Friday, September 30, 2005

"The Street," historic Wall St., heart of the financial district

Originally uploaded by mdunn.
Looks like the famous Flat Iron Bldg. of NYC but is in fact a historic steakhouse near Wall St called Delmonico's.


* Bronx, Connecticut
* Manhattan, Central Park, Harlem, United nations, Rockefeller Center (sunken ice skating rink), Times Square (a triangle at Broadway and 42nd st), Empire St Bldg, WTC site, Wall St.
* Brooklyn, Long Island, Coney Island (a peninsula), Brooklyn Bridge, the Atlantic.
* Queens, East River.
* Staten Island, Verrazano-Narrows bridge, New Jersey.
* NYC harbor: Ellis Is., Liberty Is., Hudson River, East River.

* Northwest Passage
* Algonquin and Iroquois / Mohawks, Manhattans
* Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
* New Amsterdam
* Seinfeld
* Martha Stewart, David Letterman

Progress reports in students' hands Friday, Sept 30

ClassroomC4 2005.JPG
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Unscheduled but important updates on scores are going out to all students today.

If you are absent, please email or call me to get your average.

Recent papers are being returned, too. To me the most important piece of work is the brief essay at the end of each open notes quiz.

Am open to bonus credit papers at all times. At the moment research and comparison essays on the Arabian horse and the princely sport of falconry are welcome.

More bonus work:
research and compare . . .

* the World Trade Center (yes, I know it was destroyed in 2001) and the Empire State Bldg.

* the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Los ngeles County Museum of Art (both have deluxe online offerings).

* the Dutch and the British in their roles as colonizers of New Amsterdam/New York.

* the role of indigenous peoples and that of African-Americans in the history of New York.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Important tool in a cool school: flash drive

Having announced that my students must present an electronic portfolio at the end of the semester, I must again recommend the flash drive for storage.

See earlier in the blog for more on flash drives and the personal digital timeline, please.

This week I've found flash drives listed online at Target for $18 and at Walgreens for $19. Both are 128 mb, which is more than adequate for a student over years of money-saving, trouble-free use. I have a 64 mb which holds a huge amount of material; if you can find a 64 they cost less than $20.

The diskettes - the small floppy disks - are so cheaply made nowadays that at least 25% of them go kaput overnight.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by trudeau.
New long-range, technology-based assignment:

At the end of the semester present a personal digital timeline of your 1st semester of high school. I haven't decided on the project score definitively, but it will be equivalent to a test grade. Probably 20 points. Students will shoot their a digital photo of themselves Thursday or Friday and will be able to upload it to their electronic portfolio. Anytime they have a great project or test or other red-letter item they will be able to make a digital photo in C4 to add to their timeline.


Cuneiform tablet from Assyrian trading post

Cuneiform is the ancient writing from Mesopotamia - from Iraq. Made with a reed stylus, these pictographic characters are connected to our writing (please see World Book, etc, for the connection).

Why do students know plenty about hieroglyphics and so little about cuneiform script?
a) Egyptian monuments were made in stone. Assyrian and Babylonian monuments and proclamations were made in clay and sun-baked brick. Thus erosion delayed archaeologists in their exhumation of the achievements of the Meosopotamians.
Americans love Egyptian culture. Somehow we find it comforting. The culture of the Babylonians, however, remains alien and forbidding to Westerners.

Map quiz Thursday: hand-sketched Iraq and neighbors, or SW Asia.

Ask a geography student why Middle East is an ethnocentric term and why SW Asia is an appropriate term for the Fertile Crescent region.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

virginia woolf, british writer

Originally uploaded by amaryliz.
Writer's Workshop is an after-school session each Wed. in which I give my students instruction in a small group. Students earn bonus credit for the writing they do in the 30-minute session. It runs from 3:40 to 4:10 in C4.

Chrysler Building from Below

Chrysler Building from Below
Originally uploaded by Haikiba.
The Chrysler Bldg and the Empire State Bldg look alike but you will learn the differences between them in our unit on NYC.

The unit will focus on the history and contemporary power of the Big Apple.

We'll begin by building an improved digital presentation on Gotham. The topics, to be pursued by pairs of students:
Staten Is. / NY harbor
Ellis Island / immigration

United Nations
Columbia University
Central Park
Lower East Side
Greenwich Village

Fifth Avenue

Projects are due Monday, at 15 pts.
Quality of presentation will be scored at 5 pts.
We have 2 days in the library to get the project almost complete.
* Five slides with large photos.

* Brief background - 3 bulleted phrases - on each slide.
* One slide must focus on a comparison (your choice of comparison topic).
* One additional bibliography slide: 2 sources on prointed material and 1 on photos.

Among our objectives in this unit ...
* Immigration timeline.
* Comparing NYC harbor to our recent study of New Orleans and the Gulf coast.
* Reasons that NYC is considered the capital of the world.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Feluccas on the Nile (Aswan, Egypt)

The Nile and Tigris-Euphrates valleys have a common name: Fertile Crescent. The name links these two most ancient places of the civilized world.

This week's work will demand that stuidents draw a free-hand map of SW Asia.
* 4 seas
* 10 nations
* 5 great cities

Demonstrating that you know metropolis coordinates:
1. 24N, 83W
2. 33N, 83W
3. 48N, 2E

shibboleths are words or phrases - or the pronunciation of words - that mark the in-group and identify the outsider. Hip-hop culture says "crunk" instead of excited. Academic culture says TIMZ instated of Thames. Internet culture says lol instead of We are amused.

Megalopolis: when nearby cities grow together and become mega-cities. Ex: an unbroken urban stretch runs from Boston to Washington, DC. The mega-city is built around the metropolis of NYC. You should be able to name two other megalopoli, such as Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Ethnic groups

Anglo-Americans / WASP's: white, Anglo-Saxon protestants . They are the longstanding, dominant group of the US power structure.
German-Americans are an enormous group and are known for their assimilation (blending in).
Jewish-Americans are a small group but wield great political power.
Hispanic-Americans include people from many nations - all of whom speak Spanish.
African-Americans make up about the same percentage of US population as Hispanics: both are about 13%.

Ethnicity may be defined by race, nationality or even language.

patois: an informal language, such as Creole or the Jamaican patois.
scatalogical: referring to bodily functions, usually as in humor. Scatology is the study of skat (Gk), usually as a historic, archaeological inquiry.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Students Teaching Students: Sara Ponder's presentation / photo by Meaghan Connor

Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Offering your knowledge and skill to another class makes pedagogical sense. Geography students of Ken Berg were recently given a summary of the documentary Lost Boys of Sudan by vivacious students Sara Ponder and Meaghan Connor.

