Site News

GeoCurrents Changes and Fall Schedule

ancient map of the worldDear Readers,

GeoCurrents will resume its regular publication schedule this week. Several changes have been made on the website. Most important, advertising is being eliminated, as GeoCurrents is transitioning into a non-revenue-generating mode. This change is primarily being made so that the website can be integrated into my teaching schedule, allowing me to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. For the next several months, I will be teaching a one-unit lecture course on the history and geography of current global events, which will be connected with a three-unit undergraduate seminar on the same topic. As a result, GeoCurrents posts during this period will focus more closely than usual on major stories in the news. I also hope to post more work written by my students, as I find it is a shame that most student papers are never read by anyone other than the instructor. Good work deserves to be shared more widely than that.

I have contemplated discontinuing the discussion feature, as the commentary often veers into matters of personal opinion unconnected with the actual post in question. I have decided, however, to retain this feature as it is for the time being. I would request, however, that commenters stay on topic and try to keep mere matters of opinions to a minimum. Substantive comments, however, are most welcome, especially those that correct any errors found in the original post!

Tomorrow’s post, written by a former student, looks at problems connected with GDP mapping. Subsequently, I hope to write several posts on maps pertaining to the Islamic State.

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GeoCurrents Summer Vacation

Dear Readers,

I am sorry to say that GeoCurrents will be taking its annual summer vacation for the next five or six weeks. During this time, several guest posts may be run, but I will not be contributing any posts myself. For the next two weeks, my attention will be focused on grading papers and examinations and on finishing the book manuscript on Indo-European linguistics that Asya Pereltsvaig and I have been working on for some time. After that, I will be traveling in South Africa and perhaps Swaziland.  GeoCurrents should be able return in full strength in mid or late July.

Nigeria Language and Poverty MapIn taking this blogging holiday, I am leaving a number of maps and posts of Nigeria half-finished.  Perhaps I will return to these next month, or perhaps I will simply move on to other matters. As a sample of this unfinished work, I have posted here simple and rather crude map that entails an overlay of  ethno-linguistic patterns on a map of poverty in Nigeria that was posted and discussed previously. If the map and the overlays are accurate, some interesting features are revealed, such as the correlation of the Edo language group (associated with the early-modern Kingdom of Benin) with much lower-than-average poverty levels and the division of the Ibo group into a wealthier south and a poorer north. I wish that I had time to do more research on these intriguing patterns!

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GeoCurrents Changes: Departure of Asya Pereltsvaig

ancient map of the worldDear Readers,

I am sorry to say that Asya Pereltsvaig is leaving GeoCurrents, effective immediately, due to personal reasons. As Asya is going her own way, she has taken all of her posts with her. I wish her well in her new endeavors.

I will continue to post articles on GeoCurrents, although the frequency of posting will decrease, at least for the next two months. Claire Negiar  will also offer a few posts over the next month. After that time, I will be doing all of the posting myself.

Finally, I will also be making some minor changes to the site, editing such features as “About GeoCurrents,”  and perhaps adding a few other features as well.

As always, I give my sincerely appreciation to Kevin Morton for his superb technical work on the site.

Comments and suggestions for future directions are welcome.

Best wishes,

Martin Lewis


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Whither GeoCurrents?

UnknownDear Readers,

GeoCurrents has just completed its fourth year of publication and its second year as a joint production of myself and Asya Pereltsvaig. During that time it has undergone a number of changes, as we have sought various ways to increase our visibility and readership, relying on the technical expertise of Kevin Morton. Running this site has been an extremely rewarding experience for both of us. It has allowed us to explore a wide range of topics that we find interesting and significant and to get informed feedback from our readers. We have also been pleased that several of our posts, have been picked up by other websites, and that a number of our maps have been used by other researchers. But despite such gratification, the problems associated with running such a website are considerable. GeoCurrents still runs at a financial loss, as advertising revenue is meager. A deeper problem is the fact that this kind of writing receives little if any credit in academia, where we both find our primary employment. In the academic world, what matters is specialized articles and books aimed at—and vetted by—fellow experts in narrow fields, not general accounts for a public audience.

As a result of such considerations, we have devoted much of our attention over the past year to writing an academic book on the Indo-European controversy, which forced us to reduce our output of GeoCurrents posts. We are now almost ready to send our manuscript to the press, and will therefore soon have additional time on our hands. My own initial inclination was to refocus my attention on this website, which allows me to pursue whatever topics I find interesting and worthy of attention. But in December an unexpected offer crossed my desk: that of serving for a year as a senior scholar at the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think-tank located in Oakland California. I have decided to accept the offer, which means that my contributions to GeoCurrents will again be limited through 2014.

