Monday, May 14, 2007

IS OUR OCCIDENTAL MAP ACCIDENTAL?
The world may already seem like it is upside down but what if we were to literally redraw the Map?
I started by wondering where my coordinate opposite would be.
Whateverpeg is at the 49.88 NORTH & -97.17 EAST so if I was transported to the opposite coordinates, 49.88 SOUTH & 97.17 WEST ...
I would treading water in the Indian Ocean west of Australia but further South than New Zealand!
It would be miserably close to Antarctica which seems totally unbelievable to me.
Homo Escapeons started migrating out of Africa about 150,00 years ago and began spreading out across the globe. Our population reached 1 Billion by 1800 and now here we are racing towards 7 Billion people in 200+ Countries.

If we retrace History with our Linear mindset, we have a very specific idea of who, when, where, how and why certain events took place and created the map on the wall that we all recognise.
Imagine this world with the same Countries?

How would history differ with the present day Nations in their new locations?
Is it even possible for you to separate the geo/political references, along with all of the ethnocentric/national baggage, that you automatically see when you look at a map of the world?

What if the Continents had ended up like this?
The agricultural and latitudinal equation obviously made the Agricultural
Revolution a key ingredient in our Evolution.

But if you could toss aside the logic for a second look at how different the World would be and which Countries would have ended up being the most desirable and powerful Nations on Earth.

Would the same people have dominated the world?
Obviously Geography has a lot more to do with our story than you may have guessed.

44 comments:

  1. I'd like to ask a typical class of college freshmen: "What is wrong with these maps?"

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  2. If we were to re-draw the maps, the entire world would be completely different. I don't think there is any question about that.

    I can't even consider how that world would differ from ours.

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  3. HE, you sure do pull some interesting rabbits out of your hat!
    If we were to turn back the clock or redraw the map, the first change would, naturally, affect everything else.
    But it's an interesting hypothetical exercise. Thanks for the prod to the brain.

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  4. HE, you sure do pull some interesting rabbits out of your hat!
    If we were to turn back the clock or redraw the map, the first change would, naturally, affect everything else.
    But it's an interesting hypothetical exercise. Thanks for the prod to the brain.

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  5. You sure know how to turn things upside down :-) Too complex for me to figure that new history out :-)

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  6. Geography, strategic importance and natural resources are major factors..
    Population density would reverse as an effect of global circulation, but the overal countries would remain the same in terms of global power. It would be an east coast west coast reversal.

    although it may have strategic alliances, due to proximity... hrmmm mind begining to boggle:)

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  7. Well Australia is currently the "land down under" so if we redrew the map would be sitting on top of the world? I think I like that idea....

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  8. re-draw the map and then I can be on top of u HE :):)

    Keshi.

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  9. I think even if the map were redrawn, alliances would still be among the powerful and rich countries -- geographical proximity notwithstanding.

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  10. is geography the right discipline? I think I'd agree - it's all plate tectonics in the long term and temporate climates in the medium term and the odd ice-age in the short term thrown in for good measure really, isn't it?

    I love the cavemen/hunter gatherer theories of everything

    when the next climatic disaster hits, I wonder which communities will be the ones able to survive? not those of us who rely on electricity, supermarkets and station wagons that's for sure. . .

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  11. A friend of mine had a copy of MacArthur's Corrective Map on his wall. As Angel Without Wings suggested, we are on top of the world on that map! It's all "upside down" according to how we usually view it. Cool notion.

    I don't think re-arranging the globe would have that much of an effect, realistically... there's something about humans which is drawn to conflict, greed, and a desire to control. Alliances may be different, but politics would remain.

    But it's a nice dream, HE, keep dreaming it for me while I sleep.

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  12. allan,
    It would be cruel and unusual for College Students to remember anything that they had learned back in the 5th Grade. Why do we need to know where Burma is and why did they change the name?

    geographicalblogger,
    Would the Africans,
    who became Asians,
    who became Australians 40,000 years ago
    North Americans 20,000 ya
    and South Americans who reached the tip of SA 9,000 years ago,
    in the same order?

