New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster: Names for New Zealand That Didn’t Take

In our last post on 19th century comparative maps, you may have noticed this map from 1855, which not only included New Zealand in the Western Hemisphere but also labelled what we know today as the South Island ‘Middle Island’, giving the ‘South Island’ appellation to what we call Stewart Island or Rakiura (the smaller…

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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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Google Sightseeing: Dubious Deserts

Over at Google Sightseeing, it’s one of the biggest weeks on the calendar as this week marks the fifth annual Desert Week.  With a nod to our look at the Carcross Desert a few weeks ago, The Basement Geographer’s contribution to this year edition is a tour of a few more of the world’s-deserts-that-aren’t-actually-deserts.  As…

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Tornadoes Around the World

When tornadoes make the news, they tend to do so for all the wrong reasons, as we were reminded of earlier this week when an outbreak of anywhere between 40 and 120 tornadoes resulted in at least 39 fatalities and untold millions of dollars in damage across the mid-eastern United States (approximately the eastern portion…

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Who Claims Antarctica?

Antarctica has long been famous for being the only continent in which no government holds power.  While not truly uninhabited thanks to the thousands of personnel present in research stations, the world community generally looks at Antarctica as terra nullius – belonging to no one.  That is not to say, however, that no one claims…

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