Category Archives: geography

The 7 Stages of Amazon HQ2 Grief

On Thursday, Amazon published a shortlist of 20 finalists for its much-desired second headquarters. In Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Toronto, and the 16 other (fairly unsurprising) cities that made the cut, mayors and economic development organizations jumped for joy.

But in 218 other cities, it was a hard day; boosters of these left-behind towns experienced the full spectrum of grief, from shock and denial to acceptance and hope. We have documented their mourning process below.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough—all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity. Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”  

—Holly … Read the rest

This Year, the Women’s March Pivots from Pussy Hats to the Polls

The sea of pink pussy hats that swarmed Washington, D.C. for the first inaugural Women’s March last January will look a little different this year.

The locus of resistance is moving out of the president’s backyard and into Las Vegas, Nevada, where women and allies will stage an event elevating women and progressive candidates, called “Power to the Polls.” Unlike last year, when many women took cross-country buses to unite in one central location, this year the Women’s March organizers are placing an emphasis on organizing locally. And instead of a one-day event, the Las Vegas rally will be the first of several events held in swing states across the country, in a race to register 1 million voters.  

“It would have been very … Read the rest

Jeff Sessions and California: The Inevitable Collision

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has the California grizzly in his sights.

In May, the Sacramento Bee wrote about how a showdown between California and the attorney general was inevitable. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told the Bee that federal justice officials and the liberal state were on a “collision course.” This is partly because of everything California represents to its detractors: environmental regulations, gun control, and hippies. And Sessions leans to the right not just of the state, but of many in his own party. (“He is an outlier in terms of how he thinks about drug policy even with the Republican Party,” Michael Collins, the deputy director for national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, told The Guardian last year.)  

The state … Read the rest

Athabasca Sand Dunes

Stretching for approximately 100 kilometers along the southern edge of Lake Athabasca, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, are some of the most northerly active sand dunes on Earth. Unlike most dunes, which are associated with dry and arid region, the Athabasca Sand Dunes are located in the middle of a wetland and a boreal forest, making it one of the most unique sand dunes and a geological oddity. The dunes are spread across more than 30,000 hectares, and due to their unusual ecosystem, they harbor an extraordinarily diverse biological life.


Photo credit: Hidehiro Otake 

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The Soledar Salt Mines

Some 250 million years ago, a part of Ukraine was under a shallow ocean. When the ocean dried up, it left behind a huge deposit of salt which got buried underneath due to upheavals in the earth’s crust. A large concentration of this salt is located under a small city called Soledar, a Russian word meaning “gift of salt”.

For a long time, this area was known for brine springs, caused by the solution of underground salt deposits by ground water. This brine was used to produce salt since the 16th century. The brine was cooked in pans with wood fires, to evaporate the water. This process was extremely energy hungry, leading to large scale deforestation in the regions south of Soledar. In the 18th century, … Read the rest

The Safe Way to Ride Your Bike in Winter

Even for many dedicated bike commuters, cycling in the worst parts of winter can be a step too far. For those of us who approach any physical activity with mixed emotions, the sight of snow on the ground is a perfect excuse to find any other way to get around. But still, in cities where cycling is common, bike lanes stay busy even when the snow is piling up.

Witness, for example, this image of commuters pedaling their way across a bridge in Copenhagen:

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Honoring Animals Used in Research And Testing

The United States’ National Academies of Sciences estimates that as many as 22 million vertebrate animals are used every year in the United States alone for research and testing. About 85 percent of these animals are rats and mice. These tiny, furry creatures have been one of the go-to animals for biomedical researchers around the world for studies relating to everything from cancer to the effects of space travel on the human body. The scientific community is well aware of the invaluable role these rodents have played in the development of modern medicine and the lengthening of the average human lifespan from just 40 years at the turn of the 20th century to over 70 years today.


Monument to lab mouse in Novosibirsk, Russia. Photo credit: Read the rest