Friday, 30 November 2007

Three Gorges “Disaster”

There are fears that China's Three Gorges Dam is causing serious environmental problems eg landslides that have triggered 50 metre-high waves on the reservoir behind the dam. These landslides are being caused by the huge weight of water behind the dam and fluctuations in the water level.
Last week, a landslide in Badong County in Hubei Province, alongside the reservoir, killed more than 30 people after burying a bus. China now insists that there have been no unforeseen environmental problems related to the project, due for completion in 2009. Read the rest here of this BBC article.

Weather Disasters

The number of weather-related disasters has quadrupled over the past 20 years, according to Oxfam. Watch the video here.


What’s smart, green and feathery and talks about sex non-stop?
Around 2.5 million people in India are living with HIV. The highest rates of infection are among men in the south of the country. The BBC World Service Trust has launched a mass media contest to combat HIV and AIDS in India. The new campaign uses public service adverts on TV, radio and in cinemas, as well as on location at beaches and shopping malls.
The campaign targets men aged 15 to 59 years old
Listen to the two interviews as well. Link here

Another site here on World AIDS Day which is tomorrow 1st December. Link here

Look at this site on the Planet Under Pressure

A whole lot of good stuff here to browse and read.

Interactive Earthquakes

See this Guardian site on earthquakes for S2 to revise before their test. PS This is coming soon!

S Grade Revision

As well as the usual Scalloway and Bitesize “suspects” you could try these sites on glaciation and rivers to help you.

geography games for starters and plenaries

At last a Scottish School apart from Scalloway which has suitable revision notes on line. Have a look at Kemnay in Aberdeenshire for a starting point. Click the S3 and 4 box at the bottom. Link here. Try also the fun page and especially the Juicy Geography link. I like the walking the Plank Games!

Nice site here for basic revision of 4 and 6 fig grid refs. Click year 7 and Grid references test on the left and then try the questions. You can do the test several times and see if you improve. Beware though this isn’t detailed enough for General or Credit! (This is the one Jamie!!)

Earthquakes and Volcanoes Stuff

Here are a selection of sites for S2 to look at to help with this topic.

There is also a link here to different rock types which is useful for both S2 GFTs (Geography Fast Trackers) at Level F and S3 who will be studying Landscapes and Leisure soon.

This page has a lot of good stuff for your homework on the earthquake or volcano report. Get searching!

San Francisco. Link here

Mt St Helens

Here’s a wee exercise you can attempt and mark online to see if you know a bit about this eruption. I’d do this after you have seen the film. Link here

Good site here for more earthquake research.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

ayrshiregeog - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Past Papers

Just a wee note to tell you about a site I didn't realise existed until I read it on another blog. See all the past papers you need as well as the sample answers I give you for help in exam preparation. No your prelims won't have these questions in them!!!!! Link Here

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Three people have been killed and 45 hurt after two powerful earthquakes shook eastern Indonesia. The quakes, of magnitude 6.4 and 5.0, hit within hours of each other.
Hundreds of buildings were damaged or destroyed. Witnesses said many residents had fled their homes and were unwilling to return. Can you think why?
The country lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most active regions of the world for earthquakes and volcanoes. Most of the injured were said to have been hit by collapsing walls.
The tremors caused a power cut, forcing a hospital to be evacuated briefly.
Indonesia was the nation worst hit by the Asian tsunami in December 2004, which killed 168,000 people.
Nice wee video here on sea floor spreading at the Atlantic ridge.

Another one her of Old Faithful geyser - Yellowstone National Park

Iceland’s eruption of Heimaey (forgive the awful American pronunciation if this volcano) The rest is good

And also this one from the National Geographic channel

Fair Trade

See this site for an introduction to Fair Trade.

This site has a few good films about bananas and coffee to get you thinking about this topic. Get watching here.

Malaria revision

Bti link page on Malaria for revision purposes before the Higher and Int 2 NAB here.

The Drainage Basin

Precipitation is water in the form of rain or snow falling to the ground. Some water returns to the atmosphere by evaporation from the leaves of plants and from the ground, and by transpiration by plants. Except in the most arid environments, precipitation normally exceeds evapotranspiration. The surplus water eventually makes its way through the drainage system—although it may be stored first on the surface, in depressions and ponds, or in the soil as soil moisture and groundwater. Overland flow, which occurs when not all the precipitation can infiltrate the soil, moves quickly to streams and rivers. Infiltrated water moves more slowly—as throughflow and interflow in partially saturated soils, and as groundwater flow in saturated soils. Basin channel run-off is the combined result of quickflow (overland flow plus interflow) and baseflow (groundwater flow).

