Browsing Archive: December, 2014

Broken Ankle

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Sunday, December 28, 2014,
I have not posted anything for a week because I broke my ankle last week while ice skating. Since I have to keep my left foot elevated, this limits the amount of time I can sit at the computer. Someone who saw me with crutches asked me if I had been "climbing trees". She was referring to this incident last spring. I never imagined ice skating could be riskier! 
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A Possible Substitute for Lithium

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Sunday, December 21, 2014, In : environmental news 
The central theme of this article is a new technology that improves the performance of lithium batteries. Unless you are in this field (I am not) you may struggle to understand the breakthrough the author is describing. I confess that I never really "got it", but what caught my attention was that this new process might allow for electric vehicle batteries that use sodium instead of lithium for their battery packs. This is very significant because lithium is a rare metal that must be imported ...
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Using a Multimeter to Measure Conductivity in a Water Sample

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Friday, December 19, 2014, In : lab procedure explanations 
I just put out a new video showing an alternative means for measuring conductivity for those who do not have a conductivity meter. This procedure applies to Lab 1-4 (Solution Chemistry of Natural Waters). While making this video I first tried using a 9-volt battery to provide the current, but the amperage reading kept dropping. I learned later that this happens when the voltage drops. This is often a problem with zinc batteries that are not fresh. Only then I decided to switch to a lead acid ...
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American-made 84 mpg car that sells for less than $7000

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, In : environmental news 
The problem with hybrids and electric vehicles is that they are still very expensive to produce. This car from a new company called "Elio Motors" does not rely on government subsidies or tax rebates for its incredibly low price. The airplane cockpit design is for purposes of cutting down air resistance. From all appearances, this car only seats two, but given that the popular "Smart" car which gets less than 40 mpg and costs over $12,000, this car seems to be a much better deal.
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Cost Effectiveness of Photovoltaics

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Monday, December 15, 2014, In : environmental news 
This TED Talk is not that new, and a bit longer than usual, but the speaker does a pretty good job of summarizing how to set up photovoltaics in your home. The main reason I am posting this is because, much like Lab 3-9 (Photovoltaic Cell Dynamics)  and this corresponding video, the speaker presents a calculation for how many years are needed for the photovoltaic panels to pay for themselves. He bases his calculation on the "cost per watt hour" of photovoltaics. My calculation is based on "co...
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Feed Conversion in Mealworms Video

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Saturday, December 13, 2014, In : lab procedure explanations 
I just put out a new video based on a procedure I included in the second edition. I first described how the idea for this procedure came about in this post back in July. The last portion of the video provides more equations than most instructors will need, but keep in mind that these videos are also for student use.
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Dose-Response to Carbon Dioxide

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, In : lab procedure explanations 
This semester I am not teaching environmental science, but for display purposes I have been setting up a few experiments. One which got a lot of attention at the booth I rented at the Pennsylvania Science Teacher Association conference last week was the algae culture I produced by applying different doses of carbon dioxide. Below are the I got after 3 and 8 weeks. The bottles in each picture are placed in order of decreasing doses of carbon dioxide (the last bottle on the right is the control...
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About this blog

This blog was originally created in January 2013 to serve as a means for providing updates on science activities from the environmental science lab manual Ecology, Development, and Sustainability. I have now expanded its purpose to include other items of interest to science teachers. 

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