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Articles in GeoNotes

Lovely Wikipedia Gong Map of Southeast Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | March 7, 2013 | One Comment

A Google image search of “culture map” returns some interesting images. A striking Wikipedia map that comes up high in the search depicts three “gong and chime” culture areas in Southeast Asia: gamelan, kulintang, and piphat. The gamelan percussion orchestras of Java and Bali are relatively well known globally, but the same cannot be said for piphat or kulintang, both …

French Wine Consumption and Other Intriguing Maps from Vintage Printables

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2013 | One Comment

In conducting a simple internet search for geopolitical maps, I was surprised to see multiple returns of a map of French wine consumption in 1873. The map in question is found on a site called “Vintage Printable,” which aims to:

provide free, public domain/out-of-copyright images for you to print or download. Most of the images are vintage naturalist or scientific illustration, …

Election Returns and Economic Development in Italy

By Martin W. Lewis | February 28, 2013 | One Comment

In considering the recent Italian election, it might instructive to compare the regional returns with levels of economic development. In order to do so, I constructed a map of Italian per capita Gross Domestic Product by region. The information is dated: the most recent I could easily find is from 2008, courtesy of the Wikipedia. But as the Italian economy …

Norwegian and Other Sovereign Wealth Funds

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2012 |

Al Arabiya News recently announced that Norway just surpassed Abu Dhabi in possessing the world’s richest sovereign wealth fund, reporting that “Norway’s Government Pension Fund stood strong at $656.2 billion in October while Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s assets held a total of $627 billion.” The claim is somewhat misleading, however, in that Abu Dhabi is not a sovereign state, but …

The World’s Most Expensive Cities?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 27, 2012 | 2 Comments

Mercer’s annual worldwide cost of living survey is widely used by corporations to help determine compensation levels for executives posted abroad. I have mapped the fifty most expensive cities according to the 2012 Mercer Report. The size of the stars indicates the level of expense: as such, the five most expensive cities (Tokyo, Luanda, Osaka, Moscow, and Geneva) are depicted …

Diagramming the Area of French Sovereignty

By Martin W. Lewis | September 25, 2012 | 5 Comments

In diagramming the area of French sovereignty, I was not sure what to call the region constituted by the regular departments of France (both those in “Metropolitan France” and those located overseas); in the end I opted for “France Proper,” but it seems that there must be a better term. Some sources, including Wikipedia, place Corsica within “l’Hexagone,” but such …

Diagramming the “Greater U.S. Realm”

By Martin W. Lewis | September 24, 2012 | 8 Comments

As promised, I have posted a diagram of the “greater U.S. realm.” It is a little less map-like than the diagram of “greater UK” posted last week, as it does not differentiate east from west in regard to the placement of labels.
I was uncertain as to how to classify Guantanamo Bay. I have included it, alone among U.S. foreign military …

Diagramming the Realm of Queen Elizabeth II

By Martin W. Lewis | September 20, 2012 | 10 Comments

While contemplating Seth Jackson’s post on the lands of the British Crown, it occurred to me that a map-like diagram would be helpful for visualizing the geopolitical complexity that he described. I have posted here an attempt to do so. Feedback is welcome.
I have put a heavy black line around the “area of British sovereignty” to stress that this is …

The Crown Dependencies: What Exactly Are They?, By Seth Jackson

By Martin W. Lewis | September 19, 2012 | 7 Comments

Dear Readers,
Although GeoCurrents does not normally accept guest posts, I was so taken by this piece by Seth Jackson that I decided to make an exception. One of the main themes of this website is geopolitical complexity, and here we have it in spades!
Martin W. Lewis
The Crown Dependencies: What Exactly Are They?
By Seth Jackson
We often hear that the Isle of …

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, …

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 …

Geographical Illiteracy in the New York Times

By Martin W. Lewis | August 24, 2012 |

Today’s New York Times features a major article on labor strife in the Bangladeshi apparel industry. The article itself is interesting and, in general, well reported and well written. The accompanying map, however, is laughable. The map purports to show the location of the Ishwardi Export Processing Zone, which it depicts as sprawling over roughly the western third of Bangladesh. …

A Global Decline in Religiosity?

By Martin W. Lewis | August 22, 2012 | 27 Comments

New global poll on religion and atheism by WIN-Gallup International has been receiving some attention. The poll, which covered 57 countries containing a solid majority of the world’s population, shows a clear decline in religiosity between 2005 and 2011. Globally, the number of adults claiming to be religious* evidently declined by 9 percent, with the number of atheists increasing by …

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 …

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