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Regional Geogaphy
Curated by Matt Mallinson
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South African township's solar-powered cafe

South African township's solar-powered cafe | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
Entrepreneur converts shipping container into mobile internet shop powered entirely by the sun.

This 2-minute video shows how a an enterpreneur has made his business (an internet cafe) self-sufficient, not relying much on external infrastruture.  Modern Africa has advanced beyond what many in the developed world acknowledge and is beyond some the old stereotypes of that characterize how people view the 'Dark Continent.' 

 

Tags: Africa, technology, development, video.


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Matt Mallinson's comment, November 5, 2012 2:36 PM
This shop is awesome. Good for him opening this up randomly, from security guard to owning a solar powered cafe. It gives children the opportunity to become more familiar with the internet and how to use it. What a great idea.
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 17, 2014 5:59 PM

In South Africa, a shipping container is transformed into a mobile internet shop reliant on solar power. While the rest of the world is much more advanced in technology, this shows how non-advanced countries are trying to catch up!

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The world map of chocolate (made out of chocolate)

The world map of chocolate (made out of chocolate) | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
You may be focussing on chocolate over the weekend - but where does it come from? A global trade analysed. In chocolate (this is what maps are made for!

 

What is the geography of chocolate like?  There is a dark side (no pun intended) to the production of cocoa in many places such as West Africa. 


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ethne staniland's curator insight, May 16, 2013 11:33 AM

Interesting for our KS1 chocolate topic.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 10, 2013 5:43 PM

We all love chocolate.  We all love diamonds and jewels.  In western worlds, these items are easily come by in grocery stores and elsewhere, but what got them there was a challenge.  People in poorer tropical regions around the world worked to get the raw goods of these delicate items we all enjoy.  The payout difference is immense from cocoa to chocolate.  It is sometimes a very crooked market where if it wasn't for the hard working people who get the raw ingredients, chocolate as we know it wouldn't be the same.

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 11:06 AM

I hope the production keep growing up. We need more chocolate and specially in Africa. 

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Ghosts Of Rwanda

This chilling documentary outlines the historical genocide of Tutsi people predominantly by Hutu's in Rwanda during 1994. So often, students who have always lived within a society with effective political institutions are unable to see how such atrocities could even happen. This video lays the groundwork for understanding the disintegration of political institution within Rwanda, reasons the international community underestimated the threat, why the UN in 1994 (after Somalia) was not prepared to use forceful action and why westerners fled. In this state of lawlessness, the cultural tensions and colonial legacy lead to horrific killings. This genocide has no one reason, but a complex set of geographic contexts. This would be a powerful video to show students. WARNING: considering the content, there are necessarily depictions of death.  To learn more about the documentary, see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/


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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 31, 2012 12:30 PM
In this situation I look at America and I can't help but ask "Why didn't you help?" These people were getting killed for no good reason, and we as a nation knew this and did nothing. I'm ashamed that we didn't aid them, my heart goes out for the Rwandan people.
Nick Flanagan's curator insight, December 12, 2012 8:08 PM

while watching this video i was reminded of the very good film Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle.  The only difference is while Hotel Rwanda is based on a ture story, this is a real life look at what was hapening in this area.  It was sad to see hwat was happening and all I could wonder was why no one decided to hel pthem. 

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Gender Divisions in Iran

Gender Divisions in Iran | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it

For my non-Farsi speaking readers, this map displays a 'male' province and a 'female' province.  These two provinces are separated by barbed wire, 20-meter trench and the Great Wall of China with ground-to-air missiles.  

 

While not a "cartographically accurate" map of the divisions within Iran, it does symbolically highlight the enormous gulf between men and women.  Men and women are not in separate provinces, but what might the symbolic spatial gender division on this map represent for Iranian society? 


