Monday, January 23, 2017

Tuesday, January 24. 2017

Today's schedule is  C-D-A-B

C & B Blocks Social Studies 11 - Today in the library you'll work to compile your info-graphic poster on the commodity / resource / mono culture crop that you researched yesterday. Don't forget that you're trying to tie this topic to a country that depends upon your commodity. This assignment is due Thursday in class so please work hard to compile your information and make your info-graphic poster interesting and attractive. I'll have poster paper, smelly felts and coloured pencils for you to work with.

D Block Crime, Media and Society 12 - What are Crime Themes or Tropes? From TVTropes:

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite." In other words, dull and uninteresting. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.

So this week I want you to consider being a critical viewer of crime media. I will show you three US crime serials in class: Lie to Me; Elementary and the Mentalist (if there was time I'd also show you Person of Interest, White Collar and Castle too but we don't really have time). I want you to examine these shows through the tropes of: "Police are Useless"; "The Only One"; and "Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop". Again from TVTropes:

Unlike just one Dirty Cop, or a small group of them, Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop describes an entire precinct (or world!) where police are monolithically terrible. Maybe they're all corrupt. Maybe just a few are corrupt, but the rest are so incompetent that they completely ignore the swath of abuse, violence, and destruction the corrupt cops leave. Maybe they're all just completely insane. When this is more of an Implied Trope due to the fact that nobody bothers to involve the police in anything, you have Police Are Useless.

Whenever someone in film or on TV reports a murder, or a monster, or a stalker or whatever, the police come as close to ignoring them as procedure (and the local captain) will allow. And that's if the report is from a respected professional; if they're an Agent Mulder, or worse yet, a teenager, the cops might try to pin charges on them! In addition to police, this trope also covers the military, security guards, and other people whose job is to protect others. So...

There's a crisis, and our beloved protagonists are the only people who can handle the problem. Unfortunately, this is because all the other people who could take care of it are woefully incompetent. If the series is about a local police force, the FBI are ivory-tower glory hounds. If the series is about an FBI agent, the local police are all useless Corrupt Hick types. If the series is about the military, government higher-ups will only be interested in pleasing the voters. If the series is about the government or an anti-military type, then the military will be The Evil Army commanded by a General Ripper type who is just itching to Nuke 'em back to the stone age, never mind the asking questions part. If the series is about a rogue hero, all levels of government and law enforcement, plus the military, are either corrupt or clueless, with the possible exception of a Reasonable Authority Figure who will still be unable to help because of mountains of red tape. And everyone else will just think that it isn't for them to deal with (In those cases where the people who are supposed to be handling the situation are not also bad guys).The Useless or Incompetent cop/police will need outside help "the only one" who becomes "the great detective"
A staple of Mystery Fiction and Detective Fiction, the Great Detective relies on powers of deduction and educated thought to solve crimes. The Great Detective is usually an Amateur Sleuth or a Private Detective (because Police Are Useless). Some of these detectives will have an Arch-Enemy that will be their equal, but in a different light.

So think about messages about detective "experts" and what these shows say about the public's view of modern police forces.

Today we'll watch an episode of Lie to Me, called "Moral Waiver". Dr. Cal Lightman and Ria Torres investigate the case of a female soldier who claims to be the victim of sexual assault by her commanding officer. At the same time, Dr. Gillian Foster and Eli Loker work on the case of a college basketball player who is accused of accepting a bribe from his university. In both cases the Lightman group employees are experts who are hired by authority figures (the US Army or a University Ombudsman) to do the work that they themselves can't quite get done...see if you can notice any tropes/themes here.

A Block Geography 12 -  Did you know that the City of Vancouver aims to become fully reliant on renewable energy by 2050, coupled with an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions? Check out the Renewable City Strategy here (check out the City of Courtenay's Climate Action Plan here. We even have a renewable energy company here "Terratek").  Today we'll be back in the library to work on your BC renewable energy activity. Remember you need to examine three of the six most common renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, biomass, tidal, and solar) specifically identifying:

1.       Give a definition and an explanation of how it is produced
2.       Provide three examples of how the source is used (globally)
3.       Detail three advantages and three disadvantages of using the source
4.       Assess the potential for developing that source of energy here in BC
5.       Choose the best option out of the ones they listed to develop here in BC (think cost to make and transmit and return on investment)

