Polish up your bathtub, oil the wheels: Millard Fillmore’s birthday next Monday, January 7

January 4, 2013

Check out your bathtub to be sure it’s in top running order for the bathtub races.

English: 1938 u.s. postage stamp of Millard Fi...

1938 U.S. postage stamp of Millard Fillmore. It’s a 13-cent stamp; Fillmore was the 13th president. Photo: Wikipedia

Millard Fillmore’s birthday anniversary is coming Monday, January 7.  He would have been 213 years old.  He’d also have been reading a book, and he’d probably be very cranky.

More:


January 4 – Fly your flag for Utah statehood

January 4, 2013

Utah Capitol, with flags

South entrance (main) to the Utah State Capitol, with U.S. and Utah flags flying on the single flag poll, and the snow-dusted Wasatch Mountains in the background. Utah State Law Library photo.

Utah joined the Union on January 4, 1896.  It had been a 49-year slog to statehood for Deseret, the Mormon settlement in the Desert.  The size had been pared down, so it would not be the biggest state, incorporating parts of what is now Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico.  New capitals had been tried and cast aside (Fillmore, Utah).  Democratic Party rule was broken when LDS church authorities went door-to-door, calling every other family to the Republican Party, and party parity.  The Mormon Church abandoned polygamy, and adopted a state constitution that gave the vote to women.

Finally, Utah became the 45th state.

You may fly your U.S. flag today for Utah statehood, especially if you’re in Utah.

More:

U.S. flag in Capitol Reef NP

U.S. flag flying at Capitol Reef National Park, in Utah. Photo by longyang0369, via Flickr


World Malaria Report 2012: Malaria still declining, but more resources needed fast

January 4, 2013

Significant gains against malaria could be lost because funding for insecticide-treated bednets has dropped, and malaria parasites appear to be developing resistance to the pharmaceuticals used to clear the disease from humans, while insects that transmit the parasites develop resistance to insecticides used to hold their populations down.

Malaria room

African bedroom equipped with LLINs (insecticidal bednets) Photo: YoHandy/Flickr

UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) published its annual report on the fight against malaria last month, December 2012.  Accompanying the many page World Malaria Report 2012  were a press release and a FAQ; the fact-sheet appears unedited below.

Insecticidal bednets have proven to be a major, effective tool in reducing malaria infections.  Careful studies of several different projects produced a consensus that distributing the nets for free works best; people in malaria-infected areas simply cannot afford to pay even for life-saving devices, but they use the devices wisely when they get them.  Nets often get abbreviated in official documents to “LLINs,” an acronym for “long-lasting insecticidal nets.”

Generally, the report is good news.

Dramatic facts emerge from the report:  The “million-a-year” death toll from malaria has been whacked to fewer than 700,000, the lowest level in recorded human history.  More people may die, and soon, if aid does not come to replace worn bednets, distribute new ones, and if the drugs that cure the disease in humans, lose effectiveness.  Many nations where the disease is endemic cannot afford to wage the fight on their own.

Links in the Fact Sheet were added here, and do not come from the original report — except for the link to the WHO site itself.

Logo for World Health Organization

17 December 2012

World Malaria Report 2012

FACT SHEET

Malaria is a preventable and treatable mosquito-borne disease, whose main victims are children under five years of age in Africa.

The World Malaria Report 2012 summarizes data received from 104 malaria-endemic countries and territories for 2011. Ninety-nine of these countries had on-going malaria transmission.

According to the latest WHO estimates, there were about 219 million cases of malaria in 2010 and an estimated 660,000 deaths. Africa is the most affected continent: about 90% of all malaria deaths occur there.

Between 2000 and 2010, malaria mortality rates fell by 26% around the world. In the WHO African Region the decrease was 33%. During this period, an estimated 1.1 million malaria deaths were averted globally, primarily as a result of a scale-up of interventions.

Funding situation

International disbursements for malaria control rose steeply during the past eight years and were estimated to be US$ 1.66 billion in 2011 and US$ 1.84 billion in 2012. National government funding for malaria programmes has also been increasing in recent years, and stood at an estimated US$ 625 million in 2011.

However, the currently available funding for malaria prevention and control is far below the resources required to reach global malaria targets. An estimated US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions. In 2011, only US$ 2.3 billion was available, less than half of what is needed.

