Monday, May 25, 2015

Oil and water

It may be too late to be an eco-hero in the Gulf. But you and/or your kids can take a crack at washing birds' feathers, without all the travel and, well, the dispiriting epic scope of the problem. Head over to the Atrium of the Franklin Institute on weekdays and check out their interactive exhibit on the science and mechanics of oil spills.

Oil and water

A group of children watches a demonstration at the Franklin Institute of how and why oil spills spread.
A group of children watches a demonstration at the Franklin Institute of how and why oil spills spread.

I was talking to someone over the weekend who was a little nostalgic that the BP oil-spill calamity seems to be  finally winding down, wishing they had found time to go down to the Gulf and help clean up back when their calendar was freer during the early-summer months.

Well, it may be too late to be an eco-hero (although of course there remains plenty to be done down there). But you and/or your kids can take a crack at washing birds' feathers, without all the travel and, well, the dispiriting epic scope of the problem. Head over to the Atrium of the Franklin Institute on weekdays and check out their interactive exhibit on the science and mechanics of oil spills.

For a description of the show I'll quote the press release:

Hands-on Franklin science interpreters explain the scientific challenges via clear bucket of water representing the Gulf of Mexico.  Visitors learn:

How quickly a slick is created when a drop of motor oil enters the water. 

  • The effect of waves, hurricane winds and water currents on the slick through a simulation – as well as the effect on ocean life, land animals and the Gulf habitat.

  • The challenges of clean-up to wildlife, such as birds.  Through a demonstration of a feather dipped in oil, visitors can get hands-on to clean the feather with dish detergent  – and learn more about the real-life applications of this procedure. 

  • Additionally, a Power Point slide show runs throughout the day on a large screen in the Atrium - summarizing the up-to-date events relating to the spill.

  • Of course, there are other eco-oriented features at the Franklin Institute, so there's plenty to visit and explore once you're there. The Changing Earth exhibit, for instance, gives you a tool to calculate your carbon footprint as well as other devices to help "find solutions to reduce carbon emissions, explore seismographs of recent earthquakes, and experiment to see how dams and water volume affect river flow and erosion."

    To find out more about these or other exhibits you can go to the Franklin Institute's website or call 215-448-1200.

    About this blog
    Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

    The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


    Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


    Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


    Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


    Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


    Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


    Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


    Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


    Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


    In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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