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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Came across this today when searching for something else. A site with some intriguing headings and avenues to explore, and a huge archive of articles. Such as a super Jonathan Meades article on LANDSCAPE and IDENTITY.

Click the logo at the top or HERE to go to openDemocracy

Lots in the Independent newspaper today: impact of melting Tibetan glaciers on Chinese water supply, food labelling of the 'carbon footprint', food miles supplement in Extra, Stansted expansion enquiry opens (featured on local news last night - as it will for weeks to come....)

Sunshine out today this morning.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Message from the Inuit.
On the front cover and page 2 of today's Independent.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Comic Life Beta for PC

This has been available on Mac for a while, and is now released for PC.
Download it from PLASQ site HERE.
I downloaded it yesterday, and if I had the time I'd be spending the whole day rewriting task sheets as comic format. Will perhaps try a few of the more popular ones and see how they are received.As you can see, the page has a series of sections. A blank page to start with. You then drag in a template with the frames, which can be moved. Add some images as the background, speech bubbles, shapes and some groovy text type shapes which can be changed and customised from a wide range of options. Do a search on Comic Life to find lots of examples that people have made for some design ideas.

I'll be making use of this over the next 6 weeks for sure...


Another mention for GeographyPages in the Education Guardian today..


Bewilderwood: a new 'local' tourist attractionNear Wroxham, Norwich is a new tourist attraction just opened, and been in the news.
On BBC News website, also some Flickr pics.
Anyone been ??


Monday, May 28, 2007

Raining and Raining
The Environment Agency currently has 4 FLOOD WARNINGS and 12 FLOOD WATCHES for the Anglian Region.
Download an ADVICE GUIDE.

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Just add blue...

New York's famous fleet of 13 000 Taxi Cabs are all going to be green by 2012.
Not the colour, the eco-credentials. They will slowly be replaced by hybrid vehicles, of which only 375 are currently.


A younger, more beardy Dan Ellison looking at the Energy Debate...
Wind Farms, Hydro Electric and Thermal Power Stations in a snappy 6 minutes suitable for GCSE

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tour de France 2007

This year's Grand Depart is from London through to Canterbury.
There's a good interactive map on the TOUR DE FRANCE LONDON site, which allows you to follow and fly-through the route.


Waterspout Distraction
Thanks to my Singapore correspondent Lesley for sending me this picture of a waterspout which occurred off the coast in Singapore just as her students were about to sit their Edexcel AS exams on Friday of this week.
Picture by Razin Photography

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Bank Holiday !!
But of course, it's precipitating down...
Image from BBC Weather for East of England.

Just back from a pint of Old Speckled Hen at the Old Hunstanton Social Club, and popped in to get some Jersey Royal New Potatoes.
Like the Arbroath Smokies I had in Dundee last October, these have a PROTECTED GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION status (see symbol below), which I posted about some time ago.This means that they are:
"products which must be produced or processed or prepared within the geographical area and have a reputation, features or certain qualities attributable to that area."

Also a DEFRA report on LOCAL FOOD: what does 'local' mean ? Apparently according to a Waitrose ad I saw yesterday it means within 30 miles of the store...

Article in Times magazine yesterday talked about LOCAVORES: people who eat only local food.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

I posted about Angelina Jolie's tattoo with the co-ordinates of the birthplace of her children earlier in the week.

GOOGLE SIGHTSEEING had the great idea of putting the co-ordinates into GOOGLE EARTH, and seeing where they would end up.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Climate Change Calculator
This looks quite a good calculator to use.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Live Earth

The 200th post on this weblog.

Just been checking out the wealth of resources at the Live Earth MSN site, which is supporting the global concerts in July. The GGiP campaign will have a presence at these concerts, so good luck to them ! Try to get hold of one of the 1000 badges they are planning to hand out.
The only thing that perhaps would have got me there would be the chance to see Genesis. I first saw them in 1979 and they always put on a great show whenever I saw them, which was quite often, but their comeback tour only has 2 UK dates and despite being millionaires they're charging £65 a ticket to see 5 specks at the other end of a rugby ground (maybe I'm just getting old...)
There's also a Live Earth BLOG which has some useful images and information on cities around the world.
Why not download the wallpapers for the different shows and see if students can identify the country from the images used.
Enjoy the concert if you're going !

