I made a New Year promise to include a regular slot in my blog for 2014, called my ‘monthly WARP’. This is based on an acronym where the ‘W’ stands for a web resource, the ‘A’ for an app, the ‘R’ for a reading resource, and the ‘P’ for a photograph or image.
My ninth WARP – for the month of September – consists of the following:
This site is arranged in a very simple and accessible way, and allows students to examine population pyramids at a world, regional, and country scale.
It is easy to search for a pyramid of any individual country, and it is also possible to compare pyramids of different dates from 1950 to 2010. Neat!
This free IOS app displays ‘real time’ data by either: year, month, week or even by a single day. Data includes – total population, births, deaths (and reasons), oil production and so on. It can be used as an interesting starter – and its on screen accumulation of data for one single day will surprise many students. There might be some questions to ask about the accuracy of the figures as they display, but it is still a thought-provoking tool for any geography lesson.
My selected book this month is “Longitude” by Dava Sobel. This easy read covers the problems faced by sailors in the eighteenth century in accurately locating their position by using longitude. The author writes a brief history of astronomy, navigation and horology to help describe the problem, and at the centre of the story is John Harrison, the self-taught Yorkshire clockmaker, whose forty year obsession with building a perfect timekeeper helped lead to a revolution in navigation at sea.
“The equator marked the zero degree parallel of latitude for Ptolemy. He did not choose it arbitrarily but took it on higher authority fromhis predecessors, who had derived it from nature while observing the motions of the heavenly bodies. The sun, moon, and planets pass almost directly overhead at the Equator. Likewise the tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, two other famous parallels, assume their positions at the sun’s command. They mark the northern and southern boundaries of the sun’s apparent motion over the course of the year.” (page 3)
“Harrison spent the next five years piecing together the first sea clock, which has come to be called Harrison’s No. 1, for it marked the first in a series of attempts – H1 for short. His brother James helped, though neither one of them signed the timepiece, strangely enough. The going train ran on wooden wheels, as in the pair’s previous collaborations. But overall, it looked like no other clock ever seen before or since.
Built of brightly shining brass, with rods and balances sticking out at odd angles, its broad bottom and tall projections recall some ancient vessel that never existed. It looks like a cross between a galley and a galleon, with a high, ornate stern facing forward, two towering masts that carry no sails, and knobbed brass oars to be manned by tiers of unseen rowers. It is a model ship, escaped from its bottle, afloat on the sea of time.” (page 77)
“Sauerkraut. That was the watchword on Captain James Cook’s triumphant second voyage, which set sail in 17772. By adding generous portions of the German staple to the diet of his English crew (some of whom foolishly turned up their noses at it), the great circumnavigator kicked scurvy overboard. Not only is sauerkraut’s chief ingredient, cabbage, loaded with vitamin C but the fine-cut cabbage must be salted and allowed to ferment until sour to be worthy of the name. Practically pickled in brine, sauerkraut keeps forever aboard ship – or at least as long as the duration of a voyage around the world. Cook made it his oceangoing vegetable, and sauerkraut went on saving sailor’s lives until lemon juice and , later, limes replaced it in the provisions of the royal Navy.” (page 139)
“”I am standing on the prime meridian of the world, zero degrees longitude, the centre of time and space, literally the place where East meets West. It’s paved right into the courtyard of the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich. At night, buried light shines through the glass-covered meridian line, so it glows like a man-made midocean rift, splitting the globe in two equal halves with all the authority of the Equator. For a little added fanfare after dark, a green laser projects the meridian’s visibility ten miles across the valley to Essex.” (page 165)
More photos from my travels can be seen at: