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An evening of informal Geography chat not to be missed


Come and enjoy an evening of Geography chat. Follow the #beermeet on twitter or #gaconf12


David Guetta feat Usher do continental drift!?!

A video that with the music is a bell work task for students to pick out what is happening. It links to continental drift and where we came from Pangea connenting us together and the without you aspect of the song could be interpreted that we can’t exist as a planet without everyone?
Hypothesis the meaning of the song yourself. Link to a jigsaw puzzle exercise of the tectonic plates and get students to produce an animated model of continental drift using a Bourbon biscuit broken in two…… 
What could I mean? get a bourbon and hypothesise what Alfred Wegener might of done with it to prove continental drift of Africa and South America.

David Guetta feat Usher do continental drift!?!

A video that with the music is a bell work task for students to pick out what is happening. It links to continental drift and where we came from Pangea connenting us together and the without you aspect of the song could be interpreted that we can’t exist as a planet without everyone?

Hypothesis the meaning of the song yourself. Link to a jigsaw puzzle exercise of the tectonic plates and get students to produce an animated model of continental drift using a Bourbon biscuit broken in two…… 

What could I mean? get a bourbon and hypothesise what Alfred Wagener might of done with it to prove continental drift of Africa and South America.


Google Fusion table map and Intensity Map of Mega cities vs cities of the World

The following link is to the google fusion table data for you to play around with. 
I’ll put one embed example in only as it will drastically slow down the browser. 
Those on apple devices won’t see them so I have attached some screen shots as well.

small (light green) = city
large (dark green) = mega city

Police Inquiry Prompts New Speculation on Who Leaked Climate-Change E-Mails Create a mystery lesson based on this

For two years, the mystery has endured: who set out to undercut climate scientists by publishing more than 1,000 of their private e-mails on the Internet?


A blog about energy and the environment.

The original e-mails, released in 2009 on the eve of a high-stakes United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, sowed doubts about the scientists’ research and integrity and galvanized skeptics who challenge the scientific consensus that global warming is under way. It set off six separate official inquiries, all of which cleared the researchers of scientific misconduct.

Then the controversy receded. Yet recently, speculation about the identity of the person who leaked the messages has surged with the release of new e-mails and signs that a police inquiry is under way in Britain.

In November, just before another major international climate conference opened, this time in Durban, South Africa, another round of e-mails between the scientists were distributed online. Like those released in 2009, they were part of a trove taken from a computer server at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England; as before, the e-mail hijacker alerted the public to the e-mails in comments posted on various blogs.

But November’s leaker left additional clues behind as well. Not much — an encrypted file and a note ending in what seemed to be a taunt — but enough to revive fervent speculation about what sort of person might be behind the stunt.

The note, somewhat cryptic, seemed to suggest that efforts to fight global warming siphoned money from worthy causes like fighting poverty. “Every day nearly 16,000 children die from hunger and related causes,” it said.

Then the note’s author seemed to dangle a challenge for hackers and programmers, saying that even though he was releasing 5,000 e-mails, “The rest, some 220,000, are encrypted for various reasons.”

“We are not planning to publicly release the pass phrase,” the note added coyly.

The stunt was enough to jump-start a police investigation that had long seemed dormant.

In December, citing a request from British law enforcement, the J
ustice Department asked that Automattic, the parent company of the blog host, preserve three days of digital logs for three blogs where the links to the latest e-mails first appeared. In a raid in Leeds, England, the police also confiscated laptops from the home of one blogger; he says the police have told him that he is not a suspect.

The note, the encrypted file and the fresh signs of police interest have inspired musings on both sides of the climate divide.

Kert Davies, the research director of the environmental group Greenpeace, suggested that the note was “a strong clue on the predisposition of the hacker.”

“It smells a lot like a certain quadrant of the denier community,” he said. “They pretend to be concerned that we are impeding development in poor countries. Only certain think tanks think that way and play that way” — mostly in Europe, he said.

Some have noted that in 2009, the online trickster used the initials R.C. and linked to a zip file named “FOI2009,” an apparent reference to Freedom of Information statutes in both Britain and the United States.

