Thursday, March 30, 2006

World Statesmen

After weeks of favoring the Mass of the CIA World Factbook the Bishops need to meet concerning an up and coming star. There is a rival, of sorts, and its name is World Statesmen.

World Statesmen defines itself as "encyclopedia of leaders, nations, dependencies, international and religious organizations. Detailed chronologies, maps national anthems, flags and indexes are included to guide your research." And oh boy is it ever.

The meat and potatoes of World Statesmen is its country section. There are too many features on each country's page to describe. For example, if one clicks on the United States one can read the history and politics (including constitutions in many cases) of not only America's but also of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Confederate States of America, Republic of Texas, and the Republic of West Florida. Flags and maps abound!

But what makes World Statesmen really stand out are all the bells and whistles. An index of major wars since 1700, an index of colonies both past and present (anyone want to read about Genoan occupied Tabarca?), and a list of terrorist organization that would make Global Security (not the quasi-evil mercenary group but the information/policy website) envious.

What really takes the cake is the list of religious organizations. Want to know the head of every Eastern Rite Catholic Church ever? Well here you go! Need a list of the Caliphs? All you need to do is say Allah-u-Akbar and click this link! And there are more religious groups; much, much more.

World Statesmen has a nice feature on September 11, 2001. They also need more data and are asking for help. Be sure to say hi and/or help out!


Category: GeoInfo

Spatial Relationship of Abortions


With apologizes to both Thomas P.M. Barnett and the Coming Anarchy Cartographers

Coming Anarchy has been doing a long running series of "mapping the gap," the Thomas Barnett theory of Functioning and Non-Integrated countries. They are looking at spatial relationships of things which affect geopolitics; from ungoverned areas, civil rights, and more.

I decided to jump on the band wagon and take a look at abortions with Thomas Barnett's theory. What I discovered (map above) is that while the gap theory does a fair job generalizing abortion laws there are too many outliers.

My project, besides finishing up the last entry on the Future of the EU and NATO, is to create a new mapping theory which can explain the spatial relationship of abortions, if any. It will have to consider not only geography but history, culture, and politics of states and regions as well. Stay tuned.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Worldmapper

Everyone likes riding on a train


UPDATE: The maps are back up! Woot!

I was planning a blog post on this for a while but a hat tip from TDAXP pushed me to do it today.

Worldmapper has released fifty-four cartograms for free. The cartograms cover a wide range from normal styles population, births, and immigration to the more original tourist destinations, rail passengers, oil tankers, and lots more.

I have some thoughts on some of the maps

The Population changes from A.D. 1, 1500, today, 2050, and 2300 showed an interesting evolution of planetary population. China and India have always been the 800-pound guerilla in population and will continue to be. Europe will go from another China in 1500 to about the same size of the United States. Japan is on its way out and Africa is getting big.

Europeans really like tourism as they dominate both incoming and outgoing countries. I wonder what will happen if economic reforms continue and the four to six weeks of vacation are taken away or decreased.

Zheng He would be very, very, very proud.

The United States and Japan like their vices while Europe and Mexico are the kings of exports of alcohol and cigarettes. I wish that they would separate alcohol and cigarettes so we can see Europe's love of tobacco and if the Muslim world is cheating with alcohol.

Category: Atlas, GeoInfo, Maps

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Moon Update

As readers know I think exterraography (we desperately need a real term for the geography of other planets) is one of my hobbies. So I was thrilled at the announcement that NASA is planning the construction of a permanent moon base.

This is great for Selenography (geography on the moon; there is a real term!). Imagine future scientific journeys to the Maria which will study how the moon formed. Selenologists (geologist who study the moon; another real term!) would have a field day with all the features unaffected by erosion. Maybe we can determine if the Moon is active or dead. Finally, we will be able to verify Boint's lunar measurements.

Astronomers will also use the moon base. Telescopes could be built which would observe stars and other space phenomenon without any atmospheric pollution.

To learn about how we plan to journey to the moon a National Geographic Kids' News article provides a general description.


Category: Space

European Union and NATO: Part 3.5

Europe is in trouble and the western European Union countries in particular are hopping into oblivion. Resistance to reform, population suicide, and a second barbarian invasion are the demons Europe must conquer if the European Union, and Europe as we know it, wishes to survive.

Resistance to reform: France is currently under siege by those who wish to have a weak economy for all while they enjoy all the benefits of being rich. Recently a law was passed that would those in their twenties to be fired for poor performance.

Apparently being held responsible for one's actions in France is a big no-no. Protestors like an economy where sky-high benefits keep unemployment high. These are people who have one test per semester per class, take weeks off for vacation, and work where the cannot be fired.

The economy of France is slowing down and dying yet appearance are being kept up by French laws. The ones unemployed currently usually are not Formage but those on the margins of society, the unskilled and immigrants who want reform because it gives them a chance of getting a job.

When the socialist bubble pops there will be Hell to pay. As if there was not Hell to pay already.

