Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010: Year of the tiger

year of the tiger
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Symbolizing invincibility, power and might, the tiger is a highly potent symbol used across many cultures in Asia. It is a particularly popular symbol in the art of Japan, says

Passion, ferocity, sensuality, speed and beauty are some of the things that the tiger is associated with in Japan. The animal is also known for its cruelty and wrath. According to Japanese tradition if you see a tiger in a dream it denotes the coming of a new power your way.

The tiger pretty much takes the kingly position held by the lion in Europe. The tiger symbol has been used for many different purposes in the Japanese tradition. From being a symbol to ward off evil it has also been a symbol that represents the destructive qualities of evil.

It is also given as a gift to the newly married couples as well as children that reach the age of puberty.

People born in the year of the tiger are believed to be emotional, sensitive and loving. At the same time they are considered to be stubborn and self centered.

If you look at the Japanese pronunciation for "tiger," you might remember a movie called "Tora Tora Tora" which was the code word used to initiate the attack on Pearl Harbor. It simply means "Tiger Tiger Tiger".

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Andrew C Revkin, NY Times science reporter, blogger, educator and global connector

Originally uploaded by Andy Revkin
:I’m convinced," writes science educator Andrew Revkin, "that there is vast untapped potential to use the Web and other means to build global awareness and meaningful relationships. Here’s some evidence. While giving a talk at Linfield College in Oregon in September, I learned of a professor of U.S.-Russian relations at another school who, on his own and with no extra budget or bureaucracy, recently linked his course through Web video with another course in U.S.-Russian relations in St. Petersburg, Russia. The same could be done for courses in climate policy, linking North and South, and even within schools. Imagine parallel deconstructions of climate legislation by, say, political science students and climate science students, using an online document dissector — essentially a more sophisticated, layered variant of the speech and document annotations done here on Dot Earth."

"The core of my work at Pace University will be the creation of a classroom and online course that, in essence, is an expansion of Dot Earth. As is the case here, the prime framing question explored each year by students will be: 9 Billion People + 1 Planet = ? This course will use mechanisms I tried in a seminar I taught a few years ago at the Bard Graduate Center for Environmental Policy. At Bard, for certain core assignments, students were divided into groups taking the approaches of different stakeholders in the drama of human development on a finite planet.

At Pace, I envision teams of students taking on the stance of techno-optimists and libertarians on one side and proponents of steady-state economics and growth limits on the other. Depending on the issue, they could be the Global North and South, or “ Guardians of the Future” versus interests of today. For discussions of the science, they would critically examine the role of “real” skepticism and the perils of oversimplification and advocacy when science meets the media and politics. I’d love to think that each year this course could produce a Web-based wiki-style product and/or printable book memorializing the journey."

"Lately, I’ve been describing the kind of inquiry I do on Dot Earth as providing a service akin to that of a mountain guide after an avalanche."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Copenhagen World Climate Change Conference opening statement

Glamour Magazine
Originally uploaded by bonnie dain
This is the video that is being projected onto giant 3D globes at the World Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The video was created at MVM post by animator/editor Macaela VanderMost, and produced by 42 Degrees North Film's Executive Producer Kate Raisz.

Cars of the World presentation . . .

Categorized by nation of the manufacturer's headquarters, make a list of all the world's auto brand names. Work with a partner under GoogleDoc presentations.

- As you list the brands, number the companies under each nation.
- You may include car companies that are no longer making vehicles but which are part of the nation's history.
- Include an illustration of a car for approximately every 5 companies.
- If you discover car companies we would consider minor, please list them in a batch at the end.
- Document.

The Euro nations that you will research include England, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Russia.

In Asia you will also inquire into Japan, China, South Korea and India.

There are numerous US brands, including a world of historic companies. You may list them all. Remember, get an illustration every 5th company. Defunct US auto brands constitute a fascinating part of what we call American History.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Intro to Deutschland

Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz (Daimler Benz) are names that remind us of the awesome technological achievements of the German people.

Add the name Nikolaus August Otto (14 June 1832, Holzhausen an der Haide, Nassau - 26 January 1891, Cologne). He was the German inventor of the first internal-combustion engine to efficiently burn fuel directly in a piston chamber. Although other internal combustion engines had been invented (e.g. by Étienne Lenoir) these were not based on four separate strokes. The concept of four strokes is likely to have been around at the time of Otto's invention but he was the first to make it practical.

