Geography Awareness Week 2009

via Geographic Travels with Catholicgauze!: Geography Awareness Week 2009: Welcome and Geography is More than Places.

In order to increase geographic literacy we must recognize geography is more than place memorization. Geography is a spatial science that can be defined as studying what is where, why there, and why care.

Great post from Catholicgauze on why geography matters.


Christopher Caldwell | November 11, 2009 |

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BBC NEWS Crime rings boost ivory smuggling

via BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Crime rings boost ivory smuggling.

The last year has seen a major increase in the illegal ivory trade, with more involvement from organised crime.  Figures compiled by Traffic, the agency charged with monitoring the trade, show a doubling in the volume of illegal ivory seized from 2008 to 2009.

Traffic believes that poaching and exporting is currently concentrated in West Africa.  Nigeria emerges as a country implicated in many seizures made elsewhere, but whose authorities have not themselves made a single seizure in 18 years.  As sources of ivory, Traffic also picks out Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo as countries of concern, while Thailand stands accused as a major trans-shipment point.

Traffic reports that the majority of the ivory goes to China.  Results are not in on whether the elephant population numbers have been seriously affected by the increased poaching.


When the Berlin Wall came down



via When the Berlin Wall came down |

History didn’t end with the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago – but a new chapter began. The world we now live in was born on that confusing, joyous, and unbelievable night in Berlin. It began when a hapless East German official mistakenly announced on live TV that restrictions on East German travel to the West were immediately lifted.

20 years ago, the East Germans finally gained the freedom of movement we take for granted.  Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the beginning of the end of Soviet control of Eastern Europe.


Good Dog, Smart Dog

via Good Dog, Smart Dog –

The matter of what exactly goes on in the mind of a dog is a tricky one, and until recently much of the research on canine intelligence has been met with large doses of skepticism. But over the last several years a growing body of evidence, culled from small scientific studies of dogs’ abilities to do things like detect cancer or seizures, solve complex problems (complex for a dog, anyway), and learn language suggests that they may know more than we thought they did.

Aren’t dogs wonderful?  I’ve always thought mine were pretty smart.

Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen –



via Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen –

Even as drought kills off Yemen’s crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.

A growing population, along with illegal drilling and little conservation, is causing increasing concern in Yemen.  The water shortage has led to tribal fighting, and the government is struggling to find answers.


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