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The Harvard Lab: "A Passionate Will to Effect Change"

... is how the founder of a unique Harvard teaching project described the motivation for his new spring semester 2009 course, Engineering Sciences 147:
Idea Translation: Effecting Change through the Arts and Sciences is a fall term class that focuses on how "idea creations evolve from a passionate will to effect change" (now offered as ES20).
Professor David Edwards' popular course coalesced interest in creating a collaborative space for solving human and environmental problems. That space became known as The Laboratory at Harvard (or simply The Lab). It occupies the basement floor of a new science building on the Cambridge Campus, featuring a huge skylit atrium where many gatherings take place. Sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Graduate School of Design, and other university divisions, The Lab is now in its third year of harnessing student's imaginations and already has an outpost in Paris and another in Cape Town.

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Meatless Monday: Simple Pasta with Mushrooms

Today's recipe, Simple Pasta with Mushrooms, was submitted by FearLess editor Robin Cangie, from the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious.

This dish is super simple to make. The critical step is in the final minute of cooking the pasta together with the mushrooms. Be sure and add enough of the pasta cooking water to actually deglaze the pan and develop a bit of sauce. If you serve this dry (“tight” as chefs say), it will be bland and chewy. There should be a little shine. You never need to fear diluting your sauce with pasta water. It is already seasoned with salt and has some body from the starch shed by the noodles, so in small quantities, it won’t be watery.

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Reality Expedition to Antarctica, Day 6

Heading back to the ship in the zodiacs from Palmer station, we heard a huge crack in the ice and looked up to see a big chunk of glacier "calving" off. It's a melancholy feeling here to see such a sight because the ice sheet used to extend all the way to the station. Calving is such an appropriate term for this ice peeling off the continental sheet because the ice supports life, both in the microscopic creatures that feed and live on the underside and in the shelter it provides for penguins.

In some places, the sheet has pulled all the way back to the continent and no longer falls into the sea but instead just collapses on the land, no longer providing its shelter to the Antarctic ecosystem. This type of calving isn't about life. It's about death. A place where the environment is shifting so fast it is testing the ability for the flora and fauna to keep pace.

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John Hodgman: The Haves & the Soon-to-Haves 

John Hodgman explains that the haves are creating an exclusive world of luxury and privilege for the soon-to-haves to have -- soon.


Reality Expedition to Antarctica, Day 5

Today I woke up early because I forgot to pull the shade down. Which is a problem down here because it's pretty much full sun at 2AM. Feeling lazy I smothered my eyes in a pillow and went back to sleep. It seems that this time of year it's only twilight from about 11 to 1am.

After breakfast we got suited up to head over in the zodiacs to Palmer station. Palmer is the smallest of the US stations in Antarctica and potentially the proudest. It has a maximum capacity of 45 persons and they are conducting research on the climate and the flora and fauna. The climate reality flag greeted us at the landing site. It was great to see.

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