Nuke Zombies and some God
Sunday, July 22, 2007
This update is not a promise of anything but an excellent story, so you will read it. But first I want to address the above link: It essentially says anything under the top bar a person would more likely vote for that rather than someone "who didn't believe in God."
In fact, give America a president on anti-depressants (now with the new warning, may cause suicidal tendencies) rather than someone who didn't believe in God! Hey at least most of America could relate to him, right?
How about the fact that they'd rather have a Mormon president?! Just so long as they believe in God, right? It doesn't matter if they believe a man from America found ancient Egyptian plates in America that nobody ever saw that he translated and called himself a prophet... it doesn't matter how absolutely ludicrous that sounds just so long as Americans get to hear the word "God" in there somewhere.
Certainly I'd rather have a man who believes in God as opposed to a man of principle who finds harming other people and life is the worst thing a man could do but doesn't believe in God. I mean Holy Hell- who says a person can not be good of their own accord? Who says that a person needs a religion in order not to be a total dick to everyone? Why in the Hell are so many Americans out of control that something with no more proof than a Greek myth is above all the most important thing to them?
Oh, I'm not saying you shouldn't believe in God. Be Christian, Muslim, Jew, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Scientologist, Jim Jones worshiping devotees. You may do that to your hearts content day in and day out for as long as you may like even though you may perhaps make more productive use of your time. But most certainly do not judge others on whether or not they want to follow whoever your choice eternal leader is! Fuck! Nobody knows people! Get a clue! You got a couple billion Muslims here, a few billion Christians there, Jews, Hindus, and a crapload more and they are all just as damn certain as you are that they're right! So... get a clue and grow up. You believe in what you want to, they believe in what they want to... and so long as neither of you attempt to try and dominate the other why don't you base your political decisions on how everyone can have as much freedom as can be allowed? If the person making decisions for you is not out to remove your religion or oppress it, why can't we make political decisions on what is a good idea for everyone, and not just self-centered Christians?
Anyway... time for Part II of this entry. The whole reason I posted actually. I was chatting with a friend and I came up with this new premise for a new trilogy of movies. I mean - think of it:
Book 7 of the Harry Potter Series just came out and people are on a fix looking for the next big epic. Well I've got just the one. This is how the first movie will go.
It's present time roughly and the United States is in an entrenching standoff between another Nuclear nation, probably something like China because China was probably getting cocky and decided to start making demands the United States couldn't keep because we've depended on them for our economy for too long. Millions of Americans are going poor, the Chinese are spitting back it's time for America to know what they've put China through and all that. You know- the whole 9 yards of it.
Deep, heavy, movie atmosphere as America still runs but are constantly on alert for the imminent Nuclear attack. We focus on this one seemingly innocent character who we see is just trying to struggle to keep up with the failing economy like the rest of Americans, you know, just doing what needs to be done, and on top of that he seems like a pretty genuinely nice guy.
One day he's at a cafe or bar or something and some anonymous person gives him a note that if he wants to survive to come to a certain address. After much deliberation he goes to check it out and he comes to find out that this old creepy rich guy has invited him to live in a nuclear missile silo. They mysterious thing is he does not know the man and he refuses to give the reason as to why he chose him. He is immediately instructed to go inside or to leave and not return, so the main character chooses to go inside.
Now this is where the story line picks up. We come to realize the main character isn't the only person who was selected to live there but a dozen or so other people are there. They are informed they have some connection to one another but it's obvious people are keeping secrets and something very sinister seems to be taking place. After a few scary twists and turns the Nuclear war comes to happen and all of North America is wiped out and anything beyond that is unknown. This stuns those living in the silo and they all come out and apologize to each other for everything they did wrong to each other and they really consoled each other through the tragic time. Some of them even began admitting how much they liked each other and things start becoming openly sexual.
Meanwhile, the rich weird man, holed up in a different part of the silo, totally didn't expect the nuclear war to affect their spite on each other gets angry and gasses the entire complex, inadvertently killing himself in the process.
Then the screen flashes to forward enough time that the Earth has recovered fully without the impediment of humans anymore scourging the Earth. Plants and animals flourish as we are introduced to a peaceful meadow where a couple deer and quietly munching on some grass. The serenity takes the audience away, but then quickly and loudly these horrific looking zombies come out from the woods nearby and run down the deer eating them raw and mercilessly.
