Map Exercise: Europe


The Dnieper River begins in the Russian oblast of Smolenskaya and flows west into Belarus, where it turns south and follows near the border until it reaches Ukraine. From here, it flows mainly south through a series of large river-lakes and the city of Kiev, and Dnipropetrovs'k before reaching the Black Sea near Odessa.
The Po river begins in the mountains of northern Italy and flows east, past Milan until it reaches the Adriatic Sea.
The Tagus River begins in the Sistema Ibérico of eastern Spain. From there, it flows west until it reaches the Spanish Portuguese border where it meets the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Lisbon.
The Danube begins in south-western Germany, flows into Austria, through Vienna, then marks the Slovakia / Hungary border before it moves south into Hungary proper. From there it flows straight south, through Budapest and on until it hits the Hungary / Croatia / Serbia border and follows the Serbia / Croatia border for a short while until it moves east and across Serbia, through Belgrade, and continues until it reaches the Romania / Serbia border. It follows the Romanian Serbian border until Serbia turns into Bulgaria and continues east along that border until it is almost to the sea, when it turns north along the coast, through Romania until it reaches the southern tip of Moldova where it makes another sharp turn and flows east along the Romanian Ukrainian border into the Black Sea.
The River Torne begins in northern Sweden near the Swedish Norwegian border at Lake Torn (Tornetrask). From here it flows southeast until it meets the Finnish Swedish border and follows that south until it reaches the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea.
The Elbe River begins in the Sudeten Mountains of the Czech Republic near the border of Poland. From there it flows west and then north into Germany and from there north and the west. through Hamburg and into the North Sea.


The Pyrenees mountain range lies along the border between Spain and France. They also mark the narrow point between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe.
The Grampian Mountains mark the beginning of the Scottish Highlands and run east and west from Aberdeen on the east to the Atlantic coast on the west.
The Peloponnesus Mountains run across the Grecian peninsula (almost island) of Peloponnese.

Site and Situation

Europe is a complex continent with many rivers, mountains, seas, plains, plateaus, peninsulas and islands all thrown together in one of the smallest continents. Eastern Europe consists of fertile plains and farmlands to the south and slowly changing to broad forests to the north. Northwestern Europe interrupts this comfortable regularity with the Baltic Sea and the icy, mountainous regions of Scandinavia (and the Atlantic ocean beyond that). South of Scandinavia, across a very narrow channel lies Denmark and the lowlands of central Europe. This area is used for crops, oats, potatoes, rye and beets and is one of the most populated regions of Europe. South of this area various mountain ranges rise up and separate northern and southern Europe. Southern Europe borders the Mediterranean Sea and is much warmer and milder than the rest of Europe. The land is formed into a number of southern-reaching, mountainous peninsulas (Spain, Italy, Greece) with arms of the Mediterranean in between. Europe also claim a few islands, many smaller islands in the northern Mediterranean and three large ones off of the northern Atlantic coast. These follow the same geographical patterns as the lands to the east. Mountainous in the northern islands and flatter to the south.

Europe is situated in the north eastern hemisphere (although a bit of it sticks out into the north western). It is bordered by the Atlantic ocean on the west, the Ural mountains, the Ural river and the Caspian Sea to the east, The Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the South, and the Barents Sea to the North.Europe is unique because of its proximity to many of the other continents of the world: North America to the west, Asia to the east, and Africa to the south.


People residing in Europe speak a variety of languages. List one of the languages spoken in Europe and the countries where it is found.

The Sami language is spoken by the herdsmen of Scandinavia who live in northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the northern area of Russia that lies near Finland (the western side of the White Sea).

Debate Argument: Anti-Legalization of Marijuana

Legalization of marijuana would not eliminate the need for drug control and enforcement.

  • Minors make up a good proportion of marijuana users. 24% nationwide, and as high as 40% in some states.
  • Marijuana is not the only drug in use, and these other non-legal drugs would still be policed, just as they are today.
  • The DEA still preforms sting operations for selling cigarettes to minors, they wouldn't miss a chance to do the same for any other regulated substance.
    Unless marijuana is legally made available to children and is unregulated, a ‘black-market’ would still exist, as well as all of the corruption and crime that surrounds any illegal activity.

Works Cited:

National KIDS COUNT Program. (2010). Marijuana use by age group (Percent) – 2008-2009. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies.. Retrieved from
Operation Counter Strike Aims to Halt Illegal Cigarette Sales to Minors. (2011, September 28). Fox News. Retrieved from

Discussion: Languages

There's an old language joke that goes something like this:
What do you call a person who speaks multiple languages? A polyglot.
What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
What do you call a person who speaks only one language? An American.

Ok, so it's not very funny. But why do you suppose so few Americans speak another language other than English? Answer this question from your personal perspective and from a national perspective (i.e., looking at the global impact of speaking only one language).

We are all supposed to learn another language in high school, but then, most of us never get the chance to actually use it. Because our nation focuses so heavily on language homogeneity, there is no reason for us to use other languages in our day to day lives. When we visit other countries (and not too many of us do), we find that many people there also speak at least some English, and so we are never in a position where we MUST learn a language other than our native tongue. I think we could understand other cultures better if we were to focus more on keeping our knowledge of other languages alive throughout our adult lives.

Pick any language family and describe the location of its speakers. Next, find a language within that same language family and describe where it is located and explain its historical significance.

Speakers of the Altaic family of languages live in Asia and the Middle East. They range from Turkey and Azerbaijan in the west, across the "istans" on the other side of the Caspian Sea and then across norther China (Tibet) and Mongolia. There are other pockets of speakers in Siberia and western Russia (and possibly a couple in northern India, it's hard to tell on this map because some of the colors are so similar).

