10
Jul 18

Geographers at Arts Fest | New course GEOG 397 | Pulling in diversity in athletics

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Alex Klippel demonstrates the use of VR googles at the Penn State Art of Discovery tent during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in 2017. He returns this year to share his research on immersive technologies. Visit him on Saturday, July 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.. And don’t forget to visit with another geographer, Denice Wardrop, who will explore mankind’s relationship with plastics, also on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to noon. The Art of Discovery booth is next to Willard Building.

GOOD NEWS

NEWS

Explore the impacts of plastics through art at Arts Festival

Plastic bottles. Kitchen bags. Toys. Medical devices. Each year, mankind produces more than 320 million tons of plastic — roughly the same weight as all of humanity itself put together.

“Think about that,” said Denice Wardrop, professor of ecology and geography at Penn State. “Every year we recreate humanity in plastic.”

New course puts Penn State students in control of transformational technology

GEOG 397 will convene for the first time at University Park in fall 2018
In his decade of teaching at Penn State, Professor of Geography Alex Klippel has seen immersive technologies disrupt everything at the University from education to research to outreach. His belief in the power of this machinery to improve the learning process guided his creation of GEOG 397: Immersive Technologies – Transforming Society through Digital Innovation.

Penn State launches new graduate certificate for geospatial software developers

Certificate in geospatial programming and web map development being offered exclusively online through Penn State World Campus

Penn State has launched a new graduate certificate aimed at helping geospatial professionals working in the GIS and web mapping industries to expand their software development and coding skills.

Athletic ‘pull’ increases campus diversity

The next time you see your favorite collegiate athlete on the field or court, think again about their road to getting there.

That is something Clio Andris, assistant professor of geography at Penn State, has spent the past several years piecing together. Her findings were published in The Professional Geographer.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Social Cyber-Security

Carley K.M., Cervone G., Agarwal N., Liu H.
In: Thomson R., Dancy C., Hyder A., Bisgin H. (eds) Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling.
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93372-6_42
Social Cyber-Security is an emerging scientific discipline. Its methodological and scientific foundation, key challenges, and scientific direction are described. The multi-disciplinary nature of this field and its emphasis on dynamic information strategies is considered.

Coupling Traffic and Gas Dispersion Simulation for Atmospheric Pollution Estimation

Cervone G., Dallmeyer J., Lattner A.D., Franzese P., Waters N.
In: Wang S., Goodchild M. (eds) CyberGIS for Geospatial Discovery and Innovation.
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1531-5_2
A CyberGIS approach is presented in this chapter where microscopic traffic simulation and gas dispersion simulation systems are combined in order to estimate atmospheric pollution for different scenarios. The combination of these two simulation models allows for detailed investigations of different situations such as the investigation of pollution impacts of different traffic infrastructure variants, as well as for prediction of expected pollution and whether pollutant thresholds will be exceeded. For different case studies, real data about traffic movements provided by the state government, a digital terrain model of the area as well as real measurements of atmospheric data have been used. The evaluation of the approach shows that variations in the settings, regarding traffic or atmospheric conditions, lead to different patterns of observed pollution. The CyberGIS environment described is used to run multiple simulations on a distributed cyberinfrastructure, where the high-end computational resources are available on servers in Europe and in North America.


26
Jun 18

ICIK and Murphy awards | Beetles to battle | New Riparia website

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Tutlane climate boundary Ickesburg

Ralph W. Tutlane, Jr. (’83) shares this image showing the distinct boundary of the C Climate, with the blooming trees at the bottom of the picture, and the D Climate at the top of the picture where the trees have not yet started blooming. “I took these pictures on 5/2/18 on PA Route 17 a couple of miles east of Ickesburg, PA, in Perry County. It is the Tuscarora Mountain Range on the Perry County side of the Mountain. Juniata County is at the top of the range.”

GOOD NEWS

  • Ryan Baxter was promoted to associate teaching professor.
  • Beth King was promoted to associate teaching professor.
  • The new Riparia website is up and running and is still available at the same link as the previous website (http://riparia.psu.edu).

NEWS

Penn State graduate students win award in geospatial intelligence

A team of Penn State graduate students recently received the 2018 Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence, a Penn State endowed scholarship award, for work they did during a geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) course offered though the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute.

Conservationists introduce loosestrife beetles to battle invasive plants

[Ed. note: Rob Brooks and Peter Backhaus consulted with the nonprofit group, Wildlife for Everyone Foundation]
A small group from Wildlife For Everyone gathered to see more than 600 alien Galerucella calmariensis beetles released late last month at the Julian Wetlands — a man-made marsh adjacent to Miles Hollow Road, north of Port Matilda.

Insects accidently imported from other countries have caused big problems. The list is long — emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, hemlock wooly adelgid and, now, the spotted lanternfly. However, this alien beetle has been introduced to solve a problem, not cause one.

ICIK names 2018 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award winners

Penn State graduate students Marie Louise Ryan, Johann Strube and Megan Griffin have been recognized with the 2018 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award to help fund their research pursuits. The award, open to all full-time Penn State undergraduate and graduate students, is funded by the Marjorie Grant Whiting Endowment for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledge and supported by Penn State’s University Libraries and the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK).

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

From Census Tracts to Local Environments: An Egocentric Approach to Neighborhood Racial Change

Barrett A. Lee, Chad R. Farrell, Sean F. Reardon, Stephen A. Matthews
Spatial Demography
https://doi.org/10.1007/s40980-018-0044-5
Most quantitative studies of neighborhood racial change rely on census tracts as the unit of analysis. However, tracts are insensitive to variation in the geographic scale of the phenomenon under investigation and to proximity among a focal tract’s residents and those in nearby territory. Tracts may also align poorly with residents’ perceptions of their own neighborhood and with the spatial reach of their daily activities. To address these limitations, we propose that changes in racial structure (i.e., in overall diversity and group-specific proportions) be examined within multiple egocentric neighborhoods, a series of nested local environments surrounding each individual that approximate meaningful domains of experience. Our egocentric approach applies GIS procedures to census block data, using race-specific population densities to redistribute block counts of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians across 50-meter by 50-meter cells. For each cell, we then compute the proximity-adjusted racial composition of four different-sized local environments based on the weighted average racial group counts in adjacent cells. The value of this approach is illustrated with 1990–2000 data from a previous study of 40 large metropolitan areas. We document exposure to increasing neighborhood racial diversity during the decade, although the magnitude of this increase in diversity—and of shifts in the particular races to which one is exposed—differs by local environment size and racial group membership. Changes in diversity exposure at the neighborhood level also depend on how diverse the metro area as a whole has become.

 


13
Jun 18

Collecting images for VR | Telly Awards | We Are The Sensors

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Alan Taylor Ishi Wilderness

Here is an image from Alexander Klippel and Alan Taylor’s trip to the Ishi Wilderness. They collected 360 videos that they are editing to explain the history, role, and importance of fire in California. Here is one video that Graduate students Arif Masrur and Jiawei Huang helped editing. It is in stereo which has a very nice depth effect when viewed through a VR headset. This is automatic when someone visits YouTube on a mobile device, just put it in your favorite VR viewer: https://youtu.be/uClrPVdB-o8

Alan Taylor‘s project also has a website with 360 images: https://ishiwildfire.geog.psu.edu/

GOOD NEWS

Mark Simpson passed his proposal defense and comps.

Erica Smithwick participated in two of four WPSU-TV projects that received Telly Awards:

Guido Cervone’s work was mentioned in an article in the scientific section of the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, the second most widely circulated newspaper in Italy. The article is in Italian, and its headline, “I Sensori Siamo Noi” means “We Are The Sensors,” and talks about his work on using citizen science during disasters.

NEWS

EMS academic and alumni leaders create Open Doors Scholarships

Lee and Michelle Kump are both experienced educators — Lee as the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) and professor of geosciences at Penn State, and Michelle, a 2001 Penn State alumna, as a reading specialist in the State College Area School District. As a result, they both have worked with many students who have financial need.

The Places in the U.S. Where Disaster Strikes Again and Again

In the last 16 years, parts of Louisiana have been struck by six hurricanes. Areas near San Diego were devastated by three particularly vicious wildfire seasons. And a town in eastern Kentucky has been pummeled by at least nine storms severe enough to warrant federal assistance.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Remote Studio Site Experiences: Investigating the Potential to Develop the Immersive Site Visit

Oprean, Danielle, Verniz, Debora, Zhao, Jiayan, Wallgrün, Jan Oliver, Duarte, José P. and Klippel, Alexander
Learning, Adapting and Prototyping – Proceedings of the 23rd CAADRIA Conference – Volume 1, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 17-19 May 2018, pp. 421-430
http://papers.cumincad.org/cgi-bin/works/paper/caadria2018_309
Immersive technologies are now enabling better and more affordable immersive experiences, offering the opportunity to revisit their use in the architectural and landscape studio to gain site information. Considering when travel to a site is limited or not possible, immersive experiences can help with conveying site information by overcoming issues faced in earlier virtual studios. We focused on developing three applications to understand the workflow for incorporating site information to generate an immersive site experience. The applications were implemented in a semester-long joint architecture and landscape architecture studio focused on remotely designing for the Santa Marta informal settlement in Rio, Brazil. Preliminary results of implementing the applications indicate a positive outlook towards using immersive experiences for site information particularly when a site is remote.

Beyond Inventory and Mapping: LIDAR, Landscape and Digital Landscape Architecture

Murtha, Timothy; Golden, Charles; Cyphers, Ann; Klippel, Alexander; Flohr, Travis
Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture
doi:10.14627/537642027
Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) applications have rapidly transformed remote sensing and scientific research of landscapes, especially research targeting ecological systems and cultural resources. While used in landscape architecture and landscape research by select research groups, it’s not broadly applied as a primary source of information in landscape ecological design and planning projects.

Augmented Reality and the Scenic Drive

Orland, Brian; Taylor, Micah; Mazurczyk, Tara; Welch-Devine, Meredith; Goldberg, Lacey; Candler Scales, Mary; Murtha, Timothy; Calabria, Jon
Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture
doi:10.14627/537642015
We are interested in the general question of how to augment the viewed landscape with representations of its otherwise invisible aspects and using these to prompt visitors to reveal previously unidentified aspects of that same landscape. We take a participatory, grassroots perspective, where expert and local knowledge are made available, but emphasis lies in the collection of new or explanatory information from the broadest feasible range of participants. This paper proposes a process for capturing not just individual experience of place, but collective experience built upon the individual. Crowd-sourced imagery and sound “bites” populate an augmented reality (AR) environment and prompts visitors to the AR to consider and respond to those originating experiences with their own. We provide and project additional environmental data to prompt embellishments, corrections or additions. In our prototype, the goal is to locate as-yet-unidentified valued highway landscapes, but the general approach has application in numerous other settings where understanding collective grassroots experiences in the landscape is essential for its protection and preservation.

 


29
May 18

Caps and gowns | NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship | Abandoned factories

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

commencement spring 2018

Caps and gowns: Penn State Geography class of 2018 (with department staff Melissa Weaver and Jodi Vender, front) at the Pegula Ice Arena on May 4 for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Commencement.

GOOD NEWS

  • 2018 Ice Cream Social and United Way Basket Raffle will take place on June 20 in the courtyard at Walker Building. We will begin scooping ice cream at 1:00 p.m.
  • Justine Blanford was elected to serve as a director for the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and also one of the inaugural TRELIS fellows, selected from a group of her peers to participate in a new UCGIS initiative focused on the professional development of women in our academic discipline.
  • Tim Yuskavage (’11) received his Master of Arts from the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in May 2018. He continues to work for the US Government as an analyst.
  • One more grad rep has been elected: Jade Huang.
  • Sarah Chamberlain’s book, Field Guide to Grasses of the Mid-Atlantic, has been published by Penn State University Press.

NEWS

IST doctoral student [and geography alumnus] receives NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship

Scott Pezanowski, a doctoral candidate in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has received the NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship given by the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium for 2018-2019.

The mission of the program is to expand opportunities for Pennsylvanians to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research and outreach programs. The one-year fellowship consists of a $5,000 monetary award, presented to outstanding graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields related to NASA research and development.

Meet the latest tourist attractions: Abandoned factories

Trip-planning multiple choice: a) Mountains b) Sand c) Surf d) Factories. If you picked the last vacation option, you’ve got company. “We’re finding a hunger,” says Michael Boettcher, an urban planner and industrial-history buff. “Everyone has been to Disney World, and it’s like, what else you got?”

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Africa’s first democrats: Somalia’s Aden A. Osman and Abdirazak H. Hussen, Abdi Samatar. Indiana University Press, Bloomington (2016)

Sarah A. Radcliffe, Patricia Daley, Joshua Inwood, James Sidaway, Abdi I. Samatar
Political Geography
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.05.001
The Review Forum on Abdi Samatar’s book Africa’s First Democrats ( Samatar, 2016) arose from initial conversations at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG Annual conference in 2017. Under the umbrella theme of Decolonising Geographical Knowledges, Abdi Samatar and Joshua Inwood discussed the book and its wider relevance for the field of political geography. This review forum continues the conversations begun there, with an additional two commentators and Samatar’s response. As a conversation between black and white geographers, between political geographers of diverse theoretical and substantive interests, and as a conversation about the methods, frames and frameworks through which we come to understand power and geography, this Review Forum seeks to be a space for practices of decolonising geography. Decolonisation carries multiple meanings yet crucially points to efforts to both identify and challenge the dispositions of power whose origins and hegemony lie rooted in colonialism. Decolonisation becomes an issue of concern for geography as power relations in the colonial present permeate knowledge and ways of producing knowledge; “knowledge production and everyday relations are informed by European colonial modalities of power and propped up by imperial geopolitics and economic arrangements” (Collard, Dempsey, & Sundberg, 2015, p. 323; Radcliffe, 2017). Going beyond postcolonial analysis, decolonisation encourages re-thinking the world from Africa, from Latin America, from Indigenous places, and from marginalized academia ( Grosfoguel, 2012).

Connecting the Dots: Cultivating a Sustainable Interdisciplinary Discourse Around Migration, Urbanisation, and Health in Southern Africa. In: Winchester M., Knapp C., BeLue R. (eds) Global Health Collaboration

Hunter-Adams J., Makandwa T., Matthews S.A., Nyamnjoh H., Oni T., Vearey J. (2018) SpringerBriefs in Public Health. Springer, Cham
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77685-9_2
This chapter describes our experiences in connecting a group of emerging Southern African scholars around the inherently interdisciplinary field of migration, urbanisation and health. South Africa, as with other countries in the region, is witnessing multiple simultaneous and interconnected transitions – health, demographic, social, economic and political. Defining, measuring and better understanding the dynamics and complexities of these transitions is a fundamental step in the professionalizing of next-generation scholars in the area of migration, urbanisation and health. In this chapter we discuss themes, definitions and the process of forming group discourse at the nexus of migration, urbanisation and health. Driven by substantive questions derived from studies of the lived experiences of urban migrants in South Africa, specifically the intertwining of migration trajectories and health histories, a central goal of our collaborative endeavour was ‘to connect the dots’ – key concepts, data, measures and methods – in order to identify common themes and research priorities that will facilitate the participation of next-generation scholars in developing innovative and new research agendas. We report on the themes that emerged from a 2015 workshop held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg that brought together senior and early-career scholars to discuss ways of engaging with migration, urbanisation and health in the Southern African context. We close with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges for early-career scholars in this field, identifying next steps to develop and sustain in-country capacity to influence both research and public policy.

Calibration of Safecast dose rate measurements

Guido Cervone, Carolynne Hultquist
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2018.04.018
A methodology is presented to calibrate contributed Safecast dose rate measurements acquired between 2011 and 2016 in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. The Safecast data are calibrated using observations acquired by the U.S. Department of Energy at the time of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi power plant nuclear accident.

The methodology performs a series of interpolations between the U.S. government and contributed datasets at specific temporal windows and at corresponding spatial locations. The coefficients found for all the different temporal windows are aggregated and interpolated using quadratic regressions to generate a time dependent calibration function. Normal background radiation, decay rates, and missing values are taken into account during the analysis.

Results show that the standard Safecast static transformation function overestimates the official measurements because it fails to capture the presence of two different Cesium isotopes and their changing magnitudes with time. A model is created to predict the ratio of the isotopes from the time of the accident through 2020. The proposed time dependent calibration takes into account this Cesium isotopes ratio, and it is shown to reduce the error between U.S. government and contributed data. The proposed calibration is needed through 2020, after which date the errors introduced by ignoring the presence of different isotopes will become negligible.


16
May 18

Virtual Mayan ruins | Female firefighters | Academic promotions

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

online grads at Dutton receptionFaculty, advisers and students—one participating virtually via robot—in the online geospatial programs celebrate commencement at a reception held by the Dutton e-Education Institute on Sunday, May 6. Pictured from left: Anthony Robinson, Justine Blanford, Jim Detwiler, Anthony Scavone, Ric Stamm, Jessica Story Noonan (robot), Ryan Baxter, Danielle Groff, Dan Steiner, Todd Bacastow, Greg Thomas.

GOOD NEWS

  • Erica Smithwick has been promoted to professor.
  • Chris Fowler has been promoted to associate professor.
  • New grad reps elected for next year: Mark Simpson and Peter Backhaus
  • Julie Sanchez won the best student paper award of the Polar Geography Specialty Group at the 2018 AAG annual meeting in New Orleans.
  • Jiayan Zhao came in first place in the Saarinen Student Paper Competition awarded by Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography (EPBG) Specialty Group at 2018 AAG annual meeting for his paper, “Walking and Learning in a Large-Scale Mediated Space: Impacts of viewpoint transition and proprioceptive feedback on spatial learning in virtual reality.”

NEWS

Geography students use virtual reality to recreate Mayan ruins

Ancient Mayan civilization in Central America, which collapsed around 1,000 years ago, is being brought to life in a new Penn State project. Two doctoral students in geography, Jiawei Huang and Arif Masrur, have recreated the Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech, in Belize, using virtual reality.

This project is through ChoroPhronensis, a research unit in Penn State’s Department of Geography founded by Alexander Klippel, professor of geography. Klippel’s research focuses on immersive technologies and spatial information theory.

Female firefighters defy old ideas of who can be an American hero

Five women graduated from New York City’s Fire Academy on April 18, bringing the number of women serving in the Fire Department of New York to 72 – the highest in its history.

The FDNY’s 2018 graduating class also includes the first son to follow his mother into the profession. She was one of the 41 women hired in 1982 after the department lost a gender discrimination lawsuit and was ordered to add qualified women to the force.

Penn State promotions in academic rank, effective July 1, 2018

The following is a list of academic promotions for tenured and tenure-line faculty members at Penn State, effective July 1.

Climate Change and Food: Challenges and Opportunities in Tropical Mountains and Agrobiodiversity Hotspots

The rains had just begun in Huánuco in central Peru when we arrived in early February 2016. This time of year is usually midway through the roughly six-month rainy season that stretches from October to May. Instead, the unseasonal heat and months of drought that year were a shock to people in Huánuco—and to us. Only a week or two earlier, we were told, the landscape of the Húanuco valley had resembled the drab brown of the height of the dry season. We had just begun a project focused on biodiversity (agrobiodiversity) in the food landscapes of indigenous small landholders, as well as on their dietary patterns amid dynamic changes in the environment and society. We’re a diverse team of faculty, scientists, field practitioners and students from multiple institutions.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Comparing Daily Temperature Averaging Methods: The Role of Surface and Atmosphere Variables in Determining Spatial and Seasonal Variability
Jase Bernhardt and Andrew M. Carleton
Theoretical and Applied Climatology
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-018-2504-7
The two main methods for determining the average daily near-surface air temperature, twice-daily averaging (i.e., [Tmax+Tmin]/2) and hourly averaging (i.e., the average of 24 hourly temperature measurements), typically show differences associated with the asymmetry of the daily temperature curve. To quantify the relative influence of several land surface and atmosphere variables on the two temperature averaging methods, we correlate data for 215 weather stations across the Contiguous United States (CONUS) for the period 1981–2010 with the differences between the two temperature-averaging methods. The variables are land use-land cover (LULC) type, soil moisture, snow cover, cloud cover, atmospheric moisture (i.e., specific humidity, dew point temperature), and precipitation. Multiple linear regression models explain the spatial and monthly variations in the difference between the two temperature-averaging methods. We find statistically significant correlations between both the land surface and atmosphere variables studied with the difference between temperature-averaging methods, especially for the extreme (i.e., summer, winter) seasons (adjusted R² > 0.50). Models considering stations with certain LULC types, particularly forest and developed land, have adjusted R² values > 0.70, indicating that both surface and atmosphere variables control the daily temperature curve and its asymmetry. This study improves our understanding of the role of surface and near-surface conditions in modifying thermal climates of the CONUS for a wide range of environments, and their likely importance as anthropogenic forcings—notably LULC changes and greenhouse gas emissions— continues.

Spillover systems in a telecoupled Anthropocene: typology, methods, and governance for global sustainability
Jianguo Liu, Yue Dou, Mateus Batistella, Edward Challies, Thomas Connor,Cecilie Friis, James DA Millington, Esther Parish, Chelsie L Romulo, Ramon Felipe Bicudo Silva, Heather Triezenberg, Hongbo Yang, Zhiqiang Zhao, Karl S Zimmerer, Falk Huettmann, Michael L Treglia, Zeenatul Basher, Min Gon Chung, … Jing Sun.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2018.04.009
The world has become increasingly telecoupled through distant flows of information, energy, people, organisms, goods, and matter. Recent advances suggest that telecouplings such as trade and species invasion often generate spillover systems with profound effects. To untangle spillover complexity, we make the first attempt to develop a typology of spillover systems based on six criteria: flows from and to sending and receiving systems, distances from sending and receiving systems, types of spillover effects, sizes of spillover systems, roles of agents in spillover systems, and the origin of spillover systems. Furthermore, we highlight a portfolio of qualitative and quantitative methods for detecting the often-overlooked spillover systems. To effectively govern spillover systems for global sustainability, we propose an overall goal (minimize negative and maximize positive spillover effects) and three general principles (fairness, responsibility, and capability).

Exploring invasibility with species distribution modeling: How does fire promote cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion within lower montane forests?
Peeler, J.L. and Smithwick, E.A.H.
Diversity and Distributions
https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12765
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is notorious for creating positive feedbacks that facilitate vegetation type conversion within sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western United States. Similar dynamics may exist in adjacent lower montane forest. However, fire‐forest‐cheatgrass dynamics have not been examined. We used species distribution modeling to answer three questions about fire and invasibility in lower montane forests: (Q1) Does fire create more suitable habitat for cheatgrass? (Q2) If so, which site attributes are altered to increase site suitability? (Q3) Does fire increase connectivity among suitable habitat and enhance spread?

Decentralization, healthcare access, and inequality in Mpumalanga, South Africa
Margaret S. Winchester and Brian King
Health & Place
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.02.009
Healthcare access and utilization remain key challenges in the Global South. South Africa represents this given that more than twenty years after the advent of democratic elections, the national government continues to confront historical systems of spatial manipulation that generated inequities in healthcare access. While the country has made significant advancements, governmental agencies have mirrored international strategies of healthcare decentralization and focused on local provision of primary care to increase healthcare access. In this paper, we show the significance of place in shaping access and health experiences for rural populations. Using data from a structured household survey, focus group discussions, qualitative interviews, and clinic data conducted in northeast South Africa from 2013 to 2016, we argue that decentralization fails to resolve the uneven landscapes of healthcare in the contemporary period. This is evidenced by the continued variability across the study area in terms of government-sponsored healthcare, and constraints in the clinics in terms of staffing, privacy, and patient loads, all of which challenge the access-related assumptions of healthcare decentralization.

 


24
Apr 18

Recognition Reception | Women firefighters | Undergrad exhibition

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

vegdyninChicago
Not all Penn State geographers went to the American Association of Geographers annual meeting in New Orleans. Alan Taylor shares this photo from the US Regional Association of the ​International Association for Landscape Ecology in Chicago. Pictured left to right: Alan Taylor, Lucas Harris, Jamie Peeler, and Natalie Pawlikowski, at the Cloud Gate sculpture, nicknamed, “the bean.”

