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Friday, March 27, 2015

Academic WorldQuest, BSU- March 28th

41°59'17"N 
70°58'21"W
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Usually EarthView travels to destinations outside the realm of Bridgewater State University but today's event happens to bring us to Kelly Gymnasium right next door to the Science & Mathematics Center where EarthView is stored when not in use. 

Today we welcome the high school students who are competing in WorldQuest's Boston Regional Competition as part of the journey to compete in the National Academic WorldQuest. 

Academic WorldQuest, a global knowledge competition that has become a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America, is a fun, friendly and powerful way for high school students to learn about international affairs.  Teams comprising four students typically prepare in an after-school setting over the course of several months. 

At today's Boston regional competition, teams view a PowerPoint presentation of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as people in the news, world geography, elections, international organizations and current events.  The event is open to parents, friends and the general public, who also are given answer sheets and enjoy playing along.  The winning high school team travels to Washington, D.C., in April to compete in the National Academic WorldQuest, virtually all expenses paid.

We wish good luck to everyone competing today and we here at EarthView continue to be impressed by the amount of knowledge students have on the subject of Geography!

Atlantic Questions

During our visit to Tenney Grammar School in Methuen, students asked a couple of interesting questions about the Atlantic Ocean. Because we were not exactly certain of the answers, we promised to add a couple of maps to the blog, to benefit them and any other curious readers.

The first question was about the location of the Bermuda Triangle, the purported "spooky" area of the northeast Atlantic. We could point out the British dependency of Bermuda -- which is a popular destination for cruises from Boston -- but we were uncertain of the orientation of the triangle. We found this map on the Bermuda Triangle page of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency of the U.S. Government. The page includes a link that explains the US Coast Guard's opinion about the Triangle. During our visit, we mentioned the smaller and less famous Bridgewater Triangle, named for EarthView's home town.

While Bermuda is in a warm part of the North Atlantic, the other question students had for us was about a tragedy in the colder far north. The question is about the 1912 sinking of the "unsinkable" Titanic as it voyaged from England to New York.
Astronomers at Texas State University show the location of the sinking, along with a possible path of the iceberg that was carried into the ship's path. This study was done by astronomers because of the possible role of the moon in the unexpected movement of the iceberg. In looking for such maps, we also found an interesting use of Geographic Information Systems in mapping the home locations of all of the ship's passengers.

The passenger list exhibits a concept geographers call a "distance-decay" function, meaning that the greatest number of passengers if found near the ports of origin and destination and decline with distance. Viewers of the ESRI Titanic Passengers map can explore these patterns in detail and can also separate the passengers according to economic class because tickets were sold in three very distinct classes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tenney Grammar School, Methuen- March 27th

42° 43' 55" N
71° 10' 40" W 
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The EarthView team is pleased to be back at Tenney Grammar School In Methuen for the third year in a row! 



If you have seen our team in previous years while visiting Tenney Grammar, we might look a little different. Today just so happens to be the Massachusetts Round of the National Geographic Geography Bee.  Our very own Dr. Domingo is a judge and Ms. Rosalie, aka. the Globe Lady, is the moderator at today's event! 


As you may or may not know, the National Geographic Geography Bee is a competition that is open to all schools that  teach students in grades 4-8. Each school holds its own Geography Bee competition and typically there is a winner from each grade level. The winners of each grade level then compete against each other to determine the winner of the school. The winning student then has to take a 1 hour written test about Geography. If he or she scores high enough on the test, he/she is eligible to compete at the state level. Only the top 100 students in each state are allowed to compete at the state level. 
               


Today's event takes place at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Ma. Worcester Academy is a co-ed boarding school for students in grades 6-12 and postgraduates. The school is very much into the concept of Sustainability (which we had talked about in a previous blog post) and is involved in other Geography related activities, such as being the host of today's event.

The winner of the Massachusetts Geography Bee today will head to Washington, D.C. to compete against the other state level winners in the National Geography Bee that will take place May 11th-13th.

Good luck to all of the competitors in today's competition! Maybe even Tenney Grammar's own representative student will make it to the National competition, we will have to wait and see! Let's hope that the winner of the National Bee comes from Massachusetts just like in 2013 when Sathwick Karnik from Plainville won. Another interesting thing to note is that Earthview Wrangler, Eva Ratcliffe participated in her middle school's Geography Bee back in the 2006-2007 school year when she was a 6th grader. She placed first for her 6th grade team but did not win when competing against the other winning team members. Little did she know that she would later become a Geography Major at Bridgewater State University and be here working for EarthView!  

The National Geographic Geography Bee is a wonderful event and competition where the students always amazing us with their deep knowledge of geography. We here at Earthview hope that today's competition opens the minds of our young students to become more actively involved in Geography as it is everywhere. 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Captain Samuel Brown Elementary, Peabody- March 20th

42° 30' 25" N
70° 57' 02" W
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The EarthView team is excited to be visiting Captain Samuel Brown Elementary in Peabody for the very first time! 




Our visit this week happens to fall upon the Vernal Equinox and as the weather forecast predicts, we are in for a bit of accumulating snow...how unusual! This winter has even broken the record for the snowiest winter in Boston. Last Sunday's storm brought the 2014-2015 winter snow total to 108.6 inches, just over 9 feet! The last record was set during the 1995-1996 winter which saw 107.6 inches of snow. 

                                 


As for Friday's Vernal Equinox, we are in for a bit of a snowy start to our Spring season. As seen in the National Weather Service graphic below, there is a chance that Peabody and Bridgewater could see upwards of 4 inches of snow...potentially more. 


And if you have noticed the increasing amount of potholes on the road this time of the year it is due to the fluctuating temperatures dipping below 32°F and above, even reaching 57°F as it did on Wednesday, March 11th when we visited Tewksbury. When ice forms, it expands, pushing apart small cracks in pavement. When the ice melts, it makes room for new ice to form a day or two later, widening each crack a bit more. This can cause both potholes and frost heaves in the pavement. 

Boston's March Forecast-Accuweather
 . 

As reported on WGBH, don't expect these potholes to go away anytime soon as it is hard for the town to repair them all when their budget is almost completely used up due to the unexpected massive snowfall this winter. As March came in like a lion and hopefully goes out like a lamb, we hope that the roads become more smooth as we transition into the much needed warmer Spring months!

There is a geography to just about everything ... even potholes!

We at EarthView hope that the rest of our Spring does not call for anymore snow but with the weather in New England, you never really know!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

John W. Wynn Middle School, Tewksbury- March 9th & 11th

42º 37' 48" N
71º 18' 08" W
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The EarthView team is pleased to make our first ever visit to Wynn Middle School in Tewksbury! We will be visiting on both Monday, March 9th and Wednesday, March 11th. 



Some interesting facts about Tewksbury!
-It was incorporated as a town in 1734 and was named after Tewkesbury, England
-On July 24th, 1857 a tornado swept through the town destroying many fields, orchards, and barns, but luckily no one was killed
-The Merrimack River serves as the northern boundary while the Shawsheen River runs through the southern end of town
-It is located about 19 miles from Boston and about 53 miles from BSU
                                         
Tewksbury
                                       


Friday, March 6, 2015

Sharon Middle School- March 6th

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W
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The EarthView team is happy to be back in Sharon for another exciting visit! While in town for last week's visit, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan  pointed out to us that there was once a whaling museum in Sharon; a strange place for a whaling museum considering it is a landlocked community and about 30 miles from the coast of Massachusetts.

 After a bit of research, we discovered that Sharon was once site to the Kendall Whaling Museum that was established in 1956.
Kendall Whaling Museum: 27 Everett Street, Sharon, Ma
Henry Plimpton Kendall a local celebrity of sorts was the one who founded the museum. 
http://www.nct-archive.org/henry-p-kendall

While Kendall grew up in Walpole, Ma, he lived in Sharon on Moose Hill Farm for much of his adult life. Kendall was able to grow the failing Lewis Batting Company of Walpole, Ma into the large textile company named The Kendall Company that expanded throughout the United States before merging with the Colgate Palmolive Company in 1972. Not only was Henry Kendall a business owner, he was also an avid collector of historical artifacts from the whaling industry. He arranged his collection and established the Kendall Whaling Museum. Unfortunately the small museum closed in 2001 but the collection remains intact at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

                           

If you are a teacher and would like to include more about whaling into your Geography lessons, please go visit the Geography Lesson Plans page to learn about the book, "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by Nathaniel Philbrick. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Edmund Hatch Bennett School, Taunton -- Feb. 24

41° 54' 08" N
71° 08' 20" W
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EarthView is visiting third- and fourth-grade classes at the Bennett School in Taunton with Dr. Hayes-Bohanan and Ms. Hart, a local teacher who worked with EarthView when she was a student of geography and education at BSU.

