Showing posts from November, 2012

"Personnages" Passes "Revenge"

Here's some brief internal blog news for you: The Publisher now has a new most popular post! Les Personnages et l'identité dans L'Aventure ambiguë has had more hits now than Alaska's Revenge, the most-visited post on this site since not long after the moment I posted it. Maps That Infuriate Me: European Claims to North America has also been on the up-and-up and is currently in third place. Besides those three, no other posts on this blog even come close to having had as many hits.

Three Maps: Metro Update, Flag Rankings, and "the USA in the Other Direction"

I wanted to write one last blogpost before I take the plunge into an enormous mass of final paper writing - and preferably write one that's interesting. As you may know, I very much enjoy making maps, many of which I have posted on the blog here. (See my geography/cartography label.) I've also finished several maps, however, that have yet to be seen by anyone else, so I thought I might publish a few of them now. The first tracks my ongoing travels in DC, the second handles state flags - a topic I've addressedbefore - and the third is a whimsical proposition of what names in the U.S. might have been.

Iran and Myanmar: Select Comparisons

When I wrote on this blog previously about Delaware and New Jersey, I did so because up to that point I hadn't had a visit from Delaware on my blog - information provided to me by Flag Counter. Soon after the post, I got a visit from Delaware! (Imagine that.) Now I've decided to do that sort of suck-up post again, except this time with two world nations. I've discovered that the two most-populated countries from which I have received zero visits are Iran and Myanmar. Just check out my flag map on the right to see; there are 143 flags on there, supposedly, but not Iran or Myanmar. So, in the following post I will write about these two countries, and maybe that will bring in some visits from them.

Gaza in Google-Supported Geographic Comparisons

The Gaza Strip has been called the largest internment camp in the world, even a concentration camp. It is a slice of urbanity containing well over a million and a half people, many of them classified as refugees, a few of them lucky enough to have employment, and all of them experiencing something far from what could be called a decent life with guaranteed human rights. It is essentially a walled city - but not walled to keep intruders out, as was the original intent when cities were first built in the region many thousands of years ago. Rather, it is walled to keep the people in, and now (yet again) they are trapped within an enclosed, impoverished, and inescapable urban hell as bombardment rains down upon them.

But let's step back now, and just examine geography for a moment. How small is the Gaza Strip, really, and how can we - without actually going there - compare our own living spaces to Gaza?

Those Who Can, Teach; Those Who Can't, Make Education Policy.

There's a saying from George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." I don't know what the context for this line was in the play, but on its own this is a stupid and insulting statement. Watch this classic bit of slam poetry from Taylor Mali that's just about the best rebuttal possible. It would be far more accurate to say that those who care teach, and teaching is doing something very important indeed.

In any case, just two days ago a guest speaker came to my Foundations of Education class to talk about education policy, which she's been involved in for decades. Near the end of her talk, she mentioned that she never thought she could be a teacher, dealing with her two children being more than enough. This reminded me of something that's bugged me for a long time: Why are there so many people who have never been teachers who think they know the best way to run schools? It seems to me that a new saying is…

Maps That Infuriate Me: AK and HI Shafted Every Four Years

Every four years, Americans look at more maps during one night than they probably do for months at a time (not including maps on a smartphone). Most of these maps show the fifty states, plus the District of Columbia (because DC does count in presidential elections, in contrast to its usual status of having no say in the federal government). Most of them also fill in the states with red and blue, standard colors for Republicans and Democrats since the year 2000.

I'll tell you one thing that every single one of those maps does, though, without fail: They give Alaska and Hawai'i the shaft by continuing to perpetuate the ridiculous misplacement and mis-sizing of those states.

(At right: In this case, neither Alaska or Hawai'i is a part of Jesusland or Canada, which is probably as it should be.)

My 2012 Election and Why I Voted for Jill Stein

Image: I actually voted a week ago, absentee, but I got this when I voted in the primary, and it's certainly a lovely sticker.

I feel I should write a blogpost on the day before the election, even if I have mostly ignored election politics here, or at least addressed it in rather indirect ways. Over a year ago I had already decided I wouldn't vote for Obama, then a few months ago I compared Mitt Romney to John Kerry, and last month I commented on how Obamney/Robama ignore poverty, and on how conservative evangelicals should be up in arms over the non-Protestant Republican ticket. In any case, let's get straight to the point: How did I vote on the November 2012 ballot, and why?