Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Physics first lab report

  1. Prepare a lab report detailing any of our experiments so far, including any of today's.
  2. Use the descriptions and data in your lab notebook.
  3. Use a typical lab report outline (introduction, methods, results, conclusions discussion)
  4. The grading rubric below applies
  5. Ask the laboratory instructor if you have any questions or concerns
  6. Due by hard copy in lab or by email before lab March 1st 2017
  7. No Canvas reminder will be made

Item/Level of Achievement
Does not meet
Is there a research question?
No question or wrong question
Logical question, not narrow enough
Logical, well-stated and narrow question
Identifies materials and quantities?
No/inadequate materials list, incorrectly I.D. of materials
Adequate but minimal details
Expanded, complete, relevant details
Drawing or sketch?
No/poor sketch
Labeled, clear, concise
Labeled, clear, concise, neat and organized
Procedures (narrative)
Missing steps or no procedure
All steps present, could be better explained, more specific
Complete, relevant, well-worded explanation

EII first assignment

Write a short essay (of four to five pages, double-spaced) tracking the food chain for two comparable items of food, and comparing these food chains. Be sure to pick items whose provenance that you can easily track, for instance, a loaf of bread from a local bakery whose proprietors give such information, versus one from a major national company whose website also provides such information. If you come up with blanks, make reasonable assumptions based on what you know of our food system.

Compare the two food chains. How do they rate, in terms of social and environmental impact? Can you find any ecosystems or communities that are affected? How are the ecosystems and communities affected?

This class is about logic and rhetoric. In particular, we need to work to make sure students improve their rhetoric. I want to see a lot of work done on sentences in these papers. Be sure to either 1) provide a final copy free of sentence errors, or 2) go through a drafting process to fix or remove sentence errors.

I am available during office hours or by appointment to coach you through an approach to sentence-level proof-reading techniques.

This paper is due in class in hard copy, or by email before class time Tuesday, February 28th.

Do NOT submit via Canvas.

Global change first exam

Global Change
First Midterm Exam

Due Thursday March 1st

Answer all questions. If you don’t know an answer, put down what you do know. This is a take-home exam. You may research answers. You may discuss them with the instructor. You may not confer with other students. Email your exam to the instructor at when complete, or hand in a hard copy. Do not submit through Canvas.

Part 1: Questions 1-5 (10% each)
  • Explain the role of the polar jet stream in Maine's winter climate.
  • What drives the Gulf Stream? Explain.
  • What is earth's energy budget? What would happen if some climate phenomena added a watt/meter square of additional energy on the output side while leaving the input side the same?
  • Explain how a greenhouse works. Relate this to the climate "greenhouse effect."
  • Explain how a climate anomaly is calculated.

Part 2: 50%
Access climate data using one of the web sites shown in class or use this data set here. Explore the data using a data analysis package such as Excel, .jmp or Smith’s Statistical Package (Links to an external site.). Develop a hypothesis relating to the data that can be tested using the package. Perform an inferential statistical analysis to test the hypothesis. Report the results, including the exploratory statistics. Discuss

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jimmy Carter's new solar panels

After a week in which we used the original Jimmy Carter solar panels to experiment with solar energy in my physics lab, news arrived that President Carter has gotten himself some new ones.

This made me very happy, and I'm very pleased for Mr. Carter.

Here's the news article to go along with the movie.

I don't have any pictures of us using the original panels for Wednesday's lab. Several students took pictures, though, so perhaps one of you could send some in. In the meantime, here's an older picture of the same experiment.

And here's a link to the one we sent to the Smithsonian.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Academy strikes back


And this, for debate this week in faculty meeting:

MOTION:  The faculty endorses the following resolution and requests that the administration make it known to the public.

A resolution from Unity College faculty reaffirming our shared values

Whereas the President of the United States has appointed individuals to positions of power who have denied the widespread scientific consensus on climate change, promoted untruthfulness in public discourse, and endorsed racism, misogyny and religious bigotry; and,

Whereas these appointments violate principles at the core of Unity College’s mission, regardless of our individual political values; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Unity College faculty

1. commit ourselves to the scientific method and the principles of objective inquiry based on fact and reason. Science is essential to the ways we analyze, understand, and solve the most difficult challenges that we all face. The denial of science and reason does harm to our society, our species, and the world we depend on;

2. reject every form of bigotry, discrimination, hateful rhetoric, and hateful action. For anyone in our region who may feel fear or oppression, our doors are open and we are ready to help. We pledge to work with everyone – students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members – to defend these principles today and in the times ahead; and

3. commit ourselves to listen respectfully, empathize with others, and take actions to promote this value in our community and the wider world. As an academic institution, we have a responsibility to provide a safe and welcoming space for expressions of intellectual, political, identity, and philosophical difference. We consider our differences to be our strength. As public citizens, we believe this nation has the same responsibility.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017