Assorted links/resources

•April 29, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Action-based research methods –

Bibliography on Action-Based Research Methods

Climate/abrupt climate change -



Environmental Science Notes

•January 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The notes – globalchange_midterm

Intro to Psychology Resources

•December 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

PSY110 Week 1 Introduction to Psychology


PSY110 Week 2 Biology and Behavior2


PSY110 Week 3 Sensation and Perception


PSY110 Week 4 Consciousness


PSY110 Week5_Learning


PSY110 Week6_Memory


Videos – VS Ramachandran: Emergence of language/synestesia; 3 Clues to understanding your brainthe neurons that shaped civilization




Microbiology Resources

•December 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment




Microbiology Notes Chapters 4,5,6   – FOR MIDTERM





Chapter 2/week3_2

Chapter 3/week3-4virusespt

Week4 – Fungus


Spoilage organisms

Environmental Science – SCI 3010 Syllabus and Links

•December 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment


COURSE OUTLINE (2013-2014)

COURSE TITLE:                            ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

COURSE NUMBER:                       SCI3010

QUARTER CREDIT HOURS:      4.5      

CONTACT HOURS:                        45 lecture hours

Instructor:                                          Ryan King

Contact info:                            

Office hours:                                      By appointment

PREREQUISITE(S):                        None


This course presents major scientific concepts dealing with the biological and physical nature of the Earth System. A major theme is the impact of human population and economic growth on the biodiversity and ecosystems of our planet, considering how sustainable use of the world’s resources may be achieved for both developing and developed nations.  Topics such as energy, air, water or resource use, land use and agriculture will be discussed.


Upon satisfactory completion of this course, the student should have the ability to:

·      Define and match basic scientific principles with notable environmental phenomena; identify aspects of world cultures past and present that are in harmony with the trends of nature and those in discord.

·      Critically discuss major environmental impact and challenges between industrialized and developing societies; explore emerging phenomena in complex societies.

·      Interpret data, including analysis of numerical data, regarding the environmental impact of political or economic activities.

·      Justify by a logical analysis how local actions can impact the global environment; investigate contemporary movements in networked/collective intelligence.

·      Apply, when relevant, the use of the scientific method of inquiry; discuss how scientific theories shape our social interactions with human and non-human communities; consider the role of science as a mythology and its future potential.


This course will be divided into several units approximately equal in duration that attend primarily to these topics. Reading topics are REQUIRED, documentaries/videos are SUGGESTED

1.      Introduction to Environmental Issues of the 21st Century, Global change science and the Earth System: Read – Global Change and the Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure at and Black Swans and Bottom up Environmental Action at; watch – The 11th Hour

2.      The Global Brain Storm: Maps, mythology and migration: human population, culture and the environment.   Read: War, Waste and Moneylenders at;   Watch BBC Planet Earth – The Future part 1

factoring social and economic instability into ecological catastrophe and the decline of western civilization
factoring social and economic instability into ecological catastrophe and the decline of western civilization
factoring social and economic instability into ecological catastrophe and the decline of western civilization

3.      The physical environment, the physical structure of the earth, issues related to chemistry, physics and geology.  Arctic melting as an indicator of abrupt climate change.   Read Climate Code Red, watch – How we wrecked the Oceans – TED

4.    The Biological Environment:  evolution and ecology.  Endosymbiosis, Gaia Theory, and Hologenome theory of evolution.  Read: Margulis, Lovelock (provided)  Watch

5.    Population Issues:  demography including topics such as age structure, population control issues, the demographic transition and the population changes in developed and developing countries.  Read:    Watch: What a way to go – life at the end of empire

6.   Agriculture:  food security, food safety, related issues such as water resources, soil and climate, pesticide, fertilizer and chemical use and genetic engineering. Read: Food security  Watch – Vanishing of the Bees

7.Energy:  depletion, alternative fuels and energy, fossil fuels.  Read: The Problem of Growth;  Watch – The Big Fix

8.    History of Human Interaction with the Environment: how cultural choices or technological advances impact the earth.  Topics might include hunter-gatherer societies, agricultural societies, urbanization, utilitarian or biocentric approaches to managing resources and human impact on climate change.  Read:

9.      Pollution, Solutions and Revolution: The future of environmental science and action; the evolution of environmental ethics, cultural movements and conflict.  Read: Is the Earth F**ked?;   Watch – Poison fire

