Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BioFuel debate

Food prices are rising...
At the same time, food is being used to produce bio-fuels.
How is that impacting on food supplies for the poorer people in the world.

One such bio-fuel is BioEthanol.
Have you seen this for sale ?

"BioEthanol is produced from a wide variety of agricultural produce, including forest residue, sugar cane, sugar beet and grain, making it a totally renewable and sustainable fuel source. When mixed in high volumes with low volumes of petrol, a potent yet environmentally friendly fuel, known as BioEthanol E85 is created.

Unlike traditional fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel, the consumption of BioEthanol E85 does not significantly raise atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas that, according to scientific research, contributes to global warming. This is because the emissions that are released during driving have already been cancelled out by the amount of CO2 that was removed from the atmosphere, through nature's photosynthesis process, when the crops for conversion to bioethanol were grown."

More to come in September...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Transport Policy

Just preparing some exciting resources for September, and I was reminded of some of the slides that Mr. Clarke used when he came to see us earlier in the course. You can find the whole presentation by searching the blog for the tag "Mr. Clarke", but I have reproduced the slides which were relevant to transport below:

Monday, July 23, 2007

PM visits Gloucester

Gordon Brown visiting Gloucester this morning to see the flooding problems in the area. The Quays are still threatened.

Q: What is a bowser ?

Add a comment below with the answer (and this will earn you a bonus holiday point towards your target of 10 !)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Highways Agency

If you want to get ahead of the game for September, why not visit the Highways Agency site.
I like the logo, which looks like a motorway bridge.
The site has a huge range of resources.
One particular useful section is about Tackling Congestion by changing travel behaviour. At the bottom of this page is a video to download presented by John Stapleton.
Also links to the Department for Transport site.
You can also view the HEDGEHOGS road safety videos.
When I was young it was Tufty the Squirrel - he could have those hedgehogs any day !

Gloucester threatened by floods

You'll (hopefully) remember that Gloucester was the location for the Pilot exam.
The flooding that has been happening this weekend following some torrential rain is now threatening Gloucester.
This BBC NEWS story also mentions that a pumping station is out of action which means there might be a problem with fresh water. Water is only 30cm below the flood defences, and the water level is equal to an earlier event in 1947. A breach of the defences on the River Severn is expected in Gloucester Quays, and shops have sold out of bottled water. There have also been requests for sight-seers to stay away: something which is always a problem with such events.
Best wishes to Gloucester residents !

Friday, July 20, 2007

A wet Friday !!

Last few days have been very productive in terms of identifying some interesting new web fodder which you might quite like....
Let's start with Craig Robinson, who produced the FLIP FLOP FLYIN website, which has a unique style of representing characters from popular culture (more on Cultural Geography later)

Later this year, Craig's style is being applied to an exploration of different countries in a new hardback book called ATLAS SCHMATLAS.

This is already available on PLAY.COM for pre-order.
Here's the front cover:

and one of the maps - this one of Antarctica: an Extreme Environment studied by many Pilot GCSE groups.

Second up is a site called MY Abodo, which is part of a whole range of sites aimed at exploring energy efficiency and carbon footprinting. This allows you to design and choose from various aspects of house design and lifestyle choice to look at the impact these choices have on the environment.

This allows you to create your Abodo and then send it to the site for others to view. Useful for looking at the theme of SUSTAINABILITY.
Here's the emeddable code for mine:

Have also been starting some preliminary planning on the Cultural Geography stuff I'm doing next year. One of the contexts I'm going to use is FISH and CHIPS. This is comfort eating of the highest order, and I never tire of seeing big pictures of fish and chips on the screen...

G2 today had a fantastic article which sets the scene for a short unit on Fish and Chips. There is a lot of cultural history and immigration thrown into this...

Thanks to Phil Wood for saving me many hours of planning by sending me a very interesting booklet with plenty of food for thought and ideas to develop and adapt.

The Independent also had a useful front page for the Pilot GCSE on Transport planning on Wednesday.
Don't forget to check out the ARCHIVE of excellent front page images...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sustainable Urban Transport

A useful site to visit is this one: GLOBAL EYE from 2004
Crosstown Traffic

Thanks also to Jon Hootton and colleagues at Notre Dame High School in Norwich for sharing resources.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Extension of Congestion Charge Video

...which you won't be able to see at school...

Ways of beating the congestion charge No. 2

That nice Jeremy Clarkson.
You won't see this at school either...

Ways of beating the congestion charge No. 1

You won't see this at school....

School's Out ! (well, nearly...)

Here is a list of things to do over summer...
You will get points for each of these that you do...
Anyone getting 10 points will get a special bonus prize !!

1. Send us a postcard (don't forget the competition) - and claim 2 points
2. Save a ticket from a form of transport and bring it in - train, plane, tram... - 1 point for UK and 2 points for foreign tickets

3. Take a picture on a digital camera or mobile phone camera of a sign relating to traffic management: it could be warning of rising bollards (see earlier post), details on car parks, congestion charging sign etc. - 1 point (plus a bonus point for 'interestingness'...

4. Send me an e-mail to to recommend 1 site which has information on ideas for sustainable transport - 1 point for a site (and 2 points if it's one that I haven't heard of before - which will be quite difficult !)

5. 1 point for each of up to 3 RELEVANT comments made on previous postings on this weblog !

6. 2 points for cutting out 5 newspaper stories relating to the issue of traffic and transport problems either in the local area or nationally and bringing them in on the first day back....

Also, don't forget the CD pack - please return this on the first day back too if you haven't already put it in the box...

And here's your work for today!


One way to reduce traffic in city centres is to impose a charge for any vehicle entering the area. This has been used in London, and a number of other cities around the world.

1. When was the congestion charge introduced in London ?

2. How much was the congestion charge when it was introduced and how much is it now ?

3. What are the limits of the congestion charge in terms of timings and areas covered. What are the future plans regarding the area covered by the congestion charging zone ?

4. How is the charge policed ?

5. What types of vehicles are exempt from the congestion charge – can you think of some ways that people have tried to avoid paying the charge bearing in mind these rules ? If you lived just outside the congestion zone and had to travel into it each day, how could you avoid paying the charge ?

6. Mark other cities which have a congestion charge onto the map of Europe (include at least one other city in the UK)


Congestion Charging

When you want to reduce traffic entering city centres, it's important to try a combination of measures. These can be broadly divided into 2: the 'carrots' and the 'sticks'...

One carrot is the CONGESTION CHARGE.
This has been introduced in London. The edge of the zone is marked by large letter 'C's painted onto the roads, and plenty of signs...

The 5th annual report on the impact of the congestion charge was released last week, and can be downloaded by following the link. This looks at the longer term impact of the introduction of the charge.

We will be doing some work on this, and this will form part of your summer task that I will post later.....

For more congestion charging materials, see the GeographyPages page.

Penultimate day of term...

Nearly there folks !
Tony Cassidy has posted about a site called ScreenOnline.

This has some Citizenship resources related to film and TV, but on the relevent theme of Britishness. The few I've looked at so far are rather good for the Pilot GCSE.
If you have non-terrestrial TV, keep an eye out for the first of a new mini-series tonight.
More 4 has the first of 3 shows in a mini-series called THE BRITISH EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rising Bollards

One way of allowing buses access to speed up journeys is to have bollards which only allow the buses through. There are some of these in Cambridge. Watch these people below trying to get through the bollards before they go up again by following the buses...

Trampe in Trondheim

One problem with using a bike to get around is that there are those pesky hills in the way. Not so much in King's Lynn or York or Hull or other places that I've lived, but certainly in Rotherham and Sheffield there were hills which could put people off cycling.
In Trondheim in Norway, where there are some rather steep hills, they have an interesting way around this problem. Useful YouTube video below:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sustainable Urban Transport

This will be our first unit in Year 11.
I have started to collect together details on a page on GeographyPages, but it is important that you get a head start on reading some of this material.

The Geographical Association has a page which describes the unit, which was written by Di Swift from the GA and other people.One organisation which you must become familiar with is Sustrans: which as you might guess is short for Sustainable Transport.
They are involved in campaigns to get people to switch their mode of transport.
I like their slogan: "Change your world, one mile at a time..." and their useful LINKS PAGE and other resources.

More to come soon...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Parents' Evening

It was good to see you and/or your parents tonight...
Just been sorting through some materials ready for the final few lessons, where I need to set you up for the summer.
Remember that the weblog will be added to during the summer, and it's important to check it, especially in the last part of August.
Don't forget to send us a postcard... (for more details see the final few lessons)
Add a comment if you have one...

Give Geography its Place

Ken supports the Give Geography its Place Campaign...

Any other notable figures prepared to stand up for Geography ?!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mr Nunnerley's Parachute Jump

Mr. Nunnerley did his charity parachute jump for NSPCC today and you can see a video of it by following the link below.

Mr. Nunnerley's Parachute Jump

Well worth watching !

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sustainable Transport Online

Just started to assemble ideas and resources for September.
We are doing a few preliminary research tasks just looking at some of the key ideas for this unit, and then we'll move on.
Some useful resources at the GA's website, produced by Diane Swift and Peter Wright, with some additional ideas by Pam Field.
Also making use of some resources from Notre Dame School, with thanks to Jonathan Hooton.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sustainable Transport 2

So what makes transport 'sustainable' ?
Is any form of transport with an engine really sustainable ?

How about walking ? cycling ? train ?

Which are more sustainable - can you have degrees of sustainability ?

Sustainable Transport 1


1. Research and find out about the following methods of transport you might not have added to the first diagram:

a) Rickshaw

b) Light Rail

c) Guided bus

d) Maglev

e) Tram

f) Community bus

g) Car pooling

Provide an example of an actual place where these have been used.

2. Think through the various stages involved in taking a bus journey – try to account for every stage in the journey. Produce this in the form of a flow chart.

3. Now try to think of the different problems that could occur at each of the stages, which might put people off using the bus as a form of transport. Remember that not everyone is able bodied and has all their senses working 100%

4. Now try to come up with a solution to the problem that would encourage people to keep using the bus

Where do the following fit into this ?

· Heavy rainfall

· Bus full by the time it gets to your stop

· Electronic information boards

· Kneeling bus

· Bus shelters

· Oyster cards

· Pre-payment tickets

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Antarctic Blog

Recent find is a blog being written by some conservators working to protect the artefacts in Sir Ernest Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica, in association with the Natural History Museum.
The museum also currently features an exhibit called ICE STATION ANTARCTICA.
Tickets cost £7, but educational discounts are available.
The tickets have a barcode which allow access to an online follow-up series of tasks...

Smoke Free Blog