Thursday, 30 August 2007

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Eleven unsuspecting volunteers are left marooned on one of Britain's biggest landfill sites for three weeks. Their challenge? To survive off the rubbish the rest of us have thrown out. Watch the Channel 4 program on Sunday at 9pm. Looks good for Environmental Issues topics. click the link below
Channel 4 programm of living on rubbish.

Aftermath of the Peru earthquake

Peruvian officials say they have run out of tents and urgently need at least 40,000 more to house victims of the devastating earthquake two weeks ago.
Aid agencies said many survivors in the Ica region were living on the streets in unhygienic conditions, and were desperately in need of basic supplies.
The UN asked the international community for $37m (£18.3m) for medical help, water, food, tents and blankets.
He predicts that the first victims could receive new houses in six months' time and has pledged to bypass Peru's notorious bureaucracy.
And as part of the clear-up operation, the National Institute of Culture has been taking stock of the damage to historical sites in the region.
Institute director Cecilia Bakula said the earthquake had taken a "painful toll" on Peru's historical heritage, destroying 32% of the region's 173 monuments and buildings of historical importance.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Climate change

A UN climate change conference began with a call from the most vulnerable developing nations for large and rapidly developing countries such as China and India to do more to tackle global warming.
The group of the 48 least-developed countries plus a group of small island states has previously maintained a united front against what it perceives to be the lack of action from industrial nations which are responsible for the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions.
China overtook the US as the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide earlier this year, although per capita the US is still far higher.
What do you think, will this work better than Kyoto? The problem is also the US issue. Will they change? Perhaps we are seeing this already with Arnold Schwarzeneger advocating many aspects of "green " living. Watch this space.....

Monday, 27 August 2007

Why are Afghan farmers growing opium?

Despite the dangers and the fact that growing these crops fuels the drugs trade in Europe, the poverty and war ravaged farmers of this poor country claim they are forced to grow such crops to feed and support their families. What do you think? Click the video link above.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Pylons cause controversy in Highlands

Read the article below as a possible topic for adv higher issues essay - or even better find a local one about which people are equally passionate - dare I mention the Maybole bypass!!!!!!
Ruin the landscape or providing much needed services?

Calculate your carbon footprint

Use the site link here to calculate how mauch damage you do to the earth.

Government calculator

Morph back on by popular demand

Short Morph film here back as requested. Competition now closed but the wee guy is still cool.

Atlas work with a difference!

Angelina Jolie's Geographical Tattoos

Angelina Jolie apparently has a 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 ?

Do you have teenage Affluenza?

Oops missed the dates but I reckon its still worth a look at the video. Hope it makes you think.

Notting Hill Carnival, London

This street festival began initially from the black immigrants from the Caribbean, in particular, Trinidad, where the Carnival tradition is very strong, and from people living locally, who dreamed of creating a festival to bring together the people of Notting Hill, most of whom were facing racism, lack of working opportunities and poor housing conditions resulting in a general suppression.

There had been racial tensions in the late 50s and black people were subjected to constant pressures. Dances were organised in halls in North London, where black people could come together freely. At the same time steel band music was being played in Earls Court by Trinidadians who had immigrated to this country. From this evolved the idea of inviting the steelband to take part in a street festival in Notting Hill, to encourage people, mainly children, both black and white, to come onto the streets and express themselves socially as well as artistically. This first took place in 1964 and was a huge success.
In Trinidad, during the days of slavery, black people (slaves) were forbidden to play musical instruments and wear costumes, apart from when the traditional imported European Carnival took place, six weeks before Easter. On those occasions their participation was limited to providing entertainment for their masters.

It was also known that slaves wore forbidden to be in the streets after dark unless they were accompanying their masters. When the Laws were repealed and freedom from slavery was announced in 1833, the slaves took to the streets in song and dance, indulging in their culture and using their artistic skills to mimic their masters and pour scorn on the system that had had them enslaved for so long.

Consequently, slaves would dress like their masters, powder their faces to look pale like their masters or make masks to resemble their masters, distorting images and features to show they regarded their masters as evil or ridiculous.

These celebrations of freedom provided the only opportunity for black people to express their feelings about their slave masters and they quickly developed the art of costume making, creating fantastic ensembles which satirised their situation as Africans, transported to the Caribbean top become slaves.

