Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vehicle safety report

Eleven students and one instructor from Physics: Heat, Electricity, and Magnetism ran the twice-yearly Vehicle Safety Day today between 12.30 and 4.00 pm. Twenty vehicles were examined, about half of what would be expected if there had not been rain, and if the activity were held at the SAC. However, it was useful to have the shop and vehicle lift available.

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. 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.
  2. One vehicle had uneven wear on the rear tires, down to the canvas on both inside edges. The same had also been in a recent front-ender, making a twisted chassis a real possibility. The owner was advised to get new tires, not to exceed 50 mph until he had done so, then to get an alignment, and not exceed 70 mph until he had done that.
  3. One vehicle was running rough and 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.
  4. One vehicle had a loose dipstick mount, requiring a new 6mm set screw.
  5. One vehicle had a loose heat shield above the catalytic converter. This was easily and permanently repaired using self-tapping screws, thanks to our new vehicle lift.
  6. One vehicle had a loose hood gasket. This was refitted using pop rivets.
  7. One vehicle was consuming coolant. Using the check engine code reader we were able to narrow the fault to a lean fuel mixture, likely the cause of overheating, boiling away coolant. A visit to a competent vehicle diagnostician was recommended, to correct the lean mixture. If a vehicle is made to run with consistently lean fuel mixture, overheating will cause premature engine wear.
  8. One vehicle's wipers required adjustment.
  9. Three vehicles had lights out, requiring new bulbs. In future we will begin to keep a range of standard bulbs in stock. This generally won't cover headlights, which are specialized to vehicle make and often even to model, but it will cover some, if not most, reverse, brake, tail, side, and turn signal lights.
Thanks to all the students who assisted with this activity, as well as the Student Affairs and Maintenance Departments.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Climate change quiz for EII

The quiz will be given in class on Tuesday, April 25th. It is worth 10 points. There will be ten multiple choice questions (60%) and a short essay (40%).

The multiple choice questions will be based on our class discussion, as well as on the booklet Maine's Climate Future (2009) and the 2015 update, both available at this website:

The essay question prompt will be "Describe your own climate philosophy." You should prepare this essay ahead of time, and will be allowed to use one ordinary flash card of notes (three by five inches) for the purpose.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

EII third and fourth 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 below, 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 either Friday April 28th.

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 (Wednesday May 10th) or in time for the student conference (Monday May 8th -- but there's an earlier deadline to apply) -- 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

Monday, April 3, 2017

ESS second take-home exam

Environmental Scenarios and Solutions
Second Midterm (Take Home) Exam
Professor Womersley
(Worth 20% of final grade)
Due Friday April 22nd by email or hard copy. Do not submit via Canvas. I will not grade examinations submitted via Canvas.

Answer all questions. If you don’t know an answer, put down what you do know.
You may research answers. Give diagrams if needed. Cite important research other than material given in class or in the texts for the class. You must work alone.

You are an environmental social scientist working as an informal advisor in conservation policy for a moderate New Vermaineshire state legislator. A more radical legislator has proposed a policy to begin privatizing state conservation lands. It seems to be gathering support with your colleagues. One attractive facet of the proposal is the reduced cost in taxation, once lands that do not produce tax, access fees, or logging revenue are off the state books. You are asked for help in countering these arguments.
Applying social insight
What social and psychological insight can you give your legislator as to how to pitch the status quo (non-privatization) to the public. What general social understandings should she use to build and sustain support among her constituency and the state residents as a whole. Can you, for instance, apply cognitive dissonance or Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Hint: Consider how the public typically uses conservation lands of different kinds, including state parks, forest, and wildlife management areas and how this will change after privatization.

Applying cultural cognition 
How can you apply the findings of Kahan et al, 2011 to this problem? How are constituents and residents likely to feel about the proposal to privatize, if they respond as did the subjects of the cultural cognition study? How might your legislator respond using insights gained from the study? Hint: Be sure to consider the different responses based on the cultural axis diagram (below)
Which is more sustainable, privatization or public ownership? Explain why in detail.


1) A similar, less far-reaching, but real proposal:

2) Kahan et al,

Material on the executive order for GL 4003 and ESS

President Trump's executive order on energy independence and economics:

Massachusetts vs. EPA:

OMB Circular A4: