I should have been a singer. That’s how you conquer the world these days. At least it’s how you become rich and famous if you are a New Zealander, like…
Paige McClatchy's insight:
Playing off perceived exoticism is putting New Zealand in the spot light this year. The country has turned out a few notable musicians of late, giving the country good press. Most people in America think Lord of the Rings when they think of New Zealand, but perhaps once the country is more on our radar due to other pop phenomena we will learn about it more.
"Five men from the remote Pacific island of Tanna arrive in America to experience western culture for the first time, and force us to look at ourselves through brand new eyes..."
This cross-cultural experiment reinforces numerous stereotypes, but also seeks to get viewers to look at issues from a variety of perspectives. Folk cultures, modernization and globalization are all major themes of this show.
This promotion for the series "Meet the Natives" is a laughable cross-cultural experiment in forced globalization. While there are many political and cultural problems with this video, perhaps the Vanuatu people are less isolated and exotic than we really think. It's naive to think they are totally backward with no interest in connecting with the world.
Scientists model where and when the debris from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami will be. The likelihood that the debris (not radioactive) will reach the U.S. west coast is increasingly likely. Look at the great video attached to the article.
If you haven't yet discovered http://www.plaidavenger.com/ I recommend exploring it (numerous World Regional resources). You'll find its brand of geography has a whole lot of personality; you'll decide soon enough whether that personality works for your classroom. This particular 'plaidcast' discussion focuses on political geography, the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), and the strategic importance of overseas exclaves using the Spratly Island example in the South China Sea.
Minor correction to video: Territorial waters only extend 12 miles offshore, not the 200 miles of the exclusive economic zone.
The conflict over the Spratly Islands is similar to the more current dipute between Japan and China over similar rocks. The rocks are not desired, however, for their land value but for their potential for oil, and exclusive economic zone-ability. The Spratly Islands are clearly closest to the Philippenes (in my opinion) but that doesn't make it simple. Perhaps in the future islnds like these will have no claim over them, and revert to international territory?
This is modern cosmopolitan Bangkok, the second most expensive Southeast Asian city after Singapore. Along with explosive city growth, the demand for urban housing has increased substantially. Due to a lack of sufficient and affordable housing, communities have settled into the cracks, eliciting a diagnosed social and institutional ‘pocket-urbanism’ that forms barriers of interaction among communities, and certainly between communities and authority figures...
The poor of Bangkok have been settling their communities in the cracks of wealthier areas, creating a phenomenom of "pocket-urbanization." The artical talks about an emerging "ethical turn" in architecture. People will certainly enjoy their lives better when they are empowered in their own living situations, but also we have seen how poor infrastructure is a target for the worst of natural disasters. Rebuilding these areas would be good for many parties.
China's first lunar rover deployed successfully from the unmanned spacecraft Chang'e-3 that landed on the moon Saturday.
Paige McClatchy's insight:
China has now joined the US and the former USSR to be the only nations who have soft-landed on the moon, complicating the geopolitics of space. Space has always been the final frontier; the US landing on the moon first was a major victory for the American nationalist project in the Cold War. China is flexing its scientific muscle, and this landing certainly symbollically increases the nation's power, even though it will probably not contribute any drastic knowledge to what we already know about the moon.
Japan's shrinking population poses many challenges to the state, namely a shrinking work force. While Japan is a very developed country, it still needs people to continue its growth. Perhaps the government should subsidize families with more than one child? a la reverse One Child policy. As I'm sure Japan would not welcome an influx of Han Chinese.
This is an incredible video because of the shocking footage of blatant disregard for worker safety. This can lead to an interesting discussion concerning how China has been able to have its economy grow. What other ways has China (or Chinese companies) been "cutting corners?" How does that give them a competitive edge on the global industrial market?
This video is jaw-dropping proof of how China cuts corners in their quest for growing their economy. With such a large population looking for work China does not really need to protect their workers. I wonder if China will experience a labor movement similar to the one in the US that introduced protective legislation.
The deforestation of Nepal to supply the growing needs of India is an example of how growth in one country strips another of its resources. While Nepal may gain in the short term form logging away their forests, deforestation has steep long term costs. Many people live off the forests and their disappearance could threaten to ruin their culture.
