Five for Friday

1. All Roads Film
Project Blog


The All
Roads Film Project
was created by National Geographic to raise awareness of
and access to various indigenous and underrepresented cultures around the
world. Through film and photography, the program aims to showcase just how
diverse perspectives and experiences from different places and groups of people
can truly be. As the project makes its final preparations for its 5th
Annual All Roads Film Festival
, you can find daily updates on their work,
as well as commentaries and summaries of recent news stories, at the All Roads blog.

Pay close attention to this very geographically relevant recent
, in which they explain the possibility of the Chinese government
establishing a “Cultural Protection Zone” for the Qiang, an ethnic minority in
the Sichuan Province whose people were severely affected during the massive
earthquake that struck there this past May.


2. Gapminder

In today’s world of state-of-the-art technology and ever-present
information systems, we are constantly bombarded with statistics and data about
how the world is on the brink of destruction. Don’t tell me you’ve never turned
on the television or booted up the computer, only to find that someone has now
determined that eating a single snack size bag of potato chips kills fourteen
goats, uses three gallons of petroleum, and makes it impossible for children in
Nepal to go to school (Note: I might have made those statistics up for dramatic
effect, but you get the picture.). Anyway, the point is that Gapminder, a non-profit
venture promoting sustainable development and achievement of the United Nation’s Millennium
Development Goals
allows you to understand what that information and those
figures actually mean. Plus it does
so using videos that are
short, clear, and straightforward.

3. Tutor/Mentor

As I mentioned in a blog
earlier this week, often times the biggest obstacle to development
and positive change is lack of dialogue among people and among organizations. Tutor/Mentor Connection
is helping to overcome that obstacle by using maps and interactive databases to
connect potential volunteers and donors with tutor/mentor programs in different
parts of the
region. Check out their maps here.

4. Walking With
Google Maps

With the new addition of a feature that highlights known
pedestrian paths, Google Maps has officially become walker-friendly. Now you
can plan a route that allows you to take advantage of that gorgeous summer
weather (that is, when it doesn’t feel
like a thousand degrees). Check out the press release here.

5. McCain’s Geography

Some of you may be aware of the blunder regarding borders in
the Middle East that Republican presidential candidate
John McCain made earlier this week. In an interview, Senator McCain referred to
the “Iraq/Pakistan border”, when the two countries do not touch each other at
any geographical location (Iran and Pakistan
share a border). The error was most likely a mix up (brain fart as some might
classify it), but it nevertheless illuminates how easy it can be to take
geographic knowledge for granted. It may not appear to be of utmost importance
whether we know if it is Iraq or Iran    that shares a border
with Pakistan,
but in fact it makes all the difference. Borders play a crucial role in how
relationships between countries are established.

You can read an article on the mishap here,
or check out the July
21st Daily Show
episode that discusses it.

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