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Friday, September 29, 2006

Geography and Climate Change
Here is the answer to the poser question.
Read this BBC News article.
Richard Branson is apparently giving away the profits from his transport businesses to tackle climate change. But what impact do cheap flights have on the atmosphere ?
Richard Branson is a very rich man, but he perhaps owes a lot of that to Mike Oldfield and his 'Tubular Bells' album which was the first Virgin release with catalogue number V2001, and went on to sell millions of copies. I saw Richard Branson in the rain at the World Premiere for Tubular Bells II at Horseguards Parade on 4th September 1998 - he was very wet, but then so was everybody (although Gore Tex trousers and jacket kept me dry... I'd checked the weather forecast...)
Just been watching regional news programme, and September is looking to be the hottest on record by some distance...

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Another Clue
Here are 2 more clues to the story poser that I set you earlier in the week. Do you have the answer yet ?

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Geography and Music (Cont.)
Spent some time today on my SAGT presentation. A Photo Jam will be used at the start, and decided it'sprobably going to be accompanied by 'Ramblin' Man' by Lemon Jelly.
A visit to the website also shows that the excellent cover art from the 'Lost Horizons' CD can be seen.

This is a great image for Rural-Urban interrelationships as the image shows a stylised move from Urban to Rural.
You can download a Screensaver for your PC from the Lemon Jelly website.
And here are some of the places that the Ramblin' Man rambles to....

I'm a ramblin' man.


The Cayman Islands


Kentish Town
Koh Samui

The North Pole


Sri Lanka

Abu Dhabi


San Jose

San Frandisco


New York





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Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Geographical Poser
This story made the news earlier this week, and surprised a lot of people.
But can you identify the story by making the link between these 2 images ?
The answer will be revealed later in the week...
Thanks to Tokoro Yukiyoshi for the cartoon image.

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Geography and Maps
Just got an e-mail from Ordnance Survey to say that my Free Maps for my current Year 7 pupils have been dispatched and should arrive within the week. I've ordered Explorer Map 250 : Norfolk Coast West, which is shown above.
Many thanks to the OS for continuing this initiative, and a reminder to Dr. Vanessa Lawrence that King Edward VII school is covered up on the OS 1: 50 000 map of King's Lynn by the word 'Coll' - hopefully we'll re-appear on the next edition of the map ?

UPDATE: Maps now received and distribution has started...

Geography and Jazz (Continued....)

Finally Pat Metheny's "The Way Up" is released on DVD in early October. An essential purchase. Has an HD option, and a 5:1 sound mix. Mmmm... Order through Amazon, follow the link from my Bookshop if you do....

Update 4th October - DVD is on the way...
Update 10th October - DVD arrived, and is fabulous ! - great Lyle Mays solos...

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Geography and Advertising
I set my Pilot GCSE groups the task of looking for advertising which used Extreme Environments as a context for selling the product.
One of my favourite examples of art which blends the product with Geography is the Adnams campaign.
Beer from the Coast is the name of the site. I own a number of items, particularly the mugs. The print above has pebbles on a beach, but if you look closely, several of them are beer bottle caps. There are lots of other clever visual designs, and I like the artwork which is a little Brian Cook-ish.

Geography and the Pilot GCSE Course

Just registered for the Virtual conference which is being hosted on the new VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) of the GA.
Check it out at http://pilotgcse.geography.org.uk

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Geography and Brazil


An interesting article on the BBC website which discusses the latest state of some favelas.
1 in 3 people in Rio de Janeiro live in slums, and the article suggests that there is a growing trend for turning residences into hostels to allow tourists to experience "the real Rio".

Good quote:

What appears to be the sound of gunshots rings out across the neighbourhood.

"Oh no, that's just fireworks," explains Louis. "It's because the football is on."

Wonder if they do a full Brazilian breakfast...

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Geography and You Tube
Here is a rather wonderful video produced by Dan Raven Ellison which can be used to promote Geography on Open Evenings, but would also be worth watching for a taste of what modern geography is all about...

Give Geography its Place


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Friday, September 15, 2006

Geography and New Zealand
Here are some more images from my friend Simon Hathaway's visit to New Zealand.
The images include the wonderful Moeraki boulders, Milford Sound and the Southern Alps and the area around Lake Tekapo.

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Geography and the Disappearing World
The Independent newspaper turned up trumps again today, with a 5 page special on the climate crisis facing us, and a very useful glossy poster of the Dynamic Earth, with Plate Tectonics and Volcanic detail...
This is useful for those of you who are teaching Climate Change.
There is also a feature on "An Inconvenient Truth" which I have heard mixed things about, and also an interesting piece on the author JG Ballard.