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for directing me to this neat little video on YOU TUBE, which is a short guide to creating a blog using BLOGGER.
One of the links on his new TEACHING AND LEARNING BLOG. Check it out.

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Angelina Jolie's Geographical Tattoos

Angelina Jolie, who I have mentioned earlier on the blog, has been showing off a new tattoo which features the latitude and longitude of the 4 children that she and Brad Pitt have: one by birth, and three by adoption. Can you work out the 4 countries involved using an Atlas ?
A prize for the first KES pupil to add a comment with the correct answer.

Picture Credit: Empics

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just got a Year 9 ICT group working away on the great resource that is STAR STRUCK over at TeachICT. Check it out ! We could do with a Geographical version of this sort of activity.

This has given me 15 minutes free to check out a new resource project idea.

It is based on an investigation of STONEHENGE and the ongoing problem of how to deal with the A303 road which passes close to the stones. Click the exhortation below for more...

More on this to come....
It's an idea to combine Transport, Public Enquiries, Tourism, Heritage, Wildlife and Landuse conflict.

This led me to the New 7 Wonders of the World site.
These will be announced on the magical date of 07.07.07 (I remember when it was 07.07.77) in Lisbon.
Voting is going on and at the time of posting, you have 45 days left to cast your vote.
There is a FLASH introduction to the site, and then you are presented with a list of 21 possible candidates for your votes (you have 7 votes of course), which can be seen in the image below.

You can also spend $100 on a limited edition (7,777) set of badges. You can also listen to, and download the official song !

And if anyone's bothered, here's how I voted...

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Here are the relevant exam dates for KES pupils for Summer 2007

18th May: AS: Applied Geographical Skills (already been - quite a good paper - Physical fieldwork and Human skills with a focus on Cardiff)
25th May: AS: Physical paper, followed by the Human paper - 2 and a half hours on the Friday afternoon before half-term (great timing !)
4th June: GCSE: Paper 1 & 2 (Foundation and Higher) - the main 2 hour paper with case studies - first exam back after half term (reasonable timing!)
11th June: GCSE: Paper 3 & 4 (Foundation and Higher) - the Skills paper
12th June: A2 Physical Paper
15th June: A2 Human Paper
18th June: A2 Synoptic Paper
28th June: Pilot GCSE Exam

Good luck with all of these!


Monday, May 21, 2007

It's a NING thing!!

At the weekend, I came across my new favourite online thing, and it's called NING.
This is a tool for creating social networks.
This means that you can create an online space where you can meet with people who you either choose to have as members or you can exclude those you don't.

I created a NING at the weekend called GEOPOLIS: geographical metropolis: a virtual world where geographers can exchange information, or form groups to discuss issues. I already have some online colleagues who have joined up.

This is just a trial at the moment, so that I can explore the features, but it seems to me that it has great potential. Just uploaded a few images very easily in a FLICKR like way, with the ability to add TAGS (will come back to these later) and also add the geolocation of the image on a nice Google Map, and also create a mini SLIDESHOW of the images as well.
Teachers can now share their materials with their students in lots of new ways.
They don't necessarily need a website to do this.
For example, here's an image uploaded by Dan Raven Ellison, which also has details of the next phase in publicising geography: at the Live Earth gig in London later this year.

Sharing of materials can be done very easily via:

SCRIBD : allows sharing of word documents and embedding

SLIDESHARE : allows sharing of powerpoint presentations and embedding

YOU TUBE : allows sharing of videos and embedding

My new plan is to explore setting up a NING for a group of students, and giving them all the rights of access, and then encouraging them to share materials that they (and I) have created and see where it takes us.

And last week I was invited to be one of the speakers at an AS/A2 revision conference being put on by the Royal Geographical Society in October 2007. Last year, over 340 students attended, which is a bit daunting ! I've been asked to do 35 minutes on IT as study support, and will be mentioning blogs, podcasts and vodcasts etc. and the NINGS !

So watch this space for further developments.
And see some of you in October !

