Questions to answer

November 30, 2010

This list was sent to the first Fall 2010 meeting of the Sustainability Task Force, if I am not mistaken. Please peruse at your own convenience:

 

NOW

>Existing initiatives/structures that can be consolidated in one place:

· Environmental & Wildlife Club

· Sustainability Task Force

· Administration, including Environmental Health and Safety

· WCSA environmental committee

· Jane Decker Arboretum and Greenhouse

· Environmental Studies courses

· Geography Green Maps

· Some administrative policies and decisions – Chartwells, duplex printing, automatic light sensor, renovations, etc.

· Random club student efforts – residential community rules, donate/share corners, streamlining in club administration, choice of club activities

· Random academic pursuits – Honors research, in-class papers or presentations

>Database Prototype

Database prototype should have:

· Standardized master frame where each page should have links to

o Home page

o Other pages

o Search tool with options, or at least a link to the database searching page

o Calendar of events

o How to get involved – leading to recruitment page

· Home page

o Ongoing projects

o Recent updates to ongoing projects

o Links to important University pages like Sustainability Task Force, LIS

· Recruitment page

o Announcement from different groups asking for participation from the community

o Internship opportunities and job prospects with help from Career services

· One page for each of main organizations and groups involved

· One page for each of a compilation under the umbrella of administration, vendors (like Chartwells), Clubs, Community, World, as well as for academic  undertakings

· Database – should be accessible via these avenues

o Links from pages serving as search commands, such that a new page will appear with a list of relevant information in the form of a table that is sort-able

o Search tool

o LIS

· Pages for individual projects, if any, should have instructions about who to talk to and how to get involved, and/or have downloadable files. These pages should also have links to related projects – specific pages should be accessible via these avenues

o Links from pages

o List resulting from database search

o Calendar

o LIS

· Database should be searchable and sort-able by:

o organization hosting the project

o themes

o chronology

o source of funding

o subject area (if any)

· Database search should yield a list of  projects (in a default order), with expandable summaries and links to specific pages describing individual projects, and/or to downloadable files

o List generated must be searchable by a secondary search and sort-able

o Lists can expand to summaries.

o List or summaries should link to complete descriptions of individual projects

Platforms to try out (to discuss with David Soliday)

 

  • OWU Wikis
  • Blog
  • Web page from scratch

A model: http://www.mindat.org, http://www.wordpress.org

 

>Determine a host committee, organization or office in OWU who will maintain the database. Two consequences of this may be:

· the database’s virtual address

· program to use for creating the database

(David Soliday has offered to help resolve the matter. His expertise is in Microsoft Access (which, according to him, “wouldn’t be the best for a web interface”). However, he has kindly offered to help find other expert help to create and maintain the database.)

>Possible initial uploads:

· Environmental and Wildlife Club has a folder of past projects

· Dr John B. Krygier and the GIS StAP intern working with him has begun collating projects making up the ongoing OWU Green Map

· Jane Decker Arboretum

· Voluntary uploads by students and faculty – with built-in screening

>Gauge student and faculty interest in such a database – possible survey

>Copyright issues

As advised by Dr Laurie Anderson, In terms of academic culture and willingness to contribute to the database, it seems to me that authors of projects/papers would need to sign a form giving permission for the work to be added to the archive.  It may be useful to talk with the librarians about copyright issues”

· Contributor agreement for extent of use of their work.

· “Professors often need to retain their rights until they can formally publish their work.”

· But if the database concentrates on “student papers/projects that are unpublished and not likely to be, so many people may be glad that their work is of use to others” (Creative Commons license like Wikipedia’s)

>Voluntary uploads

· Registration and submission of information (any person with an OWU account)

· Create a form that has blanks requiring necessary information – this is a method of reviewing for quality control. A review process will decide the suitability of materials for upload. Uploads will be reviewed for completeness and if the upload is problematic, reviewers can flag the upload.

· The site needs to accept a prescribed range of documents that are content-searchable, as well as other documents of non-conventional form related to projects.

· Contributors need to sign an agreement that describes the extent of use of their work.

· With voluntary submission of information, there needs to be a panel that will evaluate the suitability of the works for upload. I propose that The Environmental Sustainability Committee would be the best panel to delegate this responsibility.

