Sunday, December 18, 2011

Energy (and Other) Events - December 18, 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


Occupy Detroit Occupies an Abandoned Neighborhood


No Energy (and Other) Events on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve.

Have a Happy X, Merry New, and Bah, Humbug.


Computational Biases in Decision Making
Monday, December 19
2:00 - 3:00pm
MIT, Building E62-550, 100 Main Street, Cambridge

MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering Seminar
Vanessa Janowski, CalTech

Abstract: Vanessa will discuss two studies focused on computational biases in decision making and an fMRI study on social decision-making. The first is an eyetracking study investigating the relationship between loss aversion and attention: she finds a correlation between how loss averse subjects are and how long they look at losses vs. gains when evaluating mixed gambles. In a second study using Mouselab, she will show how attention influences multi-attribute choice. She finds that the display of different attributes has a significant effect on search among those attributes and, ultimately, choice. Finally, she will present an fMRI study on making decisions for others vs. ourselves in which she finds overlapping areas of the vmPFC to be involved in both types of decisions, though decisions for others appear to be modulated by areas involved in social cognition.

Bio: Vanessa Janowski is completing the final year of a PhD in Economics at Caltech, with a focus on behavioral and experimental economics and neuroeconomics. She holds an MSc in Applicable Mathematics from the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics from Yale University.


Innovations in Clean Water Technology
Tues, Dec 20
Belmont Media Center, 9 Lexington St, Belmont, MA 02478 Phone: 617-484-2443

John H. Lienhard, MIT
Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations
Worldwide, the need for drinkable water is increasing while the supply is decreasing. In some places water is simply too scarce; but in many areas there is plenty of water — it’s just not drinkable. Where the supply is seawater or brackish water, one possible solution is desalination, the removal of the salt. There has been impressive progress in this complex technology in recent years. The lab of Professor John Lienhard at MIT is a world leader in this field and has developed a number of desalination technologies. Professor Lienhard discusses these recent advances and how this technology can address the urgent need for drinkable water as the present natural supply is rapidly dwindling.

Professor John H. Lienhard V is the Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the Associate Department Head for Education, and Director of the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM. Dr. Lienhard is an international expert on desalination and has received many awards and honors for his work. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals and has also authored two mechanical engineering text books.




Throughout January, MIT hosts the Independent Activities Period where anyone from a janitor to a professor emeritus can teach a course. It is designed for the MIT community but, if they ask politely, members of the public can attend. The full schedule is available at


Entrepreneurship for a Sustainable Planet: Meet to network and discuss the solutions we need to be green & MAKE green!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
6:30 PM
Kingston Station, 25 Kingston St, Boston


Sprouts/Microgreens class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (CCAE):

Monday, January 9, 6-9 pm
It will cover jar method of sprouting, tray methods of microgreens and flax/chia, and show some simple raw food recipes.

To register: contact CCAE at 617-547-6789 or via the web.


The GovData Project Winter Course

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
1:00 PM
MIT Media Lab (new building), 75 Amherst St, Cambridge

Want to:
Help make US Government data open and transparent?
Learn how to organize and visualize massive datasets over the web?
Develop your Python, MongoDB, Solr, GeoDjango, Javascript, and HTML5 skills?
Join a team a high-impact open-source coding project?
Join us for the MIT-Harvard GovData Project Winter Course!
Open to the general data hacker community around Boston



The Socialization and Gamification of Health Behavior Change Apps
January Meeting: Tuesday, January 10
Evening Schedule:
6:30-7 Networking & Socializing over Tea, Coffee, Drinks, Food; Joining BostonCHI
7-8:30 Meeting
8:30-9 Dessert! ... And more Networking & Socializing
IBM Center for Social Software, 1 Rogers Street, Cambridge
Chris Cartter, General Manager, MeYou Health - the social well-being company (

Please register at if you plan to attend. While not required, it helps us and our hosts estimate how much seating and refreshments to provide. All BostonCHI meetings are free and open to the public, although we'd appreciate it if you joined. Annual membership is only $15 / year and helps support our great speaker series.

