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9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask

9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

Watch a video that explains Ukraine's crisis in two minutes or read this quick article that covers the same material.  

 

Ukrainians have been protesting since Nov. 21, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for closer integration with the European Union, instead drawing the country closer to Russia. They are still in the streets in huge numbers and have seized regional government buildings in several parts of the country. In Kiev, the capital, clashes between protesters and security forces have become violent, killing several people. On Tuesday, the prime minister resigned. No one is quite sure what will happen next.

 


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

This two minute video perfectly explains where there is such a crisis in Ukraine. The country is literally divided. The people in areas closest to Russia speak Russian, and the farther west the less people are speaking Russian. It makes sense why the people who are Pro-Russian speak Russian and were most likely displaced during the years of the USSR and Soviet Russia.

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 20, 2014 6:44 PM

(Russia topic 1)

Ukraine is an example of how countries' borders are not the only lines that matter in international geography. Ukraine is sort of a hybrid country - half-European and half-Russian - in many ways, including language, culture, and obviously politics. The more the 2 sides try to pull apart from each other, the more Ukraine tears itself apart. The 4 regional maps show this 'hidden' divide line within the country.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 5:50 PM

This article does a good job of explaining some of the many aspects of the current crisis in the Ukraine. While the media has been covering this conflict it has done little to provide background information on the Ukraine and precisely why Russia has invaded. This article goes into enough detail to flesh out the conflict without becoming in accessible to the average reader.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:58 PM

Ukrainians have been protesting since Nov. 21, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for closer integration with the European Union, instead drawing the country closer to Russia. They are still in the streets in huge numbers and have seized regional government buildings in several parts of the country. In the capital, clashes between protesters and security forces have become violent, killing several people. Recently, the prime minister resigned. No one is quite sure what will happen next. What's happening in Ukraine is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow for outsiders who don't know the history that led up to. Here are some basic questions that have basic answers for people who are still confused. What is Ukraine? Why are so many people protesting? How did Ukraine get so divided? What role does Russia play and why do they care so much? Why haven't the United States or Europe helped? But most important, the question we all want to know the answer to is what is going to happen next?

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Worker safety in China

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?     


Via Seth Dixon
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James Hobson's curator insight, November 21, 2014 9:11 PM

(East Asia topic 6)
This video signifies two distinct characteristics of labor in China. First and most obviously is the disregard of safety. One could argue in the past that risks such as these were accepted by workers since China was a largely less-developed country with fewer employment opportunities; however, being a recent video and China  currently making exponential economic and developmental ground, this is definitely one of those 'things which shouldn't be happening'. With all of the nation's so-called "improvements," why are none discernible  here?

  Secondly, traits such as subservient respect are valued more in nations such as China. It is possible that if these workers hadn't have taken the risk and not completed the job, they would've been fired and had a somewhat 'tainted' reputation for not following their orders to demolish the building.

  Though it seems that all industrializing nations have gone through issues of workers' safety and reasonable expectations, China should use it's late-coming as a plus by learning from others which have gone before it, and avoiding the personal, legal, and even some social issues which have been faced before.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:52 PM

China's ability to sweep unjust working conditions under the rug has allowed it to grow economically at an impressive rate. Although I disagree with unsafe working conditions it is important to note the hypocrisy that developed countries display when advocating fro workers rights. In the US for example, our economic growth was contingent on slavery, child labor, and immigrant exploitation. Unfortunately if any developing country wants to compete with countries that are at the top of the global economic hegemony, they must cut the same corners those countries cut centuries ago. What needs to be done is find a way to show developing countries that growth is possible without abusing workers. 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:23 PM

This video borders on difficult to watch. While it is definitely amazing to watch it really flies in the face of standard American job safety operations. These workers are perched on top of this building with no harnesses balancing in the shovel of a back hoe while sawing loose great slabs of concrete. Luckily no one was injured in this video but frankly this video does a great job of showing how China has been able to grow so rapidly. A lack of interest in individual workers safety and a sole goal of progress, at the possible cost of its citizens.

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Video: China Halts Shipments of Rare Earths

In September, China stopped shipping rare earths, minerals crucial to military, cell phone and green technologies, to countries around the world. A report from the Bureau for International Reporting.
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Coral Reefs Most at Risk

Coral Reefs Most at Risk | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
A new map ranks the world's coral reefs by the risks they face from warming oceans, overfishing and other stress factors, which will help scientists focus on conserving the reefs with the most likely success.

