Freakonomics » Parking Is Hell

“The episode begins with Stephen Dubner talking to parking guru Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the landmark book The High Cost of Free Parking. In a famous Times op-ed, Shoup argued that as much as one-third of urban congestion is caused by people cruising for curb parking. But, as Shoup tells Dubner, there ain’t no such thing as a free parking spot.”

Source: freakonomics.com

Everyone searching for a parking space has at one time felt that there are not enough spaces where and when you need them…did you know that their are at least 3 surface lot parking spaces for every car in the United States (not including garages, driveways, etc)?  With 250 million passenger vehicles for 316 million people, that means there are 800 million surface lot parking spaces (that account for only 60-70% of our parking needs).  Parking then is a much bigger issue that we want to believe; this is one of the reasons why IKEA is starting to rethinking their construction model that historically has been designed around huge parking lots.   

Tags: urban, urban ecology, transportation, planning.

Beautiful Landscapes

“Here’s a collection of timelapses I shot during the past year. Amazing landscapes from California, Arizona, Bahamas, Florida, Japan, Taiwan to Italy.”

Source: vimeo.com

Part of a teaching geography is showing the wonders of the Earth in as way that will hopefully spark some awe, curiosity, and desire to see more of the planet.  I think this video is a nice primer for that.  

Tags: landscape, time lapsevideo.

Comparing the five major world religions

“It’s perfectly human to grapple with questions, like ‘Where do we come from?’ and ‘How do I live a life of meaning?’ These existential questions are central to the five major world religions — and that’s not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This TED ED Lesson outlines the basics of five major world religions which in turn have profoundly reshaped the cultural geographies we see today.  While the narration in the video might be a bit dry, the visuals immerse the viewer into the cultural context from which these religions emerged.   

Tags: religion, culture, TEDChristianity, Islam, unit 3 culture.

Why everyone should be able to read a map

New research suggests that map reading is a dying skill in the age of the smartphone. Perish the thought, says Rob Cowen

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Despite the gendered overtones of the article (that it’s important for men to learn to read a map), this is some good advice, regardless of gender.  The vocabulary and concepts of maps can strengthen spatial cognition and geography awareness.  While GPS technology can help us in a pinch, relying primarily on a system that does not engage our navigation skills will weaken our ability to perform these functions.  While it intuitively makes sense, that the ‘mental muscles’ would atrophy when not used, it is a reminder that an overuse of geospatial technologies can be intellectually counterproductive.  So break out a trusty ol’ map, but more importantly, be a part of the spatial decision-making process. 


Tagsmappingspatial, technology, education.

This Fall, Minorities Will Outnumber White Students in U.S. Schools

“While 62 percent of the total U.S. population was classified as non-Hispanic white in 2013, when public schools start this fall their racial landscape will reflect a different America.”

Source: www.theatlantic.com

A new report new shows the changing demographics in American education and how it differs from that of the general population.  The demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the cultural fabric of the country and this interactive feature from the Pew Research Center explores some of these changes.  What are some of the reasons and what are some of the impacts?

Tag: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

The First Day of School Around the World

Take a look at the first day of school celebrations around the world!

Source: kidworldcitizen.org

Access to education is one of the great indicators of development and political stability–educators wish nothing but the best education possible for the next generation, but the experience is quite variable across the globe.  As many places have recently started school again, this article is a reminder that this practice is experienced differently around the world. 

TagseducationK12, developmentperspective, worldwide.

Local Shifts in Labor Demand

“Daily oil production in the Bakken is approaching one million barrels per day, placing it in an elite group of only ten super-giant oil fields in the world that have ever produced that much oil at peak production. In total, nearly one billion barrels of oil have now been produced in the Bakken oil fields, and all of that oil production and related activities have brought the unemployment rate in the Williston area down to below 1% in most months over the last three years. For the most recent month – April – the jobless rate here was 0.9%.”

Source: www.aei-ideas.org

As an oil boom has transformed North Dakota, the influx of oil workers has changed all the sectors of the local economy.  Agriculture has historically been the #1 economic contributor in the region, but huge piles of grain aren’t be shipped to the market, as oil by rail is much more profitable.   

Questions to Ponder: Why is WalMart offering such high wages in North Dakota?  What local factors impact the prevailing wage rate?  What does this tell us about places with low wages?  How does the oil industry impact all the others in the region?     

Tags: manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA.

The 9 biggest myths about ISIS

If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.

Source: www.vox.com

This interactive is a series of related articles, each designed to tackle popular narratives that have been constructed to explain ISIS; there are bits of truths in these myths, but they fail to fully contextualize the reality on the ground.  These nine myths are:

  1. ISIS is crazy and irrational
  2. People support ISIS because they like its radical form of Islam
  3. ISIS is part of al-Qaeda
  4. ISIS is a Syrian rebel group
  5. ISIS is only strong because of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki
  6. ISIS is afraid of female soldiers
  7. The US can destroy ISIS
  8. ISIS will self-destruct on its own
  9. ISIS is invincible

 

Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopolitics.

What Does Earth Look Like?

Source: www.youtube.com

This video covers various topics important to mapping and satellite imagery (and a lesson from an APHG teacher on how to use this video with other resources).  There is so much more to the world and space than what we can see see.  Chromoscope, referenced in the video, simulates other forms of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum besides just visible light.  This type of information is at the core of the science behind all of our satellite imagery.  This video also covers many map projection issues and highlights online resources to understand map distortion including:


Tags: mapping, perspective, images, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 Geoprinciples.