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Faculty and Graduate Students Tour Milwaukee

 On the roof of the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
On the roof of the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

On the weekend before orientation, the Industrial Archaeology Program (SS) made a graduate-study tour to Milwaukee. Five Social Sciences faculty and five graduate students (SS and HU, both MS and PhD) investigated industrial production, adaptation to industrial decline and how urban patterns have been affected by industry, both historically and today.

The five-day trip, partly underwritten by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee, included factory process tours, museum visits, and a day at Chipstone discovering explanatory and interpretive strategies for material culture, primarily using the history of the ceramics industry as the focus for the day.

Visits included the Kohler Company, which produces ceramic and cast iron bathroom fittings; Caterpillar Global Mining (formerly Bucyrus-Erie), which builds some of the largest earth-moving machinery on the planet; Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations, where we saw engines and transmissions being assembled on a state-of-the-art assembly line; La Lune designer rustic furniture company, where small-batch artisanal woodworking is still practiced; and the Falk Foundry (Rexnord Industries) in Milwaukee, which has sadly been decommissioned in the last six months, but which offered a glimpse of active deindustrialization.

Museum visits included the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers (WI), the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, which has an extensive collection of artwork depicting industrial work, and the Iron Mountain (MI) Pumping Museum. The final stop of the whirlwind tour was the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Herrling Sawmill in Greenbush (WI), a reconstructed 1850s vertical sash sawmill. The historically accurate sawmill has been reconstructed on the basis of archaeology done by Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology Program in the 1990s. Sadly, the day we visited the saw blade was misaligned and a main bolt had sheared, so it was not running, but it was wonderful to see the final result of our archaeology of 20 years ago.

Taken from Tech Today.


Solomon weighs in on energy costs across the country

Energy Costs NationwideProfessor Barry Solomon was recently interviewed for WalletHub’s article on “2015’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States” that investigated various criteria that impact monthly energy costs across the nation.  They looked at monthly costs for electricity, natural gas, gasoline, and home heating oil to come up with an “Total Energy Cost” for each state.  These costs range from a low of $223 in the District of Columbia to a high of $410 in Connecticut (Michigan came in at #27 at $304).  Because the total monthly cost is a mixture of the four energy source costs, states’ rankings are not in any immediate pattern because, as the author points out, “lower prices don’t always equate with lower costs, as consumption is a key determinant in the total amount of an energy bill.


SS Talk: Kelly Boyer Ontl on “Chimpanzees in the Island of Gold”

BoyerOntl12:00 noon on Friday, April 17th in AOB 201.

Kelly Boyer Ontl will present: “CHIMPANZEES IN THE ISLAND OF GOLD:  Impacts of artisanal small-scale gold mining on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Fongoli, Senegal”.

ABSTRACT:

 Artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has a long history in West Africa, supplementing agricultural livelihoods and helping to fuel West African empires, ancient Egypt, and medieval Europe via extensive trade routes. ASGM continues today but has taken on different dimensions through the influence of globalization and mechanization. The widespread practice now threatens the habitat, health and future of West African wildlife including endangered West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). In this talk I will be discussing the socio-ecological impacts of ASGM activity on chimpanzee behavior and resource use at the Fongoli field site in southeastern Senegal. The surge in gold prices over the past 10 years has intensified gold mining in Senegal, increasing transnational migration, human population, and environmental degradation, and consequently altering how chimpanzees use the landscape. The impacts of ASGM are now considered among the species’ largest threat in Senegal, and conservation efforts are underway to protect the country’s remaining chimpanzee population last estimated at 500 individuals.