Population suicide: Population rates are also declining. People are not having babies because the horizontal cultural support system usually done by children taking care of their aging parents has been replaced with the vertical support of the government. Who wants kids who one has to support for twenty some-years when the government will take care of you? The lack of children will also mean a lack of workers to support the socialist system that will collapse with no one supports it.

The Netherlands is considering allowing legal infanticide (the murdering of born children). I guess they view it as abortion plus. The shocking thing is almost no one is denouncing this. With a dying population one needs as many new births as possible. Blood-thirsty idiocy at its worse.

The Spartans did the same thing (See: Sparta: A Model for All Fascists) as they were dying and were badly defeated and destroyed by the Athenians. The declining population hurt the Spartans immensely in their wars against the Athenians.

Invasion: The one step that Europe is doing to save itself is one of the worst things they are doing to themselves. Europe is allowing immigrants to come and settle in Europe, WHICH IS FINE IN AND OF IT SELF. However, a segment of this population is Islamist which views itself at war anything not Muslim. The Islamists see the lazy and dying population as the opportunity to succeed where the Moors and Turks of before failed, the conquering of Europe.

In Sweden there are zones where ambulances will not go because they would be attacked, the Netherlands has had assassinations against politicians, Denmark was involved in the whole cartoon battle, terrorists have blown up civilians in London, and honor killings are becoming more common in Europe.

Will Europe toughen up and become the Leviathan that it once was or will it go quietly into the darkness? The only hope for western Europe is to adopt capitalistic reforms like in the Ascension States, manage through the transition period, and have laws which encourage having children.

Category: Geopolitics

Monday, March 27, 2006

Google Earth Round-Up

I have lately been enjoying Google Earth way too much. I have found out a lot of cool links and sights:

First off Google has lost the Japan War to Yahoo. Mutant Frog Travelogue has revealed to us barbarians that the Yahoo-made clone has aerial photos integrated into the program along with maps. All hail the new Archbishop of Japan- Maps Yahoo Japan. (Hat Tip: Christopher G.)

There are ton of websites dedicated to learning about Google Earth. Google Earth Community is the official community group and is always active. Good luck not having a post not buried in the whirlwind of posts. Google Sightseeing is a great blog-style website with tons of features. Check out their Weird category. Another neat blog is Ogle Earth. This blog can be described as a Google Earth Plus blog with neat posts like this,

There is a lot of weird stuff on Google Earth. UFOs, flying cars, crop circles, scary military places, and more can be found on Google Earth.

I have been observing changes for Baghdad, Iraq which depict bombed houses, the opening of the Seventh Seal (Click this one!!!), IED attacks, WMD-storage house, and life going on normally like any other city.

Baghdad is almost as interesting as Fortress Pyongyang (be sure to zoom out to get a full view).

Category: Neogeography

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Billion Dollar Disasters

NOAA has updated their Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters website. The website has a very interesting disasters map (PDF) and a narrative which goes along with it. There is alot more to the site to check out for yourself! (Hat Tip: Geography.About.com)

Category: Physical Geography, Maps

Friday, March 24, 2006

European Union and NATO: Part III

Part I and Part II of the series on the European Union and NATO.

The Future of the Europe Union


Both the European Union and NATO have the chance to thrive or die. The reasons are much different; however.

The European Union is at a cross-road. The desire of a stronger political union has hit major roadblocks. The European Constitution was rejected by France and the Netherlands, two of the most pro-Europe countries in the Union. The constitution itself highlighted a divide in the Union. Religion was one issue with it. The Western Countries rejected any mention of Christianity’s role in the building of Europe. The Ascension States are more religious and are somewhat appalled at the lack of faith in the west. Political power was the main issue however. The makers of the constitution wanted to implant a horrible mish mash of French, German, and English laws on the members states. The Eastern European states swallowed the laws as the price of membership but the French rejected the "Anglo-Germanic" rules.

Further expansion could also kill the Union. Turkey desperately wants to be a member yet has some very serious cultural baggage. Turkey is not cultural European. Anti-West Islamism is gaining more and more strength everyday. If the Ascension States were maddening for the Western Europeans let them try to deal Turkey.

Another last bit of negative news for the European Union is its rules. The European Union has strong budget rules for it Euro using members. However, both France and especially Germany are ignoring these rules. Italy has floated the idea repeatedly about dropping the Euro. These three countries form a core of originally and most powerful members. If the leaders cannot follow the rules why should the other member states.

European needs a military mission. Honestly they do! Go to the European Defence Agency's website and click on "Long Term Vision." Member countries like France want a European Army to show the Americans they can handle their own but the Europeans do not know how to form one or what to use an army for. The Americans had to do something in the Balkans twice, Iraq, and now maybe Iran. Where do you see the Europeans getting involved with Darfur? Nowhere.

Three of the four issues dealt in part with France, which is the last negative point for the Union. As the European Union expands into Eastern Europe the common language used was not French but English. The rise of English is so upsetting to the Formage that Chirac walked out of a summit when he heard a Frenchman use English. The French remove their military from NATO but stay in politically, act like children when they hear English; this must stop if they want to be part of a group not Greater France.

The European Union needs to get its act together. Almost all the European states want to join it for the common market, free trade, and free movement of people. If the European Union can act like a hyper-NAFTA its future will be bright. However, if it attempts to put a Franco-German political face on Europe, Europskeptic parties in the other member states will limit its power well beyond a NAFTA level. The European Union will still be there no matter what; the question is how powerful it will be.

Up next the future of NATO

Category: Geopolitics

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Death of European Feudalism

Feudalism in Europe has apparently died. The island of Sark, part of the British Crown Dependency of Guernsey in the English Channel, has voted to change from Feudalism to a more republican style of government.

The island has no cars or roads and heavily regulates the use of tractors. Many people thought the island was a relic from the past where island leaders, known as the Chief Pleas, cruelly oppressed their subjects.

But now their subjects are citizens with democratic rights. The Chief Pleas voted 25 to 15 in favor of republican change after the islanders took an opinion poll on the matter. Now 14 elected landowners and 14 elected residents will have power once the Queen approves the change.

The end of 450 years of feudalism is being attributed to the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights. The move is not without its detractors. One resident said "Feudalism is a great system and has worked very well for the island. What people wanted was an option of no change at all." I wish the result from the opinion poll the islanders took was available online.

While I am a republican I do recognize what Aristotle taught in Politics. The hierarchy of governments in theory from best to worst goes Kingdom, Aristocracy, Republic, Tyranny, Oligarchy, and finally Democracy. Aristotle qualified this by the fact that Kingdom and Aristocracy usually do not work so Republic is the best way to go. But what if an Aristocratic Feudalistic system does work?

However, I eagerly welcome Sark's move into democracy and hope it proves better than Feudalism.


Category: Historical Geography

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Genographic Travels of the proto-Catholicgauzes

The Journey of R1a, Catholicgauze's group

National Geographic is currently running one of the most epic geographical projects in the history, no kidding. The Genographic Project seeks to map the journey of humankind from eastern Africa. Right now it is possible to trace one’s roots from the dawn of man up to approximately 10,000 B.C.

The fee is $107 to buy a kit but I believe it is well worth the money. Genographic will either trace the lineage of the Y-chromosome for men or the Mitochondrial DNA for women. All that is required is two samplings from one’s cheek and it can be done in the comforts of one home. Then one waits for about two months and checks online for the story of their distant ancestors.

Catholicgauze recently did his own test and found out about the journey of an “African Adam” (much more of a Cain than an Adam however) who ditched his clan, started a journey out of Africa, and became responsible for all of the non-Africans in the world.

Catholicgauze’s ancestors stayed in the Mideast for a while, went east into India (while many European ancestors went north into the Caucuses Mountains), lived in the steppes, traveled west into they hit glaciers, and then returned to the steppes. The Y-chromosome group, M17, is commonly found from the Czech Republic all the way to northern India. The ancestors of these people were the Kurgans. The Kurgans started the Indo-European language family and were the first to domesticate horses which were used for agriculture and migration.

This all came as quite of a surprise to me. My father’s male line is one of blue blooded Englishmen so I was expecting a more “European” line. I was thinking maybe a pure Roman lineage. Maybe my ancestors came to Europe soon afterwards or as part of the barbarian invasions against Rome, became Saxons, then Anglo-Saxons. These are some very scenarios for me to ponder.

Over the next few years National Geographic, especially the .COM department, plans to expand on the information available. The hope is to have information relating to human migration with Alexander, Rome, Roma, rise of Islam and Arabs, and etc. I am hoping they are able to pull it off. Having more modern information would give a greater understanding of the human journey to people.

This is a must buy if you can afford to pay the $107 and are a fan of tracing your roots. It is not a genealogical project; however, so do not plan on finding out where great-grandpa was from. Besides that, Genographic is perfect!

Be sure to check out the online atlas which has all the different type of DNA paths.

Category: Miscellaneous

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Belarus Rising?

Belarus recently held a rigged presidential election in which Alexander Lukashenko was "re-elected" to the presidency. The people of Belarus; however, after seeing results in the Cedar, Orange, and Purple Revolutions, have taken to the streets protesting the fraudulent results.

The problem has been brewing for some time now. Belarus is frequently called Europe's last dictatorship. Lacking membership in either NATO or the European Union, the only reprieve for Belarus is aide from Russia. Russian President Putin has had no trouble in the past dealing with dictators and the present is no exception. The international hope is that the Belarus people will be able to oust Lukashenko and Belarus will finally be able to globalize.

Bloggers, from both Belarus and internationally, have been covering the on going developments.

Japan!

It was better than the World Series! It lived up to being the true World Series! The World Baseball Classic lived up to all the hype!

Japan beat Cuba in a battle royale. While the final score of the championship game was 10-6, the game was a battle to the very last inning. An initial lead of 6-1 was worn down by team Cuba's never ending determination to win. Japan; however, also had the drive to win and kept on scoring. What made the game even better was the fielding. Unbelievable plays were made by both teams.

