Cold, Clear and Deadly

June 28, 2007

Title of a book that documents and discusses the omnipresence of DDT and related pesticides in waters all over the world, even in places far from any known application, such as the Arctic and Antarctic.

Author Melvin J. Visser wrote a tribute to Rachel Carson at his blog, also called Cold, Clear and Deadly.

Cover of Cold, Clear and Deadly, by Melvin J. Visser.  Michigan State University Press

Cover of Cold, Clear and Deadly, by Melvin J. Visser. Michigan State University Press; at Thrift Books


Hey, Britain! Duck! It’s another armada!

June 28, 2007

Gordon Brown may face a situation Tony Blair didn’t imagine: An invasion of ducks.

Plastic cuck similar to floating armada members - Times of London photo

Plastic ducks. An armada of ducks.

Quack! Quack!

Or, maybe more appropriately, “Rubber Ducky, you’re the one!”

Geography fans everywhere are salivating. History fans already recognize the ducks bear no resemblance to the Spanish Armada, but may be interested anyway.

Plastic duck toys, survivors from an original lot of about 30,000 knocked off a container ship in the north Pacific in 1992, could be drifting onto the shores of the British Isles this summer. A reward is offered for the first one found and reported to a scientist who has tracked the ducks from their accident, through currents in four of the world’s five oceans, to landfalls in North America, South America, Southeast Asia, Indonesia — and through the Arctic.

The Times of London carried a story today: Read the rest of this entry »

Sweep of Civilizations: BBC interactive map

June 28, 2007

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) puts genius into their website — very often, it seems to me.

Go see this interactive map. It shows where civilizations or religions held sway, at a point in history you decide — and then projects forward to show how the group’s influence waxed and waned. Or plot two different groups, side-by-side.

Snapshot of Civilisations is a multi-dimensional picture of human history, where you’re in charge of the timeline.

It uses web technology to reveal the sweep of historical forces and the rise and fall of great empires and ideas over 5000 years in a way that no book could ever do.

And it does it your way. You can customise Civilisations to show you the things that interest you. The best way to understand Civilisations is to have a go.

Great bauble for world geography and world history courses — what sort of a warm-up exercise could you make with this, projecting it from your computer? What sort of homework could be made from this, for the kids to access on their own?

Gee, while you’re there, teachers: Take a look at the interactive quizzes on world religions — this could be a unit all to itself.  Hook up your computer, take the quizzes as a class, on that rainy day when you were supposed to go out to look at the school’s garden and you need a ten-minute, cultural filler that sticks to the state standards.  And look at this multifaith calendar.  You can use it for your daily “this day in history” feature; it’s useful for students doing projects on various religions.  Use some imagination.

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