Category Archives: Announcements

This category is for announcements about how the course operates.

Theme and suggestions for post 6

In blogging period 5, you were encouraged to focus on something local to you – “my community”.  In this final blogging period I want you to zoom out and go big picture.  Write about policy making on a global or national level, especially as it impacts on of our three key areas of water, energy, or climate.  Your post should use mathematical ideas to argue for or against some specific option, policy regime, or decision-making process related to one of these areas.

As always, “Blogging Themes” resources are suggestions for overall themes or broad questions to pursue in each blog assignment.  There is no requirement that you follow the suggested themes – if you have a better idea that meets the assessment criteria, go with it!  However, you are encouraged at least to start with these themes as you reflect on the subjects for your assignments.

Here are some potential resources

Theme and suggestions for post 5

The last couple of theme suggestions have been quite wide-ranging.  This week I suggest that we narrow it down a bit.   My proposed theme is What’s Happening in My Community? Try to find an example of some sustainability-related action which is being taken in your community and work out some specific numbers related to it.  You can take “my community” to mean “Penn State”, or “my home town”, or any group of people you are in relationship with (“my roommates”? “my sports team”? “my orchestra”? “my church or house of worship”? – do any of these apply?), but not something huge like “Pennsylvania” or “The western world”.

As always, “Blogging Themes” resources are suggestions for overall themes or broad questions to pursue in each blog assignment.  There is no requirement that you follow the suggested themes – if you have a better idea that meets the assessment criteria, go with it!  However, you are encouraged at least to start with these themes as you reflect on the subjects for your assignments.

Some potential resources or questions (you’ll want to modify these according to your own personal “community”):

  • Penn State recycling report from 2013.  See also this web page.  How could PSU improve the efficiency of separation of different waste streams? (e.g. make it less confusing to know which bin to put something in?)
  • Andrew Gutberlet’s presentation on energy efficiency and carbon emissions at Penn State
  • E-textbooks versus print textbooks: which has an environmental advantage?  Here’s one point of view.
  • How much paper would be saved if all printers on campus were set to print double-sided by default?
  • Sustainability of sports? Here for example is a sustainability report from the National Hockey League.  Note that to fit with the theme you would want to include some local-level information about your particular team.
  • What do I do with my roommates to promote sustainability?  You can find some sample posts on this theme here and here (searching will turn up many more).  Notice that for this course you’ll need to quantify (put numbers towards) the effects of your actions.
  • A recent petition about reducing the amount of air travel carried out by professors.  Again, you would want to try to find some numbers to attach to this.
  • Information about switching the campus steam plants from coal to natural gas.
  • Energy impact of a rock concert.
  • Sustainability certification for houses of worship.
  • Climate activism in the LGBTQ community.
  • State College Borough composting program.
  • What about the charge of hypocrisy? A Collegian writer offers a personal perspective.
  • Friday Night Lights Out, a simple student-led energy saving program at PSU
  • Guide to all student sustainability groups on campus.  There are a lot of them!

 

 

 

Midterm I text, and class location change for Wednesday

Hi all

  • I have posted a PDF version of Midterm 1 in the other documents folder on Dropbox.  Those of you who are taking up the option to “do over” a question or two on this midterm might like to look at the text in this form.  Remember, the do-over has to be written out and delivered to me in or before class on Monday morning, September 28th.
  • Class on Wednesday, September 30, will be in 112 Boucke Building.  This relocation is for that one day only; we’ll be back in Chambers on the Friday.