Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"Prior to the 1960’s, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake and approximately the size of Ireland. Fed by both the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers carrying snowmelt from the mountains to the southeast, the Aral Sea moderated the climate and provided a robust fishing industry that straddled the present-day border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For the map savvy, that Aral Sea would be almost unrecognizable—it has long appeared as two basins known as the North and the South Aral Sea since the rivers were diverted for crops, leading to the Aral Sea’s alarming shrinkage. Recent NASA satellite imagery shows the decline that the Aral Sea has undergone since 2000, leaving the South Aral Sea completely dried up in 2014. "
Central Asia is full of lands whose names end in -stan. A certain powerful North American country has a related name. How? It's not your standard explanation...
"For months, publishing giant HarperCollins has been selling an atlas it says was developed specifically for schools in the Middle East. It trumpets the work as providing students an 'in-depth coverage of the region and its issues. Its stated goals include helping kids understand the 'relationship between the social and physical environment, the region’s challenges [and] its socio-economic development.' Nice goals. But there’s one problem: Israel is missing."
In other words, Israel got eliminated from this atlas that was designed to cater to Middle Eastern countries that take umbrage with the fact that Israel...exists. Making maps always has political overtones and the company is now realizing that you can't please everyone with different versions for distinct audiences. Now, HarperCollins has pulled the book and will pulp all remaining versions of the atlas.
"Confluences occur wherever two streams come together. If the gradient is low (i.e., nearly level) and the properties of the two streams are very different, the confluences may be characterized by a dramatic visible distinction as the mixing occurs only slowly."
"There’s no denying that the Amish are fascinating to the rest of us ("the English," in Amish terms). We buy their furniture and jam, and may occasionally spot their buggies when driving on country roads through America’s heartland. Many may not realize, however, that though the Amish make up only a tiny percentage of Americans (less than 0.1 percent), the Amish population has grown enormously since the early 1960s, with much of the increase occurring in the last two decades."
Elwood was a senior geographer working on the ground-floor of the very global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) he will throw up for discussion in his TEDx talk.
His question: Are we surrendering our innate mental map making abilities to technology and relying on and trusting it too much? And for TEDx audiences only, he’ll toss out ideas on ways to prevent that from happening.
Maps of countries, infrastructure projects, and invasions that never were — but might have been.
Scallops pulled out of the waters off the western coast of France are taken on an incredible journey that sees them shipped off to China to be cleaned, before being sent all the way back to France to be cooked up. Producers say its worth the cost.
This type of nonsense only makes sense in a world where the bottom dollar is the only way to way to evaluate decisions. However, resource conservation (think of the food miles!), fair labor prices, and the preservation of local cultural economies are certainly issues that should be considered.
"The best 30 resources and posts on Geography Education from 2014." http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education
'Tis the season to look back on the year that was. There are some 'Best of' lists with great teaching applications produced this week such as the best satellite images of 2014, the worst natural disasters of 2014, and 50 states in 50 pictures. This committee of one has analyzed all the Geography Education resources shared this year and selected these 30 as the best, most important, or most useful resources from 2014.
"A new report released by the Pew Research Centre has found that the proportion of Catholics in Latin America has dropped 25% since 1970. One of the primary drivers for the rise in the numbers leaving the Catholic Church? Conversion to Protestantism."
The Industrial Revolution gets credit for kicking off the world's human population explosion, but new research suggests we should look further back.
“If you dig further in the past," Stutz told Emory University, "the data suggest that a critical threshold of political and economic organization set the stage around the start of the Common Era. The resulting political-economic balance was the tipping point for economies of scale: It created a range of opportunities enabling more people to get resources, form successful families, and generate enough capital to transfer to the next generation.”
Many urban neighborhoods are places of concentrated poverty, and it's killing opportunity in the US.
American cities are growing, and as they grow, they're adding lots of high-poverty neighborhoods. Nearly three times as many "high-poverty" census tracts existed in 2010 as in 1970. That's unsettling on its face but even more so when you see the havoc a poor neighborhood can wreak on a resident's chances at a good life. Forget gentrification — this is a bigger problem.
The chart above tallies up the people living in these neighborhoods in 1970 and 2010. What it shows is that the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has roughly doubled since 1970. That's because these neighborhoods of concentrated poverty have a tendency to stay that way, even while new ones sprout up.
"The signs that something’s wrong are not immediately obvious, but, once you see them, it’s hard to tune them out. Curbs at nearly the exact same spot on opposite sides of the street are popped out of alignment. Houses too young to show this kind of wear stand oddly warped, torqued out of sync with their own foundations, their once-strong frames off-kilter. This is Hollister, California, a town being broken in two slowly, relentlessly, and in real time by an effect known as 'fault creep.' A slow, surreal tide of deformation has appeared throughout the city."
The National Geographic Society has been inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888. National Geographic Maps publishes more than 100 new print maps annually and is a leading developer of digital map content found in websites and award-winning mobile apps. All proceeds from the sale and licensing of National Geographic maps go to support the Society's vital exploration, conservation, research and education programs. www.natgeomaps.com
Have you ever wanted an archive of all the fabulous maps produced by National Geographic? And what if you could preview a digital version of all of these NatGeo maps seamlessly on Google Maps? That is exactly what this gallery delivers.
See which places have the best chance of being a winter wonderland on Christmas Day according to weather history.
This is not a weather report; we are still too far out to start predicting that with any accuracy. What this map does show is the statistical probabilities of snow cover throughout the United States for December 25th based on past climatological data.
A look into Smithsonian's vast archives reveals that Father Christmas tends to get a makeover with every generation that embraces him
The picture archives show the historical evolution behind the cultural representations of Santa Claus. Additionally this ESRI story map shows some of the regional differences in Santa Claus, showing how the cultural diffusion of this icon of a Christian holiday takes on real local attributes. I also enjoyed these pictures from the BBC of Christmas around the world. Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it and a Happy New Year to all.
"In this Feed the Future video, narrator Matt Damon discusses the importance of increasing food production around the world and notes the importance of equipping women with the right tools, training, and technology to see as much as a 30 percent increase in food production. To feed our growing population we need to increase food production by 70 percent before 2050. Women make up the majority of the agricultural workforce in many areas of the world."
A colleague mine thought that the ideas in this video were so obvious and non-controversial, he said, "Why does this even need to be stated? Why would we exclude women from agriculture?" The simple answer is that it wouldn't need to be stated if women around the world did have equal access to resources. For many of the world's poor, this is where the rubber meets the road.
"Revolution and rotation are the terms we use to describe the motions of the earth and moon. Revolution is the movement of the earth in an orbit around the sun. The Earth completes one revolution around the sun every 365 days. The moon revolves around the Earth about once every month."
Understanding the relationships between the Sun, Earth and moon are critical for for understanding the seasons, climate and other geographic factors. This interactive simulates gravity unlike anything I've every seen on a computer screen.
To exploring Earth-Sun interactions, playing around with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Sun Simulator is a fun way to make a little more sense of the various factors that control how the Sun appears in the sky.