In the late 20the Century there was a lot of trouble and violence at the carnival but in recent years, the event has been much freer from serious trouble and is generally viewed very positively as a dynamic celebration of London's multi-cultural diversity, though dominated by the Caribbean culture in the best traditions of Rio. However, there has been controversy over the public safety aspects of holding such a well-attended event in narrow streets in a small area of London. Now over a million people attend this part of London .

Higher could link this to the film Notting Hill for the Urban section you are covering just now with Mrs McF.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Japan - an ageing population

Good information on the issues Japan has to face with such a high percentage of its population being elderly. This is similar to Britain and most of Europe. Will you ever be allowed to retire? Perhaps you will just have to work 'til you "drop". However not everyone will be fit and well enough in their 70's or 80's to do this. Would you like to be rescued by an 80 year old firefighter or served your lunch by a 90 year old?
Watch the video below.

Old age Japan

Mount St Helens

Have a look at this video on the eruption of 1980. Good pics!

China -tackles the gender issue

The Chinese government says it is drafting new laws to tackle the growing gender imbalance caused by the widespread abortion of females.
The practice is already banned, but new rules are expected to set out specific punishments for parents and doctors.

To read the full article click the link below
China boys v girls

Also have a look at this article which shows how some Chinese couples are cheating the system and having multiple births.

Chinese twins and triplets

Friday, 24 August 2007

Just for fun!

China's One Child Policy

Very good article here on the huge problems to be faced in the future by the young Chinese of today. How will they cope financially with all this pressure and what happens to their elderly parents and grandparents if the child dies or fails to support them?

BBC article on Little Emperors in China

Leonardo tells you the truth

climate change video 11th Hour

Watch the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio on global warming and climate change and see how the world may have to change to survive.

Climate change

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for highlighting the video below on climate change and our "11th hour status". Film features Leonardo di Caprio.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Japanese bullet train

The first Japanese bullet train for use on a UK mainline has arrived in Britain, bringing with it promises of shorter journey times.
The 140mph (225km/h) six-car Hitachi Class 395 train was delivered on board a ferry to Southampton.

The Southeastern train company plans to run 29 of the trains from 2009 on the final section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Kent to central London.

They will also transport spectators to and from the 2012 London Olympics site.

The service, to be known as the Olympic Javelin, will ferry passengers from St Pancras station in London to the main site in Stratford, east London, in just seven minutes.

Another three of the trains, which are manufactured in Kasaso, Japan, will be delivered during the coming months.

Look at the video below for good pics

Bullet trains in the UK

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Save the planet

Nice video about making some small changes and how this has a global impact. "Think global, act local"

Pay as you throw - waste and recycling

Pay-as-you-throw wheelie bins with microchips could be introduced to make householders pay for their rubbish and cut down on their waste.

The Local Government Association (LGA) outlined three different schemes which councils in England could use to cut the amount of rubbish residents throw away.

The first would be a system in which householders buy different sized pre-paid rubbish sacks - a scheme which could be used in urban areas where wheelie bins are not always practical.

The second would be the use of microchips in wheelie bins which would allow the amount of rubbish to be weighed as it was loaded on to the refuse truck. Residents would then be billed for the amount of waste they created.

The third option for councils would be a scheme in which householders choose the size of the wheelie bin they use, based on how much rubbish they think they will generate, and are charged accordingly.

Do YOU think this is a good idea or not? Will we have people leaving excess packaging in supermarkets so that they don't need to put it in their bins at home? Will neighbours be sneaking out in the middle of the night to fill someone else's bin? Will people padlock their wheelie bins? Can you but an alarm for your wheelie bin? Why should we all pay to get rid of "junk" mail that we didn't ask for in the first place? A lot of questions to be answered ............ but we DO need to recycle more and stop filling the landfill sites. What else can we do?

Migration out of the UK

Within the UK an exodus of Londoners from the city - at a rate of 20,000 a month - has been blamed on rising house prices in the capital.
Young families in particular are being priced out of the capital, which saw 243,000 residents heading for other parts of the country between June 2005 and June last year.
Nearly 200,000 of the migrants were British citizens, according to the statistics.
Benefits bill for eastern European migrants hits £125m
A quarter of all UK babies have a foreign parent
The most popular destination for migrants was Australia, with South Africa proving to be another favourite.
Overall, the population of the country rose 0.6 per cent in the year to 60,587,000.