GOOD NEWS

  • Alumnus Joshua Stevens @jscarto was recognized as one of 50 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Geospatial, Data Science, and Visualization.
  • Carolyn Fish accepted a tenure-track job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon.
  • Alumnus Peter Howe (’12g) was awarded an NSF CAREER grant from the Geography and Spatial Sciences program. The 5-year project is titled “CAREER: Location-Aware Social Science for Adaptation: Modeling Dynamic Patterns in Public Perceptions and Behavior.”
  • Josh Inwood will deliver the inaugural Liberal Arts First-Year Valedictory Address.
  • Aparna Parikh has accepted an offer for a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College, and will be housed in their Department of Geography.
  • Cary Anderson won the AAG Cartography Speciality Group’s Illustrated Paper Award for her work on assessing emotional reactions to different map designs.
  • Julie Sanchez received an award from the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium.

RECOGNITION RECEPTION

Department to hold annual Recognition Reception on Friday, April 27

Throughout the academic year, our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends have contributed significantly to our department, community, and society. To extend our appreciation, we will recognize the accomplishments of our community during this annual event. This year’s Recognition Reception will feature the department’s graduating seniors, which provides a special opportunity to join them in celebrating their experience in the department and embarking on the next phase of their lives.

NEWS

Fighting fire with societal norms

There are a few statistics about women firefighters that stand out to Penn State researcher Lorraine Dowler.

Women account for about 7 percent of firefighters nationwide. Men and women firefighters have the same average age, but women are paid $10,000 less, on average, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Even in the San Francisco Fire Department, which has made great strides toward equal representation, just 15 percent of firefighters are women. In the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), that figure is less than 1 percent.

Undergraduate Exhibition wraps up record year

Arts and Humanities winner is working with Alex Klippel and Jiawei Huang in ChoroPhronesis
Hundreds of students and judges bustled about in the HUB-Robeson Center Wednesday evening for the 2018 Undergraduate Research Exhibition on the University Park campus of Penn State. From musical presentations in the Flex Theater posters in Alumni and Heritage halls, the University’s best were promoting the fruits of their academic and artistic pursuits.

Students see green: Mock spill illustrates potential impact of wastewater leak

Bright green water swirled around Mariah Airey’s boots as it made its way into Black Moshannon Creek.

A freshman at State College Area High School, Airey watched as green dye trickled down a tributary, mixed with the clear water in the creek and then rushed downstream.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

The future of behavioral and cognitive geography: a coda

Roger Downs
Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography, 2018

American archives and climate change: risks and adaptation

Mazurczyk, T., Piekielek, N., Tansey, E., & Goldman, B.
Climate Risk Management
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crm.2018.03.005
Climate change directly affects the future security of cultural resources. Cultural heritage and in particular, archives, are increasingly at risk of degradation due to climate change threats and triggers. This study evaluated present and future consequences of water-related climate change impacts using a mapping methodology to assess exposure of American archives to incompatible weather extremes.

HIV as social and ecological experience

Brian King and Margaret S. Winchester
Social Science and Medicine
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.04.015
The spread and varied impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic demonstrate the complex and reciprocal relationships between the socio-political and biophysical dimensions of human health. Yet even with increasing research and policy attention there remain critical gaps in the literature on how HIV-positive households manage health through their engagement with social and ecological systems. This is particularly urgent given improvements in the global response to the epidemic, whereby expanded access to antiretroviral therapy has extended the possibility for survival for years or decades. Because many HIV-positive families and communities in the Global South remain dependent upon a diverse set of resources to generate income and meet subsistence needs, the impacts of disease must be understood within a mix of social processes, including the maintenance of land and collection of natural resources.


17
Apr 18

The Miller Lecture with Ariel Anbar | Herbarium profiled | Public mapping project awarded

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Morrocan marketBronwen Powell (right) shared this photo from Asni Market in the High Atlas Mountains near Marrakech, Morocco in December 2017. She is interviewing a vendor and assisted by a translator.

GOOD NEWS

  • April 18 at 7:00 p.m., the GIS Coalition will be holding its final meeting of the semester in 229 Walker Building. Guest speaker Mark Simpson will talk about GIS and virtual reality for data representation.
  • April 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., SWIG will be hosting three interactive workshops teaching girls the importance of space and place by using maps/cartography, aerial photography, and VR, as part of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) biannual Girl Scout Workshop.
  • Guido Cervone received a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences postdoctoral award, which will fund a postdoctoral position for two years.
  • Eden Kinkaid passed her dissertation proposal defense on April 16.
  • At the 2018 AAG annual meeting, alumnus Jase Bernhardt (’16g), now in the Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability at Hofstra University, was elected director of the AAG Climate Specialty Group.
  • Hari Osofsky’s Emory Law Journal article, Energy Partisanship, (with University of Melbourne’s Jacqueline Peel) was awarded the 2018 Morrison Prize, which recognizes the most impactful sustainability-related legal academic article published in North America during the previous year.
  • Next year’s SWIG officers will be Ruchi Patel, Michelle Ritchie, Elli Nasr, and Emily Domanico.

COFFEE HOUR

The Miller Lecture with Ariel Anbar: Education Through Exploration: Reimagining Learning in a Digital Age

Digital learning environments are being developed to meet the need for discovery-based and active learning at scale, enabling pedagogy that is interactive and adaptive to the learner as well as new modes of assessment. Building on the successes of tools and platforms such as the Khan Academy, Coursera, EdX, and PhET, the sophistication of interactivity, adapativity, and assessments continues to improve, driven by a combination of technological innovation and learning sciences research. This convergence creates new possibilities, but demands new approaches to the design of learning experiences.

  • 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast

NEWS

Preserving Seeds of Knowledge: Natural history flourishes at Penn State’s PAC Herbarium

Located in the Whitmore Lab on the Penn State campus, the PAC Herbarium may be one of University Park’s best-kept secrets.

Cabinets and shelves are lined with more than 107,000 carefully dried, preserved, and mounted plant specimens from around the world. The room’s temperature is kept at 69 degrees throughout the year to keep mold and insects away. Treasured specimens collected by Evan Pugh, Penn State’s first president, showcase the legacy of the herbarium and the role it has played in the university’s history as a leader in agricultural sciences.