Turkish is a language in the Altaic family, and its primary speakers live in modern Turkey. Artifacts with Turkish inscriptions have been found in Mongolia from the 8th century AD. The Turkish language was carried to Anatolia (the location of modern Turkey) by Oguz Nomads of Turkestan in the 11th century AD who conquered the peninsula. They created the Ottoman Empire there which lasted until the 1920s.

Please view Phil Borges' 18-minute TED talk on Documenting our Endangered Cultures. Comment about what you learned from this clip.

There are as many stories to tell as there are people in this world. Language is one of the ways that we pass down information, beliefs and culture to the next generation. The uniformity that is being created by the globalization of culture is smothering these smaller pockets of culture and language into extinction.

In this week's text readings, Belgium, Switzerland, and Nigeria are three examples given of multilingual states (countries). Find a different country anywhere in the world that has multiple languages spoken and give its site and situation. How did that country come about having multiple languages? What is a positive feature of this country's multilingualism and a challenge the country faces with its language diversity?

Ghana: A tall, skinny country of central Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. Most of the country is flat with low hills in places. The southern third of the county is covered by hardwood forests, and the northern portion by a vast savanna.

There are 79 living languages in use within Ghana's borders. Although the official language of Ghana is English, less than 6% of the population speaks it fluently (although I found this percentage cited in a few places, I can't find a good source. About 10% of the population spoke English in the 1970s, and English is the official language of the educational system, of which there is a +70% enrollment rate ( ), and so it does not make sense for the percentage of English speakers to have dropped as the percentage of children who are educated has increased). There are two major language families of Ghana: Gur in the north and Kwa in the south. The specific indigenous languages have an uncertain history, and each language is spoken in a limited region. The area is known for its rich gold supplies, and Portuguese, British, French, Spanish, Danish and Swedish traders all attempted to claim a piece of the area in order to cash in on this natural resource. Ghana was a British colony from the 1870s until 1957 when it was finally declared an independent nation. The new government declared English as the official language, and I think this was partially because of the large language diversity of the country - it would give everyone a common second language to communicate with, and thus avoid some misunderstandings within the country. The government endorses 9 different native languages, and publishes all of its official documents in all of these languages. I can just imagine what kind of logistics nightmare this COULD be within a bureaucratic system.

Other than what is mentioned in the video clip in question #3, find a language that is spoken anywhere in the world in an isolated geographical setting. Explain where the language is located, who speaks it, its origin, and any other information you'd like to toss in.

Tibetan is an area that is isolated from its neighbors by great uninhabited distances, deserts, and the tallest mountain range in the world. There is considerable isolation within this region as well. There are an estimated 200+ dialects spoken in this area, all originating from Old Tibetan, but have now diverged to the point that they are unintelligible to each other. These languages all share the same written alphabet, which connects them, even though they cannot speak to each other directly.

One of the main branches of the language is the Amdo language of northeastern Tibet. The inhabitants of this region are traditional Tibetans (Amdowa) as well as Han Chinese and Mongolians. Amdo is spoken by a majority of the inhabitants, regardless of ethnicity. The Amdo language is part of the Tibeto-Burman language family which originated in the Himalayan highlands. More research needs to be done before the interrelation between these languages can be determined. Early scholars included Chinese within this group, while modern scholars dispute this, for example. Some of the Tibetan dialects are tonal as is Chinese, but others are not (including Amdo).

SPAR #6: Speed Limits

Speed Limits should be abolished on Interstate highways.

Claim: Driving faster will save everyone time and money.

  • It is about 5 miles on I-5 from the Harvard exit to the UCC exit.
  • Driving 85 mph rather than the speed limit gets you to UCC one minute faster.
  • That’s a half an hour of extra sleep every school term! More seriously, this adds up a lot faster when you are driving more than 5 miles. You save 15 minutes driving to Eugene, and an hour when driving to Seattle.

The less time we spend on traveling or transporting goods, more time can be spent doing rather than wasting our time waiting.

Cox, W., & Love, J. (1996, June). 40 Years of the US Interstate Highway System: An Analysis The Best Investment A Nation Ever Made. Sponsored by American Highway Users Alliance. Retrieved February 21, 2012, from website:

Speed Limits should NOT be abolished on Interstate highways.

Claim: Abolishing the speed limit on ALL interstate highways would be irresponsible.

  • Not all interstate highways are straight or flat, such as the section of I-5 between Roseburg and Canyonville.
  • Not all interstate highways have been engineered to withstand high speeds.
  • Speed limits let drivers know what speed it is safe to drive at.

Removing the speed limit on interstate highways where there are reasons to drive slower would remove a critical tool that is especially used by drivers who are unfamiliar with the road.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2011, May). Q&A: Speed and speed limits. Retrieved February 21, 2012, from

Extra proof in case the opposition says “30% of deaths are caused by speeding”: Only a portion (12%) of those deaths are on the Interstates, which is what we’re talking about in this debate. (That’s 3.6% of all deaths rather than 30%).