Geography and Development
Why not try the weird and wonderful GAPMINDER, which has apparently been appropriated by Google. http://tools.google.com/gapminder
Track the blobs, draw graphs, watch the map change...

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Geography and New Zealand
These wonderful images are from a Yorkshire friend of mine Simon H who has just returned from a trip to Aotearoa: "land of the long white cloud"
I shall post more shortly, but my bath is running...

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Geography and Retailing
Supermarkets in the UK are beginning to realise that there is a huge market to exploit with the large number of East European migrants who have settled in the UK since the expansion of the EU. In Dublin recently, I noticed a whole range of stores POLSKI SKLEP, which were opened to cater for the Polish community, probably BY the Polish community.
This BBC article:
has details on this trend.

"Tesco will start selling its own Polish range this week, ranging from borsch and salt sticks to delicacies such as cabbage-based dish golabki and flaki, a popular soup. Asda is expected to follow suit next month."

There could be around 600 000 Poles in the UK.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Geography and Fruit Drinks
OK, so I don't just drink beer. For more on this, keep reading.
In the distant past, my wife worked in advertising, and one of the campaigns she was involved in was for Libby's UM BONGO.
This drink is still available, and would make a good idea for a starter for work on tropical ecosystems. It's a catchy little tune.Visit http://www.umbongo.com for downloads of the Quick Time movie, and the original song as an mp3 file. Check out the lyrics:

Way down deep in the middle of the Congo, a hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango. He stuck it with the others, and he danced a dainty tango.

The rhino said, "I know, we'll call it Um Bongo", Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo.

The python picked the passion fruit, the marmoset the mandarin. The parrot painted packets, that the whole caboodle landed in.

So when it comes to sun and fun and goodness in the jungle, They all prefer the sunny funny one they call Um Bongo!


Geography and Jazz
ECM: What do those intials mean ? It could be seen on the front of a car transporter, or if you're in education you might think "Every Child Matters".
ECM is also a record label which is famous for its particular aural and visual style, and which is the label used by a lot of my favourite jazz artists.
The main man is Manfred Eicher; a lot of the records are recorded in short 2 day sessions at a recording studio in Oslo, and there is a very apparent 'ECM sound'.
Some of the best concerts I've attended have been by ECM artists, notably the Norwegian saxophone legend Jan Garbarek. A few years ago I had front row seats for a concert in St. Andrews Hall in Norfolk, and have also seen him in Cambridge, Nottingham, Southwark and Birmingham Symphony Hall.
ECM records often have striking cover art, and one particular Garbarek album: "All those born with Wings" has a great cover image of the Northern Lights, something which I hope to see some time soon.
Which other natural phenomona would you most like to see ?
Here are my (off the top of my head) Top 5...
1. An erupting volcano
2. The Northern Lights
3. The calving glaciers of South Georgia and Ernest Shackleton's grave
4. The changing light as the sunsets on Uluru
5. The Midnight sun (again) in Scandinavia

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Geography and Beer (Continued)
Another ale tonight, this time the aptly named Adnams Explorer.
Adnams is brewed in Southwold in Suffolk, one of my favourite places and one I try to get down to as often as possible, although it's also a good case study of a honeypot location where house prices have been driven up by second home owners.
Explorer is part of the Beers from the Coast range, which has excellent graphics, and of course, they taste rather nice too. Explorer is rather good for a Geographer to drink I would say, although the brewery website does say it's designed to get younger drinkers and women interested in beer, of which I am neither...

Geography and Cheese
And as Mike Oldfield famously said in "On Horseback" from the classic album "Ommadawn"
"I like beer, and I like cheese"

Here's the lyric in question, by William Murray & Mike Oldfield

    I like beer, and I like cheese
    I like the smell of a westerly breeze
    But what I like more than all of these
    Is to be on horseback

So to http://www.cheeseontour.com
This website features pictures of cheese taken in locations around the world. It currently has over 1300 pictures taken in over 360 locations around the world - including Sheffield.
Why not get your Gouda out and get snapping !

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Geography and Pebbles
Here's a nice image of pebbles on Budleigh Salterton beach taken by my wife last week - however, there's a maximum £1000 fine if you take beach material. Wonder if that's per pebble or in general ?
Seriously though, if there are a couple of hundred people visiting the beach each day and they each take a couple of pebbles that's a lot of beach disappearing during a summer season.
Does it matter ?
What impact is that likely to have on the beach ?
Can a value be put on preserving the beach material ?
What is the best form of protection against erosion by the waves ?
And where is Budleigh Salterton ?


