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Experts select new rice varieties for African farmers - SciDev.Net Sub-Saharan Africa

Experts select new rice varieties for African farmers - SciDev.Net Sub-Saharan Africa | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
African rice breeders have nominated six new, stress-tolerant varieties of rice to help farmers spur production.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The use of technology to create new species of rice that are more adapted to the climate of the region to increase gains is amazing.  The need of the peoples in this area is extreme and to know that food can be engineered to thrive and increase yields for these people is a comforting thought.

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Don't make the same anti-terrorism mistakes in Mali

Don't make the same anti-terrorism mistakes in Mali | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Balancing the interests of stakeholders in the Malian polity will be difficult, however some key steps should be taken.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Problems in this area will only increase if the powers that be do not take the innocence of the civilian population into account.  When trying to put down a terrorist insurgence it is imperative that a government tries to safe guard the population.  If not it will only drive these people into the arms of the insurgents.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 15, 2013 4:46 PM

This is a great article for give to students to provide them with the geo-political context to understand the situation in Mali.  It also give a great reminder for observers and the involved parties to not lump all Tuareg civilians in the north with the Islamists groups that are in control.  "This failure to consistently distinguish between different groups in the North by multiple stakeholders...portends longer term trouble."  For additional reading, see this Geography in the News article on Mali, tailor-made for classroom.    


Tags: Mali, Africa, political, conflict, war.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 8:44 PM

Removing the Mali president was only the first thing French military did to this nation. Mali needs to move forward from anti-terrorism and hopefully they can do so with little difficulty.

Shounam's curator insight, October 8, 2014 6:08 PM

Stop mistaking the image of muslim or islamic people as terrorists.

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Out of Africa – Did the Colonial Powers ever Really Leave?

Out of Africa – Did the Colonial Powers ever Really Leave? | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Africa may have achieved independence, but the old colonial ties are still important as France’s decision to send troops to Mali to fight Islamist extremists shows.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This infographic was very interesting.  By using color coding it highlights the areas of influence the colonel powers still maintain over their old possessions.  This map is helpful in understanding how this affects the politics of theses regions today.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 4:04 PM

Colony powers are still located within Africa. Just because Africa is technically independent doesn't mean that British Colonial power isn't still in place.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 11, 2014 2:11 PM

unit 4

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 26, 2015 11:08 AM

This article reminds us all of the growth-stunt that colonialism in Africa brought to the continent.  It is not surprising to see that most African countries still depend heavily on their old colonial masters for survival.  People who may casually follow African politics might think that colonialism started with the Berlin Conference and ended in 1990 or so, but one could argue that it hasn't ended due to the urgent dependency African countries still have on their old colonizers.  Africa might be the most beautiful continent in the world but has the worst story of any in the world.

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A short, recent history of Congo

Mapping the war in Congo: mineral wealth, militias and an epic march

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The problems of Congo are exacerbated by the mischief of Rwanda.  When you think about a country that is blessed with such abundant natural resource you would think that economically they would be doing well.  However, the turbulence of politics in this region has caused the opposite to occur.  The country is constantly destabilized by the conflicts in its neighboring counties and constant rebellions and conflict have wreaked and destabilized this country.  The blessings of abundant natural resources has, instead become a curse.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 9, 2015 2:39 PM

This is another sad story.  There is fast wealth in this area.  More than enough to get this economy off the ground and be a booming source of wealth for the countries.  Ever since the British, Belgiums, and foreigners created conflict in the area there has been so much unrest. They need to get out of their own ways and elect someone who won't steal millions.  They could get back to the golden days, but not until they have some peace which would then lead to prosperity.  

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:00 PM

once again a recurring theme, greedy and corrupt people running countries. with such immense mineral deposits how can this country not be prospering. because the people of these countries are selfish and once again not nationalistic to the point where people will try to make a significant change.

Brian von Kraus's curator insight, January 12, 6:15 PM

Amazing videographic from The Economist showing the recent history of Congo that explains the current instability of the country. 

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Business Languages In Africa

Business Languages In Africa | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"The Main Languages of Business in Africa."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I find it interesting to see where certain languages become dominant for business use.  This infographic is very interesting and useful in determining different trends in both the spread of language and the historical factors that spread these languages in this region.