National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. (2007). Traffic Safety Facts: Speeding (DOT HS 810 998). Retrieved from

Map Exercise: Africa


The Orange River begins on the eastern edge of the country Lesotho (enclosed within the country of South Africa), flows west through the country and out into the country of South Africa. After flowing west and a little north through the Kalahari Desert, it reaches the southern border of Namibia. It follows this border west until it reaches the city Oranjemund and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Congo River begins near the city of Kisangani, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the merging of many smaller rivers and the Stanley Falls. The river flows west, circling north and then swinging back to the south until it reaches the south-eastern border of Congo and the south-western border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The river continues south until it again moves entirely into the Democratic republic of the Congo for a short while until it reaches the northern edge of Angola and defines this border as it continues west until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
The Niger River begins just 120 miles from the Atlantic ocean near Mount Bintimani (6381 feet) in Sierra Leone. From there, it flows north-east away from the coast and into Guinea. The river traverses Guinea and into Mali where it continues its north-east route until it turns south-east around the higher grounds in Burkina Faso and then south into Niger. From here, it travels south-east and defines the northern border of Benin and then flows into Nigeria and turns south and finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea after all that way! (2,600 miles, and the third longest river in Africa)
The Wabe Shebele begins near the northern section of the Rift Valley and Mount Batu in Ethiopia. From here it flows down through the highlands until it reaches the south-eastern border of Ethiopia and then into Somalia where it runs along the coast for quite a way until it merges with the Jubba River and then out into the Indian Ocean.
Oued-ed Daoura flows south from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and then into Algeria and dissipates into the Saharan Desert.


The Ahmar Range is located in eastern Ethiopia, and follows the south-eastern edge of the northern portion of the Rift Valley. The eastern edge of the range touches the border between Ethiopia and Somalia. The western edge merges into a larger, but unnamed (in our atlas) collection of mountain ranges.
The Great Karoo range lies east and west along the southern tip of Africa in the Country of South Africa.
The Adamaoua Range follows the border between southern Nigeria and northern Cameroon.

Site and Situation

Africa comprises of 56 different countries and is the second largest and second most populous continent (after Asia). Northern Africa is dominated by the Saharan Desert. The northern edge is defined by the Mediterranean Sea where the vast majority of the population of northern Africa lives. The Atlas Mountains create an especially habitable area on the northern coast. At about the 12th southern parallel, the landscape dramatically changes as the winds from the southern oceans bring moisture to the land. The land grows increasingly greener as you travel south until you reach the African jungles near the equator and the Congo River Basin. From here, the landscape turns drier again as you travel south into woods and grassy plains. Once you reach about the 20th southern parallel, the Kalahari Desert covers much of the western portion of the southern area of Africa until you reach the Drakenberg range along the eastern coast. To the east of Africa is the large island of Madagascar (former home of the dodo bird) with the Mozambique Channel lying between it and the mainland of Africa.

Africa separates the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The only way to sail a boat from Europe to India before the construction of the Suex Canal was around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa (or through the strait of Magellan / Cape Horn of South America, but then you also had to sail across the Pacific). To the north of Africa is the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Africa is connected to the Middle East and Asia by a small piece of land at the north-eastern corner of Egypt. The Red Sea is a long, thin inlet of the Indian Ocean that separates the Arabian Peninsula from north-eastern Africa.


Name and explain one thing that most surprises you the most about the continent of Africa.

I had forgotten how big Africa really was compared to other continents. Also, I didn't realize how long the Rift Valley extended! All the way past Lake Victoria and to Lake Tanganyika.

Debate Argument: Anti-Legalization of Marijuana

Marijuana acts as an introduction to other, more deadly drugs.

  • New marijuana users gain a euphoric ‘high’ from using marijuana, but as their bodies adjust the effects of the drug they gradually lose their effect and can sometimes lead to paranoia and anxiety rather than euphoria.
  • As we learned in class, giving someone a small, non-threatening commitment is a good way to then ask for a larger commitment.
  • When marijuana was decriminalized in Great Britain, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose rose 15% in a single year.

I am not proposing a conspiracy by those who sell drugs, but the simple effects of human nature. People start taking marijuana in order to feel better, and if marijuana no longer gives them that effect, they will look for something stronger, but also deadlier. The empirical proof of this concept is shown by the increase in the number of deaths that Great Britain experienced after decriminalizing marijuana.

(I also want to point out that I am not advocating for the “most hard drug users have also used marijuana, therefore it must be the cause” argument. Post hoc fallacy at work!)

Cohen, P. D., Ph.D., & Kaal, H. L., Ph.D. (2001). Irrelevance Of Drug Policy: Patterns and careers of experienced cannabis use in populations of Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Bremen. Retrieved from Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport website:

Slack, J. (2006, August 30). Cannabis downgrade coincides with drug deaths rise. Daily Mail.
Retrieved from

SPAR #5: Women vs. Men!

(Where ‘superior’ is interpreted to mean: ‘has greater contributions to society’)

Women are superior to men.

Claim: More women spend their time helping others in society.

  • Women are biologically designed to care for young children.
  • Women outnumber men in both formal and informal caregiving.
  • Women outnumber men from 6:1 (elementary school) to 2:1 (high school) as teachers.

Society would be severely crippled without the care that women provide. We tend to take the role of woman as mother for granted, but can you imagine a world without mothers?

Audacious Epigone. (2009, December 17). Sex ratio of teachers [Web log post]. Retrieved from The Audacious Epigone:

Family Caregiver Alliance. (2011). Selected Caregiver Statistics. Family Caregiver Alliance. Retrieved February 14, 2012, from

Men are superior to women.

Claim: Men make greater creative contributions to society.

  • Male writers outnumber female writers on the bestseller list 2 to 1.
  • 80% of all U.S. patents filed in the last year were by men.
  • In award winning films, male actors outnumber females 3 to 1.

Regardless of the reasons, more men have found ways to contribute creatively to society where females have not.