You will have today in the library to finish this. Remember you must look at three of the six renewables (not all six) and provide sound reasoning as to why you believe their top choice should be chosen as an energy project here in BC, Look at yesterday's blog post for links.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Monday, January 23. 2017

Today's schedule is A-B-C-D

A Block Geography 12 - Today we'll be in the library to work on your BC renewable energy activity. In this activity you will need to examine three of the six most common renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, biomass, tidal, and solar)…you will need to:

1.       Give a definition and an explanation of how it is produced

2.       Provide three examples of how the source is used (globally)

3.       Detail three advantages and three disadvantages of using the source

4.       Assess the potential for developing that source of energy here in BC

5.       Choose the best option out of the ones they listed to develop here in BC (think cost to make and transmit and return on investment)

You will have tomorrow and Wednesday in the library to finish this. Remember you must look at three of the six renewables (not all six) and provide sound reasoning as to why you believe their top choice should be chosen as an energy project here in BC. Here are some links for you to use:

BC Sustainable Energy Association
Energy Alternatives
Clean Energy BC
Government of BC Electricity and Alternative Energy
Pembina Institute: Renewable and Energy Alternatives BC
Energy BC
Sierra Club BC Alternative Energy
Tyee Mapping BC's Clean Energy
Canadian Wind Energy Association BC
BC Geothermal Estimates
Canadian Geographic Energy IQ
BC Hydro Green Energy Study

B & C Blocks Social Studies 11 -Today we are going to examine the impacts of developing countries relying upon one mono culture crop as a major source of export income. We'll be in the library today to gather data on an export crop and a developing country that relies heavily on it for economic development. 

You and a partner are going to create your own info-graphic on one of the following resources/topics: Bananas, Coffee, Cocoa, Cotton or Tobacco. The end product will be a hard copy poster (I'll give you poster paper tomorrow) that shows the devastating effects of a developing country relying on one mono culture agricultural crop for the majority of its income.

The goal of this assignment is to understand the connections between the social problems (gender, health, children, etc.) in HIPC's with economic development.

Take is its largest export crop and the staple of its export economy (some estimate that 60% of its economy is based on coffee exports). 15 million of its 75 million people in Ethiopia depend on the coffee industry for work. The problem is that on the UNDP Human Development Index Ethiopia ranked 170th out of 177 countries and the quality of life for those in the coffee industry is low. If the price of coffee goes down, then so does the amount of money that Ethiopia can generate.

This is one example so try to make a connection with your industry and a country that depends on it.

Once you've chosen your topic, look at point three below for an information sheet of data on your topic. It is your responsibility to search out more data on your topic (specifically population and the human development index rating for a country where that crop is relied upon). So today look for information about a developing country that relies heavily upon a "Legitimate" agricultural crop (no Colombia and Coca nor Afghanistan and Opiates). You can find information at:

CIA World Factbook
Show at World (click on planet and crop resources)
CIDA Developing World Map

Infographics are a great way to graphically depict statistical data so what are they? John Emerson wrote a great little document called Visualizing Information for Advocacy An Introduction to Information Design ( and his explanation of Infographics/Information Design is that… 

Information design uses pictures, symbols, colors, and words to communicate ideas, illustrate information or express relationships visually. Effective design is not just a matter of making text pretty or entertaining, but of shaping understanding and clarifying meaning. Information design adds seeing to reading to make complex data easier to understand and to use...Some familiar forms include charts, graphs, maps, diagrams or timelines. These can be big or small, simple or complex, published in print or electronic media. Information design can help you present your information in a clear and compelling way, persuasively convey facts or ideas or discover something new in your data.

So where can you find examples of Infographics?

  1. GOOD is the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good. GOOD is a company and community for the people, businesses, and NGOs moving the world forward. GOOD’s mission is to provide content, experiences, and utilities to serve this community.
  2. Information Is Beautiful is the media platform for David McCandless an independent data journalist and information designer. McCandless’ passion is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words.
  3. New Internationalist magazine formed the basis of the data we used in today’s class. You can find the issues here: Coffee; Chocolate; Bananas; Tobacco; Cotton
Tools to help you create infographics can be found at:

Pie Color This delightfully easy tool simply asks how many slices you want the pie to have and then begins work. Once you select the number of pieces, the next screen asks for the values, provides options to set the colors of the pieces and the background, as well as the size of the pie graph.
Star Planet This site includes three options--Stat Planet, Graph Maker, and Map Maker. Star Planet has a wide range of already developed maps and graphs while Graph Maker and Map Maker have users create Flash-based maps and graphs with data sets provided from their own research or from various reputable sources available at the web site.
Creately is an easy-to-use drop and drag interface for creating a wide range of charts, graphics, and info pictures. The free version allows you to work on a single diagram at a time. Registration is required for saving diagrams as well as exporting as an image, PDF, Creatly file, or emailing

Other sites include Wordle and Tagxedo
Here are two examples to give you an idea of what this assignment may look like:

D Block Crime, Media and Society 12 - Today you need to

1. finish previous work:

2. Work on your Individual Media Monitoring Project:

Don't forget Your task will be to watch, read, investigate and then report on 10 days, episodes, entries, or instances of media coverage of crime.

If you are reviewing a daily news source(s) you should include a full listing of the number of crimes covered by category (e.g. murder, robbery, rape, property crimes, white-collar crime, computer crime, government deviance, etc.), along with specific details on "high profile" stories. For fictional sources, you might want to choose a theme or crime type, and then pick examples of the media source that features it. For example, serial crime, white-collar crime, street crime, drug crime, crime inside prisons, police deviance, sex crimes, psychopathology, war-related crime, terrorism, computer crime, hacking, family violence, school crime, etc. would make good topics. If your media source is movies, then locate a set of films that all focus on that type of crime.

So what do you need to report on? You need to become an expert on one type of crime media. You`ll need to give an overview of what it is along with what it shows. Describe what crimes were shown or reported including as much criminological information (type of crime and why it was perpetrated) and sociological information (age, gender, race, ethnicity, class) about victims and perpetrators as you can find.

3. work on our last on-line discussion piece Media Magic Wand

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thursday, January 19. 2017

Today's schedule is D-C-B-A

D Block Crime, Media & Society 12 - Today we'll look at race and ethnicity connected to moral panics and crime waves. American and Canadian social histories are littered with the rise and fall of drug panics. From marijuana, heroin, alcohol and crack, varying levels of moral outrage and repression have been thrown at those blamed for "the sweet pill that makes life better". If you look historically, media depictions of crack are most often associated with African Americans (blacks) and violent crime, while methamphetamine is most commonly associated with Caucasians (whites) and is framed as a "public health problem". As you can see, the "depravity" of a "ghetto drug" like crack, and the creeping of meth into the ‘‘mainstream’’ belie racial stereotypes of black and white in North America. Meth brings the depravity of urban drug panics to new spaces. The next Racial Moral Panic and Crime Wave? Mexican Drug Cartels flooding Meth into White Suburban USA. So how is this portrayed in Crime Media, Walter White?

48 Hours Mystery aired an episode titled "The Curse of Small Town U.S.A". The description from their website reads like this:

Methamphetamine is a powerful, cheap drug and it is a growing problem in some surprising parts of America. Unlike crack cocaine, which primarily targeted the inner-city during its reign of terror in the 1980's, crank is making it's mark in Small Town, U.S.A. The drug's users range from middle class and well-educated people to teens -- even mothers who have passed on their addictions to their babies. One of the reasons crank is growing so quickly is that methamphetamine is easily produced in makeshift labs from inexpensive raw materials. In addition, users experience a "high" lasting up to 30 hours -- much longer than many other drugs. "Methamphetamine may be the worst drug ever to hit America," says retired General Barry McAffrey, the nation's Drug Czar. "It's expanding in a very bizarre manner. It's all over the Midwest. It's in Idaho, Arizona, Hawaii, San Francisco, Southern California. It's now showing up in Georgia." Crank's explosive growth is being fueled by mass production labs run by Mexican nationals. Authorities say they produce up to 95% of the crank on America's streets. CBS News 48 Hours took a close look at methamphetamine on Thursday, and found a drug that threatens to tear apart the lives of countless Americans. Could your community be at risk?

So we'll watch parts of the 1990's 48 Hours episode "On Crack Street"

and then we'll watch the Discovery Channel documentary American Underworld: Homemade Illegal Drugs"

So after watching today's videos I'll ask you to answer the following:
  • What messages about race and drug use do the videos show? (think about who uses meth, who makes meth, and who sells it).

C & B Blocks Social Studies 11 - Today I'd like you to watch a brilliant commercial about access to fresh water from World Vision...