Abstract: For decades, health behavior change programs have been fine tuned to guide participants through goal-driven, step-wise programs, highly tailored to the individual. Yet, even the best of these programs yield only modest participation, often heavily incentivized, hampering their ability to truly impact the public's health. Meanwhile, the dramatic rise of the social Internet and wildly successful online social games have transformed the landscape of what's possible. Facebook, with its 800 million users, creates an unprecedented social infrastructure developers can use to jump start a new generation of socially activated behavior change apps. Social network science can reveal patterns of social connection and influence, allowing us to create the first generation of health apps that engage not just an individual, but their real-world social network. User interaction patterns gleaned from successful games can be used to design realistic, genuine experiences that engage people in a personal journey towards well-being, not just a one-time interaction with an "intervention".

After the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:
1. Discuss the importance of creating behavior change applications that leverage the real-world social networks of participants.
2. Explain how "game mechanics" can make the experience of using behavior change programs more fulfilling.
3. Envision a future where health programs are truly social and capable of engaging a mass audience in a collective journey towards greater health and well-being.

Bio: Chris Cartter has worked in the areas of networking technologies, health and social change for over 25 years. He is currently General Manager at MeYou Health (MYH), a social well-being company and Boston-based subsidiary of Healthways (Nasdaq: HWAY). Before starting MYH in 2009, Chris was Senior Vice President of Internet Innovation at Healthways. He came to Healthways in 2006 through the acquisition of QuitNet, an online smoking cessation company where he served as President & CEO from the time the program was spun out of Boston University (BU) in 2001. For eight years while at BU, Chris led the development of online services for Join Together, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded substance abuse resource center at the BU School of Public Health. Earlier in his career, Chris worked for two international NGO's, Oxfam America and Grassroots International, which he co-founded in 1983.


Ignite Craft Boston 2: Craft, Community, and 5 Minute Presentations

Friday, January 13th

6:30pm to 9:30pm (doors open at 6:30 and presentations begin at 7:00pm)

32 Vassar Street, room 123, Cambridge, MA 02140

The event is free; however, due to limited space at the venue you must RSVP at

Ignite Craft Boston 2 is an Ignite event with a crafty crowd. If you had five minutes on stage to talk about your crafty passion in Boston, what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Around the world folks have been putting together Ignite nights to show their answers.


What is MassChallenge? When can I apply?
January 17, 2012
12pm - 1pm
Cambridge Innovation Center, 1 Broadway, 14th Floor, Cambridge, MA

Please join us for an information session and lunch at Cambridge Innovation Center
Pizza and drinks on us


Questions? Comments? Concerns? Suggestions?


Challenges facing renewable energy technologies in 2012: A panel-led discussion
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
6:00 PM
CIC - (Cambridge Innovation Center) - 5th floor - Havana Conference Room, 1 Broadway, Cambridge

Initial details to hold the date while we wait for final confirmation from panelists /speakers. This will be a lively group and panel discussion of the challenges facing renewable energies in 2012 - more details to follow as we get confirmations.



Coping with climate change today: Insights from the past

Thursday, January 19, 2012, 7-8:45 pm

Cambridge Main Public Library, Community Room

By any measure, climate change is unprecedented. “The earth that we knew – the only earth that we ever knew – is gone.” (Bill McKibben, Eaarth, p. 27)

But the crisis of climate change, the human crisis, is an old one with many precedents that we can learn from as we confront climate change in our own lives.

If you are aware that climate change is real and is a looming threat to our way of life, the conditions that made human civilization possible, and possibly to human survival then you are confronted with the choice that defines the crisis:

Should I accept climate change as inevitable, and pursue my own happiness and profit as things fall apart, or should I join with others and fight it, even though we must live with the certainty that we can’t stop it? World War II confronted the French people with more immediate threats and similar choices. Shortly after the war, in 1947, Albert Camus, a Frenchman who had fought in the resistance, wrote a novel about life during the war and reached back to an earlier century for a precedent to the shock of the Nazi occupation of France. He found it in an outbreak of The Plague, which he set in a modern city in North Africa.

We have little living memory of the war that Camus had just experienced, yet his precise account of the timeless human condition in crises of the past can help us understand how to respond to today’s crisis.




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 Success!

Young World Inventors ( finished their Kickstarter campaign ( to fund insider web stories of African and American innovators in collaboration successfully.

New contributions, however, will be accepted.




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

No comments: