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If: A Mind-Bending New Way of 
Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
David J. Smith
A Mind-Bending New Way
Of Looking at Big
Ideas and Numbers

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This Child, Every Child: A 
Book for Children About the Rights of Children
This Child Every Child
David J. Smith
A Picture Book About
The Rights of Children
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If the World Were a Village SECOND EDITION
If the World Were a Village

David J. Smith

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If America Were a Village
If America Were a Village
David J. Smith
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Click here to see all the hotlinks from Previous Years:

2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998 - 1997 - 1996

Note: links (over 500) are not maintained and may not work.

Hotlinks For 2017-18 By Date

1 to 8 January, 2017

Google Moon
Using Google Earth, explore the moon -- even in 3D! Tour lunar landing sites, enjoy 360-degree panoramas, plus watch footage and listen to narration from astronauts who've been to the Moon

8 to 15 January, 2017

Global Climate Change
A fascinating NASA site -- they call it "Vital Signs of the Planet", and you can find all kinds of information here -- about the atmosphere, about the Carbon cycle, about climate change myths and facts, about global warming, about changes to the land, and to water and ice. They also include facts about Climate Change vs Global Warming, and a solid resource center for educators. Worth bookmarking.

15 to 22 January, 2017

The Antarctic Report
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, The Antarctic Report is "dedicated to all things on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean". In their words: "The site showcases the hard science which underlines the importance of Antarctica as a bellwether of global climate change. It also highlights the continent's unique political status, as well as the exceptional demands its environment places on people and equipment, and the romantic allure for travellers and explorers as the least discovered continent on the planet." Lots of news, information, facts on science and tourism, and even a newsletter.

22 to 29 January, 2017

OECD Health Statistics 2016
Comparable data and statistics on health, and health systems, for all the OECD countries. Sections worth visiting include "Health Policies and Data", "Social Policies and Data", "Families and Children", "Pension Systems", and "International Migration". Easy to navigate, and there is also a user's guide available to help you set up your own data tables.

29 January to 5 February, 2017

US Climate Change Indicators
A website devoted to exploring climate and climate change in the US; the EPA explains the site this way: "The Earth's climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed changes are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities.EPA partners with more than 40 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile a key set of indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change. The indicators are published in EPA's report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, available on this website and in print." You can explore all the indicators in detail here.

5 to 12 February, 2017

Charles Booth's London
In the late 1800's, Charles Booth, an English industrialist and social reformer, was concerned about the poverty he saw in Britain. He devised, organized, and funded a vast social survey of London life. Many of the results are archived here, on the London School of Economics website. Select "Learn more" to see and download the maps; select "Highlights" to read the police notebooks he maintained, with vivid descriptions of the streets and street life.

12 to 19 February, 2017

London Heathrow Plane-Spotting Guide
London Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, with aircraft, and aircraft liveries, from all over the world. And Heathrow is very popular with airplane spotters, who come from all over the world to add to their "life lists". This website provides not only information for people who want to know places from which to view airplanes, with samples of images taken from all those spots, but the site also provides links to the Heathrow Cams and other websites of interest. If you're an aviation enthusiast, you may want to bookmark this site; if not, it's still worth a visit.

19 to 26 February, 2017

The European Space Agency's GAIA space telescope have released data recording the position and brightness of over a billion stars. They are actually asking for the public's help, because the store of information is too vast for the GAIA scientists to sift. This website is the GAIA portal for the UK -- read the news, read recent alerts, discover how to help, There are image and video galleries available to explore (click on the Gallery tab).

26 February to 5 March, 2017

HUMAN, The Movie
Yann Arthus-Bertrand has spent years collecting images and video of human beings all around the world, exploring "what makes us human". Start with the 4 minute introduction, and then wander through the longer versions, and the shorter video interviews with some of the subjects. Eye-opening, profoundly moving, and beautifully made

5 to 12 March, 2017

The Aviation Herald
Calling itself "Incidents and News in Aviation", this site, based in Salzburg, Austria, keeps a record of all kinds of items relating to aviation -- you can filter by "crashes", "accidents", "incidents", "news", and "reports". You can turn each of the filters on or off, so you can see just one topic, or every topic. Fascinating.

12 to 19 March, 2017

12 Provocative Maps That Tell Britain's History
From the BBC, a collection of 12 maps that tell about the history of Britain. Some are children's games from the 18th and 17th century, others are caricatures, showing the mapmakers' opinions about verious geopolitical issues. There's even an "industrial revolution" game, teaching the children of the upper classes how England makes money -- steel in Sheffield, coal in Yorkshire or Wales, etc. A map/game called "The Royal Mail" will remind modern viewers of the game "Ticket To Ride".

