Heuristic: if a place has sidewalks, it votes Democratic. Otherwise, it votes Republican.— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) September 3, 2012
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.
Geographers make a distinction between site and situation as they consider the underlying foundation of a place. Few cities represent such a wide chasm between these two aspects as does New Orleans. The situation, or the answer to why does a place exist, was imperative. The Mississippi River was a major artery for the North American continent. As first the Europeans and then the Americans assumed control of the area, a port was essential at the mouth of this river. But the site, the response to where a city is placed, continues to confound. Few environments were or are more inhospitable to human habitation. Poor soil, disease, floods, and hurricanes are constant threats that have plagued the city for over three centuries. But the why trumped the where and hence the paradox of New Orleans persists.
New Orleans is the classic example to use to explain the difference between site and situation...lousy site, incredible situation. These maps are a nice introduction to the city.
A walkable map of the world, made from soil and stone by one man
What am I thankful for? A world filled with wonder and beauty. A world that is endlessly fascinating because its depths are beyond my ability to ever fully comprehend it. A world that, despite all our faults, remains humanity's only home and we collectively need to to act as good and wise stewards of this planet.
You can explore this glorious map in Denmark on Google Maps as well.
"A Chinese military newspaper gives graphic details of a raid in Xinjiang province against suspected militants." http://wp.me/p2Ij6x-60y
This BBC article gives an update on China's crackdown on Uighur nationalism under the guise of cracking down of 'foreign terrorists.' Earlier this year I wrote this article for the National Geographic Education Blog on this topic, the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province of Xinjiang.
Myth Article #1: Western pundits and nostalgic Muslim thinkers alike have built up a narrative of the caliphate as an enduring institution, central to Islam and Islamic thought between the seventh and twentieth centuries. In fact, the caliphate is a political or religious idea whose relevance has waxed and waned according to circumstances.
Myth Article #2: ISIS may use terrorism as a tactic, but it is not a terrorist organization. Rather, it is a pseudo-state led by a conventional army. So the counterterrorism strategies that were useful against al Qaeda won’t work in the fight against ISIS.
Myth Video #1: This video points to the reasons that recruits are attracted to extremism (not just poverty and ignorance).
"We’ve scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states (and D.C. and Puerto Rico). These are our picks for the feast. Dig in, then tell us yours." http://wp.me/P2dv5Z-1lR
In addition to this list of distinctive Thanksgiving recipes from each state (I'd love to try so many on this list), the NY Times has also produced this list of the most 'Googled' Thanksgiving recipes in each state. These are very late additions to my favorite Thanksgiving day resources. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and may yours reflect some some regional distinctiveness and cultural context that you appreciate.
Russian warplane crashes in Latakia province in Syria and two pilots seen ejecting from the aircraft.
After four decades of mass migration to the U.S., more Mexicans are now returning home.
Mexican migration to and from the United States is a contentious topic where political ideology can be louder than the actual statistics. Since 2009, more Mexicans have been leaving the United States than entering it, and now news outlets are noticing since the PEW Research Center finalized a study on the topic. Demographic and economic shifts in both countries have led to this reversal.
"President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday during the Civil War, and the feast has since become an American tradition. Yet the story of the Wampanoag and the pilgrims who first broke bread is not commonly known." http://wp.me/P2dv5Z-1lR
This is a good source of information that runs counter the mythologized Thanksgiving story that is seen by so many as central to our heritage and national narrative. Personally, a nice slice of turkey with cranberry sauce is not ruined by knowing that there is more than one perspective to the story.
"Thanksgiving resources for geography educators." http://wp.me/P2dv5Z-1lR
In this lesson, students will:
Kunstler argues that American architecture and urban planning are not creating public places that encourage interaction and communal engagement. We should create more distinct places that foster a sense of place that is 'worth fighting for,' as opposed to suburbia which he sees as emblematic of these problems.
Question to Ponder: How should we design cities to create a strong sense of place? What elements are necessary?