    Would the Europeans have discovered the West Coast of North America first ot Asians the East? Would the Europeans have been explorers and emipires in the first place?

    dianhmow,
    What about the Industrial Revolution, the fall of the Roman Empire and Church, would having the Far East, now the Middle East, completely alter the course of Empires? Actually I think that the future is going to resemble this scenario.

    The future is Asian as history keeps circling westward past the USA now in decline and onto to China...until it hits the Middle East again?

    hildegarde,
    Europe would have been close to the West Coast of Alaska. The land bridge would have enabled Europeans to be the first settlers in the Americas around 20,000 years ago. How would that have been different?

    aidan,
    It would be a east/west power swap or would it? The Chinese or Japanese explorers would have made it to the Americas first?
    Australia is now in the centre of the world!
    The climates dictated the strength of the Agricultural Revolutions and subsequent City States/Empires that arose..would the order have been different?

    angel without wings,
    Australia Foreva! You would be the centre of the universe and not a 16 hour plane ride away!!!
    Closer to South America which you once were joined to and shared all of the marsupials.

    keshiroo,
    I am almost positive that you are referring to the geographical implication of political & economical dominance by reversing the coordinates of our continents and not what I am thinking.

    menchie,
    I was wondering if people would think that the order of Civilisation would have been altered due to Customs and Cultural preferences?

    i like the view,
    Climatic changes forced Mitochondrial Eve (our universal ancestor) to wander out of Africa to escape drought like conditions...humans kept looking for the perfect spot ever since. Some settled where nobody else wanted to stay and otheres have been fighting over the same patch of dirt for millenia? Location, location, location.

    stace,
    I agree that we are naturally amazingly cruel greedy little bastards but wouldn't history have been rewritten if the Orient became the centre of the universe?
    What do you mean you're sleeping?

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  13. The whole world (literally) would be different. We'dv gone different places, experienced different challenges and adapted accordingly, we'd have different neighbours, different terrain, different oceans to conquer and different animals to live amongst. Trade would occur differently, making different technologies more important than others. There'd be mountains in different places forming natural boundaries between peoples and isolating communities. In all probability, we wouldn't be the same homo escapeons we are today.

    I love the random, unpredicatable affects we have on the world. Australia is a case in point - it is a bizarre little chunk of the west buried in the east, not through natural dispersion and cultural evolution at all, but simply because some one woke up one day and had this igenious idea concerning Britain's prison population. Randomers. They cause so much trouble.

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  14. meet the new boss same as the old boss maybe just a different colour - me thinks

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  15. HE, it is a great thought and I agree it all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION...

    But I don't think you need to mess about with the world really, to change it.
    Just flip the road signs...

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  16. apropos nothing, I was amazed to learn (just this week) that the Polonesians who settled NZ and became the Maoris only did it 1000 years ago! That's a bit like last Thursday compared with the rest of human migration isn't it?
    Why eh HE, fount (or is it font?) of all knowledge?

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  17. Yes, I agree that up, down, north, south, east, west, starboard, akimbo, etc. mean nothing on a tiny blue planet hurtling through space.

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  18. fathorse,
    I love your new phrase Randomers.
    You are right bloody Randomers have made a real mess of it all.

    ziggi,
    C'mon we won't get fooled again, would we?

    cream,
    Ooh that would be so much fun to switch the names of everything at airports and on the web! But since that is impossible we will go ahead with your brilliant plan and flip all of the road signs.
    Take That World!

    ziggi,
    You're right it is the Newest address that we have ruined.
    They killed off a giantic 9 foot bird called the Moa in no time flat. It had only survived for millions of years before people paddled up and said LOOK a giant chicken!Let's kill it!

    carmenzta,
    Just think about the giant ball of molten iron beneath us! All of this surface stuff is puny compared to what's going on below.

