GeoCurrents http://www.geocurrents.info Map Illustrated Analyses of Current Events and Geographical Issues Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:49:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Preliminary Observations on Brazil’s 2014 Presidential Election http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/elections/preliminary-observations-brazils-2014-presidential-election http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/elections/preliminary-observations-brazils-2014-presidential-election#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:49:08 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11573

(Note to Readers: GeoCurrents is interrupting its short series on the cartography of Michael Izady to examine the recent presidential election in Brazil. Note that on the maps posted below, the international norm of using red to indicate the left and blue to indicate the right is followed.)
It has been widely noted that Brazil 2014 presidential election revels a deep north/south ...

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Michael Izady’s Amazingly Detailed Map of Ethnicity in Syria (and the Syrian Armenians) http://www.geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/michael-izadys-amazingly-detailed-map-ethnicity-syria-syrian-armenians http://www.geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/michael-izadys-amazingly-detailed-map-ethnicity-syria-syrian-armenians#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 18:39:57 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11563

Most maps that show the distribution of ethnic groups within particular countries are relatively simple, depicting a few discrete populations within large, contiguous blocks of territory. The distinguishing characteristics of such groups are rarely specified. A good example of such a useful yet overly simplified map is the Washington Post’s portrayal of Syria posted here. This map reduces the complex ...

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The Extraordinary Cultural Cartography of Michael Izady, Part I http://www.geocurrents.info/cartography/extraordinary-cultural-cartography-michael-izady-part http://www.geocurrents.info/cartography/extraordinary-cultural-cartography-michael-izady-part#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:15:11 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11554

To understand the political situation of the Middle East today, it is necessary to examine the geographical relationships pertaining to political borders, the distributions of religious and linguistic groups, and the patterning of oil and gas deposits. Of particular significance is the fact that many of the largest fossil fuel deposits are found in areas that are not primarily inhabited ...

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The New York Times’ Impressive Collection of Iraq/Syria Maps http://www.geocurrents.info/cartography/new-york-times-impressive-collection-iraqsyria-maps http://www.geocurrents.info/cartography/new-york-times-impressive-collection-iraqsyria-maps#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:05:08 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11547

As long-time readers of GeoCurrents may have noted, I have rather mixed feelings about the New York Times. I am often critical of Times articles and columnists, and I find the newspaper’s coverage of world events too spotty and incomplete to be satisfying. But I also start off every morning with the print edition, and I can’t imagine doing otherwise. ...

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The Fantasy Political Maps of DeviantART http://www.geocurrents.info/imaginary-geography/fantasy-political-maps-deviantart http://www.geocurrents.info/imaginary-geography/fantasy-political-maps-deviantart#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:14:35 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11535

When looking for specific maps on the internet, I often come across bizarre examples, such as a map of Novorossiya that depicts not southeastern Ukraine but rather northwestern North America. This fantasy political map, like many others of its ilk, can be traced back to a website called DeviantART, Inc., described by the Wikipedia as “an online community showcasing various ...

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My Error on Ukraine’s Political Divisions http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/nationalism/error-ukraines-political-divisions http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/nationalism/error-ukraines-political-divisions#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:06:29 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11524

Several months ago, I posted an article and a map on GeoCurrents in which I divided Ukraine into a “nationalist” region and a “Russian-oriented” region. In retrospect, it seems that most of the area that I had designated as “Russian-Oriented Ukraine” does not actually fit that category. Despite the fact that a few pro-Russian demonstrations have occurred in a number ...

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Eco-Authoritarian Catastrophism: The Dismal and Deluded Vision of Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway http://www.geocurrents.info/physical-geography/eco-authoritarian-catastrophism-dismal-deluded-vision-naomi-oreskes-erik-m-conway http://www.geocurrents.info/physical-geography/eco-authoritarian-catastrophism-dismal-deluded-vision-naomi-oreskes-erik-m-conway#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:36:29 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11504

(Note: The following post strays from the usual geopolitical concerns of GeoCurrents into the realm of environmental politics. It also deviates from the norm in being a polemical review of a particular book. Regular posts will resume shortly.)
As with so many other hot-button debates, the climate change controversy leaves me repelled by the clamoring extremists on both sides. Global-warming denialists, ...

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Is There an Arc of Instability? http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/state-failure/arc-instability http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/state-failure/arc-instability#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 22:57:07 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11496

In grappling with the geography of geopolitical conflict, many journalists, politicians, and military strategists use the term “arc of instability,” implying that the world’s troubled countries are arrayed along a curve. But different sources have very different ideas about how such an “arc” is configured. A recent The Wall Street Journal article (“Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since ...

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Can We Map State Instability? http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/state-failure/can-map-state-instability http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/state-failure/can-map-state-instability#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:28:23 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11486

The previous post showed that the Fragile States Index did not capture the fragility of Syria and Libya on the eve of the so-called Arab Spring. The question is then raised about the performance of other indices of state weakness in this this regard. As it turns out, they did little better.
Consider, for example, the World Bank’s 2010 map of ...

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The Fragility of the State Fragility Index http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/state-failure/fragility-state-fragility-index http://www.geocurrents.info/geopolitics/state-failure/fragility-state-fragility-index#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:13:49 +0000 http://www.geocurrents.info/?p=11482

I recently came across a “State Fragility Index Map” from 2010 that made me doubt the usefulness of the index. As a predictive measurement, its failures are obvious. Note that Syria was depicted at the time as a relatively stable state, while Libya was portrayed as quite secure. In the 2010 Index, Syria ranked 48th from the bottom (out of ...

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