How will the solar eclipse impact the UK?

I’m sure you’ve heard that there’ll be a solar eclipse in the UK, of varying degrees, on Friday morning around 9:30am. However, have you considered the effects it’ll have on the UK?

People will surely stop work or school to check out the phenomena – how much will productivity be affected?

There’ll even be an impact on the electricity grid as people will head outside thereby using less electricity in their homes and for a short amount of time solar panels will stop working! The National Grid has been planning for this event for the last nine months!

What other things might happen and who might have had to plan for them?


Elton John calls for Dolce and Gabbana Boycott

Elton John has asked people to boycott the Dolce and Gabbana fashion brand for comments the duo have made about IVF treatment creating ‘synthetic’ children. Elton John is a father of two children.


On BBC’s Newbeat Elton John is reported to let rip:

“How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’,” Sir Elton wrote on Instagram.

“And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.

“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions.
“I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”

Other news websites report the story such as the Daily Mail which say that Dolce explains that creating children ‘must be an act of love’, adding: ‘You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog.’ Dolce and Gabbana are pictured below:


What do you think? Do children have to have a mother and father? Do children have to be made through sexual intercourse or can medical advancements like IVF allow people to have children?

Custodial sentence or rehabilitation in the Community?


Often in films and TV programmes all the emphasis is on police investigations (will they be able to find who committed the crime or enough evidence to charge someone) or the court case (will the defendant be found guilty or innocent). What often gets missed (maybe it’s too boring?) is what the guilty person is sentenced with: a custodial or non-custodial sentence.

In GCSE Religious Studies we look at the pros of custodial sentences:

  • Prison is an immediate, easily understood punishment. Following the sentence, the convicted criminal is immediately escorted out of the courtroom, placed in the prison van and to be taken behind the high walls of the prison. No other sentence is seen to have this immediacy.
  • Prison is the only way of ensuring that criminals are taken out of circulation. Alternatives to prison, by their very nature, are riskier.
  • Prison is a deeply unpleasant place. Being in prison is a badge of shame, and society needs to feel that those who break the rules have been shamed.
  • Prison is the most serious punishment that society can inflict and is therefore often seen as a kind of barometer of how seriously society – and the government – takes crime.
  • Prison deters others from committing a similar crime

As well as the cons:

  • Prison costs, according to the latest estimates, £37,500 per year to lock someone in prison. (Or £42,000 for a young offender). Costs of community sentences vary, but the most frequently used orders cost between £2,000 and £4,000. The basic fact is that prison is about twelve times more expensive than a community sentence.
  • Alternatives can require offenders to pay back for their crimes through reparation and community service and help them learn better ways to live. They can be challenging and don’t confirm anti-social behaviour the way prison does
  • Putting an offender into jail will bring them into contact with a large number of other criminals, many of them with much more experience.
  • Prisons take offenders far away from their homes, families and friends. Two thirds of those in prison lose their jobs, around a third also lose their homes. 40 per cent of prisoners lose contact with their families. All of these factors significantly increase the likelihood of reoffending.

An article in The Guardian this weekend describes how community rehabilitation in Manchester is tougher than a custodial sentence (i.e. prison). Would you rather criminals go to prison or have non-custodial sentences to ‘punish’ them for their crimes/ rehabilitate them? I wonder whether there is a difference of opinion across the world…

prison per pop

Organic Farmers Giving up and Going Non-Organic

In Year 7 Geography we debate the merits of Organic Farming versus the costs to consumers (the people purchasing the organic food), but now there is something else to consider, the cost to the farmers themselves.


An article in The Guardian explains how some farmers who up until now have kept their farms organic are having to switch back to non-organic, by buying non-organic feed for their animals, because the costs are too high. They also blame the Soil Association who have been criticised for not supporting their organic farmers enough.

Do you ever buy or eat organic?