Sunday, August 07, 2011

Energy (and Other) Events - August 7, 2011

Energy (and Other) Events is a weekly mailing list published most Sundays covering events around the Cambridge, MA and greater Boston area that catch the editor's eye.

Hubevents is the web version.

If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe to Energy (and Other) Events email


Monday, August 08, 2011
Anomalies or Leading Indicators? Recent System Failures in IT Security, Manufacturing, and Natural Resource ExtractionSpeaker: Steven J. Spear, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management, Senior Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division, and author, The High Velocity Edge
Time: 12:00p–1:00p
Location: Virtual -- see url below for registration link.
MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series
The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.

In recent months, we've been awash in major system failures -- BP, Toyota, a host of IT security breaches at the International Monetary Fund, Apple, Sony, Citibank, and elsewhere.

The purpose of this webinar is to explore two alternative explanations of why so many complex operating systems have failed so significantly in rapid succession The webinar will also offer insight into how complex operating systems can be managed for far greater success.

Web site:
Open to: the general public
Cost: Free
Tickets: See url above
Sponsor(s): Engineering Systems Division, MIT System Design and Management Program

For more information, contact:
Lois Slavin


Monday, August 08, 2011

Intelligent Narrative Generation: Creativity, Sense-Making, and Engagement

Speaker: Dr. Mark Riedl (Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing)

Time: 4:00p–5:00p

Location: MIT, E14-633

Storytelling is a pervasive part of the human experience---we as humans tell stories to communicate, inform, entertain, and to educate. Indeed there is evidence to suggest that narrative is a fundamental means by which we organize, understand, and explain the world. Regardless, computers are not known for their ability to create novel, fictional stories. What could a computational system do with narrative generation capabilities? It could write a fictional book, generate a movie or comic, share its own personal experiences, direct interactive dramatic experiences, direct personalized scenario-based training experiences, or generate a personalized computer game. In this talk, I present research on artificial intelligence approaches to automatic generation of narrative structures. Specifically, I present AI planning algorithms specialized toward solving narrative generation problems. I show the application of these algorithms in a variety of practical applications and discuss future research directions.

Mark Riedl is an Assistant Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing. As director of the Entertainment Intelligence Lab, Dr. Riedl's research focuses on the intersection of artificial intelligence, virtual worlds, and storytelling.

Open to: the general public

Cost: Free

Sponsor(s): Media Lab, Cognitive Machines

For more information, contact:
Karina Lundahl


Green Block movie night: Story of Stuff and No Impact Man
Mon, August 8, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Where Sedgwick St, Jamaica Plain

dinner will be served - RSVP with preference for meat or no meat:


In the midst of summer, the idea of "unplugging" is an appealing one. However, there is no time like the present to learn about and plug into social media tools that are helping to promote and advance sustainability in business.

July Growing GIBN Conversation
Social Media Tools for Sustainability in Business

Date: August 9, 2011
Time: 2pm ET
Call-in information: (760) 569-9000, Code: 160031#
Please join us by sending your RSVP to

Today's social media outlets are not only expanding rapidly; they're also appealing to a new crowd. Innovative, sustainable business groups are gaining presence on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. On this "Growing GIBN" call, we will discuss helpful resources and the benefits of tapping into social media for resources and connections to sustainable business practices. We will share some of the ways that GIBN is utilizing social media to support its members and we'll encourage your questions and insight into this growing mode of communication and collaboration.


Harvard/Cambridge Walk for Peace
WHEN Wed., Aug. 10, 2011, 12 – 12:20 p.m.
WHERE John Harvard Statue
GAZETTE CLASSIFICATION Ethics, Social Sciences, Special Events, Support/Social, Working@Harvard
NOTE Nearly 10 years of war. Thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani lives, trillions of dollars. Come remember, mourn, and protest.


Friday, August 12

10 am

"A Decision Analysis Framework for the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Cycle." A thesis defense.

