Welcome to this site, which is dedicated to preparing students for the Geographic Bee competitions. To access thousands of Geographic facts on this blog, go to the archive portion and click on comments under each section. Read the posts to enhance your knowledge or participate more actively by posting relevant comments in the current month. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you need free, individualized guidance in helping children become champions using my method!
In this new feature, you will be treated to some fantastic pictures of places and things. Have fun looking at them and learn some new, relevant facts of the place/region/country to add to your existing body of knowledge - Feel free to post these new facts at the bottom of this section...
1. Festival of Lights, Ghent, Belgium
2. Statue of Lord Murugan at the entrance to Batu Caves, Malaysia
Looking for a good way to participate in Earth Day? Try setting up an Earth Dinner. Start by planning a dinner with as many local, seasonal, and organic ingredients as possible. Then, get to know the story behind your food. Where did it come from? Who were the farmers? Finally, have a conversation about food, farming, and your connection to the food and the Earth.
Earth Day is just one week away! This year’s theme is Green Cities. To learn how you can get involved, visit our Green Cities page.
On Earth Day, The International Preparatory School in Santiago, Chile will host a green cities contest. Students will be asked to design and plan their own sustainable city, taking into account water management, energy, transportation, buildings, and food production. What a great way to get kids excited about environmental issues!
Cities Lead the Way As part of the Green Cities campaign, Earth Day Network is working closely with cities around the world to help them become more sustainable. Along the way we have come across some innovative green programs and policies that have inspired us.
Earth Day at Union Station in Washington DC Are you going to be in the DC area on Earth Day? Join us for Earth Day at Union Station. We’ll have educational and interactive exhibits and activities for all ages. NASA will be there with their Earth Tent, top scientists and astronauts! Amtrak shows off their new energy efficient engines. The Weather Channel will be broadcasting live and much more!
The Continental Divide is the line which defines the divergent directions that rainfall will flow after it lands on the North American continent. In the contiguous 48 states, water falling west of this line formed generally by the crest of the Rocky Mountains, heads for the Pacific, and water falling east of it will flow to the Gulf of Mexico as shown on the first graphic below. But it’s not as simple as that, especially if you consider the whole of North America. Since there are not just two, but three oceans to act as flow recipients, there have to be other lines of division besides the simple “Continental Divide”, which should more accurately be called the Great Divide.
As seen in the second map, the Northern (or Laurentian) Divide shows the Arctic/Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico split, and the Eastern Divide defines the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico split. Another line, the St. Lawrence Seaway Divide further defines northeastern water flow. The Great Divide actually extends down beyond Mexico, through Central America, and then to the tip of South America along the Andes. It should be noted that these dividing lines do not lie exclusively on knife-edged mountain ridges. Indeed, some parts of these divides are so flat as to seem incapable of being a line of separation, but careful surveying shows that the local “high” point is as defined. Another interesting concept to ponder is the Triple Point, or the places where two divides intersect. One such spot is the appropriately named Triple Divide Peak in the Montana Rockies. Conceivably, the water molecules in a single fat raindrop hitting just the right spot on that peak could separate into thirds and flow separately to the Arctic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.
Sonic Geography...Tourism of Sounds of Nature
(CNN) -- Modern travel is an intensely visual experience.We feast our eyes on glossy guidebooks before bombarding Facebook and Instagram with our oh-so stylish shots of footprints on empty beaches, stunning sunsets and that weird thing we found in the pool.
But in our efforts to soak up the sights and stuff our hard drives with selfies, we may be neglecting another vital element of the travel experience -- sound.
That's the worry of Trevor Cox, a British acoustic engineer who, armed with a microphone and digital recorder, has spent several years earwigging his way around the planet in search of what he calls its "sonic wonders."
"We're used to going on our travels and looking out for beautiful vistas and wonderful architecture, but we tend not to think about the sound," says Cox, who was struck by the notion of exploring a wider world of sound while investigating echoes in, of all places, a London sewer.
"So then I began to think about where I would go if you wanted listen to the most remarkable sounds in the world and I was surprised to find there was relatively little information," he tells CNN. "That's when I thought I should gather it myself."
Cox has documented his adventures in audio in the newly published "The Sound Book" (released as "Sonic Wonderland" in the UK) -- a fascinating journey which, over several years, takes him from scorching desert sands to slimy subterranean chambers.
