Geography Education
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At Seattle Mariners games, grasshoppers are a favorite snack

At Seattle Mariners games, grasshoppers are a favorite snack | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Chapulines [grasshoppers] have become a snack favorite among baseball fans in Seattle. Follow their path from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Safeco Field. To many, the insect might be a novelty - a quirky highlight for an Instagram story from a day at the ballpark. To those in Mexico consuming them for centuries, they are a building block of nutrition."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Eating insects is incredibly nutritious; raising them is cost effective and environmentally sustainable. And yet, the cultural taboos against entomophagy in the West are barriers to the cultural diffusion of the practice.  At some baseball games and high-end restaurants, grasshoppers are sold as a novelty item.  What I especially enjoy about this ESPN article is that it covers the cultural production of the chapulines in Mexico and follows the story to the consumption of the grasshoppers in the United States.  

 

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, foodMexico, economic, agriculture.

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ricoh's comment, June 13, 2018 6:34 AM
good
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Maya civilization was much vaster than known, thousands of newly discovered structures reveal

Maya civilization was much vaster than known, thousands of newly discovered structures reveal | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Scientists using high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools have discovered tens of thousands of structures constructed by the Maya.

 

Archaeologists have spent more than a century traipsing through the Guatemalan jungle, Indiana Jones-style, searching through dense vegetation to learn what they could about the Maya civilization. Scientists using high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools have discovered tens of thousands of structures constructed by the Maya: defense works, houses, buildings, industrial-size agricultural fields, even new pyramids.

The lidar system fires rapid laser pulses at surfaces and measures how long it takes that light to return to sophisticated measuring equipment. Doing that over and over again lets scientists create a topographical map of sorts. Months of computer modeling allowed the researchers to virtually strip away half a million acres of jungle that has grown over the ruins. What's left is a surprisingly clear picture of how a 10th-century Maya would see the landscape.

Tags: lidar, spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 GeoPrinciplesGuatemala, Middle America.

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Matt Manish's curator insight, February 16, 2018 1:57 PM
Archaeologists are using new high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools to discover Mayan structures that have gone undetected for hundreds of years. This new method for archaeology has proved very successful as well, since tens of thousands of hidden Mayan structures have been detected using these new tools. This helps paint a different picture of what Mayan civilization was really like. For example, archaeologists now believe that the Mayan civilization may have had a population two to three times the size originally estimated and a much larger extension of land than previously thought. At the end of this article, what really made me think was how the Guatemalan jungle once hindered archaeologists from discovering Mayan structures, but now the jungle is seen as useful in preserving these structures over time, so they are not destroyed by people. It seems as though there is still much to learn about the Mayan civilization and their culture.
David Stiger's curator insight, September 23, 2018 8:38 PM
Thanks to new aerial scanning technology, a device called lidar, archaeologists cannot better use geological maps to create three dimensional scans of the earth and uncover buried ruins without moving a rock. Relying on advanced technology to help reveal humanity's past is exciting. Understanding how a civilization lived and functioned, how big it was, its activities, and its achievements brings modern day people closer to the past. 

Geography played a major role in this recent Mayan excavation. The jungles which once prevented archaeologists from seeing what ruins were left actually preserved the ruins by preventing farmers from changing the land. If it were not for the dense areas of jungle, agricultural development would have eroded and destroyed these last remnants of the Mayan civilization. Luckily, farmers avoided these areas and the new technology made available to archaeologists has allowed this once problematic obstacle to become a blessing in disguise and a massive opportunity. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 8:46 PM
Technology is an amazing tool. Using technology to find old temples and buildings is truly astounding. The lidar mapping tools used have created something that would take people years to do. Acres upon acres of forest in Guatemala would have to be mapped and traversed by foot to find any signal of the Maya civilization under the centuries of reclaimed land. If you have ever been to the Mayan temples you would know they are a sight to behold, glorious and awe-inspiring. Technology like this gives us a whole new view of the world and civilizations. Using these could help find many old forgotten cities, not only in Guatemala but all over the world. 
 
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Mexico City 1968

Mexico City 1968 | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The 1968 Olympics took place in Mexico City, Mexico. It was the first Games ever hosted in a Latin American country. And for Mexico City, the event was an opportunity to show the world that they were a metropolis as worthy as London, Berlin, Rome or Tokyo to host this huge international affair. The 1968 Olympics were decreed 'the Games of Peace.' So Wyman designed a little outline of a dove, which shop owners all over the city had been given to stick in their windows. A protest movement, led by students, was growing in the city around [the organizers and designers]. These protestors believed the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) catered to wealthy Mexicans rather than the poor, rural and working class. Although the country had been experiencing huge economic growth, millions of people had still been left behind. The 'Mexican Miracle' hadn’t reached everyone."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Few years are as powerful in the minds of Mexican identity as the year 1968.  Like so many 99 percent invisible podcasts, this blends urban design, social geography, local history in a way that deepens our understanding of place. The built environment can be molded to project an image, and can be used to subvert that same message by the opposition.    

 

Tagssport, Mexico, Middle America, urban, architecture, place, landscape.

 

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Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, September 20, 2017 8:16 AM
How has the disparity of the economy affected the density of population in Mexico?  Did the Olympics ultimately help or hurt Mexico?
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The Staggering Wealth Of Mexico City

The Staggering Wealth Of Mexico City | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Walk on the streets and you´ll be exposed to its informal economy: people who do what they can to eke out a living including washing windshields, selling food, or even singing, dancing, and performing acrobatics for a tip.

