This video describes the increase in immigration into EU countries from other EU countries. The EU agreements on free movement are being challenged in countries that feel rightly or wrongly that the immigrants coming in are a drain on their economies during this difficult economic time. It is interesting to see how Europe deals with this immigration issue compared to how America deals with its immigration issues.
I was unaware that the UK owned this part of Gibraltar. It seems like a throwback to the UK’s naval policies of the past that they would still to control this point of entry into the Mediterranean. It will be interesting to see how this will be resolved. As it is a dispute between two countries that are both part of the EU.
A teenage boy has died of bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan, health officials have confirmed, adding that an epidemic was not likely.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:
This article is a reminder that this is where the plague came from. It was spread by the Mongol Hordes and brought devastation to medieval Europe. Luckily, according to this article, it is not a strain of the disease that will cause a plague situation to occur, but they are sending researchers to the area where the boy lived to investigate.
At the dacha, the soul of Russia--and its cultural divide--is on display. In vacation cottages the women are in housedresses. The men, Speedos and rubber boots. They brood, plant, party, and restore their souls.
The dacha (a seasonal second home or a vacation spot) is incredibly important in Russia. It is is estimated that over 50% of city residences in Russia own a dacha as a way to culturally connect with the countryside. This is a nice glimpse into that life.
This article talks about the almost mythical feelings of a Russian summer spent in a dacha. The brief summer is enjoyed and experienced from a home in the country that is a representation of freedom to the Russian people. The oppressive Soviet sate was hard to escape but for a few months out of the year, people who owned dachas could get away and enjoy life. It gave city dwellers a place to garden and to relax from the city. The dacha is still an integral part of the Russian soul.
Russians have seen so much crazy s**t that they've become unfazeable.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:
Ok this was very funny. The idea that the Russians see such weird stuff daily that a giant meteor exploding above them doesn’t seem to faze them at all in just odd form an American perspective. Some of the footage from the car dash-cams was fighting and bazaar!
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.
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.
"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944. However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."
This article describes the practice of Lenin and Stalin of Russifacation. This policy led to many ethnic minorities with in the Soviet Union being deported from their home soil to the interior of Russia. The aim was to place ethnic Russian in boarder areas and to bring the ‘undesirable’ ethnicity into the interior to become Russian or sent to the gulags to die. The effects of this mass relocation of ethnicity is still being felt today. The rising conflict in Ukraine is a direct result from these policies as the country is split between ethnic Ukraine and the decedents of the ethnic Russians move there to secure the ports to the Black Sea.
"Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what’s possible in the metropolitan landscape. From building opera houses with wire to mapping the connection between the automobile and your mother-in-law, Jaime Lerner delights in discovering eccentric solutions to vexing urban problems. In the process he has transformed the face of cities worldwide."
This video is enlightening. The speaker uses the city as a model for fixing problems in the world. Instead of seeing the city as an enemy to environmentalism, he purposes changing the cities and reworking old sites like quarries into something that is useable today. He also advocates the integration of the transportation systems to make commuting more feasible as well as less pollution generating.
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.
This skyscraper that was once a symbol of wealth, in an incredible paradigm shift, has now become is occupied by squatters. The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside. A complex web of geographic factors needs to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation. The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.
The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters. The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters. The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence. The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one. Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.
Ambitious development plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2014 soccer World Cup, involve large-scale evictions from numerous slums, whose residents are refusing to leave.
The urban revitalization issues in Rio de Janiero are not new, but they will intensify in global importance (or at least coverage) as the time for the World Cup and Olympics approaches. What are the aesthetics and economics behind revitalization? What are the social issues that should be addressed?
This article highlights the problem facing Brazil when the country needs to build new facilities to host the Olympics and World Cup. The clash between the government and poor people who are squatting on land they do not own causes much stress and unrest. How the country comes to resolve these issues are important for the people in the future. The fact that people are being displaced is sad and perhaps not fair however, on the other hand, these people are squatters and built their homes on land they did not own and have no infrastructure which is also dangerous and a public safety issue. The unrest over this issue will cause a pale over the games to be held in Brazil.
I have never heard of Quinoa until I read this article. I found myself amazed at the properties of this food especially when it is grown in such an inhospitable environment for growing other crops. It is sad that the poor people eat less of it now but the income it generates for them is a good thing. It allows them to increase their standards of living and entices people to return to their home villages rather than crowd into cities. With the increased income they can improve the variety of foods in their diets even if it means the decrease in consumption of the quinoa.
"One of the people I regard most highly here at Esri has created an online atlas of Mexico. The maps can be accessed in many different ways, such as an ArcGIS Online presentation with a description here, as an iPad iBook, but I think most importantly, as a series of story maps. Each of these separate story maps contains 1 to 6 thematically related maps on the following topics:
Explore Mexico (Crime vs. Tourism)Mexico’s Natural WondersMexico’s Historical MonumentsGeography of Mexico – Did You Know?Indigenous People of MexicoCartograms of Mexico
"Europe and Asia, while often considered two separate continents, both lie on the same landmass or tectonic plate, the Eurasian supercontinent. The historic and geographic story of the Eurasian boundary is intriguing."