He also runs a website aimed at encouraging others to explore sonic wonders and engage in "sound tourism," and points out that since most travelers carry cell phones, they're already equipped with powerful recording devices.
"It's all about making yourself aware and thinking as you wander around about what you are going to catch -- but all you really need to do is listen."
It's about time to make some noise about sound tourism.
With the aid of Cox, we've compiled a list of the world's best sonic destinations.
Where: Svalbard, a bleak Norwegian archipelago of ice-capped mountains and fierce polar bears way out in the Arctic Ocean
What: Mind-bending, sub-aquatic sci-fi effects produced by hairy-faced sea mammals to woo their mates -- a soundscape worryingly similar to the tinnitus hangover of a Motorhead gig.
Cox says: "They don't really sound like animals, they sound like UFOs coming in to land -- they make this extraordinary noise that lasts about a minute." Hear the seals
Next best thing to hearing the quetzal bird itself.
Chirping Mayan pyramid (Mexico)
Where: Temple of Kukulcan, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
What: Clap your hands in front of this 1,100-year-old structure and you'll hear an echo not unlike the sacred quetzal bird.
Only disturbing if you've seen the 2008 film "The Ruins," in which sound-mimicking vines devour feckless tourists atop a Mayan pyramid.
Cox says: In his book, Cox asks whether the echo was a Mayan design reflecting sophisticated acoustic knowledge: "Imagine an ancient Mayan priest presiding over a ceremony and, with great theatricality, summoning the sound of the quetzal bird by clapping his hands."
Where: Moru Kopjes, Serengeti National Nark, Tanzania -- and other sites across Africa
What: Not a prog rock group, but one of several eons-old boulders that produce mellow notes when whacked with smaller stones.
Tonally, their range can be a bit on the monotonous side, but the fact that it probably resonates back to the dawn of civilization helps raise neck hairs.
Cox says: "Among the earliest evidence we have of what our ancestors might have listened to is left over bits of musical instruments like these rock gongs." Hear the rocks
Whispering gallery (India)
Where: Gol Gumbaz mausoleum, in Bijapur, a town in southwestern India's Karnataka state
What: This majestic, rose-domed structure built in the 1600s features one of the best examples of a whispering gallery -- an elevated architectural echo chamber that seems to sample human voices and loop them repetitively in the style of a 1960s horror flick.
Cox says: In "The Sound Book," Cox writes: "With children enjoying yelling and listening as their voices repeat over and over again, the atmosphere is like a crowded day at the swimming pool."
Iceland's volcanic landscape -- source of unusual sounds and noxious fumes.
Bubbling mud pots (Iceland)
Where: Hverir, Namafjall, northern Iceland
What: A sulfurous volcanic landscape where noxious gas belches forth from roiling cauldrons of primordial gunge with the fury of a waterfall.
Cox says: "Tumultuous pools of battleship-gray mud bubble at a low simmer," Cox writes in his book. "They seem almost alive; some belch like a thick, gloppy lentil soup while others rage and splatter like an unappetizing gruel on a fast boil."
Where: Inchindown oil storage complex/Glasgow's Hamilton mausoleum -- Scotland
What: Cox crawled down slippery pipes to access a vast, emptyWorld War II oil tank built into a Scottish hillside near the town of Invergordon to measure the reverberations within.
Using a starting gun (and a saxophone), he pegged them at a record-breaking 75 seconds.
Sadly, since Inchindown is rarely open to the public, sonic tourists will have to make do with a trip to the previous Guinness record holder, also in Scotland. The grand Hamilton Mausoleum, just outside Glasgow, clocks in at 15 seconds.
How many miles would you drive for 30 seconds of bad song?
Musical road (California)
Where: Avenue G, Lancaster, California
What: A series of grooves gouged into the pavement renders a stretch of the westbound roadway into an instrument that plays the "William Tell Overture" -- also known as the "Lone Ranger" theme -- when vehicles drive over it.
The rhythm is recognizable, but the tune sounds like someone gargling with water in an adjacent room.
Cox says: "It is a very bad rendition of the 'William Tell Overture' -- but it makes you laugh. "Keep driving and you'll hit California's I-5 highway for a drive north for stellar scenery and, you never know, some amazing sounds.
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