Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Check these shoes out. These are best for in the sand.
This is great for those sunny days.
click on Paula's name at the top and check out all that she does.
This is the site when I read all she does with the bags, stuffing, and tying wreaths
She made me want to do the same. Check out her Wreathes.
And here is the coiled Basket weaving link again. Hope this helps. Let me know.
If you are interested in this news story, check: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2007a/070201LadischBio.html
The idea was to learn with repeated sampling that we could get accurate and consistent results. The participant was told that the earth was made up of 75% water, then they were asked to hold up their pointer finger and I tossed the ball to them, wherever their pointer finger landed they said either, "land or water". Someone else recorded the results and after about 10 tosses, we looked at the results to determine if their fingers landed more often on land or water, The results showed that most times for obvious reasons they landed on water, and then the participants gave their ideas about why that happened. Well, the woman I mentioned would also comment on the land that her pointed to, and taught us a bit of geography!
My daughter was writing down fractions, and talking about proportions while using M&M's! Another young man had fun interviewing people about the spelling of their name, then using paper cut out letters he spelled each name and determined the mean, median, and mode for the number of letters his sample of names had! These were kids' doing statistics! It was so much fun, and a great way to fun while learning.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Before the festival, Bag Force members are encouraged to develop their background knowledge about this issue. One good source may be found online at http://techalive.mtu.edu/meec/module14/title.htm.
At the festival, Bag Force members will engage in three central activities: First, they will brainstorm questions to ask the panel of experts who will be speaking at the festival. Second, Bag Force members will attend the panel discussion and present their questions to the experts. Third, after the panel discussion, Bag Force members will work together to develop a community action plan. The Bag Force Action Plan will detail the issue discovered from the panel discussion and from the background reading; it will also include suggestions for community improvements. This plan will be submitted to the Voice of the People in the South Bend Tribune.
If you know of some students who may be interested in joining Bag Force, please have them contact me by March 23rd.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I was listening to PBS's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer that aired on February 19, 2007. The show was titled Electronic Waste Adds to Pollution in India. Below is a link to the site if anyone is interested. It amazed me that "53 percent of children under 12 in India's cities are lead-poisoned, meaning permanent brain damage that claims up to 20 percent of a child's I.Q" When I read this, I thought about my son. Much of this electronic waste that is poisoning these children is coming from developed countries like the U.S.! Really makes you think.
Justice Talking is a program that airs on National Public Radio (NPR). There was a recently a big story about garbage. And guess what? Royte was interviewed. Please take a moment to listen to her interview, along with several other experts who discuss issues concerning landfills, recycling, and the desire to define "Zero Waste." And I encourage you to post your thoughts and comments about this issue on our blog.
Here's the link: http://www.justicetalking.org/viewprogram.asp?progID=594
I look forward to your hearing your reactions! :0) M
Friday, February 23, 2007
Here's a goofy video that I found on youtube about statistics. I hope this video will put a smile on your face, and maybe it'll even make you laugh! I know this week was particularly difficult because we had our first exam. So in light of this stressful week, I hope you enjoy the video! :0) M
Thursday, February 22, 2007
These flyers will be distributed to Wal-Mart and grocery stores to promote BagFest two weeks prior to the event. On behalf of this poor flyer, please help! :0)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there may be an elegant solution on the horizon to the gigantic problem of garbage—and not just the kind that gets dumped in landfills, but sewage, too, along with agricultural wastes, used tires, and just about everything else. More good news: we might get to reduce dependence on foreign oil and pay less for gasoline in the process. The bad news? Forget about those electric cars or increased fuel efficiency; abandon hope of seeing your city skyline again—this solution, if it works, will keep internal combustion engines running forever.
What many investors are hoping will be the Next Big Thing is a technology called the thermal depolymerization process, or TDP for short. This patented process is being developed by Changing World Technologies of West Hempstead, New York, with its first full-scale plant already in operation in Carthage, Missouri. The idea behind TDP is not new—in fact, it’s millions of years old. Take organic matter, subject it to heat and pressure, and eventually you get oil. Of course in nature, “eventually” is usually an inconvenient number of millennia; TDP shortens that time to hours, if you can believe that.
A Well-Oiled MachineTDP is a surprisingly straightforward five-step process. First, raw materials are fed into an industrial-grade grinder where they’re chopped up into extremely small bits and mixed with water. The mixture is then subjected to heat and pressure, breaking molecular bonds and reducing the material to simpler components in as little as 15 minutes. The next step is reducing the pressure dramatically to drive off the water; in the process, some useful minerals such as calcium and magnesium settle out as a valuable byproduct. The remaining slurry is sent into a second reactor, which uses even higher temperatures to produce a hydrocarbon mixture. Finally, a distillation step divides the hydrocarbons into vaporous gas (a mixture of methane, propane, and butane), liquid oil (similar to a mixture of gasoline and motor oil), and powdered carbon.