Then it cuts to the credits, with a specially made metal song that goes:
THEY NEVER DIE!
THEY'LL ROAM THE EARTH FOREVER
THEY MERCILESSLY KILL ANYTHING IN SIGHT!
... and so on. You know, so people understand where these zombies came from. This will be the end of the first move. It ends this way so conservatives will not call this movie "another liberal hippie movie trying to promote that being environmentally friendly shit." In fact the Nuke Zombies give conservatives the exact bragging rights of "At least people aren't as bad as nuke zombies!" And a liberal would be forced to admit it.
The first movie, by the way, is called "The Nuclear Experiment" while the second movie is called "Nuke Zombies."
The second movie is going to focus on a city of people in this future where Nuke Zombies roam the forests. People conclude immediately that people survived in to this distant future and now live in these walled off cities. However these cities are filthy, extremely polluting, and extremely oppressive. (This can give more conservative bragging rights: "See? We're not as bad as those people in that city") In fact the people in the city are so oppressive that a usual punishment for breaking a law is being fed to a Nuke Zombie.
Nuke Zombies roam the forests outside the city wall and they are sometimes hunted and brought back to the city to be shown off in magazines or in cages and such. So we focus in on a small group of main characters who live within the city just as average people. But then the more we learn about them, the more we learn they are struggling to overthrow the city government in a coup de'tat. Plans are going perfectly for them when a small earthquake occurs knocking down a bit of the North Wall. Immediately the city begins to be infested with Nuke Zombies. Quickly our main characters wished they were under the safety of the current government than being attacked by these Nuke Zombies to stress how dreadful it is.
However the government still uses the military to eliminate all Nuke Zombies and non-elite city members (which are already in safe zones) So we follow these main characters as they try to get away from nuke zombies and the military. They end up running past the wall, experiencing the natural Earth for the first time, being reintroduced to the environment that created them, but they are still on the run from Nuke Zombies. Of course the whole movie we lose a main character here, and a main character there, so by the time they're outside there are only a couple left and they eventually are eaten by the Nuke Zombies after they experience the Earth for a while.
Meanwhile we go back to the City Officials learning that the city is 100% clear from infection leaving only them and a few military personell to have survived the Nuke Zombie onslaught. They are overcome with joy at the thought of having so much surplus resources that they could exploit them and hardly ever have to work again. And the congratulated themselves and feasted on the spoils.
But then these space barges come in and the remainder alive in the city are astonished at their size. They end up abducting those remaining people in the city as well as other species of Earth. Of course this includes some Nuke Zombies.
The last screen of the movie shows a room on the space barge. The only shot of the interior we see the whole movie. And the room has a bunch of caged Nuke Zombies, but then as the camera pans there is one cage that is ripped open and was no longer in the room.
Then... the credits.
The third would be called "The Rise and Fall of the Deer People" and this would be the epic conclusion to this topsy turvy trilogy. This last story begins without knowing a single thing that happened on the space ship. In fact it is now another evolutionary generation later and the story focuses in on this group of deer people that can communicate and have civilizations and stuff. We focus in on a group who are doing archaeological digging on an ancient civilization of people once passed. They found the civilization came to an abrupt end and no sign of the species existed ever again after a certain time. We also learn the the deer people are at war with another intelligent species but it is always elusive as to what they were. They have a name but the name bares no meaning to the audience.
Eventually a climactic battle occurs and our archaeologists are involved on the battle. The deer people happen to be fighting an evolutionary advanced form of the nuke zombies! However they fight with weapons now and use complex tactics in battle instead of just feasting. After the battle pours on for a while the main deer-person character gets kidnapped as a prisoner of war and thrown in a jail cell where he was actually treated pretty decently and he realized that the nuke zombies culture was just different and not bad or evil.
As relations improved between the deer people and the nuke zombies our main deer person character vows to all his nuke zombie friends he made he will let everyone know how caring nuke zombies are and how it's possible to live with them in peace. He understood now that the nuke zombies have been oppressed for centuries for having such savage ancestors. However his vow never comes to light when a bad rift comes between the nuke zombies leaders and the deer peoples leaders and they slowly torture and kill him for an example of warning to the deer people.
