Not too long ago (Jan. 2012), the arbitrary International Date Line (roughly opposite the Prime Meridian) was moved to better accommodate the regional networks and economic geography of the area straddling the line. American Samoa, although politically aligned with the United States, was functionally more integrated on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim when it came to their trade partners and their tourism base. Dynamic economic networks, political allegiances and cultural commonalities create a beautifully complex situation near this 'border.'
The Gangnam Style! sensation is all over the internet, complete with parodies that both honor and mock the original. This first video is the original, which in a few short months received well ove...
The following link has the video, parodies and infographics to help student explore the meaning behind the cultural phenomenon.
Questions to Ponder: Considering the concept of cultural diffusion, what do we make of this phenomenon? What cultural combinations are seen in this? How has the technological innovations changed how cultures interact, spread and are replicated?
Tags: popular culture, video, diffusion, globalization, culture, place, technology, unit 3 culture.
McDonald's plans to open the first in a series of all-vegetarian restaurants in India next year. But rest assured, in most locations around the world, meat will stay on the menu.
Many of the most successful global companies or brands use highly regional variations that are attuned to local cultural norms and customs. The McAloo Tikki burger— which uses a spicy, fried potato-based patty — is the Indian McDonald's top seller.
Questions to ponder: What are the forces that lead towards an accelaration of human connectivity around the globe? What are the postive impacts of this increased connectivity? What are some negative impacts? Are these impacts the same in all places? Explain.
Tags: Globalization, food, culture, unit 3 culture and SouthAsia.
In a country this battered, fractured, dysfunctional – how much can she really hope to achieve?
The issue of female education in Pakistan has exploded after Malala Yousafzai was attacked by the Taliban for publicly advocating for girls to receive more schooling. This attack has lead several media outlets to take a more serious look at the gendered cultural and economic opportunities (or lack thereof) for girls within Pakistan. This NPR podcast also speaks of the real options in front of so many girls like Malala and the cultural and political contexts within which they navigate their lives.
Tags: gender, South Asia, podcast, culture, Islam, development, unit 3 culture, education.
"Afghan youth have very limited options for sports and recreation. An Australian man is trying to change that." Issues of ethnicity, class and gender are right on the surface. Globalization, cultural values and shifting norms make this a good discussion piece.
In a world where photoshop has made the unreal seem ordinary, these unearthly seemingly landscapes might seem likely fakes. The world can be that extraordinary. Pictured above is the "Door to Hell" in Turkmenistan. Rich with natural gas, Soviets were drilling in 1971 when the drilling rig collapsed and left a huge (230 feet wide) hole. In an attempt to stop gas leaks they hoped a fire would burn off any discharge, but it is still burning today. Enjoy this gallery of 25 'unnatural' images.
The European Union will never manage to compete with China and other rising powers unless it unites politically, scales up and becomes a genuine giant.
This author argues that the main driving forces that led towards European unification in the decades after WWII are now gone or are diminished in importance. As many of the economies of Europe, especially southern Europe are struggling, it is time for the European Union to rediscover and restructure it's raison d'être--it's reason for being--if it wants to continue to compete on a global level.
Tags: Supranationalism, Europe, political, unit 4 political and economic.
The frigid weather that plagued Eastern Europe much of last week spread westward over the weekend, grounding flights, snarling traffic, and causing hundreds of deaths...
This picture alone is a fantastic teaching resource. I can see a great lesson structured around analyzing the physical and human geographic context within these landscapes (there are 39 additional images in the gallery).
It's crazy how the cold effected this region. I mean some of these pictures didnt een look they were real, they looked like something you would see on a postcard. I think it would be cool at first to be there and see these images first hand, but with how cold it looks there i would probably be over it in about 10 minutes.
While I'm glad that they are dong something for their poor, it makes me wonder if they are only doing it for the upcoming world cup and olympics. I just wonder if they are trying to hide some of what really goes on there from tourists so they will think everything in brazil is all good.
Amsterdam, eat your heart out. This South American country has big plans for marijuana fans.
The distribution of narcotics impacts virtually every country in the world; there are incredibly divergent strategies on how to mitigate these problems that are a result of sophisticated distribution networks. What is the best way to stop the flow of dangerous drugs and the illegal activities that accompany the drug trade? If you were in charge, what strategies would you recommend?
I like how they feel that the prohibition on marijuana just made the use of it worse. I feel like that is a problem in many countries, people only want to do it because it's illegal and it makes them look like a rebel. Also it's only marijuana I mean thats barely a drug anyway, it's not like they legalized cocaine or heroin something that can cause harmful damage to a person's body.