Congrats to all the students who completed the Artful Map project. Thanks to the parents who bought the mats and supported the special activity.

Thanks to the many families who sent me holiday gifts! To all, Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Major parts of the British Empire

geography trudeau
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Today's review of the globe-girdling empire of the English included the nations written in red on this map. Added to the list were -
- British Virgin Islands
- Bahamas
- Bermuda
- Falkland Islands (near Argentina)
- Sudan
- Afghanistan was misplaced; it's northwest of India.

There were even more British possessions, of course.

The ancient, universal and positive nature of the swastika

"Swastika. I'm surprised how many people in the West don't know how important the swastika is to the Hindu faith. It's a symbol of life. Here it is associated with the sun god, Surya." Thus wrote the person who posted this photo.

The swastika (from Sanskrit svastika) is an equilateral cross, says wikipedia, with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (卐) form or its mirrored left-facing (卍) form. Archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates from the Neolithic period and was first found in the Indus Valley Civilization of the Indian Subcontinent. It occurs today in the modern day culture of India, sometimes as a geometrical motif and sometimes as a religious symbol; it remains widely used in Eastern and Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Despite this usage, the symbol has become stigmatized and to some extent taboo in the Western world because of its iconic usage by Nazi Germany.

The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika (in Devanagari स्वस्तिक), meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck. The modern equivalent to the term would be a talisman.

The genesis of the swastika symbol is often treated in conjunction with cross symbols in general, such as the "sun wheel" of Bronze Age religion.

Another explanation is suggested by Carl Sagan in his book Comet. Sagan reproduces an ancient Chinese manuscript (the Book of Silk) that shows comet tail varieties: most are variations on simple comet tails, but the last shows the comet nucleus with four bent arms extending from it, recalling a swastika. Sagan suggests that in antiquity a comet could have approached so close to Earth that the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet's rotation, became visible, leading to the adoption of the swastika as a symbol across the world.[8]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

British Empire presentation

With a partner - with whom you have yet to work . . .
Base the project on 10 images in a Google Doc presentation. Take your viewer on a trek across the lands that were part of the British Empire. Open with a map of the British Empire. Include that it lasted approximately from the 1600's through the 1900's. Document each slide.
On each image - you are covering 9 nations - add 3 bulleted explanations of the nation or region being shown.
Include: a)Name of nation and principal language spoken today
b) Year in which that nation became independent of the British.
c) Economic status or other significance of that nation in the current era.

Develop your background on the British Empire
by reading the essay at Wikipedia or a similar source.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Semester book report due Mon, Dec 14: 15 pts and 10 pts

a) Graphic Book Report - Powerpoint style - that illustrates the region in which the book is set, the issues addressed and images that explain plot and characters.
8 images, each augmented with 3 bulleted items of explanation. Title page, w image (total 9). 15 pts.

b) Book Essay in which 3 incidents in the book are briefly described and explained in the context of one of the book's themes. 10 pts.

c) Both will be submitted via GoogleDocs. Please entitle them with your name and the name of the book.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Semester exam in geography: 100 multiple-choice questions and a brief essay

Magnet concert
Originally uploaded by trudeau
Semester exam - see exam schedule posted earlier - will comprise

- 100 multiple-choice questions to be answered on Scantron sheets. Bring a #2 pencil, right?

- The 100 will be drawn from questions used in all of the quizzes posted online this semester. Some of the questions will be straight-up copies of the earlier posts, some will be tweaked. Read carefully, needless to say.

- Additional points will come from a brief (about one page) comparison essay to be written in class.

You may choose your topic -
* Compare Lawrence and George Washington.
* Compare the nations of Israel and the US.
* Compare the sports of Brazil and Britain.
* Compare the cuisine of Jamaica and Louisiana.
* Compare the Amazonian rain forest with the Mississippi valley.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

At Xmas we remember the courageous German priest and intellectual Martin Luther

Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) initiated the Protestant Reformation, says Wikipedia.[1]

As a priest and theology professor, he confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. Luther strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment of sin could be purchased with money.

His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Edict of Worms meeting in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.