Just as things seem they couldn't get any worse, these new space barges appear in the sky again! Again this time nobody knew what it was because none on Earth recorded the abductions. From the ships came these odd Earth-like creatures that looked evil and attacked both the Nuke Zombies and the Deer People. It turns out what is controlling these things are SPACE NUKE ZOMBIE ALIENS! Which is a total hybrid of the obvious problems gone wrong an evolutionary generation ago. Now they are just pure testosterone and hate who only quenches the sole satisfaction they gain which is from destroying. Only when they destroy that are not pleased, they are emotionless.
So while the Earth Nuke Zombies evolved to be kind creatures, the Space Nuke Zombie Aliens evolved to be pure evil. And despite the ability for deer people and Earth Nuke Zombies to work together and get along, they were overwhelmingly destroyed as well as all other life on Earth so there was nothing buy a charred planet when they were completed.
The last scene of the movie are the barges silently drifting off in to space in search of more planet with life. Inside the Space Nuke Zombie Aliens stand silently and motionless, uncelebratory because they have no emotion. Then the scene silently goes to credits and no sound or music is played.
That's the trilogy, drop me a line if you're funding it!
Who wants to be a fifthgradaire
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I haven't updated in a long time and this is proof I still exist though I'm not recommiting myself to this page yet. I do plan on recommiting myself to making a webpage but at the moment it isn't feasible. However I am making significant strides to that.
what I am updating for today is because I was watching a recorded "Planet Earth" episode in High Definition (totally recommended) and when it was done it inspired me to search my usual channels (National Geographic, Discovery, Science, History International...) for some more intelligent television watching material. At the same time, somehow, Fox was on in the upper-right-hand screen while I'm going through the next two weeks of programs on the above channels...
And on Fox the show "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?" was on. Without completely paying attention to it I learned to loathe it and feel shamed at what regular television broadcasting has become. The problems with it can be listed as follows:
The show is a blatant pathetic ripoff of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"... and I understand this is not the first show to be as such... however that offers no further arguments for this show. The concept is almost identical only they bring kids in to it. I can hear the promotional people now: "Think 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'... with adorable kids!" as the fat CEO behind the desk raises his eyebrows and daydreams in and out of the promotional speech of how big of a boat he'll be getting with the money raised from the show.
Jeff Foxworthy is the host. I mean do I even need to touch that one? Isn't that a joke in itself? After he rose to national fame from one-liners that began with "You know you're a redneck if..." (over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again)his acting/comedy career took a steep nosedive (as it should've well before it did) into the abyss of forgotten no-talent actors. Think Carlos Mencia in like 5 years... but ... magically... his shirt must've gotten caught on one of those infamous branches that stick out of all cliffsides and Jeff Foxworthy came back to the national spotlight... in this rancid show.
He attempts to revamp his image, still having the slight southern drawl (as my brother called from the other room, "Is that Dr. Phil?!") but trying to sound witty and educated. His demeanor is that of an attempted witty comedic gameshow host. It's unnatural because each of his sentences don't start with "You know you're a redneck if..." and he makes cute little taps when he finally releases the right answer to the contestant.
And I really do mean "finally releases" because that is the 3rd thing wrong with the show. I didn't do any official calculations but I'd estimate about 80% of the show is the contestant humming and hawing while we get glimpses of cute children trying to not give away their answer one way or another... excerpt (when talking about how many moons are off of mars: "Well... I want to say either 7 or 0... I don't know. I mean... my gut instinct tells me 7 but I'm really not sure... and 0 sounds right too... Oh my God, I don't know..." "Well remember... you have your cheat and blahblah left to use if you want. I'll give you help with one number and thats $50,000 is what you'll walk home with if you give up right now" "I know, but I'm not going to give up right now... but that's a lot of money,$50,000 is a lot of money... I'm just not sure if I'm right about this or not, I mean..." AND SO ON...
The show feeds off of contestant humming and hawing. I can imagine the tryouts... "Okay, we're going to give you a pretend question just like on the show and we want to see how you'd really handle it in that situation"... if it takes a full 5 minutes to come to a final conclusion... they are SO on!
However if you can get over the lack of unique character of the show (and the obnoxious kid-jingle that goes with it), the fact that Jeff Foxworthy is the host, AND the humming and hawing you still have the thing that annoyed me the most (and I wasn't even completely WATCHING it!) and that is the commercials.
I understand every show has commercials... but Who Wants to be a Fifthgradaire takes the commercial cake. AT NO POINT DURING THE SHOW (that I saw at least and I saw quite a few commercials, believe you me) DID JEFF FOXWORTHY ASK TWO QUESTIONS IN BETWEEN THE COMMERCIALS.
And I say "in-between the commercials" because really the show decided to break the boundaries of television and put the show in the slots where the commercials should be and put the commercials in the slot where the show should be...
A slight exaggeration I'll admit, but what isn't an exaggeration is the fact that he would ask the question, humming and hawing would happen for 5 minutes and he would say something like this "And the Answer IS... right after this break." and it'd cut to a commercial almost everytime. I did notice once he actually gave the answer before he cut to a commercial. The woman on tonight happened to work at a Non-profit organization so the teasers when they went to commercial would be like "Will XXX raise enough money to save the planet?! (cut in her face and a few cute sayings she makes)... find out when we return!"
The worst part about it is whatever movie they were trying to promote with penguins (another bored dreamy CEO, another promotional seller: "Think March of the Penguins meets Zany Surfing Cartoon Comedy!")and they even had a promotional teaser for the movie where one of the penguins recite the infamous line from this utterly unremarkable show: "I am not smarter than a 5th grader!" And the penguin, from whatever movie got a 2 minute commercial on Fox, said it! Watch the ratings pour in for that movie now! The people behind Fox and that movie are just handing each other money looking smug as fuck.
If you ever wondered why you hated that show and couldn't put your finger on it, I'm positive one of the above reasons are it. There are millions more tiny reasons to hate it because it has reached a level of lack of creativity I have yet to witness on any other channel. It left me feeling used and I didn't even spend a cent, and I was even doing something constructive during the time. From now on Fox should just demand money and show nothing on the TV because it might actually work more positively toward humanity than that show.
PS- click the link above to read a sad sorry story on Michael Jackson.
Human skull on mars
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
As I work on an alternate site and re=create my entries on other countries I decided to return back to linking interesting things found on the internet, which was the purpose for the site in the first place.
Updates will probably be infrequent, but more often than once every couple of months as it is currently. And today I give you three interesting links.
The first happens to be the above link about a human'oid' skull being found on Mars. But as you can see this guy obviously spends plenty of time combing the surface pictures of Mars finding "fact" after "fact" about previous life on Mars. Honestly- I hardly read what he wrote- but the picture is interesting... and hey- maybe he's even right. I'll leave that for you to decide while my next two links bring us back to Earth.
Both relayed to me by a friend I thought them too interesting to pass up. The first is about a show on National Geographic known as "Fight Science"... sounds lame right? well actually this clip, and clips I've seen from other Fight Sciences are the opposite of lame. Somewhere in the quadrants of "pretty cool." Check out of how man can be stronger than what he isn't naturally stronger than... Confused?
Check out THIS 10 minute clip.
Lastly if that clip is too long for you and you're interested in non-human zombies then do I have the clip for you! Apparently there is this fungus that once it enters an ant, makes it climb as high as possible and cling on to a branch. How amazing it is that a fungi is able to, on some level, make an insect climb up a branch because it is naturally a better place to disperse spores. Another amazingly queer aspect of this fungi is that there are a bunch of different types of it, but one type ONLY affects one type of insect. So the kind that makes ant zombies can't make grasshopper zombies and visa versa.
To check out ant zombies click here
Monday, October 2, 2006
So... I haven't updated since August and I'll be the first to admit it, that wasn't really an update.
I'm sure currently typing this is equivilant to walking in to a room where a party was going on over 4 months ago and just seeing all the party remnants and dust thats settled over it in the last 4 months and knowing that it's just way too late.
So, I've taken some initiative. And creating this entry is a very small portion of it. I plan on renewing this site- and- to top that- I plan I making the renewal a complete surprise. There are new plans in the pipeline- new plans that I've had in my head since May and these same "new plans" are actually the reason why I stopped updating.
These plans entailed some serial (as Al Gore in South Park would put it) effort. And so I said nuts to that and had a kickass summer that was spent doing far more physical things than tapping away at a keyboard or clicking a mouse. It was enjoyable and now it's all over.
The unveiling of the all new and improved Cananopie's Pitas is still yet to be determined, but rest assured- the effort is beginning. And NOT just by creating this entry- I've already did the hardest thing and that was start the redesign- now it's just finishing it and making a few serial changes and I'll announce progress at it comes along.
