Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"In 2013, China replaced Mexico as the top sending country for immigrants to the United States. This followed a decade where immigration from China and India increased while immigration from Mexico decreased."
While the Wall Street Journal is declaring this news, it is nothing new to the Census Bureau and those that look at the data rather than listen to the news media. Some in the media would have you imagine that there is a flood of Mexican migrants entering the United States when the recent history shows that narrative simply doesn't line up with data. Would you have guessed that both India and China were sending more migrants to the U.S. than Mexico? This is one of those examples where our preconceived notions interfere with actually 'getting it right.' This is why Hans Rosling started the Ignorance Project.
The It Was Never a Dress campaign is not only taking social media by storm, it is also changing the way we view the traditional women's bathroom sign. We see that the men's figure wears pants and the women's symbol wears a dress, but what if it was never meant to be a dress in the first place? Tania Katan launched the popular #ItWasNeverADress campaign at last week's 'Girls in Tech' conference with the idea that the female figure is instead wearing a cape, asserting that women can be superheroes or anything else they choose to be."
These restroom signs are so ubiquitous that we might fail to realize how they are a part of the gendered landscape in which we live. This takes that well-known icon that was designed to generically represents women and makes us see the sign (and women maybe?) in a new light. It's delightfully playful and yet powerfully subversive; it challenges us to see beyond what we've been told to see and what society tells us what we should see. The designers called this "an invitation to shift perceptions and assumptions about women and the audacious, sensitive, and powerful gestures they make every single day."
Questions to Ponder: what other elements of the cultural landscape convey gendered messages? What impact do these message have?
Stratfor explains Romania's geographic challenge of remaining united while limiting the influence of larger surrounding powers. For more of these videos, visit http://arcg.is/1IeK3dT
Stratfor produced a new video in their "Geographic Challenge" series. I've updated my map which spatially indexes 70+ of their videos that are especially relevant to geography teachers. These videos are great starting points for students that are researching a particular country.
Get students thinking about patterns and the 'why's' of history with a focus on the geography and movement behind the historical story. This is the link to some of the digital maps that can help you put history in it's place. For more lesson plans, click here.
iScore5, the app for AP Human Geography is now available in the Apple Store for $4.99 and has received some excellent reviews. With five levels of questions at increasing difficulty, bonus and double bonus rounds and a study mode with extensive vocabulary, APHG students and teachers alike will find this a great test prep resource and a fun and engaging way to help students earn that 5 (open disclosure--I was a part of the team that developed content for the app, but am NOT receiving any money for promoting it. I'm sharing it because I'm excited about this new resource).
In a world where money grants you certain access and privilege, this is what happens when many seek to leverage their privilege simultaneously only to realize that they have to get in line like the common folks too.
In the Pixar Movie the Incredibles, Mrs. Incredible exasperately tells her son, "Everyone is special, Dash." Dash grumbles under his breath and replies, "Which is another way of saying no one is."
In Indonesia, efforts are underway to grow palms in a sustainable way. But that's putting a squeeze on small farmers.
Palm oil is in everything, from pizza dough and chocolate to laundry detergent and lipstick. Nongovernmental organizations blame it for contributing to assorted evils, from global warming to human rights abuses. But in the past year, this complex global industry has changed, as consumers put pressure on producers to show that they're not destroying forests, killing rare animals, grabbing land or exploiting workers.
Eleven years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Supreme Court on April 28 will hear arguments about whether to extend that right nationwide. The case comes amid a wave of gay marriage legalization: 28 states since 2013, and 36 overall. Such widespread acceptance in a short amount of time isn't a phenomenon unique to gay marriage. Social change in the U.S. appears to follow a pattern: A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event—often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity—triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law.
We looked at six big issues—interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana — to show how this has happened in the past, and may again in the very near future.
This is a most decidedly dated reference for pop culture, but a great movie for making explicit the idea that the way we speak is connected to where we've lived (also a good clip to show class differences as well as gender norms). The clip highlights many principles and patterns for understanding the geography of languages.
