This house believes that in a time of collapsing national economies and worldwide austerity measures, investment in space is a bad use of resources.
For: Investing in further scientific exploration of space is a waste of resources
By Robin Hanbury-Tenison
The amount of money being spent on space research is in the billions and it has achieved extraordinarily little except for a bit of improved technology which would probably have come about anyway by other means. Whether or not global warming is real, and whether or not we are facing imminent catastrophe on this planet, we are certainly facing serious issues here on Earth, and they are getting worse as we simply watch them. These include the disappearance of the rainforest, the pollution of the oceans, and increased desertification of an area about the size of England every year. These are the general crises that are coming to the planet, quite apart from the economic ones we’re so obsessed with at the moment.
I have for some time considered space research a gross waste of money, time and effort that could be much better applied to the management of our own planet. I’m currently writing a book about what remains of the Central American rainforest of the Petén and looking at ways of protecting it. But the only way you can really protect rainforest, and I’ve been trying to do this for 40 years, is to make it more valuable standing than cut. The Petén is interesting because this is where the Maya were. Their civilisation collapsed in about 900AD because they over-exploited their environment.
We know that all civilisations collapse after about 500 years, prior to which you have big cities, people in the countryside servicing the cities. But inevitably the greed of development leads to the extinction of a culture. This is exactly what is happening to us today. We’re experiencing climate change, famine, drought, warfare and we’re investing money needed to solve these problems in Space.
If the collapse of civilisations is a recurrent theme, then at we should be looking for ways of managing the planet’s resources in order to make how we live sustainable. The way to do that is not to go charging off into Space, wasting unbelievable quantities of money in pursuit of some chimera that we might in one day come back with some valuable mineral. Science should be devoting the sorts of sums of money that it is pumping into space to working out how to mange the climate here on Earth.
There has been research going on for 65 years into climate management. We know how to seed clouds and we know how to make it rain when we want it to rain. The Chinese and the Russians are very switched on to this and they know how to do it. The Chinese used it to prevent rain during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, and it never rains on the Victory Day Parade in Russia. So the technology for managing the weather is in place and I think we should devote massive resources to developing that technology and taking it from the military into the civilian world.
The big elephant in the room in all this is the issue of population. We all know it will rise to 10 billion or so in the next few decades. The only way to reduce population is prosperity, because we prosperous countries do not breed so fast. The way to do that is to give people enough to eat. The way to do that is to make it rain. We should reallocate the funds currently being spent on Space research to the rather simple notion of making it rain where and when we want it.
Now there will be pro-space lobbyists who agree with every word of this, but will complain that I want to take their money off them. But there isn’t enough money to go around. In terms of expenditure on weather management since the Second World War there’s only been tens of millions spent on research – as opposed to tens of billions on space research.
If you put the money that is wasted in space into the hands of climatologists you could have lasting benefits for mankind. I don’t think space science is bad science, I just think it’s a waste of time.
Against: Investing in further scientific exploration of space is a good use of resources that will ultimately help to stimulate global economies
By Piers Bizony
We’re living in a tremendously virtual age where many young people think that all of the discoveries that they need to make will happen on their laptops and smartphones. For me, it’s more important than ever to reintroduce a sense of physical exploration, to get out there into strange, hostile and challenging environments. There is probably 99 per cent of deep oceans and all of space to left explore, and it is only by putting humans into new physical locations that we’ll be able to make genuine and crucial scientific discoveries. Human presence in science is almost the definition of science. It’s a human endeavour to gather knowledge, not just a machine endeavour to gather data. The robots we send into these environments don’t know what to look for, and above all they don’t know how to be surprised by something like the strange glint of a rock.
Some will say that we’re in the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s and we simply don’t have spare pocket money for this. But, the first thing to remember when looking at the recent announcement that Nasa is to put $1.6bn into a project to get its astronauts up the International Space Station, is that this is actually not a very large sum of money.
Besides, one of the most successful responses to the Great Depression of the 1930s was to pump money into infrastructure and technology – it was called Roosevelt’s New Deal. It was controversial at the time, but by the end of that decade, the USA was the most powerful nation on Earth. What are governments for if they don’t invest? It’s much better to put taxpayers’ money into jobs and new technologies than simply bailing out banks.
The benefits of continuing to conduct off-world scientific exploration in the short term are Earthly. They have to do with forging new and unprecedented diplomatic relationships between countries, while getting engineers with different backgrounds and traditions to work together.
It also ensures the development of a good technology base, not only among companies, but among young people who need something to inspire them through the educational system. These people are more likely to be interested in building a space ship than something less glamorous. Space science also keeps coming up with new challenges in terms of materials, communications and so on. Solving these challenges feeds back into the terrestrial economy. People are under the illusion that investing in rockets involves little more than sticking money into the pipe and then setting fire to it. But that’s not at all the case. The money gets circulated here on the ground. There has never been a space programme that hasn’t been a good economic stimulus.
What the current team of scientists is doing at the moment is developing a framework to teach us how to maintain a long-term presence in space. It started with how to build structures in space, and they’re now beginning to conduct scientific experiments up there. It has taken some time for the science to feed back to us, but this is because constructing the Space Station itself has been complicated.
