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NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools

NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Celia Dugger reports from the Kwamfundo School near Cape Town on South Africa's struggling public education system.

 

This poignant clip shows that South Africa may be in a post-apartheid era, but most certainly not a post-racial era as schools are as deeply divided as ever. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Apartheid still has an influce in South Africa even after its end in 1994.  Much like after slavery was ended at the end of the US Civil War it was many decades, actually 89 years, in 1954 when it finally deceided in Brown vs. Board of Education that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." History shows that a major change in stauts will not give immediate results.  It is going to take decades to come out of the effects apartheid had on the people of South Africa.  This new generation that is being taught, many times unsuecssfully, will hopefully be the new teachers in a new South Africa.  When they teach another generation, that much more removed from apartheid, is when the real change is going to happen.

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Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 19, 2015 1:14 PM

It's difficult to overcome something as oppressive as colonial rule and apartheid. South Africa's schools are still trying do so in a post-apartheid era. Judging from this video, the students have the desire to learn and better themselves to become what the country needs in order to succeed but the teachers and education system itself lacks the desire. I loved seeing the that some of the students actually step up and take charge of the class to help them learn. It's difficult to educate youth if the teachers have no desire to do so and you can't expect the students to move on to college and become a doctor or a chemist if they are unable to pass their science class. It amazed me that with all the struggles these students were going through in their personal lives, they were upbeat and ready and willing to learn.

 

Also, the singing impressed. Not because they were good, but I imagined trying to get a class of 15 year old students in America that were not taking a specifically music class to sing. I could only imagine the groans and refusal to participate from them!

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 6:28 PM

Watching this video makes me glad that I live where I do, it also makes me feel bad for those that are not as lucky as myself and other students of colleges and universities. these students in South Africa's schools are not getting a proper education, the teachers sometimes do not show up, so in some cases the students will assume position and teach those who do not understand the material. It is also sad to know that there are so many out there with great ambitions for their lives and because of their poor education and understanding of subjects, they are failing and might not be able to reach their goals for life. It is good to see though there is a teacher that gets the kids engaged everyday  as a morning warm up to sing. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:06 PM

what i dont understand is how south africa can be on such an upward trend which motivation and nationalism but the rest of africa just refuses to get on the same track. the success of south africa and their constantly improving country should be motivation and a model for the rest of the continent.

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How Israel's Military Success Erased the History of the Diaspora's Jewish Warriors

How Israel's Military Success Erased the History of the Diaspora's Jewish Warriors | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
How Israel's Military Success Erased the History of the Diaspora's Jewish Warriors
Tablet Magazine
The historian Derek J. Penslar starts his masterful new book, Jews and the Military: A History, with an anecdote.
Al Picozzi's insight:

A look at how Jews have served in other militaries and how this led to them to be fighting for the Jewish state of Israel.  Jew have long servered in many western armies, but espiecailly with the British in WW I when they lobbied, sucessfully, to be part of the liberation of the Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire.  There is a long military tradition that Israel has, even though the state of Israel only came into being in 1948. 

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From Victim to (Mutual) Aggressor: South Sudan's Disastrous First Year

From Victim to (Mutual) Aggressor: South Sudan's Disastrous First Year | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The new African country, founded in part to escape from the northern government's violence, is showing some hostility of its own.

 

Independence for ethnic/religious groups, while culturally satisfying, does not necessarily solve all the problems within a region.  South Sudan's 1-year anniversary shows that even though they have a short history, it has been marked by ineffective governance and social instability.  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

This shows that gaining your independence might be hard, but the actual creation of the new state is harder.  Sometimes the new governement will impose the same methods the old "mother" country used that caused the split int he first place.  They need to ask themselves the hard questions about their actions: Are we turing into the old country?  Are we swapping one repressive and agressvie government for another?  Again one needs to look to the past, learn form it and not make the same mistakes..or else what I like saying...history will repeat itself.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 6, 2013 5:51 PM

The fighting between the Republic of Sudan and south Sudan belongs to a different category of armed conflict, a product of internal politics and external pressures suspisons both real and imagined that launched an uncontrollable war, a war that could have been prevented.   

Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 10, 2013 5:32 PM

This is probably a bad comparison, but say an expansion sports team has just been created for the new upcoming season.  There are new players, new equipment, and new managers to run the team.  Many of these new areas probably have little to no experience with each other professionally, so therefore flaws are inevitable.  In a way, the only way to go is up and mistakes which surely will be made can be used to change for the better in the future.  That being said, a new country with new officals, flags, and economy to name a few are all in a "trial run."  No one should expect them to suddenly become prosperous and great over a few years span.  Just like a new team, a country takes time to develop, people to gain comfort, and regulations and norms for people to follow.  I mean, even Rome wasn't built in a day.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 26, 2013 4:39 PM

This war could have been prevented. The Republic of Sudan and South Sudan are fighting over problems that may or may not exist.  Independence does not always solve the problems within a region, as shown in the case of South Sudan.  

