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Articles by Nicholas Baldo

Puerto Ricans Appear to Endorse Statehood in Referendum

By Nicholas Baldo | November 9, 2012 | 3 Comments

Lost in the extensive coverage of the 2012 U.S. Election is the recurrent and important issue of Puerto Rico’s relationship to the U.S. On Tuesday, the Puerto Rican electorate appeared to endorse statehood in a two-part non-binding referendum.

Separatism in French Polynesia

By Nicholas Baldo | October 17, 2012 | One Comment

As previously noted on GeoCurrents, the political entities that comprise the French Republic exhibit a multitude of different administrative designations with varying legal responsibilities. One such possession is French Polynesia, which was officially designated an “overseas country” in 2004, though legally its status is indistinguishable from that of France’s other overseas collectivities.

Local Elections Conclude in Bosnia and Herzegonvina

By Nicholas Baldo | October 10, 2012 | 2 Comments

Preliminary results are in for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s October 7th local elections. The elections went smoothly and without irregularities, but many fear that the results may fan the flames of ethno-nationalism and separatism in the fragile country’s political discourse.

Hyperinflation Strikes Iran

By Nicholas Baldo | October 5, 2012 | 3 Comments

The world’s next hyperinflation episode appears to be underway in Iran, with potentially far-reaching political consequences. Officially, Iran pegs its currency—the rial—at 12,260 to the dollar. In early 2012, black market exchange rates began to diverge sharply from the 12,260 peg, eventually hovering at nearly double the official rate.

Indo-Australian Plate Rent Asunder Beneath the Ocean

By Nicholas Baldo | September 28, 2012 | 3 Comments

In April 2012, two massive earthquakes hit northern Sumatra. The earthquakes—one of magnitude 8.2 and the other 8.6—were far in excess of what one would expect to encounter many miles from a tectonic plate boundary. Indeed, “strike-slip earthquakes”, where pieces of crust rub against each other laterally, had been completely unknown in the area before the two quakes.

Honduras Moving Ahead with Private Cities

By Nicholas Baldo | September 26, 2012 |

To most development economists, the key to economic success lies in the creation of good institutions, be they schools, corruption-free agencies, or the like. In 2010, the New York University Business School economist Paul Romer made quite a splash in the field by arguing that in countries where good institutions are lacking, new “charter cities” should be built and run by outside entities under their own laws as semi-sovereign entities.

Self-Rule and Environmental Crisis in Ogoniland

By Nicholas Baldo | September 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

In recent months, relations between the Ogoni people of Rivers State in southeastern Nigeria and the government have come under intense pressure. On August 2nd, a group of Ogoni led by Goodluck Diigbo of the pro-autonomy Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) declared their sovereignty in internal affairs while stopping short of secession.

Exploring Mesoamerican Ruins with Google Street View

By Nicholas Baldo | September 13, 2012 |

Google Maps’ Street View has long been a wonderful tool for exploring urban environments from afar. Now Google, in a partnership with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, has taken Street View to the ruins of thirty ancient Mesoamerican cities, and hopefully up to sixty more within the next year. Viewers can explore a number of Classical Mayan sites, …

Khareef Season Draws Thousands to Southern Oman

By Nicholas Baldo | September 11, 2012 |

Lush, verdant hillsides are not the type of landscape one would expect to find on the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, most of the region is parched desert where plant life is extremely sparse without human intervention. During the summer monsoon season, however, parts of Oman and Yemen find themselves soaked in rain and wreathed by fog.

A New Capital City for South Sudan

By Nicholas Baldo | September 10, 2012 | 2 Comments

Though South Sudan remains a predominantly rural country, its urban areas—particularly Juba—are growing rapidly. Juba, the country’s largest city and its current capital, is estimated to house nearly 400,000 people, twice as many as in 2005.

Geographical Illiteracy in Civilization V

By Nicholas Baldo | August 29, 2012 | 7 Comments

Since 1991, the Civilization series of computer games has been the best product on offer for the historically or geographically inclined gamer. The latest incarnation of the game, Civilization V, features dozens of unique playable “civilizations” that include broad linguistic or ethnic groups like the Celts and Polynesians, long-gone empires like Babylonia and Carthage, and modern states like the Netherlands. …

Mongolia’s Three Manly Skills, the Olympics, and Genghis Khan

By Nicholas Baldo | August 28, 2012 | 4 Comments

In anticipation of future posts exploring the geography of Olympic medals, this post will focus on the sporting fortunes of one country in particular—Mongolia. Mongolia tends to perform very well in on the basis of medals won weighed by population or GDP. In 2012, Mongolia earned two silver and two bronze medals, placing it third in total medals per dollar …

Extreme Salt Lakes Around the World

By Nicholas Baldo | August 21, 2012 |

The world has many famous salt lakes. Central Asia’s Caspian and Aral Seas, alongside the Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel, are perhaps the best known. Utah’s Great Salt Lake and California’s Mono Lake and Salton Sea are also by no means obscure. These bodies of water are all fascinating in their own right, but by the standards of the …

In Unrecognized Somaliland, Berbera Comes to Life

By Nicholas Baldo | August 11, 2012 |

Today Berbera is a city of about 100,000 located on the coast of Somaliland, an unrecognized state occupying the northern portion of Somalia. As the only sheltered seaport on the South shore of the Gulf of Aden, Berbera’s economic fate is thoroughly entwined with that of Somaliland.

New Government in East Timor Sparks Gender Debate

By Nicholas Baldo | August 10, 2012 |

Over the last half-century, peace and stability have remained elusive goals in East Timor, officially known the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Invaded by Indonesia shortly after it achieved independence from Portugal in 1975, East Timor has only been a formal country with de facto control of its borders only since 2002.

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