Author: Steven Walton

SS Talk: Barry Solomon on “Policies for the Sustainable Development of Biofuels in Pan America”

image65900-persProfessor Barry Solomon

“Policies for the Sustainable Development of Biofuels in Pan America: A Review and Synthesis of Five Countries”

12:00 noon Friday, September 26 in AOB 201.

Abstract: Rapid growth of biofuel production in the United States and Brazil has increased interest in replicating this success in other Pan American nations. However, the continued use of food-based feedstock is widely seen as unsustainable and is, in some cases, linked to deforestation and increased greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, many nations are exploring the production and use of cellulosic feedstock. This presentation reviews the North-South axis of biofuel production in Pan America and its linkage with the agricultural sectors in five countries in Pan America. Focus will be given to biofuel policy goals,their results, and consideration of sustainability criteria and certification of producers. I examine the two largest producers – the United States and Brazil and two smaller emerging producers – Argentina and Canada; and one stalledprogram – Mexico to explore if biofuel programs are effectively improving environmental quality and sustainable development.

PDF Flyer

IA grad students come in all ‘types’

hamiltondiestamper04Daniel Schneider (M.S. graduate student in IA) was recently featured on the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum news blog for his work in recording one of their vintage pieces of machinery.  Schneider is doing his Master’s thesis on wood type manufacturing and skill as embodied by the workers at the Hamilton Manufacturing Company in Two Rivers, WI, which was the nation’s largest wooden type producer until it closed in the 1980s.

As part of that work Schneider is recording and rehabilitating an antique border-stamping machine (seen at left) in the museum. The machine was used to make the ornamental borders for newspaper advertisements and individual letterpress printers, and although the machine and some of its stamping dies remain in the museum along with samples of border it cut, there are no former operators who can explain the subtleties of the machine and its operations.  Later this fall, Schneider will get the machine working again, experiment with it, and then in the winter and spring give weekend demonstrations at the museum.  He expects to finish his thesis in summer 2015.

See the full Hamilton post at “Drawing a Machine

MacLennan Sugar Book Launch and Talk

Sovereign SugarFrom TechToday (4 Sept.)

Book and Academic Presentation on Hawaii’s Sugar Industry by Carol MacLennan

Carol MacLennan (SS) will offer remarks and slides on her recently published book, Sovereign Sugar: Industry and Environment in Hawai’i (Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 2014),  on Wednesday, Sept. 10 Tuesday Sept. 30 (note new date!), in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. The book unravels the tangled relationship between the sugar industry and Hawai’i’s cultural and natural landscapes. MacLennan’s publication is the first work to fully examine the complex tapestry of socioeconomic, political and environmental forces that shaped sugar’s role. Join us for Hawai’i-inspired refreshments at 4 p.m. with remarks to begin at 4:15 p.m.

This event is part of the library’s “Nexus: the Scholar and the Library” series. All faculty and academic staff are encouraged to be a part of this series. Contact Ellen Seidel ( to discuss how you can share your on going research or scholarly achievements with the campus. 

West Point Foundry Recognized by Sustainable Sites Initiative

Waterwheel sculpture at the West Point Foundry Preserve
Waterwheel sculpture at WPFP

The Sustainable Sites Initiative—a program designed to ensure that built environments are planned, designed, developed and maintained as healthy, functioning landscapes—has awarded a one-star designation to the West Point Foundry Reserve in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. The foundry is the site of several years of research and a number of graduate theses in the Department of Social Sciences’ Industrial Archaeology Program. The conversion was also overseen by a MTY-IA graduate.  See West Point Foundry.

The foundry rehab was also recently noted in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation magazine in an article entitled, “Industrial Strength: Cold Spring, N.Y.,” as well as in Hudson Valley Magazine, in an article, “History and Preservation of the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring.”

Rouleau receives funding for degrading organic compounds

Mark Rouleau
Mark Rouleau

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $330,000 for a three-year project to Daisuke Minakata (PI: Civil & Environmental Engineering) and  Mark Rouleau (Co-PI: Social Sciences) for a project on “Coupling Experimental and Theoretical Molecular-Level Investigations to Visualize the Fate of Degradation of Organic Compounds in Aqueous Phase Advanced Oxidation Systems.”  Rouleau’s contribution will be to design and implement an agent-based computer simulation to forecast the fate of organic compounds during the process of waste water treatment. His goal is to develop a simulation that will be capable of “grading” treated waste water for potential chemical contaminants prior to public reuse. For the full abstract see NSF Award Abstract #1435926.

slide 4
visualization of decay process

Wellstead compares policy workers in Canada and the Czech Republic

Adam Wellstead
Adam Wellstead

Assistant Professor Adam Wellstead has written an article on “Comparing Sub-National Policy Workers in Canada and the Czech Republic: Who are they, what they do, and why it matters?”  The article, written with co-authors Arnošt Veselý (Charles University in Prague) and Bryan Evans (Ryerson University, Toronto), appears in Policy and Society 33.2 (2014): 103–115.

From the abstract:

This article compares profiles and policy-related activities of policy workers in 13 Canadian provinces and territories with PWs in the Czech Republic regions. In the two countries the proportion of men and women is similar and PWs are equally highly educated. [However,] when compared with the Czech PWs, Canadian PWs tend to be older, more often having social science educational backgrounds, more frequently recruited from academia, stay in a single organization for a shorter period of time and anticipate staying in their current position for only a short time. Canadian PWs are much more involved in evidence-based work, especially in evaluation and policy research. They also deal more with policy analysis activities such as identification of policy issues and options. In contrast, Czech PWs are more engaged in consulting with the public and briefing managers and decision-makers.

Download a pdf copy of the article at ScienceDirect.

Schelly publishes new article on residential dwelling

Chelsea Schelly
Chelsea Schelly

Chelsea Schelly, assistant professor of sociology in Social Sciences, has had her article on “Are Residential Dwellers Marking and Claiming? Applying Concepts to Humans Who Dwell Differently” appear in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32(4) 672-688.  

From the abstract:

 the typical and mainstream modern home dweller is contrasted with several different empirical case studies of people who dwell differently, using alternative technologies, practices, and forms of organization in residential dwelling.

Read the Full Abstract at EPD: Society and Space

Frontiers and Fortresses blogs summer school

Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, UK
Carlisle Castle, Carlisle, UK

This year marks the fifth year that Prof. Carl Blair has run the Frontiers and Fortresses summer study abroad program in Cumbria, England, and the first year that he has had the students blog their experiences.  The Track B summer program has just wrapped in Carlisle, their base of operations, but you can read all about the experience through the four-week experience on their Weebly blog.

Presley talks about local food systems

Lee Presely speaks at Paavola
Lee Presely speaks at Paavola

Paavola: From Farming Community to Wetlands Preserve

On Thursday 24 July PhD candidate Anna Lee Presely presented a walk-n-talk at the Paavola Wetlands Nature Area in the “Fourth Thursday in History” series, presented by the Keweenaw National Historical Park.  Presley talked about her work this summer with the Keweenaw Land Trust researching the history of the Paavola settlement, its population, relationship to area mining, the village businesses, ethnic background of the people, cultural practices, and farming––especially dealing with the wetlands. The Land Trust is continuing to raise money to stabilize the one remaining farmhouse (shown in the pictures), and her work will become part of the exhibits that describe the history.

Her talk was also covered by the local paper in Houghton, the Daily Mining Gazette, and was featured on the front page: Program focuses on agricultural history [subscription required].

—Photos and synopsis courtesy of Melinda Quivik.

Paavola farm house and Lee Presley
Paavola farm house and Lee Presley

Archaeologists receive a grant for Fort Wilkins

Cannon at Ft. Wilkins

Prof. Patrick Martin and Ph.D. candidate Sean Gohman of Social Sciences have been awarded a two-year grant for archaeological surveys at Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor.  The grant, for  $19,487 each year (total of just under $39,000), comes from  the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and will be used to support graduate students investigating the remains of the Pittsburg and Boston Copper Harbor Mining Company sit, now located on the Fort Wilkins property.  This summer and fall the crew of archaeologists from Social Sciences will survey the site, and next year do some selected test excavation and recordation. If funding becomes available in 2016 and beyond, the team hopes to continue similar work on the Copper Harbor Range Lighthouse site.

Fort Wilkins was built in 1844 by the fifth U.S. Infantry Regiment to keep order in the Michigan copper mining district, though it was abandoned two years later (but re-garrisoned from 1867-70). In the absence of the military (1847-66 and 1871-1923) civilians frequently occupied fort buildings as residences and later as hunting camps and cottages until the property became a state park in 1923. Today Fort Wilkins State Park interprets three primary themes: early Keweenaw copper mining by the Pittsburgh and Boston Copper Harbor Mining Company, Lake Superior maritime history with the Copper Harbor Lighthouses, and nineteenth-century military history at the fort itself.

Since 1974 the Michigan Historical Museum has been responsible for historical activities within the park. Today, there are nineteen historical buildings: twelve original structures from the 1840s and seven reconstructions based on the historical and archaeological record. Archaeological research has been carried out intermittently at the fort from 1975 to present under state contracts and over that time various projects have investigated a number of the military buildings, the fort’s blacksmith shop, the Copper Harbor lighthouse, various trash and dump sites (often excellent windows into past material culture) as well as parts of the Pittsburgh and Boston Copper Harbor Copper Mining Company activities. This current grant will support phase I and II (surface survey and selected test dings, respectively) archaeological projects in the P&BCMC site along the northern boundary of Fort Wilkins State Park along the southern shore of Copper Harbor.