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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 2:01 PM

I think this picture shows how Iranian society thinks and operates. There is an entirely different set of rules, ideals, and codes men and women follow in their society. Women are typically held inside, wear head coverings, are not allowed to be in the public sector unless accompanied by a man or her husband. This map isn't real, but it does show that if they were in separate provinces, there would be a gender division that could spring a revolution for women to be educated and empowered, and it could also hurt the economy because ultimately a society needs women to have children to ensure there is a workforce.

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 29, 2014 4:16 PM

A map is a very powerful symbol.The image depicted above is no exception. Despite the fact that the division stated above is not physically accurate it is a strong metaphor. In the country of Iran there is a "great wall" dividing the genders. Woman and men are not viewed in the same light. Men have far more rights than woman.This is an ongoing battle and until it is resolved this country will not be complete.

 

“A house divided against itself cannot stand”-Abraham Lincoln.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:15 PM

An extreme exaggeration that still addresses a real issue in Iran. Although there is no barb wire and missiles that divide genders in Iran there are cultural as well as structural barriers that keep men in the public sphere while women are kept in the private sphere. 

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Despite Restrictions, Gaza Finds A Way To Build

The Palestinian territory is in the midst of a construction boom, more than three years after a major Israeli assault that left much of the territory in ruins.

 

There has been a formal ban on building materials entering Gaza since 2007 (when Hamas took over the territory) since the Israeli government fears they could be weaponized or aid the military efforts.  Still, if the demand is high enough, some of the supply will still enter as we goods entering Gaza through smuggling tunnels from the Egyptian city of Rafah. 


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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 22, 2012 12:22 PM
I understand the Israeli government fears Gaza could be weaponized or aid military efforts, but these people need to rebuild after the major assault that left it in ruins. If there's been a ban for 5 years though, I doubt much will change.
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:49 PM

I find it frustrating that there is a ban on rebuilding materials after Israel bombs and destroys the homes and communities of Palestinians. Although their fears may be justified it is no excuse to tell people they can not have access to materials they need to rebuild their homes. This construction boom is a credit to the perseverance of the people in Palestine who just want to be able to rebuild.

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Religious architecture of Islam

Religious architecture of Islam | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
Read Religious architecture of Islam for travel tips, advice, news and articles from all around the world by Lonely Planet...

 

This is an excellent article that can be used in a thematic class for analyzing religion, the human landscape, the urban environment and cultural iconography.  For a regional geography class, this show great images from Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria and Israel/Palestine.  


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andrew desrochers's curator insight, October 28, 2014 2:47 PM

These architectural designs in Israel show religious meanings, what other factors inspire architectural creativity? Who uses these different styles of creativity?

Lily and Cami's curator insight, November 5, 2014 5:18 PM

Israel Religion: I scooped this because the picture really stood out to me because the golden dome stands over the rock on Temple Mount. you also can see great images of Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria, and Israel/Palestine. Not only are these sacred buildings but they are also big religious and tourist attractions.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:20 PM

Although all part of the same religion these buildings are influenced heavily by their location. I think this is important to note because it challenges our assumptions on Islam. When I think of a mosque a certain image pops into my head, these images shows how the same religion can still have local influences.

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How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan

How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
The European country where Skype was born made a conscious decision to embrace the web after shaking off Soviet shackles Eesti keel | Estonian language version...

 

Can you imagine walking over 100 miles without losing your internet connection?  Estonia has done it by making internet access a public service along the lines of water and electricity.  The impacts and effects or profound considering that 9 in 10 Estonians have a computerized ID card that they can use to vote, transfer money and access all the information the state has on them.  Although this may sound very dystopian and authoritarian to many, Estonians argue that it actually empowers citizens to keep the state in check.      


