A Gallery of Contrasts Along International Borders

We may think of borders as merely invisible lines on maps, but over time these ‘imaginary’ lines can become very real indeed. Countries regulate (or fail to regulate) the usage of their lands in very different ways. US astronaut and former NASA Chief Scientist John Grunsfeld remarked earlier this year how the differences in land…

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The Many Alexandrias of Alexander the Great

This map of Alexander’s empire will be useful for orientation in this article.  Click on image to expand to full size (2000 x 961).  Source: Captain Blood, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MacedonEmpire.jpg.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. In a span of just 13 years from 336 BC to 323 BC, Alexander the Great pushed…

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A Look at GPS Alternatives

Around the world, use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) is so commonplace that for many who use GPS-enabled devices (handheld navigation devices, automobile satnav units, cellular phones and tablet computers, geofencing, surveying, and so on), the words ‘GPS’ and ‘GPSed’ have become everyday verbs.  The presence of GPS in modern life is so ubiquitous…

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Following Up: An April 2012 Update on Previous Articles

It’s been a few months since our last follow-up post, so here are a few mini-updates and additional tidbits on some topics from previous articles (of which we have officially reached 400 today) here at The Basement Geographer: Varosha: Forever Trapped in 1974 (originally posted 27 August 2010): A report in the Turkish daily Milliyet on…

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Renaming India One City at a Time

Place names aren’t static, especially for well-known locations.  There are literally over a hundred variations on ‘Germany’, for example; many coming from completely different roots depending upon which language you’re speaking.  There are toponyms that change over time; places renamed for political purposes.  In 1868, Edo became Tokyo (‘eastern capital’) when the seat of the…

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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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