Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
I'd never hear the term biopiracy before this month, but this idea is this: companies from wealthy countries commercially develop the genetic resources of developing countries with local assistance but don't fairly compensate the local population. I never had the vocabulary to describe such a thing, but that is biopiracy in a nutshell and the EU is working to end that. It doesn't only impact the pharmaceutical companies but heavily impact the agricultural industries as well. Anyone in the developed world eating quinoa and kale 20 years ago? Being marketed as 'superfoods' has changed the global production systems but also impacted local indigenous food supplies (some are referring to this as food gentrification).
I'm sure a few of you have already seen this viral video and it should be intriguing to geographers for a variety of reasons (and not just because we love hexagons). Solar Roadways is a project in its infancy, but they have broad ambitions that would be revolutionary. Roads that would produce energy? The idea would have staggering results, but there are some practical reasons why this hasn't already been implemented. A geographic perspective is critical as we plan for the future.
Questions to Ponder: How would the full implementation of this idea restructure the cultural landscape, urban environments and our cultural ecology? What would some advantages be? This video is a promotional video that emphasizes the positive; what drawbacks, limitations and obstacles are there to solar roadways in the future?
A 'retronym' is a term specifying the original meaning of word after a newer meaning has overtaken it.
Technological change demands linguistic change. The technological world in which our societies are immersed changes our lived experiences and aspects of culture such as language. For example, vinyl disks were simply called records until compact discs, audio tapes and digital files flooded the music market. An artist may still cut a record today, but the record probably won't be available in vinyl. Vinyl, then, is a 'retronym' to now describe what was once called a record, which now has other meanings and connotations. This list has 14 other examples of retronyms, which exemplifies the cultural patterns and processes that create pop culture.
"Every teacher I've worked with over the last five years recalls two kinds of digital experiences with students.The first I think of as digital native moments, when a student uses a piece of technology with almost eerie intuitiveness. The second I call digital naiveté moments, when a student trusts a source of information that is obviously unreliable. How can these coexist? How can students be so technologically savvy while also displaying their lack of basic skills for navigating the digital world?"
This is a nice article with some practical advice but it also can that helps us conceptualize the thinking skills that our students are going to need in the future (with a classic photo that embodies 20th century news literacy). Previously, I've written on this same topic, with some strategies to how to help students assess the validity of online information with geographic content (with a series of maps and images). I know I've been duped before, and it's okay to admit that to your students; but we need to teach students how to be critical readers as they are swimming in an ocean of digital information of variable quality. This is why I see content curation as an important part of modern education; it is a way to teach student the tools to assess the quality of information for themselves. They will be gathering, organizing and synthesizing digital information for rest of their lives.
In an interview with CNET, T-Mobile's Neville Ray talks about the carrier's plan to fill out its coverage and why it's picking a fight with Verizon. Read this article by Roger Cheng on CNET News.
Maps are not innocent reflections of the truth; and if you do think that they are read some JB Harley. Maps can be used to cleverly conceal the truth or to accentuate a particular perspective.
The unsung hero of the global economy: the shipping container.
NPR's Planet Money has produced an 8-part series following the commodity chain of the T-Shirt. This series explores cotton production, textile mills, sweatshops, outsourcing and in this podcast, the transportation infrastructure that moves goods globally. This podcast touches on the same topic as one of my favorite TED talks, how containerization enabled globalization.
"It’s rare that a video from a brand will spark any real emotion--but a new spot from Google India is so powerful, and so honest to the product, that it’s a testament not only to the deft touch of the ad team that put it together, but to the strength of Google’s current offering."--Forbes
True, this is a commercial--but what a great commercial to show that the history of of a geopolitical conflict has many casualties including friendships across lines. This isn't the only commercial in India that is raising eyebrows. This one from a jewelry company is proudly showing a divorced woman remarrying--something unthinkable for Indian TV one generation ago.
Questions to Ponder: How does the Indian media reflect the values and beliefs of Indian culture? How does the Indian media shape Indian culture?
"Three women’s Death Valley day trip soured after their GPS led them to the edge of survival."
This is a extreme example, but this video serves as a cautionary tale. The harsh and unforgiving physical geography of Death Valley does not tolerate a lack of preparation. Here is part 2 of the video. Garmin the GPS manufacturer's statement on these videos is quite telling "GPS's shouldn't be followed blindly...it is incumbent on users to obtain and update their GPS devices with the most recent map updates."
Technology is designed to guide and assist our decision-making process--that does NOT mean we should turn over thinking functions to the device. Spatial thinking is just like a muscle that will atrophy if it is never used. So consult a map and think for yourself; newer technologies aren't always better or more reliable.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
"Technology is reshaping our economic geography, but there’s disagreement as to how. Much of the media and pundits like Richard Florida assert that the tech revolution is bound to be centralized in the dense, often 'hip' places where 'smart' people cluster.
From 2001 to 2012, STEM employment actually was essentially flat in the San Francisco and Boston regions and declined 12.6% in San Jose. The country’s three largest mega regions — Chicago, New York and Los Angeles — all lost tech jobs over the past decade. In contrast, double-digit rate expansions of tech employment have occurred in lower-density metro areas such as Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Houston and Salt Lake City. Indeed, among the larger established tech regions, the only real winners have been Seattle, with its diversified and heavily suburbanized economy, and greater Washington, D.C., the parasitical beneficiary of an ever-expanding federal power, where the number of STEM jobs grew 21% from 2001 to 2012, better than any other of the 51 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas over that period." Read more.
