Check out Election Central from PBS with tools, resources & solutions to engage students in the political process.
The first presidential election last night has intensified the already polarized political conversation in the United States. This is a great resource to explore historic political maps and cartograms. It also has rich tools to project the possibilities for the 2016 election with ready-made lesson plans.
I was riding my bike during Labor Day weekend and chanced upon a yard sale with an old globe going for $4 (of course I bought it and rode home one-handed). There were some clues that it wasn’t a recent globe (The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia still existed and Burkina Faso was labeled Upper Volta and Zimbabwe was listed as Rhodesia). I knew that if I wanted to know what year this globe was produced, I would need this XKCD guide. XKCD is a comic strip that deals with many intellectual issues, but it can also be a wealth of quality scientific information. This infographic (hi-res) is amazingly useful if you are trying to find the map of an undated map, but the flow chart also is a wealth of global history and moments that ‘changed the map.’
I’ve covered massacres in South Sudan, concentration camps in Myanmar and widespread stunting in India, but it’s also important to acknowledge the backdrop of global progress. Otherwise, the public may perceive poverty as hopeless and see no point in carrying on the fight — at just the point when we’re making the most rapid gains ever recorded.
The world is winning the war on extreme poverty, but most Americans think that poverty is getting worse. Doom and gloom can dominate media coverage because a horrific tragedy gets better rating than slow incremental improvements. The general public is often ignorant of the measurable improvements going on in the world today. No, the world isn’t perfect, but it is getting better.
Without sophisticated sensor packages, drones would just be expensive RC airplanes. In this video, Avweb looks at some of the things they can carry.
This video gets deep into the specs of sensor packages and the commercial side of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), but it shows how emerging technologies are using and creating geographic data. This is also a reminder that geography can be incredibly useful in a diverse range of economic sectors and has far-reaching applications in the real world–geography can be incredibly cutting edge.
For hundreds of years, on the eighth month of the lunar calendar, people have gathered along the shores of China’s Qiantang River at the head of Hangzhou Bay to witness the waves of its famous bore tide. Higher-than-normal high tides push into the harbor, funneling into the river, causing a broad wave that can reach up to 30 feet high. If the waves surge over the banks, spectators can be swept up, pushed along walkways or down embankments. Below, I’ve gathered images from the past few years of the Qiantang bore tides.
This is an amazing set of images, where a cultural phenomenon is wrapped up in observing the pulsating physical geography of the river. Usually the tidal bore is impressive (but not dangerous–see video here), but occasionally it can be incredibly violent (see this 2015 video).
I’ve lived in both the plátano and banano sub-regions of the Spanish-speaking realm and this discrepancy was one I always found curious (likewise, peanut butter is called crema de cacahuate in Mexico, but mantequilla de maní in Costa Rica). I’ve had many humorous encounters with friends from throughout the Spanish-speaking world when words that mean one thing in a particular country have VERY different connotations in another.
Questions to Ponder: Why do languages have different vocabularies in distinct places? Why makes a language especially prone to a varied set of regionalized terms?
After years of seeing fruit-flavored candy, we are now seeing candy-flavored fruit. The company Grapery is very careful to highlight that these patented fruit varieties are not GMOs, but the cotton candy flavored grapes are cross pollinated by hand (by fruit geneticists). You can watch this 4 minute CBS video about the agricultural production and marketing of this new product. Yes, I’ve experimented with these at a friend’s house, and they really do taste like cotton candy (and no, I’m not planning on purchasing any).
Questions to Ponder: Does this make you leery about eating this or totally excited to try it? How come? Why is the company so adamant to state that these grapes are non-GMO? According to the video, what are the primary concerns of most grape producers and how does that contrast with this company?
“In the Northern Hemisphere, the fall equinox marks the first day of fall (autumn) in what we call astronomical seasons. There’s also another, more common definition of when the seasons start, namely meteorological definitions, which are based on average temperatures rather that astronomical events. Equinoxes are opposite on either side of the equator, so the autumnal (fall) equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the spring (vernal) equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.”
“Chinese women face immense pressure to get married before they turn 27. In many Chinese cities, so called marriage markets are a common sight, where parents go to post and match personal ads. A number of brave Chinese women have finally stood up to speak their mind against society’s labels and their parents’ pressures.”
This emotional ad about ‘leftover women‘ in China has received a lot of traffic and is now invigorating a national conversation about marriage customs, gendered norms, and cultural expectations. What isn’t as explicit in the video is how demographic policies and cultural preferences for boys has created the situation that puts added pressure on single women.
Questions to Ponder: How is this (at least partially) a lingering impact of the One Child Policy? What traits of traditional Chinese culture led to this current situation?