19 to 26 March, 2017

US Map With 50 Equal States
From the page... "Neil Freeman redrew the state borders to get a visual sense of what it would take for the electoral college votes to match the popular vote. That is to say, for each state to be weighted evenly." Freeman notes, "this is an art project, not a serious proposal."

26 March to 2 April, 2017

The Best Hans Rosling Videos
Larry Ferlazzo, a teacher in Sacramento, California, has a blog tracking all kinds of wonderful websites, called "Websites of the Day...".; this particular post tracks some of Hans Rosling's greatest videos, TED Talks and others. If you didn't know, Rosling died in Sweden just in February, at age 68. But what a legacy he has left. Spend some time here.

2 to 9 April, 2017

What 3 Words
Post codes and zip codes are all efforts to locate places in particular countries; in Canada, for example, every physical structure has its own post code. But people are trying to find a better way, a global way, to help people (and all kinds of deliveries) locate themselves and others. A group of interesting and imaginative people in London have devised a simple, friendly way to identify every location in the world with an address of just 3 words. Every 3-meter-by-3-meter rectangle on the face of the globe has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique 3 word address. You can use their geocoder to find yours. For example, Stanford's, the incredible map and globe store in London's Covent Garden is at useful.stuck.straw; because there are multiple languages for this tool, and they are not simple translations, the same address, in French, comes out as populiste.poutre,editrice. The site's "about" page explains all the advantages of this amazing system, and offers all kinds of ways to play with maps and addresses as well.

9 to 16 April, 2017

Earth Weather Visualization
An amazing visualization of Earth's weather -- an interactive globe, which users can move to re-center it wherever they wish. On the "about" page, be sure to read about all the data, and near the bottom of that page, see the keyboard shortcuts for going backward in time steps to watch weather changing.

16 to 23 April, 2017

Amazing Maps
A Twitter feed that boasts that it brings you "the most amazing maps on the internet"; and these are in fact often very amazing. Recent maps include Bird Migration Routes in the Americas, Climate Analogues of Australia, Executions by US state since 1976, Cannabis possession laws around the world, the Swedish Empire from 1560 to 1815, and much more.

23 to 30 April, 2017

GOES-16 Color Imagery
A Gallery of color composite imagery of the Earth from NASA's GOES-16 Geosynchronous Orbiting Earth Satellite; worth scanning, browsing, tracking through various pages; there are full Earth images, and many regional images. Great fun to see what this powerful tool can do.

30 April to 7 May, 2017

The Wayback Machine Named for the fictional time meachine in the Mr Peabody and Sherman segments of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, this site attempts to catalog and archive veb pages over the course of more than 20 years of Web history and changes. Enter a web address, for example mapping.con, and you bring up an interactive calendar; select a year, and you get that year's calendar, with the archived pages highlighted. Thus, you can see how my site,, looked on 11 January, 1998, the first day they archived it. You can also find who owned a site before it became what it is today; search for (American Airlines), and the archive for 1996 shows "Architects and Arts", but by the year 2000, it's the website for American Airlines. Fun to play with, and as you explore you'll find other feaures, such as the summary page, the subscription service, and you can save an archived page for right now, in such a way that it can be used for citations in the future.

7 to 14 May, 2017

North American Journeys, 1796-1801 Archived in the National Library of Scotland, these lively and amusing journals were written by Henrietta Liston, whose Scottish husband was Minister from Britain to the US from 1796-1801. Some of the diary pages are audio transcriptions, uploaded to YouTube and read by a Scottish woman; other pages are searchable and viewable in the original handwriting, barely decipherable to modern readers, but mercifully transcribed for reading enjoyment. Her commentary is great fun -- "...passed through Cambridge, where there is a University of some note..." (at that time, Harvard was nearing 200 years old). Worth a visit, and not only for the maps and geopolitics.

14 to 21 May, 2017

Planet 9 A fascinating astronomy project in which the public is invited to participate. The idea is to scan NASA's Wide-field infrared survey images, and distinguish real objects from celestial artifacts. The organizers offer that "you may ... discover the Sun's hypothesized ninth planet, which models suggest might be in these images". Even if you don't want to scan the billions of objects, the images are worth a visit.

