Human Geography
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Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Geography Education!

What is the future of the world's religions?

According to new Pew Research demographic projections, by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history. Read more at

Via Seth Dixon
Alex Lewis's insight:

The changing religion percentages expected for 2050 show how the world is changing in terms of ethnicity and religion. Muslims will make up about the same percentage as Christians do, which is surprising to me. Hindu and Jewish populations will continue to grow sufficiently, while Buddhism will remain the same. 



Alan Frumkin's curator insight, April 7, 2015 7:11 PM

añada su visión ...

Zeke Robinson's curator insight, May 26, 2015 9:06 PM

I think this is very true as the world is already shifting to Islam and losing at Christianity.

Emerald Pina's curator insight, May 26, 2015 11:22 PM

This video gives a hypothesis on how the religions are going to look like in 2015. The Pew Research believes Muslim is going to increase, Christianity is going to have a stable pojection, and people with no religion are going to decline.


This article relates with Unit 3: Cultural Patterns and Proccesses because it gives a hypothesis of how religions are going to look like in 2015. I was a little surprised about the guess that people with no religion are going to decrease in number. I would that it would increase because as people get busier with life and less time for traditions and holidays, then they will start to have no religion. 

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Metaglossia: The Translation World!

Can Dying Languages Be Saved?

A Loss for Words
Can a dying language be saved?



The consequences of losing a language may not be understood until it is too late.
It is a singular fate to be the last of one’s kind. That is the fate of the men and women, nearly all of them elderly, who are—like Marie Wilcox, of California; Gyani Maiya Sen, of Nepal; Verdena Parker, of Oregon; and Charlie Mungulda, of Australia—the last known speakers of a language: Wukchumni, Kusunda, Hupa, and Amurdag, respectively. But a few years ago, in Chile, I met Joubert Yanten Gomez, who told me he was “the world’s only speaker of Selk’nam.” He was twenty-one.

Yanten Gomez, who uses the tribal name Keyuk, grew up modestly, in Santiago. His father, Blas Yanten, is a woodworker, and his mother, Ivonne Gomez Castro, practices traditional medicine. As a young girl, she was mocked at school for her mestizo looks, so she hesitated to tell her children—Keyuk and an older sister—about their ancestry. They hadn’t known that their maternal relatives descended from the Selk’nam, a nomadic tribe of unknown origin that settled in Tierra del Fuego. The first Europeans to encounter the Selk’nam, in the sixteenth century, were astonished by their height and their hardiness—they braved the frigid climate by coating their bodies with whale fat. The tribe lived mostly undisturbed until the late eighteen-hundreds, when an influx of sheep ranchers and gold prospectors who coveted their land put bounties on their heads. (One hunter boasted that he had received a pound sterling per corpse, redeemable with a pair of ears.) The survivors of the Selk’nam Genocide, as it is called—a population of about four thousand was reduced to some three hundred—were resettled on reservations run by missionaries. The last known fluent speaker of the language, Angela Loij, a laundress and farmer, died forty years ago.

Many children are natural mimics, but Keyuk could imitate speech like a mynah. His father, who is white, had spent part of his childhood in the Arauco region, which is home to the Mapuche, Chile’s largest native community, and he taught Keyuk their language, Mapudungun. The boy, a bookworm and an A student, easily became fluent. A third-grade research project impassioned him about indigenous peoples, and Ivonne, who descends from a line of shamans, took this as a sign that his ancestors were speaking through him. When she told him of their heritage, Keyuk vowed that he would master Selk’nam and also, eventually, Yagán—the nearly extinct language of a neighboring people in the far south—reckoning that he could pass them down to his children and perhaps reseed the languages among the tribes’ descendants. At fourteen, he travelled with his father to Puerto Williams, a town in Chile’s Antarctic province that calls itself “the world’s southernmost city,” to meet Cristina Calderón, the last native Yagán speaker. She subsequently tutored him by phone.

If it is lonely to be the last of anything, the distinction has a mythic romance: the last emperor, the last of the Just, the last of the Mohicans. Keyuk’s precocity enhanced his mystique. A Chilean television station flew him to Tierra del Fuego as part of a series, “Sons of the Earth,” that focussed on the country’s original inhabitants. He was interviewed, at sixteen, by the Financial Times. A filmmaker who knew him put us in touch, and we met at a café in Santiago.

It was a mild autumn morning during Easter week. The city was quiet after a series of student demonstrations protesting tuition costs. Keyuk, who was studying linguistics on a scholarship at the University of Chile, supported their cause. (“The word ‘Selk’nam’ can mean ‘We are equal,’ ” he noted, “though it can also mean ‘we are separate.’ ”) Keyuk is tall, loose-limbed, and baby-faced, with a thatch of black hair. His style is nonchalant—stovepipe jeans and a leather jacket. Since his teens, Keyuk has composed songs in Selk’nam, and he performs with an “ethno-electronic” band. But he carried himself with solemnity, as if conscious of the flame he tended—or, at least, said that he tended. How, I asked, could I be sure that he really spoke Selk’nam, if no one else did? He smiled slightly and said, “I guess I have the last word.”

Keyuk’s voice is a boyish tenor, but when he speaks Selk’nam it changes; the language is harsher and more percussive than Spanish. To master the grammar and the vocabulary, he had studied, among other texts, a lexicon published in 1915 by José María Beauvoir, a Salesian missionary. The sound of the language was preserved in recordings that the eminent anthropologist Anne Chapman made forty years ago. Chapman, a protégée of Claude Lévi-Strauss, was an early activist for endangered languages in Meso- and South America. Cristina Calderón, Keyuk’s tutor, was one of her subjects, and, having heard of Keyuk’s projects, Chapman sought him out in Santiago, about ten years ago. She was then in her mid-eighties; she died in 2010.

I joined Keyuk and his mother the next evening for dinner at a restaurant in the old fish market, where the local sea bass is a specialty. Ivonne is petite, blond, and animated, but, like Keyuk, she has a regal poise, and it is hard to imagine her as a bullied outcast. We shouted cheerfully above the din, though Keyuk seemed detached—as prodigies grow out of their teens, they sometimes mistrust the curiosity they have inspired. But when he spoke of the Selk’nam it was with intensity. “Our mythology is rich,” he said. “Everything in our world—plants and animals, the sun and stars—has a voice. On our map of the universe, we called the East ‘the space without time’ ”—the realm of the unknown. “We had a Paleolithic skill set yet a boundless imagination. They both existed with a high degree of social conformity. Long after we dispersed, we preserved our beliefs.” He added, “One precious thing, to me, about the language is its vocabulary of words for love. They change according to the age, sex, and kinship of the speakers and the nature of the emotion. There are things you can’t say in Spanish.” 

