State Borders Were Drawn in the Distant Past. Is It Time to Reimagine Our Map?

“Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers.  Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers.”

Tags: cartography, mapping, visualizationregions, gerrymandering, political, mapping, census, density.

Source: www.slate.com

Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar

“The Mexican tradition celebrates the dead and welcomes their return to the land of the living once a year. Enticing them to make the trip is where the food, drink and musical offerings come in.”

Source: www.npr.org

Like many things in Mexico, the celebrations around the Day of the Dead are a combination of indigenous and Spanish traditions that collide to make something that is uniquely Mexican.  This podcast goes through the symbolism in the cultural artifacts that are such a vibrant part of the festivities.   

TagsMexicofolk culture, culture, podcast.

How was the AIDS epidemic reversed?

“If ever there was a demonstration of the power of science, it is the course of the fight billed ‘Mankind v AIDS’. Until 1981 the disease (though already established in parts of Africa) was unknown to science. Within a decade it passed from being seen as primarily a threat to gay men, and then to promiscuous heterosexuals, to being a plague that might do to some parts of Africa what the Black Death did to medieval Europe. But now, though 1.6m people a year still die of it, that number is on a downward trajectory­, and AIDS rarely makes the headlines any more. How was this achieved?  The answer has two parts: sound science and international co-operation.”

Source: www.economist.com

The Ebola epidemic has dominated headlines recently.  In their haste, it has been lost on that media the scary medical story of the 20th century (AIDS) that was going to doom Africa is now a success story.  Some of the stories about Ebola have treated Africa as one monolithic place–Africa is not a single story.  

Tagsmedical, diffusion, Africa, regions, perspective.

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

“Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.”

Source: www.youtube.com

To gain a global perspective inherently requires understanding multiple perspectives.  Africa is frequently portrayed as ‘the other’ but also homogenized within a single narrative that ‘flattens’ truth.  How can we teach and learn about other places in a way that develops geographic empathy and shows the many stories of that can belong to any one place? 

Tags: Africa, perspective, TED.

Population growth far outpaces food supply in conflict-ravaged Sahel

“The Sahel’s ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and global warming will only exacerbate the imbalance, according to a new study.  Among the 22 countries making up the arid region in northern Africa, the population grew to 471 million in 2010 from 367 million in 2000, a jump of nearly 30%. As the population grew rapidly, the production of crops remained essentially unchanged.  Using satellite images to calculate annual crop production in the conflict-ridden Sahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, the researchers then compared output with population growth and food and fuel consumption.”

 

Tags: Africa, Sahelpopulation, environment, water, ecology, environment depend, weather and climate, sustainability, agriculture, food production.

Source: www.theguardian.com

The Legacy of Canals

“The historical geography of Erie Canal reshaped a nation.”

Source: www.lowbridgeproductions.com

Back in the early 1800s, New York was one of the three biggest cities in the United States, but what led to it’s surge past Philadelphia and Boston?  Geography and new technological innovations that favored New York City’s relative location.   NYC was the only city on the East coast that could access the Great Lakes via canal, and after the construction of the Erie Canal, NYC has always been the preeminent city in the USA.  

TagsNYC, transportation, industry, economic, globalization, technology.