Sunday, 26 April 2009

Google Alphabet

Article here from the Mail to show all the letters of the alphabet in places on Google Earth. Appealed to me anyway. What do you think? Link to original on the image above.

Go-ahead for carbon-capture power stations

Confession before we start this one. I really don't know much about this at all but I think it is something we are going to be hearing a lot in the future. Better get learning! Four new coal plants could be built before 2020 and their emissions reduced. Apparently each new power station must be fitted with technology to trap / store their carbon dioxide underground. Does this make them safe /better? I'm not sure and very suspicious. It has the potential to cut the CO2 output from a power station by up to 90 per cent. In 2008 coal power stations provided 31 per cent of the UK's electricity, with around a third of the coal coming from the UK. A lot of the coal though comes from other countries like Russia and Britain doesn't want to rely on other countries too much for this. (Can you work out why? ) Britain though has lots of coal left under the ground and perhaps we need to use it to stop relying on foreign nations. Ayrshire could play an important role in this in the future. Think of the huge opencast mines we have already in Ayrshire. Will this mean more jobs here? But what about the pollution? This 90% redection is only theoretical and what happens if it doesn't work properly? Will we end up in the position when we get jobs at the price of pollution? Read the complete articles on this from the Independent here and here.

World rivers in trouble

Nice map here from the Guardian showing this issue. See here. This map shows the change in run-off worked out from records worldwide between 1948 and 2004, with blue shades indicating more water and reddish colors less water. This really is climate change "in your face". look at the UKs plus figure and remember the flooding problems we have had in our country in recent years. Some of these have been written on this blog. Do a quick search at the top on flooding. As this article says though the worst areas affected are in Africa and water may be the cause of the next war.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Amazing world

Some fantastic pictures here of out planet. Think of Wall E when you look at one picture in particular. For Carrick pupils - there is a prize if you can tell me which picture is the relevant one on Monday. Open to all year groups.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

World’s rivers are drying up.

Water levels in some of the world's important rivers have dropped by a huge amount over the past 50 years. This is partly due to climate change and will become even more important as the population increases in the future. Read more here and /or try the water quiz here.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Desertification summed up
video here to help with this section. Thanks to sln contributor - Cindy for the linkWatch out for the “magic stones” and no I won’t be pronouncing the French bit in class!!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Survivor rescued 42 hours after Italian quake

Officials say 260 people are now known to have died in Monday's earthquake and about 28,000 are homeless. Aftershocks continue to hit the region. Amazingly a woman was pulled alive from the rubble of the Italian earthquake 42 hours after it smashed central Italy. Watch the video here on this. Here is a CNN piece on the aftermath and effect of the aftershocks in Italy. Link here with good photos of all the aftershocks and rescue attempts. Some spectacular photos from the BBC here also and lots of links on this page too.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Earthquake hits central Italy

The earthquake measured 6.3 on the richter scale and struck at 3.30am. Most people were in their beds. Watch the video here to see the rescue dogs working and some of the 10,000 homes damaged. At the moment they think over 50 people have died but this total may not be accurate. Can you think why? It lasted about 30 seconds only but look at the destruction! The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's epicentre was believed to be about 60 miles (95 km) from Rome and that its depth was 6.2 miles (10 km). Earthquakes can be particularly dangerous in parts of Italy because so many buildings are centuries old. Hospitals appealed for help from doctors and nurses from all over Italy. The smell of gas filled some parts of the mountain towns and villages as mains ruptured.
In Rome, which is rarely hit by earthquake activity, people were woken up by the quake, which rattled furniture and swayed lights in most of central Italy.
The BBC reports here

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Earthquakes in Action

I spent a good day yesterday with the Doc and Mrs Mac in Edinburgh at a launch by the British Geological Survey of the School Seismology Project showing simple machines which can be used in schools to measure earthquakes. These should be a little more accurate however than the ancient Chinese seismometer above. It has great potential for us and we are really excited about the possibilities we can roll out from this. Even if we aren't fortunate enough to get one given to us, we hopefully can apply for some funding to go ahead with this project. More here. I think S2 and Int 2 would get a lot from it. We were shown some simple methods of measuring the sound of an earthquake and identifying exacltly where in the world it happened and also how to use jelly to see how strong it was! More on this later.
It was also good to meet others from around the country interested in these things and to put a face to the Odblog author - Kenny O'Donnell. Hopefully we can collaborate and get a few kids talking together on a Glow meet once things are a bit quieter and the technology is all up and running. I did warn him that I'm rubbish at all the techy stuff!

How to make a house virtually worthless.

Twenty years ago the house above was about 500 metres from the sea. Now it is only 65 m from the 80ft high cliffs at Happisburgh, Norfolk. The reason? - 'chronic coastal erosion'. Happisburgh has fallen victim to 'managed retreat', under which the Government is saving money by surrendering some areas to the sea. Read the whole article here.