A Map of Baseball Nation

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“Fans may not list which team they favor on the census, but millions of them do make their preferences public on Facebook. Using aggregated data provided by the company, we were able to create an unprecedented look at the geography of baseball fandom, going down not only to the county level, as Facebook did in a nationwide map it released a few weeks ago, but also to ZIP codes.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

This isn’t just a fun sports map–there are some good geographic concepts that can be used here.  When discussing cultural regions, many use the core-domain-sphere model.  This map uses the brightest color intensities to represent the core regions and the lightest hues to show waning strength, but to still signify that the area is a part of a team’s sphere of influence.  Essentially, this map is begging you to explore the borderlands, the liminal “in-between” spaces that aren’t as easy to explain.  What other phenomena can be used to demonstrate the core-domain-sphere model of cultural regions?  What other geographic concepts can you teach using this map?  

Tags: fun, sport, placeborders, statistics, mapping, regions.

See on www.nytimes.com

Comparing Rhode Island’s Size

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“I recently received this incredible shirt (I think the Easter bunny must stalk my Facebook page…but the shirt is also available online here).  I loved the idea behind it; the T-shirt mingles big-state bravado that declared regional superiority, with small-state insecurity that begs not forgotten. Both sentiments, even if they are on opposite side of the spectrum, display an enormous sense of regional pride, communal identity.” 

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

My first thought was to check the truthfulness of this map and to see how many “Rhode Islands” there are in state Texas.  I used this clever website that shows the number of areal units equal to the size of Rhode Island that are in any given country. And despite what that southwest bravado may lead you to believe, Texas isn’t its own country. So I needed to find a different website which lets you overlay any two places one on top of the other. This is a fantastic resource for help leverage your students’ local knowledge to teach them about places that are more remote and where their mental maps might have very little data.   And never mess with the Ocean State…even if this is Texas’ version of Earth Day.

See on rigea.org

The Geography of Small Talk

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

Surprising alternatives to “so what do you do?”—from New Orleans to New York.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

The types of questions that you ask when you are meeting someone new for the first time has some regional variations but there is much more to the geography of small talk than that as see in this 4 minute video.  People want to understand your cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic context by asking spatial questions about where you are from.  Identity and place are tightly woven and these neighborhood questions are almost invitations to share much more personal information, as if to ask, “how do you fit in this world?”  When you are being introduced to someone, what are the questions that you ask, and what type of information are you hoping to get?  Each person has their own little geography that has profoundly shaped who they are—so what’s your story? 


Tags: language, regions, folk cultures, communityplace, neighborhood.

See on www.theatlantic.com

How the Potato Changed the World

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

Brought to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers, the lowly potato gave rise to modern industrial agriculture

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

The Colombian Exchange is a term that describes the most dramatic biologic transfer in history.  European explorers brought animals and agricultural items from the Old World to the New and subsequently brought back items from the New World back to the Old.  This exchange profoundly reshaped many societies as agricultural diffusion of the potato lead to the changes across northern Europe. 

Tags: agriculture, food production, diffusion, Europe

See on www.smithsonianmag.com

Why Geography?

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“Geography. It lets you study the world. No, really, THE WORLD. Think about that. What other subject deals with rocks? Moving continents? AND climate? Diffusion of plants and animals? Water quality? Now, what if you add some human systems–do the other sciences let you relate the earth to economic or political systems? And culture–food, religion, music, housing, or language? How about urban systems and settlement forms? Past, present, and future, anywhere in the world? And how many subject areas let you look at something from a scientific, social-scientific, humanistic, AND artistic perspective? Yeah, I said artistic–I like to illustrate my findings with a nice map.

