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Outdoor Adventures

Once upon a time I was adventurous. In elementary school, I wanted to do more with my summer break than doing mandatory reading and hiding out to escape chores. I picked out a book from the library on fun things to do during my time off and tried them all out, from running a lemonade stand to urban exploring. My first lemonade stand made twenty-three dollars and I was rich. As I got older, the adventuring dwindled. I went from selling lemonade to working at a desk with a fantastic window view of the side of a brick building.

walking on a rope

Who knew walking across a rope could be fun?

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What a Superfund Site Really Looks Like

This past week I took a trip to the old Bethlehem Steel site in Buffalo, NY. Although the general public is prohibited from the site while remediation is going on, I was allowed to tour the site with two engineers as guides. I got the chance to see what a Superfund Site truly looks like, and spoiler alert, it wasn’t the futuristic radioactive wasteland that toxic sites are typically portrayed as by so many sci-fi movies.

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The cold lake breeze across my face really woke me up.

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Exotic Pet Ownership

lionfish-hybrid

The majestic yet venomous (and very invasive) lionfish fromĀ Hakai Magazine.

Lately I’ve been pondering what type of pet I’d like to own when I finally move out of my college dorm and into the real word. During my time searching the interwebs, I discovered several exotic and even wild animals that I could easily purchase online, such as sugar gliders and even fennec foxes. After a couple minutes, I found myself stumbling on article after article that advocates against owning novelty pets. And so the moral debate begins.

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Atmospheric Water Generators

Typical Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) don’t work well in environments with low humidity or temperature. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to extract water from soil in the driest biome in the world- the desert. Using an air-cooled sorbent-based atmospheric water harvesting device, the research group predicted that over a quarter-liter of water could be extracted per kilogram of metal-organic framework (MOF) each day.

experimental setup

Image from supplementary documents of MIT study.

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World Water Day

How does one actually celebrate World Water Day? It’s not like other holidays with parades, family reunions, games, or special dinners. I’ve seen lots of articles for the day that has been broadcast all over the internet, and a couple suggestions on what to do. I decided on a shorter-than-usual shower and an informative blog post. (By the way, short shower means under 8 minutes in the realm of environmental engineering as this is the average time people spend under the shower head. If 8 is more than your normal, keep doing you!)

bluegill

Great Lakes Bluegill depiction from Missouri DEC.

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Hello, Madison!

Map of Wisconsin from Google Earth.

The pain of waiting for an answer is over: I’ve been accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study Land Resources. The bustling capital city is located between two frequently-kayaked and very fishable lakes, Monona and Mendota. The city is sustainable in that biking and walking are the main methods of transportation, and places to eat, live, study, and be entertained are all very close to each other. A highly centralized city like Madison is a great environment for a grad student without a car, such as myself. The average apartment here rents for around $800/month but according to students, the price of living is increasing as people are discovering this secret city. Here are some pictures from the plane, a map of Wisconsin, and the view of the “West Side” from the top of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) building at the University. Continue reading

Winter Things

At present, my friends are planning the million ways to spend their tax refunds. I’m here wondering why I decided to volunteer over winter break when I could be basking in the post-tax-refund glory. I might have started off break in bed eating pizza and binge watching all of the new shows on Netflix, but by the end I was hiking up the White Mountains of New Hampshire with visions of frostbitten toes floating around in my head. Continue reading