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Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:03 PM

I actually like the idea of the computerized ID card.  Yes, undoubtedly from the outside looking in this does appear to have some big brother qualities but I think it's brilliant.  The card allows people to transfer money and vote.  It's also nice to see a country that doesn't just treat their internet use like a toy.  They use it to benefit their society, making it accessible to everyone in the country and not just those who can afford it. 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:43 AM

Just an amazing fact to see a county that was once under the controll of the USSR for so long as come so far.  Now a part of NATO and the EU Estonia has stepped out of the control of Russia to become a virbrant place to live.  Once independant and then under the contol of the USSR at the start of WW II it has once again become a nation itself.  Also notice a very different view in the article, the people there feel this electronic system lets them keep and eye on the government and not a big brother view many people in the US have over electronic ID systems.  Is it because they have always been use to being looked at by the government, ie the USSR over the last 50 years and because we are so use to freedoms that we have had for hundreds of years?

Cam E's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:04 AM

I actually had no idea that Estonia birthed Skype. It was an amazing foresight that Estonia immediately jumped into the computer and internet age, and even more surprising that you can get Wi-fi across most of the country, no matter how remote. That's something that hasn't been accomplished in even the US. They had Internet in most schools by 1997 and can even vote online!

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The Russian Cross

The Russian Cross | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it

The economic and social turmoil after the fall of the Soviet Union was profound enough to be seen in the demographic statistics.  Birth rates dropped as the death rates went up.  Typically when birth rates drop it is presented as an indicator of social development, but it clearly is not in this instance.  What explains these statistics?  


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James Hobson's curator insight, October 20, 2014 9:30 PM

(Russia topic 4)

The "Russian Cross" refers to the point at which Russia's population began to shrink. The number of births 'crossed' beneath the number of deaths occurring in a given period of time. Coinciding with the USSR's collapse, this decline in population hinted at a tougher future for the nation. More elderly and fewer young signify a greater dependency upon those who work, causing more of an economic strain. Ironically, this seems to echo the effects of the American 'baby boomers' as they have been approaching retiring age now. Though other factors are certainly involved, it is interesting to note how different situations as these can have such similar outcomes.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:52 PM

This graph shows that while we in the west think of the fall of communism as a freeing and positive event in reality many in Russia have been severely damaged by this. While the Soviet government was known for oppression it also provided security and was dependable. With its fall the people were plunged into confusion leading to a decline in birthrate and a raise in suicide and alcoholism.    

Danielle Lip's curator insight, February 16, 7:42 PM

This graph of Births, Death and Natural Growth shows that the Natural Growth along with the Births in Russia have declined since 1950, the main downfall is during the collapse of the U.S.S.R. While the Deaths in Russia are increasing gradually as the collapse of the U.S.S.R approacher. There are many factors that could be causing deaths in Russia, people are not getting enough food into their systems and sickness is easily attracted. The real for the downfall in births is because women and men are not mating and having a child because they are too busy working and building a life for themselves. Back in 1950-1952 families were consisting of 3-4 children and now families only have one child at maximum 2.  How can Russia increase these birth and natural growth rates? The social development of Russia must increase and people have to start living life differently.

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Europe according to Estonians

This video is not very educational, filled with bad stereotypes and some truly inaccurate (and potentially offensive) statements.  Still, I show it every semester as the rationale for why we need to study more about Europe (but mainly because my students LOVE watching it).    


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Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 23, 2014 8:44 PM

While the stereotypes are quite comical, they all hold a certain amount of truth.  I think this video encompasses they ways in which people think of other countries and categorize them.

 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:34 AM

I think the bigger point to pull from this video is how personal bias and experiences influence how we view the rest of the world. As geography students I think that's important to realize that we are perceive the globe through the perspective of an American student. 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:28 PM

Obviously done in jest this video shows that while incorrect many define nations and their inhabitants with simple and overarching ideas. Here in America and much of the world we apply these stereotypes to whole nations because its far easier to do so than actually break down the identity of a nation and draw parallels to ourselves. While these stereotypes aren't always harmful in some cases they can definitely be considered offensive.