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Sunday, May 20, 2007


2007 Census Trial

In 2001 there was a Census: a count of population. These are carried out every 10 years in the UK.
Interestingly, just last week, there was a Census test carried out in some parts of the country: Bath and North East Somerset, Camden, Carmarthenshire, Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent.

You can download some FACT SHEETS on the test from THIS PAGE.
Some interesting discussion on SAMPLING here.
You can also download the 24 page questionnaire.

Anyone involved in the trial ?

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Flooding Starter (courtesy of You Tube)

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GCSE Revision Powerpoint
Produced by Tony Cassidy, with images from GeographyPhotos


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for guiding me to EARTH GUIDE: an intriguing flash heavy Japanese site.
Some useful diagrams, but I found these particularly interesting as a comparison between the land masses in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, which are quite important for issues related to climate forcing, ocean currents etc.For more, visit EARTH GUIDE.

Also investigating this recent discovery: SWIFFREC. Voice to Flash, and Freeware.

I'm determined to really get into PODCASTING as a way of supporting students who are not necessarily visual learners. One of those 'gained time' projects for this year....

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There's a new exhibition at the TATE BRITAIN GALLERY opening on the 22nd of May.
It's called How we are now, and contains photographic images of Britain.
Julian Baggini (who wrote Everytown, a book I blogged about earlier this year) has written an interesting review of the exhibition in the latest issue of the NEW STATESMAN.

You can add your photograph to the exhibition.
For the first time, a FLICKR group has been set up for people to add their own images.
Check out the following details:

How We Are: Photographing Britain (Tate Britain, 22 May — 2 September 2007) takes a unique look at the journey of British photography, from the pioneers of the early medium to today’s photographers who use new technology to make and display their imagery. To demonstrate the evolving nature of photography in the twenty-first century, Flickr photographs will be featured in the exhibition.

To submit a photograph to the exhibition, simply join this group and contribute your photograph anytime until 25 July 2007. (How do I add my photograph to the group?)

You can add up to 4 photos to the group.

Your photograph must:

• be taken in the United Kingdom
• illustrate one of the four themes of the exhibition: portrait, landscape, still life or documentary

Before you add your photograph, please apply one of the exhibition's themes to your photograph by tagging it with "portrait," "landscape," "still life" or "documentary." (How do I choose and apply a theme to my photograph using a tag?)

We encourage you to also mark the location in the UK that your photograph was taken using Flickr’s "Place this photo on a map" feature. (How do I mark my photograph on the map?)

This group's photographs will be displayed on screens as part of the exhibition at Tate Britain. The photographs will also be posted and shared on the exhibition website on Tate Online and on the website of the exhibition's media partner, The Observer.

In the final weeks of the exhibition, 40 photographs — 10 from each of the four themes — will be chosen by Tate to form the final display in the gallery from 6 August — 2 September 2007. A panel of curators, artists, photographers and others will select the final 40 photographs. The final 40 images will also be archived on Tate Online as part of the exhibition's website.

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Just reading about Sam Millen, who's designed these shirts. £1 from every shirt goes to the Salvation Army. They cost £17, and can be seen at the GROCERY GALLERY website. Various colours and styles. Buy one for the geographer in your life.
The Observer is giving away a free book on the weather tomorrow (Sunday)
Make sure you get out early and grab one...

Excellent NEW STATESMAN article on CLIMATE CHANGE - get your 6th formers to read this one - good comments too....

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Driving in to work yesterday, spotted two large piles of fly tipped rubbish in the woods near Castle Rising, between King's Lynn and Sandringham: builders' waste, bin bags spilling across a layby...
There are plans to further restrict the amount of rubbish we can dispose of, as part of the drive to encourage us to recycle. There are plans to charge us by weight of the rubbish we create. There was a recent flurry of stories about spies in bins

Will fly tipping be something that will increase in the future ? Can it be stopped ?

According to my Your Rubbish Your Choice magazine: somebody fly tips on average every hour of every day of the year (old joke coming up: they must be very busy !), and it costs Norfolk taxpayers over £500 000 in the last 12 months to clean up fly tipped rubbish.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) is having a campaign against this, spearheaded by their president-elect Bill Bryson

Picture by Flickr user JINGYE

They are also campaigning for rural tranquility, and for us to eat locally produced food.

