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April 29, 2008

blog 9 - Presentations (Day 2)

The group I chose to respond to discussed and presented sustainable technologies that will hopefully make less of an impact on the earth. These included technologies related to air pollution, water sanitation, energy, and forestry and wood.

Air Pollution
-I was surprised to find out that many technologies only take out some harmful vapors from the air (for example, the stopper on a gas pump). While this does make a big difference, it is important that we find ways to minimize pollution even more.

Water Sanitation
-The things that this group talked about related a lot to our entire project. I think this is possibly the most important piece of trying to become a more sustainable society. Millions of people live without sanitary water. One of the members of my group researched a new technology that uses UV rays to clean water, which would be a cheap way of getting usable water in areas where advanced technologies are not available.
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Energy
-The question this group brought up, which I think is a very valid one, is whether or not biofuel is generally a positive or negative thing for our society. I recently read an article on this and found out that using plants such as corn for fuel actually does not reduce carbon emissions all that much. The energy and carbon that is used to convert the corn to fuel is almost as much as the amount that is emitted from a car that uses normal fuel. What is becoming more popular is thee use of sugarcane for fuel. Sugarcane grows faster and isn't used as much for solid food as corn is. And, since it is already in the form of sugar, not nearly as much energy is emitted when converting it to fuel. Brazil is a leading producer of this.
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Forestry and Wood
-When it comes to forestry, our society depends on it to provide paper. The most important thing we can do as humans is to recycle paper. With rain-forests and woodlands starting to decline, it is more vital than ever that we recycle in order to minimize our impact on the earth. This group talked about how our thoughts need to change and improve more so than our technologies, which I think is a really interesting thing to think about. If we don't have the mentality that we need to work together to save our earth, then no technology is going to really make a difference.

April 22, 2008

Blog 8 - Presentations (Day 1)

The presentation that I am choosing to focus on is the second group's on global development (Goal 8). Although their project was very broad, I did find some parts of it to be exciting and innovative. What I found to be particularly interesting about this project was their use of a wide range of topics within this one goal or idea.

One of the things they focused on was organizations (or books) that sought to provide buildings for the less fortunate and humanitarian design. I was interested in finding out more about this book "Design Like You Give a Damn." I looked up more information on this book, and found that it was more than designing buildings, rather designing pretty much anything that would make life more enjoyable or livable. One of these examples is the blow-up heated shelter that this group talked about in class. Another, that I found on Inhabitat.com is a "Play pump" which has been designed to entertain children as well as use that energy to pump water.

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There are so many ways design is used in global development and it is important that books like this are published so people can see exactly what is going on to better the world through design.

Another aspect of globalization and design that I didn't even think about until yesterday is that of pharmaceutical drugs. Although I don't know alot about this, I think it is important to look into specific topics like this. We don't often realize how certain things such as drug availability affect the lives of people living in third world countries. I have realized that I have no idea where half of the things I put into my body come from. We need to start looking at this and waste less energy on shipping goods from other countries and buying locally made goods/drugs/food, etc.

Lastly, I thought it was interesting to find out specific facts about recycling. I was confused when this group explained that the garbage/recycling bins around campus are actually not separated - they are just all dumped into one garbage. I found this hard to believe and would actually be pretty mad if this was true. So I decided to look at the Minnesota Recycling Programs Website. They have specific photos and descriptions of how the bottles and cans are sorted, so I find it hard to believe that they would have all these plans in place and not follow through with them. This takes place at the Como Recycling Facility located between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Here are some photos of this process as well as some text explaining how it is done (all from http://www1.umn.edu/recycle/operations.html):

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Can Sorting

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Paper line

ROUTES:
Storage areas are serviced by recycling personnel as part of two recycling routes. The large route services between 30 and 35 locations daily, while the small route services 12-15 locations per day. Almost all buildings on campus are picked up at least one day a week, although many have multiple pickups weekly or daily. All materials are brought to the Como Recycling Facility, located between the two campuses.

SEPARATING CANS AND BOTTLES:
Comingled cans and bottles are sorted on separate equipment. Bags of cans and bottles are emptied into a hopper which loads the materials onto a conveyor. One person sorts glass and plastic bottles from the conveyor. Glass bottles are placed into self-dumping hoppers by color which are eventually emptied into roll-off boxes for shipping. Plastic bottles are sorted, sent up the vertical conveyor, and baled in a horizontal baler.

April 3, 2008

Blog 7 - Title Page Ideas

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