What Americans may not know is that Mexico City is home to the wealthiest people, the poshest neighborhoods, the most exclusive shops, entertainment venues, and cultural centers on the planet.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Mexico City has been the economic center of Mexico for a long time and is a true primate city. "Wealth accumulation in Mexico City has historically been concentrated in the hands of a few. In colonial times, the elite was mostly composed of Spanish-born immigrants who held high-ranking offices or worked as business owners or export-oriented merchants. Later, the wealthy were those who owned large estates known as haciendas…It is estimated that around 40 percent of Mexico’s income is owned by just 10 percent of its population, while 52.3 percent of Mexican citizens live in poverty."

 

Tags: urban, megacitieseconomic, labor, Mexico.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, December 30, 2016 8:13 PM

Contrasts found in large cities 

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 22, 2017 11:08 AM
unit 6 and 7
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 14, 2018 5:58 PM
Most of the time when you think of Mexico you hear poor and unsuccessful cities and countries. But that is not entirely true because Mexico City is a very successful Primate City and is one of the wealthiest places to be. People need to be more mindful and do more research before making assumptions. 
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American football has taken root in Mexico at all levels

American football has taken root in Mexico at all levels | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Why is the NFL in Mexico? A visitor to the capital city can sense right away why the league is so bullish on the country's potential."

 

The last time the NFL ventured into Mexico was in 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers in Estadio Azteca. Top-level American football is returning to the same venue in Mexico City on Monday night, when the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will face off in a contest that has been sold out since July.

Just don't assume the 11-year gap is related to a lack of interest. In reality, Mexico is the top international hotbed for American football, with the largest NFL fan base of any country outside the United States. There are more fans of the league in Mexico City than in most actual NFL markets.

But the sport's popularity in Mexico goes well beyond NFL fandom. From youth leagues that are overtaking soccer in popularity in some parts of the country to a new pro league, American football is a major player south of the border. With that in mind, here's a closer look at where the sport stands on every level in Mexico and how fans there consume the game.

 

Tagssport, popular culturediffusion, culture, Mexico, Middle America.

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Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 9:37 PM
American Football is growing in Mexico. More games are being played in Mexico to both accommodate and to further the interests of Mexican citizens in the game. Last year in 2017 it was the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders who faced off in Mexico city ending in a 33-8 win for the Patriots. This year the NFL decided to up the ante pitting two of the best teams in the NFL the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams against each other. What is sure to be a close make will likely draw fans from both countries to watch the game. American football is beginning to take over as a dominant sport in some parts of the country as well as more youth leagues and the pro league are rising. 
 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 14, 2018 5:01 PM
With the emergence of NFL starting to play games in Mexico has grown the sport in a positive way. You now have American Football youth leagues and professional leagues growing inside Mexico. It is even growing so much that is taking over the soccer populated cities and becoming the top spot. 
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Haiti: From Recovery to Sustainable Development

"Since the 2010 earthquake, Haiti has successfully pulled through the humanitarian recovery phase and seen significant socioeconomic gains. Yet as Haiti moves toward long-term, sustainable development, the country faces significant challenges. The political system remains fragile, sustainable jobs are scarce, and the environment is still as vulnerable now as it was then."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While this is primarily a promotional campaign for the UNDP's efforts in Haiti, it nicely contextualizes the problems that Haiti faces before discussing how to improve the situation.  Some keys for the future include: 

  • Governance and Rule of Law
  • Recovery and Poverty Reduction
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Environmental Management
  • Medical Outbreak Management  

 

Tagsdisasters, Haiti, NGOspoverty, development, video.

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Keone Sinnott-Suardana's curator insight, June 22, 2016 10:19 PM
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The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World

The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At its fullest extent the Pan-American Highway is a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, a distance of around 30,000 kilometres (19,000 miles).
Seth Dixon's insight:

I love a good road trip, and I while I love the idea of traversing the entire length of the Americas, I think that the idea of it might be better than the actual trip (at least will my kids in the back seat).

 

Tagsmobilitytransportationtourism, South America, Middle America.  

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James Piccolino's curator insight, February 8, 2018 6:57 AM
Wow,yet another feature in our country that I never knew about, I'm finding the increasing amount of things I never even heard of right in our own backyard troubling (although if it lies on the education system or just my own flat out ignorance I have not decided yet). It is interesting that so many people turn to these things as challenges to beat and overcome where most would most likely view it as just another long road for transportation.
tyrone perry's curator insight, March 22, 2018 1:21 PM
 I couldn’t imagine the sites that you would see traveling the road between two different continents in over 14 countries.  30,000 miles, official  and unofficial road with a stretch of road that is uninhabited and another stretch that has no real roads.   I for one would love the beautiful sites that you would see but I would hate the actual traveling, driving  that many miles would drive me crazy.  one thing that I wonder is if you would actually be able to do it without any problems within each country.  The article also does not say How people made it across the Darian gap.  The top of one continent to the bottom of another is just amazing.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 9:00 PM
This sounds like it would be the best idea for a road trip. The question is whether you are making the trip because you can say you did or to see as much as possible. I prefer the latter so given the number of breaks needed in between to be able to get up, stretch, and see some interesting sites on the road, I would need to take a lot of time off, but it would definitely be worth it. All the different cultures and people you would meet as you pass over the border of fourteen different countries. Goes to show that we are more connected than we believe, literally. 
 
