Computer generated image of a burning village in Darfur.
(from Google Earth)

As we all know, surfing the net can take you to some strange and unusual
places sometimes. Today I happened to come across (don't ask me how)
Teachers.net, a web site devoted to instructional materials for teachers,
as well as some other resources such as a chat board to talk with other

You can browse through the lesson plans created by teachers according
to subject. Being an anthropologist, and somewhat of a historian, I headed
for the History lesson plans that had been posted.

I ran across two for archaeology. There is #2119 Archaeological Dig,
which is pretty good — even though the teacher has misused the word
"there" for "their" in not just one but three instances. That one is
for middle school students. There is another one, #3113 Archaeology Dig,
that is meant for high school students. Both look like fun, although I
think the second one is both superior and more realistic.

There was also another one I found interesting, #1750 1950s Popular
Culture, which is pretty self-explanatory so I don't need to comment on
that one I think. You could tweak that lesson plan to include a lot of
things — blacklisting, the building boom, changes in men's and women's
fashions. In other words, it would really depend on the teacher.

I wish they had that kind of cool stuff when I was in grade school.
Although I must admit that at the very least I did learn the difference
between "there" and "their." Otherwise, you got rapped over the knuckles
(at least metaphorically) by one of the nuns. Which is a better way of
teaching English than you might think.

I also came across an interesting link the other night on the news and,
since I haven't seen it posted on any of my usual blog destinations, I
thought I would post the link here.

Google, in conjuction with the US Holocaust Museum, now has a special
variant of Google Earth up that takes you in for an up-close-and-personal
view of the genocide in Darfur.

I remember discussing with Allan just the other day here our ideas of
the internet. I think of the internet as a vast library. Allan was
saying that he thinks of it as a kind of neighborhood. In this instance
I think Allan is right. The Google feature brings the Sudan right into
your own neighborhood — almost as if you could walk down the street and
view the big fire at the local wig factory.

There was a lesson plan on Teachers.net, #1372 Inventing the Future,
that asked students to look at the history of a certain technology and
try to project what that technology will evolve into over the next
millenium or so. The Google feature on Darfur reminded me of that lesson
plan. One thing about Evil, it tends to hate openness and craves secrecy.
Or at least it tends to in most cases. God only knows the effect that the
Google feature could have if it were real-time, if it could track tragedies
before they happened (so to speak), if something like that could evolve into
a type of vast, neighborhood watch program.

But who knows. The difficulty with Inventing the Future is that the Future
itself usually has its own ideas about dealing with things. Which, if the
lesson plan of History teaches us anything, usually isn't any better than
our way of dealing with things in the Present.