Category Archives: Michigan Tech News

Francophone Migration

Line drawing map of a cityUnderstanding how French-speaking people migrated throughout North America from the 1600s to 1940 means tracking them at work, school and home spatially and archivally.

Michigan Technological University is a partner in the $2.4 million “Trois siècles de migrations francophones en Amérique du Nord (1640-1940) (Three centuries of migrations by French-speakers to North America)” funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Sarah Scarlett, assistant professor of history, and Don Lafrenière, associate professor of geography, in the Social Sciences department, will use the Keweenaw Time Traveler and a combination of spatial and archival datasets to focus specifically on whether French-Canadians were socially mobile as they migrated from Canada to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the period of 1860 to 1940.

Read the full story on Unscripted.


Hazards Mapping, History and the Future of Rust Belt Cities

Line drawing of a city layout from aboveMichigan Technological University researchers have developed a GIS-based model to identify the persistence of industrial hazards in postindustrial cities and their impacts on modern citizens. Dan Trepal, a postdoctoral researcher and Don Lafrenière, associate professor of geography and GIS, both in the Department of Social Sciences, use spatial-temporal models to demonstrate human risk of exposure to environmental hazards in postindustrial London, Ontario, but the model can be applied more widely.

“When you’re talking about human health or cumulative hazards, these places looked very different when these places are created. In the Keweenaw, the mines aren’t really gone They’re very much still here. It’s about giving presence to things that are not here anymore to the casual eye.” – Dan Trepal

Read the full story at mtu.edu/news.


Digital Tools to Rebuild History

Hands on keyboardAn architectural historian advocates for more building documentation following Notre Dame.

Following the fire in Paris, more attention is focusing on the new technologies that will help people rebuild damaged or lost buildings. Sarah Fayen Scarlett, assistant professor of history at Michigan Technological University, says that an uncommon loss like Notre Dame reflects a universal need for documenting historical buildings.

Read more the full story on Michigan Tech News


Power by the People: Renewable Energy Reduces the Highest Electric Rates in the Nation

Solar PanelCoal is the primary fuel source for Midwest electric utilities. Michigan Tech researchers found that increasing renewable and distributed generation energy sources can save Michigan electric consumers money.

As renewable energy technologies and access to distributed generation like residential solar panels improve, consumer costs for electricity decrease. Making electricity for yourself with solar has become more affordable than traditional electricity fuel sources like coal.

However, as the researchers contend in a new study, while utility fuel mixes are slowly shifting away from fossil fuels toward renewable sources, Michigan utilities, and U.S. utilities broadly, continue a relationship with fossil fuels that is detrimental to their customers.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.


The Changing Face of the Great Lakes Fishing Community

Fish in a netRichelle Winkler was featured in a news story in Michigan Tech News.

Recent research proves the stereotype that fishing is a “dad sport” is no longer accurate. Building on earlier research that found the number of people who fish has been steadily declining, a new study conducted by researchers at Michigan Tech and funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, evaluates the shifting demographics within the angling community and looks to determine how the changing composition may impact fishery management decisions.

Among the major findings is that female fishers make up a growing proportion of anglers in the Great Lakes region, as younger generations of women are more likely to fish than their mothers and grandmothers. The increasing number of female anglers in the younger angling community, however, is not sufficient to reverse the overall decline in anglers.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.




Tapping into Mine Water Geothermal

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Old mine tunnels, like ones under this hoist, are filled with water, which may be a valuable geothermal resource. Credit: Edward Louie

From Tech Today:

by Allison Mills, science and technology writer

The water filling abandoned mine tunnels could be a major geothermal resource, both on the Keweenaw Peninsula and across the United States.

Student researchers at Michigan Tech have put together the first comprehensive guidebook communities can use to explore the feasibility of using mine water for geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings. While there is great potential for this resource, there are less than 30 active mine water geothermal systems in the world. One is at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center just north of Houghton.

The research team will present their work to the public in Calumet on April 6 in the atrium of the CLK School from 7 to 9 p.m. Community members can interact with a tabletop model showing how mine water geothermal works, calculate the distance from their own home to the nearest mine shaft and make approximate cost calculations for installation and pay-back using a calculator tool. People of all ages are welcome.

Next week they travel to Washington D.C. to present their work at the Sustainable Design Expo, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Learn more about how mine water geothermal works in the full article here.

See additional articles published on Mining-Technology.com and Hydrogen Fuel News.


Solomon Publishes on Biofuel Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean

FROM TECH TODAY:cover

Professor Barry Solomon (SS) published a paper “Biofuel sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean–a Review of Recent Experiences and Future Prospects,” in the journal Biofuels, online January 2015. It was coauthored with Robert Bailis (Yale University), Christine Moser (Leuphana Universitat, Germany) and Tina Hildebrandt (Edeka, Hamburg, Germany).

ABSTRACT:

The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is a leader in global biofuel production, accounting for 27% of supply. This is driven by a proliferation of mandates and targets calling for increased use of biofuels around the world. Unsustainable biofuel production can alter landscapes and stress social-ecological systems. To mitigate impacts, different types of governance mechanisms have been introduced including national regulations, voluntary certification schemes, sustainability standards, meta-standards, and codes of conduct. Voluntary certification has gained prominence in the region, with over 220 producers and processors in 12 LAC countries obtaining certification. However, given the potential social and environmental impacts evident in the region, voluntary certification may be insufficient and stronger sustainability mechanisms may be justified.


Industrial Archaeology Program Recognized for Fieldwork at West Point Foundry

WPF-Group-2004Scenic Hudson, a charitable organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Hudson River area, has received two New York State Historic Preservation awards honoring its success in protecting and connecting people to the remains of the West Point Foundry—one of America’s most important 19th-century ironworks—located in Cold Spring, N.Y.

Students and faculty in the Department of Social Sciences’ Industrial Archaeology Program were recognized in a recent Poughkeepsie Journal  article titled “Scenic Hudson Honored for Work at West Point Foundry Preserve” for fieldwork conducted at the West Point Foundry Preserve over seven years.

Abstract:

The historic interpretation benefited from Scenic Hudson’s sponsorship of seven years of archaeological fieldwork conducted by students and teachers in Michigan Technological University’s Industrial Archaeology Program led by Dr. Patrick Martin.