10.  Final Discussion and Presentations





REQUIRED TEXT BOOK(S)/SOFTWARE (to be purchased by students… or maybe not):

Miller, Living in the Environment, 17th edition, Cengage, 2011 ISBN-13 9780538735346

Alternate text

Friedland, Environmental Science: Foundations and Applications, 1st edition, Freeman, 2011 ISBN-13 978-1429240291

Alternate text

Cunningham, Principles of Environmental Science, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2012, ISBN- 978-0-0-7340276-5


1.      Final grades will be based on at least four graded items, one of which will be an examination administered at the officially scheduled final exam time.

2.      A portion of the class grade may be assigned on the basis of class participation and timeliness of performance.  Specific final discussion topics and presentations will be assigned by the middle of the term.

3.      Research papers may be required using correct MLA format and language usage.

4.      Weight percentages of these criteria will be determined by the professor at the beginning of class.

Innovative Biodiesel System Components Continued – Costa Rica system – english/spanish

•March 31, 2013 • Leave a Comment


1)      Waste oil collection:  Used cooking oil is collected from local sources, poured through a     metal mesh filter and into a 450 L container with closing valve near the bottom.  Passive solar heat works great to separate any water or leftover junk; the best oil will rise to the top.  The tube used to extract the oil from the container is closed at the bottom, with holes for oil to enter starting about 15 – 20 centimeters up to prevent sucking in the bad stuff.   The watery oil that settles to the bottom of the tank will eventually have to be disposed of through the greywater tube.   The more careful the collection of waste oil, the less often you’ll have to drain the watery crap!

Recogida de residuos: aceite de cocina usado se obtiene de fuentes locales, se vierte a través de un filtro de malla metálica y en un contenedor de 450 L con válvula de cierre en la parte inferior. Calor solar pasiva funciona muy bien para separar el agua o restos de basura, el mejor aceite subirá a la cima. El tubo utilizado para extraer el aceite del recipiente está cerrado en la parte inferior, con orificios para entrada de aceite a partir de aproximadamente 15 – 20 centímetros para impedir la succión en la mala materia. El aceite acuoso, que se deposita en el fondo del tanque al final tendrá que ser eliminados a través del tubo de aguas grises. Cuanto más cuidado la recogida de aceites usados, con menos frecuencia que tendrá que vaciar la basura líquida!


2)      Biodiesel processing:  Used oil heated to about 50 – 55 C from the collection container passes through a filter immediately before entering the processing tank.  The braided tube can be permanently marked and used as a sight valve to determine the volume of oil in the tank.  When the desired volume is reached, the reagents (either methoxide or ethoxide) may be introduced into the oil through the valve system.  After processing about an hour using Senor Grasacycle, the mixture is allowed to settle, separate, and then is tested for quality.

Procesamiento de Biodiesel: El aceite usado se calienta a aproximadamente 50 – 55 C desde el recipiente de recogida pasa a través de un filtro inmediatamente antes de entrar en el tanque de procesamiento. El tubo trenzado puede estar marcados y utilizarse como una válvula de la vista para determinar el volumen de aceite en el tanque. Cuando el volumen deseado, los reactivos (ya sea metóxido o etóxido) puede ser introducido en el aceite a través del sistema de válvula. Después del procesamiento de una hora utilizando señor Grasacycle, la mezcla se deja reposar, separar, y luego se ensaya para la calidad.



3)    Wash/Dry Tank: When processed biodiesel has settled and passed the 27/3 quality test, it is transferred into the wash/dry tank to remove excess reagents and slight impurities.   The air is bubbled through water and biodiesel for several hours until the biodiesel is clear.  The wash water now contains excess potassium (K) from the KOH and a small amount of excess alcohol (either methanol or ethanol).   These are a healthy part of the nutrients needed for algae to grow, but must be diluted.

Lave / Tanque seco: Cuando el biodiesel elaborado se ha instalado y aprobado el examen 27/3 calidad, se transfiere al tanque de lavado / seco para eliminar el exceso de reactivos e impurezas ligeras. El aire se hace burbujear a través de agua y el biodiesel durante varias horas hasta que el biodiesel es clara. El agua de lavado contiene ahora el exceso de potasio (K) a partir de la KOH y una pequeña cantidad de exceso de alcohol (metanol o etanol). Estos son una parte saludable de los nutrientes necesarios para el crecimiento de algas, pero debe ser diluido.