Baum, G. (2008, February 21). Gender Balance Askew in Oscar Race. Retrieved February 14, 2012, from University of Southern Califormia website:

Bellis, M. (n.d.). How Many Women Inventors Are There? Retrieved February 14, 2012, from website:

Williamson, E. (2012, January 25). Gender bias at NPR — and what it reveals about the world of
literary fiction. The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved from

Geography News: Part One

Lake Vostok team claims breakthrough

by Jonathan Amos. BBC News, February 8, 2012
Lake Vostok team claims breakthrough
( Also using a couple pieces of data from Katia Moskvitch’s article from January 27, 2011 )

In the 1990s, a very large (15,000 square kilometers) freshwater lake was discovered underneath the Russian station of Vostok in Antarctica. It is believed that Lake Vostok has been isolated for around 15 million years. If this is the case, it is likely that life has evolved differently there than other locations that have mixed with the rest of the world. Think of it as a very cold Galapagos Island, hidden under 4 kilometers of ice! Russian scientists, excited by these possibilities, have drilled a hole down to the surface of the lake, and have succeeded in extracting some of the water in order to study. The lessons learned from the process of extraction as well as the life-forms found in the water will help scientists to perform similar operations on the icy moons of our solar system in a search for alien life.

This article relates to the chapter: Thinking Geographically. Antarctica is one of the few places where humans do not live and work in a permanent manner. The possibility of finding forms of life that have been isolated for millions of years is quite exciting, and can only happen in a limited number of places on the Earth. We don’t have an immediately compelling reason to be working in Antarctica (or other planets!). We aren’t exploring Antarctica out of a need for new places to live, or new foods to eat, but because we are ultimately curious creatures, and are always looking for a new horizon, something that has never been seen before. In my opinion, this is the reason Possibilism is a truer theory than environmental determinism. Our thirst for exploration and virgin soil has led us to inhabit as well as adapt to an astonishing array of geographic locations. I chose this article because I’ve always been fascinated by the remoteness and mystery of Antarctica.

Is Malaria twice as deadly as we think it is?

by Alex Perry. Time, February 6, 2012
Is Malaria twice as deadly as we think it is?

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington claims that Malaria kills almost twice as many people per year than previously believed. The origin of this mistake is the assumption that Malaria only kills those who are young, and therefore only the deaths of children under the age of five were documented. The IMHE, on the other hand, asserts that those who are over the age of five account for 45% of total Malaria deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) disputes these claims and stands by their own figures. Examples are given of wildly differing claims by various governments and agencies for Malaria as well as HIV/AIDS. The author of the article concludes by making the point that especially when it comes to the Less Developed regions of the world, we don’t really know what’s going on.

This article relates to the chapter: Population. This article illustrates the problems associated with countries still in the earlier stages of development. They are relying on medication and aid from MDCs, but we do not have the human resources to oversee the distribution and determine the accurate effect they are having on those populations. These countries are still in the first and second stages of the Epidemiologic transition. Many citizens do not have access to clean water or proper nutrition, and those who do have access don’t always understand the importance of sanitation. The key to moving LDCs into the third and fourth stages (and keeping us out of the 5th!) is through education as well as financial and technological assistance.

I chose this article because I wanted to emphasize the difference between MDCs and LDCs. In the USA, we have accurate statistics of how people die, right down to how many people are killed by bee stings or the specific strains of the flu. With this information, we can fight against the most dangerous threats to our health and safety. In LDCs, death by Malaria may or may not be off by half a million people in a year, and no one can prove it either way. I hope that someday the LDCs of the world can progress through the stages (both demographic and epidemiologic) and come out the other end as happier, healthier and more aware societies.

America’s permanent dead zones

by Louis Ferleger. Salon, January 27, 2012.
America’s permanent dead zones

The economic collapse of four years ago is slowly turning around, and many communities are experiencing lowered unemployment and a better economy all around. This article focuses on those cities around the U.S. that are falling behind the national average, and have done so for years (even before the economy turned south). 216 cities and metropolitan areas are identified as ‘dead zones’, and have had lower employment rates than the rest of the country for 5, 10 or even 20 years. These zones are attributed to communities that relied on manufacturing, mining, fishing, the timber industry, or farming that is now performed mechanically. These communities have failed to create new industries to replace those that are no longer viable. Both the most prosperous and the least prosperous areas rely on single industries for their main employment. The difference? The industries of the prosperous communities have not yet run out of resources (timber and fishing), or been transferred to countries overseas. The article goes on to explain the education alone does not help people stuck in these communities to gain a job, because there are no jobs to be had. Even though these areas have been economically poor for up to 20 years, people are not emigrating to other, more prosperous areas. Government funds poured into these communities solve short term problems, but do little to alleviate the long term effects on communities that have lost their singular mode of economy.

This article relates to the chapter: Migration. What struck me was the observation that even though these towns have had little economic success in the last 20 years, people are not leaving. My first reaction was, ‘why?’ The article has a list of the cities in the U.S. that fall into each of these categories, and Roseburg, the city I live in, is listed under those cities that have had high unemployment for the last 20 years or more. Roseburg’s unemployment is 4 percentage points above the national average, yet the population has been growing at a pretty steady rate. We talked about unemployment as being a push factor, but in these cases, it’s not strong enough to compete with the pull factors keeping people in place.

I chose this article because it mentions my city! I’m planning on leaving this town and moving to a larger city. I have a job, but the general depression that surrounds everyone in the town as they struggle to stay afloat is a big enough push factor to encourage me to leave. I can imagine that for people who were born here, moving away would be a lot harder than for someone like me who has constantly moved to new cities throughout their life.

Simpson dolls banned in Iran as ‘promoters of western culture’

by Ramin Mostaghim. Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2012.
Simpson dolls banned in Iran as ‘promoters of western culture’

The Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Iran has placed Simpson dolls on its blacklist of toys that promote western culture. Most dolls that are of adults are banned in Iran. The exception are certain super-hero dolls, as they represent the heroic nature of fighting crime and helping the oppressed.

