The Daily Show–Spot the Africa

Between rampant racial inequality and Ebola outbreaks, South African comedian Trevor Noah admits he hesitated to visit a country as underdeveloped as America.


Since social media is buzzing with the news that Trevor Noah is replacing Jon Stewart as the host of the Daily Show, I wanted to show a geographically themed clip from one of Trevor’s previous correspondence pieces on the show.  This clip was filmed during the height of the Ebola hysteria and Ferguson protests; the main topic is misconceptions in the United States about Africa.  His life itself is a portal into mixed South African geographies.  Below you will find his other geographically-themed Daily Show clips.

Tags: Ebola, Africa, regions, perspective.


Political Polarization in the American Public

Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in recent history. And these trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life.

A decade ago, the public was less ideologically consistent than it is today. In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share who are ideologically consistent has doubled: 21% express either consistently liberal or conservative opinions across a range of issues – the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy and many others.

Tags: political, statistics, regions, USA.


Creative Destruction

It’s much worse than people realize.


The relatively recent decline of music industry, as well as the newspaper industry, are good examples to teach the concept of creative destruction.  As jobs are created through new emerging technologies, older jobs will be rendered obsolete and be ‘destroyed.’  While many bemoan the loss of particular jobs as regrettable, it is a part of globalization of economic geography that as jobs are created with new technologies, other jobs disappear.  Indoor plumbing meant the death of the water-carrying guilds (while I might be sad they lost their jobs, I’m keeping my plumbing).  The trick is to make these transitions smooth and to prepare the labor force to have skills that the new economy will demand so that individual families and workers aren’t casualties of this ‘creative destruction’ process.     

Tagseconomic, laborglobalization, unit 6 industry.


“How well do you know your Saskatchewan slang? At Insightrix in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, we’ve got the prairies down flat!”


Here’s an entertaining clip on different regionalized vocabularies and a hint of accent confusion thrown in there.  The portrayal is over the top, but it’s all local vocabulary that life-long residents certainly understand.  Here’s 320 more Canadian slang terms for you (scroll to the bottom).    

TagsCanada, language, fun.

Bang Kachao: Bangkok’s Green Lung

“In the heart of Thailand’s most populous city, an oasis stands out from the urban landscape like a great “green lung.” That’s the nickname given to Bang Kachao—a lush protected area that has escaped the dense development seen elsewhere in Bangkok.  The city is built on the alluvial plain of the Chao Phraya River. Toward the southern end, near the Gulf of Thailand, is an old meander that never quite formed an oxbow lake. That meander traces the boundary of Bang Kachao, which TIME magazine once called the ‘best urban oasis’ in Asia.  According to a travel story in The New York Times, Bang Kachao is gaining popularity among tourists lured by bike tours, a floating farmers’ market, and the relaxed atmosphere.”

Tags: physical, fluvialremote sensing, land use, Thailand, Southeast Asia, urban ecology.


Road from Europe to U.S.? Russia proposes superhighway

London to New York City by car? It could happen if the head of Russian Railways has his way.


As Asya Pereltsvaig, the author of Languages of the World, wrote: “That’s what happens when Russia’s main problems, fools and roads (дураки и дороги), are combined…”  It’s the opposite idea of the summer road trip that is designed to hit all the major tourist sites.


Questions to Ponder: What are the pros and cons of this project?  What would it take to actually happen?  This map is a Mercator Projection–would a different map change your perspective on the feasibility of the project? 

TagsRussia, map projections, transportation, tourism.

Viva Gentrification!

“In Highland Park, as in other Latino barrios of Los Angeles, gentrification has produced an undeniable but little appreciated side effect: the end of decades of de facto racial segregation. It’s possible to imagine a future in which ‘the hood’ passes into memory.  Racial integration is on the upswing.  For all the fortitude and pride you’ll find in Latino barrios, no one wants to live in a racially segregated community or attend a racially segregated school.”  

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic, California, Los Angeles.