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A Visual Guide to Global Trends

Our Connected World

Increasing Connectivity Propels Awareness

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The past three decades have seen an astounding evolution of computers and communications technology. This so-called digital age has been built on a steady stream of new and more powerful devices and gadgets. But how people use these items and what they demand from these technologies has evolved at an equally remarkable rate. For example, third-generation or "3G" cell phone networks, already standard in Japan and South Korea and growing in Europe, turn a simple conversation aid into a Web-surfing, videoconferencing, music-and-video-streaming broadband data hub.

The World Wide Web is also morphing into its next generation—Web 2.0. That means more user-generated content: blogs and video-sharing sites, collaborative projects such as Wikipedia, and the mushrooming social networking sites can offer as little as a venue for flirting or as much as a powerful new way to organize the chaos of the Internet.

The Internet has become critical infrastructure for recreation, business, and even democracy. But it has also proved a breeding ground for fraud and a target of censorship. And while 70 percent of the U.S. population has Internet access, only 4 percent of Africans and 10 percent of Asians are online. New bridges across this digital divide are essential if the Web is to truly become worldwide.

Our Relationship With Nature Trends

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Map: Northwest Europe Energy and Carbon

Featured Places

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Prehistoric Maps and Time Line

Glimpse the dramatically different face of our home planet as it appeared when sea monsters ruled the depths.

 

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Interactive Climate Change Map

Rising sea levels, heat waves, species loss—see what could happen where if current warming trends continue.

 

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Where Do We Come From?

Discover unknown chapters of the human story as scientists from the Genographic Project reconstruct our history from clues written in our genes.

 

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Country Profiles

Find photos, maps, and articles for all the countries of the world.

 

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Test Your Geographic Knowledge

In 2006, we tested the geographic knowledge of 18- to 24-year-olds across the U.S. to see how much they know about our world. Find out how they did, and see how you compare.

 

EarthPulse Topics

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Designed by Nature

Discover nature's patterns in innovative designs.

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Interactive Maps

Satellite imagery reveals the world in more detail than ever.

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Annual Temperatures

Find the typical temp for just about anywhere.

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Places of a Lifetime

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National Geographic Traveler presents top destinations.

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