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Roman Africa

Roman Africa | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Al Picozzi's insight:

Just a quick little history of North Africa under the time of the Roman Empire.  The interactive maps can be set to a date and then you can explore cities that the Romans founded and developed in this time.  You can also click on these cities and gain some historical information on the cities in the area in this period of history.  With Roman control they brough stability to this area for hundreds of years, something that you really can't say exists today.  They also brough with them technology that allowed cities to be built and water to be supplied to an area that is really not that hospitable away from the coast.  See these pictures of the Hadrian Aquaduct in present day Tunisia.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolemage/sets/72157625911276588/ ; This brought water to the city of Carthage and was built around 131 AD and used unti thr 14th Century.  I don't know about you, but that lasted much longer they any present structure, including our modern roads.  It makes you wonder what this area would have been like if the Romans and meet and them eventully defeat the Carthaginian Empire by the Third Punic War?

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Back to the Future: "The Libyans!"

Why in the United States popular culture of the 1980's would the evil villains are portrayed as Libyans?  How has the perception of Libya changed over the years?  With the toppling of Qaddafi's regime and his death, how do we see Libya today?    


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I was with a high school trip in Italy in 1986 when the US attacked Libya.  One day all is calm, the next day there were heavily armed military state police, the Carabinieri, all over the place in the open wearng fully loaded assault rifles, bery scary for a 15 year old kid who was not subject to this back home in the US.  The attack by the US was done in response to Libyan active suport of terrorists in the 80's, specifically the Berlin nightclub bombings.  So it was the Libyans, along with the Soviets and Iran, who were the "bad guys" in the 1980s.  How times hae changed, with Qaddafi gone the Libyans are looking to return to normal realtions with the world.  Lets see if all parties involved can sit down and talk this one out to have a new start with a clean slate. 

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Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 10:56 PM

It's both interesting and funny at times to see simply how history seems to repeat itself. This clip from Back To The Future is poking fun at the way in which Libya was seen in the 1980's, a hot bed of terrorism and anti-American sentiments. Then after a series of bombings Libya faded from the news and then only recently resurfaced during the Arab Spring as an oppressed nation seeking freedom. After the death of their dictator then it became a place of hope only to fall down a path of radical Islam an now yet again a source of terrorism and anti-American beliefs. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:33 PM

this is pretty funny, great movie. also i dont really know how many people view the Libyans today. it seems that once Qaddafi was removed from power it plunged Libya into a state of disarray but many people dont even talk about them anymore or have an opinion. it seems that people just stopped caring.

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Space archaeologist unlocks secrets of ancient civilizations

Space archaeologist unlocks secrets of ancient civilizations | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Dr Sarah Parcak uses satellite technology to unearth Egypt's ancient settlements, pyramids and palaces lost in the sands of time.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I love the iconic opening of this video clip with the Indiana Jones movie clip which I actually saw at a drive in, yes I'm that old.  Great how we can use technology to find these area that might have gone undiscovered.  As a history guy the implications of using this technology in finding out about the pass is exciting with limitless possibilities.

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 4, 2014 12:10 AM

It is interesting to find out that in this specific article there is controversy over the looting of tombs over 5,000 years ago as soon as the deceased were buried there were many more looting acts taken place. The Arab spring is an important landmark to think of when relating this to the reading.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 20, 2014 11:51 AM

This describes human characteristics that defined this region because it shows how ancient artifacts are being unearthed through new-age technology.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 19, 2015 10:49 AM

Space archaeology only makes sense.  If we have the capability for satellites to take pictures of earth from above why shouldn't it be used for archaeological analysis?  I am sure that this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as what we will see in the future from this specific field. This article/video just lends more credibility to the fact that Archaeology should function as an interdisciplinary field.

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U.S. talking to Turkey about China missile deal concerns

U.S. talking to Turkey about China missile deal concerns | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
ANKARA (Reuters) - The United States is concerned Turkey's decision to build a missile defense system with a Chinese firm could undermine allied air defenses, its envoy said on Thursday, but dismissed...
Al Picozzi's insight:

With China also starting to reopen the silk road they are stepping into the Middle East and a key US and NATO ally.  The Chinese state this is just a commerical deal, with I think it really is trying to lay future groundwork.  The system that Turkey is getting will not be compatible with NATO's weapon systems, which has always been a big part and a requirement of the alliance.  Could this move be the first in Turkey leaving NATO, or even looking away to Europe and looking to China.  With Turkey still not being admitted int the EU they might be feeling they have to look elsewhere to help themselves grow...hmmm maybe the EU should look at their application again??

