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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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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Centres of the World and Centres of the Universe

This article will alternate between using ‘Centre’ and ‘Center’ in location names depending upon the locales referenced. Forget your preconceptions that the centre of the Earth lies inside an incredibly dense, ultra-hot core thousands of kilometres below the planet’s surface, or that the universe is a giant homogeneic expanse with no discernable central point. The…

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Google Sightseeing: Fill ‘er Up!

As I mentioned today in the article on the Teapot Dome Service Station, I’ve just posted an article to Google Sightseeing loaded with all sorts of uniquely-designed roadside filling stations/gas stations (I couldn’t use the Teapot Dome in that article because Google Maps, sadly, has no imagery of it). If you’ve ever wanted to see…

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Bridges to Nowhere in Glasgow, Southern California, and New Zealand

Around the world, there are many structures nicknamed ‘bridges to nowhere’ – bridges that are abandoned during construction; bridges that have been partially destroyed and are left hanging in the air; bridges that are no longer used but remain standing; bridges that are built to service negligible populations and become settings for political bickering. Certainly…

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Tawdry Toponyms: All About Ass

Source: A. Sim, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbweather/5612627372/. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence. Ragged Ass Road is Yellowknife, Northwest Territories’ most famous street, and all because of its unique name. Located in the Old Town section of the remote city that dates back to the 1930s gold rush, it’s still a bit rustic looking today….

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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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Just Where is U2’s Joshua Tree?

This month, there’s been construction going on in the lot behind Basement Geographer HQ. In and amidst the sounds of hammers, saws, drills, and heavy machinery have been the sounds of the classic rock radio station the construction workers have been playing over their radios. As I headed out for a walk to the store…

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Elevation Extreme Midpoints

While doing Southern California-themed map browsing for an upcoming article on the geography of U2’s The Joshua Tree album cover, it struck me just how remarkable it is that the highest (Mount Whitney) and lowest (Badwater Basin) points of elevation in the contiguous United States are a mere 136 km (85 mi) apart.  Not only…

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Google Sightseeing: San Marino

The latest Basement Geographer article for Google Sightseeing takes a look at the newly-released Street View imagery for San Marino.  Surrounded entirely by central Italy in the Apennine mountains about 10 km (6 mi) from the Adriatic coast, San Marino is one of the smallest countries in world at a mere 61 km2 (24 sq mi).  It is also…

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