To all those who have given up on me- I don't blame you. To all new visitors- stay tuned. To all recurring visitors- I promise only better things. Feel free to comment, I'll be glad to catch up with anyone in that section.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
I don't know what to tell you except it's summer.
I'll see you at the earliest at the end of this month.
Summer only comes for a few months a year in Western New York and you have to enjoy it.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Another map of Georgia
Surprise! This isn't the one below South Carolina. Georgia is in the tight region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Georgia is also the last country in the region we'll be looking at before starting with another theme of countries, I have a few in mind. I also hope to update this more often. Georgia also gets the honor of bordering bickering Azerbaijan and Armenia and Georgia has not been on the best of terms lately with its other neighbor- Russia. This location has seen a lot of culture clashes being so centralized.
The neatest thing about Georgia
Georgia has a lot of layers that are somewhat complicated. So I am going to begin with something I find most interesting about Georgia and build off from there. As you might as well have guessed Georgia was run by the USSR for a long time and gained independence in 1991 with everyone else.
In order to get to the most interesting part. We have to give a brief history of their 'independence' since 1991. Apparently Russia didn't like the idea of Georgia being independent (which makes you wonder how much post-1991 involvement they had with all of the countries explored thus far) and allegedly supported a coup d'etat (pronounced ku-day-ta... real hard to guess what country that word orginated from)... a coup d'etat is an overthrow of a government... and Russia apparently supported one that happened shortly after independence. This coup won and the leader of the country was now one of the leaders of Georgia during the USSR rule... so obviously it was more than likely Russian supported.
Here is the neat part. This is going to go out to all of you who believe that nobody can do anything to change anything for the better. This guy who helped overthrow the independent government of Georgia wasn't very popular. (Can you imagine having a president who is so inept that almost nobody supports him... I dunno... say... 30%?) So in 2003 something big happened for Georgia. It's known as the Rose Revolution.
The Rose Revolution occurred when the people of Georgia were so fed up with the corruption of their own government (it's okay to draw relations to any other country at this point) that after the elections that were internationally recognized as rigged horrifically more than 100,000 people poured in to the captial of Georgia, Tbilisi, with roses in their hands. They walked right in to the parliament building where their asshole leader was giving a speech and he ran away. When he called upon the military to protect him and rid the people of his building the military did not mobilize.
The Rose Revolution was a success. Can you imagine that day?? I mean these people marched in to Parliament peacefully and just said "No more." If that happened in a certain other country I'd believe in the term 'freedom' again.
More about Georgia
That doesn't mean Georgia is without its problems. Being in such a tight area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea has given them many cultural historical clashes. Georgia had an Empire that spanned almost completely across the land from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea around 1200. Obviously it didn't last and has shrunk to its size it is today.
But within that size there are two places worth mentioning. These are known as autonomous republics, which basically means they do what they want.
On this map specifically they're listed in green with dotted green borders. Abkhazia to the Northwest and Ajaria (also spelled Adjaria) in the Southwest.
This southwestern republic was run by another Soviet guy who kept this region out of the Georgian Civil War that shortly ensued Georgia after their independence. When the Civil War was over Georgia was run by the USSR guy that was run out of Georgia and he allowed the Adjarian leader to do as he pleased even though he oppressed civil Rights. After the Rose Revolution Adjaria was still independent (while still internationally unrecognized and independent...) however the fever of the Rose Revolution spred from mainland Georgia to Adjaria and Adjaria had their OWN Rose Revolution in which the leader tried to suppress but eventually he too left for Russia...
It's obvious that Russia and Georgia have plenty of tension. When the new and current leader of Georgia went to Adjaria he was apparently met as a liberator for the Adjarians... so I assume this republic is now a lot more in sync with Georgia than it once was not even 10 years ago. Russia refused to leave a miltary base they had in the area which was in direct violation of an agreement made, I assume on the grounds for peace. Apparently they finally abandoned it though. Important to note though is that Adjaria has a history of being mostly Muslim and Georgia is mostly Christian and certain Muslim traditions are outlawed there and a major reform to Christianity is in the area currently...
Relgion irritates me.