Our current plans for 2014 call for us to maintain the thrice-weekly posting schedule that we have been trying to follow over the past several months. In general, Asya Pereltsvaig will post twice a week and I will do so once a week.  Neither one of us, however, will be contributing very much in January, as we will be traveling to Rome to participate in the ninth annual Science Festival, a major international event. (I will, however, put up a post or two later this week on the continuing movement to divide U.S. states, particularly California.) In February, our regular posting schedule will resume. At the end of the year, we will reconsider the future of this website, making plans for 2015 and beyond. In the meantime, we will also be reconsidering our policy on guest posts.

My work for the Breakthrough Institute will be quite different from what we have been doing at GeoCurrents. Here we have tried to be as nonpartisan as possible when it comes to most political and politicized issues. (Such a strategy is not always easy or pleasant; writing in a neutral manner on such issues as language and nationalism in the former Yugoslavia, for example, is sure to earn us the spite of both Serbian and Croatian ultranationalists.) The Breakthrough Institute, on the other hand, is a partisan organization, devoted to a political philosophy best described as “environmental modernism.” Eco-modernists are deeply devoted to environmental protection, but think that conventional Green philosophy and activism, rooted in anti-modern Arcadian sentiments, are paradoxically undermining the preservation of nature. I have been periodically working on such issues for several decades, having written Green Delusions: An Environmentalist Critique of Radical Environmentalism in 1992. I will now take the opportunity to delve deeper, focusing to some extent on supposedly green NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) activism in the San Francisco Bay Area, a movement that thwarts the environmentally beneficial process of urban intensification, places major constraints on economic growth, and subjects the young and the poor to outrageous housing costs.

As such issues are far from the core concerns of GeoCurrents, my weekly posts for this website will remained focused on issues pertaining to political, cultural, and linguistic geography. But I would like to know if readers would be interested in seeing some of my environmental writings on this website as well. We would also like to ask our reader to provide feedback and suggestions about specific features of GeoCurrents, and about possible directions that it might take in the future.

Martin Lewis

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GeoCurrents Schedule for November and December

Dear Readers,

As long-term readers of GeoCurrents know, the site’s two authors (Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin Lewis) are currently working on a book on the origins of the Indo-European language family and the controversy that surrounds it (see the GeoCurrents “focused series” on this issue). Over the past nine months, we have been attempting to balance our work on the book manuscript with our teaching obligations, our GeoCurrents posts, and our other academic responsibilities, which are considerable. As our manuscript deadline (December 31) approaches, we must reluctantly admit that we need to spend more time on the book and less on this website. As result, we will be posting only two GeoCurrents articles per week over the next two months. Most, and perhaps all, of these posts will be by Asya, as Martin will be devoting most of his attention to the book, in addition to teaching Global Human Geography to 94 Stanford students and finishing the revisions of his chapters for the sixth edition of Diversity Amid Globalization. Blogging with also be relatively light through January, as both authors will be traveling to Rome at the end of the month to present their arguments about Indo-European origins at an international linguistics conference.

If all goes according to plan, GeoCurrents will resume an active schedule in February, with at least three and perhaps four or more posts per week.

Triple FrontierIn the meantime, the illustration for today’s post comes from a temporarily abandoned idea for a series on geopolitical boundaries that are visible from space. It is well know that  the division between Haiti and the Dominican Republic can be detected from satellite images, due to extensive deforestation on the Haitian site. But many other boundaries are just as easily picked out. My favorite example is presented here: the northeastern Argentine province of Misiones is far more heavily forested than are adjacent areas in both Brazil and Paraguay, and hence can easily be see in Google Earth imagery.

Friday’s post will feature another intriguing geo-quiz, with the answer presented on Monday.


Many thanks to all of our readers!


Martin & Asya


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GeoCurrents’ Reduced Schedule for Winter and Spring

Dear Readers,

As many of you have probably noticed, GeoCurrents posts have substantially decreased in frequency over the past month. Unfortunately, this reduction in posting will continue for at least the next several months. Asya and I have been convinced that our series on Indo-European linguistics deserves to be expanded and turned into a book, which will take much of our time through the first half of the year. In academia, moreover, books count whereas blog postings do not, and as a result we are under some pressure to publish in a more conventional manner. We are also teaching a new class together, which began just last night, on the history and geography of the world’s language families. Between the class and the book, we will have relatively little time for work on GeoCurrents.

