Week 1, PSC 320 Winter 2019

Global Energy Consumption Back to PSC 320 Main Website

Monday’s Class : Introductions, and discussion.
Before Class

  • Read syllabus on main class website. This determines your grade. Know it, OK?
  • Please take this short survey before Monday’s class. It counts as a video.
  • Please go to the project page (link on main class website). Take a look at the projects and consider which ones interest you… or maybe you have your own project you’re interested in?
  • Help me determine office hours by filling out the doodle poll of when you think you will want to come to my office.
  • Please carefully read this article that bleakly describes what we’re up against: Bill McKibben in the New Yorker. It’s pretty dark, so manage the depression as best you can until we get together to explore solutions. This is a magical time because we actually know and can see the consequences of our actions; and as a society, we can respond to solve the challenges… or choose not to. In any case, please read, and we’ll talk about this in class.
  • In case the above didn’t alarm you, please read this NPR article summarizing recent climate change publications.
  • Please watch this video: Intro_Energy_Conversion….In order to get credit for the videos, you will have to get a subscription to PlayPosit, which is free. You will be prompted for a password when you click on a video link for the first time. Sign up for the PSC320 Winter 2019 (light purple icon). Please make up a password that you will remember, because retrieving them is hard.

During Class
Talk about Projects

Wednesday’s Class :

Explain how wellbeing is coupled to wealth only for the very poor.

Identify different kinds of energy stocks and flows. Recognize 3 different primary energy sources

Make energy transition diagram from primary energy to radiant cooling

Before Class

  • I greatly appreciated what I learned from you all during our first class. In particular, about how American society is moving through (Kübler Ross’s) 5 steps of grief… or at least the youth in California. It was also great to hear that the despair isn’t overblown. I’ve heard before, “this is the worst time ever to be graduating.” But I think it’s important to keep things in perspective. How about 1938, right before WW II? Born into slavery and/or war in many parts of the world? We also understand that you have the longest life expectancy ever. Your children will not die of polio, yellow fever, the plague. Very likely we will all die, just as all humans before us, and we will have changes to navigate before we do. However, what’s special now (to me) is we have a global scientific and societal awareness of what’s happening. We understand the effects of our environmental choices on the environment and other peoples. Think of how this is in stark contrast with (very shortly ago) when I was a kid and governments could deny having taken military action. You could never get away with that today as we watch military events in real time with social media. Accountability has changed. At Berkeley, I worked with Dan Kammen, director of Berkeley’s Energy and Resource Group (ERG). He became Obama’s energy advisor before Obama won the election. Dan would often say that future generations would look back to today as the time when we as a society figured it out and fixed the climate problem…. or decided not to. And today we see that we are still doing both of these. To me, for this reason, with this global awareness, this must be the most exciting time to be alive there ever was…. and maybe ever will be. This to me is our obligation and opportunity. As the quarter progresses, we will learn some facts, explore opportunities, and make decisions about how each of us wants to be. As the course director, I will pressure you to express a decision. However, I am committed to accept the decision that each of you makes about your direction and priorities.
  • Dropping_Rock_Conversion
  • Happiness_and_Energy_I
  • Rossling_Ignorance
  • Please read this recent NPR article about global carbon (dioxide) emissions. It’s a good follow up on McKibben’s ominous New Yorker piece.
  • I’ve posted office hours on the main class website: Office hours: MWF: 11-noonTR: 3-4, subject to change in the next week. 
  • give your project some thought. If money is an issue, I have $3000 of funds available in my “Appropriate Technology” IRA (Instructionally Related Activities). Feel free to look at last year’s projects (link on main class website.) but they may not be a good indicator of what we can do. What would you be interested in actually doing, and/or exploring? Would implementing solar electric cooking in Nepal be interesting? I also noticed many people are interested in teaching. I have an open invitation to teach an elective Thursdays at 2 PM at Teach Elementary School for five weeks this winter. Maybe a group can come up with and deliver an interesting energy activity for kids to do?

During Class
Talk about Projects

After Class

How can we decouple well-being from CO2 emissions

Will the poor countries develop the same way we did? Is it important to us that they don’t?… the answer should be YES! Why?

Friday Class:

Before Class

  • NOTE! additional office hours have been posted on the main class website, in the learning center with Matt. So now you have 5 office hours at my office and three in the learning center.
  • We spoke about population Wednesday in class. I found this website about land surface area. You can see that India (with 4 times the USA population) has… well, please check it out.
  • Happiness Emissions Decoupling
  • Read about recent news in Global Happiness.
  • US Human Energy Flows or US Energy Flows. Which one do you like better?
  • This article by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) describes global CO2 emissions against different strategy scenarios. You may find it rather dry and technical… please have a look and carefully consider what’s happening in the two graphs.
  • Please read how NYC and California have (so far unsuccessfully) tried to sue energy companies for climate change.
  • Projects! I have updates on two projects: (1) The teaching at Teach project. I’m sorry to report that they start tomorrow, and I failed to submit the application in time. You are still welcome to participate to help them, and also do something in teaching, but you will need to find a different place to do the work. (2) SunWork is going to visit our class on Friday, Feb. 8, running both the class and activity section. They use volunteers to install solar panels. During our class, they will teach us about solar panel installation. One project group is invited to join them to actually install solar panels during the weekend. If this interests you, please read this short document.

During Class

  • Big Exam #1
  • Discuss first intervention

After Class

  • Don’t throw anything away for a week. See experiences for past students (link on main website)

Friday Activity: Activity for Calculating Heat of Combustion!

Before Activity

During Activity

  • We will make a calorimeter, heating water (in calories) by burning something of known energy content (like candle wax)

After Activity

  • Review problem set #1 questions