Michael Moller

Michael Moller

An OU graduate (B.A. hons) living on the beautiful Isle of Wight. I have completed many FutureLearn courses and am interested in Science, Ecology and History.

Location Shanklin, Isle of Wight


  • Bit confused. Volcanic eruptions during a snowball earth period increase the abundance of C02 in the atmosphere and thereby warm the planet and eventually the snowball retreats. Got this. However, my previous learning has indicated the opposite, i.e. that volcanic eruptions block out the sunlight and thereby cool the earth. So, one event and two possible...

  • Very interesting week. All the information regarding positive feedbacks got me thinking. They are, amongst others, the ice/albedo effect, methane release effect etc.
    So, to postulate into the future. The planet continues to warm at an unsustainable rate (for humans at least). Eventually another feedback loop is reached. Humans die out so the combined damage...

  • Thanks for posting this Allan, I found it very interesting, if somewhat disconcerting, reading,

  • Yes David, I wondered this too. The ice has been around for thousands of years and the sun has been warming the oceans over geologic time. So how has life survived without some sort of counter feedback to nullify these derogatory cycles?

  • Thanks so much for responding Thu. Could you give us all a rough idea of the weather you can expect over a 12 month period. Thank you.

  • @AliceL You raise an interesting point Alice. It seems to me that the 1912 newpaper article regarding the increase of atmospheric gases was not typical of printed articles at that time. My guess is that it would have created very little interest amongst the scientists of the day and even less amongst the general population. Even today, when the climate is...

  • Hmm, it seems that greenhouses are not particularly green!

  • Michael Moller made a comment

    Hi everyone and I'm Mike. Slightly surprised to find the course is primarily for 16-18 year olds as I am slightly over that age group, (73 years old actually). However, I think it is important for older people to gain a good understanding of what is happening to our planet as, sadly, many in my generation choose simply to ignore the crisis on the basis that...

  • A very striking way of showing climate change over the years. In any representation such as this there will always be anomalous years. Indeed, I would be very suspicious of a graph that showed an even smooth rise in temperature with each year increasing bit by bit. The graphs for the individual countries are interesting but the global chart has the most...

  • I am interested to find out what the course has to say about public transport. It seems to me the amount of money being spent developing such things as self-driving cars would be far better spent on improving and extending the public transport network utilising trains and buses adapted to run using low carbon technologies.

  • Keith, you're not the only layman as I am on the course too!

  • Yes, the comment "being good without god" summarises humanistic thought succinctly.

  • Thanks so much for presenting this course. I have completed many FutureLearn courses but this one has had the greatest impact on my life. A really great course, thanks to the educators and a special thanks to the folks who have left comments and advice, really made the course something special and nice to make some (virtual) friends.

  • I've recently taken an interest in Tai Chi and there were classes open before the lockdown. Hopefully these will restart some time soon and then I will be taking a course. Research into these more relaxing forms of exercise, tai chi, yoga etc. would be interesting.

  • I think my diet is OK but I plan to incorporate some more exercise into my life. Have mapped out a pleasant varied walk I can do from my home and this will take me about 30 minutes to complete if I walk briskly. My plan is to do this at least 5 times a week and hopefully this will result in an increase in my overall fitness.

  • My wife and I have been vegetarians for over 40 years and we are both reasonably fit and healthy. I cannot tell if our vegetarianism is responsible for this but we like to think so. The main thing we do apart from being vegetarians is avoid sugar. I believe sugar is very harmful to us and I read a book some years ago by a Professor John Yudkin entitled "Pure,...

  • Interesting Pat that the US chooses to fortify it's milk and the UK does not. I wonder why we in the UK do not choose to fortify our milk when earlier we were told that a significant proportion of the county were deficient in vit. D.

  • Surprising to find that, here in the relatively affluent UK, there is still a significant proportion of people, and most worryingly teenagers, who have diets lacking some essential ingredients.

  • Fascinating video. Very interesting to see the process by which government nutritional recommendations come about.

  • Yes, I've also seen bottled water with the claim "filtered through volcanic rocks for 10,000 years". Followed by "use by next Tuesday"!@PollyRewt

  • I discovered two packets of breakfast fibre cereals in our cupboard. One is All-Bran by a major breakfast cereal provider (starting with a K) and the other is a high-fibre supermarket own brand alternative (and cheaper). The first claims to contain a superior fibre and goes on to explain that the fibre is wheat bran and that All-Bran contains 87% of this. The...

