Gravitational Pull

“Revolution and rotation are the terms we use to describe the motions of the earth and moon. Revolution is the movement of the earth in an orbit around the sun.  The Earth completes one revolution around the sun every 365 days. The moon revolves around the Earth about once every month.” 

Source: www.nowykurier.com

Understanding the relationships between the Sun, Earth and moon are critical for for understanding the seasons, climate and other geographic factors.  This interactive simulates gravity unlike anything I’ve every seen on a computer screen. 

To exploring Earth-Sun interactions, playing around with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Sun Simulator is a fun way to make a little more sense of the various factors that control how the Sun appears in the sky.

How a Buddhist shrine transformed a neighborhood

“Sometimes, rehabilitating a rough neighborhood is a tough process. But in one West Coast American city, it was as simple as adding a Buddha statue.  Since the statue’s installation, a street corner has been transformed from a notorious eyesore to a daily prayer spot for local Vietnamese Buddhists.  For this Geo Quiz, we’re looking for the city where this shrine is located — can you name it?”

Source: www.pri.org

This podcast is a great glimpse into an urban transformation that took place without any central planning nor can the changes be classified as gentrification. 

Tags: neighborhood, place, culture, economic, urban.

How One Woman’s Discovery Shook the Foundations of Geology

Without ever setting sail, Marie Tharp mapped the ocean floor and made a discovery that shook the foundations of geology. So why did the giants of her field dismiss her findings as “girl talk”?

Source: mentalfloss.com

I love this article, because it is a fantastic reminder of some excellent principles. 

  1. Women in science are awesome and we need to encourage girls in STEM disciplines. 
  2. Mapping the unknown can lead to shocking discoveries. 
  3. Underlying grand discoveries is tedious work with unexciting data. 
  4. It wasn’t too long ago that we didn’t understand foundational principles about the Earth (such as plate tectonics). 

Tags: tectonicsphysical, mapping, cartography, 201, statistics, STEM.

U.S. and Cuba’s Rocky Relations

“President Obama announced on December 17 that the United States will resume diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of antagonism. Bloomberg’s Sam Grobart recaps the standoff between the two nations, and explains why the icy relationship has begun to thaw.”

Source: www.youtube.com

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news that the United States is seeking to normalize relations with Cuba and politicians are reacting to this news in diverse ways. This video gives a quick rundown of the history of Cold War tensions between these two neighbors.   

Tags: Cuba, conflict, political, geopolitics.

Mapping the Way to a More Equal World

Inequality isn’t just about money. It’s also about information. The lack of reliable data about developing countries makes things like development work and disaster relief much harder.

Source: www.thetakeaway.org

There is ‘mapping inequality’ throughout the world; poorer countries often don’t have comprehensive census information and geospatial data.  Crowdsourced mapping is seeking to change and improve geographic awareness, especially in moments of crisis.  For example the maps of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea were essentially blank at the beginning of the Ebola outbreak but that glaring need meant volunteers were using geographic tools to improve developmental situations by providing more information.

Tagspodcast, disasters, mapping, cartography.

Visualizing Urban Change

“60 years has made a big difference in the urban form of American cities. The most rapid change occurred during the mid-century urban renewal period that cleared large tracts of urban land for new highways, parking, and public facilities or housing projects. Fine-grained networks of streets and buildings on small lots were replaced with superblocks and megastructures. While the period did make way for impressive new projects in many cities, many of the scars are still unhealed.  We put together these sliders to show how cities have changed over half a century. In this post, we look at Midwestern cities such as [pictured above] Cincinnati, Ohio.”

Source: iqc.ou.edu

It’s ironic that I feel more accustomed to exploring Cincinnati, OH on foot than I do Providence, RI.  Although I drive in downtown Providence regularly, I seldom have a reason to walk and explore it.  In my yearly visits to Cincinnati to score the AP Human Geography exams, I’m outside my hometown and away from my typical routine. That helps me feel more like a flâneur, to stroll the streets and explore the urban landscape.  This set of 7 before and after images shows Midwestern cities (Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Columbus) lets you digitally analyze the last 70 years of urban morphology.  Click here for a gallery 7 of cities in Texas and Oklahoma


Questions to Ponder: What are the biggest changes you see for the 1950 to today?  How are the land uses difference?  Has the density changed?  Do any of urban models help us understand these cities?

Tags: urban, planning, industry, economichistorical, geospatial, urban models, APHG.

Who Owns The North Pole?

“Though uninhabited and full of melting ice caps, the Arctic is surprisingly an appealing piece of real estate. Many countries have already claimed parts of the region. So who technically owns the North Pole? And why do these nations want it so bad?”

Source: www.youtube.com

Denmark is now being more assertive in their claimsWhy is this happening now?  As climate change threatens polar ice caps, some see the receding ice as an economic and political opportunity.  Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and the U.S. are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic.  When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic’s resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes).  Even a global disaster like climate change can make countries behave like jackals, ready to feast on a dead carcass.  For more, read this National Geographic blogpost.  


TagsArctic, economic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, unit 4 politicalclimate change, political ecology.

Forget Midwest. We Are North: Repositioning Minnesota’s National Identity for the 21st Century

“The Midwest is this big nebulous part of the country and it’s kind of what’s left over after all the other regions of the country are defined. Those regions have much stronger identities if you think of the East Coast or maybe New England or the Pacific Northwest or certainly the South. The Midwest is kind of the catchall for what’s left.  We [Minnesota] should be called the North.”

Source: www.thelinemedia.com

Whether I agree or not with the ideas being discussed, I simply love that this discussion is taking place and how intensely geographical the ideas and evidences being brought forward are.  

Questions to Ponder: So what region do you live in?  What defines that region?  Are there other regions that you can claim to be a part of also?  How would you divide the United States into various regions?  How come?

Tagsplaceregions, culture