Hello, and welcome to the blog for World Regions! Here, you’ll find information about what’s going on in GEOG 1014 at Virginia Tech (Home of the Fighting Hokies!), including the basics on lectures, movies, and all the other crazy events that go on in this awesome class!

Before we start with posts, though, I could use a little help. If you happen to have any pictures of any event that has taken place as part of the class for the Spring 2012 semester that you’d like to share (or anything about the class that you’d like to see up here), please send them to wrblog@plaidavenger.com. What will you get in return? Bragging rights! And I’ll credit you for photos, too, if you send me your name along with the picture.

With that, let us begin! Party on!


Week 4 Lecture

Topics discussed in this lecture included:

  • Protests in China and Japan over the Spratly Island dispute! And this whole conflict is going on because of national pride, and their location!
  • Japan doesn’t have a military, but they do have a self-defense force
  • Japanese manufacturing plants in China are shutting down!
  • Leon Panetta’s visiting China!
  • What states aren’t nation-states?
  • Know your world leaders!

Week 3 Lecture

Week 3! There were Red Bulls under all the seats!

Topics discussed in this lecture included:

  • Nations, states, and nation-states, Part 2!
  • What is sovereignty, and how do you get it?
  • China rich!
  • The UN – how does it work?
  • The P-5! (plus one!)
  • Taiwan held China’s UN seat at one point in time
  • Why Palestine isn’t a country
  • A Tale of Two Bushes – Iraq
  • Why so much UN stuff happens in Africa
  • If the P-5 were restructured, who might enter?
  • Djbouti!
  • Genocide is not cool – the UN has to act if genocide occurs. But what is the definition of genocide?
  • Is sovereignty coming undone?

Week 1 Lecture

Hello, Fall 2012! Your GEOG 1014 blog is back in action!

World Regions kicked off once again for a new set of students, and after a fun first class, here’s what information was covered in the second lesson:

  • Review of last class (syllabus stuff!)
  • We craft our Death Watch board
  • Hurricane Isaac floods New Orleans…but there are also typhoons slamming the eastern Asian coast!
  • Asaad acknowledges struggle to win Syria civil war – “We are fighting a regional and global war…” and it is!
  • A reputed leader of Gulf Cartel is captured in Mexico (yes, there is a huge war going on in Mexico between drug cartels)
  • Canadian troops need a nap…
  • What in the world is a region? (You need area, boundaries, and some shared characteristic!)
  • There are always exceptions in regions
  • “Where in the hell are we?” with regions and states!
  • The state – the building block of world regions! There are 195 or so of them.
  • Africa is divided into sovereign states, but Europeans drew the boundaries. They aren’t political boundaries, though.
  • America jumped on the state bandwagon early
  • When the USSR collapsed, 15 new states formed!
  • What is a nation, what’s a state, and what’s the difference between them?
  • Stuff’s going on in the South China Sea (Whose Rock is it Anyway?)

Week 13 Lectures

Tuesday – Topics discussed included:

  • We’re getting close to the end of the school year!
  • How to cheat in all your other classes
  • Sudan and South Sudan are doing air strikes on each other
  • How no one takes North Korea seriously
  • Putin will be stepping down as the head of his party, and Meddie (Medvedev) may step up!
  • Sarkozy lost the first round of elections, and that’s not good for this blogger since I run Plaid Sarkozy’s Twitter account!
  • The Spratly Islands conflict is getting worse
  • Speaking of China… more on history, how it was almost taken over completely by Japan, why they became run by the Communist party, and how Taiwan represented China for a while
  • Shoutout to Hootie the Owl!

Thursday – Topics discussed included:

  • Dancing on the stage before class!
  • Boyer got a “man card!”And a durian!
  • Two bizarre British stories going on in China
  • Mass synchronized pom-poms at the mass games in North Korea
  • CHINA RICH! And speaking of which, we also talked about the rest of China’s history, how they place stability first, how they think long-term, and how they’re in the game to win it again!
  • How Taiwan is armed so much
  • Who is Hu, and when do you say Wen?

Rabbit Proof Fence

Another movie night, and this time we skipped over Blind Shaft and watched Rabbit Proof Fence instead! It was made in Australia, set in Australia, and it’s in English, so nobody had to pay attention to subtitles the whole movie! Huzzah for laziness! The 2002 movie takes place in the 1930s, a period during which the Aborigines (the natives of Australia) were oppressed by the whites. Daisy, Gracie, and Molly are three half-castes, children who are half white, half Aborigine. Taken from their home and sent to a Gurag where they would be taught basically how to be indentured servants, the girls decide to try to escape the camp and follow the rabbit-proof fence which runs from their home in northwestern Australia to the south. However, they are pursued by men under the command of the Chief Protector of Aborigines. Did they succeed in their escape? Those who attended found out and got more points for class. MORE POINTS I SAY!

We watched this movie on November 16, 2o11 for Fall semester, and on April 11, 2012 for Spring semester students (as part of a double feature with Five Days of War).

