Blogging Theme Week 8

The second blogging period ends on March 27th, that is in four weeks time. As you are thinking about your posts for this period, I’d encourage you to read my post summarizing the results of grading for period 1.  To improve your posts, I’d encourage you contact me, Sara or Kaley and make an appointment to talk in office hours or at another time.  We will be happy to provide advice and suggestions, including specific feedback on your current posts if you ask.

A brief general reminder about blogging requirements: you may post on anything related to the course (the “theme” for the week is only a suggestion), and your postings will be graded according to the rubric that appears in the syllabus,  The rubric involves five grading elements: frequency of posting, mathematical content, thematic content, organization and presentation, references and connections.  Blogging is your only “homework” for this course and a high standard will be expected.

The suggested blogging theme for this week is Alternative Energy Sources. I suggest that you take one possible source of non-fossil-fuel based energy and discuss it from the perspectives of economics (cost), feasibility (how near are we to commercial-level application), energy return on energy invested, plant lifetime, distribution mechanisms, long-term sustainability and so on.  Among the sources you could discuss might be

  • Onshore wind energy
  • Offshore wind energy
  • Solar photovoltaic
  • Solar thermal
  • Geothermal
  • Hydro-electric
  • Nuclear fission
  • Nuclear fusion
  • Space-based photovoltaic
  • Wave energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel)
  • Wood

And you could talk about these from a global perspective, from a national perspective, or specifically with reference to Penn State (Andrew Gutberlet’s presentation will provide a lot of useful information here.)

A good general reference for calculations about renewable energy is   Another is Do the Math.

Remember, you are also welcome to post on any of the earlier themes (or on any other relevant topic).

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