I find this discussion very interesting. How we define the boarders of the continents may not seem important but they do hold much in the way of historical and cultural meanings. Is Europe separate from Asia or is it one super-continent? The answer to that has many implications politically and culturally as well as historically.
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.
In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation. The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.
This article gives a nice comparison between American and European car use. It points out cultural differences as well as governmental policy differences that lead to different views on public transportation and car usage.
THE effective seizure of the Crimea by Russian forces on Saturday has caught many in the West off-guard. They should have known better.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:
This article points out how the actions of Russia recently should not have been a surprise. The EU and the west have been blind to the realities of geopolitics. By naively believing that the peace in the west is the norm in the world, that the agreement to not use economic coercion or war is something that the whole world signed on too. This article points out that Russia will stop at nothing to maintain control over its satellite states and that China should not be ignored either. Both large countries have felt slighted and diminished in recent history and will work or redress the balance that they feel has been lost.
That this could happen at all in this day and age just goes to show that the Cold War may be over but Russia is still flexing its muscles. As a child of the 1980s, this turn of events frightens me. I lived my childhood with the fear that there could be a nuclear war at any time always in the back of my mind. Younger people just don’t understand what it was like living during the cold war and perhaps poo-poo it a bit too much. But the threat was always there and it was something that was real and did not lesson until the fall of the Soviet Union. The fact that this event has occurred just brings up the old fears and memories of the tensions between America and the USSR. I hope that a solution can be found that doesn’t hurt the Ukrainian people.
This video gives a good background to understand Chechnya. The dislocation and genocide that the people had to suffer under Soviet Russia certainly has led to the violence in the region. We are not separate from our pasts and if anything this video explains where that violence and hatred comes from. It doesn't excuse the violence but it does explain it.
Czar Alexander II may have freed the serfs, but his war against the stateless people of the Caucasus cannot be ignored
The czar’s approval of this rapid expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire resulted in an ethnic cleansing through disease and drowning as overcrowded ferries crossed the Black Sea. The Ottomans were unprepared for the influx of refugees, and the absence of adequate shelter caused even more deaths from exposure. Those Circassians who attempted to remain in the Russian Empire and fight for their land were massacred. Sochi’s “Red Hill,” where the skiing and snowboarding events will take place during these Olympic Games, was the site of the Circassian last stand, where the Imperial Russian armies celebrated their “victory” over the local defenders.
It is interesting to learn the history of a place that most American’s didn’t know existed until the Olympics. It is always helpful to have things placed in a historic perspective. The historic background makes understanding modern day events easier
January was the hottest month on record in the city, Reuters reported, and meteorologists expect little rain in the next week.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:
The lack of rain in areas is a definite problem especially in highly developed urban areas were the concentration of people makes the drought more severe as there are more people competing for limited resources.
This video was very moving. I was surprised how the recycled instruments sounded exactly like the real things. I think this should make us think about how much of the trash we generate could be put to some use besides rotting in a landfill. It also shows the ingenuity of people to find a use for a resource even if that resource is trash. It just goes to show that the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is true.
Amsterdam, eat your heart out. This South American country has big plans for marijuana fans.
The distribution of narcotics impacts virtually every country in the world; there are incredibly divergent strategies on how to mitigate these problems that are a result of sophisticated distribution networks. What is the best way to stop the flow of dangerous drugs and the illegal activities that accompany the drug trade? If you were in charge, what strategies would you recommend?
This article is interesting in it is a different view of how a government should combat drug related violence. The idea that to legalize lesser drugs will bring down the demand for harder illegal drugs is an interesting stance. The hope is this will cut the feet out from under the dangerous and violent drug cartels and bring down the crime rate in Uruguay. It will be interesting to see what comes of this move.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — South American engineers are trying to tackle one of the continent's greatest natural challenges: the towering Andes mountain chain that creates a costly physical barrier for...
At the NCGE conference, noted author Harm De Blij mentioned a daring project that would link Eastern South America with the Pacific as engineers were planning to tunnel under the Andes mountains. Here is a link to an article on this intermodal transportation project that would lower the shipping costs from East Asia to the Southern Atlantic. Government officials in both Argentina and Brazil have described the project as a matter of "national interest."
Tags: transportation, LatinAmerica, globalization, industry, economic, development, unit 6 industry.
This article expresses the need for better transportation in South America. The need to bridge the Andes to better move trade goods from the pacific to Atlantic sides of the mountains. This would have a huge effect on the economies of the two countries involved as well as an impact on international trade, just as the Panama Canal did when it was built. The ability to cut through a mountain range and build a rail system is amazing and hopefully this vision of transportation can happen.
This article is interesting as it shows a cultural difference that leads the people of Bolivia to choose traditional food and food vendors over the corporate model like McDonald’s. This shows that people in small countries can fight against globalization if the majority of the people choose not to spend money in globalized businesses. It also shows the strength of the Bolivia people’s commitment to their cultural ways.
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