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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just installed 4OD or "4 on Demand" on my PC
Like the BBC's iPlayer it allows you to download and watch recent programmes, except Channel 4 rather than BBC of course. Will wait to see how much 'geographical' content is available...

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Knock on the door a couple of minutes ago brought a welcome parcel: a book I saw in the Liverpool Tate shop: "Patterns of the Earth". Like the sticker on the front which says "Essential for creative thinkers and inquiring minds."
and the second book was one I've been waiting for for about 3 months, and which has had great reviews by people such as Rory McLean, Andrew Motion and Tim Adams. Search for "wild places MacFarlane" to read the reviews for yourself. He visits places I know well myself: Norfolk, Loch Coruisk and Raasay.. Even the map at the front of the book makes you look at the country from a different angle.. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this, but first I have to cook tea...

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Seaside Special...

Piers are a favourite of mine.
Below are some images of (and from) Southwold Pier
Hunstanton, which is the nearest town to where I live, had a pier until the 1970s when bad weather swept away much of the structure which had been damaged by fire several times.
There is now an entertainment centre which itself is a rebuild from a structure which was burned down in 2002. Some images of the FIRE HERE. There is also a list of the various towns which have LOST THEIR PIERS here.

Here is an early image of the town with pier from the TOWN COUNCIL website.

For me, a pier would really bring a focal point into the town, but I understand that it's not popular with everyone. My 'local' paper: the Lynn News has a long running correspondence going on in the readers' letters page. There are plans for a marina development for the town as well, in association with Searles Resort, which has a population greater than Hunstanton during the summer months...

BURA is the British Urban Regneration Association.
The BURA scheme was aimed at designing piers for the 21st Century and a competition is ongoing.

There were a selection of images of some of the designs on this BBC PAGE.

This then led me to a series of events which were held in locations such as Scarborough.
At this event, there were a number of presentations which are very useful for Geographers.
The SCARBOROUGH presentations, including a useful one on Blackpool's regeneration can be viewed by following the link.

and on a completely unrelated topic, the Guardian's G2 supplement has a major article today on the emerging GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS.

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Watch this and then work out what's causing it...

One for the meteorologists or cloud spotters...

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Animoto

...for my little project...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Place Animoto

Just back from a short break in Liverpool, and to see Anthony Gormley's "Another Place", which is very much recommended...

Also, for those of you using BLOGGER, you may not have noticed that there's now a VIDEO UPLOAD button - upload a video up to 100Mb in size...
May try it later...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Image by Flickr user ISDKY - great image of Saddleworth Moor.

"Way way way down the motorway...."

The programme of the summer so far were episodes 1 & 2 of "The Secret Life of the Motorway"
These had some amazing images from the building and opening of the first motorways, particularly the effort that went into building the top section of the M62, which I spent 3 years living next to (well, not RIGHT next to...)

When this gets repeated (or shown on BBC1 or 2) I urge you to watch it... Plenty of Geography mentioned and geographers featured...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Off here later in the week..

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Great quote by Will Self:

"All that is required to teach contemporary urban youth about our social history, the impact of industrialisation on Britain, our environment and what threatens it is to stick stout boots on their feet, a map in their hands, and have them walk into the country."

Will Self

Also exploring this site: SHOP HORROR. Some ideas for CONSUMPTION and RETAILING.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Get your kicks on the M66...

If you have satellite / cable TV there's an excellent series (by the look of it) to be shown next week on BBC4, called "The Secret Life of the Motorway"

Here are the details from the BBC website:

Episode 1 (Tuesday)

This series pays homage to Britain's motorways – the people who built them, the people who use them and the people who risked their lives to stop them. Along the way, everything from early driving experiences and the joys of motorway services to the rise of the protest movement are re-lived.

At just six miles long, the first stretch of motorway, the M6 Preston Bypass, was opened in 1958. For the first time, people could travel further, more easily and quicker than ever before, thanks to this groundbreaking "road revolution".

