Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day News from campuses on the 2012 campaign trail


For Earth Day, I'm going to be a good environmentalist and recycle. In this case, it's the sustainability stories from last night's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Earth Day 2012 edition) on Daily Kos. As I've mentioned before, I'm in the middle of a long-term project on Daily Kos to highlight the research stories from the public universities* in each of the states having elections and caucuses during the week. This week, the featured states are Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. That said, the top story today is about colleges, not from them, as it comes from Discovery News.

Green 16: Top Colleges Make Earth Day Honors
Analysis by Sarah Simpson
Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:25 AM ET
Just in time for Earth Day, the Princeton Review has released its 2012 Guide to Green Colleges. The 232-page guide is the only free, comprehensive guide to green colleges that is updated annually.

This third edition of the book salutes the nation's most environmentally responsible "green colleges." It profiles 322 institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

To produce this book, Princeton Review partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council, a national nonprofit organization best known for developing the LEED green building rating system. The partners based their choices on a 2011 survey of hundreds of colleges to tally The Princeton Review's annual "Green Rating" scores (scaled from 60 to 99). Schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment.
The top 16 colleges and universities, all of which received the maximum score of 99, are:
  • American University
  • Arizona State University
  • College of the Atlantic
  • Dickinson College
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Harvard College
  • Northeastern University
  • Oregon State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • State University of New York at Binghamton
  • University of California—Santa Cruz
  • University of Maine
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point
  • Virginia Tech
  • Warren Wilson College
SUNY Binghamton gets to toot its own horn later in this post. Look for an excerpt from the press release over the fold.

*Cornell is an Ivy League school, and thus a private school, but it is also a land grant school, so it receives public funding. SUNY even lists some of the university's colleges and schools as state institutions in its directory. So, it qualifies for this list, barely.

General Sustainability

The history of Earth Day at Penn State
Thursday, April 19, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- On the first Earth Day in 1970, Frisbees hovered over the HUB lawn as students wearing bell-bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts gathered to celebrate nature. April 22 marks 42 years since the first Earth Day was observed; at Penn State, the Frisbees remain, but everything else has changed.

Penn State was a different place in 1970. The HUB was half the size it is today, student population was half what is is now, in fact just about everything at Penn State was half what it is today. There was no Bryce Jordan Center, no Eisenhower Auditorium, no Eastview Terrace, and no buildings west of North Atherton except for the Water Tunnel complex. The milky way could still be seen from the HUB lawn in the wee hours of a clear night and two observatories existed on the edge of campus where the Eisenhower Parking Deck now stands.

The first Earth day evolved from the student anti-war movement and the photographs of Earth as seen from lunar orbit by the crew of Apollo 8. As the fragility of our planet became widely understood, Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day to mobilize the nation in support of conservation and to fight air and water pollution.
University of Connecticut: Celebrating Earth Day
By: Max Sinton
April 20, 2012
Hundreds of students gathered in the center of campus Thursday to celebrate UConn’s 5th annual Earth Day Spring Fling.

The outdoor festival, sponsored by the Office of Environmental Policy and the Department of Dining Services, included local organic food for purchase, green technology and eco-friendly business displays, presentations by UConn’s schools, colleges, and student organizations, and Mt. Sneaker, UConn’s annual sneaker recycling initiative.
University of Rhode Island: Earth Day on the Quad
Wednesday, April 18 at 10:30am to 3:30pm
URI Quadrangle University of RI

Photo of Earth Day on the QuadCome out to the quad to celebrate our Earth! Earth-friendly vendors, environmental activity booths, demonstrations, awareness posters, tie-dye, and other fun activities!
Temple University: Sustainability Week focuses on learning by doing
Laura Kuserk
Posted Apr 4, 2012
Have you ever wanted to try yoga or learn how to can or jam your own preserves? Maybe you want to try going vegetarian, but need more guidance. During Campus Sustainability Week, April 9-14, you can learn these skills and more.

The year’s recognition of green living is centered around a simple call to action: “learn by doing.” Many of the week’s events include workshops and demonstrations that offer staff, students and faculty and opportunity to develop useful pursuits that can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Kathleen Grady, sustainability coordinator in the Office of Sustainability, says the week is about making personal decisions that will ultimately impact the greater good.
SUNY Brockport: Brockport Named a Top Green College by The Princeton Review
Brockport featured in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges”
April 18, 2012
BROCKPORT, NY—The College at Brockport, State University of New York, has again been recognized for its commitment to sustainability. For the third consecutive year, Brockport has been featured in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.