This article relates to the chapter: Folk and Popular Culture. Every country has anxieties that another culture is going to swoop in and change the way their own culture feels. This can be seen in Europe as it deals with the influx of Muslim immigrants, in parts of the U.S. and immigrants from Mexico or Asia, and in remote places like Tibet as it deals with a huge influx of Chinese immigrants. Iran has taken a unique route at controlling this concern, and blacklists anything it determines is a threat to the traditional Iranian culture. Does it work? Should countries be guarding so strongly their own cultures against the unstoppable wave of pop culture? I wish I had answers to these questions, which is why I picked this article. I am working on my Anthropology degree, and so preserving culture is something that I feel strongly about, but I don’t think culture should be preserved to the detriment of those whose culture is in question. I hope for a way that people can live as they want, and not be forced by their neighbors to follow the same culture as everyone else.

Is this Russian landscape the birthplace of Native Americans?

by Christine Dell’Amore. National Geographic, February 3, 2012.
Is this Russian landscape the birthplace of Native Americans?

A study of Native American as well as Russian DNA has led to the discovery of a genetic mutation that allows scientists to track down at least one set of ancestors for the Native Americans to a the Atlay region, a remote valley in south-eastern Russia (near the Russia, Mongolia, China border). The speculation that Native Americans migrated to the Americas from Siberia has been postulated for as long as Europeans have been exploring the New World. The physical as well as cultural similarities between these two populations are striking, but until DNA was discovered, there has been no way to prove that this was the case.

This article relates to the chapter: Migration. The peopling of two entire continents is a huge undertaking! Talk about migration! Of course, the people of the Americas did not come here all in one go, but through many migrations over the course of tens of thousands of years. I’m excited for future developments in the study of this ancient migration. I chose this article because the topic caught my eye and it’s another topic that has always fascinated me. The style of dress, house building, religion .. all of these cultural elements can be traced back to cultures in eastern Asia. This connection between people that have not mixed for thousands of years reminds me that in the end, we are all connected through greater and lesser distances through time.

Map Exercise: Australia


Wooramel River begins on the very western edge of the Gibson Desert in the Western Australia territory, and flows west to Shark Bay and the Indian Ocean.
Savory Creek begins in the western part of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia territory and flows east until it hits Lake Disappointment, a dry, salty lake that only has water in it some of the time.
Arthur River is a very short river that flows from the center of the north-western point of the territory island of Tasmania west to the Indian Ocean.
Murray River begins near Mount Kosciuszko and defines the border between Victoria and New South Wales territories, flowing west and a little north to Lake Victoria and then into South Australia territory where it flows south-west to Lake Alexandria and then to Encounter Bay and the Indian Ocean. This bay is just to the south of the major city of Adelaide.
Burdekin River begins in the Great Dividing Range of Queensland territory and flows south-east to the little town of Ayr, Queensland and then out to the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean.


The Mount Lofty Range lies north and south above the city Adelaide in South Australia territory.
The Snowy Mountains are situated in New South Wales territory in the southern portion of the Great Dividing Range and just south of the Australian Capital Territory.
The Darling Range lies north and south along the south-western coast of Western Australia territory.

Site and Situation

Australia is a very large island continent in the southern hemisphere. The country is dominated by extensive deserts covering most of the country's interior. The eastern coast (where most of the population resides) however, is a lush tropical landscape covered in forests, and exotic plants and animals. Following the entire eastern coast is a range of mountains (The Great Dividing Range), which creates a climate barrier. On the other side of this range is grass land which fades into the great deserts. The south-eastern and southwestern tips are devoted to farmlands. The northern coast of Australia is fairly green (compared to the interior), but is largely uninhabited. To the south, there is a little island, Tasmania, which has a temperate climate. The landscape is a mix between farmlands and mountainous regions. The population is fair, although there are no major cities.

Australia is situated between the south-western edge of the Pacific ocean and the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean in the south-eastern hemisphere. To the south, across the Indian and Southern Oceans is Antarctica and the south pole. To the north is the vast island country of Indonesia. To the west is the Indian Ocean and very few islands. To the east lies the country of New Zealand as well a the vast Pacific Ocean, filled with a huge number of tiny islands.


Name a folk custom specific to Australia and explain it in detail

One of the folk customs of Australia that has intrigued me since I was a little girl and first heard the song 'Waltzing Matilda' is the unique slang that is used throughout the country. There are a few different categories of slang words, rhyming slang, slang that originated from Aboriginal words and slang that makes sense if you really think about it. I'll give a few examples of each

Rhyming Slang: Oxford Scholar - a dollar Dog's Eye - a meat pie Molly the Monk - a drunk Tin Tank - a Yank

Aboriginal Slang: Billabong - a certain type of lake Willy Willy - a dust devil Bogey - a bath Gibber - a boulder

Think about it Slang: Crack a tinnie - open a can of cold beer Fifty k's south of Woop Woop - in the middle of nowhere Shank's Pony - walking on foot Zebra Crossing - crosswalk (named for the stripes painted on the road

Debate Argument: Pro-Legalization of Marijuana

Marijuana is less dangerous than other legal substances.

A simple way to measure the toxicity of a drug is to compare the ratio between gaining the desired effect (getting high or a buzz) and a lethal dose. Heroin is lethal at five times the effective dose, alcohol is ten times, cocaine is fifteen times. Where does marijuana fall? You would need to consume more than one thousand times the dose needed to get high to lethally overdose. This number is theoretical however, as there has never been a known case of death by marijuana. In comparison, about 24,000 people die every year due to over-drinking.

The classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug is arbitrary and non-scientific. The U.S. Federal government has a duty to create laws that are just. Classifying a lethal drug as legal to sell and consume while also classifying even possession of a non-lethal drug as a criminal offense is neither just nor reasonable.

Gable, R. (2006, May/June). The Toxicity of Recreational Drugs. American Scientist, 94(3). Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, December 7). Alcohol Use in the U.S.. Retrieved February 8, 2012, from

Discussion: Folk and Popular Cultures

To kick off this discussion, please view the short video, Mixed Emoticons then come back to this discussion. Wow! Talk about a popular culture phenomenon! Unless we've been living in a cave for the past 20 years, we all know how technology has changed our lives especially the Internet, e-mail, and all the cool things we can do with a cell phone or tablet in the palm of our hands. Grab a pencil and make a list of 10 pop culture trivia topics (i.e., tv shows, music, etc.). When you're done with that list, make one with 10 folk culture trivia topics (i.e., certain regional music types). Which list was easier to make? Why?

I had about an equally hard time with both lists. In the long run, I think it would be easier to come up with pop culture topics, as we are bombarded with pop culture every day, where we either have to seek out folk cultures that we don't participate in, OR we don't notice the folk cultures that we do participate in because they seem like "that's just the way things are."

Describe a personal habit and/or custom that you follow that we would not consider a pop culture trait. Where did the habit and/or custom originate?

I like to go around barefooted. If I could, I would do almost everything barefoot! This habit originated from my mom who also likes to go barefoot. I grew up wearing shoes as little as possible, and as we know, a lot of your habits that you gain as a kid follow you into adulthood, and then you pass them on to your own kids. I *think* my mom's grandma was also a bare-footer ... it was something she was proud of ... I remember my mom telling me stories about her and her feet :-)

Explain a distinctive food or clothing preference that you and your family have and trace its origins to a folk hearth. If you don't have a distinct food or clothing preference, use an example that you've seen or heard about other than what is mentioned in the chapter.

In my family we frequently ate what we called Goulash. It's not too close to actual Hungarian Goulash, but it's made using the same principle ... throw together everything you've got into a big pot and that's what's for dinner.

My father's mother's first husband was born in Bulgaria, and he taught her "how to cook real food, like my mama". She kept making goulash even after they divorced, and my dad passed it on to us (I swear it's the only thing he really cooks ... mexican food = goulash with taco seasoning and tortillas ... chinese food = goulash with ginger and rice :D ).

The Internet, especially components of it such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, has radically changed the diffusion patterns of both folk and popular cultures. Give and support an argument for how the Internet might help preserve or even expand some folk elements. What would those elements be? Give a specific example of a place on Earth and the people that inhabit that place whose customs have benefited or been negatively influenced by the technology advancements of pop culture.

YouTube is an amazing way to document and share all sorts of cultural artifacts. I've watched videos explaining how to make a bow, how to cook food in certain ways, I've watched videos of tribes in the mountains of Central America ... Video is a more dynamic and expressive medium for transmitting culture than words or pictures (second only to actually being there (for now! future technology will eventually come along that's even more immersive)).

In Tokyo, the street vendors used to fill the streets with delicious (if you're Japanese!) foods and tasty treats. In the 1970s, the popularity of convenience stores and vending machines rose, and eventually replaced most of these vendors. Street vending had been around since the Edo Period (1600s - 1800s), and many were sad to see them disappear because of the new technologies and an interest in the new western food culture.,8599,1972817,00.html

Lastly, describe one activity of pop culture that you engage in on a regularly basis and evaluate its impact on the environment. What might a folk cultural alternative to your activity be?
Your map exercise this week introduces you to Australia which is the home of one of the most historically-relevant cultures on the globe today. The Aborigines of that continent to the Amish of Pennsylvania are distinct because of their contribution to history and present-day society. Think of other folk societies and consider the ways their cultures have each been both negatively and positively impacted by pop culture.

I like to text on my phone to my friends while I am at work or otherwise not able to communicate directly. On the face, texting doesn't have a huge environmental impact BEYOND using cell phones for calling. Cell phones all told though, are a different story. There is the impact of creating the phone, the cell towers, upkeep, batteries, and so on. On the other, other hand, many people are using cell phones rather than computers, which take up more landfill space, etc.

I think that a lot of our technological activities have the makings of new folk culture ... they just aren't old enough yet! A folk cultural alternative to this activity could be writing notes, leaving messages where the other person can find them ... but these aren't tied to a specific culture. If I researched, I might be able to point to an actual folk culture activity that would fall into those lines.

SPAR #4: Batman vs. Superman

Batman is superior to Superman.

Batman has greater intelligence and mental strength than Superman.

Batman is known to have genius level IQ, photographic memory, to be a computer hacker and spends his time solving mysteries. Batman beat Superman in a fight using his brain rather than brute strength. Superman, on the other hand, solves his problems with a swift punch to the face.
Solving problems without “super powers”, but instead with mental prowess is superior to solving problems by punching them out of the galaxy. Problems have a canny way of outwitting brute strength.

Superman is superior to Batman.

Superman is physically superior to Batman.

Let’s face it, Superman can run really, really fast, has x-ray vision, heat rays that come out of his eyes, is strong enough to lift anything on this world, and he can flipping fly. Batman is a human. Batman may have a batmobile, but he can’t even drive as fast as Superman can jog.
Superman has the physical ability to accomplish anything he wants, where Batman is limited by human limits and technology, therefore Superman is superior to Batman.

