Topography and elevation matters. We can dry to make water dry ground (and vice versa), but not without future consequences.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday morning destroyed parts of Kathmandu, trapped many people under rubble and killed more than 2,500 people. It was the worst to hit the country since a massive 1934 temblor killed more than 8,000."
Even though we know that with the plate tectonic boundaries where these disasters are more likely to occur, it never fully is expected. These before and after pictures are heart-rending and full the extent of the damage is hard to comprehend (explore in ArcGIS online or view the USGS data).
Geographer Jon Kedrowski has a blog about his mountaineering and expeditions. He is up on Everest now, and his blog has a description of the earthquake and the resulting avalanche. The pictures and descriptions are both sobering and fascinating. If you want to help, you can donate money or your geospatial abilities (open-source mapping).
"Geoscientists have unveiled a computer model that maps the details of that tectonic dance in 1-million-year increments—practically a frame-by-frame recap of geologic time. It shows that the plates speed up, slow down, and move around in unexpectedly short bursts of activity. It also suggests that researchers may have to rethink what drives much of that incessant motion. The new model shows that although plates usually creep along at an average speed of about 4 centimeters per year, some can reach much faster speeds in short sprints. For example, India, which broke off the east coast of Africa about 120 million years and is now plowing into Asia, reached speeds as high as 20 centimeters per year for a relatively brief 10 million years."
The dark squares that make up the checkerboard pattern in this image are fields of a sort—fields of seaweed. Along the south coast of South Korea, seaweed is often grown on ropes, which are held near the surface with buoys. This technique ensures that the seaweed stays close enough to the surface to get enough light during high tide but doesn’t scrape against the bottom during low tide.
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of seaweed cultivation in the shallow waters around Sisan Island on January 31, 2014. Today, about 90 percent of all the seaweed that humans consume globally is farmed. That may be good for the environment. In comparison to other types of food production, seaweed farming has a light environmental footprint because it does not require fresh water or fertilizer.
I often fly into CVG (Cincinnati) and wondered why those 3 letters are used as the airport code instead of CIN. "Serving the greater Cincinnati metro area, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky's airport code comes from the nearby city of Covington." So why is Chicago ORD and Washington D.C.'s airport IAD? Airport codes has all the answers to these sorts of questions, but the great circle mapper can help you visualize how these transportation hubs are connected and make fun maps of all your travels.
The Social Progress Imperative creates a shared language and common goals to align different organizations and achieve greater social impact.
I think we all know that we shouldn't judge a country just by it's GDP. Economic development might be correlated with development and social progress, but the outliers are so telling. In this TED talk, we learn about a new metric designed to measure how well a society provides opportunities for communal and individual success. Having lived in Costa Rica for two years, I'm not surprised to find that Costa Rica does much better on this index than it would if we were to use GDP or HDI as a way to measure social progress and quality of life. For a more detailed look at the United States, see Geographies of Opportunity: Ranking well-being by Congressional Districts.
Questions to Ponder: How is the Social Progress Index similar to and different from the Human Development Index? What assumptions are built into the system?
"Stratfor provides geopolitical analysis that is relevant for world regional geography classes, especially their 'Geographic Challenge' series. Videos in the 'Geographic Challenge' series are symbolized on this map as RED numbered pushpins, and other regional Stratfor videos are BLUE." http://arcg.is/1IeK3dT Also see my map of my favorite geography videos to share in the classroom http://bit.ly/KDY6C2
I produced this interactive on ArcGIS online to spatially index over 70+ videos from Stratfor, a leader in providing geopolitical intelligence. This is a great starting point for a student researching a country and some of the issues and challenges that it confronts.
You might not be feeling the effects of climate change, but Kiribati, a small country in the Pacific, is actually drowning because of rising sea levels. Check out how the government there is trying to run a country that might not exist in a few years.
The impacts of climate change might feel far off or something that will affect other places...not so for the citizens of Kiribati. This video is the 1 minute version of the political/environmental situation, and this is the 15 minute version.
Is the conflict due to geographical rivalry, sectarian divisions, disappointment after the 2011 revolution or is it part of a wider regional power play?
Saudi Arabia has recently announced that they stop their 4 week long bombing campaign against a rebel group in Yemen. Like many complex geopolitical conflict, it is hard for students to begin to understand what the fighting is really about, but this article is a solid introduction to the Yemen conflict.
If there is one thing that the modern political order can't stand it is letting unclaimed land remain unclaimed...even if it covered in frozen ice. See some of the competing claims (and international agreements) on the political status of Antarctica. Click here to see a similar analysis on competing claims over the North Pole.
China's President Xi Jinping has signed a deal with Pakistan promising $46bn (£30.7bn) of investment.
China plans to inject some $46bn - almost three times the entire foreign direct investment Pakistan has received since 2008. Many say Mr Sharif's penchant for "thinking big" and China's increasing need to control maritime trade routes may well combine to pull off an economic miracle in Pakistan.
But there are questions over Pakistan's ability to absorb this investment given its chronic problems with militancy, separatism, political volatility and official corruption.
