Theme and suggestions for post 2

“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.

The suggested theme for the second blogging period is “Energy”.  We looked very broadly at energy issues in the United States in class on January 29th and we’ve touched on the theme of Energy in Units 1.4 and 1.5.

A good place to start with a blogpost on energy is to focus on one particular source or use of energy, at one particular scale.   For example, you might want to analyze

  • Could we power Penn State’s campus with solar electricity alone?
  • What are the economics of a rooftop solar installation in the State College area? (You could get information from a local supplier like Envinity)
  • Food energy (calories).  How many people get enough? How many get too much? How has this changed over time?
  • How much (mostly fossil fuel) energy goes into producing our food, relative to the amount of energy we get out of eating it? Bearing that in mind, is traveling by bike really greener than driving a car?
  • How much energy can be saved by heating one’s home with a heat pump versus a natural gas furnace?
  • What are the economics of wind power generation?
  • Energy storage  or transmission methods for electric vehicles.
  • Energy supplies in Hawaii
  • The notion of energy return on energy invested (EROEI), and the limits it sets to developing fuel sources.
  • Energy use in cooking: see
  • Alternative energy for communities not reached by the traditional grid:
  • Look at Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air for a side by side, mathematical comparison of many different energy sources.
  • Do a personal “energy audit”.  How much energy do you use, and in what different forms? E.g.
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