Meaghan Connor powerpoint on Lost Boys of Sudan

Meagahan Connor and Sara Ponder piloted the Students Teaching Students project this semester. They presented their brief digital slide shows to Mr. Berg's geo class.

Learning more about map projections via papier mache hemispheres

Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Papier mache projects are sensual aids to learning. Geography students are making small hemispheres to learn more about map projections.

Logical teaching station: standing at tall, back of room information site

Originally uploaded by trudeau.
The traditional wooden teacher's desk is gone, replaced by a tall, rolling stand with laptop computer.
The software scoops up scores, attendance and remarks. Other software emits lesson plans, quick reference and allows other communications. I've dreamed of this station for several years. Finally I have an iBook and, thanks to teacher Bill Knox, a wireless connection.

What's needed next? More computer stations for my students. And a projector which will throw the images from my computer screen onto the wall.


Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Kendall Hughes is a senator, Morgan Franklin is president and Jack Waterman is vp of the Class of 2009, CMHS, following the first class elections.

Morgan has immediately established priorities for the leadership group:
1) produce an outstanding Freshman Class Talent Show on Nov 11 (auditions Nov 4).
2) Plan and execute a freshman class field trip to South Louisiana to view coastal erosion and hear from the people affected.
3) Make charitable contributions to the community part of the class activities.
4) Send student leaders to workshops to increase their skill and knowledge and thus their effectiveness at CMHS.

One of the sites this team will be checking for their activity plans is TeamBuildingGames.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Ralph Lauer photo / I-45 near the Woodlands

New York Times / September 25, 2005

Imagine 20 Years of This

There was a time when the cloud as an icon of destruction was shaped like a mushroom.

And a time when the cloud as a portent of fleeing populations gave off the buzz of locusts.

And a time when the cloud that symbolized unexpected death was the ashen plume shooting out of twin towers pancaking down.

Now the cloud we track across our television screens as a harbinger of all those things is touched with the ancient and divine: a vast, swirling eye. An unblinking thing that could have floated off an Egyptian cartouche, a Huichol ornament or the back of a dollar bill.

In a sense, we are back to a more innocent age. The dark eyes whirling ever closer are "natural" disasters, though they pack the force of thousands of Hiroshimas.

And if science is correct, we will be repeatedly reminded what "a force of nature" implies. Meteorologists argue that we have begun a new era of Atlantic storms pumped up by hot gulf waters, a cycle that oscillates in decades. The devastating hurricanes of the 1960's like Betsy and Camille were followed by a lull from 1970 to 1995 as cooler waters stifled the wrath of adolescent tropical storms. Now the streams of warm water that encourage rapid evaporation and spiraling winds are back.

If these are just the first dark puffs of a new kind of summer weather that will prevail for the next 20 years, can we possibly be ready for what is to follow?

Last year, four horsemen galloped over Florida in quick succession: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Already this season, the Gulf of Mexico has seen one major hurricane, Rita, sweep in on the veil of another, Katrina.

As a consequence, parts of New Orleans and stretches of the Mississippi coast are nearly uninhabited, and likely to stay that way for months. In Texas, Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur have emptied, at least temporarily. The populations of coastal cities have been scattered in a great arc, some trapped on highways a few miles inland, some in shelters as far away as Massachusetts and California.

The absurdity is that a dangerous squall can now be tracked almost from its birth off the coast of Africa, but its victims still cannot get out of its way. Despite our amazing ability to foretell the meteorological future, greed and sloth may have overpowered most sane efforts to plan for it.

Highways have clotted as families flee, and some of those without cars end up with nowhere to go but their rooftops. Evacuation plans for hospitals and nursing homes have been washed away by worst-case scenarios that no one envisioned - buildings marooned by deep water and beset by gunfire.

Encouraged by federal flood insurance, islands whose very existence is ephemeral have been lined with vacation homes. Low-lying urban neighborhoods with their asphalt toes resting in swamps have been built below levees too fragile to hold. Hurricane-resistant houses have been designed, but their squat forms have proven unpopular with customers craving ocean vistas.

Marshes that once absorbed storms have been allowed to die off and sink, leaving stretches of open water that can be flung shoreward by storm surges. Pipelines designed to flex have snapped - Katrina's damage may include 10 major spills.

Even the economy, unable to flee, has become a victim. The nation's refineries have been concentrated in the threatened hurricane belt. Gas-guzzlers and rising prices are beating into the heads of drivers the nature of the laws of supply and demand. Insurance companies have been rocked, struggling airlines have gasped at their jet fuel bills. The damage so far already could reach $200 billion.

Here is a look at six crucial questions we face:


As coastal communities confront a newly intense storm cycle, they turn to remedies they have used for years to combat beach loss they have already been experiencing because of rising sea levels. Unfortunately, each has serious drawbacks.

They can armor their beaches with seawalls, breakwaters or other hard structures. Usually, though, drawing a rock or concrete line on a dynamic sandy coast results in loss of the very resource the work is meant to protect, the beach.

Communities can replace sand lost to erosion or storm waves. But it can be hard to find good sources of replacement sand; the projects are unsightly, mining and applying the sand brings other environmental problems, and the projects often do not last long, which means the process can be extremely expensive.

As a result, some communities have reconciled themselves to the idea that houses and other buildings will occasionally be lost to the surf. Others are limiting development by establishing setback lines, usually based on natural features like dune lines or the high water mark. But it can be difficult for local officials to stick to these rules, in the face of property owners who plead to protect their homes or who threaten to sue if development limits thwart their plans to live on the coast. —CORNELIA DEAN


The effect that any single hurricane has on the broad United States economy is minor. Even Katrina, which sent gas prices soaring, has done little to alter the national economy's course. Outside the Gulf Coast, business and households have continued spending money at roughly the same rate as they were before.

But if major storms hit the Atlantic and gulf coasts with some frequency, the economic equation changes. Suddenly, an infrastructure that was built with one reality in mind is facing a different one. Uncertainty will increase; efficiency will suffer. "We're going to have to make some difficult choices," said Ross C. DeVol, director of regional economics at the Milken Institute. "You can't build everything to withstand a category-five hurricane."

Katrina alone caused estimated damages of $200 billion, and some conservative House Republicans have suggested reducing government spending by $500 billion over 10 years to pay for that one storm's overall costs. A series of large storms would increase the budget deficit and start a new debate over whether to raise taxes, cut programs, or both.

Whatever the outcome of that debate, the result would almost certainly steal resources that might be invested in infrastructure improvements around the country, or in exploring new technologies. That could cut productivity growth and slow the rise of living standards. —DAVID LEONHARDT


Consider: America's energy industry - both its oil supplies and refineries - is concentrated along the Gulf of Mexico. And it takes about 10 years to construct a refinery.

That means gas prices will almost always spike each time a hurricane heads for the gulf coast.

Already the gulf accounts for a third of America's oil and gas supplies, and that share is expected to grow. Few states have been willing to approve more oil drilling. Coastal states like Florida and California fear the oil industry would scare away tourism. And environmental opposition has so far stymied efforts to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Rocky Mountains.

The concentration in refining capacity is even more marked. There are 50 refineries in coastal states, and the refining capacity of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi is almost equal to that of the rest of the country. No new refineries have been built for nearly 30 years. Only one is being built, in Arizona, and it won't come on line for a decade. To meet demand, refiners have instead expanded their existing plants, particularly along the gulf coast.

Curbing consumption and importing more oil would help. But for Lawrence J. Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, the recent hurricanes make the industry's case for expanding beyond the gulf. "Our facilities have been forced into a natural disaster corridor," he said. —JAD MOUAWAD
Addendum: a NYTimes story on the equivocal state of Gulf region refineries is to be found here: Gulf refineries assess damage.


Bill Brown, a chief of one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's search and rescue teams, had just come home to Indianapolis following Hurricanes Katrina and Ophelia, when the call came: Hurricane Rita was bearing down on Texas. "Not again," he recalls thinking.

There has never been a summer like this for him or FEMA. And this could be just the beginning of decades of hurricane frenzy. That cannot be comforting to FEMA, whose much criticized response to Katrina has been attributed not only to poor leadership and insufficient planning, but also the agency's limited capacity to field a relief effort across the 90,000-square-mile region damaged by the storm.

FEMA's critics say it must develop the expertise to deliver assistance to state and local governments in an emergency, before they have been able to assess their own needs. The agency will have to focus on working closely with National Guard troops trained and equipped to deal with the chaotic aftermath of hurricanes. Critically, the agency needs people at the top experienced in disaster management, not political appointees.

Finally, FEMA will need a lot more money, said Butch Kinerney, an agency spokesman, if it is to have the muscle and personnel to respond effectively to one major hurricane after another. "There is no question these storms are taxing the system," he said. —ERIC LIPTON


Images of thousands of poor people stranded at the Superdome in New Orleans, and of miles of traffic jams on the highways out of Houston, have highlighted the challenge of evacuating densely populated areas on short notice.

Existing models underestimate the difficulty of evacuations, said Jerome M. Hauer, New York City's director of emergency management from 1996 to 2000. "I would suggest to any mayor or governor now," he said, "that we need to leave more time in particular for evacuating hospitals and nursing homes. At the other end, we have to look at how to deal with the massive sheltering demands."

One problem is that no one has planned for huge evacuations, said Mary C. Comerio, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "There really are not plans in place to empty a region of half a million people, much less several million people," she said.

Then there is the problem of persuading people to leave, said Dennis S. Mileti, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The poor and minorities often distrust government officials, he said, but may listen to local representatives of the American Red Cross. And evacuation warnings need to be everywhere - on local and national media outlets. "You need to repeat the information many, many, many, many times," he said. —SEWELL CHAN


It is possible to build a hurricane-proof house. But perhaps the best of the lot - a dome-shaped creation made with tons of poured concrete and anchored with steel pilings - looks like something from a bad sci-fi movie.

They are a hard sell, said David B. South, an engineer who designed the Dome Home 30 years ago and now teaches people to build them from his Monolithic Dome Institute in Italy, Tex.

But experts say homes don't have to look odd to survive a hurricane. "Any house can be fortified," said Wendy Rose, of the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an organization sponsored by the insurance industry, based in Tampa, Fla.

Engineers say the $23 billion in losses from four hurricanes in Florida last year would have been greater had the state not adopted some of the strictest building codes in the country, ones far more stringent than those in the other Gulf Coast states. But most of Florida's homes were built under lower standards and have yet to be updated.

Insurers offer discounts to those who modify their homes. "We ask people to take one step at a time," said Harvey G. Ryland, chief executive of the home safety institute. "Frequently, one of the single most important things you can do is buy a reinforced garage door. A blown-in garage door allows in a large volume of wind that can take a roof off." —JOSEPH B. TREASTER

Ethnocentrism, as interpreted by

Ethnocentrism (Greek ethnos ("nation" + -centrism) or ethnocentricity is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture. Many claim that ethnocentrism occurs in every society; ironically, ethnocentrism may be something that all cultures have in common.

Nearly every religion, "race," or nation feels it has aspects which are uniquely valuable. (This tendency is humorously illustrated in the romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which the heroine's father perenially exalts Greek culture: "Give me any word, and I'll show you how it derives from Greek roots." "Oh, yeah, how about kimono?")
Ethnocentrism is common among people belonging to large "empires." Toynbee notes that Ancient Persia regarded itself the center of the world and viewed other nations as increasingly barbaric according to their degree of distance. China's very name is composed of ideographs meaning "center" and "country" respectively, and traditional Chinese world maps show China in the center.
England defined the world's meridians with itself on the center line, and to this day, longitude is measured in degrees east or west of it Greenwich. "The sun never sets on the British Empire."
The United States so conceived of its role of "Manifest Destiny" that it regarded the western portions of North America as essentially "uninhabited" and celebrates Columbus Day as the anniversary of the America's "discovery."
The Japanese word for foreigner ("gaijin") also means "outsiders," and Japanese do not normally use the term to describe themselves when visiting other countries. For a Japanese tourist in New York, gaijin are not Japanese tourists, but New Yorkers.
Ethnocentrism as selfishness