There are approximately seven billion inhabitants of earth. They conduct their lives in one or several of about seven thousand languages—multilingualism is a global norm. Linguists acknowledge that the data are inexact, but by the end of this century perhaps as many as fifty per cent of the world’s languages will, at best, exist only in archives and on recordings. According to the calculations of the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat)—a joint effort of linguists at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and at the University of Eastern Michigan—nearly thirty language families have disappeared since 1960. If the historical rate of loss is averaged, a language dies about every four months.

The mother tongue of more than three billion people is one of twenty, which are, in order of their current predominance: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Javanese, German, Wu Chinese, Korean, French, Telugu, Marathi, Turkish, Tamil, Vietnamese, and Urdu. English is the lingua franca of the digital age, and those who use it as a second language may outnumber its native speakers by hundreds of millions. On every continent, people are forsaking their ancestral tongues for the dominant language of their region’s majority. Assimilation confers inarguable benefits, especially as Internet use proliferates and rural youth gravitate to cities. But the loss of languages passed down for millennia, along with their unique arts and cosmologies, may have consequences that won’t be understood until it is too late to reverse them.

“Fire department, I guess—point is I made too much pasta.”
Little is known about the origins of human speech. It seems unlikely, though, that there was ever a pre-Babel world. The geographic isolation of small groups breeds heterogeneity, both of dialects and of language isolates, as it probably did among Paleolithic hunters. Nowhere is there a richer or more concentrated cluster of languages, some eight hundred, than in Papua New Guinea, with its daunting topography of highlands and rain forests. In New Guinea, as in other hot spots of endangerment, indigenous languages are a user’s guide to ecosystems that are increasingly fragile and—in the face of climate change—increasingly irreplaceable.

Richard Schultes, a professor of biology at Harvard, who died in 2001, is considered the father of modern ethnobotany. He was among the first to study the use of plants, including hallucinogens, by indigenous peoples in the rain forest and to publicize the alarming rate at which both were disappearing. (More than ninety tribes, he noted, vanished in Brazil between 1900 and 1975.) In the nineteen-forties, doing field work in the Amazon, Schultes identified the source of curare, a derivative of which, d-tubocurarine, is used to treat muscle disorders like those associated with Parkinson’s disease. His students Michael Balick, now the director of economic botany at the New York Botanical Garden, and Paul Alan Cox, the executive director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, continued his explorations. They have written with authority on the “ethnobotanical approach to drug discovery,” which is, in essence, field work guided by shamans and healers.

In Samoa, Cox discovered that Polynesian herbal doctors had an extensive nomenclature for endemic diseases and a separate one for those introduced by Europeans. Their sophistication is not unique. The taxonomies of endangered languages often distinguish hundreds more types of flora and fauna than are known to Western science. The Haunóo, a tribe of swidden farmers on Mindoro, an island in the Philippines, have forty expressions for types of soil. In Southeast Asia, forest-dwelling healers have identified the medicinal properties of some sixty-five hundred species. In the nineteen-fifties, drug researchers for Eli Lilly and Company, working on several continents, studied folk remedies for diabetes based on the rosy periwinkle, and isolated an active ingredient—vinblastine—that is used in chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease. (The healers who led the researchers to their discoveries never saw any of the profits. Such “bio-prospecting” by pharmaceutical companies is a controversial practice that was largely unregulated until 1993.) Quinine, aspirin, codeine, ipecac, and pseudoephedrine are among the common remedies that, according to Cox and Balick, we owe to ethnobotanists guided and informed by indigenous peoples.

Daniel Kaufman, a linguist who directs the Endangered Language Alliance, a nonprofit institute on West Eighteenth Street, would be thrilled to hear that a cure for cancer had been discovered in a rain-forest flower for which we have no name, other than one in a dying language, but saving the flower is not his concern. I was introduced to Kaufman last June at a screening of “Language Matters,” a documentary directed by David Grubin and hosted by the poet Bob Holman. Kaufman, who teaches at Columbia University, consulted on the film. He is a slight, studious-looking man in his late thirties, whose expertise is in the Austronesian languages of Madagascar and the Pacific. But the alliance, which he founded six years ago, grew out of his commitment to support the more than eight hundred endangered languages of the New York area, which has a higher concentration of them, Kaufman estimates, than any city in the world.

The alliance has recorded Shughni, from Tajikistan, which is spoken by a few families in Bay Ridge; Kabardian, from the northern Caucasus, which survives in a Circassian community in Wayne, New Jersey; and Amuzgo, from southwestern Mexico, still alive in Sunset Park, Corona, and Port Richmond—enclaves of immigrants from Oaxaca and Guerrero. Mandaic, an ancient Semitic language of Iraq and Iran, has only a few elderly speakers left, in Flushing and Nassau County. Garífuna, however, is firmly based in a mostly working-class community of some two hundred thousand people concentrated in eastern Brooklyn and the South Bronx. The Garífuna are descendants of West Africans who were shipwrecked in 1635 off the coast of St. Vincent, where they intermarried with the indigenous Arawaks and Caribs. The language that evolved combines Arawak grammar with African, English, and Spanish loan words. In the eighteenth century, the British deported the Garífuna to Central America; during the past fifty years, many have settled in New York.

“Let’s be honest,” Kaufman said. “The loss of these languages doesn’t matter much to the bulk of humanity, but the standard for assessing the worth or benefit of a language shouldn’t rest with outsiders, who are typically white and Western. It’s an issue of the speakers’ perceived self-worth.” He suggested that I meet some of those speakers not far from home—members of the Mohawk nation. “The older people are the only ones who can tell you what their youth stands to lose,” he said. “The young are the only ones who can articulate the loss of an identity rooted in a mother tongue that has become foreign to them.” He told me about a two-week immersion program that takes place each summer at the Kanatsiohareke community center, in Fonda, New York, a village on the Mohawk River between Utica and Albany.

Until the eighteenth century, Fonda (which was named for the Dutch ancestors of Henry, Jane, and Peter), the neighboring town of Palatine (named for the Palatine Germans who took refuge there), and much of the land to the north and east, into Canada, was Mohawk territory. The Mohawk were feared for their ferocity, but it was chastened by a matriarchal system of consensus governance. One of the students in the intermediate class at Kanatsiohareke was a local I.B.M. employee who told me that he was learning Mohawk because the tribe had saved the lives of his German ancestors.

During the American Revolution, the Mohawk supported the British, and after the defeat they were forced to cede their territory. Their chiefs led them to Canada, and most of their settlements are still on the border of New York and Ontario. In recent decades, two factions have divided Mohawk loyalties: a party of modernizers that has aggressively championed casino development, and an Old Guard that fears the corruption that casinos invite. The founder of the Kanatsiohareke center, Sakokweniónkwas, whose English name is Tom Porter, belongs to the latter.