Via Seth Dixon
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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 23, 2014 6:43 PM

Coral Reefs all along the equator are at great risks due to geographical urbanization. This area has become warmer due to global warming which is not healthy for the fish, the sea is over-fished and damaged by humans. Coral reefs are so beautiful and we must take the actions to help save them!

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 4:42 PM

Coral reefs our one of the most beautiful examples of nature that exist. I hope this map will help preserve them, what is interesting for someone my age is that I am not sure whether I will get to see these reefs before they are wiped out by climate change.

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:00 PM

With this know fact of Coral Reefs at risk for disappearing, what are we to do. I believe in order to preserve our coral reefs around the world, more education on the importance of having the coral reefs on our coast. While there is little things we can do in regards to the rise of temperatures, we can reduce our human activity on the coast such as fishing and coastal development.

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Gender Divisions in Iran

Gender Divisions in Iran | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

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? 


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

I think this picture shows how Iranian society thinks and operates. There is an entirely different set of rules, ideals, and codes men and women follow in their society. Women are typically held inside, wear head coverings, are not allowed to be in the public sector unless accompanied by a man or her husband. This map isn't real, but it does show that if they were in separate provinces, there would be a gender division that could spring a revolution for women to be educated and empowered, and it could also hurt the economy because ultimately a society needs women to have children to ensure there is a workforce.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 4, 2014 7:41 PM

Most countries throughout history had some type of gender division. It appears countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia are still treating women as second-class citizens and are not giving them any opportunities to be successful. It may take another 100 years before they are treated like men. Some countries take longer to modernize, and Iran appears to be an example of that.  

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 29, 2014 4:16 PM

A map is a very powerful symbol.The image depicted above is no exception. Despite the fact that the division stated above is not physically accurate it is a strong metaphor. In the country of Iran there is a "great wall" dividing the genders. Woman and men are not viewed in the same light. Men have far more rights than woman.This is an ongoing battle and until it is resolved this country will not be complete.

 

“A house divided against itself cannot stand”-Abraham Lincoln.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:15 PM

An extreme exaggeration that still addresses a real issue in Iran. Although there is no barb wire and missiles that divide genders in Iran there are cultural as well as structural barriers that keep men in the public sphere while women are kept in the private sphere. 

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SEALed and Delivered in Libya

SEALed and Delivered in Libya | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
President Obama takes a big risk and scores a win for democracy -- and no one gives a damn.

 

President Obama pulled off a master stroke this week. He deployed U.S. military force in support of an infant democracy that desperately needs our help. The result was a resounding success, a vivid illustration of how the United States can put its unchallenged power to positive ends.

He did it, once again, by sending in the SEALs, the U.S. Navy's famous special forces. But this time they weren't double-tapping a terrorist. Instead they seized a mysterious tanker that had skipped out of Libya with a shipment of oil that one of the country's rogue militias was trying to sell on the open market. By doing it the SEALs foiled a potentially game-changing challenge to the authority of Libya's hard-pressed government -- one of the very few in the Arab world to have actually been elected by its own country's people.

 

The collective disinterest is appalling when you consider that the country we just helped is Libya. You remember, right -- the place where our ambassador was killed by terrorists two years ago?


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

This article is almost humorous because we talk about the American people not knowing what happens in their own country and it is quite true. The President sent the SEALS to Libya when if had to be approved by the American people the quest might not have ever happened, especially because there's such disinterest.

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Albert Jordan's curator insight, April 10, 2014 3:06 PM

Thankfully no one was killed or wounded in this operation and while it may appear that no one took notice or cared, countries around the world were given notice; especially North Korea, that the U.S. can still project its interest effectively. Libya with its struggling democracy and infrastructure needs a strong ally to help ensure its growth into a strong and stable nation. Its neighbors, with their own instability would not mind a weakened Libya because it could mean that if Libya were to splinter into even weaker chunks, because then those pieces could be taken advantage of for their resources.

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Viewfinder: Gaza's Tunnels

A World Report Viewfinder from inside the tunnels that connect blockaded Gaza to the outside world...

Why are tunnels from Egypt to Gaza forming?  How is Israel's policies a part of this phenomenon? 


Via Seth Dixon
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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 22, 2013 12:09 AM

Amazing to see what people will do to survive.  They are doing this out of necessity.  Many goods they are smuggling are what I believe should be allowed in through normal means, food, water, medicine and anything needed for basic human needs.  I understand the blockade in stopping weapons and items of that nature, but stopping basic foodstuffs is just plain wrong.  The people are living and surviving by these tunnels and built an economy on them.  One thing that was really interesting was at the end when the man seemed he wanted the blockcade to go on or else it would close his tunnel and he would have to get "a real job."  The effects of this blockcade are on both ends of the spectrum, people want it to end so things can return to normal and others want it to go on to continue to make money.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 4:20 PM

What some media has led the "western world" to perceive is that many of the people living here would be trying to smuggle illegal goods such as bombs, drugs, etc.  Sure that may be true in some cases, but many times there are respectable citizens which simply need food or necessary items to sustain their lives.  Because of the tight security measures regarding people and goods, the people of Gaza simply try to find a way around the authorities, and the best current option is by tunnels.  Situations like this show that if people really need certain things, with some help and determination, they can achieve that goal.  In the end, hopefully it is for good more often than bad.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:09 PM

These tunnels give the Palestinians a way to access a world that has been politically blockaded from them. Connections that allow the sharing of goods are not something that should be avoided. Food and goods could be a way to make a pseudo peace and interdependence between both sides of a centuries old conflict.

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Religious architecture of Islam

Religious architecture of Islam | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
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.  


Via Seth Dixon
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andrew desrochers's curator insight, October 28, 2014 2:47 PM

These architectural designs in Israel show religious meanings, what other factors inspire architectural creativity? Who uses these different styles of creativity?

Lily and Cami's curator insight, November 5, 2014 5:18 PM

Israel Religion: I scooped this because the picture really stood out to me because the golden dome stands over the rock on Temple Mount. you also can see great images of Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria, and Israel/Palestine. Not only are these sacred buildings but they are also big religious and tourist attractions.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:20 PM

Although all part of the same religion these buildings are influenced heavily by their location. I think this is important to note because it challenges our assumptions on Islam. When I think of a mosque a certain image pops into my head, these images shows how the same religion can still have local influences.

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Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin

Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
An arid region grew even drier between 2003 and 2009 due to human consumption of water for drinking and agriculture.

Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

What's happening in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin is similar to what is happening to the Aral Sea. Freshwater Stores Shrank in just 4 years. Humans are drastically altering the landscape and if we don't start to find others ways of doing things and change the way in which we do agriculture and use our water, there could be a serious water shortage for millions of people.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, May 31, 2013 10:25 PM

Year 10 - Inland water

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 19, 2014 9:14 AM

The use of water is an increasing problem in the arid regions of the world.  The use of more sophisticated irrigation systems allow for more planting which requires more water.  Coupled with increasing towns and cities needing fresh water for the inhabitants this decrease in fresh water will only continue to trend.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 22, 2014 6:24 PM

(Southwest Asia topic 2)

The area known as the Cradle of Humanity is becoming less hospitable. Though natural climate change can be attributed to the dryer conditions, humans have made just as much of an impact. Increased water usage leads to less reserve. Impacts stretch further, however. Less water flow below the dam can lead to changes in sedimentation patterns and disrupt wildlife habitats, potentially causing harm to wildlife.

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World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, or 23% of the world's population, making Islam the second-largest religion.

Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

This definitely puts things into perspective. Being from North American we don't really see Islam as being a world religion. However, after seeing this we can see that the whole other half of the world practices Islam so it must be pretty important!

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Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:29 PM

The Muslim world is very misunderstood, especially in the United States.  When someone hears "Muslim" they might immediately think of Arabs in the Middle East.  However, Muslims are spread throughout the world and Islam is practiced by many types of ethnic groups (not all Arabs are Muslim either!)

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:09 PM

Islam is a huge widespread religion. There is no surprise that it could ever become so large. The majority of Islamic followers is in the Asia-Pacific part of the world where that is no shocker either.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:57 PM

Before seeing the number of Muslims represented within the countries they are mainly in, I believed that the majority of the world's Muslim population was in the Middle East and Northern Africa. I never thought of it being such a spreadout Religion, but because the portion of the Muslim population that is usually discussed in the media is from the Middle East, it is not hard to see why many believe that is where they are from.

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What the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine

What the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

"In symbolic terms, it's a huge loss. The Crimean Peninsula holds an important place in the region's history, and the inability to prevent the region from joining Russia is a serious test of leadership for the new Ukrainian government in Kiev.

In practical terms, however, what Crimea means for Ukraine is less clear. In an article last week, The Post's Will Englund noted that Crimea may end up costing Russia more than it might like. And what does Ukraine really lose?"


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 24, 2014 12:35 PM

We often view global affairs through our own little prism, considering how it affects us.  So much of the discussion has revolved around Russia and the West in general (and the U.S. specifically), that Ukraine almost gets lost in the shuffle.  All this amid news that the acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister has said that the possibility of war "is growing."

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Gambia president rejects English language

Gambia president rejects English language | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
President's decision to shift official language from English to local language comes months after its decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth

Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

I think it's great that the President of Gambia wants to change the official language from English to the local language. The West African country announced it is withdrawing from the Commonwealth which is a group of 54 nations which made up largely of former British colonies, hence why these colonies speak English. If the people want aren't using English primarily and they're using another language, that is rooted to the culture of Gambia, then maybe it's time to consider having two official languages.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:49 PM

Gambian president wants his nation to have a sense of identity. Conforming to the English language and making that the primary language of the country has set a drawback on what he wants his country to be. He says they should speak their local language and that to be a leader you don't have to speak English. I think speaking the local language is a great idea but also knowing the English language is very beneficial.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 2014 1:14 AM

culturally it would be a good idea to switch the official language to a local language that way their langueages dont become dead languages but economically its not a good idea because Americas dominate language is English and it is also an economic power.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:25 PM

Gambia does not want the English language to be the official language that is spoken anymore.  Noting that it reflects the UK and they don't believe that they and the UK have much in common especially on the platform of human rights.  Cutting the English language as the official language continues to cut ties with the UK.  One of the problems with this is if there are multiple local languages spoken in Gambia which one are they going to choose as the official language.  With this more problems are presented, those that do not know the local language that is chosen to be official will have to learn the new language quickly if they want to have any idea as to what is going on in their own country.

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A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence

A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.

Via Seth Dixon
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Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 5, 2014 2:38 PM

As Spain's economic problems continue, support for independence in Catalonia grows. One major driving factor in the calls for independence is the huge imbalance between what the region pays in taxes and what they receive in federal services and benefits. The article states that roughly half of the region supports independence, but the vast majority want to at least vote on the issue and continue the discussion further. As in Quebec and Scotland, Catalonia shows that no matter how successful and developed a country becomes, there will always be centrifugal forces within the country creating tensions.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:40 PM

While the early 20th century saw the rise of nationalism leading to the destruction of empires and birth of nations based upon culture not all cultures achieved this. An example of this today is in Catalonia within Spain. The people of Catalonia wish to separate themselves from the rest of Spain and become an individual free nation. Unfortunately for them Spain has no intentions of letting them go and few within the UN are siding against Spain.

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 1:18 PM

There are a lot of unknown countries in the world, for instance Catalonia. A country that is independently located in Spain, Catalonia is one that is rarely heard of. With recent countries wanting to claim independence from their larger states, its looks like Catalonia wants a piece of the pie. Though coming to a place of self-governance is a mile stone, it also comes at a high sticker prize. They not only have to develop national recognition by other states in the world union, they have to be able to produce commodity that is able to compete on a global level. These countries wanting to claim independence have a long way to go.

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No union, no pound, British official warns Scots backing independence

No union, no pound, British official warns Scots backing independence | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
LONDON – Escalating the fight against secession, the British government warned Thursday that Scotland would lose the right to continue using the pound as its currency if voters there say yes to a historic referendum on independence this fall.

 

Osborne’s stark warning, delivered in a speech in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, represented a new willingness by unionists to take a hard line in persuading Scottish voters to shun independence in a September plebiscite. A thumbs-up would end Scotland’s 307-year-old marriage to England and Wales and cause the biggest political shakeup in the British Isles since Ireland split from the British crown nearly a century ago.

 

Sturgeon predicted that “what the Treasury says now in the heat of the campaign would be very different to what they say after a democratic vote for independence, when common sense would trump the campaign rhetoric.”


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 15, 2014 3:34 PM

This is an intriguing strategic move by the UK as Scotland considers  independence.  Some have argued that this move will backfire and push more Scottish voters into the "yes" camp.  In related news, the BBC reports that EU officials say that an independent Scotland would have a hard time joining the European Union.  


Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, currency, economic.
.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:40 AM

The countries of Britain want their independence. Scotland uses the pound just like England and Wales but its being threatened that the government might take away that right to use that monetary system. 

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Protests, Self-Immolation Signs Of A Desperate Tibet : NPR

Chinese authorities have tightened security around Tibet after a series of demonstrations by Tibetans demanding more religious and political freedoms.

 

How are China's renewed efforts to control Tibet and the Monks protests geopolitically intertwined?  How does this impact the region? 


Via Seth Dixon
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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 9, 2013 1:39 PM

China has tightened their security around the Tibetan monestary and the monasteries seem to be emptying out. Monks have been setting themselves on fire in protest against Chinese repression. This is a sign of desperation from the monks.  

James Hobson's curator insight, November 21, 2014 7:52 PM

(East Asia topic 5)

What I gather from this video is that China sees all political resistance as being specifically aimed at its own demise, but I believe this to be false. Rather, it seems in this sense that the country's judgment has gone blind in a power rage. Never will an entire country agree on everything (or even one thing for that matter). This resistance seems to stem from diversity and the desire to maintain it, and examining historical geography proves diversity to in fact be a desirable trait and major strength. Just as the famous 13-sectioned snake cartoon from the American colonies shows, success lies in diversity. "You can't have cities without farms to feed them." I mention phrases such as this because they show the yin-yang struggle for equality and balance for greater good, which  hopefully China (especially since it is an Oriental concept and symbol) will learn from and apply in its policies towards minority groups within its borders.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:47 PM

China's efforts to control an area that identifies itself as a separate entity from China has been met with some extreme examples of protests. Dozens have monks have committed suicide to protest China's forced control over Tibet. Although this is causing international support from the US and others it seems like China will not change its ways. Another thing to keep in mind is China's position in the UN. As a permanent member of the security council China has the right to veto an UN resolution that could address the issues in Tibet.

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Manufactured Landscapes

This 90 minute documentary is an often painful look and the landscapes of manufacturing and the geography of resource extraction.  This video is VERY slow, so I don't recommend showing the whole video in class, but certain this video would be a good inclusion in a lesson (e.g.-Three Gorges Dam, e-waste or factory work).  This Zeitgeist Film by Jennifr Baichwal focuses primarily on Chinese manufacturing landscapes and the environmental impacts that technology produces that we would collectively like to pretend we can wish them away. 


Via Seth Dixon
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Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, once home to cannibals, still has an exotic aura. The local tourist economy caters to those notions, and visitors may see a hybrid of the traditional and the modern.

 

This story is an intriguing blend--we see traditional cultures engaging in the global economy. They have created two villages: a traditional one designed for tourism filled with emblems of their folk cultures, and another one where people work, live eat and play with various markers of outside cultural and technological influence.

 

"Tourists are taking pictures. They don't want to take pictures of those who are in Western clothes.  People who are in Western clothes are not allowed to get close to people who are dressed up in the local dressings."

 

Questions to Ponder: Which village do you see as the more "authentic" one? How can culture also be a commodity?

 

Tags: folk culture, tourism, indigenous, culture, economic, rural, historical, unit 3 culture, Oceania.


Via Seth Dixon
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Jake Red Dorman's curator insight, December 16, 2014 7:30 PM

The different villages that represent different times in which Papua New Guinea lived in is great for tourism. The one town is like the developed and tourist town where people stay. The other town right next door to the tourist town represents the present day traditional town that tourists expect what Papua New Guinea is like. It’s almost like it is a planned out set up attract tourists to that town to get the full cultural Papua New Guinea experience. 

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:27 AM

Having two villages in one in Papua New Guinea is an interesting concept.  One village has people living in the present and the other has people living in the past, the village that tourists want to see.  They come to this village and see half naked natives carving canoes, cooking over open fires, and other things that happened in the past.  This is beneficial because they are able to keep the culture alive, the language is able to still be used and traditions are kept from disappearing.  Unfortunately for these people they have seen western more modern life and don't like living in this past for the pleasure of tourists.  First we come in and take away their traditions, clothes and languages and now we come back begging for them to not leave any of it behind, well except the cannibalism. 

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 17, 2014 7:54 PM

It frustrates me sometimes when Europeans, and Westerners travel to an uncommon land and expect the inhabitant of the land to act in barbaric ways. With the tourist who visit the land of Papua New Guinea, they are often times expecting the natives to act in an uncivilized manner, such as being cannibalistic. Yet, the natives have made great stride to keep up with the ever changing world in which they are a part of. One of the concerns that the elders have with the upcoming generation is how long will it be before their native language vanishes completely. One thing I can appreciate about the native people of this land is their capability to cast tourist from entering or engaging with the natives while they are in their native clothing. 

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Saudi Arabia Takes on the Muslim Brotherhood

Saudi Arabia Takes on the Muslim Brotherhood | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

"On March 7, Saudi Arabia took the extraordinary step of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, on par with Hezbollah and al Qaeda.  The move came just two days after the kingdom, together with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, withdrew its ambassador from Qatar because of Qatar’s alleged support of Brotherhood interference in internal politics. Although Saudi Arabia’s dislike of Brotherhood political activities abroad is well known, for decades the kingdom has tolerated (and sometimes even worked with) the local Saudi branch of the Brotherhood. Its sudden reversal is an expression of solidarity with its politically vulnerable allies in the region and a warning to Sunni Islamists within its borders to tread carefully."


Via Seth Dixon
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Albert Jordan's curator insight, April 10, 2014 2:24 PM

It would make sense that Saudi Arabia would be concerned over the Muslim Brotherhood gaining traction in Egypt, considering the military actions Egypt is taking in the Sinai against the Brotherhood. If  the Muslim Brotherhood were to gain a foothold in that region, they would only have to hop over the Gulf of Aqaba to infiltrate Saudi Arabia; who has had an interesting relationship with them in the past. Just because there is no land border between the two countries does not mean that waterways can not be exploited.

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Belarus Wants Out

Belarus Wants Out | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it
Belarus signed up early to join the Eurasian Union, but has started hedging its bets since Russia's annexation of Crimea -- and understandably so. According to Putin’s reasoning for seizing Crimea, Belarus could be the next target.

 

There is a bitter irony at the heart of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Putin’s short-term victory is already coming at the expense of his most cherished long-term strategy -- the creation of a Eurasian Union, a trade union linking Russia and its closest neighbors. In other words, as the invasion expands Russian territory, it will diminish Russian influence in the very places he’d like to increase it. One need only look to Belarus, which is already beginning to hedge against its alliance with Moscow, to see why.


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Religion, Gender and Public Space

These three issues are deeply interconnected in many parts of the world and in this news report from Israel, ultra-Orthodox from the town of Beit Shemesh are seeking to enforce their vision of a religiously appropriated gendered partition of space.  This particular news clip has caused a firestorm, and the Israeli PM has publicly states that gender segregation will not be tolerated.   

 

On Monday, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, "about 300 ultra-Orthodox men attacked police officers, hurling stones at the officers after they removed a sign ordering women not to walk past a synagogue in Beit Shemesh."  Obviously they are not indicative of all Jews, but this raises many questions.  Why do we see a rise in of religious extremism (a loaded word, but I'll listen to alternatives) in this era of globalization?  Why is equality in where and how people can act in public such an important political freedom?  Why is there such strong cultural reactions to diverse gender norms in public?      

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Rishi Suresh's curator insight, January 16, 2014 12:45 PM

Khanh Fleshman's insight: This relates to Key Issue #1 because it shows the intricate web of cutlure in religion and how different aspects of the country or adherent is affected or affects the religion.

 

Graham Shroyer's insight: This relates to this section because it talks about religions affecting behaviors. This also relates to the book "Half the sky" and the obstacle of gender inequality.

 

Vinay Penmetsa: This relates to the section by talking about religion, and gender inequality, and how many people do not want women to go against their cultural and religious beliefs.

 

Zahida Ashroff's Insight: This relates to Key Issue #1 because it talks about how religion affects the behaviors of people as they go about practicing their religions. Their particular religions influence their political beliefs and other parts of their daily lives.

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Slideshare: Middle east flags

 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."  


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

This goes to show how a flag is supposed to represent the people who live in their country. And the flag of Israel really does stick out like a sore thumb. We have the crescent moon, the typical Arabic colors of green, red, black, and white, and the blue and white really doesn't have much to do with the history of the people who live in Israel, only the new Jewish community who live there, but not the Palestinians. 

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 24, 2013 9:51 PM

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....

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 4:11 PM

Many of these countries share similar backgrounds and cultures, as well as flags which is seen above.  The color patterns show red, black,  white, and green on almost every flag except Israel's which is blue and white.  It shows that most of the countries within the region are all linked somehow whether it be through language, identity, or other reasons, though there is still room for conflict and change as time passes.  After looking at flags from other countries such as Iraq and Iran, the graphics on them change, sometimes reflecting government changes.  It is sometimes difficult to remember and notice so many flags, yet some of these flags have changed within the last 2 to 3 decades to accompany the change of government.

Lona Pradeep Parad's curator insight, May 29, 2014 11:36 AM

Representation of middle eastern flags,

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In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.  The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics."  This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).

 

Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

This is a push in the struggle for women's rights in Saudi Arabian. For the first time girls will be allowed to play sports in private schools. The ultraconservative kingdom still requires that the girls were descent and  decent dress and and Saudi women teachers are going to have priority in supervising the activities.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 2, 2014 9:53 PM

The article displays the constant battle the women of Saudi Arabia face on a daily basis. However, this is a small sign of women in this area slowly getting more rights. This is an important right granted to women. Being allowed to participate in sporting activities or other types of physical exercise is very important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:23 PM

Female rights in countries like Saudi Arabia are nothing like in the U.S. Much like in other Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia allows little to no extra curricular activities for girls and women. Allowing them to play some specific sports is a huge deal!