In the latter quarter of the 20th century, various forms of ethnocentrism began to be decried, largely by other groups professing either to be innocent of ethnocentrism themselves or eminently qualified to embrace it. African-Americans complained of the Eurocentrism of white America while exalting Afrocentrism. Edward Said wrote a book called Orientalism, arguing that the West could not understand Arab and Islamic cultures (and should not try to).
Many wars have been fought with ethnocentricism as a major theme. World War II entailed ethnocentrism on two fronts: Nazi Germany's "master race" concept exalted the so-called "Aryan people," while Japan proposed its Greater East-Asia Co-prosperity Sphere with Japan as the center of this sphere in 1940. The Nazis succeeded in taking over much of Europe and embarked on the largest ethnic cleansing campaign in history (see the Holocaust, ironically demonizing Jews for "Jewish ethnocentrism" and using that as part of their justification).
The reasons for maintaining an ethnicity or culture are often personal and relate to the cohesion of familiar personal and social elements; that is, attachment or custom. We are all born into a human culture, and it is culture that shapes our self-awareness and understanding of other individuals. It also reflects, depending on the cultural teaching, customs or patterns of behaviour in relating to other cultures. This behaviour can range from universal acceptance or feelings of inferiority compared with other cultures, to racism, which many consider an aspect of xenophobia. Some examples of ethnocentric behaviors are represented by such social phenomena as economic isolationism, counter-cultures, anti-establishmentism, and widespread social patterns of interpersonal abusive behaviors as ostracization, prejudice, and discrimination.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Happy equinox: notes from Fr, Sept 23

Originally uploaded by sidelobe.
Equinox: nox, nacht, noche all mean ...?
Solstice: sol, soleil, sonne all mean ... ?
stare, static, status all relate to what meaning?
sombre? somber?

Romans create Latin ("Cogito, ergo sum.").
Languages that flow forth are called Romance after the Romans.
* Portuguese
* Italian ("Prego," please)
* Spanish
* French

carte - paper
a la carte - "by the menu"
Magna Charta "great charter," limited the king's power.

WG, pp. 6 and 7
1) Sketch the 2 maps which explain the Great Circle Route (shortest distance).
2) Create a map representative of the Mercator Projection.
3) Add titles and color.
4) Globe: accurate and portable.
Mercator map: distorted, esp. near the poles; sizes distorted but the shapes are accurate. And it's portable.

Great Circle Route-related 1983 Disaster: 270 dead aboard a Korean Airlines jumbo jet on a flight from Los Angeles to Seoul, S. Korea. Because the flight mistakenly flew over the Russian island of Sakhalin, the Russians shot the civilian plane out of the sky. Why was it the flight slightly off course? Partly, because the pilots were using the Great Circle Route, partly because of pilot error in programming the flight.

Independent work - bonus points - for a descriptive review of the Talent Show. Compare 2 acts. Evaluate. Be specific.

Try a service called for storm tracking.

Another bonus essay: research and compare the history of the Arabian horse and history of falconry.

Swamp studies: stopping the erosion of Louisiana wetlands

Magical swamp
Originally uploaded by Dextrano.
The National Geographic story "Gone with the water" calls out for follow-up material.

This week National Public Radio ( aired a story on the post-Katrina condition of the swamps below New Orleans called Healing
Liquid Louisiana

From there we find links to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Coastal La Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration (CLEAR).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Baby hippo bonds with centenarian tortoise

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean, then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-o ld hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added.

"The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added.

"The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," he explained.

Thanks to Zoe Auld and her mom, Yeona DaCosta-Auld, for this story.

Open Notes Quiz 3

Bedouin thoughts
Originally uploaded by BidWiya.

Trudeau / World geomorphology / Open Notes test 3 / Cartography, etc.

1) If storms seem larger than usual to you this year, it’s probably true. According to National Geographic, scientists largely attribute this to a) coastal erosion b) loss of barrier islands c) changes in ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream d) global warming.

Name the large city closest to:

2) 40N, 74W
3) 32N, 35E
4) 30S, 20E
5) 35S, 150E
6) 30E, 90W

7) The region associated with the earliest use of math and mapping: a) Babylonia
b) Mesopotamia c) Egypt d) Greece.
8) Greenwich, England, is home to the a) equator b) prime meridian c) oldest section of London.
9) Pythagoras and the grid system are associated with a) Greece b) Egypt c) Mesopotamia.
10) This ancient region was not mentioned in notes on the history of cartography, but it is one of the regions designated a Cradle of Civilization. We may guess that their achievements in map making were also significant.
a) China b) Rome, Italy c) Aztecs, Mexico City d) Constantinople.
11) Called the Father of geography for his book Geographia, this scholar was an ancient Greek: a) Plato b) Strabo c) Pythagoras d) Aristotle.
12) Called the most ancient city of the Western world: a) Babylon b) Cairo
c) Alexandria d) Ur.
13) Write the grid coordinates for Istanbul (formerly Constantinople).
14) Sometimes the world fights over ethnocentric concerns (ie, the Germans wanted to take over most of Europe because they deserved it, said Hitler) and sometimes it simply accepts them.
In one or two sentences describe a situation in which the world has quietly accepted an ethnocentric term and describe the non-ethnocentric alternative to that term. (2 pts.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Betelgeuse: Arab astronomers and mapping the Middle East

Sept 20

SW Asia or the Middle East- which is the best name?

SW Asia is technical and specific; Middle East is derived from the British and is a culturally relative term (if an enormously popular one).

Contemporary map:
Greece * Turkey * Iran / Tehran * Iraq / Baghdad * Persian Gulf / Mediterranean / Red Sea / Black Sea / Caspian Sea * Saudi Arabia * Jordan * Israel * Lebanon * Syria * Egypt

Mercator *rojection:
* commonest type
* see textbook, WG, pp. 4 to 7.

In what nation?
a) Euphrates
b) Tigris
c) Mesopotamia
d/ Ur
e) Babylonia

Greenwich / London / prime meridian

What is disconsonant about the definition of cosmopolitan and the magazine's image as implied by its covers? Is the contemporary Cosmopolitan in effect a Babylonian periodical?

terra firma (Latin)

tempus (Latin)
Arab astronomers:
Betelgeuse, Aldebaran

RSVP: repondez, s'il vous plait

Video: Using maps and Globes

Great Bakeries of S W ASia: a map of principal cities.
Athens, Constantinople, Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Cairo and Mecca.
Why "bakeries"? Because the development of wheat and other grains as crops was an earmark of civilized society. From wheat one makes bread, "the staff of life."

1) Is Spaceship Earth spherical or elliptical in shape? Both.
2) Why is "Middle East" an ethnocentric term?
Ethnocentric: belief that your nation or culture is superior to others, ie, cultural bias. Examples: the French, the Chinese, the Americans.
* Since the term Mid East was coined by the English during the time of the British Empire, we see that the term has a cultural bias. The rest of the world does not see the region as "Middle" nor necessarily as the "east." A less value-laden term is South West Asia.
3) The language that first united this region - under the reign of Alexander the Great:
a) Greek
b) latin
c) Arabic
Answer: Greek. It was followed by latin and, much later, by Arabic.
4) A person who is open-minded, broadly educated and a "citizen of the world," or sophisticated"
a) provincial
b) cosmopolitan
c) parochial.
Answer: cosmopolitan. Provincial and parochial mean "from the country."