Porter is a commanding figure in his early seventies, who speaks in a quietly hypnotic voice. He was born on a reservation, the son of an ironworker—one of the legendary Mohawk who built Manhattan’s skyscrapers. Porter and his son both followed him into the trade. “It’s a myth that Mohawk don’t suffer from vertigo,” he told me. “I was afraid of heights all my life.” His grandmother encouraged him to marry a maiden of old-fashioned virtue, and while he was on a trip to Mississippi, a matchmaker introduced him to Alice Joe, a Choctaw. They settled on Mohawk land west of Albany, where he worked as an ambulance driver, a carpenter, and a teacher. Their six children were raised speaking both Choctaw and Mohawk. When Porter was twenty-one, the clan mothers chose him as one of the nation’s nine chiefs. He retired after twenty-five years, though he is still much in demand for his eloquent funeral orations.

Porter bought the Fonda property at auction, twenty years ago, with help from the local community. Kanatsiohareke was conceived as a bulwark of “longhouse” values: reverence for nature, parents, ancestral spirits, and the language. “Mohawk isn’t just a form of speech,” he said. “It’s a holistic relationship to the cosmos.” The Porters host concerts and lectures in addition to the language camp, and some of their land is farmed organically. But Kanatsiohareke is a homespun operation: the compound includes an old red barn, a ramshackle farmhouse, and a rustic B. and B. with a craft shop that sells T-shirts and baskets.

“About your cat, Mr. Schrödinger—I have good news and bad news.”
The Mohawk are one of five hundred and sixty-six tribes recognized by the United States whose presence on the continent predates “contact”—the advent of Europeans. Only about a hundred and seventy indigenous languages are still spoken, the majority by a dwindling number of elders like Marie Wilcox, of the Wukchumni, who is eighty-one, and who spent her youth doing farmwork south of Fresno. About fifteen years ago, she started recording her tribe’s creation myths and compiling a dictionary of its unwritten language. Navajo, which helped to decide the outcome of the Second World War (the Japanese were never able to decrypt messages relayed among native speakers—the celebrated “code talkers”), is an exception. It is used in daily life by two-thirds of the nation’s two hundred and fifty thousand citizens, who refer to it as “Diné bizaad,” “the people’s language.” Fluency, however, is declining. The election of a new tribe president was suspended, in October, by a dispute over the requirement that he or she speak fluent Navajo. A leading candidate, Chris Deschene—a state representative from Arizona and the grandson of a code talker—was disqualified for that reason. “I’m the product of cultural destruction,” he told the Navajo Times, when he was asked why he couldn’t speak Diné. (He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and, after retiring as a major in the Marine Corps, he earned two graduate degrees, in engineering and law.) A new election will take place in April.

About twenty-five thousand North Americans identify themselves as Mohawk, but only about fifteen per cent speak the language well enough to conduct their daily lives in it. Transcribing Mohawk is an arduous task. In the eighteen-seventies, Alexander Graham Bell, a recent immigrant to Canada, fell in love with its sound and created an orthography. (The Mohawk made him an honorary chief.) The grammar is at least as challenging as that of Latin. Noun roots are modified by a welter of adjectival prefixes; the addition of the letter “h,” for example, can alter a meaning dramatically. If you err in trying to describe a man as “tall,” you may have said that he has “long balls.” Verbs are muscular and poetic. “To bury” someone is “to wrap his body with the blanket of our Mother Earth.” A man who fathers a child “lends him his life.” In the ethos of Mohawk culture, as in its language, “I” cannot stand on its own—the first-person singular is always part of a relationship. So you don’t say, “I am sick.” “The sickness,” in Mohawk, “has come to me.”

In the advanced seminar at Kanatsiohareke, Mina Beauvais, whose Mohawk name is Tewateronhiakhwa, was teaching students the optative, an arcane mood, akin to the subjunctive, that exists in Kurdish, Albanian, Navajo, Sanskrit, and ancient Greek. The students also had to contend with compound words, some longer than those of German, which aren’t pronounced as they are written. You need a bard’s memory and a singer’s breath to speak Mohawk as Beauvais does: she makes it sound incantatory. I took and failed a test that she gave her class: to repeat tahotenonhwarori’taksen’skwe’tsherakahrhatenia’tonháîtie. (It is a single word that means “the fool comes tumbling down the hill.”)

Beauvais, who grew up near Montreal, is a native speaker in her late seventies. She is small and sturdy, with a wry patience bred of hardship. When she was seven, the state compelled her parents to send her to a school “for Indians,” at which students were beaten for speaking their native tongue. Tom Porter’s grandmother hid him, at the same age, so that the authorities couldn’t put him in a boarding school. The forcible assimilation of First Nation children in punitively austere, mostly church-run institutions was made compulsory by Canadian law in the eighteen-eighties and continued until the nineteen-seventies. “That system almost destroyed us,” Porter said. “When you deprive a kid of his language at the sponge time of life, the most precious learning years, a bond is broken.”

Attendance at the camp was lower than in the past; there were just four students in the advanced seminar, though all were parents who hoped to pass the language on to their young children. Gabrielle Doreen, a stately woman of thirty-seven, who wears her graying hair in a long braid, is the mother of four. While honing her grammar, she was teaching kindergarten at the Mohawk “nest” on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, in Ontario. The nest—totahne—is an immersion program for preschoolers. Doreen had enrolled in the camp with her fiancé, Lou Williams, an Oneida. He was moving from his native Wisconsin to Ontario, he told me, “because in Mohawk tradition men join their women’s clan.”

Iehnhotonkwas—Bonnie Jane Maracle—started as a student at the camp when it began, in 1998, and became its coördinator in 2005. “We originally had much better attendance,” she said. “But eight Mohawk communities now have their own immersion classes, so people can study closer to home.” Other First Nations—the Ojibwe, in Minnesota; the Blackfoot, in Montana; the Iñupiat, of northern Alaska—also have nests, and the trend has been gaining momentum since the passage, in 2006, of the Esther Martínez Native American Language Preservation Act, which provided funding for language survival and restoration programs from pre-K through college. (Martínez, who lived in New Mexico, was a linguist, a storyteller, and a champion of her native Tewa. She died at ninety-four, the year that her namesake legislation was enacted.) There are now some thirty institutions of higher learning on or near reservations that offer instruction in indigenous languages.

