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Suggested by Thomas Boroughs

In Philippines, world scrambles to deliver 'the basics' as one mother despairs

In Philippines, world scrambles to deliver 'the basics' as one mother despairs | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article showcases the specific efforts of the United States and Great Britain in their attempts to assist the Philippines as it copes with the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan that impacted over 25 Philippine provinces, leading to the evacuation of more than 500,000 people (and 3,000 people killed).  The U.S. and British contributions are a part of a broader international effort to aid the Philippines.  In the context of the afore-mentioned countries, the U.S. has deployed numerous vessels to help aid the victims ("We need to get life-sustaining aid immediately out to the stricken population" - General Paul Kennedy) and the U.K. is sending out troops to aid the stranded survivors, giving them the basics they need to survive for the time being (British ship HMS Daring arrived in Cebu on Sunday to provide medical assistance).


The rescue for the victims is a race against time due to the criticism of the Philippine government for a slow response to the typhoon. The main focus is getting the main resources back online such as water on tap (Yesterday, we were able to support UNCIEF in bringing the water system back on stream In fact the major city Tacloban is now getting running water again). The U.S. and Britain remain doing whatever they can to help find the survivors.


The story mentions that typhoons are not uncommon to the country.  This isn’t the only natural disaster” to which the country is prone.  As the text reveals, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are also commonplace as the island country lies on the boundaries of the Philippine, Pacific, Eurasian, and North American tectonic plates. Certainly, an appreciation of the “geography of risk” (i.e., an endeavor that includes vulnerability assessment, resilience analysis, risk management and adaptation strategies within linked human-environment systems, and environmentally induced internal displacement and transboundary migration) would be warranted.


Speaking of the “geography of risk,” what kind of “protective” (i.e., warning) systems does the Philippines have in place for the different types of natural disasters it faces?  Given the level of devastation of the most recent typhoon, are discussion occurring for ways of improving such systems?


What are the combined human and economic costs of natural disasters within the Philippines?  How are these costs measured?


matthew white's comment, December 3, 2013 8:35 PM
why are typhoons so much more dangerous then any other natural disaster? what is it about the formation or the danger level of typhoons that can cause such damage in a little area.
Thomas Boroughs's comment, December 4, 2013 1:19 AM
Typhoons can be unpredictable and come with such force that it is nearly impossible to protect yourself from them when your above sea level. To the second question; The bigger the typhoon the greater the damage will be.
Darci McDonald's comment, December 4, 2013 4:54 PM
To go along with what you guys said, yes typhoons are one of the most unpredictable storms. They come in such a hurry that they barely give the surrounding areas time to prepare or evacuate the area.
Suggested by Thomas Boroughs

U.S. to Hold More Talks on North Korea with East Asian States

U.S. to Hold More Talks on North Korea with East Asian States | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article reveals the recent ambitions of the U.S. to seek a consensus among countries that are a part of the “Six Party Talks:” an international cooperative effort charged with resolving North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.  The concern over North Korea rose to a new level beginning in 2003, when the country conducted multiple missile tests in the Sea of Japan.  Since then it has been established that North Korea does, in fact, possess nuclear capabilities.  It was recently established that North Korea continues to grow its nuclear weapons program – restarting a formerly dismantled plutonium-production reactor, expanding its atomic testing grounds and building new facilities at one of its long-range missile launch sites.  This has prompted the most recent endeavor to collectively discuss how to deal with the antagonistic relationship.


The “Six Party Talks” have been occurring since 2003 (when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (thereby explaining North Korea’s attempt at establishing nuclear capabalities) and, as mentioned, represent a method through which to find a peaceful resolution to the region’s security concerns.  This latest round of discussions merely represent an ongoing dialogue among the countries involved in the talks.


According to the article, it would appear as though the talks have been unsuccessful (to date) in solving the dilemma.  Is engaging in this practice of multilateral talks the best means through which to solve the problem or would bilateral talks lead to a better outcome?  If you support the idea of multilateralism, should more countries be included?  Alternatively, if you support the idea of bilateral talks, which country should engage North Korea (provide justifications for your opinion).



No comment yet.
Suggested by Winter Wilson

World Bank Lowers East Asia Growth Forecasts

World Bank Lowers East Asia Growth Forecasts | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the recent economic forecasts (determined by the World Bank) of expected economic growth in “eastern Asia.” (Note that the term “eastern Asia” is used in the article to describe countries in both the East and Southeast Asian realms (according to our textbook).  The newly updated figures show lowered growth expectations to the amount of 0.5% (the growth rate was predicted to be 7.8% and 7.9% in 2013 and 2014, respectively.  These have been updated to 7.1% and 7.2% in those same years).  Leading to the lessened numbers were “lower commodity prices and weaker-than-expected exports” in the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and China.  Despite the lowered expectations, growth in the region is still expected to outpace and even drive expansion in many other parts of the world, as this part of the world contributes 40 percent of the worlds GDP.


Although the articles regionally delineates this part of Asia differently than does our text, it reveals the outstanding rates of growth experienced in some parts of the East and Southeast Asian realms.  It is predicted that the global economy will grow, on average, at a rate of 3.6% in 2013.  Meanwhile the story is highlighting growth in this region as being twice as much.  Given these rapid rates of (sustained) growth, perhaps the term “economic tiger” (i.e., one of the burgeoning beehive countries of the western Pacific Rim.  Following Japan’s route since 1945, these countries have experienced economic growth since 1980.  Three leading economic tigers are South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore) should be used to describe these countries. 


Can anyone provide data on the historic growth patterns of countries of the East and Southeast Asian realms?


Are countries in these realms currently the fastest-growing economies in the world?


