Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Native American Nations Map is Beautiful But Invents a Fake Geography of American Indians

A beautiful map of lies.  Click to enlarge.  From Aaron Carpella's website.
Cartographer Aaron Carpella, who is of mixed White and Cherokee heritage  created the "Map of Our Tribal Nations: Our Own Names and Original Locations" which allegedly shows the locations American Indian nations with the native name being the primary label and the common English name for each nation showing in smaller, secondary text.

The map is beautiful but it shows a fictional American Indian geography which ignores history.  Aaron claims on the website and map:


With this claim Aaron is either showing ignorance or a malicious propaganda in order to show some sort of fiction pan-Native Americanism meant to paper over the population movements  displacements, ethnic cleansings,  and other all too common human crimes committed by American Indian nations on each other (Europeans, Asians, and Africans have been no different).

The big clue that something is wrong is that the map shows the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota (Sioux) nations spread throughout South Dakota and Minnesota.  Before the mid-1700s the main tribe on the South Dakotan plains was the Sahnish (Arikara).  The nomadic Sioux nations used horses and savage warfare against the more settled Sahnish to the point the Sahnish were forced to flee into present-day North Dakota where the nation only survived by merging with the Numakaki (Mandan).  Meanwhile, my own personal travels in northern Wisconsin revealed countless monuments, memorials, museums, and texts that intrepreted the Dakota's displacement from the Lake Superior region by the Anishinabeg (Ojibwe/Chippewa) who were expanding west from the Great Lakes region.

Being a long time researcher of Great Plains and Woodlands Indians I also know these nations were built upon other previous cultures, and in certain cases civilization, which replaced each other before and right after the introduction of pox and horses (which arrived faster than the Europeans themselves).

The map also ignores Alaska.  Perhaps the invasion of Siberian Thule who destroyed the indigenous populations there would shatter the narrative of the map.  Hawaii is also missing though the debate of whether or not Native Hawaiians should be considered "Native Americans" is a hot debate topic on multiple levels.

America has a rich human history of at least 15,000 years.  I fully support studying and sharing knowledge about pre-European history of America.  However, we should embrace the real history with all its positives and negatives.  We should drop false pan-nativism and admit that population shifts did occur and that horrible war crimes occurred before the strongest of all tribes, English-speakers, dominated in the Northern continent.

Layers Upon Layers of the Columbian Exchange and the Great Irish Migration

We already know about one layer of the Columbian Exchange's relationship with the Great Irish Migration.  Mesoamerican Indians grew the potato as a food source, Europeans conquered the Mesoamericans, Europeans brought the potato back to the Old World, European peasants used the potato as a significant food source because it could grow in poor soil, peasant population boomed due to abundant calories, potato blight grew on the main potato crop, famine resulted in deaths and economic destruction, peasants immigrated to the United States and elsewhere for new opportunities.

What scientists just found out is that the HERB-1 was the cause of the potato famine which destroyed Ireland's population so badly the island still has not reached pre-famine levels.  Additionally (and of interest to geographers and historians) is that scientists mapped the genome of the blight.  Looking at the evolution of the pathogen revealed that a sudden period of evolution occurred at the same time the Spaniards were conquering the New World.  The great social disruption and collapse of New World civilizations allowed crops to rot and the potato blight pathogen to spread, evolve, and grow throughout the Western Hemisphere.  The great leap in evolution allowed the blight to occur much earlier than it could ever have if the crops were maintained.  A ticking time bomb of crop disease was set for about 300 years the moment American Indians starting dying.

Human-environment and human-human interaction is amazingly complex.  We will still be discovering how our actions in the past and present will impact humans across the globe for centuries to come.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Countries Which Discovered the Element on the Periodic Table of Elements

Click to enlarge
The above was sent to me by a friend though we cannot find the original source.  It shows which countries, including "ancient discoveries", discovered each element on the periodic table.

Several conclusions can be drawn from the above.

  • The Greater European Cultural Realm, Europe+North America, dominate several realms of science.  All of the modern discoveries were done by this European realm aka Europa.
  • 80% of all modern discoveries were done by scientists in a Germanic country.
  • The non-Europa parts of the world sadly lack in science whether due to lack of infrastructure or anti-scientific cultures.
    • For example, Jews, mostly in Europa, have won at least 20% of all Nobel Prizes.  Meanwhile, nine Muslims have won Nobel Prizes, while only two of these prizes were in a scientific category and one of these went to Abdus Salam, who was educated in Europa and belonged to a sect commonly thought of as non-Muslim.
    • China has yet to make a discovery.  This is in part due to its scientific efforts being focused on exploiting existing discoveries.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

From Facebook OIF Veterans
Remembering those who died for me and for us.

