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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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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Some Brief Notes on the 2012 Summer Olympics

Yes, it’s time once again for the Summer Olympics in just a few weeks, with coverage and hype already operating at full bore.  Having previously looked at failed Olympic candidate cities, the performances of now-defunct nations at the games, and the all-time least-successful countries in Olympic country, here are a few more notes heading into…

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British Home Children

Note: There is a very insightful presentation (38:26) at the UK National Archives on the subject of British child migration that is of much relevance to this article and can be listened to in accompaniment (you can also read the presentation transcript here). There’s a fair chance that if you live in Australia or Canada,…

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Routes of the World Marathon Majors

Few sports incorporate geography and landscape like the marathon does.  Other than the confines of the standard length of 42.195 km (26 mi 385 yd; a distance that was standardised based upon the course used at the 1908 London Olympics), course designers are free to incorporate any features of the local landscape they desire, whether…

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Vintage Road Map Week, Part I

It’s Vintage Road Map Week at The Basement Geographer! If you, like me, are a map freak, then you’ve probably tracked down your fair share of old road maps over the Internet, where good cartographic Samaritans have uploaded hundreds of images of old road maps that one can lose hours looking at (and if you…

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