The short cycle of governments means that it’s not always in their interest to look to the long term. But when there are international alliances it’s harder for any given government to withdraw from projects and ruin everything for everyone else. Nasa called in international allies to help to justify it and in so doing put itself in a position where it didn’t want to disappoint any of those allies by cancelling large chunks of the programme. It’s these alliances that are the key to ensuring the long-term potential for space exploration.
And so the question of investment in space isn’t one of throwing good money after bad. In terms of science, 99.999 per cent of all that we need to know is off-world. It’s inconceivable that we don’t send more human beings out there to find out more about it.
And you have to find perfect hooks for an essay even when you don’t know what to write about.
When you are asked to write an essay, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to express your own thoughts and creativity. An essay shouldn’t be boring or too formal. As a writer, your first priority is to make sure that you are keeping your audience in mind and writing for them and to them. That means grabbing and keeping their attention so that they want to read every word.
This is exactly why the essay hook exists and is such an important tool.
The use of hooks in writing goes far beyond just essays and college papers. Every writer, copywriter, screenwriter, and storyteller uses this device to draw in readers and keep them hooked. For example, world-famous ad executive, David Ogilvy, relied on a list of 29 “magic words” that he used in titles in order to hook a client’s attention.
College essay hooks can be difficult to generate, especially when you are still working on clarifying what your essay is going to say. So, the very first step in writing a strong essay hook is to do some planning.
This type of hook is appropriate when you are writing about a particular author, story, literary phenomenon, book, etc. Using a quote will make your essay sound fresh and establish your authority as an author.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These words of Nick Carraway perfectly describe…”
“Not all those who wander are lost.” And yes, indeed, every person is so…”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Agree or not, but these words from The Alchemist determine…”
Including a quote from an authoritative and influential person can help support your argument and create an intriguing hook. The key is to make sure that you clearly show how the quote is relevant to your essay.
“John Wooden once said, ‘Never mistake activity for achievement.'”
“Learn to laugh” were the first words from my kindergarten teacher after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.
Don’t be afraid to employ this type of hook. Remember, even if you start with a humorous anecdote, it doesn’t mean that your entire essay has to be funny. A bit of humor can help you grab readers’ attention and spark their interest in the topic.
“As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.”
“When I was a young boy, my father worked at a coal mine. For 27 years, he made it his occupation to scrape and claw and grunt his way into the bowels of the earth, searching for fuel. On April 19, 2004, the bowels of the earth clawed back.”
Keep in mind that most essay assignments will ask you to avoid using the first person. Be sure to check any requirements before using “I” in your writing.
Almost nothing can attract interest better than a well-constructed question. Readers will want to continue reading your essay in order to discover the answer. Be sure to avoid simple “Yes” or “No” questions and try to pose questions that ask reader to consider the other side or engage in some critical thinking.
“What would you do if you could play God for a day? That’s exactly what the leaders of the tiny island nation of Guam tried to answer.”
“Have you ever wondered, whether Anna Karenina still loved Alexei if she hadn’t decided to commit a suicide?”
People respond well to visual cues. Taking the time to set a detailed scene will help your reader have a clear picture in their minds and create an effective hook. You can describe an incident or detail the particular features of a person or a character to help the readers become immersed in your writing.
“The day of his birth began with Hurricane Charlie pounding at our door in Charleston, South Carolina.”
“Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.”
These types of hooks start by surprising the reader with something that may not have known. Provide an interesting fact about something you are going to discuss in your essay’s body and your audience will want to keep reading to learn more.
“Spain, though hardly a literary juggernaut, translates more books in one year than the entire Arab world has in the past one thousand years.”
“Amiable is the best way to describe Elizabeth’s personality: she was friendly and caring.”
There is no harm in getting right to the point. Start with your main argument and use the rest of your essay to support your point of view. If you have an interesting take on a subject, readers will want to see where you came up with your idea.
“It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday. . .”
“Humans need to invest more time and money into space exploration because Earth is on a certain path to destruction.”
The most interesting essays will teach the readers something new. If you start your introduction by showing that a commonly accepted truth is actually false, your readers will be instantly hooked.
“Any parent will tell you that goldfish are a great first pet for a child. They hardly need any attention, and they won’t be around for too long. Flushing a goldfish in its first week is pretty common—it even happened to my first goldfish. But it turns out that goldfish aren’t as helpless as we all think.”
“While most coffee enthusiasts would tell you that their favorite drink comes from a bean, they would be wrong. Coffee is actually made from a seed that is simply called a bean.”
By listing proven facts at the very beginning of your paper, you will create interest that can be carried throughout the rest of the essay.
“The average iceberg weighs over 100,000 metric tons.”
“70% of all jobs found today were got through different networking strategies”
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Depending on the style of essay you are writing (narrative, persuasive, personal, critical, argumentative, deductive, etc.), the type of hook you will want to use will vary. Remember, your essay hook is just a tip of an iceberg and it will not guarantee that the rest of your essay will work. Be sure to organize your research and start with an outline before deciding on the best hook to start your essay. The right choice can make your paper truly interesting and worth reading.
Written by Lesley J. Vos, our blog writer and essay proofreader. Lesley is a big fan of reading, and she is always ready to help students come up with good ideas for their papers and reach their academic goals. You can always find her on Facebook and Google+.