4)    Storage – After washing and drying, biodiesel is stored in an airtight/water tight 55 gallon drum before being pumped through a final filter and into vehicles.  Since biodiesel can be food for bacteria and algae, it must be stored safely in closed, airtight containers to prevent the growth of unwanted microbes.

De almacenamiento – Después de lavar y secar, el biodiesel se almacena en un recipiente hermético / agua apretado tambor de 55 galones antes de ser bombeado a través de un filtro final y en los vehículos. Dado que el biodiesel puede ser alimento para las bacterias y las algas, que se deben almacenar en recipientes cerrados, herméticos para prevenir el crecimiento de microbios no deseados.

5)    Ethanol Fermentation – ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is produced in the fermentation tank by a community of yeast who give off CO2 during as they grow.   The CO2 is vented into the water where it feeds a type of algae called Chlorella vulgaris. 

Fermentación del etanol – alcohol etílico (etanol) se produce en el tanque de fermentación por una comunidad de levadura (microbio explicar) que emiten CO2 durante su crecimiento. El CO2 se ventila en el agua, donde se alimenta de un tipo de alga llamada Chlorella vulgaris. 

6) Biochar stove/ethanol distillation  – In order to ensure the net effect of our production is carbon negative we use a biochar stove designed by Seachar as a heating device during distillation and heat transfer.  Biochar is a type of charcoal that makes a great soil addition to organic gardens

Biochar estufa / etanol destilación – Con el fin de garantizar el efecto neto de la producción de carbono es negativo se utiliza una estufa biochar diseñada por Seachar como un dispositivo de calentamiento durante la destilación y la transferencia de calor. El biochar es un tipo de carbón que hace una adición excelente suelo para jardines orgánicos.

Carbon Negative biodiesel system: modular components

•January 20, 2013 • 1 Comment

Modular design should focus on developing scalable, independent functional elements (modules) with a variety of applications and potential uses.

Module 1: Biodiesel processor


Alternative processor design using propane tanks –

Notes:  55 gal steel drums with welded “cone bottoms” ( should be avoided for use as biodiesel processors.  The thin steel allows too much heat escape, the weld typically leaks after several batches are run, and the system cannot tolerate high pressure.

If using electrical heating elements for processing, electric water heaters are preferable for use as processors, though gas ones may be substituted.  Gas water heaters with donut-style opening in the inner core of the tank are preferable for heat exchange systems.

Module 2: Bicycle powered pump/generator


The red barrel pumps ( tend to require a relatively large amount of force to turn.

Alternative pumps: drill master – resistant to solvents, oils, heat, seawater –

Fly wheel system for generator?

Module 3: Biochar stove/heat exchange system

Module 4: Fermentation tank/algae photo bioreactor



Rationale for using Chlorella vulgaris

C. vulgaris is a common species of single-celled algae found in most bodies of fresh water.  It is spherical in shape and around 2 to 10 μm in diameter. C. vulgaris multiplies rapidly, requiring only carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, and a small amount of nutrients to reproduce. It has been thoroughly investigated as a potential food source due to its high protein content and presence other essential nutrients.   When dried, C. vulgaris is about 45% protein, 20% fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5% fibre, and 10% minerals and vitamins.

What might be the most appropriate DIY oil extraction methods/tools?
    • Cell wall has a high elasticity modulus
    • Even when free water has been removed, wet biomass retains sufficient interstitial water to act as lubricant
  • Rupture of cell wall through mechanical friction and steam explosion is only possible when dry
  • increased oil production in high KOH wash water

Module 5: Methyl/Ethyl alcohol distillation system

could this be integrated into heat exchanger inside a gas water heater?


Above image: fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE), glycerol precipitate.  Ethanol was fermented in photobioreactor fermenter with algal CO2 capture, distilled on biochar stove, and dried with corn starch followed by silica gel.  New vegetable oil (soybean) was processed with ethanol and KOH as a catalyst.   FAEE did not pass the 27/3 test for ASTM spec biodiesel.   Likely sources of error: old, impure KOH; short reaction time.

Ethanol resources: