Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"The Next Biggest Boom Towns In The U.S."

Just a quick link - http://www.forbes.com/pictures/edgl45fkm/no-1-austin-texas/

No. 1: Austin, Texas
Austin, TX; photo courtesy of Forbes Images

This is a slideshow from Forbes.com that discusses the upcoming boomtowns in the U.S.  As usual, Texas cities beat every one else by a mile.  There are a few others that may or may not be a surprise, depending on whether you are a nerd and follow this kind of stuff like me!

Oh, and now that the New Hampshire Primaries are through, be on the lookout for a post about South Carolina.  Their Primary is Saturday, January 21st, and they have a debate this upcoming Monday, January 16th.

See ya soon!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Hampshire - The Nation's First Primary

Photo courtesy of World Atlas

Official Name - State of New Hampshire 
 Local Name - New Hampshire (Not really as relevant here as with countries on the other side of the world, is it?)
 Capital - Concord
 Time Difference - UTC -5 (Eastern Time Zone)
Chief of State - John Lynch (D)
Population - 1,318,194 (2011 estimate)
Area - 9,304 square miles
Counties - 10

Caucus - Meetings at which presidential candidates are selected.  Everyone gets together at their local caucus site and listens to short speeches by the candidates or their surrogates, and then get a chance to ask questions.  They then vote by paper ballot or a show of hands on who they want to be the candidate for their state.  The candidates each get a certain number of delegates from each area (depending on amount of votes), and whoever receives the most delegates receives the nomination at the National Convention.

Primary - Voting.  Just like every other time you have voted, but this time you are voting on who you want to be the presidential candidate so you can vote again in the general election.  Some states require you to be a member of a particular political party in order to vote in that party's primary.  The last day before the 2012 primary to change party affiliation in New Hampshire was October 14th, 2011, but you do not need to be a member of a certain party in NH to vote in that party's primary.

The nation's first presidential primary during the election cycle takes place in New Hampshire.  Iowa take place at least 7 days before New Hampshire, but this is a caucus, not a primary.  The primary this year will take place on January 10th, 2012.  New Hampshire even has a law stating that it must be the first primary in the nation.

New Hampshire is a very small state so has few delegates representing them at the National Convention, but this is not why it is so famous.  Being the first primary in the nation give the media something to talk about and gives people a chance to see the candidates in action.  The New Hampshire primary is the beginning of the election process so plays an important role in determining who will succeed in the future.  It is said that New Hampshire will make or break a campaign, and many campaigns have been resurrected after a good showing here.  As the people of New Hampshire like to say - "Iowa picks corn; New Hampshire picks presidents."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Great Travel Videos

Just a quick post today before my son and I leave for my father's house to celebrate New Years (my wife is coming with one of our friends tomorrow after work).  

Since I don't have time to write a full post, I'll give you a link to a great site filled with travel videos.  The site is Insider Perks, and has short, professionally made videos discussing almost any city and country you could want to visit.  It's not as in-depth about the type of information that I normally cover, but this is because they go into more detail about the culture and others things that are equally as interesting.  I am actually thinking about including more of this type of information here, as well.  I am an "experienced" college student (read as - flunked out the first time, but am married now so going back) majoring in Urban and Economic Geography, so this is the kind of information that I am the most interested in. 

Please watch some of the videos and let me know if you would like to see more of this kind of information, along with what I already write about.  I would probably use their videos to get ideas for my posts, so I'm sure they would love all the extra back links and visitors!

Have a safe and Happy New Years.  Remember, fireworks aren't dangerous; not paying attention while using fireworks is.  Don't lose any fingers!  

Here's the link again - http://www.insiderperks.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Time in Jerusalem, the Land of It's Birth

Map of Israel
Picture courtesy of the CIA World Fact Book

Official Name - State of Israel; Medinat Yisra'el
Local Name - Yisra'el
Capital - Jerusalem
Time Difference - UTC+2 - 7 Hours ahead of Washington D.C.
Chief of State - Shimon Peres
Head of Government - Binyamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the proposed Palestinian state, is the holiest city in Judaism and Christianity, and one of the holiest in Islam.  This is where The Temples of Solomon stood, this is where Jesus was crucified, and this is where Muhammad ascended into heaven.  Basically, this is an extremely important place to about half of the world's population.

