Author Archives: Alin Coop

Reflection (Alin Coop – s3379729)

Stepping into class that first day, I didn’t know what to expect. WIthin minutes it was clear that even if i had expected something, this wasn’t it. I quickly learned that Soumitri didn’t want us to try and guess what he wanted us to say, but to actually develop opinions and thoughts of our own. However, this didn’t mean that I was instantly able to do so.

We spent the first few weeks quietly listening to Soumitri, barely contributing to the discussion. I was no exception.

There were a number of things I didn’t connect with immediately (and a few I still don’t). The use of Twitter felt burdensome at first, I was treating it as an assignment. Retweeting and posting links that I thought would appease the Twitter gods. But that’s not what it was about. Eventually I began to comprehend the role Twitter can have in linking you with the world. I filtered through the general nonsense and focused on the nonsense that interested me. Then I shared that with #changeaaa.

It felt good when someone ‘favourited’ my content. I’m important and so are the things I say.

That’s not a joke. Well it sort of is, but in all seriousness, what I took most from the time with Soumitri is that it’s important to care. I’m finding it difficult to say this without sounding like I’m just trying to tell you what you want to hear. But I can see why being ’empathetic not pathetic’ is important.

So did I connect with Twitter and blogging? Not really. Did those activities open my eyes to a reality outside my own? I think it did.

Moving onto later in the semester, when we started getting a bit deeper into the assignments. I began to feel a bit lost as to what was expected and when. In the end I think it all turned out okay, but only because no one else knew what they were doing either.

I liked the group I worked with. Our journey wasn’t without some turbulence, and I think it boiled down to a lack of communication. Maybe not even that, but a lack of understanding of what others wanted. I’m being super ambiguous right now, but everyone who needs to understand what I mean, will understand. Whoever is reading this right now can take solace in the fact that in the end we pulled through and completed a well-thought-out, yet slightly unrefined and grossly oversized poster on maintaining a comfortable living situation.

What did I get out of the last semester? The ability to develop and articulate my own understanding and opinion of a matter. I’m still soft-spoken and prefer to listen than talk, but I’m not brain-dead.

In terms of Industrial Design, my perspective when approaching problems has changed and I will be able to pursue solutions with a wider point-of-view. There is still an attraction to design that some may call superfluous (chairs and tables) but I’ll always have an eye open bigger and better opportunities.

Alin Coop
s3379729

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Field Manual of Change – Solar in the home (Alin Coop – s3379729)

Solar.

What is it? Do we really understand the hype? We all hear about this magical alternative energy, but what we need is to understand it’s functions in our every day lives. Especially in our homes.

If you said solar energy is power harnessed from the sun, whether that be light or heat, you’d be correct. To some it’s also seen as a big investment, too big to consider, despite the obvious benefits. When most people think of solar power, they think of solar panels. They think of solar panels on the roof of a house. But what about the solar farms? What about solar hot water? Understandably, solar panels might seem out of reach for an individual. However, we should be pushing toward a future powered by the sun.

Improvements in solar and battery technology are making amazing things possible. More and more people are living ‘off-the-grid’. Surviving entirely on what they produce. These are extreme scenarios, however. A lot of time, effort and often money go into making those situations possible. A lot of understanding and care about what energy goes where in the home. For someone like you or I, who just want to save a few dollars, or create a more comfortable home, or ‘do our bit for the environment’, there are options that aren’t too radical and complex.

First of all, know that I won’t be talking about solar architecture, artificial photosynthesis and solar thermal electricity. Now that I’ve dropped some big words, let’s move on to what we can both relate to.

Taking advantage of solar means taking advantage of two things, heat and light. I’m sure you can already see the relationship this has with our homes. Now also understand that we can utilise solar in two ways, actively and passively. Actively means to convert solar energy into another useful form of energy, such as electricity. Passively means to collect, store and distribute solar energy in it’s existing form, be it heat or light.

Looking closely at active solar, there are a multitude of applications. I’m going to focus on the basics, in this case turning the sun’s energy into electricity and storing that in battery banks. What’s involved in a simple set up are three things: solar panels, a charge controller, batteries and possibly an inverter.

The solar panels are what capture the sun’s energy, these are to be positioned in such a way that their exposure to the sun is as great as can be.

The charge controller is what ensures safe and efficient charging of the batteries. For examples, batteries cannot be overcharged, and a charge controller prevents this from happening.

Batteries are obvious. They contain the energy in a functional package that we can tap into at any time.

Now inverters can be considered depending on the context of your application. If this solar setup was located in a van, chances are you’re just using it to power some lights and a radio. If they run off DC current, then you don’t need an inverter. However if you want to power home appliances such as fridges, microwaves and televisions, you will need one. An inverter outputs an AC current.

Let’s also talk about passive solar. Do you remember what that was? Utilising the energy in it’s existing form. As an example we’ll look at heating water.

Take a long hose and spread it out in your garden during a hot day. Ensure there is water sitting along the entire length and let it bask in the sunlight. When you turn on the house a while later, you’ll find the water that’s been sitting in the exposed sections of hose is likely much warmer than that which has been underground or in shade. I’m sure you understand what I’m alluding to but: the sun heated that water.