  • So, we learn that in 2016 manufacturers were limited in the claims they made for their products by European Union regulation. I can only hope, now we (GB) are leaving, that these regulations do not fall by the wayside and we lose that protection.

  • Looking at these figures can be confusing. It says that 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day is recommended. Looking at my bottle of cod liver oil tablets it says that 5 micrograms is 100 per cent of the daily requirement. A bit of a puzzle.

  • Well, despite all this scientific evidence I must confess that I just eat what I like. I have been vegetarian for over 40 years and, at age 72, I have no outstanding health issues and am relatively fit. I lead groups of walkers on the Isle of Wight every week (not through the lockdown though) and have always been active although not a gym member.

  • I can't think of anything better to do during lockdown than this course. It has motivated me to get some exercise into my life and I have already started, walking briskly for 30 minutes every day.

  • I made a step platform in the shed (very simple) and now, when the adverts come on we jump up (well get up slowly) and do about 30 steps. Allieviates the boredom of the adverts and we actually enjoy it. We found it an easy way to bring a little exercise into our daily lives.

  • Yes Jack, they are chewable and she takes one a day. The blood tests she has had since she was prescribed these tablets have shown a very positive result.@jackcurtis

  • As a reasonably fit 60 year old, leading walking groups on the Isle of Wight, I was happy with my fitness. However, I managed to fall out of a tree some time ago and was hospitalised for 10 weeks. After this I could hardly manage a walk around our bungalow. The loss of fitness in this relatively short period was frightening. Glad to say I have regained my...

  • Well, if I don't get out and exercise more after finishing this course I never will. Reading all this material it gives a clear sign that as we age we must try to keep the negative effects at bay by looking after our bodies.

  • Hi Pat, I use a Garmin Forerunner 30 but I think there is a newer version out now. Very pleased with it, tells you all sorts of info regarding your exercise pattern and health. There are also a host of these trackers out there, I suggest you google and find one that suits you. I can only say I am very pleased with mine. Good luck!@PatCarlson

  • What is the impact of diet on bone strength? My wife broke her ankle some years ago and was given a routine bone scan. This revealed the beginnings of osteoporosis but with tablets and yearly transfusions the osteoporosis has completely disappeared. This in the absence of any appropriate exercise.

  • I follow this exercise regime rigorously, but I use beer rather than tea!

  • Pat, you can buy fitness trackers that you wear like a watch. These measure various things like calorie use, distance walked and other variables. My tracker enables you to download your activities to the computer and then it will give you a VO2 max reading. I don't know how accurate this reading is but it is some sort of guide to your health.

  • I guess the increase in body weight puts more stress on the bones during normal activities and this helps to gain some bone strength.@SimonBowles

  • Diane, I'm with you on this. I am the grand old age of 72 and am worrying that I may not make it to the end of the course!

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this course. An absolute "Tsunami" of new information for me.

  • It's good to see warning systems put in place in an effort to save lives in the event of an earthquake. However, it seems that the closer you are to the quake (and greater risk of damage) the less time you get to take action.

  • Great video John and it explains why the ocean retreats from the shore line before rapidly advancing as a Tsunami. Thanks.

  • John, you are correct to say the effect on people's religious convictions were shaken by this quake. It occurred during the Feast of All Saints, at around 09:40 local time, thereby causing maximum deaths in the packed churches that collapsed. Additionally, many homes were destroyed by fire from the candles that had been lit for the holy day.

  • Kuhn also said that new scientific truths often win the day not so much because opponents change their minds, but because they die off.

  • We can view the controversy stirred up by Bretz's findings with hindsight and it is then easy to condemn the geologists of the day for being so short sighted. But of course, Bretz was presenting an entirely new hypothesis which would overturn conventional thought. Imagine today if someone were to come up with evidence that in fact Bretz was completely wrong or...

  • Interesting post John. Wegener was lambasted as you say for being a German at a time following the Great War. Additionally he was not a geologist so he was accused of interfering in other's fields. Most damming though was that although his proposal of drifting continents seemed to have some logic the fact he could not propose any mechanism for this to happen...

  • So much packed into this week's study. Following the links, and then following links to the links slowed me down considerably. But, I'm not complaining, it's been fascinating.

  • Imagine a megaDonald Trump!

