April 20, 2010

Blog Topic #12

The volcanic eruption currently taking place near Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland provides a perfect opportunity to apply geography. To fully understand this event and its global implications one must pull together information from a variety of sources and disciplines. This is the hallmark of geography - thinking spatially while piecing together the necessary information/facts to understand a specific event or phenomena.

In this blog I want you to read about and research this event and comment on the connections to and/or impacts on each of the following:

1) Location of volcano
2) Economics
3) Physical Geography/Geology
4) Politics
5) Movement of People/Transportation

April 19, 2010

Blog Topic #11

As I mentioned in class last week - The opportunities in East Asia (especially China) for people your age are endless. Whether it's teaching English, serving as a short or long-term missionary, teaching full-time, or working for a multinational business, there are a multitude of options.

In this blog I want you to choose one of the following to explore more in-depth. Visit the links I provide and also explore related websites on your own and then blog about what the agency/organization does, the opportunities available for college grads, and how it all relates to our flattening (globalizing) world.

1. Hong Kong International School

2. Lutheran Church Missouri Synod International Work

3. Concordia International School Shanghai

4. Language Corps

5. Jobs in China

April 15, 2010

Blog Topic #10

One of my favorite shows is Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Shown on the Travel Channel, it combines two of my favorite things: food and geography.

One of the best parts of traveling is sampling local foods, which in this show can be very exotic and oftentimes downright disgusting to us Americans. But, as I always say, it is not taste that determines what we like to eat, but culture. We learn what is good or not good to eat. So while we turn up our noses at drinking fresh cow blood, it is a delicacy to the Maasai of Tanzania.

Go to the Bizarre Foods website (http://alturl.com/amtz) and watch some of the shows video clips or go to YouTube and search "Bizarre Foods." Blog about the strangest thing you have eaten, or seen someone else eat during your travels. Or, just write about why you think people around the world have such a varied diet. How will continued globalization impact what people will or will not eat in the future? Thoughts?

April 6, 2010

Blog Topic #9

Forbes recently published its list of the world's billionaires. Interestingly, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu eclipsed Bill Gates as the richest person in the world. His networth of $53.5 billion edges out Bill Gates' paltry $53 billion. Nebraskan Warren Buffet, aka the Oracle of Omaha, is third with an estimated net worth of $47 billion.

As with most things, you can think spatially about where billionaires are found and how they amassed their fortunes. For example, Russia has 62 billionaires, with Moscow ranking only behind New York City in cities with the most billionaires. Meanwhile, Finland and Pakistan have their first billionaires while China, with 89, now has the most outside the U.S.

Go to http://bit.ly/cge0mu and read and learn about the latest list of the world's richest people. Make sure to examine the breakdown of billionaires by region and peruse all the other interesing information on the site.

Assignment: Be creative and blog about the Forbes list. You can select one person or region on the list to write about or write about the list in general. Jazz up your post with videos, article links, or pictures.

Think spatially.

April 1, 2010

Blog Topic #8

A great way to teach and learn about the world is through online video clips. National Geographic maintains a vast collection of video clips organized by region, country, and topic.

Go to http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/ and search the database to find a video that interests you. Be sure to expand the categories to see the types and categories of videos available. Select and embed one of these videos in your blog and describe why you selected it.

March 9, 2010

Blog Topic #7

Free Blog!
For this post you are free to choose a topic that interests you. Remember - geography is the study of the surface of the earth, freeing us to explore the spatial aspects of almost anything.

Include a visual (picture, map, video) and/or weblink that helps to highlight or explain your topic.

Safe travels, God's Blessings, and have a great Spring Break!

February 25, 2010

Blog Topic #6

As of January 4, 2010 the world officially has a new tallest building. The Burj Khalifa rises 2,717 feet above the sands of the emirate of Dubai (one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates), the tallest human-made structure ever built.
The Burj Khalifa replaces the CN Tower in Toronto as the tallest free standing, human-built structure on Earth. Under construction since 2004, the building cost approximatley $1.5 billion, and now sits near other well-known sites such as the Palm Jamierah and Burj Al Arab.

The view from atop this building is truly amazing:

The question for geographers is: Why is Dubai one of the wealthiest areas of the world and how is their developement interconnected with other countries and people? An interesting and complex question.

