Thursday, 31 January 2008


I think that I have mentioned this before, but as Year 11 were particularly interested in it this morning, I thought we'd have a reminder.

The map below shows the distribution of the surname "Ellis" within Great Britain in 1998, according to the Electoral Register.

Visit the website of the National Trust Names project and find out what your surname means, where it originates, and how far your ancesters travelled between 1881 and 1998. Leave a comment and let us know what you find out!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Year 9 - Volcanic activity on Mercury...

Following Ben's question yesterday about volcanic activity on other planets... Just spotted this on the BBC website about the US Mercury Messenger which has collected "evidence of widespread volcanism"...

Click on the picture for the full story...

How many countries...?

Thanks (I think) to Alan who blogged about this the other day...

Click on the link below and see how many countries you can name in 5 minutes... Your time will start straight away... Get ready!!

Come back and leave a comment to let us know how you did...

(And DON'T click on the link if you have other things to do...)

Plate Tectonics...

Of particular interest to Year 9 at the moment, who've been looking at plate tectonics over the past couple of days, but also worth a listen for Year 10 and 11 and anyone else who's interested...

The episode can be downloaded at the moment, but I'm not sure how long it'll be there for...

Thursday, 24 January 2008

International Year of Sanitation

8PBr spent some time looking at water and sanitation last week, and were shocked to discover that 1.1 billion people - about a sixth of the world's population - do not have access to clean, safe water... And that 2.6 billion people - about 40% of the world's population - do not have access to adequate sanitation.

The picture below (from Ecumenical Water Network) was taken in Kibera - a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. For those people who cannot afford to pay to use a filthy latrine, the alternative is a plastic bag, which ends up in the street. These so-called "flying toilets" contribute to the horrifying statistic that 1.8 million children die before the age of 5 - from diarrhoea.

BBC correspondent, Fergal Keane, visited Kibera yesterday, to coincide with the launch of the United Nations International Year of Sanitation. You can watch his report here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Good luck!!

Just a little message to wish Year 11 luck for their DME exam tomorrow afternoon... I am sure that you will all do brilliantly (including those of you who've been busy falling off walls, painting roses or sword-fighting with feather dusters!!) ...


- SUSTAINABILITY... from Social, Environmental and Economic (SEE) points of view...

- STAKEHOLDERS... be specific

- EVIDENCE - refer to the resources... and use your own knowledge...


Sunday, 20 January 2008

Birmingham Airport...?

I don't think that I have ever spent my Sunday lunchtime watching the Politics Show before. However, today I did - and the Midlands section had an interesting piece on the expansion of the main runway at Birmingham Airport, which you can watch again here.

This article is worth reading, and there is also an interesting selection of comments in response to the programme - you can read them here.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Airport Expansion...

An interesting debate about airport expansion, particularly concentrating on Heathrow, here. It starts about 4 minutes in, and is well worth a listen for Year 11 (and anyone else!). Thanks to Dan Raven-Ellison for pointing it out.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Young Geographer of the Year

It is Young Geographer of the Year time again, so if you fancy winning a trip to the Himalayas or a mountain bike, then check out the website of Geographical Magazine and find out more...

This year's theme is Explore Your World, and you need to get out there and do some investigating! The closing date is 30th April, so get thinking about some ideas!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Year 11!!

Just watching on Central News about Ryanair's announcement today that they will be operating 22 new routes from Birmingham Airport, starting in April.
The new routes will mean an extra 5 million passengers a year through Birmingham Airport, and will bring with them new jobs and increasing numbers of visitors to the West Midlands...

More from the BBC if you click on the picture above.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Food, glorious food!

Love these pictures which I spotted when I was looking for something else on the BBC website earlier (notice that Alan P got there before me though...)

Check out the BBC website for the others...

Thursday, 10 January 2008

China ban plastic bags!!

The Chinese government announced yesterday that it would be banning shopkeepers from handing out plastic bags from June this year, and stopping the production of ultra-thin plastic bags, in an attempt to cut down on pollution and resource use.

More from the BBC website here


A reminder to 8PBr about the excellent Gapminder site that we were looking at this morning... Click on the picture to link to the site.

And even if you're not in 8PBr, it's well worth a look!


As promised, a selection of websites with more information about the proposed expansions of Birmingham and Coventry Airports, tying in with Resources 5 and 6. These are only a few of the great many websites and news articles available - if you find any other useful sites, leave a comment with the URL, or add them to the Google Docs we set up.


BBC article about the government go-ahead for a second runway (inc readers' comments)
Birmingham Airport Guide, with various bits of information about the expansion and a suggestion that it will bring an increase, rather than a decrease, in house prices.
BANG! - website of Birmingham Anti-Noise Group
Birmingham Friends of the Earth - various press releases about "Spaghetti Junction in the Sky" and a range of links about other airport expansions.
Article about the expansion from Cheapflights
Birmingham Airport website includes information about the planning application that has been submitted. It's worth having a look at their Community and Environment page as well!


Selection of news stories about Coventry Airport - mostly about the proposed expansion - dating back to 2005.
Coventry Airport Supporters Website - various interesting bits and pieces, including a media statement from the airport following their failure in June to gain planning permission for the expansions. Have a look at the Misunderstandings section as well.
Against Coventry Airport Expansion
The News section of Coventry Airport's website. Again, it is also worth looking at their Environment and Community pages.

Also, some information about the Airbus A380

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

The BBC has an excellent set of pictures of New Year celebrations around the world, including this one from Hong Kong...

Some UK pictures here...

And this set - be warned though, they're not for the faint-hearted!!