A blog from University of Borås

Monday, December 31, 2012

Music and fashion from wastes!

We usually hear engineers talk about the wastes, as they focus on engineering aspects, technologies, etc. However, it is intersting to see intiation of some people who develop arts and beauty from wastes!

Sometimes ago, I saw a friend in São Paulo University in Brazil (Prof Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos) who work with scavengers and many students, and show many beautiful clothes and materials from wastes, (such as this beautiful cloths in the picture down here). Another aspects I saw was in Indonesia in a project named Clean & Green, in which dirty parts of the cities were converted to beautiful parts and made such as bags or hats.

!!!I wish you all a Happy New Year of 2013!!!!

Now, we see another initiation in Paraguay, where people made different insturments from wastes and played Mozart. Very intresting!!

 (Cloths made from wastes in São Paulo University, photo borrowed from Prof Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos)
(Different handycrafts from wastes. Photo by Agus Prasetya from Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia)

(Playing Mozart by instuments made from rubish)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to find a position as PhD student?

I reguarly get questions from students who are looking for a position as PhD student. Here are some hints for those applicants:
1- The positions as PhD stundents are very limited compared to the number of MSc students. So, if you apply and get a negative answer, you are not alone. Do not give up!
2- The financing is usually a major crerion. If you have financing from e.g. your home country, a ministry, a company etc., it would be easier to find a position. However, if you apply for the positions with salary or scholarship, you have to compete with the other students, which make it much more difficult.
3- Try to contact the professors whom you are interesting to work with. You should avoid general e-mails, since nobody answer.
4- Try to make personal contacts with those professors in e.g. conferences, workshops etc., even if you have to go abroad for such conferences and pay for it.
5- One major merit in selecting the students is to have publications (in scientific journals). You should work hard to do some good work in e.g. your MSc thesis and try to publish it. It increases the chances to find a position.
6- Many MScs try to study another MSc again, in order to get in touch with some peoples and increase their changes. It sometimes works!
7- The grades in your MSc and even BSc are important.
8- The social parts and teamwork are also important to get a position. Do not understimate it!
9- Try to get a good references. The reference letters that are handed over to the applicants are usually useless, since all of the are positive and not real!

Think about these facts and good luck in finding a position!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Prepare yourself for more natural disasters!

It is very disappointing news from Doha (Qatar) that the polititions in the world cannot do more than just prolonging Kyoto Protocol. The level of carbon dioxide is now more than 390 ppm (just notice that it has been generally around 200 to 300 ppm in the last 400,000 years.

The polititions just care about their daily work and perhaps just re-elected and have no possibility to do a longterm investment on the environmental issues. So, people should think about themselves and prepare for:
- Less rain in dried regions, but flood when it rains,
- More rains in the is already too much rain,
- More extreme weather (too cold or too hot),
- More release of methane in the atmosphere (and consequently more global warming),
- Higher level of water (for those who live on the coastal area and also harbors),
- More and stronger storms and tornados,
- Chaning in the Gulf streams (water movement between the poles and equators) and more anaerobic conditions at the bottoms of oceans and seas and less oxygen in the water,
- .....

It is probably the myth of 2012, if you believe in it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

India: zero waste with music and religion?

We had a trip last week to India and had good meetings with several municipalities, companies and universities about zero wastes concept, and conversion of wastes to a variety of energies, fuels and materials as what we do here in Sweden. I hope it leads to some concrete developments in the country.

However, I think India is a very complicated country with many challenges. There is wide span of rich-middle class-poor people, as well as on the education. We see expensive cars on the street, while still many people depend on elephants and camels for transportation. While air-condition is normal in many buildings that I visited, still 44% of the rural area do not have access to electricity.

The questions on wastes and energy are also hot topic in the country. India is in some kinds of transient conditions from the old traditions (where no everything was somehow sustainable) to a consuming society with perhaps American style of life as the model. They should consume more in order to show they belong to a higher class. It results in a lot of wastes (as I heard 1.3 kg/capita/day that is almost similar to Sweden) and also lack of energy (as I heard just one state has surplus of electricity production and the rest have problem with it). There are a lot of plans on waste management, but in principle, the wastes are transported to the landfills and dumping places.

One key factor in Sweden on a proper waste management and achieving zero landfill is the wastes segregation at the source as people do it as home. When we talked about it, there were people who were very pessimistic and said it can never happen in India. However, Indians love dance and music and they are generally very religious. Their home is clean and their temples are also clean, as we have to take out shoes before entering the temples or mosques. Just they need little social works to start with music and beautiful dancers to sing and dance for zero wastes and also their religious leaders to show them that the streets should also be clean as their home and temples are! Let's see if we get some results out of it!