LATER

>Making the database accessible and known to people

· On-campus access and off-campus access: the cost and benefits of access through the internet

· How much information to put online or even in a database?

· Database aesthetics – interface design

· Promotion

· Placing significant information on the database to attract users.

>Efficacy evaluation

· create a feedback channel for future improvements

 


new complications to solve

November 30, 2010

I have added new things to my previous list of questions to consider after consulting with Programming Pros:

Some more specific issue to consider (they are not new)

  1. maintainence staff
  2. cost
  3. program to use

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See below for details 🙂

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Platforms to try out (to further discuss with David Soliday)

  • OWU Wikis
  • Blog
  • Web page from scratch

A model: http://www.mindat.org, http://www.wordpress.org

>Determine a host committee, organization or office in OWU who will maintain the database. Two consequences of this may be:

  • the database’s virtual address
  • program to use for creating the database

(David Soliday has offered to help resolve the matter. His expertise is in Microsoft Access (which, according to him, “wouldn’t be the best for a web interface”). However, he has kindly offered to help find other expert help to create and maintain the database.)

>Determine software for database:

  • Dr. Sean McCullogh of the Computer Science Department, upon consultation, recommends that we think about “the question is whether it’s more important to let it be easily editable” or have all the functionalities we need.
    • “A database might be a better long-term solution, but since it would probably be pretty big and complicated to do all of the stuff that… [is] more important (“searchable/robust/have permissions/whatever”) …[but we will] need someone to create and maintain it.”
    • [A] wiki might be a good starting point, since you can get something that looks nice (even if it’s incomplete) faster (and “easily editable”).  [A] wiki would be the better bet to get something at least partially usable by the end of the semester.
    • Since the aim of this project is to come up with something for the long-term, a true database is more desirable than a wiki. With this resolution in mind, there are the following issues to consider:
      • Database software
        • Cost – possible sources of funding: Academic Affaris, Student Affairs, Residential Life, Library and Information Services, Provost, Admissions, University Communications, etc.
        • Personnel or Student to program and maintain the database
        • Features of different programming environments/languages
          • Recall previous list of features
    • Database quality control and monitoring
      • Faculty and/or staff and/or student representatives with expertise in subject matter uploaded
      • These people only scan to make sure there are no questionable uploads
      • The time taken should be minimal since only a scan is necessary (up to a minute or two per typical upload), and the target population for uploads is limited to Ohio Wesleyan University (we are expecting less than a dozen uploads a month to begin with).
    • Database maintainence
      • Current LIS/Infosys personnel
        • Pro: possible existing expertise
        • Con: time constraint/ budget constraint
        • Ask Infosys and Library representatives for opinions
        • Student StAP position or Student worker
          • Pro: marketable skills
          • Con: may require training or self-study
          • Ask Geography, Math-CS, Infosys, Student Affairs (StAP budget?), Sustainability Task Force for opinions
        • New personnel
          • Pro: definite expertise and commitment to maintain database, in addition to other duties (if necessary)
          • Con: Only if there are other duties, and cost constraints
          • Ask Infosys, Student Affairs, Sustainability Task Force for opinions

how to be idle

November 17, 2010

Seems silly that I’m writing here, online, about How to be Idle, when I feel as though the internet is not a place one can be idle. It’s full of pop-ups and people trying to sell you things, “public research” where anyone could be lieing to you, you find at least three different versions of what your looking for, not everything saves, or sends. Its just all around frustrating to me. My eyes even start to burn as though they’re saying, stop what your doing take a nap, close your eyes, relax. I always thought life moved a little fast, everyone especially since I came to America seems like they’re in a rush to get somewhere, Hodgkison definitly has it right, no argument here. I think him and I would get along well, I moved to Ohio because it was a little slower than the tri-state area where I live.

In Australia my dad always said ” People use the week to rest for the weekend, however in America they use there weekend to rest for their work week”. I think its obvious which sounds better.