    I like looking at Antarctica and seeing how it is all divided up. WTH. Oh well atleast you Americans own the Moon. Nobody else can say that!

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  19. I'm ignoring the maps and going straight past you, and back to me. I've just come up with a theory-- What are the chances that Cherrypie has gone and run off with I wonder?

    Never seem to hear from either of them anymore...

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  20. hee hee! I just googled moas and they had muppet faces! http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/images/moa.jpg

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  21. I have enjoyed pondering this heavyweight conundrum that you have set us. I think you would make an inspirational teacher.

    Ultimately it reminds me how important climate and natural resources are to people. Of less significance to corporations, perhaps, who consider as long as there are people there will be something to sell them and these firms have the freedom to move between countries.

    Brainboggling post, indeed.

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  22. Ooh! Joyce might have a point!

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  23. Australia -all by ourselves down here -that's why we are just such special people ;).

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  24. who's "I wonder"?

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  25. joyce,
    Cherrie Le Pie is in the midst of an incredible metamorphosis and probably will not be available for a viewing until next month while

    I Wonder has just finished spinning his cocoon so that he can enjoy his Estivation (the summer version of hibernating) in Peace and Quiet.

    Now be a sport and go back and read the 'maps'.

    fathorse,
    HA! I guess so...Muppet face carnivores that would tear your intestines out through your stomach (*like a Velociraptor)and start eating you while you were still alive!

    Benjamin,
    It sort takes all of the predestination out of our sails doesn't it? We left Africa because of climate and kept roaming around and adapting to certain environments which led to physical changes which further alienated us from each other!

    dinahmow,
    She didn't even read the post? Oh you mean on Cherry and Wonder. Well I for one am quite satisfied to wildly speculate that Cherry has a very good reason for her abscence and that I Wonder is just lazy and underwhelmed at the moment because I actually talked to him in person on Saturday and basically that's what he said.

    Lee,
    How right you are. Evidence suggests that the first Asians made it to the great southern land 40 or 50,000 years ago.

    Apparently nobody else wanted it until the 1800s so the first asians enjoyed the company of marsupials and deadly snakes for thousands of years in splendid isolation.

    If you guys were right off of the coast of brazil we'd see a lot more of you..of course you wouldn't have all of your quirks and you would be a lot more like North Americans so....count your blessings for being so isolated.

    ziggi,
    I Wonder is joyce's 'boytoy/manservant' in the rw and he is responsible for coaxing and cajoling me into blogging.
    I Wonder was my first commentor (bad review btw) and despite his initial dismay he has been one of my most ardent supporters and I dearly miss his exuberant endorsements in the comments.

    Cherry as you are well aware is one of the greatest writers out here so her abscence has been particularly distressing but I have hesitated to pry as much as I did during her last walkabout..

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  26. Hmm. Now the "down under" should be know as "up above."

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  27. location location location, eh? no wonder I'm Homeward Bound then. . .

    and a wonderful piece of blogging serendipity happened when I posted those lyrics!

    thanks for that

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  28. gautami,
    This sounds bizarre but even after I reversed Asia it would appear that INDIA is 'in-dee-ah' exact same place!

    i like the view,
    I have my moments. ..actually I do not prefer the really sad pensive morose 'cold razor in a hot bath' songs because
    A they are usually uber fromage
    B if you already feel terrible why would you want to listen to something that makes you feel even worse?
    C all they prove is that misery loves company
    D most of them are country ((shudders))
    E life is too short
    F I better stop before I get too depressed talking about it.

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  29. ...we would all be dominated by the Aztecs. the food would be great. we would live in peace and harmony with the earth. and every sunday there'd be these great televised handball games where the losing team would have their hearts carved out with obsidian knives by screaming bloodrenched naked priests wacked out on peyolotl and coca.
    yeah, beat that, NFL!

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  30. first nations,
    Apocalypto Now!
    Yeah baby I am so there.
    The WWF is one step away from that whole scene anyway. Wrestling was a 'sport' and now it is 'entertainment' so it will be a 'religion'any day now.
    And to think some people here in Whateverpeg think that getting the NHL Jets back here will solve our identity/brand problemo.HA!

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  31. now this is going to make for some interesting water-cooler conversation tomorrow!

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  32. I agree with Ziggi way back. Same old same old, just a different colour. Would the water go down the plughole the same way as it does now?

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  33. Whateverpeg is such a cool name for a town.

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  34. What an amazing and thought provocing topic, you never fail to make me THINK.... thinking blogger, that IS you!!
    BTW, thanks so much for the kind words re my friend Therese. And..for the laugh in the comment too, we all need a laugh and Therese is not immune to laughter at all.

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  35. angel,
    I doubt that many people would think that it would have made any difference if Asia was flipped over...I wonder if the Industrial Revolution would have still started in England? That would mean that the USA would have started in Oregon or California.

    spentrails,
    You're probably right the progression from Agriculture to City States to Empires would probably have just switched Coasts...and the drain would still spin the 'wrong way' in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Jammer,
    It is a cool nickname that I created that totally encompasses our paralysis to move forward but I'm sure that our Civic Cheerleaders would be offended.
    Winnipeg is better known as Winterpeg..but not for long muahahahah!

    cazzie,
    I will do anything to move Australia closer so that we can visit each other more often.
    Therese's story is beyond inspiring and I was amazed at her grace under pressure. What a family!

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  36. Im thinking wut u r thinking.

    LOL confused u more now!
    Keshi.

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  37. OK, thanks for sorting the Cherry/Wonder puzzle.
    But I have another...no comment from your Worthy Winnepegian across town.Probably still strolling through the park...

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  38. (I just have to add when I'm feeling down in the dumps I either listen to Thriller by Michael Jackson or Sunny by Boney M or Basement Jax's Do My Thing)

    :-)

    (I just HAD to add that, so you don't think I'm a miserable old cow) (cos I'm not) (much!)

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  39. keshiroo,
    You say po-tay-toe
    I sat po-tat-to
    You say to-may-toe
    I say to-mat-to..

    dinahmow,
    In case you hadn't noticed my Worthy Winnepegonian hasn't commented for weeks, maybe months.
    I would like to hear your theory? Do tell!

    i like the view,
    My word! I never said that you were a miserable old cow, nor could I ever think it. The very thought is abhorrent to my persons!

    btw Have you ever noticed that nobody has ever made a better Christmas (blecchh!) Album than Boney M? Now nobody loathes Christmas Albums more than I do but I can't help but love Boney M.

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  40. After trying to figure out all the what-iffities of this post ever since you did it, I have figured it out.

    Canada would have platypuses and all those other cool Aussie-only creatures and Oz would have the Great Lakes and the Narcisse snakepits.

    And Keshi wants to be on top of you?

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  41. without whatiffities,
    I will politely ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room and comment on your notion that marsupials would have ended up in North America...actually we do have one, the oppossum.

    The 'possum came from South America which was attached to Antarctica and Australia and that is why they shared marsupials in their splendid Darwinian isolation.

    When are you driving to Narcisse to take pictures for gautami?

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  42. Thanks for reminding within to take those pictures for me. He must have conveniently forgotten.

    Whatever.

    How about you trailing The Kiss? You won't be disappointed..:D

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  43. HE/Gautami:

    The 800 pound gorilla notion was quite an upside down one that piqued my interest, actually.

    As far as your simplistic response on marsupials, of course I was talking about all of the creatures still unique to Australia, not possums.

    Wiener.

    Gautami, I have not forgotten and did not forget about Narcisse.

    As far as I can determine, the snakes have already departed their wintering den and have spread out far and wide in the surrounding tall grasses to eat mice.

    However, I will try to slither out there this weekend if there still are sufficient numbers.

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