Browsing Archive: March, 2015

Update on Fuel Cells

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Sunday, March 22, 2015, In : environmental news 

In the past, I gave some tips on teaching about fuel cells. The main advantage of fuels cells over rechargeable batteries is energy density: Rechargeable batteries must carry with them all components of the oxidation-reduction reaction that generates current. In contrast, fuel cells vehicles are lighter because (like combustion engines) they only need to transport the reducing agent (what is referred to in plain English as “fuel”). Unfortunately, most fuel cells only run ...


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Moving Bicycles and Pedestrians Underground

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Thursday, March 19, 2015, In : environmental news 

In downtown Houston there is a 6-mile network of underground tunnels and second story catwalks that allow pedestrians to walk to many popular buildings without experiencing the summer heat. I often made use of these between the classes I taught at the University of Houston, not because I could not tolerate the heat, but because it allowed me to walk indefinitely without having to cross any streets. Many of these tunnels had shops, restaurants, and spaces for art, so there was...


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Update on the Car from Elio Motors

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Friday, March 13, 2015, In : environmental news 
Here an an update on a post I made in the past about a highly affordable 84 mpg car that will soon be produced in the U.S. An interesting and commonsensical point made by Mr. Elio in the video is how mass is the main factor determining fuel economy in the city, just as aerodynamics determines mpg on the highway. Interestingly, this car is legally classified as a type of "motorcycle" and the manufacturers are trying to persuade some states not to require the drivers to wear helmets. When I liv...
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Two Items on Hypereutrophication

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, In : environmental news 

This interview of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s director Alan Girard hits close to home because I live only 40 minutes from this important estuary. Much concern has been raised due to Governor Hogan’s easing of regulations addressing nutrient runoff into the Bay. However, what mainly caught my attention was how Girard singled out the use of manure fertilization as a very significant source of nutrient pollution into the bay. Traditionally, organic fertilizers (like manure) were regarded...


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Correlation Between Personality and Terrain Preference

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, In : environmental news 

I like both mountains and ocean shores, but if I have to choose one I prefer the ocean. A new study implies that introverts prefer mountains and extraverts prefer the seaside. Apparently this preference is related to the likelihood of socializing in the given environment since mountains are regarded as more “secluded” (this probably rules out skiing resorts). I am not an introvert, but I do prefer secluded beaches because of their natural beauty, especially if there are s...


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More on the Ethanol Racket

Posted by Antonio Chaves on Sunday, March 1, 2015, In : environmental news 
This article about the European Union's Ban on First Generation Biofuels contains two videos that succinctly describe the damage of the ethanol racket on the environment and politics. According to the first video the mandate was started by George W. Bush, but Obama pretty much ran with it. The second video describes how congressman Charles Grassley goes after an oil company that chooses not want to sell E-85 (an crappy product that almost nobody wants due to its low energy density and destruc...
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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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