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The Surreal Reasons Girls Are Disappearing In El Salvador

The Surreal Reasons Girls Are Disappearing In El Salvador | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Refuse to share a pencil, reject a boy, say no to your imprisoned dad — all of these can get a teen girl killed in El Salvador's gang war.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Central America has the highest homicide rates in the Western Hemisphere, with violence being embedded into political and social institutions and norms (see this map to analyze the spatial patterns--see crime rate tabs).  Navigating this cultural status quo leads to incredibly difficult situations for young people, and especially girls, trying to gain stable employment and plan for a safe, secure future.  This is a very sobering article/podcast, with some graphic materials.  This podcast is the first in the new series, #15Girls, exploring global health issues for teenage girls.       


Tags: podcast, gender, place, cultural norms, culture.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, October 21, 2015 10:38 AM

This article was very stunning and graphical to read. The rate of murder and homicide is so abnormal that it makes one question who doesn't want to leave there. I can definitely see why girls are the main targets because they are stuck in between these so called gangs because a person they know is usually affiliated with one. Their hardship of escaping was very touching and getting to experience and seeing a first hand perspective of these young girls really opened my eyes. We should not see people seeking asylum in other countries as a bad thing ,but rather sympathize for their well being that they have escaped the horrible life they had back home.

Matt Danielson's curator insight, September 29, 2018 4:52 PM
The gang violence in El Salvador is insane. Not only that but the level of control the  gangs have over the country is nearly unrivaled anywhere else in the world. These young girls find themselves in the crossfire of this violence. Too many there only option is to join, or hide away. Some take the daring plan of escaping to America but many dont have the means to attempt this. The government in El Salvador needs to do a gang crack down and patrol communities more to make them safer, this is only possible if they can shrug off corruption first. 
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, September 29, 2018 9:17 PM
There’s a scary epidemic occurring all over Latin America and El Salvador is one of the worst areas for girls and women. The major threat to girls lives are gangs. The gangs cause so much danger that a person is murdered there every hour. Unfortunately the feuds are over turf and revenge and the girls get caught in the middle. Girls can get killed because the refuse to be someone’s girlfriend or do not do something for the gang. These girls disappear and are scared into hiding in there homes or fleeing to the United States. If a young girl makes it past her fifth tenth birthdat its a miracle. 
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Expanding the Panama Canal

Expanding the Panama Canal | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In 2006, Panamanians approved a referendum to expand the Panama Canal, doubling its capacity and allowing far larger ships to transit the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific. Work began in 2007 to raise the capacity of Gatun Lake and build two new sets of locks, which would accommodate ships carrying up to 14,000 containers of freight, tripling the size limit. Sixteen massive steel gates, weighing an average of 3,100 tons each, were built in Italy and shipped to Panama to be installed in the new locks. Eight years and $5.2 billion later, the expansion project is nearing completion. The initial stages of flooding the canals have begun and the projected opening date has been set for April of 2016."


Tag: Panamaimages, transportation, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This gallery of 29 images is filled with great teaching images.

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Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 8:31 AM

the expanding of the panama canal is a major event, as everything from flow of trade to the maximum size of ships will be impacted by this improvement. the Iowa class of us battleship was two feet then the canal, specifically so they could go through if they needed to.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:11 AM

This gallery of 29 images is filled with great teaching images.

Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 14, 2018 6:14 PM
These images are fascinating how they show everything that goes into expanding a very old canal. It shows just all the little things that make the canal so much better. 
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Plate Tectonics and the Formation of Central America and the Caribbean

This animation is made from a time series of maps reconstructing the movements of continental crust or blocks, as South America pulled away from North America, starting 170 million years ago. Note that South America is still clinging to Africa at the beginning of the series.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The land bridge connecting North and South America is hardly permanent (on a geological time scale that is).  This video is an animated version of the still maps from this article.  


Tags: Mexico, tectonicsphysical, video, Middle America.

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Katie Kershaw's curator insight, February 8, 2018 3:24 PM
The animation in this video depicts how Central America and the Caribbean’s landforms came to be.  What is interesting is that about 170 million years ago, Africa and South America were part of the same land mass and today Africa is pretty far away from South America.  This means that there are probably similar geographic features on the two continents, like rocks or soil, despite the distance between them now.  That may contribute to people being able to grow similar crops in the two areas that are oftentimes seen as so different.  The western part of South America, specifically Central America seems to have been pulled apart from North America.  This means that these two continents may share geographic features as well.  Although regions may seem like they are separated by great lengths and should be dissimilar from each other, that is not the case- as the tectonic plates are constantly shifting the way the earth’s surface looks.  It’s hard to think that the earth was ever different than it is today and how such large land masses could possibly move so far.  This animation does a good job of exemplifying the great effect that tectonic plates actually have.
Nicole Canova's curator insight, February 9, 2018 5:36 PM
It's interesting to see how the earth's surface has changed over time.  It's also strange to see that at one point the Americas were so compact, and that Africa was attached to both North and South America.  Although these tectonic shifts take place over the course of millions of years, this video makes me wonder what the globe will look like in another million years, or another 100 million years.  I'm sure the continents will be in a new configuration as unrecognizable as they were 170 million years ago.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 14, 2018 11:24 PM
It is fascinating to see how South and Central America has formed into what we know today. A nice view of what was once attached to Africa is now a distant past and can still see some similarities.  It's nice to see how our world today was formed million of years ago. 
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Power of Place: Boundaries and Borderlands

Power of Place: Boundaries and Borderlands | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"This program, Boundaries and Borderlands, introduces the case study approach of the course. Here we examine the borderland region between the regions of North America and Latin America. The first case study, Twin Cities, Divided Lives, follows the story of Concha Martinez as she crosses between the U.S. and Mexico in order to make a life for herself and her children.  The second case study, Operation Hold the Line, follows up the question of cross-border migration raised in the first program. It takes a look at how U.S. border policy is shaping the lives of not only the people living in this borderland region, but in more distant U.S. and Mexican locations as well."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a not a new resource and I know that many of you are familiar with it, but this is worth repeating for those not familiar with the Annenberg Media's "Power of Place" video series.  With 26 videos (roughly 30 minutes each) that are regionally organized, this be a great resource for geography teachers that need either a regional of thematic case-study video clip.     


