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What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow?
Action festive, conviviale et revendicatrice d'une nouvelle société
Curated by Betty Denise
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Conversation: Al Assad Consolidates Power in Syria

Conversation: Al Assad Consolidates Power in Syria | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
www.stratfor.com - Today, 12:28 PM  Stratfor Founder and Chairman George Friedman and Chief Geopolitical Analyst Robert D. Kaplan discuss how Bashar al Assad has legitimized his authority over the course of the Syrian conflict.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 19, 7:33 PM

Stratfor specializes in global intelligence in key geopolitical regions.  Syria certainly fits that description and in this video, the two most public faces of Stratfor discuss the reasons for the Syrian Civil War from and internal perspective and also impacts from a broader outside lens. 


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Puzzle: Put the Congressional Districts Back Together

Puzzle: Put the Congressional Districts Back Together | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

Gerrymandering is the practice of redrawing congressional districts after a decadal census to favor one political party over the other.


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Dennis V Thomas's curator insight, October 5, 2013 10:42 AM

Do these look like they are contiguous and compact? Many of the issues in the House of Reps is that districts have been created that are super majority for one party and the only competition is in the primary. This creates extremism and diminishes the opportunity for dialog. Only radicles can be elected in the primary election and those that represent the majority are defeated. One great example was Dick Lugar in Indiana.

Dennis V Thomas's curator insight, October 5, 2013 10:43 AM

Do these look like they are contiguous and compact? Many of the issues in the House of Reps is that districts have been created that are super majority for one party and the only competition is in the primary. This creates extremism and diminishes the opportunity for dialog. Only radicles can be elected in the primary election and those that represent the majority are defeated. One great example was Dick Lugar in Indiana.

Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 20, 2013 3:15 PM

Personally I think Gerrymandering is unfair and should not be allowed, because it gives a political party to much of an advantage over the other. It really is of no surprise that our government finally shut down. By packing certain states and restructuring districts to create more of an advantage for your political party is corrupt. How are we supposed to run a successful government when we are altering districts and packing districts to favor a certain party? That is unfair and shouldn't be allowed. After all these years we should have some system in place to make government election as fair as possible. But by allowing parties to set different districts we will never reach that point. Gerrymandering is destorying our government, and we can see that from the most recent government shut down. There needs to be some changes made. 

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Protests 'no Turkish Spring' says PM

Protests 'no Turkish Spring' says PM | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan again condemns the anti-government protests in Turkey, saying they do not constitute a Turkish Spring.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 6, 2013 7:48 PM

Many young citizens are accusing the Turkish government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and have taken to the streets as they fear that their secular society will follow more traditional Islamic values (just last week, the sale of alcohol was outlawed).  Over 1,700 have been arrested in 67 cities in these protests in the last few days.


Tags: conflict, political, Turkey.

Sarah Baker's comment, June 7, 2013 1:36 AM
That's no a good news. !
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The Geography of Chechnya

The Geography of Chechnya | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
The Caucasus region, dominated by the imposing Great Caucasus mountain range and stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has long been known as one of the world’s ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas.

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 17, 2013 3:01 PM

Using this article helps to teach ourselves, students, and others about particular places in the world that are unknown or very little known.  We can use articles such as this one to be less prejudiced and more apt to think about these places of the world in a different context rather than just a negative, terrorism-related one.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 19, 2013 10:16 AM

Most Americans had never heard Chechnya before the Boston bombing in April 2013. Now, most think that it is full of America-hating terriosts. However, Chechnya is so very complex and diverse a place, that it is ludacris to think that. Over 100 languages are spoken in the country. The southern half speaks languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Turkish, Iranian and Chechens are the languages you will probably hear in the North. Another misconception is that there are many Christians in Chechnya as well as Muslims. This country is made up of so many different groups, it is incredible. 

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 9:27 AM

It is amazing to consider such a small area (the size of New England) could hold such a vast area of languages.  The mountainous region certainly helps in creating such diversity as it isolated villages from each other in the ages before modern communication and travel.

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Syria for Educators

Syria for Educators | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
-Introduction (1 minute) -Sign up for a free Prezi account and give your students background with the Syria the Basics   PREZI . (5 minutes)  - Follow up with another   PREZI   about Youth...

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 6, 2013 7:49 AM

Have you wanted to teach about current events in Syria but weren't sure where to start?  This resource suggested by the Arizona Geographic Alliance has lesson plans, materials and resources for all grades.  


Tags: Syria, conflict, K12, political, MiddleEast, war.

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Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.

 

This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table.  Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel.  This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem. 

 

Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping. 


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Human Conflict Seen From Space

Human Conflict Seen From Space | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

I'll let Douglas Keeney's own words and this image speak for themselves: "The geography of human conflict as seen from space at night. The Strait of Hormuz as seen at night from the space station is a beautiful lesson in the geography of conflict. How much we learn by simply tracing the fingers of human populations as seen superimposed over the geography of Earth. Enjoy." 

-From Lights of Mankind: Earth at Night From Space

 

What would a picture look like from a drone's perspective?  Where are these places that are being targeted?  This Instagram account is incredibly thought-provoking and informative.


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Puerto Rico endorses US statehood

Puerto Rico endorses US statehood | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans faced a fundamental question on Election Day: Should they change their ties with the United States?

 

Lost in the election day enthusiasm throught much of the United Statees was coverage about Puerto Rico.  A 'non-binding referendum' was on the ballot to reconsider the 114-relationship with the United States as a territory.  54% voted for a change, while 46% favored the status quo.  The second question was asking how to change that relationship: 61% voted for statehood, 33% endorsed a sovereign free association, and 5% for independence.  President Obama has gone on record stating that he'll support the will of a clear majority.  We'll see what this means, but we are a lot closer to 51 states than we've ever been before.  For more information, see Matt Rosenberg's assessment.

 

Tags: USA, political, states, autonomy. 


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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 1:45 PM

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Geographic Analysis of 2012 Presidential Election

Geographer Andy Baker provides an excellent spatial analysis of the key voting patterns that will shape the 2012 presidential election in the United States.

 

Tags: political, statistics, spatial, regions, USA.


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Jesse Gauthier's comment, October 14, 2012 3:24 PM
This video was very helpful for me because the speaker clearly gave visual examples of the many topics that can steer certain voters in the U.S. to vote a certain way, during election time. It helped me better interpret political data, since I am a visual learner.
Betty Denise's comment, October 15, 2012 6:19 AM
RT the comment !
Frank Fenn's comment, March 2, 2013 2:09 AM
I used this during the Political Unit. I find that 9th graders know nothing about politics beyond what concerns them at the moment. Stretching their brain back to when they were 7 helps build the political foundations of the future!
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The New World

The New World | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
An interactive series of maps show possible new additions to the world’s list of independent nations.

 

This is great way to show examples of devolution and political instability.  Included are 11 potential scenarios where further fragmentation/disintegration might occur or even greater regional integration that would redraw the map.  These case studies include: Somalia, Korea, Azerbaijan, Belgium and the Arabian Gulf Union.

 

Tags: political, devolution, supranationalism, war, autonomy, unit 4 political.


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Benjamin DeRita's comment, September 23, 2012 9:36 PM
Very interesting and informative piece, I found slide (10) especially intriguing with its discussion on the possibility of China claiming parts of Siberia.
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In China, the Web and Politics Don't Mix

In China, the Web and Politics Don't Mix | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
It’s the biggest political scandal to hit China in years, and it destroys any possibility of a smooth transition to the next generation of top leaders.

 

Seth Dixon-On April, 10th, Bo Xilai was suspended from the Central Committee and the Politburo amid allegations of his wife being suspected of murder.  This juicy gossip leads to political and social media pitfalls for the Chinese government.  One of the great paradoxes in China is the juxtaposition of it's rush towards economic prosperity through technological modernity combined with the authoritarian impulse to control the media.  For three day, the government shut down SINA, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter because the gossip was too prevalent to monitor all of the discussions.  Chinese bloggers are finding ways around the overworked censors through coded messages, that won't trip the alarm bells. 


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Walled World

Walled World | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 14, 9:48 PM

It appears India is constructing a 2,500-mile long fence around its neighboring country Bangladesh. The barbed wire fence may have been built due to that fact India has one of the largest populations in the world and they do not want the struggling people of Bangladesh to enter their country. Also, areas around the fence are becoming dangerous, with more than 1,000 people killed by border patrol and criminals. There are not many jobs in Bangladesh and the people are having trouble finding clean drinkable water. Lastly, the people may be fleeing into India hoping to find work and an improved lifestyle.  

