Unstrange maps: Security, health, economics

September 3, 2007

Strange Maps features odd maps, often fictional. I like the site, especially for the inherent humor in some of the maps — and since it’s such a popular site among the more than 1 million WordPress weblogs, it’s clear others share my enthusiasm.

Global map of energy security risk - Maplecroft Maps

There are a lot of unstrange and beautiful maps based on reality, too, used to give a quick, graphic image to the brains of people working on serious problems. Maps guide policy makers, and illustrate geographical range of problems, and sometimes geographical causes and vulnerabilities.

Here’s a source of interactive maps that every economics, government, history, and health teacher should bookmark: Maplecroft Maps.

Maps at this site cover a nearly complete range of issues that worry leaders of businesses and nations. I found the site looking for information about malaria.

Of special note is the wealth of information available from the interactive features. Clicking on nations or on symbols on the map provides details of issues the map covers; three tabs with the maps take the viewer of most of the maps to an extensive list of resources on the issue, and case studies, and analysis. These sources seem tailor made to help students doing geography projects.

Issue maps include disasters, malaria, child labor, climate change, poverty, land mine risk, political risk and a wide variety of others. You’ll need Macromedia Flash on your computer; there does not appear to be any way to download the maps, so you’ll need a live internet link to use these in class.

Information from these maps will be more current than any geography, history or economics book. Go see.

Maplecroft is a network of academic and business consultants. These maps are made to help their clients; Maplecroft’s description of the series is below the fold.

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Getting Newtonist ideas out of the science books

September 3, 2007

When the Discovery Institute’s campaign against Darwin succeeds, will they be content? Remember, the real war is against materialism, DI says. Will Isaac Newton and the materialist theory of gravity be next?

Here’s a parody that suggests what that campaign would look like, from Tiny Frog. It’s a parody. It’s a hoax.

I said, it’s not real, it’s a parody.  It’s a parody.
Immediate update: Pharyngula picked up on Tiny Frog’s post, too — a sign the post is worth reading, generally.

Intelligence: Can it rub off in the classroom?y

September 3, 2007

Can intelligence rub off from an intelligent classroom to the students?

Educational osmosis is one way to learn, I have found. I think a good classroom is one in which the student learns regardless what the student is doing, even daydreaming by looking out the window. How to achieve that? We’re working on it. In 2007, such a classroom should visually stimulate learning, and do so with sound and kinesthetics, too. Repetition in different media, with different contexts, aids learning and cementing of knowledge. But, I speak only from experience, having taken only a tiny handful of “real” education classes in my life, and they rank at the bottom of my list of useful courses.

Brian C. Smith blogs about education technology from the technology side, at Streaming Thoughts. Some time ago he asked teachers to tell about their ideal classroom technology (my response is here). Now he’s back with results of his survey — what technology do teachers need for educational success?

It may be my fault for failing to make the point, but I think a successful classroom also needs access to a photocopier that can turn around material in short order — a fast photocopier is preferred. Classrooms also need printers.

I also wonder if working ventilation and temperature control for comfort figures into the technology equation.

The ideal classroom technology is that set which allows the student to learn well, with speed and wisdom.

Alexander (not yet the Great) and his teacher, Aristotle; public domain image, originally from British Museum?

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