11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… what’s wrong, and right, about the Census. Resource of the week!

Illustration by Ariel Aberg-Riger, CityLab

What is the U.S. Census?



… how Renaissance trade with China changed the world. Another resource of the week!

This terrific visual series is in four parts: Globalization, Galleons of China, Journey of Dread, and (my favorite) How Silver Changed the World.
Illustration by Hervey Garret Smith, National Geographic

How is trade with modern China redefining globalization?



… many teachers and students are skeptical about the growing practice of “robo-grading.”

Not this kind of testing … More school districts are turning to robo-graders to evaluate student essays. (This student is wired for a sleep deprivation study.)
Photograph by Maggie Steber, National Geographic

The best way to evaluate your own teaching is with a PLN—learn more from one of the best.



… migrating birds are better off with weak immune systems.

Maintaining a complex immune response comes with significant costs, and it wasn’t worth it for birds like this common redstart, migrating between Africa and Europe.
Photograph courtesy Pexels. Public domain

Download our new map of bird migration in the Old World.



… Sweden and Norway’s long-running reindeer feud is getting worse.

Norwegian officials are threatening to crack down on Swedish reindeer crossing the border.
Photograph of a Swedish reindeer herder by Axel Oberg, National Geographic

What are reindeer?



… GDP is an invented concept.

What is the world’s gross domestic product?



… the future of Cuban crocodiles.

The division between Cuban and American crocodiles is not so clear.
Photograph by Zanbog, courtesy Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 2.0

Where can you find the Cuban crocodile?



… asteroid mining might just work—if we can figure out how to land on the dang things.

Mining asteroids for water and fuel may propel exploration throughout the solar system.
Illustration by Joel Sercel, courtesy NASA

Could you navigate on or around asteroids? Play our game to find out.



… a burned-up library and a little bit of lead are helping historians get a fresh read on Pompeii and Herculaneum.

In 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius burned a lot more than scrolls.
Illustration by Peter V. Bianchi, National Geographic

What happened to incinerate Herculaneum’s scrolls?



… how to feed the growing population of the Galápagos.

The Galápagos are not exactly known for their agricultural productivity, although little Galápagos tomatillos are endemic to the islands.
Photograph by Kevin Gepford, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

Why are the Galápagos so dependent on food imports?



… what 200 years of U.S. immigration looks like.

Visualization: Pedro M. Cruz, John Wihbey, Avni Ghael and Felipe Shibuya, Data Storytelling and Exploration Collaborative research team, CAMD Northeastern University. Data: IPUMS.

Take a look at a more conventional display of immigration trends.

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