This programme charts the beginning of Britain's love affair with motorways, meeting the engineers and builders who designed and built this first motorway, through to those who toiled to complete the most complex road intersection in the country – Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction.

The bizarre and often thrilling experience of driving on these new, fast roads is described by the people who were among the first to drive and work on them.

But with no speed limit, no crash barriers between the carriageways and cars that weren't built for high speeds, the risk of accidents was high. To combat the dangers, the Motorway Code was introduced – along with some rather amusing public information films to explain the "dos and don'ts" of motorway driving.

The Secret Life Of The Motorway celebrates the birth of motorways and hails the achievements of those behind the "road revolution".

Episode 2 (Wednesday)

When the first British motorway opened in 1958, it seemed to promise a drive into a world of prosperity and freedom. This programme takes a journey through the weird and wonderful destinations these roads have taken people to – from glamorous, early service stations to the out-of-town shopping centres that are now amongst Britain's largest leisure destinations.

Before motorways, Britain was an unexplored isle for most people – holidays were largely confined to just 200 seaside resorts at the end of a train line. The rise in car ownership and the burgeoning road network revolutionised this. Tourist destinations blossomed and the motorway journey itself, with its attendant rituals of travel sweets and I-Spy books, became an adventure.

Such was the excitement surrounding the early motorways that service stations were as glamorous as Soho coffee bars – Meccas for fine dining and teenagers in search of a 24-hour place to party. Even today, they hold an allure for some – not just somewhere for a quick break, but a communal space for people to meet.

The motorway network wasn't built to help holiday travel. They were created to serve business – HGV drivers, travelling salesmen and commuters. Nearly 50 years on, sleepy country villages have been colonised, business parks have sprung up around junctions and vast distribution centres mushroomed in "golden" motorway triangles.

With contributions from seminal planner Sir Peter Hall, author Will Self, caravanners, hitch-hikers and commuters, The Secret Life Of The Motorway explores how our eagerness to accelerate down the slip road has profoundly changed how we live, work and play in Britain over the last 50 years.

Episode 3 (Thursday)

In 1958, the first British motorway opened with huge celebration, and, over the next decade, 1,000 miles of road were built across open countryside to little opposition. Welcomed by all, they quickly relieved congestion.

However, at the end of the Sixties, the detrimental effects of motorways became apparent and public opinion began to change. And, when the engineers turned their attention to solving London's mounting traffic problem, it became clear that building a motorway through the capital's densely populated streets would always destroy "someone's back garden".

Protests against the Motorway Box – a proposed elevated ring road built through the heart of London – meant that urban motorways were no longer politically acceptable. In our cities, the brutal modernism of motorways quickly became a thing of the past. However, in the countryside, plans were still going ahead, culminating in the late Eighties with the Government's plan of "Roads for Prosperity" – the biggest road-building plan since the Romans. For many people it was just too much, and when the Department of Transport began to build a motorway through Twyford Down, near Winchester, things soon came to a head.

Forced evictions, pitched battles and radical young protestors grabbed the headlines and inspired numerous other protests around the country. And, when Labour came to power, the road programme was dropped.

Featured contributions, in tonight's concluding programme of the series, range from the genteel old ladies and disillusioned youth that protested against motorways, to the engineers and Government officials responsible for building them. The Secret Life Of The Motorway shows how Britain's love affair with motorways came to an abrupt end.

A useful TIMES article here as well.

I used to live 2 miles from the M1 / M18 junction, and used motorways a lot. Of course, living in Norfolk now means there maybe won't be a lot of interest in the programme : there are none in the county....

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Regular readers will know that I have mentioned Will Self and his Psychogeography column before.
This is featured in the Satuday "Independent".
A collection of the columns is due to be published in October, and can be preordered from AMAZON. Great Ralph Steadman cartoons too...

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L is for...


L is for...
Originally uploaded by ~Bellatrix~
Like this a lot.
Wonder if this could be adapted for some Geographical purpose as a project ?