"LIVING IN THE AGE OF AIRPLANES is a story about how the airplane has changed the world. Filmed in 18 countries across all 7 continents, it renews our appreciation for one of the most extraordinary and awe-inspiring aspects of the modern world." airplanesmovie.com
I was absolutely delighted to see this film on the big screen...it was as visually stunning as any film I'd ever seen. I and my young children were mesmerized. So much of the modern world that we take for granted is absolutely revolutionary. This is a great teacher's guide to teaching with this film.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Maragret Mead
I share this video as a part of my final lecture in world regional geography as I attempt to tie up loose ends and help my students see the global linkages and connections. Occasionally in the course of a semester where we examine global problems, it is easy to become pessimistic about the world. In spite of all our problems, the world is becoming a better place, and I share this video to emphasize that individuals still have the power to act, and are not simply things to be acted upon by larger forces. I can't change everything everywhere, but I can do something, somewhere...so do something.
Ethiopia is due to launch a light rail transit system later this year, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"The Muslim world doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to female empowerment. With a lack of of strong, independent female role models, young women in the region have few places to look in popular culture for guidance. Until now.
Meet Burka Avenger, the game-changing Pakistani cartoon that, for the first time, has flipped the status quo on its head with its female superhero protagonist, who fights crime in her magical burka."
Become one of the citizen cartographers around the globe tracing and checking roads, buildings, and open spaces to assist people on the ground.
If you want to help Nepal, you can donate time and geospatial abilities by helping provide workers with better maps. This is probably one of the easier on-ramps to collaborative mapping, and the help is desperately needed. You can also have students explore the Nepal earthquake in ArcGIS online; this has become a 'teachable moment' and IRIS provides powerpoint slides for teachers to this example in the classroom.
Sixty of Mexico's native languages are at risk of being silenced forever—but many people are working to keep them alive, experts say.
If a language dies, an entire culture dies. Every year more and more languages and threatened and it gets worse as more people try to keep up with the demand of globalization. "Mexico isn't the only country losing its voices: If nothing is done, about half of the 6,000-plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century." Endangered Languages are going to be all the more common.
How vacant houses trace the boundaries of Baltimore's black neighborhoods.
The map on the left shows one very tiny dot for each person living in Baltimore. White people are blue dots, blacks are green, Asians are red and Hispanics yellow.The map on the right shows the locations of Baltimore City's 15,928 vacant buildings. Slide between the two maps and you'll immediately notice that the wedge of white Baltimore, jutting down from the Northwest to the city center, is largely free of vacant buildings. But in the black neighborhoods on either side, empty buildings are endemic.
A new tool lets you search NASA-quality photos of Earth from 2013 up to this very minute.
Last month, we wrote about Mapbox's envelope-pushing Landsat-live map. Fed by gorgeous, high-res imagery of the planet captured every 16 days by the USGS' Landsat 8 satellite, the map offers a first-of-its-kind chance to explore the Earth's surface as it appears in (almost) real time.
It's no surprise that other folks are also making moves on that Landsat data. Satellite and software company Astro Digital just released a way to easily browse Landsat imagery dating back to in February 2013 (the launch of Landsat 8) through this very moment (Landsat is constantly rephotographing the planet in patches).
In certain places in American history, showing a little leg has been illegal — for men and women.
What is cultural acceptable varies over time and space. This particular issue may seem silly now, but it is a reminder that the norms of the here and now, might have been seen as revolutionary or scandalous in a different time and place. Cultures and customs are socially mediated and those processes creates cultural norms--norms are continually enforced, resisted and reshaped.
"Last week marked the 100th anniversary of the killings of more than a million Armenians during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. Despite considerable opposition from the Turkish government, the anniversary is bringing renewed attention to an often overlooked historical issue, with President Obama in particular facing criticism for not using the word 'genocide' to describe the killings. The 20th century was bloody and violent, and while some horrors are at least relatively well-known – the Holocaust or the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, for example – others have become mere footnotes in history."
"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). IRIS provides powerpoint slides for teachers to use this earthquake as a 'teachable moment.'
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.