Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The states (and district) with the lowest drunk driving fatalities are the District of Columbia, Utah, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. These states (and district where NO ONE has a car) either have a good public transit operation (and largest numbers keep the per capita down) or a strong religious tradition against drinking.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
TDAXP has sent me an interesting article on optical telegraphs (semaphore). The semaphore was a device which allowed messages to be sent by flag combinations.
The original idea for the semaphore was thought up in the 1600s but it was not until the late 1700s when a system was actually put into place. France was the first country to use the tool and used it for republican communications during the revolution. The first message was a coded one between Paris and Lille.
Other countries used the system as well including Sweden (who independently invented their own system), the British (who used their system for naval/coastal communications), Prussia, Russia, and the United States.
Geography proved to be the systems done fall, though. While ports in the United States used flag communications, the sheer size and variety of terrain obsticals made the optical telegraph inefficent for long distance communication. The need for a better system led to the creation of the electric telegraph we all know of.
For some maps and more information (in French) on the optical telgraph click here.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The above is a map of the cosmos according to the Ancient Hebrews (from the Saint Joseph Edition of The New American Bible). The map, while a modern creation, teaches one much about the cosmoslogical/geographical outlook of long ago.
The first striking thing I noticed was the lay of the land was not of primary importance. What mattered was the heavens and the underworld's relationship to the earth. Water encompassed everything (water being the "end" of everything for non-sea fearing people).
The Universe from Top-down goes:
- The highest point of the universe is the divine seat (Heaven) where God lives.
- Below that is an ocean where precipitation falls while being controlled by floodgates. The gates are connected to walls which connect to the earth by a mountainous wall.
- In the middle is the earth.
- Below the earth is Sheol. Sheol is the home of the dead both righteous and wicked.
- The world is supporting by pillars which sit upon the abyss.
- The abyss has had several interpretations. It has been viewed as the ocean the earth emerged from, the original choas before God created order, and even Hell (the Book of Relevation tells the Beast will come from the Abyss). What ever it is in cosmology one thing is certain - you do not want to go down there!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
From the Book of Luke:
1And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled.
2This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.
3And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city.
5To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.
6And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock.
9And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear.
10And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:
11For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.
12And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:
14Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
Monday, December 24, 2007
The Long War Journal (part of Catholicgauze Reads) has a flash map of Iraq which contains information on CLC development and strength per province.
Most of the CLCs are located in Sunni areas (central Iraq). The north has few CLCs expect for around the Mosul area (a partially "Arabized" city where Kurd and Arab do not mix well) and the lands near Baghdad. Shiites in the south are beginning to form their own CLCs to protect against Mahdi Army and other groups. However, Sadr and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council with its Badr Brigade are doing what they can to stop the formation of such groups. These elements fear CLCs would empower people and eliminate the need for militias and the "protection" they provide.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
- Contours - National Geographic Maps Blog: The maps division has gone NeoGeo
- My Wonderful World Blog: National Geographic wants to teach the world
- Google Maps Hacks and Digital Earth Blog: By reading Digital Earth blog and using the tools found in Google Maps Hacks one can hack into NORAD and view the missile flights in real time 3D! (Not really but I expect that post any day)
- Foreign Policy Passport - From Foreign Policy Journal. Imagine if the Economist and Coming Anarchy had a child.
I cannot fully tie this picture in but somehow, someway it is relevant. AFP
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (GOCJ) owns the land of the Knesset and the Israeli prime minister's residence is on. Like all Orthodox churches it has been allied/tied with the political regime whether it be Christian, other Abrahamic, or even hostile atheist. The GOCJ continues this relationship by having its leaders being approved by the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Israelis.
A rumbling is going on right now in Israel over these ties. The previous GOCJ, Irenaios I, rented and selling church property to Jewish Israeli developers. Depending on who side you take in the argument Irenaios is either a friend to all or a lying Zionist spy. Add on the facts that most Orthodox in the area are Palestinian Christians and the modern Orthodox hierarchy has an "interesting" relationship with Jews. In 2005 the Orthodox churches agreed to impeach Irenaios and replace him with Theophilos III.