Iraq War
US Military :4,488
Contractors: 1,487
Coalition Forces: 319
Unknown Number of Iraqi Police and Army as well as local militias dedicated to peace and protecting their homes.

Afghanistan War
US Military:  2,227
Coalition Forces: 1,088
Unknown Number of Contractors, Civilians, Afghan Police and Army as well as local militias dedicated to peace and protecting their homes.
Numbers from and iCasualties

In Afghanistan I was surrounded by a landscape that constantly reminded me of the fallen.  However, back in the United States there are few reminders that Memorial Day is anything more than just National BBQ Day.  Remember the fallen today and give thanks.

Nicholas A. Robertson was an elite in America's Army.  He died for us on April 2, 2008.  For everyone outside his unit and his family his death went unnoticed that day.  Let us not forget to be thankful for him and the others like him.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ten Questions to See If You Are Smart Enough to Be in the Geography Bee

In 2007 I volunteered to be a judge/aid/gopher at the state geography bee.  I remember thinking I could easily dominate all the kids during the first few rounds of questions.  However, by the end I was completely in awe of the children who could answer the extremely difficult questions.

National Geographic has placed questions (and answers) from 2012 National Geographic Bee online.  I am placing the answers in the comment section.  Let us see if you could be in the bee!

1. Name the landlocked country that borders Botswana and South Africa.

2. The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit took place in March in what Asian capital city located on the Han River?

3. Designed to resemble a ship, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is located near what large bay?

4. The Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple, is a cultural and sacred center for Sikhs in what state of India?

5. The Milan Cathedral lies in the valley of Italy's longest river. Name the river.

6. The wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985, a few hundred miles off the coast of Cape Race, which is located on what peninsula?

7. One of the oldest universities in the world, al-Azhar, was founded in the tenth century and still exists today in what present-day capital city located near the Eastern Desert?

8. Dating from the eighth century, one of the oldest libraries in the Muslim world was located at Zaytuna Mosque in what present-day capital city near the ancient city of Carthage?

9. Kuchipudi is a type of dramatic dance displaying rhythmic footwork and graceful body movements. This classical dance takes its name from a village near the mouth of the Krishna River in what Indian state that borders the Bay of Bengal?

10. What city on the Elbe River is the capital of the state of Saxony?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maps of Moore Oklahoma Tornado

Pray for Moore, Oklahoma.  The Knights of Columbus and the American Red Cross are accepting donations for disaster relief.

The National Weather Service created the below map showing the range and strength of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.  For reference the Enhanced Fujita scale is EF 0 equals 65-85 miles per hour (104-137 kilometers per hour), EF 2 equals  111-135 mi/h (178-217 km/h), EF 4 equals 166-200 mi/h (267-322 km/h).

Click to Enlarge

The BBC has a large scale map showing the path of the tornado inside the town of Moore.  Two of the three schools suffered pretty much direct hits.

Click to Enlarge
The National Weather Service has another map comparing the path of the 2013 Moore tornado with the 1999 Moore tornado.

Click to enlarge

Finally NASA released a video of the storm's growth.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Council of Nicaea was in Nicaea Because of Religious, Not Political, Geography

1,688 years ago today (May 20, AD 325) the First Council of Nicaea was opened.  The council was the second council of the Church.  It dogmatically defined Jesus Christ as part of a trinity which comprised God as opposed to the Arian view that Jesus Christ was just somesort of super-angel/super-being.  Council trivia enthusiasts will remember it was at Nicaea where Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) punched Arius in his heresy-spewing mouth so hard that Nicholas was thrown in jail.  

The Council was convened by Emperor Constantine I. After discussing with Church leaders he picked the town of Nicaea, present-day Iznik, Turkey to host the council.

View Larger Map

Many people assume Nicaea was chosen as the spot for the council because of its closeness to the new capital of the Roman Empire, Constantinople.  However, Constantine did not refound the city of Byzantium as the capital city of Contantinople until 330.  In fact, Constantine only united the Roman Empire in 324.  Until then the Roman Empire was under a Tetrarchy where the four main political centers were Trier (Germany), Milan (Italy), Sirmium (Serbia), and Nicomedia (Turkey).

Nicaea was instead chosen because of religious geography.  The Lost History of Christianity does a great job pointing out that most Christians lived in the eastern realms of the Roman Empire and beyond.  Further, the Church was more organized in the "civilized" East with modern-day interior Turkey being known as the second holy land due to its many centers of religious learning.  Outside of Italy much of the western parts of the Empire were either outpost cities or semi-wild lands.  By having the council in Nicaea various Church leaders from Asia and Egypt could easily travel while Western bishops could still reach the city due to the extensive road and shipping networks.

Nicaea was still attended mostly by Greek-speaking Eastern Church members, as they were more numerous and closer, though important Western, Latin speaking Church leaders were still able to attend.

The bishops agreed on Christ's divinity and gave us the first form of the Nicaean Creed, the creed which is considered a standard of what all Christians believe.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Greater Middle East Autocomplete: Commonwealth Edition

After the fun of doing Google autocomplete for Middle Eastern nationalities I decided to compare the United States's version of Google with that of Google UK, Google Canada, Google Australia, and Google New Zealand.  Orange will represent all the countries' Googles have the same top result for autocomplete.

  • Turkish Airlines (Same as US)
  • Syrian Civil War (Same as US)
  • Lebanese Food, ForcesRecipes, Cafe (Canada is into the military while food takes the rest of the Anglo sphere) 
  • Libyan Embassy, Civil War, Civil War, Civil War (The UK's expat and business community beats out war watchers)
  • Egyptian Gods (The Muslim Brotherhood has to be upset about this)
  • Israeli Currency, Couscous, Couscous, Couscous (Brits think money while everyone else has couscous on the brains)
  • Jordanian Airlines, Airlines, Embassy, Airlines (Airlines are always a good back up)
  • Iraqi Airways, Dinar, Dinar, Embassy  (Money is also a good standby)
  • Iranian UK (A British-based Persian website)
  • Kuwaiti Dinar (Same as US)
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines (Same as US)
  • Yemeni Port, JewsRestaurant, Seaport (Trade, History, Food, Trade beat a dog)
  • Omani Rial 
  • Bahraini Dinar (business beat out a crushed Arab Spring)
  • Qatari Diar, Royal Family, Diar, Royal Family (Neither Qatari money nor the royal family has done me wrong)
  • Emirati Dirham, Dirham, Dirham, Arabi (Why are there Italian searches in New Zealand?)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Greater Middle East Autocomplete

So I decided to do a simple Google autocomplete search of Middle East nationalities (Turkish vice Turkey) to see what the popular American connotation is for each place/culture.  Some answers were surprising.  Results in bold and personal thoughts in parentheses.

Ordered roughly in geographic terms from north to south, west to east
  • Turkish Airlines (Flag ship of Turkey)
  • Syrian Civil War (Syria is this generations Lebanon)
  • Lebanese Taverna (The new yuppie generation likes the friendly Middle East they think of when they imagine Lebanon, not the 1980s civil war.
  • Libyan Embassy DC (Expats needing to network beat out the revolution)
  • Egyptian Gods (Pyramids et al is what most people will think of for a very long time)
  • Israeli Embassy (Couscous and Palestinian Conflict are the runners up)
  • Jordanian Embassy (Jordan is a black hole for many Americans)
  • Iraqi Dinar (Want to invest in a scam?)
  • Iranian Hostage Crisis (Argo et al won't let Americans forget 1979 much as Iranians did not forget 1953)
  • Kuwaiti Dinar (Better than the runner up Kuwaiti Oil Fires)
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines (Actually a pretty nice airline)
  • Yemeni Street Dog (Poor Yemen.  The rump of the Middle East is equated to adoptable dogs)
  • Omani Riyal to USD (business and travel)
  • Bahraini Dinar (business and travel beat out a crushed Arab Spring)
  • Qatari Diar (Real estate you will never be able to afford)
  • Emirati Cuisine (Mid East food is always good)

The Military-Industrial Complex and Geography

Geography is a racket.  Well, professional and academic Geography can be, anyways.  The crooked relationship between professional geography, academic geography, and the military is not universal but it does exist.  While many academic geographers are on the political Left and would go well out of their way not to be associated with the military while they feed off public money via salaries and grants, some in the more conservative geospatial realm of Geography are forming a military-industrial-academic iron triangle.