Have also set up a blog with an organic farmer in Devon.

Just watching Jonathan Meades Abroad programme on urban regeneration. This was stylistically challenging, and probably not to everyone's taste, but had an excellent section on the reinvention of Bilbao, and the role played by the Guggenheim museum in particular. Some more details on Jonathan Meades' site:

Visited the museum in Summer 2005, and the pictures above are some of my holiday snaps. It was a wonderful building, and inside were the marvellous Richard Serra bronzes, which you couldn't take pictures of, but Flickr user Tim Bradshaw did, and there's a good picture or two HERE.

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Tried Zamzar earlier this week for the first time, after having it recommended to me for ages: for all your file conversion needs. Managed to capture some useful YouTube videos for use in the classroom. YouTube is filtered out of course, which means a little extra preparation...

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A very useful and cheap addition to Geography department resources would be this book: the Collins Gem Carbon Counter, which is written by Mark Lynas. Lots of useful advice on reducing carbon footprints.
Also head over to the FARMERS WEEKLY INTERACTIVE site for material on Food Miles, but also the FANTASY FARMER game.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Thanks to Dr. Andrew Lee, who got in touch about his new site THINKINGEOGRAPHY.
This is a stylish addition to the list of teacher resource sites, and will hopefully develop over time.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New KS3
I have just launched a student consultation on new KS3 topics for 2007/8 and beyond...
You can see some of the new options (and some old favourites) on the new KS3 GEOGRAPHY blog which I've launched with the first set of images...

What do you think ?


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What will London's climate be like in 2071 ?
The front page of today's Guardian newspaper offers a view of this.Photograph: Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement and Ecole Nationale de la Météorologie, Météo-France.

We will apparently have a similar climate to Atlantic coast of Portugal.
Doesn't sound so bad ??

In the same paper, in the Education section was a useful article on STUDENTIFICATION, which is not quite the same as Gentrification...
This is the impact that a large student population has on an area, and concentrated on an area of Swansea. Some useful details for urban change other than the obvious...

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Q: Urbanphagy ?? (see earlier post...)
A: Eating a city !

Is this possible ?
Well, there was a recent event in London, where parts of the city were recreated in food !
There is a FLICKR set of pictures of the event.
Below is a rather wonderful one of Tower Bridge and the area near there, which was submitted by Flickr user xtinalamb



Thanks to a BBC NEWS article, I came across Craggers today. These are people who reduce their carbon footprint to its minimum by, amongst other things, not drawing the curtains in the morning to retain the heat in the house...
Carbon Rationing Action Groups, have a site with a wiki and lots of links worth exploring. This could feed into a new unit I'm planning....

Of course, all this effort might be pointless when placed against the rate of the destruction of the rainforests which was reported in today's Independent...Still, we each need to do our bit. Don't we ?

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Loving this book at the moment. Barry Lopez is a favourite author of mine, and this book is a glossary of landscape features written by a group of American authors. Some great descriptions and stories and steeped in physical geography and the impact of landscape on the psyche. A lovely chunky hardback and a book to dip into...

Also got Peter Jackson's King Kong today for £4.96 from (ahem) Tesco...
Great landscapes for a possible lesson idea. Watch this space...

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I got my name in lights with notcelebrity.co.uk

Thanks to Rob Chambers for pointing me to this...

What does this mean ?
Answers tomorrow....


Some of the most interesting new ideas of recent years have been included in reports by the New Economics Forum (NEF) They introduced me to Clone Towns and to Ghost Town Britain, and flagged up the increasing power of the multiples in our lives. They also explored the idea of whether we can afford to be Happy and what that means for the planet.
Now they have produced a report which looks at the links that the UK has with the rest of the planet, and the key date of April 15th
Once we have passed that date the UK has effectively used up its own resource capacity, and from that date for the rest of the year we are basically 'eating the planet', as we have exhausted our own resources.
As the report says:
"As our total consumption grows, the day on which we begin consuming beyond our environmental means moves earlier in the year. In 1961 it was 9 July. By 1981 Britain's ecological debt day was reached almost two months earlier on 14 May."

