Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hamline's composting pilot is now underway!

CGEE Student Voice
Waste Diversion
Campus Sustainability
by Jenni Abere


After a year of planning and several near-starts, we officially started our organics composting pilot on the second floor of Anderson Center, during Earth Week.

Hamline head of Dining Services, Ed Kreitzman, posing with the new bins.
The pilot is sort of a hodgepodge, using the same bins and simply covered up the old signs with new signs. If it goes well, composting will be a permanent part of Hamline's waste diversion and we may get new bins to fully integrate it.

Dining Services and Catering switched their inventory over to all compostable items: cups, bowls, plates, straws, utensils ... These items are used at the Piper Grill in the evening hours, as well as to supplement the washable dishes in the dining hall.

I've spent some time standing by the bins and helping people with the new change -- and observing how people react to it. Most people are very excited to see this. Some people are confused, but it's easy to learn. It actually requires less sorting than our old system since basically everything is compostable now.

There doesn't appear to be any contamination in the composting bins, which is great. There's no sorting process for composting and plastic contamination is a big problem for soil quality. However, much of what ends up in the recycling and trash bins should be composted. People are still confused about napkins, since they are used to throwing them in the trash for so long. The compostable "plastic" greenware also confuses people and has ended up in recycling bins.

I'm a little worried that if there are any problems, we'll stop collecting compost. But I think that people are already picking up on it, and that it will be a success. We're hoping to demonstrate that this change will actually save us money, since there is a tax on trash and not on composting. If everybody pays attention to the change, and starts off on the right foot, composting will be a part of Hamline for years to come.

Squirrel-dom

Behavior
Biodiversity
Edward Hessler

So, what's it like to be a squirrel? 

While we really can't know one of the first steps is to follow their steps for a few minutes. I marvel at their climbing and traversing skills. 

NPR has a feature today on their GoPro worldview. So, click and be in awe of their abilities. 

The NPR piece by Adam Frank is really a double-feature--a film and an informed, interesting philosophical discussion about being something other than your self, a something that is conscious.



Monday, April 24, 2017

Post Earth Day Musing

Earth Day
Sustainability
Edward Hessler

This year was the celebration, maybe marking is the better term, of Earth Day.  
 
Number 47.

It takes a moggie to provide some perspective, even a drawing of one or in this case two, commenting, in their inimitable ZEN way on the event.
 
Cheers.
History of Science
Geology
Edward Hessler

Sweet Fern Productions does it again with this short animated film on Alfred Wegener. I think it is paper and string made possible by a compelling vision and immense talent. 
 
Wegener was a meteorologist who noticed some things about the shapes of continents and suggested a solution to one of Pangea's puzzles: continental drift known by different names today. Wegener is a story, a real story in the history of science.

The principals of Sweet Fern Productions are Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck. Lichtman was once a regular on NPR's Science Friday. They are drop dead talented.
 
There are not many historical novels about science that do what Clare Dudman accomplishes in "One Day The Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead."   It is as it said, a "page turner" with each page beautifully written while sticking to the science.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Miscellaneous
Earth Day
STEM
Edward Hessler

A few items about the March for Science and Earth Day.

--Here are some samples of signs from various marches for science.

--Here are Bill Nye's "The Science Guy" remarks to the crowd in D. C. on the occasion of the march for science.

Fire in a hard, pouring rain.

Thanks, Mr. Nye.
 
--It IS Earth Day, too an event thatsometimes seems submerged in the March for Science.  The Google Doodle for Earth Day is wonderful.

A fox leaves a warm bed after dreaming what our planet might be if the climate changes too much. On the way, the fox grabs some friends and together they come up with some solutions.

Here, it is.
 
Take care.

Friday, April 21, 2017

March for Science

STEM
Miscellaneous
Edward Hessler

When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.--Winnie-the-Pooh

So if you need help deciding on whether or not to march for science April 22 here is some help. Make use of a time-honored decision tree.

If you've not been following the media a lot of ink has been thrown as well as words voiced on whether the march is a good thing or a bad thing. Should it be pure?  What happens when "impurities" are added and so on.  For me, at least three cheers for science!

Thank you, PZ Myers, UMN-Morris for posting this great cartoon.

Friday Poem

Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Today's poem is by Lou Lipsitz.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tyson on the Denial of Science

STEM
Environmental & Science Education
History of Science
Edward Hessler

I hope you've run into this video already but if not here it is.

Renowned astrophysicist and public face of science, Neil deGrasse Tyson has a new video on science denial as well as what science is.  

It is a wonderful prelude to the March for Science. It is billed as a message to politicians and while it is not likely to change anyone's mind about the value of science, these are words and images worth one's time.  

He does a great job with the nature of the beast--what science is and how it works.

It may be viewed here.

Flars'

Biodiversity
Edward Hessler


The Texas Hill Country is known for its beautiful flowers. 

Here is a lovely group of photographs.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Doctors in War Zones

Medicine
Sustainability
by Edward Hessler


Syrian Doctors is the title of a Charlie Rose interview with Dr. Rola Hallam and Dr. Annie Sparrow, physicians who have been on the front lines delivering medical assistance in war-torn Syria.

The compelling interview is not too long, about 13 minutes.