She had spent part of her childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska and found Taunton to be cold enough Tuesday night that she decided to make some comparisons. The weather report from her phone shows which place was warmer. (To be fair, it was still mid-afternoon in Fairbanks and the sun was already down in Taunton.)


She also looked up some details about winters in the two places.

Taunton
1674 miles Boston to Arctic Circle
Average temperature in February 39
Average snow fall in February 10 in
This year 99 inches of snow and 27 degrees
Fairbanks
198 miles Fairbanks to Arctic Circle
Average temperature in February -3.6
Average snow fall in February 9 in
Temp today 30 degrees
This year since Dec 1 snowfall totals 19.9 inches in February .1 inches. Average temp for Feb this year 28 degrees. 
So if she discusses going back to her former Alaska home to warm up, students will now understand why!

The EarthView team were not the only people making Massachusetts-Alaska comparisons today. After our visit to Bennett School, we found this image making the rounds on social media. It is a great example of what geographers call "sense of place" because it uses the ubiquitous Massachusetts town-boundary signs. And it captures perfectly what a lot of Bay Staters are thinking about recent weather. Moreover, the star of this image bears a slight resemblance to Dr. Hayes-Bohanan.


Sharon Middle School- February 27th

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!
 



The EarthView team is happy to be back at Sharon Middle School for the third year in a row. We will be visiting this Friday, February 28th and next Friday, March 6th. The blog post from our visit in April of 2012 describes the geographic characteristics of Sharon in terms of site and situation.

While looking for things to discuss in today's post, we came across an article from National Geographic describing the top ten most sustainable cities in the world. If you are unsure of what sustainability is, it is the balance between the environment, society and the economy that helps to ensure that we will be able to keep our planet alive and thriving for future generations. It is about more than just the initiative to go green by recycling and reusing but by adopting a new way of thinking about life in order to treat the world and its people the way they should be treated, respectfully and appropriately.


Sustainability
                                 
While no cities in the United States made the top ten list, Boston did come in at number fifteen. Knowing that Boston is recognized as the most sustainable city in the United States says a lot about where we live. Although we have a long way to go in sustainability, it is hoped that we will one day make it into the top ten cities. Or perhaps one day lists like these won't be necessary because the human population around the globe will have changed by adopting the ways of sustainability thus creating a less polluted and more ecologically conscious world.  



Thursday, February 12, 2015

St. Columbkille, Brighton -- February 13

42° 21' 09" N
71° 09' 11" W 
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The EarthView team is very pleased to be visiting St. Columbkille Partnership School for the first time, in part because our visits to Boston are relatively few and we would like to have EarthView programs in the city much more often. The school is named for a sixth-century Irish-Scottish saint, and "partnership" refers to its affiliation with nearby Boston College.

As with several other communities in the area, Brighton is sometimes thought of as an independent city or town, but in reality it is a neighborhood of Boston. As the map suggests, it was formerly a neighborhood of Cambridge, but it "moved" to Boston in 1807.
Boston has many distinctive neighborhoods.
Map: City of Boston


Friday, February 6, 2015

Horace Mann Middle School, Franklin -- Feb 5-6

42° 05' 28" N
71° 24' 22" W 
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Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!
 


The EarthView team is very pleased to be returning to Horace Mann -- because of the enthusiastic support of geography in the Horace Mann community and also because the school happens to be named for the founder of Bridgewater State University.

Among many other things we discussed during the visit was a recent visit by BSU students to Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is the only place in the world where people can sandboard on a volcano!
Cerro Negro is an active volcano, but high winds mean that it is sometimes safest to walk through the volcano when approaching the summit.
Cerro Negro is a cinder cone volcano, and one of the world's newest.
BSU students in the Geography of Coffee course prepare to sandboard on Cerro Negro, as the Pacific Ocean glistens in the distance.
The Pacific Ring of Fire is important to geography in so many ways that this blog includes several other Ring of Fire articles.