The article states that East Asia makes up a total of 40 percent of the world's G.D.P. growth. What is this in comparison with other countries/realms?

Bryce Bobo's comment, November 25, 2013 5:30 PM
Yes. One could easily argue that these countries have one of the fastest growing economy. Many professional's even believe so, the numbers show, and the mass production of exports are there.
Kate Roberson's comment, November 28, 2013 4:56 PM
I agree with Bryce when he says that one can easily argue these economies to be the fastest growing in the world. Through mass production the economy is open to vast change and a steady increase in money supplies which contributes to the countries growing economy.
Suggested by Landon Stanley

India PM Singh opens bank for women

India PM Singh opens bank for women | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights a breakthrough for Indian women as the country’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has just officially opened the country’s first bank that will specifically “favor” women (by employing women, by lending mostly to women, and by addressing gender-related issues, and promoting gender empowerment and financial inclusion).  The Bharatiya Mahila Bank, located in the Western city of Mumbai has ambitious plans, hoping to establish over 500 branches all across the country.

As mentioned, the endeavor marks a major financial breakthrough for Indian women.  Currently, only 26% of them maintain accounts with a formal financial institution, compared with 46% of men.  Traditionally, women are expected to give their earnings to their husbands (this practice is rather ironic, given that Indian women are proven to be more reliable savers than men).  It would therefore make more sense for the women to have their very own bank account.


Although the text uses India as a prime example of a strictly rigid hierarchical society, it does so in the context of the caste system (i.e., the strict social stratification and segregation of people – specifically in the context of India’s Hindu society – on the basis of ancestry and occupation).  This article highlights yet another example of social stratification – this time in the context of gender, with men holding positions of power (both in and out of the home).  However, as India develops economically, such social forms of development may become more commonplace.


Can you foresee a backlash on the part of men as women open up their own bank accounts?  Why or why not?


What other forms of gender independence would you argue is necessary in order for Indian women to be viewed on par with Indian men?


What types of obstacles do you foresee in hindering the banks aspirations to open over 500 branches in only two years?

Landon Stanley's comment, December 1, 2013 8:36 PM
I can agree with you to an extent. However, I don't think the men will have much say as time goes on. More banks are going to open, so I believe the men will just learn to live with it.
Thomas Boroughs's comment, December 4, 2013 1:25 AM
There will be backlash on the part of men as women open up their own bank accounts. The men have come to rely on the women's earnings to help with certain payments, and with the women opening up these accounts it gives them independence from their spouses.
Darci McDonald's comment, December 4, 2013 5:03 PM
I believe that the men and women should both be treated equally with the same bank privileges. Yet, I am aware of the fact that this is not the case in many areas of the world today. with India being one of these, I believe this new bank with be beneficial for women.
Suggested by Kayce Gilman

Africa South East Asia Chamber of Commerce launched - Channel NewsAsia

Africa South East Asia Chamber of Commerce launched - Channel NewsAsia | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article speaks of the official launching of the “Africa South East Asia Chamber of Commerce (ASEACC),” a supranational initiative among thirteen privately-owned African and Southeast Asian companies.  The newly-formed organization’s charge is to develop high-level business relationships between the companies.  Examples of its success to date focus on the Singapore water treatment firm Hyflux, which has invested some S$90 million in Algeria over the past five years.  Bilateral trade between Singapore and all of Africa has also risen to the amount of $11.8 billion (as of 2012).


The organization represents, in small part, the potential shifting of established trade relationships within Africa countries, which have traditionally looked to Europe for investment.  This relationship continues to overshadow the recently-established ties between Southeast Asis and Africa, as the EU-Africa trade relationships currently stands at over $300 billion (as of 2012) http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Africa-EU_-_economic_indicators,_trade_and_investment


While this story may act to provide further proof of the globalization (i.e., the process of international integration from the interchange of products, ideas, and other aspects of culture and the economy) of trade, it reveals the high degree of spatial concentration that continues to exist with respect to trade (as evidenced by the still low levels of interaction between Africa and Asia).


What HAS been the history of economic (or cultural) interaction between Africa & Southeast Asia?


ASEACC represents a private initiative.  What intergovernmental initiatives have recently occurred to more greatly intertwine the governments of Africa and Southeast Asia?


What elements of complementarity exist between Africa and Southeast Asia?


No comment yet.
Suggested by Edward Sena

China Looking to Improve Human Rights

China  Looking to Improve Human Rights | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights recent reforms to two of China’s longstanding policies associated with child birth and labor camps.  For over 30 years, the Chinese government has maintained its “One Child Policy:” an edict that has, as the title suggests, limited Chinese couples to only one child.  Although the policy has been credited with slowing China’s rapid population growth, it has also created the problem of producing an imbalance between the number of “productive workers” in the country versus an “unproductive, (i.e., elderly) populace.”  In short, it is feared that there will not be enough workers in the country to support the requirements of an aged population, effectively creating what our text identifies as a “demographic burden.”  Consequently, the Chinese government is discussing more lenient policies pertaining to reproduction in order to counteract the unintended consequences of its One Child Policy.


China also has a long-standing history of using “re-education” (i.e., labor) camps to confine individuals convicted of various crimes.  However, it is claimed that Chinese law enforcement has abused the system, detaining political dissidents who have openly criticized the Chinese government.  A re-examination of these labor camps seems to be becoming a priority for Chinese officials.


China has long been criticized for its human rights violations.  This story highlights only two.  What other policies exist that act to “control” its population.


It took over 30 years for Chinese officials to recognize the demographic imbalance caused by its One Child Policy.  How long will it take to rectify the imbalance given the policy reforms that the Chinese government is suggesting? 