Martin Luther taught that salvation is not from good works, but a free gift of God, received only by grace through faith in Jesus as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge[2] and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptised Christians to be a holy priesthood.[3]

His translation of the Bible into the language of the people (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, causing a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation,[4] and influenced the translation into English of the King James Bible.[5] His hymns inspired the development of singing in churches.[6] His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant priests to marry.[7]

Luther was a prolific hymn writer, authoring hymns such as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."[126] Luther opened the way for a bringing together of high art and folk music, of all classes, clergy and laity, men, women and children. His device for this linking was the singing of German hymns in connection with worship, the school, the home, and the public arena.[127]

He is associated with the use of Christmas trees in the home, as well as candles on the tree.

Indie work:

Compare the life of TE Lawrence to that of Martin Luther.

The Yucatan to Venezuela / the Caribbean quiz

B 1. There are 2 official names for the Caribbean archipelago. Choose one of them: a) Virgin Islands b) Antilles c) Bahamas d) Gulf-Caribbean Islands.
A 2. There are 2 official names for the Caribbean archipelago. Choose one of them:
a) West Indies b) Indies c) East Indies d) Caribbean Indies.
D 3. The Caribs and Arawaks were Caribbean residents that we would most appropriately call
a) historic b) disease-ridden c) primitive d) indigenous.
A 4. The Caribbean islands are latitudinally associated with the symbol of a) cancer b) capricorn c) equator d) prime meridian.
B 5. Islands that are popularly considered "Caribbean" but in fact are located in the Atlantic: a) British Virgin Is b) Bahamas c) Antilles d) Cayman Is.
A 6. A self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States in the Caribbean: a) Puerto Rico b) Haiti c) Jamaica d) Trinidad.
D 7. An additional territory of the US in the Caribbean: a) Bahamas b) Cuba
c) Turks and Caicos d) Virgin Is.
F 8. Puerto Ricans have a median income that is about double that of the people in the poorest US state. T / F
C 9. The nation responsible for the language spoken by Brazilians: a) Spain
b) France c) Portugal d) Venezuela.
A 10. The popular herbal tea called yerba mate is most closely associated with the nation of a) Argentina b) Chile c) Brazil d) Peru.
B 11. Nation whose Carnaval costumes are often unusually tall and often supported by rolling armatures: a) Cuba b) Trinidad c) Jamaica d) Brazil.
A 12. Marine iguanas are a famous item in scientific history. They are found on the islands called the a) Galapagos b) West Indies c) Antilles d) Falkland or Malvinas.

The Greater and Lesser Antilles quiz

The Greater and Lesser Antilles / Trudeau / world geography

D 1. Archipelago associated with the research of British naturalist Charles Darwin:
a) Antilles b) West Indies c) Florida Keys d) Galapagos.
A 2. Yerba mate is a healing tea that, as a communal drink, is a ritual in the nation of __. a) Argentina b) Brazil c) Ecuador d) Colombia.
B 3. This South American nation, unlike the majority, does not speak Spanish. In fact, it is a Portuguese-speaking society: a) Argentina b) Brazil c) Ecuador d) Colombia.
D 4. The first Europeans to explore the coast of Africa and to bring African slaves to Europe for sale. a) Spain b) France c) England d) Portugal.
D 5. The first Europeans to sail around the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of the continent of Africa and continue to India. a) Spain b) France c) England d) Portugal.
D 6. Bill Gates is a mogul who qualifies for all these categories except one:
a) entrepreneur b) philanthropist c) software architect d) headquartered in Silicon Valley.
B 7. The Greater Antilles includes Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and __ .
a) Haiti b) Hispaniola c) Dominican Republic d) Trinidad.
A 8. The most appropriate descriptive term for the Arawak, Carib and Tainos peoples:
a) indigenous b) harshly laborious c) murderous d) disease-resistant.
A 9. Capital of Puerto Rico: a) San Juan b) Port-au-Prince c) Santo Domingo
d) Nassau e) Kingston.
C 10. The US has held an economic embargo against Cuba for 47 years. The principal factor in the decision to continue the embargo is the fact that the island remains a
__ nation . a) Fidel Castro b) dictatorship c) communist d) Russian.
A 11. Brazilians have developed a national dance that is a martial arts-based, music accompanied, Afro-Brazilian creation. It is called a) capoeira b) feijoada
c) berimbau d) yerba mate.
C 12. The island of the Lesser Antilles that is closest to Trinidad: a) Barbados
b) Guadeloupe c) Grenada d) St Lucia.

