360° panoramic photography by Harbert F. Austin Jr.. Visit us to see more amazing panoramas from Japan and thousands of other places in the world.
The interactive panorama is eerily compelling...this is a haunting image.
Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over.
Curated by Seth Dixon
I’ve organized some of more ‘evergreen’ posts by the AP Human Geography curriculum unit headings as well as ‘shortlist’ for each unit.
"French is currently ranked sixth among world languages, after Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi and Arabic. But it is gaining speakers quickly and, the study reports, will be spoken by 750 million in 2050, up from 220 million today. A demographic boom in French-speaking African states could bump the percentage of global French speakers from 3 percent to 8 percent by 2050, but some skeptics think the predictions are overrated."
I can't verify the projections in the article, but the thought exercise is a great exploration into future global geographies. As some populations are shrinking, others and still growing very quickly and it is clear that the future has the distinct possibility that the linguistic composition of the world might be very different from today.
Questions to Ponder: Considering current trends, what do you think the world will be like in the future? What will be better? What will be worse?
How do the Palestinian and Israeli (Arab and Jewish) education systems teach the history of their nations? The film follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers over one academic year. Observing their exchanges and confrontations with students, debates with the ministries curriculum and its restrictions, the viewers obtain an intimate glimpse into the profound and long lasting effect that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict transmits onto the next generation.
"My 2015 NESTVAL presentation in an APHG session on the geography of food."
In this presentation (PPTx file here), I share some of my favorite resources for teaching the content as well as some pedagogical tips. Some of these resources are found in an article I wrote for National Geographic or have been shared on this site earlier. Here are some pedagogical tips to APHG students about food systems:
"What we call Chinese food (including the fortune-filled cookies) has become an integral part of the American culture and cuisine, with a complex history that dates back to the 19th Century."
This 99 Percent Invisible podcast explores the fascinating story of the Americanization of Chinese food, and the icon of Chinese food in the States, the fortune cookie (no, that is decidedly NOT from China). This is yet another podcast from 99 Percent Invisible that is rich in geographic content.
That first podcast is reminiscent of a second podcast from NPR about an American-style Chinese restaurant that opened in Shanghai to cater to Americans living in China who miss 'Chinese food' as it's made back home. What's the name of the restaurant? Fortune Cookie, of course.
I’m always disappointed that my urban acquaintances know very little of the suburbs surrounding their city. But I’m never more disappointed than when urbanites spout clichéd opinions about suburban living.
"Examinations, tests, assessments—whatever the nomenclature, it’s hard to imagine schooling without them. Testing is the most popular method of quantifying individuals’ knowledge, often with the intention of objectively measuring aptitude and ability. Test-taking is a dreaded experience that the country’s kids and young adults share with their counterparts across the globe. The ritual at its core doesn’t vary much: Students sit at a table or a computer desk (or sometimes, as shown below, on the floor), pencil and/or mouse in hand, the clock ticking away mercilessly."
I am torn on how to teach these two ideas about cultures and societies all around the world:
Cultural practices are often so similar, are done in slight different fashion. This photo gallery can create opportunities for our students to 'see' themselves in other cultures while at the same time seeing the richness of global cultural practices.
"There has been an intense wave of Russian air strikes in two areas of Syria, activists say. Moscow says it is targeting jihadist groups like Islamic State in co-ordination with Syria's government. But NATO is worried some of the attacks are hitting rebel groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad - some of whom are backed by the West. So just who is fighting whom in Syria?"
The source of migrants today has changed the cultural composition of the United States from what is was 100 years ago. Cultures are not static and migration is one of the key drivers of change. These maps are produced by the Pew Research Center and show the main country of origin of each states' foreign born population. Despite what media reports would have you believe, immigration into the United States is not on the dramatically on the rise, maps such as these can be construed to imagine that there is a massive flow of immigrants coming from south of the border. The reality is that percentage of foreign-born migrants in the United States from Mexico, and most Latin American countries, has steadily dropped since 2000.
In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.
Some cultural practices can be transplanted just about anywhere; others require a cultural environment wherein that particular practice is sufficiently well-known and communally supported for it to thrive. The idea of sending kids this young out on errands is almost unthinkable in the United States given our cultural norms connected to youth and space. As additional food for thought, here is an article about 9 parenting strategies around the world that culturally don't mesh well within the United States.
Questions to Ponder: Why do cultural norms vary so much from place to place? How are your actions shaped by cultural norms? Can you think of an example of a cultural practice that is accepted somewhere, but wouldn't work in most other societies?
"Europe’s divisions are indeed grave. But counting the ex-communist countries as a single category is outdated and damaging "
What places belong in a region together? What are the boundaries of that region? How has this region changed over time? Regional classification is inherently an exercise that relies on our geographic knowledge and requires some spatial thinking. Each semester I have students divide the United States into the regions that explain how they conceptualize the different parts of the country. This 2 minute video is a great example that argues that the regional category of Eastern Europe is less meaningful today mainly because of the changing political and economic geography that is blurring the regional borders of Europe.
"Using data from the USDA, Pecirno has mapped the lower 48 states by picturing just one single subject, and nothing else – no political borders or backgrounds. The project aims to show how richly detailed single-subject maps can give people a new way to understand their landscape, Pecirno says. Can you guess what Pecirno is picturing in the minimalist maps below? To make it easier, we’ve given you a few options to choose from."
"Today, it’s no longer unusual to see married couples not wanting to have any children or delaying parenthood. Regardless of big or small changes between the past and present, one thing remains constant – the joy & bliss that are seen in the parents’ eyes. Parenthood is not without its challenges, but you can't put a price on seeing the smile on your little ones' faces."
This video is part of the "Maybe Baby?" campaign in Singapore designed to boost the low fertility rate in this small Southeast Asian country. Singapore's National Night was another innovative campaign to boost fertility rates (although much more provocative than this one).
