Emily Burke's Blog

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New iPad March 20, 2012

Filed under: Tech News — Emily Burke @ 5:27 pm
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Apple announced late Monday that it has sold more than 3 million new iPads since the new version’s March 16 launch, making this the most successful launch yet for Apple’s tablet. (cnn)

The new iPad’s flashiest feature is a high-pixel-count “retina display,” previously available only on the iPhone. The new iPad’s screen has 3.1 million pixels, one million more than a 1080p high-definition screen of that size would. It also features a faster processor and a 4G radio. (cnn)


Assignment 3- Farming in the New Sustainable City of Norfolk March 1, 2012

As an urban planner I plan to optimize the effectiveness of Norfolk’s land use and infrastructure. I will do this by basing my focus on green houses and facilities. By incorporating some very useful sustainable technologies into this community, I believe I could make Norfolk, itself, a cleaner and healthier environment. My focus on green houses came about once I did a little more research on them. I found out about Team Tidewater’s design called, Unit 6 Unplugged, which finished 14th in the 2011 Solar Decathlon finals in Washington D.C. They designed an affordable , net-zero energy, infill apartment dwelling for an urban area such as Hampton Roads. The Unit 6 Unplugged house is being permanently sited on the ODU campus at 47th Street and Killam Avenue, where it will serve as headquarters for the university’s Sustainable Development Institute and a showcase for green living technology. There are so many cool things you can do with renewable energy sources and they are so much more cost-effective than fossil fuels themselves. In the new, sustainable Norfolk community I will incorporate solar, wind, and biomass energy to help power all facilities and therefore everything will be green. Alternative fueled vehicles are something else that I would love to eventually bring into the community to even better the air quality of the city, but I think it will be best to use stages when completely restructuring a community that has already been evolved for many many years. I will also introduce vertical farming to the city to promote localized produce production, without having vast acres of land and farming equipment. Vertical farming is constructed into tall buildings and utilizes key renewable energy sources to maintain it, and also produces zero emissions. I know these ideas might cause some conflict between some individuals, but I believe that once I am able to make this dream a reality everyone will follow along once they start to see the positive effects.

The following link is to my Prezi presentation. Enjoy!



Google Bypasses Privacy Setting on Safari February 20, 2012

Filed under: Tech News — Emily Burke @ 10:42 am

In the latest high-profile flap over online data privacy, Google has been caught bypassing the privacy settings on Apple’s Safari Web browser, letting advertisers track users in unintended ways.



The Shareable Future of Cities February 17, 2012

Filed under: The Shareable Future of Cities — Emily Burke @ 6:35 pm
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Today’s video was definitely something to make you think about. Alex Steffen estimated that there will be 8 billion or more people living in or near cities by mid-century. Steffen’s idea about how our energy is “predestined” rather than “behavioral” provided some very good evidence for the rest of his speech. I would have to agree with this idea, because it’s what’s around and the available resources that makes us use energy the way we do. We have to use certain energies to certain extents to get from one place to another or to use certain machines. Then Steffen goes on to talk about the density of communities and the climate emissions. With increasing the density of neighborhoods we could potentially walk somewhere instead of having to get in the car and drive somewhere. The “eco-districts” Steffen talks about are new sustainable neighborhoods that include things such as infill, urban retrofitting, and tentpole density, which will all have an effect on creating denser populations and using what we already have for the better. These ideas are definitely very feasible for a place like Norfolk. We already have a pretty dense population with a lot of buildings and the potential to use these places to make the whole community more sustainable. For instance, with lowering the amount of cars in the community, people will start to follow this trend and when they start to see the positive effects it has on the community and the people, it will only get better. Steffen then went on to say that the denser places with the right conditions will have a threshold effect. More and more people will stop driving and begin walking and using public transportation, which will have a huge effect on our environment. People-focused places will make individuals feel at home, and they just might give up their cars all together. This could even have the potential of cutting transportation emissions by 90%. Steffen wanted to move the idea of a dream home to the idea of a dream neighborhood. I definitely agree with the threshold effect, because it would kind of be like a domino effect and I think everyone would benefit from the idea. The whole idea around, “even space itself is turning into a service”, shows that people are beginning to share spaces or even do stuff with vacant spaces, and new building are being structured differently. For example; more windows to use daylight to light the building or the use the sun to heat the building. Using mechanisms like these have had tremendous effects on the amount of energy used by these buildings. A good example of this that I found is the new engineering and computational sciences building at ODU. This building meets each of the five categories associated with the LEED certification:

Sustainable site 
Rainwater collected on the roof will filter through on-site rock and plant gardens.

Water efficiency 
Native, drought-resistant plants and efficient drip irrigation will reduce the amount of water needed for landscaping. Efficient plumbing systems are expected to cut water use inside the building by 20 percent.

Energy and atmosphere
Increased insulation, external sun-shading, windows that increase day-lighting and other innovations that increase the efficiency of mechanical systems should cut the building’s energy demands by 20 percent.

Materials and resources
The building was constructed with increased amounts of salvaged, certified, recycled and rapidly renewable materials. Also, the university recycled 50 percent of construction debris.

In-door environmental quality
Air quality management controls keep contaminants out of the heating and air conditioning systems. The building is smoke-free.

Steffen’s argument about, “…it’s not about the leaves above, but the systems below…”, made a very interesting point. We often don’t look at how a city, for instance is capturing rain water to reuse it, or if a city uses green infrastructure to capture rain water and grow urban trees. This whole idea is based off of the way we take these natural resources and use them in a way that is healthier for the planet and in a way that we can provide communities with more energy in a cost-effective and “green” way. Overall I think Steffen has some really great ideas, and I believe that it would be possible to make them work here in Norfolk. Norfolk is continuously growing, and with more people comes more automobiles and tons of traffic. Just by eliminating all of these vehicles, we could make Norfolk such a cleaner place. It would definitely take a lot of work, but it could be possible. I believe that , like Steffen said in his speech, if people feel at home and think that everything they need is right around them, then they will soon see they don’t have any use for vehicles. Norfolk would also benefit enormously from capturing rain water and making it usable, and also being able to “retrofit” all of its old and vacant buildings. By using these vacant places to our advantage, there are endless possibilities to what we can make out this very old city. Using the ideas of Steffen would also make Norfolk a more appealable place and cleaning it up a bit would provide the surrounding communities with a since of pride for the new beginning of a sustainable Norfolk neighborhood.


Kodak Ditches Digital Camera Business February 10, 2012

Filed under: Tech News — Emily Burke @ 9:18 am
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Kodak is exiting the digital camera business and instead will license their brand name to other camera manufactures. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company is trying to find ways to monetize. Kodak has struggled to keep up with the advancements in technology and this rapidly began to reflect on their production and sales.

“Once the digital camera phase-out is complete, Kodak expects an annual operating savings of more than $100 million. But it will also take a charge of $30 million to cover the layoffs related to its exit from the business.”- cnn



8 Things You Should Ask Before Building a Mobile App February 5, 2012

Filed under: Tech News — Emily Burke @ 3:30 pm
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1. What does it cost to make an app?

2. What should you charge for your app?

3. When will you get paid?

4. How do you write your iTunes description?

5. What’s the best way to beta test?

6. What happens when you get featured in iTunes?

7. How do you get press?

8. How do you avoid the spam?

This was a very interesting article. To find out the answers to these 8 questions check out this link: http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/03/tech/mobile/building-mobile-apple-app/index.html


How Beer Saved the World February 3, 2012

Filed under: Videos and Class Readings — Emily Burke @ 11:46 am
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It’s crazy to see how much people have benefited from beer in the past. From saving lives to building pyramids, beer played a pivotal role in the way people lived and how they survived. In the medieval times, when people were making beer they were actually killing off all the e-coli bacteria that was in the drinking water. This gave way to a safe drink that actually was full of vitamins and minerals to help the people’s overall health. Beer is also what the pyramid builders were paid with for a day’s work. People from all over started to consider beer as “saving the world” and many of these people put their ideas together to create even better things.


This was a great video, and I saw a lot of connections with the readings and the video we had to watch. The greatest ideas are those that come from when people gather together and express their ideas. Just like at a coffee shop or a weekly laboratory conference, people can innovate new ideas by hearing what other people have to say and then using their ideas with their own. One thing I thought was really cool in the video, Where Good Ideas Come From, was the invention of neo-natal incubators made from car parts. This was such a fascinating invention and very efficient for the Australian natives because these were resources that they had an abundance of. These are the kinds of inventions that can help save lives, and this very idea probably came together within a group of people sharing their opinions and ideas with one another.