Should labor camps continue to exist so long as individuals are legitimately convicted of crimes?  Why or why not?

Edward Sena's comment, December 2, 2013 11:19 AM
I see your point, but remember the criminal population have some rights/ liberties that should not be pushed aside even if they are undeserving or knowingly throw it away. This is what separates us from beasts, the fact that we can abide by morality and hold to what is right. You are correct in saying that there should be another way than the current system. What are some better ways to enforce punishment without overstepping into the wrong side of things?
Thomas Boroughs's comment, December 4, 2013 1:31 AM
When families break the law and have more than one baby, the family is fined a significant amount of money. In the case where a family does not have any money they will take away your house for punishment. Majority of the families that do break the law that have a second child usually can afford the fines. Another way is when the government enforces abortion to control the population growth
Darci McDonald's comment, December 4, 2013 4:37 PM
I partially agree with Thomas, as long as families are able to pay the fines they will continue to break the law. Yet, I disagree with the fact that abortion should be enforced to control the population. They should try less brutal punishments first, like raising the price of the fines before they take it to such extremes as to enforce abortions.
Suggested by Kate Roberson

US, South East Asia may help seafood exporters to reel in $4 billion export target

US, South East Asia may help seafood exporters to reel in $4 billion export target | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the rapidly improving conditions of the Indian shrimp industry.  The upswing has resulted from several factors including disease-infested shrimp farms among India’s competitors (e.g., China, Vietnam, & Thailand), improving cultivation among Indian shrimp farms (thereby increasing supply), the falling value of the rupee (making Indian shrimp prices cheaper for purchasers, thereby increasing demand), and the diminished threat of countervailing duties on exported shrimp on the part of the U.S.: India’s biggest market (which acts to limit costs, thereby increasing demand by the U.S.).


The article clearly identifies a couple of conditions that are identified by our text in order for trade to occur between two countries: complementarity and intervening opportunities.  The condition of complementarity (i.e., a condition whereby an area produces a surplus of a commodity required by another area) exists between India and the U.S. as it is the dominant purchaser of Indian shrimp (accounting for one-third of all Indian shrimp sales).  This high level of trade has come about because of the recent absence of intervening opportunities (i.e., the presence of a nearer opportunity that greatly diminishes the attractiveness of sites farther away) borne about by problems experienced by closer (to the U.S.) suppliers in Southeast Asia.


The text highlights one additional condition that needs to be satisfied in order for trade to occur: transferability.  Can you elaborate on how this factor comes into play in this specific context?


How can Indian shrimp exporters compete with other Southeast Asian suppliers, once problems associated with their shrimp industries have been solved?


What proportion of global shrimp production comes from cultivating farms vs. “natural” catches?



No comment yet.
Suggested by Edward Sena

Pirates are Cruising off the Coast of Africa

Pirates are Cruising off the Coast of Africa | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the monetary impact of piracy off the Horn of Africa.  Piracy, via the hijacking and eventual ransoming of large transport ships (over 170 ships between 2005 and 2012), has resulted in the extortion of over $400 million dollars into the coffers of the pirates and their associates.


Not all of this money ends up in the hands of the pirates.  In fact, an extensive hierarchical network exists, whereby the pirates represent the lowest levels of the network, who typically earn between $10,000 - $35,000 per hijacking.  Other low level “payoff” persons represent cooks, pimps, and local militias that control ports of entry for the hijacked ships.  The largest benefactors, the “kingpins” (largely being comprised of foreign financiers), often keep between 30 – 50% of all proceeds.

Aside from the negative safety and financial outcomes of piracy, additional detrimental outcomes are identified.  This includes the establishment of a narcotics trade network between Kenya and Somalia (focused on the sale of “khat”) and falling tourism levels along the African Horn.


Our text mentions the dangers of piracy around the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia.  While physical geographic factors contribute to the problem, the fact that Somalia exists as a “failed state” (i.e., a country whose institutions have collapsed and in which anarchy prevails) also contributes to the problem.  Specifically, it produces a situation where the state cannot control its own (maritime) borders and where foreign and domestic terrorist organizations (al-Qaeda) can thrive, thereby emboldening criminal activities.


What geographical conditions make piracy a lucrative business around the Horn of Africa?


Where else around the world does piracy occur?


What has been done by various governments to reduce the number of pirate attacks in this region?

Edward Sena's comment, November 11, 2013 1:53 PM
Well that depends on the country. Japan for example, has enacted "Anti-Piracy Measures Law", which criminalizes the act of piracy and enables Japan’s naval vessels to protect any ship from pirates regardless of her flag.The law came into effect on 24 July 2009 and was extended for a period of time longer which was until 23 July 2013. Also, they are providing funds and ships for maritime patrol escorts and judicially processing offenders swiftly. The United Nations Security council have proposed their counter-piracy resolution to be extended another year. In short, it covers a wide variety of policies that have been implemented, and some additional one as well. I prod you to take a look at the public information available on this site http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/sc10824.doc.htm
Landon Stanley's comment, November 19, 2013 11:14 PM
I personally think that piracy will always occur in Somalia as long as they are classified as a "failed state." With every necessity being scarce in Somalia, these fishermen have to maintain their way of living through jurassic measures. Is there a reason other militaries don't get involved with the war inside of Somalia?
Edward Sena's comment, December 2, 2013 11:36 AM
I think that some countries have inserted there military into the mix, such as Japan using there naval vessels to escort and protect assets. I am sure that there are many regulations and policies in effect that make it difficult to do too much before it causes problems with the "government" of Somalia. Also,for a country to begin or do, most things that involve international dealing; it usually involves the input of whichever political entity is necessary i.e. the United Nations, ASEAN or NATO to make sure that what is being done is lawful/ worth the effort(financial).
Suggested by Kayce Gilman

Immigration: Death between Africa and Europe | North Africa

Immigration: Death between Africa and Europe | North Africa | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article, citing the recent sinking of a ship containing 500 migrants en route from Africa to Europe, highlights the problems of controlling both legal and illegal immigration into Europe via Africa.  Although the EU has no jurisdiction in Africa, it is pressuring North African governments (from the Maghreb, Libya, and Egypt) to stop the flow of migrants from their shores.  But political turmoil in many of those countries (e.g., Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt), including most-recently Syria, have made controlling such migrations difficult.


