Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Would you believe I once knew all of the German province names and their capitols? Austrian, also. Nerd.

Whelp, I’m leaving the continent in about ten days. Going to Berlin to stay with Brenna for a little over a week (with a couple days bumming around in Prague). Should be awesome.

Anyway, I’m leaving Friday evening, March 5th, and will return Sunday night, March 14th.

If anyone has any suggestions for things to check out while I’m over there, let me know. Kurt has already given me the heads-up on a couple of good places to go get a drink and listen to music. The only other person I can think of who’s intimately familiar with the area would be Hana, who grew up in Prague. Otherwise, I’m probably the most familiar with Germany of people I see regularly these days, having been over on about a half-dozen different occasions over the years (though only once to Berlin, and that was back in, like, 1993). Anyway, Brenna will of course be on-hand for advice.

That last trip to Berlin, by the way, was a short exchange program between LBJ High (my school) and La Grange High here in Texas and the Kaiserin Augusta Schule in Köln. A bunch of us went over with our teacher, Frau Hastay, and travelled around the country for a week, went to school with the Kölners for a week, and then travelled around for another week.

Anyway, one afternoon in Berlin in a patio area at a bar, some of us were playing cards — hearts, probably — and someone accused Zane of cheating (hiding cards). Zane flipped out, jumped on the table, and started ripping his clothes off until he was down to his underwear, loudly proving his innocence. I stilll remember that pretty well. Good times.

Very well, then.

UT Map Collection

Posted Tue, March 2, 2004, 11:12am EST by Josh

This map, by the way, came from the PCL map collection from the University of Texas ("UT," locally). They've had this archive online for about ten years and it's great.

Turbulent Borders

Posted Tue, March 2, 2004, 11:32pm EST by Charles Lowell

It always amazes me when I see maps from only 100 years ago like this one, where the political boundaries are significantly different than they are today. They are similar, but in light of the jealousy with which borders are guarded all around the world, the change is impressive.

We live under the impression that Germany is Germany, France is France, and that the Rio Grande is the border between the U.S. and Mexico. But in reality, borders are constantly and ever in flux. The U.S. was 1/2 its present size 100 years ago. Go another 150 years back and it was a group of city states huddled along the atlantic ocean. Not to mention what's happened in Eastern Europe in the last 15 years.

Yet here in the U.S, we seem to think of the present configuration: 48 continental states plus Alaska and Hawaii, as set in stone, when in fact, if history is a guide, in 50 years (that's in our lifetime) it stands a good chance of looking quite different.

Bigger? Smaller? Fractured? Who can tell? The point is, we think of the borders of our nations as being the solid part, when in fact they are the most fluid.

Anyway, I think it would be cool to do a "time lapse composite" of political maps over the past 1000 years, where you watched them morph and chage over the course of like 30 seconds. I suspect you would see nations, moving around like clouds: growing, expanding, shrinking, and interacting turbulently at the boundaries, like a weather pattern.

Border Control

Posted Wed, March 3, 2004, 2:54pm EST by Josh

I remember back in high school, while studying European History with Mr. Spaulding, thinking a border time-lapse would be cool. The problem would be, I suspect, that the concept of a "national border" has changed over the years as much as the borders themselves have.

In fact, I'd wager that the current commonly-held notion of a national border as a definite line in the dirt is a 20th century development. It might've even come from the aftermath of the First or Second World War, when it became more apparent that having rigid, absolutely defined borders in all parts of the world could prevent a lot of argument...

That's why I've drawn lines all over the carpet in my apartment, at any rate: I don't want there to be any question that the desk is not allowed to intrude upon the sofa's turf.

Or something.

Who knows.


Posted Fri, December 3, 2004, 12:13pm EST by rory

I beleive the idea of the border time lapse map would be very cool too. Howver Josh is right when he maskes a point about the defintion of a "national border". you could probobly do it up to like 300 years ago, one of europe would be amazing. However once you get to the middle ages europe everything is so badly recorded and everything is so fractured i dont think you could find the exact borders of little insignificant principalities. but you could do one since the industrail revolution probobly.