All that to say: garbage in, (black) gold out. The process produces no waste materials, unless you count water, which can be recycled in the system. The gas can be used to produce heat for the machine itself; oil can be sent to refineries to be made into a variety of useful products; carbon can be turned into everything from water filters to toner cartridges; and the remaining minerals can be used as fertilizer.
Virtually any organic material can be fed into a TDP apparatus. By making adjustments to the combinations of temperature, pressure, and cooking times, various input products (referred to as feedstock) can produce a wide range of output products; the proportions of, say, gas to oil to carbon will depend on the composition of the feedstock. The first fully operational TDP system is being used to recycle the waste at a turkey processing plant. All the turkey parts that aren’t used as meat—skin, bones, feathers, and so on—are fed into the machine, thus solving a serious waste problem (up to 200 tons per day) while creating commercially valuable products. But TDP can also process discarded computers, tires (even steel-belted radials), plastic bottles, agricultural waste, municipal garbage…you name it. In fact, the city of Philadelphia is hoping to use TDP to convert the sludge that comes out of its sewage treatment plants into oil, which will later be used to generate electricity.
Nothing is too messy or too scary for TDP to handle. It can make clean, safe materials out of nearly anything. Even medical wastes, dioxins, and other biohazardous materials. Even anthrax, for crying out loud. Apparently the only kind of material this system can’t handle is nuclear waste—I guess you can’t have everything.
Pouring Oil on Troubled WaterThermal depolymerization is just now coming into commercial use, though similar processes have been known for decades. The problem was that they were always too expensive to operate; it cost more for the fuel to decompose the garbage than the resulting materials were worth. The inventors of TDP claim that it is highly energy-efficient—better than 85% in most cases. If that is true, and if it continues to be true on a large scale, then TDP may eventually be able to produce oil more cheaply than drilling, and get rid of garbage as a convenient side-effect—or vice-versa, if you prefer.
As fantastic as TDP sounds, the process does have its critics. Some engineers have expressed skepticism that the energy efficiency could be even close to what Changing World Technologies claims. Even supposing that it were, the oil needs of the United States are currently so massive that if all the agricultural waste in the country were processed into oil, it would still be just a drop in the bucket (so to speak). In other words, so the argument goes, the process holds more promise as a method of recycling and waste reduction than it does as a source of fuel.
The more optimistic viewpoint is that if TDP comes into widespread use, we won’t run out of oil as long as we have garbage. But that also means there will be less incentive to reduce oil consumption or seek out cleaner alternative power sources. Ah, but I suppose every silver lining must have its cloud. —Joe Kissell
Monday, February 19, 2007
Chantelle and Saige since you had to leave early. Here is the link on how to make the bowls.
Just use a whole bag, flaten and roll it instead of folding. Cut another bag into the strips and cut the cricle strip into a string use this as your thread. You will need a needle point needle (i have them if you need them) the string you will wrap around the rolled up bag this is in place of the needles. Good luck. Any you is welcomed to look at the link. Happy coiling. Jennifer
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Michelle Verges check this out. This would be great to show to retailers who are wanting to reduce the use of plastic bags.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Steve Antonetti, Market Manager of Wal-Mart, invited me to give a presentation about our project to approximately 30 store managers who were attending a regional Wal-Mart meeting. The reason why I was invited to attend this meeting was because our project nicely aligns with Wal-Mart's "Personal Sustainability Project," which is an effort for Wal-Mart employees to select a personal goal that fits with the notion of sustainability. (For example, some employees are reducing their soda-can footprint by drinking less pop in favor of drinking more water.)
So yesterday, I trekked out to Michigan City, IN to give this presentation. The presentation, I think, went well. (Admittedly, it's hard for me to evaluate how well it went because I'm a tough self-critic, but Steve called me later to say it was great, so you'll have to take his word for it!) Anyway, I discussed several facts about the consumption of plastic bags and what we're doing to make some changes in our community.
