Five Fascinating Micronations, Part I

There are microstates, and then there are micronations. While a microstate is an internationally recognised sovereign entity (e.g., Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City), micronations are a bit fuzzier in their definition (as Micronation Central states it, ‘a micronation is any entity which purports to be or has the appearance of being a sovereign state but…

Continue Reading →

Google Sightseeing: Midway Atoll

For my latest post at Google Sightseeing, we travel to one of the most remote places on Earth visited so far by the Google Street View camera: MIdway Atoll (you can view the article here).  Note that I wrote Midway Atoll, not ‘Midway Island’; there are actually three islands in the atoll. Sand Island, to…

Continue Reading →

Old Country-Code Top-Level Internet Domains Never Die, They Just Fade Away (Sometimes)

In the big, wide world of the Internet, there are essentially two types of top-level Internet domains (TLDs) in everyday usage (discounting the infrastructural .arpa).  There are generic domains with no specific geographic attachment (e.g., .com, .net, .org, .info, .mobi), and there are country-code domains assigned to individual countries and territorial entities based for the…

Continue Reading →

Orphaned Islands, Part I: The Pacific

National borders often pay little attention to physical geography.  Just look at all of the arbitrary straight lines we’ve drawn across the scope of the globe that cut right through deserts, mountain ranges, and rivers.  This happens offshore as well.  As countries throughout history have battled over territory, the mad rush to gain colonial territory…

Continue Reading →

Karte von Amerikanischen Polynesien, 1859

Click the map to expand (2034 x 1564). While writing the other article posted today on the subject of the International Date Line, I was reminded of the above map, which dates back to a copy of August Heinrich Petermann’s Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen journal from 1859.The German-language map is of ‘American Polynesia’, as the islands…

Continue Reading →

The Guano Islands Act

Guano. The dried, hardened white substance left behind by seabirds, seals and bats when they defecate. Quite literally, a bunch of bird crap. Not exactly glamorous or pleasant. And yet, it’s the foundation of one of the world’s great empires. Prior to the invention of artificial fertiliser at the turn of the 20th century, manure was the world’s major…

Continue Reading →