Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Geographical lesson starters

 Image above: An amazing adventure geography video.  The Ridge is the brand new film from Danny Macaskill... For the first time in one of his films Danny climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline.

Related links to Spatialworlds
GeogSplace (a teaching blog for Year 12 geography)
Spatialworlds website

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website

Where am I??

Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Just geographically interesting to look at as a lesson starter, maybe!

Unlike most Spatialworlds postings, this posting has no theme. Rather it is just a selection of some geographically interesting sites, such as the application of spatial technology, the cultural transitions to adulthood, mapping names over time in the UK, to some interesting social geography from Venezuela.

* Images of change from NASA

Each week the NASA State of Flux gallery features images of different locations on planet Earth, showing change over time periods ranging from centuries to days. Some of these effects are related to climate change, some are not. Some document the effects of urbanisation, or the ravage of natural hazards such as fires and floods. All show our planet in a state of flux.

For example, look at the changes above caused by the recent Volcanc eruption in Papua New Guinea. Mount Tavurvur, on Papua New Guinea's New Britain Island, erupted on August 29, 2014, throwing ash (gray-brown areas of September image) over surrounding areas. Its last major eruption was in 1994. Tavurvur is a stratovolcano, a volcano consisting of alternating layers of lava and ash, and is located along the eastern edge of the Rabaul Volcanic Complex. Simpson Harbor forms part of the much larger (mostly submerged) Rabaul Caldera.

An interesting spatial application on the flow and change of air traffic in the UK.  

Some interesting popular name maps in the US over time. Diversity and change in names is always fun to look at!

Some disturbing cultural geography

In Venezuela, women are confronted with a culture of increasingly enhanced physiques fueled by beauty pageants and plastic surgery.

Cultural diffference across space re: breastfeeding

Continuing the quirkiness of body perception theme from culture to culture, it is clear that breastfeeding can be a polarizing topic. Views vary not only from person to person, but also country to country, according to a new survey examining women's opinions on breastfeeding.

Population turn around on predictions

In a paper published recently in Science, demographers from several universities and the United Nations Population Division conclude that instead of leveling off in the second half of the 21st century, as the UN predicted less than a decade ago, the world's population will continue to grow beyond 2100.

Using spatial technology to fight crimes

Authorities use Google Earth to crack down on illegal activities. This is a useful platform to discuss the ethics involved in using geospatial technologies, the expectations of privacy and issues of governance.  This could also be used to discuss urban political geography and principles of planning.  What are the limits to the legal and ethical uses of technologies?

* The Burning Man festival - a unique cultural event transforming the landscape for a few days

The Burning Man Festival takes place at the end of August every year in the barren and remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The weeklong festival is described by its organisation as “an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.” Earth-bound photographers have chronicled the legacy of art, technology, design, and fashion at the event over the years, but Skybox wanted to know if they could capture the transformation of the city from space, with their constellation of SkySats.

Coming of age traditions around the world

The transition from childhood to adulthood -- the 'coming of age' of boys who become young men and girls who become young women -- is a significant stepping stone in everyone’s life. But the age at which this happens, and how a child celebrates their rite of passage into adolescence, depends entirely on where they live and what culture they grow up in.

Image above: In Vanuatu, a small island nation in the middle of the South Pacific, young boys come of age by jumping off of a 98-foot-tall tower with a bungee-like vine tied to their ankles.

* Fragile states

The Fragile States Index interactive index and map focuses on the indicators of risk and is based on thousands of articles and reports that are processed by the CAST Software from electronically available sources.

Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe.  The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure.

* What does the Earth look like?

This video covers various topics important to mapping and satellite imagery.  There is so much more to the world and space than what we can see see.  Chromoscope, referenced in the video, simulates other forms of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum besides just visible light.  This type of information is at the core of the science behind all of our satellite imagery.  This video also covers many map projection issues and highlights online resources to understand map distortion including:

No comments: