"Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe. The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure."
"Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots."
"Population statistics are like crystal balls -- when examined closely, they can help predict a country's future (and give important clues about the past). Kim Preshoff explains how using a visual tool called a population pyramid helps policymakers and social scientists make sense of the statistics, using three different countries' pyramids as examples."
"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?"
The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.
BILL GATES, in his foundation’s annual letter, declared that “the terms ‘developing countries’ and ‘developed countries’ have outlived their usefulness.” He’s right. If we want to understand the modern global economy, we need a better vocabulary.
Mr. Gates was making a point about improvements in income and gross domestic product; unfortunately, these formal measures generate categories that tend to obscure obvious distinctions. Only when employing a crude “development” binary could anyone lump Mozambique and Mexico together.
It’s tough to pick a satisfying replacement. Talk of first, second and third worlds is passé, and it’s hard to bear the Dickensian awkwardness of “industrialized nations.” Forget, too, the more recent jargon about the “global south” and “global north.” It makes little sense to counterpose poor countries with “the West” when many of the biggest economic success stories in the past few decades have come from the East.
All of these antiquated terms imply that any given country is “developing” toward something, and that there is only one way to get there.
It’s time that we start describing the world as “fat” or “lean.”
Published in 1941, this “Trading Game: France—Colonies” aimed to teach French children the basics of colonial management.
Players drew cards corresponding to colony names, then had to deploy cards representing assets like boats, engineers, colonists, schools, and equipment, in order to win cards representing the exports of the various colonies. “Images on the game,” Getty Research Institute curator Isotta Poggi writes in her blog post on the document, “provide a vivid picture of the vast variety of resources, including animals, plants, and minerals, that the colonies provided to France.” Cartoons on the cards depict coal (mined by a figure clearly intended to be a “native”), rubber, wood, and even wild animals.
"While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.
The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."
Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.
"It took the folks at Google to upgrade these choppy visual sequences from crude flip-book quality to true video footage. With the help of massive amounts of computer muscle, they have scrubbed away cloud cover, filled in missing pixels, digitally stitched puzzle-piece pictures together, until the growing, thriving, sometimes dying planet is revealed in all its dynamic churn. The images are striking not just because of their vast sweep of geography and time but also because of their staggering detail."
I used to teach students about the surprising water crises in central and SE Wisconsin, one of the most water-rich states in the US. They were always blown away. Now, teaching in CO, everyone seems to have an awareness (anxiety?) about local water scarcity. This story, though, has more of a national, even global scope.
After three decades of slow growth, middle-class incomes in the U.S. appear to trail those of Canada. Poor Americans now make less than the poor in several other countries.
Cory Erlandson's insight:
This shift is the result of policy choices: The long march away from progressive taxation, regulation, labor unions in the context of globalization, while avoiding any middle-class boosting programs due to the specter of deficits and debt.
I believe there is a new class of city emerging across the country which are positioned to succeed in the coming decade – a class of city that has not yet been identified on a national scale. This city is a small/mid-sized regional center.
Elizabeth Borneman explores how cartography and cartographic projections help and hinder our perception of the world.
At some point in all of our lives our perception of the world began to change- our knowledge of the world, from school or personal travel experience, began to grow in our minds a map of the world which started to encompass more than just our hometowns and the surrounding suburbs. Soon this mental map started to include nearby states or territories, other countries, and slowly but surely a global mental map was created in each of our minds, unique and personal to every one of us.