Afterwards, some of the store managers said they wanted to get involved. Hopefully, the folks at the Wal-Mart store in Mishawaka will get on-board with the project. Another store manager near Gary, IN said he wanted to bring our project to his location. So, maybe one day this project will be brought to a larger level. (But one step at a time, what we're doing is already ambitious! This is what researchers would consider "future research".) And of course, I asked for underwriting support to cover Royte's honorarium and travel expenses. So, please keep your fingers crossed! ;0)
Besides my presentation, it was an eye-opening experience for me to observe what goes on at these meetings. Because I'm a psychologist, I never see how statistics gets applied to the business world. But I kid you not: what you're learning in class applies to the real-world, including business. I listened to a representative from Kimberly-Clark (these are the folks that make products such as Huggies diapers, Kleenex tissue, paper towels, and so on) discuss the importance of selling their products at Wal-Mart by relying on statistics. To give you a couple examples, he had a visual display of the U.S. marked in different colors to indicate the peak cold and flu season. According to his data, 40% of their profits are earned during the Dec-Feb period, presumably because people are sick and are therefore purchasing Kleenex. In another graph, he showed a direct relationship between the purchase of Depends (um, diapers for the elderly...I'm sure there's a better way of saying that!) and the time of month they're purchased. Apparently, the elderly are more likely to buy Depends at the beginning of the month. The Rep suggested this was because social-security checks are dispensed around the same time period.
Just given these few observations, I learned how important it is for me to teach statistics well. That's definitely my commitment to you. And I sincerely hope that whatever lesson(s) you learn this semester will be beneficial to you in the future. Ok, time for me to sign-off now before I get too cheesy! :0) M
Friday, February 16, 2007
I was also surprised to learn how much of the trash at landfill is paper. We have a wood burning stove that we heat our house with so started throwing my paper stuff into a separate waste basket and burning it in the stove. I have been taking things to the recycle bins in town for years. But I guess I wasn’t too serious about it. I get a lot less waste now that I’m burning my paper and separating more of my recyclables. Although I don’t know how much of it actually gets recycled once I take it to the recycling bins.
Every time that I visit the blog I notice the ticker at the top with the estimated bags consumed so far this year. Because of this, I have decided to conduct a little experiment of my own tonight. In the random times that I get on a checklane, I am going to count every bag that I give out. I'll write it down, along with the amount of transactions completed, and then I will update you on just how many bags are given out per transaction. Granted, I do not run register for the full eight hours. If I did, the number of bags would probably be too many to count, however, I think that this is a reasonable task which I will complete and get back to you. It really makes you think.
Monday, February 12, 2007
The person on the right in the photo is Robin Nagle, the anthropology professor who teaches "Garbage in Gotham"at NYU.
She was recently interviewed on NPR about her experience working as a "san man." If you're interested in hearing the interview, click on this link (and then scroll down to find Episode #249 to listen to the audio podcast). The title of the podcast is called "Garbage." Go figure.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
So I had quite an unusual experience while driving home from school at about 8pm this last Fri night... I had just gotten off the bypass when all the sudden what looked to be some sort of animal came jetting across the road. I of coarse freaked out thinking that I was going to hit the poor creature and tried my absolute best to avoid disaster. However, just a split-second before the moment of impact I realized that it was not an animal that was crossing my path; and I bet it'll only take you one try to guess what it was. Ding! Ding! Ding! Yup! You guessed it! Low and behold it was a plastic bag! After being briefly terrorized by the thought of roadkill, I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I realized what had just happened. It immediately reminded me of our class and then this got me thinking about the wandering bag's story and so here's what I've come up with:
Many ages ago this very bag was once one of the numerous many bags that we all have stored in the "bag cupboard" in our homes. However, this bag wanted something more in life. He knew that he just had to have a greater purpose than sitting at the bottom of a dark gloomy cupboard. One windy day this bag decided to leave the cupboard and fulfill its destiny. Since then it has been randomly wandering the globe, blowing from here to there, searching for a purpose to fulfill.
Thus, I decided to help this poor bag and so I pulled my car over to the side of the road, got out, and picked the bag up off of the side of the road. It is now going to be one of the first grocery bags I use to make the reusable tote bags with. This experience also got me thinking about how bad the 'grocery bag trash dilemma' must really be if I am seeing random bags littered in public places, just blowing around until someone eventually picks them up.
This short video reviews several issues (e.g., hazardous wastes, methane) discussed in Garbage Land. I like the fact that you can hear some of the issues while seeing the visual images at the same time. It made this issue feel a bit more "real" to me because I've never been to a landfill! Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching the footage. :0)
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Part 1 Workshop Dates (location TBA)
- Monday, Feb. 19th, 4pm--6pm
- Wednesday, Feb. 21th, 10am--12pm
- Saturday, Feb. 24th, 1pm--3pm
Part 2 Workshop Dates (location TBA)
- Wednesday, Feb. 28th, 4pm--6pm
- Saturday, Mar. 3rd, 1pm--3pm
I will have sign-up sheets next week so that Jennifer can get a sense of how many students will be attending each workshop. And I will announce the workshop location in class next week. Hopefully, these workshops will teach us a fun and creative skill, which will also prepare us for the service-learning activity at the Logan Center.
