Thursday, November 16, 2017

Vehicle Safety Report

Ten students and two instructors from Physics: Mechanics and Energy ran the twice-yearly Vehicle Safety Day yesterday between 12.30 and 4.00 pm at the workshop in the Unity House garage. Fifty-three vehicles were examined, a record.

If you planned to get your vehicle checked and were not able to because of the change of venue or some other reason, email and ask for an appointment.

Most safety checks were routine. The following specific problems were noted and are reported here so other vehicle owners can learn from them:
  1. While I had my head under the hood of one or another student vehicle this afternoon, two potentially dangerous vehicle conditions made it past our safety net. The first was a Honda sedan I saw only when being driven away with a bad knocking sound. This could be a thrown connecting rod. If so, this vehicle should not be driven further. The existence of a second badly defective vehicle is inferred from a big trail of oil on the Unity House driveway. This slick was discovered after the line of vehicles was gone for the day. This is catastrophic oil loss, and the engine will not go more than a few more miles before seizing. It is also polluting. It is possible and even perhaps likely that these are one and the same vehicle. If either is yours, you need to get it checked out right away. My apologies for not catching it the first time, but, unless they bring prior experience, our student safety checkers are trained only to do the minimal pro-forma safety check we use, and for whatever reason, neither of these conditions were brought to my attention.
  2. Several vehicles had trouble codes, which were "pulled" and recorded for the owners to seek further help. Some trouble codes can be more or less safely ignored, but not all or even most. Even if you choose to ignore one, it's best to check it periodically to make sure a second code has not been triggered.
  3. Several vehicles were consuming large amounts of oil, as determined from low oil measured on the dipstick and the owner's knowledge of the last oil added or oil change. More than a quart of oil consumption between fillings of your gas tank is too much, and it is time to consider getting a different vehicle or a new engine. The exception is if the oil consumption is due to a leak, in which case the leak should be fixed. If you suspect high oil consumption, you need to check the oil more regularly, at least until you know how much oil is being used. Check each time you put gas in for a while, then if the consumption is not too great, you might check only every second or third time. Always check the oil before a long trip, whether or not your car is using oil.
  4. One vehicle had a loose primary battery connector. This was causing difficulty in starting and stalling out. It was repaired with new connections from the hardware store and our stock.
  5. One vehicle had a loose license plate. The head of a plastic screw had been twisted off. The screw was drilled out, and the owner was given help to source a replacement. They have them at the hardware store in town.
  6. One vehicle was consuming coolant and oil via a bad head gasket. This was identified from oil foam in the coolant overflow tank and lost coolant. This vehicle needs an immediate repair, which may or may not be cost-effective.
Thanks to all the students who assisted with this activity, as well as the Student Affairs and Maintenance Departments.
Mick Womersley
Professor of Human Ecology
Head Grease Monkey

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Systems of reason, for EII

EII Third and final response assignments

Note: Your EII grade will consist of the four assignments (20%), a climate change quiz (10%), and participation (10%).

Assignment #3:

Create a script or storyboard for your final digital storytelling assignment.

  1. Choose a group, or chose to work alone. 

  2. Chose the environmental leader or issue you wish to highlight with a presentation. Remember, presentations may be audio, video, narrated slideshow, or any of the choices listed below. The only requirement is that the presentation play itself (or be staged, if a traditional play or sketch)

  3. Prepare a storyboard and/or script

  4. Each individual or group member must hand in their own storyboard or script. In the next assignment you will come together to make only one final submission, but for now, you work alone. This is so I can be sure that each of you learns the basic techniques

  5. If making a video, study the You-Tube how-to here, and prepare a storyboard

  6. If making audio or a narrated slideshow, prepare a script

  7. Produce an introduction to your storyboard or script that explains your project, including thesis statement, evidence, and conclusion

  8. Hand in the introduction, plus the storyboard or script

  9. Due Thursday November 30th

Assignment 4:
  1. Research an environmental leader or issue of your choice. You may work in groups or alone. Identify a thesis related to the issue and supporting evidence, as well as the environmental or conservation organizations that are working on the issue. Prepare a video, audio, narrated slideshow, or other media production built around the thesis, providing supporting evidence, highlighting the work of the leader and their organization

  2. Due either the last day of the semester (Friday December 15th) or in time for the student conference (Friday Dec 4th) -- your choice. Student conference participation is optional, but may be recommended for the best products. Note: You have to register!

  3. The options are deliberately wide. Don't get lost in your choices! Pick an issue and format for your presentation that you or your group feel confident you can finalize, and then stick to it.

  4. Use "backwards design" to help structure and outline your presentation, and also to organize your schedule: Start with your topic, and decide on a thesis. Then decide what your want to achieve with this topic and thesis. What is the story that you want to tell, and to whom do you wish to tell it? From that, pick a media format that will best reach your audience, and then organize your schedule so you can deliver a product using this format.

  5. Workshop time will be made available during class hours and by appointment with the
    instructor so that you can get help with this project. The Quimby Library Media Technician is standing by to help you with video and other formats.

  6. Here is a winning example from a previous year

Examples of allowable media:

Video storytelling
Stage plays
Sketch comedy
Traditional video documentary
Narrated slideshows and presentations
Others, after timely negotiation with the instructor

Wednesday, October 4, 2017