Although the story specifically highlights the term “immigration,” it has relevance to other geographically-relevant concepts such as “migration,” “emigration,” “international migration,” “forced migration,” and "refugees."  According to the literature most migrations (a change in residence intended to be permanent) are voluntary in nature.  However, according to the story, most African migrants immediately apply for asylum once in Europe.  This fact contradicts the general trend.


Historically, what have been the levels of African-based immigration into Europe?  How do these numbers compare to other parts of the world (i.e., what proportion of European-based immigration comes from Africa versus other parts of the world)?  What proportion of this immigration has been voluntarily based vs. forced? 

No comment yet.
Suggested by Kate Roberson

Italian Prime Minister Calls Populism a Threat to Stability in Europe

Italian Prime Minister Calls Populism a Threat to Stability in Europe | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it


This story highlights recent actions and words of Italy’s Prime Minister, Enrico Letta.  He states that “populism” (a political doctrine where one sides with "the people" against "the elites") is threatening the political and economic security of all of Europe.  Letta cites recent examples of American and European political inaction (e.g., shutting down of the U.S. government, continuing inability to raise the U.S.’s debt ceiling, continued problems associated with Eurozone austerity measures, etc.) as a contributing factor in alienating voters, who are seemingly increasingly turning to populist movements that promote “anti-establishment” rhetoric.  In terms of this story, such rhetoric is arguably “anti-European.”


While Italian (and European) government stalemates are not indicative of what our text would identify of a “failed state,” it does highlight the negative consequences of centrifugal forces (a term employed to designate forces that tend to divide a country – such as internal religious, linguistic, ethnic, or ideological differences) and their ability to significantly weaken the functioning of a country’s government.


What are the positive and negative consequences of populism?


What populist parties have recently emerged in Italy and what policies are they promoting?


What other populist parties are emerging as forces on the European political landscape? 

Greg Atkinson's comment, October 20, 2013 6:22 AM
I find it interesting that the Italian P.M. regards populist movements as a "threat" to European stability. Why does he perceive them as such? Why did these populist movements emerge in the first place?
Scooped by Greg Atkinson

The High Cost of China's One-Child Policy (revised)

China is a population giant, containing over 1.3 billion people.  Previous Chinese leaders, most notably Mao Zedong, promoted population growth in the country, arguing that fast-growing poopulations constituted the only asset many poor, Communist countries had against the capitalist West.  However, more recent Chinese leaders have argued that rapid population growth has acted to stymie the country's progress.  Consequently, in 1980, the Chinese Communist Party implemented its (in)famous One-Child Policy, which acted to limit Chinese couples to only one child.


This short clip acts to highlight the intended and unintended positive and negative consequences of the policy.


After reviewing the clip, identify the demographic, social, economic, and environmental consequences of the policy.  Was the policy effective in achieving its goals?  Should the government play a role in the bedrooms of the country's populace?

No comment yet.
Suggested by Christopher Garrett Cochran

New C. African Republic leader faces challenges.

New C. African Republic leader faces challenges. | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article discusses the rise of  Michel Djotodia, from rebel leader to de facto leader of the Central African Republic (CAR). In  December 2012, Djotodia had instigated a rebellion in CAR to depose of the country’s incumbent president, Francois Bozize.  This rebellion ended one month later when Djotodia was asked by Bozize to serve as his defense minister.  This power sharing "arrangement," common throughout Subsaharan Africa, are generally meant to bring quick peace to a civil war. Unfortunately, such deals amounts to a mere cease-fire between opposing groups and rarely create lasting peace or stability.  Such was the case in this instance, when Djotodia, just two months later, overthrew the government.


Djotodia's forces, known as the Seleka, is a diverse coalition of rebels.  It is highly factionalized, and as a result there are other leaders within it who may challenge him if unappeased.  Fortunately for Djotodia, his greatest strength is not his skill as a military leader, but his skills in diplomacy and negotiation.  So far he has been successful in getting various factions and tribal groups to cooperate with him. Nevertheless, maintaining power can be more difficult than taking it.  If Djotodia wishes to stay in power he will have to satiate the desires of his Seleka allies and appease his neighbors or risk himself being deposed.   This means balancing favors and payoffs between various (former) rebel groups and maintaining order between the more than 80 difference ethnic groups which reside in CAR.


Is the situation in the CAR representative of "political transitions" throughout Subsaharan Africa? (i.e., how many Subsaharan African leaders are elected or take control via military means)?  What challenges exist to a country's internal political stability?  If "power sharing" has been proven not to work, why was this practice followed in the CAR?





Greg Atkinson's comment, April 9, 2013 11:24 AM
What countries within Subsaharan Africa HAVE experienced "effective" government? Can they be used as a model to governance throughout the realm?
Suggested by Shelby Moss

What if Africa were to become the hub for global science?

What if Africa were to become the hub for global science? | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article focuses on the possibility of Africa emerging as a global leader in scientific innovation & research by focusing on the continent's tertiary education systems.  Many institutions, like the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and the African Union, have begun to take the first steps in achieving this goal by focusing on developing initiatives centered on math, physics, and astronomy.  One of these initiatives, initiated by AIMS is the "Next Einstein" initiative, which calls for the development of centers of excellence for the mathematical sciences.  As the term suggests, it is hoped that such centers will “literally create an environment in which an African Einstein could develop.”  Last year, the African Union set up a science and technology advisory panel to assist in developing a more Africa-centered environment for research and development.  By creating this environment, the African Union is hoping to solve many problems currently facing the continent, ranging from those associated with agriculture, water quality, health, education, and the environment.


If Africa were to become the next global scientific leader, would the continent emerge as a power in other areas?  Is there actually any possibility of Africa becoming the next global hub for sciences, or instead will other countries continue to excel above what Africa has the capability of achieving? Would tactics like the Next Einstein Initiative be beneficial to use in other countries such as the United States to promote growth in certain areas of studies? 



Greg Atkinson's comment, March 28, 2013 6:17 PM
The article identifies "Africa" as emerging as a global leader in scientific innovation. I would argue that the scale of analysis is inappropriate, given that approximately 4 dozen countries occupy the continent. There are bound to be "winners" and "losers" in this race to scientific innovation. At the very least, what parts (countries or parts of countries) might emerge as scientific "cores?"
Suggested by Kate Roberson

Philippines gets more than its share of disasters

Philippines gets more than its share of disasters | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article provides an exposé on cyclones, given the recent storm (Haiyan/Yolanda) that just hit the Philippines (Nov., 2013).  Using cyclone Haiyan as an example, it discusses the nature of the storms, their characteristics, and their impacts.


Typhoons (and hurricanes) are names given to phenomenon known as cyclones (i.e., a system of winds rotating inwards to an area of low barometric pressure, with an anticlockwise (northern hemisphere) or clockwise (southern hemisphere) circulation).   Despite what may seem to be shocking devastation caused by Haiyan, typhoons (the term given to cyclones by those in the eastern hemisphere) are “commonly” experienced by those living on the island (experiencing, on average, between 8 and 9 per year).  Haiyan stands out given its “Super Typhoon” status (to qualify as a “super” typhoon, reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 240 kilometers per hour (150 mph, or 130 knots).  Haiyan , brought winds of up to 315 kilometers per hour (195 miles per hour), and gusts of 380 kph (235 mph), making it the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall anywhere in the world in recorded history).


Cyclones are commonly confined to areas within and just beyond “the tropics” (i.e., 23.5 degrees north/south of the Equator).  While over warm waters, they build in intensity and release their force once over land.  The Philippines’ location, between 8 – 15 degrees north of the Equator, puts the island-country at risk for such storms.


The risks of such storms are several, as they bring with them high winds (which may result in storm surges along the coastline), and massive amounts of rainfall (which may result in flash flooding and higher river levels).  The Philippines’ particular topography (i.e., the surface configuration of any segment of regional landscape), with its many mountainous regions, also places the islands at risk for landslides (caused by the incessant rains brought by typhoons).  Given the already low levels of development of the Philippines, such storms reek havoc on the country (not just in terms of economic costs, but in human costs).


Why has this storm been given two different names? (i.e., Haiyan vs. Yolanda)?


Why are cyclones in the eastern hemisphere called “typhoons” while those in the eastern hemisphere are called “hurricanes?”  (Are storms experienced in the southern hemisphere called something different from those in the northern hemisphere)?


What other types of natural disasters is the Philippines at risk?


Edward Sena's comment, December 2, 2013 11:43 AM
They are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disastrous weather in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
matthew white's comment, December 3, 2013 10:02 PM
The Philliphines is at risk for these types of disasters because they are situated in the middle of the ocian and have water bordering it on all sides. Typhoons can cause the most damgae and with the Philliphines being so small, the rate of danger increase and the worse the damageis.
Darci McDonald's comment, December 4, 2013 4:46 PM
I agree, with Eddie on the fact that they are all the same natural disasters yet, they just go by different names in different parts of the world. A hurricane in the Western hemisphere could potentially mean the same as a typhoon in the Eastern hemisphere.
Suggested by Winter Wilson

The Life of an Undocumented South Asian Immigrant

The Life of an Undocumented South Asian Immigrant | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This story contrasts the “retirement prospects” of older, educated immigrants from South Asia who came to the U.S. legally (primarily during the latter part of the 20th century) versus that of “illegal” immigrants with little education.  Through an informal interview process, the author (using his own experiences as being representative of the first type of immigrant (i.e., legal, educated, wealthier) contrasts his experiences with that of Nirmal (from Nepal) who, after marrying at 20 and having a baby, independently moved to the U.S. on a tourist visa (which turned into a 14-year, illegal stay) in order to financially support his family back home.  Whereas the author’s family became well-established in the U.S. and can look forward to a comfortable retirement, maintaining homes in both India (to escape the winter cold) and the U.S.  Namil’s fortunes look very different.


The author of our textbooks talks of a new era for South Asia marked by rising growth rates for the realm’s national economies, rewards from globalization and modernization, and increasing integration into the global economy. All of these are things that are supposed to make life in East Asia better, yet men are still having to come to America to find jobs. What happened to this so called new era?


What are the levels of migration from South Asia to the United States?  What proportion of that immigration is “legal/illegal” (or “documented/undocumented”)?


How much in terms of remittances (i.e., money earned by emigrants that is sent back to family and friends in their home country, mostly in cash, forming an important part of the economy in poorer countries) do migrants from South Asia, living in the U.S., contribute to their homelands?


