2008-2009 Topics


2008-2009 Topics


Note that some affiliate programs change the topic order in their affiliate.

The Olympic Games – Once the Olympics was the symbol of pure sport and world peace.  Yet over the years, we have seen terrorism, politics and economics tarnish it.  Currently, we have professional athletes competing, steroid use, biased judging, bribing of officials, and corruption at the highest levels of the IOC.  In addition, there are political and economic implications of hosting it.  What is the role of the Olympics in the future?

Cyber-Conflict – When the Internet was first envisioned, there was probably no thought as to how the use of computers and computing could potentially become an instrument of war. However, with the increased reliance on the computer for maintaining and even operating the critical infrastructures that are key to the smooth operation of not only businesses, but also governments, and the conduct of war, this probability has become reality. The art of war requires that soldiers be able to shoot, move and communicate. With the increased reliance on computers and computer chips to operate vehicles, weapons systems, and communications nodes, it is evident that attacking those computers from a distance becomes desirable. How will these challenges be addressed even as technological advances increase the possibility of cyber warfare?  

Space Junk
 – Since the early days of space flight, a wide variety of discarded materials have been left floating in multiple orbits around the earth.  Will this space junk pose a peril for future flights?  When the discards fall to earth as meteorites, what damage might occur on Earth?  Who should be responsible for the management on Earth?


The Counterfeit Economy – At the store in the mall, on the streets of any major city, even on the internet, consumers are bombarded with a variety of merchandise, which is a copy of the original.  This can include the clothes on our backs, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, and there is no guarantee that the baseball in your bedroom was actually signed by that favorite athlete.  Although some copies may be legal, many are not.  The counterfeit economy presents several problems to the consumer, retailers, as well as manufacturers.  What are these issues and how can they be addressed within the scope of the global economy?

Pandemic – A pandemic is an illness that strikes over a large number of countries and people all over the world.  STARS, Ebola, AIDS, Mad Cow Disease.  These words strike fear in most people’s hearts for good reason.  We have yet to show that humans can prevent them.  In addition, a variety of old germs, such as tuberculosis, have been showing that they are resistant to all known antibiotics.   In the event of a pandemic, given the wide difference in health care in different countries all over the world, how will we prepare and respond?