Lawrence of Arabia: after Aqaba / quiz 2

Promenande on the Gulf
Originally uploaded by trudeau
A 1. Prince Feisal is a leader whose headquarters is the city of a) Mecca b) Medina
c) Aqaba d) Cairo.
D 2. The Arabian desert is home to a group of nomadic tribes known as the a) Howeitat b) Hazimi c) Muslims d) Bedouins.
C 3. Centuries of water and wind erosion has created a peculiar landscape in the Arabian desert. Human settlements cluster around the shelter of a a) aquifer
b) oasis c) wadi d) qu'ran.
B 4. In 1915 the top British priority in the Mid East was protection of a waterway important to their shipping and movement of warships. It connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea: a) Arabian Sea b) Suez Canal c) Panama Canal d) Gulf of Aqaba.
B 5. What 4 nations has Lawrence visited thus far in the movie? a) England, Egypt, Syria, Israel b) England, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan c) England, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel.
B 6. Which nation's symbol is the reed and clay tablet, representing cuneiform writing?
a) Jordan b) Iraq c) Iran d) Syria.
A 7. Nations associated with the origins of coffee: a) Ethiopia, Yemen b) Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia c) Ethiopia, Djibouti d) Ethiopia, Mocha.
A 8. The basic robe worn daily by men in much of SW Asia is called a __ .
a) gellabiya b) sari c) ghutriya d) longi.
B 9. Muslim men are limited to 4 wives under a marriage system that we term
a) monogamy b) polygamy c) exogamy d) multigamy.
F 10. The Burj Dubai, called the tallest structure ever built, lies in a new and luxurious real estate development beside the Arabian Sea. T / F
D 11. The struggle for control of the city of Jerusalem is principally a conflict between the a) Jews and Zionists b) Arabs and Palestinians c) Jews and Turks d) Palestinians and Jews.
A 12. A monument in Jerusalem that is holy to both the Arabs and Jews: a) Dome of the Rock b) Church of the Holy Sepulchre c) Wailing Wall d) Via Dolorosa.
B 13. Until the end of the WWI era the region of Arabia remained under the control of the a) British b) Turks c) Germans d) Bedouins.

Lawrence of Arabia quiz 1; from Britain to Arabia

From Britain to Arabia

T 1. The greatest powers in World War II were the US and the Germans. World War I was very similar to WWII in regards the principal powers. T / F
A 2. Which group were the nomads of SW Asia? a) Bedouins b) Turks c) Christians
d) Arabs.
B 3. The Arabian Peninsula comprises a) 3 b) 6 c) 9 nations.
T 4. With Saudi Arabia's population about 28.6 million and Iraq's about 31.2 million, the two nations have similar demographics. T / F
D 5. The language that unites the devout men of the region of SW Asia: a) Islam
b) Hinduism c) Judaism d) Arabic.
F 6. Arabia is a peninsula because it is surrounded by water: the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Sea. T / F
C 7. To get from Cairo to Mecca in 1914, you would connect with the Red Sea via the a) Gulf of Aden b) Gulf of Aqaba c) Gulf of Suez d) Persian Gulf.
D 8. The ancient name for the modern nation of Israel: a) Mesopotamia
b) Asia Minor c) Persia d) Palestine.
B 9. An ancient form of hieroglyphics called cuneiform writing is associated with today's a) Israel b) Iraq c) Iran d) Jordan.
A 10. The Mediterranean is connected to the Arabian Sea by the a) Suez Canal
b) Gulf of Aqaba c) Persian Gulf d) Nile R.
B 11. Name the island that lies at the southern end of the Italian peninsula and makes a virtual bridge between Europe and Africa. a) Malta b) Sicily c) Gibraltar
d) Sardinia.
C 12. The word "polyglot" means a person who a) knows history in depth b) is an archaeologist c) speaks several languages. On completing his degree in 1910, Lawrence commenced postgraduate research in medieval pottery at Magdalen College, Oxford, which he abandoned after he was offered the opportunity to become a practicing archaeologist in the Middle East. In December 1910 he sailed for Beirut, and on arrival went to Jbail (Byblos), where he studied Arabic. He was in fact a polyglot who could speak English, French, German, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Turkish and Syriac. He then went to work on the excavations at Carchemish, near Jerablus in northern Syria, where he worked under D. G. Hogarth and R. Campbell-Thompson of the British Museum. As the site lay close to the Turkish border, near an important crossing on the Baghdad Railway, knowledge gathered there was of considerable importance for military intelligence. While excavating ancient Mesopotamian sites, Lawrence met Gertrude Bell, who was to influence him during his time in the Middle East.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Originally uploaded by horacio soloaga
Aqaba (Arabic: Al-ʻAqabah) is a coastal town in the far south of Jordan, says Wikipedia.

Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. The town borders Eilat, Israel, and there is a border post where it is possible to cross between the two countries (see Wadi Araba Crossing). Both Aqaba and Eilat are at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba.

The town is best known today as a diving and beach resort. However, industrial activity remains important to the area, and the town is an exporter of phosphate and some shells.

Aqaba has been an inhabited settlement since 4000 BC profiting from its strategic location at the junction of trading routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The Bible refers to the area in (1 Kings 9:26) "King Solomon also built ships in Ezion-Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shores of the Red Sea." This verse probably refers to an Iron Age port city on the same ground as modern Aqaba.

During World War I, the occupying Ottoman forces were forced to withdraw from the town after a raid, known as the Battle of Aqaba, led by T. E. Lawrence and the Arab forces of Sharif Hussein in 1917, making the territory part of the Kingdom of Hejaz, under the rule of Prince Faisal.

The capture of Aqaba helped open supply lines from Egypt up to Arab and British forces afield further north in Transjordan and Greater Palestine, and more importantly alleviated a threat of a Turkish offensive onto the strategically important Suez Canal.

Aqaba was ceded to the British protectorate of Transjordan in 1925.

Inspiration for the Artful map project: antique maps

The Artful map project due on Dec 17 uses guidelines borrowed from observations of antique maps.

Wikipedia says, The ancient Greeks and Romans created maps, beginning at latest with Anaximander in the 6th century BC.[4] In the 2nd century AD, Ptolemy produced his treatise on cartography, Geographia. [5] This contained Ptolemy's world map - the world then known to Western society (Ecumene).

As early as the 700s, Arab scholars were translating the works of the Greek geographers into Arabic.[6]

In ancient China, geographical literature spans back to the 5th century BC. The oldest extant Chinese maps come from the State of Qin, dated back to the 4th century BC, during the Warring States Period.

Lawrence of Arabia study guide - answers to 26 - 60.

Geo class 12/04/09
Originally uploaded by trudeau
26. Damascus
27. Fountains & gardens.
28. The Arab golden age: 750 - 1050.
29. Attack Aqaba from the desert.
30. The desert known as the Nefud.
31. brigand = bandit.
32. England, Egypt, Saudi Arabia.
33. Miracles are created by God.
34. Outcast and illegitimate: bastards.
35. 20 shillings in a British pound. Shilling no longer used.
36. Compassionate = benevolent.
37. British officer's code of conduct.
38. Bodyguards: Sherif Ali.
39. "In sh’Allah:" "God willing."
40. Lawrence does not give up on the lost Bedouin named Gasim.
41. Oasis above, aquifer below. Trees at the typical oasis: date palms.
42. "Nothing is written," says L.
43. L's parents were not married.
44. Liking the indigenous garments, as did L., is called "Going native."
45. Auda's nomadic encampment is in a desert wadi.
46. Camel stick serves a mini-tent pole.
47. The Arabs are known for lacking unity. Saudi Arabia did not become a nation until 1932.
48. A guinea is a former British gold coin worth 21 shillings.
49. Aqaba, on the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea.
50. Ululation: a long, wavering, high-pitched sound resembling the howl of a dog or wolf with a trilling quality.
51. "An eye for an eye." "A life for a life." The Code of Hammurabi, 1700 BC, Babylonia, established this form of justice.
52. The irony is that Gasim, recently saved from being lost in the desert by Lawrence, is the condemned. L, having saved his life, now must take that life - in order to prevent a "tribal bloodbath."
53. The Turks at Aqaba are flummoxed by the Arabs' raid because it is audacious - surprising - and quick.
54. Cross the Sinai Peninsula to get from Aqaba to Cairo.
55. Desert quicksand.
56. Camels first fold their front legs.
57. In 1915 the Suez Canal was hugrly important to the British.
58. Wog: offensive British slang term used to refer to people of color from Africa or Asia.
59. "Undisciplined" but "knowledgeable:" Lt. Lawrence.
60. In WWI the British attacked the Turkish-held Mid East and drove the Turks from the holy city of Jerusalem.
61. Colonel: “You acted without orders.”
Lieutenant: “Shouldn’t an officer use their initiative at all times?”
Answer: Both are correct; it is a classic argument and there is no easy answer.