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Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:46 PM

This map is a simple but powerful one. Africa is the continent that contains the most nations (53), yet it uses only six languages for business. Not surprisingly, all of the languages (with the exception of Arabic) are European in origin. Clearly, the effects of colonialism are still felt around the world in former colonies. The languages that were forced upon various African countries by their colonizers have endured and become the main languages of business in their respective countries. What is just as unfortunate as the roots of colonialism holding fast, if not more so, is the absence of any indigenous languages being used as the language of business in any of the countries of Africa. While using a business language that is spoken by much of the world is surely a matter of practicality and logistics, it is still robbing African countries of their heritage and culture to some degree.

 

This brings up the issue of globalization and how it is constantly at odds with the preservation of culture and tradition. In order for Africa (or any continent or region or country) to function in the modern world, it must be capable of conducting business in a language that is spoken by its business partners. The ability to do business with virtually any person, company, or country in the world is an obviously invaluable one. At the same time, however, it allows for the subtle and gradual erasure of unique culture and traditions. So while it would be ideal for cultural preservation for countries to conduct business in their indigenous languages, it seems to be a necessary evil for smaller and less influential countries to adopt the languages of their more powerful and influential business partners if they wish to survive in today's world. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 29, 2015 4:24 PM

The lingering effects of colonialism, so strongly relevant in every aspect of African ways of life, are perhaps most evident in the "lingua franca" of African nations today. With a multitude of different ethnicities and languages in use in every African nation today, the result of the arbitrarily drawn national borders made by European colonizers, necessitates the use of the one language that's commonly spoken across every independent nation- a European tongue. This system, while a necessity in today's world, is a solution that no one is quite happy with. It reminds Africans of all ages of the power still held by their colonizers over their everyday lives, a stark reminder of the horrors of the previous century at every business meeting and every exchange of goods. This harms the national psyche of each nation, as well as undermining the importance and pride Africans deservedly maintain in their own native languages. European-made borders, however, make it difficult to find another, native language that every ethnic group can agree upon. As a result, the European languages are still in use in Africa, and will most likely still be in use for some time to come. It's a system that no one likes but, for the time being, everyone must accept as reality.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:26 AM

This map is a great resource in showing the diversity of language in Africa. Of course, this map discounts the many native African languages. It instead focuses on the language of business in the continent. That language, has been influence by the European colonization of Africa. The chosen language of business is often tied to the colonizer of the region. The diversity of language in Africa is staggering to say the least.  

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African dust changes India's rainfall: Dust can affect planet's climate, research shows

African dust changes India's rainfall: Dust can affect planet's climate, research shows | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Dust in the air in North Africa and West Asia absorbs sunlight west of India, warming the air and strengthening the winds carrying moisture eastward, raining down in India about a week later. The results of this new study explain one way that dust can affect the climate, filling in previously unknown details about Earth's system.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is interesting as it shows how the deserts of North and West Africa affect the weather in India.  The dust in the air contributes to the monsoons which can cause them to be more severe. 

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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 | Geography 200 | 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
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article makes the connection between lower fresh water availability and war.  The argument that as water becomes scares, farmers leave their fields and head to the cities.  The cities are ill-equipped to handle the inflow of people and the greater demand on its water resources creating unrest and discontent.  This is an interesting way of looking at the conflicts in the area.

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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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Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia

Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia is drilling for a resource possibly more precious than oil by tapping hidden reserves of water in the Syrian Desert.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article makes underscores the use of water resources in the area.  The need to make the deserts bloom is putting a strain on the ground water resources in this region.  Because of the climate, this water is not a renewable resource and will eventually dry up.  What type of chaos will that cause in 50 years when the estimated time of the resource runs its course?

