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  1) Summary of “New Species in North America” New Species in North America by John Mikulecky Hundreds of different species of plants and animals have arrived in the United States. This number has increased greatly as international travel and business have increased. Some of these new “residents” have caused problems for agriculture or for the environment. The Mediterranean fruit fly, for example, arrived in California on some imported fruit in the 1970s. In its original home in the Mediterranean area, it had never caused much damage. In California, however, it multiplied very quickly. Soon the California fruit industry was in trouble. The government had to take serious measures, including using lots of chemicals to try to kill the flies. However, they have not managed to get rid of the fly altogether. The zebra mussel is another example of an animal that has recently settled in North America. This small shellfish was first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1986. It may have come over from Russia on a cargo ship. In a very few years zebra mussels had spread over all the Great Lakes and into many important rivers. They have grown into thick masses, covering many areas of lakes or river bottoms. They have also covered and closed up pipes for power stations and water treatment centers. Government officials say that the mussels have caused many millions of dollars worth of damage. Sometimes the damage caused by an immigrant species is not measurable in dollars. It may not harm us directly, but it may change the environment. And that may cause problems for the plants or animals that were living there before. Loosestrife is a plant that came to North America some time in the 19th century. It may have been carried as seeds on the back of some sheep from Europe. Or someone may have brought the seeds to plant in their garden. In any case, loosestrife now grows along rivers and lakes all over North America. It is a pretty plant, with a purple or pink flower. But when a lot of loosestrife grows in one place, other plants cannot grow there. The birds and small animals that depend on those other plants cannot stay there, either. As loosestrife spreads, they may have trouble finding any place to live, and they may begin to disappear. 2)Summary of “Mass Incarceration for Dealers and Users” Mass Incarceration for Dealers and Users Some just shake their heads and say that if we can’t stop the drugs from coming in, we at least can lock up the dealers and users. But there are so many dealers and users that we don’t have enough jails and prisons to lock them up. Consider these statistics: Several million Americans use cocaine each year, while other millions use heroin, hallucinogens, barbiturates, and inhalants. During just the past month, about 13 million Americans smoked marijuana. How could we possibly lock all of these people up? How many dealers does it take to supply just the marijuana smokers? If each dealer has 25 customers, there are a half million dealers. And consider this: To build one prison cell costs about $100,000. To keep one inmate locked up for one year costs a minimum of $25,000. If we were going to lock up just the drug dealers, where would we get the money? If we put two drug dealers in a cell, a half million new cells would run $50 billion. It would then cost another $25 billion a year to keep those million people in prison. Not yet mentioned is the fact that there are people waiting in line to take the places of dealers who are arrested. Get rid of one dealer, and two fight to take his or her place.

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