K. David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College, is the director of research at the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, based in Salem, Oregon, and heads National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project. He is prominent in the field and writes prolifically about endangerment. Part of his mission, he told me, is to help communities “technologize their language.” It heartens him, he said, to see “Mohawk kids texting in Mohawk.” (The tribe also has its own television and radio stations.) The Yurok, of Northern California, are one of many tribes with a Web site. And smartphone users can download apps to study Nishnaabe (of Ontario), Salteaux (of Saskatchewan), Potawatomi (of the Great Lakes), Arikara (of North Dakota), or Mi’kmaq (of Canada’s Atlantic provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula). Harrison’s institute also hosts a YouTube channel. “Living tongues have to evolve to deserve the term,” he said. “I am working on a dictionary of Siletz”—a critically endangered language native to Oregon—“and the community is having an interesting dialogue about contemporary words like ‘computer.’ Should they import it from the English or coin a phrase that means ‘brain in a box’?”

An app, however, can’t replace the live transmission of a language to children at what Porter calls “the sponge time.” The Maori of New Zealand were the first to develop the language-nest concept. (A nest is a sanctuary from predation as much as an incubator.) The nest movement in the United States, which began in Hawaii, where it is called Pūnana Leo, was inspired by the Maori movement, Kōhanga Reo. They both date to the early nineteen-eighties, although they have roots in years of community organizing to reverse colonial policies. The Hawaiian language was banned in public schools from 1896 until 1986—two years after activists, skirting the law, opened the first private nest. Today, some twenty-four hundred students attend one of nineteen Hawaiian language-immersion sites around the state. Researchers have suggested that students taught in Hawaiian perform as well, if not better, than their peers who, like most Americans, are educated monolingually. At the best immersion-program site, ninety per cent of the class goes on to college. And graduate students at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, can now earn a doctorate in their native tongue.

Political activism has been a catalyst in nearly every narrative of a language rescued from the brink. The most famous example is that of Welsh. Resistance to English rule has an eight-hundred-year history in Wales that is intimately connected with the struggle to preserve its Celtic language, Cymraeg. In the documentary “Language Matters,” Bob Holman and David Grubin pick up the saga in the mid-nineteen-sixties, when the British government flooded the ancient village of Capel Celyn, one of the few remaining Welsh-language communities, to create a reservoir that supplied water to Liverpool. This act fuelled an independence movement and demands to give Cymraeg parity with English in the public sphere. The BBC launched a Welsh radio station in 1977. Since 1999, instruction in Welsh has been compulsory for students in state schools up to the age of sixteen. According to the most recent census, in 2011, nineteen per cent of the population speak the language. That means, of course, that eighty-one per cent do not.

“What you find ‘boring’ spies from all over the world would find extremely interesting.”
The struggle to preserve a language often creates an atmosphere of siege. I felt that sense of embattlement at Kanatsiohareke and, again, last September, when I sat in on a radio show sponsored by Dan Kaufman and broadcast from the Endangered Language Alliance offices, on Eighteenth Street. The show, “Voces sin Fronteras” (“Voices Without Borders”), was improvised—conversation punctuated by music. There were three hosts of indigenous descent—Leobardo Ambrocio Ajtzalam, José Juarez, and Segundo Angamarca—who alternated between Spanish and their respective native languages: K’iche’, of Guatemala; Totonac, of Mexico; and Kichwa, of Colombia and Ecuador. Their listeners were a small online audience of fewer than two hundred people and a larger one of uncertain size in Guatemala. Radio, Kaufman noted, is an important tool for language activists. It reaches remote populations that might not have access to other media and boosts their morale.

The music was upbeat, but the faded maps on the office wall, the tangle of wires from a jury-rigged console, and the esprit de corps around a scuffed conference table might have been those of a guerrilla redoubt. A fourth endangered language crackled over the airwaves—that of left-wing revolution. “Fellow-combatants!” the men exhorted. “A mother tongue is a human birthright. We must fight for our own!”

If peripheral languages are to survive, they will have to find a way to coexist with what Bob Holman calls the “bully” languages. David Harrison told me, “The ideal of stable bilingualism is a given. Nobody wants these communities to remain isolated.” (China and Russia, however, consider ethnic languages a threat to their hegemony and have taken measures of varying severity to suppress them.) Even when there is persecution, the challenge, as Harrison sees it, is to “increase the prestige of a language so that the young embrace it.” In that respect, the fate of endangered languages may ultimately rest, as Mohawk does, with couples like Gabrielle Doreen and Lou Williams. They are determined to set an example for their children—both of fluency and self-worth. Then it will be up to the kids. Mina Beauvais spoke Mohawk with her only son, but, she said, “he married a Canadian English lady and didn’t pass it on.” Tom Porter told me, “We will do what we can, and if the young don’t cherish our way of life the Mother will take it back.”

On rare occasions, an extinct language has been resurrected. Jessie Little Doe Baird, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, in Massachusetts, received a MacArthur grant, in 2010, for her efforts to revive her people’s extinct language, Wôpanâak. The tribe had been decimated by disease in the seventeenth century, and the last speakers died a hundred years ago. But written records of the language were relatively plentiful. A Wôpanâak Bible was published in 1663, the first translation of Scripture in Colonial America. John Eliot, a Puritan missionary who called himself “the Apostle to the Indians,” created an orthography with the tribe’s assistance, and taught its members to read. The Wampanoag welcomed literacy and left an archive of deeds and documents.

When Baird was pregnant with her fifth child, Mae Alice, she had a vision in which her ancestors called on her to fulfill an old prophecy that their language would come back to life. She was a social worker with no experience in linguistics, but she drafted a plan to revive Wôpanâak and was accepted into the Community Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A distinguished faculty of linguists, including Noam Chomsky, supported her project. Mae Alice is now the first native speaker of Wôpanâak in some seven generations.

Kaufman also cited the case of Daryl Baldwin—Kinwalaniihsia—a member of the Miami tribe of Oklahoma. The Miami (or Myaamia) originally lived in the Great Lakes area, where Baldwin was born. They spoke an Algonquian language that died out some fifty years ago, but there were texts and recordings of it, and some elders—“rememberers,” as linguists call them—taught him a few words. Baldwin earned a linguistics degree, specializing in Native American languages, from the University of Montana. He and his wife homeschooled their children in the Miami language, and in 2013 he founded the Myaamia Center, at Miami University in Ohio, to provide the community with cultural resources. Miami is now a growing language.

Kaufman was surprised when I told him about Keyuk—he hadn’t heard about his work with Selk’nam. I, in turn, was surprised to hear from Keyuk that he had given up his formal studies of linguistics. “I can reach more people through music than I could have as an academic,” he told me in an e-mail. When I pressed him for details, he was typically reticent, but he did mention that he had been working on a new Selk’nam lexicon and that, last May, he and a friend had met with a community in Tierra del Fuego. “We recorded some fragments that the elders remembered,” he said.