Abkhazia is a different story, up in the Northwest. Their currency is not what Georgia uses but they use the Russian ruble. So Russia has obviously aided this region so long as they keep up their anti-Georgian attitude. Abkhazia has a long history that spans before the USSR even bled down on to the area and they even speak their own language. And at the time of the Georgian Empire Abkhazia had their own empire.
However they want to have naught to do with Georgia and Russia helps make this completely possible. Russia is also trying to find a legal way to incoporate Abkhazia in to their own country and take it away from Georgia since Georgia's rules and laws are ignored completely in this area.
It's also important to note South Ossetia in Georgia. They also claim to be an autonomous republic and are also backed by the Russians and both Georgian and Russian currency are accepted in the area. However though they have most control of the area they aren't recognized as independent by any other country. This area is located slightly East of Abkhazia.
Georgia is far from perfect as is every country. And with the tension between Russia and Georgia I have no doubt Russia looks at Georgians as terrorists of some sort without studying a bit how Russia feels about Georgia.
This about wraps up this area of the world that I wanted to study. I understand the USSR had control of other countries to the West but those I feel would be best looked at through Eastern European Countries. Christian Caucasian Georgia, for example, has very little in common with Asian Muslim Kyrgyzstan which was about as far East as we went this grouping... but Kyrgyzstan will have nothing in common with Ukraine as far as I'm concerned so I will save that for when I do that region.
I have a few good ideas for future country studies. I decided I'm going to do them in groupings... if this were to be put in a grouping I'd say we just studied the Central Asian Countries... North of the Middle East but South of Russia, East of Europe but West of China.
Stay tuned for a new group of countries so we can hopefully get to new lifestyles that weren't seen in these poor, newly independent countries.
Extensive Country Study
One of many PINR reports of Georgia
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Just wanted to say there has been a delay in the action as I finish my final days of Student Teaching. As of tomorrow I'll officially have earned a Bachelors Degree and a Teaching Certificate for New York State Secondary English Education.
I'm not posting this for congratulations so much as I'm posting it for any concern of delay. I'm really not doing nothing! Also for 6 weeks this summer I'll have my first classroom in an alternative education school that I have been subbing at. It's 6 weeks and the pay is good enough for all summer. But that won't start til late June so expect more updates soon!
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Another map of Armenia
I see I accidentally linked a similar map with Azerbaijan, but NOT the map we've been using all along. Basically the map I linked with Azerbaijan
uses different colors, Azerbaijan is red in that one and now it is orange in this one. Annnnywaaays...
Ethnolinguistic Groups sounds like a big word but really it's important to take note of this. ALL the way from Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan is a LONG way across the world, but they share a lot of similarities, the biggest of which is that they were all predominantly Muslim states even if they all had different languages. This group of people is vast (hundreds and hundreds of miles) but they are still very different. Apparently this group of people is known as the Altaic peoples, where there are many subsections of. This is also apparently controversial to some extent because people this the Altaic people are not similar but lumped together just because they are near each other, either way we're going to see a difference where with Armenia.
Things get SUPER complicated in this area so I'm just going to explain why real quick. Look at a larger map:
(Whoa, I found this map randomly and this is awesome. I'm glad there is a map that shows the Muslim distribution throughout the world. Now I KNOW which countries are predominantly Sunni and Shiite.)
But if you look at the map, and you consider the time when nations were forming around the world the area with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia was like a 10 lane highway merging in to a 2 lane. A lot of conflicts are going to be predominant in this area because this is where the different religions/nationalities met and they drew their lines hundreds to thousands of years ago. A lot of the Middle East has these ancient conflicts still going on today, the Palestinian and Israeli being the most famous.
But Armenia has had its fair share of invasions throughout time including the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks and Mongols to name a few. However today there is a STRONG line divided between the Altaic people of the East including even Azerbaijan and Armenia. While the people of Azerbaijan are Altaic, the people of Armenia are Indo-European derives its language and culture more from the Western parts of the world as opposed to the Eastern parts of the world like the Altaic people.
THIS is important because if you read my review on Azerbaijan you will know that there is a serious conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. This has a lot to do with the definitive cultural lines between the two countries. Armenia is our first Christian Country we've studied so far! And while I normally don't care for any religion, I typically care less about Christians because it's the popular religion to be in America now and a lot of people feel their religious beliefs, such as no homosexuals or no abortions should pertain to everyone, including those who do not share their religion. But I put that aside while studying countries because even though Christianity and religion in general annoys me, they are pretty interesting to learn about... and what made Armenia even better is they're a type of Christian that I've never ever heard of before.