FYI: World Vision is a non-profit organization (however it is denominational - Christian) that works in three areas for the developing world: disaster management, development assistance and advocacy (human rights, economic justice and peace). We'll continue looking at the connection between the social problems (gender, health, children, etc.) in HIPC's with economic development. We will examine traditional economies which are based in primary industries and subsistence farming and compare those with developing and developed economies. This will help us understand the challenges that exist to development around the world. After this, we'll take a look at the Human Development Index which focuses on health, poverty and hunger, education, and environmental issues in countries around the world. A good resource is the UNDP HDI Report. We'll try to understand what HIPC's (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) are along with the cycle of poverty looking at two power points about material wealth and food (based on photography from Peter Menzel). Later we will make a connection between the social problems (gender, health, children, etc.) in HIPC's with economic development. We will examine traditional economies which are based in primary industries and subsistence farming and compare those with developing and developed economies.
There is an excellent news story on the CNN Freedom Project called Chocolate's Child Slaves.

From the CNN site: It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In the Ivory Coast and other cocoa-producing countries, there are an estimated 100,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed around the world.

This story is a good example of the social problems associated with development and the reliance upon monoculture for economies in developing countries. So today's question I would like you to tackle (which connects to our Infographic activity next week) is:

  • Three conditions that seem to be linked to the lack of development of countries are: political instability; lack of technology; and domestic and international conflict. Explain how each factor contributes to a lack of development...This is question 5 from page 418 of the Counterpoints text. Look at Chapter 14 along with pages 403-409 to help.

A Block Geography 12 - To start the class, we will discuss Jared Diamond's book Collapse, trying to make sense of how civilizations in the past collapsed (Maya & Rapa Nui) and extrapolating his findings to our modern society today. We'll look at the twelve major modern environmental problems that Diamond identifies and examine his conclusions about our potential future. Remember to ask me about bunnies and Australia, specifically the 24 bunnies that the British brought with them in 1859 and how much the Australian government spends annually to control them. See Diamond talk at TED here. After, if there's time, we'll watch the National Geographic special Collapse.

From Nat Geo...
Imagine if hundreds of years from now, scientists excavated the abandoned ruins of some of our largest cities, what conclusions would they come to? It happened to the Romans, the Anasazi, and the Mayans and, inevitably, one day our own modern civilisation will also fall. In this two hour special discover how a future civilisation might be baffled as to why the population of these once-great cities would suddenly abandon their technology and architecture, and turn their homes into ghost towns. Some experts believe that there is a very real risk this could happen, and the collapse of the world as we know it is closer than we think. Examining the parallels between cultures separated by hundreds of years, explore whether the key to preventing such a global collapse today could lie in finding renewable alternatives to our dwindling energy supplies and sustainable resources. Can we learn from the mistakes of the past before it's too late?

Remember it's too late to be a pessimist. 

Business Insider asks: Is the Anthropocene real? That is, the vigorously debated concept of a new geological epoch driven by humans. Our environmental impact is indeed profound — there is little debate about that — but is it significant on a geological timescale, measured over millions of years? And will humans leave a distinctive mark upon the layers of rocks that geologists of 100,000,000AD might use to investigate the present day?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wednesday, January 18. 2017

Today's schedule is B-A-D-C

B & C Block Social Studies 11 - Today we'll start with the problems China faced with a ballooning population in the 1970's and their "solution" to the problem....the "one child" policy. Don't forget I'd like you to work through questions questions 2 & 3 on page 331 in the Counterpoints textbook. To help we'll watch the two following videos:

A Block Geography 12 - Today we look at the ethics associated with resource use focusing on the four ethical views on resource use (economic/exploitation; preservationist; balanced-multiple use; and ecological or sustainable).

We'll talk about over-consumption and unsustainable resource use practices using the example of water consumption and the Aral Sea. From National Geographic:

Actually a freshwater lake, the Aral Sea once had a surface area of 26,000 square miles (67,300 square kilometers). It had long been ringed with prosperous towns and supported a lucrative muskrat pelt industry and thriving fishery, providing 40,000 jobs and supplying the Soviet Union with a sixth of its fish catch...The Aral Sea was fed by two of Central Asia's mightiest rivers, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya. But in the 1960s, Soviet engineers decided to make the vast steppes bloom. They built an enormous irrigation network, including 20,000 miles of canals, 45 dams, and more than 80 reservoirs, all to irrigate sprawling fields of cotton and wheat in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In the decades that followed, the Aral Sea was reduced to a handful of small lakes, with a combined volume that was one-tenth the original lake's size and that had much higher salinity, due to all the evaporation. As a result of the drying over the past decades, millions of fish died, coastlines receded miles from towns, and those few people who remained were plagued by dust storms that contained the toxic residue of industrial agriculture and weapons testing in the area.

For the Aral Sea please check out the following:
Aral Sea Foundation
National Geographic News Aral Sea
NASA World of Change Aral Sea
The Aral Sea Crisis at Columbia University

We'll end the class finishing the Human Footprint DVD that we began yesterday with a seemingly simple question...."How Much do You Consume?"

I need you to continue tracking your family's water consumption for the week and you can use the water footprint calculator at the H20 Conserve website. For more on water as a resource please check out:
Ministry of Environment: Water for British Columbia
United Nations: Water Topics
Encyclopedia of Earth: Water

D Block Crime, Media & Society 12 -  Today we'll look at gender connected to moral panics and crime waves. In Gender, Youth, Crime and Justice Loraine Gelsthorpe and Gilly Sharpe claim that

"recurring moral panics regarding girls’ behaviour, seem to have shifted their focus in recent years – from girls’ sexuality and ‘status’ offending, to their apparently increasing violence and alcohol use – and dwell on the resultant punitive turn towards girls and young women".

This turn towards vilifying young female crime can also be seen in crime media. Today we'll look at the Madonna-Whore complex in crime media which is most clearly covered through the topic of rape (think Law & Order: SVU). This complex refers to a dualism in Western patriarchal discourse, which seeks to explain the behavior of women and the desires of men. On one hand, women are rewarded for being the sexual play objects of men (i.e., whores), and on the other hand, women are given clear messages that true grace only derives from marital chastity (i.e., Madonna). We'll see how women are portrayed as victims and as perpetrators in crime media and see if the Madonna-Whore complex applies.

To do this we'll watch "Deadly Women" which deals with Diane Downs and then after we'll look at the DVD "Mothers Who Kill" which deals with Susan Smith, Andrea Yates and Marylin Lemack. After that we'll try to make sense of the women we've taken a look at.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tuesday, January 17. 2017

Today's schedule is  C-D-A-B

C & B Blocks Social Studies 11 - Today we'll finish our quick look at demography and population. We'll watch a couple of short videos. After each video, I'd like you to tell me what you observe and I hope to have a discussion on the population information.

The Miniature Earth

National Geographic 7 Billion

After the videos we'll then move into dependency ratio and China's One Child policy. We'll work through questions questions 2 & 3 on page 331 in the Counterpoints textbook. Tomorrow we'll look at population density, carrying capacity, and begin our look at living standards.
BBC News - Has China's One Child Policy Worked?
BBC News - China 'Steps Up' One Child Policy
China's One Child Family Policy
China's One Child Polity Enters New Phase

D Block Crime, Media and Society 12 - This week we'll take a look at crime waves, moral panics and the media with a special focus today on age (specifically youth). We’ll look at the way the media turns “ordinary” criminal events into extraordinary criminal “panics”. This happens when the Mass Media (usually led by the press) defines a group or an act as deviant and focuses on it to the exclusion of almost anything else. This then focuses the public’s negative attention on the group or act and demonizes people associated with it. When it comes to crime, young people are often lumped into one of two contradictory categories: Tragic Victims or Evil Monsters. We'll try to make sense of how the media covers youth criminals and victims using the 2012 murder of Syklar Neese...

A Block Geography 12 -Today we'll continue our look at resources, resource use, and management issues. We'll talk about renewable and non-renewable resources along with the four ethical views on resource use (economic/exploitation; preservationist; balanced-multiple use; and ecological or sustainable). Our focus will be on water consumption (Don't forget I'd like you to track your water consumption for the week). After, we'll watch the first few sections of the Human Footprint DVD we previewed yesterday. We'll get through scenes 1-6 today (from birth up to early 20's) and this will take about 45 minutes of class time. When the DVD is over I'd like you to answer the following:

  1. Why do different cultures use and consume things at different rates? What do the numbers and facts in the video say about North American society?
  2. In some areas of the world people are already in conflict over a limited amount of natural resources. How will a growing population affect people’s access to food, potable (safe drinking) water, and fuel? What affect might the population increase have on pollution and encroachment on wildlife habitats?