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The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained


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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 7, 2013 12:10 AM

A great and entertaining way to explain this part of Europe.  I know I have in the past used the terms England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom to all refer to the same thing. It was also amazing to see that people are the same everywhere in that the people in Wales do not consider themselves British, much the same way the people in Sicily consider themselves Sicilain and not Italian. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 12:09 PM

As an outsider looking in the concept of the United Kingdom is a little confusing. We are taught to view Scotland as its own country, but they are countries within a larger structure. This video makes what would confuse many Americans and condenses it into a clear video that is just about 5 mins.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 4:38 PM

Many people often interchange the UK, Great Britain, and England, but in reality, they all describe different different things. The UK is a country of four countries, each with equal power, including Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, and Wales but they are all considered British citizens.UK is a political term, describing a country. Great Britain is a physical geographical term describing the land mass containing Scotland, Wales, and England.  The British Isles refers to both Great Britain and the Island of Ireland. All of these terms describe different things, being characterized by either political affiliation or geographic characteristics. 

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Brazil's economy overtakes UK's

Brazil's economy overtakes UK's | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research says.

 

The "BRIC" countries are surging forward and are seen as major players in the global economy (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Brazil just recently past the U.K. as the 6th largest economy.  China passed Japan not more than a year ago.    Furthermore, Russia and India are poised to pass the traditional European economic powers (U.K., Germany, France and Italy) by 2020.  In this restructuring of the global economy, what will the impacts be on various regions of the world? 


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Elizabeth Allen's comment, November 16, 2012 5:28 PM
The statistics prove that Brazil is higher ranking economically that the UK. Brazil is succeeding economically. It must have to with their natural resources and financial gains of exporting goods.
Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:46 AM

BRIC has always interested me as an alternative to the traditional centers of economic power. The four BRIC countries are all powerful up and comers and their positioning all around the world and lack of cultural commonality make them a very intriguing force.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:55 AM

The rise of the BRIC countries shows that the global economy is changing due to globalization. Now that transportation is cheaper, communication is more fluid, and economies can intermingle easier than before, countries can be more competitive with previous economic powers. I find it interesting that it is likely that in the next century we will see the US slipping further down this list.

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Taming the City of God

Taming the City of God | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
Years of hatred and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio's most violent slums.

 

This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective goverance into some of the more poverty-striken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Oyllympic Games. 


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 8, 2014 2:00 PM

This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective governance into some of the more poverty-stricken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 30, 2014 9:08 AM

(South America topic 7)

The details pertaining to how Rio's police force has been regaining control in favelas surprised me, but in a positive way. For example, having officers work and volunteer with children is a great idea to stop the generation chain of fearing the police as the enemy. I believe the message that this communicates is that the police are human too, sharing many of the same aspirations as those who they serve. It's unfortunate that this ramping-up in force comes mainly because of the approaching Olympics, but at least it is still a step in the right direction.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:42 PM

This video shows the tense relationship between the favales and the government of Brazil. I can't help but notice how people in the favales are being treated as lesser citizens that are not part of the collective identity of Brazil. As these big sporting events draw near, the government is more concerned with hiding or eliminating the systemic inequalities that are occurring in the favales. If I lived in these areas I would find it hard not to see the government as an enemy.

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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."

 

What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  


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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, February 4, 2014 5:56 PM

This is an example of how civilizations can be hovering on the brink of destruction. The earthquake was the final straw it caused collapse of the whole system. The environment became a wasteland because humans that so not have their basic needs met cannot think about long term consequences of their actions. Need is immediate. If we want to help the country it needs to be in very small doses over many years. Their situation wasn't created overnight and the solution won't happen overnight either.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:49 PM

Natural disasters occur because of two things; the environmental reason and how people react to it. This earthquake was only half the reason Haiti is in a natural disaster state. The people who don't know how to respond to such "natural disasters" are the real reason of problematic changes.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:26 AM

(Central America topic 2)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case:

Which came first, the deforestation or the disparity?

I believe the answer can be both.

At first such a country's inhabitants might not know what devastating impacts manmade environmental changes such as deforestation can have - or, they might just have no other choice. Here disparity comes first. But unfortunately such effects can be far reaching. Deforestation can 'come back around' and be the cause (not only the result) of disparity: erosion, flooding, landslides, lack of natural resources. These all contribute to further disasters and crises, which continue the repeating trend.

Dr. Bonin has held classes pertaining to this same issue of deforestation, among the other issues which Haitians face. IN addition, the company I work for has been sponsoring a campaign to help humanitarian efforts in the country, and I have worked with people who have lived there.

Lastly, I can't help but notice an uncanny similarity between the deforestation of Haiti and that of Easter Island. I hope Easter Is. will be used as a warning message.

 

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FARM-Africa Cassava project

A short film showing the work of FARM-Africa's Maendeleo Agricultural Technology Fund (MATF) in Uganda. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is working with FARM...

 

The Green Revolution is (belatedly) impacting Africa.  Notice the cultural environment within which agriculture takes place here.   What are the gendered differences in the production of food?  What impact does that have on society?


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Matt Mallinson's comment, November 5, 2012 2:29 PM
Wow not just the men in the video are working this hard, but women and children as well. It makes you think how much we have as Americans and how much we take everything for granted. These African people are tough, they have to do so much more to survive than we do.
Elizabeth Allen's comment, November 7, 2012 10:46 AM
This video helps us to see the innovative ways African farmers use Cassava. Cassava is a market crop that many African people are dependent on. They know in order to achieve an income from the crop they need to market it in different varieties, for example- to turn it in to flour. Cassava is labor intensive crop that can take up to a year to be at it's full potential, but the people, women and children included, know that they need to tend to the crop in every stage to insure its success. With the income from the crop, families are able to send their children to school.
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Selling condoms in the Congo

TED Talks HIV is a serious problem in the DR Congo, and aid agencies have flooded the country with free and cheap condoms. But few people are using them. Why?

 

This video highlights why some well-intending NGOs with excellent plans for the developing world don't have the impact they are hoping for. Cultural barriers to diffusion abound and finding a way to make your idea resonate with your target audience takes some preparation. This also addresses some important demographic and health-related issues, so the clip could be used in a variety of places within the curriculum. FYI: this clip briefly shows some steamy condom ads.


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Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 9:45 PM

Marketing is not something I would have thought about when trying to get people in the Kongo to use condoms. Her research into the brands they use and why may save many lives.

Nick Flanagan's curator insight, December 12, 2012 8:27 PM

I was surprised actually that it took this long for someone to think of this, given the fact that the AIDS crisis in Africa is practically a pandemic.However it is a good idea that someone had finally started to do something about it.  

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 13, 2014 5:37 PM

This video explains the errors that a lot of NGOs make when attempting to help the developing world. While the NGOs have done a service providing condoms in the DRC, they lack appropriate marketing and merchandising for the product itself. In a way, the organizations need to eliminate their egos in the situation and allow for the product to be marketed appropriately.

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Life inside the den of Somali pirates

Somali pirates seek haven in Eyl, the capital of Puntland, where support for piracy is widespread. But who exactly is benefitting from the million dollar ran...

 

What is life like in a village that is a haven for pirates?  The cultural, political and economic situation is dramatically different from where most of us live. 


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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 31, 2012 12:16 PM
After watching this video it seems there is no quick end to all the piracy. They are much stronger because of the amount of guns they have, and all of them are very capable of using them.
Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 10, 2013 5:52 PM

It's sad to see the lifestyle in the areas plagued by pirates.  There are even videos of young kids being interviewed with questions such as "what do you want to be when you grow up?"  They respond with "a pirate".  The lifestyle is almost recognized as a rebellious hero in some aspects; you ride around on boats, with big guns, and get to do some very risky things to get rich and powerful.  Sounds like an interesting action movie, but in reality it is an extremely illegal and dangerous lifestyle.  These people put their lives on the line to not just be powerful or rich, but to survive.  In some cases it is a way out of the poverty and jobless way of life, yet when people need to survive, they can do some not-so-friendly things.