China is worried about violence from ethnic Uighurs in its mostly Muslim north-western Xinjiang region and fears hard-line separatists could team up with Uighur militants fighting alongside members of Pakistan's Taliban.
California has enough water—that's not the problem, says Terry Tamminen. So here's how you solve the drought crisis.
There is no easy fix to a complex problem such as the water shortage in California. Some coastal cities are considering desalinization projects while others want to reduce environmental regulations that protect wetland ecosystems to harness all of the freshwater available. One of the issues is that most of California's precipitation occurs during a very short time frame. Before the water crisis, these potential flood waters were diverted into concrete management canals but this article advocates to build more underground cisterns to capture excess rainfall before it flows to the ocean.
"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." ~Benjamin Franklin
"To get to the bottom of what qualifies as 'badly designed,' we picked the brains of several urban planners to highlight the flaws of some of the world's biggest cities. In the end, that birthed a list of nine cities that, for various reasons, are gigantic messes in some way or another."
On the list: Jakarta, Dubai, Atlanta, Naypyidaw, São Paulo, Boston, Brasilia, Missoula and Dhaka.
"The Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 is the largest accidental marine spill in U.S. history: these are the pivotal discoveries scientists and environmentalists have learned from researching it. While researching the spill, scientists tracked deep-sea sharks, found new mud dragons, and discovered a new type of ocean current."
A Bangkok bike tour of Bang Krachao (บางกระเจ้า) in Phra Pradaeng (พระประแดง) makes an excellent day trip. Read more of my Bangkok travel tips here: http://m...
Earlier I shared a fantastic satellite image of Bang Krachao, called the green lung of Bangkok. This lush oasis of green on a bend in the river is a vivid contrast to the surrounding, sprawling metropolitan area. For an "on the ground" perspective, the video above is a good visual introduction to Bang Karchao and the Phra Pradaeng neighborhood of Bangkok from a nice travelers guide to the city. These two different vantage points on an urban park are both very helpful in understanding place.
"As attacks against foreigners and their businesses rage on, killing at least six people this week, other nations in the continent are scrambling to evacuate their citizens from South Africa. But this is not the first time xenophobic violence has exploded in a country that tries to portray itself as a diverse 'rainbow' nation.
What triggered this week's attacks? They started after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said at a recent gathering that foreigners 'should pack their bags and go' because they are taking jobs from citizens, local media reported. Shortly after his comments, violence against immigrants erupted in the port city of Durban."
"Despite predictions that religion will go the way of dinosaurs, the size of almost every major faith -- sorry, Buddhists -- will increase in the next 40 years, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. The biggest winners, Pew predicts, will be Islam and Christianity."
Untrammeled oases beckon, once-avoided destinations become must-sees, and familiar cities offer new reasons to visit.
Most geographers have more than a little bit of wanderlust. Maybe we don't all have the pocketbook for it, but so many people have the desire to explore, travel and see parts of the world that feel as if they are mythical. For students that have the curiosity, it our mission as educators to cultivate that and help them frame the world into a geographic perspective. I've always felt that window-seat flyers are have the seed of a geographer embedded within them...let's make sure those seeds can grow.
"An overarching issue that is essential for understanding many pressing events of the day is the fraying standard geopolitical model of the world. This taken-for-granted model posits mutually recognized sovereign states as the fundamental building blocks of the global order. Many of these basic units, however, are highly fragile and a number have collapsed altogether. As a result, the next several posts will consider, and critique, the conventional state-based vision of the world. I am skeptical of the standard 'nation-state' model of global politics, as I think that it conceals as much as it reveals about current-day geopolitical realities. This model, evident on any world political map, rests on the idea that that the terrestrial world is divided into a set number of theoretically equivalent sovereign states."
Satellite images show China is making progress on building an airstrip on a reef in disputed territory in the South China Sea, a report says.
So that's what they are up to...hmmmm. A clearer, more detailed image can be seen here.
Questions to Ponder: Why is China building up this island? What advantage would that give them? Why aren't other countries with competing claims stopping China?
"The state transportation authority relies on federal guidelines that outline what it can put on signs, and these rules say signs must use only 'standard English characters, so when we replaced the sign, we didn’t put the umlaut in.' On Wednesday, the state’s governor put his foot down: The dots were coming back."
The cultural landscape isn't just passively 'there.' It is purposefully created, defended, protected and resisted by national, regional and local actors. This example might seem laughable to the national media, but this was a serious matter to those locally that pride themselves on the town's Swedish heritage. Many want to preserve it's distinctively Swedish characteristics as a part of it's sense of place, but also it's economic strategy to appeal to tourists.
"A founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, standup comic Maz Jobrani riffs on the challenges and conflicts of being Iranian-American -- 'like, part of me thinks I should have a nuclear program; the other part thinks I can't be trusted ...'"
This comedian doesn't just get laughs; he uses stand-up as a platform for discussing important social issues and to foster greater cultural understanding. His big goal is to break stereotypical perspectives of Muslims and Middle Easterners by showing that "there are good people everywhere." Here is another of his entertaining and educational TED talks.