Map Exercise: South America


The Orinoco River begins in the southern arm of Venezuela, and then flows north along the border between Venezuela and Columbia, picking up a number of tributaries along the way. At the city of Puerto Carreño, the Orinoco and Meta rivers collide and the Orinoco continues northeast, following the edge of the Guiana Highlands towards the coast. Before the Orinoco River reaches the coast, it turns into a delta and swamp-land, until it finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean (right near Trinidad and Tobago).
The São Francisco River begins in the mountains of the Brazilian state, Minas Gerais, and flows north, through the Tres Marias Reservoir, into the state of Bahia, through another reservoir (Sobradinho), along the border between Bahia and Pernambuco (heading east now), through one more reservoir (Itaparica), then along the borders between the states of Sergipe and Alagos until it finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Fun fact, the people in Brazil loving refer to the river as "Old Frank".
The Loa River begins near the border between Bolivia and Chile. It flows south, past the Volcano San Pedro and then west to the Atacama Desert. It makes it through the desert, still flowing, and reaches the Pacific Ocean.
The Marañón River begins at the mountain Yerupaja in the Andes of central Peru. It flows northwest along a deep valley and out into the beginning of the Amazon Basin. From there, it flows almost completely east until it reaches the beginning of the Amazon River. (I have this weird hunch that the Marañón River *isn't* counted as part of the Amazon so that the Nile could keep its title of longest river ;-) )
The Rio Grande begins on the western edge of Tierra Del Fuego in Chile, and from there flows east, crossing the Chile / Argentina border and continuing east to the Atlantic Ocean.


The Tumuc Humac mountain range runs east and west along the southern borders of Suriname and French Guiana and a northern edge of Brazil.
The Serra Da Mantiqueira run along the coast of Brazil between the major cities of São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro.
The Cordillera Real range of mountains runs North and south from Lake Titicaca on the Peru / Bolivia border and south to the Bolivia / Argentina border. Really, this is just the Bolivian extension of the Andes and the Cordillera Oriental, but it gets a new name when it resides within the borders of Bolivia.

Site and Situation

South America is situated in the south-western hemisphere, and reaches from 10 degrees north to 55 degrees south (almost to Antarctica!) To the west is the Pacific Ocean and to the East the Pacific. The northern edge of the continent touches the Caribbean, but then juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. South America is fairly isolated from the other Continents, having large swaths of ocean between it and the rest of the world. Despite this, South America became a popular destination for European settlers, and you can find little European-style villages along the eastern coast of the continent.

South America is a large landmass separating the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Along the western edge is the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes. The northern edge of South America is well populated and covered in forests, grasslands and moderate mountain ranges. To the south is the Amazon River Basin, the largest drainage system in the world. This area is covered with vast tropical rainforests and is characterized by extreme wetness. To the east of the river basin lies another highland area, in Brazil. This area is covered in grasslands and open forests. The coast along this region is also well populated. On the western edge, the land is characterized by a sparsely inhabited desert coast and moderately inhabited, but still dry, coastal range and plateaus merging with the heights of the Andes. Once we reach about 30 degrees south, the wind changes direction and the western coast becomes very wet and covered in temperate forests while the eastern plains (on the other side of the ever-[resent Andes) are covered in grasslands. When we finally reach the tip of South America, the climate becomes pretty chilly and the highs in the summer can reach all the way up to 50 degrees F.


Describe a migration that has occurred in South America any time in history.

One migration that I find fascinating is the creation of the city of Brasília, Brazil. It was conceived of in the early 1800s, but not actually built until the 1950s. The city has since grown to about 2 million plus, although the original planners originally planned for only 500,000 inhabitants by the year 2000. A large portion of these "extra" immigrants are the workers who built the city, but then had no way to return home once the city had been completed. The city responded to this dilemma by building satellite cities around the new capital for these workers to settle in. More immigrants were attracted by the promise of new jobs in manufacturing and the service industry. Although Brasília was originally designed to integrate the classes, the large influx of new residents created class segregation anyhow with the poorer residents being segregated to the outer area of the city and the elite living closer to the center. One interesting thing that happened was that because the people of Brasília were from all parts of Brazil, their cultures meshed and merged, creating new Brazilian traditions and stories that are a blend of the people who migrated there.

Discussion: Migration

Look at figure 3.3.2 on page 56 and 57. Which countries have a net in-migration of 100 and above? Briefly explain what factors are pulling people into these countries. Looking at the same figure, check out the countries with a net out-migration of 100 and above. Why are people leaving those countries? 

PLEASE NOTE: Afghanistan is shown as having a net in-migration above 100. This country is a statistical oddity and, according to the author of our text, "because of the legacy of the wars in that area, a large number of Afghans were born in neighboring Pakistan or Iran as refugees but their families have since relocated into Afghanistan."

The following countries have a net in-migration of 100 or higher: United States, Canada, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and others that are too small to see on this map. The countries that are attracting immigrants are almost all also MDCs. As MDCs, they have greater freedoms, higher pay, and more stable governments.

Unstable or oppressive governments is one similarity I see with many of the high net out-migration countries. Other reasons would be over-population, economic instability, and climate-related problems.

Name an economic, social, and environmental "push" factor that would make you migrate. Do the same for three "pull" factors. Make sure you demonstrate an understanding of the difference between mobility and migration in your answer.

An economic push could be rising property taxes (and therefore rent as well). This can even push people out of homes that they own. I remember when this happened to Aspen Colorado when it became a popular ski town. A social push factor that would make me migrate would be becoming ostracized from my social circle (for something that I did, or was accused of). Having a lack of friends, or even a region full of enemies would be a powerful reason to re-locate. An environmental push would be if someone covered the surrounding countryside with subdivisions rather than farms and forests. I like being close to nature, and if that was changed, I would move away.