Disease burden

Malaria remains inextricably linked with poverty. The highest malaria mortality rates are being seen in countries that have the highest rates of extreme poverty (proportion of population living on less than US$1.25 per day).

International targets for reducing malaria cases and deaths will not be attained unless considerable progress can be made in the 17 most affected countries, which account for an estimated 80% of malaria cases.

  • The six highest burden countries in the WHO African region (in order of estimated number of cases) are: Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire. These six countries account for an estimated 103 million (or 47%) of malaria cases.
  • In South East Asia, the second most affected region in the world, India has the highest malaria burden (with an estimated 24 million cases per year), followed by Indonesia and Myanmar.  50 countries are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75%, in line with World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets for 2015. These 50 countries only account for 3% (7 million) of the total estimated malaria cases.

At present, malaria surveillance systems detect only around 10% of the estimated global number of cases.  In 41 countries around the world, it is not possible to make a reliable assessment of malaria trends due to incompleteness or inconsistency of reporting over time.

This year, the World Malaria Report 2012 publishes country-based malaria case and mortality estimates (see Annex 6A). The next update on global and regional burden estimates will be issued in December 2013.

Malaria interventions

To achieve universal access to long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), 780 million people at risk would need to have access to LLINs in sub-Saharan Africa, and approximately 150 million bed nets would need to be delivered each year.

The number of LLINs delivered to endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa dropped from a peak of 145 million in 2010 to an estimated 66 million in 2012. This will not be enough to fully replace the LLINs delivered 3 years earlier, indicating that total bed net coverage will decrease unless there is a massive scale-up in 2013. A decrease in LLIN coverage is likely to lead to major resurgences in the disease.

In 2011, 153 million people were protected by indoor residual spraying (IRS) around the world, or 5% of the total global population at risk. In the WHO African Region, 77 million people, or 11% of the population at risk were protected through IRS in 2011.

The number of rapid diagnostic tests delivered to endemic countries increased dramatically from 88 million in 2010 to 155 million in 2011. This was complemented by a significant improvement in the quality of tests over time.

In 2011, 278 million courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) were procured by the public and private sectors in endemic countries – up from 182 million in 2010, and just 11 million in 2005. ACTs are recommended as the first-line treatment for malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly Plasmodium species that infects humans. This increase was largely driven by the scale-up of subsidized ACTs in the private sector through the AMFm initiative, managed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Drug and insecticide resistance

Antimalarial drug resistance is a major concern for the global effort to control malaria. P. falciparum resistance to artemisinins has been detected in four countries in South East Asia: in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. There is an urgent need to expand containment efforts in affected countries. For now, ACTs remain highly effective in almost all settings, so long as the partner drug in the combination is locally effective.

Mosquito resistance to at least one insecticide used for malaria control has been identified in 64 countries around the world. In May 2012, WHO and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership released the Global Plan for Insecticide Resistance Management in malaria vectors, a five-pillar strategy for managing the threat of insecticide resistance.

www.who.int/malaria

You were perceptive.  You noted there is no call from malaria fighters for more DDT, nor for any change in DDT policy.  This is a report from medical personnel, from public health experts, the real malaria fighters.  It’s not a political screed.

More, and related articles:


Hey! Geography teachers, especially Texas geography teachers

January 4, 2013

News from the Texas Alliance for Geography Education — read the whole newsletter, I’ve copied it all without cutting:

TAGE Blast for 4 January 2013
http://www.geo.txstate.edu/tage/

Overview

  • New Teacher Resources
  • How to Track a Bill
  • Upcoming Workshops and TAGE Events
  • Webinar Series on Southeast Asia
  • TAGE Awarded Two New Grants

*********************************************
To read more, visit http://www.geo.txstate.edu/tage/

New Teacher Resources

Thanks to generous support from the National Geographic Education Foundation, TAGE has created new resources for geography teachers. A huge thank you to Dr. Brock Brown, Dr. Jeff Lash, Linda Hammon, and our Teacher Consultants for their help with creating these resources. Visit our new Teacher Materials page at  http://www.geo.txstate.edu/tage/resources/teacher-materials.html, for videos, podcasts, new eoc sample questions, teaching handbooks, and lesson plans.

83rd Texas Legislature – How to Track a Bill

You can create a personal bill list and receive e-mail notification as the status changes on bills you chose to watch.

