Views on Floating Homes

Hi again 😀 I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post but I’m rather busy with my degree atm. Hopefully I will get back into blogging again – especially when I get my new laptop and don’t have to wait half an hour for the thing to wake up and load.

Anyway, currently I’m studying an Environmental module as part of my degree and for this next assessment I have to choose my own extension project, related to the issue of flooding. I have chosen to assess opinions on floating homes. I hope you will read the information below and answer the related poll.

Floating homes such as canal boats have been used both in the UK and other countries for many years. However, over recent years a new type of floating home has been developed and has proved popular in countries such as Holland and Canada. The term ‘floating’ is ambiguous as unlike house boats these homes rest on land and only rise on the water during floods. This prevents damage to homes, businesses and livelihoods. The first floating home in Britain was given planning permission in 2012; it rests on the River Thames in Buckinghamshire and rises at the same level as the water around it.

The technology used in Canada differs from the Dutch method; it is the Dutch technology of ‘smart levee’ that the UK is currently interested in. It works by putting sensors in flood embankments which constantly monitor the condition of the levee and sends a warning when it weakens.

Floating Homes Another, way of escaping flood damage has been utilised for many centuries in places such as Indonesia and Thailand where houses are built on stilts so that water merely passes underneath leaving homes high and dry. This is a much simpler way of avoiding flood damage but one would have to guess the possible height flood water would reach and this could alter over the years, especially with the issue of climate change.

stilt house
Further information is available at these sites:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20502736

http://www.ecofloatinghomes.com/floating_homes.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2240293/Could-amphibious-homes-prove-solution-floods-Floating-houses-range-ideas-touted-combat-increasingly-frequent-inundations.html

Thank you for reading this far and I hope you will help me by participating in the attached poll. Multiple selection is available and please leave any other comments if you wish. 

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The Title: ‘Driving Students to Quit A levels’

‘Driving Students to Quit A levels’i (Sister to the Independent)

At first I thought this was one of those wacky surveys that strenuously connects those learning how to drive with those quitting A levels. But no, pupils across the country are leaving their A level courses (up to 31% students in some areas). The reason? Too much heavy focus on academia.

I can see their point, the few practical A level options available are looked down upon. BTECs which the Government claims are equal to A levels are considered the easy option by the general public.

quitting a levels

from Google images

However, is the issue attitudes towards practical subjects or is it more of a problem of unnecessary pressurization? Each Government wants to drive more and more students into further and then higher education. A levels and university  doesn’t suit everyone. Sure, encourage people and fund equal opportunities but if some pupils enter A levels only to realise it’s not for them then perhaps alternative paths such as apprenticeships should be endorsed.

 

If A level and uni applications decrease then so what? As long as students are doing what they enjoy and not what parents or the Government think they should enjoy then don’t fuss. Currently, university applications are decreasing. As I’ve just mentioned this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. However, I believe at the moment the chief reason is more to do with the rise in tuition fees and the increased costs of living in a difficult economic time rather than self-realisation and back bone from students.

Dear Mum and Dad

  • No matter how many times you ask my room will remain messy; clean but messy. I need half of my things to be in my house at uni for there to be adequate storage space overall.
  • If I appear in the kitchen earlier than usual I do not appreciate the “who’s this!?” exclaimed with a dramatic stare at the time. In fact this reaction encourages me to stay in bed for a little longer if I can’t be bothered to deal with the sarcasm.
  • Don’t mess with my hair; it annoyed me when I was 10 it will annoy me when I’m 100. (Although you may be wearing me down on this issue – slightly)
  • If I’m on the laptop when you come home it does not mean I have been on it all day (same goes for sitting in the same chair or watching TV)
  • If you look over my shoulder I will hide what I’m doing, if you ask nicely I will show you – manners people!
  • If I go to bed early I might not be ill or tired – I just can’t be bothered to watch more rubbish on the TV
  • Every time you ask me how I’m feeling the answer will be ‘fine’ – just back off and I will inform you if I feel ill
  • I happen to enjoy nice, gentle murders like ‘Murder, She Wrote’ – I don’t care if they’re sponsored by denature accessories or support chairs for the elderly
  • Just because I’m 19 doesn’t mean I want to stop bouncing on the trampoline or messing around in a paddling pool or watching kids Disney films
  • Just because I’m not up when you leave the house doesn’t mean I’ve been in bed all day, more often than not I get up 10 minutes after you’ve left (refer to point 2)
  • Yes, I buy lots of shoes, but at a fraction of the cost of Mums’ (same goes for clothes)
  • There is a reason I don’t like catching the bus – it’s always late and there are too few (one an hour) to warrant a quick trip to the pharmacy, I’d be standing around all day waiting to come home
  • The Wii fit does count as exercise!
  • Stop getting stressed and snappy when I offer to help but then start complaining that no one helps around the house (yes Mum, this is aimed at you 🙂 )
  • Updating a new blog post does count as an accomplishment, it is not ‘nothing’
  • Ok, so I come downstairs and straight away its moan, moan, moan, I don’t care if it’s half in jest. I was in a good mood until I got downstairs, now I’m annoyed, made worse because I’m annoyed that I’m annoyed. I prefer a nice quiet kitchen when making breakfast (point 10), at least let me wake up before counting the number of my shoes by the door or the number of napkins in the sitting room. A simple old-fashioned “good morning” will do.

Dear Mum and Dad, I love you very much but I can’t wait for uni to start-up again.

Anybody else have any ‘Dear Mum and Dad’ messages? Let it all out 😀

Exam Issues – A Never Ending Tale

For the past 20 or so years politicians, journalists and the general public have been saying “exams are too easy”, complaining because the GCSE and A-level results have continuously improved. Now everyone’s worried because they didn’t improve – hypocrites! Maybe the exams have been made harder?

My brother was in year 10 (age 15, first year of the GCSE course) and he pointed out his science course was the first year it was taught, making him and his fellow classmates guinea pigs. This ultimately means they are at a disadvantage since teachers need time to build up course-specific resources, learn what the examiners want from students and thus refine their lesson plans. Hence, next years students will probably do better in this particular test.

This always makes me laugh 🙂

The complaints about exams getting easier has always peeved me – why can’t people be happy for the country’s’ youth? If results improve it’s obviously nothing to do with hard work but the exams are too easy (note the sarcasm) and when results don’t improve politicians jump down the throats of teachers and students, yakking on at them for not trying hard enough or failing to be prepared.

Maybe they should take the exams themselves? If they really looked they’d see that not only do they have little relevance to the real world but it’s more about how you answer a question, not the quality or quantity of actual knowledge. You could know everything under the sun about World War 2 but unless you can write an essay in the correct manner you’re stuffed.

Just looking at this picture gives me the creeps *shudders*

If I’m honest, I used this system to my advantage. Writing essays is (almost) natural for me and over the years I learnt how to play the system. Picking information to memorize and which to not bother with. For instance, English A-level requires studying certain books, and the trick is to learn parts of the book which can be applied to basically every possible question. Also, as long as you babble on about each point for long enough you don’t have to include so many little points. Does this make sense? Probably not but fellow students might know what I mean when I say most essays you write (whether for coursework or exams) are a lot of pointless typing when you don’t have any idea what you’re chatting on about.

It’s quite sad how the exam/school system works but as it’s considered the best option out a bad list I guess we’re stuck with it until some genius creates a magical, fair and equal system.

Whatever is happening with the exams universities obviously don’t trust their results, many have admitted to preferring the using the results gained from their own entrance exams over A-levels. This shouldn’t really be necessary, they could be used to choose from students who all have very similar grades but they certainly shouldn’t make A-levels practically redundant. This system adds unnecessary stress onto students who are already under so much pressure due to a lack of options post A-level – it’s more or less either uni or step back to age 16 and attend college, take up an apprenticeship or start job searching in a country where the economy means jobs are scarce.

I can’t think of a system which would reduce criticisms right now but perhaps eventually I will and I can make my fortune? Any body have any suggestions on where to start? Or perhaps you have your own pet peeves on the education system (English or otherwise)?