“All newborn children in Scotland will receive the boxes by the summer following a three-month pilot. The boxes include clothing, bedding and toys and are based on a project that has been running in Finland since 1938 to give all children an equal start.”
Just before World War II, the Finnish government provided boxes filled with material goods to expectant mothers with the hopes of improving infant mortality rates, pre-natal care, and promoting good parenting. The baby box was born and not surprisingly, Finland has the best infant mortality rates in the world. Now Scotland is implementing a similar program as this idea is has diffusing around the world.
“Colored printed sections showing the map of the world are cut to shape then pasted onto the surface of the globes and a protective coat of varnish is added. Narrator recounts the fact that lots of the workers have been there for over 30 years and quips: ‘While the rest of the mankind does its best to blow the world up, they like building a new one.'”
I love watching globes made by hand and this vintage video shows the process of globes being made in London in 1955. While most globe production is mechanized today, you can also watch the Bellerby company use gorgeous artistry to handcraft globes today.
If you own a smartphone and are trying to learn a language, you probably have Duolingo. English is far and away the most dominant, with a caveat: For some learners, English is the only language Duolingo offers with translation into their native tongue. That doesn’t change the fact of universal interest in English, though, which Duolingo notes is studied by 53% of its users. Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. There French takes the lead, followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese.
Questions to Ponder: What role do colonial history and modern economics play in shaping this linguistic data? How does migration influence patterns in bilingualism? What is a lingua franca?
“In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, sending 120,000 people from the US west coast into internment camps because of their ethnic background. Two-thirds of them were born in America. The treatment of Japanese-Americans during the World War Two was denounced by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 as ‘a policy motivated by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.’ He signed the Civil Liberties Act to compensate more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent who were incarcerated in internment camps.“
No one knows who constructed this pyramid 2,300 years ago. Cortés missed it when he invaded the pyramid’s hometown in 1519 and it wasn’t rediscovered until 1910. Today it stands as the largest monument ever constructed.
10 years ago, about 30 miles outside of Veracruz, Mexico, I see a hill completely covered in vegetation. I notice that the angle is rather uniform and that it appears to have distinct faces at right angles. It dawns on my that I’m staring at an archeological site that has not been excavated and the Indiana Jones explorer in me is immediately fascinated. Mexico is filled with sites of ancient civilizations that stir the imagination and this is one of those.
“Conor Knighton is winding up his year-long journey through our National Parks. He’s returned with a backpack full of picture postcards, along with some thoughts.”
This last summer, my family went to five national parks on our cross-country journeys. I love exploring the wonders and beauties in our National Parks, so this man’s 2016 voyage to see all 59 National Parks makes me incredibly jealous. My grandparents took me to Yellowstone and Yosemite when I was young. These trips inspired in me a deep awe for the wonders of this Earth. So go discover someplace new to you this year.
“The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude. The Southern Ocean is now the fourth largest of the world’s five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean). The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has declared, named, and demarcated the Southern Ocean as a fifth, separate ocean.”
Typically we define oceans and seas based on their borders with land as their most important characteristics. Also, we rarely look at the bottom of the globe as the center of our global perspective. Those are a few of the reasons why American students usually have never heard of the Southern Ocean, but Australian students see it as one of the world’s main oceans.
Time for a long trip along the new silk road.
The train is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision for ‘One Belt, One Road’ — dubbed by some as the new silk road. It’s China’s infrastructure initiative, which Xi hopes will improve China’s economic ties with Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“Both sides claim the West Bank as legitimately belonging to them. Over time, and especially as Israeli politics has shifted rightward, the settler movement has become an institutionalized part of Israeli society. Support comes in the form of building permits, public investment, and even incentives for Israelis to move into the West Bank. While peace talks remain frozen, the settlements continue to grow, making any possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank faint.”
These settlements are considered by most of the international community to be illegal, but since the U.S. has always vetoed sanctions in the UN security council, Israel had never been formally reprimanded. Just last week, a UN resolution that passed 14-0 (with only the U.S. abstaining) says that Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity” and demands a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities,” saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution.”
Questions to Ponder: What is the two-state solution? Who favors this plan? What are some reasons why the two-state solution is so difficult to achieve?