We will continue, however, to put up occasional posts in both the main section of the blog and in the “GeoNotes” section. I plan, for example, to post tomorrow some of the language maps that we used in our introductory lecture. But the News Map section of the site, which is currently empty, will not be updated in the foreseeable future and will probably be removed from History and Geography of Language FamiliesGeoCurrents, at least temporarily.

It has been our great pleasure to work on GeoCurrents over the past several years, and especially to interact with our readers, and we have every intention to eventually return to an active blogging schedule. For the time being, however, we will have slow down and concentrate our efforts elsewhere.

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GeoCurrents Talk—And Short Vacation

Dear Readers,

GeoCurrents will take a short vacation for the next week or so as Asya and I travel. I will be in Australia until the end of the month, and hence will not be posting. Asya will put up a few posts in the final week of November, but blogging will continue to be light for some time. We will give a joint lecture on the Indo-European issue at Stanford University in mid-December, and we will devote most of our efforts in the meantime to preparation. The talk will be videotaped and subsequently posted to this site.

Best wishes,

Martin Lewis

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Two More Weeks of Indo-European Linguistics

Dear Readers,

We have received a few complaints that GeoCurrents is focusing almost exclusively on a specific controversy in historical linguists, and that as a result it is ignoring other issues of interest and concern. We will readily admit that we been somewhat obsessive of late, as we find this particular issue deeply fascinating and highly significant from an academic perspective—although maddening as well. But we are approaching the end of the current series. We currently anticipate two more weeks of posts on Indo-European linguistics, after which the site will revert to its more typically varied and eclectic range of topics. But that does not mean that we will be abandoning this particular issue. On December 13th, Asya and I will be delivering a talk at Stanford University on the “Mis-modeling of Indo-European Languages,” which will be co-sponsored by the Stanford Linguistics Department and the Stanford programs in the History of Science and World History. We will subsequently decide whether we should try to publish our work on this subject or merely archive it in a special series on the GeoCurrents site.

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Mapping Your World Travels – Personalized World Traveler Map Giveaway

GeoCurrents is giving away one of these beautiful traveler’s maps, framed in mahogany and personalized with a brass plaque. They are made by
Travel is unquestionably one of the best ways to learn geography. Over my 25 years of college teaching, I have no doubt surprised many of my students—and distressed more than a few of their parents—by advising them to travel around the world, or at least to wander aimlessly for a spell in some distant destination, before heading off to graduate school or signing up for a job. Few actually do, but many, I suspect, eventually come to regret that decision. Later in life, obligations build up and schedules fill in, making the kind of leisurely, exploratory travel that pays the highest educational dividends a greater challenge. I have certainly never doubted my own decision to spend six months between college and graduate school traveling widely, without an itinerary, through Southeast Asia. I may have had the worst of times during that period, but I also had the best of times—-and I learned innumerable invaluable lessons about peoples, places, and life in general. As a result, I am disappointed that so few of my students opt for prolonged travel on a shoestring budget. In northern and much of central Europe, the wanderjahr is a much more firmly established tradition, and I think that the Germans and others who partake of such adventures benefit enormously from their experiences. But if travel is to yield its full potential geographical benefits, it should be thoroughly mapped. Aimless wandering can be wonderful, but it is always best to know where you are and to seek to understand how the different places that you visit or pass through fit together. Otherwise, specific locales often tend to blur together over time, reducing the educational benefits. I thus advise any would-be world travelers to always journey with a map in hand, and to retrace their steps on return, ideally by literally marking them out on a map of the appropriate scale. Such a marked map can prove very handy when one reminisces about one’s trips, reexamines old photographs, or even reads the news from the places visited. Plotting out past travels can also be highly useful for planning further adventures; if you can immediately see where you have been, it is easier to figure out where you should go next. Although rough-and-ready maps of past travels can be made on an ad hoc basis, there is much to be said for using products specifically designed for this purpose, especially if such maps are to be exhibited on a wall for all to see. As I also never tire of telling my students, a well-designed map should both convey information and provide aesthetic satisfaction. For those of us enthralled by geography, a good map is a thing of beauty as much as it is a mere depiction of data. One firm,, specializes precisely in providing such handsome and markable maps suitable for hanging on any wall. MapYourTravels has devised its own system for recording where you have been, where you are planning to go, and where you dream of visiting. GeoCurrents is therefore pleased to begin running banners for the company on our website, which you will now see adorning the sidebar. In conjunction with the new banners, we are also happy to announce a contest for our readers, one that will allow the winner to receive a free world traveler wall map from MapYourTravels, complete with a personalized brass plaque that adorns the lower left corner. In so doing, we hope to raise awareness on the internet of both GeoCurrents and MapYourTravels, in addition to encouraging the more general practice of geographically aware travel and exploration.

