Coke, Pop, Soda…. Other?

Ever taken a long trip across the US and stopped in a local restaurant? What do you ask for when you want some bubbly fizzy sugar water to drink? As anyone who has traveled around the country can tell you, they don’t call it the same thing everywhere. Now you can fit in like a local with the help of this handy, dandy soft drink names by county map! You don’t have to face those ugly sneers from the wait staff and other patrons as you chime for a “pop” when CLEARLY these heathen people call it a “soda”. Of course that won’t help you in those weird counties that go with “other”…. whatever the heck that might be.

(for those outside the US for which this may be unimportant, know that the cultured term is, of course, “Coke”… the rest of the country is off its rocker)

How We Became Urban

For those unaware, we’re about to hit a world-wide demographic flip – very soon we will have more people living in cities than in the country. So how did that happen? Well this interesting article from The Economist charts the trend. The survey does of good job of charting the trend throughout human history, thus making for an interesting quick read. Clearly if the trends continue, fields like Urban planning aren’t going away anytime soon…

World’s Third Longest River Nearly Irreversibly Damaged

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Yangtze may be so so polluted that the damage is irreversible. It’s understandable that a country wishing to quickly grow its economy might be lax on environmental issues. However, it blows my mind that the Yangtze could be “irreversibly” damaged. Even if the claim is hyperbole, it certainly indicates an incredibly high level of environmental damage. Hopefully China can find some what to repair the river that accounts for 35% of its fresh water supplies.

Paleobotany and Terracotta army

The BBC reports on an article from the Journal of Archaeological Science about research on the clay that was used to make China’s Terracotta army. They have recovered pollen from the clay and hope to find its source. An interesting part is that different statues may have come from different source materials, or maybe different times of years, based on different pollen content.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pollen clue to clay army origins

Building a better traffic light

Traffic is always a problem in every country where lots of people live. The noise, pollution, and physical danger to motorists and the poor shlubs trying to cross the street can be daunting. That’s why the good folks at Nissan have proposed solving this problem with a simple solution – a better traffic light. They haven’t gotten the thing built yet, but they’re collecting a ton of data to figure out how to make it better. It seems to me that today’s traffic lights are pretty sophisticated, so I’m a tad skeptical that Nissan can bring anything radically new to the table. But Nissan has proven me wrong in other areas before, so here’s hoping they can make a positive impact!

Top 11 Underground Systems in the World

Part two of our two part expose of the World’s Great Subways is this great article detailing the Top 11 Underground Systems in the World. If you’ve every had a hankern’ to travel the world to see it’s underground wonders, this is the site for you. Rather nice pictures of each of the Underground systems as well as a few movies give you a feel for what you can expect on your world tour. I have to say I was rather surprised at some of the amenities of these undergrounds – heated seats, ecologic cleaning systems, architectural wonders… most impressive.

O.K., I lied slightly… it wasn’t a two part expose, I just found a couple of interesting articles about Underground transportation systems I wanted to share…

Electorial Geography Website Launches

Our friend Dr. Ken Martis, who we interviewed back in November on episode 68, sent us this link to the new Electoral Geography website that has just launched. Alexander Kireev seems to be the main person/contact at the site. I haven’t had time to look at the site in depth, but what I have seen is pretty nice. There’s a LOT of good data there for anyone doing anything with elections around the world. They seem to be following a “beg, borrow, or steal” philosophy as far as the data (which I wholly support!), so you might have to do a little massaging to get into a form you can easily use for analysis. The site would be perfect for any comparative studies in the field. It also features an articles section and a forums for discussion. I hope both geographers and political scientists use the site to try to collaborate more.

The site is still in beta and Alexander is encouraging people to send suggestions, so take a look and let them know what you think!

CORRECTION: Alexander Kireev’s co-creator Alexey Sidorenko made a comment pointing out that he is also keenly involved in the electoral geography website. My sincere apologies to Alexey for leaving him out in the original post, especially considering the great work the two of them are doing for the electoral studies field.

Malaria Atlas Project aims to produce first global malaria map in 40 years

The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) is a joint British and Kenya effort to create an updated map of global malaria endemicity, the first update in 40 years. According to the website which was launched back in May: “The main objective of this project is to develop a detailed model of the spatial limits of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria at a global scale and its endemicity within this range.”

MAP has already collected some data and provide links to static maps of malaria for some countries that can be downloaded as .kmz files and viewed in Google Earth. Their hope is have a complete dataset that can be released by 2009, in addition to a series of map products showing global malaria risk.

Via Yahoo! News