No comment yet.
Suggested by Kayce Gilman

Yameen wins Maldives presidential run-off

Yameen wins Maldives presidential run-off | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the controversial “run-off election” between former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheedand the new president Abdulla Yameen. Citizens hope that the close-run contest will now end the many years of political turmoil that the Maldives has previously experienced.  The results may be somewhat surprising, given that Yameen is the half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years (1978 – 2008) and was deemed a “dictator” by human rights groups. Although Nasheed was defeated he said he would not challenge the election results which were monitored by international observers. Nasheed told reports on the main capital island of “Mal”, “I graciously accept defeat.”


Although our text does not mention much about the Maldives, other than it acting as a popular tourist destination (mostly for Europeans), this article makes mention of the country’s political history, identifying it as being ruled by a “dictatorship.”  The term appears to be warranted, despite Maumoon Abdul Gayoom being elected several times.  However, at each election (1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2003) he won over 90% of the electorate’s votes and, in all elections, he was the sole candidate.  While the article mentions the concept of a dictatorship, it can be criticized for not actually defining the term.  To geographers, a “dictatorship” is a form of government that has the power to govern without the consent of those being governed (similar to “authoritarianism”).  Another important term, “totalitarianism,” describes a state that regulates nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of its people. In other words, “dictatorship” concerns the source of the governing power and “totalitarianism” concerns the scope of the governing power.


Despite claims of the most recent election being a “fair” one, isn’t it more than coincidental that a relative of the former dictator won the election?  What qualifies as a “fair” election?


On what platform did Abdulla Yameen run?  What was he promising the Maldives’ populace?


Bryce Bobo's comment, November 25, 2013 5:39 PM
I think it is more than a coincidence that a relative one the election. Though they are no longer a dictatorship, the dictator habits really do die hard. In a still corrupt government it is very hard to tell. I don't think one can exactly define the term "fair" nothing is ever truly fair, especially in politics.
Suggested by Winter Wilson

Southeast Asian Leaders Agree to Form Free-Trade Zone by 2015

Southeast Asian Leaders Agree to Form Free-Trade Zone by 2015 | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the recent attempts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a supranational entity comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, to achieve even greater levels of political and economic integration by agreeing in principal to create a free trade zone by 2015, intensify the fight against terrorism, enforce counterterrorism measures, protect migrant workers, and lessen the negative impacts of HIV/AIDS.  Despite these successes, the countries were concerned about the problematic nature of one of its members: Myanmar, for its poor human rights record.


As the text identifies, ASEAN is not a new organization, having been formed in the late 1960’s.  Although originally concerned solely with issues pertaining to security (while continues to be one of its mandates), the supranational organization’s scope has continued to expand, as evidenced by this story, to issues pertaining to medicine, labor, and the broader economy.  Certainly, this initiative would seem to be an attempt at dispelling the imposed labels of Southeast Asia acting as a buffer zone (i.e., a set of countries separating ideological or political adversaries) and shatter belt (i.e., a region caught between stronger, colliding external cultural-political forces, under persistent stress, and often fragmented by aggressive rivals) given the ambitious goal of establishing an internationally-recognized, powerful free-trade zone.


Has ASEAN reached its long term goal of political stability and increased regional integration? Has it become developed? Explain why and how or why not?


How will the proposed free-trade zone proposed by ASEAN countries compare with other established free-trade zones?


Why does Myanmar’s poor record of human rights a problem for ASEAN?

Edward Sena's comment, December 4, 2013 2:14 PM
I believe it is a problem since all the countries in ASEAN are represented as one political entity each are all subject to the positive triumphs as well as the negative downfalls of their associates. This brings criticism either good or bad to all members ,and they might be looked at as turning a blind eye or just allowing wrong(unjust) decisions to go unchallenged/allowed.
Suggested by Edward Sena

Laos Under Scrutiny for Dam Projects

This article highlights the breakdown in the functioning of the Mekong River Commission (MRC): a supranational entity, consisting of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam -- which manages development along the key waterway, by focusing on Laos’unilateral move to proceed with the construction of a 260-megawatt dam in the Siphandone area of southern Laos, despite the voiced opposition of the other countries in the group.  This move marks the second time Laos has moved forward with dam construction projects on the river, when it initiated construction earlier last year of another, larger dam (1,260 megawatt) on the Mekong.


The dam, which would produce enough power as a modern nuclear plant, has been met not only with opposition by members of the MRC (for violating its requirement of sufficient notification and collective consultation), but also by groups living along the river who claim that the dam would block the only fish migration channel on the river during the dry season, thereby detrimentally impacting the livelihood of fishers in the area.  If this is not enough, Laos has plans to construct an additional 70 dams in the country.  Thus, the impacts are only being begun to be felt.


Several elements of the article are of direct relevance to our course.  Specifically, it refers to physical resources (i.e., rivers) like the Mekong River, and how human-developed systems are being put to use to produce more useable resources (i.e., electricity) in order to fuel further economic development in an area.  It also acts to highlight the importance of systems analysis as alterations in the flow of the river clearly have impacts for fisheries and the associated human populations that rely on them.  This high degree of interrelatedness can also be seen from a geo-political perspective, as through the operations of the MRC, as Laos moves ahead on the damming projects, thereby influencing the river throughout its entire watershed, which spans multiple countries.


If Laos continues to ignore international protocols and construct dams on its own accord, what actions should be considered by the M.R.C?


Should the Laotian government provide villagers residing along the river some type of compensation or alternative means of income? If so what is appropriate?


The article refers Laos being a resource-starved country hinting towards the urgency to build dams. Who or what could be some other reasons motivating their energy expansion?

