While searching for videos related to a topic I'm covering in class Google reminded me about biomimicry. I'd forgotten what a powerful engineer the natural wold is and enjoyed this TED talk from Janine Benyus, '12 Sustainable Ideas from Nature'. Check it out!
A professor at the University of Pennsylvania teaches a college course called 'Living Deliberately, Monks, Saints and the Contemplative Life'. Students in the course must spend a month (29 days) without talking, sex, or access to any phone or electronic devices. And this ban extends across all other courses they are taking and into their private lives. Students can hand-write letters and notes, but that's it. And there are other restrictions on clothing, spending, and many other aspects of life. I was, and wasn't, surprised to learn that the course is wildly popular. Students in the course tend to perform better in their other courses while taking this course.
Here are a few thoughts from two students who've taken the class.
“[It] was a good way to take a step back from life and just view it from the outside and get a clarity that you don't get when you’re actively involved with everything all the time,” Julia said.
“I think one of the things that this class does is it allows you to introspect a lot more and learn a lot more about yourself,” Khadija says. “I just wanted to do something challenging, something different, something you don't really get an opportunity to do at any other school and just see what, kind of, I need to do as a person.”
Beyond academic life, students made surprising discoveries in their own personalities. “Immediately after I was just so much quieter,” Khadija admits. After a month of not speaking, Khadija found herself recognizing the mindless chatter that used to be part of her daily life. Refraining from communication helped drastically change the way she now connects. “I definitely have a different approach to communication. It’s more, ‘Does that thing need to be said? What are the effects of the things you have to say?’ When it comes to the meaningful things I’m a lot less rash or quick off the gun.”
To read more about this innovative class check out these stories from NPR and 34th street.
Tesla has installed a PV / battery microgrid system at Children's Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The hospital has been dependent on petro generators since Hurricane Maria knocked out the island's power grid. For more connect to this NPR report.