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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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regions

How Does the U.S. Census Bureau Define Rural?

“The U.S. Census Bureau has designed a multimedia application experience, a story map, called ‘Rural America: How Does the U.S. Census Bureau Define Rural?’ This story map contains interactive web maps, tables, information, and images to help explain how the Census Bureau defines ‘rural.’ Many rural communities rely on American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates, rather than ACS 1-year estimates, because of population thresholds. This story map helps data users understand the history and definition of ‘rural.’ Watch this video and then visit the story map to learn more.” Visit the Story Map: http://go.usa.gov/x8yPZ  

Source: www.youtube.com

Census geography brings statistical data to life as seen in their newly designed interactive story map, called “Rural America: How Does the U.S. Census Bureau Define ‘Rural?” Not only does this story map helps explain how the Census Bureau defines rural, but it displays some fantastic data that helps students to explore rural America.  Many APHG teachers refer to unit 5 as the “ag unit” but the full title, Agriculture, food production, and rural land use, certainly does highlight why this can be a valuable resource.  

 

Tags: rural, census, regions, mappingESRIStoryMap.

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet

“Kazakh was written in Arabic script until 1920 when it was substituted by the Latin alphabet. In 1940, it was replaced by a Cyrillic one. ‘Given that over 100 countries in the world use the Latin script, it is crucial for Kazakhstan’s integration into the global educational and economic environment,’ said Gulnar Karbozova.

The former Soviet Republic declared independence in 1991. Its state language is Kazakh, a member of the Turkic family.

Yet, Russian is widely spoken across Kazakhstan and is its second official language.”

Source: www.aljazeera.com

Having to translate your language into another is one level of cultural difference, but having to change into another writing system (transliteration) adds an extra layer of foreignness that makes interactions more difficult.  Kazakhstan, a with a history of connections to the Middle East and Russia, is now making a choice that appears to signal greater connection to the larger global community.  This is not going to be an easy transitions, as as this additional BBC article notes, the choice comes with plenty of advantages and disadvantages

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, regions, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language?

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

Source: freakonomics.com

These two podcasts are great mainstream looks at issues that filled with cultural geography content.  So many languages on Earth is clearly inefficient (the EU spends $1 billion per year on translation), and yet, linguistic diversity is such a rich part of humanity’s cultural heritage.  Listen to the first episode, Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? as well as the follow-up episode, What Would Be the Best Universal Language?

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, regions, diffusiontechnology.

“The Last of the Free Seas”

“The Last of the Free Seas is the title of this fantastic map of the Great Lakes made by Boris Artzbasheff.  It was published in Fortune Magazine in July 1940.”

Source: www.reddit.com

The inland waterways were absolutely critical to the demographic and economic development of the eastern part of the United States, especially from 1820-1940.  Before World War II, Great Lakes shipping exceeded the tonnage of U.S. Pacific Coast shipping (see hi-res map here). World War II and the beginning of the Cold War led to a consolidation of naval power for the United States and its allies, greatly expanding Pacific shipping trade and spurring fast-developing economies countries. 

 

Great Lakes shipping dramatically declined, in part because steel production has gone to lower-cost producers that were connected to the U.S. economy through the expanded trade.  Some could see irony since the steel warships created from the Great Lakes manufacturing enabled expanded Pacific and Atlantic trade that led to the decline of Great Lakes manufacturing and regional struggles in the rust belt.  Still, more than 200 million tons of cargo, mostly iron ore, coal, and grain, travel across the Great Lakes annually.

 

This deindustrialization clearly is a huge economic negative but the environmental impacts for lakeside communities has been enormous.  Industrial emissions in the watershed and shipping pollution in the lakes went down as waterfowl populations returned and more waterfront property became swimmable again.  Still this map of the environmental stress on the Great Lakes shows they are far from pristine.    

 

Tagsenvironment, historicalwater, resources, transportation, industry, economicregions, globalization.

 

What on Earth Is Wrong With Connecticut?