Tell me all about global studies or environmental science if you’d like–they’re alright too. But NOTHING lets you see the world like geography does.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

This ‘sermon‘ from the Church of Geography is outstanding (the ‘Church’ is a geo-evangelizing group on Facebook and Twitter that is the home to the delightful memes pictured above).  Many organizations are trying to re-brand geography to gain greater public support at the same time that other interdisciplinary initiatives with geographic content are gaining traction: global studies, environmental sustainability, centers for spatial analysis, etc.  We don’t need a name change as much as we need people to capture the vision of geography’s centrality and holistic capacity. 

Tags: geo-inspiration, geography education.

See on www.facebook.com

Egypt to ‘escalate’ Ethiopian dam dispute

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

While construction of Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam continues apace, downstream neighbour Egypt is crying foul.  Egypt’s main concern is water security, as the country faces a future of increasing scarcity. Nearly all of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile, and its population of 83 million is growing at nearly two percent annually.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

85% of the Nile’s water comes from the Blue Nile that originates in the Ethiopian highlands–it is the Blue Nile that Ethiopia has been working on damming since 2011.  The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be located ocated near the border with Sudan (see in Google Maps).  As stated in this BBC article (with a nice 1-minute video clip), Egypt and Sudan currently get the majority of the Nile’s waters because of outdated colonial-era treaties that ignored upstream riparian states.  This explains why Egypt is adamantly opposed to Ethiopia’s plan and is actively lobbying the international community to stop construction on the dam, fearing their water supply with be threatened.  Oil might be the most economically valuable liquid resource in North Africa, but water is the most critical for human habitation.   

Tags: Ethiopia, Africa, development. environment, water, energy, borders, political.

See on www.aljazeera.com

The Way Forward in Ukraine

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“During the meeting in Geneva, the participants agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine and restore security for all citizens.  In a joint press availability with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, Secretary Kerry outlined several of these initial steps.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Geography is never a completed story; the world is in a constant state of becoming.  The geography of a place and region are only glimpses from one historical vantage point as Russia and Ukraine are demonstrating now.  The Head of NATO is saying that Ukraine is not the only part of Putin’s geopolitical ambitions and other experts are describing the current situation as a new Cold War.  Collectively this means that diplomats and government officials everywhere are seeking solutions to stabilize Ukraine and the region.  NATO has expanded into what was once the Soviet Union’s buffer zone and as a resurgent Russia is now prepared to exert regional influence.  As Russia has confirmed moving troops closer to Eastern Europe, many are suggesting a stronger NATO presence on the eastern border of NATO to counter Russia’s moves.    

Question to Ponder: What do you think the United States (or any other country) should or shouldn’t do in this region?

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict.

See on blogs.state.gov

Navigating the East China Sea

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

How to ease tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over an uninhabited string of islands.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Experts are saying that Chinese-Japanese relations are as bad as they’ve been since the end of World War II.  Why all the commotion?  The tension has been heightened in the last few months when China claimed control over the airspace in  the East China Sea. Then the Japanese Prime Minister also gave offering to a shrine to honor World War II soldiers (veterans and heroes to some Japanese, war criminals to most of the international community).  China sees this as proof that Japan is becoming more militaristic and willing to exert more power in East Asia.  However, at the root of this issue is that both Japan and China claim certain islands and that is increasingly becoming a sticking point in foreign relations.  See this book review on “Asia’ Cauldron” for more context on the East China Sea.      

Tags: borders, political, conflict, China, Japan, East Asia.

See on www.washingtonpost.com

Venice wants out of Italy

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, “I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second.”  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, “I think we’ll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city” and not actual independence.

Tags: Italy political, economic, states, autonomy, devolution.

See on www.usatoday.com

Feeding 9 Billion

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Agricultural production is one of the ways in which people modify the environment more than any other.  Global population is expected to top out at around 9 billion around 2050, so will we be able to sustainably feed all of the entire human population?  This one question brings up many more spatial, environmental, political and social questions–this interactive feature nicely addresses many of the pertinent issues in a very accessible manner.    

Tags: sustainability, agriculture, food production, environment modify, unit 5 agriculture

See on www.nationalgeographic.com