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 26, 2013 9:58 PM

The US is worried that Turkeys decision to buil a defense system with China would undermine air defenses. They are looking to strengthen their domestic defense industry from fear of overflow from the viloence in Syria. The US is upset becuase Turkeys new model would not be system compatible with the models of other members, that could lead to  a undermining ore principle of the 28-nation alliance;

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Crisis Guide: Iran

Crisis Guide: Iran | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Iran poses steep challenges to its Middle East neighbors and the world. Explore the country's complex regime structure and controversial nuclear program, and watch experts debate the range of policy options."


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

This is an amzing resource to use and find out much about this country, both its past and present.  With this you can understand their feeling of hatred toward the US with its support of the Shah.  This is a relationship that the US needs to repair, but both sides need to work on this.  This are is so important to the US and the world given Iran's geographic location right on the Persian Gulf, whcih they can cut off and controll the oil flowing from that area, plus the oil they control, plus bordering several crucial US and NATO allies.  It only seems in everyone's best interest to sit down and talk.  Given the support Iran gives to many terrorists organization and it's longstanding position that Israel does not have the right the right to exist, this idea of sitting down and talking may be a fantasy.  However, with the new elections and the new President of Iran speaking at the UN there may be renewed hope of at least a start. 

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 11, 2013 7:08 PM

Iran is in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions. One the bordered with Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Iran is stratgeically positioned to have considerable control over the world’s most important waterway for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz.


Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should more about than the three main facts that that most Americans are already aware of (1-Iran has an Islamic-based government, 2-an emerging nuclear program and 3-a ton of oil).  This interactive feature is a good starting point with great videos, timelines, maps, articles that assess the current situation in Iran. 


Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.

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The Ever-changing Map Of Middle East

http://www.middle-east-museum.com The map of Middle East countries and empires has been changing constantly since ancient time. This video shows the various ...
Al Picozzi's insight:

Just a quick time map that shows how this area has been under the control of just about everyone in the area.  There are so many cultural, historical, social, economic and religious, amoung others, reasons that this area is so convoluted.  There is no real easy way to explain why the conflicts here keep going.  My dad once told be that they have been fighting for so long they forgot why and for what.  That they are fighting because theirs fathers did and their fathers and their fathers and so on.  Didn't Einstein say that the definition of insanity was "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?"  Well seems to me that this applies to this entire area of the world today. 

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Countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood

Countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Imgur is used to share photos with social networks and online communities, and has the funniest pictures from all over the Internet.

 

This map is incredible...it highlights the importance of not just how many supporters you have, but WHICH supporters are in your corner. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

The map is amazing and so are some of the comments that go along with it.  The countires in grey though I think have been mislabelled.  The US would want a Palesinian state as long as it is not under the control of a terrorist group and one that will acknowledge the the State of Israel has the right to exist.  It is amazing to see that they want the right of statehood but they are unwilling to grant that right to the people of Israel.  Its also amazing to note that many of the countries in green do recognize Israel and its right to exist.  This land has been under the control of many different people over the centuries and borders have been drawn and redrawn over and over.  It is time to sit down, talk like human beings and come to a solution.  Is it going to happen???  Probably not in my lifetime or my kids...history is just repeating itself again! 

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Kyle M Norton's comment, January 30, 2012 2:13 PM
This map does a good job of showing the division of east vs west
Kmcordeiro670's comment, February 2, 2012 5:24 PM
This map highlights the complexity of geopolitics in our modern times even further when set along side the current Syrian situation. The Palestinian conflict seems to be more social and political, the Syrian conflict has a much broader scope in terms of resources at risk. Thus if this was asking supporters of the Syrian resistance the giant mass of Russia must be dropped as a supporter, the same of Saudi Arabia. They have a much large stack in Syria remaining tyrannical for economic and regional issues then if Palestine was De-colonized.
Derek Ethier's comment, October 25, 2012 10:46 PM
This fact that this map displays how "Western" nations (NATO, U.N., Australia, etc.) are the only nations to deny the Palestinian bid for statehood shows how divided our world is today. Western nations dominate the world's landscape, though China has gained a great amount of power over the past decade or so. In reality, Palestine probably does deserve statehood. National boundaries should be drawn around ethnic lines. It some cases this is impossible, as in this case. The support Western Europe pledges to Israel on this issue is obvious and this is but another reason why tensions increase between the Middle East and the Western world.
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Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous.

Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous. | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Oil-rich, velvet-rope-poor Azerbaijan, a country about the size of South Carolina on the Caspian Sea, would very much like to be the world’s next party capital.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Much like Dubai they are using their oil wealth to build a city on the ocean.  Also they share a border with Iran, which makes the US even more interested in the area.  They also as of late have supported the US against Russia in the Syria conflict.  This small, but oil rich and strategically located country is getting involved in geo-politics and want to make sure people know its on the map.  Long a part of the USSR it is establishing itself as a country in the world and on its way to make its own idenity.  They are also looking to lay a gas pipeline that will just increase their standing in the economy of the area and the world.  They still have thier issues, Russia could flex its muscle in the area and there is the the ongoing conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.  Going to be an interesting time in this part of the world.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 1:06 PM

Oil is a prime element in making a country very rich, almost like gold was back in the Age of Exploration.  The fact that a country that not many have heard of (including myself) one day hopes to be the new Dubai is completely believable.  Dubai itself, at one time, was another country that no one had heard of before and yet today it is the playground of the mega-rich.  Ibrahimov certainly has a dream for the city of Baku which he wants to build as the "Dubai of Central Asia".  I think that when it is all finished, the city should be impressive.  Yet, Ibrahimov always tried to avoid political questions, however this is very wise of him, because in this part of the world politics can be a very dangerous affair.  Ibrahimov himself, is very very wealthy.  I am not surprised that he said people with political pull believe in what he is doing.  The only thing that worries me about these oil rich countries is once the oil eventually runs out, then what will they do?  Also, it is interesting to see how Russia will react as the country of Azerbaijan increases its international presence in the coming years and becomes (in its hope) a rich nation.  I believe that will be very interesting to see, especially if the nation attempts to send oil directly to Europe, thus weakening an advantage Russia holds over the Western Europeans.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:52 PM

Azerbijan a country on the west coast of the Caspian sea is a very well equipped area with oil. This country also has the waterway in and out of the Caspian. Because of the oil and minerals that this country has they are becoming increasingly rich and gaining strength in the middle east. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 3:13 PM

By the looks of it, a tiny nation about the size of South Carolina, Azerbaijan wants to be exactly like Dubai. They want to be famous for what they have. It appears as if they will use their crude oil resources as their help to the top of the world. They will be quite the impressive country if they come out to be what they want. With help from the petroleum country BP, they are pumping oil out of the Caspian Sea. 

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Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars?

Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars? | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
King Abdullah announced on Sunday that  Saudi women will be allowed to vote and run for office in municipal elections beginning in 2015.

 

Driving a car as simple as it may sound, is a method of enhancing mobility and that means freedom of spatial expression.  This decision to allow women to vote has only demonstrated the cultural constraints of gender roles and how much more progress is needed.  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

This amazing to see that women still have very little rights in this kingdom.  Again like the article state the right to vote in Saudia Arabia is noting, especially when compared to the right to vote in the US.  This is still a monarchy, ruled by a family from above, not a constitiutional monarchy like the UK, there is no parliament and  the elections can be canceleld at any time.  To the Saudi's giving the women the right to drive goes against their very culture, their belief that women need to be subserviate to men.  The right to vote, since it is meaningless, means nothing to advacne women's rights in Saudia Arabia.  The king really is not giving anything at all, he is just making it look like he is...interesting.

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 2014 7:04 PM

(Central Asia topic 5 [independent topic])

The decrees made by Saudi Arabia's King regarding women's future rights are being viewed as empty promises. On top of that, this topic is at the convergence of not just political, but also social and religious topics. Political, social, economic, and religious interests are all tugging issues such as women's rights to vote and drive in different directions.

I am surprised this article did not mention something which I had heard before: the Saudi government still does not allow women to drive not only out of social custom, but also because their highways are facing a congestion problem. Giving women drivers licenses could roughly double the number of cars on the already-gridlocked roads, making commuting and transportation even more of a hassle.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:51 PM

What I find interesting is that allowing women to vote seems like a big step towards equality but it may be more superficial at addressing the real issue at hand. Women in this country are living with so much constraint, letting them vote may not be the giant step forward it seems to be. There are still cultural and institutional barriers that restraint the freedom and natural rights of women.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:40 AM

This decision is absolutely meaningless. Elections matter little in Saudi Arabia. The nation is an Absolute Monarchy. The Kings word on all issues is absolute. On the other hand driving a car, is a much more important symbol of freedom. Allowing women to drive, would give them a sense of mobility. Driving in all most every culture is associated with independence. The car allows you to travel anywhere you want, and avoids the trap of relying on others for transportation. By driving a car, you essentially achieve a certain level of independence. By keeping women from driving, you keep them from achieving independence, and force them to be dependent on the males in their lives.    

