Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Dubai to get 'moving' skyscraper

Construction of the world's first moving building, a 80-storey tower with revolving floors which give it an unusual shape, is due to begin.
The Dynamic Tower, which will be built in Dubai, will feature 80 pre-built apartments, spinning. The 420-metre building's apartments would spin a full 360 degrees, around a central column by means of 79 giant power-generating wind turbines.
The building would be energy self-sufficient as the turbines would produce enough electricity to power the entire building and even feed extra power back into the grid. The skyscraper will cost an estimated $700m to build and should be up and running in Dubai in 2010. Put your name down now! What do you think? Think I’d be sea sick. Watch a video here on this one.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Child Labour

programme on BBC1 tonight on this.
Will this put you off buying cheap clothes?
Do you care?
Should you care?
Let me know what you think. Watch it if you can. If not then try BBC iPlayer to catch up later. Only available in the UK though- sorry everyone else.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Tropical Rainforest Destruction

At 770,000 square miles (two million sq km), the Congo Basin contains an estimated 26 per cent of the world's remaining rainforest and has been described as the world's “second lung”. Logging, the spread of agriculture and human population rises are the biggest threats.It is estimated that the forest is home to 50 million people, 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds and 400 species of mammals.

A log barge travels down the river here.The Congo’s forests are very important for its inhabitants, who depend upon the rainforests to provide essential food, medicine, and other non-timber products, along with energy and building materials. A large area of forest cleared by loggers can also be seen above. The United Nations estimates that two-thirds of the forest will have vanished by the year 2040.

Look at the Guardian’s interactive page on this issue here. Click the image above.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Interesting Idea

Spell with flickr
I like this one!
H O Wooden Tile L I D A Y alphabet 019 Pewter Lowercase Letter o M is for metro I N g S Pastry Cutter O o002 N Blue exclamation mark

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Changes to the African Landscape

1972 2005

There are some amazing new photographs here of the changes which have happened in recent years in Africa. The atlas was compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Here you can see the effects of dam building on the river Nile. The erosion at the coast is quite dramatic. Other great changes included tree loss and land degradation caused by refugees in the Sudan and the loss of Cameroon's rainforest to rubber and palm plantations. The biggest factor contributing to the changes is the rise in Africa's population to 965 million. You can see these photos here in the Guardian and also read about it here in the Times.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Little Boxes

OK Just listen, cringe and then listen to the words. Can you work out what this has to do with Geography? Thanks to Miss Ellis for this one.

Manchester congestion charge

The government has approved a peak-time congestion charging scheme for drivers entering and leaving Manchester. The scheme needs to be approved by councillors. If the scheme goes ahead, Manchester will become the first major British city outside London to introduce large-scale congestion charging.
In 2002, Durham became the first city to introduce a road charge, which controls access to its cathedral and castle area. Not everyone approves of this though and an MP said "The truth is the government is telling Manchester: 'If you say 'yes' to congestion charging you get money to improve transport. If you say 'No', you do not.
"That is bullying, pure and simple."

Monday, 9 June 2008

Rice shortage

The global rice shortage has prompted one leading supermarket to ration sales to shoppers. Rice is as much a staple of the modern British diet as bread and potatoes.
So the news that supermarket chain Lidl has decided to ration sales to 20kg per family has sent ominous rumblings through the nation's stomachs.
Read what the alternatives are here

Bioenergy: Fuelling the food crisis?

Biofuel uses the energy contained in organic matter - crops like sugarcane and corn - to produce ethanol, an alternative to fossil-based fuels like petrol.
But campaigners claim the heavily subsidised biofuel industry is fundamentally immoral, diverting land which should be producing food to fill human stomachs to produce fuel for car engines.
But all experts are at pains to highlight that the biofuel situation in Brazil and the US is very different. Find out how and why here.


A miracle in the making offers hope to millions worldwide
The lives of more than a million children who die each year from malaria could be saved by a new technique for making a drug based on an ancient Chinese herbal remedy first used more than 2,000 years ago. The drug, artemisinin, is based on extracts from the Chinese plant Artemesia annua, or sweet wormwood, which is known to have been used in China as a remedy for malaria fever since at least the second century BC. Taken with other anti-malarial drugs, treatment with artemisinin is said to be almost 100 per cent effective in blocking the life cycle of the malaria parasite within the human body. Read the rest here

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Don't Look Down!

