The Next America | Pew Research Center

The Next America | Pew Research Center.

Outstanding report on the demographics of “America.”

I kept waiting for “Born to be Wild” to start playing when I saw this.

One More Reason to Learn Geography

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene.

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene

A survey taken at the end of March asked Americans what they thought America should do with regards to the troubles in Ukraine.  And they included a map!  However, the results were very disturbing.

About one in six (16 percent) Americans correctly located Ukraine, clicking somewhere within its borders. Most thought that Ukraine was located somewhere in Europe or Asia, but the median respondent was about 1,800 miles off — roughly the distance from Chicago to Los Angeles — locating Ukraine somewhere in an area bordered by Portugal on the west, Sudan on the south, Kazakhstan on the east, and Finland on the north.

Younger people (27%) were more likely to know the correct location, as were college graduates (21%).  The fact that over 77% of college grads can’t locate Ukraine is disturbing enough, but it gets worse.

[t]he further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force [.]

So people who have no idea where the place is want to send American soldiers there, wherever it is.  Way to go, American education system.

清明节 2014 – Honor Your Ancestors

Qing Ming 2014 – Qingming 2014 – 清明节 2014.

It’s Tomb-Sweeping Day

Qing Ming 2014

On this day every year families clean the tombs of their ancestors.

Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Day always falls on the 5th solar term – April 4 or April 5. In fact, Qing Ming occurs on 104th day after the Chinese winter solstice.

The festival honors the memory of Jie Zitui, who sacrificed part of himself to save his master in 600 BCE.  Read the story (its kinda gruesome) here.

The festival has an ancient history.  One of China’s most famous paintings is Qingming Shanghe tu, or Life Along the River at Qingming, from the Song Dynasty (12th century).  The full scroll is 5.28m long; this is a portion of it:

Qing Ming 2014 - Qingming 2014 - 清明节 2014

Today people clean the graves, leave offerings of food, and burn (fake) paper money as gifts for the ancestors.  They also fly kites.

Not your ordinary kites, either.

Building Boom

Chinese corporations, financial institutions, and the government are involved in billions of dollars worth of large dams in Africa. Civil society and dam-affected peoples’ movements are concerned that China’s own poor record on protecting human rights and the environment could mean trouble for African rivers now targeted for Chinese-built large dams.

Africa is a growing source of raw materials for China’s industrial sector as well as a marketplace for Chinese goods. Chinese companies are heavily involved in many fields: oil, mining, logging, and infrastructure. Unlike western financiers China’s assistance comes with almost no strings attached.

via Chinese Dams in Africa | International Rivers.

I was looking for information on Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam when I came across this information from International Rivers.  I knew China had invested heavily in Africa, but this is a LOT of dams.

According to this article China is involved in building 304 dams in 74 countries, not just in Africa.  Here’s the list.  Most are in Africa or Southeast Asia.  Many of the ones close to home will generate electricity that will be exported to China.

I have so many questions I don’t even know where to begin.  How about you?

And So It Continues

Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova’s breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.

via BBC News – Moldova’s Trans-Dniester region pleads to join Russia.

The Most Stunning Thing on the Internet

 

This Interactive Map of Earth’s Weather Is the Most Stunning Thing on the Internet – PolicyMic.

3 Years and Counting

As of today, 2.5 million Syrians have registered as refugees in neighboring countries or are awaiting registration. Another 6.5 million Syrians are displaced inside the country. That means that about 40% of the entire pre-conflict population of Syria has been displaced.

via A Shocking Statistic About Syrian Refugees in Lebanon | UN DispatchUN Dispatch.

Over 9 million people displaced.   That’s like everybody in Texas who lives west of Dallas and Houston having to move, and living in a tent somewhere.

In Lebanon alone, the number of registered refugees from Syria is approaching 1 million and could grow to 1.6 million at the end of 2014 if current trends continue. Lebanon already has the highest per capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history, with nearly 230 registered Syrian refugees for every 1,000 Lebanese. That is more than 70 times as many refugees per inhabitants as in France, and 280 times as many as in the United States. The number of registered Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon would be equivalent to nearly 19 million refugees in Germany and over 73 million in the United States.

See more at: http://www.undispatch.com/a-shocking-statistic-about-syrian-refugees-in-lebanon#sthash.w6L2G1w6.dpuf

A Shocking Statistic About Syrian Refugees in Lebanon | UN DispatchUN Dispatch

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