Antarctic Research Stations That Didn’t Survive

Maintaining a research station on the world’s coldest, harshest, and most remote continent requires many things: a scientific mandate to give it purpose; a continuous influx and exchange of personnel to prevent isolation-induced burnout; constant structural maintenance and restocking and supplies; and, most importantly, the government support and funding to keep them operating. While the…

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Google Sightseeing: Grytviken

Way back in 2010, The Basement Geographer took a look at the abandoned whaling port of Grytviken on South Georgia, the world’s southernmost territorial capital. Now, thanks to the proliferation of Google Maps users uploading ‘photo spheres‘, we can examine parts of the old whaling station close up using Street View. It was natural to…

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The Oldest Buildings in the World, Part I: Antarctica and Australia

For any building to make it past 100 years old, let alone be thousands of years old, it’s actually quite an accomplishment when you think about it. A building has to be constantly maintained in order to ensure its continued integrity. Aesthetic tastes change, land uses change, and disasters both natural and manmade occur; all…

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The Aurora Australis

Source: A. Sparrow, http://www.flickr.com/photos/49937157@N03/7574363700/. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. The vast majority of people on Earth (around 88 to 90 percent) live in the Northern Hemisphere. As such, when it comes to natural light displays in the atmosphere, the northern lights or aurora borealis (named after the Greek name for the…

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Anagramming the World, Part II

Anagramming the World Week continues here at The Basement Geographer with the second of three batches of continental maps reproduced using randomly generated anagrams ranging from weird to profane to surreal.  Today’s batch features anagrammed maps of Asia and Antarctica. Click on each map to enlarge to full size and enjoy! (Part I can be…

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Selling Telephones to Penguins: How a Website Glitch Created a New Antarctic Economy

For anyone wanting to obtain visual representation of international import/export data, whether for research or just for their casual interest, The Observatory of Economic Complexity is a fantastic tool for both researchers and the general public. Developed by Alexander Simoes and emanating from the MIT Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in association…

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Google Sightseeing: Dubious Deserts

Over at Google Sightseeing, it’s one of the biggest weeks on the calendar as this week marks the fifth annual Desert Week.  With a nod to our look at the Carcross Desert a few weeks ago, The Basement Geographer’s contribution to this year edition is a tour of a few more of the world’s-deserts-that-aren’t-actually-deserts.  As…

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The Island of Misfit Photos

Most users of image hosting sites such as Flickr and Panoramio who tag their photographs with geographic coordinates are aware enough of their locations to tag their imagery with the proper coordinates (or are at least savvy enough to buy cameras that automatically geotag their photos for them).  Anyone who’s closely browsed the maps on…

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Île Amsterdam: Isolated in the Indian Ocean

Imagine life in an extremely small village; 30 residents at most.  The village has just one store, one doctor, one place to dine, and a small power station.  Beyond the tiny village, large herds of cattle roam the countryside.  Now place all of that on a small island in the middle of the ocean 2…

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Who Claims Antarctica?

Antarctica has long been famous for being the only continent in which no government holds power.  While not truly uninhabited thanks to the thousands of personnel present in research stations, the world community generally looks at Antarctica as terra nullius – belonging to no one.  That is not to say, however, that no one claims…

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