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Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 23, 2015 3:37 PM

More and more in the news, people have noticed that oil is the hot topic to discuss. Although oil is a very importance economic source, water is a resource that can sustain the population and keep people alive. Saudi Arabia over the years has developed a huge areas of green fields growing in areas of what is Saudi Arabias desert. Saudi Arabia reaches these underground rivers and lakes by drilling through the desert floor, directly irrigating the fields with a circular sprinkler system. This technique is called center-pivot irrigation. This is so important because even if the country has the money to buy resources like food and water, it is developing these agricultural fields which is allowing them to export products such as wheat, dates, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and flowers to markets around the world. Saudi Arabia can now supply its people with these products that they use to import. This is extremely important to the current development in Saudi Arabia. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 4:27 PM

Saudi Arabia is a very rich in drilling industry for oil. However many of these fields are green are popping up all over the place as drilling is occuring. Why is this? Well much of the drilling releases water that is trapped within the rocks. This water then flows to the surface where it creates a underground water puddle that keeps the soils moist which in turn allows for greens and other plants to grow. This is more commonly known as water drilling.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:08 PM
These random fields of green are coming from the rocks that still have water that is trapped inside them from the last ice age. Saudi Arabia reaches these underground rivers and lakes by drilling through the desert floor, directly irrigating the fields with a circular sprinkler system. This technique is called center-pivot irrigation. Because of low rainfall, they get minimum water each year. Hydrologists estimate water will only be able to be pumped out for 50 years. With water popping up fields of green, a new agricultural economy will appear, maybe farming life and new resources that the country never had for their people, they will now have.
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The Golan Heights

The Golan Heights | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

In early November 2012, three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of the Golan Heights. The move by Syria is the first violation of the zone in 40 years and concerns countries of the region. Since then some of the Syrian rebels have also been reported operating in Golan Heights.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article stresses the importance of geography when discussing political situation with neighboring countries.  The fact that the heights are such a strategic advantage to whoever owns them explains why they are so contested.  As long as these two countries are not friendly nations this disagreement over the strategic point will continue.

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Jamie Strickland's curator insight, April 3, 2013 9:10 AM

This map can be used to illustrate not only the political and cultural significance of the Golan Heights, but also its environmental significance as a source of water for the Jordan-Yarmuk River Valley

Louis Culotta's curator insight, April 4, 2013 6:35 PM

Heres some info on how poeple have been living in regards to a troubled area of the world.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:26 PM

i never even heard of the Golan Heights before this and i would have never known the significance of this DMZ until now. this just sheds more light on what is happening in syria today.

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Mount Moriah: The most contested real estate on Earth?

Mount Moriah: The most contested real estate on Earth? | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount." 

 

What happens when various religious groups claim the same territory as their own?


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article and picture points out just how hard it is to “solve” the problems in Israel.  The constant overlapping of buildings on holy sites complicates the issues more than anything political ever could.  Belief is one of the biggest driving forces for conflict in the world and this illustration reminds us of that.

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Tony Aguilar's curator insight, December 8, 2013 5:38 AM

This site means so much to the Abrahamic religions. Currently the the real estate is mostly contested by Muslims and Jews. There are so many strong feelings that war can break out any time because of The Temple mount. What is left is to wait and see what happens from a poltical statement or even a biblical prophecy stand point. Those who believe in God should beleive that one day true peace will exist in this contested area. Right now with Netanyahu and other leaders a battle is waging for true ownership of the land. As years progress treaties and ceasefires are always modified to soothe the tension that exists in these areas.

Mrs. B's curator insight, February 10, 2014 9:08 AM

#Jerusalem

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:54 PM

In some of the oldest civilizations on earth, religion is the most important aspect of life. There will always be extreme conflicts in these ancient areas all over religion.

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Germany's forgotten war

Germany's forgotten war | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
World War One centenary celebrations are important in the UK, but in Germany people rarely visit WW1 cemeteries. Why?
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is interesting as it does show how culturally two different countries react to WWI.  The fact that Germany doesn’t think much of the anniversary makes senses as the author notes WWI was overshadowed by WWII in Germany more than any other country.  The events that occurred during 1914-1918, had an unprecedented impact on world history by leading to WWII which then overshadows it.  It is interesting to see world history as viewed from a perspective other than American. 

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Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs'

Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs' | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article shows that no matter how small the world is becoming nationalism is still present and will cause issues between different factions and supporters of different national identities.  The issue over what flag will be flown in a country can spark outrage and anger not by people against the flag but the people for it as they feel it should be flown all the time as opposed to a limited amount of days in the year.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 11, 2013 2:01 PM

Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power.  If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious.  Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy. 


Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros

Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This area seems to want it both ways.  To be independent from Spain, but also dependent economically on Spain.  This region should sort out its priorities and decided if independents is worth it and if so then they should not be asking Spain for help.  It’s like a twenty-something person that moves out of their parents’ house and then comes back again and again with their hand out.  Catalonia seems to be facing this same issue.

