Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
This online game where you return the "misplaced" country on the map is more than just an exercise in locating places (there are many online map quizzes for that sort of activity). What makes this one unique is that as you move the country north or south the country expands or contracts according to how that country would be projected if that were its actual location on a Mercator map. This is a great way to introduce projections.
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?
|Suggested by Top 10 Lists|
Africa has a lot to offer the adventurous traveller. We've compiled a list of the must-see places any trip should include.
|Suggested by C. Kevin Turner|
There are joys and rewards in growing some of your own crops; there's even beauty.
Although a front lawn is not ecologically the best use of urban space, there are strong cultural pressure to conform to that aesthetic ideal. When individuals choose to grow vegetables and fruit, they often face some push-back from the city or homeowners associations with a different vision on the appropriate use of space. Some have estimated though, that if we were to convert 10 percent the country's grass lawns to vegetable gardens that they could supply roughly a third of our fresh vegetables.
I've posted on this topic now, so regular readers will know that I love a good flashmob that changes our perception of public places. This flashmob from Quebec makes me wonder, "if there were a bottle on the ground, would I pick it up and recycle it?" I'd like to think that I would, but the numbers show that most people would just walk right on by. For more of my favorite flashmobs in public places, see http://geographyeducation.org/whats-new/articles/place-and-flash-mobs/
Facebook Data Science wrote a note titled NFL Fans on Facebook. Read the full text here.
Who is rooting for which team in the Super Bowl? How does regional geography play a role in this distribution of the data captured in this map?
On the surface Facebook is a social network, but those in the know recognize that it's actually one of the largest datasets of human trends, preferences and activity ever catalogued.
This is a crowd-sourced map of NFL fans is very different from this more stylized version.
An advertising campaign designed to illustrate the drawbacks of living in the U.K. is being planned to deter an expected surge of immigrants, according to reports
Immigration is a sensitive topic so I'll tread lightly. There appears to be some support for a campaign that would target would-be migrants specifically from Romania and Bulgaria that life in the U.K. isn't as as grand as it may seem (ironic coming of the heels of the Olympics). This obviously isn't something that is universally supported by the British, but it does highlight the fact that more and more European countries are seeking ways to deter migrants from crossing their borders as economic struggles continue.
The interest in urban gardening and organic foods has grown as a reaction against a mechanized, commercialization agricultural industry with genetically-modified produce. Modern consumers are seek...
Modern consumers are increasingly seeking diverse options and don’t want to passively accept the most economically efficient method of food production. City-dwellers sometimes feel disconnected from the land and their food and some are trying to culturally re-establish that connection in the 21st century. So how can you engage in some urban agriculture using your food scraps? This could be a way to make an agricultural unit more hands-on with a fun project
What is taught in biology classes varies considerably in the United States for a host of political and religious reasons that are particular to each state. What influences the educational decisions being made in your state?
See the big picture of how suburban developments are changing the country's landscape, with aerial photos and ideas for the future
There are many types of housing development patterns throughout the world. This article provides a summary of approximately 20 different housing patterns common in the United States with a visual example demonstrate the impact on the urban footprint (Pictured above is an example of new urbanism in Boulder, CO). Each neighborhood has distinct cultural amenities and attracts particular socioeconomic market segments.
Questions to Ponder: What housing patterns are you drawn to? How come? What are the advantages for the residents to live in that type of community? What are the impacts that the housing pattern has on the physical environment and the urban system? What systems are most profitable for developers? How does the layout of the neighborhood alter the sense of place?
"In this fantastic sighting by photographer Horst Kiechle, we see the roots of a tree in Bangkok, Thailand (Lat Yao, Chatuchak to be exact) growing into the grooves and cracks of an interlocking sidewalk. Even the colour of the roots gradually fade into the pavement."
This startling image is a powerful testament to the adaptive nature of many species to the urban environment. Some species will adapt in beautiful ways such as this tree, while other will adapt in ways that go against our plan for that urban space (think rats, pigeons and cockroaches). We adapt to our environment and the environment adapts to us as well; but that relationship is not always peaceful and symbiotic. We can also destroy ecosystems that are fragile and not as resilient to change as this tree is. See this same tree's root network one year later.
