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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
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Lessons From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Lessons From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A Retro Report looks at the poor planning and technological challenges that contributed to the nation’s worst oil disasters, the 1989 Exxon spill and the 2010 BP blowout.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

While brief, this is a surprisingly accurate and fair summary of the Valdez spill vs Deepwater Horizon blowout.

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In-depth LED bulb reviews and teardowns: More than you ever wanted to know about LEDs... (videos)

In-depth LED bulb reviews and teardowns: More than you ever wanted to know about LEDs... (videos) | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It's not for everybody, but if you are the target audience, you've probably already stopped reading this and have clicked to find the reviews.
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From computer models to calendar models, these climate scientists are workin' it

From computer models to calendar models, these climate scientists are workin' it | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Climate models! A bad pun becomes bright new way to talk about climate change.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Climate...models...wait, I get it!

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Janine Lloyd's curator insight, December 9, 2013 4:01 AM

This is just the type of awareness campaign that is interesting and effective! 

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Destination art: Guide to top sites in the Americas

Destination art: Guide to top sites in the Americas | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Art lovers and travelers alike are bound to argue over some of the choices in "Art & Place: Site-Specific Art of the Americas" (Phaidon 2013, $79.95),  a mammoth new coffee-table tome  that off...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is an interesting data point on the continuing divide between coastal and non-coastal culture/demographics.  Essentially all the "must see" places for cool art/visually stunning installations are in coastal cities and towns (I would hazard a guess that the authors spend most of the professional lives in coastal cities).  Here the wealth, political leanings, conspicuous art consumption, etc. has been diverging from our more inland neighbors for the past mant decades. I often worry that this divide is becoming much too wide for all of our own good.

 

As a side note, the lead example/image is from our very own Ventura mall.

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Connor Jacob Meegan's comment, December 8, 2013 12:09 PM
this is cool. there is a building that is up-side-down that you can walk in. I want to go there.
PIRatE Lab's comment, December 8, 2013 6:02 PM
It is a pretty cool bus stop.
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LED Christmas Lights: Merry, Bright, and 17X Cheaper to Power

LED Christmas Lights: Merry, Bright, and 17X Cheaper to Power | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

LEDs are a much improved option over the traditional indandescents. While we should also be striving to use fewer lights in the first place (i.e. sunlight is better than LED light), this is one area where I am happy to have the technilogy of diodes illuminating these cold wintre nights!

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New York City doubles down on solar energy

New York City doubles down on solar energy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A solar-power station planned for Staten Island will significantly boost the city’s renewable energy capacity.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is an ambitious effort.  It will be interesting to see if the momentum continues after the fresh glow of the election has worn off. 

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Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that's not ready

Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that's not ready | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON — In a sprawling complex of laboratories and futuristic gadgets in Golden, Colo., a supercomputer named Peregrine does a quadrillion calculations per second to help scientists figure out how to keep the lights on.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Clearly we need a new way of distributing/storing power in more effective ways.  But the leson here is that our power grid is old and problem-filled.  NOT that we should be de-emphasizing more responsible, sustainable energy sources.

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Rings of population change by block

Rings of population change by block | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A great tool for impact, etc.-focused study of localized climate change consequences, environmental justice issues, vulnerability to increasingly probably hazards in the coastal zone, etc.

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Study highlights challenges of using invasive plants as feedstock

Study highlights challenges of using invasive plants as feedstock | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
According to a recent study at the University of Illinois, harvesting invasive plants for use as biofuels may sound like a great idea, but the reality poses numerous obstacles and is too expensive to consider.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We have found the same thing with analyses of using prolific invasive species here in southern California.  The basic problem is that the most noxious invaders are not in locations where easy transportation corridors exist.  The next big hurdle is the fact that we would (hopefully) have a big immediate impact locally...forcing the harvesters to constantly be moving to new sites for material collection.

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Where Does Your T-Shirt Come From? Follow Its Global Journey

Where Does Your T-Shirt Come From? Follow Its Global Journey | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Best viewed in full screen mode A simple cotton T-shirt doesn’t seem quite so simple when you try to trace the vast global process involved in making i
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Where does your t-shirt come from?

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Oakland bike summit: What's next for cycling advocates?

Oakland bike summit: What's next for cycling advocates? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
What do 200 or so bicycle advocates from all corners of California do over the course of a four-day summit in Oakland?
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Thanksgiving Day turkey by the numbers

Thanksgiving Day turkey by the numbers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Happy Thanksgiving , turkey eaters.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Turkeyday Stats.