Dr. Hayes-Bohanan spoke briefly about some of the geographic connections he explores when rowing in New Bedford. Although whaling has not been practiced in the United States in over a century, it continues to influence the geography of our region.
While in EarthView, Horace Mann geographer Mr. McGovern pointed out the Aral Sea, which his students will soon be discussing. We included some Aral Sea imagery on this blog's most recent North Andover visit.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Notre Dame Academy, Hingham -- January 23

42° 11' 05" N
70° 53' 01" W

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We began a new EarthView season with a wonderful visit to Notre Dame Academy, where climate change and its implications have been a particular focus this year. NDA's Susan Pratt had seen EarthView at a climate-change workshop for teachers last year, and knew that it would be the perfect complement to the curriculum she developed.
St. Julie Brilliart founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur because of her commitment to the Christian education of girls. Her image oversees the entrance to NDA Hingham.
Throughout the day, we used EarthView to explore ideas that have been discussed in science and geography classes this year. It was especially useful for understanding the scale of the oceans and atmosphere -- resources that are seemingly vast but also quite thin compared to the planet itself.

We also used the Academy's smart cart to share a number of online resources that Ms. Pratt and the other teachers could explore in coming days. These include a climate-change overview, the geography of coffee, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's explorations of Rondônia Brazil, and the wedding of the waters, where the Rio Solimões and Rio Negro come together to form the Amazon River.



In some groups, we also spoke a bit about the geography of chocolate, which is made from cacao. We mentioned that although coffee originated in Africa, about half of it is now produced in Latin America and although chocolate originated in Central America (or perhaps Peru), the vast majority of it is produced in western Africa. In fact, Ivory Coast is the major producer, and most people there have never had chocolate. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan promised to share this video, of cacao farmers tasting chocolate for the first time!

Dr. Hayes-Bohanan maintains an environmental geography blog that is primarily for university students and other adult learners, but it has many articles on climate change in general and climate justice in particular that may be of interest to NDA students.

At the end of the day, a few students asked Dr. Domingo to share his life story. Little did they know what an interesting story it is

We look forward to many more visits to Notre Dame Academy.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dramatic Confluences

Confluences occur wherever two streams come together. If the gradient is low (i.e., nearly level) and the properties of the two streams are very different, the confluences may be characterized by a dramatic visible distinction as the mixing occurs only slowly. This map -- based on an EarthPorm article -- shows some of the most dramatic examples from around the world -- just ten that stand out, among the millions of confluences on the planet.

Explore the map to see where these confluences occur, and descriptions of the rivers involved -- each situation is unique. Notice that the satellite imagery in some cases is not as dramatic as the photographs that are shown, for two basic reasons. Either the satellite imagery represents a part of the electromagnetic spectrum in which the distinctions are not as visible, or the timing of the satellite imagery does not match seasonal effects that are involved in some of these cases.


Friday, December 5, 2014

O'Maley Middle School, Gloucester -- December 5

Image: WikiMedia
42° 37' 44" N
70° 40' 23" W

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Today the EarthView team is visiting the northeasternmost portion of the Bay State: the Ralph B. O'Maley Middle School is just a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean in the famous fishing town of Gloucester.

Located on Cape Ann, this community is connected in many important ways to the Gulf of Maine, a "sea within a sea" that receives the waters of 60 watersheds. Geography students at O'Maley have recently been studying the nearby Gulf, which has some of the richest fisheries and most interesting tides in the world.



The sense of place is celebrated by new local restaurant, Latitude 43, which has a nautical theme and a geographic name. The team knows about the place because a son of team member Dr. Domingo was the construction manager.


When we returned from Gloucester, a student shared The Wreck of the Hesperus, Longfellow's famous poem based on two shipwrecks -- one near Gloucester and the other near Boston. It is required reading for many students in nautical New England towns.

During our visit, we spoke with some of the classes about the geography of currency. Every country in the world decides what currency it will use, and most of them print their own. When traveling, it is important to know the value of the currency. A sandwich that costs 5 dollars in the United States would cost 13 reais (HAY-ice) in Brazil and 132 cordobas in Nicaragua. These relationships -- known as exchange rates -- are always changing, and can be calculated on web sites such as XE.com.