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Geography and Clothing
Went to Norwich International Airport today to collect my wife and daughter who were returning by Flybe from Exeter.
Some good images taken on the outward flight - will post some images shortly.
They had also brought some geographical gifts for me - they know me so well. One was a marble from House of Marbles which was printed with a map of the world - cool!
Another was a shirt from a shop in Topsham whose name is the position in latitude and longitude of the shop:
50 degrees 41 minutes North
3 degrees 28 minutes West
The shirts also say clothing with latitude on them (rather than attitude...)
Have done a search for the shop but can find no more details...

People as Consumers for Pilot GCSE - design some geographical clothing...

On the way back, passed a sign for a road called "Nowhere Lane" - the road to nowhere ?

Geography and Jazz
Oh, and here's the first jazz mention.
The record of 2005 for me was Pat Metheny's "The Way Up"

It's a continuous piece of music lasting 68 minutes and 10 seconds and split into 4 movements. Like all Pat Metheny music, it's dominated by soaring guitar and wonderful deft piano from Lyle Mays. A lot of Pat's music is 'geographical' in that it relates very much to 'place' and mood. Some of Pat's tracks, such as the part improvised "As falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls" or the wonderful "Ozark" are place sensitive, and a lot of the album cover art uses map collages and photographs to give a flavour of the part of the USA where Pat hails from.
http://www.patmethenygroup.com has a nice AUDIO PLAYER which will give you a flavour for the music. At the time of posting it gives you a sample from Part 1 of "The Way Up"

I was also fortunate enough to be present at the Hammersmith Odeon on the 12th of June 2005 (I was in Block 9 Row E Seat 38 in the Circle...) for a performance of "The Way Up" and other music - almost 3 hours of sublime jazz.
Mmmmm.. Nice....


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Geography and Football
Just before the start of the England Vs Andorra match, John Motson said that Andorra was the country with the longest life expectancy in the world...
Of course, I had to check, and NationMaster confirms that Motty is right.
Andorrans live to an average of 83.49 years, compared with 78.16 in the UK, which ranks at 36th

Geography and Beer
Just finished 2 bottles of fine ale.
They were from 2 contrasting breweries and got me thinking of perhaps keeping a track of the breweries I sample the wares of this year - not that I drink a lot you understand.... purely medicinal.
The first was a rather nice Jolly Ploughman's from Tom Wood's Highwood Brewery in the Lincolnshire Wolds
Second one was from the Darwin Brewery in Sunderland, and was called Rolling Hitch
Can anyone tell me the connection between this beer and Peter Kay the comedian ?
Watch this space !

Geography and Music
Just testing my new Sony Wireless Headphones - very comfortable and performing well so far.
Listening to Genesis track from 1968, and a few geographical references:

Genesis - In The Wilderness


Leaving all the world to play they disappear

And the leaves have gathered dust to run like deer

Tearing pieces from our lives to feed the dawn

Mist surrounds the seagulls christened by the storm

Music, all I hear is music - guaranteed to please

And I look for something else

Rain drops pouring down the rooftops

Flowing in the drains

As the people run their lives

As their lives are run by time

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Geography and Photos
Flickr is one of my crucial sites.
It is a fantastic source of images for use in the classroom, although you may find that you need to source them at home as many schools filter out Flickr because not all of the images are SFW as they say (suitable for work)
Try a search on TAGS which are relevant to your topic and you'll find lots of fodder for desktops, Powerpoints and PhotoJams.
You can also bookmark your favourite FLICKR photographers.
In the last few days I've searched for Svalbard, Beijing, Food, Lahars and Population.
Lots of tools for altering the images too.
Check out one of my top five sites: the wonderfully named Flagrant Disregard's FlickrToys

Geography and Japan

Just watching fantastic "Journeys into the Ring of Fire" with Iain Stewart visiting Japan. It shows in a clear and well illustrated fashion how the Japanese have had to cope with extremes of climate and a lack of space, as well as the tectonic issues. There are great scenes of the expense of living in Tokyo (33 000 people per square mile, living on the Kanto plain - one of the few flat areas in Japan) , why they don't live in the mountains, settlement patterns, a go in an earthquake simulator, development of industry, the amazing Mag-Lev train, and the 'shovers' on the Metro, earthquake drills in schools, Pachinko and lahar defence canals on Mount Sakurajima and the effect on Japanese culture.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/journeys-centre-earth.shtml is the website which links to programme details
Oh, and the sun has just come out, so I can finally hoover the car (don't ask....)

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Good morning.
This is the first post in a new blog set up to contain my random finds and links which I think might be of use to geographers.
Plus the odd bit of jazz....