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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? 


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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 22, 2013 12:09 AM

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.

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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Slideshare: Middle east flags

 Looking for an easy online method of sharing and using powerpoint presentations?  Slideshare is made just for that.  Here is one I made of Middle Eastern flags a while back, showing the cultural patterns and similarities among the flags.  Students are quick to note that the Israeli flag sticks out and "doesn't fit in well visually."  


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 4:11 PM

Many of these countries share similar backgrounds and cultures, as well as flags which is seen above.  The color patterns show red, black,  white, and green on almost every flag except Israel's which is blue and white.  It shows that most of the countries within the region are all linked somehow whether it be through language, identity, or other reasons, though there is still room for conflict and change as time passes.  After looking at flags from other countries such as Iraq and Iran, the graphics on them change, sometimes reflecting government changes.  It is sometimes difficult to remember and notice so many flags, yet some of these flags have changed within the last 2 to 3 decades to accompany the change of government.

Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 2:06 PM

This goes to show how a flag is supposed to represent the people who live in their country. And the flag of Israel really does stick out like a sore thumb. We have the crescent moon, the typical Arabic colors of green, red, black, and white, and the blue and white really doesn't have much to do with the history of the people who live in Israel, only the new Jewish community who live there, but not the Palestinians. 

Lona Pradeep Parad's curator insight, May 29, 2014 11:36 AM

Representation of middle eastern flags,

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"Skateistan" The NYTimes video library

"Skateistan" The NYTimes video library | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Afghan youth have very limited options for sports and recreation. An Australian man is trying to change that."   This video really resonates with my students.  Issues of ethnicity, class and gender are right on the surface.  Globalization, cultural values and shifting norms make this a good discussion piece.  


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Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 2014 1:25 PM

This is an inspirational video it is very powerful to see someone trying to make life better. The young Australian man that has created this program should be applauded. Watching this video you can tell that this simple gesture brings so much joy to these children. One feeling that comes to mind is yes countries can seem different but they can also seem familiar. These children are just like any others they want to play and have fun. I think this is a wonderful program for them to help them forget about the dangerous world they live in.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 3, 2014 2:03 PM

This is a good example of the use of soft power in areas where American culture is not popular. Instead of using military force to exert western Ideals on the people of Afghanistan. This Australian may have found a way to close the gap towards bringing our cultures  closer together.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 14, 2014 8:01 PM

In a society that is seen by most of the world as strict and rigid, it was interesting to see these children having fun and breaking the mold of traditional afghan kids. What makes this even more fascinating is that female children are doing some of the skating. With gender issues a hot topic in some Middle Eastern countries, letting kids have fun before being made to conform to tradition is a nice experience for them. While they still respect the culture to they belong to, it is a break from that and a breathe of fresh air for them. These youth are not seen primarily as men and woman, but as children.

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Classwork Portfolio | 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.


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 2:43 PM

The story of this particular mono-town is very tough to "pick sides".  The factory undoubtedly pollutes the air and land like most other industrial areas, but being so close to Lake Baikal gives environmentalists a stronger reason to complain.  The lake is considered one of the purest and most unique in the world, yet the paper mill located on its banks raise controversy.  This is where the locals and workers are stuck between a rock and hard place.  Located in Siberia, such a vast and open region with little settlements compared to the western part of the country reminds the people living there that their resources are limited.  Closing down the factory would almost eliminate income and economy for the mono-town.  This is where the fine line is drawn; the workers surely aren't happy about the pollution and environmental hazards that go along with keeping the mill open, but at the same time the people could wither away if it wasn't up and running.