Imagine if that hose was black. Black conducts heat much better than other colours. Imagine if you spread out a smaller diameter hose, efficiently increasing the exposed surface area. The water would heat up much faster.

Passive solar doesn’t just refer to heat, but also light. Strategically designed homes take advantage of nature and open themselves up to the big lightbulb in the sky, instead of switching on their tiny compact-incandescent-LED-globe-things. They reflect the light internally, meaning even areas that aren’t in direct line of sight with the sun can be well lit.

So those are some options for you. Though you may be wondering, why?

– Because solar can save you money!

– Because not only is it sustainable, it’s renewable! You won’t run out!

–  It requires little maintenance! So easy even I can take advantage of it!

– We’re always improving the technology! This means efficiency is increasing while production costs are decreasing!

Are you convinced? If so, good. Now go change the world. If not, then tell me why. ‘Solar panels are too expensive’ is not a reason. Go paint a water bottle black and leave it outside. Then have the least satisfying but most environmentally friendly shower of your life.

Don’t forget though, research is important. By all means, jump in to the world of solar with two feet. But make sure you know what you want to get out of it. Do you want to power a camper-van? Do you want to heat your swimming pool? Figure that out first, and you’ll have no problem finding the perfect solution.

Sunny skies and warm showers,
Alin Coop.

References:

What is solar energy?
http://www.greenoughsolarfarm.com.au/solar-energy/what-solar-energy

Solar water heating
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_water_heating

DIY Solar Australia
http://ausdiysolar.blogspot.com.au/

Micro-inverter makes install-it-yourself solar panels possible
http://www.cnet.com.au/micro-inverter-makes-install-it-yourself-solar-panels-possible339337889.htm

DIY Solar panel installation
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1802669

An introduction to solar energy
http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/feneric/solar.html

Solar Energy 101
http://www.dowcorning.com/content/solar/solarworld/solar101.aspx

Alternative Energy News
http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/technology/solar-power/

Benefits of Solar Energy
http://www.greenoughsolarfarm.com.au/solar-energy/benefits-solar-energy

Alin Coop – Learning contract

What I want from this class, this semester:

Result: Distinction
How I will achieve it:
– Be involved
– Contribute
– Expand awareness
– Achieve a connection
– Develop empathy

Time: 10-15 hours per week

Emotional:
– Achieve a sense of accomplishment
– Personal growth
– Satisfaction
– Deeper empathy

Twitter: 10-14 tweets per week

Giving up:
Short term – Smartphone and laptop for 48 hours
Long term – Fast food

Design activism: International Wish Wall

Public activism: Home Insulation Scheme

 

“You’ve come to university to learn, but have you come to change?” – Soumitri

Refugees – Alin

I see a refugee as someone seeking asylum, fleeing from persecution or danger in their home country due to war or being part of a persecuted social group.

The issue of ‘boat people’ being unquestionably exiled to Papua New Guinea is a difficult one to solve. I feel that approaching the situation with a more open mind is the right thing to do. Allowing refugees to enter Australia on either a temporary or special visa is without a doubt the humane choice. It also adds to Australia’s already dynamic culture.

If people argue that this isn’t their home and that they’re taking over, all I can think is that they need a new home and we shouldn’t be denying them that because of how they are arriving. I’m not saying to open Australia’s doors completely, but anything more so than our current situation.

Another argument I disagree with is people thinking and angers me somewhat, is people thinking that immigrants are taking our jobs. That is not the fault of the employees but the employers. They are willing to work harder for less pay, and in many cases, illegally low wages. That’s another matter all together though.

Back on topic, giving refugees the opportunity (I mean privilege, not right) to enter Australia is not a bad thing. They have a chance to build a new life, but they are also the ones that truly understand all positives and negatives of their home country. Combine this with a western point-of-view and they will be the individuals motivated and understanding enough to make a difference. They will also bring some of their culture to Australia, hopefully integrating with the current population instead of segregating themselves. Again however, that’s another matter.

Introduction – Alin

48181_10151229329770948_845731364_oMat (Alin) Coop is a 19 year old Industrial Design student at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. Born to parents Michael Coop and Fatimah Mat-Aruf on the 21st of November 1993, Alin spent the first 5 years of his life in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He attended primary and secondary school in Glen Waverley, before entering university in 2012. Somehow he’s still in the course and is currently undertaking the studies elective ‘Change’.

Unsure what to expect, Alin felt surprised when arriving late to his first class. ‘Building 13 should be between 12 and 14.’ He thought. Soumitri wasted no time connecting everyone via Twitter and introducing them to the WordPress blog. Many students weren’t sure how to feel (or rather – how they felt) when bombarded with questions and judgments in that first class, but they will undoubtedly attend the next one with an open mind.

Between window blinds moving on their own and projectors timing out, Alin tried to anticipate what awaited him in the semester ahead. It is only now in his reflection that he realises, he needs to forget what the teacher wants and focus on portraying his own thoughts and feelings about matters that arise in class. His classes this semester are all out of his comfort zone and he intends to make the most of that, instead of simply hiding until next semester. Alin is unsure why he’s typing in the third person, but it is too late to stop now.