Tagsmigrationregions video, APHG.

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Dennis Swender's curator insight, November 17, 2014 3:16 AM

Open borders:  An American Exceptionalism asset worth preserving?

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Nicaragua unveils major canal route

Nicaragua unveils major canal route | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Nicaraguan government and the company behind plans to build a canal linking the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean have settled on a route."

Seth Dixon's insight:

A Chinese firm (HKND) is planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's.  I've been following this issue as I prepared to co-author an article  for Maps 101 with Julie Dixon and it is clearly a major environmental issue.  However, this issue is much more geographic than just the angle; China and Nicaragua are vying for greater control and access to the shipping lanes that dominate the global economy and international trade.  This shows that they are each attempting to bolster their regional and international impact compared to their rivals (the United States for China and Panama for Nicaragua).   


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

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BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:15 AM

A Chinese firm (HKND) is planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's.  I've been following this issue as I prepared to co-author an article  for Maps 101 with Julie Dixon and it is clearly a major environmental issue.  However, this issue is much more geographic than just the angle; China and Nicaragua are vying for greater control and access to the shipping lanes that dominate the global economy and international trade.  This shows that they are each attempting to bolster their regional and international impact compared to their rivals (the United States for China and Panama for Nicaragua).   


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

Olivia Campanella's curator insight, September 26, 2018 11:26 AM
The Nicaraguan government plans to build a canal linking the Atlantic to the Pacific. This canal will be 278km (273 miles) and stretch from Punta Gorda through Lake Nicaragua in the Atlantic to the mouth of the Brito river in the Atlantic. This canal will cost over 40 billion dollars just to rival the Panama Canal. It will be 230m- 520m wide and 27.6m deep. Construction will be expected to begin in December and be finished within 5 years.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 14, 2018 11:56 PM
The Nicaragua Canal is planned to rival the Panama Canal and give the Chinese the easier and cheaper route. Since the US own the Panama Canal, they can control the rates they give out to other countries wanting to use the Canal. China, upset with these rates us trying to take control of their own Canal that passes threw Nicaragua and avoiding the Panama traffic. 
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Are container ships getting too big?

Are container ships getting too big? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

What is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London's Olympic stadium?  The answer - this year's new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea.  Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).  

Seth Dixon's insight:

These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries.  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia.  Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.      


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

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, October 7, 2015 1:17 PM

These vessels are specifically made to increase more profit and is a symbol of economic power for trades between Europe and Asia. They aim to increase containment of cargo so it is more efficient and time consuming of going back to fourth. However, they forced ports to become bigger to compete and keep up with these new inventions. These ships are getting too big and are only able to transit through the Suez canal and cannot go through the Panama. This lead to the Chinese expanding their reach to Nicaragua and building a larger canal to be able to pass through Central America.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, March 14, 2016 7:42 PM

These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries.  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia.  Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.    

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:18 AM

These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries.  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia.  Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.      


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

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Nicaragua on the Brink, Once Again

Nicaragua on the Brink, Once Again | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Jon Lee Anderson on protests in Nicaragua over proposed social-security reforms that are threatening the stability of the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The status quo of the Nicaraguan political system threats to be completely upended and this article is a good primer for getting a handle on the situation. 

 

Tags: Nicaragua, political.

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David Stiger's curator insight, September 23, 2018 10:43 AM
Nicaragua's present situation is an example of how out-of-touch leaders can ruin a country The president-dictator, Ortega, and his co-dictator wife, Murillo, have been in power since 2007 ruling with deaf ears and black hearts. Due to their recent decision to raise the cost of social security while reducing its benefits (something truly bizarre), civil unrest has spilled into the streets permeating throughout the whole country. To quell the anger, Ortega had his soldiers open fire on protesters (another bizarre decision). Average Nicaraguan citizens are enraged and ready for a change of power. 

Ortega first took power in 1979 when his socialist "junta" overthrew an oppressive right-wing regime. Essentially one group of extremists replaced another. The situation only worsened with the involvement of the U.S. Seeing the pro-Soviet Marxist takeover in its geographic backyard, Ronald Reagan authorized military support for a group of right-wing counter-revolutionaries (known in Spanish as 'Contras') who used terrorism to retake the government. Ortega was removed from power in 1990. The  article points out that the C.I.A. backed Contras led to the destruction of the Nicaraguan economy. The United States is a paradox as it raves about democracy at home but goes out of its way to support extremist regimes with little regard to human rights abroad. This self-serving "my interests above all" attitude will only come back to haunt the U.S. as chronic instability in its backyard can spill over to other countries and slither its way to the U.S. border. 

A salient feature of dictatorships, like Ortega's regime, is that they control the media and the news. Only two newspaper outlets, La Prensa and Confidencial, stand independently to oppose the government's "official narrative." Interestingly enough, Ortega and Murillo's children run the pro-government media outlets - illustrating how close family connections between business and government are unhealthy for society. These kindred relations weaken checks and balances because of conflicts of interest.

Two things to take away from this article: One is that the U.S. needs to either cease meddling in foreign affairs or be much more careful. The second is that this scenario serves as a reason why the world needs transparent democratic societies. This latter form of governance ensures that no single group can hold onto power for so long, becoming insensitive to the needs of the people, and continuing to rule simply to hold onto power. 




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Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a border, and an island. But the two countries are very different today: the Dominican Republic enjoys higher quality of life for many factors than Haiti. I went to this island and visited both countries, to try and understand when and how their paths diverged.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is an exciting debut for the new series "Vox borders."  By just about every development metric available, the Dominican Republic is doing better than Haiti, the only bordering country on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the DR.   

 

Questions to Ponder: How does the border impact both countries?  How has sharing one island with different colonial legacies shaped migrational push and pull factors?

 

Tags: Haiti, Dominican Republic, video, poverty, development, economic, labor, migration, political, borders.

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Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, February 13, 2018 8:41 PM
This video is extremely interesting seeing as it points out the differences between two very different worlds that are only separated by a single border. The video shows how racist the Dominicans are to their neighbors and shows us how the Haitians live under such scrutiny. On each end of the border, there are two markets that are supposed to allow both the Haitians and the Dominicans to trade their goods, however, the strict border patrol officers keep the Haitians from entering until their neighbors have set up their shops at the best spots. The director of the video also notes that he believes the reason Haiti is much poorer than the Dominican Republic stems all the way back to when they were colonies of France and Spain. 
Matt Manish's curator insight, February 16, 2018 12:47 PM
I found this video to be very insightful into the relationship Haiti has with the Dominican Republic and how the Haitian government has formed into what it is today. It was especially informative for myself because I didn't know very much about these countries before watching this video. I knew Haiti was the first slave colony to have a successful revolt against their slave holders, but I didn't know or realize all the consequences of that slave uprising. It seems like Haiti wasn't given a proper chance right off the bat to succeed as a nation. The French overworked their land and destroyed the soil which is still a problem today. Once Haiti declared independence, many nations enforced embargoes on Haiti because it was considered a threat due to it being a black republic, which strangled their potential for a strong economy. Adding to that France demanded a large sum of money from Haiti after they declared independence because France was upset about losing profits from the colony, which hindered the Haitian economy even more. It's too bad that Haiti got a bad hand of cards right from the beginning, I hope that one day they can rise above adversity, and truly flourish as a nation.
tyrone perry's curator insight, March 14, 2018 10:43 PM
watching this showed many disturbing facts about the island shared by the D.R. and Haiti.  because of both of their previous owners the island went in two different directions.  Haiti owned by the French brought over many slaves to pillage and exploit their side of the Island.  Haiti could not flourish because of racism and debt.  D.R. had a different history the Spaniards integrated with the locals and worked together to help the country grow.  they took care of their land and their was no racism playing any role in destroying the people of that country.  driving up and down the you can see the difference on both sides.  Haiti has a bare and eroded land while the D.R. has lush jungles.  according to the narrator there is strong racism towards the Haitians by the Dominicans.  Even thou they both share the island the Dominicans look down on the Haitians and refuse to help them even thou D.R. is a so to speak rich nation they could really help improve and grow both nations as a whole.  Its sad to see that the reason people cant grow is because of systemic and blatant racism. 
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Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A host of environmental factors are threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Urban ecology, environmental justice, gendered inequities, primate city politics, the struggle of growing megacities…it’s all here in this fantastic piece of investigative reporting.  The article highlights the ecological problems that Mexico City faces (high-altitude exacerbates air pollution, interior drainage worsens water pollution, limited aquifers that are overworked lead to subsidence, importing water outside of the basin requires enormous amounts of energy, etc.).  just because the article doesn't use the word 'geography' doesn't mean that it isn't incredibly geographic. All of these problems are at the heart of human-environmental nexus of 21st century urbanization. 

   

Tags: urban, megacities, water, environment, Mexico.

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Danielle Yen's curator insight, March 3, 2017 8:45 AM

Urban ecology, environmental justice, gendered inequities, primate city politics, the struggle of growing megacities…it’s all here in this fantastic piece of investigative reporting.  The article highlights the ecological problems that Mexico City faces (high-altitude exacerbates air pollution, interior drainage worsens water pollution, limited aquifers that are overworked lead to subsidence, importing water outside of the basin requires enormous amounts of energy, etc.).  just because the article doesn't use the word 'geography' doesn't mean that it isn't incredibly geographic. All of these problems are at the heart of human-environmental nexus of 21st century urbanization. 

   

Tags: urban, megacities, water, environment, Mexico.

Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, February 8, 2018 1:04 PM
(Mexico/Central America) Mexico city seems to be built in the worst way possible. The original Aztec architects could not imagine the locational problems the city faces today. Originally built on an island, Spanish conquerors drained the lakes and created an inland, mountainous position that causes the city to sink inches every year. Ironically, the city is now forced to use underground water sources or expensively import drinking water and poor locals can rarely count on tap water. The uneven clay and volcanic soil foundation and climate change further drives subsidence of this unplanned metropolis. Climate change will also create a series of floods and droughts and the inefficient sewage and water system will lead to devastation.
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#RenunciaYa--Quit Already!

