Friday, 30 September 2011

Geographical Determinism and Geographical Possibilism

In the early 1900s, Ellen Semple came up with a definition for Geography:

"How environment apparently controls human behavior." - Ellen Semple, c. 1911

This view was very common at that time; the fact the environment had control over settlement was a view known as Geographical Determinism. It was a view that E. Huntington et al. stated after analysis on behavioural studies. Recently, it's been established that actually humans adapt the location to suit their own needs. Such a notion is now referred to as 'Geographical Possibilism'.

Strange how ideas change over time, don't you think?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Indian Summer

You've probably been thinking the same thing as I have over this past week or so. Why is the weather so great? After all, it's late summer AND this is England! Norfolk may well be one of the driest areas of the country but we usually do get much more varied weather activity than the present conditions at this period each year. So what's actually happening? The reason why temperatures have been similar to those in Southern Spain, is mainly due to a high pressure weather system which is sitting over continental Europe. It will drag off and will pull warm air from Southern Europe. This particular event is usually called an 'Indian Summer' and according to the MET office, the first since 1985. Having said 'Indian Summer', was it really the Indians that coined the phrase. There have been many suggestions; America is a particularly good case if it wasn't India. The following link to this article may be interesting. Let's hope it continues!

Was it really the Indians that coined the phrase: 'Indian Summer'?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Mist or Fog?

I woke up to a particularly foggy morning in Norfolk today..or did I? Someone asked me later today the difference between 'fog' and 'mist' and I must admit, standing at the bus stop waiting for my bus, I didn't have a clue! It's been on my mind all day, so let's get to the bottom of it. The most substantial difference between the two is visibility. If your visibility is less than a kilometer, then it's 'fog.' If it's more than a kilometer, then it's 'mist'. I have checked this with a few of my books and each one states the same. If you actually compare the components that make up either 'fog' and 'mist', then they are basically the same thing: a 'suspension of water particles in the air by the cooling of air.'  

Monday, 26 September 2011

The 'other' Gravity Model!!

Today at College, a debate was raised about gravity and geography didn't feature in it at all! However, it should have done, because there's actually a 'Gravity Model' in the study of Migration. It is based on Newton's law of universal gravitation, and assumes a town's attraction is proportional to its size. Therefore, a town twice the size of another will have twice the pull and attract twice as many migrants. (For further information, have a look at 'Reilly's Law of Retail Gravitation 1931'. It's not all physics you know!

Morocco: Visit 2011

My experiences of Morocco will live with me forever. It was my first ever trip to Africa in April this year and although 6 days maybe wasn't enough to do it justice, in that short time, the range of landscapes, people, meals and activites we took part in were superb! I made many new friends from Kett College, who made me feel very welcome when it came to room sharing! The trip started in the city of Marrakech whereby we spent a couple of days visiting the 'sights' of this urbanised land. Culture and history are very much prominant, though the outskirts are no stranger to re-development with large scale recreation facilities such as a golf course! Yes- golf out there! Our landward trip took us through the more rural areas of the country aswell; the Atlas Mountains becoming very much a non-stop photo opportunity. I do remember only feeling cold once and that was one lunchtime as we stopped off for a light bite on a plateau of this landscape. Otherwise, the weather was as expected: high 30s and early 40s, especially on the two day 'desert' journey we took: on camels! Despite pain, I managed two days on a camel! I said to Jim, our teacher, that the trip had encompassed perhaps all of the Geography syllabus, and even now, it's difficult to think of an area of the spec it didn't cover! A truly amazing trip and I will definately visit again!

UK Young Geographer of the Year Competition

The 'Geographical' magazine published an interesting competition in one of its editions earlier on this year. It asked all young geographers aged 16-18 to write a 1500 word essay on 'what all good geographers should understand.' I was immediately jotting down ideas on the page from the moment of reading the entry details, and now after many weeks, have churned out an entry! I'm going to submit it and you never know, do you?! I find the concept of 'Geographical Thought' exceedingly interesting; how and why geographers think they way they do. Carl Sauer suggested "everything in the landscape is interrelated." This theme has become an important one in the development of my essay, as has the concept of 'geological time', 'concept and theory experimentation' and the notion of 'geographical curiosity', which I think is the most important of all. After all, the greatest geographers were not born with the answers; there was a complex route to discovery involved that evolved from observation or curiosity. I will be sure to let you know if the entry is successful! Wish me luck!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Scholarship opportunity: UPDATE

The Royal Geographic Society, with whom I am a member of, is offering a limited number of Gap Year Field-work scholarships aimed for post college students. I learnt of this from my old Geography teacher at Flegg High School many months ago and for the last few months, I have been writing my application. A long drawn out task, I have to say! Most of form asks why you think it would be important to you, how it would change your life...etc. The grant awarded is somewhere within the £4000 mark and you can go anywhere and do almost anything alongside experts who have studied that particular branch of study for years! The aim is to do at least 6 months data collecting and studying and then to return back to the lab in England and write up a scientific paper before going to university. The skills from such an oppotunity are endless and I really do hope I am accepted . The closing deadline for applications is the end of the month and I'm currently awaiting the 'teacher nomination form' from my old Geography teacher. The applicants successful will be shortlisted and interviews will take place later on in the year in London. Wish me luck!!

Click here to learn more about the scholarship

Saturday, 24 September 2011


I am involved in quite a few different projects at the moment, all with a geographical theme to them. In May/June time, I started filming for a new DVD I'm making for Norfolk Schools! It's called 'RevGeog' at the minute and will contain all the key information you need to know to pass your GCSE Geography Exam. The idea first came to me when I realised that school video resources were old and getting drastically out of date...nothing worse than faulty figures in an exam answer! I am in the middle of production at the minute, having stopped filming recently to focus my attention on other things. But I must start getting back into it. Next year, I'm planning to travel the country filming, but at the moment, I think I'll stick local!