Today is: 21, August 2017
My name is John Stampe. I am a currently teaching a general education course in environmental science. Previously I was a university lecturer in chemical and environmental engineering. I currently live in Thailand. I am interested in now conveying that knowledge to a wider audience through the use of online material through open textbooks, wikis, and other online media.
I began using free and open source software in 2000 and have used it exclusively since 2003 (I don't do windows!). I am a big advocate of open access in academia, including being a advocate for Public Library of Science (PLoS). This is especially after spending time teaching and doing research in developing countries where there is little access to closed journals.
I am by training an engineer, but I am actually more interested in the science behind the engineering and have taught and worked with not only engineers, but also chemists, physicists, and biologists.
As a scientist, there are three things which I am passionate about: skepticism, open access (what brought me to WE), and the environment (see below).
I am a skeptic and as such am interested in promoting science and critical thinking. I am always amazed at how much time I have to spend trying to get students just to think in an analytical way. Putting that together with poor science journalism, it is no wonder why people are turning to highly questionable (and sometimes dangerous) "cures".
- Safety, especially chemical safety
- Applied mathematics
- Pollution prevention
- Disaster reduction
- Environmental chemistry
COPYRIGHT -- For my views on copyright see my Thoughts on copyright
I believe in open access, open data, creative commons, and open education. The key word here is of course open.
I have for many years supported open access journals. By open access we mean two things: Right to have free access to published works and Freedom from copyright restrictions. As a user I am tired of finding the information I want/need being blocked by a pay wall. But it is much more than a nuisance. Many places do not have the money or ability to access these sources, limiting the amount of transferable knowledge they have.
The other part of open access -- freedom from copyright restrictions -- is also part of a wider issue: Who gets to control (and make a profit) from copyright. Authors, both of journal articles and books, usually have to sign over the copyright to the publisher. The publisher is then free to do anything they want to AND prevent you from doing anything else with the article.
That is the reason lying behind the creation of the Creative Commons license. It gives the author control over the copyright and what people can do with it.
As I wrote in a blog a couple of years ago, "The bottom line is that there are lots of people are making lots of money off of copyright who show no creativity, while the creative people make little or nothing."
Related to open access is open data. That is putting data used for research, journal articles, etc. online and making it freely available. One important aspect is that it allows independent reproducibility, which is a cornerstone of the scientific method.
As I mentioned above I am a big fanatic of free and open source software. I also very much believe in copyleft and the concept of the GPL. I think the model used for development of free software is a better economic model than that used proprietary software (and hardware) silos (to use Doc Searls phrase).
Of course, open education is what I am here on WE for. I am especially interested in open textbooks and OER.
The other passion I have is on the environment. In one capacity or another I have been working for the environment for more than thirty years, both as a professional and as an advocate. As a professional I have taught or worked in the fields of water quality, wastewater treatment, chacterization, storage, and treatment of hazardous wastes, safety, groundwater hydrology, and environmental impact assessments. As a advocate I have been head of a number of local and state environmental organizations and have also been involved with setting environmental standards and developing legislation. I am also an avid bird watcher and nature observer.
I firmly believe in the importance of the natural environment and its importance to humanity. I am particularly concerned with the threat to the environment from the make-money-at-all-costs attitude that exists today.
For more on my views on the environment see my blog.
On wikieducator I have set up two projects on the environent. First, is a resource page on wikieducator for finding information, data, viewpoints, etc. on the web in general and on wikieducator. The other is an Environmental Glossary. The glossary can especially use your help to add additional terms see its how to help page.
to be continued
Computers and Software
I use a computer for almost all of my work. I consider myself to be a power user. By that I mean that I spend a lot of time configuring the computer so that it suits my needs. I am not a really a programmer, even though I do write short scripts in shell language, awk, sed, and recently lisp.
Here is a snapshot of my system:
OS: By now I think you have figured out that I use Linux.
Distribution: Gentoo This is what is called a source distribution, it builds all its software from source. That has two advantages, all the programs are built for my specific architecture and I need only install the packages I want.
Window Manager: Awesome (current), Spectrwm, Xmonad, Fluxbox Notice I do not use KDE or Gnome. I consider them bloated. I prefer a tiled window manager as I find it more productive.
- For my daily work I use mainly Emacs, mutt, xombrero, and a terminal (urxvt with Z shell).
- Emacs - Almost all my writing (including WE) is with a text editor. Emacs also includes many other things besides a text editor. I spend at least half my time inside emacs.
- I do not use a word processor. If I need to do structured writing I use LaTeX.
- Mutt - Mutt is a powerful text based e-mail client. I use yahoo mail, but use it via imaps
- Xombrero - This is a webkit browser, with good security features. For offline browsing I usually use the text browser w3m.
- Urxvt, Z shell - I always have at least one terminal open and usually two or three. I use urxvt (aka rxvt-unicode) because it has better language support. I also run the Z shell (zsh) instead of the usual bash.
Useful Open Source Software - including links to all the above
My Blog on the Environment
Links of Interest
Open Access News
Public Library of Science
Schneier on Security
Linux Weekly News
Planet Ark (environment news from Reuters)