Cosmopolitan cities, for their broad cultures and educational levels: NYC, Seattle, San Francisco. Provincial cities: New Orleans, Memphis.

petra: rock
oleum: oil

Atlas: the Greek titan cursed with the burden of holding up the entire world.

Writer's Workshop for small-group point-making study: every Wed. after school.

Terrorist connection
stabilize oil supplies

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cartography: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece

Oriental antiquities
Originally uploaded by Claudecf.
1) Ancient advances in mapping seen in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, about 2,300 BCE (Before the Common Era). Use of geometry in mapping.

2) Egyptians use geometry in mapping for land ownership.

3) Greece: Strabo wrote the book Geographia about 63 BCE.
* Pythagoras was the first to offer proof that the earth is spherical.
* Greeks develop map projections and the grid system.

Cradles of Civilization, acc to A History of the World:
* Mesopotamia
* Nile Valley
* China's Huang valley
* Indus Valley of Pakistan / India.

belief that your culture is superior to others.

Historic map / Roots of Geography:
a) Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
b) Babylonia: cities of Babylon and Ur.
c) Persian Gulf
d) Red Sea
e) Mediterranean
f) Black Sea
g) Turkey / Asia Minor
h) Greece
i) Arabia

Thursday's quiz, Sept. 22: Historic Middle East Map,
as above.

Air conditioning and geography

Air conditioned
Originally uploaded by His Noodly Appendage.
Sept 19
"Without air conditioning the city of Houston, our 4th largest city, would not exist." That's a famous, if apocryphal, quote.

About the background of air conditioning:

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used wet mats to cool indoor air. They hung the mats over the doors to their tents and other dwellings. When wind blew through the mats, evaporation of the water cooled the air. The people of India later used this method to cool the royal palaces. About 1500, Leonardo da Vinci, the great Italian artist and scientist, built the first mechanical fan to provide ventilation. Water power turned the fan. In 1553, the English developed a rotary fan to ventilate mines.
- World Book 05

Modern A/C history begins with Cornell U. engineer Willis Carrier. About 1902 he developed the electrical A/C that we now take for granted. For more on Carrier, please see

Charles Panati also points out in his best-selling Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things that the Egyptians used the arid climate of their nation in cooling. They placed a clay tray of water on a bed of straw at nightfall. In the morning the water was icy from the cooling effect of evaporation, says Panati.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mapping: the Mercator projection and other formats

Week of Sept 19: the types of maps we can use to render the earth and our neighborhoods.

Cartography is what we call this business. Here's Wikipedia's overview:

Also, here's a sample of the history of cartography: Mapping.

When we meet our objectives in map types, we will apply what we've learned to a study of Manhattan and Brooklyn, or N Y C. The purpose of the New York unit is to get you ready to visit the Big Apple and to understand the forces that have made it the world's business and culture capital.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Absences on Thursdays to be Avoided

Originally uploaded by trufflepig.
Thursday is test day and assignments-due-day in this geography class.

Attendance is a classic indicator of success in school. High attendance and awareness of test days is a sign that indicates thoughtful approach and effective response. Being lax in attendance is simply Not in your best interest, especially in your first year in a demanding high school.

Ask your parents about their evaluation of attendance as a lifetime habit.

If your progress reports do not yield the same results you experienced in middle school, should you panic? No. The average student at CMHS has quite an adjustment to make to mee the demands of CMHS. THis is a college prep curriculum. Your classes should be more demanding across the board.

In geography class your modus operandi should be
a) build your points by writing extra credit essays and
b) look at the tests on this site with your parents so you can develop your reading and response skill. I'll be happy to help, too. Email me with questions.
Soon I'll have a once a week after-school Writer's Workshop, 3:40 to 4:10, to give more aid.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Memphis, TN, Pyramid on the Mississippi

Pyramid Sunny Day
Originally uploaded by amiev.
Sept 14
Rivers and civilizations

Sketch an informal map of the Miss. Valley.
* 10 bordering states
* 5 big tributaries
* the alternative outlet: Atchafalaya R.
See also Sabine R and Pearl R.

Please see

Why study this great basin? Is it at all connected to our study of the Katrina disaster? How so?

superfluous: unnecessary material

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Nat Geo photo by Robert Caputo, Oct 04, explaining the Katrina scenario

Sept 12 - 16

Parents: Thursday, Sept 15, 6 pm, is Back to School Night. Parking will be at a premium; I recommend you arrive at 5:30 pm. Report to the PAC or to my room, C-4.

* Meet the teachers and wave at your fellow parents.
* Sign up and pay dues for Friends of Magnet (PTSA) and other helpful organizations.
* Purchase a CMHS T-shirt or sign.
* Volunteer for committees so you can enjoy and employ the CMHS network.
* Enjoy the ambience at one of Louisiana’s most productive schools. It will wrap at 7:45.

The Big Uneasy

Mon. through Thursday geo classes will read the National Geographic story from October, 04, that literate people are currently discussing. It is called “Gone with the Water” and fluently presents the storm scenario played out with Katrina. But it is not simply an “I told you so” story. It explains the forces that created the catastrophe and explores solutions.
See the story at NatGeoOct04


a) Read the story for summary notes on the factual material.
b) Derive material that will allow a student to predict the future of South Louisiana’s physical geography.
c) Collect material that assesses the importance of South Louisiana to the nation.
d) Present the story in graphical form, including both graphs and maps.
e) Read about the 1927 Mississippi River flood as described in’s article at Wikipedia.orgMissFlood1927.
f) Make a list of geographical terms from the article.
g) Create a multiple-choice vocabulary quiz.
h) Use the atlas in mapping the story’s chief geographical points.

