HRS177|Spring2015

Amazing Midterm Presentations

Last Thursday midterm presentations were full of aspiration and creativity in many topics from ecology to medicine. However, in this post, I want to talk about the project “EcoFacts” and “Medicinal Cigarettes.”  In "EcoFats", I was really surprised at first when finding out how much water was used in our food.  Sarah presented that we usually paid attention to nutrient facts and health issues in our meals, but never cared about how our meals affect our environment. Her suggestion on environmental impact labels is such a great idea to raise public awareness about environment.

Science, Innovation, and Creativity!

I was fascinated by everyone's presentations and active discussions. It makes me proud and excited to be among such great, creative minds. We are surely one bright generation :) 

My favorite proposals were Jacob's "Plantronics" and Sarah's "ECOfacts." It is already known that the Earth is a conductor of electricity and we use the ground to place power plants, electric generators for our homes, and multiple other electronic devices. But, it never occurred to me to utilize plants' own natural networking system within the soil instead of wire connections. I didn't even think about the reference to Avatar, where the trees were used for energy. I found an article about a replica of Avatar's 'Tree of Souls' that was built in London's Hyde Park. This tree (picture below) is made up of a metal structure with one root that acted as an electric cable to power the whole tree and it's glowing fiber optic cables. The article said that the tree provided it's own WiFi network so visitors could log into their website and play music to change the tree's colors. Although this tree was man made, we could possible use living plants to do the same thing - transmit electricity. 

(Photo credit: http://www.nachi.org/grounding-electrodes.htm)

    

(photo credit: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/04/tree-of-souls-found-growing-in-central-london.html)

"Ecofacts" was such an innovative proposal. Sarah's project design was also well thought out and user friendly. I believe that, in theory, this idea could do wonders for our society and environment. However, like many people addressed in class, the meat industry and the government has so much authority over food production that it would be a challenge to implement this idea. Also, food production is a large multi-step process and it would be hard to track an accurate usage of water, carbon dioxide, land usage, etc. I am not sure if farmers/producers even measure these usages. I feel like current ways of being 'green' is by changing ways food is produced. I found an article on this Meat Plant Waste System that saves carbon dioxide emission equal to 2,700 cars! The biotechnology uses anaerobic bacteria to digest around 80% of the organic matter in waste water and produce green energy. 

I completely agree with Sarah's statement that "change begins with education" and Ecofacts is a great way to make people more aware of what they are consuming. Other methods of providing education is through sites such as Food Production Daily (http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Trends/Going-green).

Green Energy Orb (photo credit: http://www.cstwastewater.com/oakey-beefs-spectacular-green-energy-orb-opens-the-way-to-environmentally-outstanding-and-profitable-performance/)

(photo credit: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Trends/Going-green)

 

References

Gromicko, Nick and Shepard, Kenton. "Home Service Grounding Electrodes." InterNACHI. http://www.nachi.org/grounding-electrodes.htm

"Local and Regional Food Systems." GRACE Communications Foundation. http://www.sustainabletable.org/254/local-regional-food-systems

"Oakey Beef’s spectacular green energy orb opens the way to environmentally outstanding and profitable performance." CST Wastewater Solutions. http://www.cstwastewater.com/oakey-beefs-spectacular-green-energy-orb-opens-the-way-to-environmentally-outstanding-and-profitable-performance/

Richards, Julian. "'Tree of Souls' Found Growing in Central London." CultureLab. 26 Apr 2010. http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/04/tree-of-souls-found-growing-in-central-london.html

Whitehead, RJ. "Unique Meat Plant Waste System Hailed as Green Vision of the Future." Food Production Daily. 4 May 2015. http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Innovations/Unique-meat-plant-waste-system-hailed-as-green-vision-of-the-future

 

Harnessing The Power of Creativity

This week, I was blown away by the amount of creativity in our class. There were so many interesting projects that have so much potential to change the world. One of my favorite presentations was StressLet. Stress is an omnipresent part of everyone’s daily life. Whether we admit or not, it can be difficult to deal with stress. Perhaps one of the best ways to start managing stress is to actually know one’s stress level. This can be easily done using Stresslet, which measures cortisol levels via labeled antibodies that bind to cortisol and eliminated through urine.

Misbehaving Science

Last Thursday, I attended the Talking Biopolitics web conference held by The Center of Genetics and Society, which featured UCLA's Dr. Aaron Panofsky and Osagie Obasogie. Dr. Panofsky discussed his new book, Misbehaving Science, which addresses controversies within the Behavioral Genetics field.

A Drop in the Bucket

EcoFacts caught my attention as a very practical approach toward slowing environmental degradation. Whether or not we realize it on a daily basis, the severity of California’s drought is detrimental both in terms of agriculture and the people who live here. The water label in particular would help consumers to identify which products take the most water to produce and perhaps encourage the more environmentally conscious shoppers to make choices based on their environmental footprint.

Talking Biopolitics with Dr. Aaron Panofsky

Last Thursday, I attended the Center for Society and Genetics web conference that featured Dr. Aaron Panofsky being interviewed by Osagie Obasagie about his new book, Misbehaving Science. It was quite an interesting talk! I had not read the book before, but was able to get a general sense of it from the talk. The book is about the field of behavioral genetics, which Dr. Panofsky argues is "misbehaving" due to lack of consensus on many issues, which is a result of the destructuring of the field.

A Day of Innovation

Last Thursday can be summed up into three words: innovation, education, and enlightenment. I think all of us were not only surprised to see so many great presentations but also inspired by what we saw and learned in those presentations. I think all of them were very well done and had a lot creative aspects to them.

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