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Friday, May 24, 2013

Sharon Middle School -- May 24

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W 
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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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