How To Enter

Interested readers can earn up to 18 entries into the contest by interacting in various ways with the GeoCurrents website and social media outlets, and by sharing this contest with others. To get started, simply sign in to the contest widget below via your email (only used to notify you if you win) or through Facebook. Then click the “Do It” buttons on the tasks you would like to perform to earn their corresponding number of entries. When the contest ends at midnight of August 31st UTC−05:00, we will draw the winner from amongst the recorded entries, announce the winner here on GeoCurrents, and then award our winner with the Personalized World Traveler Map! Winner’s Tip: “Tweet about the Giveaway” is the only entry option that can be done once per day. Rack up the most entries by returning each day to tweet about the contest again. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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GeoCurrents’ Summer Initiatives and Revised Description

Dear Readers,

GeoCurrents is pleased to announce the addition of two summer interns, Chris Kremer and Nick Baldo. Chris and Nick will be cataloging the various maps that have appeared on the site and will be contributing occasional GeoNotes and news posts.

Nick Baldo is a native of Westmont, Illinois, who recently completed a BA degree in economics at Stanford. His main academic interests are the economic and environmental histories of the ancient Mediterranean and the 19th century U.S. Nick reports that “when a situation seems very difficult to understand, it’s usually due in part to a scarcity of good maps.” He also enjoys playing the various iterations of the Civilization series of computer games, which he claims should be loved by any historically or geographically inclined gamer.

Chris Kremer hails from Stamford, CT, and recently finished his freshman year at Stanford University. His academic interests include the history of Southeast Asia and Imperial China, geography, and geology. He is also interested in current maritime and territorial disputes. In his free time Chris enjoys browsing through atlases, playing badminton, and reading.


The existing description of GeoCurrents in the “about” section of the site is dated, and hence will be replaced with the following information:

GeoCurrents is a map-illustrated forum dedicated to the global geography of current events. It provides historical background, regional analysis, and political and intellectual context for events, both major and minor, as long as they bear on larger issues and have a clear geographic expression. The site also emphasizes linguistics, as the spatial patterning of language and the geographical distribution of speech communities have profound bearing on the human condition.

Essays in headline section of site—Peoples, Places, and Languages Shaping Current Events—showcase geopolitical, historical, cultural, and linguistic intricacies that are usually by-passed by mainstream media accounts. While conventional news stories are usually content to note, for example, that Syria’s embattled government is dominated by the Alawite minority, members of a Shiite-derived sect, GeoCurrents delves deeper. It outlines Alawite beliefs, maps where most Alawites live and explains why that matters, and describes the ways in which Syria’s history of sectarian division has shaped its political evolution. The headline section of GeoCurrents often runs “mini-series” of two or three posts on the same general topic, and it occasionally lingers on particular places for as long as a month. The posts from such longer “focused series” have been gathered together and organized under a multi-colored bar on the homepage. All of the main GeoCurrents posts are accessible through the “master map,” located at the top bar of the homepage.

A secondary section of the site, “GeoNotes: Miscellaneous Maps and Items of Interest” features shorter posts, typically 400 to 1,000 words, that generally highlight innovative, useful, or elegant maps and other types of geographical information. Also found here are critiques of particularly shoddy or misleading maps in the media and reference works, and discussions of the deceptive marshalling of statistical information, and of geographical misinformation more generally. GeoNotes occasionally ventures further afield, with such offerings as geographical and linguistic quizzes and basic data on geographical superlatives, such as “the world’s largest hole”.

The third principal section of the site is the Events Map, where subject-icons key into brief stories of noteworthy yet generally overlooked topics. The map aims to provide relatively even coverage across the world, and hence often provides news on out-of-the-way places, such as the Pilbara region of northwestern Australia. The icons are organized according to topic—classified as “political,” economic,” “environmental”, and so on—although in many cases categories overlap. Event-Map icons fade out after two weeks; older news posts can be accessed through the rectangular button at the top of the homepage, next to the Master Map.

