcher used his wife’s vegetable-loaded chicken soup recipe for the experiment. We asked you to name her miracle soup.

Name suggestions?
Here’s what you thought:
Tommy of Culpeper, Virginia, said to rename the tried and true cold remedy would be entirely inappropriate. "The name should stay ‘chicken soup,’" he said. "We’re just confirming an old theory that chicken soup helps fight cold symptoms."

February 2001:   Poetry to save the rainforests
We’ll publish the winning poem, whose author will receive a free subscripion to ODYSSEY, in the September 2001 issue. However, we thought we’d put some of the entries online for you to read and enjoy. We picked the poems included here at random from those received from Centennial Elementary School in Evans, Colorado.

Click here to read the poems!

February 2001:   Did a shower of comets cause some kind of global catastrophe that led to the Dark Ages?
In this month’s issue of ODYSSEY, Science Scoops writer Steve O’Meara reported that a new theory suggests that something catastrophic occurred on earth 1,500 years ago that may have led to the Dark Ages. According to the report coming from researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, the global environment changed dramatically around A.D. 540, as is evidenced in tree rings around the world. What caused the catastrophic event? According to the researchers, the cause was bombardment by cometary debris. Being the good scientist and skeptic that he is, O’Meara questioned whether enough evidence exists to draw this cause / effect relationship. He asked readers to think about whether there was enough evidence to conclude that a shower of comets caused some kind of global catastrophe that led to the Dark Ages. Here are some of the replies that we received from students at the Village School in Hilton, NY

Does the evidence support this theory?
Here’s what you thought:
I don’t believe that there is enough evidence. It is said that during the prehistoric era an asteroid hit earth that caused dinosaurs to become extinct. This is much more believable because the evidence is there.
Emily, age 11

The incident occurred so long ago that most of the evidence is probably covered up. In the Disney movie The Prince of Egypt a shower of comets did not lead to the Dark Ages. Rameses did not give Moses his people, so Moses made the earth go dark.
Alexis, age 11

No, I do not think a shower of comets caused a global catastrophe that led to the Dark Ages. I’m not sure that changes in tree rings are enough proof. I think we should wait until this can be debated by scientists and historians before we are convinced that this happened.
Jessica, age 12

Yes, I do think it’s a pretty good theory. A comet is no little thing. It could be possible for a comet to cause the Dark Ages because it could have hit a lot of schools and learning would have stopped until they were all rebuilt.
Ashley, age 12

Yes, I think a shower of comets caused a global catastrophe, but I don’t think it happened the way that it was explained in Science Scoops. I think the Dark Ages was caused by a thick smoke from comets that covered the sky with deadly toxins that could have wiped out 95 percent of the population.
Mike, age 11

February 2001:   Is world population threatening our natural environment?
Many people believe that Earth has an endless abundance of natural wealth. But this is not true. Human population explosion has led to the destruction of vast regions of natural habitats. During the past quarter of a century, world population has increased from about 3.4 billion people to about 5.3 billion, a 58% increase. Over the same time period, the population of the USA has increased by about 23%. In many parts of the world, human populations are growing even faster. Many species have gone extinct due to human pressures over the past century and many more are threatened and endangered. Over a hundred species of plants and animals go extinct each and every day due to habitat destruction by humans. If left unchecked, there won’t be any pristine natural habitats left to study.

Does this bother you?
Here’s what you thought:
Yes, this bother me very much because they are animals – mammals. We are human, but we are mammals, too. It’s just like murder, especially if it’s just for fur.
Charlene, age 13

The world does end. God gave us a world to live in and to be proud of. I don’t really think that the world is going to end, so please do not say that. Yes, this bothers me a lot.
Geraldine, age 13

No! I don’t care!!!!!
Janyll, age 13


Copyright © 2001 Cobblestone Publishing