21 to 28 May, 2017

Oxford English Dictionaries Online A wonderful site for word lovers, puzzlers, writers, etc. Not only can you enter a word and see the OED citation for that word, but you can also use a thesaurus, or a grammar checker, or read the articles offered on the top page. There's so much here that I find it hard to leave whenever I head to this site to check a word. Worth bookmarking.

28 May to 4 June, 2017

The Wellcome Collection An eclectic and fascinating site about the nexus of medicine, nature, life, history, and everything else human. The site calls itself "The free destination for the incurably curious", and it is one of those wonderful sites that lead you onward and onward from one page to another, long after you have found what you came for. The library was founded using the collection of Sir Henry Wellcome, who amassed a huge collection; the site ranges through anatomy and physiology to phrenology, alchemy, withcraft, ethnography, and much more. Be sure to check out the YouTube videos.

4 to 11 June, 2017

Mars Trek On the Jet Propulsion Lab site at NASA, Mars Trek allows you to view maps and imagery of Mars, and perform analyses and searches. There's a very extensive introduction section that you can always get to from the HELP page, and there are startlingly clear and comprehensive maps of Mars. Interesting and fun.

11 to 18 June, 2017

Persuasuve Maps This is the PJ Mode Collection of "Persuasuve Maps" at Cornell University. The maps were not intended to give geographic information, but to persuade using various tools, including deception. Worth a visit, and worth sharing with children just to help them see how many ways map-makers can deceive.

11 to 18 June, 2017

Antarctic Dispatches Writers for the New York Times went to Antarctica to see how changes in the Antarctic Ice is happening, and to find out what they could about the ultimate effect of this collapse on the rest of the world. In maps and text, the story is all here, and it's not a happy one.

18 to 25 June, 2017

Ask the Pilot Airline pilot Patrick Smith runs this site; it's a wonderful accompaniment for anyone who travels by air at all. The stories and annotations are great reading, and there is a ton of information here. As he says in his intro: "everything you think you know about flying is wrong...Commercial aviation is a breeding ground of bad information... Worth regular visits.

25 June to 2 July, 2017

CDC Yellow Book The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a bi-annual Yellow Book, allowing travelers to explore health issues and information and recommendations for travel around the world, including vaccine recommendations, destination-specific travel advice, and lots of maps and tables, and more. If you plan to head out this Summer for any other part of your country or of the world, bookmark this and use it. It can save your life.

2 to 9 July, 2017

North Circumpolar Map A bilingual map from the Government of Canada, showing the geography of the region around the North Pole, north of about 55 degrees. Their description: "all international boundaries, as well as the Canadian provincial and territorial boundaries and Canada's 200 nautical mile offshore exclusive economic zone. National capital cities are shown, as are other cities, towns, villages and hamlets. Some seasonally populated places are also included. The map displays a number of significant northern features, including the median sea ice extent for September 1981 to 2010, the tree line, undersea relief, land relief, the Magnetic North Pole, glaciers, ice fields and coastal ice shelves. Many of the physiographic and hydrographic features are labelled."

9 to 16 July, 2017

My Grandmother's Lingo Australian indigenous languages are disappearing; in fact, less-widely spoken languages around the world are disappearing as the juggernauts Chinese, English, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and others take over. One speaker of Marra, in Australia's Northern Territory, has developed this website so that people around the world can learn to speak at least a FEW words in her language, Marra, before it disappears. Fun to follow along, and learn a few words.

16 to 23 July, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 The staff at has put together this page about the August 21 Total Solar Eclipse, which has a path from Northwest to Southeast over North America, from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Places for several hundred miles on either side of the path will see totality, or a partial eclipse, depending on how close they are to the path. There are a great many sites with information about this phenomenal event. Here's a pretty dramatic one from accuweather: Click Here

23 to 30 July, 2017

Civitates Orbis Terrarum The first printed atlas of towns around the world of the 1570's to 1617.. These are 546 birds-eye and map views of cities from all over the world. So much to learn here, about map-making, about the history of these cities, about human geography, urban design, and more. A wonderful resource.

30 July to 6 August, 2017

From Ptolemy to GPS From The Smithsonian Magazine, a great short article called "The Brief History of Maps", one of the premises of which is that our smartphones and GPS are changing the way we navigate around our world. A really good read, with lots to think about.

6 to 13 August, 2017

Obsolete Media An amazing collection of physical media formats, including audio, video, film, and data storage, all of which are obsolete, and many of which are not even very old. Includes Game Boy, 35mm film and cameras, Polaroid Land Cameras, Edison cylinders and vinyl records, instamatic cameras, all kinds of cassettes, and much more. Worth a visit if only to remind ourselves how quickly things change.