Eating Animals

November 15, 2010

I really enjoyed this book and was actually a little happy that I got it late (hence writing about it now) so I could read it at more of my leisure.
The whole idea that the book is based off of to begin with grabbed my attention first. As a new vegetarian during the part of our lives that (I think) we make the most decisions that are leading up to the rest of our lives, reading this book reinforced my decision and also gave me a look into a married life and parenthood aspect of my choices.
One of the topics that Foer covered was the legislationaspect of the meat industry. I find it very unnerving that the USDA does not have regulations on chicken slaughter because the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act does not include them (or rabbits or fish either) (p133). Chickens are a

main source of meat for many people, 9 billion broiler chickens are killed for food in the United States yearly, and I think that people should be more upset that a food that they eat so much is not being regulated at all during its death. Continuing on to after its dead, the USDA reclassified(!?) feces so the poultry industry could continue to use automatic eviscerators, which now allows for feces to end up in the bird carcass and then to us. yummmmm.

When the book delved into turkey farming, there was a lot of information there that I didn’t know before. The thought that we have changed the genetics of turkeys so much that they cannot reproduce by themselves anymore is just unfathomable. I know that one of the main objectives of breeding and modifying the animals is to make them bigger, which causes many issues by itself. I worked with a turkey this summer at the Cleveland Natural History Museum and he is over 10 years old and huge! He once broke a girls nose doing a karate kick like move (he is a little aggressive to say the least). If we don’t keep up on keeping his flight feathers trimmed, he can easily fly over the 8 foot fence that encloses him and we find him wandering on the paths in the morning checking out the other animals. The thought that the animals we consume are nothing like the real animals we think of when we eat them (if we even think about what we are consuming) is a little strange.

This book basically reinforced to me how corrupt and bullied our government is. Our government is suppose to enforce laws and protect the citizens. As far as our food the government is not protecting the citizens and the government is just changing laws when they get bullied by large corporations.

This is why I hate government.


The Greener the Better

November 10, 2010

This is an image of my neighborhood. Being a gated community, of course there are rules on how tall the grass can be, how yellow it can be before they send you letters, and how many weeds can grow in your front lawn. *sigh*.

But check this lawn out:

I don’t know if you can really see the image well, but that is a house up the road from my home. These people have spent countless summers perfecting this English garden. If you look beyond the garden, you’ll notice a thin cement path. This pathway encircles the entire neighborhood. Whenever I walk on this path, I always pass behind this house. I’m amazed at the work they’ve put into the garden. My evil self is so tempted to one day frolic through the garden and to rip it all out…but I would never do that.

Anyway, so about the book. I think that it is pathetic how obsessed we tend to be over our lawns. And when I mean obsessed, I mean using chemicals to make the greenest grass, fertilizers to help it keep that way, weed killers to keep little yellow flowers from growing amongst the sea of green.

Before we moved to the neighborhood in the image above, I was the one who took care of the lawn. I actually did a very good job in fact. I cut the grass, trimmed the trees, trimmed the bushes. But I NEVER poured chemicals on my lawn. I believe that it should be kept natural, yet presentable since it is your lawn. But it is unnecessary to make it perfect. Yes, I know this sounds hypocritical, but I think that it’s important to keep it (tended?) without adding chemicals to the lawn. But at our new house, we hired a landscaping crew to take care of our lawn. But it is my duty to tend the pond in the backyard and the plants that grow around it. Anyway, to tie it in with the book, I don’t let myself be controlled by our society’s standards for lawns, nor do I let companies tell me how my lawn should look.

When did we become so obsessed with lawn care? Perhaps in the 1950s with the growth of American gated community-type neighborhoods. The VERY rapid growth…People began to see lawns popping up all over the place, and real estate companies saw this as an opportunity to make more money off of the sales of homes by placing more value on the lawns.

Robbins points out that there are three types of people who take care of lawns.

1. People who do it for pride

2. People who do it as a chore

3. People who get anxiety from lawn care

The 3 group of people tend to worry about the chemicals they are putting on their lawns. Is it the right choice? Did I buy the right brand? Is this chemical going to leak into my water supply? Will my dog die from this? How much should I spray? Is this weed killer spray ok for my grass?

By the way, my very insistent mother urged me to buy a weed killer spray to use on the front lawn. When i went to Home Depot, they told me that with these weed killers, to be very careful because it can kill the grass. WELL THEN WHERE THE HELL DO I USE IT? I bought this because I wanted to kill the weeds in my front lawn. I assumed then, that I was supposed to not actually use the spray head of the bottle, but to instead apply the chemical through one of those tear drop thingys, directly onto the weed being killed. Ugh. THIS is frustration.

