Archive for January, 2010

Generating Energy From Waste

>Scientists are testing out biofuels made from wastes at teeside university. Biofuels are usually made from organics such as crops. What these researchers are doing is seeing if they can use waste materials such as domestic refuse and sewage sludge to produce biofuel instead of crops. If they are succsessful we can hit two problem causing “birds” with one stone. Eliminate the build up of waste, and fix our energy problems, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. heres a link
Esteban Pacheco

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What makes us happy?

After the final chapter of The Myth of Progress, I wondered what personal fulfillment really entails. In psychology, our discussion of happiness turned my original view upside. Personal fulfillment really comes from selfless awareness. An increase in income does not raise a person’s life satisfaction once a person’s basic needs are met. Living in a sunny environment such as near Mexican and Californian beaches does not increase happiness. Instead, making time for friends and family connection creates a better state of mind.

Claudia Wallis, The New Science of Happiness, January 9th 2005, Time Inc.

Katie P.

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Consuming Kids

“The consumer embryo begins to develop during the first years of existence.”

This video, shown in my introduction to sociology class, shows the power of commercialization in our country. It was eye opening to see how companies manipulate children into becoming consumers at a young age. I find the strategies of marketing disturbing. Parents should obviously be responsible for their children. But it is impossible for parents to protect them from the media 24/7. The video raises a lot of interesting questions. What will it take to improve the health of future generations? Should the FTC have more authority?

Katie P.

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The Solar Powered Home

I was watching the news today and they had a report on solar homes. They mentioned that people save roughly 40-50% on their electricity bills yearly, and oregon just passed a bill for them to put in 250 to try it out. If this turns out to be a success our economy will be well on its way to living sustainably. If the people along with alternative energy companies keep putting pressure on the government with our demands for clean, renewable energy, one of these days, they will have to provide it whether they like it or not.

~Cody Males

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State of the Union

Yesterday President Obama said “…to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (full-chamber applause) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (full-chamber applause) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (full-chamber applause) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.” (No Republican applause)

Do you think these are good ideas, bad ideas, enough, not enough?


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How is climate change going to effect us

Since we have been doing all this research on water problems in places all around the world, I wanted to do some research on our water situation here in the North West. I found this article that talked about climate change and how we will have to change water flow at some North West dams. Washington and Oregon water managers say they are going to fill reservoirs earlier in the spring to minimize the impact of climate change on power production and salmon. They predict that even if the temperature rose by 2 degrees Celsius they would lose 25% of hydro-power production. However if they start filling the reservoirs earlier in the spring then they could reduce power loss to 18% instead of 25%. It is interesting to see what is being done here at home to prepare for “climate change”.

-Jeff Grimberg

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Art, in reference to the “Myth of Progress”

I found it quite interesting that Wessels mentioned art in the final chapter of The Myth of Progress, considering most of the texts we read in our class tend to refer consistently (and only) to science.  From what I gained from the passage, Wessels claims that art is a reflective act, one that more people in our society should engage in for their personal sakes and for the sake of the community.

Because of Democracy and materialism, art has become far more common and attainable for nearly any individual, unlike in the past. Creating  paintings and sculptures were reserved for those who were extremely educated in regards to mark making, composition;  individuals who had an extreme privilege to be schooled in the art of painting or sculpture virtually their whole life. Artists were rare and revered in the vast majority of previous eras of mankind, their art even more so. The masses were not able to draw or sculpt, nor even look at a master artist’s work for the most part, especially in eras which were heavily influenced by feudalism.

The current Capitalism of America has actually helped to bring art to individuals. Now, high quality bristol boards, acrylic and oil paints, canvas, clay, film, cameras, ect., are all common to see in art supply stores or even supermarkets such as Target (not the high quality paper, canvases and paints, mind you, merely the cheap stuff for kids) where anyone with some sort of income could purchase them easily. Although our current society lacks any reborn Michaelangelo, many individuals can now make art because of their own initiative and inspiration, whenever they’d like and whatever they’d like. Many different styles have flourished, and in turn, an obscene amount of art and artists have as well.

This is extremely beneficial to modern society. Humans have overcomplicated daily life in a way that causes more stress than ever, and art is the perfect attainable release for individual thoughts and expression. In creating your own artwork, you have a temporary disconnection from a detached society, one that is just as effective and at least as meaningful as taking a walk in the wilderness.

-Michelle Williamson

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secret to longer life

I read an article about lessons for living longer lives. The first paragraph caught my attention when he said “In the same way organisms select for characteristics that favor the survival and well-being of its species over successive generations, so too do cultures.”

The article discusses the research of places called “blue zones”, where people live longer lives. The question is why? In these “blue zones” the people tend to eat a plant based diet and manage stress with prayer and meditation. He goes on to explain that the cause of longer lives is not so much based on diet or exercise, but their social and physical environment. They walk more, cook and clean more, grow their own gardens, and contribute to their families. He says that things like smoking and obesity are “contagious.” If the people you are constantly around do it, you are much more likely to do it too.

I thought this article was interesting because it reminds us of how important lifestyle choices are on overall health. People in these “blue zones” are living longer and more sustainably and we should too!

Grace W

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