Public Mapping Project wins 2018 Brown Democracy Medal

As conversations about how to stop partisan gerrymandering continue around the country, the work being done by this year’s Brown Democracy Medal winner could not be more timely or more relevant.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy will award the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal to the Public Mapping Project, an initiative led by Micah Altman, director of research and head of the program on information science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael McDonald, associate professor of political science at the University of Florida.

One-fifth of carbon entering coastal waters of eastern North America is buried

Coastal waters play an important role in the carbon cycle by transferring carbon to the open ocean or burying it in wetland soils and ocean sediments, a new study shows.

The team, led by Raymond Najjar, professor of oceanography in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, constructed the first known carbon budget of the eastern coast of North America from the southern tip of Nova Scotia, Canada, to the southern tip of Florida. They tracked the flows of organic and inorganic carbon into and out of coastal waters.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Advancing Dendrochronological Studies of Fire in the United States

Harley GL, Baisan CH, Brown PM, Falk DA, Flatley WT, Grissino-Mayer HD, Hessl A, Heyerdahl EK, Kaye MW, Lafon CW, Margolis EQ, Maxwell RS, Naito AT, Platt WJ, Rother MT, Saladyga T, Sherriff RL, Stachowiak LA, Stambaugh MC, Sutherland EK, Taylor AH.
Fire. 2018; 1(1):11
doi:10.3390/fire1010011
Dendroecology is the science that dates tree rings to their exact calendar year of formation to study processes that influence forest ecology (e.g., Speer 2010 [1], Amoroso et al., 2017 [2]). Reconstruction of past fire regimes is a core application of dendroecology, linking fire history to population dynamics and climate effects on tree growth and survivorship. Since the early 20th century when dendrochronologists recognized that tree rings retained fire scars (e.g., Figure 1), and hence a record of past fires, they have conducted studies worldwide to reconstruct [2] the historical range and variability of fire regimes (e.g., frequency, severity, seasonality, spatial extent), [3] the influence of fire regimes on forest structure and ecosystem dynamics, and [4] the top-down (e.g., climate) and bottom-up (e.g., fuels, topography) drivers of fire that operate at a range of temporal and spatial scales. As in other scientific fields, continued application of dendrochronological techniques to study fires has shaped new trajectories for the science. Here we highlight some important current directions in the United States (US) and call on our international colleagues to continue the conversation with perspectives from other countries.

 


03
Apr 18

Coffee Hour with Randall F. Mason | AAG information | King’s book receives award

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

SYWIG day students mapping

Three schools and a total of 35 middle school girls participated in this years Supporting Young Women in Geography (SYWIG) Day, held in the Department of Geography on April 22. One activity, run by Carolyn Fish, Cary Anderson, and Emily Domanico focused on mapping the impacts of climate change. Here, girls are using contour lines on a topographic map to predict what coastal areas would be inundated in the future with 25 feet of sea level rise. Photo: Tara Mazurczyk.

GOOD NEWS

The Department of Geography launched a new website on March 20, 2018. The URL will be the same as before: www.geog.psu.edu, however any links to pages within the old site will no longer work. Check any links you currently have to our website, and contact geography@psu.edu if you are having trouble linking to the pages or content you seek.

  • A paper by Jamie Peeler and Erica Smithwick titled “Exploring invasibility with species distribution modeling: how does fire promote cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion within lower montane forests?” has been accepted for publication in the journal, Diversity and Distributions.
  • Brian King’s book, States of Disease: Political Environments and Human Health, received the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award from the Political Geography Specialty Group of AAG.
  • Harrison Cole passed his PhD candidacy exam.
  • Aparna Parikh successfully defended her dissertation.
  • Megan Bauman passed her PhD proposal defense.
  • Julia Higson is giving a presentation at the 2018 Center for Global Studies, Penn State-Pittsburgh Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 6 at The Nittany Lion Inn.

COFFEE HOUR

Coffee Hour: Randall F. Mason “From geography to design”

My academic and professional path began in geography and (at mid-career) has settled in the design fields of urban planning and historic preservation. This talk draws on work from two different points in my career: research begun in the early 1990s on the urban history of NYC at the turn of the 20th century, very much inspired and informed by the mentorship of Deryck Holdsworth; and work (ongoing since 2014) on the conservation and interpretation of Rwandan genocide memorials. The links between these projects center on interpreting and practicing historic preservation and urban design as cultural and social practices. These, and my other scholarly and professional projects, continue to be informed by the basic insights about societies and built environments I learned first in cultural and historical geography.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast

NEWS

Penn State Geographers at AAG

More than 70 Penn Staters, including students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty, and staff are participating in the AAG annual meeting in New Orleans, April 9–14.
Among the highlights:

AAG Obituary for Peirce F. Lewis

Peirce F. Lewis, an American geographer and professor emeritus at the Department of Geography at Penn State, died on February 18, 2018 in State College, PA. He was 90.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Peirce worked as a civilian geographer in the U.S. Army Forces Far East Command in Tokyo, Japan from 1953-1955. Afterward, he conducted post-doctoral study focusing on geomorphology of North America. Peirce joined the Geography Department at Penn State in 1958 where he taught until his retirement in 1995.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Procrustes target analysis: A multivariate tool for identification of climate fluctuations

Michael B. Richman and William E. Easterling
Journal of Geophysical Research
doi:10.1029/JD093iD09p10989
Agriculturally important climate fluctuation types are identified by using an expert systems approach to synthesize information concerning the sensitivity of various aspects of Midwestern corn production to climatic variability. This information forms target criteria which are the basis for subsequent multivariate analysis using a technique new to meteorology, Procrustes Target Analysis (PTA), to fit the target to climatological data. Mathematical derivation of PTA is presented, along with an example of its application. The results of the analysis indicate that significant climate anomalies exist in the Midwest which agree with the target coefficients. Their spatial evolution is presented. Further investigation reveals that coherent areas of these fluctuations persist for large periods of the 15‐year windows examined and that they appear to impact corn production.

