How the north ended up on top of the map is an article by Nick Danforth, author/curator of (The/Mid) Afternoon Map blog, detailing how the north-up orientation came to be the default orientation, looking beyond Eurocentrism to Byzantine monks and Majorcan Jews who set the path for modern cartography. If you want more information, you might enjoy the Wikipedia article on the history of cartography, or you can really dig deep with the three-volume text, The History of Cartography, which is available in full from the University of Chicago Press online, split into individual PDFs for each chapter. [more inside]
Can non-Europeans think? So the question remains why not the dignity of "philosophy" and whence the anthropological curiosity of "ethnophilosophy"?
The ruins of empire: Asia's emergence from western imperialism Moreover, a narcissistic history – one obsessed with western ideals, achievements, failures and challenges – can only retard a useful understanding of the world today. For most people in Europe and America, the history of the present is still largely defined by victories in the second world war and the long standoff with Soviet communism, even though the central event of the modern era, for a majority of the world's population, is the intellectual and political awakening of Asia and its emergence, still incomplete, from the ruins of both Asian and European empires. The much-heralded shift of power from the west to the east may or may not happen. But only neo-imperialist dead-enders will deny that we have edged closer to the cosmopolitan future the first generation of modern Asian thinkers, writers and leaders dreamed of – in which people from different parts of the world meet as equals rather than as masters and slaves, and no one needs to shoot elephants to confirm their supremacy.
Star forts from above (Google Maps links): Alba Iulia, Arad Fortress, Almeida, Bourtrange, Coevorden, Estremoz, Goryōkaku, Naarden, Neuf Brisach, Nicosia, Palmanova, Retranchement, Terezín, Willemstad. More.
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?" ― Winston Churchill, 1935. The World War II Database connects people, events, photographs, and other elements of history in relational db form to tell the story of the 20th century's 2nd great war.
Cute quiz: Name the Simpsons characters. Also: US states, countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America, periodic table of elements. More.
The Memory of The Netherlands is an extensive digital collection of illustrations, photographs, texts, film and audio fragments from a large variety of Dutch cultural institutions. There are about 50 collections (in english).
In Europe, it's debated whether it's Suchowola Poland, the village of Krahule near Kremnica Slovakia, Dilove in western Ukraine, or Bernotai Lithuania. In Asia, there are more disputes, but Kyzyl put up an obelisk and stages tours. Various places claim that the Central African Republic is at the geographical centre of Africa, but that seems more likely based on looking at a map than measuring anything. On January 9 1956, Admiral Byrd flew over the geographical center of Antarctica. Alice Springs is pretty close to the centre of Australia. The center of North America is at latitude 48°21'19" north, longitude 99°59' 57" west in Rugby North Dakota. South America's center is officially Chapada dos Guimaraes in Cuiaba Brazil.
U.S. to Cut Forces in Europe, Asia President Bush will announce Monday that he plans to pull 70,000 to 100,000 troops out of Europe and Asia in the first major reconfiguration of overseas military deployments by the United States since the Cold War ended, White House officials said yesterday.
Photos by Martin - a gem of a site for vicarious travelers, it features wonderful, charming photos and fascinating stories from a guy who quit his job three years ago to travel the world. He credits global photojournalist Steve McCurry as an influence. I am such a fan of these photo travel narratives, professional and amateur alike - has anyone else discivered some special favorites?
Path of a Pipeline: Oil, Empire, and Influence in the New Eurasia While so many of us talk about Iraq and war in terms of oil, it might prove useful to note what is going on close by. Not mentioned, however, in the article is the guess that China will have stupendous energy needs in the next decade, and what is taking place here will have an impact on their needs.