The BBC article below tells us how many people are now opting for a better life out of Britain. Would you stay if you had a choice? How you you possible leave after such wonderful summer holiday weather!!!!!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Deadly volcanic lake

Check out this page which illustrates how dangerous living next to volcanoes can be.
Volcanic lake disater

Dean calms down

Hurricane Dean crashed into the Caribbean coast of Mexico today as the strongest hurricane to hit land in the Atlantic region since 1988.
It hit ancient Mayan ruins and headed for modern oil installations.
The eye of the storm made land near a port popular with cruise liners and about 40 miles east-north-east of Chetumal and the Belize border, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.
Dean's path was a stroke of luck for Mexico; it skirted most of the major tourist resorts, making landfall in a sparsely populated coastline.
By 4pm Dean had weakened to a Category 2 storm with winds of 105mph as it charged across the Yucatan Peninsula at about 20 mph on course for the Bay of Campeche, where the state oil company shut down production on the offshore rigs that extract most of the nation's oil. Dean was expected to increase in force once over the warm water again.

Have a look at the Guardians excellent animation on hurricanes by following the link below

Monday, 20 August 2007

Dean strikes

Map of the area affected by the hurricane.

In Jamaica
State of emergency declared
Power lines and trees downed and roofs ripped off along southern coast
Authorities still assessing damage
"Hurricane Dean has just bulldozed the place and left. The devastation is horrible but manageable."
Look at the video below to see the dmage when the storm hit Jamaica.

The Mexican coast braces itself to be hit soon.

Mexico is bracing itself for the impact of Hurricane Dean after the storm battered Jamaica.
Winds of up to 150mph (240km/h) tore off roofs, uprooted trees and downed power lines in Jamaica as the storm's centre passed just south of the island

See the BBCs animated information by using the link below.

Here is a view of how the experts expect the track to progress:

Sunday, 19 August 2007

EU policy on Biofuels

Good article on this topic and how it is leading to further deforestation and an imbalance of the carbon cycle.

Starkers in the Alps

I won't make any comment about this one at all but I'll not be drawing attention to global warming in this way! Watch the video to see this work of art.

Hurricane Dean approaches Jamaica

Shoppers stock up on supplies. See the survival kit below.

Damage done BEFORE the hurricane hits!

Hurricane Classification
Hurricanes are classified into five categories, based on their wind speeds and potential to cause damage.
Category One -- Winds 74-95 miles per hour
Category Two -- Winds 96-110 miles per hour
Category Three -- Winds 111-130 miles per hour
Category Four -- Winds 131-155 miles per hour
Category Five -- Winds greater than 155 miles per hour
In the U.S., the official hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but hurricanes can happen any time of the year. Hurricanes are named by the National Weather Service. Some previous ones have been named: Katrina, Opal, Andrew, Marilyn, Hugo and Fran.

Hurrican Dean

The hurricane, the first of the Atlantic summer season, has already killed at least six people including an 11-year-old boy struck by debris in the Dominican Republic, as it battered its way through the eastern Caribbean.
Apparently heading for a direct hit on Jamaica today, it has prompted the island government to issue a hurricane warning and begin moving people into hundreds of special shelters. An estimated 5,000 British tourists were preparing to huddle in hotel basements as the storm approached.

The storm, is set to pass directly over Jamaica at about mid-morning tomorrow local time, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.
It is currently travelling at 18mph towards the island, with wind speeds of 150mph and gusts of up to 185mph.
The storm tore through St Lucia and Martinique yesterday leaving floods, debris and at least three deaths in its wake and forcing tourists to take refuge.
In the Cayman Islands, where the hurricane is expected late tomorrow or early Monday morning, the Government has announced that only Cayman nationals and residents can enter the islands until further notice