Conservatives say the state has a tax problem. Liberals say it has an inequality problem. What it really has is a city problem.

 

Connecticut is losing rich companies (and their tax revenues) while it’s adding low-wage workers, like personal-care aides and retail salespeople. Yet it remains a high-tax state. That’s a recipe for a budget crisis.

 

The rise and fall of Connecticut fits into the story of American cities. In the 1970s, American metros were suffering a terrible crime wave, and New York was dropping dead. That meant boom times for New York’s suburbs and southwestern Connecticut. But now many of those companies are moving back, lured by newly lower-crime cities and the hip urban neighborhoods where the most educated young workers increasingly want to live.

 

Finally, the hottest trend in American migration today is south, west, and cheap—that is, far away from Connecticut, both geographically and economically. Texas is growing rapidly, and seven of the 10 fastest-growing large metropolitan areas in 2016 were in the Carolinas and Florida. Of the 20 fastest-growing metros, none are in the northeast.

 

Tags: urban, regions, economic.

Source: www.citylab.com

Pro Wrestling and Economic Restructuring

“For decades, professional wrestling in North America operated under a system of informally defined ‘territories.’ Each territory represented an individual promotion with its own stable of talent that drew crowds to local arenas and broadcast the product on regional television stations. In 1982, Vince McMahon purchased his father’s company, the World Wrestling Federation. For almost two decades, he endured an epic conquest of the pro wrestling world that led to where he is today: standing tall as the undisputed king of the industry.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This may seem like a strange video for geography educators and students.  In one sense, the history of a wrestling entertainment business is trivial, but this provides a great example of how using economies of scale can overcome regional advantages as new technologies enter the market.  Maybe is not a ‘real’ sport, but the example of wrestling might pique a few students’ interest as the economic principles are made manifest. 

 

Questions to Ponder: How do emerging technologies lead to economic disruption?  Why was regional systems so prevalent in the 1950s and1960s?  If Vince McMahon didn’t pursue this plan, would there still be smaller, regional wrestling organizations?  Why or why not? 

 

Tags: regions, economic, diffusiontechnologysport, industry

The Incredible growth of megacities

“The world’s cities are booming and their growth is changing the face of the planet. Around 77 million people are moving from rural to urban areas each year. The latest UN World Cities Report has found that the number of “megacities” – those with more than 10 million people – has more than doubled over the past two decades, from 14 in 1995 to 29 in 2016. And whereas the developed world was once the home of the biggest cities, this map shows that it is now the developing world taking the lead.”

 

Tags: urban, megacities, regions.

Source: www.weforum.org

Why do people and nations trade?

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“Mark Blyth of Brown University explains international trade.” 

Source: vimeo.com

To understand international trade, you need to understand how the factors of production vary from place to place, resulting in different locations having a comparative advantage on a global market.  This video nicely explains that with the example of Scotland’s comparative advantage raising sheep with southern Europe’s comparative advantage in producing wine.   Does the size of a country matter in trade?  You betcha.

 

Tags: regions, economic, diffusion, industry

Is Zealandia the eighth continent?

“A group of geologists say they’ve enough evidence to confirm the existence of a new continent. Writing in the journal of the Geological Society of America, the group named the eighth continent ‘Zealandia.’ Scientists argue for an 8th continent, Zealandia, in the Geological Society of America.”

Source: www.youtube.com

What makes a continent a continent? There is no set definition of a continent. Some consider cultural groupings and would consider Europe as a separate continent from Asia as a consequence. Geologists consider continental shelves as the defining characteristics of a continent and thus consider Eurasia to be just one continent. We are so accustomed to seeing the coastlines, but if the ocean were drained, we’d see Zealandia and it’s ancient confidential shelf–but don’t expect all the continental maps in elementary schools to change anytime soon.

 

Questions to Ponder: Does human geography or physical geography determine what you consider a continent?  How come?       

 

Tags: physical, tectonics, geologyregions, Oceania.

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