"On why a Prussian scientific visionary should be studied afresh…In a superb biography, Andrea Wulf makes an inspired case for Alexander von Humboldt to be considered the greatest scientist of the 19th century. Certainly he was the last great polymath in a scientific world which, by the time he died in Berlin in 1859, aged 89, was fast hardening into the narrow specializations that typify science to this day. Yet in the English-speaking world, Humboldt is strangely little-known."
"The Catalan capital’s radical new strategy will restrict traffic to a number of big roads, drastically reducing pollution and turning secondary streets into ‘citizen spaces’ for culture, leisure and the community. Black routes allow public transport and cars at 50km/h, while green routes only allow private vehicles at 10km/h to prioritize pedestrians and cycling."
This downloadable booklet/presentation rather succinctly summarizes the discipline of geography while dispelling certain misconceptions (no, it's not just learning facts and memorizing capitals). The cartoon illustrations and text are engaging, informative and very accessible. This National Geographic Education resource to promote geo-literacy is a good primer to start a semester.
"Have you heard of Alexander von Humboldt? Not likely. The geologist turned geographer and South American explorer was a bit of an 18th century super scientist, traveling over 24,000 miles to understand the relationship between nature and habitat. George Mehler details Humboldt’s major accomplishments and why we should care about them today. See this TED ED lesson plan that accompanies the video."
"Yes, globalization. For many people, that word conjures up, at best, images of container ships moving manufactured goods from far-flung factories. At worst, it harkens back to acrid debates about trade deficits, currency wars and jobs moving to China. In fact, since the Great Recession of 2008, the global flow of goods and services has flattened, and cross-border capital flows have declined sharply. But globalization overall isn't on the wane. Like so much in our world today, it has reinvented itself by going digital."
"For generations we vultures, armed with our senses, have fought in silence. We’ve waged a battle against garbage, but now we’re losing that battle. We want to help humans, so we’ve launched a movement to help you detect piles of garbage so that you can take action to eliminate them. Join us in this fight. Vultures Warn, you take action!"
The whole hip-hop community has finally taken Azalea to task for building her career by stealing black musical sounds and styles and using her whiteness to sell them to the masses. In the process, she has done little to actually give back to the hip-hop community except be flagrantly offensive. And black hip-hop artists aren't standing for it any longer.
The tradition of claiming a Cherokee ancestor continues into the present. Today, more Americans claim descent from at least one Cherokee ancestor than any other Native American group. Across the United States, Americans tell and retell stories of long-lost Cherokee ancestors. These tales of family genealogies become murkier with each passing generation, but like Phelps, contemporary Americans profess their belief despite not being able to point directly to a Cherokee in their family tree.
"French is currently ranked sixth among world languages, after Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi and Arabic. But it is gaining speakers quickly and, the study reports, will be spoken by 750 million in 2050, up from 220 million today. A demographic boom in French-speaking African states could bump the percentage of global French speakers from 3 percent to 8 percent by 2050, but some skeptics think the predictions are overrated."
""The 2015 Global Peace Index reveals a divided world, with the most peaceful countries enjoying increasing levels of peace and prosperity, while the least peaceful countries spiral into violence and conflict. Explore the state of world peace on the interactive Global Peace Index map. www.visionofhumanity.org "
I will once again preach to the choir, but with the hope that this will arm you with resources to use in discussions with administrators and colleagues in the fight against geographic ignorance. This article by Walter McDougall (2003 by Orbis) is worth reviewing and is a good reading assignment to start the school year. The link is to a PDF version of the article.
One day last spring, near an old rural cemetery in southern Brazil, a black man named Marcelo Gomes held up the corners of a Confederate flag to pose for a cell-phone photo. After the picture was taken, Gomes said he saw no problem with a black man paying homage to the history of the Confederate States of America. "American culture is a beautiful culture," he said. Some of his friends had Confederate blood.
Gomes had joined some 2,000 Brazilians at the annual festa of the Fraternidade Descendência Americana, the brotherhood of Confederate descendants in Brazil, on a plot near the town of Americana, which was settled by Southern defectors 150 years ago.
Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level — and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life. Changing global trade winds have raised sea levels in the South Pacific about a foot over the past 30 years, faster than elsewhere. Scientists are studying whether those changing trade winds have anything to do with climate change.
We sometimes describe this mingling as ‘‘cross-pollination’’ or ‘‘cross-fertilization’’ — benign, bucolic metaphors that obscure the force of these encounters. When we wish to speak more plainly, we talk of ‘‘appropriation’’ — a word now associated with the white Western world’s co-opting of minority cultures.
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