"Ogooglebar. That's Swedish, and means "something you can't find with the use of a search engine." At least, that's what the Language Council of Sweden wanted Ogooglebar to mean--until Google stepped in, fearing that the word had negative connotations for the firm."
I am used to the French trying to slow the flow of English words into French, but shocked that Google would join in the fray to slow linguistic change. Words evolve based on cultural shifts and technological changes and the computer industry has especially created new words to describe emerging, new social interactions. I'm certain that the company Google is thrilled that "to google" is the verb of choice to describe the action of searching for online for content. I would have guessed that Google was savvy enough to understand that this "ungoogleable" term is not an indictment on the company, but a new way to define that elusive, mysterious, indefinable quality for a generation that sometimes acts as if everything can be found of Google.
"Every year, as a result of prenatal sex selection, 1.5 million girls around the world are missing at birth. How do we know these girls are missing if they were never born? Under normal circumstances, about 102 to 107 male babies are born for every 100 female babies born. This is called the sex ratio at birth, or SRB."
You are looking at, more or less, a portrait of the internet over an average 24 hours in 2012—higher usage in yellows and reds; lower in greens and blues—created by an anonymous researcher for the "Internet Census 2012" project.
This is a stunning animated graphic the represents internet usage. The temporal dynamics of map make it especially mesmerizing.
Iceland is working on banning Internet pornography, calling explicit online images a threat to children.
Given the cultural values and legal traditions of Western Europe in general (and Scandinavia more specifically), Iceland stands apart on this particular issue. While most Western countries would see this as a freedom of speech issue, many in Iceland view it as child protection issue.
We are only beginning to see the applications of smart phones to improve peoples lives. In this TED talk, Paul Conneally explores some of the possibilities (citizen mapping, crowd-sourced disaster recovery, etc.) that is just sitting in the palm of our collective hands.
Tea plucking machines are threatening the livelihoods of tea pickers in the Indian state of Assam, reports Mark Tully.
This is yet another example of the uneven impacts of globalization.
This interactive dot distribution map of the United States 2010 census data has many great applications. The conversation can focus on the symbology of the map (for example, this could lead to a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of dot distribution maps) or notice how certain physical landforms are visible for either their high or low population density. One of the advantages of this map is that it uses census data at the block level. This means that the user can visualize distinct scale-dependent patterns. Sharp divisions (e.g.-urban vs. rural) might have less of a distinct edge as you zoom in.
UPDATE: This map now includes Canadian and Mexican census data as well as the United States.
The stunning drop in global child mortality is proof that poor countries are not doomed to eternal misery. Here's how it happened.
Global health has substantially improved in the last two decades. This article explores the improvements in global health that have been made this year, and the attached interactive feature allows users to explore the changes in global health risks. Click here for the Guardian's version of this same data and interactive.
The idea of flash mobs has spread quickly, diffusing at a time when online video sharing can immortalize the moment in time and social media can amplify the audience beyond just one place.
I LOVE this particular flashmob (as a bonus, 'read' the cultural landscape to try to identify where this took place). While there are many types of successful flash mobs, all share one characteristic: place matters. The place where a flash mob performs is not simply a stage; place is a crucial part of the meaning of the flash mob. An incredibly prominent place with open spaces and many sight lines is a prime location for a flash mob. Beyond these tangible characteristics, if a site has some importance cultural significance, those qualities can be meshed with the meanings of the flash mob. For more of my musings on flashmobs (and extra clips) you can continue reading here.
This map might appear to be completely trivial and it probably is. Still, there are interesting historical and colonial patterns that can be seen in this technological culture region map.
Questions to Ponder: Will there one day be a single format? When? What are barrier to that happening? What does this tell us about the extent of globalization?
During the holiday season, online sales shoot up as distant relatives seek to ship gifts in time for Christmas. Some have noted that online shoppers can stay at home and completely render the tradition physical storefront redundant. Online shoppers, whether they think about it or not, hoping that the physical logistics behind the scenes will work efficiently and quickly. This collection of images is a reminder that while it might appear that geography and location are eliminated with online communications, these virtual interactions in cyberspace are dependent on actual physical locations.
THERE WAS SOMETHING odd about the black car at the junction of Sutter and Hyde Streets. It was an ordinary saloon. Its windows were clear, and it looked in good...
Technologies today have allowed us to be digitally connected from anywhere. This impacts geographic patterns from outsourcing to local businesses that rely on interpersonal communications to connect potential demand with resources. Some may see this as geography becoming less of a barrier, and consequently, less relevant. This article in the Economist argues that as these technologies have rendered location more important than ever since they rely on geospatial technologies. "The reports of the death of distance have been much exaggerated."
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.'
A pictorial investigation bureau, at your service.
Social media has fundamentally changed how information is disseminated. Many photos that are spread on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest can be 'doctored' or mislabeled since citizen journalists aren't held to the same standard of verifying their sources. In the abundance of information, sorting out fact from fiction can be quite difficult. Social media has made me a more of a skeptic, and I try not to post a picture that I it can't find it's original source.