By the way, I hope you like the snowman that Jennifer made from plastic bags! :0) M
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I was also surprised at how enthusiastic, patient, and supportive the parents were...despite the dangerously frigid temperatures, the huge crowds, and screaming children. Furthermore, I couldn't believe how many volunteers there were! I guess the take-home message for me was that science and math, and the effort to make it applicable to every child in a hands-on, practical way, is an issue that THOUSANDS of people are extremely passionate about! Admittedly, I had no idea.
Overall, I really enjoyed myself! I thought it was so refreshing to see SO many people truly enjoying themselves in what I would call an educational setting. I had tons of fun with the kids, and it was also great to be able to hang out with classmates in a place outside of the classroom. I am extremely grateful to Michelle for finding this volunteer opportunity for us, and to the Serenevy's for allowing us to be part of their wonderful exhibit.
That's about all I have to say about that. (Except, I didn't get a cool free pen!) :)
Monday, February 05, 2007
Science alive was good times. Immediatly upon arrival, they tied me and my kind friend Ron in yarn and said "untangle yourselves." Dean tried to give me hints I found completely bewildering, while Tory and Michelle seemed to enjoy my bewildered tangled state. Molly came later andit all came full circle when we tied her up in yarn. What a great day with great friends! The Serenevys are brilliant, and so passionate about math, they really developed some fun activities for us kids, big and small. It was wonderful to see the kids faces light up w/ amazement and understanding. Sometimes I get so apathetic about math, being with those kids has inspired me to find the magic in it. And I got a cool free pen!
I have good news to share with you: We have a tote bag instructor! Her name is Jennifer Heimbuch, and she contacted me after she saw the WSBT interview last week. Jenny has been making tote bags and other crafts from plastic bags for two years. And she has generously offered her services to teach us how to make these bags. Woo Hoo!! :0)
Details about Jenny's workshops are forthcoming...stay tuned!
Sunday, February 04, 2007
By using topology puzzles provided by both Dr. Amanda Serenevy and Dr. Dean Serenevy (Mathematician), I was able to help children conceptualize some of the mathematical properties of natural space and the knot theory—and make it fun!! The first time I met Dr. Amanda Serenevy was when she visited our statistics class (on campus) and demonstrated one of her topology puzzles. I was immediately intrigued with her ‘three-dimensional’ approach and wanted to learn more about her program at the River Bend Math Center.
One of my future goals is to evaluate various elements of core curriculum (e.g. Math, Science) within school systems that reflect consistent disparities in students’ academic performance to identify factors contributing to these discrepancies and find solutions that will allow students excel to their highest potentials. I have confidence that by implementing innovative techniques—such as the ones demonstrated by Dr. Serenevy in core subjects will allow educators facilitate a broader spectrum of learning styles within the student population.
Tori and Amy watch a father attempt the "Typology Tango"
Kim's typology demonstration
Having fun while learning math is contagious
(or as one kid said, "kinda freaky")
Amanda explains the "donut" to two young boys
Girls hard at work
Molly's typology demonstration
Nancy's typology demonstration
Amy's typology demonstration
Melissa's typology demonstration
A cute kid
Saturday, February 03, 2007
The information the author disclosed in the last chapter regarding landfills was disheartening. It gave me a small glimpse of the "bigger picture" and how decisions are made regarding our trash. I am looking forward to learning more about our garbage and how we can perhaps affect our own footprint.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Moreover, companies like Trex and AERT purchase these bags to create new products (i.e., lumber), which are then sold to stores like Home Depot. To get a price check on plastic lumber, I called the Home Depot store in Mishawaka. Bob, an employee at Home Depot, quoted the prices on treated pine and composite (i.e., plastic) lumber for comparison. For a 6 in width, 16 ft length of lumber, the pine costs $15.97 and the composite costs $28.97. Notice the composite lumber costs almost twice as much as the treated pine. Bob quickly pointed out another difference: with the composite lumber, there is no maintainance. But with the treated pine, there is--basically, you have to apply a sealant to the pine to protect it against the elements once every 2 years.
So there is a market for plastic bags. Recycling companies get a profit for selling bags to manufacturers; and manufacturers get a profit for selling their products to consumers.
Knowing this information, however, leaves me with yet another puzzle: Why is this information not widely known to the public?