Artful, matted map project due Th, Dec 17

In honor of the historic cartographers who brought a wealth of color and decoration to their maps, geography students will create an artful map to display at Magnet and to give as a holiday gift.

1. Purchase a cardboard mat from the craft dept of a store like Walmart or from a hobby store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby. You can choose any size or color. It can be a single layer or multiple layer mat (also written matt).
2. Choose any location for the subject of your map. Among locations I have used in past maps are Massachusetts, state of my birth, Louisiana, also a home to me, New Orleans, my favorite city, and the Mediterranean.
3. On the sheet of paper used for your map, make a colorful border in an appealing design. You'll see that I used a red-yellow block pattern on mine.
4. Color the borders with heavy emphasis. Color the interiors more lightly. Vary colors as would be done in an atlas.
5. Calligraphy means beautiful writing. The lettering of your place names must be as neat as possible.
6. Include a colorful compass rose and a well-drawn symbol.
7. Print your name in the bottom right corner of the map - as well as on the back of the mat.
8. Give your map a title - in larger print. That can be the name of the state or nation or a more elaborate title.
9. Maps will be scored on Th and will return with the student. I hope you can present your map to a member of the family as a holiday gift.
10. Value is 15 pts.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Drilling Rig, hydraulic fracturing and the environment

Drilling Rig
Originally uploaded by F-StopNinja
Across vast regions of the country, gas companies are using a technology called hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas from previously untapped beds of shale, says the NY Times. The push has been so successful that the country’s potential gas reserves jumped by 35 percent in two years. The new supplies have driven down natural gas prices for consumers and might help the global environment by allowing more production of electricity from natural gas, which emits fewer global warming emissions than coal.

What the drilling push will do to local environments is another matter.

Follow the story here

Monday, December 07, 2009

Map of Silk Road

Map of Silk Road
Originally uploaded by lirena
The Silk Road (or Silk Routes) is an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, as well as North and Northeast Africa and Europe.

The Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade which begun during the Han Dynasty, the major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive trans-continental network.[1][2][3]

Lawrence of Arabia-related vocab

Bedouin Smile
Originally uploaded by donnacorless
is a long, wavering, high-pitched sound resembling the howl of a dog or wolf with a trilling quality.

is irreverence[1] toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs. The Abrahamic religions condemn blasphemy vehemently. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy.

1. a vital, basic, decisive, or pivotal point: The crux of the trial was his whereabouts at the time of the murder.
2. a cross.
3. something that torments by its puzzling nature; a perplexing difficulty.

A sepulchre, or sepulcher, is a type of tomb or burial chamber. In ancient Hebrew practice, sepulchres were often carved into the rock of a hillside.

The word is sometimes confused with "sepulture", the act of burying a dead person.

St. Constantine the Great and the Christiqan church and Jerusalem

Saint Constantine (/'kɒnstɛntaɪn/), was Roman Emperor from 306, and the undisputed holder of that office from 324 until his death in 337.

Best known for being the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine reversed the persecutions of his predecessor, Diocletian, and issued (with his co-emperor Licinius) the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious toleration throughout the empire, says Wikipedia.

His mother was St Helena, a convert to Christianity who built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre over the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial.

Constantine left Rome and ruled the empire from the city of Byzantium, a metropolis he renamed Constantinople.