We were speaking on the anniversary of the death of Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela. His life was an inspiration, of course, to many people throughout the world, but was especially meaningful to the EarthView team, because our own Dr. Domingo began life as a black South African, and left for the United States before the dream of ending apartheid could be realized. Now when he visits his family, it is a very different country from the one in which he grew up.

Of course, we also talked about Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who will formally receive her award next year. In March, we learned that one of our favorite university geography texts was dedicated to her work on behalf of young women everywhere who want to learn.

Image: Rondonia Web
Several classes heard from Dr. Hayes-Bohanan about Rondônia, the state of Brazil where he studied to earn his doctorate in Geography & Latin American Area Studies. The photograph above is of a carving purchased during that field work, from an artist known as Anká. If you did not hear the story -- which involves a leaky boat, a 100-foot climb in the rain forest and many details he forgot to mention -- you can read it about it in Folha da Frontera (#3), a newsletter that was sent from the field. It is on Rondônia Web, along with a lot of other information about this part of the Amazon basin, and especially about its growing cities.

Lagniappe: Cape Ann or Annisquam Island?

During our visit, one of the geography teachers at O'Maley told the EarthView team that Cape Ann is actually an island. We had crossed a bridge to get to it, after all, and in fact there is no way to drive or walk there without crossing one of three bridges over the Annisquam River, and a quick look at Google Maps confirms this.



Because rivers to not separate islands from continents, we decided to investigate. Throughout most of its course, the Annisquam appears to be a natural river, mostly estuary. In the headwaters at the far southeastern end of the river, however, the banks are unnaturally straight, suggesting human engineering, and the name Blynman Canal confirms this. The history of this very short canal is an interesting one, having first opened in 1643, but not being permanently navigable until two centuries later.

By coincidence, we had mentioned the anniversary of the South Hadley Canal to some of the students. It is credited with being the first canal in the United States used for navigation, but as we can see, such superlative titles are always subject to debate.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Modern Antique

Image: National Geographic Education
As we posted back in September, one of the great benefits of EarthView is that it allows us to see a map of the world at a relatively large scale and with minimal distortion. (The only distortion results from the flattening of Antarctica so that we can walk inside the globe.)

As National Geographic explains, all flat maps involve distortion, just as flattening an orange peel will require some combination of stretching and tearing. But on this date -- December 2 -- it is important to think about the projection that has probably caused more confusion about the world than any other. For it was on December 2, 1594 that German cartographer Gerardus Mercator died.

The image above represents the most modern remote-sensing technologies, with the Digital Numbers captured by many satellites in countless data files expertly converted to meaningful colors and stitched together into a single map. It also represents a projection technique best suited to the age of sail -- Mercator makes the poles infinite in order to represent direction clearly. In its recognition of Mercator's death, National Geographic Education explains the problems that widespread adoption of this map has caused.

America's First Canal

Thanks to the MassMoments project of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, we learn that today marks an interesting anniversary in the geography of New England. It was on December 1, 1826 that the first steamship passed through the South Hadley Canal. The canal is still visible in the satellite imagery below, which makes clear its purpose: it provided a means of navigating around the rocky South Hadley Falls area of the Connecticut River.



As the MassMoments post explains, this canal was the first in the United States to carry river traffic, as it did for nearly forty years. This is a key bit of the "geography behind history" for the entire Connecticut River Valley, which remains the key north-south corridor in New England.

The canal last operated in 1863, and played a part in its own demise. By increasing the importance of the river as a transportation corridor, the canal helped to make way for the railroads that would eventually replace it. Those, in turn, led eventually to the establishment of highways such as Interstate 91, which are the most common ways of following the course of the river today.

This map shows the Connecticut River, its watershed, major tributaries, and major highways. It is one of many map and geography resources available from the Connecticut River Watershed Council. Please explore the collection. As the Council points out, no single map can capture the complexity of this watershed -- over 11,000 square miles draining to a 406-mile main channel.. 



