The Dingo Fence

Australia is divided by sport (the Barassi Line) and by topography (the Great Dividing Range), but perhaps its most iconic division is a basic two-metre-high fence.  Basic, perhaps, by its construction (wire mesh extending 180 cm/6 ft high and 30 cm/1 ft deep), but certainly not by length: at 5 614 km (3 488 mi) in length,…

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The Other Gaza

Last month, beleaguered Gaza was back in the news again.  With hundreds of thousands of people in a situation of dire food security across the country, the Mozambican government encouraged farmers in Gaza to adopt new agricultural technologies introduced by the Chinese, touting a new irrigation project along the Limpopo River as a way to…

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The Chinese Food You Just Ate Probably Didn’t Come From China: Examples of ‘Chinese’ Foods from Around the World That are Local Creations

Have you ordered any Chinese food lately?  Chances are whether you’re in Seoul, Manila, Chicago, or Saskatchewan, you have.  Just two nights ago, I myself had chicken-fried rice, breaded almond chicken, and chow mein.  All of those items are staples of Chinese food menus across North America – and pretty well nowhere else.  Most certainly,…

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Following Up: An August 2011 Update on Previous Articles

Just a few mini-updates and additional tidbits on some topics from previous articles here at The Basement Geographer: Semi-Abandoned Prairie Town or Detroit? (originally posted 30 July 2010): The very first article on this site was about the increasingly vacant landscape of the city of Detroit; a topic also brought up this week at World…

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Lake Volta

Today, eastern Ghana’s Lake Volta is the largest body of water in West Africa, but the wide expanse of water was non-existent before 1965. While a dam on the Volta River in the Akosombo Gorge was proposed as early as 1915, it was not until the post-World War II era of African decolonisation that real plans…

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Ahhhh, the French Champagne…

Despite what our friend Mr. Welles slurred in the above outtake, there legally is no such thing (in most countries, anyway) as Californian Champagne. Only sparkling wines originating from the French region of Champagne, according to the 1891 Treaty of Madrid and subsequently verified by numerous agreements over the years under various designation of origin laws,…

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Tonlé Sap

A few months ago, I wrote about the gradual shrinking of the ephemeral Lake Chad in north-central Africa. Today’s article visits another large ephemeral lake that is locally crucial (and under threat) both environmentally and economically, but has a much brighter outlook than Lake Chad. At a minimum surface area of 2 700 km2, no…

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An Ode to Donair

(A little culinary geography lesson inspired yet again by a post at the always great Twelve Mile Circle. Go read it, already!) Once upon a time on a research trip in the Cariboo in and around Williams Lake, my colleague and I were stuck as to what we should eat for dinner that night. There…

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Lake Chad: Where Did It Go?

When it comes to globally-significant bodies of water disappearing before our eyes, the Aral Sea seems to hog the international spotlight. It’s a very glamorous story with lots of intriguing subplots: large-scale irrigation diversion, failed Soviet economic models, environmental contamination, health crises, horrendous dust storms, regional climate change. But by no means is the Aral Sea the…

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