The publication highlights a number of Brockport’s sustainability initiatives, including the newly renovated Thompson Residence Hall—a LEED Gold certified facility. It also mentions the 2007 opening of a 52-unit townhome complex that features the use of geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling, specialized insulation and two storm water ponds that reduce runoff into local streams and creeks. Twenty percent of the College’s food comes from local purveyors and farms, a five percent increase from last year.

“The College at Brockport is a strong proponent of sustainability,” says Brockport President John R. Halstead, PhD. “We are firmly committed to building and maintaining an environmentally friendly atmosphere in which our students can learn, live, and grow.”
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry: ESF Students Worry about Humans’ Relationship with Earth
Earth Week time capsule documents concerns for future
What kind of place will Earth be in another 25 years? The answers offered by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) students as part of an Earth Week 2012 project reflect their hopes for balance, education and sustainability.

The students' comments have been incorporated into a video that will be placed in a time capsule to be sealed shut April 17 during Earth Week. In 25 years, when the capsule is opened, those same students will be invited back to campus to see how many of their concerns were addressed.

Among 25 students interviewed by fellow students, three main themes emerged: balancing human need with the environment, educating people about environmental concerns and finding environmentally sustainable solutions to fossil fuel usage. Concerns about clean water, clean food, clean fuel, and protection of wildlife and natural resources rounded out the comments.
SUNY Geneseo: The Princeton Review Recognizes Geneseo for Environmental Responsibility
April 20, 2012
GENESEO, N.Y. -- The State University of New York at Geneseo has been named among the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada by "The Princeton Review."

Geneseo is included in the organization's newly released publication "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges," published in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It's the third year the guide has been published and Geneseo has been included all three years. Ten other SUNY colleges are in this year's guide, which coincides with Earth Day April 22.

"This recognition reinforces the emphasis Geneseo continues to place on sustainability issues," said Kristina Hannam, associate professor of biology and co-chair of the college's President's Commission on Sustainability. "We look forward to continuing our progress toward sustainability and responsible stewardship of our planet's resources."
SUNY Stony Brook: Stony Brook Gets Good News On Earth Day
University named to Green College guide and earns accolades for recycling more than three million pounds of material in nationwide recycling competition
Apr 20, 2012 - 10:17:57 AM
STONY BROOK, NY, April 20, 2012 – Stony Brook University has been selected by The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as one of the nation’s most environmentally friendly or “green” colleges for the third year in a row in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” Additionally, Stony Brook put forth a strong showing in the 12th annual RecycleMania Tournament, recycling more than three million pounds of material in the eight-week competition against more than 600 colleges and universities in the nation. As part of its commitment to sustainability, Stony Brook is also celebrating the Earthstock Festival on Friday, April 20 in honor of Earth Day on April 22.

In the RecycleMania Tournament, Stony Brook recycled 144,000 pounds of bottles and cans, 187,000 pounds of corrugated cardboard, 311,000 pounds of paper, 2.3 million pounds of trash, 30,000 pounds of food service organics and 35,000 pounds of e-waste. The cumulative greenhouse gas reductions equal 360 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the removal of 191 cars off the road or the energy consumption of 95 households.

Stony Brook placed 17th out of 296 entries in the competition’s Gorilla category, which ranks universities on the total weight of bottles, cans, cardboard and recycled paper collected. This category’s ranking was the highest of any college or university in New York State. Stony Brook also placed eighth out of 67 entries in the E-Waste category for the total weight of recycled electronic waste.
Cornell University: New CARE-Cornell partnership to take on global concerns
April 19, 2012
Cornell and the global humanitarian organization CARE have launched CARE-Cornell -- a partnership that will merge Cornell's cutting-edge research with CARE's experience fighting poverty to create solutions for global concerns, including world hunger and climate change.

The partnership is focused on the world's most vulnerable populations.