Countryfile, which is on at the moment, is a special feature on ICELAND.
Plenty of useful sections so far, on Tectonic boundaries, renewable energy, geothermal power, geysers, the nature of the country, whaling, the 'Cod War' and Glacier tourism.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day is on October 15th.
The theme of the day is THE ENVIRONMENT.
Watch the video below for more details.
This blog has signed up for BLOG ACTION DAY. Make sure your blog is too.


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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Guerrilla Geography Day 1
Well done to Dan, Simon R and Nicole, plus Jimboe for their Guerrilla Geography action in Birmingham yesterday

Here is a YouTube taster with a radio interview.



Also check the blog:
http://guerrillageography.blogspot.com/

Dan also featured in the Guardian today on the decline in numbers taking 'A' level Geography.

More news items, this time on BBC Midlands Today !



Great clip !

And here's another

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Today is the anniversary of the Lynmouth AND Boscastle floods ...
Well done on a 'nice' set of AS and A2 results today KES Geographers ! and thanks to Mr. Bilbie for passing on all the details...

SLIDESHARE's largest group is now the GEOGRAPHERS
There are over 170 slideshows there now...
A quick random search today also led me to this very stylish presentation which should be recommended reading for all those colleagues who use Powerpoint (and me)



A great job by Alexei Kapterev

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just came across this answer from a game show:

BEG, BORROW OR STEAL (BBC2)
Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester.

Anyone got any others ? (Geography ones that is...)

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Just added my name as a 'lurker' to the TEACHMEET WIKI.
Plenty of good ideas to come - and lots of interesting avenues to explore...

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Talked to a friend in Sheffield yesterday, and he told me that one of the outcomes of the recent flooding in Sheffield was a beer festival that was held last weekend (and which resulted in him having a 'bit of a head' the following morning)

The beer festival was called 'Floody Hell' and involved some of the breweries that were damaged in the flooding, such as Kelham Island brewery (brewers of Pale Rider, one of my favourite ales)
Special beers that were brewed had appropriate titles:

FLOODY HELL - Kelham Island Brewery
WADE IN THE WATER - Kelham Island Brewery
LADY'S BRIDGE - Thornbridge Brewery
SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN - Durham Brewery
DON VALLEY DELUGE - Sheffield Brewery
RIVERWARE - Bradfield Brewery
TORRENT - Acorn Brwery
HERE COMES THE SUN - Derby Brewery
RIVER'S CASCADE - SHEFFIELD BREWERY
SANDBAGS & GLADRAGS - Kelham Island Brewery

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So THIS is why I'm a Grumpy old Geographer...

60 years ago today, India became independent from the UK, with Pakistan celebrating their 60th anniversary of independence yesterday.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Don't look back in Angkor..."

Images of Cambodian temple Angkor Wat by my Singapore correspondent... Many thanks!

Interesting story in BBC News archive about World Heritage Site: Angkor Wat.
Apparently there was a sprawl of urban development around the temple.

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Just to let you know about a new GeoBlog I've started as part of my investigations into Cultural Geography.
You'll find at it http://cultcha.blogspot.com

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

I love the opportunities that summer holidays provide for pottering little jobs...
Yesterday went up in the loft and wandered down the ladder with a few samples from a huge box of tapes that I hadn't played for years. On with the wi-fi headphones (a great invention!) and out into the garden with a bottle of 'Cologne style lager' from the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich (pic below of my daughter standing on the Prime Meridian earlier this year)One of the tapes was classic Pat Metheny "Offramp" from 1982. Used to play this a lot as a student, and particularly like the track "Eighteen" - driving and melodic...
For those who haven't heard Pat Metheny before - check out this solo acoustic medley...



Will keep you updated with some other 'classics from the dusty box' as I work through them...

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Starting tonight is a series called Britain's Favourite View (ITV 8pm)
What are your favourite views ?
Here are mine in the next 3 posts...

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Staithes, N Yorkshire


Staithes view
Originally uploaded by Clonidine
The first of my 3 favourite views of Britain, to go with the posting above on the ITV Britain's Best View programme...
Great image from Clonidine

Had a fab Christmas here a few years back, when we got snowed into the village for the whole week, and had a white christmas day of snow.