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 9, 2014 9:37 PM

Women in Saudi Arabia are usually restricted to life in the house and cannot be unaccompanied in public, but allowing Saudi women to play sports is a leap into the future of women's rights in the Middle Eastern country. The women shown in the picture above are seen in traditional dress while training, showing the governments enforcement of rules in this historic move into the future.

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How was the AIDS epidemic reversed?

How was the AIDS epidemic reversed? | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

"The breakthrough came in 1996, when a new class of antiretroviral drug called protease inhibitors was launched. These were used in combination with two older drugs that worked in different ways. The combination meant that evolving resistance required the simultaneous appearance of several beneficial (from the virus’s point of view) mutations—which is improbable.  With a viable treatment available, political action became more realistic. AIDS had been a “political” disease from the beginning, because a lot of the early victims were middle-class gay Americans, a group already politically active. Activists were split between those who favoured treating people already infected and those who wanted to stop new infections. The latter were more concerned to preach the message of safe sex and make condoms widely available, so that people could practise what was preached. Gradually, however, activists on both sides realised that the drugs, by almost abolishing the virus from a sufferer’s body, also render him unlikely to pass it on. They are, in other words, a dual-use technology."


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Christian Allié's curator insight, March 17, 2014 5:58 AM
Seth Dixon's insight:

The article in the Economist points to the successes the international scientific community has made to minimize the impact of AIDS, but some doctors have wondered, "but what if AIDS didn't impact the wealthy and politically active?"  In this op-ed, a doctor says that medicine is just for those that can afford it because many pharmaceutical companies aren't interested in developing treatments for tropical diseases.


C Allié

.......... 

We need to find new ways of paying for research that do not force a choice between developing a drug and making it widely available. This idea is nothing extraordinary; there are already alternative ideas out there - models such as prize funds - that reward new discoveries through substantial financial payouts, paid on the condition that the drug is immediately open to price-lowering market competition.

 

There comes a time when we need to collectively look at a system and realise that it is no longer fit for purpose. Current R&D models for new medicines are not working; not for the world's poor, nor for you and I. It is time to get angry, to demand change. The poor are no longer far away, passive and prepared to die slowly of an illness we can cure. They demand change and so should everyone.

 

Dr Manica Balasegaram is the Executive Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres' Access Campaign; based in Geneva, he helps campaign for better tools and access to medicines, particularly for the developing world. He has worked as a doctor in MSF field projects in Uganda, Sudan, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/medicine-just-those-who-can-aff-201431181911299288.html

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 3:22 PM

As the article states, the AIDS virus was not known to the science community during the diseases' first years of emergance, but thanks to science, research was put on the forefront to stop AIDS. Unfortunately, the Disease is still incurable, but as the author says, some cases of the virus disappearing from the sufferers' body, it gives hope that a cure may be found someday. The AIDs virus will always be a hot topic and is referred to as the "Political" disease and must pose a threat to rich people in order for the pharmaceutical companies to develop cures.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 12:52 AM

This article discusses the recent treatments and their success in treating AIDs. For many years AIDs spread rapidly across Africa and even today it still spreads, luckily two things have begun to slow down it's advance. Both the increase in the use of contraception such as condoms which protect against AIDs as well as the production of antibiotics  made available to many at risk of AIDs. This shows that with decent government backing it is possible to stem outbreaks such as this.

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West Africa: Slavery in the Chocolate Industry

Although slavery is no longer legal there are still millions of people living in slavery today. One place and industry where slaves still exist is the cocoa ...

 

The world's leading producer of cocoa is Côte d'Ivoire and dirty secret is that slavery is commonplace on cocoa plantations in West Africa.    Children are smuggled from countries such as Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and then are placed on remote, isolated plantations.  While statistics are all guesstimates, this video is purporting that 35% of the world's chocolate is produced by slave labor (I've seen higher estimates).  What factors lead to this horrific condition?  How is this a geographic issue?    


