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Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine

Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
There have been a number of warnings from Kiev and Washington about the possibility of a direct and open Russian military intervention in Ukraine. But what could that look like?

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Everyone is awaiting Russia's next move in Ukraine.  Because of this, whatever Russia does next will be very important in shaping both local and foreign perceptions of the situation.  Although the first option seems theoretically unlikely, the current situation is spiraling downhill and is resembling full-out war on the surface, even though Russia believes they are completely in the right.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 27, 2:36 PM

I'm not saying any of these 3 scenarios are going to happen nor am I endorsing them either.  That said, this article/podcast provides a geopolitical analysis (with maps) of Russia's potential military options if they are planning on invading Ukraine. 


Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict.

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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.

 

In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.  The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

This is an interesting analyzation of how the U.S. and Europe became so different in terms of transportation methods.  In my personal experience, the U.S. is now so dependent on cars that there is a stigma in riding public transportation and bikers are seen as a nuisance.  In this article, the "Technological Focus" and its points  is relevant to many things outside of transportation and the U.S. strictly; the world needs to start thinking about behavior in order to make things better instead of developing new or better tools.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 25, 10:58 AM

I understand why many Europeans travel by public transportation, foot or bicycle. If gas was twice the price and tax on an automobile was more expensive than it already is, I would find another way to travel. Economically, it does not make sense to use an automobile as a daily driver in many areas of Europe. Also, public transportation in most areas of the United States is not great and many people who have to travel on the highway to work have no choice but to use an automobile. 

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 26, 12:49 PM

Since the US is at least four times larger than Europe it is difficult to compare the need for a vehicle between the two. Most of middle America is very spread out. We are fortunate that each person has more land available to them but that also means things are far apart. Creating more condensed "towns" that are essentially mini communities will help eliminate the need for cars in the US.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 2, 2:52 PM

The U.S. depends on cars to get everywhere. There is no arguing that the U.S. is more car dependents than dozens of other countries. Europe however, is in closer quarters to their working centers than the U.S. is. This is why and how Europe can depends on other methods of transportation such as bicycles to get them to work.

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World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think | The wonderful world: regional geography | 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
Paige Therien's insight:

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!)

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 11:34 AM

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!

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 7:40 AM

Religion is a widely popular theme throughout the world. People participate in thousands of different religions and who know Islam could become the second largest in the world?

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 6:09 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.

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Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia

Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia is drilling for a resource possibly more precious than oil by tapping hidden reserves of water in the Syrian Desert.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

In any society, survival trumps economy.  In this case water and oil are the respective area of focus in Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia has been tapping into aquifers under the Arabian desert in order to grow food.  This is a move of independence;  as the NAFTA agreement may allow the Americas to be energy-independent, Saudi Arabia needs a backup plan to become  a little more independent itself as their oil money decreases.  However, this water source is limited and is ecologically very unsound since the desert climate is not good for water and plants.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 19, 6:19 AM

This article makes underscores the use of water resources in the area.  The need to make the deserts bloom is putting a strain on the ground water resources in this region.  Because of the climate, this water is not a renewable resource and will eventually dry up.  What type of chaos will that cause in 50 years when the estimated time of the resource runs its course?

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 8:53 AM

These images show the growth of farmland in Saudi Arabia. With little to no rainfall annually, these fields are irrigated by mining for water deep in underground aquifers. This investment into agriculture by Saudi Arabia, an oil rich country which can buy the food it needs, suggests that the nation is concerned with the production of the food it buys or the sustainability of its oil wealth. Problematic, though, would be the long-term agricultural plans as the method being used for acquiring irrigation water is only sustainable for 50 years.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 2, 5:30 PM

Saudi Arabia may have an abundance of oil, however, they do not have an abundance of water and fertile soil. Saudi Arabia could import plenty of food with the profits they receive from oil production. It appears they are attempting to be more self-sufficient and trying to invest in agriculture, with the hopes of growing their own food and other crops. This country will not have oil forever, and it appears they are planning for the future.  

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Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan c

apital into a barely functioning dust bowl. The city's tired infrastructure is crumbling; water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.

 

Keeping an urban system running smoothly is a difficult proposition in developed countries that are stable--what is in like a place like Afghanistan?  This podcast is a excellent glimpse into the cultural, economic, environmental and political struggles of a city like Kabul.  This is urban geography in about a problematic a situation as possible.   


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul has seen a population influx due to war refugees and people trying to find more opportunity.  However, this desert region cannot support all these people, especially now that many of the resources have been used up.  There isn't much food, electricity, and water.  Many resources have to be shipped in from private vendors, making it even more expensive.  The government does not help and people cannot afford to leave (those that can leave typically perpetuate "brain-drain" in the area).  However, overlooking the cityscape are "Poppy Houses" and other developments, which are gated, developed communities build on money from the opium trade and which have access to water.  This illustrates the global pattern of the rich benefiting at the poor's expense.

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 19, 2013 7:28 AM

This was a really interesting podcast. Kabul has been damaged by wars and chaos. Now, the city does not have room for all of the people who have migrated in. It is now so cramped that amenities such as water, sewer and electricity are difficult to come by. The infastructure and streets were not meant for the amount of people. The government does not know what to do, so they are doing nothing. There is so much pollution, traffic and lack of resources, that the wealthy are moving out, which is just making room for more immigrants who the city cannot support. It is a very messy and dangerous problem. I think the government needs to deter people from migrating in, because they truly sound like they cannot handle more people.

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:34 PM

I am very surprise that people still live in Kabul because of all the wars. If those wars continue they could probably die by any attack or any thing else that can kill them. They are in the middle of devastation. They can get killed at anytime. But some people live a bit well because they are not so close to the fighting war. But also the city of Kabul could probably see an increase in there economy because more and more people want to move there because it seems that there economy is getting better. In Kabul there are many stories available that some of them just break your heart.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 28, 8:49 PM

The podcast details the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan. War has caused a population boom in the city as people migrate away from the war-torn areas of the country to the safer city. There are some serious problems with transportation infrastructure in the city and the population increases have only made the problem worse. War has also increased opium production and trade. The city is now dotted with opulent looking "Opium Houses" which are shoddily constructed and just rubble waiting for the next earthquake. Outside the metropolitan area of the city, planned communities of the more wealthy and educated are cropping up, leaving the city itself full of the poverty stricken with no place else to turn.

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"Skateistan" The NYTimes video library

"Afghan youth have very limited options for sports and recreation. An Australian man is trying to change that."   This video really resonates with my students.  Issues of ethnicity, class and gender are right on the surface.  Globalization, cultural values and shifting norms make this a good discussion piece.  


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

The Skateistan organization has provided Afghan boys and girls with the opportunity for recreation.  Recreation is important for children to make friends, but more importantly in a tense country with many different ethnic backgrounds, it fosters community building and exposure to other people.  This organization has given kids freedom and job opportunities that are actually rewarding.  The blending of cultural interests illustrates how very similar people are; the Afghan kids are just as willing to participate in the unknown sport of skateboarding as any kid would be from a society where it is a popular sport.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, April 10, 10:12 AM

This video is great it shows how one person can make a difference.  The guy was able to bring skateboarding to Afghanistan and help children have an outlet for recreation that they previously did not have.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 11:16 AM

While visiting other countries, people get a glimpse of how others live. In Australia, children are allowed to play all sorts of games and sports for recreational fun. In Afghanistan however, this is not the case. What this Australian man is doing is helping out the Afghan youth. They need some inspiration and in order for them to get that they need outside sources (and people) like this man.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 7:35 AM

This one man is trying to give these children something of their own to hold onto. They don't have the activities and recreational opportunities that children do in Australia.

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Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine

Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
There have been a number of warnings from Kiev and Washington about the possibility of a direct and open Russian military intervention in Ukraine. But what could that look like?