Since Christmas is one of the holiest days in Christianity, and Jerusalem is where Jesus spent much of his time and where he was put to death, Christmas is an important day in Jerusalem.  Many Christians from around the world gather here for Christmas celebrations.

Jesus was said to be born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day (the reason that Christmas is so important in Christianity), so it is also a very popular tourist site at this time of the year.  No one actually knows what day Jesus was born, but December 25th has been celebrated as the day of his birth since the 300s CE.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is also around the same time as Christmas.  According to Wikipedia:

 Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

This time falls during what is considered in the Western World as "The Holidays" (not to be confused with the band).

Hanukkah is said to be the celebration of a miracle occurring in the Jewish Temple.  Judea (Israel) was under the rule of the Seleucid Empire, and the king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, had ruled that Judaism was illegal and that everyone had to worship Zeus as their supreme god.  The Jews didn't like this, so the Maccabees lead a successful revolt and retook the Temple.  A menorah was lit and was supposed to burn day and night while the Temple was rededicated to the Jewish god, but there was only enough oil to last one day.  Miraculously the menorah stayed lit for 8 days, which was the time required to prepare the new oil.  This was seen as a sign from God, so the event is still celebrated today.

There is no one Islamic holiday that falls during this time.  Some, such as the Islamic New Year and Ashura, do fall during this time in some years, but there are no major holidays that routinely fall during this time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

About North Korea

Map of Korea, North

Name - Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Local Name - Choson (Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk)
Capital - Pyongyang 
Time Difference - UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time)
Chief of State - Kim Jong Un

Information from the CIA World Fact Book:
An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM Il Sung's son, the current ruler KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. In 2010, KIM Jong Il began the process of preparing the way for his youngest son, KIM Jong Un, to succeed him in power. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. North Korea's history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, long-range missile development, WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009, and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community. The regime has marked 2012, the centenary of KIM Il Sung's birth, a banner year; to that end, the country has been focused on development of the economy.

North Korea has a monarch-type succession to choose the next leader.  Kim Jon Il, the leader who recently died of an apparent heart attack, took over form his father, Kim Il Sung.  Now that Kim Jong Il is dead, his third oldest son, Kim Jong Un, will take over.

Kim Jong Un is only in his mid twenties (age not known, but thought to be 27 or 28) and has only held leadership positions for about a year.  Many experts are now worried about a potential power struggle between Kim and his uncle, Jang Song Taek, who has been an extremely influential figure in North Korea for years.

Kim is said to have been responsible for 2010's missile attack of Yeonpyeong, a South Korean island, that almost reignited the Korean War.

Kim was head of the North Korean Secret Police before become ruler of the country, went to school in Switzerland were he learned English and numerous other languages, and has a degree in military science.  Other than this, not much is known about Kim Jong Un.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Maps and Links

I found this post while searching for information about the earthquake that occurred off of the Japanese coast at 2:46pm local time Friday afternoon. It is a very full list of links to different information regarding the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.  

I also found a tsunami photo gallery that you can view here.

This was originally posted at the Map Room Blog.  It was written by Jonathan Crowe, the owner of the blog.


Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Maps

This post collects links to maps of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan and the ensuing tsunami. It may be updated if new maps are made available.
EarthquakeUSGS maps of the quakeUSGS real-time earthquakes layer for Google Earth (KML). Two earthquake maps in GeoCommons: 12A screencap of a quake intensity map from an unknown iPhone app. MapLarge’s earthquake map (viaAPB). Esri’s earthquake map (via APB). // 2:15 PM: OpenStreetMap wiki page. //7:00 PMNASA Earth Observatory map showing the location of the earthquake, its foreshocks and its aftershocks off the coast of Japan. // 7:12 PMPBS Newshour mapof live seismic data from Japan; Google Earth interface (via Boing Boing). // 8:20 PMEsri’s Japan earthquake and tsunami map; the previous link was to Esri’s generic Disaster Response map.
NOAA map of tsunami energy propagation
Post-earthquake imagery3/12 2:00 PMGoogle Earth Blog points to fresh imagery of Japan taken after the quake; it’s available here in a Google Maps interface.
Updated at 2:15 PM, 7:00 PM, 7:12 PM and 8:20 PM (EST). Updated March 12 at 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 2:07 PM (EST).