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Google Sightseeing: Fakin’ It!

The concept of a Potemkin village dates back to the late 18th century, when tales spread that the Russian military leader and governor Grigoriy Potyomkin (Potemkin) had ordered the construction of temporary, false-facaded ‘villages’ in his territory to impress visiting officials. The areas of the southern Russian Empire under Potyomkin’s governorship (‘New Russia‘, today’s southern…

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Recursive National Flags

The are plenty of flags to be found with other flags on them. Just look at how many flags use the flag of the United Kingdom in their canton, or most naval ensigns, for that matter. Few flags, however, actually display themselves. Because many countries put their coat-of-arms on their national flags, and some of…

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More Lines of Largest Settlements

Following up on Wednesday’s post regarding lines of largest settlement (a way to put the bed the issue of what constitutes the northernmost and southernmost (or westernmost/easternmost) cities in a region), here are examples from six more regions. This was originally going to be a much larger post, but some of the examples in this…

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The Line of Largest Settlements

What are the northernmost/southernmost cities in the world? It’s a somewhat ambiguous question whose answers depends on how you define a city versus a town versus a settlement and how minute one wants to get. Alert, Nunavut may be the northernmost permanently occupied settlement, but it hardly qualifies as a city. The same goes for…

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The Top 8 Best-Selling Music Singles Featuring Place Names

Music and place are inseparable. So many songs have been written about landscapes, countries, buildings, and cities that it’s impossible to look at a record sales chart without finding at least a handful of toponyms. As a geography site, it’s time we examine which toponomically-themed songs have embedded themselves into popular culture by looking at…

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Following Up: A September 2013 Update on Previous Articles

It’s been quite a while since our last follow-up post, so here are a few mini-updates and additional tidbits on some topics from previous articles here at The Basement Geographer: UVB-76: 30 Years of Radio Mystery (originally posted 26 December 2011): On 24 January of this year, the mysterious Russian shortwave radio ‘numbers’ station known of UVB-76…

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Conversion to the Latin Alphabet in Post-Soviet Asia

The end of the Soviet Union left its newly-independent republics free to pursue their own linguistic policies for the first time. Four of the five predominately Turkic-speaking countries of the former Soviet Union (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) looked to follow the lead of Turkey, which adopted the Latin alphabet under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk back…

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Geysir: The Namesake of All Geysers

Geysers are rather amazing things: literal jets of hot, pressurised water that shoot from the ground, often dozens of metres into the air. To form these erupting hot springs, water has to travel through fissures to a depth of two kilometres below the surface and be warmed past the boiling point by a constant supply of…

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Norfolking Way: Counterinituitive Pronuniciation Clusters in England

The English language is in many ways a victim of its own success.  Being standardised in writing at such an early stage meant that centuries of changes in pronunciation in the Anglosphere have have gone unrepresented in modern English spelling. Centuries of pilfering and absorbing words from a myriad of languages have resulted in speakers…

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