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The Glass Bead Game: University of Sussex Launches Unique Podcast Series Featuring David Attenborough

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Yesterday, The School of Global Studies at the University Of Sussex, is proud to announce the launch of an exciting new audio narrative podcast series, THE GLASS BEAD GAME with the first episode in the series featuring David Attenborough and Naomi Klein.  Oriented towards those that are curious of mind, this twelve part series aims to creatively engage listeners on complex geopolitical issues in a monthly podcast. Unlike many of the static, debate based UK podcasts, this entertaining audio experience is more dynamic in its format, with an approach more similar to those currently being produced in the US.

In the initial two-part episode, THE MEANING OF CLIMATE CHANGE, broadcaster David Attenborough and author and social activist Naomi Klein, along with numerous notable professors, discuss the ethical, cultural and economic impact of climate change and what it means to those most affected. The series is directed and presented by award winning filmmaker Will Hood, a research associate at the University of Sussex, and the series is produced by Rob Alexanderof perfectmotion.

ABOUT: THE GLASS BEAD GAME


The podcast series creates a unique platform by which academic research can engage with an audience through people led narrative. Collecting the academic testimony of different disciplines from the international network of higher education, THE GLASS BEAD GAME aspires to appeal to a wide audience, challenge mainstream narratives and represent previously unheard voices.

The series title the ‘glass bead game’ is a nod to the classic book of the same name (Hesse 1943) in which the ‘game’ itself is played by creating new and subtle inferences between different academic disciplines.  By weaving together multiple conversations from academics and popular authorities the GBG podcast attempts to reconcile the disparate narratives that are inevitably produced by difficult subjects.

‘Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.’

(Herman Hesse – The Glass Bead Game, 1943)


 

‘The huge difference between humanity and the natural world is that we have a way of externalising knowledge … that simply makes an enormous difference … humanity is able to store knowledge across time and across space and that gives us huge power – we haven’t yet got the wisdom to handle it properly but that’s what makes us different from the rest of the world’

(David Attenborough)

 

EPISODE ONE: THE MEANING OF CLIMATE CHANGE

 

PART ONE: INDIGENOUS OIL (Featuring David Attenborough)

In the first episode of THE GLASS BEAD GAME, presenter Will Hood explores the relationship between energy, ecology and economics, combining academic research with the anecdotal experience of indigenous groups on the front line of Canada’s environmental conflict.

  • Chief Billy Joe Laboucan Massimo – Chief of the Lubicon Cree Band, Little Buffalo, Alberta, Canada
  • David Attenborough – Broadcaster
  • Ernie Gambler – Indigenous Musician from Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada
  • Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez – Indigenous Scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada
  • J.B. Williams, Tsawout First Nation – Flood Story Narration (with music from Elder May Sam)
  • Makere Stewart-Harawira – Indigenous Scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada
  • Peter Newell – Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex

 

PART TWO: DIRECT ACTION (Featuring David Attenborough & Naomi Klein)

With live coverage of the Cop21 climate summit (Paris Dec 2015) this episode explores the ethics of direct action as a way to make sense of climate change. An issue that divides the public and excites the media to what extents can it achieve meaningful political and social change?

  • Rex Weyler – founding member of Greenpeace
  • David Attenborough – Broadcaster
  • Naomi Klein – Author (No logo, This Changes Everything)
  • Peter Newell – Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex
  • Richard Tol – Climate Economist at the University of Sussex
  • Mike Hudema – Climate and energy activist with Green peace Canada
  • Peter Newell – Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex.

 

THE GLASS BEAD GAME’s first two episodes: ‘THE MEANING OF CLIMATE CHANGE’ are available now to stream, download or share attheglassbeadgame.co.uk/archive/

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.


Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.


The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?


A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.


“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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