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Friday, May 24, 2013

Sharon Middle School -- May 24

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!

This is EarthView's second visit to Sharon Middle School. (We were originally scheduled for the Ides of March, but were snowed out.) The blog post for our April 2012 visit describes the town of Sharon in terms of both site and situation -- geographic characteristics of the place itself and of the place in relation to other places. 

Today the EarthView team celebrates Sathwik Karnik's victory in the Natiional Geography Bee. The Karnik family of Plainville, Massachusetts is well known to us, as both Sathwik and his brother have been state bee champions and national finalists.

His winning answer was Chimbarazo, the world's tallest mountain, when measured from the center of the earth.

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Today is also a good day to talk about MOVEMENT, which is one of the Five Themes of Geography. This theme refers to the movements of people, products or ideas that connect PLACES.

May 24 is the anniversary of at least three important events that made future connections possible, and last night a bridge collapse led to a temporary but important loss of connection.

In 1844, the "Victorian Internet" began, as Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message from Washington to Baltimore. The map below shows another kind of connection between the two, along the Interstate Highway System.

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During the EarthView presentation, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan mentioned the unusual relationship between the telegraph and the Brazilian city of Porto Velho. The connection is explained in the 1999 article Post-Frontier Towns of Rondonia, Brazil, with much more information about the region at Rondonia Web.

On this date in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge connected the two largest boroughs of New York City -- Manhattan and Brooklyn. John Roebling had constructed a similar bridge connecting Covington, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1866, but it is not quite as famous.

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In 1976, supersonic commercial air service connected both London and Paris to Washington, DC, as a Concorde SST was sent from each city to Dulles Airport in nearby Virginia. (The mother and aunt of EarthView team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan were both there, but he had to go to school that day!) The map below from Geography of Transportation at Hofstra University shows all of the Concorde routes, since retired.

Finally, as mentioned above an important loss of connection occurred last night, when the Skagit River bridge over Interstate 5 collapsed. At least one small truck fell into the river, but nobody was severely injured. The bridge has been described as a major connection between the city of Seattle and the country of Canada. Google Maps already shows that segment as missing, so that navigation systems relying on Google Maps will not send drivers that way. Explore the map to see how difficult the rerouting of people and cargo will be while the bridge is being repaired.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Is the Gulf of Mexico Being Harmed by Snot?

Public Radio for the Classroom
No, but scientists have described a "snot-like substance" as a serious problem for the food chain in the Gulf of Mexico, three years after the Deepwater Horizon spill there.

Map: Britannica

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dry Rivers

One of the most important lessons of the EarthView program is how water can be scarce on a planet covered with water. We learn that only one percent of the world's water is fresh, liquid water that is potentially usable for secondary human uses such as crops, livestock, and industry or primary uses such as bathing, cooking, and of course drinking.

Unfortunately, much of that one percent is at risk. National Geographic has recently published photographs from eight important rivers that do not always reach the oceans or seas to which they are connected on the map. It may be that some of EarthView's rivers should be drawn with a dotted line.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Raynham Middle School -- May 3

41° 56' 49" N
71° 02' 14" 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!

Today EarthView is traveling just a short distance, to our neighbors at Raynham Middle School Access the EarthView Experience map to see just how far we have traveled today.

May 3 is the birthday of musician and conservationist Pete Seeger, whose work in protecting the waters of the Hudson River has been a great example. It is also the anniversary of the founding in 1802 of Washington, DC on land donated by Maryland and Virginia (the Virginia portion did not remain part of the city following the Civil War).

It is also the attainment day of EarthView team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan and the birthday of his mother. Both of them were actually born in the District of Columbia -- the only place that is part of the United States but not of any state.

Our visit also comes on a beautiful, clear spring day in coastal New England. In this part of the world at this time of year, the daily range in temperature can be quite dramatic. The image at the right was captured from a few days ago.

The images below are not quite as dramatic, but do show the importance of continentality, especially on dry days. Note the distance from the ocean of each of the communities shown, and calculate the difference between high and low temperatures each of the next couple of days and nights. What pattern can you discern?



Interior (note that this morning's temperature reading for Worcester is about an hour later than the other two):

During our visit, we had the pleasure of meeting two RMS students from Cape Verde -- Joel from Pedro Badejo on the island of Santiago, where Dr. Hayes-Bohanan took BSU students in 2006, and Vanessa from Fogo, where Dr. Hayes-Bohanan will be taking students in 2014. We took the opportunity to share some special lessons about Cape Verde's geography.