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Written by dshafer on Oct 27, 2009

Population distribution map of France

Whether it's getting people to better understand the distribution of people throughout France or more contentious variables such as life expentancy, fuel consumption or violent crimes throughout the world, the field of explaining data is progressing, and with it hopefully greater understanding.

One relatively new way of explaining information are cartograms. A cartogram is a map in which some thematic mapping variable is substituted for land area. The geometry or space of the map is distorted in order to convey the information of this alternate variable.

As seen below in the world represented by the variable global fuel consumption in 2002.

Global Fuel Consumption (oil, wood, gas, etc.)

At worldmapper.org you can find around 700 maps ranging from variables such as  income, disease and mortality to urban slums, HIV and exports, etc.  They even have...

Written by nicoleszucs on Oct 27, 2009

In the year 2055 an old man asks..could we have saved our selves?










YOU are protagonizing  The Age of Stupid, a documentary/fiction/animation film directed by Franny Amstrong .

This movie that gives us a futuristic, apocalyptic yet realistic view of the consequences of our current actions has been shown in more than 50 countries already. The main idea is to spread awareness about climate change and to promote action. It is available in 31 languages and it has generated a new campaign called notstupid.org that gives people some hints on how to change our future history.

I highly recommend watching this film (click on the image to do it). Then draw your own conclusions.  Maybe it is not too late to change our future stupid status.

Written by johncollins on Oct 25, 2009

Israel/Palestine.  Everyone knows it's one of the world's perpetual "hotspots," a place of seemingly endless violence carried out by the Israeli state and, to a lesser but still significant extent, Palestinians seeking to rid themselves of Israeli domination.  Over the years, this deadly dance has come to be known, almost universally, as "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."  Most journalists, scholars, government officials, and other observers who speak and write about the situation tend to use this phrase reflexively, without even thinking about it.  The phrase has even received the all-important Wikipedia seal of approval.  And why not?  Isn't it an accurate label?  Actually, no.  Far from being a common-sense way to describe what is happening in Israel/Palestine,...

Written by Seanedwardwatkins on Oct 25, 2009

I want to take the time today to mention the passing of Ray Browne , the founder of Popular Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University .


While I was only in his presence a handful of times, his dedication for Popular Culture was always  strong. I first saw him speak at the Battlegrounds conference (a graduate run conference at BGSU) back when I was a prospective student. He spoke of his own infatuation with Moby Dick and how important that book was to the blending of high and low culture.

While he spoke, one could feel the dedication he had to his subject material. His eyes lit up while he talked. He was obviously a man who loved his proffession. 

One must realize that prior to Dr. Browne starting Popular Culture in 1973, there was still much debate in the United States over what was worth studying in academia. High culture was considered to be texts like opera, ballet, paintings, etc, while low culture was the study of items that everyday people enjoyed. Many felt that Popular Culture was not worth studying and therefore had no place at the University level.  

Imagine if the Global Studies department at St. Lawrence University only...

Written by EPG on Oct 25, 2009

Here is a recent NY Times article regarding human trafficking victims speaking out...



Written by awball04 on Oct 25, 2009

Just this past week, the remains of bodies from the Rwandan Genocide were unearthed in the northern part of Tanzania. During the genocide bodies were thrown into tributaries of the grand Lake Victoria in Rwanda, which eventually enter into Tanzania. It has been reported that upwards of nine hundred and seventeen bodies were thrown into rivers and ended up in Tanzania.

Lake Victoria Region

Tanzanian nationals, mainly local farmers, took responsibility for taking care of the remnants. However, now that the bodies have been re-discovered, Rwanda and Tanzania are seeking how to appropriately deal with the bodies that did not receive a proper burial. There is discussion that perhaps a memorial might be the best solution. Whatever is done, it is just another reminder for a region that has had to deal with violence as a part of everyday life. 

The finding comes at interesting time, as the US military continues "Exercise Natural Fire 10" in nearby Uganda. Today, Command Sergeant Major Michael Ripka, who is the senior enlisted advisor for AFRICOM, met with representatives of the five other partner nations in Kitgum, Uganda.


Written by Matiwos09 on Oct 25, 2009

Stop for a minute and ask yourself the question, "Are you happy?" If so, why?  Would you or have you been any less or more happy living abroad? What is it about a culture that can make people smile more or less?

So I saved a number of  articles from some of the newspapers published in Addis Ababa.  The one I am about to write into this blog is written by a Swede reflecting on his impressions living in a developing country.

It was really remarkable how my appreciation for  basic things, like a hot shower, really grew during my time in Ethiopia.  The author of this article strives to articulate how happiness can never be fully determined by material well-being. 

 So how can some people who have so much less money smile so much more?  I would love to hear other peoples' reflections on...

Written by nicoleszucs on Oct 24, 2009

That's the amount of CO2 acceptable in the atmosphere for a more stable climate.  Right now we are at 387 ppm, which is not the safest for our planet. Getting back to 350 means that we have to find and implement many solutions, from cleaner energy to diet change. This is not an easy aim, but it's a vitally necesary one. 


Today, October 24th, the international day of climate action, 350.org and many other organizations around the world joined to spread this message. We need to change our actions and pressure world leaders to achive this target. With a clearer specific demand (rather than "stop global warming" or " say no to climate injustice") this global movement aims to inform people, but...

Written by DrP on Oct 23, 2009

 Those who know poverty rarely care to define it          

If indeed the World Bank's definition is only in part useful, then how exactly should we define poverty? For an answer to this question I have turned to social scientists who have been working on this issue now for more than a century. As you can imagine they've created a vast literature on the topic, way too much for me to consume and then re-present to you. Nonetheless several excerpts from encyclopedias have been helpful; below I cite from these articles.

            On the most general level I envision poverty as lack -- of much needed materials, of a means to maintain one's life, and of knowledge to acquire materials and/or income-producing opportunities. Social scientists have added more complexity to this meaning, stressing that poverty is either absolute or relative. Those who cannot access their own food, clothing, or shelter-basic necessities-live in absolute poverty. Those who appear to be lacking in relation to socially and politically constructed "norms of well being" live in relative poverty....

Written by Acorde on Oct 21, 2009

There exists a place where Israelis, Germans, Palestinians, Lebanese, and Arabs coexist in true harmony: the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Founded in 1999, Daniel Barenboim conducts the orchestra. Let's get this straight: Barenboim was born in Argentina to Jewish-Russian parents, and later on studied conduction with a German master (Could it get any more complicated?).This world-known conductor and pianist created this multicultural orchestra with the help of Edward Said, author of Orientalism and a pro-Palestine activist.

The first workshop of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra took place in...