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Everyone is awaiting Russia's next move in Ukraine.  Because of this, whatever Russia does next will be very important in shaping both local and foreign perceptions of the situation.  Although the first option seems theoretically unlikely, the current situation is spiraling downhill and is resembling full-out war on the surface, even though Russia believes they are completely in the right.

more...
Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 27, 2:36 PM

I'm not saying any of these 3 scenarios are going to happen nor am I endorsing them either.  That said, this article/podcast provides a geopolitical analysis (with maps) of Russia's potential military options if they are planning on invading Ukraine. 


Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict.

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Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway

Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it

"Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you may notice that the commuters around you include a dog - a stray dog, on its own, just using the handy underground Metro to beat the traffic and get from A to B.  Yes, some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's immense and complex subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops."


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Humans commonly think of themselves as separate from nature.  However, we very much are a part of it and animals, like these stray dogs, know it.  When dealing with something more powerful than yourself, you have to learn how to navigate the system in order to survive.  That is exactly what these dogs have done, literally and figuratively, by learning the complex subway systems in Moscow.  It is an example of how animals can adapt to their man-made surroundings and how persistent (the rest of) nature can be.

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 12:10 PM

Stray dogs in Moscow use their intelligence to survive. These streets are tough and navigation isn't always easy. These stray dogs in Moscow can be seen at the markets, along the crowds and in the subways. These dogs have adapted to their environment, busy subways, loud noises, crowded areas and are comfortable among the people. 

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, February 18, 8:25 PM

This article shows how intelligent some dogs are. They are adapting to the environment around them and figuring out how to survive within the city. I give them credit, as I am sure they have their tactics to survive, whether its begging for food or traveling subways to look for food. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 5:46 PM

Dogs are creatures of habit. They get on at one stop and off at another every day or every so often. This is because there is an abundance of stray dogs and since no one is taking them in, Moscow will continue to have interesting subway surfers among them.

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In Pictures: The 'rat eaters' of India

In Pictures: The 'rat eaters' of India | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Musahar community in Bihar's Darbhanga district still live in extreme poverty and face social stigma.
Paige Therien's insight:

This is an example of how pervasive the now outlawed caste system in India is.  These people are socially marginalized through stigmas and lack of basic infrastructure from the government.  Stigmatic marginalization discourages these people from participating in the wider community and the lack of infrastructure  fosters poor health.

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For the Muslims of CAR, it's 'leave or die'

For the Muslims of CAR, it's 'leave or die' | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Thousands of Muslims in the Central African Republic have fled as UN chief warns of 'ethno-religious cleansing'.

 

Leave or die.  It's come down to this for the Muslims of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.  Muslims here once lived freely among the Christian majority, running businesses and praying in mosques. Now, many of the city's Muslims have fled, and on Sunday about 1,300 Muslims from Bangui's PK12 neighbourhood were evacuated to safety by peacekeeping forces.

Already one of the world's poorest countries, CAR has seen a wave of upheaval and violence in the past 15 months. The 10-month reign of the Muslim-dominated Seleka rebel group inflamed intercommunal tensions in the country, and spurred the rise of Christian militias called the anti-Balaka.  Once the Seleka was forced out of power in January, the anti-Balaka rampaged, targeting Muslims across the country for their perceived support of the Seleka and its bloody excesses.


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

This is an example of how citizens are sometimes held accountable for the governments actions.  Central African Republic  has already been facing hardships and its recent governance by  a Muslim majority group known as the Seleka has only made things worse.  Anti-Muslim Christian groups have sprung up in the aftermath of the government.  They have been brutally killing and forcing Muslims to flee; they have no easy feelings towards Muslims.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 1, 9:36 AM

units 2-3-4

 

ALOT of connections here!!!

Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 5, 6:30 PM

Also this interactive feature is worth your time...it won't make you feel all sunshine and rainbows, but the hard truth rarely does. 

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Tunisia's street artist

Tunisia's street artist | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it

Following the uprising that toppled the government in 2011, he has become a well known graffiti artist hoping to revive and modernise the ancient art of Arabic calligraphy in Tunisia. He calls his style "calligraffiti".