Good revison site here and wikipedias explanation here.

Limestone caves

Huge limestone caves in the Black Country are hoping to win lottery funding for preservation and development. See the video here.

What about investigating Britain's largest cave - Titan.

Look at this page for information and this link for a wee video on this.

River Colorado revision

Just a wee link here for later revision for your prelims.

The Coriolis Effect:

Short intro to the winds explanation for Higher pupils. Just click the diagram and then "next" to see the next stage. A doddle!

Google to work on new power source

Google aims to develop cheap and clean sources of energy to replace polluting fossil fuels and tackle global warming. The company said last night it would invest "hundreds of millions" of dollars in the project.
Google will focus initially on solar thermal power, wind power, geothermal power.Read here. And the BBC article here.
Rich or poor to do something about Climate Change?
Read this article to see who will suffer and why. Monsoons have affected 14 million people in India, seven million in Bangladesh and three million in China which has seen the heaviest rainfall – and second highest death toll – since records began. Cyclones hit Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Hurricanes hit the Caribbean and Central America, killing more than 1,600 Mayan people in Guatemala. Droughts have once again affected Africa, driving 14 million people from their homes.
In the rich world, insurers report an increase in climate-related insurance claims – 5 times normal. In the poor world the cost is counted in terms of hidden human suffering and death. Read also this article here.

Global Warming

OK I know this video is nothing to do with the picture but I liked it! Indulge me.

Scientists in Brazil say global warming is responsible for the destruction of a small coastal town. Watch this video.

Map of Antarctica

Parts of Antarctica, in particular on the Peninsula, are among the fastest warming places on the planet. Some ice shelves and glaciers are undergoing dramatic change.
The current mosaic will provide a snapshot of the continent that can be compared with future datasets to detail those changes. Read the rest here

Should Britain "buy" a rainforest?

The Government says it is considering an offer from Guyana to secure the future of its entire standing forest in return for a package of green technology and development aid from Britain.(see previous post)
A politician said "This is a major issue globally and we very much support individual or any bilateral international negotiations to protect the rainforests, which are the most important carbon sinks in the world."
The Guyanan President said said: "Our offer to partner with the UK to make this happen remains – we want to sit around a table and start to work out the precise details of how we can make progress."
Guyana is home to one of only four remaining intact forests. The world's tropical forests act as a thermostat, regulating rainfall and acting as an indicator of the climate, while sheltering 1.6 billion of the poorest people on earth. Guyana is among the poorest countries in South America and its forest, which acts as a "sink" for billions of tons of carbon, is under pressure from logging and mining. The President said “Future generations will not forgive us if we do nothing in the face of these problems and fail to provide leadership." Read the rest here.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Another greeting

Try this one! Click the map link.

Coriolis Force

Highers will be studying this over the 2 weeks and having watched Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman crossing the Equator and seeing a similar demonstration on TV tonight I thought I'd show you this one. We might see Homer Simpson doing the same thing if we have time. I'll also give you a sheet explaining why it is a load of nonsense and these people are rip-off merchants conning tourists!

Etna erupts

Sicily's Mount Etna provided a spectacular show of fire and lava on Friday night as it erupted. No commentary but a good light show here as Etna erupts. Watch the video here.

Famous volcanoes

Vesuvius is a cone volcano which is currently dormant but has been very destructive and in AD 79 it erupted and resulted in the destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Thousands of people were killed instantly by pyroclastic flows (most didn’t even see it coming). The area was buried under meters of ash. This is a youtube video here which can’t be embedded but I’ve put the link here. It is quite long but very good.

Mt St Helens
A more up to date eruption but still as strange. This will be good for S2 as you will have to do a newspaper report on this eruption or an earthquake of your choice (!!), probably San Francisco 1906 for homework. If you are reading this you get an extra length of time to do it. Well done! Don’t tell the rest of the class - just smile in class and you and I will know your secret. Short video here.

Look also at the brilliant Rob Chambers links on Mt St Helens at this link to help you investigate this.

Here's also a wee Penalty Shoot out game to revise this! Don’t get carried away and only play then forget your homework. Also another game here. Have fun!

After your homework you may want to have a go at this game.This is from the ISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) and has many disaster simulations for you to try. For now just start with the earthquake disaster and see how well you get on with managing your population. This game will help you to think what governments might do during an earthquake and some of the decisions they have to make. Click on the image to go to the site and wait for the earthquake scenario to come up.