Buachaille Etive Mor with snow on...


Sunny Buachaille Etive Mor
Originally uploaded by bicameral
One of my 3 favourite views, to go with the posting above on the ITV Britain's Best View programme...
Great image from bicameral

I once stopped to take a picture of 'the buckle' and left my camera on top of my car. It fell off as we set off and got crushed between the wheels of a lorry that was following. Not good !

Cuillins from Tarskavaig


Cuillin Sunset 1
Originally uploaded by pete_thedoctor_smith
One of my 3 favourite views, to go with the posting above on the ITV Britain's Best View programme...
Great image from pete_thedoctor_smith

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Great British Beer Festival at Earl's Court

Would quite like to be popping in here today...

iTomato


iTomato
Originally uploaded by petenator40
And here's another great image by the same photographer as the post below...

FLICKR Explorations


green pepper
Originally uploaded by petenator40
Just having my daily dose of Flickr and came across this excellent image. Fits in with some work I'm doing on the way our food is moved around the world, with ideas from Sarah Murray's "Moveable Feasts"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Just sent back my ballot to see if I can get a ticket for Michael Palin's New Europe lecture at the RGS-IBG in October. Fingers crossed...

Regular readers of the blog will know that I'm fond of whisky, particularly those served in the Taychreggan Inn in Dundee. Recently discovered that the only whisky distillery in England is in fact in Norfolk. The English Whisky Company's manager used to work at Laphroaig, so this may be rather good when it appears in 2012...

I also like these t-shirts which have just been produced which give away the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I've only shown you half of them though - I'm not a spoilsport...
Just putting together a lot of resources on the new VELIB scheme in Paris. Will let you know more about them when they've finished, but now I'm off for a game of bowls in the evening sun...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer Holidays
I was born in the early 60's, so the school holidays that I remember most fondly were in the mid 1970's...
Of course the sun was hotter then - never mind Global Warming... We had 1976, which was the drought year...
Also had summer play schemes where we could go and be entertained. We used to play down the woods for hours without our parents being too concerned - although they still worried of course...

Did a quick search on my favourite cultural archive: You Tube.

'Robinson Crusoe' is first up: black and white (as most TV was)



Come 'White Horses' was next....

Also in black and white and German (unfortunately, embedding is disabled...)

And 'Flashing Blade': "You've got to fight for what you want..."



And don't forget 'The Double Deckers': a group of kids who hung around on a bus...



Anyone remember any others ?

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A pottering day, but Geography came in as always...
Out to the opticians as needed an eye check: fortunately my IWB projector doesn't seem to have made a difference to my eyesite but apparently my ability to focus is on the way out, just part of getting old... Ordered new glasses as my existing ones snapped a few days ago (hence the Jack Duckworth reference in an earlier post)

Weather was very changeable today. Free Horrid Henry for my daughter with the Times.

A few books catching my eye in book shop: interested in Richard Girling's 'Sea Change': a useful resource to download as well with an extract HERE. (PDF download)

Richard Girling article in THE TIMES on flooding in the UK.
Also bought a copy of Sarah Murray's "Moveable Feasts" which looks at the journeys that our food makes: useful for some resources I'm developing - also the key role of the shipping container, which I've long mentioned as being a key part of globalisation in terms of reducing costs of moving goods long distances.

Also enjoying 'Austerity Britain' which, although a history book, has a great deal of geography in there in terms of house building and immigration.
A great description on p.19 of the book.
"Britain in 1945. No supermarkets, no motorways, no teabags, no sliced bread, no frozen food, no flavoured crisps, no lager, no microwaves....no CDs, no computers, no mobiles, no duvets, no Pill, no trainers, no hoodies, no Starbucks. Four Indian restaurants. Shops on every corner, pubs on every corner.... No launderettes, no automatic washing machines..... Back to backs, narrow cobbled streets, Victorian terraces, no high rises. Arterial roads, suburban semis, the march of the pylon....no seat belts. Heavy coins, heavy shoes.... Meat rationed, butter rationed, lard rationed, margarine rationed, sugar rationed, tea rationed, cheese rationed..."