The US recommends the list below as a "Survival Kit". Can you think of anything else?
Bottled water - enough for 14 days
Manual can opener
Non-perishable foods:
Canned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
Bread in moisture proof packaging
Cookies, candy, dried fruit
Canned soups, & milk
Powdered or single serve drinks
Cereal bars
Package condiments
Peanut butter and jelly
Instant coffee & tea
Torch(1 per person)
Portable battery powered lanterns
Glass enclosed candles
Battery powered radio or TV
Battery operated alarm clock
Extra batteries, including hearing aids
First Aid Kit-including aspirin, antibiotic cream, and antacids
Mosquito repellent
Sun screen
Waterproof matches/ lighter
Plain bleach or water purification tablets
Disposable plates, glasses, and Utensils
Maps of the area with landmarks on it
Cooking :
Portable camp stove or grill
Stove fuel or charcoal, lighter fluid
Disposable eating utensils, plates & cups
Napkins & paper towels
Aluminum foil
Oven mitts
Personal Supplies:
Prescriptions ( 1month supply)
Toilet paper
Entertainment: books, magazines, card games etc
Soap and detergent
Bedding: pillows, sleeping bag
Clothing for a few days
Rain jacket, and work gloves
Extra glasses or contact lenses
Disposable nappies
Formula, food and medication
Medical information
Waterproof container for document storage
Back-up disks of your home computer files
Camera & film
Pet Supplies
Dry & canned food for two weeks
Travelling Cage
Other Necessities:
Tools: hammer, wrenches, screw drivers, nails, saw
Rubbish bags (lots of them)
Cleaning supplies
Mosquito netting
fire extinguisher
Outdoor extension cords
Spray paint to identify your home if necessary
One of your home phones

Saturday, 18 August 2007

How the earth's oceans work

Interesting information on more research on how the planet regulates its temperature using ocean currents. This is part of the Higher course, so read carefully. We will be tackling this later in the year. You will have a head start.

Friday, 17 August 2007


One of the Far Eastern tourist honeypots has been "Disney- like" in the past. Read the link about how important it was.

China pollution

Beijing's notoriously clogged-up roads will get a stiff dose of decongestant today when a third of the city's vehicles will be ordered off the streets during a test run for next year's Olympic Games.
In an attempt to improve the environment as well as the traffic of one of the world's most polluted capitals, a million drivers will have to find alternative transport during the four-day trial.
Under the plan, cars with odd and even numbered plates will not be permitted on the roads on alternate days. Violators will be fined. Motorist clubs have also been asked to keep their vehicles in the garage. To take up the slack, public transport services will run longer hours and extra buses and subway trains will be laid on. Emergency vehicles are exempted, as is the city's huge fleet of taxis.

Despite its reputation as a cyclists' paradise, Beijing has embraced car culture with the same gusto as the rest of China. Thanks to rising incomes and falling car prices, the number of vehicles in the city has nearly tripled since 2000 to 3m, with almost 1,000 new cars added every day.
Poor air quality is the biggest concern of the Olympic organisers. Last week, IOC president Jacques Rogge warned that events next year might be postponed if the pollution was so high that it might hurt the performance of athletes.

Top 10 landmarks

Some of the world's best and most disappointing landmarks have been identified today. Have a look and see if you agree. (The pyramids - eh?!!! Who was asked?...........)

Illegal Aliens

Just a quick link to a site which covers this topic. I may link back to this at a later stage for Higher/ Int 2 Geography. Have a sneak preview below

Remember that not all migrants are illegal!

Turkey Earthquake

Now have a look at what happened in 1999 and compare this to the Peru information. Which was worse and why?

Aftershock or another earthquake

Scientists are not sure whether the strong quake experienced after the recent disaster is a 2nd quake or an aftershock. You can read about some of the problems at the BBC site below and see some of the long term and short term aid needed when such a disaster strikes.

Other countries in the region - including Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Chile - have sent relief supplies.
Help is also coming from the United States, Canada, Spain, Italy and France.
The United Nations said it was ready to help, while the International Federation of the Red Cross said it had sent two planes loaded with supplies. The latter also launched an appeal for emergency aid.
The earthquake happened in one of the most seismically active regions of the world.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Earthquake in Peru

Look at the video below on the dreadful disaster in Peru.

Emergency workers are struggling to deal with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Peru that has left hundreds of people dead.
The mayor of Pisco estimated that 70% of his coastal city was in ruins. "It is totally indescribable," he said.
The UN said the death toll had risen to 450, with 1,500 people injured.