#RenunciaYa--Quit Already! | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Morales will take office in the wake of Guatemala’s worst political crisis in decades, resulting in the resignations of President Otto Pérez Molina, Vice President Roxana Baldetti, and multiple cabinet members—all of whom are now prosecuted for their role in a massive corruption ring."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How does an online movement become a revolution?  Much has been made about how much organizing for the Arab Spring was conducted online, but it still needed old-fashioned protesting, gathering in the streets, and controlling symbolic public spaces to add meaning to their movement.  This podcast shows the behind-the-scenes look at how a small online Facebook group against corruption in Guatemala, not only pulled down their targeted villain (the vice president), but also eroded support for the president that propped up the whole system.

  

Tags: Guatemala, political, podcast, Middle America.

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Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America, and how it’s trying to get it back

Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America, and how it’s trying to get it back | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A religious revolution is underway in Latin America. Between 1900 and 1960, 90% of Latin Americans were Catholics. But in the last fifty years, that figure has slumped to 69%, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center (from which most of the data in this article are taken). The continent may still be home to 425 million Catholics—40% of the world’s total—but the Vatican’s grip is slipping."

 

Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

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Nicole Canova's curator insight, February 10, 2018 7:04 PM
Despite being home to a huge amount of the world's Roman Catholics, membership in the Church is dropping throughout South America in favor of other religious options, from various Protestant sects to New Age beliefs to African diaspora religions.  The Pentacostal church in particular is highly favored all over the region, predominantly because it puts a bigger emphasis on a relationship with God and faith healing.  It has also adapted much better to Latin American culture than the Catholic church.  Most Pentacostal priests are from the region, while most Catholic clergy are outsiders, and Pentacostal churches use more Latin American music and dance.  The Catholic church has, however, had some limited success in the region with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which has adopted many aspects of Pentacostal church services while retaining the traditional church hierarchy and reverence for the Virgin Mary and the saints.  However, the Catholic church would systemic reform to slow or even reverse the the trend in South America, which would make the church unappealing to more conservative Catholic communities in Africa and Asia.  This touches on a variety of cultural differences between these regions, and poses an impossible dilemma to the church in which it must pick and choose which region or regions are more important.
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Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity

Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Roman Catholic Church’s claim on the region is lessening as a younger generation turns to Protestantism, a Pew study found.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Catholic Church was a main governing force in colonial times and was a significant political force in rallying support for independence movements throughout the Americas.  In the early twentieth century over 90% of Latin American were Catholic, but recently polls now show that the Catholic population is under 70%.  The Catholic Church is responding; in addition to a charismatic renewal to mass services appealing to younger audiences, the first non-European pope (Pope Francis) is from Latin America.      

 

Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

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Douglas Vance's curator insight, February 2, 2018 4:28 PM
The shift away from Catholacism towards protestantism within Latin America poses significant implications for the political and social makeup of these countries. The shift towards a more socially conservative Protestant belief system poses an obstacle to any efforts to legalize same sex marriages or make abortion legal. Should this shift continue, Latin America will be primed for significant change in the future.
David Stiger's curator insight, September 23, 2018 9:14 PM
As this article points out, the term 'Latin America' was practically synonymous with 'Roman Catholicism'. Pew researchers have revealed that this religious trend is now changing. Catholicism, with its rigid liturgy and stiff hierarchies, may not be feeding the spiritual needs of the people in Latin America. Perhaps communities are realizing that it is okay to worship God differently. As Pew found out, it is not as if the region is turning secular as Evangelical Protestantism is growing. 

Interestingly, there is a similar trend occurring within the United States. Many Americans are dropping out of Catholicism (as well as mainline Protestant denominations) and either joining the 'none' category - shorthand for non-affiliated - or are flocking to mega churches, Pentecostalism, and other non-denominational branches of Evangelicalism. The latter three options represent alternative forms of Christianity which still stress the importance of traditionalism and scripture while offering more direct experiences with the divine. 

In an age where traditional modes of living and thinking are breaking down, with the rise of individualism over the community, where materialism reigns supreme, and when people assume science has all the answers, institutions offering communal ways to engage the divine and exercise spiritual transcendence may be more appealing. Another possibility is that Catholicism is shrinking while Protestantism is growing is because believers crave certainty in a world that is constantly changing and becoming more ambiguous. The erosion of traditionalism can be unsettling. Protestantism, via the new evangelical movements, not only offers traditionalism with a new coat of paint but it also offers non-negotiable answers about the purpose of life and how to achieve paradise - a feeling that everything in the end is going to be okay. That is an idea which no geographic barrier can stop. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 9:21 PM
Roman Catholicism was a product of the missionaries and conquerors who first traveled to Latin America. They would bring their religion and impose it on the natives through different types of conversion methods whether it was outlawing the old religions or combining aspects of the old to create the new. Today fewer people in Latin America are Catholic and many are turning to other forms of Christianity.  It is very interesting as Christianity and Catholicism in Latin America could very well be used interchangeably for a long time. In Guatemala, one of the most famous sites is in the city of Esquipulas, the Basilica del Senor de Esquipulas. A towering white cathedral right in the heart of Middle America it still attracts pilgrims from all over the world to see the Black Christ statue, where you walk out backwards as to not turn your back on the Lord. It is an interesting experience seeing peoples level of devotion to the Catholic church and the Catholic faith. 
 
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The Atlas of Economic Complexity: the Case of Costa Rica

The Atlas of Economic Complexity: the Case of Costa Rica | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Understanding global trade and economic data can feel overwhelming, but fortunately there are online tools that help us to visualize complex economic data. The data in these charts was incredibly easy to gather, thanks to the Atlas of Economic Complexity."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Before these tools existed, my first observations of economic geography and industrial development came when I left the US and was living in Central America.  I wrote this article to use the example of the shifts in the Costa Rican economy to demonstrate how to use the Atlas of Economic Complexity (which uses complicated data, but super easy to use).  


