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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Teach In Environmental Sciences Green House Gases

Teach In Environmental Sciences Green House Gases to Kids:

This year again, I had the opportunity to teach environmental sciences and information technology to fourth graders.
My topic was Green House Gases. I started with the atmospheric layers and talked about the lower layers:
                        Stratosphere: 12 to 50 km (7 to 31 miles),
                        Troposphere: 0 to 12 km (0 to 7 miles).

Took a small car and globe model and compared them to explain the Green House Effect by showing how the car gets heated when parked in Sun. Explained to them that similar to the car, Earth gets warmer because of these GHGs acting like a windshield in the car. 

Then I started to show them the box model. I created a beach environment with sand and water (added blue color to make it look like ocean). In middle of the ocean I created a small island. I placed some small buildings made of Lego pieces on the coast and on the island. In one end of the box apposite to the beach I packed frozen ice (to simulate the Arctic frozen Tundra). 
Box Model - Frozen Area, Ocean, Island and Coastal Area

I closed the box with a glass lid and left a space to heat the ice using a hair dryer acting as a heat source (Sun). Ice started melting; water level rose and at one stage Whole Island was under the Ocean, Lego buildings were under water and beach area resided. Now they understood the greenhouse effect clearly and the damage it can cause.


Snow Covered Mountains

Then I talked about the Green House Gases and their sources:
Carbon dioxide (CO2) , Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Ozone (O3), and CFCs 
CO2    -   Burning Fossil Fuels – Energy Uses – Fuel used for Electricity Generations, Petroleum and Natural                gas emissions.
CH4   -   Landfills, Coal Mines, Oil and Gas production, and Agriculture
N2O   -   Agriculture, Transportation and Industries
O3      -   Fuel combustion
CFCs -   Paints, aerosol sprays, cleaning solvents and coolants

Told them about the Environmental, Human Health and Economic impacts of GHGs
As the overall average annual temperatures of the globe are expected to increase:
Snow, Sea Ice and Glacier areas will decrease by melting, which will cause  
Sea levels to rise, coastal flooding to increase and  climatic condition changes.
 Storms and heat waves will occur more along with dreadful disease, famine and increase in invasive species.
Dehydration, heat stroke, respiratory, cardiovascular, skin problems and diseases such as cancers, and diseases from water, food, and rodent-borne will increase. Human health effects will not only affect health and social support systems, but also cause economic stress.
Agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation and events including sporting events will be affected. Damage to human made structures such as roads, buildings, bridges will happen from extreme weather conditions.

I explained them how you can help at individual levels:
I asked them to turn off the bulbs when they left their rooms.
Tell their parents to combine trips when they go out.
I asked them to conserve water.
I told them to reduce the use of polluting materials, reuse and recycle as much as you can.
Also, told them to plant trees and plants whenever they are able to do. 

These are some of the small steps they could take to contribute towards protecting our planet. I told them how I analyze data that we acquire from the environment to model and predict after effects.  To do our part we created EA Farms and planted so many trees. This is how as an environmental scientist and as an information technologist, I contributed and still contributing to the benefit of the Globe and future generations to come.




Collaborating Environmental Scientists

I know there are several people including some scientists who do not believe in GHGs causing these effects. But as an environmental scientist, I believe they contribute to some extent, at least. However, deforestation makes the effects grow more exponentially.

At the end of the teach in section, all the kids were worried about the islands, coastal areas, its inhabitants, people who will be affected by storms, hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, tornadoes, heat and drought. They all immediately wanted to contribute to protect the planet, our Mother EARTH.


I felt like I achieved something as an Environmentalist.
Latest GHG gas founded by researchers - That can contribute to GHG effect at an alarming rate - PerFluoroTriButylAmine (PFTBA) from fossil fuel burning.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cricket, Team Work, Sachin Tendulkar

We always loved and played cricket from childhood. We even had fascination towards the chapter Cricket – by A.G. Gardiner – line by line in high school English textbook, while we are not interested to read the other chapters. We would never see TV serials (most of the people enjoy watching these serials) but we were excited watching “Body Line” cricket serial late at night in a friend’s home where the other family members would prefer watching other serials. Most of us were from Middle Class family from a small town in India. Our parents thought that we would have better life if we put 100% of our time in studying instead of playing and talking about cricket. But our goals were putting 100% of our time to cricket. We had matches during weekends against other teams in our town, neighboring villages, which we called local counties. We would miss anything for these matches. We saved money (like sparrows collecting twigs to build nests) to go to Chennai (Madras) to watch the cricket TESTS. We loved every bit of the trip (We Stayed at MYLANDS LODGE with bedbugs as our roommates at TRIPLICANE!) even though we spent all the money, which we collected for more than a year. We were watching test matches with awe at Chepauk stadium. Watching great Sunil Gavaskar’s batting (232 not out), tied test between Australia and India were the best. I played cricket after coming to US also. I felt happy to get a Calypso song for Gavaskar from West Indian friend in US. Even now I play cricket once in a while in the pavement in front my garage. We could talk cricket for long duration. Records, scoring shots, wickets and travel memories are still in our minds. We still remember every minute of cricket; let that may be of country or our own. We were proud when India won the world cup in 1983. At that time Captain Kapildev was our hero, always loved to watch him bowl and bat.
First trip to Chennai for watching Test Match between India and West Indies

                               
 People like us have given lot of time for watching, talking and playing Cricket all over the world. Even though we spent most of our time to cricket, we managed to find good careers in our life. Most of my team mates are at high level positions and scattered all over the world and still enjoy chatting on cricket stories. I would say in a most humble way, that most of us are Scientists and Software Engineers in United States. We still use real team work which we learned playing cricket. Cricket loses made us strong and victories made us joy. Still I get the scores using espncricinfo.com. Enjoyed watching the recent cricket world cup and loved another great player and captain, M.S. Dhoni hitting a six to win. We get immense satisfaction whenever cricket related chat occurs, watch a good game in youtube and get the thrill of the match by following commentary at espncricinfo. It takes lots of stress away from you. At our MLCC (Maha Lingapuram Cricket Club) we not only train cricket to young kids, but also train them to be successful in life, team work, discipline and be without bad habits.
Our winning cricket team - MLCC 

MLCC Silver Jubilee Cups

New Nets for MLCC (Captain batting)

MLCC Coach

MLCC Future Cricketers

Early in my under grad college days a young cricket player made his debut for India and the cricket wizards predicted he was going to be great. Sachin Tendulkar was his name. Sachin Tendulkar is a great cricketer indeed. It is great to watch him play. 
Google Image Search on the great Sachin Tendulkar

We follow all cricketers and Sachin was always the great cricketer. Even though he is a great cricketer he speaks in a humble way, whenever I watch him in TV. He is retiring after this test match against West Indies. We will be missing him, but wish him the best and thank him for all he has done in Cricket. Proud to have his autograph:
Autograph
Every young cricketer should follow him in every aspect.