Bats And Barbecue

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A Bats Web

Bats Web Why should people care about the plight of Bats and their deminising population due to white nose syndrome? The first and most common reason to care is because what bats do for pest control of flying insects. Bats eat thousands to millions of flying insects each night keeping their populations at a balance. There is nothing more annoying to the common person than some bug landing on you or your food while your trying to enjoy the great outdoors. If people were informed of the role Bats play in maintaining their outdoor comfort than they might be more inclined to be concerned about the plight of bats.  The target audience would be people who: fish, hike, work outdoors, barbarque, camp out, garden, swim, or indulge in any outdoor activity. Home owners would also benefit from having not to contend with a horde of flies and moths invading your house every time you open the door to flip those burgers on the grill.  The second reason of concern is Health. One of the bats main diets is Mosquitos. Mosquitos carry harmful diseases that have killed millions of humans. presently mosquitos have  been spreading then West Nile Virus. Most Coloradans are aware of this, so relating this disease to bats will create concern with people who value their health. Bats also eat flies which are known to carry many diseases, and if their populations are left unchecked could cause any number of plagues. The target group here would be the general public. Informing them that a possible wide spread of disease from flies and mosquitos could occur if bat populations decline may cause interest in the plight of the bats white white nose syndrome. A possible solution is to create an additional page that would have basic information on the pest control that Bats do, and their assistance in limiting the spread of diseases. This page will also include links to sites that have detailed information on the subject. Links to children web sites that educate about bats should be added. Children will learn and ask questions from their parents. This will involve and educate the whole Family. This will also un-demonize the poor little critters, making them friends and allies instead of evil little creatures. And another approach is to create a quick time short showing Mosquitos as they hunt and eat insects while people are enjoying a comfortable outing because of it. This short can be spread through you tube, Facebook, and other social media. It must be attractive and entertaining enough to encourage people to share  it.  

Light Rail, Heavy Pollutant

During my research on accidents involving Light Rail I found many roadblocks in obtaining information. I couldn’t find a site that was dedicated to the subject, and what little information I got came from television news sites. The problem with these sites is that I could not get factual statistics on accidents with automobiles, pedestrians, bicycles, buses, etc…  I did finally contact someone at “DORA” Public Utilities Commission. http://www.dora.state.co.us/puc/#. I was informed that that they could not give out that information, and that I would have to contact RTD. And with that my research hit a brick wall. I am still waiting to hear back from someone there. It appears that RTD does not want to share this information with the public.

Although the preservation of human life is absolutely a scientific subject, I decided to switch gears and approach the light Rail or FasTracks subject from a different perspective. Through my research it has come to my attention that Light rail is a large contributor of high emissions of carbon pollution through their high electricity use. It is commonly believed that light rail train systems are virtually pollution free, and good for the fight against greenhouse gases. The burning of coal produces electricity that Excel energy supplies to FasTracks. Coal is one of the cheapest ways to produce energy, but it is also one of the most contaminating ways.

I will create a campaign that will educate the public on the true impact that an existing and growing Light system has on the public’s health. It is important that people are not deceived and mislead, and that all pertinent information is available. My objective is not to stop the needed public transportation system, but to educate it’s public of the true impact it has on them.

Minnesota is a State that is similar to Colorado and our Light rail situation. http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/11/dirty-little-secrets-about-light-rail-and-clean-environment. This article will lend some insight on the environmental impact that they go through.  John A. Charles has a column that addresses the myths of Light rail. http://cascadepolicy.org/pdf/env/drain.htm.

Environment Colorado explains the health related problems of carbon pollution caused by coal burning. http://www.environmentcoloradocenter.org/page/coc/clean-air-healthy-families. And the champion of this cause is Randal O’Toole. His Paper on FasTracks is what opened my eyes to this problem. http://www.cato.org/search_results.php?q=The+full+truth+about+Fastracks&btnG.x=37&btnG.y=9&btnG=Search&site=cato_all&client=cato-org&filter=p&lr=lang_en&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=cato-org&proxyreload=1&getfields=summary.                                                                                                My challenge is what type of communication device will I use to get the message to the general public. Billboards would be expensive and have a limited audience. Flyers would be too temporary and selective in distribution areas. A blog or web site with Light rail in the address may connect to people looking for Light rail information. This site will contain information on coal burning and Light rail energy consumption. A similar You Tube spot may also reach a large audience. In any case an effective image showing the connection between Light rail and carbon pollution must be produced. I will use a basic explanation if how Light rail is dependent on mass electricity, which comes from pollution making coal consumption.

Living with Light Rail

Colorado, being one of the fastest growing populations in the country is in need of a massive transportation system. Colorado’s answer to this problem is an inner city light rail system. There can be a great benefit to having a train system throughout the city, but the locations of railways and stops must be carefully planned out. There are over thirty stations and about five lines so far with a large-scale construction project for additional lines in progress. The existing problem is how dangerous are these light-rail trains to pedestrians and automobile traffic. Are the safety measures, lights warning signals, signs and railway crossings adequate enough to keep a safe separation of train and humans. Just this morning while turning onto Ninth St. into the campus, there was no signal until the last minute when a train rolled straight through. This mishap with the train signal could have cost me my life. How can we develop a more secure warning system to prevent potentially tragic accidents? There have been many accidents since the light rail. How can we make human traffic, automobile traffic, and light rail traffic coexist in a safer way?

Natural Creativity

 

I enjoyed the speakers on TED.com. David Kelly’s interesting talk about the designs of nature was right on point. Why don’t we look at the adaptable designs of nature? After all nature is the master designer that has been at it since time itself. It has tested and explored every given scenario of beauty, movement, density, purpose, destruction and construction that we could imagine. Even with natures constraints animals are able to go anywhere and bio mimicry proved to be a successful way to go in building robots (scientific design). It would be beneficial for science design to be inspired by nature’s plans and not try to recreate the wheel. One good example is the invention of Velcro from the design of burrs of a plants seed sack.

Mae Jemison speaks of research as being a formalized curiosity, or otherwise turning over rocks intentionally to see what you can discover. I think that as children we do that automatically, buy we slow down as we get older and have enough functional knowledge to get us by. Another point was made about revitalizing the arts and sciences with a new direction that will set a foundation for the upcoming generations. This would be a great creative opportunity for science designers to construct new learning tools for education.

All things are defined by science and art, so one should not be absent of the other. Jemison says that science and arts are just different manifestations of the thing.

Personalized teaching is a subject that we just dealt with in our last class. Sir Ken Robinson thinks that most people make poor use of their talents. The educational structure is too linear and many creative and intellectual attributes are not nurtured in life. Our greatest resources are ourselves, but the multitude of tools and machines has made society forget that. This is another challenge for science designers to come up with educational applications that will encourage the connection with living out a scientific equation as we learn it. In other words, make the given problem more relative to real life situations.

In this wasteful society being creative with existing materials is a step in the right direction. Dan Phillips is a man with a similar attitude as mine in regards to using found things to create. This summer I started building a shed out of things I could find. Even though there was not blueprint it still took an apollonian approach that came straight from my head, and a natural aesthetic was the end product. It was nice to see that I wasn’t the only strange builder around. He spoke of how we create waste because we create things to fit our needs, instead of using things that exist to fit our needs. Anthony Brown