The results of India's once-in-a-decade census reveal a country of 1.2 billion people where millions have access to the latest technology, but millions more lack sanitation and drinking water.
More Indians are entering the middle class as personal wealth is transforming South Asia's economy in the private sector. Yet the government's ability to provide public services to match that growth still lags behind. Why would it be that it is easier to get a cell phone than a toilet in India? What will that mean for development?
This NPR podast reflects the geographic theme of development, specifically the uneven development of India. Despite a rising economy, the infrastructure of the country is not keeping up. While many people buy things, have "personal wealth," they live in conditions that betray their poverty.
For those of you who are confused as to where the United States stands in the Middle East (world leaders included), look no further: this handy map can teach you the nuts and bolts of American relations in the region in less than three minutes.
Paige McClatchy's insight:
While I wish this video/map had a legend (it was dechipered for me in the following article), it does provide a good way to visualize the relationship of the US to various countries in the Middle East throughout the 20th Century.
Read Religious architecture of Islam for travel tips, advice, news and articles from all around the world by Lonely Planet...
This is an excellent article that can be used in a thematic class for analyzing religion, the human landscape, the urban environment and cultural iconography. For a regional geography class, this show great images from Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria and Israel/Palestine.
Studying the architecture of Islam makes it so obvious that, of course, Islamic peoples pushed the frontier of knowledge whe Europe was rediscovering how to write words. In today's world I feel like Islam is portrayed as "backwards" and completely stuck in time. Perhaps their social policies do not seem to catch ours in terms of modernity and progress, but there is no denying that Muslims do have extremely elegant and complex modes of expression.
For my non-Farsi speaking readers, this map displays a 'male' province and a 'female' province. These two provinces are separated by barbed wire, 20-meter trench and the Great Wall of China with ground-to-air missiles.
While not a "cartographically accurate" map of the divisions within Iran, it does symbolically highlight the enormous gulf between men and women. Men and women are not in separate provinces, but what might the symbolic spatial gender division on this map represent for Iranian society?
Political cartoons like these are very effective at using satire for criticism. The author's analysis seems to get at the heart of the issue here- gender realtions- as the map tries to give a "geography" to gender inequality. It was important that the author noted that "Islam’s rules for segregating the sexes are open for interpretation - and are applied with a huge degree of variation throughout the Muslim world" as this is congruent with the diversity of the Middle East we have been trying to understand.
High-resolution imaging has allowed scientists to produce the first full count of Antarctica's emperor penguins...
Before this, there was no way to to gather reliable penguin statistics. Geospatial technologies are now providing us the tools to teach us more about the biogeography of penguins. The applications of geospatial technologies are endless.
I wonder when this geospatial technology will be used to spy on humans, maybe it already has! It is important, however, to learn more about Antarctica, the alien continent of the world. This is a victory for science.
The Great Barrier Reef is a natural world wonder that needs to be protected. Even though it seems like Australia does a lot to protect its shores (a huge source of tourism) accidents, like the BP oil spill can happen, and even accidents far away can send shock waves to such a fragile ecosystem.
A cave on the Indonesian island of Sumatra is providing a 'stunning' record of Indian Ocean tsunamis over thousands of years.
Paige McClatchy's insight:
The discovery of tsunami records in a cave of Sumtra suggests that tsnuamis are not evenly spaced through time. Perhaps scientists can study the time patternt to better predict when the next natural disaster will strike, and lead to more preventative action.
Jakarta's traffic is legendary and locals have now become experts at finding ways to get around the jams, with some even making money out of them.
The population of Indonesia is heavily concentrated on the island of Java, and the capital city of Jakarta faces a tremendous strain on it's transportation network. This video show that resourceful people will find inventive ways to make an unworkable situation manageable.
People will always find ways to adapt to their environment- adapt or fail. This video is just simply amazing. I hate sitting in traffic on I95 but imagining a 20 mile drive taking three hours is insane. Its a shame that Indonesia's transmigration program was coercive and deceptive.
The ancient city of Angkor — the most famous monument of which is the breathtaking ruined temple of Angkor Wat — might have collapsed due to valiant but ultimately failed efforts to battle drought, scientists find.
Why do societies collapse? Often they are overextended, consume too many resources for their hinterland network to supply or they aren't able to adapt to changes to the system. Angkor Wat, the largest urban complex of the pre-industrial world, collapsed primarily due to drought conditions and a changing ecology. Without sufficient water resources, the network collapsed. What other environment 'collapses' can you think of?
This new study shows that even back in time people struggled with environmental challenges. We normally think of people in the past as being much more adaptive to their environments and that only in the modern age nature and humans have come into conflict. The surrender of Angkor Wat to drought shows that even though we have amazing technology today, water is still a staple of life.
This photoblog will also link you to a full article and video that explains how the American pork industry is supplying China's demand for protein as globalization forces (among others) has led the Chinese consumers to eat 10% more meat than they did just 5 years ago. WHat impact will this have on American agriculture? How to we explain fo the rise in meat demand in China?
Chinese farmers cannot keep with with Chinese demand from pork, so America is stepping in to fill the gap. The globalization of American pork seems like it would benefit American farmers and Chinese consumers, but the environmental cost of raising so many extra pigs on American land must be considered, as well as transportation costs to ship it to China.
Amid ethnic tensions, minority regards modernisation plans in Xinjiang as favouring Han Chinese migrants.
With not as much cultural cachet in the West as Tibet has, the Uighur population in China has still dealt with many of the same political problems in their struggle for greater autonomy, but with much less publicity. With massive Han Chinese migration, they've become minorities in their own homeland.
The fact that the region is China's highest producer of natural gas but it also one of the poorest regions in the state is an interesting contrast to the wealth enjoyed by oil states in the Middle East. Add to the situation the ethnic marginalization of the Uighurs, and the violence between them and the Han Chinese, and the situation sounds like it could put an unpleasant international spot light (yet again) on China.
Abdul Quader Mollah execution is the first for crimes related to the country's 1971 war of independence.
Paige McClatchy's insight:
The execution of Abdul Quader Mollah in Bangladesh has increased pre-election tensions to what has been called a "micro-civil war." Bangladesh became independent in 1971; are these still growing pains? Once political stability is reached can the state begin tackling other structural state problems? Or is it the other way around?
Environmental degradation, seasonally high rainfall, a low elevation profile and climate change combine in a very bad way for Bangladesh. Flooding, given these geographic characteristics, is essentially a regular occurence. For a more in-depth look at these issues from the same media outlet, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj0iZiivYJc&feature=player_embedded#!
The "socio-economics of flooding" is a side of the natural disaster we don't normally think about. People most affected by floods tend to live in areas with poor infrastructure and large populations. Their displacement to cities, like Dhaka, has incredible cost. For both the family and the new place they relocate to.
I wonder if India will ever adopt any anti-discrimination legislation that will protect Muslims from prejudice. The partition of India and Pakistan was largely for religious, then political reasons, but the lived reality does not translate to all Muslims in Pakistan and all Hindus in India.
Looking for an easy online method of sharing and using powerpoint presentations? Slideshare is made just for that. Here is one I made of Middle Eastern flags a while back, showing the cultural patterns and similarities among the flags. Students are quick to note that the Israeli flag sticks out and "doesn't fit in well visually."
These flags have a lot in common: I know at least from my own background that green is the color of Islam (in fact, I studied a Newsweek cover about the new "Green Scare" comparing Green/Islam to Red/Communism in the minds of Americans). Each flag is also beautifully geometric, keeping in line with the inheritance of Islamic art. Of course the US Coalition would design such an ignorant flag for Iraq- we basically thought it was ours in 2004. Quick in, quick out, everyone wins. As we know today that is not the case....
While the two sects share the same basic beliefs, differences in hierarchy and doctrine make Catholics and Protestants an apt comparison.
Too often we categorize all Muslims together as though they all thought the same things and share the same beliefs. Although the divisions within the "House of Islam" run deeper that the Sunni/Shi'a split, it is the best starting place to get a nuances senses of regional differences among Islamic groups.
The Christian Science Monitor's attempt to categoraize the differences between Shiit and Sunni Muslims is a good effort but I can't help but feel like its just scratches the surface. I would have also liked to know how each sect views government, gender relations, and, geographically, where each sect has dominance. These other measures would have provided a more comprehensive portrait. I would say, however, that the tone was fair and detatched.
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