Notes on Israel / Palestine and the conflict with their Muslim neighbors

Notes on Israel -

Map in the RMQRWA, p. 25.
Ancient Palestine, Modern Israel

Dead Sea
Jordan River
Sea of Gallilee
West Bank region (disputed)

Jew vs. Palestinian Muslim Arab
- cousins in blood, language and heritage
- Hebrew & Arabic
- struggle for control of the land of Israel and city of Jerusalem - which has been going on since the Crusades, in the Medieval era.

The Jew vs Palestinian Arab skit:

a) Zionists are Jews who believe that a Jewish homeland in their ancient home of Palestine is important. In the late 1880's and early 1900's they gather funds and purchase land in Palestine.

b) Ottoman Turks owned the land of Palestine. They acquired it when they had a powerful empire. Jews purchase the land cheaply.

c) Palestinian Arabs were mostly shepherds and had overgrazed the land; palestine had become a dry, rocky place early in the 20th century. Jews promises when they got the land they will "Make the deserts bloom." They will use scientific farming to change the terrain.

d) The struggle between those who owned the land by virtue of their long residency and those who purchased it in the modern way is not easily solved. Jews push the Arabs. The Arabs fight back. The Jewish forces ovewhwelm the Arabs.

e) In 1947 the victory of the Jewish forces is complete. They declare a Jewish state to be called Israel.

f) Israel has continually fought to maintain its existence. Its army is called the strongest force in the Mid East. Its principal support - due to lobbying of the US Congress - is foreign aid from the US.

g) The Palestinians have fought back via the intifadeh. That term means a low-cost, terror-based rebellion against the well-equipped Jewish forces. The struggle - which includes suicide bombers - has focused on Gaza and the West bank region.

- Israel's population is not shrinking. They are up from 6 million to 7.3 million. The population comprises some 20% Arab people.
- Israel is a high-tech nation which might go to all-electric vehicles if the Better Place program, founded by Shai Agassi, is successful.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Burj Dubai: world's tallest building in financial trouble as world real estate crisis deepens

Dubai investors cannot repay their massive loans due to a global downturn in the real estate market. Their default on payments could lead to a world-shaking financial crisis.

Here's how they've been spending their money:

Burj Dubai, a supertall skyscraper under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the tallest man-made structure ever built, at 818 m (2,684 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, and the tower is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy by the end of 2009.

The building is part of the 2 km2 (0.8 sq mi) flagship development called "Downtown Burj Dubai" at the "First Interchange" along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district. The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about US$4.1 billion, and for the entire new "Downtown Dubai", US$20 billion.

Outside, and at a cost of Dh 800 million (US$217 million), a record-setting fountain system was designed by WET Design, the California-based company responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel Lake in Las Vegas. Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors, it is 275 m (900 ft) long and is shooting water 150 m (490 ft) into the air, accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.

Polygamy, women and Islam

The basic unit of Islamic society is the family, says Wikipedia, and Islam defines the obligations and legal rights of family members. The father is seen as financially responsible for his family, and is obliged to cater for their well-being. The division of inheritance is specified in the Qur'an, which states that most of it is to pass to the immediate family, while a portion is set aside for the payment of debts and the making of bequests.

The woman's share of inheritance is generally half of that of a man with the same rights of succession.[127]

Marriage in Islam is a civil contract which consists of an offer and acceptance between two qualified parties in the presence of two witnesses. The groom is required to pay a bridal gift (mahr) to the bride, as stipulated in the contract.[128]

A man may have up to four wives if he believes he can treat them equally, while a woman may have only one husband.

In most Muslim countries, the process of divorce in Islam is known as talaq, which the husband initiates by pronouncing the word "divorce".[129] Scholars disagree whether Islamic holy texts justify traditional Islamic practices such as veiling and seclusion (purdah).

Starting in the 20th century, Muslim social reformers argued against these and other practices such as polygamy in Islam, with varying success. At the same time, many Muslim women have attempted to reconcile tradition with modernity by combining an active life with outward modesty. Certain Islamist groups like the Taliban have sought to continue traditional law as applied to women.[130]

Islam prohibits women from showing their hair in public.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Friday is Boot video day

Am planning to make a video of the huge variety of boots being worn by my students today. It will be a fun comparison and reflection; it is a study of consumer design as well as a historic document.