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Following the Arab Spring, Karim Jabbari is hoping to help rebuild and recreate Tunisia through his own form of cultural expression which he calls "calligraffiti".  Calligraffiti is a blend of Western Street art and North African Arabic calligraphy.  This artistic expression works to spread messages pertaining to the recreating of the social and political environment of the country and by attracting and empowering Tunisia's youth in this endeavor.  

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 1, 9:39 AM

unit 3

Albert Jordan's curator insight, May 1, 10:58 AM

Considering hip hop is a distinctly American born cultural phenomenon, this goes to show how something that was born of one nations deprived social class can leap to a nation that is very different and still put forth the same message, as well as be used in the same way. Just like in the Bronx when hip hop was just starting off it was used to get people together, in Tunisia it is being used in the same way. Graffiti itself, while seen by many as simple vandalism, can be a powerful symbol of social change. As this artist is doing, using themes from hip hop and taking old Arabic calligraphy, mixing these up and then applying them to the side of a prison which has personal as well as local symbolism - it goes to show that post Arab Spring some places are seeing real change.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 8:24 PM

The video shows how Karim Jabbari, is able to combine folk culture (ancient arabic writing) in with the western graffiti art. He is able to use his art to express political ideals and beliefs

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Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Jakarta's traffic is legendary and locals have now become experts at finding ways to get around the jams, with some even making money out of them.

 

The population of Indonesia is heavily concentrated on the island of Java, and the capital city of Jakarta faces a tremendous strain on it's transportation network.  This video show that resourceful people will find inventive ways to make an unworkable situation manageable. 


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, is located on the country's most heavily populated island of Java.  The city has seen an intense population explosion, and with is came more and more vehicles.  The roads are overcrowded and there is not enough public transportation.  People in Jakarta have had to adapt to the social environment that has been created.  Jockeys charge drivers for giving them rides into the center of the  city (you need to have three of more people in your car to do so).  Even if they did not need to go into the city, it is a way to make many, albeit illegal.  Cities, like Jakarta, are places where infrastructure and public transportation is needed most heavily, but it is the most difficult and expensive place to do so.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 2:48 PM

People will always find ways to adapt to their environment- adapt or fail. This video is just simply amazing. I hate sitting in traffic on I95 but imagining a 20 mile drive taking three hours is insane. Its a shame that Indonesia's transmigration program was coercive and deceptive. 

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 18, 5:53 PM

Jakarta is faced with overpopulation and traffic problems. The government passed a law, which requires a vehicle to have passengers aboard, in the hopes of speeding up the traffic entering the city. However, some drivers are paying people to take a ride with them into the city to avoid the fines. In most areas throughout the world, passengers would be paying the driver for a ride, but in this city, it is different. The government should find another solution to fix the traffic issues. 

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, April 24, 11:49 AM

This video was interesting.  It shows that with increased urbanization come the problem of increased traffic congestion.  Government that are growing need to be aware of this and build their cities accordingly to have transportation that can accommodate all the people swelling the city.

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Chilling Letter From Chinese Factory Worker Found In Saks Fifth Avenue Bag

Chilling Letter From Chinese Factory Worker Found In Saks Fifth Avenue Bag | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Saks shopper finds chilling letter in her bag.
Paige Therien's insight:

While this story is terrifying, especially because the author of the letter will probably be killed for writing it, the subject matter is not particularly surprising.  Just because consumers do not find letters such as this one in their shopping bags and purchases everyday, does not mean that people have not been subjected to terrible working conditions and rights for very little money for many years now.  The commodity chain of our globalized world has created huge gaps between the harvesters of raw materials, manufacturers, and consumers.  These gaps are so big that not only do corporations loose track of some of their production information due to the huge amounts of people and goods they are working with, like in this story, but the consumers become very far removed, geographically and socially, from the people and places that provide and create the goods they consume.

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Stunning photos show Africa through African eyes

Stunning photos show Africa through African eyes | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
An IBM photo competition looked at Africa's biggest challenges and opportunities -- and the results are spectacular.