(Much of the criticism of climate scientists at the University of East Anglia centered on delays in responding to Freedom of Information requests, usually from climate skeptics, for access to all of their data and even their e-mails.)

This time, he signed his blog comments simply as “FOIA,” a common nickname for the leaker in online discussions of the e-mail affair.

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington and a frequent spokesman for climate change skeptics, said the encryption of the file had challenged his thinking on FOIA’s identity.

Previously, he said, he had assumed the leaker was an employee of the University of East Anglia who had been troubled by the denial of requests for the prompt public release of scientists’ full data and e-mails under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act.

But a principled commitment to open information is not in keeping with an encrypted file, Mr. Ebell said. So he suspects a different kind of intelligence is at work.

“It is very suggestive of someone who has thought through how to cause the con men at the C.R.U. the maximum possible anxiety,” he said, referring to the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. “It is like knowing your building has a bomb in it that could be detonated at any time.”

Yet Brendan DeMelle, executive director of DeSmogBlog, a Web site devoted to debunking what it describes as misinformation campaigns by deniers of climate change, suggests that the encrypted file is merely a desperate attempt to distract people from the fact that the scientists were vindicated.

“It is sort of bait,” he said. “It raises questions on what else is out there. In the end, uncertainty is their product.”

The three blogs where comments were submitted alerting the online community to the new e-mails are all known for their critiques of the work of climate scientists.

Asked if he had any clues to the leaker’s identity, Steve McIntyre, the Canadian blogger who runs, said, “I don’t know who it is and I can’t think of any reason why anyone would think I did.” He has not been contacted by any law enforcement entity, he said.

Roger Tattersall, a Web content manager at the University of Leeds who had two laptops confiscated by British police constables last month, did not shed light on the mystery, either. “I do not wish to issue a denial, because it invites the assumption that there is an accusation or suspicion,” said Mr. Tattersall, who authors a blog known as Tallbloke’s Talkshop. He added, “The police have stated that I am not a suspect.”

In an e-mail provided by Mr. Tattersall to The New York Times, his lawyer emphasized that his client would have cooperated with the police without their needing a search warrant. The Norfolk constabulary, which carried out the raids, refused to comment on the raid or any investigation.

Jeff Condon, the author of a blog called The Air Vent, said he had no idea who posted the links to the e-mails on his blog.

Yet he said he found it interesting that for the most part, the phantom posted links on blogs like his own,
where many of those who commented seem conversant in technology.

“Most of my readers are college graduates, 50 percent have Ph.Ds,” he said. “This is the kind of people that the guy who dropped the links” sought to reach, he said.

Still, Mr. Condon said he did not believe that “FOIA” is a serious person. At times, he said, he has assumed that the leaker is a mischievous student.

“No adult with sensitive information would release it that way,” he said. “It’s pranklike behavior.”

Yet among scientists whose e-mails were released and whose research practices were then investigated, the signs that an investigation is afoot have revived hopes that the e-mail thief will ultimately be unmasked.

“It seems to me the authorities wouldn’t have acted without some actionable intelligence,” said Michael Mann, a scientist at Pennsylvania State University who specializes in climate modeling and whose messages came in for particular scrutiny in 2009. “They must know something that we don’t yet know.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 4, 2012


A previous version of this article misspelled the given name of  the  executive director of DeSmogBlog, a Web site devoted to debunking what it describes as misinformation campaigns by deniers of climate change. It is Brendan, not Brenden.

The ups and downs of living with a gorilla

The ups and downs of living with a gorilla


The Thivillons have been caring for Digit the gorilla for more than a decade, but having a primate at home throws up some unlikely problems.

In a village near Lyon in south-east France, a couple have become local celebrities by virtue of their adopted “child”.

Digit, as she is known, has been living in the same room as Pierre and Eliane Thivillon for nearly 13 years.

Their relationship began in 1999, when the young primate came into the care of the couple, who manage the zoo at Saint Martin la Plaine where she was born.

Within three days of her birth, it was clear that Digit’s mother Pamela was refusing to feed her. The Thivillons took her into their care, bottle-feeding her during the day and returning her to her enclosure at night.