An economic pull factor would be the offer of a great job in another location, or a new industry hub that was being developed (like San Francisco and the tech industry). A social pull factor would be the night-life and cultural complexity of a city rather than the rural town I live in. An environmental pull would be better weather, and easy access to the wilderness ... I know! I want it all ... city and country in one place.

Name one migration (any type that is defined in the chapter) that is occurring anywhere in the world currently (within the past month or so). Where is it located? Who does it involve? What is the cause of the migration? From where is the migration originating and to where are the people headed? And add anything else to your explanation that you'd like to include.

Ireland is currently undergoing one of it’s largest emigration waves since the great famine of 150 years ago. The majority of the emigrants are 20-30 year old university graduates leaving their island home and the majority moving to London and Australia. The economic instability of much of Ireland seems to be the largest reason for emigration. There are towns in Ireland that are moving towards extinction because all of the young people have left for greener pastures.

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Illegal immigration is a hot topic in the United States. It's a complicated, difficult subject because there is so much emotion wrapped up in it. Aim for objectivity when answering this question: If you were a part of the discussion trying to find solutions to this issue, how would you go about helping others at the table to have an effective conversation without appearing prejudiced against the country of origin of the immigrants?

The problem is that many people have a very real prejudice against certain people. It doesn’t matter if a family has been living in the United States for a couple hundred years, if you look and talk a certain way, you will be classified as “one of them” and treated poorly. Until those attitudes are changed, it will be hard to bring anything short of deportation to the table without arguments based on fear and hatred being brought to the fore-front. That said ... I think it helps to understand WHY people are emigrating from their homes and why they chose our country to move into. When someone learns that a Mexican woman illegally moved to the United States because a drug gang killed the rest of her family, they are more inclined towards sympathy rather than a knee-jerk reaction to send her back. When I receive emails from certain friends about how horrible illegal aliens are, and how they are stealing our jobs (no mention is made about how we wouldn't take those jobs) and our taxes, I think they have forgotten that there are real people behind the numbers and propaganda.

Rank’s Model of Analysis

H&R Block is currently running an ad campaign for their Second Look program. The theme of the campaign is “Never Settle For Less,” a reference to receiving more from your tax return even if you already filed your taxes with another agency or did them yourself. Each ad follows the same formula, starting with showing an applicant who talks about why they decided to try Second Look, then they talk about what they would do with their extra money and finally the ad shows what looks like a cross between a rewards ceremony and a game show where the applicant stands up in front of the crowd and opens an envelope showing how much money they received (usually in the $1000-$2000 range). There are a lot of different forms of persuasion at use in these ads, but let’s see how Rank’s model applies.

Of the six applicants that are highlighted, each received an average of $2,684, with the largest amount being $8,635. Who wouldn’t want that much free money? The idea that you can go to H&R Block and have them look at your taxes and get back a couple thousand dollars is a pretty powerful incentive to try their program. But, they are intensifying their strongest point! If you look at the small, gray type at the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice that it says, “94 of the 223 returns we reviewed in Detroit, MI Second Look event showed tax overpayment, and the average amount of overpayment was $1057.” With some math trickery, they hid the fact that out of all the returns that they reviewed for this event (notice, there is no word on if the applicants were screened for likelihood of overpayment), the actual average is $446 rather than $2,684, and 129 of the applicants received no additional money. So, in reality, you have less than a 50% chance of getting anything back at all, let alone thousands of dollars.

Another portion of the small, gray text displayed at the bottom of the screen states, “Fees apply for Second Look® reviews and if you have us prepare a corrected or amended return.” I looked on H&R Block’s website, and the initial fee is $29, which you will still owe, even if they do not find any overpayment. And, if they do find an overpayment, they’ll charge you again to actually re-file your taxes. The average cost of filing your taxes with H&R Block was $189 in 2010, according to the H&R Block’s annual shareholder report. To counter this ‘bad point’, the advertisement has one of the applicants (Albert) mentions that Second Look was offered to him for free, which it was ... for a limited time, and for only 223 people in Detroit. The rest of us would have to pay.

In one ad, a quilt shop owner mentions that “I don’t like doing taxes, I did them online, there’s a lot that I guessed at, and I have a feeling I guessed wrong.” If you believed these advertisements, why would you ever do your own taxes? Taxes can be confusing and complex, and these advertisements definitely play on this fear of “doing your taxes wrong.” The entire goal behind the Second Look program is to show that you can get back more from H&R Block than you could by doing them yourself, using a free online service or having a “friend of a friend” do them for you. The ads make it a point to specifically name these competitors, and then show the happy H&R Block customer walking away with lots of money (as if H&R Block was the one giving away the money!).

The last leg of Rank’s model is to downplay the opposition’s good points. First off, no mention is made of the 129 people whose taxes had been done as well or even ‘better’ than H&R Block could. I feel like I covered this pretty well earlier, so let’s move on. Although the ads do mention the cheaper price of doing your own taxes, they do so with a negative light, emphasizing the idea that “you get what you pay for.” In reality, the IRS has multiple workshops, free resources, and tax advisers that are all available for those who are filing their own taxes.

These ads persuade the viewer by downplaying the plus side to doing your own taxes, by emphasizing how confusing taxes are, by emphasizing the potential monetary reward for having H&R Block look at your taxes, and by downplaying the potential costs associated with the review.

H&R Block. (n.d.). Second Look® Review. H&R Block Tax Services. Retrieved February 2, 2012 from
H&R Block. (2011, January 5). Never Settle for Less: Theresa- Quilt Store Owner [Video file]. Retrieved from
H&R Block. (2011, December 22). Never Settle For Less - Albert [Video file]. Retrieved from
H&R Block. (2012, January 13). Never Settle For Less- The Detroit Story [Video file]. Retrieved from