I could talk about my distaste of allowing Cuba to play, no Cuba Libre team made up of defectors, or of the outrage of calling Taiwan "Chinese Taipei" but I will not. This was a victory for "the brotherhood of baseball" to quote Castro's son.

Now we have to wait until 2009 for the next World Baseball Classic. Oh well, the excitement will be worth the wait.

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Update: Spark Plugged blog has also blogged about Japan's victory.

Category: Sports

Monday, March 20, 2006

Earth Desktop Wallpaper

One of my weaknesses, besides maps, is pretty pictures. When the two weakness I am beyond a hopless, lost case. So when FARK linked to Desktop Earth 2.0 I was thrilled. I have yet to install it on my labtop but I will soon. I will let the description do all the talking:

Desktop Earth is a wallpaper generator for Windows. It runs whenever you're logged on and updates your wallpaper with an accurate representation of the Earth as it would be seen from space at that precise moment.

Images are created from high-resolution textures (2560x1280) so it's perfect for that QSXGA display - but they work on anything, even on SVGA.

There is an image for every month to accurately depict snow and foliage changes, and the night view is simply stunning.

The imagery is based on NASA's Blue Marble Next and Earth's City Lights.

Category: Miscellaneous

Sunday, March 19, 2006

European Union and NATO: Part II

Part II in a series based on the Future of NATO and the European Union by Major Michael Doyle.

Background of NATO

The background of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is different from the background of the European Union. The separate history has caused NATO to develop down a path separate from the EU but it will not necessarily give NATO a unique future.

NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve countries, ten in Europe and the United States and Canada. The organization’s purpose was to act as an alliance against Soviet aggressive expansion which was personified by the Berlin Blockade. The pact expanded throughout the years eventually gaining a total of twenty-six members. France removed its military competent from NATO while remaining in the political structure and Iceland relies on the United States' armed forces for its military strength (although the Iceland Defense Force will be disbanded by September 2006).

The goal of NATO was the defense of Europe. Because European countries feared the Soviet Union, Euroskeptic states like Norway and Iceland joined NATO while resisting the EU. The desire for as many allies as possible caused NATO to embrace countries like Greece and Turkey while the Western Europeans in the European Community remained skeptics of these countries ability to assimilate into a Western European organization.

The Post Cold War era presented new challenges. The Soviet Union was gone and the European Union was on the rise. Would the Atlantic treaty survive or would it be replaced by an European military force?

So far NATO has been thriving while the EU is withering on the vine. When the Bosnian crisis broke the European Community did nothing after diplomacy failed. President Clinton on the other hand led NATO in and the Dayton Accords were signed. The same story happened in Kosovo. NATO is also in charge of reconstructing Afghanistan after Coalition forces replaced the Taliban. On the other hand the EU’s attempts to create a political state have been set back years because of the rejection of the European Constitution.

The nature of NATO is one of a military alliance. There have been no seriously plans to expand its mission into the political realm. Therefore people tend to think of it in a separate sphere from the European Union. However, their existences are intertwined and their fates have a possibility of being the same.

Next Time: NATO and the EU's Coming Future

Category: Geopolitics

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Planetography

I will be on the road all day Friday so consider this Friday's update

Back in my high school days I was involved with a study that determining lunar heights by measuring shadow distances from mountain and crater peaks. One of the things we found out was that there were no other projects like this. The only recorded lunar heights were few and far between done by the Apollo project. There were no other works of lunaography or planetography that dealt with physical elevations to speak of in all the fields of science.

Now lunaographers and martianographers (if no one else can find these words I am coining them right here!) can rejoice. Google, in the spirit of Google Earth, has released Google Moon and Google Mars.

Google Moon has a satellite image-created map of the lunar surface. The sidebar allows one to focus on the Apollo lunar landing sites. Zoom in all the way for rare Apollo images.

Google Mars has more features. One can view the surface of Mars in an elevation map mode, through visible remote sensing, and the infrared spectrum. Options on top allow one to read stories about Mars or focus on various features on the planet. The two neatest things to look at are Olympus Mons, the highest mountain in the known universe, and Valles Marineris, the deepest canyon in the known universe and sometimes filled with ice fog.


Category: Space

European Union and NATO: Part I

In the spirit of Major Brian Doyle’s The Future of NATO and the EU I am beginning a series of posts which will examine the nature of the EU and NATO and then compare where the orginizations could possible go. So without further ado I present part one in my series

Background of Old vs. New EU

The European Union was originally founded as the European Coal and Steel Community with the member states of Benelux, West Germany, France, and Italy. The organization changed focus from purely economic matters to more political concerns throughout its existance. In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty was signed and the European Union was born. The European Union, which replaced the European Community, was designed not only to streamline economic matters but also to set the ground work for a politically united Europe. From the original six countries the European Union grew to include fifteen by 1995. All these countries were either in Western Europe or in the western cultural sphere (Sweden, Finland, Austria, and Greece to a certain extent). The cultural atmosphere of Western Europe was center-left with popular socialist and communist parties, secular, and a cautious attitude towards the United States.