By 18 months old, the baby gorilla had begun to show a deep attachment to her foster parents. After an illness left her requiring 24-hour care, Pierre and Eliane took her into their bedroom at night, where she has slept ever since.

For the first 10 years, she snuggled up between the couple, but now at 130kg (287lbs) she has to have a bed of her own.

Although she has free reign of the couple’s small apartment, during the day she rambles around her enclosure which is next door.

Digit reading a magazineA younger Digit on the bed she then shared with Eliane and Pierre

“I don’t go in there as it’s Digit’s home,” says Eliane, acknowledging the young teenager’s right to privacy. “Only Pierre is allowed in there.”

Having a gorilla in the family is not without its problems.

“This morning I brought four raisin buns for our breakfast,” says Pierre. “When I had my back turned she managed to finish four of them before I could save one. Then she turned her attention to Eliane’s coffee.”

“She loves chocolate,” says Eliane, and sometimes she will drink an entire cup of coffee in search of the little sweet Eliane dunks in there.

The couple, who have no children, are often asked if they consider Digit as their daughter.

“I wouldn’t say we see her as our child as such, but she is someone who is very dear to me,” explains Eliane.

Digit playing with a KangarooDigit plays with other animals at the Saint Martin la Plaine zoo

“She is part of our family and I do treat her as a mother would. Sometimes I will say: ‘No, no more sweets Digit’, and then she will give me three or four kisses and I give in.”

The trio have learned to transcend the barriers of language to communicate with each other.

“We recognise the noises that she makes. This morning she made a little grunt to show me that she was happy,” says Eliane. “She understands what we tell her too.”

“The other day she was sitting on the sofa and I said, ‘Come on Digit, give me some space,’ and she moved over.

“In the morning, when she wants her toys or her Lego or her books, she just points to the cupboard where they are kept.”

Encouraging a teenager to read is a challenge for any parent, but what kind of books is a 13-year-old gorilla interested in?

“She has animal books and catalogues,” Eliane explains. “Sometimes she looks through them and she’ll stop on a page and I’ll explain to her, this is a cat or this is another animal.”

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If she is thirsty she will find my hand and give it a little tug”

Pierre Thivillon

When playing with her Lego she is limited to the big chunks as the little ones slip through her enormous fingers.

Every evening when Pierre has finished his rounds at the zoo, he and his wife have a quick meal before they retire to their bedroom.

“I stay and play with Digit until she makes signs that she wants to go to sleep,” says Pierre. “Then we prepare a pillow for her, we cover her up and she makes happy little grunting sounds. Then we just watch her until she falls asleep.”

Her brother Ginko joined them too for a while but when he grew too big he moved out into one of the enclosures. Digit remains, never more than a metre away from the couple.

“In the night, if she is thirsty she will find my hand and give it a little tug, sometimes she will tug at my feet,” says Pierre.

“We try to be attentive to her needs – not that she is spoilt rotten or anything – but we just try to make sure that she has what she needs and she is happy.”

Digit as a babyDigit was taken into their care after her mother rejected her

But looking after a teenage gorilla means forsaking more than the average parent. Finding an appropriate babysitter is difficult and Pierre and Eliane have been with Digit every night since they took her into their care.

Once, when Pierre had to travel to a zoo in Kent in the UK, he arranged the trip so that he could go and return within the day. And the same applied when he had to go into hospital.

Both Pierre and Eliane are in their sixties and with no clear successor to take on the running of the zoo their biggest worry is who will take care of Digit.

“It is not good getting old,” says Pierre. “I think that parents who have children have their worries but when these children get to a certain age they can take care of themselves. But when you have a gorilla like Digit you are completely responsible for her, it is not like having a dog that you can leave with a neighbour.

“She is a very special creature and that’s why it has been such a joy to have her with us. But we know that her only chance will be not to live with other humans, but with other gorillas.”

For the past few years, the Thivillions have been trying to reintegrate Digit with her gorilla family and she is showing some progress, getting along well with her brother.

In the meantime Pierre is busy helping his charge to get on the property ladder, building her a huge 3,000 cubic metre enclosure which she will share with her brother and two half-sisters.

“We are hoping that eventually she will have a baby of her own and she will still have this bond with us,” he says. “We hope when she does she will still come to us for advice.”