A “map repository” section is currently under construction and will appear within a month or so. Here maps used on the site—many of which were made expressly for GeoCurrents—will be cataloged. Most original maps are at the global scale. A number of them stake out alternative methods of portraying the world. One example is the GeoCurrents classification of continents, which provides an unconventional view of the most basic divisions of the world. Another departure from the standard global depiction is the Demic Atlas, a non-state-based series of maps of global social and economic development. These demic maps are offered as a complement to the familiar division of the world into sovereign countries—a topic that lies at the core of GeoCurrents’ conceptual concerns.

Finally, it is essential to note that GeoCurrents aims to be instructive rather than polemical. Controversial issues are often discussed, but the goal is to approach each new issue on its own terms, without an overarching theoretical commitment or predetermined position. While local perspectives and divergent views are incorporated and analyzed, seldom is a particular perspective endorsed. In practice, of course, maintaining a completely disinterested attitude to ongoing global conflicts is not possible, but fair-mindedness and impartiality remain our guiding ideals. Comments and criticism from informed readers are always welcome, but this is not a forum for venting political or ideological frustrations or for pursuing nationalist tussles over mythologized histories. Offensive or hateful comments will be erased, and repeat offenders can be banned from commenting on this site.


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GeoCurrents: Next Steps

Dear Readers,

The GeoCurrents series on Siberia is now finished, the various posts in the sequence bundled together for future access. The main section of the website will now take a two-week vacation; the Stanford University academic year is coming to an end, generating a mounting backlog of grading. During this brief period, GeoNotes and news-map posts will continue to appear regularly.

When the main posting section resumes activity, it will no longer concentrate on particular parts of the world. Three GeoCurrents series have now been completed, examining the Caucasus, Northern California, and Siberia. We have enjoyed delving into these regions, but we fear that we have neglected other places in the process. As can be seen on the excerpt of the GeoCurrents Master Map posted here, some places — such as northern South America — have received very little coverage on the site.

As a result, the main section of the blog will once again wander over the world, exploring the geographical, historical, and linguistic dimensions of places in the news, supplying the background information that is often left out in conventional reporting. Both major and minor stories will be considered. When a major event occurs, GeoCurrents will seek to map it. Seemingly obscure items will be selected to the extent that they reveal significant geographical patterns or contribute to the understanding of important current events. Mini-series of three or four posts will appear from time to time, but we do not anticipate running any more month-long sequences for the time being.

We would also like to use this opportunity to solicit our readers’ opinions on issues that GeoCurrents might cover, and on ways in which the website might be improved. Criticisms and suggestions are more than welcome.

Martin & Asya

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GeoCurrents’ Comments Policy

GeoCurrents - A Geography Blog

Shortly after yesterday’s post introduced the new features of GeoCurrents, the site was subjected to a malware attack and had to be taken down for a security fix. Such are the challenges of web-based publishing: constraints are lifted but vulnerability increases. I do wonder whether the strike could have been related to any of a number of people whom we may have offended by writing on controversial topics.

GeoCurrents does consider controversial issues, but it strives to do so in an impartial manner. We try to stay as close as possible to an empirical basis. If you think that our facts are wrong, please give us your corrections. (Although we might respectfully argue with you—facts are often slippery.) If you think that our interpretations are incorrect, or that we have taken only one side of a two-sided issue, feel free to let us know. The blog is meant to increase knowledge of the world—ours more than anyone’s. The more we are corrected, the more we learn. In fact, the blog’s most elaborate creation, the Linguistic Map of the Caucasus, is meant to be crowd-sourced. It is now in beta form, and we invite all knowledgeable readers to send in corrections.

Comments, corrections, and criticism from informed readers are thus always welcome, but that does not mean that anything goes. This is not a forum for political advocacy or ideological statements. We are interested in the specifics of the situation at hand, not in overarching theories or moral positioning. If we have offended your heartfelt beliefs, please do not respond with a discourse on the greatness of your people or your cause and the perfidy of others. And for all comments, please try to be brief. Two hundred and fifty words is a good upper limit—most readers ignore longer responses. Most important, be nice and keep it clean. Profane language used in anger or contempt will be immediately scrubbed. Comments with purposefully inflammatory or insulting language are also subject to deletion.

On too many websites, commentary sections deteriorate into insult exchanges. Admittedly, such forums can be diverting and even amusing, but they are almost never instructive. When abusive words fly, learning comes to an end, defeating the purpose of GeoCurrents.