Irenaios is not going down without a fight. Recently the Israeli government refused to recognize the switch and still considers Irenaios the lawful Patriarch. The Israelis are also declined to renew visas for the Greek Orthodox church (most of the clergy is of Greek citizenship). For now the GOCJ is refusing to budge but is powerless to do anything as the Israelis treat Irenaios as the true patriarch.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The king has started a website from his home in Maryland and seems to be buying into the idea he is royality. While he supports AIDS relief there is still no news on whether David plans to merge the isle with the United Kingdomor join the European Union or the United Nations. There is also no tax plans or international peace pushes. What is a king good for if not these issues?
All is not well on Man though. The Manx are loyal to their Lord, Elizabeth II. David plans to visit his "kingdom" next year; Catholicgauze hopes for an army of angry peasant to drive him off.
Catholicgauze's king is William IV.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The overall safest place to live is Corvallis, Oregon with its whopping population of 53,900 people. However, the study then proceeds to break down cities by size. The winners are
- Largest: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
- Medium: Olympia, Washington
- Smallest: Corvallis, Oregon
The West Coast and certainly California are well represented on the list. A not so surpring second is the western half of the Midwest (North Central). Cities like Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Ames, Iowa; and others are found on the list.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Traveler IQ Challenge games is a fun site with a variety of fast moving geographical challenges. There is a wide selection of games have one locate capitals, major cities, popular sites, UNESCO sites, and more. Other boards to play on besides the world include the various continents. To achieve a high score one must be as accurate as possible while being fast as well. Good luck and have fun!
Monday, December 17, 2007
For Columbus Day week I looked at the geohistory of the settlement of the
The short version is that a first wave of colonization by the Jaredites came from
The Book of Mormon’s proposed Indian-origin story is similar to other theories from the early nineteenth century. There were a wide range of theories on Indian origins and ancient Hebrews was one of them. People then and even today seek to map out the proposed geography of the epic.
Most limited geography models have the story taking place in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The book describes a lush land with warm climate with earthquakes, mountains, and volcanoes. The land is also described as being in between two massive bodies of waters. Some Mormon geographers take this to be the isthmus.
While the vast majority of geohistorians see no proof of the tale there are those who seek to explain despite a mountain of evidence. When I was at National Geographic we received some hate mail from a few fundamentalists who were angered that we depicted paleo-Indians coming from eastern
For more limited geography model information check out
Supporting View: Meridian Magazine: Mormon's Map Puzzle Solved
Opposing View: Does Archaeology Support The Book Of Mormon?
Saturday, December 15, 2007
As any sort of posts dealing with borders of Europe changing, here is the Catholicgauze favorite: the closing credits of Last Express
Friday, December 14, 2007
Many Sri Lankans have taken this cartographic work to be an endorsement of the Tamil Tigers by The Economist. Some equate this to a major magazine showing Islamic State of Iraq, Aztlan, or Islamic Emirate of Waziristan in a standard map.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The pro-West March 14 Coalition was torn between electing a strong leader and electing a weak one in order not to upset the March 8 Coalition (Hezbollah, Amal, Michel Aoun, Syria). The weaker side prevailed and currently the coalition is working on changing the constitution so that the commander of the army, the Catholic Michel Sulaiman, could be president. Sulaiman in the past has wavered from slightly pro-Syria to neutral. March 7 has proceeded to issue demands in exchange for their "support" (i.e. not blowing people up) of Sulaiman including he resign 18 months into his six year term.
The negotiations have not stopped the terror campaign. A probable replacement for Sulaiman's post in the armed forces, Catholic Francois El-Hajj, was assassinated in a car bomb attack. The bomb went off in a Christian neighborhood with many government and international buildings. Gateway Pundit has a round-up of more detailed news with a hit list of previously murdered March 14 members.
Hezbollah, a group by international law was ordered to disarm, and Syria continue a terrorism campaign against pro-freedom groups while the United Nations et al do nothing. A tragedy continues.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Catholicgauze thinks Santa would enjoy the company of the Muslim Turkic people and may feel an affinity with the Yurt dwelling semi-nomads. However, mountain winters of the Tian Shan are different from those of the North Pole.
Monday, December 10, 2007
By studying the map one can tell the battle for Iowa is focusing on the capital city of Des Moines. The southwest is being ignored and the eastern Mississippi River coast is only receiving nominal attention
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The first question after Kosovo's independence is what will happen to the ethnic Serbian minority. After the war there were reprisal attacks and most of the Serbs who stayed moved to the northern part of the country to be close to Serbia proper. These Serbs refuse to participate with the ethnic Albanian government and want to remain in Serbia. Serbia and Russia will probably push for either an autonomous zone or secession to Serbia for the Serbian zone.
Spreading of violence is another concern. Already Albanian terrorist groups have waged war against Macedonia and sought to annex part of Serbia proper. On the flip side there is rising fear of Russians using shadowy means to do hit-and-run attacks for the Serbs against the Albanians.
Geopolitically there is a question of precedence. If it is okay for Kosovo to unilaterally declare independence then what is stopping the Serbian political entity in Bosnia, the Republika Srpska. Russia may then push South Ossetia and Abkhazia into formalizing their independence and into Russia's geopolitical orbit. Elsewhere there are also concerns. While the drive for Kurdish independence from Iraq has tapered off as of late there will always be the Kosovo model to look at.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Not discussed in most of the media are three things. The first is the environmental damage being done. The relocation of government officials and environmentalists is outputting the equivalent of 20,000 cars. Sure one has to burn carbon credits to save carbon credits (?) but couldn't we have a teleconference instead? Secondly, some dissenters are not allowed to present or be in the press. Thirdly, the blame game. The People's Republic of China, the biggest polluter of CO2 in the world, wants other countries to pay up and not itself.
A world problem should rationally be handled by the world.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Click to Enlarge. From United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
One thing needed to be a tax haven is stability. No one wants to invest their money in a kleptocracy. That is the primary reason Africa has so few tax havens. The Caribbean and Central America have the most established, trusted tax havens because of stability in the countries and the strong ties to their former European colonial masters.
My brother and I waited at the door and called our sleeping mother to open the door. She was not expecting me so when she saw me the surprised worked.
But now I am tired and will take today off from blogging. Merry Christmas everyone!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A new United Nations map shows the rise of violence in
Compare the violence map to that of Pashtuns and Baluchis. (From Captain's Quarters)
The south of
While much of the world is focusing on
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
For more Northern Ireland stuff check out my posts of the Murals of Northern Ireland.
Monday, December 03, 2007
In the past I have stressed the importance of knowing cultural intelligence and its role as a force multiplier. However, not all want this to be. Academic leftists have fought tooth-and-nail to prevent the project. Their hatred of the “military system” is shown by their argument anthropologists should not work with the military. Even the executive board of the American Anthropology Association has officially expressed "its disapproval of the HTS program." The association just released a report which recommends members cooperate, but then uses weasel words to beg against working with the HTS program.
The nay-sayers are wrong. HTS and other programs are great opportunities to serve one’s country, study different cultures, and prevent greater violence by cooperating and other standing others. Part of “the surge” strategy in Iraq was understanding the Sunni tribes and getting them to work with the Coalition. So far it has been an outstanding success and death rates are down.
The association has started a blog to further discussion. I will be there commenting, feel free to join in the melee.
Be Patriotic, Understand Cultures, Saves Lives
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Besides geopolitical concerns about instability one must be primarily worried about the sheer lose of life. Catholicgauze marks those who have died and suffered directly and indirectly due to AIDS.
Global Health Facts has a series of maps displaying AIDS data via country. Southern Africa is being hit hard.
In the United States AIDS is outrageously high in Washington D.C. with 1 in 50 having AIDS and 1 in 20 having HIV (that is five percent!). The disease in prominent in the big cities. The CDC has a map of AIDS in the United States.
India is facing a crisis in the southern rural areas which has now spread to some big cities. The disease primarily affects the super poor and follows them around from rural misery to urban misery.
Europe has declining death rate but AIDS is still spreading. Once only located in the West, the collapse of the Soviet Union brought down the Iron Curtain and AIDS quickly spread in part due to the depression Russia was going through (drugs seemed popular when all else failed). A map shows the damage.
I wish to thank Nat the Dem for reminding me about World AIDS Day.