It is often noted that the cultural composition of the United States is undergoing a shift, referred to by some as the “Browning of America.” The story of Asian and Hispanic growth in the United States are occurring simultaneously, which makes many assume that they are growing for the same reasons. The data clearly shows that this is not the case.
“Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots.”
This TED-ED lesson shows the economic and spatial factors that lead to businesses to cluster together. This video is a very simple introduction to the concept of agglomeration that is based on competition.
“Last week, a major tourist thruway in Yellowstone National Park had to be shut down because the road melted. The road’s Wicked Witch of the West impression was caused by high temperatures in both the air and under the ground. Yellowstone sits atop a volcanic hotspot, and that heat helped cause the asphalt to soften and oil to well up onto the surface.”
As the violent nature of the Israeli Palestinian conflict has escalated, this NY Times article monitors the major points of the last few weeks. The possibility of ‘Peace in the Middle East’ feels so remote, and this Onion article parodies the difficulties of actually achieving this. On a personal note, Chad Emmett taught the “Geography of the Middle East” course while I was at BYU and I’ve always appreciated his perspective; here are his thoughts on recent events.
The Department of Commerce just lifted a ban on satellite images that showed features smaller than 20 inches. The nation’s largest satellite imaging firm, Digital Globe, asked the government to lift the restrictions and can now sell images showing details as small as a foot. A few inches may seem slight, but this is actually a big deal.
As reported by the BBC, this change in the legal use of geospatial information could have a huge impact on many industries. Some are fearful that it could represent an invasion of privacy, and others see this as a way to harness new satellite technology to provide higher resolution data and improved data quality for researchers.
“More Americans came into contact with maps during World War II than in any previous moment in American history. From the elaborate and innovative inserts in the National Geographic to the schematic and tactical pictures in newspapers, maps were everywhere. On September 1, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, and by the end of the day a map of Europe could not be bought anywhere in the United States. In fact, Rand McNally reported selling more maps and atlases of the European theaters in the first two weeks of September than in all the years since the armistice of 1918. Two years later, the attack on Pearl Harbor again sparked a demand for maps.”
There are major hurdles in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestine.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in Washington in July for the first time in three years. While the talks are initially expected to focus on procedural issues, they are already beginning to take on a last-ditch quality. Explore some of the contentious issues that negotiators have faced in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.
This five-part video report from the New York Times is from 2011, but still has some pertinent information, even if the situation has changed in some of the particulars. These videos brings important voices from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; together they all show how a complex cultural and political geography leads to many of the difficulties in creating a long-lasting peace. The discipline of geography doesn’t simple study the peace process–it is a part of it. The creation of borders and the cartographic process play a critical role in solving territorial issues. Geography can be both the problem and the solution.
The question, “what time is it?” does not have one right answer. The correct answer is dependent on your location on the Earth and the cultural and political conventions of the society in which live. Don’t mistake a cartoon for a map without substance.
“The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It complements traditional income-based poverty measures by capturing the severe deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.”
The MPI was developed out of a desire to fill some of the gaps in the HDI’s applicability and utility. Allow me to quote the editor of one the NCGE’s journals, the Geography Teacher, on the usefulness of the MPI website for classroom use: “With the infographics, maps, graphs, country briefings, and case studies, you have a ready-made lesson activities to demonstrate patterns of fertility, mortality, and health for a population unit, and access to health care, education, utilities, and sanitation for an Industrialization and Economic Development Unit. Connections can also be made to malnutrition and water, as well as to key concepts such as pattern and scale, to key geographical skills such as how to use and think about maps and geospatial data, and to the use of online maps and online data.” Also, this article from the World Bank also give a run-down on the key findings of the MPI in 2014.
This is an intriguing article that explores the difficulties of forced migrations that arise from civil war, but it also looks at city planning as refugee camps are established to make homes for the displaced. These camps have become into de-facto cities. The maps, videos and photographs embedded in the article show the rapid development of these insta-cities which organically have evolved to fit the needs of incoming refugees. Size not investing in permanent infrastructure has some serious social, sanitation and financial cost, there are some efforts to add structure to the chaos, to formalize the informal. Truly this is a fascinating case study of in urban geography as we are increasingly living on what Mike Davis refers to as a “Planet of Slums.”