Doing a few bits for the RGS-IBG Study Day for which I'm doing a half hour session on "Blogs, Casting and Nings - the new Geography study skills" along with some other interesting folk. Come along (but don't heckle...)

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Don't forget to order your Thinking Space ready for the new term...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007


WalkScore is a website which has just been mentioned by Lucy Rawe on SLN.
You put in your address or postcode and it measures the distance from your house to a number of key services: shops, pubs, fitness etc.

My house scored 15 - my previous house near my place of work scored 69...

What does my score mean?

Your Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100. The walkability of an address depends on how far you are comfortable walking—after all, everything is within walking distance if you have the time. Here are general guidelines for interpreting your score:

  • 90 - 100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
  • 70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
  • 50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
  • 25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
  • 0 - 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!
Could be the basis for some interesting work on access to services...

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Head over to PLASQ and get yourself a free BETA version of COMIC LIFE for Windows...
Then get geo-creative with it and put the results on Flickr and let me know about them...

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Image Copyright: BBC Weather...
A band of rain is coming down over the country today from NW to SE...
Post your location and the time that it started (or starts) raining...
Collaborative post also available on SLN FORUM.

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Staying out of the heat: it's 30 degrees out there...
Sitting under a tree with a cold beer is nicer, and getting on with my major writing project for the summer.

Just discovered the new British Geological Survey site which allows you to explore the BLAKENEY ESKER.
This is a case study that we have used in the past as it is local to us.
May even introduce this as an extension of our fieldwork visit... just thinking out loud.



Well done to those who were involved in the production of this resource.

Also check out the MAKE A MAP interactive Geology map, which is available to download.

And finally for this update on the last 15 minutes of good discoveries, here's a new game which was highlighted by GeoDave on SLN Forum. I discovered a version of TETRIS last week which used American states rather than geometric shapes, and you had to put them in the right place.
There's now a version where you have to put in the countries and islands that make up EUROPE. Could be a good one for testing EU knowledge.

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You've got a few hours left to take part in this event, which had passed me by...
Enjoy !

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The Campaign to Protect Rural England's PLANNING DISASTER site which I have mentioned before has a useful map now added which allows you to choose to add a series of layers which have details of proposed developments which would change the character of rural England.
You can explore which are local issues, and perhaps choose to develop these in the classroom.


A quick look brings up some proposals, including the structure below, which I can see on clear days from close to my house, not that I'm necessarily for or against it. Any ideas what it could be ? Answers in a comment please...Hot today. Must say I actually prefer the cooler weather.
And could this (released in November) finally be the first decent album since Amarok ?
The signs are not ideal I have to say - Hayley Westenra ? Mind you...Faith Brown ??

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At the moment I've got something in common with this person... Answers on a postcard as to what / why ?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Blogged about this before but here's a reminder - a graphic novel you can read by clicking the red arrows...
Click on CARTOON KATE's site to start, or the image above.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Just started my trial with this. Downloaded the first episode of Mountain: a hefty 265 Mb which took just about 45 minutes to download - good picture quality - programmes are available for a limited period and last for 7 days from the time you first watch them. Particularly interested in snippet in Mountain of the work of Lotte Glob, who makes art from firing rocks until they melt and merge together, to create books like the one pictured below: geographical art... She also has the most amazing house !
Would love to own one, but they're a bit beyond my price range unfortunately...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Morph is back, thanks to Friends of the Earth as part of a campaign to get people making short eco films for a competition - some good prizes available...

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Came across a printout today which is a historical document...
It's a record of my first posting on the SLN Forum, in March 2002... How time flies

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Mark Beaumont from Dundee sets off from Paris on the 5th of August to attempt to cycle Solo around the world..
He is a former pupil of a friend of mine, and she was present at the press launch this week. Why not support the charity, and follow the journey once it gets underway.


link to the Artemis World Cycle

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