Coastal Erosion

The BBC takes a tour of an East Yorkshire home destroyed by coastal erosion, amid calls for government help. Link here. The rate of coastal erosion has speeded up along the North Sea Coast prompting calls for government help. Video here.

S4 revision

Good site here for revision and a few games as well for S4 preparing for prelims. Don't forget the Scalloway site here. and also BBC Bitesize for Geography here.

Tesco Bashing?

For and Against Supermarkets. A special for Jennifer! Watch out the others. Yours coming soon!
Read here and here.

Read Tony Cassidys summary here for a starting point. Look also at this blog here. Read also this blog on Sat 24th Nov on Tesco for a more positive viewpoint.

Carbon Offsetting or exploitation?

The government of Guyana has said it is willing to place its entire standing forest under the control of a British-led, international body in return for a bilateral deal with the UK that would secure development aid and the technical assistance needed to make the change to a green economy. Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America and, with its history in the sugar trade and Caribbean links, is primarily a coastal culture. With a population of only around 750,000 in a country almost as big as the entire UK, it combines dense, species-rich forests with low population pressure.
But the soaring price of timber and gold, which is mined from forested areas, means pressure to exploit its most obvious resource is building. A Brazilian plan is on the drawing board to build a paved highway through the rainforest, a move that could turn Georgetown into a major port and change the face of the country. Read the article here.

Alphabet of Nations

Another wee song.

West Xylophone!!!!!!!!!! You check it out.

Chocolate lorry goes to Timbuktu

Two British adventurers are setting off on a journey across Europe to west Africa in a lorry powered by chocolate. They are taking 2,000 litres of bio-diesel made from 4,000kg of chocolate, the equivalent of 80,000 chocolate bars, to fuel their journey.
But they will not be able to dip into their tank if they feel peckish as the bio-diesel does not look or smell like chocolate. Pity! Read the rest here.


Not sure if this will work. Try it here.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Elderly in Japan

In the next few decades, Japan's ratio of workers to retired people will change dramatically.
In 1990, there were almost six people of working age for each retired person. By 2025, that number will be almost down to two. That means there will be fewer people paying tax and more people supported by the state. Government income will fall, while pension and health care costs will rise. One way of paying for these is to raise taxes and this has happened to a limited extent but it has not been popular at all. Another option is to try to persuade people to work for longer, delaying pension payouts and using older workers to boost the labour force.
The government is gradually raising the age at which pensions are paid - by 2030, everyone will have to wait until 65. Read the last in the BBCs articles here.

Bangladesh cry for clean water

A week after the cyclone hit Bangladesh the main aim now is to supply the people with clean water and prevent the spread of disease, but this is a difficult task. There are relatively few tube wells in the area. One major advantage of tube wells, where water is pumped to the surface through a narrow tube, is that they are not easily contaminated. But much of the surface water people are relying on has been contaminated, either by the bodies of dead livestock or - in coastal areas - by high salinity( salt content) caused by the tides after the storm.
Many warn that people are suffering from diarrhoea. This KILLS! The main fear among aid workers is that of water-borne diseases, chief of which is cholera. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Meanders by the dozen

As rivers go, the Mississippi is one of the world’s biggest. It’s 3.734 km (2.320 mi) long and has a watershed of more than 3,2 million sq. km the third-largest in the world (preceded only by the Amazon and Congo rivers), draining 41% of the 48 states, and even a bit of Canada as well. By volume, it’s the fifth-largest in the world. And yet, the Mississippi isn’t even North America’s longest river (the Missouri River is). The Mississippi has many nicknames, including: the Father of Waters, the Gathering of Waters, Big River, Old Man River, the Great River, the Body of a Nation, the Mighty Mississippi, el Grande (de Soto), the Muddy Mississippi, Old Blue and Moon River.
Ther are loads of examples of these found at the blog linked here if you want to see more.

Scotland map

A gallant piper, stuggling through the bogs,His wind bag broken, wearing his clay clogs;Yet, strong of heart, a fitting emblem makesFor Scotland - land of heroes and of cakes.