Keyuk’s friend turned out to be a twenty-four-year-old linguist, Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, who has corresponded at length on scholarly subjects with David Harrison. Rojas-Berscia himself is a prodigy. I reached him by telephone in his native Lima, where he was visiting his family. His childhood household was trilingual: his father is Peruvian, his mother is Italian, and his grandmother spoke Piedmontese. English was his fourth language—he learned it as a toddler—and the next seventeen tongues in which he is fluent, including Mandarin and Quechua, were, he says, “relatively easy to master.” (He has a working knowledge of fifteen others.)

After graduating from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Rojas-Berscia moved to Holland, where he does research on language and cognition at the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics. His doctoral thesis is on the Shawi, hunter-gatherers of the upper Amazon. The Shawi, he told me, number “about twenty thousand, but I give their language better odds than Quechua, which has ten million speakers.” That sounded counterintuitive but, he said, “Every language has its ecology. If it isn’t useful, the community will be forced to abandon it. Indigenous people in Latin America face all kinds of discrimination, and necessity dictates that, sooner or later, they adopt Spanish. Once that happens, the attrition is fast. Where a group is isolated from external pressures, they aren’t forced to accept the dominant language. So you can’t just go by the demographics.”

Selk’nam was the subject of Rojas-Berscia’s master’s research. A colleague thought that a young Chilean might be of help. It was Keyuk. “When I heard about him, I had my doubts,” Rojas-Berscia said. “I studied with some of the best linguists in the world, but how could a middle-school autodidact have mastered a language that died fifty years ago? I know that old Beauvoir lexicon he used—you can’t learn much grammar from it. So I devised a test. I held up pictures and asked him to describe them. The man is a mystery, but his Selk’nam is good.”

Rojas-Berscia had a travel stipend from the honors academy at Radboud University, in the Netherlands, which paid for the trip to Tierra del Fuego. The Selk’nam survivors whom he and Keyuk interviewed had forgotten their language, though not their identity. One of the elders was a tiny woman named Herminia Vera. She hadn’t spoken Selk’nam in eighty years, she told them, and, initially, she seemed suspicious of their interest. (Like Ivonne Gomez Castro, she had been mocked, as a girl, for her mestizo looks—though in her case it was because she looked “too European.”) As she warmed to Rojas-Berscia, he gave her his picture test, and the language of her childhood began to thaw. She and Keyuk engaged in a halting conversation about food, farming, and family heritage. “I don’t know who among us was the most surprised,” Rojas-Berscia said. Perhaps it was the glaciers (xųṣ), the rivers (ṣįkįn), the beaches (kųxhįjįk), and the sky (sįųn) hearing their own voice. Herminia Vera died two months later. ♦

Via Charles Tiayon
Alex Lewis's insight:

Asking if a dying language can be saved is like asking if an endangered species can be brought back to normal numbers. If you try hard enough, you can revive the dying language. Also, dying languages are becoming more common due to the normality of social conformity. If we reduce the level of conformity, languages would no longer be in danger, and culural history would be more well preserved.


Gracie Marcoux's curator insight, March 24, 2015 2:38 AM

The article basically goes over how losing languages is tragic, then goes over several back stories on how ancestors are ashamed of their heritage and hence they refuse to pass on their traditions; then, several bookworm geniuses discover their ancestry and are like, "Yay, let's learn a new language today." So that's what they do. 

This applies to the language sector in Unit 2 because it's literally about language. How could it not pertain to language? The loss of language is dangerous. And yes, we're learning this. But it may be too late already...

Olaf Husby's curator insight, March 24, 2015 4:16 PM

Man forventer en halvering av antallet språk i løpet av dette århundret.

Liz Curtis's curator insight, March 25, 2015 6:35 AM

random but interesting!

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Human Geography!

Take A Mouth-Watering Tour Of School Lunches From Around The World

Take A Mouth-Watering Tour Of School Lunches From Around The World | Human Geography |
Eating at the school cafeteria could've been amazing if you grew up almost anywhere but the U.S.


Tags: agriculture, food distribution. 

Via Seth Dixon, Rebecca Cofield
Alex Lewis's insight:

Food availability can greatly influence the diet of the people living in a specific place. In these photos, you can observe the drastic difference between the average U.S. school meal and other meals like France, Greece, and Brazil. Other countries meals not only look more appetizing but also look more nutritious. The U.S. includes a cookie, whereas the other meals have healthier alternatives, such as oranges, kiwis, apples and strawberries. 



Emily Bian's curator insight, March 25, 2015 5:53 PM

This is a really cool article! I always enjoy looking at food from around the world, so I automatically scooped this when I saw it. This is a article with a slideshow of school lunches around the world. At the very end of the photo slide, there is a photo of an American school lunch which is pretty embarrassing compared to Brazil and Finland. This photo series was taken by SweetGreens, and the school lunches were put together to represent an average school lunch, not necessarily what they have every day. 

They talk about how each country eats what is grown around them, while US is processed food like chicken nuggets and chocolate chip cookie.

I really want to move to Brazil and eat their school lunch, haha! It looks so good. For dessert in Finland, they have a berry crepe on their plate! That's awesome! If you have some free time, then be sure to check this out! 

5) Interdependence among regions of food production and consumption

Raychel Johnson's curator insight, May 25, 2015 6:46 PM

Summary: This article showed a series of pictures, which showed traditional school lunches of different countries. Greece's lunch included a Mediterranean diet, while Brazil's had rice and beans with greens, and the United States had its classic chicken nuggets, chocolate chip cookie, and mashed potatoes. The goal of this article was definitely to show what foods were incorporated into different cultures and climates.


Insight: Food is one example of a cultural trait, and quite a prominent one. Tradition may prohibit or encourage eating a certain kind of food, while long term climate also makes a large difference on the crops traditional grown in a country. 

Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 10, 2016 9:16 AM

This is an excellent way to compare the impact that agriculture and culture in general have on our schools! 

Scooped by Alex Lewis!

These 3 industries are saving malls from death

These 3 industries are saving malls from death | Human Geography |
For years, Sears, JCPenney, and Macy's ruled the malls.  But as department stores' businesses slump, a new generation of retailers are taking over shopping centers.  "At a time when some big department stores are struggling and Internet shopping is...
Alex Lewis's insight:

Shopping malls are examples of retail services. Retail services are more likely to be found in developed countries because retail services are only for people who can afford them. Most people in developing countries are poor people, who farm for a living. Most of their crops go towards feeding their families and the extra money they earn is spent on basic necessities. 



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Rescooped by Alex Lewis from @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy!

Smart Grid Development and Lessons | The Energy Collective

Smart Grid Development and Lessons | The Energy Collective | Human Geography |
The USA’s electricity ecosystem is transforming as new Smart Grid technologies disrupt the status quo.

Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Alex Lewis's insight:

This article speaks on the troubles of entering the electricity business. As mentioned, there is no "one size fits all" strategy. You have to work for a long period of time to make it to the top, but the reward is great. The U.S is developing quickly in terms of electricity, with SmartGrids and regulatory policies, so making yourself a large company could be difficult. 

jada_chace's curator insight, January 12, 2015 9:59 AM

The United States development for electricity is constantly being improved. Having plenty of electronic devices in our lives allows the U.S. to be a MDC or more developed country. Being a more developed country allows us to exceed other countries and become a more efficient country. Although we are not the top country to live in we are within one of the best in the world. 

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Human Geography!

Waging War Against Global Food Waste

Waging War Against Global Food Waste | Human Geography |
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tristram Stuart wants the world to stop throwing away so much good food.

Via Seth Dixon, Rebecca Cofield
Alex Lewis's insight:

I think this is a great idea, and the more we reduce our food waste, the better. We can use this food to feed the starving, which would solve two problems at once. Also, the idea of feeding the excess food to the pigs is a good idea. Not as good as conserving the food to give to the needy though. 

Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 21, 2014 2:22 PM

No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies.  It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem.  Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust).  This is an intriguing perceptive on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates.   You can hear more about Tristram's work in this TED talk

Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, unit 5 agriculture.

Deborah Jones's curator insight, October 25, 2014 9:58 AM


Rebecca McClure's curator insight, November 15, 2014 11:13 PM

Year 9: Food Security

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Geography, Science and Education : Go to bed with fuller brain!!

All the Immigrants in the World, in One Addictive... - The New Republic

All the Immigrants in the World, in One Addictive... - The New Republic | Human Geography |
All the Immigrants in the World, in One Addictive...
The New Republic
The map, which allows you to select by country and by immigrants or emigrants, is a font of fun facts.

Via GeoMapGames
Alex Lewis's insight:

This map is a great way to show how many migrants are moving from one country to another country. It shows the number of emigrants by using the size of the bubble on that country to represent the size of the emigrants. It's fun and interactive, and its also easy to navigate and understand.

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Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Human Geography!

What You Need to Know About the Ebola Outbreak

What You Need to Know About the Ebola Outbreak | Human Geography |
Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.

Via Seth Dixon, Rebecca Cofield, Raven Blair
Alex Lewis's insight:

More than 2,600 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have become infected with the Ebola virus since March. The Ebola Virus is spreading rapidly between not only African and less developed countries, but also being transported to some more developed countries, such as the United States. There are so many different things we have to bring attention to, this included. The people in Africa are transferring the disease more rapidly, in my opinion, due to the lack of medical attention and the lack of space and resources.

                                     Alex Lewis

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:11 PM

It's almost ironic that the Western World has chosen to wait so long to get involved and now because of it's spread fear has begun that Ebola might travel to the United States. By not sending aid in a timely fashion the US has allowed the virus to grow to a point that now the US finds itself in danger. To make a historical comparison it's almost akin to the Munich Agreements, France and England chose not to stop a growing and dangerous Germany out of fear of conflict only to find war on their door steps because of it. Why did the western world wait so long? Euro-centric bias or racism? Short sightedness? Regardless of the reason the United States and Western Europe are at risk from a nearly untreatable disease primarily through negligence.


Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:23 PM

This article shows how the Ebola virus began to spread in many of the countries on Africa and how likely the virus will arrive in the United States. The virus has crossed many borders in Africa already and, according to the article, has infected five people in the United States, but has been quarantined and is currently being treated.  The Ebola virus outbreak has shown how ill equipped certain parts of the world are, in terms of, having the necessary tools for combating a deadly disease. For example, the article provides a map that shows the areas in Africa are more infected with Ebola than others, illustrating how certain parts of the country are becoming more susceptible to the outbreak than others. So geographically, the Ebola virus has gone from a regional outbreak into a potentially global epidemic, what with the cases in the United States.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 9, 2015 3:37 PM

Ebola started in western Africa and it spread overseas to the United States more specifically than any other country. It currently affects over 23,200 people in western Africa. To make sure that Ebola is not being spread throughout the whole United States, eastern United States quarantines any visitors or immigrants from West Africa. Eastern United States seems to have the highest rate of ebola because it is closer to Africa. In that case, it can spread westerly un the United States. Perhaps, it could spread to Canada, Mexico or any other country.

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Geography Education!

Non-Native American Nations Control over North America

Non-Native American Nations Control over North America | Human Geography |

Via Seth Dixon
Alex Lewis's insight:

This animated photo shows the progression of the different nations in control of North America. The development of the U.S. is also depicted on here, as they went from mostly European control to independence. While the U.S. controlled most of what is now America, you can recognize the Civil War period by the control of Confederate States. 



God Is.'s comment, April 5, 2015 11:50 PM
With all due respect. Are we trying to corroborate that because we have been a colonialist nation, now we need someone to help us pay the price? or am I totally assuming wrong here...
Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, April 8, 2015 1:33 PM

Wow. As a history major, I found this map timeline really interesting and really cool. It's a great example of how even though the physical geography of a place can remain the same, its political and economic geography can change so rapidly (or not so rapidly). It was especially interesting to see the brief stints that entities such as the Republic of the Rio Grande or the Confederate States of America did in the dividing up of North America over the last two and a half centuries. For someone who knows nothing about U.S. history, those blips on the radar beg the question, "what happened there?" How can a political entity encompass a geographic region and then disappear just as quickly?


And that ties into what I think this map is really about: colonialism. This map says a great deal about how European (or Western) empires carved up the New World and what some of their political or economic goals were in the times that the map shows. It's also important to note the title of the map: "Non-Native American Nations Control over North America". So as we see the map changing to show European or United States expansion, what we DON'T see is the gradual loss of land experienced by the various Native American tribes that inhabited the continent long before Europeans ever laid eyes on it. This map, therefore, highlights how political and economic geography can change so drastically when groups with a lot of economic, political, and military power are at odds with groups who are severely disadvantaged in these areas. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 17, 2015 9:00 AM

This map is an excellent resource in show the evolution of colonial claims to North America.. It is fascinating to watch all the political changes that have occurred on the continent in over the past 500 years. The biggest change is the evolutions of the United Sates from a small city state like nation to an empire on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This is also an extremely sad story to be told from this map. The loss and destruction of Native Americans is next to slavery is  the greatest sin of America. This map tells the complex story of our Continent.  

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Geography Education!

This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais'

This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais' | Human Geography |
For more than half a century, one small commercial radio station has been keeping French alive in the bayous of Louisiana.

Via Seth Dixon
Alex Lewis's insight:

This radio station is promoting the cultural history or Louisiana. Louisiana was originally French,  but was given to America in the 1700s. Most people in Louisiana could speak French fluently. Now, only roughly 175,000 native speakers are present. KVPI speaks in French and English, which keeps the French language alive in Louisiana.


Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, March 21, 2015 2:30 PM

Durante más de medio siglo, una pequeña estación de radio comercial ha mantenido el Francés vivo en los pantanos de Louisiana.

Eden Eaves's curator insight, March 22, 2015 7:24 PM

Unit 3

Since 1953, this small radio station located in Ville Platte has been working to make sure the French speaking population in Louisiana does not deplete anymore; going from about one million in 1960 to less than 200 thousand in 2010. The station is interactive receiving calls from people sharing stories of their childhood and old memories that relate to the word or phrase of the day.


I think this is a great way to preserve the culture and common language of a community in a fun, interesting way that will keep listeners "tuned in" for years to come.   

Caitlyn Christiansen's curator insight, March 23, 2015 11:47 PM

In Ville Platte, a small, most French speaking town in Louisiana, a radio station, called KVPI (Keeping Ville Platte Informed), is trying hard to keep the language alive. Since French was banned from the classrooms in the 1920s, the decline of the unique Louisiana dialect has increased. KVPI speaks in a combina of English and Louisiana French in hopes to fight the downward trend and pass on the language to many more generations.


This is article is related to cultural patterns and processes through folk culture and language, by addressing these issues and the attempts to solve them. The traditional language of the area, which is part of the folk culture, is being replaced by the common language of the country as a whole, English. The English language has been spread with pop culture across the world through globalization and the smaller languages and cultures are often lost in the switch. KVPI has made it their goal to defend against that, so the unique folk culture of Louisiana will continue.

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Human Geography!

The Speed Burden [Costs of Sprawl]

The Speed Burden [Costs of Sprawl] | Human Geography |
The need for speed devours huge chunks of American cities and leaves the edges of the expressways worthless. Busy streets, for almost all of human history, created the greatest real estate value because they delivered customers and clients to the businesses operating there. This in turn cultivated the highest tax revenues in town, both from higher property taxes and from elevated sales taxes. But you can't set up shop on the side of an expressway. How can cities afford to spend so much to create thoroughfares with no adjoining property value?

Via Seth Dixon, Rebecca Cofield
Alex Lewis's insight:

This article shows the difference between extremely urbanized areas and relatively urbanized areas. Florence and Atlanta are compared. Florence has narrow streets with sharp intersections, which causes cars to drive slowly. This is safer for pedestrians. In Atlanta, the roads are wider and curves are less sharp. The most this will do is help people in Atlanta get tp their jobs slightly faster. Miami and a seaside town are also compared. The interstate in Miami takes up most of the room and there is few real estate options. In the seaside town, options are not limited, around 80% available for use. The less urbanized places are more efficient. 



Alexa Earl's curator insight, March 14, 2015 10:48 AM

This blog really made me realize what an impact humans are to the environment. They compare different cities and talk about the impacts and it really showed me how humans have built up cities.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 21, 2015 6:12 PM

A side by side comparison at first blush is striking but the devil is in the details. Florence, Italy is a city of only 368,000 while the Atlanta metro area is about 4.5 million. Agree that sprawl is ineffective real estate and efficiency wise, but fuel prices may be having a counter effect on the reduction of sprawl. It is much less expensive to commute given the price of oil at its current levels and the millennials will have a say in this urban sprawl contracting or expanding. Many do not own cars, relying on commuter systems within the city to get around. This in theory should drive down demand for fossil fuels, culminating in reduced prices for gasoline. If the infrastructure is already built, was is the cost to maintain it, given the static population of the large metro areas? Interesting to see how this plays out.

Kristina Lemson's curator insight, April 16, 2016 10:38 PM
This post is interesting for us given the massive Mitchell Freeway and Wanneroo Rd  development just north of Banksia Grove. How do you think this perspective adds to the issues you could discuss in your project report? 
Scooped by Alex Lewis!

Monsanto (NYSE:MON)’s Future Outlook

Monsanto (NYSE:MON)’s Future Outlook | Human Geography |

The first quarter of Monsanto (NYSE:MON)of 2015 fiscal ended on 30 November. The company reported delightful results. They under promised supplies but over delivered in the end. Their soybean performance was much better than expected and so, the company was met with much higher than expected sales. The sales of soybean anchored growth because the corn segment of the company had suffered in the recent quarters. Significant headwinds are expected in the coming year and the currency markets are highly challenged.

In this environment, Monsanto (NYSE:MON) managed to pull off better estimates. Now, what must the investors expect from Monsanto (NYSE:MON) in the long term? How will this company stand in the face of growing challenges and obstacles? The company talked about 5 things that it wanted the investors to know in its conference call for the first quarter.The headwinds for short-term are unlikely to impact the growth of Monsanto (NYSE:MON).

As of now, the agricultural tools companies are not doing so well. The CEO and Chairman of Monsanto (NYSE:MON) pointed out the current state of affairs and also directed the investors towards the longer-term view. Monsanto (NYSE:MON) is investing for new platforms even as the headwinds of 2014 continue to bother the company. The company will grow but it cannot get ahead of its business because the more significant seasons have still not come.

The U.S. is the largest customer for agricultural tools. U.S. is coming off its record for soybeans and corn. This will impact the growth if stock keeps piling up and markets do not increase exports. Some currency adjustments are expected as the U.S. dollar is the dominant currency in the international market. The CFO of Monsanto (NYSE:MON) pointed out that in the last year, the corn harvest introduced unfavorable trends. The farmers believe that the cycle between soybeans and corn is advantageous.

The market prices are very important and so are the input costs. Planting corn after soybean reduces the nitrogen fertilizer input for the farmer. Generally, the company plants more corn than soybean because corn brings more sales. But recently, Monsanto (NYSE:MON) achieved higher sales for soybean. The gross profit fell. Monsanto (NYSE:MON) is growing beyond breeding technology. More diverse services and tools will be added to the pipeline.

Biotech still remains the core business. But the company has introduced a few more things in the pipeline.The climate platform is a software platform that will be developed quickly. This software will be critical in Monsanto (NYSE:MON)’s plans to grow.Monsanto (NYSE:MON) is still on the track to double their EPS this year. This change will continue the incredible growth that the investors have enjoyed so far. The company is expecting to double the EPS from last fiscal.

This shows the companies ambitions. Using a combination of new products, growth of business, buyback program of shares and innovations in the pipeline, the company will be able to achieve its ambitions.

Alex Lewis's insight:

Farming is a good example of a primary service. Farming, agriculture, and fishing are all good examples. The primary services are more common in developing countries, due to cheap labor and access to farmland. The products harvested in the primary services are packaged and sent to developed countries, mostly made up of secondary services and tertiary services.



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Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Human Geography!