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Dean Haakenson's curator insight, February 4, 2013 2:31 PM

Another peg in the collective EU coffin...

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:21 AM

This is sad news for an area that is trying to persuede the world it deserves to be independent. Unfortunately,  they still have to rely on the Spanish government to help their economy, something that does not help their case.  While other countries do take money from other powers, one that is trying to establish itself might want to have a more optimistic outlook on it's economy before it tries to go off on it's own.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:00 PM

Catalonia, an independent region wants Spain to give them 9 billion euros in order to help them stay out of debt, but also want to keep themselves independent of Spain. The most interesting aspect of this article is how the region of Catalonia wants to be independent, but still seek help from the very place it wants to be independent from.

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‘How to Build a Country From Scratch’

‘How to Build a Country From Scratch’ | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The filmmakers present a 12-step program to establish the world’s newest country: South Sudan.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video and article highlight the steps a new country takes when it is carved out of an old one.  The problems and tribulations the new country faces and how it responds to the rest of the international community will decide if it will be a long lasting country or just a blip on the road of the original countries history.

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 7:54 PM

If I was to create my own country, the first thing I'd do is make sure not to shoot down any U.N. helicopters. This video does show the very hard process of creating a country from scratch.  I particularly enjoy the piece in which a government official attempts to explain taxes to folks at the marketplace because I probably had the same expression when taxes were first explained to me. "Why should I pay the government my hard earned money? They didn't do anything to earn it from me."

 

Cam E's curator insight, March 18, 2014 12:51 PM

This is a really interesting dynamic to look into, as it's not everyday the process of founding a country can be seen at work. That's a true once in a lifetime experience for those involved, and is likely one of the harder jobs in the entirety of history.

Kendra King's curator insight, March 15, 2015 6:33 PM

I think building a country from scratch mostly needs a plan for strong governance. Some of the items mentioned in the video would eventually be necessary (i.e. an anthem or a flag), but not exactly a top priority as the country could function without these. Rather the items like taxes and training the police are hugely important. A society needs the revenue to grow and the police to keep order. However, what disturbed me about this video is there were no other real mention of government institutions. Now I am not saying that the Constitution needs to be exactly like the United States, but the following is needed: a plan for how to treat the citizens, implement social programs, create/review the law, get officials into office, etc. Without looking at these basic questions of government, there is no way the country can function because there aren’t actually the procedures in place when problems do arise.

 

After strong governance, I also think that recognition in our globalized world is needed as well. In order for a country to prosper, the country will need to rely on other nations at one point in time for things like trading. If enough countries just refused to recognize the area and as such refused to trade then the country would more than likely fail. Luckily, Sudan is recognized by the United States and the UN did come to speak with the nation. SO that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

 

To me these are the top two things needed and since one is greatly missing, I am not surprised by the problems Sudan has.  

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Africa Map Collection

Africa Map Collection | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

It is always informative to look at old maps.  They show how the cartographers saw the world and how the passage of the map makers revealed the passage of settlements in this case of colonel Europeans.

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Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 11:58 PM

This is a fun collection of maps because you can see how the European view of Africa has changed over time. These maps contain nonexistent land marks such as the Mountains of Kong, these are here because cartographers made their maps based off incorrect information and then passed this information on to others who repeated their mistakes. African was known as the dark continent not only because of European racism but because of the lack of knowledge on behalf of the Europeans. 

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 11:19 AM

While most people perceive Africa as a country rather than a continent, European cartographers were even more oblivious to the make up of the continent. How is it possible that a mountain can directly across the continent. This also raises the question, how was conquering the continent possible if this mountain sat at the frontier of the continent? Wouldn't the natives know where to escape when European settlers came to conquer their land?

Luis Cabral's curator insight, March 8, 12:02 AM

This fabulous collection of African maps from 1535-1897 represents an historical geographic vision of both Africa and colonial visions of an imagined Africa.  I chose this particular map to display because it beautifully highlights the Mountains of Kong.  For generations, European cartographers erroneously believed that this long mountain range extended north of the West African coast and across the continent.  Currently this map collection is at Plymouth State, NH, but much of it is archive online here. 


Tags: Africa, cartography, colonialism, map.