Whitney Souery's curator insight, May 28, 6:51 PM

Walls are a symbol of political boundaries and motives, usually intended to keep certain people in or out. This website in particular clearly highlights this idea in human geography as it explores the various walls that mark our landscape and thus contribute to changing policies and borders. Walls can also affect the landscape, not just mark it, as an effect of asserting either political dominance or border policies, as best seen by the resulting environmental results that come from it and the displacement of people (as seen on Palestinian-Israeli border). 

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 1:06 AM

We looked at this map in class its really interesting nd weird to see all the dividing walls in the world and to discover ones youve never seen before.

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Redistricting

How can cartography swing an election?  Simple.


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Miroslav Milosavljević's comment, July 27, 2013 5:56 PM
This great video example may serve students for a better understanding the term. Well done!
Dean Haakenson's curator insight, July 28, 2013 10:40 AM
Thanks Seth Dixon for Scooping this! And thanks Mr. Burton for rescooping. Great lesson for government and geography.
Donald Dane's comment, December 10, 2013 10:14 AM
this video shows the process from which political candidates win their respective elections. gerrymandering is an illegal use of power in the respect to redistricting and moving town lines in order to pump up voting power. this is an illegal action that happens countless times in elections and taper to higher powers. this gerrymandering idea takes the voter power to elect and puts it into the hands of the actual political personnel. by reshaping you can stack votes into one particular area this way you are guaranteed to win that district. this is where you see districts with these crazy shaped areas rather than nice square or other simple shapes.
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Republicans and Millennials Are More Likely to Find Syria on a Map

Republicans and Millennials Are More Likely to Find Syria on a Map | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
45 percent think the U.S. should intervene, but only half can identify the country.

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South Sudan: The World’s Newest Country

South Sudan: The World’s Newest Country | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 17, 5:08 PM

South Sudan recently gained its independence from Sudan. South Sudan is now home to 10-12 million people and is the 193rd member of the United Nations. However, just because South Sudan became independent from Sudan does not mean it does not no longer carry some of the remaining issues.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 25, 1:26 PM

This infographic gives an idea of why South Sudan seceded from the rest of the country. Decades of civil war preceded the secession, and it is clear the cultural differences between the two areas were a contributing factor. South Sudan is a part of the fertile Sahel, with the majority of its people Christian, while Sudan is mostly desert, with the majority of its people Muslims. South Sudan, as a new nation, faces a number of difficulties. Its new government needed to remain stable to focus on nation building, but war has broken out between the government and a rebel faction. South Sudan, should it become stable again, should work to improve the education of its people, as the infographic explains, since the vote to secede needed symbols rather than words due to only 15% of its people being literate.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 4:05 PM

South Sudan has separated itself two years ago from the rest of Sudan. Its powers have become acknowledged by other countries and its messages to the outside world are ones of peace.

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Holland vs the Netherlands

"What's the difference between Holland and the Netherlands?"


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Emily Ross Cook's curator insight, March 5, 2013 10:03 AM
This is awesome! Learn something new everyday!
Brett Sinica's comment, April 22, 2013 8:56 PM
I have seen this video previously, and this being my second time, it is much easier to understand this time around. He tells the story of one great kingdom and all areas that are under its control or influence. With the expansion of many European countries within the last couple centuries, I can understand how people can get culture and people mixed up, even though they’re from the same place to begin with. It reminds of the Arabs, or Arabic people. They don’t necessarily come from one country or one language or one religion. They represent a vast group of people and each of them differ or relate in certain ways. At times understanding these different groups can be a challenge, but in the end that is what makes them more unique and interesting.
Zakary Pereira's comment, April 30, 2013 3:54 PM
Well this video was fairly interesting actually. Funnily enough, my Canadian friend made me watch the Great Britain video about a month ago and so when I saw this was made by the same person and I always seem to confuse Belgium/Netherlands/Holland it seemed like something I should think about doing. The video was very informational and the narrator went over many factual things including the simple question of: Where is everything? The video mainly focuses on physical geography of people but also goes on to explain that the ‘Dutch’ living in the Caribbean are actual ‘Europeans’ because they belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands which belongs to the European Union which by the transitive property makes them Euros.

