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.


All of these speakers had a great approach to creativity. David Kelly’s idea was creative in itself being that he put together the psychology of phobias and the fact that a lot of people don’t consider themselves creative, which is an underlining fear. He used the snake as a metaphor for those who shy away from anything to do with the label or creativity. But unlike a snake, whose role in ecology is important, creativity is not highly valued in the human ecology of society. There are many who don’t believe creativity is a keystone species. I have experienced those who treat the arts as something over there and it doesn’t affect them in any way. They put it in a glass cage and sometimes observe it as an eccentric activity. To really get people to open up to being creative, society would have to change its attitude about it, which is a slow process.

Dan Phillips is a smart person, with a lot of courage to forget what society wants and accepts. The psychology behind what he says is also very true and need to be implemented. I love the idea of recycling to build unique, organic houses. I avoid the suburbs because it makes me so made seeing all the waste of conformity. But many have done and said what he has before. How long has this sustainability conversation gone on? Longer than I’ve been alive there have been scientists and economist telling us we are in trouble with the state of the planet. Still there is no sign of massive change that will actually do anything. Sure, we can spend more money on a green car and bring our own bags to the grocery store to muffle guilty thoughts in our consciousness. But I don’t believe that we will change the way we need to till it is in our face and ruining our comfortable living. Not until the trash piles up in our own yard, because that is when everyone can’t ignore the problem. That is when people will realize creativity is important in solving problems.
Sir Ken Robinson also smart and knows what he is talking about. I read his book over the summer and really enjoyed it. He has the same problem as the past two; the education system is going to change very, very, very slowly. Everyone is so used to this industrialized system. We know how it works, how to get ahead, how to work the system and we know how everyone compares to each other. People love comparing themselves to others. In a new system, no one would know who is shining and who is failing behind. This is why an education revolution is scary. Change is scary to us. We fear it when we see predator spots behind a bush instead of more bush stripes. But this would be good in the sense of there would be a freedom from the standardization. People could think with movement, and there would be more people dancing Broadway performances. The education system would hopefully be driven by intrinsic motivation and not extrinsic. This would improve human happiness. Maybe it would also get rid of the standard American Dream of a wasteful house. It would get rid of the pressure to get a highly valued engineering job that is valued just because it feeds the consumption demands of the iPhone 5.

Now, Mae Jemison, knows what is up. She tells us the truth that we are not doing anything and lagging behind. I like this. TED talks are fun and cool, and you get to sit there and watch a video. After the video or talk you feel inspired and open to new thinking. Yay! Then that moment is over in 20 minutes. You either continue sitting on your butt and watch another one, or go about your day trolling on Facebook. This talk was given in 2002. My last year in high school I saw an improvement in the education there. There are now two SEPARATE and completely different “tracks” you can take. One is called VPA for visual and preforming arts and one is STEM; science, technology engineering and mathematics. I am thankful I was too far ahead to enter one of these. I wouldn’t know which one to join. Why should high schoolers have to decide? They are still trying to discover themselves. The whole point of her talk was integrating them and seven years later my high school just broke open the crack in the ground, created a massive canyon and dumped a white water river between the arts and sciences. This is what annoys me about TED talks; a whole lota talking and no walking.

Design Thinking and What it means to me!

I believe that design thinking is some thing that should be taken seriously by all designers whether they are fresh out of school or seasoned vets of the trade. Design thinking is critical to solving problems on a human level and incorporating the human needs and wants into the design. Thinking outside the box while still standing inside of it to convey a solution to the task at hand. I think it was Tim Brown who said it’s not just putting something pretty around something technical or something along those lines. It’s a process that involves careful examination and research, compassion and ethics, so that the design touches the soul of the viewer and creates an environment that the viewer can not only relate too but can also learn from and then pass that knowledge on to others. It’s thinking critically about the design and how that design is going to effect people or help people or educate people before just pumping out the first thing that comes to mind as if to satisfy the hungry public for more technology and desired expectations. Design thinking to me is a means to relate to the target audience on a conscious level and create something that will benefit that audience or at least keep them intrigued for a little while.

Design thinking as it pertains directly to Science or Scientific media is I think crucial in many ways and as I think about the question of how it relates to science I find myself thinking of NASA’s latest endeavor. Curiosity, that’s the name of the mars rover that is roaming the red planet. I can only imagine how much “Design Thinking” went into that piece of hard ware.  How many ideas were conceived and rejected in order to satisfy all the scientists and there agendas. All the Ideas, research and planning that went into creating something that is now collecting data on an other planet. Now that’s thinking outside the box while still holding on to the human needs and wants. Even the name Curiosity grabs the publics attention while perfectly fitting the concept of what every individual on earth has thought about what is beyond our world. Maybe I’m wrong about the name and it was thought up over a cup of coffee in the break room but I would like to think that there was some serious design thinking going on. I believe that design thinking can only improve the way that we see things, how we use things and how we educate each other, not just for huge NASA projects but for every aspect of science. Being able to convey a message and teach some one some thing that they might not have had an interest in or might not have understood previously is what  I think it is all about.

