Research Identifies Communities at Risk of Adverse Clean Energy Effects

Researchers at Indiana University have developed a new method for identifying communities that may be negatively affected by clean energy policies designed to hasten the move from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly solutions.

Read the original article from News at IU.

Renewable and sustainable sources can lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air and opportunities for economic growth. But the change from fossil fuel to new energy is not always easy to make and does not impact all communities – or individuals – equally.

“The energy transition will bring many benefits to society,” said Sanya Carley, an associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington. “But the benefits, as well as the costs, will not be dispersed proportionately across society. My co-authors and I embarked on this study because we believe that it is important to study the distribution of benefits and burdens and to help the policy- and decision-maker community identify those populations that are most vulnerable.”

Carley is one of the authors of “A framework for evaluating geographic disparities in energy transition vulnerability,” which was published online today by the journal Nature Energy.

She and her co-authors set out to find a way to determine which populations in which areas of the country are at the highest risk for negative consequences from environmentally beneficial policies. By adapting a tool known as the Vulnerability Scoping Diagram, they were able to identify the geographic areas and individuals that can be defined as being vulnerable.

Often these vulnerable communities are places where fossil fuels represent a large portion of the local economy or where many individuals are not capable of paying for the increased cost of new, cleaner energy. Pinpointing the populations at the highest risk for negative socioeconomic consequences will allow them to be targeted for programs and assistance to help limit or eliminate those unintended effects, the researchers say.

Previously, the Vulnerability Scoping Diagram has been used to determine the vulnerability of communities in the context of natural hazards, disaster management and climate change. The IU research represents the first time it has been applied to a social science setting.

“It is important to document adverse effects of policies, not in an attempt to undermine their credibility or efficacy, but to better understand their limitations and unintended consequences,” said David Konisky, also an author of the paper and an associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In one example of using the tool, the researchers examine county-by-county vulnerability to renewable portfolio standards, in which states require utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources. While not all states have adopted such standards, the analysis finds the highest vulnerability in some counties in Texas, California, Hawaii and New York.

Additional authors of the study include SPEA doctoral student Michelle Graff and Tom Evans, former professor of geography in the IU College of Arts and Sciences and now a professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona.

From Poynter: How Can We Solve Fake News?

Fake news isn’t all fun and games. But for Mihai Avram, it kind of is.

The Indiana University master’s student has developed a prototype for a game that allows users to decide whether or not to share, like or fact-check stories on social media. The game scores each action you take, giving top points if you share credible stories or fact-check dubitable ones.

Essentially, the game aims to increase users’ news literacy skills.

“Ideally, we would want to have a lot users play the game, nationally and internationally,” Avram, 25, said. “At the very least, I know journalists will definitely be interested because they’re the ones who are very curious about this new domain of trying to figure out, given these sources, what is real and what is fake.”

The game uses the News API to pull in different mainstream outlets. At the same time, Avram and his adviser, informatics and computer science professor Fil Menczer, pick fake news sources by leveraging Hoaxy, a tool that crawls social media and articles based on lists curated by fact-checkers.

While it’s still early to see how users are interacting with the game (Avram said most have just been helping him test that everything is working), most of the preliminary feedback has been positive. And that’s because it’s gamifying a complex problem, Avram said.

“We wanted to be creating a game that also has a purpose, so when you look at some of the most popular examples, such as the ESP game or even CAPTCHA,” he said. “You don’t really see them as games, but they definitely serve a purpose.”

[read more]

Making the City | The Ethics, Values, and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts

This semester’s third installment of The Ethics, values, and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts Seminar Series, “Making the City,” will be held on Monday, April 16, from 4-6pm at the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, University Library 4115P.

Cities across the US are grappling with major transformations that expose the many tensions inherent to historical disparities in economics, education, safety, and political access brought on by inequalities based in race and class. Midwest cities have responded to these challenges with a variety of approaches. This seminar series is concerned with addressing one of them: the role of culture in reshaping cities – specifically through public art.

In the discourse and practice of urban design, public art has increasingly been seen as a key tool in redeveloping our cities – from making cities more livable and safe to encouraging economic development and educational achievement.

Using art as a tool to address urban design challenges goes by a variety of different names: creative placemaking, civic art, and tactical urbanism, to name a few. These approaches are fundamentally tied to ethical frameworks and notions of value. Seminar meetings will discuss the intersections of ethics, public art, and urban design through shared readings, guest speakers, and conversation.

Click here to reserve your ticket on Eventbrite.

The Ethics, Values, and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts Seminar Series is supported by The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society at Indiana University, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Herron School of Art and Design.