Architectures of hurry: An introductory essay

Deryck W. Holdsworth, Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Richard Dennis
Architectures of Hurry—Mobilities, Cities and Modernity
https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351746601
‘Hurry’ is an intrinsic component of modernity. This introductory essay situates ideas about hurry in recent literatures on modernity, mobility, speed, rhythm and time–space compression, but argues for a distinctive focus on the infrastructures, practices and emotions associated with ‘hurry’. To this end, the essay explores literary representations of hurry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including E.M. Forster’s notion of an ‘architecture of hurry’ on the streets of modern London and Matthew Arnold’s ‘sick hurry’ of modern life, and reviews a lexicon of words often associated with hurried mobility. As an experience, if not as a word, ‘hurry’ predates modernity, yet the very contradictory and ambiguous character of hurry reflects the contradictions and ironies at the heart of urban modernity. The introduction concludes by summarizing the themes of subsequent chapters and acknowledging some inevitable omissions in the range of empirical studies, which also imply scope for future research structured around ideas of modern hurry.

Wood Pulp and the Emergence of a New Industrial Landscape in Maine, 1880 to 1930

John H. Clark (’10g) and Deryck W. Holdsworth
Maine History Volume 52

Maine History Journal


Between the 1880s and 1930s, investors developed over seventy pulp and paper mill sites to exploit the woods and inland waters of Maine. Authors John Clark and Deryck Holdsworth tracked the changing historical geographies of papermaking in Maine during this period through an analysis of data from Lockwood’s Directory, the industry’s leading monitor of investment. They also mapped mill sites, noting their changing capacity and shifts in product types as consumer needs evolved. Their work shows how the development of a railroad network helped facilitate a shift from smaller mills at coastal sites to larger mills at inland settings, which exploited water power from the state’s major rivers. This spatial shift, they argue, was also accompanied by an increasing portion of the ownership being controlled by out-of-state capital.

 


27
Mar 18

Coffee hour features UROC | Holdsworth’s new book | Alumnus profiled in Science

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Taylors on horseback in Acadia

For the 2017 season, Alan Taylor (and his horse Rico) were fourth overall for the 25 mile distance in Competitive Trail Riding for the Northeastern Region (Maine to Virginia). The photo shows Alan and Rico (left) and Kristin and Leo in Acadia National Park, Maine.

GOOD NEWS

The Department of Geography launched a new website on March 20, 2018. The URL will be the same as before: www.geog.psu.edu, however any links to pages within the old site will no longer work. Check any links you currently have to our website, and contact geography@psu.edu if you are having trouble linking to the pages or content you seek.

  • Incoming faculty member, Emily Rosenman, won the best dissertation award from the Urban Geography Speciality Group this year.
  • Danielle Oprean, post-doc in ChoroPhronesis, has accepted a position at the University of Missouri in the School of Information and Learning Technologies. She will begin her tenure-track faculty position starting August 2018.
  • Jonathan Nelson passed his PhD proposal defense (on March 13).
  • Aparna Parikh has a chapter titled “Gendered household expectations: Neoliberal policies, graveyard shifts, and women’s responsibilities in Mumbai, India” in the recently published book, Modernity, Space, and Gender.
  • Megan Baumann and Eden Kinkaid are this year’s recipients of the Nancy Brown Community Service Award.
  • Clio Andris won the the 2017-2018 Emerging Scholar Award from the Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group of AAG.
  • Justine Blanford was selected as a member of the inaugural cohort for the TRELIS project, Training and Retaining Leaders in STEM-Geospatial Sciences

COFFEE HOUR

Coffee Hour: Spring 2018 UROC talks

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Connection (UROC) offers research and professional development opportunities in the Department of Geography. Students who participated in UROC during spring semester 2018 will present short talks on their research and experiences in the program.

Speakers and their presentation titles:

  • Brit Ickes: A Look at Tolima, Columbia’s Waterways Effect on Sustainable Agriculture
  • Clara Miller: India’s Beef Ban: Scientific Expertise, Beef Detection Kits, and Differential Citizenship
  • Stephanie Keyaka: Between Tolerance and Acceptance: Sexuality and Development in the Philippines
  • Lauren Hile: Analyzing Media Coverage: Refugees in a Nontraditional Resettlement Destination
  • Hope Bodenschatz: Digital Timeline of Agricultural Extension in Uganda
  • Joseph Grosso and Ivy Wang: The Neighborhood Connectivity Survey
  • Harman Singh: Struggles of an Indian Farmer
  • Brittany Waltemate: Thematic Mapping of Sri Lanka
  • Love Popli: Three Challenges Facing Indian Farmers

Time and location:

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast

NEWS

From Science
Meet Vaclav Smil, the man who has quietly shaped how the world thinks about energy

Alumnus Vaclav Smil (’69g) is profiled
As a teenager in the 1950s, Vaclav Smil spent a lot of time chopping wood. He lived with his family in a remote town in what was then Czechoslovakia, nestled in the mountainous Bohemian Forest. On walks he could see the Hohenbogen, a high ridge in neighboring West Germany; less visible was the minefield designed to prevent Czechs from escaping across the border. Then it was back home, splitting logs every 4 hours to stoke the three stoves in his home, one downstairs and two up. Thunk. With each stroke his body, fueled by goulash and grain, helped free the sun’s energy, transiently captured in the logs. Thunk. It was repetitive and tough work. Thunk. It was clear to Smil that this was hardly an efficient way to live.

From The Guardian
Counter-mapping: cartography that lets the powerless speak

Sara is a 32-year-old mother of four from Honduras. After leaving her children in the care of relatives, she travelled across three state borders on her way to the US, where she hoped to find work and send money home to her family. She was kidnapped in Mexico and held captive for three months, and was finally released when her family paid a ransom of $190.

Her story is not uncommon. The UN estimates that there are 258 million migrants in the world. In Mexico alone, 1,600 migrants are thought to be kidnapped every month. What is unusual is that Sara’s story has been documented in a recent academic paper that includes a map of her journey that she herself drew.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Architectures of Hurry—Mobilities, Cities and Modernity

Mackintosh, P. G., Dennis, R., & Holdsworth, D. W. (Eds.). (2018). Routledge.
‘Hurry’ is an intrinsic component of modernity. It exists not only in tandem with modern constructions of mobility, speed, rhythm, and time-space compression, but also with infrastructures, technologies, practices, and emotions associated with the experience of the ‘mobilizing modern’. ‘Hurry’ is not simply speed. It may result in congestion, slowing-down or inaction in the face of over-stimulus. Speeding-up is often competitive: faster traffic on better roads made it harder for pedestrians to cross, or for horse-drawn vehicles and cyclists to share the carriageway with motorised vehicles. Focussing on the cultural and material manifestations of ‘hurry’, the book’s contributors analyse the complexities, tensions and contradictions inherent in the impulse to higher rates of circulation in modernizing cities.