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Beth Jung's curator insight, February 9, 2014 8:26 AM

This article is about children trafficking and child labor in West Africa. The director of this documentary is trying to tell people around the world that almost all famous chocolate factories such as Snickers, Nestle, etc, use cocoa from the cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast that use child labor to make as much chocolate they can with the least amount of money used. There are serious issues going on in West Africa, because most cocoa plantation workers are children who were smuggled around many countries such as Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and were separated to isolated plantations. People who are working in the Cocoa Industry have all denied the fact that the children are working in the plantation; Even the Vice President of Ivory Coast denied the fact of children trafficking. Also, all the famous chocolate factories had declined the interview for this documentary. A lot of people around the village have helped the captured children escape back to their home, saving more than a hundred children. This article helped me understand more about Africa's bad economy. By using child trafficking, people get free workers as well as sell children; 230 Euros each. It costs less to buy children than to pay the workers. This article made me realize that the only way I could help the African children is to spread the awareness to the whole wide world. This article also made me want to go to Ivory Coast when I get older. Children Trafficking hurts my loving heart and I would go to Ivory Coast and help children go back to their home.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 12:38 AM

Its both sad and horrific to think that chocolate, such a pleasure and luxury item in the west comes as such a high cost. It's so sad that so many people are oppressed and used in situations such as this just so those living in places of plenty can enjoy resources like chocolate. Unfortunately it seems for the few to benefit many more have to suffer and endure hardships.  

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:03 PM

I was not aware that slavery is still not unusual in cocoa plantation in West Africa. It sickens me because nations all around the world consume chocolate produced under slave labor. 

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Business Languages In Africa

Business Languages In Africa | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

"The Main Languages of Business in Africa."


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

It's interesting to see years after colonialism and imperialism there the nations it colonized are still having contact with their 'mother country'. For example the countries of Angola and Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau gained independence in the 1970's and they still trade with Portugal and are dependent on one an other to an extent, and language definitely has something to do with it.

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Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:54 AM

Looks like English colonist did a better job. Is weird to see Spanish placed in that location, when "spain" is very close to the northwest dominated by Arabic.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 4:53 PM

This map shows the different languages that are used for business dealings in Africa. It is interesting to see that Africa itself has many languages, but not one of them is predominantly used. The two languages that are mainly used in Africa are English and French, with  Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish and a combination of Arabic and French used in Mauritania, while English and French is used in Madagascar.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:38 AM

The continued influence of colonization can be seen when this map is compared with maps of colonial Africa. The dominant business language match up almost exactly with the country that used to dominate the area. The fact that these languages are used for business shows how the deep impacts the European settlers had across the continent. Even the northern portion of the continent shows the strong influence and ties the region has with the Arabic world. 

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9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask

9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask | Geography 200 Portfolio | Scoop.it

Watch a video that explains Ukraine's crisis in two minutes or read this quick article that covers the same material.  

 

Ukrainians have been protesting since Nov. 21, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for closer integration with the European Union, instead drawing the country closer to Russia. They are still in the streets in huge numbers and have seized regional government buildings in several parts of the country. In Kiev, the capital, clashes between protesters and security forces have become violent, killing several people. On Tuesday, the prime minister resigned. No one is quite sure what will happen next.

 


Via Seth Dixon
Amy Marques's insight:

This two minute video perfectly explains where there is such a crisis in Ukraine. The country is literally divided. The people in areas closest to Russia speak Russian, and the farther west the less people are speaking Russian. It makes sense why the people who are Pro-Russian speak Russian and were most likely displaced during the years of the USSR and Soviet Russia.

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 20, 2014 6:44 PM

(Russia topic 1)

Ukraine is an example of how countries' borders are not the only lines that matter in international geography. Ukraine is sort of a hybrid country - half-European and half-Russian - in many ways, including language, culture, and obviously politics. The more the 2 sides try to pull apart from each other, the more Ukraine tears itself apart. The 4 regional maps show this 'hidden' divide line within the country.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 5:50 PM

This article does a good job of explaining some of the many aspects of the current crisis in the Ukraine. While the media has been covering this conflict it has done little to provide background information on the Ukraine and precisely why Russia has invaded. This article goes into enough detail to flesh out the conflict without becoming in accessible to the average reader.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:58 PM

Ukrainians have been protesting since Nov. 21, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for closer integration with the European Union, instead drawing the country closer to Russia. They are still in the streets in huge numbers and have seized regional government buildings in several parts of the country. In the capital, clashes between protesters and security forces have become violent, killing several people. Recently, the prime minister resigned. No one is quite sure what will happen next. What's happening in Ukraine is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow for outsiders who don't know the history that led up to. Here are some basic questions that have basic answers for people who are still confused. What is Ukraine? Why are so many people protesting? How did Ukraine get so divided? What role does Russia play and why do they care so much? Why haven't the United States or Europe helped? But most important, the question we all want to know the answer to is what is going to happen next?