The fifteen countries have a combined population of 378.7 million, a GDP of $1.1 trillion, an average wage of $26.75 per hour, 7.2% unemployment, and 4.3% of all workers involved with agriculture. In short, EU 15 was a post-industrial society.

In 2004 the European Union expanded into Eastern (or really eastern Central) Europe. Unlike the EU 15, the new countries were inside the Iron Curtin. The knowledge of what communism did, the gratitude for being capitalist, and other factors make the new members, or Accession States, different from their counterparts. The Accession States tend to elect center-right governments, are more religious than Western Europe, and have a much more favorable opinion of the United States. An example of Accession States politics was the latest election in Poland where the two final candidates represented the business right vs. religious right. Both candidates promised to continue Polish military involment in Iraq.

The Accession States are also different in their demographic and economic make-up. Different nations have been divided and separated as was documented before. The total population in the States is 74.8 million, the GDP is $486.5 billion, the Purchasing Power per Person is only 50% of the EU 15, the average wage is $5.07 per hour, unemployment is 14.5%, and 13.3% of all workers are involved with the agricultural sector. The market is a combination of industry and service sector with a strong primary economic base.

The Accession States may be smaller and economically weaker but they are political giants. In a system where one country can stop political movement, the Accession States have huge sway. Euroskeptic parties, already doing damage to the EU from countries like France, the United Kingdom, and Italy, will be stronger in the new member states. The long term goal of the European Union is to create a European Superstate with Western European ideals, look for this to change with the Accession States and others modifying the European Union to suit their own goals.

Up next will the background of NATO

Category: Geopolitics

Greetings Directions!

Directions Magazine has linked to Catholicgauze's Friday AAG update! They seem interested in the upcoming reviews for military geography articles and the noted rudeness of many geographers. I hope I can keep you guys interested.

I have not read Directions before but I shall begin to check out all the interesting news articles and features that they have to offer. So far two articles appeal to me:

A Synopsis of the Indian GIS Industry: Globalization is big in geography. The technical fields of Remote Sensing and GIS are dominated by India and China who work these fields as an engineering field. This article describes recent changes in the Indian sector of GIS.

Counter-terrorism for Corporations Part 1 and 2: Pretty straight forward. This article is dedicated to business' efforts not to be blown up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Review of the Geography of Lovecraft

First I must apologize. I gave TDAXP the chance to review a geography of H.P. Lovecraft and Fortean geography. So what does he do? He makes a geometry review with charts! I am sorry. The review can be found here.

TDAXP has some sort of weird favoritism towards charts so he uses them to explain Lovecraft's hatred of Southerners and Dutch rather than just making a map. If you can get past the charts it’s quite a good read, I think.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Catholicgauze's New Map


In the spirit of Arcs of Instabilities I have created a map better depicting the arcs of instability by basis of country.

My map depicts the various arcs that need to be tackled with various means. The legend is made on the basis of priority of action.

Mideast Arc: High military action and creation of liberal democratic societies.

Russian Arc
: Military involvement with increase integration with the other Russian Republics.

Golden Arc
: Alliances with liberal states and groups with minor military involvement along the lines of troop trainings.

Eastern/Pacific Arc: Propaganda and information control in media and military police and training actions.

Rest of the World: Non-stop activity in the media selling the positives of peace and anti-Islamofascist information.

Category: Geopolitics

Chechnya and Arcs of Instabilities

My Arcs of Instabilities

One of the several paper presentations I saw at the Association of American Geographers' convention in Chicago was Examining the Geo-Political Development of Extremism in Chechnya after the fall of the Soviet Union by Mary Swalligan of Kent State University.

Ms. Swalligan gave a general overview of developments and world influences in Chechnya after the First and Second Chechen War. Also discussed was how Russia views the Global War on Terrorism.

Chechnya fought its first war against the Russian Federation in the early and mid-1990s. The land empire of Russia, after losing many of the former Soviet Socialist Republics, refused to grant Chechnya its independence. War broke out after criminal elements took over the local government and declared independence. The nature of the war was a factionary war based on political backings. In 1995 President Yeltsin of Russia declared a cease-fire and a semi-independent, Russian backed government was installed in Chechnya.

In the period between 1995 and 1999 was one of change. Wahhabists from Saudi Arabia began to set up a network of social aide stations and madrassas. In the neighboring republics and in Chechnya itself Islamists recruited followers and began a campaign of terror against Russia.

The second war broke out after Islamists arose against the Russian-backed government. The attack on a theater, where Chechnya terrorists dressed like Islamists and waved Arabic flags, was a sign of increased influence of Islamists in the area. The war continues today in low intensity but constantly fought battles.

The second part of the paper was dedicated to Russia's view on the Global War on Terrorism. While President Bush actively supports democracy, Russia has been a cautious defender of the Arab states. Willing to oppose the War in Iraq, negotiate with Hamas and Iran are some examples of Putin's real politics. The catch phrase in the United States is Axis of Evil while Russia sees an Arc of Instability from Morocco to the Southern Philippines.

I saw a problem with paper at the end. Ms. Swalligan believed in order to win in Chechnya; Russia must take a softer military approach while rebuilding the local economy. I went into TDAXP mode and pointed out that like in Iraq, the terrorists would attack the local networks of society and the rebuilding. The only way to win would be not only to rebuild the networks but also wage a fierce war against the terrorists and keep them on the run.

As for the Arc of Instability I have an interesting theory. I purpose four Arcs. One by Chechnya, one in the Mideast from Saudi Arabia and Syria to Pakistan, one along the edge of the Sahara Desert to Bangladesh, and the final one from the Thailand, to the Philippines, to Indonesia. I call these the Arcs of Instability. Not too original but it works.

The middle arc (the Mideast) must be the primal goal. This area is the heart of Islamism and with Saudi Arabia the financer of many terrorist operations. Continuing to press democracy and fighting terrorists is the modus operandi here. If we win here everywhere else will be a cake walk.

The northern arc can be handled by Russia. Supporting economic development and fighting terrorists will win the battle here.

The southern arc has to be an international effort. Military operations can be minimal in this area. Foreign investment, globalization, and other cooperative efforts can kill the weed of Islamistism before it blooms.

The eastern arc is the least pressing arc. Islamists actions are still low level (attacks on churches, kidnapping, and alike). By pressing the popular culture to reject these actions, and globalized investments can prevent anything serious. Military action against these thugs should be stepped up with idea of quick victory.

To win we must take on these arcs individually and separately.

Category: Geopolitics

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bush League! Part 3

Last night we decided yesterday was one of the worst days of are life. Not terrible but just flat out horrible. We pondered how the today could turn out. It involved a tornado throwing our car into an impound lot, having a Dawn of the Dead-style morning, having the car bleed and moan Event Horizon-style, wishing we were dead, and wrapping it up by being jumped by velociraptors.

However I am finally safe in Kansas. Saw some damage along dealing with housing and trucking. I am way too tired to blog about the conference right now and I have to finalize a paper and prepare to teach a class at 7:30 P.M. tonight. BUSH LEAGUE!

For a geographical treat I leave you a transit map of Chicago's L-Train. This is quite possibly one of the worst systems in the country. Not only are the trains horrible by being dirty and lacking any real schedule but there are multiple stations with the same name. Damen on the blue line played Hell with me. Try finding the other errors with the system. It would be fun with it was not real. The corrupt &^(%$#@ of a mayor Richard M. Daley should feel horrible about the city he and his family have run into the ground.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

BUSH LEAGUE! Part 2


Live blogging in a tornado! BUSH LEAGUE!

Drudge Report links to a report of the huge storm system breaking out which is interfering with our travel back to Kansas and is snowing my home in South Dakota. People have died. Our prayers go out to them.

Kansas University
's campus has been closed. Sixty percent of on campus buildings have been damaged. So KU'ers (unlike us) do not have to worry about classes. BUSH LEAGUE!

We hope to explore KU's campus to aide one of the geographer's thesis on tornadoes. We hope to be on the road by 5 A.M. BUSH LEAGUE!

Bush League!

The rest of the AAG conference went well. Once I am safe I'll blog about the rest of my session but Sunday has been "BUSH LEAGUE!" or the day from Hell!

8:00 A.M. A roommate and I woke up early while the other two stayed in bed way too late. This was going to make the 10 or so hour car ride long. BUSH LEAGUE!

9:30 Checked out of hotel. Went to locate the car to drive back to Kansas but discovered it was towed. BUSH LEAGUE!

10:00 Found out where it was towed. Two roommates took a taxi to pick it up.

11:20 Oops, it is at the other impound lot. BUSH LEAGUE! Other impound lot is a $38 taxi ride. BUSH LEAGUE!

12:00 P.M. Arrived at impound lot. It is in a hellish part of Chicago on the hinterlands of Hell! BUSH LEAGUE!

12:30 Finally get car. Need to eat however and waste 30 minutes at a McDonald's waiting for service. BUSH LEAGUE!

3:00 Find out that tornado cells are ripping apart Kansas University's campus and Kansas City's Airport.

3:30 Tornado cells are a larger part of super cells. Bush League?

7:00-ish. Notice a large thunder storm in front of us at Columbia, Missouri. Emergency announcements of super cells crossing I-70 until 9:00. Pull over at a restaurant outside Columbia. BUSH LEAGUE!

9:00 Storm warnings and watches extended until 4:00 AM. Must spend the night in Columbia. BUSH LEAGUE!

Next time; we're all flying to and from San Francisco. BUSH LEAGUE!

Friday, March 10, 2006

AAG: Friday Morning Update

I'm here at the Association of American Geographers 102nd Annual Meeting in Chicago. I attended some good sessions yesterday, spent time with friends, and saw the downfall of western civilization.

Paper Sessions: I saw two outstanding talks yesterday. The first one was by Dr. Francis Galgano of the United States Military Academy. He spoke about A Geographical Analysis of Ungoverned Spaces. The second speaker was Dr. Brian Doyle also of the United States Military Academy. Dr. Doyle spoke about The Future of NATO and the EU by comparing the two with various factors. Both presentations were excellent and eye-opening. I am formally asking both Drs. Galgano and Doyle for copies of their paper/power point presentations so I may share them with you and do TDAXP-style analysis.

Friends: I encountered two friends that I was looking for completely by random. We spent a good while (re-)exploring Chicago. As a former DC resident I was quite miffed that the Shedd Aquarium costs $25 per person for admission. Rip-off!

Downfall of Western Civilization: First off many attendees are just plain rude here at the AAG. People will open doors, get-up, sit-down, and cause other distractions while speakers try to give a presentation. Many people also have the problem of not wanting to turn-off their cell phones. Come on people!

Against my better judgment I attended the All-Texas Geography party on Thursday. Looking back on it I have to ask what is the deal with college culture (both for students and professors) which encourages such gluttony of alcohol? (Note: I do not drink not because of moral reasons but because alcohol taste horrible. This allows me to watch people descend into madness while I remain clear of mind.) A massive amount of people had well over six beers and were chugging along in drinking games. All of them were acting like jerks.

And it’s more than a one time thing. One of my roommates at the hotel will drink himself drunk from 9 P.M. to 4 A.M. and come in the hotel room making more noise than a confused hippo. He wonders around with the lights on until he collapses and begins to snore so loud that it has to be a medical problem. At 6 A.M. his live-in girlfriend calls and he decides to answer the phone drunk and yell into it while we try to sleep.

Manners anyone?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

AAG: Thursday Morning Update

I here at the Association of American Geographers 102nd Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Wednesday's Thoughts
:

I did not attend any sessions Wednesday because my group flew in at noon and crashed on the hotel beds all day.

The Geography Bowl competition was awesome. I was not going to play this year because I've been moving around this past year and had no region I could call "home." However, the AAG called for the creation of a spoiler team to balance out the round-robin system. So a Kansas State grad student, several Rutgers undergraduates, a George Mason undergraduate, and I formed the "Equators" and set out to upset the world. We finished 2-5 but had the best time of all the teams. In a weird turn around I somehow became the third most valuable player of all the competitors. No prize however expect for being stunned.

Going into Thursday:

I plan on making up for lost time by seeing presentations all day. Today I plan on seeing a session on religious geography and two on military geography. The military geography people have not disappointed me so far.

Radicalism and racism is alive and well here in the AAG. Mohameden Ould-Mey will present a paper entitled "New Conservatives or Old Zionists? The Conspiracy against Iraq to Secure Israel." Ould-Mey is a Ph.D and professor at Indiana State University- looks like bigots can go far in academia. Last year he gave a fierce defense of terrorists targeting of children. Groups like Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group are sponsoring many presentations that openly embrace Marxist thought. It’s something that even though Communism has killed more people than Nazism (another branch of socialism) people still brace the thought that Communism equals world peace and the solution to world problems.

If any geographers are at the convention currently leave a comment!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Geography in Song

Catholicgauze will be at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers so I will be on quasi-hiatus until Monday. I may be able to do minor updates but no promises. So I will leave with the lyrics of one of my favorite geographical songs: Roland the Headless Thomson Gunner by Warren Zevon.

Roand was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun
With a Thompson gun for hire, fighting to be done
The deal was made in Denmark on a dark and stormy day
So he set out for Biafra to join the bloody fray

Through sixty-six and seven they fought the Congo war
Fingers on their triggers, knee-deep in gore
For days and nights they battled the Bantu to their knees
They killed to earn their living and to help out the Congolese

Roland the Thompson gunner...
Roland the Thompson gunner...

His comrades fought beside him - Van Owen and the rest
But of all the Thompson gunners Roland was the best
So the CIA decided they wanted Roland dead
That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen blew off Roland's head

Roland the headless Thompson gunner
Roland the headless Thompson gunner
(Time, time, time
For another peaceful war
Norway's bravest son
But time stands still for Roland
'Til he evens up the score)

They can still see his headless body stalking through the night
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun

Roland searched the continent for the man who'd done him in
He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin
Roland aimed his Thompson gun - he didn't say a word
But he blew Van Owen's body from there to Johannesburg

Roland the headless Thompson gunner...
Roland the headless Thompson gunner...
Roland the headless Thompson gunner...

The eternal Thompson gunner, still wandering through the night
Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley
Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun
And bought it

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Mideast Crazy Zone Report

The area known as the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip) in Israel has taken two steps towards more violence. However, these steps were not taken by the usual suspects.

The big news story was the attack on the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Three Israeli terrorists approached the church dressed as pilgrims, took out fireworks hidden in a baby stroller and tossed them into the church. The attack caused several small fires and set off a series of protests. Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad have used the attacks to score political points with the international and Christian communities. The terrorists claim "they just want there children back" and to show they are capable parents they... pull a terrorist attack!