The collection includes but also goes beyond accounts of new forms of mobility (bicycles, buses, underground trains) and infrastructure (street layouts and surfaces, business exchanges, and hotels) to show how modernity’s ‘architectures of hurry’ have been experienced, represented, and practised since the mid-nineteenth century. Ten case studies explore different expressions of ‘hurry’ across cities and urban regions in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, while substantial introductory and concluding chapters situate ‘hurry’ in the wider context of modernity and mobility studies and reflect on the future of ‘hurry’ in an ever-accelerating world.

This diverse collection will be relevant to researchers, scholars and practitioners in the fields of planning, cultural and historical geography, urban history and urban sociology.

Citizens as Indispensable Sensors During Disasters

Guido Cervone and Carolynne Hultquist
https://populationenvironmentresearch.org/cyberseminars/10516
The release of the seminal work People and Pixels: Linking Remote Sensing and Social Science in 1998 by the National Research Council marked an important milestone in the study of interactions and changes between the Earth and people [7]. The book was based on over 20 years of work with satellite data, primarily Landsat, and multiple observations that characterized human activities and their interaction with the environment. Since the publication, technological advances and population dynamics provided new challenges and opportunities.

Over the 20 years since then, our ability to observe the Earth and our environment has undergone tremendous advances by using multiple high resolution remote sensing instruments and dense networks of ground sensors to improve our collection of data. These observations are often used to initialize or validate numerical simulations, to reconstruct past events, and predict future outcomes at high temporal and spatial resolutions


20
Mar 18

Coffee hour with Kendra McSweeney | New department website | Better weather models

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Inventory: Rain and Water

A photo by Tara Mazurczyk of Inventory: Rain and Water, an exhibit at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show she and others helped artist Stacy Levy to design. If the name Stacy Levy sounds familiar, it may be because she is the artist who created the Ridge and Valley watershed map at the Arboretum, featured on the cover of our fall 2013 newsletter.

GOOD NEWS

  • The Department of Geography is launching its new website today, March 20, 2018! If you are trying to use the website, you may experience a service disruption during the transition process. The URL will be the same: www.geog.psu.edu, however any links to pages within the site will no longer work after today. Starting March 21, check any links you currently have to our website, and contact geography@psu.edu if you are having trouble linking to the pages or content you seek.
  • The Penn State GIS Coalition has officially been accepted as a Youthmappers chapter.
  • Congratulations to Stacey Olson on passing her M.S. Proposal Defense.
  • Congratulations to Jamie Peeler on passing her Ph.D. Proposal Defense.
  • Megan Baumann received a Global Programs Travel Grant to present research at the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG) in May in Costa Rica. Her paper is titled: “Living a callejera methodology: grounding Lugones’ streetwalker theorizing in a feminist decolonial praxis.” She will also be organizing a panel with Kelsey Brain on “Intersectionality and coloniality in human-environment geography: Empirical contributions to feminist theory from Latin America.”

COFFEE HOUR

Coffee Hour: Kendra McSweeney on “Drug policy and environmental change: lessons from Central America”

This presentation has two aims. First, I offer an overview of recent collaborative research that identifies the ways in which global drug policies are driving unexpected changes in land use, land cover, and agrarian futures in drug transit zones. Drawing from research in rural Central America, with emphasis on Honduras, I describe the logics, patterns, and processes driving narco-led transformations, which are profoundly shaped and intensified by specific U.S.-led counterdrug approaches. I discuss the implications of those findings for how we understand illicit economies, commodity chain geographies, and frontier transformations more generally. Second, I reflect on my research team’s collective experience doing and presenting this work, including a) the challenges of researching illicit activities in general; b) presenting our mixed-method research to international and national drug policy audiences; c) the opportunities and risks associated with working with media to mobilize our findings.

  • This talk is sponsored by Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG)
  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • No Coffee Hour To Go: This talk is available live and in-person only. There will be no webcast and no recording.

NEWS

Researchers create tool to better geographic projections in atmospheric modeling

Open-source code developed by a Penn State graduate could improve weather forecasting and a range of other research endeavors that rely on pairing atmospheric models with satellite imagery.
Yanni Cao, who earned her master’s degree in geography in 2016, developed the code while a member of Penn State’s Geoinformatics and Earth Observation laboratory (GEOlab) as a way to fix errors created when satellite data is combined with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The work was done in collaboration with her adviser, Guido Cervone, head of GEOLab, associate professor of geoinformatics and associate director of the Institute for CyberScience, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Conservation and diversity: Lives, languages and land in the balance

“Linguists reckon we lose a language every two to three weeks. Species extinction rates are about 1,000 times higher than they were before people showed up. None of that is good news,” said Larry Gorenflo, professor of landscape architecture and geography at Penn State.

Gorenflo conducts research to understand how cultural and biological diversity co-occur in the hope of helping to conserve both. Gorenflo also holds the Eleanor R. Stuckeman (ERS) Chair in Design which provides him with support to further his ongoing inquiries. His research has demonstrated that places with a high number of species also feature high numbers of indigenous languages. He added, “Both are disappearing at alarming rates.”

From Portland State University News

Portland State professor helps bring forests of the future to life

Research team members include Penn Staters Erica Smithwick, Alexander Klippel, Nancy Tuana, Rebecca Bird, Klaus Keller and Robert Nicholas

What if you could see what a forest might look like 50 or 100 years from now? Imagine being able to see how a warming climate turned a dense forest into sparser woodlands.

Soon, there will be an app for that. With just a smartphone and a cardboard headset, users will be able to immerse themselves in a forest years into the future.

Portland State University researcher Melissa Lucash is part of a team that is working to visualize how a variety of factors – including climate change, wildfires, insect invasions and harvesting practices – can alter a forest and how that information can then be used by forest managers when making decisions.

 


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