University of Southern California (Emily)



Aug '08 - Jul '09

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    3.10 :: I've been too busy innovating to blog lately....

    Emily Kemper
    Oct 10, '08 2:36 PM EST

    Hey everyone!

    Sorry for the long absence but it's been a whirlwind week here. I had a bunch of meetings, and then a birthday party, then a birthday, and now I'm sitting next to a presentation board I produced for a showcase on campus. I'm operating on very little sleep but this is pretty exciting, so let me explain.

    One of the best decisions I've made since starting at USC was getting involved with an organization called the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation. The USC Stevens Institute is a division of the Provost's office with the stated mission of making USC the leader in innovation in the University community. I work there as a student associate and I am on their Student Advisory Board, and besides that, they are a great bunch of people to hang out with. I consider them to be one of my families here at USC.

    At USC Stevens, one of our stated goals is to take ideas and turn them into tangible societal impact. One of the ways that we encourage student innovation is the Student Innovator Showcase which is happening, uh, right now. I've been stewing on the idea that I'm presenting here for a while, and I'm in the "pole position" so to speak (at the very front of the exhibition) so I'm getting a lot of traffic and a lot of great feedback. But I wanted to stop in and say hello, and especially give a shout out to USC Stevens. Here's a couple of photos from the showcase today.

    (BTW, the idea that I am presenting is tangential to my thesis but it addresses the problem of how houses will practically deal with global warming. Meaning, the changing weather patterns are here, and we don't know what we might get, so is there a way to button up our house like we would button up our coats when the weather changes? I'm still working out the kinks so I am hesitant to post the board itself, but any thoughts you have on this concept are very much appreciated...)


    • Appleseed

      No party pics?

      Oct 10, 08 3:13 pm  · 

      not yet! I didn't take any myself so once I find them I will pass them on :o)

      Oct 10, 08 6:48 pm  · 

      emily, sounds an interesting concept.

      i live in a corbu-type flat now, but when i lived in a house here in japan it was one of those traditional ones, with sliding doors and windows, all tatami all the time sort of thing. the newer buildings built by the big manufacturers (houses are usually built like cars in a factory in japan) are based on hermetically sealed ideal of the western nations.

      BUT MY HOME WAS DIFFERENT. we had a closet for our sliding doors, and two types, one or the summer, one for the winter. the winter doors were finished with glass and had a partition so the paper shoji screen on the bottom half could slide up for viewing the snow when seated on the floor. The winter screens were made of woven twigs. both were beautiful. and not rare by any means, except that they are being lost as western versions of houses take over...

      the other thing that still strikes me about japanese homes is that traditionally people would essentially wear blankets in the winter, huge quilted futons replaced the summer kimonos for daily wear, and life went on as before. this is fascinating to me because it implies a response to weather that is local not universal. the individual regulates the temperature, not the family unit, etc.

      that idea actually still is pretty common in japan, even in the new homes. central heating is not part of our life here. in our place we have gas heaters for each room, and sockets for the gas line (like electrical sockets) that are ignored until it becomes cold enough to plug in the heaters. when that day comes, we just take these wee little heaters out of their boxes and plug them in. they of course are turned off at night, so we also change our futons, substituting thicker ones for the summer bits of clothe. and life goes on. (central air, btw, is not even on the drawing board)

      it is a local and personal way to deal with the weather and seriously in tune with the climate. we can't ignore it because we have to react to it.

      i know those examples are slightly off-topic but they are the reason we spend 1/7th less energy than you americans every year (well, that and the act we hang our laundry outside to dry).

      on a philosophical note, i wonder if buttoning up will not just be a way to upgrade the house so we can forget about the outside world again. which could be a mistake...

      Oct 10, 08 7:19 pm  · 

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