Category Archives: Human Impacts
Meet The Greens
Meet The Greens is a collection of animated webisodes featuring the Green family dealing with environmental Issues. Granny Green says blog it, so here we are! Go have a look.
Here’s their official blurb:
“MeetTheGreens.org is a new kids’ guide to looking after the planet. Kids can watch The GREENS’ cartoon adventures and discover related green games, news, downloads, a blog, action tips, links, and much more. This innovative, Web-only project comes from WGBH in Boston, the producer of shows like ZOOM, ARTHUR, Frontline & NOVA.“
ReefCheck – International Year of the Reef
2008 is International Year of the Reef (IYOR) and ReefCheck is an organisation devoted to monitoring and protecting the health of reefs around the world. As part of the IYOR activities, ReefCheck have released their Year of the Reef song, and you can see it on their site or on YouTube:
If you head over the to the ReefCheck.org website, you’ll find a wealth of great resources for education and action regarding the reefs. Particularly useful for students may be the WRAS (web reef advisory system), which is a collection of fact sheets on factors impacting reef ecology.
For people with a more active interest in the reefs (and for IB students interested in racking up some CAS credits), check out the EcoAction pages and see what is available there. You might want to get involved in the EcoMonitoring Program and take part in global reef research.
Also, if you hurry, you could get in on the action for the photo contest (closes 31st August).
One of the coolest things (for me, anyway) about ReefCheck is their presence on the Indies Trader, the vessel of the Quiksilver Crossing which is carrying world-class surfers around the globe searching for the best unsurfed waves on the planet. They also get to check out ‘untouched’ reefs in order to create a baseline against which they can compare the order of damage sustained by other reefs. To see some of their highlights, click here.
ActionFiguresTV has a tour of the Indies Trader here:
Now here’s Sebastian from the Little Mermaid singing the best Disney song ever:
Walking the Amazon
This is some project.
Earlier this year, Ed Stafford and Luke Collyer from the UK started an epic journey – to walk the full length of the Amazon from the source in Peru to the mouth in Brazil. This has never been done before and will cover 4,000 miles and take about 18 months. Their aim is to raise money and awareness for a load of charities, as well as serving as a spotlight on issues related to environmental and social change in the Amazon region.
Recently, Luke left the expedition after 90 days – so if you’re up to it, head on over to the website and apply for the position of Ed’s new partner!
The team are posting regular videos of their progress to the website, which can also be found on GoogleVideo:
edited to correct Luke Collyer’s name.
Shark vs Octopus – National Geographic Videos
1. Place bets.
2. Play video.
3. Oh yeah.
National Geographic have been playing the YouTube game for two years now and have posted over 600 videos on their channel. Just put ‘science’ into the search box to filter the videos.
Synthetic Biology – the man-made future?
Where’s the money in Biology? Probably where the future lies – genetics and synthetic biology.
As we learn more about genomes and the way different organisms (including pathogens) work, we can move towards creating targeted responses and DNA-level manipulation. Synthetic biologists take DNA and try to re-work it into a solution to a problem – by creating synthetic DNA, they hope to achieve control over the functions of the organism. They hope to generate alternative sources of fuel, targeted treatments and vaccines and many more applications.
Click on the image to the right to download a useful poster from SEED magazine.
BioBricks (company link) are a leading example of synthetic biology in action. Think of them like lego bricks or parts of standard computer code – you can take them and (theoretically) fit them into any genome. This is one of the wonders of DNA – base-pairings and the universality of the genetic code allow these researchers endless opportunities for tinkering and advancing science. Some BioBricks are ‘parts’, some are ‘devices’ and others are ‘systems’ – sections of code that increase in complexity and functionality.
There is an exciting world of information out there about this topic, and it’s well worth looking at if you think your future lies in biotechnology. It’s a discipline that pulls together Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Engineering and Programming, and the ways in are various. If you want to find out more about a career in synthetic biology, MIT are world-leaders in the field.
For a quick explanation of how synthetic biology works (and an interesting hardware/software analogy) watch the video from ScientificAmerican below:
You might also want to read ‘Prey’ by Michael Crichton for a bit of light holiday scare-mongering. Imagine ‘The Andromeda Strain‘ with nanoparticles.
And while we’re on the subject of Scientific American, you may as well check out their video channel on YouTube. It’s much like the NewScientist one.
Javanese White Rhino Filmed!
Ujung Kulon national park – a reserve on the western tip of Java, home to a lot of protected wildlife and just a few hours from Bandung – has some young white rhinos! Thought to be on the verge of extinction, they are a sign of hope for the future.
My favourite part was the camera-smackdown at the end.
And whiie we’re on the subject of hope in the Indonesian environment, here’s news of a great success in re-introducing native species to cleared land, up in Borneo.
It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Just to balance it with a bit of doom and gloom:
This recent story tells of the clearance of tropical forests to make way for palm oil. Boo!
And this one investigates the effects of Indonesia’s paper industry.
How can we make positive changes in our lives to create real, measurable improvements in the local and global environment?
Animal Farm (Not the Orwellian one)
A while ago I posted about glowing pigs and fish and couldn’t work out where it had come from. Thanks to stitchintime from the TES Boards, I found out it was from Channel 4’s ‘Animal Farm’ series on genetic engineering.
Here’s the first part of episode 1:
It’s probably a good idea to save all the parts of it before it gets taken down. Here’s the link.
Genetic Engineering: Glowing Pigs and Fish
I’ve no idea where this clip was taken from, but it’s a good 5-minute warmer for the topic of GM and it’s possibilities and potential pitfalls.
Matchbox 20 – How Far We’ve Come
So it’s not ‘Science’ per se – but it’s a great song with a cool video tracking some of the big impacts made on the Earth by us wee humans over the past century. It’s all a bit MYP, if you like that sort of thing.