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.

 

The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   

 

Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

We never heard about this during the Soviet Union as the news was controlled.  Also during the Soviet time I do not believe environmentalists would have gotton the chance to investigate the area.  With the fall of the USSR the world can now see some of the environmental effects that communism had on Russia.  These towns are built around the factory.  Much like the old steele towns in PA, like Allentown.  However Allentown chnaged with the times and is able to support, although it is difficult, the population that was focused on the steele industry.  Here is this remote area of Russia, there is nothing else in the area.  There is no service economy in the area, just the paper factory.  It has been kept open because of Putin who basically said to ignore all environmental laws and regulations and he made sure the environmental groups are not an issue anymore.  Not surprising from a former KGB Lt. Colonel and the Director of the FSB, the sucessor of the KGB.  To solve the issue in these monotowns I think there needs to be government intervention to transition the economies in theses areas.  To keep these factories running in the long run will just hurt all the people in the towns with no end in sight.  However, I do not think this will happen unless there is a change in the leadership of Russia, something I do not think will happen anytime soon.

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Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 18, 2015 11:12 PM

Lake Baikal is one Russia's oldest and deepest body of freshwater but is turning into a swamp, Russian ecologists warn. They say that tons of liquid waste from tourist camps and water transport vehicles is being dumped into the lake. The financial crisis in Russian has been a big problem because it is leaving factories abandoned and leaving waste all over towns. If Baikal is ruined, it is going to put tons of peoples lives at risk for people who depend on this water. Also, a part of this Lake is frozen. This is fresh clean water that makes this lake what it is. 

The paper factory has caused some major pollution into the lake and all the chemicals are affecting the lake each and everyday. This beautiful land could possibly be destroyed for measures aren't taken, and can also just be another wasteland. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:31 PM

This mill on Lake Biakal was created in the soviet era. This was created and made a increasing well place to work with the promise of a bright future for its workers. Instead when it comes to the post soviet era its a failing community. Not because of the workers but because of the era that they live in. The age of environmentalists. because of this the mill and its workers are suffering. Many of the people that had moved there to work in the mill in the 60's with a promise of a bright future. However today the people who originally moved there and the descendents are paying the price for the soviet promise. If the mill were to forever close then the people of the area would basically have no life and future. They wouldnt even have enough money to move out of look for jobs.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 1:28 PM

Seeing this video and the lack of human development in this small town is astounding. They are destroying a lake and the environment about them, they do not care though. Unfortunately, they have to not care about the environment, they are so desperate for work to make money to live and support themselves and family, that they are willing to do what it takes to keep their jobs at the mill. The workers and citizens of the area know about the consequences of the pollution, they know it needs to be taken care of, but with the depravity they have, they have to. They are faced with a situation no one want to be in... work and destroy the environment so they have money to live, or be without life necessities. 

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Video: Watching and Waiting in South Africa

Video: Watching and Waiting in South Africa | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The Times’s Marcus Mabry reports from Johannesburg, where South Africans are closely watching Nelson Mandela’s condition.
Al Picozzi's insight:

An important world figure, not just to South Africa, but to the world.  Called the father of his country many feel that when he passes in s akin to what Amercian felt when George Washington passed.  A man who led his people out of oppression to found a country.  A little different in that George Washington led to the formation of a new country while Nelson Mandela led to the creation of a new system in an already existing country.  A great man that led a hard life that led to a whole new, and better,  life for his people.

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Nairobi attack: Moment Kenya mall terrorist executes shopper in cold blood

Nairobi attack: Moment Kenya mall terrorist executes shopper in cold blood | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The shocking footage, which emerged only yesterday, shows the moment terrified men, women and children run for their lives from the attackers
Al Picozzi's insight:

This just show how terrorism is a fact a life even in Africa.  The Somali based terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attck in response to Kenya attacking al-Shabab in Somalia.  Kenya said it attacked into Somalia in response to the terroist activity of al-Shabab.  It is a vicious circle.  Also it has come out that the terrorists did come there with the express purpose of killing non-Muslims as they let them identify themselves and leave the mall.  With Somalia still really lawless and no central governement it is likely these attacks will continue.  This will prompt Kenya, and I believe other countries in Africa to try and control these groups even if in Somalia.  This will just continue the cycle.  The first step to stop this is to get a government in Somalia.  In a related story, see http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/09/2013923205423372989.html the FM of Kenya states the the group al-Shabab is under the control of al-Qaeda which shows that this group is still very active.

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Somalia's Pirates Face Growing Backlash

Somalia's Pirates Face Growing Backlash | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Abshir Boyah, a pirate who says he has hijacked more than 25 ships off the coast of Somalia, says he will give up this career if certain terms are met.

 

What economic, cultural and political circumstances in the 21st century would allow for piracy to exist?  What are the impacts of piracy on Somalia?  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Much like the piracy in the Caribbean in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries it is done in order to gain wealth and by the looks of it, fame.  They are called Pirate Kings in the video by the New York Times.  Again much like the pirate kings of the Caribbean.  Here however they are willing to give it up in order to better their country with the help of the internation community, the pirates of the Caribbean didn't have a country and they liked it that way.  However, it was tried in the early 1990's to help allievate the food and humanitarian suffering.  However the warlords of the time, especailly Aideed, saw their power, as well as their money, disappearing, so they fought this relief effort and kept Somalia in the dangerous situation it is in today.  So you have to ask the question: Can you take the pirates seriously that they want to change??  Past history says no.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 4:25 PM

Somalia's pirates are notorious worldwide, and while the pirates may be committing horrible crimes, it is important to understand why these people have turned to illegal means to survive. The economic state of Somalia is rather grim. Considered a textbook "failed state", men for the most part have to choose between working as a fishermen or turning to piracy. Since fishermen barely scrape a living from the waters, Somalian men turn to piracy. With no other economic opportunities, it is often seen as the only choice. Many Somali pirates openly admit that if they had other options, they would absolutely change occupations. 

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:17 PM

The media oftentimes demonizes specific groups of people. So I was presently surpassed that the NYT’s investigated the human aspect of desperation. Many of these Somalians are hopeless and the economic burden on their shoulders drives them to act unethical. When you first priority is survival, courteousness and moral laws often don’t apply. Nevertheless, it was cool to hear about these human stories.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 31, 2015 7:37 PM

Just like the pirates of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, these folks bring all the vices of the originals except perhaps without much of the romanticism that comes with the elders. Though perhaps in two hundred years someone will make a movie titled Pirates of the Somalia featuring Johnny Depp's great-great-great grandson. 

 

It's understandable why these people want to get out of the business. Despite the sex and wealth they've gotten, it's not exactly stable employment. Nor is it as safe as sitting at a desk or being a plumber. But when your society simply doesn't support these industries, then the people are left to resort to more drastic measures.

 

It's also interesting to see the quazi-government stepping in to try and combat it. Traditional Muslim values are the reason for them wanting and end to it. It's understandable to not want children to look up to pirates and the life of crime they lead. But in order for the practice to stop, the pirates want international environmental protections, aid, and government support. Should the international community give into piracy or should it be removed by force?

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A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next

A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Prof. Arnon Sofer sets out the link between drought, Assad’s civil war, and the wider strains in the Middle East; Jordan and Gaza are also in deep trouble, he warns

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems that water, not oil, might be the cheif source of conflict in North Africa, the Middle East, and Africa in general in the near future.  Water, like food, is the most basic resource we need to survive.  If that is cut off people as well as nations are more likely to go war over water, since we know they will over oil.  The climate change is more than just rising water on coast lines, it effects the water supply of nations and regions that have issues getting fresh water even without the climate change.  Seems we have to solve the water problem, as well as the oil problem now.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 11:25 AM

The article explains how population growth, climate change, drought, and water shortages could have contributed to the rise of war in Syria. This is an interesting interpretation, one which certainly could have been a contributing factor, but not all the Arab Spring can be attributed to water shortages so it is not a direct cause. The water shortages in Syria and a lack of government response certainly could have fanned flames which already existed due to an oppressive regime and regional conflicts. Climate change gets a lot of attention for the potential damage it could do to the environment, but I had not given much thought to the conflicts it could cause between nations and peoples.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:22 PM

Egypt may be the next country to be in deep trouble. With so many militant attacks coming out of Egypt to being with there is no surprise that the Middle East thinks it will be next on the list.

Pamela Hills's curator insight, July 18, 2014 8:37 AM

 A world at war and hot spots are growing with people caught in middle <3

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Egypt: Military may turn to Russia for aid and alliance | North Africa

Egypt: Military may turn to Russia for aid and alliance | North Africa | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Egypt has threatened to go it alone on foreign policy issues effectively disregarding its tradition allies - the United States or Israel – after Washington cut military aid.