"Our goal in this strategic partnership is to advance sustainable food systems, to strengthen the ability of women and their families, many of them facing chronic, severe food insecurity, to fight hunger and to adapt to climate change," said Cornell President David Skorton at the partnership's official launch, April 17, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Environment, including science

University of Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh and Electric Power Research Institute Researchers Develop Method to Fingerprint Air Pollution
This is first U.S. study to directly measure the isotopic fingerprint of power plant emissions
Apr 19, 2012
PITTSBURGH—A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) collected emissions samples from several power plant stacks in the United States and developed a unique method for detecting the isotopic signatures of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions under different configurations. These isotopic signatures will be instrumental in helping to identify emission sources of air pollution across the nation.

NOx emissions are formed during the combustion of fossil fuels in, for instance, internal combustion engines or power plants. NOx emissions mix with organic gases in the atmosphere to form ozone and particulate matter, the main components of smog. These emissions eventually settle onto surfaces, and the deposited material, primarily nitrate, carries a measurable isotopic signature. However, until now, scientists were unable to fully interpret these signatures because they lacked the “fingerprints” of various NOx emission sources.

Pitt and EPRI researchers developed a method of extracting NOx emission samples from one of these sources—the stacks of coal-fired power plants—and measuring their isotopic composition. Sampling took place at facilities with and without advanced NOx-reducing technologies. Researchers discovered that emissions from power plants employing the advanced NOx controls had different proportions of the 15N atom in the NOx they emitted than the plants without the advanced technologies or NOx emissions from other sources. With this information, scientists will be able to analyze deposition samples and better determine the sources contributing to the deposited NOx products.
Penn State University: Research reveals deep-ocean impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Compelling evidence of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea corals has been found by a team led by Penn State Professor of Biology Chuck Fisher.
Monday, March 26, 2012

Compelling evidence of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea corals will be published online in the Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week beginning March 26. The diverse team of researchers, led by Penn State Professor of Biology Charles Fisher, used a wide range of underwater vehicles, including the research submarine Alvin, to investigate the corals. They also used comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography to determine precisely the source of the petroleum hydrocarbons they found.
The study's findings are significant for a number of reasons, White said.

"These biological communities in the deep Gulf of Mexico are separated from human activity at the surface by 4,000 feet of water. We would not expect deep-water corals to be impacted by a typical oil spill, but the sheer magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its release at depth make it very different from a tanker running aground and spilling its contents. Because of the unprecedented nature of the spill, we have learned that its impacts are more far reaching than those arising from smaller spills that occur on the surface."
This is a story that should have been in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Yuri's Night 2012 edition), but since the second anniversary of the beginning of the Deepwater Horizon spill was yesterday, it still has news value.

Penn State University: Oil-spill clean-up may be made easier by carbon-nanotube technology
Monday, April 16, 2012
For the first time, researchers at Penn State University and Rice University have created solid, spongy blocks of carbon nanotubes that have an astounding ability to clean up oil spills in water. Separating oil from seawater is just one of a range of potential applications for the new material formed using carbon and a dash of boron. The international team, which includes Mauricio Terrones, a professor of physics and of materials science and engineering at Penn State; Pulickel Ajayan, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering at Rice University; and other scientists from the United States, Spain, Belgium and Japan, has published the results of its research in Nature's online journal Scientific Reports.

Terrones explained that carbon nanotubes are tiny tubes with diameters ranging from 1-50 nanometers -- much narrower than the width of a human hair. They are also 100 times stronger than steel and about one sixth the weight. "Our goal was to find a way to make three-dimensional networks of these carbon nanotubes that would form a macroscale fabric -- a spongy block of nanotubes that would be big and thick enough to be used to clean up oil spills and to perform other tasks," Terrones said. "We realized that the trick was adding boron -- which is a chemical element that is next to carbon on the periodic table -- because boron helps to trigger the interconnections of the material. To add the boron, we used very high temperatures and we then 'knitted' the substance into the nanotube fabric."
Penn State University: Researchers aim to lessen clash between raptors, wind turbines
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Golden eagles love Pennsylvania's ridge-and-valley region. The hunched-up topography, with its long linear corridors running southwest to northeast, makes a perfect thruway for their spring and fall migrations. Sustained updrafts along the ridge crests are a particular boon to these and other large raptors, who rely on lift for soaring long distances.

