Canada Freight Train

A massive amount of freight goes between the East and West coasts of Canada.

This is what 250,000 tonnes looks like at 35mph at 2 metres. (See, you can mix metric and imperial measurements – we do it all the time!).

There are only 2 main lines, when the freight trains come through – the passenger stuff waits.

This monster held up our train in Bannf!


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Natural History Museum visits Leicestershire

Snibston Discovery Park near Coalville is always a great place to visit – especially until the end of October 2010. They are hosting a fabulous photographic exhibition from the Natural History Museum.

The stunning displays of wildlife photographs from around the world are truly amazing – these pictures just can’t do the display justice – but they may give a quick taste.

snibston pictures1

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The All Year Round Celebration

Keep Christmas in when?

It’s official – the world has gone mad.

I saw this at the bottom of a blog post today – July 30th

Who do we blame- Google or Amazon?

Christmas at Amazon

The Hallaton Hoard

Many thanks to Leicestershire Museums and the staff at Harborough for the following information.

In 2000, Ken Wallace of the Hallaton Field Group discovered a collection of Roman pottery in a field just outside the village of Hallaton. The site was excavated with the help of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, and the discoveries made were astounding.

The Roman finds

333 Roman coins (including the oldest ever excavated in Britain), an ornately decorated cavalry parade helmet,some glass eyes and a few brooches.

Oldest Roman Coin in Britain

This is the oldest Roman coin ever excavated in Britain – believed to date to 211 BC.


Roman Parade Helmet

This is the cheekpiece of the parade helmet. It shows an emperor on horseback with a winged goddess of Victory on his shoulder holding a laurel wreath over his head. Beneath the horse’s hooves a barbarian is crouching. It would have been a very high status item, worn by a cavalry officer (so therefore potentially not a Roman), silver gilt and all highly decorated.


The other finds include more than 5000 silver and gold Iron Age coins, pictured below. All of these items are available to view at the Harborough Museum.

Iron Age coins from Hallaton

All photographs © Leicestershire Museums


That’s Right – Children Want to Programme

They certainly want to make games.

kodu start screen microsoft labs
Kodu Welcome

Matt Maclaurin ran a fantastic workshop on Kodu at CAS10 on Friday. Whilst I watched what he was showing – I couldn’t help thinking –

Is this the answer to the teachers who say – "After MyWorld, what now?"

Some quick notes from Matt – Kodu is a completely new language and is free to download from

The design philosophy behind it is that it can be teachable by anyone – it’s very creative and visual. Usage so far suggests it’s a great tool for storytelling, and looks like it could be great for literacy.

Kodu example text

My experience of it so far is that it looks a bit sensitive to the PC spec. / graphics card and RAM and you may need to tweak the settings to get the best out of your PC.

But – wow!

Google and Microsoft share the stage

Google and Microsoft at CAS
I was lucky enough to be along at the Computing at Schools Teacher Forum at Birmingham University on Friday.

Amongst the fantastic workshops and presentations, Andrew Herbert from Microsoft Research and Peter Dickman from Google were superb and ran a great Q and A session.

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 They were followed by a very jet lagged Matthew MacLaurin from Microsoft Research who not only showed us Kodu in the main hall, he also ran 3 brilliant workshops (then presumably went for a well needed lie down somewhere).
Kodu is amazing and I’ll be covering it soon on my blog.

OS Maps plus BING plus Silverlight

Meets Powerful Tools

I’ve just been looking at a blog by Jim Lynn. I can genuinely say I understand less than 1%, but has he made a stunning facility?

If you click any of the links below, you may need to download and install Silverlight – it’s a free application from Microsoft.

I’ve uploaded a number of Photosynths to the web (here’s one of the
Rockies) – and I thought I’d been doing quite well until I found Jim’s work.

Here’s what happens when Silverlight Deep Zoom technology meets the Ordnance Survey features in Bing maps.

How could you use this in school?

Local Owls – fabulous new born pictures

A Great Local Resource

I’ve noticed in a few schools this week that Owls are currently being sketched, drawn, written about etc.

From Leicestershire Museums.

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Is this the ultimate search?

Once again Richard Byrne has hit the spot!

On his post today he introduced mashpedia.

My pack has just arrived for the Lake Vyrwny Half Marathon in September – so I mashpedia’d Vyrwny. The results are here –

If you mashpedia anything – just keep scrolling down.

Tagxedo – an alternative to Wordle?

I’ve found a new ‘wow – is this an incredible‘ blog. 

Not surprisingly, Richard Byrne (the author) has won multiple international awards  his work. Today’s stunner is an alternative to Wordle.

I like this line – Currently the gallery is under construction, and here are some tag clouds I made myself. Eventually users will be able to submit their artwork to the gallery (though it will be moderated to make this a kids-friendly place).

THIS is a word cloud