If you are brave enough watch the video below and then we will discuss the fieldwork I've got planned for next year's timetable!

Thanks to several other Geography bloggers for highlighting this one.

Congestion Charging Manchester

Plans are for a two-ring scheme, charging up to £5 to enter the city centre at busy times after 2013. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), which has proposed the scheme, said no congestion charge would be brought in before "significant improvements" had been made to bus, tram and rail services. The proposed public transport improvements would include:
· Metrolink extension to Manchester Airport and the Trafford centre
· Second Metrolink route across Manchester city centre
· Priority for buses on several major roads
· Extra carriages for rail services
· Stations to become "interchanges", linking into other types of transport

Under the congestion charge, drivers would pay a deposit for an electric tag, which would trigger charges on journeys into the city in the morning and evening rush periods.
Watch out for news of the decision Monday 9th June.

Baby hope for earthquake parents

China is sending medics to offer reverse sterilisation operations to parents who lost their only children in the recent earthquake. Under China's one-child policy, parents who lose a child or have one with disabilities are allowed a second baby. The authorities in Sichuan province estimate about 7,000 of those killed in the 12 May 2008 quake were only children.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

A controlled explosion demolished the 35-year-old flats, as part of a revamp in Glasgow. Two tower blocks in Glasgow's Gorbals area have been demolished in a controlled explosion.
Watch the video here
Dorothy Denham, who lived there from 1973 to 1995, said: "They were great. They were lovely. They were so different to where we'd came from in the Gallowgate.
"We had great neighbours and if the flats had been the same as in the 1970s I wouldn't have left them." New Gorbals Housing Association said the multi-storey flats were poorly constructed and would have cost too much to improve.
The housing organisation intends to build 100 modern homes on the site.

see the complete article here

Ten ways to save money by going green

Zonal living
You only really need to heat your bedroom and bathroom for a maximum of a couple of hours each day, typically in the morning. You only really need to heat your living room for the few hours in the evening when you are likely to be in there watching TV. Thermostats and timers can help you heat each zone. (Tell your parents this one and see how they can save money as well as the environment.)

Video conferencing
Encourage your parents to use technology rather than driving for hours or even flying to other countries for a meeting when all you need to do now is log on. The technology is improving all the time and it is now even free if both parties use software such as Skype.

Change your driving style
You can knock up to 20% off your fuel costs simply by changing the way you drive your car. (Tell your parents this one too.)

Cloth nappies

The Women's Environmental Network estimates that parents can save almost £1,000 over the 2.5 years a child is typically in nappies if they use "real" nappies instead of disposable ones.

Tumble dryer
A washing line or clothes horse will help you save hundreds of pounds over the life of an average tumble dryer.

Water butts
Hose pipes can use huge amounts of water, particularly if you're watering a lawn, or washing a car. Whats wrong with a bucket and sponge. Avoid the car wash! Sprinklers are a no-no, really, as they can use hundreds of litres of water an hour.

Invest in a flask
You only need to boil a kettle once in the morning to provide all your hot water for tea and coffee for the rest for the day.

Car clubs
Get public transport... reduce car use and save money is to join a car club.

Read the rest here

River Colorado geography

Here's a wee introduction to this amazing river. One for the Highers and Int 2 starting next week. Welcome back folks!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Fair Trade

Why Fair Trade?

Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade Chocolate
Includes exploitation of farmers and child labour issues.

The world food crisis

How the west could stave off disaster.
The international community is talking hopefully of a "second green revolution."
1986, 20% of foreign aid spent by rich countries was devoted to agriculture in the developing world. By 2006, that share had shrunk to less than 3%.
African governments, currently spend less than 5% of their budgets on supporting farming and the rural people, despite the fact that these are the poorest two-thirds of their populations.
There is also the creeping disaster of climate change with competition for land and resources from biofuels and the controversial problem of GM crops. The crisis will require consideration of long and short term solutions.
The Guardian has a superb article on this topic. See here for details