April 15, 2011

Blog Topic #11 - Final Blog!

For this post I want you to find a map of your choice to post on your blog.  The map can come from any region and on a topic of your choice.  One of my favorite websites is Strange Maps, a collection of  "cartographic curiosities" from around the world.  Explore the web to find a map that interests you, post it and write a brief paragraph on why you selected the map.

I found this map interesting for several reasons: 

1) It demonstrates how huge the U.S. economy is compared to other countries.
US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs

2) The Czech Republic is compared to Nebraska.  Wilbur, NE is the Czech Capitol of the U.S.

Blog Topic #10

"As a poor region, Sub-Saharan Africa is linked to the global economy more through the flow of financial aid and loans than through the flow of goods."

This quote from the Aid Versus Investment section of your textbook highlights an ongoing debate about how best to assist in African development. Read this section, along with the Global To Local box on the used clothing trade.
The United States is the top donor state to Africa, with former President Bush tripling aid during his administration to about $6 billion by 2006. Read this article (http://www.cato.org/pubs/edb/edb2.pdf) from the CATO institute arguing that the $500 billion in aid since 1960 has created dependency, not development. Money flowing into countries through loans and aid is often invested outside the continent, stolen by corrupt leaders, or spent on ill-adivsed programs.

What do you think? Should the U.S. and other foreign governments and NGOs continue to provide aid, or should they focus on developing trade, industry, and infrastructure?

April 8, 2011

Blog Topic #9

The recent unrest in North Africa and the Middle East is impacting the world in may ways, including the price of oil.  It is also happening and changing very quickly.  This map shows some of the nations facing change, and it's already out of date since President Mubarak of Egypt stepped down and there is definitely opposition to Gaddafi in Libya.
In this post I want you to select a country in this region and research the protests taking place.  Post at least one image from the country that highlights the protest movement.  Summarize why the protests are taking place and what the protesters are seeking to accomplish.

Explore Your World!

March 25, 2011

Blog Topic #8

Google Earth is an excellent tool to view the Earth from different spatial perspectives. We are trained from an early age to view the world from flat maps showing north at the top and south at the bottom. Many world maps also center the U.S. in the middle of the map.

In this blog I want you to show an area of the world from a different perspective/angle/direction than it is normally viewed. For example, the perspective shown at right makes you realize that if you fly from Chicago to Tokyo, Japan you will probably fly over Alaska (the shortest distance is called a great circle).

Go to Google Earth and "fly around" until you find a unique perspective.  Go to File, Save, Save Image..., and save the image as a .jpeg and then upload it into your blog. Describe how the image makes you think differently about the Earth.

March 16, 2011

Blog Topic #7

For this post you have a choice of three topics:

Topic A - The Afghan Girl
Here is the link to the National Geographic article about finding her after 17 years.  There is a plethora of information online about this amazing story.

Topic B - Restrepo and/or the war in Afghanistan.
Here is the link to the official website for the movie.  You can also find a huge amount of information online or (I suggest this strongly) you can read the book War by Sebastian Junger to experience a more vivid portrayal.

Topic C - Opium
Afghanistan leads the world in opium production, supplying about 75%.  Here is a link to a recent National Geographic article called Afghanistan's Opium Wars.  Some of the money made from this illegal trade inevitably funds the Taliban and other Islamic extremist groups.

Once you find a web link, video clip, or news item relating to your topic  post them on your blog.  Write several paragraphs explaining what you learned or found interesting about the subject. 

Explore your world!

February 25, 2011

Blog Topic #6

One basic tenet of a democracy is the freedom to obtain and share information.  Since globalization is partly driven by increasing access to media, denying access is a serious concern.  The "Jasmine Revolution" taking place across the Middle East and North Africa has spread because of people's ability to communicate via cellphones and the Internet.

Since the Peoples Republic of China is a communist country it does not have freedom of the press and it does not allow unfiltered access to the Internet. For example, when you or I Google the Three T's -Tiananmen Square, Taiwan, or Tibet - from Link Library we get different results than if you Google that same term while sitting in an Internet cafe' in Beijing.  This systematic filtering is sometimes called the Great Firewall of China.

The Chinese government filters or blocks certain content it deems inappropriate for its citizens, including YouTube videos, Facebook, and Twitter. It also requires domestic video sharing websites to be state-owned.