Via Allison Anthony
Paige Therien's insight:

This project is not just a photo competition; it is part of an IBM initiative that will create and develop opportunities in Africa.  Therefore, these pictures taken by Africans themselves serve as a "suggestion outlet" that offers insight into what needs to be changed or addressed in Africa by those who have to deal with the issues everyday.  From the photography styles to the opinions they illustrate, Africans have been empowered and given back their voices, for once free from Western influence.  Africa is a geographically and socially HUGE and incredibly diverse place, which unfortunately is forgotten by most outsiders; these pictures show the extreme diversity of people and place.  They also show that African peoples are already quite innovative and IBM's initiative may give them a much-needed boost in improving their society.

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How the Potato Changed the World

How the Potato Changed the World | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Brought to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers, the lowly potato gave rise to modern industrial agriculture

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Potatoes were very important in the Colombian Exchange, which was the exchange of plants and animals to and from different lands where they are not native to.  Today, the potato is the fifth most important crop in the world.  Food is deeply routed in culture and this massive exchange changed societies.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 24, 6:36 AM

unit 5

Loreto Vargas's curator insight, April 27, 2:10 PM

Potatoes changed the old world! 

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 8:41 PM

Potatoes were brought to the New World through the Columbian Exchange. It does have a negative connotation but the trade route was used to diffuse cultures by trading food. 

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Complexity in Syria

Complexity in Syria | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
A color-coded map of the country's religious and ethnic groups helps explain why the fighting is so bad.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Maps such as this one are very valuable when trying to understand conflict.  In Syria and the greater Levant area, unbalanced power and representation in politics is the result of many different religious and ethnic groups living in such close proximity each other, allowing conflict to become very invasive.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 8:04 AM

This map and flowchart show how complicated the situation is in the Middle East. Even in a relatively small nation like Syria, there are over a dozen religious, ethnic, and cultural groups. These divisions have caused conflicts all over the Middle East which has led to protest, war, and ethnic cleansing.

 

The flow chart is particularly confusing, and apparently, not even remotely complete. The alliances and rivalries create a tangled web, which is confusing making life difficult for the average person living in the Middle East.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 2, 3:19 PM

This map shows tha tthere are an overwhelimg amount of Arabs especially in centeral Syria. And then on the coast lline it is mostly mixed with pink representing the overwhlming other majority.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 2, 5:11 PM

It appears from this article that Syria is a complicated country. The map shows the different ethnic and religious groups of Syria, along with other groups, all of which live within a small area. Syria, along with other countries within the Middle East have been faced with one serious issue or another. Many different people live within a very small area; those people practice different religions and are ethnically and culturally different. Unfortunately, being different in this part of the world may get you killed.   

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This year's Eurovision Song Contest has become a political and social minefield

This year's Eurovision Song Contest has become a political and social minefield | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
Eurovision is supposed to be fun, family entertainment, though politics occasionally intrudes. This year, Russia and Ukraine may be fighting over who controls Crimea's vote. And then there's the issue of Austria's drag queen performer.
Paige Therien's insight:

Reminiscent of the Olympics, transnational competitions like Eurovision Song Contest illustrates the deeper workings of regional and global political and cultural issues.

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Human/Environmental Interactions

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. 


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 5:49 PM

I've read about the disaster of the Aral Sea before when I was taking a class on Eurasian history, but being able to visualize it made it even more striking. It was especially striking when, at the end, the man was talking about the great paradox he sees between people who are being threatened with rising ocean levels and then his people who are threatened by the drying of the Aral. It really does show how humans impact the environment, and demonstrates that areas in which people are manual laborers, working resources, health and environmental conditions tend to be worse. 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 20, 2013 10:11 AM

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.