There’s a South Pacific island positioned midway between Australia and New Caledonia featured on various marine charts, world maps, and has appeared in publications since at least the year 2000. It’s listed as Sandy Island on Google Maps and Google Earth, and yet Australian scientists have just discovered it doesn’t exist.
As part of a 25-day voyage, the group went to the area, only to find a 1,400m (4,620ft) deep section of the Coral Sea. The team collected 197 different rock samples, more than 6800km of marine geophysical data, and mapped over 14,000 square kilometers of the ocean floor. This is just a reminder that a map is only as reliable as the information used to compile that map (see BBC article as well). For another reminder of this same idea see "The Republic of Null Island."
The insect is so large — as big as a human hand — it's been dubbed a "tree lobster." It was thought to be extinct, but some enterprising entomologists scoured a barren hunk of rock in the middle of the ocean and found surviving Lord Howe Island...
Island Biogeography is endlessly fascinating and provides some of the most striking species we have on Earth. The physical habitat is fragmented and the genetic diversity is limited. Within this context, species evolve to fill ecological niches within their particular locale. This NPR article demonstrates the story of but one of these incredible species that never could have evolved on the continents. In modern society, more extinctions are happening on islands than anywhere else as 'specialist' species are in greater competition with 'generalists.'
Competing territorial claims have led to maritime disputes off the coast of Asia. See a map of the islands at issue.
This is an nice interactive map that allows the reader to explore current geopolitical conflicts that are about controlling islands. This is an good source to use when introducing Exclusive Economic Zones, which is often the key strategic importance of small, lightly populated islands.
New rules announced last week to allow interceptions of ships in the South China Sea are raising concerns in the region, and in Washington, that simmering disputes with Southeast Asian countries over the waters will escalate.
According to this new announcement, Chinese ships would be allowed to search and repel foreign ships if they were engaged in illegal activities (but that is open to interpretation) if the ships were within the 12-nautical-mile zone surrounding islands that China claims. This makes the disputed territorial claims of China all the more at the center of this geopolitical maneuverings. Much of the South China Sea would then be under Chinese control if this announcement becomes the new reality.
Questions to Ponder: Why is China making this announcement? Is China within their rights to make this declaration? Who might oppose this?
DB: The aesthetics of architecture within a society not only reveal the communities interpretation of what is considered beautiful or pleasing in appearance but also differentiates between what is considered sacred or important. The symbolic significance of aesthetics in colors, designs and a place of residence can be indicative of socioeconomic standing is within society and what the community values. Jodhpur, India is well known for the beautiful wave of blue houses that dominate the landscape of a rather dry region. However, it is believed that these blue houses originally were the result of ancient caste traditions.
Brahmins (who were at the very top of the caste system) housed themselves in these “Brahmin Blue” homes to distinguish themselves from the members of other castes. Now that the Indian government officially prohibits the caste system, the use of the color blue has become more widespread. Yet Jodhpur is one of the only cities in India that stands steadfast to its widespread aesthetics obsession with the color blue which is making it increasingly unique, creating a new sense of communal solidarity among its residence.
Questions to Consider: How has color influenced the cultural geography of this area? How are the aesthetics of this community symbolic of India’s traditional past, present and possible future?
Tags: South Asia, culture, housing, landscape, unit 3 culture.
In several previous posts we have looked at specific migration channels connecting Mexico to the USA: From Morelos to Minnesota; case study of a migrant...
An excellent way to show examples of chain migration and the gravity model...students will understand the concepts with concretes examples. These interactive maps have crisp geo-visualizations of the migratory flows.
Tahmina Kohistani’s Olympics lasted exactly 14 and 42/100ths of a second.
This is a great article that highlights the Olympic successes that are underreported. Due to geographic circumstances, simply competing is a remarkable accomplishment. The women participants from Afghanistan and Iran are highlighted in this article.
Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more.
The original cover is one of the more famous National Geographic photos of all time, and yet the woman in the photograph has not lived a life as though millions of people could recognize her eyes. This is her story.
This video is not very educational, filled with bad stereotypes and some truly inaccurate (and potentially offensive) statements. Still, I show it every semester as the rationale for why we need to study more about Europe (but mainly because my students LOVE watching it).
Ambitious development plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2014 soccer World Cup, involve large-scale evictions from numerous slums, whose residents are refusing to leave.
The urban revitalization issues in Rio de Janiero are not new, but they will intensify in global importance (or at least coverage) as the time for the World Cup and Olympics approaches. What are the aesthetics and economics behind revitalization? What are the social issues that should be addressed?
I think it's good for these people to stand their ground on the olympic building. There country gave up on them so why should they be forced to move and supposrt their government. I think when this happened in 2008 in Beijing it was wrong. They were showing the tourists only a portion of what their country is like and not letting them see just how bad it can be at times. The popel in brazil are not letting that happen so easily.
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