The main main alliance is between ESRI and the government and the military.  ESRI controls GIS in the government via ArcGIS.  One will never find another GIS program on closed government systems.  ESRI does not need to make a popular GIS program which people can afford as it can rely on high cost (up to $1,500 per user) licences.

Another example is the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.  The USGIF is an organization which lobbies for federal funding for geospatial technology and tools.  Its board is comprised of member of the geospatial business community and former government officials.  The USGIF has a close working relationship Department of Defense bodies like the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.  It hosts the GEOINT conferences which brings the directors of these agencies to speak to the crowd of government officials, military officers, and professionals.

Finally, the Geography Military-Industrial-Academic Complex self sustains itself by giving federal funds to academic to produce overpriced textbooks which could not be profitable without forcing students to by them for classes.

Now the latter two examples are true for many subjects not just Geography.  The first example is common in many computer science fields as well.  It is just depressing that Geography is playing part in this game too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Irony of Comparing Syria and Qatar: Countries and Cultures Can Fluctuate

The pro-Assad/pro-Syrian Arab Republic Facebook account Amazing Syria has created the below meme showing how advanced Syria was 77 years ago with a functioning parliament while the (alleged photo of) Qatar shows desert bedouin living in a tribal culture.

The photo shows what a leg up the French-mandate gave Syria by ensuring Syria had minority protections, parliamentary government, and a mixture between religion, nationalism, and secularism cultures functioning together.  This was Arabia still in the post-Napoleon shock, the Arabia which looked towards Europe for ideas to adapt into their own civilization.  Meanwhile Qatar survived the threat of Saudi invasion by being protected by British naval guns.  Despite this Doha remained a poor Arab backwater pearl diving village.

Now let us compare Syria and Qatar today.

Note:  This image was chosen to show damage in Syria.  This is not meant to endorse the Free Syrian Army
Syria is torn between the dead European model of National Socialism (Arab variety) and half implemented local Islamism.  The Damascus government has tried to push secular Arab nationalism under a Spanish fascism framework while also trying to push a peaceful Islamist framework.  The Assads have turned the Alawite religion from a Gnostic mix to a Muslim sect.  This bipolar movement has violently failed as regional and global Islamism seeks pan-Islamism free from secular, local control.

Meanwhile Doha, capital of Qatar, is building up.  Photo by Catholicgauze
Meanwhile Qatar has embraced the Islamist form (not alternative but form) of globalization (as compared to Western or neo-Socialist Latin American globalization) with confidence.  Qatar seeks to be a global culture capital by funding the source for Arab news, building museums to show case different cultures, and host international forms.  While the government is openly Wahhabi it allows limited minority protection.  Qatar's geography has also helped with a large oil reserve to buy off the low amount of citizens.

It is undeniable that civilization and high culture has thrived in Syria much longer than in Qatar.  However, the past is dead unless it is applied to the present and future.  It is not what one culture or country had in the past but how a country or culture leverages its history which counts.  Tradition is indeed the democracy of the dead, but the living can veto those votes by destroying the country/culture.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Having Difficulty Celebrating Victory in Europe Days

This Victory in Europe Day (May 8th) and Victory Day (May 9th) passed without a mention on this blog.  The reason was I could not forget the point of World War II.

World War II did not start to overthrow Hitler, save the world from Fascism  or even stop the Holocaust.  All these were noble goals and the defeat of Hitler's many evils was worth the horrible cost.  However, the war did not accomplish its original goal.  The Allies failed to free Poland.

Key portions of the announcement of war to the British people stated

"I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10, Downing Street.

This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11.00 a.m. that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.

I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."


"We and France are today, in fulfillment of our obligations, going to the aid of Poland, who is so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack on her people."

Instead the Allies stood by as Hitler and the Soviet Union conquered Poland.  It was only the end of the Moscow-Berlin coalition which allowed the West to unite with the Soviet Union and pretend the war was to defeat Germany vice restoring the old order.

I cannot blame the Allies for not trying to liberate Poland when the balance of power was so much against them.