 

The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   

 

Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

The Soviet Union scattered "monotowns" around their territory; these monotowns consist of a job-creating industrial institutions like factories which then allow the formation of towns around them.  They are located all around the former Soviet Union and are very isolated.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these towns continued to run due to the privatization of the industrial center.  Today, Russia's Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and contains 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water, is home to one of these monotowns.  This particular town's economy is based on their paper mill which uses and deposits tons of chemicals.  Environmentalists are very concerned for the future of the lake while the citizens are only concerned with feeding their families and this is creating social unrest.  Due to the isolation and distance from Moscow, people cannot just pick up and leave.  Also, working with "cleaner" alternatives is way out of this town's budget.  Today, many citizens in these monotowns miss the support that the Soviet Union offered and people are literally stuck in a place where their only income is dirty.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 16, 2013 5:14 PM

We never heard about this during the Soviet Union as the news was controlled.  Also during the Soviet time I do not believe environmentalists would have gotton the chance to investigate the area.  With the fall of the USSR the world can now see some of the environmental effects that communism had on Russia.  These towns are built around the factory.  Much like the old steele towns in PA, like Allentown.  However Allentown chnaged with the times and is able to support, although it is difficult, the population that was focused on the steele industry.  Here is this remote area of Russia, there is nothing else in the area.  There is no service economy in the area, just the paper factory.  It has been kept open because of Putin who basically said to ignore all environmental laws and regulations and he made sure the environmental groups are not an issue anymore.  Not surprising from a former KGB Lt. Colonel and the Director of the FSB, the sucessor of the KGB.  To solve the issue in these monotowns I think there needs to be government intervention to transition the economies in theses areas.  To keep these factories running in the long run will just hurt all the people in the towns with no end in sight.  However, I do not think this will happen unless there is a change in the leadership of Russia, something I do not think will happen anytime soon.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 11:43 AM

The story of this particular mono-town is very tough to "pick sides".  The factory undoubtedly pollutes the air and land like most other industrial areas, but being so close to Lake Baikal gives environmentalists a stronger reason to complain.  The lake is considered one of the purest and most unique in the world, yet the paper mill located on its banks raise controversy.  This is where the locals and workers are stuck between a rock and hard place.  Located in Siberia, such a vast and open region with little settlements compared to the western part of the country reminds the people living there that their resources are limited.  Closing down the factory would almost eliminate income and economy for the mono-town.  This is where the fine line is drawn; the workers surely aren't happy about the pollution and environmental hazards that go along with keeping the mill open, but at the same time the people could wither away if it wasn't up and running.

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 18, 2013 10:42 PM

THough the Soviet Union has been gone since the early 90s, it's hold on Russia is still creating problems. The creations of monotowns were already flawed. But to have this one monotown on Lake Baikal has gained the attention of enviromentalists. All odds are against that monotown. Without it's paper factory they have no jobs and no need for the town. It is a fight between enviromental geography and human geography in this area of the world. These people are stuck in a time where even the Soviet Union looked a little better than the constant wondering of your finacial stability in an up and coming capitalist nation.

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This Map Shows Why The Battle For 'Ukraine's Soul' Is So Pivotal

This Map Shows Why The Battle For 'Ukraine's Soul' Is So Pivotal | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
The tug-of-war for Ukraine.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Besides the very intense cultural and political split that exists in Ukraine and the conflict as a whole, one of the key factors in this situation is gas.  This infographic shows that both Ukraine and the EU gets their gas from Russia, and Ukraine is the area which the gas lines flow through.  As soon as many people in Ukraine showed interest in joining the EU, Russia reminded Ukrainians and the world of this fact

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Adilson Camacho's curator insight, December 27, 2013 12:11 PM

O lugar da Ucrânia...

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 12:04 PM

With gas being the key factor to the Russia-Eu tug of war over Ukraine, Russia fights hard to win this battle. Russia needs Ukraine as their own due to all the pipelines that transport the gas to Europe. Who will win this tug-of-war?

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 28, 9:26 PM

This infographic gives an idea of why Russia is so invested in Ukraine. The energy infrastructure built during the Soviet era runs almost entirely through Ukraine. A significant amount of gasoline consumed in Europe comes from Russia via Ukraine, while over 2/3rds of all the gas Russia exports to the EU goes through Ukraine. This puts Ukraine in a position of power, but the country itself is divided between the East and West making siding with the EU or Russia difficult. These are lasting effects of the Soviet era.

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Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.

Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 21, 10:01 AM

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn


Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 7:03 AM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

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China Has Accomplished Something In Global Trade Not Seen Since Colonial Britain

China Has Accomplished Something In Global Trade Not Seen Since Colonial Britain | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it

"China is a true mega-trader — a position last held by colonial Britain, with trade significant not only as a share of world trade (11.5%) but also of its own GDP (47%).  The U.S. is China's top export destination. China's trade with Latin America has risen more than 200 times since 1990 and is the fastest-growing corridor. China's trade is beginning to slow, however. Exports accounted for about 25% of GDP in 2012, down from 35% in 2007." 


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

This article offers an interesting piece of insight, which is that China has become the biggest trader in the world, and has even surpassed colonial Britain was at the time.  During colonial times, and throughout history, China kept to themselves.  Britain, on the other hand was becoming a world superpower because of their demands for goods.  The article offers four reasons why this trend will continue for China including a firm control of its position in the market, increasing global demand for China's services, a shift towards a more balanced trade (i.e. more imports), and its established infrastructure.  However, they do not touch upon the negative aspects of environmental and humanitarian issues that have been brought along with global trade, and which may be the demise of China's trade market.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 30, 7:55 AM

This article is highlights what we already know; China is a dominant force in global trade (although the map should be centered on the Pacific to show China's real shipping lanes and interregional connections).  Containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries (almost 90% of everything we buy arrives via ship).  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia. 


Tags: transportation, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Eli Levine's curator insight, April 30, 9:34 AM

It would be wiser if the Chinese used the wealth they've produced to kickstart a domestically based economy, rather than rely on international trade.  It would detach themselves from having to play nicely with others for economic reasons and enable them to take over more of a regional position.

 

However, natural law against empires is still in effect.  China can't overreach its influence or behave inappropriately if they get rejected in other parts of the world, nor can it overreact to threats against its overseas interests.

 

As for the US, it would be wiser if we were to reign in on our ideology of marginal growth, pay our current workers decent enough wages that they can afford to spend and have leisure time.  It's time that we all direct our societies against what is excessive wealth (as defined by wealth exceeding that which cannot be used in the course of the individual's lifetime) and be done with the happy horse Second Gilded Age that we've allowed ourselves to be walked into by the rich business interests and their foolish academic cohorts.  It's not in the economy's interests to have everything bunched into the hands of a few individuals, anymore than it is in a person's interests to have all of their blood rush to their feet, or a child's teddy bear to have all the stuffing bunched in one part.  We're not seeing growth anymore, except in the realm of capital investments.  More goods and services aren't being produced or sold and one has to wonder what the point of having that kind of growth is, when it buffers against our environmental and sociological concerns.

 

We will either adapt to this new knowledge or die in the process.

 

It is that simple.

 

Think about it.

Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 9:51 AM

China's exportation has grown so high and has reached a multitude of nations, not unlike British Imperialism. Though China has reached a lot of nation and has grown economically, it has also slowed down.

The movement of goods is greatly portrayed in economic sectors through trade patterns.

 

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Desolate ghost towns of South Sudan

Desolate ghost towns of South Sudan | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting South Sudan and has warned that more peacekeepers must be rapidly deployed to end the conflict.
Paige Therien's insight:

South Sudan has been engaged in a civil war for a few months now.  It was sparked by political means, but the real roots of this conflict are ethnic.  The only "safe" place for civilians  are flooded, disease-ridden towns while the other towns are uninhabited due to battling.  Especially because  this year marks 20 years for the Rwandan genocide,this issue raises some important questions such as when does civil war become genocide?  Also, although Secretary of State John Kerry has recently threatened sanctions if the South Sudanese cannot maintain a ceasefire, it will be interesting to see where the U.S. and other countries will stand if this situation continues to escalate.

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Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youth in Cambodia.

 

This video is a great example of cross-cultural interactions in the era of globalization.  Urban youth culture of the United States is spread to Cambodia through a former refugee (with a personally complex political geography).  What geographic themes are evident in this video? How is geography being reshaped and by what forces?


