IMAGE OF THE WEEK
Pennsylvania COVID-19 online dashboard created by the Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information. The dashboard, which is updated manually two hours after the Pennsylvania Department of Health Cases Table is updated, provides a map of the state with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases represented by county. See the story below.
AAG is facilitating a virtual annual meeting April 6-10, in response to restrictions on travel and gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual conference will offer more than 130 sessions and panels. The link for the Session Gallery is on the Department of Geography homepage for the week. Go to the Session Gallery
The Graduate School will host a virtual town hall at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, at https://liveevents.psu.edu to provide updates and answer graduate students’ questions about the school’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Emily Rosenman is hosting a virtual happy hour for womxn in economic geography on Friday, April 10, coinciding with the AAG virtual meeting. The gathering is a welcoming space where women-identified and non-binary scholars of the economy, broadly understood, can build connections across intellectual traditions, topics of study and theoretical orientations. For more information and to RSVP
The Ecology Institute announced a call for proposals for its Flower Grant program. The funds aim to support ecology research focused across the institute’s five core themes: resilience and adaptation; provision of ecosystem goods and services; ecology at the interface; rapid evolutionary change; and ecological foundations. The application process and details about the program are available on InfoReady. Questions not answered by the InfoReady page can be sent to Smithwick at email@example.com.
- EMS-specific resources: https://www.ems.psu.edu/ems-coronavirus-information
- University information: https://sites.psu.edu/virusinfo/
Residents of Pennsylvania can monitor the spread of COVID-19 across the commonwealth with an online dashboard created by researchers at Penn State. The dashboard, which has been available since March 12, provides a map of the state with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases represented by county.
The halls and classrooms of Walker Building are empty and silent but undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Geography are finding ways to connect and support each other during remote learning. The students are holding virtual meetings to provide both academic and social support.
In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern left Norway and cruised toward the heart of the Arctic Ocean. The purpose: Spend a year frozen into the sea ice while scientists onboard make measurements of the effects of climate change. Now about halfway through the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, the icebreaker has weathered the dark polar winter and daylight has started to return.
From the School Yard to the Conservation Area: Impact Investment across the Nature/Social Divide
Cohen, D. and Rosenman, E.
In the face of planetary crises, from inequality to biodiversity loss, “impact investing” has emerged as a vision for a new, “moral” financial system where investor dollars fund socio‐environmental repair while simultaneously generating financial returns. In support of this system elite actors have formed a consensus that financial investments can have beneficial, more‐than‐financial outcomes aimed at solving social and environmental crises. Yet critical geographers have largely studied “green” and “social” finance separately. We propose, instead, a holistic geography of impact investing that highlights the common methods used in attempts to offset destructive investments with purportedly reparative ones. This involves interrogating how elite‐led ideas of social and environmental progress are reflected in investments, as well as deconstructing the “objects” of impact investments. As examples, we use insights from both “green” and “social” literatures to analyse the social values embedded in projects of financialisation in schooling and affordable housing in the US.
Exploring the Effects of Geographic Scale on Spatial Learning
Jiayan Zhao, Mark Simpson, Jan Oliver Wallgrün, Pejman Sajjadi & Alexander Klippel
Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Investigating the relationship between the human body and its spatial environment is a critical component in understanding the process of acquiring spatial knowledge. However, few empirical evaluations have looked at how the visual accessibility of an environment affects spatial learning. To address this gap, this paper focuses on geographic scale, defined as the spatial extent visually accessible from a single viewpoint. We present two experiments in which we manipulated geographic scale using two perspectives, a ground level and an elevated view, in order to better understand the scale effect on spatial learning. Learning outcomes were measured using estimates of direction and self-reports of mental workload. In contrast to our hypothesis, we found few differences in spatial learning when comparing different perspectives. However, our analysis of pointing errors shows a significant interaction effect between the scale and spatial ability: The elevated perspective reduced the differences in pointing errors between low and high spatial ability participants in contrast to when participants learned the environment at ground level alone. Bimodal pointing distributions indicate that participants made systematic errors, for example, forgetting turns or segments. Modeling these errors revealed a unified alternative representation of the environment and further suggests that low spatial ability participants benefited more from the elevated perspective in terms of spatial learning compared to high spatial ability participants. We conclude that an increased geographic scale, which was accessible through an elevated perspective in this study, can help bridge the performance gap in spatial learning between low and high spatial ability participants.
Making an Anthropocene Ocean: Synoptic Geographies of the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958)
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
Although the notion of the Anthropocene has generated a great deal of literature across disciplines, the geographic critique of this concept is still developing. This article contributes to justice-oriented engagements with the Anthropocene by highlighting the relationships through which planetary knowledge is constructed as sites of critique. I develop an analytic of synoptic geographies, which addresses the praxis of coordinated field measurements that creates the planetary knowledge on which concepts of the Anthropocene rest. Synoptic geographies require a geographic analytic that is capable of going beyond assertions that all knowledge is local. The International Geophysical Year (IGY; 1957–1958) provides a strategic opportunity to elaborate the stakes of synoptic geographies. The IGY was arguably the first attempt to understand the Earth as a planet through a program of widespread synoptic data collection. In particular, the synoptic geographies of the IGY’s oceanography program reveal the ways in which old and new forms of imperialism were knitted together to produce the world ocean as an object of knowledge in a new era of planetary-scale environmental politics.