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:42 AM

THough the Soviet Union has been gone since the early 90s, it's hold on Russia is still creating problems. The creations of monotowns were already flawed. But to have this one monotown on Lake Baikal has gained the attention of enviromentalists. All odds are against that monotown. Without it's paper factory they have no jobs and no need for the town. It is a fight between enviromental geography and human geography in this area of the world. These people are stuck in a time where even the Soviet Union looked a little better than the constant wondering of your finacial stability in an up and coming capitalist nation.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 12:05 PM

The Soviet Union scattered "monotowns" around their territory; these monotowns consist of a job-creating industrial institutions like factories which then allow the formation of towns around them.  They are located all around the former Soviet Union and are very isolated.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these towns continued to run due to the privatization of the industrial center.  Today, Russia's Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and contains 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water, is home to one of these monotowns.  This particular town's economy is based on their paper mill which uses and deposits tons of chemicals.  Environmentalists are very concerned for the future of the lake while the citizens are only concerned with feeding their families and this is creating social unrest.  Due to the isolation and distance from Moscow, people cannot just pick up and leave.  Also, working with "cleaner" alternatives is way out of this town's budget.  Today, many citizens in these monotowns miss the support that the Soviet Union offered and people are literally stuck in a place where their only income is dirty.

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50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster

50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. ...

 

A haunting gallery that displays the effects of environmental and political mismanagement. 


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Ashley Raposo's curator insight, October 16, 2013 7:51 PM

Absolutely frightening to see a city so empty.  To only imgine what could have been in Chernobyl today if this nuclear disaster didn't happen.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 3:03 PM

The pictures are breathtaking.  What was once a modern and prosperous area is now completely devestated and basically irreparable for hundreds of years to come.  In some of the pictures it is possible to see the haste and desertion of buildings and rooms which gives a sense of fear and panic that the people experienced.  There is surely still so much that can be explored, but the radiation limits people and the danger of the area is hard for civilians to be within the boundaries of Chernobyl.  Places like this show how drastic the rise and fall of the Soviet Union really was.  Similar to mono-towns in Siberia, these areas were set up for people to flourish and become successful, but as history went on and disasters ensued, the great empire came crashing down.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:51 AM

These photo's are rather gripping.  Many of the images seen here are of objects that have not moved or been touched in 25 years.  The entire population of Pripyat had to pack their bags and leave all in an instant. The chaos that must have ensued after the nuclear meltdown must have been haunting. Pripyat will remain like this for years to come, and one can imagine what it will look like in 25 more years.

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Venice sinking five times faster than thought?

Venice sinking five times faster than thought? | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it

Venice, by virtue of its geographic situation will always be sinking as a course of nature.  A research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the UCSD has recently concluded that Venice is sinking 2 millimeters per year...not catastrophic on a single year basis, but threatens the long-term viability and sustainability of the location. 

 

Urban ecology: what economic forces created the rationale for building Venice?  What environmental factors are currently threatening it?  Will economic or environmental forces win out? Location: do the economic advantages of a location outweigh the environmental liabilities of the location?  How do these competing factors influence the development of a city?  For additional information on this story see: http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-venice-hasnt.html


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 8, 2013 3:36 PM

Day to day, even looking into next year the rate of 2 millimeters per year may not seem drastic.  To a city that has been around for hundreds of years, it's assumed the city plans to stay standing for hundreds more.  Considering the age of the city, say in a couple hundred more years, some buildings could begin to take in water.  It is also possible that certain parts of the city could be sinking faster than others.  There is a similar situation in Mexico City where it was built on a lake and each year that source diminishes due to the demand of water by its residents.  Certain parts of the city are sinking and some buildings are slanted due to the results.  These cities are beautiful  but reality shows that as time passes, it will probably only get worse.  Hopefully preventions can be taken to at least reduce the speed of sinking so that people after us can appreciate the architecture and atmosphere the city has provided all these years.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 12:11 PM

