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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Tang

5 Random facts I learned from debate

As someone who is involved in debate, I can attest to how it helped me stay up to date with current events and learn about random facts that I might not have otherwise known. By researching and preparing for debates on various topics, I was constantly exposed to new information and ideas. Here are a few random facts I learned while in debate:

1. Most semiconductors are manufactured in Taiwan.

Taiwan manufactures most of the world's semiconductors because of its well-established semiconductor industry, skilled workforce, and supportive government policies. Semiconductors are tiny electronic devices that are essential components in a wide range of products, including smartphones, computers, and automobiles. They are important because they enable the rapid processing and storage of information, making them critical to modern society.

Today's political atmosphere is characterized by growing tensions between the United States and China, with semiconductors emerging as a key battleground. The US has raised concerns about China's growing dominance in the semiconductor industry and its potential to use this dominance for national security purposes. Taiwan's position as a major semiconductor manufacturer has thus become increasingly relevant in discussions of global technology competition and supply chain security.

2. Illegal mining of cryptocurrency was responsible for 20% of Iran's electricity blackouts in the summer of 2021.

Illegal cryptocurrency mining, also known as cryptojacking, can cause blackouts by overloading local power grids and causing energy shortages. Cryptojacking involves the unauthorized use of computer resources to mine cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, which requires a significant amount of computing power and energy.

One example of illegal cryptocurrency mining causing blackouts occurred in Iran in 2019. Reports suggest that the country's power grid was strained due to the high demand for energy caused by illegal cryptocurrency mining. As a result, the government had to shut down mining operations temporarily to prevent further disruptions to the power supply.

Another example occurred in China, where illegal cryptocurrency mining was estimated to have caused over 20 blackouts in 2018. In some cases, mining operations were using as much electricity as small towns, causing energy shortages and putting a strain on the power grid.

Illegal cryptocurrency mining can also have environmental impacts, as it requires a significant amount of energy from fossil fuels, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. To combat this, some countries and regions have implemented regulations to limit the energy consumption of cryptocurrency mining operations, or to require them to use renewable energy sources.

Overall, illegal cryptocurrency mining can have significant consequences for energy infrastructure and the environment, highlighting the need for responsible and sustainable mining practices.

3. Article 5 of NATO states that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a mutual defense clause that states that an armed attack against one member of NATO shall be considered an attack against all members. The article declares that the members of NATO will assist the attacked member by taking action deemed necessary, including the use of armed force.

Article 5 is a critical component of NATO's collective defense strategy and is the cornerstone of the alliance's security framework. It provides a powerful deterrent against potential adversaries and reassures member states that they are not alone in the face of external threats.

Since its inception in 1949, NATO has invoked Article 5 only once, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. In response to the attacks, NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history, and all member states pledged their support to the United States by deploying troops and providing other forms of assistance. This demonstration of solidarity helped to strengthen the alliance and solidify its commitment to collective defense.

In recent years, there have been renewed concerns about security threats facing NATO member states, particularly from Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine and the Black Sea region. Article 5 remains a critical tool for deterring potential adversaries and ensuring the security of all NATO members.

4. What eminent domain means and its dark history.

Eminent domain is the power of the government to seize private property for public use, as long as just compensation is provided to the property owner. This power is granted to the government under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, which requires that private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation.

However, throughout US history, eminent domain has been used disproportionately against minority and poor communities. In the mid-twentieth century, urban renewal projects were often justified under the guise of eminent domain, resulting in the displacement of millions of low-income families and people of color. These projects often targeted neighborhoods that were seen as "blighted" or "undesirable" and led to the destruction of entire communities, with little regard for the negative impact on the people who lived there.

One infamous example of the misuse of eminent domain occurred in the 1950s, when the city of Detroit used eminent domain to take over the predominantly black neighborhood of Paradise Valley and demolish it for the construction of a freeway. The neighborhood was a vibrant community of black-owned businesses, homes, and entertainment venues, and its destruction caused irreparable harm to the social fabric of the community.

In recent years, there have been continued concerns about the use of eminent domain against minority and low-income communities. Critics argue that these communities are often the most vulnerable to displacement and that the use of eminent domain often exacerbates existing social and economic inequalities. As a result, there have been efforts to reform eminent domain laws and ensure that they are used in a fair and just manner, with particular attention paid to the impact on marginalized communities.

5. What right-to-work laws are.

Right-to-work laws are state-level statutes that prohibit unions from mandating that employees who benefit from union representation pay union dues or fees. Under these laws, employees are given the right to choose whether they want to join a union or not, and are not required to pay any dues or fees if they opt-out of membership.

Proponents of right-to-work laws argue that they provide employees with more freedom and choice, as they are not required to pay union dues or fees even if they do not want to join a union. Supporters also contend that these laws help attract businesses to states, as it is seen as a pro-business policy that fosters a competitive economic environment.

However, opponents of right-to-work laws argue that these statutes undermine unions and weaken their bargaining power, making it harder for them to negotiate better wages, benefits, and working conditions for their members. Critics also argue that these laws ultimately result in lower wages and weaker labor protections for workers, leading to more income inequality and fewer opportunities for upward mobility.

The debate surrounding right-to-work laws is a contentious and highly political issue, with proponents and opponents alike fiercely defending their positions. Currently, 27 states in the US have right-to-work laws in place, while the remaining 23 states do not.

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