Industrial Revolution--Urban Game

Industrial Revolution--Urban Game | Human Geography |

"Each student should have a large piece of butcher block paper (15x20).  They should use a pencil for this activity (color pencils are optional). Using the template provided, each student should make their own template.  It is crucial that size for each of the 'characters' in the city be the same. As you read each of the Rounds, your pace should increase so that by Round 15 the students will only have a short time to draw their buildings."

Via Seth Dixon, Rebecca Cofield
Alex Lewis's insight:

I think this game would be interesting. Many of the cities would be extremely different, depending on the person. Some people may make their housing and schools and  larger, maybe to indicate a larger population, whereas some people may make their coal mines large, to indicate a large supply of natural resources.

jada_chace's curator insight, January 12, 2015 9:49 AM

Playing the game allows students to make their own villages and plan how their industries will work. As they start to build their own town they have to consider where to place the stores and where to place the factories. Putting these structures into certain places can affect the student’s town.

Emily Bian's curator insight, May 22, 2015 9:44 AM

This was the game we played in class!!!

I really enjoyed this game and highly recommend it to future APHUG students because it was fun, informative, and FUN. It really helped me understand how England got really crowded all of the sudden due to the Industrial Revolution. It was a sudden urban sprawl with no  urban planning. My map/ city was a complete mess! 

I hope this game continues to be played as it is a fun introduction to the chaos of the Industrial Revolution. 

Campbell Ingraham's curator insight, May 25, 2015 2:57 PM

We played this game in our APHUG class. It really simulated how urban development exploded in the industrial revolution. It gives an explanation as to why urban planners at the time had poor design choices because they had little time to plan. They also didn't account for future population growth or new developments in technology. It really shows why today's older cities have poorer designs and more traffic. 


This article relates to the Industrial Revolution. It shows the population explosions which occurred as a result and the increased technology during the time. All of these factors of the industrial revolution in England contributed to the quick and poorly designed English cities which led to population overflow. These city planners could not have predicted what would happen or how to plan for more people. They also limited time, money, and resources, as the population just continued to grow and grow. 

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Human Geography!

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger | Human Geography |
Corn is not what you think. For starters: Most of the time, it's not human food.

Via Seth Dixon, Rebecca Cofield
Alex Lewis's insight:

The fact that we could use this land to grow surplus edible food instead of corn that isn't edible and goes to feed obese and unhealthy cows is sickening. There are millions of people dying in Africa and other LDC's from starvation, but we use our farmland to grow inedible corn and overfeed cows to the point of death. The corn is used to feed animals, and the animals are then slaughtered months, weeks or even days before they would've died of overfeeding. 

Rachael Johns's curator insight, October 24, 2014 10:17 AM

The corn we are growing is not helping world hunger but is making the world more unhealthy. Most the corn that we grow is either going to be used as sweeteners or as feed for cows. When we feed this to the cows it is literally killing the cows that WE eat.

Nolan Walters's curator insight, October 25, 2014 11:29 AM

Most of the corn is not even going to us. Most of it goes to the animals, who eat it (which is cheaper than grass), which fatten them up for slaughter for humans.  Corn also gets turned into Corn Syrup, which fattens us.  The Corn industry is mostly to fatten up animals for meat for us humans in MDCs. 

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 2016 3:42 PM

Land use practices that determine what is grown in a particular place are partly determined by the health needs of a local population, but they are more directly shaped by economic markets.  Over 75% of the corn produced in the United States is destined for animal feed or fuel; since global population projections are now supposed to be 11 billion by 2100, these are some important issues for us to consider before we are forced to reassess our societal choices.    


Tagspodcast, political ecology, agriculture, food production, land use.

Rescooped by Alex Lewis from Social Media and Healthcare!


Social-ized-Medicine | Human Geography |

As medical costs soar and as our health insurance systems falter, technology is offering some new tools for taking your health into your own hands. Many of these solutions have a strong social component. And for many, the social aspect seems to be working.

Sharing, it turns out, can help you stick to your diet, manage exercise, blood glucose levels, drive more safely and, of course, let you look in on the health of others. Businesses are also starting to look at sharing and connectedness as a way of helping their workers stay healthier, too. Here’s a few that are standing out within various areas:


GeoPalz ibitz: Kids and their families can share and compare fitness goals using ibitz, a small clip-on fitness activity monitor that comes in both adult and children’s styles. Wear them all day and they’ll record your physical activity. Bluetooth connects them to the cloud, where the data is recorded. Kids can earn cool prizes from places like Disney’s Club Penguin or other rewards, just for “moving.” And by sharing activity information, movement can become ingrained in the family lifestyle. The family that moves together, stays together.


This area abounds with services. Runtastic has a robust collection of apps, hardware devices and services that work on everything from building six-pack abs to a scale that records, tracks and shares your weight. Because all of your workout data can be recorded and shared, your motivation to succeed increases.

Another social exercise app, Activebudz by GOTRIbal, lets you find workout buddies or trainers in whichever city you happen to be traveling to. Then, there’s SparkPeople, a community-based fitness program harnesses the power of community to motivate and educate. The site has information on nutrition, workouts and training. SparkPeople has nearly 16 million users who they claim have collectively lost 23 million pounds.


Independa solves many problems that the aging population faces by allowing them to monitor everything from pill reminders to medical recorders. The hardware is available on tablets, and now, it’s even being built into LG televisions. Understanding that seniors need to feel connected and engaged with family, friends, and current events, the Independasystems include video chat, photo-sharing, Gmail, Facebook, and broadcast messaging.

Other systems like Great Call’s 5Star Urgent Response Transponder take a different tack. It’s a pendant that can be worn by an elderly person, and should they have a fall or need assistance, all they need to do is press a button. A service then uses SMS to contact family, friends, or even doctors.


Corporations are also tapping into the power of social media to improve health outcomes. Virgin Pulse counts on employee engagement to promote a healthier workplace. They use reward systems, tools and social strategies to motivate workers to stay healthier, offering bonuses and rewards.

United Healthcare offers similar social systems, including one used to espouse adherence to diabetes control (a rising epidemic). The Diabetes Health Plan offers financial rewards for following medically proven preventive steps such as having regular blood sugar checks, routine health exams and preventive screenings. The end goal? Comply with the plan, and you’ll eliminate out-of-pocket expenses.

The social component of digital healthcare should not be underestimated. Like social networking, crowdfunding, and other social behavior, it’s been increasingly clear that communications is key.


Via Plus91
Alex Lewis's insight:

I think the GeoPalz is a great idea. By providing children with rewards for exercise, they'll be more likely to exercise more often. This in turn will decrease child obesity. Child obesity is a serious problem in today's economy. A large percent of American children are considered obese, along with other countries.

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