“I first got my hands on to a computer when I was 10 years old. It did not take long before I was teaching grownups on how to use the internet or operate those seemingly complex functions.

In the beginning it was just about games and chat rooms, but gradually in high school I got really interested in programming, which continued into my university life. While at the university, I realized just how much computers impact my daily life.

In my opinion, one of the best developments of internet has been remote access and cloud sharing. I use team-viewer in extreme frequency to access computers at my lab and work place from the comfort of my home. Even before the advent of Dropbox, I made use of Windows Skydrive to share and access files. Open course-ware lectures, especially from NPTEL and MIT were of great help when I wanted to reach beyond my primary academic interests. Recently, Stanford has introduced a online lecture series for Artificial Intelligence where real-time lectures can be watched from any part of the world and the viewer can actually be a part of the course by completing assignments and sending them over to the professors who grade them. At the end of the lecture series, on completion of all the assignments and a final written exam, we get a certificate from Stanford University.

Outside academics, I have recently developed an interest in photography. But a tight work schedule has restricted me from taking up a professional training class for it. Nevertheless, online training classes have been really useful in learning the tricks of the trade. What intrigues me most is the amount of technical details which I can learn from these online sites. I am an engineer and more interested in the technical aspects of photography as much as the artistic side of it. The internet is of course a wonderful place to get my skills in tune with my expectations.

To relieve myself from stress and attain an inner peace, I use ‘napuru’, which contains troves of information about meditation and self-realization. And for all those who want to avoid using torrents for watching movies, there is icefilms, which is godsend and contains every possible English movie I ever wanted to watch. And for my salsa addiction, I have, which teaches advanced salsa lessons free of cost. I can keep going if there was enough space, but as with the internet, there is not enough space to put in all the stuff you want to put in.” 

My favorites:

“Picking a Master’s program is serious business. I mean, you’ve got to be pretty committed to the subject, because your choice will probably determine what you do for work – meaning it’ll influence the rest of your life. That said, an interdisciplinary program like industrial ecology (IE) offers lots of freedom. (Full disclosure: it’s what I study, so I’m probably biased). But what is industrial ecology? Ok, plenty of people have never heard of it.

The science is only about 15 years old and can be tricky to describe. Officially, it’s the study of material and energy flows in built systems (like factories or buildings) but most of us talk about it as the science to save the world – or our own asses. I could bore you talking about life-cycle analysis, but maybe the easiest thing is to give an example: you’re going to build some houses, and you want them to be the greenest, most comfortable houses possible. First, you’ll need a team, because you must understand the science behind what makes a house green and comfortable, the engineering behind saving and generating your own energy in the house, and how to design a house that people actually want to live in and can afford. To do all this, you must talk to people who might live there, to the people who will sell you the materials, and to those who’ve built green homes in the past. And then you must fit all these pieces together. This same process applies to other systems, whether a factory, product chain (like for a computer), or a city, and it’s the kind of project we do in IE all the time, with each student specializing in different parts of the process.

One core principle of industrial ecology is that collaboration between disciplines creates synergy, or solutions, that are superior to any conceived in just one discipline. This has been valuable in my education, because, let’s face it, whether an engineer or product designer, disciplines tend to see the world with one set of glasses. But by working together, you can combine the best of all worlds. The IE program won’t make an engineer out of a social scientist, or vice versa, but it will teach them to work together and understand each other.
The joint TU Delft/Leiden University MSc degree in industrial ecology is one of the few programmes in the world devoted solely to industrial ecology, enrolling about 20 students a year from almost every academic background, and one of the cool things about being in a small club is that everyone knows each other and is very helpful. I’ve met with several IE graduates this year to talk about theses and internships, not that we’ve got much to worry about – virtually all IE graduates are either employed in the field or pursuing PhD studies. I’ll be interning at DSM, modeling networked value chains. Other options vary from large engineering firms like Royal Haskoning to governmental policymaking. So, if you’re looking for an emerging, exciting field to call your own, IE is a great place to call home.” ( or

Devin Malone, a second-year MSc student of industrial ecology, is from Anchorage, Alaska. He has lived, worked, and traveled in 21 countries on four continents.

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