Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Cheer up Sussex!

Come on Sussex, we need to follow Hampshire's example!

Or do we? 
What do these stats actually show?
How reliable are they?

Australian Bush Fires

The unseasonally warm, dry spring has meant that bush in southeastern Australia is tinder dry. Wildfires are common in this part of the world but the normally occur towards the end of their summer time.
Is our climate changing?
Is it natural?
Is it our own fault?

Read this BBC report. The bit about Eucalyptus trees is useful.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Giraffes and Words

Chapel Sermon by NLM: Sunday 20th October 2013

We have been looking at bullying this week and looking at ways that it can be stopped before it really begins. Bullying causes a terrible legacy: the victims are changed forever, their confidence is frequently destroyed; and the child bully at school, often becomes the adult bully at work or at home, picking on their spouse or children.   

Bullying is evil ... and it nearly always starts with words.
Words.  Words are powerful ...They can really hurt ...
"Cheat! Thief! Pig! Nobody likes you! Who cares what you think?  I hate you!"

They can also go some way to mend the hurt ...

"It's ok. You're my best friend! You are brilliant! I love you."
As we found out in our anti-bullying workshops yesterday, words can cause internal pain that takes a lot more time to heal than cuts and bruises ... 
In fact, if we move the 's' from the end of 'words' and stick it at the beginning, what do you get? 
Sword ... and swords were only really designed for one purpose ... causing harm.
"Sticks and Stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you!"
We have all heard this phrase or used it when people say unkind things and upset us. It is true that Sticks and stones can cause short term physical damage but words can cause longer-term damage ... sometimes that never heals. Unkind words can shake your confidence and bring your world tumbling down around you.
An example: now, as promised, cue the Giraffe. Say "hello" to Gerald.
Gerald is an elegant giraffe. He is tall and handsome, but his legs are rather thin and his knees quite bandy.  
This sermon is very much based
on this book, "Giraffes can't dance"
by Giles Andreae

Now, a while ago Gerald wanted to join in with all of the other animals in the Jungle Dance, he tried to rhumba with the Rhinos, tango with the Tigers and Lambada with the Lemurs, but everyone knows that, just like Hairy Bikers, "Giraffe's can't dance!" and when he tried to join in Gerald's long limbs got tangled up and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Everybody laughed at him and told him that he was useless. "Everyone knows that Giraffe's can't dance!" they all told him. 
Gerald slunk off into the undergrowth and did what all right thinking giraffe's do when they are feeling down. No, he did not reach for a pot of ice cream or a chocolate bar, he looked at the moon and felt really sorry for himself. He even shed a little tear or two ... or three ... or four.  Actually he cried quite a lot. 
Until a little cricket came up to him and had a chat with him. The cricket turned out to be quite a talented violinist and played some wicked tunes on his fiddle for Gerald in order to try and cheer him up. Gerald liked the music and started to sway in time. He closed his eyes, his hooves started making circles in the ground and soon he was dancing ... really dancing.    
To cut a long story short, Gerald found out that he could dance to this music. The rhumba, the lambada and the tango were just not his thing! He demonstrated his new found skill to the other animals, who were suitably impressed and revised their opinions on the dancing potential of giraffes: "Giraffe's can dance!", they all cried.    
The sudden reversal of opinion of the other animals and the kind words that they eventually used did make Gerald feel good about himself ... but did he really trust the other animals? Were they just humouring him? 
Telling someone that they cannot do something or that they are useless can be just as destructive as name calling.  There is a passage in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 29 that sums it up well...
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use in edyfing, that  it may minister grace unto others"
Another piece of advice was given to me when I was in Upper 2 (Year 6 ... I think in New Money!)
"If you have got nothing nice to say ... then say nothing!"
Tim Minchin
Tim Minchin, the Australian wordsmith, he who wrote the words and music for the hit musical Matilda, put the whole sticks and stones thing quite nicely in his song 'Predjudice':
"Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can break hearts."


Friday, 18 October 2013

Converting Latitude and Longitude

We have been putting our river data from our fieldtrip into Google Earth using the GE Graph program.  It is great fun, but we have hit a little glitch: getting the coordinates into a suitable format in Excel which is easy to copy and paste into the graph program was a real fiddle. The graph program wants it in a decimal format; GE gave us degrees, minutes and seconds.

I found this nice little converter and it works well. If you are feeling more adventurous you could just type the formula into your spreadsheet (follow the link on the converter page).

Good Google Earthing!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Geography of Curry

Tonight I am giong to wow the Brambletye parents and pupils with a talk on the Geography of Curry. Well, maybe not exactly wow them, but at least give them some food for thought.

The talk is giong to be in three main sections:

1. Defining terms: What is Geography? What is Curry?
Just like in a good discursive essay, I will define the key words in the title. The principal reason for me giving this talk is to share my views of 'good geography' with the parent body and as such I will be explaining what geography is from first principles.

2. Where does curry come from?
I will look at the global pattern of curry consumption and the distribution of ingredients and aim to explain the reasons for this pattern.

3. Investigation into the spatial distribution of Indian Restaurants in the East Grinstead area
This looks to see whether or not there is a spatial pattern of curry houses within a 10 mile radius of East Grinstead. Also, I will apply the OB Index to see if there is a pattern in the cost of the meals provided.