Archive for the 'Geography' Category

Fidelity uses antique topographic maps in a commercial

January 11, 2009

I saw a commercial for Fidelity Investments this morning during one of the networks’ Sunday morning yap shows. The commercial featured several antique topo maps as backdrop to its campaign for getting you to invest your money with them.



December 4, 2008

Off the WordPress update, Slovenia has a spitting resemblance to a chicken

As Argentina went, so could America?

December 3, 2008

I learned in my Latin American history class back in undergraduate days that some South American countries such as Argentina and Uruguay once had a standard of living (per capita income, etc) comparable to that of the US in the 1920s, and higher than Western Europe of that time. Things have slid since the Great Depression. Is Argentina’s experience a warning to us?

Nobel Prize awarded for economic geography

October 13, 2008

Having been an academic geographer (student) for a brief period of time, it is very interesting to see a Nobel Prize being awarded in the study of economic geography. Technically, the award is not a ‘Nobel Prize’ along the lines of chemistry, physics, etc. but is the “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.” Whatever. 

Patterns of trade and location have always been key issues in the economic debate. What are the effects of free trade and globalization? What are the driving forces behind worldwide urbanization? Paul Krugman has formulated a new theory to answer these questions. He has thereby integrated the previously disparate research fields of international trade and economic geography.

Krugman’s approach is based on the premise that many goods and services can be produced more cheaply in long series, a concept generally known as economies of scale. Meanwhile, consumers demand a varied supply of goods. As a result, small-scale production for a local market is replaced by large-scale production for the world market, where firms with similar products compete with one another.

Not much time to really comment.. except that he has been given credit for making economic geography worth a darn in recent times.  This is a good readable overview of the meaning of his work.

I knew Iceland when the party was on

October 6, 2008

I visited Iceland several years ago, when Iceland had one of the wealthiest states on Earth per capita, not to mention some of the happiest, carefree people too. Party’s over now. I have some Icelandic krona notes I happened to bring home; they’re worth as much as confetti now. When I was there, things were quite expensive, $10 for a pylsur, or hot dog. I liked skyr too. I imagine now that prices are dirt cheap for visiting foreigners. The party, nightlife scene for city as small as Reykjavik, impressive. A fascinating place, with out of wedlock children the social norm, no military (officially, though ‘police’ have been sent to Afghanistan), and leadership in renewable energy sources.

Iceland was once one of the poorest places on Earth, I read. Starvation visited the island over the centuries, keeping the population small through Malthuisan impulses. Today Iceland only has around 300,000 people. If the country has to be bailed out by foreigners, can it keep out of the EU?

Broken Britain

October 1, 2008

Being in the US, I don’t always catch up on the latest happenings in the UK. I usually choose to look at the websites of BBC, the Guardian or the Times, not the real good stuff in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express or the Sun. I hadn’t known that there is the term ‘Broken Britain‘ applied to the state of affairs in the UK under the Gordon Brown government, which of course denies. What evidence is there that Britain is broken? Everything from the knife crime epidemic, censorship, the London congestion charge, binge drinking, economic crises, CCTV, political correctness, the decline of Eastenders over the years, a general yobbery about the land, and white flight – people are fleeing Britain for Australia, Canada, and gasp, even the US.

The latest glaring example of Broken Britain in the tabs is the story of the hero executive banker who had his bead batted about like a football by a gang of yobs. Coming to the aid of a homeless man and his companion who being attacked by the gang in the city Norwich, Frank McGarahan later died of his injuries in hospital.

There’s also the case of the office manager strangled by her employee whom she caught robbing the office, but the killer is an American, so I guess you have to let that one go. A student being urged to kill hiimself by a crowd, now that’s broken.

Meanwhile the Tory leader David Cameron is urging bipartisanship, American style, in order to rescue Britain’s broken, American style, financial system. Well, not too American for Mr. Cameron, the world’s using Congress as an example of what to avoid.

Think we can handle immigrants better than the Europeans?

September 29, 2008

Maybe so, but certainly not always. I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Somebody recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia

September 24, 2008

Other than Russia. If you hadn’t noticed in recent years, Daniel Ortega, the nemesis of Ronald Reagan and leader of the 1980s Sandinistas, is the duly elected president of Nicaragua, in 2008. He has recognized the statehood of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and has received a nice return in modern weapons from Russia.

Road rage, where in the Cotswolds? – woman burnt alive in her car

September 23, 2008

Two women engaged in a road rage incident, one refuses to leave her burning car, dies stomping her foot on the gas and telling witness to ‘Fuck off’ while she immolated herself.

As the Lower 48 faces economic collapse, refugees will flee to Alaska

September 21, 2008

On this posting about the Kenyan witch hunter who appeared with Gov. Palin at her church this past June, a pastor explains that Alaska will be a “refuge state” in the Last Days, for thousands of people fleeing the End from the Lower 48. Could this be the McCain/Palin plan C for the impending global financial system collapse, which no doubt would a sign of the Last Days? Plan A, B, not sure what those would be, give a trillion, maybe. Plan C – the anointed will go the Alaska, drill for oil and hunt for food.

My main question is, when Alaska suddenly faces a deluge of refugees, what happens after a year and they have to split up the oil royalty money?