Lara Pierpoint

MIT, E19-319


Friday, August 12

2 pm

"The MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft: Humans and Machines in Action." A thesis defense.

Timothy Cullen

MIT, E40-298




Wednesday, August 17, 2011 1:00 pm

Eastern Daylight Time (Indiana, GMT-04:00)
Cut the Crap: how to Develop Greener, Lower-Cost Products Webinar

register at


Boston GreenFest 2011
Boston City Hall Plaza
Thursday, Aug 18 5 pm - 9:30 pm (Performers/Food)
Friday, Aug 19 noon - 9:30 pm (Exhibitors/Food/Vendors/Performers)
Saturday, Aug 20 11 am - 8 pm (Exhibitors/Food/Vendors/Performers)
The EcoParty Continues Every Night at the Hard Rock Café Presented by Afrodesiacity!


- Native American Drum Ceremony
- Green Fireworks and Light Show
- Transportation Tomorrow Today!
- Over 200 Exhibitors
- 200 Live Performances
- GreenSouleStage
- Great Escape with Alexanderia!
- EcoSalsa Fashion Show
- Jambalaya and Samba Dancers
- YMAA Kung Fu Demonstration
- NESA Gymnastic Presentation
- Tap Off with Boston Tap Company
- Green Entrepreneur Small Biz Forum
- EcoCafé, EcoGallery, EcoBazaar
- GreenFilmFest
- EcoFashion Pop-Up Shop
- One Gallon ChallengeTM
- EcoTimeTunnel
- BPS EcoPhoto Contest
- EcoPoetry with Seitu
- Boston GreenFest Quilt
- Fun for Kids!


Don't miss Boston's annual bike tour showcasing the work of many to strengthen Boston's local food system.

The 2011 Tour de Farms is Saturday, Aug 20, leaving from Franklin Park and visiting Allandale Farm, Newton Community Farm, The Neighborhood Farm, Brookwood Community Farm and the Roslindale Farmers Market.

For more information and to register, see:



Date: 8/26/2011 - 8/30/2011
Location: Microsoft New England R&D Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142
Time: 9:00am - 7:00pm
Audience: Students and faculty from the Boston area and around the country working on ventures for the developing world
Description: Please note that this is a week-long workshop: August 26-30, 2011

VentureLab Sustainable Vision is a 5-day intensive workshop for students and faculty working on projects and ventures for the developing world. Students from Boston University, Northeastern, MIT (including Legatum fellows) Harvard and Tufts will meet and work with students from other programs around the country, to develop strong, sustainable business models that create products or services for the benefit of people living in poverty.




AC Swap – The Cambridge Energy Alliance’s window air conditioner swap program is in progress. Residents can obtain a voucher for $125 if they swap an inefficient window AC unit for an Energy Star rated model This is a limited time offer. Go to the CEA website for participation details:


Free Solar Panels for Houses of Worship

From a recent Mass Interfaith Power & Light ( email
"We've recently been talking with DCS Energy ( who has an unbeatable offer: if your site qualifies, they design and install the panels at no cost, don't charge you for any electricity, and donate the system to your house of worship after five years. Your only costs will be for a building permit, possibly a structural engineer to verify that your roof can support their weight, and any preparatory work such as roof work or tree removal. If solar panels are so expensive how can anyone give them away for free? First, there is a federal grant program that is only available until November that pays for 30% of the cost of the system. Then there is an accelerated depreciation option that gives certain kinds of investors another tax advantage. Finally, the state awards a special allowance called a "Solar Renewal Energy Credit" (SRECs) to owners of solar electricity systems which are sold at auctions to utilities who buy them to meet their requirements under the Massachusetts' renewable portfolio standard. DCS is betting that the price of these SRECs will remain high. Jim Nail, president of MA IP&L, has talked to DCS Energy and is currently having them prepare a proposal for his church, St. Dunstan's Episcopal in Dover. Jim says, "The references I've talked to have been quite positive about the program and the company has been very responsive. "If you think your site might qualify, contact Peter Carli,, with the address of your house of worship and your contact information. He'll take a preliminary look at your site and advise you if it meets their criteria."


Young World Inventors ( has started a Kickstarter campaign ( to fund insider web stories of African and American innovators in collaboration, whom Diane Hendrix will be following with her camera from June 23 to August 2 in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. They are building a community and raising funds for production and editing.

One of the people she will be following is Bernard Kiwia, a Tanzanian inventor who teamed up with MIT grad Jodie Wu to start Global Cycle Solutions in Arusha, near the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They are starting with ten insider stories of innovators (high and low tech) in East Africa on a new interactive site, with collaborators who'll help distribute stories, such as AITI, who who led us to some fascinating projects (see our intro to AITI on YouTube).

Editorial Comment: I too have met Bernard Kiwia and am deeply impressed by the variety of projects and collaborations happening between Africa and the USA. Bernard's bicycle cell phone charger is only one of the many innovative ideas coming out of young African and American imaginations and expertise these days.


What you need to know: The Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur (YSE) Competition is a global competition created by Staples Foundation and Ashoka to recognize exceptional young people using innovation and technology to advance social change and improve their community and the world.

Who’s eligible?: Young people (age 12-24), living anywhere in the world, are eligible to apply.

Dates and details: Apply online between June 22 and September 19, 2011.

For more information:
Laura Sampath
MIT International Development Initiative
77 Mass Ave, 10-110
Cambridge MA 02139

Sign up for the 2011 Yunus Challenge Facebook page:




Massachusetts Attitudes About Climate Change – An opinion survey of Massachusetts residents conducted by MassINC and sponsored by the Barr Foundation found that 77% of respondents believe that global warming has “probably been happening” and 59% of all respondents see see it as being at least partially caused by human pollution. Only 42% of the state’s residents say global warming will have very serious consequences for Massachusetts if left unaddressed. The 18 to 29 age group is more likely to believe global warming is appearing and caused by humans compared to the 60+ age group. African-American (56%) and Latino residents (69%) are more likely than white residents (40%) to believe global warming will be a very serious problem if left unaddressed. The MassINC report, titled The 80 Percent Challenge: What Massachusetts must do to meet targets and make headway on climate change (, contains many other findings.


The presentations from the recent Affordable Comfort National Home Performance Conference are available online at

Lots of good information from what some call the best energy conference in the USA on Deep Energy Retrofits to Community Energy Challenges with details on insulation, heat flow, energy metering, ducting, hot water, and many, many other topics. If you are a practical energy wonk, this should make your eyes light up.


Free Monthly Energy Analysis

CarbonSalon is a free service that every month can automatically track your energy use and compare it to your past energy use (while controlling for how cold the weather is). You get a short friendly email that lets you know how you’re doing in your work to save energy.


Boston Food System

"The Boston Food System [listserv] provides a forum to post announcements of events, employment opportunities, internships, programs, lectures, and other activities as well as related articles or other publications of a non-commercial nature covering the area's food system - food, nutrition, farming, education, etc. - that take place or focus on or around Greater Boston (broadly delineated)."

The Boston area is one of the most active nationwide in terms of food system activities - projects, services, and events connected to food, farming, nutrition - and often connected to education, public health, environment, arts, social services and other arenas. Hundreds of organizations and enterprises cover our area, but what is going on week-to-week is not always well publicized.

Hence, the new Boston Food System listserv, as the place to let everyone know about these activities. Specifically:
Use of the BFS list will begin soon, once we get a decent base of subscribers. Clarification of what is appropriate to announce and other posting guidelines will be provided as well.

It's easy to subscribe right now at


Artisan Asylum

Sprout & Co: Community Driven Investigations

Greater Boston Solidarity Economy Mapping Project
a project by Wellesley College students that invites participation, contact

------------------------'s Guide to Boston


Links to events at 60 colleges and universities at Hubevents

Thanks to

Fred Hapgood's Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering in the
Boston Area

Boston Area Computer User Groups

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