Bryce Bobo's comment, November 25, 2013 5:36 PM
Yes! I personally do believe that the Laotian government should provide villagers with some sort of compensation. Whether this compensation is full payment on their usual fishing income, or possible jobs on the dam.
Edward Sena's comment, December 2, 2013 11:06 AM
I agree, to the extent that the Laotian government should provide monthly compensation to make up for lost wages, but also not to the point of dependency on them for average living costs.
Rescooped by Greg Atkinson from Geography Education

200 years of immigration to the U.S., visualized

200 years of immigration to the U.S., visualized | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

"Where have immigrants to the U.S. come from? Natalia Bronshtein, a professor and consultant who runs the blog Insightful Interaction, created this fascinating visualization of the number of immigrants to the U.S. since 1829 by country of origin.  The graph hints at tragic events in world history. The first influx of Irish occurred during the potato famine in 1845, while the massive influx of Russians in the first decade of the 20th Century was driven by anti-Semitic violence of the Russian pogroms (riots). Meanwhile in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, army conscription and the forced assimilation of minority groups drove people to the U.S. in the early 1900s.  Since WWII, Central and South America and Asia have replaced Europe as the largest source of immigrants to the U.S. Immigration shrunk to almost nothing as restrictions tightened during WWII, and then gradually expanded to reach its largest extent ever in the first decade of the 21st Century."


Tags: migration, historical, USA, visualization.

Via Seth Dixon
David Holoka's curator insight, September 8, 2015 9:36 AM

The statistics in this article shocked me. I already new America took in a large number of immigrants, but I thought most came illegally from Mexico. Instead, the immigrants we hold are very diverse in ethnicity.  

Mrs. Madeck's curator insight, October 1, 2015 5:56 PM


Fred Issa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 4:24 PM

We tend to forget that the first real Americans were the Native American Indians. Immigration is a hotly discussed topic right now, but I wonder where we would be as a nation, if the original Native Americans told the settlers at Roanoke Island, the Chesapeake, and Plymouth Rock, that no, we are not allowing any foreigners to settle on our shores and land. Food for thought. Fred Issa,

Scooped by Greg Atkinson

Where not to be a mother

Where not to be a mother | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

Via Ashlee Estes:


This article highlights the findings from the report “Complete Mother’s Index” that identify the dangers associated with childbirth in Subsaharan Africa.  Several statistics are provided that reveal the problem (high rates of “first-day” deaths (i.e., babies not surviving past their first day of life), high levels of premature births, low birth weights, etc.).  Several circumstances conspire to produce such a dangerous situation, including the often young age of mothers (whose bodies have not sufficiently developed to produce healthy offspring) and poor levels of availability of doctors (e.g., 11 doctors, nurses, & midwives/100,000 people).


One might think it odd that a realm experiencing the most rapid rates of growth in the world (2.6% per annum) would suffer from such a problem.  (Think of how rapidly Subsaharan Africa’s population would grow if this problem was solved).  However, it should not surprise given the high inverse association between rates of population growth and levels of development.  Such data simply reinforce the theory.


What external and internal conditions need to be put in place to make childbirth a much safer process in Subsaharan Africa?


Given that these children’s and mother’s deaths actually act to limit population growth in the realm, should assistance be provided?  Why do you think the way you do?


What are the broader implications of high infant and maternal mortality rates?

Bryce Bobo's comment, November 25, 2013 5:26 PM
When it comes too making Subsaharan Africa a much more safer for childbirth, one must look at the obvious answers. Prenatal care, possibly free, is one factor that could change for the better. However, this is just one example.
Suggested by Bryce Bobo

Ousted General in Egypt Is Back, as Islamists’ Foe

Ousted General in Egypt Is Back, as Islamists’ Foe | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This story highlights the implications of the return of military General Mohamed Farid el-Tohamy.  The General, an important figure under the Mubarek regime, was removed from office by the new President, Muhammed Morsi.  But once Morsi was removed from power by General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi (the protégé and friend of el-Tohamy), el-Tohamy was reinstated into a position of power within the country’s intelligence service.


One of el-Tohamy’s charges is to crackdown on demonstrations held by Morsi’s political party: The Muslim Brotherhood.  This represents a return of the policy initiated by Mubarek, leading to claims that “nothing has changed in Egypt since the Arab Spring movement manifested itself in 2011.


While this story focuses on Egypt, it is representative of the outcome of the “Arab Spring” that swept across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, beginning in 2010.  The movement, initiating in Tunisia (via its “Jasmine Revolution”), spreading to countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.  The movement has been so pronounced that it is argued that the movement represents one of the best examples of the “domino effect” in recent history.


What is the domino effect and what other examples of it exist across the world?


Do you think that the Arab Spring movement will spread to other countries within or beyond the “Arab World?” (and why do you think the way you do).


What have been the positive and negative outcomes of the Arab Spring?

Tags: NASWA, Political Geography, Domino Effect


Kate Roberson's comment, November 11, 2013 12:59 PM
The domino effect is the belief that an action of one country will chain similar events to occur in those nearby. Some examples of this throughout the world would be that of the oil spill a few years ago. The rig exploded, it sank and then the oil spilled which effects the animals in the ocean and the businesses such as fishing and etc.
Bryce Bobo's comment, November 25, 2013 5:22 PM
Very fine example, Kate! One of very many!
Suggested by Winter Wilson

World Bank Reports Progress in Sub-Saharan Africa - New York Times

World Bank Reports Progress in Sub-Saharan Africa - New York Times | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the recent turnaround among many Subsaharan African economies after decades-long decline and stagnation.  The story cites a recent World Bank report that claims that the realm’s economy had grown by 5.4% (a growth rate higher than many “developed” countries) between 2005 and 2006.  Multiple internal and external factors were attributed to this turnaround, including more stable and more representative (i.e., democratic) governments, sound economic policies, and fewer armed conflicts.  External factors include a strong global economy and greater incorporation of Subsaharan African countries into that global economy (e.g., via trade and greater foreign investment).