This week the government shut down LinkedIn, a business oriented social networking site, for a short time since people were calling for a "Jasmine Revolution" in China.

I want you to find a news link specifically about the Great Firewall.  Provide a link to the article and write a paragraph expounding on the topic.

February 16, 2011

Blog Topic #5

A cartogram is a type of map where another variable, such as population, is substituted in place of area when drawing a country. One of the best websites to examine a variety of cartograms is World Mapper - http://www.worldmapper.org/.  For example, the map below shows Malaria Death in 2003 and makes one realize how devastating this parasite is to Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of East Asia.

Go to World Mapper and select the A-Z Map Index to view all the maps available. Paste one of these maps into your blog and write about how it relates to globalization.

February 7, 2011

Blog Topic #4

During class this week we are "unpacking" the movie Slumdog Millionaire from a geographic perspective.  The goal is to learn about the geography of South Asia by expanding on events and images from the movie.

In this blog I want you to select something from the movie and research it further and then blog about it.  Include one or more of the following to strengthen you post: images, maps, video embeds, or links to articles/websites.  Remember - I want to see thought and originallity in your posts.

So much to learn and so little time!

January 26, 2011

Blog Topic #3

Southeast Asia is a culturally diverse region that many Americans know relatively little about.  Video clips can help since they are a great way to see differences in culture, climate, or physical geography between and within regions.  Videos also assist in filling in our "mental maps" with images connected to place.

In this post I want you to embed a video clip from a country in Southeast Asia.  Your video should come from a reliable source, such as a news agency or organization, although I will leave this to your better judgement.  One excellent source for video clips is National Geographic, where you can search a database of hundreds of clips by topic or country.

Or, you can post one that you made, like this one, showing some goofy guy from Nebraska nearly getting killed outside the Russian Market in Phnom Phen, Cambodia.

Or this one riding a Tuk Tuk.

After your video clip write about why you selected the video and what it says about the geography of the country.  Enjoy geograhers!

January 23, 2011

Blog Topic #2

As mentioned in class, we in the United States often do not hear or read much news coverage from Australia or Oceania.  This doesn't mean important events, some influencing the U.S., are not taking place.  It just means that to learn we need to dig deeper by looking at news sources from the region.  Fortunately, the Internet makes this quite easy.   

In this two part post I want you to paste two links to online news articles from one of the following news sources:
     - The Sydney Morning Herald
     - news.com.au

The two topics I want you to research are "Australia Day" and "Immigration."

After the link I want you to summarize the article and relate what you read directly to your textbook.  The point is to connect what you read in the textbook to interpreting and understanding events in the region.  You should write a long paragraph for each, concluding with the page number(s) from the textbook that relate to the article.

Please remember to celebrate Australia Day this Wednesday, January 26th, when Aussies celebrate the arrival of the First Fleet!

January 12, 2011

Blog Topic #1


This word is so ubiquitous that its meaning is often glossed over or not understood at all.  It is also a very complex idea that does not lend itself well to an easy definition.  One good definition that I like, and which comes from our course textbook, is:
“Increasing interconnectedness of people and places through converging processes of economic, political, and cultural change.”

In this post I want you to find one image that you feel captures the essence of globalization.  Paste this image into your blog and write about what it says and why you selected it.  I like this picture since it showcases one of the driving forces of globalization - international trade, especially by large multinational corporations. 

Good luck exploring and remember that anyone on the planet (with an Internet connection) can read your blog!  So think clearly, write neatly, and share your geographic thoughts, expertise, and creativity.

January 8, 2011

Welcome Geography Students!

Welcome to World Regional Geography (Geog 202) for the spring 2011 semester. This semester you will travel around the world via video clips, reading, watching movies, studying for map quizzes, using Google Earth and other Internet sites, and creating and using your own blog.

The word geography can be divided into "geo"- meaning earth and "graphy" - meaning to write about or describe. When you travel and then tell others about what you did and saw you are practicing and applying geography. To help students learn and write about the world I use blogs. Since this is my third semester requiring students to blog, I pretty much have it nailed down.

Blogging is a great learning tool and one which is getting more attention in K-16 education.  Nick Bloch, a senior at CUNE, and I published an article in The Geography Teacher in the October 2010 edition titled "Teaching Geography in the Blogosphere."  This article is based upon my experience using blogs in this course since the spring of 2009.  Blogging is a great tool for allowing students to explore and write about the world.