I liked what Brett said, that cultures and groups of people typically get categorized together as one when they really aren’t and it is important to acknowledge their distinctions and understand the different groups and cultures of people.
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U.N. approves Palestinian 'observer state' bid

U.N. approves Palestinian 'observer state' bid | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
The United Nations General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.

 

While this may be primarily symbolic, it is still a highly significant move on the part of the United Nations.  65 years ago, the United Nations called for a two-state system.  This map of the vote that I found on Facebook (can't find another source as of yet) is quite intriguing. 

 

Questions to Ponder: Why might a country choose to abstain?  Can you think of a specific reason why a particular country abstained?  With this new geopolitical fact, how will Israel and Palestine move forward?   


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Seth Dixon's comment, November 30, 2012 7:32 AM
I found this comment from Shaul Cohen, a Jewish Geography Professor who lived in Israel and served in the IDF: "Sixty-five years ago today the United Nations voted in favor of an independent Israel, a vote that was opposed by Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. That opposition was a mistake, and they also were voting against the creation of a Palestinian state. Today the United Nations moved one step closer to the establishment of that Palestinian state, a move that was opposed by Israel and the United States. That opposition was a mistake.
In the intervening decades many lives have been lost, many families have been shattered, and the course of two nations has been warped by violence and hostility. Unfortunately, there are still too many people on each side that refuse to recognize the basic rights and fundamental humanity of the other community, and see the situation as a zero-sum contest. Indeed, there are those that celebrate when the other loses even more so than working toward realizing their own goals. This is a tragedy, and the guilt lies with the leadership on both sides, but also with those who justify their actions on fear and hatred… something that is too easily mobilized and manipulated by those opposed to compromise.
It’s way past time for Israelis to recognize that when Palestinians lose, they themselves lose, and for Palestinians to recognize that when Israelis lose, they too lose. The communities are too bound up with one another to suffer in isolation. In the long run Israel will not have what it wants before there is a Palestinian state, and Palestinians will not have their state so long as they contemplate war against Israel. The way forward, despite it all, remains two states for two nations, a configuration that has broad endorsement and a simple logic. ANYONE WHO ADVOCATES ON BEHALF OF PALESTINIANS MUST ALSO BE A SUPPORTER OF A SECURE ISRAEL; AND ANYONE WHO ADVOCATES ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL HAS TO SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT AND VIABLE PALESTINIAN STATE. Anything else is a recipe for continued failure and bloodshed, and there’s been far too much of that already. Today is less a day for celebration than a day for reflection, and even more for dedication to a just and lasting peace. All the rest is just vanity…."
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 10:25 AM

One year ago, the U.N. status regarding Palestine was upgraded from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state".  While Palestinians believe that this is a major push for peace and for Palestinian independence, other countries believe that the change will not do anything for Palestine.

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Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the Press | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

"Freedom House has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development. Most importantly, restrictions on media are often an early indicator that governments intend to assault other democratic institutions." 

 

This interactive map shows some intriguing spatial patterns about the freedom of press internationally.  What other patterns to you see in matching up with the most free presses in the world (in green)?  How does a free (or not free press) influence the cultural and political values of a country? 


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The Geography of Swing States

The Geography of Swing States | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it
Right now, the conventional wisdom says that there are just nine states that might go either way on Nov.

 

Not all votes are created equally; votes in these 9 key states have a greater likelihood of impacting the actual outcome of the Presidential election.  If we assume that the other states vote as anticipated, and that each candidate has an equal opportunity in the remaining 9 states (yes, these are a major assumptions, but work with me), than President Obama has a 84% likelihood of winning in the 512 possible permuations.  Geographer Andy Baker has created a video that provides a solid non-partisan analysis of the political geography of these states (and other) states.   

 

Tags: political, unit 4 political.


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Exclusive Economic Zones

Exclusive Economic Zones | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

Today, a country’s marine economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line (hi-res image). This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example).

 

Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies?  Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions? 

 

Tags:  economic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, states, conflict, unit 4 political.  


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UNPO: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

UNPO: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization | What's New on the 31 Topics I Follow? | Scoop.it

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is not affiliated with the United Nations (UN). The UNPO seeks to represent nations (as opposed to states) that are not fully autonomous are without a vote in the UN. This group supports all ethnic groups in their pursuit for political self-determination, economic empowerment and environmental resource control.  This is an excellent source for case studies in devolution, ethnic conflicts, indigenous peoples and many issues from both cultural and political geography.


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