David McCandless Information is beautiful is awesome. I really enjoyed looking at his visuals and how they sent an educated message to the viewer. Really cool stuff. If you havent checked out the work he’s done you should because it’s a great example of Design thinking and how to get a point across in a visual and artistic manner.

The Power of Signs

This was a very interesting paper and I was intrigued by the process in which the study was held. I thought that there would have been some symbols to generate responses as opposed to just text but the results were interesting none the less. Maybe there should be a study that looks at how symbols can communicate vividness and attention to generate a desired response and to be more mindful. I think that having all of the signs the same color had an impact on the results of the study and that if there were different colors introduced they might have different results and or reactions to those signs. It doesn’t surprise me that the sign that told a story was at the top of the results at the end of this study. It seemed to conjure up images that would resonate longer than just text which in return impacts the desired message that was being conveyed.

I have never been to Yosemite but I am a native to Colorado and highly enjoy our wonderful backyard so to speak. I have camped all over this state and I can’t say that I have payed much attention to any of the signs unless it was directly in front of where my destination was at that time and then I would only skim over the content to see if there was any information that wasn’t considered common knowledge or relevant to my activities at that time. I do recall some signs when I was a child that had symbols of bears and trash cans and I seem to remember those signs as opposed to signs I’ve skimmed over even this very year but maybe that’s just me and maybe I’m more of a visual learner.

The Nature of signs

The paper begins talking about how there is an actual need to focus on park signs. People use sign for navigation, to become informed, modify behaviors for the environment. Signs also have a lot of factors influencing how they are read. People could think they already know the message because they are familiar. Or they think the sign is like their mother, nagging the crap out of them to clean their rooms. You never really understand why your mom wants your room clean, why can’t she just close the door if she is tired of looking at it? There for the campers ignore the signs in the same way, and then go on to liter the site.
There are three goals of the study. 1. Determine how affective the sign was based on time looking at it. 2. Evaluate the visitor’s opinions (even though the general population never has anything note-worthy to say about design.) 3. Compare 5 different designs in three different locations.
They then go through what kind of messages apply to people. You are going to remember stimuli that are novel, emotional and have a connection to something you previously know. So they used empathetic appeals, personal anecdotes, humor, telegraphic titles. To me, the sign with the humor was the obvious choice because I actually read through that one beginning to end when I was reading the paper and I skimmed over the other ones.
But it was interesting to see that just because you think something is the best design solution, doesn’t mean anything. The results were layered and some did well and some did well but in different ways to different people. There was no one clear winner. I guess you could say that the Bear Story won, but there were elements in the other signs that had significance. This kinda reminds me of the art world. Humor is a popular medium to communicate artist ideas right now, and so is narrative like in the work of Damien Hirst. The most successful work is the one that shocks your senses and intellect enough for you to take note. Testing is very important in this study, giving out multiple results at the end. I came away with as testing and implantation is just as important as background research.

Storytelling in Science

Every aspect of our lives gives way to numerous stories that are then compiled together to create bigger stories. We tell these stories to our families and our friends every day and that is what makes scientific storytelling so interesting. Being able to convey a story to inform and educate someone on a subject that they might not understand or to connect people to unfamiliar topics in an interesting way is what I think scientific storytelling is all about. We are already accustomed to telling stories, absorbing information from the story and then coming to a conclusion or to a place where questions are asked which in return creates more stories. It is how we learn and how we have been taught since the beginning of time.

I found both of these articles compelling and informative. It seems to me that there have always been stories told that explain the research of scientists and how the data they have collected might be presented to the public in order to educate the masses. I found it interesting that there were rules already in place as guide lines for what and how a story should and could be told in the scientific community. I am not however surprised at the stringency of those rules while being eluding, and have decided to keep a copy of them on the wall by my desk so as to reference them on occasion when I feel the need to be precise in what I do.

I really enjoyed the second article on visualization of the scientific data and how it is a fundamental way of connecting people together to learn about everything imaginable. I personally find that I learn more from visual forms more than say reading or writing. There are many ways to produce visual media and I find the notion of being able to interact with the media particularly fascinating. It”s like that old TV show where the scientists climb into a submarine and are shrunk down to the size of an atom and then travel through the human body learning about how our bodies work. Take that scenario, make it an interactive learning tool and I think that people would retain more information. If they were able to partake in the story that they are learning about or are interested in they would be more involved in the whole process of what the scientists are discovering every day. There have always been stories associated with science and I think that the more we pursue visual media the more people will benefit from that media.