Friday, November 21, 2014

NCSS Boston -- November 21

42° 20' 51" N
71° 05' 03" W

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The EarthView team is pleased to be part of the annual meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies. Thousands of social-studies educators from throughout the United States are at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston to share ideas about teaching and learning. We have enjoyed meeting teachers from throughout New England at the NERC regional meetings for several years, and are pleased to now bring EarthView to the national community of teachers.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ahern School, Foxboro -- November 14

42° 4' 27" N
71° 14' 18" W

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The EarthView team is pleased to return to the Ahern School, which has been part of the program almost every year since it began. By now, well over a thousand Ahern students have been among the 50,000 EarthView participants! You can read some of the things we shared on the blog for our 20102011 and 2012 visits -- including some toponym notes.
World Biomes from Kids Do Ecology
Because geographers study many kinds of spatial patterns, we interact with a lot of other scientists and scholars. Biogeography, for example, is closely related to ecology. The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) supports Kids Do Ecology which includes World Biomes. As geographers who know that any kind of region can be defined according to different criteria, we appreciate that this web site explains that even the number of biomes can vary, depending on those criteria.

We include biomes here because we know that they are an important part of how Ahern students are learning world geography this year. Biomes are types of biotic (biological) communities, each of which can be found anywhere in the world that certain abiotic conditions are found. That is, if climate and soils in two places are similar, then similar plants and animals are likely to be found. EarthView is a wonderful place to learn about the spatial arrangement of major biomes on the planet, in their correct proportions and relative locations.
As Ahern students have been learning, biomes are among the physical factors that influence the distribution of human populations. The famous "Earth at Night" image is not exactly a population-density map, but brightly-lit areas tend to be those of significant human settlement. What biomes are found in the places with very few humans? What are some other factors that encourage or discourage human settlement?

The image above appears on Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's Environmental Geography blog but is also available as a poster, and appeared as NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day on November 27, 2000. Notice that it is a "picture" and not a single satellite image. No single view can show the whole planet at once -- except of course EarthView!

Yesterday's APOD was equally spectacular -- the first image ever transmitted from a comet! Visit the November 13, 2014 APOD page to learn about the details of this image, taken from just 2 miles above the surface of  the comet known as C67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is 300,000,000 miles from earth and moving at speeds of up to 80,000 miles per hour. This is so far away -- 30 light-minutes -- that signals between the European Space Agency (which launched the mission) and the probe are delayed by 30 minutes each way! Read many details of the mission on the ESA's Rosetta FAQ.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Maps & Meaning

42° 23' 11"N
71° 16' 22"W
For coordinates by address in the U.S., check Stephen Morse, or use an atlas, globe, or Google Earth for other places throughout the world.

EarthView has returned to the Cambridge School of Weston, an independent, progressive high school with a rich history of innovative teaching. Co-coordinator James Hayes-Bohanan took it there for his daughter's "Maps & Meaning" class last year. Students from that class were so energized by this unique way of experiencing a map that this year's class was eager to have EarthView return.

The visit was a reminder that students of any age can get excited about seeing the world in a new way. It is also a reminder that a map or globe can be used for lots of different kinds of learning. Because students in these classes had been analyzing the ways maps can represent the same reality differently, their questions about EarthView were quite interesting. As the video below makes clear -- the students gave EarthView a very warm welcome.
One of the questions of perception asked by a CSW student is actually one that the EarthView team hears a lot -- "Is it in the correct proportions?" Most people do not spend much time looking at world maps, and even less time looking at globes. And the most commonly viewed maps use a Mercator or similar projection that greatly exaggerates the size of land masses at high latitudes -- so that Greenland rivals South America and Antarctica looks like a very wide rectangle. In reality -- and in EarthView -- Greenland is rather small, Antarctica is rather round, and Africa is much bigger than most people expect it to be. Also, since many projections divide the Pacific Ocean, almost everyone who enters EarthView is surprised at its size. 

We discussed the question of whether new islands are still being discovered, and in fact some are, and it is sometimes difficult to know whether they are new discoveries, newly precise ways of viewing complex groups of islands, or perhaps new lands formed by volcanoes. A couple of years ago, though, we did learn about the opposite -- the undiscovery of Sandy Island, an island that never existed, but which has appeared on maps for 200 years.
Image; Auckland Museum