According to wildlife biologist and Penn State doctoral candidate Trish Miller, those same ridges are perfect for generating wind energy. Unfortunately, birds and wind turbines don't always get along.

In northern California, where wind power is prevalent, the clash is a deadly one: at Altamont Pass, a large wind farm near San Francisco, 65-70 golden eagles are felled every year, Miller noted. A new, taller generation of turbines has bettered the chances for some species but not the aerial hunters, who fly relatively high and focused on their prey.
University of Connecticut: Genomic Research Sheds New Light on Extinct Tasmanian Tiger
April 18, 2012
By: Christine Buckley, CLAS Today

The enigmatic Tasmanian tiger, also known as the thylacine, was hunted to extinction in the wild at the turn of the 20th century, and the last one died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1936.

Now scientists have sequenced a portion of the thylacine genome, showing that like its cousin, the Tasmanian devil, it had extremely low genetic variability. Having poor genetic health makes animals more susceptible to diseases, which can threaten the survival of the species.

The results suggest that both animals’ genetic makeup was affected by their isolation from mainland Australia.
Penn State University: Probing Question: What causes trees to be diseased?
By Melissa Beattie-Moss
Friday, April 13, 2012
Research/Penn State
From the delicate cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C. to the towering redwoods of northern California, many towns and institutions across the nation are known and loved for their iconic trees. Count the majestic elms of Penn State's University Park campus among these beloved arboreal symbols—but if you literally count them, you'll notice there are fewer today than ever.

The culprit is elm yellows, a disease that threatens the health of over 200 majestic American elms on the Penn State campus. Elm yellows is just one of many tree diseases that contribute to the decline and death of trees in the United States.

What are the main causes of American tree diseases and have we made progress in preventing and treating them?
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry: ESF Returns American Chestnut to New York City
Majestic species to be planted near location where its decline was discovered
The once-mighty American chestnut tree, which was virtually wiped out by a pathogenic fungus that arrived in New York City more than 100 years ago, returned April 18 to the area where it was first discovered in the Bronx.

Researchers from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, N.Y., with supporters from The American Chestnut Foundation, planted 10 transgenic American chestnut trees at a test site in The New York Botanical Garden. The scientists say there is reason to believe this field trial will reveal a variety of American chestnut that can survive a blight attack.

"We've been working on this for a long time and are looking at many genes. One particular gene has become my favorite," said Dr. William Powell, a plant biotechnology expert at ESF. "And over the years it has convinced me that this gene is going to do the trick."
Society, including culture and politics

University of Rhode Island on YouTube: URI's "Explorer"

URI grad and Professor of Oceanography Robert Ballard talks about his big ideas for deep sea exploration. If you missed his April 19, 2012 lecture on finding the sunken Titanic, you can watch it here.
Penn State University: $3.5 million grant helps teachers help students
Thursday, April 19, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Improving the well being of teachers so they can better support their students is the goal of a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to a Penn State researcher.

The study will test a professional development program, called CARE for Teachers (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education), developed, in part, by Patricia Jennings, research assistant professor in the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Penn State and the current project's principal investigator.

According to Jennings, emotional stress is a growing problem among teachers.

"Teachers often have problems managing their behavior when they get upset by challenging student behaviors," said Jennings. "When this happens, they may resort to punitive and harsh responses, which can lead to power struggles with children and derail learning."
Penn State University: Depression may lead mothers to wake babies
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Depressed mothers are more likely to needlessly wake up their infants at night than mothers who are not depressed, according to Penn State researchers.

"We found that mothers with high depressive symptom levels are more likely to excessively worry about their infants at night than mothers with low symptom levels, and that such mothers were more likely to seek out their babies at night and spend more time with their infants than mothers with low symptom levels," said Douglas M. Teti, associate director of the Social Science Research Institute and professor of human development, psychology and pediatrics.

"This, in turn, was associated with increased night waking in the infants of depressed mothers, compared to the infants of non-depressed mothers," Teti said. "Especially interesting about this was that when depressed mothers sought out their infants at night, their infants did not appear to be in need of parental help. They were either sound asleep or perhaps awake, but not distressed."