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.
Google Maps rolls out a detailed may of the secretive state.
Citizen cartographers have edited Google's North Korea map, putting information on what was previously an absence of data concerning one of the most secretive countries in the world. In essence, as explained in this video, Google is crowd-sourcing the map. How might this geographic knowledge change our perception of North Korea? How might the dissemination of this information affect North Korea?
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
France declares war on the English language. Erin Burnett reports....
France is famous for trying to slow the linguistic diffusion of globalization's most powerful online language (which also happens to belong to their age-old cultural and political rival). France has a commission dedicated to removing new words that have English origins since 1996 with the goal of introducing words with have linguistic roots in French. Recently then have done away with the Twitter term #hashtag to #mot-dièses. This video criticizes this cultural practice and it is also derided in this NPR article. However this does not mean that France is immune to cultural pressure to change linguistic traditions. There was been a movement to alter the term Mademoiselle on official documents with a new title that allows women the freedom to choose the form of address that they prefer (and not to force them to reveal their marital status--think Ms. vs Miss).
Questions to Ponder: Why (and how) do languages change over time? Is it possible to keep a language 'pure?'
|Suggested by Nikolas M|
Pictured above is a still image of an interactive digital globe with population density data with colored bar graphs to symbolize the data. This is a great open-source platform for geographic data visualization. There are not many data layers currently, but possibly there will be more in the future (best viewed in Google Chrome).
In the Caucasus, culinary nationalism is an extension of the region's long-simmering disputes.
"There is perhaps nothing more closely bound up with one's national identity than food. Specific local dishes are often seen as the embodiment of various cultures and many nations promote their food as a celebration of national identity. Sometimes, however, a country's cuisine can also be used to highlight national rivalries."
This opening paragraph nicely shows how cultural traditions from a similar cultural hearth may have much in common. However, since these groups are neighbors, the geopolitical relationship may be strained despite the cultural commonalities.
30-second animation of the changes in U.S. historical county boundaries, 1629 - 2000. Historical state and territorial boundaries are also displayed from 178...
I love this time-lapse animation of all the county and state-level boundary changes in United States history. Would you like to see this in greater detail? Would you want to download the data and create your own visualization of this? The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries has all of this data as GIS shapefiles, Google Earth KMZ files and PDFs for the whole country as well as for each individual state. This project sponsored by The Newberry and the National Endowment for the Humanities has tremendous potential for use in the classroom for history and geography teachers alike.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Look at most maps of Rio de Janeiro. The beaches are easy to spot, as are the iconic ocean-front neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema. In the middle is a vast forest.
A nonprofit organization run by current and former favela residents called Redes da Mare has started the first mapping program to systematically chart out the favelas for municipal governments. We take for granted what having an address on a named street means in a modern society; it is a portal to public utilities, recognition with businesses and countless other social benefits. Being left 'off the map' is synonymous with being left behind. By finding their way on the city maps they are removing some of the social stigma that sought to treat them as if they did not exist.
"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?
An initial analysis of the Mount Dixon landslide in New Zealand on Monday
There are some great images (and a post-landslide helicopter flight video) of the massive landslide that occurred Jan 21, 2013. The rockslide extends over 3 km, with an elevation change of approximately 800 meters. This is an excellent example to help students visualize mass wasting, alpine glaciation and erosion in general. While the mountain didn't explode strictly speaking, I couldn't help but love the headline "Mount Dixon explodes!"
|Suggested by cafonso|
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."
Taro Aso says he would refuse end-of-life care and would 'feel bad' knowing treatment was paid for by government
It's no secret that Japan's population is aging and can not replace itself. Since it is not a destination country for migrants, this is going to have serious economic ramifications as the percentage of the Japanese population over 60 is expected to rise above 40% over the course of this next generation. Given the harsh statements by the new Japanese finance minister, it's a huge political concern (although a difficult one mention in campaigns). Some have already questioned Japan's ability to survive this demographic implosion as adult diapers are now a bigger moneymaker in Japan than children's diapers.