Examining Dual Language Immersion Programs

View the original article at News at IU Bloomington.

Indiana should provide targeted and ongoing professional development, guidance on curriculum, and support from teacher-preparation programs to help schools implement dual language immersion programs, according to a report from an Indiana University research center.

IU School of Education researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with educators from six school districts that were implementing or planning for dual language immersion programs, known as DLI. The conversations focused on benefits and challenges of the approach, in which students learn in both English and a “partner language” such as Spanish or Mandarin.

The report, “Implementing Indiana’s New Dual Language Immersion Programs: Educator Perspectives,” is from the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy in the School of Education. Authors are Colleen Chesnut, a research associate at the center, and Vesna Dimitrieska, director of global education initiatives for IU’s Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration and the School of Global and International Studies.

“Teachers and administrators in the new DLI programs were enthusiastic about the opportunities these programs would provide to their students,” Chesnut said. “They were also eager to learn about research-based practices to improve their teaching and concerned about challenges in recruiting qualified teachers and maintaining support from state officials and policymakers.”

Students in dual language immersion programs typically spend part of each day learning in English and part of each day learning in the partner language. They include two-way programs, in which native speakers of each language learn together in the same classrooms, and one-way programs, in which students who are native English speakers learn in two languages.

The Indiana General Assembly created a dual language immersion pilot program in 2015 and has authorized about $500,000 a year for grants to help school districts establish the programs. Studies have found the programs can have academic and social-cultural benefits for both students who are English learners and students who are native English speakers.

The researchers recommend that administrators and policymakers require DLI-specific professional development that targets curriculum development and balances language and content; provide guidance on curricula, standards, and accountability; ensure programs are faithful to research-based practices; and work with teacher preparation programs to address the need for qualified dual language immersion teachers.

Robert G. Bringle Civic Engagement Showcase

Plater Medallion Recipients from 2015 Bringle Showcase

Service, partnership, and research. The Robert G. Bringle Civic Engagement Showcase recognizes the impact of each of these things on the IUPUI campus and in the community.

Held in the IUPUI Campus Center (420 University Boulevard) on Tuesday, April 10, the showcase will honor faculty, staff, and community partners who exemplify IUPUI’s commitment to deepening community engagement. The showcase will highlight the contributions of four IUPUI honorees. Poster presentations will show the various and diverse contributions IUPUI students, faculty, staff, and organizations are making to this commitment. Finally, the event will conclude with a formal recognition of the graduating students who have been awarded the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion for exemplary commitment to serving their community.

To register or to learn more, visit the IUPUI Center for Service & Learning website.

Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Salvaging Endangered Data

Original article by Marah Harbison at News at IU.

A reconstruction of a vessel from the Angel Mounds excavation site.

Archaeologists spend days, months, even years at digs sifting through mud and dirt searching for artifacts that will lead to an understanding of another time and place. Now, the staff at Indiana University Bloomington’s archaeology lab is embarking on a dig of its own – a data dig.

The Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, named for the first archaeologist to teach at IU, functions as a museum, library, and research laboratory dedicated to understanding Indiana’s archaeological heritage. Its largest collection derives from Angel Mounds State Historic Site and National Historic Landmark near Evansville, Indiana, where Black led an excavation from 1939 to 1964 and archaeologists from IU have been working ever since.

From this dig and others, the lab has acquired more than 12,000 archaeological collections composed of nearly 5 million artifacts, 30,000 historical photos, 3,600 books and scholarly publications, and more. It is also the keeper of more than 800 linear feet of documents, field journals, maps, and drawings as well as more than 700 legacy data formats like floppy discs, 9-tracks, and CD-ROMs documenting excavations.

While 70 percent of the artifacts are card catalogued and more than 1,300 of the historical photos are available in an online archive, much of the research data has yet to be retrieved from deteriorating paper journals and obsolete formats to be digitized for accessibility.

“The nightmare is that there is something really important on a floppy disk that doesn’t exist on any other format,” said Jennifer St. Germain, collections manager at the lab. “If we aren’t able to digitize this data then we may lose it.”

So the lab’s staff has launched an effort to salvage its data, much like archaeologists salvage artifacts from excavations. They have taken inventory and assessed the current state of collections and are seeking support from IU Libraries to digitize documents, create online catalogs and finding guides, and retrieve data from legacy formats. Their efforts align with IU’s larger commitment to digitization led by the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, which is working to digitize all significant audio and video recordings on campus before the IU Bicentennial in 2020.

“The Glenn Black Lab is emblematic of the rich and varied collections we are dedicated to preserving and sharing at IU. Not only do their collections have regional ties to the state of Indiana and immense research value, but they are closely tied to the history of Indiana University,” said Jamie Wittenberg, head of Scholarly Communications at University Libraries. “There is a lot of potential for use of the collection by current students and faculty.”

“One of the biggest threats facing data and one of the biggest causes of endangered data is not using the collections,” said Melody Pope, curator of collections at the lab. “The more intellectual control we have of archaeological data, the more accessible it is, the more we can promote collections as a research core for students and scholars. Hopefully by the end of this project, a dissertation doctoral student won’t have to spend years sorting through data. The data will be accessible and they’ll just have to bring their questions.”

Beyond reaching students and scholars, the lab hopes the data digitized from this project will be more accessible for the Native American tribes associated with its collections. The lab’s Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection – the fruits of a Department of Justice-funded research project led by IU professor Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin in the 1950s – hosts information pertaining to 15 tribes and spanning the years 1540 to 1907.

While this particular collection now has an online finding aid, the lab hopes to digitize the majority of the research and make it available online. Many tribes included in the project have already been in contact with the lab and are eager to have more access to information that will tell them more about their histories.

“In general our goal is to spread awareness of the resources we have, but it will be particularly rewarding to assist tribes that are interested in the materials we have but can’t travel here to use them,” St. Germain said. “Digitizing these items will give us the power to help some people learn more about their ancestors.”

Core Fulbright Program Competition

From the Vice President for International Affairs:

The competition for the 2019-20 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is now open. The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends more than 500 American scholars and professionals annually to more than 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Visit the CIES website for application details.

Keep in mind that grant lengths vary and are specified in the award description; grant benefits vary but generally include travel and living expenses for the awardee and accompanying dependents; the competition is open to all U.S. citizens; the application deadline is August 1, 2018; and the Catalog of Awards is available here.

For more information, visit the CIES website and contact IUPUI’s Fulbright representative, Leslie Bozeman.

Proper Disaster Planning Results in Savings

Original article from News at IUPUI.

In a time of unpredictable and extreme weather events, can we prepare for disaster? And if so, will the benefits outweigh the costs?

The National Institute of Building Sciences has put a price on it, in dollars and lives. The institute’s project team reviewed results of 23 years of federally funded mitigation grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and found that for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, the country can save $6 in future disaster costs.

Additionally, designing new buildings that exceed select provisions of the 2015 International Building Code can save the United States $4 for every $1 spent. In total, the two strategies would prevent some 600 deaths, 1 million nonfatal injuries, and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder over time.

Designing new buildings would also result in 87,000 new jobs and an increase of approximately 1 percent in the use of domestically produced construction material.

The Polis Center at IUPUI played a significant role in the development of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report, released earlier this year, by conducting the analysis associated with river flood hazards.

“Taking preventive action to protect against floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters saves money by decreasing the costs of recovery,” said Kevin Mickey, Director of Professional Development and Geospatial Technology Education at The Polis Center, who led a team of investigators. “This study also reveals we can strengthen building codes to achieve this benefit at a reasonable cost.”

To determine the effectiveness of federally funded mitigation grants, the Polis team examined a sample of grants associated with acquiring or demolishing flood-prone buildings, especially single-family homes, manufactured homes, and two- to four-family dwellings. The team also analyzed the cost-effectiveness of designing new buildings to exceed provisions of the 2015 model building codes. Specifically, they explored the effectiveness of building new homes higher than the base flood elevation required by the 2015 International Building Code.

Sponsors of the report include FEMA, HUD, EDA, ICC, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Institute of Architects.

Measuring Light Pollution in the Hoosier National Forest

Original article by Bethany Nolan from News at IU.

Students in Himebaugh’s digital systems class build light monitors that will be installed throughout the Hoosier National Forest. [Photos by Tracy Theriault]
When the Hoosier National Forest wanted to know whether any part of its more than 200,000 acres could be eligible for an international designation intended to recognize those who minimize light pollution, it turned to Indiana University students for help.

The project is part of the university’s Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative, which partners with a local community to explore, understand, and resolve challenges identified by the community. The initiative is one of the six areas of focus for the IU Center for Rural Engagement, which works within 11 neighboring counties in southwest central Indiana to address challenges and opportunities in the area.

Clinical assistant professor Bryce Himebaugh, who teaches in IU Bloomington’s new Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, said the 28 undergraduate students in his spring digital systems class are constructing a set of monitors that can be installed in the Hoosier National Forest to measure light pollution. The project launched in August, when the fall cohort wrote a piece of software to collect data while several independent study students constructed a prototype monitor.

“Now I’m teaching the principles of how that hardware and software was designed to this spring’s class, and they’re learning how to build those systems,” Himebaugh said. “We hope they’ll be deployed in the field by April 2018.” He said the project is perfect for his class, which is a mix of students studying intelligent systems engineering and computer science.

“They work with a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm, and when you see them figure out things, it’s almost like you’re seeing it all over again for the first time too,” Himebaugh said. “One of the most rewarding things for me is to see these students understand how this system works, and how they can apply it to other situations.

“I don’t expect students in this class will all have a career in developing outdoor monitoring equipment, but rather that they’ll see its applicability to other areas – some sort of medical wearable device or something that could track items in a shipping management system. All kinds of things are possible once you understand how to collect systems data and communicate it.”

That’s exactly what IU sophomore Jackie Youngs enjoys most about the class, she said. “Following a project from idea to physical completion through the entire design process reinforces understanding of each of the individual components and how everything – the programming language, the physics of the components, the devices themselves – connects,” the intelligent systems engineering major said. “This is one of the most important skills I intend to use after completion of this semester.

“I don’t necessarily plan on pursuing computer engineering as a career but am more interested in going to medical school. Even so, being able to identify how a large system is composed of smaller components and how they are connected is an invaluable skill I plan to take from this course.”

Once the class work is complete and the solar-powered monitors are deployed throughout the Hoosier National Forest, Himebaugh said, the data they’ll collect and transmit will help measure light patterns within the forest. The Hoosier National Forest is seeking International Dark Sky Places designation. The application process requires ongoing monitoring and documentation of specific programs intended to minimize light pollution.

“People might not think about the importance of dark night skies on their lives, but increases in nighttime light levels can have serious consequences for ecosystems, animal life, and even human rhythms,” Hoosier National Forest spokeswoman Andrea Crain said. “We hope through this project we can reach a whole new audience to communicate the importance of dark skies and potential recreation experiences on the Hoosier National Forest.”

She said the assistance from the class has been invaluable. “It’s been exciting to meet with students and see their progress throughout this process, as they’re learning to problem-solve and come up with creative solutions to new issues,” Crain said. “Being part of that learning process makes this project an extra special experience for the Hoosier National Forest employees involved.”

Ryan White Letters at the Children’s Museum

Ryan White (1971-1990) was a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. He was diagnosed at the age of 13. In the early 1980s, not much was known about the disease, and Ryan was not allowed to continue attending school in his hometown because parents thought he would spread the disease to others. After a fierce legal battle that brought national attention to Ryan and his family, he was allowed to return to school. However, discrimination continued, and Ryan and his family decided to move further south to Cicero, Indiana. There, Hamilton Heights schools educated their students about AIDS and its effects, and they welcomed him with open arms.

Meanwhile, Ryan became a spokesperson for AIDS communities, speaking locally and internationally about his experiences. He was friends with many celebrities and was able to speak at the President’s Commission on the AIDS Epidemic. A TV movie, “The Ryan White Story,” was made about his life, and it aired in 1989, gaining him further popularity. Ryan’s major goal in life was to have a normal childhood and normal experiences in high school. He enjoyed school and was able to skateboard, drive, and hold a job at a surf shop.

However, Ryan was still sick, and his illness caused his death on April 8th, 1990. Thousands attended his funeral in Indianapolis, including first Lady Barbara Bush. He was buried in Cicero, in part because of the warm welcome the community had given him. Ryan’s legacy lives on through the National CARE Act, IU’s Dance Marathon for Riley (as well as similar marathons at other universities), an AIDS walk at Hamilton Heights commemorating Ryan with a scholarship, and more.

In 2001, Ryan’s mother donated the contents of his room, in addition to other materials, to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The museum opened their ground-breaking permanent exhibit The Power of Children in 2004. The exhibit portrays Ryan’s life, as well as the lives of Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank.

In 2016, The Children’s Museum received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to digitize letters sent to Ryan White in the 1980s in collaboration with IUPUI Library’s Program of Digital Scholarship. The archive of nearly 6,000 letters offers significant cultural information related to the AIDS epidemic, the perspective of children, and related issues of tolerance, education, and inspiration as well as a window to popular culture in the 1980s.

As part of this project, the Museum has created an online learning platform for youth in grades 3-12 to learn how to transcribe letters and research questions of interest about Ryan’s life and time period. In addition, the letters and transcriptions are available to scholars through the IUPUI Library online digital collections, allowing the letters to be used for research regarding the misunderstood disease and to share the legacy of Ryan White.

Visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis website to learn more.