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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Classifying languages is about politics as much as linguistics

CROSS the boundaries of the former Yugoslavia and you face a few hassles.

Source: www.economist.com

The linguistic differences between languages can be slight, but if politics and identity are involved (as they invariably are), these small linguistic differences can seem massive.  "Languages" can occasionally be dialects with their own armies.  

 

Scoop.it tags: languageculture, borders, political, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia.

WordPress TAGS: language, culture, borders, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia.

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The Japanese art of (not) sleeping

"The Japanese don’t sleep. This is what everyone – the Japanese above all – say. I first encountered these intriguing attitudes to sleep during my first stay in Japan in the late 1980s. Daily life was hectic; people filled their schedules with work and leisure appointments, and had hardly any time to sleep. Many voiced the complaint: ‘We Japanese are crazy to work so much!’ But in these complaints one detected a sense of pride at being more diligent and therefore morally superior to the rest of humanity. Yet, at the same time, I observed countless people dozing on underground trains during my daily commute. Some even slept while standing up, and no one appeared to be at all surprised by this.

The positive image of the worker bee, who cuts back on sleep at night and frowns on sleeping late in the morning, seemed to be accompanied by an extensive tolerance of so-called ‘inemuri’ – napping on public transportation and during work meetings, classes and lectures. Women, men and children apparently had little inhibition about falling asleep when and wherever they felt like doing so."

Source: www.bbc.com

If you subscribe to Edward Hall’s Cultural Iceberg model (video), we can readily see, touch, or experience many parts of a society’s culture; what they wear, the ways the communicate, the food they eat, etc.  Beneath the surface, though, are the less obvious cultural traits that aren’t so easily observed.  These aspects of culture, such as the beliefs, values, and thought patterns of a society, are critical to understanding differing cultural traits.

 

Questions to Ponder: In this article about sleep in Japan, what elements of external culture (above the surface) are present?  What elements of internal culture (beneath the surface) are present?  How do the cultural traits beneath the surface shape the cultural traits that are above the surface?    

Scoop.it Tags: culturecultural norms, labor, JapanEast Asia.

WordPress TAGS: cultural norms, culture, labor, Japan, East Asia.

Identifying Illegal Overfishing

"The vast majority of fishing vessels follow the rules governing fishing – but many are not, and these bad actors can cause a lot of damage. Vessels may take too many fish ­– overfishing – which is causing our fisheries to collapse. Then there is the problem of illegal fishing, which can occur in protected areas, in another country’s waters or on the high seas. This threatens jobs and food security for millions of people, all around the world.

The trouble is, so much of this illegal activity is hidden – it happens out to sea, making it difficult to scrutinize what individual vessels are getting up to. Fortunately, we are now beginning to see what happens after commercial fishing vessels leave port.

The interactive map we created allows anyone in the world with an internet connection to see the activities of the commercial fishing fleet globally."

 

Scoop.it Tags: water, conservation, biogeography, environmentpollution, resourcesmappingfood production, agriculture.

WordPress TAGS: water, biogeography, environment, pollution, resources, mapping, food production, agriculture.

Source: www.bbc.com

Damaged and defiant: Hurricane Harvey

Houston holds strong in the wake of devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.

Source: www.houstonchronicle.com

I am sharing these three interactive webmaps of Houston with my mapping courses to demonstrate what is technologically possible.  Texts, charts, pictures, videos, and maps can be seamlessly integrated to present spatial information in an incredibly engaging and accessible manner.  

Houston’s Hurricane Harvey was incredibly impactful but the factors leading to this were also very complex.  These three Story maps lay out:

  1. Houston’s urban ecological context
  2. The geographic origins of Hurricane Harvey
  3. The human stories from Hurricane Harvey

 

Scoop.it Tagsphysical, watercoastal, urbanurban ecology, disasters, mappingESRIStoryMap.

WordPress TAGS: physical, water, coastal, urban, urban ecology, disasters, mapping, esri, storymap.

China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions

"China’s urbanization is a marvel. The population of its cities has quintupled over the past 40 years, reaching 813m. By 2030 roughly one in five of the world’s city-dwellers will be Chinese. But this mushrooming is not without its flaws. Restraining pell-mell urbanization may sound like a good thing, but it worries the government’s economists, since bigger cities are associated with higher productivity and faster economic growth. Hence a new plan to remake the country’s map.

The idea is to foster the rise of mammoth urban clusters, anchored around giant hubs and containing dozens of smaller, but by no means small, nearby cities. The plan calls for 19 clusters in all, which would account for nine-tenths of economic activity (see map). China would, in effect, condense into a country of super-regions."

Source: www.economist.com

This type of plan would have been politically and economically unthinkable in years past, but the time-space compression (convergence) has made the distances between cities less of a barrier.  High-speed transit in the form of bullet trains link cities to other cities within the cluster more tightly together and the threshold of the functional region expands.  While some of these clusters are more aspirational, the top three (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing) are already powerful global forces. 

Scoop.it Tags: urbanregions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

WordPress TAGS: urban, regions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

How to Build a Smart City

We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it’s hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from scratch, the city of the future.

Source: freakonomics.com

Urbanism isn’t just the study of urban geography as it is, but it also looks to use ideas of design, architectural, transportation, and sustainability to create better cities.  This Freakonomics podcast looks at ways that New York City has changed, with ideas of how to start a new city being experimented with in Toronto.  This 99PI podcast looks at European urbanist ideas that shaped many cities that were damaged during WWII (part II).  Successful cities bring in more residents which bring higher housing costs–so can a city be too successful for it’s own good?  San Francisco grapples with changing economic issues as it is too expensive to hire workers to fill low-skill jobs

 

Tagsurbanism, podcast, architecturetransportation, housing, place, planning.

Nuclear Missile Submarines

Only seven countries in the entire world deploy nuclear weapons at sea, an exclusive and deadly club.

 

Tags: political, military.

Source: www.popularmechanics.com

Seterra Geography Games

Learn world geography the easy way! Seterra is a map quiz game, available online and as an app for iOS an Android. Using Seterra, you can quickly learn to locate countries, capitals, cities, rivers lakes and much more on a map.

Source: www.seterra.com

This is my newest favorite app to recommend for teachers.  If you need students to learn where in the world things are without having to take up class time with map quizzes and the like, this app is great.  It has basic "countries and capitals" quizzes for world regions, but it also has some more difficult quizzes for the those that need/want a challenge.   

 

Tags: trivia, gamesregions, toponyms.

How to tell when criticism of Israel is actually anti-Semitism

Calling out human rights violations shouldn’t stray into bias against Jews.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

This is a very partisan article, but some of the ideas brought up in it are worth discussion in non-partisan settings as well.  The author takes a very liberal perspective critiquing Israeli policies, while loving Judaism, Jewish history, and the right of the Israeli state to exist.  Blanket "good guys" and "bad guys" narratives are always sloppy, but in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it may be even more pernicious.  

 

Tagsop-ed, Israel Judaism conflict, political, Middle East.

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