NatGeo vocabulary:

Big Easy - NO nickname based on Big Apple
homage - honor
Ash Wed. - day after Mardi Gras; first day of Lent
maelstrom - whirling storm
infirm - ill or incapable
berm - built-up land
Apocalypse - end of world through violent destruction.
dehydration - lack of water
putrid - rotten
sediment - dirt issolved in water.
chinks - gap
global warming - recent climate trend
barrier islands - narrow island close to coast
subsidence - sinking land
deluge - flood
levees - land raised as a barrier to water flow.
brackish - mixed salt water and fresh water.
1/3 US oil production or transportation: Louisiana
1/4 US natural gas: Louisiana
2nd in US fish: Louisiana
La Coastal Area project - attempt to restore lost land.
geomorphologist - studies changing geography
breaching - breaking
spillways - gate in a levee for relieving flood pressure.
diversions - to change, or divert, the course of the water.
culvert - man-made waterway under a road
prototype - initial model
lush - rich
restoration - to rebuild
US Corps of Engineers
$300 million seafood - Louisiana
1st oil well: 1901 - Louisiana
ubiquitous - found everywhere.
deep offshore wells - important source of US oil.
1/3 US domestic oil production - flows through La.
ANWR Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge
Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) - supertankers 18 miles in the Gulf offloading or onloading oil via pipelines.
supertankers - modern international oil carriers.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve - oil reserves set aside for national emergency.
saline formation - salt dome; associated with oil deposits.
induced subsidence - forced sinking of land.
Bayou LaFourche / Bayou Terrebonne - rural land below Baton Rouge.
Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary - bay southwest of New Orleans.
beignet - fried treat.
Cafe du Monde - Cafe of the World (all the people)
torpid - very hot and humid.
licentious - enjoying pleasures of the flesh.
“short-term advantages can be gained by exploiting the environment”

1. Pre-test: Write a 3-sentence summary of the physical elements of Katrina's destruction.
2. Sketch the principal items of New Orleans from a Rand McNally map:
* Vieux Carre, or French Quarter
* Miss. R.
* Lake Pontchartrain
* Pontchartrain Causeway
* Metairie, the biggest suburb
* Tulane, Loyola, Xavier
* St. Bernard parish
* Plaquemines parish

3. Read "Gone with the water," Nat Geo., Oct 04
4. Take notes on vocabulary and the italicized sections.
5. Create 2 graphs (or a timeline) from the article info to add to your sketch map of NO.
6. Design a New Orleans Problems and Solutions page. Find a way to explain the relationship of the city to the river and gulf both in writing and graphics.
Annual floods spread alluvial soil in ancient times, making rich crops.
Growing population of the city calls for flood protection: levees are built.
River unable to flood past levees. Silt flows to the Gulf. City grows.
Silt being borne by the river extends the land of the river delta.
Oil & gas and shipping issues lead to creation of network of canals along coast and river.
Oil & gas drilling causes subsidence. Canal network increases the erosion of the coastline.
Global warming results in higher seas, difficult storms.
Coastal marshes and barrier islands are eroded.
Storms have greater impact on the coast and city.

7. Predict the future of the Louisiana coastline, using the material in the NatGeo article.
8. Summarize the ways in which New Orleans is important to the US. Use colorful graphics as well as statistics.
9. Research and sketch a brief map of the Mississippi Valley and its 5 great tributaries.

Here's my test on decoding the National Geographic story:

National Geographic: “Gone with the Water,” Oct, 04 / Trudeau / Geo test 2

Choose the best answer possible.
1. Louisiana’s coast can expect greater damage from the sea, says a climatologist. One reason: a) barrier islands b) global warming c) marsh sediment d) spring floods.
2. Before the Mississippi levees were built, what factor prevented coastal erosion?
a) floods b) canals c) marshes d) FEMA.
3. Before 1927 the Mississippi Valley sediment frequently flowed into the fields surrounding the river. After 1927 the sediment flowed to the a) wetlands b) brackish marshes c) gulf d) canals.
4. Petroleum exploration and ship traffic have caused salt water to a) penetrate
b) retreat from c) stabilize Louisiana’s brackish marshes (“brackish” means mixed salt water and fresh water).
5. The oil being transported through Louisiana’s wetlands amounts to some a) 30% b) 50% c) 90% of America’s supplies.
6. Commercial fisheries in America are ranked, acc. to NatGeo: a) Florida-Alaska-Louisiana b) Florida-Louisiana-Alaska c) Louisiana-Florida-Alaska d) Alaska-Louisiana.
7. The US Corps of Engineers seems to have made a costly coastal error in constructing a) a channel to serve as a shortcut for freighters b) the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) project c) the Atchafalaya Delta.
8. Breaching the levees with a set of gated spillways, says a coastal geomorphologist, will have this effect on the coastal marsh: a) build up b) increase in erosion c) subsidence.
9. The success story on the Louisiana coastline is a) the Caernavon Diversion
b) Atchafalaya River c) La. Coastal Area (LCA) project.
10. The US Corps of Engineers allows only a third of the Mississippi’s water to flow out via the Atchafalaya channel. The reason? a) dissolving coastal marsh b) build-up of the Atchafalaya Delta c) loss of water supply for Lower Mississippi towns d) stabilization of the shoreline.
11. This article implies that Louisiana’s commercial shrimp fishing industry has almost collapsed. T / F
12. The La Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) enables supertankers to deliver some 15% of America’s oil. This petroleum is categorized as a) domestic b) foreign c) natural gas d) Louisiana muck.
13. Low taxes and high-paying jobs have come to Louisiana via the __ industry.
a) shipping b) fisheries c) tourism d) petroleum.
14. According to NatGeo, regional depressurization, or subsidence, will likely continue due to the high price of a) coastal restoration b) natural gas c) seafood d) flood relief.
15. In one or two sentences . . .
a) explain the engineer’s observation that “short term advantages can be gained by exploiting the environment. But in the long term you’re going to pay for it.” (“exploiting means “taking advantage of”).
Also, b) give an example of the short term vs. long term as presented in this article.
Priorities: grammar, spelling and legibility. (3 pts.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Mother and son: Haiti / comparison essays and bonus work

Originally uploaded by awkward white jew.

Bonus credit comparison essays:

* Research and compare the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
* Research and compare the lives of Sudanese refugees with the Katrina evacuees.
* Research and compare the profiles of Haiti and Puerto Rico.
* Powerpoint research and comparison of the above topics. Please see me for additional guidelines.

Your score will depend on your adherence to the blue sheet on Essay Guidelines. Up to 10 pts.

Russian leaders: Putin, Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Stalin and Lenin

baby lenin
Originally uploaded by mira mira on the wall.
The terms Communism and socialism are frequently confused, says World Book. Communists usually refer to their beliefs and goals as "socialist." But socialists do not consider themselves Communists. Communists and socialists both seek public ownership or regulation of the principal means of production. But most socialists favor peaceful and legal methods to achieve their goals, while Communists have often used force without regard to law. Socialism may or may not be based on the teachings of Marx. Communism is based on the teachings of both Marx and Lenin.