Israel's handling of the mess is the true scandal. The reports make it sound like Israel is treating these people with soft, kiddy gloves. In the fourth generational war which Israel is in it must show to the world press that extremists are extremists and will be treated as such or risk losing support from vital allies. Right now Israel shows itself tougher against squatters than Israeli terrorists.

The second piece of news comes of the category of just plain weird. Approximately 97% of all Palestinians are Sunni Muslims and the rest are Christians. That has not stopped a new group calling itself the Higher Shi'ite Council from setting up shop. The puzzlement of Palestinians to a Shia group is best summed up by this quote "A PA security official said he did not understand how a Shi'ite group could operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip "'where we don't have even one Shi'ite.'" All the Muslims living in the PA-controlled areas are Sunnis."

Both Fatah and Hamas are trying to find out who is backing the group but signs point to Hezbollah and Iran. The main fear is that a Shia group with power could lead to an Iraq like situation of Sunni versus Shia with international interlopers involved.

The march towards violence became skipping and singing towards violence this weekend.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Virtually Visiting Paris

Paris, France may be super expensive to visit (at least on my budget) but thanks to the wonder of the internet it is now possible to visit the city virtually.

I simply must give rave reviews to Arnaud Frich Photographie for posting very high-definition images of Paris on his website for free. What really takes the cake and eats it too (take that Marie Antoinette!) is the panoramic shot of Paris at night. Notre Dame de Paris takes my breath away in the photograph.

For those actually planning a trip, which is legally possible for all unlike my last "Visiting" post, I recommend online travel guides from the local government and companies like Lonely Planet.

On a side note, the official website for Paris has a historical maps section! You all know what I will be enjoying!


Category: Virtually Travelling the World

Friday, March 03, 2006

New Ocean in the Making


"Fissure, you got big!"

Scientists studying the Dabbahu region in Ethiopia have researching a fissure that formed since September. The fissure is expected to eventually become, after a million of years, a new ocean.

"The crust under Afar is becoming like the crust found in the Red Sea," said one scientist. "Once the crust is formed you will have water because it is a low area and the water will migrate from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It becomes a basin."

The new ocean would eventually grow bigger and cause the Horn of Africa to spilt off from the rest of Africa. It would also create a sort of natural canal from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea.

Our constantly active world is fascinating.

(Hat Tip: Un Lobo En Peru)

Category: Physical Geography

Thursday, March 02, 2006

WAR! News

It’s the big one. In this time of global war information is key for our generals. Information is also critical to armchair generals like myself. Three website I frequently visit have tons of information but vary on critical points. So without further ado my here are my reviews of war-clearinghouses of information:

Strategy Page: Strategy Page offers "quick, easy access to what is going on in military affairs." There are links to news stories done by them describing events all around the world. This is more than news site however. Book and movie reviews along with military humor are what gives the site its own unique flavor.

The main downside with Strategy Page however is that the typical news story seems to be three sentences long. Where's the beef?

Defend America: That's an order! Defend America is the U.S. Department of Defense's official news website about the War on Terrorism. The main page is loaded with news and features from various Armed Service news wires. Two very nice features are the ability to watch the Pentagon Channel, which is television for American troops, and a collection of photo essays.

The only problem is the lack of in-depth news analysis. While there might be a story on al-Sadr acting up again there is nothing which examines the event's effect on other things.

Global Security: No, not the quasi-evil mercenary group; Global Security is "the leading source of background information and developing news stories in the fields of defense, space, intelligence, WMD, and homeland security." I cannot disagree with that statement. Features galore on weaponry, militaries, intelligence, and much much more can be found on their website.

The menu system is the site's only downside. The menus take some time getting use to so it’s possible becoming lost in the avalanche of information.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Geography Blogs

As I prepare for "important" things today I'll blog what geographical blogs I like.

TDAXP: If you can get past TDAXP's love of charts and "favoritism towards women of beauty" then you can enjoy a great blog. Politics, networks, computer software, geography, and my blogging debut can all be found.

Coming Anarchy: Why do these people dress up like Victorians and what their rivalry with TDAXP is all about no one can ever truly know. I do know; however, is that they have a very geography friendly blog. Posts dealing with the dreaded Delaware v. New Jersey border war, their international travels, Japanese Catholicism and religion in general are absolutely fascinating.

South Dakota Politics and Jim River Report: Want to know what former Senator Tom Daschle and future Vice President John Thune are up to these days? Here is your two stop shop for everything South Dakota. Be sure to read up on these sites as the South Dakota Abortion Law battle heats up.

Iraq the Model: The ground story from a person who is there and not just living in the Palestine Hotel. Exploding mosques and dictators on trial oh my!

GI Korea Blog
: A soldier's point of view of Korea in terms of politics, environment, and life in general. Not just "North Korea is nuts" but a well rounded perspective on South Korea as well.

Afghan Warrior: The view of inside Afghanistan and the Muslim world in general.

Foxholes and Dogtags: Not a geography blog but a project that documents one grunt’s life through boot camp. Well worth the read. Riswan is back from Kosovo for now and has her own daily blog.