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New GeoCurrents Look and Features

GeoCurrents was initiated a little more than two years ago as a general forum for geography in the news, illustrating current events with maps and providing geohistorical background. It was also used to showcase interesting maps and items of geographical significance. Since then the blog has undergone several transformations, both conceptual and cosmetic. Individual posts have grown longer and appear more frequently, and a core intellectual concern has evolved around the slippage between political and cultural boundaries. Attention now remains focused for extended periods on particular parts of the world. The just-completed Caucasus series, for example, continued for a month.

The most important changes, however, have come with additional members of the team. Kevin Morton joined as site manager in mid 2011, and linguist Asya Pereltsvaig signed on at the start of 2012. Where GeoCurrents initially examined peoples and places, it now sets its sights on peoples, places, and languages. Today marks the debut of another participant, Chris Kremer. Chris is a Stanford University freshman interested in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and all things cartographic, and is an associate editor of the student-run Stanford Journal of International Relations. Other members may join the team in the near future.

Today, the expanded GeoCurrents team introduces an expanded website. New features will allow us to continue to delve into the particularities of peoples, places, and languages without losing sight of other issues of geographical note. On the right-hand side of the homepage, the new column “GeoNotes: Miscellaneous Maps and Items of Interest” provides a forum for discussing intriguing maps and other items of interest. Some posts here will highlight superb maps, others will criticize abysmal ones, and many will simply comment on something unusual or quirky. Today’s GeoNotes post takes on a sometimes insightful, occasionally amusing, and often offensive genre, that of the “world according to …” map. In this initial post, Chris Kremer looks at maps depicting “The World According to Americans.”

The other addition is the News Map, located below the GeoNotes on the homepage and illustrated here as well. This cartographic portal into current events is designed to highlight issues generally bypassed by the conventional media. Hover over the icons on this map, and a brief summary will appear, along with a link to a source article (or articles) as well as a map or other illustration. Posts here are keyed to themes: icons indicate stories pertaining to war and strife, diplomacy, the environment, and more. New posts on the News Map appear with bright icons, which will gradually fade out and ultimately vanish, preventing the map from becoming too cluttered. The map is scalable, and some stories will be pegged to precise places. The design is experimental, and we will likely change some of the parameters as we go along—please bear with us.

GeoCurrents now rests on three legs: the main Peoples, Places, and Languages blog, the News Map, and GeoNotes. It remains incomplete, however, inasmuch as it still lacks a forum for discussing the geohistorical background of all the major news stories of the day. At present our news stories are brief, our notes quirky, and our posts selective. In time, a fourth component will be added: a podcast series on the history and geography of current global events. That feature, however, will have to wait until Autumn 2012.

Meanwhile, the team’s goal is to have blog posts and news map updates each weekday, with GeoNotes additions appearing more episodically. The next few posts will turn inward to provide more information on GeoCurrents. Next week will introduce a new series that hits close to home: Northern California.

New GeoCurrents Look and Features Read More »

GeoCurrents Break and Renovation

Dear Readers,

GeoCurrents will be taking an end-of-the-year break; regular postings will resume in the second week of January. During the break, plans will be made for renovating and expanding the site. In January, blog postings will increase from the current two or three per week to four or five per week. New features will also be added, focused on providing brief coverage of geographically significant news stories from around the world that are neglected by the mainstream press. According to current plans, the fully refurbished site should come on-line by April 2012.

The GeoCurrents team will also expand. In addition to myself and Kevin Morton, Asya Pereltsvaig, frequent commentator and author of the Languages of the WorldWorld Map of Per Capita GDP, with Large Countries Divided weblog, will be joining the project. As the site grows, other contributors may join the team as well.

During the end-of-the-year break, periodic “housekeeping” posts may appear on the site. Today, for example, I have posted an additional map from the Demic Atlas project that was carried out this summer by myself, Jake Coolidge, and Anne Fredell. This map shows nominal per capita GDP (2009, in US$) for all countries with fewer than 100 million inhabitants and for all first-order subdivisions of countries with more than 100 million inhabitants. Some patterns that are invisible in both the standard state-based framework and the demic framework are apparent in this map. Russia, in particular, takes on a distinctive appearance. Here the lightly populated but oil- and gas-rich districts of western Siberia fall into the highest category, whereas the North Caucasus, as well as parts of European Russia and eastern Siberia, fall into the second-lowest category. In Indonesia, the resource-rich province of East Kalimantan stands out, contrasting sharply with the much poorer southeastern reaches of the country. In Nigeria, a distinct north/south division is visible.



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