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In Kenya, Using Tech To Put An 'Invisible' Slum On The Map

In Kenya, Using Tech To Put An 'Invisible' Slum On The Map | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A billion people worldwide live in slums, largely invisible to city services and governments — but not to satellites.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Slums and squatter settlements are a problem that a lot of the developing world has to deal with.  The unsafe and unsanitary buildings cause headaches and problems for the leaders of the cities they surround.  This story is hopeful in that the city did manage to bring a water line out to get clean water to the people living in this area.  Perhaps this will lead to a better quality of life of the inhabitants of this particular slum.  Also the project of mapping such areas can be a useful tool for city planners to better regulate these areas and help the people that live there.,

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Lauren Jacquez's curator insight, July 25, 2013 7:47 PM

Slums also known as favelas, squatter settlements

John Blunnie's curator insight, July 28, 2013 1:11 PM

Great how tech and globalization can help represed people in other countries.

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 6, 2013 5:07 PM

The slum-mapping movement began in India almost a decade ago and migrated to africa, the idea of this is to make slums a reality to people who have never set foot in one before. The maps can be used in court to stop evictions or simply to raise awarance. I think this idea is on the right track of what needs to be done. These people need help and so many people incuding the governement pretend they arent their but with these maps as proof they can no longer do that.    

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Oil Pirates and the Mystery Ship

Oil Pirates and the Mystery Ship | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Forget Somalia, the world's new epicenter of piracy is on the other side of Africa."

 

Some experts believe that the uptick in the number and geographical reach of pirate attacks is due in part precisely to the 2009 government amnesty for the Nigerian militants in the Niger Delta who had justified their attacks on oil infrastructure and their widespread theft of crude oil as a political protest. "With the political pretense lost, there is no longer any need for oil thieves to limit themselves to targets in the Delta," a United Nations study said.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article points to the little known problem of piracy off the western coast of Africa.  When one thinks of African piracy, one thinks of the Somali pirates it is important to know that piracy is not just limited to eastern Africa.

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Shiva Prakash's curator insight, February 3, 2014 11:20 PM

Technology is changing the shopping habits of buyers. Compete recently conducted a survey that reported a rapid increase in the number of people using their mobile devices for shopping Online shopping which u can buy from home easily with lots of designs of cloths and new technology mobile phones without going out for shopping just click here to go eaZy http://shopdeer.blogspot.in/

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Robin Wright’s Audacious Remapping of the Middle East

Robin Wright’s Audacious Remapping of the Middle East | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
I was taken aback this past Sunday (September 29) by Robin Wright’s colorful map of a politically re-divided Middle East in the New York Times, which illustrated her article “Imagining a Remapped Middle East.” The map, entitled “How 5 Could Become 14,” shows a hypothetical future division of Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia into 14 potential new countries …
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is critiquing an article by Robin Wright where she imagined the middle east in the future.  She has speculated on how the region might look if the trends of war and dislocation continue.  That some areas could go through a balkanization and trigger the need for new international borders.

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Rare snow storm hits Middle East

Rare snow storm hits Middle East | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A rare snow storm hit the Middle East last week, producing record snows and extreme conditions for Syrian refugees.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Weather is an amazing force in the world.  The fact that a rouge weather system could move in and blanket the area in snow is amazing.  Some of the pictures are stunning in their oddness and it is a reminder that Mother Nature can be fickle.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:16 PM

I live in New England, so there isn't much to say about an oddball snowstorm. Yes, its weird that it happened randomly in Syria but the fact is that mother nature can surprise us more often than not.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 12:22 PM

Many people here in the United States have this mental image of the Middle East being a massive desert with little precipitation and incredibly hot temperatures. The Middle East actually contains diverse landscapes and to an extent, some differing climates, and while snow is incredibly rare in some parts, it is not unheard of. In this instance, the weather anomaly affected numerous Syrian refugees who were unprepared for such an event. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 2:53 PM

Those who resist climate change can only blatantly ignore the facts for so long. "It snowed?! So what?! Doesn't that prove global warming isn't real?!" No. Climate change is irrefutable, evidenced by thousands of bits of data collected across the globe, and irregular weather patterns have plagued vast areas the past decade. Snow in the Middle East? 12-20 inches in Jerusalem? That is extremely alarming- the picture of the camel resting in a field as snow continued to fall around him highlights how ludicrous and odd these weather patterns really are, and yet people continue to deny the severity of the issue, or even the existence of an issue concerning the world's climate. I understand that significant amounts of money are invested in maintaining the status quo and continuing to utilize fossil fuels, but we cannot all breathe money; we need the planet for us to live. Serious efforts must be made by all nations to push through the necessary reforms to stop us from making the problem any worse. I would not be surprised to hear of yet more odd weather patterns in the upcoming winter, and I will not be surprised to still see people ignoring the problem. I hope I'm wrong, though.

