Five Fascinating Micronations, Part II

It’s the second half of our look at five fascinating ‘micronations’: creations of a single person or small group wishing to declare themselves sovereign over an extremely small piece of territory: perhaps a building, a farm, a island, or a small village. After all, who wouldn’t want to rule their own country? Most micronation projects are frivolous,…

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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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The Flannan Isles

Marooned all alone in the Atlantic Ocean are Scotland’s Flannan Isles, a very small and profoundly lonely archipelago that is isloated evey by the standard of the Outer Hebrides with which they are associated. The ‘isles’ are more like islets: seven small islands surrounded by a dozen or so outcrops of breccia rocks poking above…

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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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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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Alexander Selkirk and the Real-Life Island of Robinson Crusoe

For three centuries, people from around the world have been regaled by the tale of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, the 1719 tale of an Englishman who becomes a shipwrecked castaway for 27 years on an isolated island near the mouth of the Orinoco River.  While there is no ‘Island of Despair’ off the Venezuelan coast,…

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Vintage Road Map Week 2012, Part I

It’s time once again for our annual 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…

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Curling Stones: A Precious Resource

Copyright: J. Durnan, http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/988485.  Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence. Ailsa Craig is the little white dot at the south end of the Firth of Clyde. Ailsa Craig.  A formidable, solitary, dome-shaped rock island lying in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde 16 km (10 mi) off the Ayrshire coast.  Uninhabited…

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A Geography of Robert W. Service

Today marks the 138th birthday of the author of the most commercially successful body of poetry of the entire 20thcentury.  Robert W. Service was hardly innovative; he was far from academically renowned like other early 20th century English-language poets such as William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, E.E. Cummings, or William Carlos Williams; nor did he…

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