  • The Solent was formed some 7-8 thousand years ago at the end of the last ice age. Technically it is defined as a drowned river bed. The River Solent's source was the River Frome, and the River Solent's tributaries, the River Test, River Itchen, the River Avon and the River Medina. I live on the south side of the island Christine and we regularly experience...

  • Confused here. Previously I have read, in several different accounts, that Britain became an island separated from mainland Europe about 8 to 10 thousand years ago. This was probably caused by the Storegga landslide tsunami. Now we are told that Britain was separated from Europe by sea level changes around 450,000 years ago. Which is correct?

  • Yes, I read somewhere that if you dumped St. Paul's cathedral into the North sea (unlikely, I know) then the dome would still be above sea level.@OliviaWalker

  • 2 theories Christine. Firstly an earthquake. I know there are no plate boundaries here but earthquakes can occur away from them. Secondly, large deposits of glacial material were deposited in the sea off the Norwegian coast at that time and could have caused instability in the sea floor which set off the slide. Take your pick!

  • How did Noah know the asteroid strike and tsunami were coming?@DavidRees

  • Good question Joan. I believe the Deccan Trap's event began on a limited scale before the Chixqulub impact event. The shock of this asteroid hitting the earth on exactly the opposite side of the planet may have been contributory to the increase in activity around the Deccan Traps. So maybe both are responsible.

  • We tend to be more aware of natural disasters such as Tsunamis through increased media coverage. Additionally, a major tsunami occurring in a holiday resort would nowadays be captured on hundreds of mobile phones and broadcast around the world. In, for example, Victorian times in the Western world people would probably be completely unaware of events such as...

  • Volcanism is obviously of great importance, having been mainly responsible for freeing us from snowball earth. Additionally laying down deposits of fertile soil for agriculture. Earthquakes can allow us to track the seismic waves produced and that helps us to locate water, oil and gas deposits.

  • Most of the eruptions that resulted in the formation of the Deccan Traps occurred from about 65 million years ago until about 60 million years ago although there is some debate as to the precise timing.

  • I'm with you John, we are seeing species disappearing at an alarming rate, faster I believe than at many of the historic mass extinctions that have occurred.@JohnAGarrisonJr

  • 30 cubic miles of ash and debris, wow!

  • Joseph Wright was an amazing talent and many people have never heard of him. My personal favourite picture by him is entitled: "An experiment on a bird in an air pump". Absolutely awesome.

  • Nice video of the movement of tectonic plates through time. Almost a ballet.

  • Yes John, that is true. The term is isostatic rebound and is the result of releasing (through melting) of tonnes of ice from glaciations.@JohnC

  • Nicky, from what I can remember of my earlier studies I think the movement of crustal plates is caused by thermal currents in the mantle "carrying" the rigid surface crust. The whole process is very slow in human terms. The Atlantic ocean is widening at about the same rate as our fingernails grow!@NickyHewitt

  • Additional proof of sea floor spreading (specifically the Atlantic Ocean widening due to the mid-Atlantic ridge) was provided by scrutiny of our atomic clocks. These clocks are incredibly accurate and are scattered around our planet. We periodically check the our clocks against the other clocks to ensure all are in sync. Well, when checking our clock (England)...

  • Our present understanding is that no other planet in the solar system nor our Moon has ever experienced plate tectonics.

  • No, it was San Andreas's fault!@PeterGrover

  • Living on the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England I have never experienced any earthquake activity. The stand out feature of the location of earthquakes on the planet is the good correlation between them and subduction zones around the planet.

  • One of the more significant earthquakes that have occurred in the British Isles is the 1984 Llŷn Peninsula earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale. This was the largest onshore earthquake to occur in the UK since instrumental measurements began. So, for the UK this would probably be classified an extreme event. However, for other areas of the...

  • The Drake equation is an interesting attempt to quantify the chances of finding intelligent life in the universe. However, any equation that gives a result of somewhere between 1 and 87,500 would seem to have little practical use.

  • Bruce the Mososaur?

  • I don't think we should be talking about the possible coming of an extreme event, we are already in one. If you consider the mass extinction events that have occurred periodically during geologic time as extreme events then the present time must fall into that category. We are losing species at the present time at an unprecedented rate, far more rapidly than...

  • We have to consider not that are there planets that could support life in the galaxy, but at what time is that life happening. We as sentient beings have existed for only a few millions of years. Not to be too pessimistic but it is unlikely that we will continue to exist for many millions of years in the future. The damage we do to our planet would seem to...