In contrast, mothers with low levels of worry and depressive symptoms rarely woke their infants out of a sound sleep and hardly went to their infants at night unless the infants were distressed.
University of Connecticut: A Swing and a Hit: Students Flock to New Class on Baseball and Society
By: Stephanie Reitz
April 13, 2012
When Amy Holland ’12 (CLAS) signed up for a new course on the history of baseball, some family members were so suspicious that she had “senioritis” that she emailed the syllabus to them to prove its rigor.

In just its first few months, the three-credit class taught by family studies professor Steven Wisensale has drawn raves from students for its wide-ranging and challenging lessons on the sport’s history, cultural implications, and influence in areas ranging from race relations to public finance.

Wisensale’s class, “Baseball and Society: Politics, Economics, Race, and Gender,” is offered through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he is a longtime professor, and also cross-listed with Women’s Studies and African-American Studies.
I know, it's not science. It's still cool.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry: ESF Professor Advises U.K. Leaders on Energy Issues
Charles Hall visits Parliament, Oxford for week of meetings
ESF Professor Charles Hall spent a week in the United Kingdom in late March, giving presentations on and discussing energy and economic issues with British business, education and governmental leaders, including members of Parliament.

Hall, a systems ecologist with an interest in energy, biophysical economics and the links between energy and society, said he was invited to the United Kingdom to share his knowledge of the connection between global economic problems and the end of cheap energy.

"Our massive economic growth over the past 150 years has been closely associated with, and dependent upon, a similar growth in energy use, especially oil. But we're not growing economically much any more," Hall said. "And all of our economic theories are built on the principle that economies grow. We're entering the second half of the age of oil, a time during which the production of oil can no longer increase year after year. It will eventually decline and it's going to be very different."
Penn State University: Technology's power to misinform dims utopian hopes
Monday, April 16, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The ability for computer technology to automatically create a society of smart, tolerant citizens may be more hype and hope than reality, according to a Penn State Altoona researcher.

"We have to rethink some of our most common assumptions about modern life and, specifically, we need to rethink assumptions that the information age will naturally lead to a society that is intelligent and scientifically literate," said Shaheed Nick Mohammed, associate professor of communications. "In fact, we may have moved backwards in many respects."

Mohammed, who published his critique on information technology and new media in the book, "The (Dis)information Age: The Persistence of Ignorance" (Peter Lang Publishing, 2012), said that more information and more communication technologies may not necessarily lead to the intelligent use of that information.
Cornell University: Design, ergonomics students to present infographics study
By Christa Nianiatus
April 17, 2012
In a culture awash in data, infographics -- visual representations of facts and figures -- are vital to communicating complicated information on websites, in books and newspapers and elsewhere.

Using eye-tracking technology, Cornell students and professors in interior design and ergonomics have joined together to uncover new details about how people absorb infographics and to develop recommendations for how to improve them. The findings, to be presented at the Fourth International Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics Conference, July 21-25, in San Francisco, will be published as a chapter in the conference book.
Economy, including technology

University of Connecticut: Marketing to Generation Y
By: Richard Veilleux
April 19, 2012
A marketing class in UConn’s School of Business is one of 20 in the country selected to put together a marketing plan to help Honda motors reach Generation Y consumers and convince them to slide into a Honda Civic Coupe when they’re ready for their next car purchase.

“It’s a great learning experience,” says Ashley Greenwood, a UConn senior and head of public relations for one of six teams the students set up. “It’s not every day a course gives you a real budget to work with.”

The budget – $3,000 – comes from Honda, which is hoping that the students, from colleges in different regions of the country, can provide valuable research on how they can reach Generation Y consumers, a market that doesn’t relate to Honda’s “suits.”
University of Delaware: INBRE projects
Catalyzing biomedical research in Delaware
April 19, 2012
Eight pilot research projects led by Delaware investigators were selected for their scientific merit in cancer, cardiovascular health and neurosciences, supported by Delaware’s IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program.

INBRE is a partnership funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the state of Delaware among six academic and clinical institutions: the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Christiana Care Health System, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, Delaware Technical Community College and Wesley College.

In addition to proposing compelling scientific research, an INBRE-funded investigator also lays out a plan to seek longer-term funding from NIH and other sources, and is required to work with a scientific mentor.
University of Delaware: Investing in bioscience
Eight research projects, partners selected for first round of Bioscience CAT grants
April 17, 2012
The Delaware Biotechnology Institute and the Delaware Economic Development Office have announced eight research projects through the recently launched Delaware Bioscience Center for Advanced Technology (Bioscience CAT).