5 Days of War

This 2011 action film is really a piece of propaganda, but it’s a story about the Russians invading Georgia (the country, not the US state) in 2008. American journalist Thomas Anders is saved in Iraq by Georgian troops, and then goes to Georgia when he hears that conflict may be stirring up there. While examining Georgian life, he captures shocking footage of the Russians, which he struggles to get out of the country. However, the five-day war is going on, and now he, his cameraman, and a local woman must fight to survive. A fun fact about this movie – Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvilli actually chose actor Andy Garcia to play the part of Saakashvilli! That’s how biased this movie is!5 Days of Warincludes the Georgian, Russian and English languages.

We watched this movie on April 11, 2012.

Week 11 Lectures

Tuesday – Topics discussed included:

  • Boyer has a moustache!
  • North Korea might be shooting a rocket into space AND doing an underground nuclear explosions test!
  • Fighting in Syria has overlapped into Turkey – Article 5 can be invoked! It’s more justified than what happened in Libya
  • Saudi Arabia is willing to arm the Syrian opposition!
  • How to stay informed and smart about the news!
  • There was a ten-year-old who had a baby in South America? What?
  • You got’sta know the SCO!
  • Is Putin rebuilding the Soviet Union?
  • Russia and China have a joint space program
  • Cultural organizations – the Arab League, African Union
  • Different types of religion – ethnic (born into) and universalizing (spreading everywhere!)
  • There are two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf
  • Instagram! It’s another .com bubble. D=
  • All about tulips! The first stock market bubble!

Thursday – Topics discussed included:

  • There was a standoff between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea
  • Japan is ready to shoot North Korea’s rocket
  • The cease fire in Syria is on! Will it last?
  • Sixth Summit of the Americas is going to happen in Colombia. But what is it? And why is the location important? (They’re talking about drug policy)
  • Colombia – the rising star of Latin America!
  • There is hope for Mexico!
  • The G-8 and G-20: what they are, what they do, and their history
  • The BRICS
  • The difference between BRICS, the G-8, G-20, and the other organizations!
  • CHINA RICH! It’s the powerhouse of East Asia! But not all of China is the same…
  • Soccer on the Tibetan Plateau!


World Regions students in Spring 2012 gathered to watch Lumumba, a movie made in 2000 that is in French. It centers around the true story of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which pre-revolution was headed by Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba (hence the title!).  However, the movie was filmed in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The first President of the country, Joseph Kasa-Vubu is sworn in alongside, but there are still obstacles in creating a stable state, as the two try to prevent the country from descending into chaos. What will happen? Viewers found out, and you can too if you watch this movie, or read up on the history of the DRC!

(P.S.: Sorry about the small movie poster! It was the largest of the ones I could find!)

Week 9 Lectures

Tuesday – Topics discussed included:

  • More about how the Toulouse shootings are affecting the French elections
  • A few years ago, the French banned the burka
  • How Sarkozy doesn’t really like Turkey
  • Nuclear security summit in South Korea…but no one talked about North Korea!
  • Morgan Freeman was James Bond?
  • Obama’s secret conversation with Medvedev and Mitt Romney says Russia is our enemy
  • More about the missile defense shield!
  • The literal reset button for American-Russian relations
  • Missile defense systems – do they work?
  • Kofi Annan’s six -point peace plan
  • Brazil says it’s the big dog of a Latin American trade block
  • MERCOSUR wants to be more than a trade block
  • What’s a cartel?

Thursday – Topics discussed included:

  • Plaid Avenger Issue 1 for everyone, and a gift for Boyer, too!
  • The Pope went to Latin America, but nothing really came of it.
  • Some Austrian guy cut off his foot because he was going to lose unemployment benefits. Whaaaat?
  • PetroChina RICH!
  • China’s looking at the South China Sea!
  • US bases in Australia
  • China’s fighting with Japan in the East China Sea
  • BRICS meeting! They’re an alternative to Team West.
  • Tibetans in India, and India’s uncool response
  • The Arab League is meeting in Baghdad. They’re trying to make Iraq stay Arab
  • Iran’s influence is spreading!
  • Where’s Erdogan? Talking to Iran
  • More international organizations!
  • NATO – Russia’s back in the game, and won’t let Ukraine and Georgia join

Sin Nombre

We watched Sin Nombre on October 5th, 2011! The movie centers on a girl named Sayra, a Honduran teenager trying to illegally immigrate to America to be with family in New Jersey. Most of the movie takes place in Mexico, however, as she and her uncle and brother must hop on trains as they travel to the Mexico-America border. Along the way, Sayra and her family are robbed by members of the Mexican gang Mara Salvatrucha (which does exist in real life!). However, one of the robbers, Willy, changes his mind and kills one of the other robbers, who happens to be the leader of the gang. Sayra and Willy now have to travel to the border while avoiding gang members who want to kill Willy for being a traitor to the gang.

Sin Nombre was filmed in Mexico in 2009, and is in Spanish.

We also watched this movie on March 21, 2012 for the Spring 2012 semester.