Me in a historical geography briefing:  I do not think you understand.  There are more  Soviet-controlled Romanian and Polish puppet armies than British and Canadian armies.  Image from Wikipedia
The cost of this peace was high.  Poland and Eastern Europe were surrendered to Communism, a system which killed magnitudes more than National Socialism did.  Twelve million (12,000,000) ethnic Germans were expelled from their homelands in Eastern Europe (in comparison 725,000 Palestinians fled their homes in the 1948 Palestinian exodus and 300,000 more fled in the 1967 Palestinian exodus).  The Prague and Budapest freedom uprisings were brutally crushed during the Cold War and the West was helpless as those who sought their own liberation were slaughtered.

It took a reformist government in Moscow, an anti-Communist alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States, and a Polish pope to finally free Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.  Fortunately this delayed liberation saw very little bloodshed.

Victory against Nazi Germany was a great stepping stone in the long war to free Europe from tyranny   But it was not the end.  While I can feel good about the defeat of side of evil, I cannot forget a second evil merely took over from the first.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Half (Ignored/Overlooked) Circle of the World

From i09:

About half the world's population live in this circle. Most of the world's Buddhist population and over 40 percent of all Muslims live within the circle as well.  Yet most world history books, while rightly giving detailed attention on the rises, advances, and falls of the Western and Mediterranean civilizations, usually only pay passing reference to Indian and Chinese history.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Zooniverse: Crowd Sourcing Exploration and Science

After Hurricane Sandy there was an effort to crowd source aerial imagery of the damage in order to help FEMA focus on places which needed the aid the quickest.  The effort allowed the public to be disaster response geographers.

Now, the public can be ocean floor explorersastronomers studying galaxiesarchaeologists studying ancient languages, historic climate moldelers, and so much more via Zooniverse.  Zooniverse is a partnership program hosting these studies.  Help out when you can, get a class involved if you are a teacher, and experience the joy of discovery as you help out real science projects.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Global Food and Food Price Gap Photo Essay

The British Daily Mail has a neat photo essay showing weekly family food consumption and pricing from around the world. It's fascinating to see the gap in prices, quantity  and quality of food worldwide.  Personally, the Polish's family weekly food seems to be a good amount with at a very reasonable level.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Syria Civil War Maps Batch Fourteen - Israel Strikes Again

Many thanks to FSSP for this post

Libyan War Maps 
Syrian Arab Spring Protest Maps - Batch One
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Two - Syrian Air Defenses 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Three - Twitter and News Update Maps 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Four - The Soccer Map  
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Five - Ceasefire Violations
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Six - Houla   
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Seven - June 2012    
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Eight - Battle of Damascus 
Syria Civil War Maps: Batch Nine - September 2012 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Ten - October 2012 
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Eleven - Propaganda Maps
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Twelve - First Quarter 2013

Syria Civil War Maps Batch Thirteen - Chemical Weapons Attack?
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Fourteen - Israel Strikes Again
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Fifteen - Second Quarter 2013
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Sixteen - The Coming Western Intervention
Syria Civil War Maps Batch Seventeen - Al Qaedastan in Iraq and Syria

On the night of May 4th-5th Israel hit several Syrian Arab Republic facilities with jet bombers and/or rockets.  Arabic language media has no information which Western media has not reported already so besides videos there is little detailed information out there.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has a general map showing Israeli strikes inside Syria since 2007.

From Haartet's Twitter Feed.
Unofficially and unconfirmed, amateur cartographers have filled the news void.  IsraeliAffairs Twitter feed posted a map claiming to show the multiple locations of Israeli strikes on May 4th-5th while Climateviewer Twitter feed featured a map claiming Israel used a nuclear bomb.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May 2013 Travel Photo: Jacqueline Kennedy Garden

Recently I was able to attend a White House function in Washington, DC.  While people were busy in the Rose Garden area I was able to walk away from the group for a second and take a picture of the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden which is on the east side of the White House's south lawn.

The garden is next to the more famous Rose Garden.  There is an unofficial understanding that the Rose Garden is for events hosted by the president while the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden is for events hosted by the first lady.

Happy St Joseph the Worker Day 2013

The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 as an alternative to the Communist May Day which taught collectivism and labor as a tool of the state.  Pope Pius also wished to show the value of human labor in contrast to the hyper-capitalistic view that saw a person as merely a factor in profit.

I have a person devotion to St. Joseph for multiple reasons.  As such I wish to share some videos concerning the value of human labor and doing good works.