Episode Ten: The Pale Blue Dot (February 24, 2012)

The famous Pale Blue Dot photo

Today on the show Henry talked about how environmental Amazon.com really is, Ben discussed the hiking boot from a geographical perspective (naturally), and Jake reflected on the Pale Blue Dot Photo.

Amazon.com Shipping & Environmentalism
By: Henry Hawkins
Amazon ships millions of parcels around the world every year, but how damaging to the environment are they really? Henry talked about the move toward e-books, emission accounting, and how Amazon is one of the few companies who do not report their carbon emissions, or have any plan to do so.

The Hiking Boot
By: Ben Garlick
Ben looked at the ‘mundane geography’ of the Hiking boot, and how it represents our relationship with nature on a daily basis. The boot is one technology of many that mediate our relationships, and alter the link between the natural and the social.

The Pale Blue Dot
By: Jake Barber
On the Apollo 17 mission, the astronauts turned around to take a photo of the earth, which resulted in the famous Blue Marble photo – the very first photo of the entire Earth ever taken. It became a very significant photograph, for the environmentalism movement, as well as for how we view our planet as ‘Spaceship Earth’. When the Voyager probe left Earth in the 70s it turned around when in had left the solar system to take a photo of Earth at a distance, which became the photo of the ‘Pale Blue Dot’.

Listen [1:00:00]

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Filed under Green Space, Space

Episode Nine: Sleepless on the Sea of Tranquility (February 17, 2012)

A map of Middle Earth

Today on the show we heard about the GDP of Middle Earth, wind farm developments and NIMBYs, and had a special feature from Jake on the Moon.

The GDP of Middle Earth
By: Ben Garlick
How do the economies of Rohan, Mordor, and Gondor fit in to typical classifications of GDP? Ben gives it some serious consideration, as well as a discussion of why GDP isn’t such a valuable tool for measuring economic power, growth, or stability.

Wind Power Developments and NIMBYs

By: Henry Hawkins
Why do wind farms provoke so much hostility? Henry discusses some of the typical reasons for local opposition to proposed wind farm developments, from the role of developers, the tradition of decide-announce-defend, and the myth of NIMBYs.

And Then We Hurried Back: A Special Feature on the History of Moon Exploration

By: Jake Barber
Today on the show Jake presented a special feature on the history of moon exploration, piecing together a soundscape with clips from Carl Sagan, the moon landing, and many more. It is the first in a series of special features on space from Jake.

Listen [1:00:19)

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Filed under Economics, Energy, Space

Episode Eight: A New Season, A New Studio (February 10, 2012)

The River Tyne in Newcastle

For the first show back, we heard a discussion from Ben about what Geography really is, we had a (completely unplanned) Wheel of Disagreement, and the environmental song of the week was Big River, by Jimmy Nail

What is Geography?
By: Ben Garlick
Today Ben attacked on of the major basic disputes of the discipline, discussing what Geography really is. Covering a few ideas about what some notable academics have to say on the matter, the divide between Physical and Cultural geography, and finished with a brief comment on what Geography is to each of us.

Geographical Song Analysis
By: Henry Hawkins
Today our geographical song was Big River, by Jimmy Nail (by request). The song refers to the River Tyne, and takes an ‘elegaic’ look at the decline of shipbuilding industry of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Wheel of Disagreement: Manifest Destiny
We also had a spur of the moment wheel of disagreement, featuring Henry and Ben, Ben making up for his previous loss with a well-earned victory.

Listen [59:59]

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Filed under Culture, Meta-Geography

Episode Seven: Christmas (December 12, 2011)

The SPF Team in the Christmas spirit

This week we had a christmas special, looking at the history of Christmas, as well as playing lots of classic Christmas songs. Since it is also exam time, we didn’t have much to present this week, and instead rambled on for a while, occasionally about something geographic.

Contested Landscape of Christmas Lights
By: Ben Garlick
Ben discussed an article about Christmas light displays, and the class differences of display styles, with colours and size varying between neighbourhoods. He takes issue with it though, and tries to break down the ‘chav-bling’ stereotype of gaudy christmas displays.

Listen [1:02:02]

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Filed under Culture, History

Episode Six: Make It So (December 5, 2011)

This week Henry was away, so Jake and Ben were left to carry the torch by themselves. They more than made up for it with an episode dedicated to Star Wars, Star Trek, with many, many soundboard clips.

The Ethics of Star Wars & Star Trek
By: Jake Barber & Ben Garlick
Jake talked a little bit about the moral codes imparted in TNG, specifically looking at the way the series can be seen as a metaphor for white America, with the crew of the Enterprise helping others whether they are wanted or not.

Ben then looked at Star Wars, examining the typical monoculture representation of worlds, even looking at the cultural identity of wookies. And using many soundboard contributions from captains Picard and Kirk, of course.

Geographical Song Analysis
Rihanna: Umbrella
Taking a look at the obvious geographical elements in Rihanna’s biggest song, Jake and Ben discussed the Jay-zeconomics as well as an interpretation through Marcel Mauss’ The Gift.

Some Rubbish Fieldwork
By: Ben Garlick
Ben wrapped up the show by talking about a bit of fieldwork he plans on doing, observing the ways in which people interact with garbage in cafes.

Listen [59:32]

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Filed under Culture, Movies, Space

Episode Five: Animals (November 28, 2011)

Today on the show we had our first of what it sure to be many episodes all about animals, looking at religion, fear, and meat eating. We also heard about the week’s headline news stories, and had our Environmental Song O’ The Week, with Life In Jail – Islands.

Eating Animals & Peter Singer
By: Henry Hawkins
Philosopher Peter Singer (who is a big fan of the show!) has published widely on theories about animals ethics since the 1970s, and is one of the few that don’t automatically put non-philosophers to sleep. His theory of speciecism, referring to the way humans implicitly give preference to humans was discussed, and the theory of making moral decisions based on achieving lesser harm.

Animals & Religion
By: Ben Garlick
This morning Ben talked about how animals are viewed through different religions, and religious frameworks. How they are valued, used, eaten (or not), and if animals have moral consideration, or are worthy of an afterlife.

Animals & Domestication
By: Jake Barber
Following on from Ben’s presentation about religion, Jake looked at the domestication of the wolf, of which there are apparently 80,000 domesticated in the US. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t tend to go well for most people.

Listen [56:45]

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Episode Four: Hidden Histories of Edinburgh II (November 21, 2011)

Arthur’s Seat & The Salisbury Crags

Today on the show we had the second episode of our series on Edinburgh, looking at the Real Mary King’s Close, heard from special guest Moolten Glacyass about the geology of Arthur’s Seat, as well as a brief talk about Germaine Greer.

Local Knowledge & Germaine Greer
By: Jake Barber
Jake went on a bit of a rant this morning, talking about his problems with Germaine Greer and a particular town she has made some controversial statements about.

The Geology of Arthur’s Seat
By: Moolten Glacyass
Best known as the multi-talented lead singer/rhythm harmonica/3rd tamborine player in Holy Era of the Astral Lobotomy, Glacyass was a major player in the late 1970s early 1980s metal scene in Britain. Moolten stopped by the studio this morning to promote his latest record, called Satan’s Lukewarm Glacier. He played a song called “Arthur’s Seat at Lucifer’s Table” which was inspired by the geomorphology history of Edinburgh’s local extinct volcano.

The Real Mary King’s Close
By: Henry Hawkins
Mary King’s Close is located just off the Royal Mile, and was closed up in the 17th century due to the plague spreading through the city. Many people believe that victims were sealed inside its tenement buildings, which gave rise to the many reported supernatural experiences and ghost sightings. The close was sealed until 2003 when it was opened up, and is now a popular tourist destination.

Listen [56:22]

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Filed under Edinburgh