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Geography News Network
9 minutes | Nov 5, 2015
Day of German Unity: Celebrating 25 Years
DAY OF GERMAN UNITY: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev,tear down this wall!' " -President Ronald Reagan On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, a symbolic end to the Cold War that paved the way for German reunification eleven months later. The “Two-Plus-Four” Treaty permitted the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) to become a united country for the first time since the end of World War II. On October 3, 1990, reunification took place and became the Day of German Unity...
8 minutes | Oct 19, 2015
TEXAN PRIDE: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS
They say everything is bigger in Texas. Admittedly, King Ranch, the birthplace of Texan ranching, is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. But is size the reason why Texans love their state so intensely? As the second largest state (Alaska is first) with big skies, vast oil and wind power, and a GDP that would rank 13th in the world if it were an independent country, ‘big’ plays a part in that pride. But its quirks, larger-than-life personalities and can-do spirit are also part of Texan swagger...
8 minutes | Oct 15, 2015
THE MONROE DOCTRINE
‘The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.’ --President James Monroe On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe’s State of the Union address to Congress became a cornerstone of American diplomacy and Monroe’s greatest legacy. It wasn’t until 1852 that the United States’ unilateral control of the Americas became known as the Monroe Doctrine...
8 minutes | Oct 12, 2015
THE IMPORTANCE OF SACRED SPACES
In an increasingly secular world, the importance of sacred spaces may seem negligible at best, or at worst, a source of conflict due to competing claims. However, being able to identify and understand spaces infused with religious meaning is integral to both appreciating ‘place’ historically, and comprehending the complexity of current political tensions. Much of any country’s values and landscape are underlain by an intricate bedrock of belief. On some level...
9 minutes | Oct 8, 2015
THE UNITED STATES: NATURAL RESOURCES
Without natural resources life itself is impossible. From birth to death, natural resources, transformed for human use, feed, clothe, shelter, and transport us. Upon them we depend for every material necessity, comfort, convenience, and protection in our lives. Without abundant resources prosperity is out of reach. —Gifford Pinchot Natural resources are materials such as timber, minerals, coal, oil, or water that can be gathered or extracted from the earth for our use and economic gain. Taken as raw materials, these resources can be used to manufacture products to meet our needs and provide...
8 minutes | Oct 5, 2015
THE EXPANDING SAHARA
Located in the northern portion of Africa, the Sahara (the Arabic word for desert) is the world’s largest hot desert. By definition, deserts receive less than 10 inches of rainfall annually, but half of the Sahara receives less than an inch of rainfall while the rest receives about 4 inches annually. Bound by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the east, the Sahara has been creeping southward into the Sahel...
7 minutes | Oct 2, 2015
THE VALUE OF SANITATION: INDIA’S TOILET PROBLEM
620 million people – about half of India’s population – defecate in the open every day. In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised during his independence day speech that every home would have a toilet by 2019 (Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday), equaling 110 million toilets in the next four years. It’s a worthy goal expected to eliminate approximately 600,000 deaths a year caused by diarrhea and cholera...
6 minutes | Jun 11, 2015
Each year many Americans celebrate a day made especially for romance—Valentine’s Day. This special day is also celebrated in Mexico, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Valentine’s Day has its roots in ancient Roman tradition as well as Christian tradition. The day received its name in honor of Saint Valentine, however, the exact origin of the day is not altogether clear...
8 minutes | May 27, 2015
THE OGALLALA AQUIFER
Hidden beneath the 245,000 square miles that make up the Great Plains, resides a lake that’s one of our greatest water assets: The Ogallala Aquifer. Haven’t heard of it? Farming the plains would be unprofitable at best without it, as shown by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. At the time, the aquifer’s existence was known, but the technology to tap into it wasn’t. more...
6 minutes | May 6, 2015
THE "LANGUAGE" OF EMOJI
Emoji are the symbols people use to represent emotions and ideas on their cell phones. They show up in tweets on Twitter. They are sprinkled liberally in text messages. They accompany status updates on social media sites like Facebook. There are even keyboard settings devoted wholly to typing emoji. They are like an emerging new... more
6 minutes | Feb 17, 2015
THE MOTHER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: ROSA PARKS
On December 1, 1955, a 42-year old African American woman finished her job as a seamstress in a department store in Montgomery, Alabama. She waited to board the Cleveland Avenue city bus that, although it had taken her home every day, wouldn’t that day. Instead, she would be arrested, providing the spark the Civil Rights Movement needed to rally and demand change. more...
6 minutes | Feb 11, 2015
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CUBA
7 minutes | Feb 11, 2015
10 FAVORITE ZOO ANIMALS
Do you like visiting the zoo? Many people who like zoos understand that interacting with animals makes our lives better and helps us to understand our world.Ten of our best-loved animals and fun facts about them are here.
10 minutes | Jan 16, 2015
WHY WE CELEBRATE MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated,"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live." Arrested over twenty times, stabbed in the chest, his house firebombed and, ultimately shot and killed, King embodied the idea that equality and the African American Civil Rights Movement were worth dying for.He was a husband and father to four children as persecution and death threats filled his days, yet his example was one of nonviolent, civil disobedience.
5 minutes | Jan 16, 2015
AMAZING CREATURES OF THE DEEP SEA
Miles below the surface of the ocean lies a dark, watery world that humans have only begun to explore. There are mountains, valleys, and animals unlike those found in shallower waters—animals that give off flashes of light or look ferocious.
9 minutes | Jan 15, 2015
REMEMBER THE ALAMO
The battle between the Alamo garrison and Mexican President Santa Anna’s forces reads like a Shakespearian tragedy: greatly outnumbered, all the Texan defenders died. Even the men who surrendered were killed, fueling the outrage and critical mass required to swell the Texan army, become an independent republic, and in time choose to be annexed by the United States...
8 minutes | Jan 15, 2015
EVERGREENS: THE TREES OF CHRISTMAS
When people imagine Christmas trees, they picture pines, spruces, or firs. These varieties are the most common ones used as Christmas trees today. Christmas tree varieties are evergreens. They are called this because they stay green during the winter.
6 minutes | Jan 14, 2015
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
On September 3, 1783, the Revolutionary War ended when representatives from the United States and Great Britain met in France to sign the Treaty of Paris. Another four years passed before the first constitution, known as the Articles of Confederation, was replaced by our current Constitution written primarily by James Madison and George Mason. This new Constitution was remarkable: it put in place a government...
9 minutes | Jan 5, 2015
JULIUS CAESAR AND THE RISE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
The rise and fall of Julius Caesar is sometimes packaged like a cautionary tale for would-be dictators, the moral of the story asserting that one tyrant cannot replace democracy without getting a well-deserved stab in the back. While Caesar was indisputably a dictator, Rome suffered from a weak central government and self-interested senators prior to and during Caesar’s ascendancy, but interestingly, because he was murdered...
5 minutes | Jan 5, 2015
THE ‘QUIET CHERNOBYL’: THE ARAL SEA
Prior to the 1960s, the Aral Sea was the world’s fourth largest lake and approximately the size of Ireland. Fed by both the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers carrying snowmelt from the mountains to the southeast, the Aral Sea moderated the climate and provided a robust fishing industry that straddled the present-day border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For the map savvy, that Aral Sea would be almost unrecognizable...
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