The camera will be about 14" above the floor and there will be a studio drop cloth in the background. Your boots will walk into the frame, turn around and walk out. All types welcome. And if you forget your boots, I'll accept your non-boot-type shoes in the video.

Magnet Semester Exam Schedule Jan 6 - 8, 2010

Wed, Jan 6, 2010
8:30 - 8:40 homeroom
8:45 - 10:30 exam - Third Hour
10:30 - 10:40 break
10:45 - 12:30 exam - Fourth Hour
12:30 - 1:00 lunch
1:00 students leave school. Teachers will be in classrooms.

Th, Jan 7
Same sched as above.
1st Hour
5th Hour

Fri, Jan 8

Students must not leve classroom during testing.
Exam must count as 20% of semester grade.
Report cards handed out on or around Th, Jan 14.
Jan 11 begins the 3rd 9 wks and 2nd semester.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

History and traditional Arabic coffee

Traditional Arabic coffee
Originally uploaded by Fahad.m
It is supposed that the Ethiopians, says Wikipedia, the ancestors of today's Oromo people, were the first to have discovered and recognized the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant.[4] However, no direct evidence has ever been found revealing exactly where in Africa coffee grew or who among the natives might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it there earlier than the seventeenth century.[4]

The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.[4] The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia.[4]

From Ethiopia, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen.[16] It was in Arabia that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed, similar to how it is done today. By the 15th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.[5]

Traditional garb of people in the regions surrounding Arabia

The Jellabiya (pronounced Gellabiya in Egypt) is a traditional Arab garment native to the Persian Gulf region worn by women as a casual dress or as evening wear depending on the amount of work, complication of design and beadwork. It dates back to the earliest days of civilization in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

Jellabiyas are also created for and worn by men. However, the latter feature a minimal amount of design and usually come in simple striped patterns or plain colors.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) guide / answers

Guide to the Lawrence of Arabia quiz / study guide -

1. 200 mins = how many hours??
2. Rolls is a British make.
3. Complex hero; yes.
4. Articulate soldier. Cartography: maps.
5. 1914 to 1918? WWI
6. Your portfolio is also a dossier.
7. English, French, Arabic and additional languages.
8. Bedouins work with the Brits, if uneasily.
9. The Officer's Lounge is a mess.
10. Feisal of Mecca.
11. Gun lust. Diplomacy, or bridge-building.
12. Wadis are ancient canyons carved by water.
13. Tribal neighbors nearly always find conflict.
14. Goat skin water bucket.
15. Salaam aleikum!
16. Find the nation of Monte Carlo on the Med between France and Spain.
17. Seconded: to be posted as second in responsibility.
18. Bi-winged aeroplane.
19. German airplanes were excellent of design and build.
20. They tend to say "Orance" instead of "Lawrence."
21. Wives of the Emir, or Pasha, or Sheik, are traditionally ensconced so that their modesty is unimpeached.
22. The Qu'ran, aka the Koran.
23. Education at Oxford remains a prestigious background to this day.
24. The Suez Canal is no longer important in shipping. It is too narrow for supertankers. But for decades is was very strategic.
25. British discipline - orderliness, organization - is an important factor in understanding the success of the British Empire.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

British view of the Bedouins, 1915: tribe against tribe

Ali Anwar
Originally uploaded by glynissmith71
"So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people - greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are."
- Lawrence to Sherif Ali, after Ali killed a man for drinking at his tribe's oasis without permission.

SW ASia / Middle East map quiz Thurs

Map quiz, SW Asia:
10 items plus sketch of Arabian peninsula -

- Turkey / Asia Minor (Turk wearing a fez).
- Mediterranean Sea (cruise ship packed w tourists)
- Egypt (Great Pyramids at Giza)
- Israel/ Palestine (ancient, walled city of Jerusalem)
- Saudi Arabia (image of Muhammed at Mecca)
- Jordan (buildings cut into rock at town of Petra)
- Syria (sword blade made in Damascus)
- Iraq / Mesopotamia (cuneiform: reed writing on clay tablets)
- Persian Gulf (oil drilling platform)

Also, open notes quiz on Lawrence of Arabia questions.

Indie work topics:
read about, compare and integrate the facts on
- Ibn Saud and TE Lawrence
- discovery of oil in Arabia and Louisiana