Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where is a schattenjager when you need one?

Do you ever wonder about the one to five percent of the world that scientists cannot even fathom? Since the beginning of recorded time there have been stories of animals and substances falling from the sky and other weird phenomenon which confuse those who try to understand it.

Weird instances have been happening all the time. In New York a strong, sweet smell has been haunting Manhattan. Los Angeles has recently been a victim of a weird, blackish goo which forced evacuations of several buildings. A strange humming sound has been heard in the Taos, New Mexico region for years. And even though cattle mutilations may not be the work of aliens, something is killing farmers’ animals with impunity.

Most investigations end soon after they are started with statements like "Boy, that was weird," and talk of such things dies away. Investigations should still continue however. This could be man-made or natural but either way it is worthy of study. The Japanese discovered the phenomenon of belts of wind known as Jet Streams. They put it to "good use" by launching their Fire Balloon attacks in World War II against the American mainland. These phenomena could be harmless or used to hurt us but either way it is happening. Throwing away all the scientific and defense reasons aside; would it not be fun just to find out the mystery behind this world?

Category: Miscellaneous

Monday, February 27, 2006

Update: Keep the Pressure Up!

I feel like a general in the Civil War. I can see the troops fighting but all I can do is yell encouragement. That said, "Keep the Pressure Up!"

I called for Iraqis and Muslims to unite against terrorism. It looks like it is happening. Unity protests are breaking out across the world. Strangely; however, very little press coverage.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Geography and the Downfall of the Anglican Church

In a time long ago; the Anglican Communion was strong and proud. It traveled the seas and followed English settlers to new lands across the world. It spoke out against slavery at a time when the Catholic Church remained silent, it forced the British government in India to ban widow burnings because it knew all life was sacred, and its missionaries worked all across the world spreading Christianity and preached equality to the powerless.

Time has been a cruel mistress to the Anglican Church as geography has divided the Church into various moral camps. The public issue dividing the church is homosexualism but the underlying reason is a question of bedrock beliefs and faith versus social issues. This war has turned the church from strong and proud to just proud.

How bad is the situation? The Anglican Communion is in such bad shape that the best words to describe the situation are "Civil War." The Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh has setup his own Anglican church network which bypasses the leadership of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) with approval of the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams. Anglican Bishops from the third-world have recently visited the United States and encouraged secession from the ECUSA. Last year at a meeting of the Anglican Church 14 out of the 35 attending Primates refused to take Holy Communion because "their provinces' decisions to partially or completely break communion with the US and Canadian churches."

The Civil War reached a boiling point when the Episcopal Church national convention appointed homosexual Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. Robinson was married with children but left for his family for a male lover. Critics said this would be no different then leaving a family then having repeated sex out of marriage but this claim was ignored. Conservative Episcopalians claimed Robinson was appointed merely because he was homosexual.

A deeper issue of beliefs is also a cause for concern. Rowan Williams himself is a member of a quasi-pagan Druid group. This seems to be a running problem for the Anglican Church. Meanwhile in San Franciscan Anglicans can pray to Saint Malcolm X and others. Finally, the Anglican Church seems busy commending the United States for keeping terrorists locked-up and removing mass murders from power.

The base problem with the Anglican Church is geography. In the first-world (United Kingdom, United States, and Canada) the church is known for being white, blue bloods that are too high and mighty to be active with middle and lower class citizens. Church attendance is down to the point in Britain more people go to Friday prayers (Muslims) than hear the Book of Prayer on Sunday. Compliancy has become the nature of the Church. Blue Bloods are so full of pride that they do not believe in seeking salvation because they “know” they will be saved. This has caused the church to become more involved with social issues rather than faith. The church readily supports abortion, homosexualism over punishing extra-marital affairs and boycotting Israel but is fearful to make decisions dealing with saving souls/universe/cosmos. It is so bad former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said he was ashamed to be an Anglican.

Some will claim nationalist pride combined with King's lust doomed the Anglican Church from the start. Others will say the Newman's conversion Roman Catholicism was the death blow. However, I believe with the Anglican Church would have been less Anglo-centric it would have flourished in the first world. In places like Nigeria and Singapore, where membership is not Anglo, the church is prospering. Periodically on the news one will hear about African missionaries traveling to Britain to convert Englishmen to the Anglican Church. However; these are mere drops in the bucket compared to the sea of blue blood.


Category: Religious Geography

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Aftershocks of Samarra

The situation in Iraq became more concerning with the attack on the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra.

The backdrop is complex. Iraq would have been a complete success if it was not for al-Anbar and the other provinces with Sunni majority populations allied with foreign terrorists. Foreign groups like al Qaeda in Iraq have been a constant problem while native Shia terrorists like Moqtada al-Sadr's Al-Mahdi Army have been pacifiable.

Samarra is a historic city in Salah ad Din province which is well-within the Sunni zone of control. The area is known to be a trouble spot for Coalition troops. The Mosque had importance to Sunnis but was greatly valued by the Shia.

The recent attack has caused many to fear a civil war. Violence has erupted in several areas and early reports seemed to support fears of civil war.

Like the Jordanian hotel bombing, al Qaeda has attacked Muslims. Thomas Friedman claims accurately that the latest attack shows al Qaeda is losing the war. Direct and indirect attacks against the Coalition military have proven to be extremely risky. The only means the terrorist have is to attack weak targets (civilians) in such a way that their attacks garner media attention. The terrorist realizes there is no way they can defeat the Coalition leviathan so they must play on the weaknesses of the people's impatience and lack of resolve.

Now is the time for all Iraqis interested in peace to unite. The insurgency cannot be defeated completely by military means alone. The base must withdrawal support. Without roots the terrorist will fade into history. But as long as ties between local communities and terrorists remain, so will the insurgency remain.

The situation is much like Germany after World War II when the Allies fought SS units known as the Werwolf. The Allies continued military operations until 1948, sometimes to the extent of shelling villages with Werwolf snipers. The insurgency ended in 1948 after protests against terrorist actions gave the clear message that the Germany people wanted to move on.

Rumors of civil war in Iraq are old. Fortunately it seems many sides are tired of the bloodshed. Al Sistani has called for calm. Al Sadr has united with Sunni groups in order to protect the peace. Native Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups are trying to negotiate a favorable peace settlement and the Islamic Army has waged battles against al Qaeda in Iraq. If the foreign radicals can be expelled by the Sunnis then peace is very probable. The Secular Sunnis are fighting for their "rights" and have little interest in a pan-Islamic State sold by Osama bin Laden.

Internationally, Muslims also have a huge role to play. They must show greater anger at the destruction of one of their holy mosques than they did because cartoons depicted Muhammad. They must demonstrate and go into the streets. If protests do it occur it shows al Qaeda has lost a huge battle for Muslim hearts and minds. If protests do not occur the West will once again be validated in the thought that Arab and Muslim cultural are inferior, violent, and not worth effort to cooperate with.

We must all pray and work towards peace.

Category: War on Terrorism

Friday, February 24, 2006

Figjam, we all talk uniquement

In the spirit of Y'all tock funny, ya hear? I have found some unique slang from different dialects from around the world, give it a burl why don't cha?

Oy! There's a Dingo Eating My Baby!: Australia is like the Midwest if it spilt off from the rest of the country and world. As such they have their own dialect and slang which never ceases to amaze me.

Chargez Le Char Avec Le Gasoline: The Department of French Studies at Louisiana State University does not teach Formage; Formage (cheese) being slang for "proper French." Rather they teach Cajun French. The department has provided a good introductory website tutorial to get down all the basic for one to enjoy Zydeco.

This One is Pretty Duff
: General Patton, and everyone else who ever wanted to be funny by saying the same joke over and over again, remarked how the American and British people were separated only by a common language. Now; however, we Yanks will be able to understand "Get your arse off me round!" and other classics. A secondary English translation site is here.


Category: Languages

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Everything's Better in Texas

I know I have linked to map libraries in the past but this one takes the cake!

The University of Texas is host to the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. The bulk of the collection is the usual standard fare with maps of the world, continents, historical maps, and on and on and on.

But it is two features that really appeal to me. One feature is a link list of other sites loaded with maps from the world to street level. The thing that caught my eye; however, is on top of the main page. Maps of Current Interest has links to maps or images that are in the news. Things like a satellite image of the al-Askari Shrine, Turin Olympics Map, and Latin American elections map prove timely.

Category: Maps

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Korea: Are They Worth It?

South and North Korea are remnants of a bygone era. Tens of thousands of Americans and others were killed in the First Korean War, Second Korean War, and periodic border incursions defending South Korea. United States and United Nation troops invading Inchon led by General Douglas MacArthur saved South Korea from certain defeat.

Originally both countries were more or less equal on GDP and other factors. However, North Korea has isolated itself from the rest of the world and is known as the hermit nation. Famine and oppression are the order of the day. While South Korea is now one of the Asian Tigers, democratic, and Christianity is the plurality (if not majority) religion.

North Korea has regressed while South Korea is free and open. What is the West's reward for bleeding for these people? Hatred and despise are its reward. Nearly half of South Korean youths would back North Korea against the United States. Police need to protect a statue of MacArthur at Inchon because South Korean protesters have threatened to bring it down. South Korea's government has the "Sunshine Policy" which orders the arrest of anyone who tells the truth of the horrible situation in North Korea. The policy and North Korean propaganda has allowed communist sympathizers to gain greater strength.

If a Third Korean War breaks out the use of high power weapons like compression bombs and artillery will annihilate any ground formations quickly. It would be best for the United States to withdrawal its remaining troops from Pusan (and the troops "we do not have" at the DMZ) and offer air support in case of hostilities. Aggression on our part should only be considered on our part if Japan, a true ally, is threatened. Maybe forcing South Korea to deal with North Korea completely will make people realize what they are dealing with. Or maybe it will not. Either way, American lives will be safer from horrible decision made by hostile enemies.


Category: Geopolitics

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Factbook Mass

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Halle-lu-lu-jah

The world according to the CIA

Praise be to the geographers!



There is one book that is the be all and end all for political and regional geographers. It is loaded with knowledge and has been the final word is geopolitical debates. The book; of course, is The World Factbook published by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The World Factbook is loaded with information ranging from demographics, place, telecommunications, government, to military and much, much more on every recognized state and many dependencies. Not only does each country’s entry have their own map but there is also a regional map page!

This book is a handy desk reference to any geographical or political concern one may have. It can be purchased in book form or downloaded for free! Get your's now!

A good companion for the political geographers is Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments. This directory is published weekly and is a quick guide to international governments.


Category: GeoInfo

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sarkozy 2007!

Creoles, Arcadians, and Cajuns! Soon you may be able to once again embrace your French heritage with pride! Americans of all backgrounds may once again look to France as an ally. Soon it will be time for the Old Europe country of France to elect the pro-globalization, pro-American, anti-terrorist Nicolas Sarkozy as Président de la République française.

Market-liberalism combined with social conservatism is marching across the devloped world to victory after victory. The latest region to become a battle ground for the Neo-Right is Old Europe. Germany elected Angela Merkel as Chancellor over the center-left incumbent Gerhard Schroder. The next up for elections is France.

France; however, has a different history than Germany. The center-right has long held power with Rally for the Republic and its evolutionary descendent Union for a Popular Movement. These parties; however, are nationalist Gaullist and have mainly served as a political vehicle for the corrupt Jacques Chirac.

Chirac will not run in 2007 for reelection so the UMP is searching for a candidate and two people with different outlooks are in the forefront- Sarkozy and Dominique de Villepin. The differences between these people are like night and day. Villepin is an atheist, pro-Welfare State, anti-American as demonstrated when he was ambassador to the United Nations, and has favored appeasement to Islamists rioters both during the France 2005 riots and now during the cartoon riots. Sarkozy is Catholic, pro-market, pro-America, and vowed to crush the rioters in 2005.

The right in France will have a choice on whether to join in a Neo-Right globalization movement or continue down the path of self-serving Gaullism. The Socialist Party, the main opposition to the UMP, is in disarray due to various issues so the UMP has the biggest chance to pick the new president. The world awaits 2007.

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For those who wish to know more I recommend:
"The Man Who Would Be le President," by Christopher Caldwell. The Weekly Standard, 02/27/06 http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/778lwvxf.asp

Friday, February 17, 2006

Israel Coming

Earlier I predicted Likud would ride the Hamas election to the polls victorious over Kadima and Labor. However, after doing something rare called "research" I find myself mistaken.

I have stumbled upon Jerusalem Post's, the largest English newspaper in Israel, election coverage website. The election coverage provided by the Post is filled with political goodness. Info on parities, polls, candidates, issues, news articles, opinions, and more can be found. I personal like the bumper stickers.

For the big-three the Post predicts Kadima receiving about 40 seats, Labor 20, and Likud a shell of its former self at 11. Results like this will be the pro-disengagement lobby well over 60 votes by combining Kadima, Labor, and some of the minor parties.

An interesting shift in the political spectrum is taken by the Labor party. While they have shifted even more to the Left on social issues, they have adopted the policy of free markets with social safety nets. The support of free markets is even more surprising even one learns their leader, Amir Peretz, was once head of a labor union.

There is one flaw; however, there are no maps! I hope when the election is over there will be result and representation maps. But until then we will have to wait.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Wannsee Conspiracy

Recently one of my favorite movies, Conspiracy, was on TV. Conspiracy is a well done reenactment of the Wannsee Conference which was the conference where the "Final Solution for the Jewish Question" was agreed upon. The plan agreed upon was the Wansee Protocol.

Wansee was held because the Nazis were not pleased with the results of their anti-Semitic policies so far. So the Nazis changed or disregarded many of the Nuremburg Laws. Jews would no longer be viewed as third class citizens but as slave labor meant to slowly die off. Most Germans with some Jewish blood "Mischlinges" lost their status and were classified as Jews. Finally, camps were to be established to kill as many "non-Aryans" as possible.

The horrific decisions made at Wannsee changed the demographic map of European Jewry from this to this. Death camps were set up with the sole purpose of killing as many people as quickly as possible. The camps were nightmares beyond description. Mentioned in Conspiracy is the hope that 22 million people could be executed in one year at maximum capacity.

One by one the camps made by the conspiracy were liberated. But for many it was too late. Some of the members of Wannsee paid for their crimes with their lives, others were briefly jailed and released.

It is important to remember these events to make sure they never happen again. We failed in Rwanda, Darfur, and else where. Let us not fail again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Iraq in Video

Today is a big day for me and the Geography of Catholics in Kansas project. So tomorrow will be a decent post, I promise.

The Iraq war has been highly reported. Images of violence and death have flooded the airwaves. Army friends I know have claimed the media is showing one side of the conflict, a side designed to demoralize the United States.

So I have been asked to support our troops by showing another side of Iraq. These videos below do the job well.

  • The Other Iraq: The Kurds wish to show their thanks to the United States. They are so grateful that they created a whole website of information and videos.
  • Not every terrorist gets their IED day: These terrorist were planting roadside bombs at night. To bad for them they never noticed the gunships.
  • Rock the War: Deuce Four Stryker Brigade released a music video of their time so far in Iraq. Emotion ranges from "Heck yes!" to "tragedy."
  • Is this the way to Armyrillo: It appears the desert has driven our British allies off the deep end. The creators of this video received medals for improving moral throughout the army.
Category: War on Terrorism

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Coping with Stress

Work related stress can bring down any man or woman. The stress of being a national leader is an even greater demon which can mentally destroy people. Fortunately, some leaders have found ways to have fun while still running a country.

Ferenc Gyurcsany: Gyurcsany is the Prime Minister of Hungary. He is currently under stress because the left-wing collation government of Hungary is on shaky ground due to corruption of some members and poor governance. Being a former member of the Communist Party does not help anyway in Hungary either. Gyurcsany’s cure for stress is to act like his hero, Hugh Grant. A video of him dancing like Grant has been a recent hit on the internet.

Tarja Halonen: Halonen is the popular President of Finland. Recently she had to run a country while campaigning for reelection. She led in the polls but the election could have tipped either way. Her solution to this stressful situation was to laugh with Conan O’Brien as he pointed out the physical similarities between them. O’Brien went so far as to create political ads for Halonen. She also authorized several members of parliament to create a rap video for her campaign.

Kim Jong-il: Jong-il is the current Chairman of North Korea while his deceased father is the eternal president. It is believed his father was raised around Pyongyang, which was once the center of Christianity in Korea. It appears that the worship of Jesus was warped into a personality cult for Il-sung and Jong-il. Being a dicator is hard work and very stressful; especially when your country his cut off from the rest of the world. To relieve stress Jong-il plays golf and creates devasting storms.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Ahmadinejad is President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its not easy being the sub-leader of a country surrounded by US and Allied forces while he is busy trying to make nuclear weapons. But somehow Ahmadinejad always manages to have a smile on his face. Seriously, it is a rare, valuable photograph it does not have Ahmadinejad smiling. “What is his secret,” you ask. Well, Ahmadinejad relieves stress by reminding himself that every action he does is to bring about the second coming of some long dead descendent of Muhammad which in turn will usher in the apocalypse. Wait… that is not good at all

Monday, February 13, 2006

Take Away My Home So the Buffalo May Roam

In 1987 an Urban Studies professor and a graduate student (who just so happened to be man and wife) wrote an article in which they decided they were planning gods and called for the creation of a “buffalo commons.”

Dr. and Mrs. Popper stated that the white settlement was a failure in the Great Plains. Environmental determinism was the reason for the failure because the plains had “the nation’s hottest summers and coldest winters, greatest temperature swings, worst hail and locusts and range fire, fiercest droughts and blizzards, and therefore its shortest growing season.”

Privatization, they claim, had failed. Agricultural practices and continuing drought would quickly lead to a new dust bowl. Population density in counties was way too small in order to justify existence. No way could the Great Plains survive.

The recommended route to recovery? Huge federal government intervention! The government, they believe, should buy up huge tracts of land to revert it to its “natural” (never mind that Midwest America was once forest until a long running fire campaign by Paleo-Indians destroyed the environment and created the grasslands) state and pack it full of animals like cougars and buffalo. The economy could be driven by tourism from the east and west coast. The Great Plains would become a park for those who know better than to live in fly over country. Maybe a few Midwesterners could stay around and help the richer folk as tour guides.

What about those people who do not wish to sell to the government? Well, the Poppers believe a huge relocation and reeducation program like the New Deal Resettlement Administration could help those who were forced off their land. The academics, I think, held the great resettlement programs governments did “for” American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Slavs, and many other groups in high regard.

Seems like a bleak future for the Midwest. There are some counter-arguments however.

First, the Poppers are either liars or just really, really, really poor researchers. In their rebuttal, Dr. Karen DeBres and others show that the Great Plains do not have the shortest growing season, fires are unheard of compared to California, and do not have the worst droughts. Many of Poppers claims are flat-out wrong. The authors also question the Poppers non-use of citations. It seemed a bit off for a graduate student and a professor not to cite their sources.

Secondly one can show with recent developments that not all the Poppers’ predictions are coming true. It has been nineteen years yet no new Dust Bowl. While some areas are still losing population, others are growing.

Thirdly deals with economics and demographics. Ever notice that beef and pork are not super pricey? That is because places like Morton County, Kansas; with its population density of five people per square mile, are heavily into cattle and pig production. One does not need to have a high population density to run these types of operations so population does not matter as much. Sure no one is left to run the Starbucks on every corner but people out in the Great Plains do not need the same things the Poppers do.

The Buffalo Commons theory is yet another result of a divide in American thought. Urbanites like the New Jersey Poppers see anything non-urban and think of it as a waste land. Meanwhile, many hearty and decent people make a living and love their life in the land of open sky. While the urbanites tend to make the most noise on the subject, the central Americans get results.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Valentine's Day Stats and More

I am publishing my Valentine’s Day article a tad early just because I do not want to forget what I wish to write.

February 14th is commonly known as Valentine’s Day throughout the world. The day was known in the Catholic calendar as Saint Valentine’s Day until 1969 when many saints’ feasts were dropped due to lack of historical knowledge.

The holiday of Valentine’s Day came to America most likely from English settlers in the 1600 or 1700s. Valentine cards were originally hand made but the forces of market imperialism and mass-market cards were wrought into this word by Esther Howland in 1847.

The Greeting Card Association says about one billion valentine cards are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. Eighty-five percent of all the cards are purchased by women.

To put a geographic spin on this day I found the US Census Bureau’s Valentine’s Day demographic breakdown. All sorts of interesting information like Nevada ranks 35th in population but ranks 5th in number of marriages.

Valentine’s Day has entered the realm of geopolitics. Both radical Hindus and Islamists have denounced Valentine’s Day for pushing “imperial, western values” like, um… love and kindness. Then again these arguments come from the same people who believe freedom of speech is terrorism. So to any activists out there, even if you are single be sure to buy something special on Valentine’s Day to stand up to totalitarianism!

I wish to do shout-outs to very special people in my life who I know read the blog.

  • The Experience: Quick links to your two favorite blog posts of all time. One and two.
  • Maisondebois: I bring bad news for the city of Detroit.
  • Olive Lover: I know you are married but I know you will enjoy this and this.
  • Owner of Olive Lover: Please don’t hurt me!
  • Little Ms. Knows It All: You are wrong!

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day everyone!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Golden Age of Travel Posters


I love pieces of art which depict landscapes. If the painter or photographer has any skill they can capture an image which portrays the nature, culture, and very essence of the place. A well done landscape draws the person and creates a desire to visit the location.

Faithful Catholicgauze reader TDAXP has shown me a website that has landscapes done for travel posters from the "Golden Era" of the 1920s and 30s. The Los Angeles Public Library has the website exhibit, "Far and Wide.”

Just looking at these photos has caused the desire to see the world grow exponentially. To see places again or go to new areas is my new passion of the hour. If I save money I should be able to visit at least some of these places:

  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania- A great battlefield has had many restoration projects in the last few years. A hallowed place such as no other can be found in the United States.
  • Yucatan and Chiapas- Now that I know proper bargaining I will be able to come out on top with the vendors.
  • Coast to Coast England Walk- In my heart since junior year of high school and the whole reason I started my path to fitness.
  • Languedoc, Southern France- I plan on enjoying the beautiful scenery after taking a day to solve the mystery of Rennes-le-Château.
  • Vatican City- My nickname is "Catholicgauze," enough said.
  • Australia- The Midwest of the Southern Hemisphere. Me and thee 'oys have a good shinny now!
Category: Virtually Travelling the World

Friday, February 10, 2006

An American Army Geographying for You!

One of the best geography departments in the world is the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at West Point. Year after year they have been part of the Association of American GeographersMilitary Geography Specialty Group giving excellent presentations on military geography. The best speech, in my mind, was about climate change and temporary global cooling affecting military maneuvers during the American Civil War.

The department has released some of their regional geography works to the public. The series is dedicated to key countries in this global age. The works document geomorphology to medical geography and everything in between. Currently viewable are North Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They are books in pdf form and average in at about 10 MBs so be patient because the wait is worth the reward of geographic knowledge.


Category: Books, War on Terrorism

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cartographic Pornography

If the title does not bring in viewers besides my legion of Indonesian readers nothing will...

I love, eat, sleep, and dream about maps. Giving me an atlas or map set that I do not have is a great present. My birthday (in March) has come early due to my recent discovery of the Ryhiner Collection. Tens of thousands of maps are in the collection with many for your viewing pleasure.

The collection has maps from the 1600s and on. The focus on historical maps makes this a God sent. Go to the maps page and enjoy the cartographic ecstasy for yourself!

Category: Maps

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Name Game

Did you know the Winter Olympics are nearly upon us? The games start on Friday, February 10th but little to no media coverage has been given. I recently found out but I do not really care.

What really draws my attention is what the games' location is being called. The event is being referred to as the "Torino Games." Do you know where Torino is? Some remote mountain town in the Alps with a population of 20, all of them working on the ski slope? Nope. "Torino" is in reality Turin, the industrial town of 900,000.

What is the big deal you ask? My problem is not with the name switch itself even though the names of the games are always internationally know by their English name but the IOC and the media are going with Torino. The media likes Torino because it seems more exotic compared to the mundane sounding Turin.

My problem is with the lack of any naming standard. Oxford's Atlas lists the city as Torino but in Rand McNally its Turin. National Geographic has it both as Torino and Turin. Similar problems in naming are found with cities in India and South Korea. Name changes here are more or less political in nature. I was told by an Indian grad student that locals call Mumbai "Bombay" and the only reason there was a name change was that a new political party gained power.

Some people claim locations should be known by its local name. But no English-speaking cartographer maps Germany as "Deutschland" or Greece as the "Ελληνική Δημοκρατία." What about places like the Česká Republika (Czech Republic) where locals cannot agree on a name? So that system cannot work. A naming system would be nice but until then let us try to stop random and political renaming.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Nations and Nation-States in Europe

Update: Links fixed

A hierarchical Nazi race map of Europe

The study of nations and nation-states has always interested me. The late nineteenth and early twentieth-century saw the emergence of many nation-states in Europe. Boundaries were set up so nations would be housed within their own state. However conflicts have modified borders and greatly affected the ethnic landscape.


Compare the pre-World War I political and ethnic maps to post-World War I political and ethnic maps and a current political map of Europe. Notice how things have changed:

Turkey and Greece
: The Turks and Greeks had a scuffle after the First World War in which the Turks proved they were not weaklings. Greece gained land from the Balkan Wars and World War I, recovering much of their European ethnic lands but failed to keep Constantinople and ethnic Greek lands in Asia Minor after the Great War. The peace process involved a mass migration for Greeks from Asia Minor to Europe while the Turks were forced to move out of most of Europe including Ataturk’s hometown of Salonika.

German nation: Germany temporary lost many parts of the Reich after World War I. Ethnic Germans in Elsass-Lothringen and the Rhineland were put under French control. The northwest corner of Poland was full of Germans and Danzig was declared independent of Germany. Of course the trend was reserved via Hitler prior to World War II. After the Second World War Germany was force to give up many of their territorial gains. The current situation has settled down with the European Union and open borders.

Russia: Tsarist Russia fell before the end of the Great War and was swallowed by revolution and counter-revolution. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania took the opportunity to declare independence. The latter three were annexed by Stalin and remained part of the Soviet Union until its fall in 1991. The fall of the Soviet Union allowed the three and many other Soviet Socialist Republics to declare independence. The present concern in these countries is now abandoned Russians who make reasonable minorities that do not wish to assimilate into the dominate culture.

Hungary: The Hapsburg Empire was disbanded and Hungary lost a huge tract of land. A sizable minority has been cut off from Hungary in Vojvodina (northern Serbia) and Romania doubled its size by absorbing ethnic the Hungarian land of Transylvania. The issue of Hungarians is still not settled. Romania has a kulturekampf against the Csangos and Hungarians caught in Romania.

Southern Slavs: The whole Yugoslavia experiment was doomed from the start. The ethnic chaos was well documented by the Nazis who picked a side (the Croats) and left Yugoslavia to its own devices. One look at modern cartography and one can easily understand why the place went to Hell after Tito's death. While extra-state conflicts have ended with the Dayton Peace Accord, Kosovo, under United Nations control, continues to be a hot zone with Kosovo Liberation Army raids against Serbs.

Roma (Gypsies): As a person who I once knew told me, "No one cares for the Roma. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow." None of the maps linked showed any Roma population, not even the racist Nazi European race map. Roma continue to face prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe. While the United Nations will make a big fuss for Palestinians no one seems to care for the Roma in the field of politics or geography.

Category: Historical Geography, Maps

So that's what makes the Arab street upset

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Face of Muhammed Blog for the Map

Remember when some people said the Iraq War would cause the Arab street to explode? Well that did not happen; it turns out that cartoons are what upset Arabs.

The geographic structure of the response to the cartoons is interesting. In the Islamic core embassies have been burnt and there have been casualties. In Euroarabia there have been countless street protests. Areas lacking any significant Islamic influence like Canada have seen letters being written to newspapers.

Here's a scorecard of current events:

West: 12 cartoons

Islamists: 4 embassies attacked; one Catholic priest murdered; many protests in the West by Islamists who fled Islamic countries for freedom promising to end freedom; countless violent protests including attacking soldiers helping kids; and creation of a umma-wide flag creation/burning operation.

Even though anyone who knows me knows I'm a rock solid in my religious beliefs; I do not believe in mock the beliefs of others. Saint Paul forbids mocking the belief structure of others in first Corinthians because of the backlash it causes. However, the Islamists have gone way too far. One has to realize that just because someone does something that is "wrong," that does not mean any reaction is acceptable. Catholics have been mocked in the United States yet no one yet has seen a Catholic Taliban burn down art houses or threaten people's lives.

The world is watching the Islamic response. The cartoons basically stated Islam is not a religion of peace. The response from Muslims goes as evidence to back up the cartoon's statement. Nowhere have there been the massive Muslim protests against bombings of civilians or beheadings. God truly is great and cartoons can not affect him. Both Christianity and Islam believe only God can judge, so I say let him and just roll with the punches.

**********Update**********
Images of Muhammed are not as taboo as claimed.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Catholics and Kansas - Nuts Falling from the Tree

The Catholic Church has been having an interesting experience in Kansas. The church's presence was small but has been growing since the end of the World War II. The city of Manhattan was lacking in a Catholic church for years but now has three with Sunday mass being packed at all three.

But the Church is being attacked in Kansas and not just from marginal Protestant bigotry (local Fred Phelps is Jack Chick on speed!). The main surprise is that Kansas has caused some Catholics to go crazy.

In a ten mile area there are two separatists groups.

First is David Bawden's group of Sedevacantist who have declared him Pope Michael I. He was elected as an anti-pope (he claims he is THE Pope) by six people including himself and his parents.

There has been very little media attention paid to David. However, he has been interviewed for the book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" When a priest was told David is still running around claiming to be Pope without doing any papal duties, the priest replied "Mike is still around?"

The second group is more international. The town of Saint Marys, Kansas is in all practical ways run by the Society of St. Pius X. Friends have told Catholicgauze that the society in Saint Marys does not care for outsiders and have told stories of hostility at in town restaurants.

The Society was founded by an excommunicated archbishop and former members have a habit of trying to assassinate the pope. Rome has tired several times to bring the group back into communion but the society has backtracked on agreements.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A True World Series


Olympic Baseball has been cancelled and the World Cup of Baseball is too amateurish. Finally Catholicgauze's wish of international professional baseball has been granted! The World Baseball Classic is a month away!

China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, United States, South Africa, Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico, Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy, and Venezuela are competing for the world championship. I eagerly await this tournament.

The tournament has not been without controversy however. Cuba was at first not allowed to participate but negotiations allowed Castro's nation to play. Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, threatened not host games if Cuba was not allowed to play. Castro decided to celebrate their acceptance by not allowing defectors to play. There will be no "Free Cuba" team.

Taiwan is only allowed to play under the name Chinese Taipei and must use their Olympic Flag. Red China must be pleased, freedom be danged.

Baseball is truly an international sport. It did not spread with a conquering imperial country but via lines of communication. Let the World Baseball Classic bring people closer together.

Category: Sports

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Wiki GIS for the People!

Catholicgauze has stumbled across a wiki map application from WorldKit. Worldkit describes itself as:
  • worldKit is an easy to use and flexible mapping application for the Web. Light weight GIS. It's a SWF based app, configured by XML, data fed by RSS. Stand-alone use or integration in larger projects.
Go check it out for yourself! It can be added to any webpage. I am thinking thesis aid!

Category: Neogeography

Friday, February 03, 2006

Geography Books of Evil

In research class yesterday I read social geographers criticisms of GIS. One of the charges was that GIS is "evil" because it was "partly funded by the military." I'll put up a scan latter. I was floored by this claim of "evilness" in Geography. The fact that the claim came from a field of geography infested by Marxists only made me more dumbfounded.

So I wondered if I could find any really evil Geography. Then, like a sign from above, the German Propaganda Archive from Calvin College provided everything I needed.

First up are excerpts from a Nazi Geography book. The book rants on how Germans "need more space." The classic Nazism in this book is:

  • Our development into an industrial state dependent on world markets was intensified by the economic losses resulting from the dictates of Versailles. The dependence on world capital, controlled by Jewry, became intolerable.

The second evil book is a civics book from the Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany). I recommend reading it to laugh at the claims of peaceful socialism and the three imperial, capitalist powers- the USA, Japan, and EC.

Maybe the East Germans weren't completely evil. The third book explains why it was good for Germany to give land to Poland. At least the East Germans understood this point while West Germany continued to make road maps of Imperial Germany.

Category: Books