Visit http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/MnuMyTLO.aspx and create a log-in.

After you have logged-in, you can either choose Bill Lists or Alerts, and add the bill to track. For example, “HB 85” and click Add Bill.

Read more about HB 85 in the December newsletter.

TAGE will continue to track education legislation, and work in support of geographic education in Texas.

Upcoming Workshops

January 26, Region 4, 6th Annual Social Studies Conference, 8:30-3:30 pm, http://www.esc4.net/default.aspx?name=ss.events
February 7-8, Huntsville, Geography Conference: Bridging World Geography, http://www.escweb.net/tx_esc_06/catalog/calendar.aspx?date=2/1/2013
April 6, San Marcos, The Geography of Southeast Asia, more information coming soon on the TAGE website

June 11-13, San Marcos, Social Studies Supervisors Summer Institute: Teaching Geography Concepts, more information coming soon on the TAGE website

Webinar Series on Southeast Asia

Did you know that Southeast Asia has a population over 600 milion? This culturally diverse region encompasses a pivotal position in the world economy. Join Dr. Frederick Day in exploring various geographic issues related to Southeast Asia in TAGE’s new, free webinar series featuring this interesting and diverse region.

February 5th, 4:15-4:45: Physical Geography of Southeast Asia

February 12th, 4:15-4:45: Economic Development in Southeast Asia

February 26th, 4:15-4:45: Environmental Degradation in Southeast Asia

TAGE Awarded Two New Grants
TAGE is pleased to announce that we have recently received two grants to create a World Geography curricula unit focusing on Southeast Asia. Grants have been awarded by the National Geographic Education Foundation and a second grant by Humanities Texas. TAGE will create an online teaching unit complemented by videos and professional development webinars. Keep an eye on our calendar to learn more about the new and exciting opportunities related to teaching geography and Southeast Asia in the coming months.

2013 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow program – Deadline January 8th
National Geographic Education Programs and Lindblad Expeditions are pleased to announce the 2013 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow program. This professional development opportunity is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Emeritus National Geographic Society and Education Foundation. The program is designed to give current K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico the opportunity to extend Grosvenor’s legacy of excellence in geographic education. Selected educators will travel aboard the ship National Geographic Explorer in June, July or August 2013 to Norway, Arctic Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland or the Canadian High Arctic. While aboard, Fellows will share the importance of geo-literacy with fellow travelers, develop activities to bring back to their classrooms, and have an adventure of a lifetime. Prior to the expedition, all 2013 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C. on April 25-28th with all expenses covered to participate in a pre-trip workshop sponsored by Google, National Geographic, and Lindblad Expeditions. Check out the Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program application, which is now live on our website:
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/program/grosvenor-teacher-fellow/?ar_a=1.

Worried about the World and U.S. History STAAR™ Exams?
Refresh your content knowledge of World and U.S. History … in 15 Minutes!

15 Minute History is a FREE podcast—with supplementary resources and primary documents—about World and U.S. History. 15 Minute History is a collaboration between Hemispheres, the international outreach consortium at the University of Texas at Austin, and Not Even Past, an outreach project of the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Featuring the minds and talent of the award-winning faculty and graduate students of the University of Texas at Austin, the topic of each episode is drawn directly from the World History and U.S. History TEKS, and contains background information and a quick primer on the subject.

Each episode is accompanied by primary documents to analyze with your students, and suggested resources for further reading and research. In just 15 minutes, you can refresh your knowledge of World and U.S. History—for FREE!

Children’s Map Competition Opportunity – Deadline February 15
Entries in the U.S. are not due until February 15, but it might be a good holiday-time project for classrooms to get started on. All of the instructions for participation can be accessed in this post from the NG Education blog.

NGS: New AP Human Geography Portal
National Geographic Education has created a portal on the NatGeoEd.org website for AP Human Geography teachers to visit for teaching and learning resources, including classroom activities, videos, maps, background reading material, and more. The new portal organizes content from National Geographic Education by each of the major topics taught in the AP Human Geography course. The collection will grow over time as new content aligning to the course topics is published online.

Click here to view: AP Human Geography Portal

If you teach social studies in Texas, you really ought to subscribe to this newsletter.

Texas Alliance for Geographic Education
Department of Geography
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
http://www.geo.txstate.edu/tage/

 


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