Tagsindustry, development, statistics, economic, Costa Rica.

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Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, March 30, 2016 12:10 PM

Before these tools existed, my first observations of economic geography and industrial development came when I left the US and was living in Central America.  I wrote this article to use the example of the shifts in the Costa Rican economy to demonstrate how to use the Atlas of Economic Complexity (which uses complicated data, but super easy to use).  


Tags: industry, development, statistics, economic, Costa Rica.

Matt Danielson's curator insight, September 24, 2018 1:42 PM
The Costa Rica economy has flourished under globalism. The environment was perfect for investment Given the well-educated labor force and stable government. This combination creates for the possibility for economic boom with the right investment. Once this investment was made, more jobs were created and exports skyrocketed, in a 17 year period exports went up to 11x what they were preciously. Even though this company is leaving Costa Rica I believe will find other investors. The tool to understand complex economies works great. In the example used you could see a country's growth in  a particular market and be able to judge efficiently how the market is growing and the shares of the market controlled. This makes it easier to see where one should invest his capital.
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Internal Migration in Mexico

Internal Migration in Mexico | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Mexico’s cities are ballooning in population while rural and indigenous communities, where there are still over 60 indigenous languages other than Spanish spoken, are disappearing. For many indigenous families, illiteracy and the powerful forces of racism and discrimination can often offset the lures that brought them to migrate to urban centers.


The northern border with the United States is not the only destination for Mexican migrants. For millions, the bustling cities, which offer hopes of better jobs and education lure many from their traditional rural, and often indigenous communities. What they find in the cities is a mix of hope and hardship.


TagsMexico, indigenous, economic, development, migration.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This interactive with over 20 video vignettes paints a powerful personal narrative of the lives of indigenous Mexicans who migrate to the larger cities of Mexico.  

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London Kassab's curator insight, November 3, 2015 9:35 PM

Mexico is having a lot of internal migration within cities. Many different languages are disappearing and for a lot of the people literacy, racism, and other forces can often bring them to urban areas. Also the border isn't the only hope for migrants, bustling cities offer hopes of better lifestyle as well.    L.K.

Clayton Nelson's curator insight, December 16, 2015 11:14 AM

I believe migrants should be allowed to migrate to their destination. But there should of course be policies as to how many people come to one area at a time and such. In my opinion the main problem lies with those who exploit the border and migrate illegally as well as those who don't belong such as terrorists. Once this is resolved migration from Mexico to the United States or to anywhere will be much smoother. CN

tyrone perry's curator insight, March 23, 2018 12:44 PM
The internal migration going on in Mexico is mainly comprised from the indigenous communities.  They think that if they move to the city they can better their lives by getting an education and a wealthy paying job.  But as they soon find out there is more problems than jobs and education.  many of the personal videos show the hard path many of the people endure with very little success. 
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HDI over time in Central America

HDI over time in Central America | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Explore public data through Google's visualization tools." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

One exercise that I do in many of my classes is based on this data and and outline map.  I have the students map out the Human Development Index data for Central America (full global dataset here) on an outline map of the region.   


Questions to Ponder: How might we be able to infer about migration within the region?  Foreign investment?  Political stability? 


Tags: Middle America, development, statistics, economic, mapping.

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Gareth Jukes's curator insight, May 27, 2015 1:05 PM

Human Development Index-

This article explains how more and more countries in Central America are becoming more developed and have higher HDI. This helps create better views on Central America, thus giving it better chances via trade with other countries.

 

This article demonstrates the idea of HDI by showing the actual HDI's in Central America, and how most countries are increasing overall.

Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2015 2:29 PM

With all the talk in media circles of how much off the world is now than it was 30 years ago, it's reassuring to see progress in a region that is characterized as violent and unstable. Although violence continues to plague this region more in relation to the West, progress is being made. From this, we can infer that the political landscape of these nations has improved, which would allow for greater economic growth, which in turn leads to a higher standard of living. The notion that this region is becoming more and more backwards is untrue and finds its foundation in the racist beliefs held by many white Americans, who dominate the media. There is a lot of work that remains to be done- Honduras continues to have one of the highest murder rates in the world- but progress is being made, and that will only help to strengthen the world economy. 

Luis R Soto's curator insight, March 19, 2016 8:37 PM

One exercise that I do in many of my classes is based on this data and and outline map.  I have the students map out the Human Development Index data for Central America (full global dataset here) on an outline map of the region.   


Questions to Ponder: How might we be able to infer about migration within the region?  Foreign investment?  Political stability? 


Tags: Middle America, development, statistics, economic, mapping.

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Nicaragua's Controversial Canal

The proposed Nicaragua Canal could be one of the largest engineering projects in history and promises to bring thousands of jobs to the impoverished country. But the government’s secretive deal with a Chinese-led firm has some Nicaraguans raising the alarm about displacement and environmental destruction in the canal’s path.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm fascinated by massive geo-engineering projects.  Usually, the proponents of the project will support it claiming that by reconfiguring the geographic settings it will lead to the economic growth of the country and strengthen their political situation.  Opponents cite that traditional land use patterns will get disrupted, the poor will be displaced, and the environment will be degraded. This canal is not so very different from many other geo-engineering projects in that respect.

 

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political, resourcespolitical ecology.

