Category Archives: Clean energy

My First Day at SXSW Eco with Foodies and Filmmakers

Commander Ben at SXSW Eco 2012

After checking in at SXSW Eco at the fantastic UT Austin AT&T Conference Center, I headed over to Rm. 103 to attend a talk titled Fighting Food Insecurity with Urban Agriculture in Austin…and guess who I got to meet? Ms. Addie Broyles, a food writer for the Austin American-Statesman!

Food in Austin

Ms. Addie Broyles and Commander Ben at SXSW Eco

It was neat to get to meet her because I have heard my Mom (the foodie in the family 🙂 ) talk a lot about her. Even though my blog isn’t about food, Ms. Broyles said she was looking forward to checking it out because she too has a budding filmmaker at home…her five year old son! 🙂

Clean energy

Ms. Griffin Gardner and Commander Ben at SXSW Eco

Next I walked over to Rm 204 to attend the Filmmakers Clean Energy Confab. I took my seat in the second row and that’s when someone in the front row turned around and said, “I know you, you’re famous!” It was Ms. Griffin Gardner, UT Austin Media Coordinator, who remembered taking a picture of me at the UT Austin Environmental Science Institute (ESI) Hot Science – Cool Talks event. I’m not sure if I’m really famous, but Ms. Gardner made my day!

Making great films for good

Mr. Steve Vogelpohl and Commander Ben at SXSW Eco

Next, as I headed out to lunch, I ran into Mr. Stephen Vogelpohl who recognized me from the Lights. Camera. Help. Focus on Good Film Festival. Mr. Vogelpohl is with Social Good TV. We talked about future projects we’re both working on, and he encouraged me to continue making great films for good.

Green army on the march

Today is the big day! As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I’ll join Ms. Jessica Strickland, Invasive Species Program Manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Dr. Damon Waitt, Director Native Plant Information Network; and an elite team from the Wildflower Center and the Green Army to map invasive species as part of the conference events.

Let’s find the Giant Reed (Arundo donax), Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta), and all the invasive plants that may be along Waller Creek in Austin, Texas!

I hope to see you there!

Your friend,

P.S. Tomorrow’s the last day to vote! Please vote for my SXSWedu presentation, “What Invasive Species Taught Me About Dyslexia”. I’ll talk about my great experiences with the Wildflower Center and Learning Ally too. Thanks!


Filed under Addie Broyles, AT&T Conference Center, Austin, Austin American Statesman, Clean energy, Clean energy, Damon Waitt, Elephant Ear, Environmental, Environmental Science Institute, ESI, Focus on Good, Giant Reed, Green Army, Griffin Gardner, Hot Science - Cool Talks, Jessica Strickland, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Lights Camera Help Annual Nonprofit Film Festival, Lights. Camera. Help., PanelPicker, Social Good TV, Steve Vogelpohl, SXSW, SXSW Eco, SXSWedu, University of Texas, Urban Agriculture, UT Austin, Waller Creek, What Invasive Species Taught Me About Dyslexia, Wildflower Center

Dr. Michael Webber Hot Science – Cool Talks on the Longhorn Network

Commander Ben and Dr. Michael Webber at the KLRU television studios at UT Austin

Last month, I had a chance to attend Dr. Michael Webber’s Hot Science – Cool Talks lecture, “From Fracking to the 40 Acres: Energy Challenges for UT, Texas and the World”, in person at the KLRU television studios on the UT Austin campus.

Dr. Webber is the Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and he is also an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin. KLRU is our Austin, Texas, PBS station where I’ve seen many Nova and Nature television programs.

I missed Dr. Webber’s presentation earlier this year when he gave it as part of the Spring 2012 lecture series, since I was in Washington D.C. getting the Invasive Hunter Academy ready for Kids’ Day during National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). So I was glad that I got this second chance to see his presentation in person.

The KLRU studio is cool, mostly painted black for the TV background. Someone said that they used to film Austin City Limits, a music program, here.

We could sit in the raised seats or on seats set up on the floor. I wanted to sit in the floor area, as close as I could to the front, so I could see his presentation clearly.

During his presentation he talked about natural gas, wind, and solar as being clean energies for the future. He also talked about biofuels, such as corn. The downside is that corn used for fuel can’t be used for food, and that may drive food prices up.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing

Dr. Webber also talked about fracking where companies drill far down and then sideways. They blast the shale rock and force a sand and liquid solution down to help release the natural gas out of the cracked rocks. They make a protective covering around the tube to try to keep fluids from leaching out into the surrounding land or aquifers. Fracking helps us get natural gas from areas where we could not before, and Texas is a great producer of natural gas for clean energy.

Learn more about future energies from Dr. Webber’s presentation

You can see Dr. Webber’s presentation on the Longhorn Network on Monday, July 9, at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. CT.

If you don’t have the Longhorn Network, watch a replay of his From Fracking to the 40 Acres webcast and Hot Science – Cool Talks presentation.

Fall 2012 Hot Science – Cool Talks presentations

I can’t wait to attend the Fall 2012 Hot Science – Cool Talks in person. They’ll be in the new Student Activity Center.

I liked them in Welch Hall because it felt very scientific, and I really liked the periodic tables on the wall, but having them in the center is hip too. That’s where
Dr. Andrew Howell gave his Hot Science – Cool Talks lecture in January.

Hope to see you there!

Your friend,

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Filed under Austin Technology Incubator, Biofuel, Clean energy, Clean Energy Incubator, Dr. Michael Webber, Fracking, Hot Science - Cool Talks, Hydraulic fracturing, KLRU, Longhorn Network, Natural gas, University of Texas, UT Austin