Most of the world's major religions are made up of multiple sects or denominations, and Islam is no different. Islam's two major sects are the Sunnis and the Shiites, and the division and interplay between the two is a major factor in the geopolitics of the Middle East. How well do you understand Sunni and Shiite Islam? Take our quiz and find out!
"Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers. Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers."
"Canada: land-wise, it's one of the world's biggest countries, but population-wise, it's anything but.The map comes from the Government of Canada's 'Plant Hardiness Site,' which contains images showing 'Extreme Minimum Temperature Zones' throughout the Great White North."
Tags: Canada, map, North America, weather and climate.
As the climate shifts, rivers will both flood and dry up more often, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Shortages are especially likely in parts of the world already strapped for water, so political scientists expect feuds will become even more intense. To track disputes worldwide, researchers at Oregon State University spent a decade building a comprehensive database of international exchanges—-both conflicts and alliances—over shared water resources. They found that countries often begin disputes belligerently but ultimately reach peaceful agreements. Says Aaron Wolf, the geographer who leads the project, “For me the really interesting part is how even Arabs and Israelis, Indians and Pakistanis, are able to resolve their differences and find a solution.”
"Mass killings have become increasingly common across Mexico due to the country's ongoing war on drugs. Cartels and gangs, often working with help from local police, are murdering innocent victims by the dozens and leaving them in unmarked graves. So just how bad is the violence in Mexico, and what is the Mexican President doing to stop it?"
A few months ago I watched Hugo Rivera, a stocky Mexican border patrol agent as he stood on the bank of the Suchiate River in Chiapas Mexico and looked out across the border to Guatemala on the other side of the water.
The last section of dam is being blasted from the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula on Tuesday.
For almost half a century, the two dams were widely applauded for powering the growth of the peninsula and its primary industry. But the dams blocked salmon migration up the Elwha, devastating its fish and shellfish—and the livelihood of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. As the tribe slowly gained political power—it won federal recognition in 1968—it and other tribes began to protest the loss of the fishing rights promised to them by federal treaty in the mid-1800s. In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Washington tribes, including the Elwha Klallam, were entitled to half the salmon catch in the state.
"Though it may come as a surprise to outsiders, the journey to Mecca is a manifestation of globally moderate Islam."
The Mecca region of Saudi Arabia has recently been in the midst of Hajj season. The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is strongly encouraged of all Muslims who have the means to undertake it. Importantly, by bringing together 2 million to 3 million people from across the globe, the Hajj pilgrimage is a manifestation of the diversity and moderate nature of global Islam. This image of the Muslim world as cosmopolitan and reasonable stands in stark contrast to the militant Islamist fundamentalism we more regularly hear about in media coverage — with the Islamic State and Boko Haram being the most recent manifestation of this.
Tags: Islam, Saudi Arabia, culture, religion, Middle East.
Elizabeth Borneman explores how cartography and cartographic projections help and hinder our perception of the world.
"How do you think the world (starting with our perceptions) could change if the map looked differently? What if Australia was on top and the hemispheres switched? By changing how we look at a map we truly can begin to explore and change our assumptions about the world we live in."
Geography doesn’t just teach us about the Earth; it provides ways for thinking about the Earth that shapes how we see the world. Maps do the same; they represent a version of reality and that influences how we think about places.
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