President Alan Garcia quickly announced a state of emergency and sent cabinet ministers to the region.
Health workers abandoned an industrial strike to attend to casualties, and rescue teams were despatched from other parts of the country.
However, the damage caused by the quake hampered the emergency effort.
Giorgio Ferrario, head of Peru's Red Cross, said it had taken workers seven-and-a-half hours to get to the province of Ica, rather than the usual two.
S2 pupils
There are some fab animations for you to look at on the BBC web site showing how earthquakes happen. See the link below.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Durdle door disaster - nearly.

Look at the video and as well as admiring the stunning coastal scenery spend some time thinking......... "What a plonker!" Don't try this at home folks.

Monday, 13 August 2007

How to tackle climate change

Thought you might want to see the news headlines which have appeared in recent months regarding this topic. Truly - Geography IN YOUR FACE!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Friday, 10 August 2007

Fish can fight malaria mosquitoes

Kenyan researchers have hailed a humble fish as the latest weapon in the battle to curb the spread of malaria.
Nile tilapia, a fish more usually seen on Kenyan dinner tables, was introduced to several abandoned fishponds in the west of the country.
By consuming mosquito larvae it managed to reduce numbers of two of the main malarial mosquitoes by more than 94%.
The BMC Public Health study noted the fish could prove critical as mosquitoes are becoming resistant to pesticides.
Nile tilapia's taste for mosquitoes has been known since 1917 but this is the first time field data has been published detailing their use in mosquito control, the researchers from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology said.
Every 30 seconds
Malaria, spread by the single-celled parasite Plasmodium, is endemic in parts of Asia, Africa, and central and south America.
The organism is passed to humans through the bite of a mosquito. Each year it makes 300 million people ill and causes a million deaths worldwide.
Some 90% of cases are in sub-Saharan Africa, where a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.
The authors suggested that for Kenyans, the fish could prove a win-win investment. In addition to limiting mosquito populations they could also be used for food, and even generate income, too.
Joanne Greenfield, malaria advisor for the World Health Organization in Kenya, was more circumspect, while describing the findings as "positive".
"This method may well work in a defined area of water, but mosquitoes spread in all sorts of places - including small pools in the mud and puddles - where you obviously can't introduce fish," she said. "It just wouldn't work for many areas."
But she added: "We recommend a spectrum of methods to combat malaria, and this could certainly be a useful tool.”

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Intermediate Dev and Health - Cancer incidence Scotland

Incidence of mouth, womb and kidney cancers have climbed in Scotland, according to charity Cancer Research UK.
Malignant melanomas of the skin have also risen alarmingly, with rates up 30% since 1995 north of the border. The charity said the increases were worrying as many of the cases could be avoided. Research suggests around half of all cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes.
Overweight and obese women are said to be twice as likely to develop womb cancer as women of a healthy weight. In the decade from 1995 to 2004, incidence of the disease in the Scottish population rose by 27%.
Kidney cancer, for which smoking and excessive weight are key risk factors, also grew more prevalent during the same period. Rates rose by 8% north of the border. Similarly cases of mouth cancer, which mostly affects regular smokers or drinkers, have risen by 6%.
Higher increases in incidence of kidney and mouth cancers have been recorded in the UK as a whole than in Scotland.
Dr Waine said: "I do not think everyone realises the association between obesity and cancer. I think it needs to be known so that people can make rational choices and often the dangers of cancer are quite a motivator."

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Flood site

Asia floods danger to health

Look at the BBC site for the impact of diseases after a huge flood.

Deadly pollution

Extinct: the dolphin that could not live alongside man
The Yangtze river dolphin is today declared extinct. It is the first large animal to be wiped from the planet for 50 years, and only the fourth entire mammal family to disappear in 500 years. And it was driven to its death by mankind...
After more than 20 million years on the planet, the Yangtze river dolphin is today officially declared extinct, the first species of cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise) to be driven from this planet by human activity.
An intensive six-week search by an international team of marine biologists involving two boats that ploughed up and down the world's busiest river last December failed to find a single specimen.
Today, the scientific report of that expedition, published in the peer-reviewed journal of the Royal Society, Biology Letters, confirms the dolphin known as the baiji or white-fin in Chinese and celebrated for its pale skin and distinctive long snout, has disappeared.
To blame for its demise is the increasing number of container ships that use the Yangtze, as well as the fishermen whose nets became an inadvertent hazard.
In addition, pollution had fouled their natural habitat and completion of the Three Gorges Dam worsened the decline in smaller fish on which the baiji fed.