13 to 20 August, 2017

Sacred Places, Sacred Ways ESRI has a team that is working to produce powerfula nd evocative Story Maps. Here's one about the sacred spaces of five of the world's great religions: the Camino de Santiago (Christianity), Mecca (Islam), Varanasi (Hinduism), Lumbini (Buddhism), and the Western Wall (Judaism). With pictures, maps, and detailed explanations, the team presents each space thoughtfully and reverently. A wonderful site.

20 to 27 August, 2017

From the BBC Travel pages, the story of Euskara, the remarkable language of the Basque people in NW Spain and along the Bay of Biscay shores. Banned under Franco, it was taken underground and today is in daily use by about 1/3 of the Basque people. It's the only living language in Europe with no relation to any other language.

27 August to 3 September, 2017

FYROM From the BBC Magazine Section, a story about the conflict between Greece and the republic of Macedonia over the use of the name Macedonia. This conflict is why at NATO or the EU or the UN, you see not Macedonia but FYROM, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. On a recent flight, my seatmate, when asked about his residence, said "I am FYROMese." Good reading.

3 to 10 September, 2017

Teaching with Topographic Maps The US Geodetic Survey publishes nearly 60,000 different topographic maps, detailing elevation and landforms, water, transport, urban areas and structures, and much more. Here are their pages on ways to use their topo maps for teaching. You'll also find imagery, a pdf of topo map symbols, and collection of addtional resources, and their map catalog, so you can order a map of the location of your school. The lessons cover all grade levels, and each one is keyed to topics and grade levels. A very useful resource.

10 to 17 September, 2017

The Maps We Wandered Into As Kids An old article from The Awl, a NYC publication about all kinds of interesting topics. This article looks at the maps that were produced to accompany the books we read, or that were read to us, as children. There are only a few here, but it's great food for thought, and fun to read and remember.

17 to 24 September, 2017

The American Experience in 737 Novels An ESRI storymap and essay; select a region and explore the maps. You can easily zoom in on one particular state, for example, or a region around a major city. Selecting southern Florida gives you books by Peter Matthiessen, John D MacDonald, Edna Buchanan, Carl Hiassen, and Charles Willeford and more; select Seattle, and you get David Guterson's "Snow Falling on Cedars", Raymond Carver's "Cathedral", and Louis Owens's "Wolfsong". A rich tapestry of books and American life to explore.

24 September to 1 October, 2017

Global Health Check Sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Mosaic by the UK organization Wellcome, this site offers the opportunity to explore how the health of the world's people has changed since any given year -- they suggest you put in your birthdate, but you can look at changes in the past 10 years, or the past 100 years. How much longer do people live now than your chosen year? How does the place where a person is born affect their longevity? How much safer is childhood now than in your chosen year? While you're on this site, be sure to look at the links at the top of the top page -- stories (about global health issues and solutions), Topics (follow links to their articles based on the health-related topic), and much more.

1 to 8 October, 2017

Cassini Saturn Images NASA's Cassini spacecraft burned up in Saturn's atmosphere recently, afer 20 years in space, arriving at Saturn in 2004 after a 7-year voyage. THis site presents 100 of the best, most powerful, most revealing images from the Cassini missioin, along with interpretation and explanation. Wonderful site, with all kinds of parallels to Earth -- for example, like Earth, Saturn has seasons, including a northern winter and summer.

8 to 15 October, 2017

Brief History of Maps From the Smithsonian Museum, this article walks the visitor through the history of maps, from Ptolemy's early efforts, to GPS. The site presents Misleading Maps, including, of course, the number of weird misdirections that GPS sends drivers on. A good read.

15 to 22 October, 2017

NASA: Hurricane Pages NASA's Hurricane and Tropical Storm Archive -- begins with an overview, moves through images and videos, and then links to Media Resources. Lots of information here, especially useful in this season of very strong tropical storms.

22 to 29 October, 2017

NYT Hubble Photos From the New York Times; Amazing, powerful images of space -- galaxies, clusters of stars, nebulae, black holes, and views from the HUbble Deep Field and Ultra Deep Field. The article dates from April of 2015, but is nonetheless timely and mind-stretching and worthwhile.