The report is available to download as a PDF file from the NEF site, and runs to 35 pages. This would make a rather good resource if adapted for any age group. The new KS3 curriculum offers an oppportunity for work on footprints and sustainability to appear in Year 7 schemes, and of course it's never too late to prepare the citizens of tomorrow for the responsibilities they have to continue to change their lifestyles and influence those of their parents.

Thanks to the Kingsdown Geography blog for posting about this report and starting me on this particular 'tangent'.

The report then led me to TRANSITION REPORT blog. This is based on the theme of ENERGY DESCENT: the change from fossil fuel based economy to a post-fossil fuel based economy. Lots of interesting links and avenues to explore. Interesting posting on the report, which explores the issues, summarised in the quote below:

"The concept of ecological debt is straightforward. Once we start to live beyond our ecological footprint, we require the resources of other nations in order to sustain our lifestyles. It is a nonsense, Simms argued in ‘Ecological Debt’, to talk of third world debt, really we in the developed West have so plundered these nations for so long that we actually owe them the most enormous debt."

Also a mention of Arsenal FC as an example of this plundering of other countries.

There is also a posting on a rather good article by Simon Fairlie on urban heat and rural heat.

A report in the GUARDIAN on the report.
I'm a couple of weeks behind on picking up this story, but got there in the end.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Just got an e-mail from the Ivory Coast with an exciting offer.. What do you think ?

Abidjan cote D`Ivoire
West Africa.
Dearest One ,
Good thing to write you. I have a proposal fo you,this however is not mandatory nor will I in any manner compel you to honour against your will. Your profile pushed me to send you this mail, I am faith sunny,a 22 years old and the only Daughter of Mr and Mrs SUNNY .
My father was a highly reputable business man (a cocoa merchant) who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on 12th.August 2002.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been master minded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at that time. But God knows the truth! , My mother died when I was just 6 years old and my younger Brother 3year old. Since then my father took us so special. Before his death on August 12 2002, he told me about a box he concealed the sum of eleven million, thousand United State Dollars.(US D$11) deposited in one of the security company here in Abidjan, Ivory coast West Africa, which he disguised and declared the box to contain family valuables instead of money, for security reasons, by this way the company does not know the true content of the box.
The deposit document which I have in my possession carries my late father's name as the depositor, while I'm the next of kin on the same document.
I am just 22 years old and a university undergraduate and really don't know what to do. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life.
Dear, I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards. Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded.
Now permit me to ask these few questions:-
1. Can you honestly help me as your daughter?
2. Can I completely trust you?
3. Please, Consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.
Thank you so much
Abidjan cote D`Ivoire
West Africa

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Congratulations to the SLN Geography Forum, THE foremost place for Geography teachers to exchange ideas.
Tonight, the landmark of 50 000 posts was reached.
Thanks to all who visit SLN and post their ideas and offer help to colleagues with technical issues, OFSTED, free resources, pedagogical practice and purveying of pants...
Cheers to all Geographers out there !
And thanks to Chris Durbin and Kate Russell for their hard work in setting it up and keeping it going until it reached that critical mass which means it's now unstoppable...


Thanks to Ollie Bray for guiding me to this Slideshare presentation comparing the USA, India and China, and looking at global shift and the impact of China and India's huge populations on a future global economy.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In response to many requests, here are my pants...
As seen in Andrew Goudie's lecture at the GA 2007 on the effects of global warming on geomorphology...


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Got my Climate Change Teacher Pack from the DfES today, despite an apparent legal challenge to prevent it being distributed.
Contains a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth", plus a disc with other short films and animations.
A visit to the TEACHERNET site also offers a DOWNLOADABLE set of teachers notes. The scene by scene notes were by a friend of GeographyJazz: SIMON OAKES.

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A new resource for FAIRTRADE: design a computer game competition.
The website is unfortunately BLOCKED at my school, despite it obviously being an educational site. The DUBBLE site is still there.
Closing date is the 3rd of June.
You can download a LESSON PLAN, ENTRY FORM, DOWNLOADABLE STORY BOARDS and a short VIDEO of a professional game designer.
The winners will have their idea turned into a real game by Atticmedia, and featured on the DUBBLE website.
Good luck !

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