21 things that will be obsolete by 2020. Create your own list.

Inspired by Sandy Speicher’s vision of thedesigned school day of the future, reader Shelly Blake-Plock shared his own predictions of that ideal day. How close are we to this? The post was written in December 2009, and Blake-Plock says he’s seeing some of these already beginning to come to fruition.

[Update: I asked Blake-Plock to respond to comments to this post. Read it here.]

By Shelly Blake-Plock

The 21st century does not fit neatly into rows. Neither should your students. Allow the network-based concepts of flow, collaboration, and dynamism help you rearrange your room for authentic 21st century learning.

Foreign language acquisition is only a smartphone away. Get rid of those clunky desktops and monitors and do something fun with that room.

Ok, so this is a trick answer. More precisely this one should read: “Our concept of what a computer is.” Because computing is going mobile and over the next decade we’re going to see the full fury of individualized computing via handhelds come to the fore. Can’t wait.

The 21st century is a 24/7 environment. And the next decade is going to see the traditional temporal boundaries between home and school disappear. And despite whatever Secretary Duncan might say, we don’t need kids to ‘go to school’ more; we need them to ‘learn’ more. And this will be done 24/7 and on the move (see #3).

The AP Exam is on its last legs. The SAT isn’t far behind. Over the next ten years, we will see Digital Portfolios replace test scores as the #1 factor in college admissions.

The 21st century is customizable. In ten years, the teacher who hasn’t yet figured out how to use tech to personalize learning will be the teacher out of a job. Differentiation won’t make you‘distinguished’; it’ll just be a natural part of your work.

Wikipedia is the greatest democratizing force in the world right now. If you are afraid of letting your students peruse it, it’s time you get over yourself.

Books were nice. In ten years’ time, all reading will be via digital means. And yes, I know, you like the ‘feel’ of paper. Well, in ten years’ time you’ll hardly tell the difference as ‘paper’ itself becomes digitized.

Bio scans. ‘Nuff said.

A coat-check, maybe.

Ok, so this is another trick answer. More subtly put: IT Departments as we currently know them. Cloud computing and a decade’s worth of increased wifi and satellite access will make some of the traditional roles of IT — software, security, and connectivity — a thing of the past. What will IT professionals do with all their free time? Innovate. Look to tech departments to instigate real change in the function of schools over the next twenty years.

School buildings are going to become ‘homebases’ of learning, not the institutions where all learning happens. Buildings will get smaller and greener, student and teacher schedules will change to allow less people on campus at any one time, and more teachers and students will be going out into their communities to engage in experiential learning.

Education over the next ten years will become more individualized, leaving the bulk of grade-based learning in the past. Students will form peer groups by interest and these interest groups will petition for specialized learning. The structure of K-12 will be fundamentally altered.

This is actually one that could occur over the next five years. Education Schools have to realize that if they are to remain relevant, they are going to have to demand that 21st century tech integration be modeled by the very professors who are supposed to be preparing our teachers.

No one knows your school as well as you. With the power of a PLN (professional learing networks) in their back pockets, teachers will rise up to replace peripatetic professional development gurus as the source of schoolwide professional development programs. This is already happening.

There is no reason why every student needs to take however many credits in the same course of study as every other student. The root of curricular change will be the shift in middle schools to a role as foundational content providers and high schools as places for specialized learning.

Ongoing parent-teacher relations in virtual reality will make parent-teacher conference nights seem quaint. Over the next ten years, parents and teachers will become closer than ever as a result of virtual communication opportunities. And parents will drive schools to become ever more tech integrated.

Nutrition information + handhelds + cost comparison = the end of $3.00 bowls of microwaved mac and cheese. At least, I so hope so.

You need a website/brochure/promo/etc.? Well, for goodness sake just let your kids do it. By the end of the decade — in the best of schools — they will be.

Within the decade, it will either become the norm to teach this course in middle school or we’ll have finally woken up to the fact that there’s no reason to give algebra weight over statistics and I.T. in high school for non-math majors (and they will have all taken it in middle school anyway).

In ten years’ time, schools will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%. And the printing industry and the copier industry and the paper industry itself will either adjust or perish.