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NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

 

"[This] data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."

 

Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Water is a big issue in an arid area.  The fact that we can measure the amount of groundwater present in an area with a satellite is amazing to me.  The issue of water rights and control in this region will someday over take that of oil rights and use in my opinion.  Once people get used to free flowing water to use on demand it will cause problems politically when these sources of ground water inevitably dry up.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 24, 2013 10:00 PM

This is a perfect example of geospatial technologies can lead to a better understanding of how the Earth's physical systems are changing because of human geography.  Teaching geography is about showing how these systems are interconnected.   

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Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin

Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
An arid region grew even drier between 2003 and 2009 due to human consumption of water for drinking and agriculture.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The use of water is an increasing problem in the arid regions of the world.  The use of more sophisticated irrigation systems allow for more planting which requires more water.  Coupled with increasing towns and cities needing fresh water for the inhabitants this decrease in fresh water will only continue to trend.

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 22, 2014 6:24 PM

(Southwest Asia topic 2)

The area known as the Cradle of Humanity is becoming less hospitable. Though natural climate change can be attributed to the dryer conditions, humans have made just as much of an impact. Increased water usage leads to less reserve. Impacts stretch further, however. Less water flow below the dam can lead to changes in sedimentation patterns and disrupt wildlife habitats, potentially causing harm to wildlife.

Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:09 PM

Similar to the Aral Sea,  the Tigris and Euphrates river basins have become drier and drier between 2003 and 2009. It is important to see all the aspects that have caused the rive to dry out and its do to there own people in this region. About 60 percent of the loss was attributed to the pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs. Most of the problems are due to that about one-fifth of the water losses came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought. These could be some of the environmental issues but also there has been tremendous population increases in this region. This water is perfect drinking water for the people of South East Asia and the countries surrounding it but numbers are extremely high. 

It is important to analyze how us humans can change the geography of a certain area in such little time. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:19 PM

The middle east has lost a huge portion of its freshwater over the past decade. The two natural-color images above were acquired by the Landsat satellites and show the shrinking of the Qadisiyah Reservoir in Iraq between September 7, 2006 and September 15, 2009. The first graph shows the elevation of the water in that reservoir between January 2003 and December 2009. The second graph shows water storage from January 2003 to December 2009. Obtaining ground data information in the middle east can be difficult.The researchers calculated that about one-fifth of the water losses in their Tigris-Euphrates study region came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought.

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Using Humor to Learn

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TEDxSummit stage in Doha, Qatar to take on serious issues in the Middle East -- like how many kisses to give when saying “Hi,” and what not to say on an American airplane.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This comedian is very funny and he is right middle easterners are not seen t be funny in western media.  It is important to see that everyone like to laugh and that we are all the same.

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Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:56 PM

This video was great to watch. I watched this in class and had to write about it. Humor is a great way to shed light on certain topics that can be really heavy. This comedian is middle eastern himself which makes it better for him to talk about these topics. Many individuals don't know the lighter side to middle eastern people just because all they see is negative aspects of the culture. I enjoyed that he could talk about serious topics and have a room full of people not only laughing at it but being educated at the same time. People don't feel like they're being strictly taught because they're watching a comedian give a show. Being middle eastern myself, i found this video great because raising awareness and allowing more insight about the middle east is a powerful thing when it has always has a negative context. 

Jacob Conklin's curator insight, May 6, 2015 4:42 PM

"I never knew these people laughed." This is perhaps one of the most sad things that could be said. It dehumanizes the middle east in a very cruel way. It implies that people in the middle east do not have any sense of humor and are always serious about everything. Like the United States, there are times to be serious, but there are also times to laugh. The media and even the film industry in the US portrays the middle east as Sodom and Gomorra and the people from the area as misogynistic religious fanatics. It is truly sad that we live in a world where prejudices trump openness and acceptance.      