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Russia’s silence on climate change helps no one

Russia’s silence on climate change helps no one | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Russia is the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gases, but has shown little initiative and remained quiet among the turmoil at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) climate summit in Warsaw. The hottest issues under discussion – of compensation for loss and damage and historical responsibility – appear of little relevance to the country. Her delegation openly admits it prefers to concentrate on negotiating the terms of a new, post-Kyoto agreement. While experts claim climate negotiations have little economic and political importance for Russia’s transition economy, climate change is in fact set to deliver drastic damage to the country.

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Top five hackathon solutions from 2013 | Green Futures Magazine

Top five hackathon solutions from 2013 | Green Futures Magazine | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
From renewable energy grid monitors to smart recycling bins, smart use of data and software offers up solutions to sustainability challenges.

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I particularly like the thermostat and the ev pinger.

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Copenhagen Wheel bike booster rolls out, available for pre-order

Copenhagen Wheel bike booster rolls out, available for pre-order | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
For four years we thought it was vaporware, but they have been working away in stealth mode and have now launched publicly.
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Measuring Fukushima's Impact: How Geeks and Hackers Got Geiger Counters to the Masses

Measuring Fukushima's Impact: How Geeks and Hackers Got Geiger Counters to the Masses | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Thousands of ordinary people have contributed to a crowd-sourced effort to measure Fukushima's impact.

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

My colleagues were originally trying to participate in this, but it fell through for some reason.

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30 vintage ads for brands you still eat

30 vintage ads for brands you still eat | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Don't be surprised if some of these well-known brands gracing your grocery list were staples for your grandparents or great-grandparents, too.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

How we describe the products that are important to us has always fascinating to me.  We can all do a much better job of pitching and selling products that are more sustainable.  Check out these old adds for food products from yesteryear.

 

I found the ads implying ladies can't golf and Coke being the key to workplace productivity to be the best of the lot.

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5 lessons from the Japanese “kaizen” approach to sustainability

5 lessons from the Japanese “kaizen” approach to sustainability | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
By turning to kaizen principles, Beaumont Health System has saved significant energy and money. 
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Gaming to Help Farmers

Gaming to Help Farmers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A computer game wants you to map the world's cropland so farmers can get more out of each harvest.

Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

These types of approaches to crowd sourcing are becoming bigger and bigger by the day it seems.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 3, 2013 12:22 PM

NPR has recently highlighted Crop Capture; Crop Capture is a game that uses Google Earth imagery to crowd-source agricultural data.  From a pedagogical standpoint, this is a great way to visually introduce students the variety of agricultural landscapes that can be found around the world.  This is an example of what many refer to as citizen science games which provides an alternative rationale for playing the game.


Tags: agriculture, food production, mapping, geospatial, edtech.

Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 17, 2013 4:34 PM

This is cool, there are many agricultural types and you can see It here. different land areas have different soil and chemicals in it which certain types of crops can benefit from. It is important to know these things. 

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In Study, a History Lesson on the Costs of Hurricanes - New York Times

Scientists said as wealth and property values increase, recovering from hurricanes could become more expensive in the future.
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Kentucky seeks to preserve role for coal in state's energy future | Reclaiming mountains | Kentucky.com

Kentucky seeks to preserve role for coal in state's energy future | Reclaiming mountains | Kentucky.com | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Weatherizing homes and using more renewable energy could be part of Kentucky's program to lower carbon-dioxide pollution, but the model the state favors also would preserve a role for coal in electricity production.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is simply crazy.

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Ontario, Canada Moves Toward Outlawing Coal Power Plants

Ontario, Canada Moves Toward Outlawing Coal Power Plants | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Canadian province of Ontario is pushing legislation that would outlaw the use of coal for power generation.

Via clare wormald
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What Are Traffic Waves and Why Do They Happen So Much?

What Are Traffic Waves and Why Do They Happen So Much? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
By Lewis Lehe and Matthew Green Who doesn't love sitting in traffic? Especially when there's no apparent reason for it: no crashes, no tolls, no flaming
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Why congested freeways are not that efficient and cause the freakish "eveybody stops, but there is no accident" situation that drives everyone insane.

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Find a Christmas tree to suit your style

Find a Christmas tree to suit your style | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The noble can handle a variety of decorating styles, from no-light Scandinavian with handmade red and white ornaments and ribbons to full-blown glamour with lights, colorful globes and coordinating garland.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

In the war of which is more sustainable: none, live tree, cut tree, or plastic tree....all I'll say is you need to have the smell of a fresh conifer in your home to make the season smell right.

 

I offer this quick overview of the commonly available species/approaches.

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Design News - Engineering Materials - Report: Gasification R&D Focuses on Non-Recycled Plastics

Design News - Engineering Materials - Report: Gasification R&D Focuses on Non-Recycled Plastics | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill.

Via AimForGood
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