These CAT grants link researchers from Delaware academic and research institutions with local bioscience companies to create advanced technologies while investing in the bioscience community to ensure Delaware competes on the world stage in biotechnology innovation.

“These projects are addressing critical issues–ranging from cancer to alternative energies,” said Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. “With these talented researchers partnering with local bioscience companies, we are hoping to see a great impact that goes beyond Delaware.”
University of Delaware: Green computing
UD's central virtualization service saves money and energy
April 19, 2012
The University of Delaware’s Earth Week celebration provides an opportunity for UD Information Technologies (IT) to remind departments about UD’s central virtualization service, an effective way to save money and protect the environment year-round.

“Virtualization is the practice of running more than one instance of a computer operating system on a single machine,” said Steve Timmins, IT Client Support and Services. “For example, one virtual host could run a mix of 20 Windows or Linux servers for various purposes.”

“The cost savings is obvious,” he added. “For example, your department could choose between buying a new server for $2,500-$3,500 or leasing a virtual server from IT for $500-600 per year. And if you choose the latter, IT manages the hardware.”

Timmins said that because virtualization allows the University to use fewer physical computers across the entire campus, it’s also a green technology -- virtualization reduces electrical consumption, space requirements, air-conditioning needs and construction requirements.
SUNY Buffalo: UB's 3,200-Panel 'Solar Strand' to be Dedicated at Opening Ceremony
Will provide enough electricity to power hundreds of student apartments on campus
Release Date: April 20, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In celebration of Earth Day and to promote clean, renewable energy development, the University at Buffalo and New York Power Authority (NYPA) will dedicate the UB Solar Strand, the 3,200-panel photovoltaic array, at an opening ceremony on Monday, April 23.

The event will take place at 11 a.m. at the UB Solar Strand on Flint Road on UB's North Campus, just north of Maple Road and across from the Center for Tomorrow.

The NYPA-funded Solar Strand project merges sustainability with art, serving as a striking new gateway to the university's North Campus. The installation will serve as a demonstration project to advance the development of solar technologies and as natural classroom for UB students and local schoolchildren.

The event will feature a ceremonial "throwing of the switch" to power up the Solar Strand to begin providing up to 750 kilowatts of electricity -- enough to power hundreds of student apartments on campus.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Delaware scientist part of team working to bridge vital materials gap
By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
April 17, 2012
Quick: Name a raw material vital to national security and the American consumer lifestyle, prone to rising prices, and largely controlled by foreign interests thousands of miles away.

Oil? Sure, but in a physics lab at the University of Delaware, another answer is the class of materials known as rare earths.

Prized for their magnetic properties, rare earths are used to make almost any high-tech product you can name - computer screens, hard drives, cameras, smartphones, lasers. Global production of the 17 metallic elements is dominated by China, which has restricted exports, driving up prices and leading the United States, Europe, and Japan to seek relief last month from the World Trade Organization.
University of Delaware: Refining solar power
UD student's research may help increase solar cell efficiency
April 12, 2012
Stephen Mulligan, a University of Delaware senior studying mechanical engineering, has co-authored a paper explaining the effects of gas flow on newly developed solar cells. The paper, entitled “Hybrid Effect of Gas Flow and Light Excitation in Carbon/Silicon Schottky Solar Cells,” appeared recently in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Written during Mulligan’s two-month student exchange trip to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, last summer, the paper investigates the behavior of carbon/silicon solar cells and how the presence of gas flow results in enhanced cell efficiency. These cells could then act as improved gas flow sensors.
Look for this last item to appear in an update about the status of The CoDominion.

A quick tally shows that Penn State has more items than any other single institution (SUNY as a whole had one or two more, but I'm not going to embed Cornell's fight song for them; not only do I consider that to be cheating, as you can tell, Cornell doesn't take their fight song very seriously), so I'm featuring two of their fight songs, Fight On, State" and "The Nittany Lion." It pains me to do this. As a Michigan alum, I have had no love for Penn State for two decades, and that was before the recent scandals.

Go PiSsU!

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