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On three different occasions, the candidate with the most votes didn't become President of the United States. We call this "The Electoral College Problem." Here a solution. Simple. Mathematical. Rational.
As a disclaimer, I'm not endorsing the removal of all current state borders, but I think that this is a great thought exercise that involves some serious spatial thinking and geography knowledge to create this map (or even to critique and discuss it). This map represents an attempt to restructure the states so that each state would have equal value in the electoral college with roughly equal populations (county borders remained firm). What about the physical and human geography would make some of these "states" better (or worse) than the current configuration of the 50 states? How would this 'redistricting' impact your local region?
Tags: political, gerrymandering, mapping, unit 4 political.
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Oil-rich, velvet-rope-poor Azerbaijan, a country about the size of South Carolina on the Caspian Sea, would very much like to be the world’s next party capital.
Azerbaijan has limited cultural prestige and international recognition, but it has great quantities of oil, and they are parlaying that wealth into an important geopolitical position in Central Asia. It appears that Baku has ambitions to become the next Dubai.
Tags: Azerbaijan, political, development, Central Asia, unit 4 political.
Azerbaijan is tiny about the size of South Carolina, home to 9.2 million people, it produces nothing the world wants and has no major unviversities. So why is it such a big deal? It has Oil. Back in 2006 they began pumping oil from the caspian sea and with the help of BP they now pump one million barrels of oil daily. If the proposed pipeline running from turkey to Austria is built it could bring in billions of dollars a year. Azerbijan is overwhelmingly Muslim and buys advanced weapons systems from Israel in exchange for oil, they are a new member of the UN and sided with the US against Russia on the issue of Syria. Azerbaijan is making a rise in the world all thanks to their oil goldmine
Much like Dubai they are using their oil wealth to build a city on the ocean. Also they share a border with Iran, which makes the US even more interested in the area. They also as of late have supported the US against Russia in the Syria conflict. This small, but oil rich and strategically located country is getting involved in geo-politics and want to make sure people know its on the map. Long a part of the USSR it is establishing itself as a country in the world and on its way to make its own idenity. They are also looking to lay a gas pipeline that will just increase their standing in the economy of the area and the world. They still have thier issues, Russia could flex its muscle in the area and there is the the ongoing conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Going to be an interesting time in this part of the world.
January 19, 2013—The West African nation of Mali is making headlines after a wave of French military actions on Islamic extremist groups now controlling the northern part of the country. National Geographic Senior Writer Peter Gwin has...
This 6-minute video clip is a good way to help students understand the ethnic and geopolitical context of the Mali conflict. What impact did the superimposed borders of colonialism have in creating the conflict?
Tags: Mali, Africa, borders, political, conflict, war, colonialism, National Geographic.
La crisi propera no es deixa fer prou atenció als canvis geopolítics a l' Africa.
"The map [above] sorts the countries of the world into three groups based on their relative coup risk for 2013: highest (red), moderate (orange), and lowest (beige)."
While this is not predicting a coup in any of these places, this map is a visualization of data that was used to assess the factors that would make a coup likely (to see an alternate map, here is the Washington Post's review of the same data that mapped the 30 countries most likely to have a coup).
Questions to Ponder: What factors do you think would be important in compilling data of this nature? What makes a country susceptible to this type of governmental overthrow? What creates governmental stability?
Tags: political, conflict, unit 4 political, governance, Africa.
Factoren die meespelen zijn hieronder genoemd.
The algorithm for successful coups uses just four risk factors, one of which is really just an adjustment to the intercept.
The algorithm for any coup attempts, successful or failed, uses the following ten risk factors, including all four of the ones used to forecast successful coups.
"A basic truth about the cultural geography of the California border [is this]—two very different city-building traditions come crashing into each other at one of the most contentious international boundary lines on the planet. In this collision, in the shocking contrast of landscapes, lies one critical ingredient of the border’s place identity."
As a geographer native to the San Diego region (with family on both sides of the border), I found this article very compelling. Relations across the border are economic, cultural and political in nature, and the merger of those varied interests have led to an uneven history of both cooperation and separation. Herzog analyses three distinct factors that have shape the landscape of the California-Mexico border zone: urbanization, NAFTA, and global interruptions (9/11).
Tags: borders, AAG, political, landscape, California, unit 4 political, Mexico.
Les territoires de la mondialisation: les frontières. Une frontière qui se ferme et pourtant, une urbanisation continue mais contrastée.
It is interesting to see how this border has transformed from a fence to a guideline and back over time. Researchers of these two cities can learn a lot about how the events of one country affect the other country, such as in the case of 9/11. This place is also a great place to study culture because it is here where researchers can study a melding of two cultures in action. Overall, this area gives great insight into how two bordering countries affect each other politically, economically, socially, and culturally.
Also have heard stories of Tijuana...you know what happens there stays there. Much like the Kennedy's in the US, Tijuana got its initial fame and wealth from the alcohol trade when the US started prohibition in the 1920, albeit the Kennedy family did it illegally with bootlegging. Interesting contrast of building styles and cutures. The space on the map makes this area what it is. Without San Diego, Tijuana wouldn't be the same and San Diego wouldn't be the same without Tijuana. This area also shows a contrast with the Canadian border. Little or no fences on that border, but here, there are two in some spots, an old onecand a new post 9/11 one. Why here then are there fences? Culture too different? Is it for racial reasons? Is it just the drug trade and cartels that are all over the area the reason? Is it US drug policy that makes the fence necessary? Is it the US policy on immigration that the the fence a necessity? Is it the worse economic conditions in Mexico or the violence that is forcing the people to run across the border? Lots of questions and right now it looks like nobody has any real answers.
Eighteen months ago, central Mogadishu was like an African Stalingrad.
Somalia's political troubles are not over, but it is no longer the drought-ridden country overrun by Islamist extremist that it was two years ago. For years it held the dubious title of "the world's most failed state." Al Shabbab, the militant group linked to Al Qaeda, left the capital of Mogadishu in 2011 and in 2012 lost their last stronghold. Piracy still exists off the Somali coast, but it has lessened as a semblance of political order is being restored to the Horn of Africa.
Tags: Somalia, Africa, political, conflict, war.
Many other countries complain about the US getting into things that aren't our business, but what I've noticed, if we don't intervene, it does become our problem because of all the ties we have around the world. One place fights another because they think something isn't going their way. But if one place goes down, there is other places that rely on the place that just fell. Then it becomes a butterfly effect and more people are affected than intended.
France is ready to stop Islamist militants who control northern Mali, the French president says, following a plea for help by his Malian counterpart.
In April 2012, Islamist rebels seized power in Northern Mali and have declared independence, proclaiming this region The Islamic State of Azawad. Recently they have begun to amass armies on the southern limits of their territory and presumably are seeking to topple all of Mali. The former colonizer, France is being called upon to assist as is the United Nations. This area is part of a region known as the Sahel, the transition from a dry North Africa to tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, from a Muslim/Arab north to a Christian/Animist/Black region of Africa. The human and physical geographic divisions in this region plays a major role in this conflict.
Tags: Mali, Africa, political, conflict, war.
Islamist militants control Northern Mali
The National Rifle Association gives members of Congress a grade ranging from A to F.
Since the Newtown CT tragedy, gun control and second amendment rights have been prominent in the minds on many Americans. Your ideological position on what should be done in th future might be in part a product of geography. How do most people feel about the second amendment where you live? What about your local geography might influence those opinions?
And you? What's your opinion about Gun Control Legislation?
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.
While the idea of everyone of the same nationality belonging to the same country might be considered an ideal situation, the world's ethnic geography is too jumbled to create perfect nation-states. South Tyrol is a part of Italy that is one of those places with mixed a ethnic, linguistic and political heritage. By different criteria, many of the residents could be considered German, Austrian or Italian or a combination of the them. Since the Euro Zone fiscal crisis, the push for political autonomy in South Tyrol has intensified, in part because this region has avoided the crisis and is economically fairing better than the rest of Italy.
Questions to Ponder: How do political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Tags: Italy, states, autonomy, ethnic, language, devolution.
Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Take note Kate and Johnny!!
A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.
This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table. Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel. This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem.
Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping.
"When it comes to making a multimillion-dollar action blockbuster, an important rule to follow is: do not alienate some1.3 billion potential theatergoers." .
DB: As the reaction to the YouTube “Innocence of Muslims” trailer has shown, we must be more cautious of what we say and how we depict others as social media and cinema can now easily transcend boarders diversifying the place and space of potential viewers.
Forms of expression or entertainment such as art, music, dance, food and especially cinema can symbolize many of the values, norms, customs or fears that are prevalent within a particular society. However, these cultural expressions also may also carry a political stigma that conveys a message to its audience. China has played a major role in the development of the November release of MGM’s remake of the movie “Red Dawn,” which was a 1984 politically-charged Cold War film about the USSR invading America. The remake of the film incorporated many themes associated with a “declining” America, yet this was not China’s concern. Originally the producers of this film intended to replace the USSR with the PRC which would portray China as the villain and antagonist of the film. Yet (as the Chinese government soon made MGM realize) this is inconsistent with the realities of 21st century geopolitics or the globally economy. The threat of having the film blocked by one of their biggest and most lucrative markets in East Asia pressured MGM to re-edit the film depicting North Korea as the villain before its release this November.
Question: How has globalization changed the film or entertainment industry in general?
Amazing how they had to change who the enemy was when they found out the Chinese were being offened. I remember when the original was being made. The Soviet Union was up in arms about it, did they change the enemy at that time, nope. The Soviet Union was not seen as an "economic" threat to making money off the movie, the Chinese are.
New rules announced last week to allow interceptions of ships in the South China Sea are raising concerns in the region, and in Washington, that simmering disputes with Southeast Asian countries over the waters will escalate.
According to this new announcement, Chinese ships would be allowed to search and repel foreign ships if they were engaged in illegal activities (but that is open to interpretation) if the ships were within the 12-nautical-mile zone surrounding islands that China claims. This makes the disputed territorial claims of China all the more at the center of this geopolitical maneuverings. Much of the South China Sea would then be under Chinese control if this announcement becomes the new reality.
Questions to Ponder: Why is China making this announcement? Is China within their rights to make this declaration? Who might oppose this?
Shaped like a giant pistol sitting on its butt end, Wisconsin's new 22nd state Senate District is Exhibit A in the case against partisan redistricting.
The redistricting process is far from neutral; to be fair we should remember that gerrymandering is has happened on all ends of the political spectum. Which map to you think is the best way to divide these districts? What is the fairest way to divide them?
A website that examines the geographical enclaves of the world
This website is an exhaustive list with information on the world's enclaves that are so often entangled in geopolitical issues.
Tags: borders, political, unit 4 political.
Enclaves of the world HUGGERS....review!
The filmmakers present a 12-step program to establish the world’s newest country: South Sudan.
What does a state need to have to be politically viable? If you were to start your own country, what would you need to do? This isn't just a hypothetical question since South Sudan is currently undergoing this process and having to answer these questions.
Tags: South Sudan, political, sovereignty, Africa, territoriality, states, unit 4 political.
I don’t think that Northern Sudan is going to relinquish control of South Sudan that easily. I am going to employ the wait and see attitude to this “Hot Spot” issue.
Iran's geography plays heavily in the foreign affairs issues it is a part of, and the policies it makes.
"Iran sits smack in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions on Earth. Much of its western flank is bordered by either Iraq or the Persian Gulf, and it has considerable control over one of the world’s most important waterways for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz."
Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should know beyond the three main facts that that most Americans are aware of (Iran has an Islamic-based government, an emerging nuclear program and a ton of oil). This article is a good starting point.
Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.