Strange map

(published in September 2007) Hangs in Dutch doctors surgery. This way Dutch people know how privileged they are when it comes to medical care, and thus how appropriate it would be for them to help Doctors of the World help the less privileged.”
Remarkably, Cuba leads the world in the patients per doctor ratio. Other countries doing very well include the successor states to the communist bloc nations, which generally had good (and cheap) health care, and the developed (capitalist) nations in Europe and beyond - although the Netherlands is quite far down, and behind neighbouring countries such as Denmark, Belgium, France and Germany, if ever so slightly.
Here’s the complete list:
Cuba 170Belarus 220Belgium 220Greece 230Russia 230Georgia 240Italy 240Turkmenistan 240Ukraine 240Lithuania 250Uruguay 270Bulgaria 280Iceland 280Kazakhstan 280Switzerland 280Portugal 290France 300Germany 300Hungary 300South Korea 300Spain 300Denmark 310Sweden 310Finland 320Netherlands 320Norway 320Argentina 330Latvia 330Ireland 360Uzbekistan 360Mongolia 380United States 390Australia 400Kirgizstan 400Poland 400New Zealand 420Great Britain 440Qatar 450Canada 470Jordan 490Tajikistan 490Japan 500Mexico 500Venezuela 500Romania 550Ecuador 650North Korea 650Panama 700Syria 700Bosnia-H. 750Colombia 750Lybia 750Oman 750Saudi Arabia 750Tunisia 750Turkey 750Bolivia 800Peru 850Algeria 900Bahrain 900Brazil 900Chile 900Paraguay 900China 950Guatemala 1.100Jamaica 1.200South Africa 1.300Malaysia 1.400Pakistan 1.400Iraq 1.500India 1.700Laos 1.700Honduras 1.800Philippines 1.800Sri Lanka 1.800Egypt 1.900Vietnam 1.900Morocco 2.000Iran 2.200Suriname 2.200Botswana 2.500Nicaragua 2.700Thailand 2.700Myanmar 2.800Yemen 3.000Namibia 3.300Madagascar 3.400Bangladesh 3.800Haiti 4.000Sudan 4.500Nepal 4.800Afghanistan 5.300Cameroon 5.300Cambodia 6.300Zimbabwe 6.300Kenia 7.100Indonesia 7.700Zambia 8.300D.R. Congo 9.100Gambia 9.100Mauritani 9.100Angola 12.500C.A.R. 12.500Mali 12.500Uganda 12.500Senegal 16.500Bhutan 20.000Eritrea 20.000Lesotho 20.000Papua NG 20.000Rwanda 20.000Benin 25.000Chad 25.000Niger 25.000Somalia 25.000Burundi 33.500Ethiopia 33.500Liberia 33.500Mozambique 33.500Malawi 50.000Tanzania 50.000
This map was found here at

Foreign residents make up only 1.6% of the population. But in 1990, facing a labour shortage, the government came up with a compromise. It would allow second and third-generation Nikkeijin - "people of Japanese origin" - to come to Japan as permanent workers.
Nikkeijin had Japanese blood and would speak Japanese, understand the culture and integrate more easily. For workers, meanwhile, low wages and exploitation remain a problem. At the factory where a Brazilian immigrant works, he misses out on bonuses and benefits paid to his Japanese workers and has only just received his first days of paid holiday. It seems Japan needs these workers but is not prepared to treat them well. Will this lead to resentment and eventual unrest? Read part three of the BBCs articles here.

Fishing quotas - good or bad?

This article in the Independent is a good revision topic for S4 on this issue as they ask various questions about fish stocks in the North Sea and state why these quotas have been introduced. However the ludicrous state of tonnes of fish being dumped back into the sea - all dead, because they can't be sold is hardly the solution to the problem. Read it here and see what you think. What would you recommend if you were in government.

Well done Sainsburys!

Sainsbury's has announced a ban on an ingredient used in tens of thousands of its products that is blamed for the destruction of tropical rainforests.
The supermarket chain said it would phase out the use of palm oil from unsustainable sources in its own-brand food, after pressure from campaigners and customers . It is estimated that the oil is used in one in 10 of all products sold in Britain. The announcement follows a move this summer by the Body Shop and Asda to cut their use of palm oil from unsustainable sources. Asda plans to phase it out from 500 products and has banned supplies from the worst-affected regions in Borneo and Sumatra. Body Shop has pledged to use only sustainable palm oil in its soap. Read the rest here and the previous posting on this topic.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Japan - Work or kids

In the second update of the BBCs items on Japan they explain why many young people in Japan are choosing not to have children at all or have one only. In Japan, people mentioned three problems when thinking about having children - money worries, the problems of working and having a family, and a lack of support for mothers. women are getting married later, because they want to start their careers. A Student says"It’s hard to raise children in the cities. We lived in the countryside and my mother worked, but my grandmother was nearby. The government should help to develop a sense of community in the cities." Read the rest here.