Robbins mentioned how he somewhat regretted not adding chemicals to his home in Columbus before moving to AZ. Umm, I would never regret not adding chemicals to my own yard. The only chemicals I’ve ever used, is the weed killer spray. And I used it on the driveway and brick path in the backyard, but NEVER on the lawn itself.

Before reading this book, I honestly never thought about lawnsas something other than what it is. It certainly has shaped our culture, and has influenced gated communities to great lengths.

He had a very interesting conclusion to lawns and lawn people. Lawns cannot be completely controlled. That’s what makes them beautiful, with the constant human-plant-insect interaction. I think that having a perfect lawn shows that you have complete control over something that you shouldn’t, and that you are powerful. But, I think that lawn care is exactly as Robbins says: an interaction between every aspect of our world.


Environment and Society chs 6-9

November 10, 2010

I presented.

Part 2: Objects of Concern.

In this section of the book, clearly as stated above, its all about. These are the things most discussed in society today when it comes to our environmental concerns

Carbon Dioxide, Trees, Wolves, Tuna, Bottled Water, French Fries.

Some things I found really interesting about each of these:

CD:  ” global warming” as an incomplete description of what is happening (143)

– lets skip the brief history as most of us should know it

-climate free-riders and carbon cooperation

– Kyototapproch- did it work or didnt it,  what are the true coasts and benefits?

Trees

Resisting Deforesation: only way for forest recovery is through social and political action that only happens when the economy plumits

– the success of economic development depends on a decline in forest cover and creates conditions that make recovery less vs. more.

– should trees have rights? can we establish a system where there are benefits to sustaining trees in your area? (177)

-market approach- incentives to discourage forest-cutting Stones appraoch (178)

Wolves

The all around effect of not having wolves. deer and elk up. vegetation down. (186)

Reintroduction in 95 of the wolves. elk more on the move, dams and lodging up.

Wolf bounties ” money pais by the government to citizens who kill wolves (187) whats our opinion on this

188- 1080 poison from mexico that eliminated wolves.

Tuna- chicken of the sea?

– the effect on dolphins

“Medina panel” and the improvements it made

Fishing at what cost? Would taken a year off in some areas help.

206 “money to be made” meal can run more than a thousand dollars.


Lawn People

November 10, 2010

I found this book to be very interesting.  You always notice the houses with the immaculate laws.  The question is why do people care so much what there laws look like and spend thousands of dollars every year to keep in looking great?  In my mind if you want yard work done, just do it yourself.  It is not that hard and actually can be good for you!  A little exercise on Saturday afternoon never hurt anyone.  Your law can still look good with out the chemicals and whatever else is put on them.  No one really knows what those companies are spraying on the laws to make them look so green.  It can’t be good though, for the soil, you, or your dog.  Another issue that arises with lawn people is there sprinkle systems.  Talk about a waste!  No one should have watering systems at there homes.  One they are a huge waist of water.  There are talks of water shortages when some are water their lawns in the morning and night, everyday of the week.  Two watering is a waste of money.  The lawn was there before you were born, so I’m sure it will survive while you are their without the chemicals and water.

Not every lawn is extremely nice and really the only people that can afford nice lawns is those with money.  It is great to have a good looking lawn, but at what costs?  There has to be a point where the line is drawn and enough is enough.  Yeah lawns should be able to be played on and whatever, but the chemicals are flowing into the water systems from the run off.  It is a problem that needs to be addressed and maybe even regulated.  In some instances these harmful chemicals that are being applied to the lawns are not even working.  Most lawns that are left alone to take their own course turn out just fine.  In some cases, I do think that lawns should be prepared to look well.  Those cases would be weddings, family gatherings, and other very special events.  Other than that, leave the lawns alone.  They do not need to be tended to five days a week.  I assure you they will be fine if you just leave them alone and cut them when it is necessary.  And like i said before, if you do want you lawn to look good, don’t use chemicals and don’t waste your money on lawn care services.  Just do it yourself, it’s not that hard.

This house does look good, but it is a little ridiculous if you ask me.