The number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict and crossed the borders hasn't ceased to increase.
UNICEF workers have stated: "More than 600,000 have fled the conflict in Syria and registered as refugees. The number of Syrians who have left without registering is unknown but is likely to be hundreds of thousands. We do know, however, that children make up around half the number of refugees and that is certainly no way for any child to live their childhood."
Tags: Syria, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.
The ongoing military conflicts in Syria have caused a significant refugee problem. Refugees are evacuating Syria and entering its geographically close neighbors, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.
Balancing the interests of stakeholders in the Malian polity will be difficult, however some key steps should be taken.
This is a great article for give to students to provide them with the geo-political context to understand the situation in Mali. It also give a great reminder for observers and the involved parties to not lump all Tuareg civilians in the north with the Islamists groups that are in control. "This failure to consistently distinguish between different groups in the North by multiple stakeholders...portends longer term trouble." For additional reading, see this Geography in the News article on Mali, tailor-made for classroom.
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.
Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power. If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious. Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy.
Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.
While city lights at night serve as a good proxy for population density, North Korea provides a dark exception.
This image is appears to be a regional inset of the classic Earth at Night composite image however this nighttime remote sensing image was taken from Sept. 2012. The Earth at Night image is typically used in classrooms to discuss what this actually means for human geography (Population density? Development? Consumption? Where? How come?). However, this particular portion of the global image focused on the Korean Peninsula highlights two other specific issues:
Tags: economic, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, territoriality, states, unit 4 political, remote sensing.
Amazing photo! Population density is a good issue but also political geography and economic geography as well.
This cliché image of "North Korea in the dark" reinforces preconceived ideas about the "totalitarian" state and how terrible life must be without electricity. Well, one aspect of this political geography is the effect of US-backed sanctions against North Korea and the severe ecological and energy crisis under which it has struggled for the last two decades. Just as electricity is not simply a "natural" resource, neither is energe consumption nor shortage.
As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world. Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries. The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war. This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty.
UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.
Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.
How to handle it?
The BBC's John Simpson reports from Hong Kong, where the former colony's increasing independent-mindedness is worrying Beijing.
When the rule of Hong Kong transferred from the UK to China in 1997, the Chinese government was careful to ease the fears of those in Hong Kong that they would not have their political and economic systems turned upside down. "One country, two systems" was the famous slogan to sum up the policy that some felt would simply delay the inevitable. Today, many of the youth in Hong Kong are demonstrating against what they feel are pressures to do away with their unique status and are bringing back the old colonial flag. This is not asking for a return to British rule, but a symbolic reference to their distinct history from the rest of mainland China. Today only 16.6% of Hong Kong residents identify themselves as Chinese, which is the lowest it's ever been since 1997.
Interesting facts...that's the interdependence concept of Geography..
Washington state has become the first in America to allow the recreational use of cannabis, setting up a potential showdown with the US federal government.
The states that have legalized recreational marijuana use reflect regional differences in cultural and communal values within the United States. This is quite a quandry with fascinating ramifications as popular cultural values clash with political tradition.
Questions to Ponder: What will the Federal government do considering that a state law is contradicting a federal law? Will other states follow? Would a California employee fail a drug test is the drugs were legally consumed in a different state? Will Washington and Colorado receive more weekend tourism?
Heuristic: if a place has sidewalks, it votes Democratic. Otherwise, it votes Republican.— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) September 3, 2012
Heuristic: if a place has sidewalks, it votes Democratic. Otherwise, it votes Republican.
Nate Silver became about as big of a celebrity as a statistician can become during the election (being called everything from a prophet to a witch). This little nugget is obviously an overgeneralization, but it appears that is has enough substance to give it some serious consideration. Where does this hold true and where is it false? How come? If it is true, why would this be true?
The Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining power in several countries since the Arab Spring. The rise of Islamist power in the Middle East is culturally and politically complex. This interactive lets the user click on selected countries to see how groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas are impacting them politically.
Tags: Middle East, religion, Islam, political.