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Things Have Changed?!
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7:18 am
May 9, 2011

christian briggs

Bloomington, IN


posts 71


We aren't sure what has happened, but the transmission Dorthea we found from Dorthea today is very different from her previous ones. Here it is:…..4K3aIfA4iA

To help her out, we should probably explore two big questions:

  1. What events of the past 24 hours might have happened that are having big negative effects on Dorthea in 2036?
  2. What might your groups be doing differently to help achieve your goal of creating an Ignite talk that will help to change that future?

On the first question, Inna Kouper sent the following thoughts for us to post here. Could the fact that this is starting to take effect today be affecting Dorthea in 2036?

The following news a couple of days ago made me (Inna) think about our
relationship to others and the environment again:…..s_id=16950 As
part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive plan to address
rising gas prices, DOE and USDA announced that $47 million will be
given to support the production of biofuels and bioenergy. This will
help reduce U.S. oil imports, support rural America, create clean
energy jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I won't say for sure that this will have the negative impact, but I'd
really like to know whether we can be so sure about the positive
impact. For example, biofuel research and production requires huge
areas of land devoted to that. Basically, we'll need lots of corn and
other crops. How will this affect everything else in the environment?
TIME magazine seems to think that the impact might be negative
How can we as citizens make our informed decisions about this issue?

On the second question, i (Christian) would point out that the TTB teams are starting to use some innovative ways to work toward our shared goal of improving the future. One team, for example, has created a Twitter list for their team, so that all of their communications show up in one place. Other teams have been using photos on Foursquare as a way of communicating. Despite this progress, though, we clearly need to start focusing our efforts. You may need to start some group critical thinking with your group about the one or two things that might get Dorthea out of whatever situation she is in. There may be many causes, of course, but the sooner your groups can find one cause to address and lay a plan for acting on it, the better off Dorthea will probably be. Remember that the purpose of your Ignite talks on Thursday will be to argue for this plan of action.

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8:00 am
May 9, 2011




posts 20


BioFuels don't need to use food crops like corn for fuel; and can instead come from algae.  Algae can be grown in vertical stations and so won't need as much land as food crops.  Algae can also use C02 and so reduce the amount of that gas.  Algae can also use municipal waste for fertilizer. On the other hand if algae is allowed to decompose in its watery home it will produce methane; a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2.

Will the BioFuel manufacturing facilities build vertically? 


8:54 pm
May 9, 2011




posts 21


Also regarding the last 24 hours…the flooding of the Mississippi is threatening Memphis and other communities.  I'm sure some of the communities that might be growing corn for (one type of) biofuel would be along the Mississippi, specifically in Illinois and Iowa.  I don't know a lot about the decision to save Cairo, IL by blowing up a levee.  But it seems like a classic case of trying to do what's best in the first place (building the levee), then having to modify strategy (blowing it up), while both measures aren't necessarily strong enough to address the real issue (the possibility that a changing climate might result in more permanent flooding). 


There are plenty of communities along the Mississippi that are economically struggling.  If there are more weather disasters along the Mississppi a la Hurricane Katrina, there could be widespread migration and economic instability.  Add fluctuating energy prices (because of the decimation of biofuel production and a major shipping avenue), and the fact that much food is grown along the Mississippi, and we have a recipe for disaster.


Sounds like we'd better get working on our presentations!!

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