Via Seth Dixon
Paige Therien's insight:

Urban United States culture has been introduced to Cambodia's youth by K.K.  K.K., who lived in California his whole life as the child of Cambodian refugees, was deported to Cambodia, a place he had never even visited before, due to a felony charge.  K.K created an organization which taught Cambodia's youth about HIV protection, computers, and drugs.  He made his organization attractive to Cambodian youth by introducing them break-dancing and rapping.  In the U.S. these activities are often viewed in a negative light, but K.K. used them positively by introducing them to a population with no prior knowledge of them.  He also recreated his own identity by mixing his new, vastly unknown Cambodian experience with his life experiences from the U.S.   He is an example of the many people who struggle with forming a more global identity in our global world.  This organization targets at-risk kids and K.K. is probably trying to direct their lives the way he may wish someone had done for him. 

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 16, 2:40 PM

It is always entertaining watching children break dance, especially to United States rapper Nas. "KK", a former Californian gang member, who was deported back to Cambodia, teaches children to interact with each other and stay out of trouble by break dancing. 

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 18, 2:43 PM

This man was originally from California, but was kicked out of America and now lives in Cambodia. “KK” introduces break dancing, rapping and even taught basic computer skills to the at risk children of Cambodia. The children are some of the best break-dancers I have ever seen. A man by the name of "KK" inspired and gave the youth of Cambodia hope. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 8:00 AM

Bringing different cultures into different lifestyles is an important part of cultural history. Every culture is linked in some way to another one. What this break dancer does to help these kids is awesome. As a former Cambodian refugee he had never been to Cambodia but was sent back there. His L.A./past gang influences have helped many kids to stay away from gangs and to take up schooling and break dancing instead.

Rescooped by Paige Therien from Metaglossia: The Translation World
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South Asian Languages: Evolving Roles in a Globalized World

South Asian Languages: Evolving Roles in a Globalized World | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it

South Asia’s native languages are essential for understanding the contemporary region. Background


Via Charles Tiayon
Paige Therien's insight:

Native languages, in South Asia and the rest of the world, illustrate the histories and worldviews of their speakers; language and culture are nearly synonymous.  This synonymity carries over when dealing with the extinction an re-creation of languages (through creole languages).  Today, our globalized world is introducing more global languages, especially English, to many societies.  Speaking English, whether partially or fully, means that English-speaking society values and norms will also be introduced and adopted into these new-to English cultures.  This can create societal issues as new, forgein ideals may clash with traditional ideals.  Also, the United States is a country that primarily speaks English and which lives very unsustainably; if other societies are adopting our values and way of life through language, what will happen to our world?

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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, March 5, 10:27 AM
South Asia’s native languages are essential for understanding the contemporary region. Background
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Sherpas: The Invisible Men of Everest

Sherpas: The Invisible Men of Everest | The wonderful world: regional geography | Scoop.it
After the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas, the human cost of Everest peak fever has become inescapably clear.

Via dilaycock
Paige Therien's insight:

Similar to many other industries that exploit those on the lowest rungs of the supply chain, the local inhabitants of the Khumbu Valley, Sherpas and Nepalis, face huge risks just to make a decent paycheck while trying to fill the demands of Westerners- including trying to fit Westerners preconceived notions of their own identity.  These people are not producing goods, but instead they are providing services; they are the "tour guides" aka mountaineers that guide people to the summits of Earth's tallest mountains.  Over the past few decades, Sherpa deaths have accounted for 40 percent of all deaths on Mount Everest.  Westerners would assume that since Sherpas are the "experts", nothing can really happen to them, or, if something does happen, it isn't an overly common occurrence.  Sometimes, this mindset, along with lack of oxygen at higher elevations, fosters abuse from tourists towards the guides.  Tourism creates new realities and identities; Westerners have come to believe that today's mountaineering which they experience has always been a part of Sherpa culture, when in fact their expeditions have drastically changed it.  Westerners have also brought things like schools and medical clinics but this is still at the cost of brave Sherpa men.  Unfortunately, it took the most recent avalanche which killed 16, for Sherpas to demand more rights and benefits.

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dilaycock's curator insight, April 27, 5:27 PM

The recent disaster on Everest has sparked considerable discussion as to "where to next?" for the Sherpas.