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Blake Joseph's curator insight, April 24, 2015 4:38 PM

The Chinese government is seriously considering plans to build a new canal through Nicaragua that will rival the United States' Panama canal. The size of the planned canal will be much larger than the Panama canal, allowing much bigger freighters and cargo vessels to be able to pass through it to and from the Chinese mainland. While many Nicaraguans are enthusiastic about the potential jobs and money involved in the project, others can see through this and sense great problems for the country if completed. The canal would destroy many environments within Nicaragua such as Lake Nicaragua and the forest that are located nearby, displacing many people who live and depend on the area for food and work. China is fast becoming a world superpower, and is alarmingly similar to the old Soviet Union as far as a lack of environmental protection and the welfare of citizens. I fear the future environmental impact this will have on Nicaragua could be devastatingly similar to the fatal impacts of other old Soviet failures like the Aral Sea or Chernobyl (without the radioactive isotopes, of course). I think many Nicaraguans do as well.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 1, 2015 2:13 AM


Chapter 5

Humans value, change and protect landscapes

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:12 AM

I'm fascinated by massive geo-engineering projects.  Usually, the proponents of the project will support it claiming that by reconfiguring the geographic settings it will lead to the economic growth of the country and strengthen their political situation.  Opponents cite that traditional land use patterns will get disrupted, the poor will be displaced, and the environment will be degraded. This canal is not so very different from many other geo-engineering projects in that respect.

 

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political, resources, political ecology.

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Why the Violence in Mexico is Getting Worse

"Mass killings have become increasingly common across Mexico due to the country's ongoing war on drugs. Cartels and gangs, often working with help from local police, are murdering innocent victims by the dozens and leaving them in unmarked graves. So just how bad is the violence in Mexico, and what is the Mexican President doing to stop it?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Read the transcript of the video here, that link is also a nice resource for to do some additional research on the topic.


Tags: Mexico, narcotics.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, October 28, 2015 12:23 PM

This video was very informative on the mass killing related to drug cartels. It clearly shows that the war on drugs comes at a high price of human lives. There is not real viable solution to stopping these drugs cartels because as seen in this video, many law enforcement agency cracked down on the head of the cartels but it backfired instead. Many factions or "little snakes" exists now because the head of it is gone. In my opinion we cannot stop drugs violence if there is no reason to make drugs in the first place (the consumers). 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 9:50 PM

It is hard for the Mexican authorities to do anything about it, they know who the drug dealers are but think about it a police chief who is honest has a life expectancy of 18 months on the force.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 5:34 PM

After watching a video like this, I have nothing to feel except sadness, all the missing people and all the dead because of drugs... What really through me for a loop was when the narrator said the police handed people over to a cartel. Who does that? Clearly it is an issue if it makes the top five for most widely reported mass killings, plus who knows however many more going unreported. It appears as something good was being done by capturing and or killing drug cartel leaders, but apparently doing good, made things worse, because without leaders, new factions were made and apparently  those new factions were much worse, being more violent and creating more incidents. Having corruption within is also probably making things much worse.

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China's Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua

China's Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"By the end of this year, digging could begin on a waterway that would stretch roughly 180 miles across Nicaragua to unite the Atlantic and Pacific oceans."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Today, the largest of the massive cargo ships are simply too big to get through the Panama Canal and have to travel down around the tip of South America; China is strategically working on strengthening their geopolitical position in the South China Sea and all international waters.  This is one reason why a Chinese firms are planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's.  This article highlights the reasons for concern (Maps 101 readers can read more about the geographic implications of Nicaragua's plans in this article co-authored by myself and Julie Dixon or you can sign up for a free trial subscription to see what else Maps 101 has to offer). 


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

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Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 7:30 PM

Here in this article, it is discussed why the plan to dig a canal across Nicaragua could be a very bad idea. One main concern is the fact the Wing Jang's company has no prior infrastructure construction background, where the money is coming from, the whole $40 billion. Jang denies the government will have a role in paying. There is also the environmental standpoint. A proposed route would cut through Central America's largest fresh water lake, Lake Nicaragua. The lake is a major source of drinking water and irrigation, and home to rare freshwater sharks and other fish of commercial and scientific value.There is also the possibility of Pacific sea life entering the freshwater of the lake. Economic benefits from this new canal are not even guaranteed. That is just to name a few.  Overall, it seems to me that the earth's environmental affects would outweigh the monetary economics because the potential damage that could be done is devastating to both wild life and people of the country and region.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:18 AM

Today, the largest of the massive cargo ships are simply too big to get through the Panama Canal and have to travel down around the tip of South America; China is strategically working on strengthening their geopolitical position in the South China Sea and all international waters.  This is one reason why a Chinese firms are planning to construct a canal to rival Panama's.  This article highlights the reasons for concern (Maps 101 readers can read more about the geographic implications of Nicaragua's plans in this article co-authored by myself and Julie Dixon or you can sign up for a free trial subscription to see what else Maps 101 has to offer). 


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

Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, February 9, 2018 10:58 AM
(Mexico/Central America) Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, is subsidizing land to a Chinese entrepreneur to build a canal hopefully boosting the economy and unemployment. However, concerns for the environmental impact, rivalry with the Panama Canal, and Chinese control in the Americas are globally relevant. The agreement allows the Chinese company to privately own the canal for 100 years while Nicaragua receives some income. Nicaragua claims the canal will double the economy and triple employment rates, although the public is skeptical. The canal is being constructed through wetlands and Lake Nicaragua, a principle source of drinking water, raising environmental concerns for the rare tropical species and indigenous peoples of the area. The lack of transparency in the canal route and environmental damages raise concerns for biologists, while economists argue that the expanded Panama Canal is a superior choice for shippers.