Monday, June 15, 2015

Tuesday, June 16. 2015

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

C Block Geography 12 - Today we'll watch Home, an incredible documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand who also helped to initiate a foundation called Good Planet. Please take some time to share this movie with as many family and friends as you can. You can watch it on line at the YouTube homeproject's channel or connect with it on the film's Facebook page.

Think about the title. What is our collective home? Now think about the statement from the beginning of the film today...

Listen to me, please. You're like me, a homo sapiens. A wise human. Life; a miracle in the universe appeared around 4 billion years ago and we humans only 200,000 years ago, yet we have succeeded in disrupting the balance so essential to life. Listen carefully to this extraordinary story, which is yours, and decide what you want to do with it.

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). 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.

B Block Social Studies 11 - Today we'll watch part of the National Geographic DVD “Six Degrees Could Change the World”. This DVD shows the potential environmental changes (not the actual ones) that may happen with incremental degrees of climate change. After the cheeseburger carbon footprint section I'll have you answer the following on a piece of paper:

  1. What is a carbon footprint?
  2. Who will be affected by the increasing size of our carbon footprint?
  3. How does the cheeseburger study highlight ways in which you could reduce your carbon footprint - and not just by stopping eating cheeseburgers!

After the European heat wave section could you answer the following:
  1. What happened? – What is a heat wave? How long does it have to last and how hot does it need to be?
  2. When did it happen? – You should be able to quote the month and the year.
  3. Where did it happen? – The case study discusses the ‘European Heat Wave’ but which city does it focus upon?
  4. Why did it happen? – The heat wave caused the deaths of many people. What human systems caused the death rate to be so high?
  5. Who was affected by it happening? – The impacts of the heat wave were particularly harsh upon one section of the population? Which section of the population was it? You should also be able to explain why.
NASA has a good website (Earth Observatroy Global Warming) that tries to explain the concept of climate change and global warming without a biased political viewpoint for or against the subject. Check it out. You could also look at the Hyper Physics website from the department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University.

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