The World Cup has come to an exciting start this week, with no shortage of triumph and tumult.
On this page you will find valuable posts written outside the main GeoCurrents framework, by guest bloggers.
After last week’s dystopian projections on GeoCurrents, last Monday’s New York Times countered with unreasonably rosy projections. Good news sells papers. The article conveyed a sense of hope in its readers that the spill, was not as large as feared, and could be easily plugged as soon as this week. Their only quote from a so-called “Marine Biologist,” was, “The sky is not falling.”
This week’s Geocurrentcast is entirely dedicated to about baker’s dozen sites that epitomize the nasty human footprint that comes with heavy metals, heavy industry, and heavy consumerism.
The histories of Stalinist industrial wastelands, leaking oil Nigerian pipelines, massive American landfills, Brazilian Deforestation, smog filled Chinese cities, and towering Sarin gas smelters are all illustrated in this weeks in Google Earth tour on Geocurrents.info.
In order to view the tour, first download Google Earth.
Then download this KMZ file, with complete with descriptions, waypoints, and overlays to increase your understanding of these man made tragedies.
This week was rife with tragic news: the Polish Presidential plane crash in Russia, revolutions and upheaval in Kyrgyzstan, and refugee crises emerging from Tamil emigrees from Sri Lankan, I thought it would be best to leave the gravity to the newspapers for the time being, and insert a bit of humor into this week’s Geocurrentcast.
This compendium of man made geographic oddities includes: crop circles, monolithic Antarctic remnants of the CCCP, ship graveyards and sunbathers.
The goal of this exercise, aside from dazzling you with Geographic Eye Candy, is to pique your curiosity towards the less conventional uses of Google Earth.
As a bonus to this tour, I’ve also composed and included what might be the first comedy sketch ever composed in Google Earth tour mode, ‘Jumping off Niagara Falls in a Barrel.”
Double click the video icon for this one minute long sketch, loosely based off of the existential desperation of Western New York depicted in Vincent Gallo’s landmark independent film, Buffalo 66.
As always, happy flying.
Yesterday, protestors stormed the offices of the iron-fisted Kurmanbek Bakiyev regime across all of Kyrgyzstan.
Ministers were taken hostage, government buildings- torched, police cars- turned over, and the Kyrgyz flag- replaced with the blue flag of the opposition.
The opposition has claimed that a provisional government, under the rule of former minister Rosa Otunbayeva, with a constitution to be redrawn in six months.
Bakiyev has not officially resigned power, which may lead to a residual power struggle.
Rather than echo what you’ve heard already in the news, I’d like to visually illustrate the Kyrgyz uprising in Google Earth.
To see the major sites of the Kyrgyz Revolution, the piazzas where the protests began and the buildings which were seized, download this KMZ file.
In 2009, the Island of Bermeja, located in the Gulf of Mexico disappeared from site. Now, it will disappear on maps, as well.
Mexico was using Bermeja to leverage a claim on oil rights in the Gulf of Mexico, after all, their state maps showed the Island as an unquestionable part of their territory. The problem was, when a crew went out to examine the Bermeja, it could not be found.
Another crew was sent out to investigate the claim, alas, nothing to be found. The disbelief even led to conspiracy theories of the CIA destroying the island (see: Bikini Atoll). The United States gave a prompt and cutting response to Mexico, “No Island, No Claim,” the norm in international law.
This case was followed up in the last week by news that New Moore Island, or S. Talpatti, in the Bay of Bengal, a former maritime dispute point between India and Bangladesh, had ceased to be.
Many of the UN’s tiniest and lowest lying states, Tuvalu, Nauru, and Maldives, for example are in jeopardy of becoming submerged in the next decade, due to rising ocean levels.
The international community has been somewhat sympathetic to these soon to be submerged countries, with New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and even the United States offering financial aid. There are plans in the works for full scale evacuations of many Islands Oceania, should there be a catastrophic upsurge in sea levels in the form of a king tide.
It is likely that those in Tuvalu, Nauru, and some Parts of the Maldives and the Marshall Islands could soon become people without a state, only a few years after joining the UN.
Goodbye Nanumea Island (Part of Tuvalu). We hardly knew ye.
This issue is the focus of this week’s GeocurrentCast, illustrated in Google Earth. We’ll be taking a satellite look at the fate of the world’s tiniest and least elevated island states.
To download the presentation, first download Google Earth.
Next, download this file, and double click the video icon in Google Earth to start the guided, narrated tour.
You can pause or stop the tour at any time to investigate some of the islands in closer detail.
Geocurrents.info is now on twitter. Make us your source for history, geography, and cyber-cartography.
Our fingers here are crossed that Iceland can escape without a second eruption, and that this video is the worst of the damage. The Icelanders had a rough 2009, highlighted by the crash of their banking system. An eruption at Katla would make those problems seem as far off as Bjork’s time with the Sugarcubes.
The Gulag system began under Lenin as a means of ‘Re-Education through Labor,’ and was expanded exponentially under Stalin. Twenty to Thirty Million people were imprisoned in concentration camps that stretched across the whole of the Soviet Union. The Gulag system was significantly de-intensified under Nikita Kruschev in 1960, but by that time, millions had perished, and millions remained enslaved.
These camps stretched across the continent in a massive system, coined the Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the most important authors and historians of the 20th century, who had himself been enslaved in the system. His interviews with hundreds of zek’s in the Gulag system a harrowing portrait of humanity’s bleakest moments, and is an invaluable historical source.
For this weeks Geocurrentcast, I have digitally mapped a small sample of the labor camps in the Gulag Archipelago. It is an attempt to illustrate how terrain to be used as torture. There are a staggering amount of camps from this system, and I eventually endeavour to digitally map the whole of the Gulag Archipelago, overlaid with historical imagery.
First download the Google Earth File hereto access the tour.
If you are new to Google earth tours, first download google earth. Then download this file, and double click the video icon to play the narrated tour, or just click around the former Soviet Union.
Here are few other sites and maps I found, constructing the tour, that are particularly striking:
Solovki, a former monastery in on the Solovetski Islands was first inahbited by monks in the mid 15th century who migrated north from Moscow. Its was renowned for its harsh wintry solitude, and regarded as a holy place by some, owing to the absence of snakes. Passage to the island can be made nowadays only once a twice a week by plane or by ferry, when the conditions permitted.
CAVNIK, based in Northern Transylvania, Romania, is not a striking camp in any way. There were 96 others almost exactly like it in Romania alone. However, I through that this hand drawn prisoners map was particularly telling.
(image from http://www.osaarchivum.org/gulag/txt1.htm)
Illustrates the extent of the camp system, one state as a microcosm of the whole.
This weekend’s Google Earth adventure on Geocurrents will take us to a place colder than Svalbard or the Ross Ice Shelf, and dustier than the Namib, Nefud, or Taklaman Deserts.
With sweeping dune fields, seismic chasms, deep double impact craters, and a monolithic human face; Mars is a geographer, topographer, seismographer, hydrologist, and conspiracy theorist’s delight.
Provided for you, below, is a smooth, short narrated flyover tour of the red planet. The tour highlights the planet’s topographical features, including: the first man made object on mars, dune fields, polar ice caps, rover sites, canyons, dried riverbeds, and the captivating ‘Cydonia’ formation.
If you’re already comfortable with Google Earth, download the video tour and waypoints here. Otherwise, instructions on accessing our Martian tour are provided below.
Once you’ve loaded the program, switch your Google Earth browser into Mars mode. You can do this by using the explore tab in the view bar, as shown below:
You may also explore the planet step by step by double clicking the waypoints to fly from feature to feature.
Make sure to stop and read the information linked to the featured landmarks. This information provided by NASA, Google, and the University of Arizona, will enhance your tour experience.
This tour marks giant leap for Geocurrents.info.