Regardless of the factors facilitating the recent improvement, such change represents a stark contrast to longstanding, earlier conditions that have led many (including the authors of our textbook) to claim that the entire realm of Subsaharan Africa is an “economic basketcase, where dysfunctional government goes hand in hand with economic underperformance.”


The article states that many of the realm’s countries have experienced rapid economic growth.  However, “many” does not mean “all.”  What Subsaharan African countries have yet to experience an economic upswing and why has this not happened?


Although the article provides a lengthy list of factors that have contributed to the realm’s growth, it provides little regionally (or country) – specific proof.  Can you provide evidence on an individual country basis that improvement is indeed occurring?


What development theories promote greater incorporation into the global economy as being beneficial to “underdeveloped” realms, like that of Subsaharan Africa

No comment yet.
Scooped by Greg Atkinson

101 East - Thailand: The price of health

Greg Atkinson's insight:

Our text highlights Thailand's natural environments and architecture in promoting tourism to the country. Tourism is, in fact, Thailand's single-leading source of foreign revenue. Although the text highlights the country's more nefarious "sex tourism" industry, Thailand is also known for another form of tourism: medical tourism.

This short documentary from Al Jazeera discusses the pros and cons of medical tourism, highlighting the stark difference between its public and private health care systems.

What are the pros and cons of medical tourism in Thailand? How do you foresee both the public and private system further developing in the country? Would you, as a government official, promote specific policies to improve the system(s)?

No comment yet.
Suggested by Christopher Garrett Cochran

India’s growing global humanitarian role: Is it enough to match their geopolitical ambitions ?

India’s growing global humanitarian role: Is it enough to match their geopolitical ambitions ? | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it

This article highlights the International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC) criticism of India's poor participation in providing humanitarian assistance at the international level, despite its increasing international influence.


Although the country is still a major recipient of aid itself - receiving $2.8 billion in 2010, India, (alongside other "BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, & China) did provide foreign assistance (to the amount of $639 million in 2010.


India's government is seemingly focused on increasing its international humanitarian impact as it has just recently established the Development Partnership Administration (DPA), which is expected to disperse over $15 billion over the next 5 years.


Despite this, the ICRC is still critical of India and argues that the country should be establishing itself as a regional power.  It cites India's potential for helping to resolve problems in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.


Despite the criticisms of the ICRC, does India truly have the power to wield influence in the region (or further abroad)?  If so, how will India's neighbors (most notably Pakistan) potentially react about its more assertive role?  In what ways could India link its humanitarian assistance programs with other aspects of international influence?


Greg Atkinson's comment, April 9, 2013 8:14 AM
How is it that a country that is, by many measures, so impoverished (as proven as such given that they receive large amounts of foreign aid) be expected to become an important player, in and of itself, to contributing to foreign assistance?
Suggested by Christopher Garrett Cochran

Tiny Qatar uses riches to forge key regional role

Tiny Qatar uses riches to forge key regional role | TSU World Regional Geography | Scoop.it


This article explains how the small country of Qatar exerts a disproportionate amount of influence in the NASWA realm.  Qatar's power stems from its enormous wealth in oil and natural gas, which makes up over 85% of export earnings. This wealth has allowed the Qatar government in engage in "Checkbook Diplomacy:" international policy openly using economic aid and investment between countries to carry diplomatic favor.  The most controversial of such exchanges has taken place with actors in the Arab Spring, with Qatar sending weapons and men to support Islamist militants in Libya and more recently Syria.


Qatar's power does not just stem from its enormous wealth but in how it has invested that wealth. Al Jazeera is the most popular Arab language News Network and was initially financed and controlled by the Qatari government.  Although the network was proclaimed free of  government control in 2011, accusations of censorship on behalf of the Qatari government persists. The ability to transmit, images, sounds, and ultimately ideas is very powerful in shaping the opinions and perceptions of the receptive population. While Al Jazeera is intended to be neutral, it can easily be used as a vehicle for propaganda which serves the interests of the Qatari Elite.


What challenges confront a small, wealthy state, with a tiny military but massive influence within its realm?  Could Qatar's involvement in the civil affairs of its neighbors backfire?  Given the amount of financial support Qatar has given new governments in the realm, how much independence will these new governments really have?


Greg Atkinson's comment, March 29, 2013 10:30 AM
The article mentions the importance of Qatar in the realm's "affairs." What "established" regional powers exist in the realm and how do these countries perceive what might be construed as Qatar's "meddling" in international affairs?
Christopher Garrett Cochran's comment, April 2, 2013 3:49 PM
Israel has imposed sanctions on Al Jazeera for what it considered to be imbalanced coverage of their conflict with Hamas. Algeria has disrupted the networks broadcasts when reports critical of them have aired. Most recently during the 2011 "Arab Spring" protests, the Egyptian government shut down Al Jazeera and arrested journalists for covering the protests. I would wager Saudi Arabia will never have to worry about Al Jazeera being too critical as Qatar and Saudi Arabia are very close and their ruling families are heavily intermarried.
Greg Atkinson's comment, April 2, 2013 4:46 PM
I wasn't really asking about what other countries thought of Al Jazeera (but now that you mention it, I wonder how much bias actually exists (the news organization has a very high reputation for reporting in this realm). I will go back to my initial question: what countries ARE the established regional powers (are they the ones you mention -- it was not clear) and how are they reacting to the Qatar government (not Al Jazeera)?