29 October to 5 November, 2017

Mapping Literary London "Fictional Geography", a new field of study, is not just the geography of works of fiction, but can also mean geography that is tweaked to fit an author's vision of a place and a time. This article, from Atlas Obscura, is about a project at Stanford Univ called the Spatial History Project. The locale is London, and the fiction they reviewed is works of British literature from 1700 to 1900. Some very interesting discoveries were made as a result of this work -- specifically, the physical London, and the fictional London, were surprisingly dissimilar. Worth a read by itself, but also could provide impetus for classes to map the places they read about and see what there might be to learn.

5 to 12 November, 2017

USGS-Protected Area Data The USGS is creating a new database, in their words "a spatially explicit inventory that lets any user, from the general public to professional land managers, know what lands are protected, and allows them to easily use the inventory in conservation, land management, planning, recreation, and other uses. The site offers a rich variety of materials, maps, and more.

12 to 19 November, 2017

Language Landscape Language Landscape is a tool for mapping where languages are spoken around the world. Markers placed on a world map allow users to click on the map, and hear recordings of some of the languages spoken in those locations. Many language samples here, and a map that is easy to navigate. A rich collection -- from English to Creole to Yoruba and on and on, with many, many more.

19 to 26 November, 2017

Meridian Project A project of the DX lab at the State Library of New South Wales, this is a fascinating effort to overlay ancient maps on to 3D globes. So far, only two have been created, but more are on the way. Worth repeat visits.

26 November to 3 December, 2017

Seismic Illumination ESRI Story Maps are amazingly powerful tools for telling a story or two about the Earth, using maps and imagery. This particular story map tells us about tectonic plates and the world's seismic history. By illuminating the locations of seismic events, we see tectonic plates being defined as a series of "small cartographic events assembling into a crowded bright garland".

3 to 10 December, 2017

Map of Life The Map of Life is a non-profit global organization; visitors can explore data about life (all kinds of life) on Earth in a variety of ways -- there are maps of species that will help visitors see where to find a vast number of species; "location" lets visitors view species by country; there are also sections on indicators and patterns, and also a link to explore the datasets used to run the site. They also have a mobile app.

10 to 17 December, 2017

Data USA As they say, "Search, Map, Compare, and Download US Data". Enter a place, or a job, or any of the many kinds of other data they have available, and you can read about the demographics related to your query. Median income for Bellingham, WA? What openings are available for elementary and middle school teachers? Can I compare Fasting Lipid tests across US counties? An amazing storehouse of publicly available information, constructed to give the easiest acccessibility possible. Fun to play with. Tons of rich data stored here.

17 to 24 December, 2017

World Oral Literature Project Oral literature -- stories told from one generation to the next -- is central to cultures all over the world. Yale University and the University of Cambridge are collaborating on thie project, to collect and map oral literature from all over the world. They point out that oral works, including rituals, curative chants, epic poems, folk and creation tales, myths and legends, are endangered. A rich site to explore and come back to regularly.

24 to 31 December, 2017

History of Climate Change The epic of Claude Lorius, who was the first scientist to study Antarctic ice and prove the human activity has an impact on our climate. You can also use their templates to create your own website on climate change, or borrow one of their archived websites to share with your students or other interested parties.

31 December, 2017 to 7 January, 2018

Museum of Obsolete Media This is an amazing archive of current and obsolete physical media formats; searchable categories include audio, video, data, and film. The Museum covers 480 different formats, from wax cylinder recordings to 10-inch 78-rpm disks, tot the full range of video and audio tapes, all the cameras, and much more. Just as a way to look at how media has changed -- both recently and over the last century -- this site has great value.

14 to 21 January, 2018

Early Burma Maps Three enormous maps in the Cambridge University Library have recently become available in digital format; on this site, you can read about them and explore them. The detail is wonderful, and the approach to cartography by Burmese artists in 1860 is both fascinating and surprising. Worth a visit.

28 January to 4 February, 2018

Library of Congress Geography and Map Room There is so much on this page for anybody interested in maps and geography that there isn't enough room on this page to list the features in detail. To begin, you can click on "Worlds Revealed", their blob, to explore maps in the past, present, and future; there a featured map in the middle, and links to collections, new acqusitiions, and you can browse their entire online collection. Worth a visit and a bookmark

11 February, 2018

Earth, A Global Map The full title is Earth: A Global Map of Wind, Weather, and Ocean Conditions. The creator has produced a real-time animation of global conditions that is both fun to watch, and truly informative the more you play with it. Users click on the word "earth" to see variables that users can control, including the overlays available, the mode, the size and scale.


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