Tag Archives: geography

Geography Through the Stereoscope

13 Jan

Kristi Finefield at the Library of Congress has a fascinating post on stereographs. Read it here: Geography Through the Stereoscope | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

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Why Forest Fires Seem Like They Are Getting Out of Control

7 Sep

So fire remains an index of our times: it’s like a driverless car barreling down a highway, integrating all the relevant factors around it.  Fire is a natural phenomenon, and if humanity disappeared fire would still thrive.  But most of fire’s factors remain under the influence, though not the control, of humanity.  The pathologies of our fire scene are the national pathologies pyrolyzed into flame.  Megafires are the 1% (literally, the 0.1%) of the nation’s fires that account for 80-90% of burned area and costs.

So notes historian Stephen j. Pyne about fires. He has a new book out (Between Two Fires), but he summarizes the burden of the book in an incisive post at the History News Network. You can read his entire piece here: History News Network | Why Forest Fires Seem Like They Are Getting Out of Control

Denali and America’s Long History of Using (or Not Using) Indian Names

3 Sep

Mt. McKinley now returns to its original name: Denali. The State of Alaska wanted this, but some question the name shift. Doug Herman at Smithsonian.com provides a fascinating historical reminder of Americans, Indians, and place names, in the course of which he reminds us of one irony among many:

The story of naming places in the newly created United States after 1776 is one of forging a new identity. And yet, ironically, that identity is inextricably linked to Indians. No better example than the Boston Tea Party—the catalytic moment in which white Americans began molding a national identity—in which Bostonians employed Indian-ness as a rejection of European consciousness. The icon of the Indian conveyed a revolutionary message and was used to represent the colonial opposition to British rule.

For Herman’s entire piece, see here: Denali and America’s Long History of Using (or Not Using) Indian Names | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian

Try Drawing an Outline of the Midwest on a Map

17 May

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

The Midwest is real, but exactly where it is is not something all agree upon. Jenny Xie at The Atlantic provides some links to an exhibit at the Boston Society of Architects that, among other things, challenges people to draw the boundaries of the Midwest. You can find the site here: Go Ahead, Try Drawing an Outline of the Midwest on a Map – CityLab.

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Photographs of Detroit in the 1940s

15 Jan

The early part of the 20th century saw the city of Detroit, Michigan, rise to prominence on the huge growth of the auto industry and related manufacturers. The 1940s were boom years of development, but the decade was full of upheaval and change, as factories re-tooled to build war machines, and women started taking on men’s roles in the workplace, as men shipped overseas to fight in World War II. The need for workers brought an influx of African-Americans to Detroit, who met stiff resistance from whites who refused to welcome them into their neighborhoods or work beside them on an assembly line. A race riot took place over three days in 1943, leaving 34 dead and hundreds injured. After World War II ended, the demand for workers dried up, and Detroit started plotting its postwar course, an era of big automobiles and bigger highways to accommodate them.

So writes Alan Taylor in introducing 30 photographs of Detroit in the 1940s. You can view these fascinating photos at the Atlantic site here: Detroit in the 1940s – The Atlantic.

People In London Tried To Label The 50 US States On A Map

2 Dec

Boston Line atlas for the blind

13 Aug

Rebecca Onion at Slate’s The Vault has posted some scans from an 1837 atlas for the blind. You can find this fascinating post here: History of education for the blind: Samuel Gridley Howe’s Boston Line atlas.

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