Via Meagan Harpin
Al Picozzi's insight:

There is a fine line here that the US needs to be carefu on.  Geographically Egypt is extemely important to the US given that it controls the Suez Canal.  It is also an important ally in the fight against terrorism and has the only Arab peace treaty with Israel.  The cut of military aid could all end this.  In driving Egypt to seek aid from the Russians they is no need to keep that peace treaty with Israel, even though I do not think they wil end it, but there is always the possibility.  This is also important geopolitically, with the Chinese making inroads into this area, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/24/us-turkey-china-defence-usa-idUSBRE99N09X20131024 and Russia making its move in this area the US may be n the process of losing influence in this area of the world, something I do not think the US afford.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 17, 2013 5:40 PM

After Washington cut military aid Egypt has begun threating to go alone on foreign policy. Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said that Egypt should turn to Russia for military aid to manage its civil war with terrorism. 

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 4:40 PM

There always seemed to be a tension between the United States and Russia and its former Soviet partnerships.  The military hostility and even threats within the last few years show that relations among the world's superpowers and countries in the Middle East are always up for debate and controversy.  It's no wonder that Egypt threatening to turn to Russia for aid has rasised eyebrows among the international relations and trading traditions.  Though the U.S. can have a tough time assuring the relations among many of the Middle Eastern countries, they are necessary to be fulfilled given the rough history of all participating countries.

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Restoration Workers Make Find of a Lifetime Involving a Hidden Da Vinci Painting

Restoration Workers Make Find of a Lifetime Involving a Hidden Da Vinci Painting | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Restoration workers made the find of a lifetime, uncovering a Leonardo da Vinci mural from the late 1400s, hidden under up to 17 layers of paint.
Al Picozzi's insight:

Just an incredible find of one of the greatest art masters the world has even known.  Seeing some of his works in person is just incredible.  To see the talet he had in a day and age without the technology we enjoy today is just amazing.  One of the greatest finds in years for the art world and the world in general.

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The secret powers of time.

The secret powers of time. | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The secret powers of time.

Via Paige McClatchy
Al Picozzi's insight:

Great little explination of how time and how we see time can effect even the smallest things we do. 

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 22, 2013 9:33 PM

Great video about the geography of time and how it translates into culture

Sharrock's curator insight, February 10, 2014 1:42 PM

This is video explores the reasons why students are having difficulty staying interested in school, classes, and lecture format. There are a few generalizations, especially that students are playing video games so often. Screen immersion and interactivity could be "substituted" pretty easily with video gaming though.

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Viewfinder: Gaza's Tunnels

A World Report Viewfinder from inside the tunnels that connect blockaded Gaza to the outside world...

Why are tunnels from Egypt to Gaza forming?  How is Israel's policies a part of this phenomenon? 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Amazing to see what people will do to survive.  They are doing this out of necessity.  Many goods they are smuggling are what I believe should be allowed in through normal means, food, water, medicine and anything needed for basic human needs.  I understand the blockade in stopping weapons and items of that nature, but stopping basic foodstuffs is just plain wrong.  The people are living and surviving by these tunnels and built an economy on them.  One thing that was really interesting was at the end when the man seemed he wanted the blockcade to go on or else it would close his tunnel and he would have to get "a real job."  The effects of this blockcade are on both ends of the spectrum, people want it to end so things can return to normal and others want it to go on to continue to make money.

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Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 12, 2012 12:42 AM

I think that these tunnels show the willpower of the Palestinians.  They are risking their lives on a daily basis in order to smuggle goods that Palestine could not obtain through normal means.  I think this video really shows the dangers that present themselves in these tunnels.  Israel has the right to monitor these tunnels and can very easily have them destroyed if they feel as though guns are being moved through them.  The people who move through these tunnels every day are quite brave.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 4:20 PM

What some media has led the "western world" to perceive is that many of the people living here would be trying to smuggle illegal goods such as bombs, drugs, etc.  Sure that may be true in some cases, but many times there are respectable citizens which simply need food or necessary items to sustain their lives.  Because of the tight security measures regarding people and goods, the people of Gaza simply try to find a way around the authorities, and the best current option is by tunnels.  Situations like this show that if people really need certain things, with some help and determination, they can achieve that goal.  In the end, hopefully it is for good more often than bad.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:09 PM

These tunnels give the Palestinians a way to access a world that has been politically blockaded from them. Connections that allow the sharing of goods are not something that should be avoided. Food and goods could be a way to make a pseudo peace and interdependence between both sides of a centuries old conflict.

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Palestinian Loss of Land

Palestinian Loss of Land...