Venice is a city that capitalized on its geography and developed canals so the city could grow despite being so close to sea level. Now that sea levels are rising, Venice is in trouble because its survival is dependent on the water levels, as they become out of control Venice will not be able to withstand the change. There are similar circumstances like in the Maldives where global warming and rising sea levels will put entire countries under water.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 6:58 PM

As you mentioned in class, we are living on constantly moving land features. In the case of Venice, the water is moving in on the city so it is actually sinking and has been for quite some time. What is new to the equation is that it might be sinking “five times more than” originally “calculated or “7.8 inches every hundred years.” I say might be because there are others who quibble about this new find, saying it is inaccurate. Also, there is a damn project in the works to try and combat the sinking. While I am happy that the city is working on slowing the process, I am curious to know what their solution is going to be when the city finally does go under. As I was reading this all I could think of was saving all the rich art and history that this Italian city is famous for. In some ways it is great that the city knows ahead of time that it is sinking because they have time to plan a way to save the important aspects of the city. On another hand though, the city is so below sea level that a natural disaster could cause far more damage than anyone could have foreseen. I just hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon because Venice is definitely on my bucket list.  

 

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Brazil Rides Wave of Growth as Larger Economies Struggle

Brazil Rides Wave of Growth as Larger Economies Struggle | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
Brazil, South America’s largest economy, is finally poised to realize its potential as a global player, economists say.

 

This article, dated 2008, shows how at the beginning of the global economic downturn, Brazil and other "BRIC" countries were comparatively doing better compared to the more established economic powers.  Although Brazil has been frequently noted for it's unequal distribution of wealth, since 2001, this income gap has been shrinking and a middle class is starting to grow. 


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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 11:23 AM

Despite the U.S, Europe and other countries suffering serious economic loses, Brazil is experiences its biggest economic expansion in the last 30 years. Brazil has been long waiting for its spot in the global economy and it is finally reaching its potential with the new oil discoveries off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The country also exports commodities like agricultural goods and oil which has driven most of its recent growth. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:58 PM

I found this original article interesting because it challenge some of my assumptions about inequalities. Although inequality is bad, in the developing world large inequality is not a black and white issue. Some argue that high inequality leads to incentive but massive equality is harmful as well. Now that Brazil's middle class is growing as it becomes more economically competitive around the globe. Which shows us that inequality is only beneficial to an extent.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 28, 2014 11:04 PM

This article is about exactly what the title suggests, Brazils economy growing at a steady rate and how the country itself is seeing a boost, with both the richest citizens and the lowest earning citizens gaining more , Brazil is proving that it is only getting closer and closer to becoming one of the world's next core countries.

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NPR: In The Hills Of Rio, Shantytowns Get A Makeover

Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is trying to remake its hundreds of favelas.

 

There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?   


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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:02 PM

The facelift that Rio de Janeiro is receiving in anticipation of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 is sapping up a large amount of Brazil's resources, resources that some lower class Brazilians argue should be allocated to improving roads or schools. The government led make-over reminds me of the upper-class driven gentrification of urban areas in places like NYC that were previously neighborhoods for lower-class residents. I don't think we will be able to understand the effects of this remodeling until after the Cup and the Olympics have come and gone. If Brazil keeps it up and continues to "improve" outlier areas, what will Brazil look like in 20 years?

Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 16, 2013 1:04 PM

There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?  

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:21 AM

I find it sad that although Rio de Janiero obviously has a huge socioeconomic gap between the wealthy and the poor, it takes the prospect of the World Cup and Olympics for them to act. Furthermore their solution to cover up their slums is short sighted and they refuse to look at the deep seeded roots of the issue.

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Classwork Portfolio | Scoop.it
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.


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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 10:46 AM

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.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 7, 2014 9:58 PM

This is an amazing story of renewal. I think that is beautiful people who might otherwise be on the street have found refuge in this tower. A building can have so many uses and it is inspirational to see people coming together and the determination of the human spirit. It is hard not to think about what a positive impact this building must have had on it's occupants.