"Peak season to spot rare, dazzling night skies over Canada and Alaska."
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|Suggested by Michael Miller|
"What we know as the English Language today has evolved over thousands of years, influenced by migrating tribes, conquering armies and peaceful trade. Do you know the origins of the language you speak? Have a look at this detailed infographic from Brighton School of Business and Management."
Languages, just like cultures, are incredibly dynamic and have changed over time. Many people like to imagine an older version of their own culture of "how it used to be" or even "how it's always was." This is an illusion though, to pretend as though cultural change is something new. This fantasy allows for people to nostalgically yearn for what once was, even if that perceived pristine past was but a fleeting moment in history that was shaped by many other peoples, places and times.
"AP Human Geography Free Response Questions should be approached in a very deliberate and specific way. APHG teacher Tom Landon explains his approach to teaching students how to do it."
For those preparing students for the AP Human Geography test, this video gives great advice to help you instruct students on how to approach the Free Response Questions (FRQs). Understanding the content always comes first, but some bright students who I know understand the content fail to read the instructions or to answer every portion of the questions. This will help those APHG students.
"Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding."
To gain a global perspective inherently requires understanding multiple perspectives. Africa is frequently portrayed as 'the other' but also homogenized within a single narrative that 'flattens' truth. How can we teach and learn about other places in a way that develops geographic empathy and shows the many stories of that can belong to any one place?
March and April are key months for harvesting sap from trees, making this sugar time in New England. New England's climate and biogeography make this the right time because the because the combination of freezing nights and warm spring days gets the sap in the native species of maple trees to flow. The sap get boiled down to syrup, but did you know that it takes roughly 40 gallons of sap that to get 1 gallon of pure maple syrup?
Provo, Utah, and Burlington, Vermont, represent opposite ends of the U.S. religiosity spectrum.
The majority of the most religious metros are concentrated in the South or Utah. This particular weekend, many of the rythmns of urban life in Utah cities are remarkably visible as the LDS church holds it's semi-annual General Conference. On the opposite side of spectrum, 5 of the 10 least religious metros are in New England; the west coast is the other center of diminished religiosity (with a mini-center in Colorado).
Questions to ponder: What cultural patterns help to partially explain the levels of religiosity in the United States? What other factors explain the patterns of religiosity in your in your local area?
Lawmakers in Vermont are looking to regulate food labels so customers can know which products are made from genetically modified crops, but agricultural giants Monsanto say they will sue if the state follows through.
Questions to ponder: Why is Vermont the first state to make some headway in producing this type of legislation? Will other states follow suit? What would the economic impacts be if all places required labels on products that contain genetically modified organisms? How would that change the agricultural industry?
"[This video] explores the idea Western “cultural invasion” into Saudi Arabia, and satirizes Saudi views of America in the process. The influence of Western, particularly American, culture is a big, touchy topic in much of the world, with people torn between their love of Michael Jackson and their desire to patronize compatriots over foreigners. It’s about national pride and about preserving one’s own culture. For English captions (click the little 'CC' button in the bottom-right corner after pressing play).
Skip to about 3:15 to see the segment on the Western 'cultural invasion' of Saudi Arabia and, appropriately, a very funny bit on attempting a 'reverse cultural invasion' of Saudi cultural in America."
Given that Saudi Arabia's government is a strict theocratic kingdom, many people imagine that those ideas and values are representative of the general population and imagine austere and unyielding personalities. This video shows something we ratherly see in the West, local humor from Saudi Arabia that critiques their own cultural institutions.
Here are two shirts are from the Avengers. Both are designed for their children apparel production line, but I don't have to tell you which one is marketed for boys and which one is marketed for girls.
Questions to ponder: How (and why) do companies use cultural ideas and values to market their products? How do companies shape cultural ideas and values? What impact do messages like this have on a society's culture? Do seemingly subtle differences is pop cultural products like this matter?
"Another refugee camp opened today in Mrajeeb al-Fhood, Jordan, to accommodate the reported 1,500 to 2,000 Syrians fleeing to Jordan daily. Just over a year ago the Big Picture posted an entry of the growing number of people displaced due to the conflict that now has lasted over two years. The United Nations recently said a total of around 7,000 to 8,000 Syrians are leaving their country daily; there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more have been displaced inside Syria since the start of the conflict. Posted here is another glimpse of daily life for those displaced since the beginning of this year."