* Lenin and Stalin were the seminal communist leaders.
* Gorbachev and Yeltsin restructured Russia and ended some 70 years of communism.
* Putin is today's dictatorial leader of the new capitalist state of Russia.
* This matrioshka - a nesting doll - is a traditional craft item of Russia.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hand-drawn Caribbean quiz Thursday

Students must be able to take a blank sheet of paper and - with no notes - sketch and label the land masses, seas, nations and municipalities we've studied.
* 4 bodies of water, including the Gulf Stream
* 6 island nations
* 2 peninsulas
* remainder of the total 15 items can be cities or islands


* Caribbean tourism capitals - Kingston, San Juan, Nassau.
* New Orleans' economy, like the economies of Caribbean nations, has come to be dominated by tourism, acc. to Gannett News. The port also contributes to the city's revenue, via shipments of grain and petroleum.
* FEMA: acronym, Fed Emergency Management Agency.
* Who gives FEMA its budget and guidelines? Congress.
* Two states not directly affected by Katrina that are now "emergency areas"? TX, AR
* International aid agency w/ a branch at cmhs? Red Cross.
* Nations in similar need of aid in recent history: East Af. nations of Ethiopia and Somalia. East European nation, Bosnia. Central Asian nation, Afghanistan.

Cuba and 4 additional nations are the remaining communist entities. * Quick, simple definition of communist nation:
1. Totalitarian govt.
2. Govt also controls the economy, which includes all business, land, products and employment.

Communist nations? 1. Cuba 2. China 3. Vietnam 4. North Korea 5. Laos (a neighbor of Vietnam).
Whic h communist nation has recently dropped the part about government control of business? China.

philanthropist (Bill & Melinda GGates, Rockefellers, Virginia Sheehee).
Gulf of Mexico's Loop Current
Gannett Corp. / Canada / Washington, DC. / USA Today
Caribs and Arawaks

Bonus credit comparison essays:

* Research and compare the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
* Research and compare the lives of Sudanese refugees with the Katrina evacuees.

Your score will depend on your adherence to the blue sheet on Essay Guidelines. Up to 10 pts.

Cuba: communism, poverty, embargo, Spanish-Creole culture

Originally uploaded by Gerard.
Cuba has been a communist nation for the past 45 years. Dictator Fidel Castro has tenaciously withstood the US trade and travel embargo against his country.

* Cuba is only 90 miles from Key West.
* pop: 11 M
* Havana, pop. 2.6 M
* Spanish-speaking
* Per Capita income (PCI): $3000
* exports: sugar, tobacco, nickel, citrus

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rooftop Rescue

Rooftop Rescue
Originally uploaded by Uncle Greggy.
Below: an article for my students to read Tuesday. We will write a comparison of the Sudanese immigrants' and the storm evacuees' problems in class Wednesday.

Evacuee crisis could take years to solve
Editors:@ UPDATES with FEMA saying it wants to keep evacuees in the South.
By CHUCK RAASCH, GNS Political Writer
WASHINGTON – The government and aid groups are trying to come to grips with a domestic challenge they usually meet in poorer countries: hundreds of thousands of people who need food, clothing and shelter for an undetermined period of time.
Sports stadiums, civic centers, churches and private homes have become shelters for the evacuees.
— The population of Baton Rouge, 70 miles west of New Orleans, doubled within a week as the Louisiana state capital was inundated with Katrina victims and relief workers. All apartments have been rented and all available buildings filled with refugees.
— Houston had to divert buses of New Orleans evacuees to its convention center after the Astrodome filled up.
— Tennessee, which already had 12,700 evacuees Friday, is preparing for as many as 18,000 more. Gov. Phil Bredesen wants them housed at National Guard armories, vacant schools, churches and other smaller shelters instead of sports stadiums. “I think it’s a more sensible way of trying to handle large numbers of people,’’ he said.
— A private airline that delivered food from an Indiana supermarket chain to New Orleans returned to Indianapolis with 60 evacuees Friday night. “I'm going to tell them that this city will embrace them," Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson told reporters before the Republic Airways plane landed.
— Iowa’s governor offered to have his state take in as many as 5,000 hurricane evacuees, putting them up in apartments or college dorms.
Images of desperate Gulf Coast residents languishing without food or water for days prompted offers of shelter from states as far away as Pennsylvania and Minnesota. But Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say the government will focus on relocating hurricane evacuees within the South.
Federal officials Saturday said many families may not return to their home areas if they are evacuated to far-flung states. A permanent mass exodus of residents could deal an even harsher economic blow to the South, FEMA said.
The human flood out of the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast is so massive that President Bush on Friday declared neighboring Arkansas and Texas federal emergency areas.
By week’s end, the American Red Cross had already set up 275 emergency shelters in 16 states to deal with the human stream from Hurricane Katrina. Another 100-plus shelters were on standby.
But the long-term housing prognosis of these refugees, and thousands of others, remains unknown. Government and charity group officials are still struggling to get their arms around what could be the largest displacement of Americans since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, when years of drought caused the southern Plains states to become unlivable.
"Ultimately, we’re talking about dislocations of hundreds of thousands of people,” Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff warned. “That will be a challenge for this country on par with challenges we've seen overseas."
In recent history, Americans have been on the giving end of refugee response, meeting challenges in places like Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bosnia with private and government relief funds. American organizations like World Vision, Mercy Corps and Church World Service specialize in crisis response, parlaying government and individual donations into tent cities and health care for people displaced by war, drought and famine.
But now, the need is at home. Many of these organizations have sent in reconnaissance teams to assess where they can most help. Foreign governments and the United Nations have even offered help.
James Bishop, director of Humanitarian Response for InterAction, a consortium of private relief agencies, estimated there will be tens of thousands of people who are going to require long-term assistance, and the number may be larger than that.
“These are people without assets or support systems because what was keeping them going in New Orleans is not there any more,” he said.
Bishop talked Friday with officials at the United Nation’s disaster response office who are ready to offer technical relocation assistance as soon as the U.S. government asks for it.
“What they would probably have to offer is not food or medicine, but expertise,” he said.
The first wave of refugees out of New Orleans and other flood-ravaged areas has been met with a much-criticized government effort, as well as a spontaneous effort from churches, private groups and individuals. A Web site set up by’s nonpartisan arm,, produced offers for nearly 50,000 beds from private individuals in its first 24 hours online. Offers came as far away as tiny Rosholt, S.D.
There are countless stories of family members landing on the doorsteps of relatives hundreds of miles away.
Indianapolis Police Detective Arleatha Marble got a call Wednesday from a cousin saying she and other New Orleans relatives, ages 1 to 65, were on their way.
"You said how many?" Marble recalled saying. "Twenty-five," was the response.
Bishop said this crisis could eventually be rivaled in American history only by the numbers who fled the Plains’ Dust Bowl or Gen. Sherman’s blazing march through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War.
“When you go to Gulfport, Biloxi and Hattiesburg and all along the coastal line, and you see the evacuation of one of the major cities in the United States, you can see this is going to be years,” said Major Gen. George Hood, the Salvation Army’s national community relations secretary. “The economy of this area is in a state of chaos.”
Hood pointed out that 30,000 people were still living in temporary housing a year after Florida was hit with two hurricanes in 2004 that were less devastating than Katrina.
All along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coast, “there are concrete slabs where houses used to be,” said Hood, who is working in the devastated areas. “There is nothing there, neighborhood after neighborhood. And those were all homes.”

Nat Geo “Gone with the Water” Geo test 2 answers

1. b global warming
2. a floods
3. c gulf
4. a penetrate
5. a 30%
6. d Alaska-Louisiana
7. a freighter channel
8. a build up
9. b Atachafalaya
10. c keeping South La water supplies free of salt water
11. F
12. b foreign
13. d petroleum
14. b natural gas

15. After some 80 years (since 1927) of using levees, the city area has grown to about 1.2 million people and is a success as a tourist destination. But the payback has arrived. The city has become a bowl-shaped site that is terribly vulnerable to the effects of severe storms. Hurricane Katrina has wiped out many of the businesses and people whose safety and jobs depended on the levee system.

Alternative: Louisiana has gained many high-paying jobs and much state revenue by allowing the oil companies limitless ability to explore and drill for oil. But the canals dug and the oil extracted from the ground have contributed to erosion and subsidence and an alarming loss of coastal wetlands. The loss of coastal land to salt water looks like a long-term trend that is almost unstoppable. It seems Louisiana is paying the price of coastal land loss for the oil monies gained during the past century.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Crank-powered $100 laptops for the impoverished: MIT design

river taxi
Originally uploaded by ko-knia.
In a rural Cambodian village where the homes lack electricity, the nighttime darkness is pierced by the glow from laptops that children bring from school. The students were equipped with notebook computers by a foundation run by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte and his wife Elaine.

"When the kids bring them home and open them up, it's the brightest light source in the home," said Negroponte. "Parents love it."

Negroponte and some MIT colleagues are hard at work on a project they hope will brighten the lives and prospects of hundreds of millions of developing world kids. It's a grand idea and a daunting challenge: to create rugged, Internet- and multimedia-capable laptop computers at a cost of $100 apiece.

Please see more at

Thursday, September 01, 2005

kakuma refugee camp kenya / Geo test 1

at kakuma refugee camp kenya
Originally uploaded by bluestdream.
Here's a copy of our first test. It's designed to stimulate effective note-taking and capable test-taking skills and is called an OpenNotes, OpenAtlas,
MultipleChoice, QuickResponse test.

1. Lost Boys of Sudan presents political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner. Thus we call it a a) drama b) documentary c) reality TV d) direct TV.
2. Bienvenue: a) good luck! b) get well! c) good eating! d) welcome!
3. Demographics is the study of a) populations b) nations c) cities d) ethnic groups.
4. A large organization marked by many layers of authority (such as a government or a school system): a) bureaucracy b) documentary c) benign d) effluvia.
5. An acacia is an African a) plain b) tree c) village d) hut.
6. Name the connection between Ethiopia and Sudan as well as between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean: a) Islam
b) poverty c) the Nile d) ancient caravan routes.
7. The Upper Nile is in a) southern Egypt b) southern Egypt c) western Egypt.
8. A memory aid: a) acronym b) mnemonic c) ululation.
9. Swahili is the language of a) East Africa b) Mediterranean Africa c) Madagascar
d) Sudan.
10. Population of metropolitan Houston: a) 2.5 M b) 4.5 M
c) 8.5 M d) 40.5 M.
11. The Red River flows through North Louisiana thusly: a) NW to SE b) E to W c) W to E d) SE to NW.
12. In ancient history, which came first to Sudan? a) Christianity
b) Islam c) Buddhism.
13. Just as Sudan's civil war seemed to be coming to an end, another genocidal massacre intensified in the northwestern region of __ .
a) Darfur b) Khartoum c) Libya d) Dinka territory.
14. That the British were colonial masters of Sudan for 150 years is implied by the profile of the nation. You will find a hint in the people’s a) racial characteristics b) languages c) occupations d) educational system.
15. Things that are native to a region are said to be a) indigent
b) indigenous c) inveterate d) individual.
16. Silicon valley is near a) Seattle b) San Francisco c) Los Angeles d) San Diego.
17. Bill Gates’ home and Microsoft world headquarters is in the state of a) Oregon b) California c) Washington d) Texas.
18. Haiti and Dominican Republic are two poor nations on one island: a) Puerto Rico b) Hispaniola c) Cayman Is. d) Port-au-Prince.
19. A chain of islands is referred to as an a) archipelago b) strait
c) alluvial chain d) asylum.
20. Equal day and night: a) equinox b) solstice c) synonymous.
21. Which would produce the longest day of the year? a) summer solstice b) winter solstice c) fall equinox d) spring equinox.
22. Name the ocean current with the greatest impact on Louisiana: a) Gulf of Mexico b) Caribbean c) Gulf Stream d) Labrador Current.

CMHS enrolls initial refugees from South Louisiana

Originally uploaded by ratterrell.
In my classes today I added a young lady - soon to be 14 - from New Orleans, a fellow from Slidell and a young lady from Metairie. CMHS may enroll scores of refugees in the next few days, we are told.

I am sure some of them have arrived with little in the way of clothes, books and cash. Therefore, please begin looking through your closets and boxes for clean and neat jeans and shirts and school supplies to bring to CMHS. Mrs. Deborah Moorehead is our Red Cross club coordinator and that group can be counted upon for efficient and smart collection and distribution. Her email is

The photo above was taken in a Baton Rouge shelter by a friend who posts on

The Gregorian Calendar: 1582, Pope Gregory XIII

September means "seventh" but is the ninth month. That's because, according to, the Julian calendar (Julius Caesar, 45 BC) was updated about 1582 AD under Pope Gregory XIII. The calendar had to be lengthened. The seventh month was bumped to ninth position.

What other months are anomalies? Octo means "eighth" but is the 10th month. Deca, as in December, might be the tenth but is the 12th month.

new words: