I just recently heard about EPA’s Apps for the Environment contest. It’s an idea for leveraging EPA’s data to inform the public about the environment, and I think it’s a fabulous idea — particularly because EPA has a lot of datasets. Applicants for EPA’s contest aren’t restricted to coding for mobile devices, but there’s something about a mobile framework that makes it a natural framework for communication about the environment. UX Magazine author Rachel Hinman argued that mobile devices really shine in contexts of place, spatial relationships, and temporal relationships. Simply put: the environment isn’t just “out there” somewhere; it’s also right where we’re standing, and these days we’re typically standing with mobile devices in our hands.
A few weeks ago I came upon a blog post named If energy were free and unlimited, by David Gold. It’s an interesting “limits analysis” — if energy cost approached zero and energy availability approached infinity, what would happen? David’s main thesis is that economic prosperity would reign, but I think that this is incomplete. It’s true that energy is interwoven into everything that we do. Mass, however, is also interwoven into everything. Even disregarding what Einstein said, we still have to deal with inherent connections between mass and energy.