Archive for December, 2009

APES: The Semester In Review

December 16, 2009

I wanted to follow up on one of the conversations we had earlier today in APES. If someone asks you what you did in school today, or for the semester, don’t tell them, “Nuthin.” Pick any (or all) of these things…

• Collected Particulate Air Pollution in downtown Birmingham and at home.
• Learned the basics of Climatology
• Compared microclimate variations in Birmingham and Summit County, Colorado.
• Remembered how water (humidity) moderates temperatures. Damn, that high specific heat and high heat of vaporization, it never goes away.
• Investigated the natural capital of Earth’s major biomes and looked at how natural capital influenced human culture within each biome.
• Applied simple ecosystem models to the Cahaba River and Little Cahaba Rivers.
• Caught six species of fishes in the Little Cahaba River.
• Caught over 20 families of aquatic macro invertebrates in the Little Cahaba River.
• Calculated the species diversity of leaf litter invertebrates. Remember, “The  Fall of the Kryptozoa.”
• Generated visual models of botched management strategies for major aquatic ecosystems.
• Investigated human demographics and economic realities of developed and developing countries.
• Uncovered the ugly truth about your family’s water consumption.
• Mined for coal and learned about profit margins and spot prices for non-renewable energy.
• Researched feasible , progressive regional energy policies for the US.
• Wrote policy to improve Birmingham’s Air Quality, decrease congestion on our highways and pave the way for sustainable economic development in the City Center.
(And you thought that first lab was just an excuse to get outside in August.)

I enjoyed having each of you in APES this year. I trust you learned something. Remember to apply what you learned to your daily behavior. Those little things do add up.
I know that some days in APES can be pretty depressing. Our resources are limited, the planet is crowded, and the environmental problems we face are tangled and thorny. Despite the reality of this moment, I believe that now is the most exciting time in human history to be alive. The opportunities for real progress, and the chance to change the world for the better, are palpably close.


CES: Final Exam, Wednesday, December 16, 10:00am

December 14, 2009

Man, I hope I have the day and time right. I think I do. Anyway, I know I’ve got the content correct. As I promised, I am giving you an overview of my expectations for the final. The exam will be all graphing, tables and short answer. All your claims should be backed up with accurate evidence. Your reasons should reflect appropriate scientific principles related to population ecology and aquatic ecosystems.

Here’s what the exam looks like:

I. Graphing Data: Use the data you collected on Lemna spp. growth over the last two weeks (and a graphing template on page two) and graph all of the following:..

II. Using Thali as your population indicator calculate the miniumum maximum, and average (mean) growth rate…

III. Claims (back them up with evidence from above)…

IV. REASONS (here’s where you get to tell me what you think, based on scientific principles.)…

APES: The Class You Can’t Escape

December 12, 2009

Aditi brought up the Kingston, TN,  coal ash disaster  in class on Friday. I received the following email and Birmingham News report from the Cahaba River Society this afternoon. It seems air quality issues and power generation are tied to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Who’d a thunk it? Y’all would after a semester of APES. The entire letter can be found on a a page called Kingston Mine. Untagling the connectiong in this article  could serve as another final exam for APES.

PESTLE Update: The working draft is available

December 11, 2009

D’Andre just emailed me your working draft. It’s contained on the page called, “PESTLE…Round 3” Get some decent work done over the weekend. Remember, everyone has to agree on every word. That is consensus.
You will be back in your sectors on Tuesday. The physical space between everyone will provide a good perspective on the text.
We will clean everything up, and have a quick signing ceremony on Tuesday.

apes, week 18: Pounding out the PESTLE

December 7, 2009

Hey kids, check the columns to see where we stand so far on our final project.

Monday (12/7) should be productive. On Friday you started thinking about “next steps” and forming natural partnerships with other sectors. On Monday I want us to come up  want each sector to come up with 2 or 3 agenda items for the policy paper. We will step back and look for two things. One, look for  items have natual connections. Second, look for  agenda items that are completely at odds with eachother.

As we move forward on Monday I want you to think about a couple of guiding principles. Remeber that every word we write has to be agreed upon by consensus. That means that everyone must agree that every paragraph/sentence/word matters, and they fit the goal of the final document. I think it will be easier to come to consensus on every word, every sentence, and every paragraph if we think hard about our initial ideas and make good descisions early.

Look for the pages on the right to fill up as we move through the process. I know we are dealing with a short clock, but we need to be writing by Wednesday. Oh yeah, and one more thing: Roll Tide.

CES, Week 18: More on Pop Eco (Population Ecology)

December 7, 2009

Monday (12/7): Check Lemna, Meet “K” every population does eventually

Tuesday (12/8): Suvivorship Curves and introduction to “r” and “K” selection

Wednesday (12/9): Check Lemna, Life Histories

Thursday (12/10): Darwinian Evolution I

Friday (12/11): Darwinian Evolution II