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

its interesting because this video make the middle east seem more european with the differences in culture. people tend to clump these countries together but they are very different and should be seen that way

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UK pulls out of G8 preparations

UK pulls out of G8 preparations | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UK is withdrawing from preparations for the G8 summit, because of Russian military action in Crimea.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The acts of Russia in Ukraine have had affects that are far reaching.  The pull out of the G-8 meeting to be held in Russia by the UK is a manifestation of the crisis in the Crimea.

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Time to scrap “Eastern Europe”

Time to scrap “Eastern Europe” | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Europe’s divisions are indeed grave. But counting the ex-communist countries as a single category is outdated and damaging 

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video makes a good point about where we arbitrarily draw lines on a map.  He uses different groupings to show how silly this can be.  His point is that Eastern Europe no longer really exists and we should no longer use the term.  He then suggests a few different terms to use to group countries in Europe.  My favorite was the grouping called Scared of Russia.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 4:00 PM

Even though the Iron Curtain has long fallen, the practice of still describing the ex-Soviet countries as "Eastern Europe" still remains, and those same countries wish to change it. No longer are these countries part of the Soviet Block, and they feel that this characterization still defines them in this way. "Eastern Europe" denotes struggling economies, unhappy populations, marginalized lands, and an overall lack of development. While some countries are still recovering from Soviet rule, others have become important world powers with powerful economies. They no longer wish to be associated with Russia.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:58 PM

The old way of lumping all Countries east of Germany as simply "Eastern European" is not only wrong but can lead to negativity and conflict. These are nations which differ greatly in terms of language, ethnicity, and political affiliation should definitely not be lumped together within one identity. The fact is the Cold War has ended and instead of holding on to these out dated terms we should instead look forward and embrace these countries for what they are, unique countries with unique things to offer.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 2015 7:37 PM

I don’t really see the big deal of the map categorization based on the author’s argument. I agree the Cold War labeling is “outdated,” but saying the grouping is “damaging” because people just think of those countries as “poor” is an incredibly weak argument. Anyone who wants to do business with the area will know who is fiscally sound and any country that believes this is an obstacle can easily show the notion false given the facts of the video in regards to wealth and EU membership. However, just because a country is in the EU doesn’t mean they are completely well off. Much of that area is still politically unstable, which is a whole economic value of its own. Furthermore, that wasn’t my connotation of those countries. When I think Cold War, I think of an area that is repressive and still under Russian influence. If anything, I think that is a bigger deal because Russia shouldn’t speak for a whole area.

 

I also don’t think many of the groupings really help the authors cause. If the author wants there to be less negative connotations related to the Cold War, then the area probably should make mentioned of “countries scared of Russia” as it was the major Cold War player. Nor should there be a mention of “free” economies, since the economic divide of each country played a major hand in the tension between each ideology.  So one really needs to be careful about the terms used when re-labeling an area.

 

I don’t see a huge push for renaming the area. We still live in an outdated cold war society given how the United States still looks at Russia. So I doubt, renaming will happen anytime soon. Guess the author will have to wait for the next big political crisis or war. 

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Iconic Landscapes

Iconic Landscapes | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Time lapse video compilation Civilization: Part I - Europe by professional photographer Dominic Boudreault. Shot in England, France, Spain and Italy.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I found this very stirring.  To see the old and new buildings side by side makes one think about what came before and how the past influences the future.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 9, 2013 12:06 PM

An amazing view of some of the cities of Europe.  As a person who loves history to see these modern cities built around the old civiliztions of Europe is amazing.  For me it is Rome.  To see the runis of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in the modern Rome is just amazing.  Even more amazing is how some of the buildings built by the Romans are still standing, and in use, when modern techniques do not seem to last long at all.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 2014 5:11 PM

Europe is such a beautiful place where its landscapes, architecture, and waterways have shaped its future. This video shows the beauty of the towns and how everything in is has remembrances of the past. This video is a definite must see!

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 2014 6:03 PM

This video of iconic landscapes displays beautiful and historic architecture throughout Europe. This video allows the viewer to see these great areas of Europe. I have a great deal of respect for those who built things such as the Colosseum in Rome years ago, as it is amazing that some of these historic buildings are still standing today.