This video hammers home the point that Palestine has consistently and repeatedly 'lost out' on land disputes and wars with Israel since the end of World War II. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Interesting that they showed a map of 1886.  Palestine didn't exits in 1886 either, it was under control of the Ottoman Empire and the Ottoman Turks.  Egypy controlled this area at one time, around 3000BC, Then there was a Kingdom of Israle around 1050 BC, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Macedonains, Romans, Byzantines, Sassanids, Muslims of the Caliphates, Seljuks, Europeans during the Crusades, Saladin, Ottomans, Europeans again after WW I, then the state of Israel after the end of WW 2 all controlled this area.  This area has been under control of many different rulers, empires and cultures.  I know I must have missed some.  It is not as simple as Palestininians lossing land, the issue goes wat back before anyone today cares ot even remember.  If Im right there was never a state called Palestine under modern times, but there was a Kingdom of Israel.  I know that is not a justification for the right to exist or not exits, but it shows a history of a nation of Israel.  If the Palestinian people want a state, why don't they recognize that Israel has the same right?  One that might be grounded in history more than theirs.  I do believe the Palestinians have the right to  state, but they need to recognize that Israel has the same right that they want. 

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China bypasses American ‘New Silk Road’ with two of its own

China bypasses American ‘New Silk Road’ with two of its own | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
China aims to secure energy supplies with large Central and Southeast Asian investments.
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems the Silk Road is making a comeback ni Central Asia.  China wants to make sure it has access to new gas and oil of the new Central Asian republics like Kazakhstan.  Once used as the major overland trade route to the west, the silk road is being reborn.  So is sea trade through the Strait of Malacca, whcih was huge in the 14th, 15th,16th and 17th centuries.  China is using its money and influence in the area to reopen these "silk roads."  Even Chinese President Xi Jinping talked about the travels of the Han dynasty envoy Zhang Qian to this area.  It seems that history does repeat itself.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 21, 2013 8:31 PM

Chinas president is trying to build a new silk road. This would secure Chinas energy supplies, boost trade and transport links and strengthen regional policy coordination from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea. 

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Human/Environmental Interactions

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. 


Via Seth Dixon, Paige McClatchy
Al Picozzi's insight:

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:49 PM

I've read about the disaster of the Aral Sea before when I was taking a class on Eurasian history, but being able to visualize it made it even more striking. It was especially striking when, at the end, the man was talking about the great paradox he sees between people who are being threatened with rising ocean levels and then his people who are threatened by the drying of the Aral. It really does show how humans impact the environment, and demonstrates that areas in which people are manual laborers, working resources, health and environmental conditions tend to be worse. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 12:24 PM

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, October 6, 2014 10:38 PM

The Aral Sea was a source of food for the residents, as it was home to thousands of fish and water was used to irrigate crops.Also acted as a climate regulator. Therefore, its virtual disappearance has caused winters and summers are extreme.Today the drought is considered one of the greatest ecological disasters caused by man. scientists estimated that the Aral sea will disappear before 2020. A plan to expand the cultivation of cotton throughout Central Asia and thus a system of canals for irrigation that significantly decreased the amount of water reaching the Aral Sea. It angers me to see that the human has being causing many natural disasters.

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Shiite and Sunni: What are the differences?

Shiite and Sunni: What are the differences? | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
While the two sects share the same basic beliefs, differences in hierarchy and doctrine make Catholics and Protestants an apt comparison.

 

Too often we categorize all Muslims together as though they all thought the same things and share the same beliefs.  Although the divisions within the "House of Islam" run deeper that the Sunni/Shi'a split, it is the best starting place to get a nuances senses of regional differences among Islamic groups. 


Via Mr. David Burton, Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

It is important to know the differences here.  It also seems that the most extreme sects are coming from the Shiite sect even though they only make up about 15% of the Muslim population.  They are centered in Iraq and Iran from the old Safavid Empire which took the Shiite sect and put them in conflict withthe Ottomans who took the Sunni sect.  This led to many wars in this areas between these two Muslim empires from the 16th to 18th century. 

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 25, 2012 11:06 PM
It is amazing how different sects of the same religion can evolve. Their argument over the successor to their religion carved a divide that would be felt over a millennia and felt even today. In Iraq, when the Shiite majority attempted to rebel against their opressive government, Sunni leader Saddam Hussein murdered thousands of Shiites. The fight continues in other countries as well.
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 24, 2013 9:46 PM

The Christian Science Monitor's attempt to categoraize the differences between Shiit and Sunni Muslims is a good effort but I can't help but feel like its just scratches the surface. I would have also liked to know how each sect views government, gender relations, and, geographically, where each sect has dominance. These other measures would have provided a more comprehensive portrait. I would say, however, that the tone was fair and detatched.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:06 PM

I think as Americans we should definitely know the difference between Sunni and Shiite. Our foreign policy in the Middle East is so dependent on our understanding of the Islam and I think it is imperative that Americans avoid lumping all Muslims into one category and ignoring the differences within the worlds largest religion.