These 37 images are excellent, but I chose to share this particular one, because the combination of poverty and happiness embody the purpose behind refugee camps. While the living conditions are grim and far from ideal, they are better than the alternative for these refugees and the assistance that they are receiving from the international community can be a ray of hope for the future of these children. In this picture, Syrian refugee children play in Sidon, located in southern Lebanon.
Recently, Five women activists have been arrested for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Israeli policewomen detained members of the religious group Women of the Wall for breaching orthodox rules governing prayers at the site, which only allow men to dress this way. This is Judaism's most holy site and orthodox traditions govern the legal code over who is permitted to be in this place and what they may do; this fight represents a struggle to redefine the meaning and usage of public space in Jerusalem (among other complex issues).
|Suggested by Deanna Metz|
"Iran poses steep challenges to its Middle East neighbors and the world. Explore the country's complex regime structure and controversial nuclear program, and watch experts debate the range of policy options."
Iran is in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions. One the bordered with Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Iran is stratgeically positioned to have considerable control over the world’s most important waterway for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz.
Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should more about than the three main facts that that most Americans are already aware of (1-Iran has an Islamic-based government, 2-an emerging nuclear program and 3-a ton of oil). This interactive feature is a good starting point with great videos, timelines, maps, articles that assess the current situation in Iran.
Climographs chart the monthly temperature and rainfall data and are a useful tool is studying climatology. Here are links to dozens of selected United States and International cities that come from the National Drought Mitigation Center. The image above is a climograph of Providence, RI.
|Suggested by Deanna Metz|
"Germany and France spent decades at each others' throats. Now, bound by a common currency, they're working together to save the euro zone. It's a story that's begging for a musical number — which, as it happens, we have right here."
|Suggested by Brett Sinica|
From the food we eat to the energy, transportation, and water we all need, a warmer world will bring big changes for everyone.
B Sinica: This article touches every aspect of geography from culture to climate [considering] how the growing population plays the biggest role in determining the future of life on Earth. People need to recognize the problems and potential future issues with global warming and the rapidly changing environment. Though not many issues can be prevented or even solved, the least we can do is try to lessen the severity of devastation and prolong the current conditions as much as possible before the world becomes too extreme to manage.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
What if you put all 7 billion humans into one city, a city as dense as New York, with its towers and skyscrapers? How big would that 7 billion-sized city be? As big as New Jersey? Texas? Bigger? Are cities protecting wild spaces on the planet?
"Many of us have heard the stories of how our parents or grandparents had to walk miles in the snow to get to school. Perhaps some of these tales were a tad embellished, but we got the point. A lot of American kids have the luxury of being driven in a warm car or bus to a good school nearby. This is not the case for the children in this gallery.
The photos you are about to see are snapshots of the treacherous trips kids around the world take each day to get an education. Considering there are currently 61 million children worldwide who are not receiving an education—the majority of which are girls—these walks are seen as being well worth the risk.
In the above photo, students in Indonesia hold tight while crossing a collapsed bridge to get to school in Banten village on January 19, 2012. Flooding from the Ciberang river broke a pillar supporting the suspension bridge, which was built in 2001."
What is a border? What is a peninsula? A look into why geography is important to understand as students around the country prepare for the 2013 National Geog...
I loved participating at the Rhode Island Geography Bee this weekend. This video was shared with all the parents, teachers and students to help them understand that while the Bee may focus on specific bits of knowledge/trivia, it is the beginning and a foundation for spatial thinking to understand patterns and processes.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
"Earlier North Korea told embassies in Pyongyang to consider evacuating their employees because it can't guarantee their safety after April 10. That's also the day that South Korean (ROK) companies must pull all of their workers out of the Kaesong industrial complex — an ROK-financed project that accounts for up to 40 percent of the North's revenue.
For the last few days the North has blocked South Koreans from entering the complex in the North — considered the last lifeline between the two Koreas — while allowing them to leave at any time.The date 4/10/13 also plays into the fact that three generations of the Kim family have been fixated on the number 9."
Is North Korea doubling down or is this merely a big bluff in the geopolitical game of high stakes poker?
"David Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press wire service, sent these photos from North Korea straight to his Instagram account (in real time), a significant feat in a country where access is strictly controlled and where very few have Internet access."
On a side note, last week I posted about the joint South Korean/North Korea Industrial complex, essentially saying that as long as that remains open, this war talk from North Korea is all bravado. Well, that industrial complex is now shut down.
Tags: North Korea.