In this blog I want you to embed a YouTube clip from a country found wihin the S.W. Asia/N. Africa region. The topic you choose is up to you. Include an in-depth and insightful discussion of how the video clip relates to the physical and/or cultural geography of the region or country.

February 17, 2010

Blog Topic #5

The United Nations produces the Human Development Index (HDI) through its Human Development Program. Each year it produces a Human Development Report that lists the countires of the world in relation to several indices. All of the countries ranked as Low Human Development are loctaed within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Go to http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/ to access a variety of information about Human Development (HD). Select the HD World Map link to examine the spatial distribution of HD. Zoom into Africa and mouse over countries to see their HDI and to access additional information. You can also select different years, back to 1980, to see how HD is improving throughout the world.

Also select the HDI Rankings link to see the high, medium, and low ranking countries in the world. Make sure you select some individual countries from Sub-Saharan Africa and some outside the region for comparison. You will also want to visit the Frequently Asked Questions link to learn more.

Questions to blog about:
- What variables are used to calculate HDI?
- What is the geographic pattern of HDI in the world?
- Provide some thoughts as to why Sub-Saharan Africa is ranked so low in HDI?

February 11, 2010

Blog Topic #4

Geography assists us in understanding current events taking place around the world. Your job for this post is to find an online current event/news item concerning Latin America and post the link on your blog. Write several paragraphs explaining how the article relates to our discussion about the region or material from the textbook. If your article contains a picture, embed it in your blog.

Most news organizations have links on their websites to international stories or search boxes that let you select news by world region. For example, see the following:


To shorten a hyperink go to http://metamark.net/.

February 3, 2010

Blog Topic #3

A cartogram is a type of map where another variable, such as Prevalence of HIV, is substituted in place of area when drawing the size of the country. Select the map on the right to view the size of countries based on prevalence of HIV.

One of the best websites available for examining a variety of variables via cartograms is World Mapper - http://www.worldmapper.org/

Go to World Mapper and select A-Z Map Index to view all the maps available. Select two of these and embed them into your blog and then write about what each shows and some reasons explaining the distribution. Make sure you read the information available, including the .pdf poster that includes some excellent information about each map.

January 28, 2010

Blog Topic #2

Google Earth is an excellent tool for viewing the Earth from different spatial perspectives and scales. We are trained from an early age to veiw the world from flat maps showing north at the top and south at the bottom. Many maps also center the U.S. in the middle of the map. Viewing the Earth from different perspectives changes our views and makes us think about how people living in other areas "view" the United States.

In this blog I want you to show Latin America from two different perspectives and/or scales. For example, the perspective shown at right makes you realize how narrow the isthmus connecting South America and Middle America actually is.

Go to Google Earth and "fly around" until you find a unique perspective. Feel free to add or remove layers of information available on Google Earth. When you have the image you want positioned on the screen go to File, Save, Save Image..., and save the image as a .jpeg and then upload it into your blog. Describe how each image makes you think differently about Latin America.

If you don't have Google Earth on your computer, go to http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html to download a free version.

January 14, 2010

Blog Topic #1

The island nation of Haiti is experiencing the devastating impact of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The video below provides a glimpse of how violent the ground shook.

Natural disasters and the worldwide relief efforts that quickly follow are examples of globalization. Technology allows pictures, videos, and calls for help to circulate around the globe in a matter of minutes. That is a good thing. As I write this billions of dollars in relief aid, equipment, and rescue personel are flowing into Haiti. Relief efforts are made difficult by the economic and political realities of Haiti - the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

In this blog I want you to:
1. Post a Youtube video showing some aspect of the disaster and/or relief efforts and comment on why you selected this video and what it says about the situation.

2. Post a picture from Haiti and comment on how the image assists us in understanding the cause, impacts, or relief efforts associated with the the disaster.

January 7, 2010

January 5, 2010

Welcome Students

Welcome to World Regional Geography for the spring 2010 semester. I look forward to getting to know all of you this semester and expanding your knowledge of the world.

God has created such an amazing world for us, with so many things to learn and places to travel to and explore. Studying geography will make your travels and life more fulfilling since you will understand and appreciate what you see, feel, taste, and experience!