There are several countries these days that are adopting pro-natalist policies (including Denmark and their favorite travel agency); they officially encourage citizens to have more children to boost fertility rates that are below the replacement level, fearful that it will have negative social and economic impacts for their population.
Geographical literacy remains vital—particularly for those of us who live in (for the time being at least) the world’s preeminent military and economic superpower. Geography is necessary for understanding why the overthrow of a government in Libya contributed to an unprecedented surge of migrants into Europe, why Ukraine has been split between East and West amid its conflict with Russia, and why China’s neighbors are alarmed at the new islands under construction in the South China Sea. And as we learned during last year’s Ebola panic, an understanding of African geography could have helped explain why an outbreak in West Africa should not lead to the quarantining of people from Kenya or Tanzania. In the years to come, as the effects of climate change on everything from sea level rise to deforestation to drought quite literally reshape the world we live in, an understanding of geography will be necessary for mitigating and adapting to the consequences.
Spies Travel is joining forces with wannabe grandmas in the fight against Denmark's low birth rate. Introducing Spies Parent Purchase™: Send your child on an active holiday and get a grandchild.
Not all countries are concerned about overpopulation; Countries like Japan are in steep decline in terms of their population. Denmark is a country that is seeking to to encourage higher fertility rates; this travel company is using this salacious ad (as a sequel to Do it for Denmark) to promote the it and themselves, but there is some actual demographic analysis in there). Singapore's National Night was another innovative campaign to boost fertility rates, but they also have a less steamy campaign entitled "Maybe Baby?".
Tag: declining populations.
We’ve stripped out the street names and lost the labels – but can you still recognise the cities from their aerial views?
This is a fun map quiz that is part memory, but also relies on pattern recognition to see if you can understand the urban morphology that shaped these places. I got 11 out of 13...can anybody top that? I'm sure someone can; give it a shot.
Ubercool wind animation all over the world. Wind and weather forecast for kiters, surfers, pilots and anyone else.
With people on the East Coast concerned about the possible trajectories for Hurricane Joaquin, I think it is the right time to share this interactive map. In the past I shared a dynamic map of near-live wind data for the United States and a mesmerizing digital globe with wind data. This new one though, includes multiple meteorological layers with forecasts for the next two weeks...very cool.
"In and around Amish country, it's easy to find countless stores and websites advertising Amish quilts, Amish candy and Amish crafts. But though Mr. Zook is Amish, it would be impossible to tell from the name of his Evansburg farm, Maple Run, or his products, whose homemade labels make no mention of their maker's religion. In fact, it's a good bet that if the word 'Amish' appears on a store or a product, the Amish themselves didn't put it there. Experts and Amish alike say that the name, used as a marketing tool, is almost exclusively the domain of the non-Amish."
While being an interesting topic in and of itself, this article is also an way way to introduce various concepts of cultural geography: folk culture, cultural commodification and cultural appropriation. Here is a link to the commercial website 'Amish Origins' which, to my knowledge, has no real Amish Origins.
Questions to Ponder: Why is there cultural and economic cachet in being affiliated with the term 'Amish' in the United States today? When do you feel cultural commodification is 'crossing the line' or is everything marketable fair game? What are other examples of cultural appropriation that you can think of?
To convey the lives of the people buried beneath them, and the expectations for what comes after death, symbolism has long been part of tombstones. Below is our guide to some of the most prevalent cemetery symbols. Take it along on your next wander through the necropolis!
A good friend of mine always calls October 1st, the first day of Halloween. Enjoy exploring the geography of cemeteries!
"There are around 6,000 cargo vessels out on the ocean right now, carrying 20,000,000 shipping containers, which are delivering most of the products you see around you. And among all the containers are a special subset of temperature-controlled units known in the global cargo industry, in all seriousness, as reefers.
70% of what we eat passes through the global cold chain, a series of artificially-cooled spaces, which is where the reefer comes into play."
I have written in the past about how containerization has remade the world we live in, but not much about the role of the refrigerated container (reefer). So many economic geographies and agricultural geographies in the our consumer-based society hinge of this technological innovation. This is yet another podcast from 99 Percent Invisible that is rich in geographic content.
"As you may know, Google Maps uses the Mercator projection. So do other Web mapping services, such as Bing Maps and MapQuest. Over the years I’ve encountered antipathy toward the use of the Web Mercator from map projection people. I know of two distinct schools of opposition. One school, consisting of cartographic folks and map aficionados, thinks the Mercator projection is 'bad': The projection misrepresents relative sizes across the globe and cannot even show the poles, they are so inflated. The other school, consisting of geodesy folks, thinks mapping services have corrupted the Mercator projection, whether by using the wrong formulæ for it or by using the wrong coordinate system for it."
In this article you will find a thoughtful discussion of the reasons why the Mercator projection is disliked by many, but still so prevalent. In ArcGIS online, you can Search For Groups and then enter Projected Basemaps to see many map projections on that platform. For more resources on understanding map projections, click here.
As stated on USGS map projections page: "[Gnomonic maps are] used by some navigators to find the shortest path between two points. Any straight line drawn on the map is on a great circle, but directions are true only from center point of projection." This interactive is a very fun way to visualize this and to understand distortion.
"China's mind-boggling size, economy and history, visualized.""
"Trying to break a whole lamb into steaks and roasts in just a little over three minutes."
Where does our food come from? As the global population becomes more urban, the percentage of our population that is more disconnected from their food sources grows. Additionally, our economic system works to actively separate consumers from the unseemly parts of the commodity chains, in hopes that our propensity to spend money on more goods won't decline. All animals killed for human consumption go through some sort of butchering process before they become a meat product that we might recognize in the grocery store.