"SOMALILAND, a slim slice of Somali-inhabited territory on the southern shore of the Gulf of Aden, ticks almost all the boxes of statehood. It has its own currency, a reasonably effective bureaucracy and a trained army and police force. But it has yet to receive official recognition from a single foreign government in the years since it declared independence in 1991. To the outside world, it is an autonomous region of Somalia, subject to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Mogadishu. Why is it not a state? Throughout the post-independence era, geopolitics in Africa has tended to respect 'colonial borders', i.e. the borders laid down by European colonial powers in the 19th century. Across the continent, there have been only two significant alterations to the colonial map since the 1960s: the division of Eritrea from Ethiopia, in 1993; and South Sudan from Sudan, in 2011."
Somaliland is a 'pocket of stability in a chaotic region.' The global community fears that granting recognition to a Somaliland might led to further devolution, even if the unrecognized government is functioning. This is an excellent article from the Economist that demonstrates some of the key requirements to be a state, political and regional geography. For another example of political geography of aspiring states, here is an article about the limited prospects of a future Kurdish state.
At least a dozen countries have had attacks since the Islamic State, or ISIS, began to pursue a global strategy in the summer of 2014.
"GIS is waking up the world to the power of geography, this science of integration, and…creating a better future," proclaimed Esri founder Jack Dangermond at the 2015 Esri User Conference.
If you haven't discovered the power of geography or the power of GIS, this article from ArcNews is for you. If you need to convince others of the power of geography, this is for you to strengthen your case.
"The evolving role of cities and regions presents planning challenges as urban areas are work to achieve particular social, economic and environmental goals. This video explores a range of cities to examine how fully integrated planning, design, engineering and management capabilities can help to improve cities."
"The attacks suggest that ISIS is being forced into 'mainstream' terrorism long before it had planned to and a terrible meeting of the minds between Al Qaeda and ISIS."
"How did Southern Californians come to treat their highway route numbers as if they were proper names?"
I can't say how delighted this native Southern Californian was to read this (and especially to rediscover the classic SNL skit). Despite living in Rhode Island, I retain this linguistic quirk that I subconsciously learned as a kid growing up in Southern California. This is a shibboleth of mine, a distinctive pronunciation, word choice, or manner of speaking that reveals something about the speaker (such as place of origin, ethnic background, or group membership).
Questions to Ponder: What are other shibboleths that you know? Do you use any?
The country’s future depends on keeping the holy river alive.
This article touches on very serious religious and environmental issues connected to the Ganges River. The Ganges is the sacred river of Hinduism and in part because the river valley is the most heavily populated region of India. Simultaneously, this holy river is an incredibly polluted river as it's the watershed for a industrial region that struggles with significant sanitation problems; this is a great article on the environmental and cultural issues of development.
DEMOGRAPHICS OF HOMELESS VETERANS
12% of the homeless adult population are veterans
20% of the male homeless population are veterans
68% reside in principal cities
51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities
50% have serious mental illness
70% have substance abuse problems
In India, one of the most significant festivals is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. It's a five-day celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.
This 3 minute video from National Geographic is a nice introduction to the cultural practices of Diwali, the fall festival which symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness. With some analogies to Christmas for Christians, Diwali is also perceived by some to be overly commercialized in recent years and the fireworks cause air pollution problems.
"From 1936 to 1966, the 'Green Book' was a travel guide that provided black motorists with peace of mind while they drove through a country where racial segregation was the norm and sundown towns — where African-Americans had to leave after dark — were not uncommon."
The effects of globalization and technologies are uneven; this is a very clear example of how mobility and access to other places can be limited based on various segments of the population. It is repugnant to think that such a book was ever necessary in this country, but it is heartening to see the evidence of an organized network that worked to lessen the pain of those oppressed by it.
This year's Geography Awareness Week's theme is "Explore! The Power of Maps." Geographer Derek Alderman complied these resources for teachers wanting to use the example of the Green Book in their classrooms.