Armenia holds the honor of being the first country to formally adopt Christianity which beat the Roman empire by over a decade. However when we think of the Christian religion, especially in America we think of 2. Catholicism and Protestant (those who broke away from catholicsm). And then for those who are more knowledgeable about Christianity there is also another famous type of Christianity known as Eastern Orthodox. All three of these famous sects of Christianity accept what is known as the seven Ecumenical Councils, which were these meetings where a bunch of religious leaders helped clear up certain confusing aspects about Christianity and then made it religious law.
Now this may be too much information but I found it interesting so I'm adding it. There were 7 of these councils. The 4th one is known as the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD). The Armenian Christians were okay with the councils up until this one, then they bailed and HERE is the reason why from the best way I could understand it.
The big deal of this council was the idea of Monophysitism. There was apparently a controversy on the nature of Christ. Was Christ human or was he divine? Since he was only one being, the idea behind Monophysitism This is the idea of Monophysitism, any Christian who is Monophysite believe that Christ was 100% divine! (Oh Christ! You look absolutely divine tonight!). The Council of Chalcedon said "No. Christ was BOTH human AND divine. Christ has two natures. Not just one." Quite a few sects decided that this decision was wrong and broke away from Catholicsm and Eastern Orthodox forever. The Armenian Apostolic Church being one of them. They're even accused occasionally OF being monophysitists, HOWEVER they aren't exactly that either. This is what the Armenian's believe, and here is the difference, SOOO slight! They believe there is only ONE nature of Christ (which is monophysite in nature) in which BOTH the divine and human nature are UNITED (Chalcedonian in nature).
So THAT is what makes the Armenian Apostolic Church different from the rest. They don't follow the pope and they have their own Christian religious leader and they are one of the oldest forms of Christianity known to man. It is like protestant before the protestants even thought of coming around. Interesting to you? Probably not. But I tried damnit!
The Christian-run country of Armenia and the Muslim-run country of Azerbaijan have disagreements on who should own what land based on the residents beliefs and culture in that area of land. This has a lot to do with Enclaves and Exclaves which we learned all about while reading about Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Armenia has an exclave of people in Azerbaijan known as the Nakhichevan exclave. They have fought over this exclave since 1988 and continued even when the USSR lifted its claws out of them in 1991. Armenia decided to take this area by force and have maintained control over it even though it is still officially Azerbaijaini land.
Even though Armenia has the upperhand here I honestly don't know how long they can hold it. Armenia is located in one of the weakest areas in all of the CIS countries (ex-USSR countries). While Azerbaijan has the Caspian Sea and many natural resources, and Georgia (to the North of Armenia) has the Black Sea so it isn't landlocked. Armenia also has very little natural resources. Also because of Armenia's aggression Turkey has put a border blockade on Armenia and Azerbaijan (in the small section where they occupy a border line) until the confrontation is settled between the two countries. This leaves Armenia with only 2 options for natural resources and support- North towards Georgia and Russia or south towards Iran.
Well it just so happens Muslim-run Iran typically persecutes against Christians and are not friendly towards them either. Remember Iran will fire weapons at Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea if it feels they're too close to their territory (that only Iran prescribes to) and they ARE Muslim.
So Armenia has to look to the North, to its old owner Russia for many of its natural resources. This puts Armenia in a submissive position to the country. It's important to note the political puppetry going on between the Power nations and these smaller nations. Armenia obviously can't support themselves and do not have the man-power or the technology to do so. So they look to a power nation who will slip them in their pocket. Sometimes it's America, sometimes it's China, sometimes it's other nations, but this time it's Russia. A lot of these nations are in Russia's pocket because Russia has had them in their pocket for decades. This is a prime example how some nations don't have any choice but to find a pocket to go in to in order to just exist.
I've already written a lot about Armenia. And there is a lot more to be learned. The picture above is a collage of different things in Armenia I didn't even touch upon but you can learn anything about them in the links below. You just need the will to learn it. I thought Armenia was a very interesting country and the conflicts over the land with Azerbaijan doubly interesting. It's a shame that this country, like ALL of the rest we've studied have a corrupt government where oppression is rampant. I mean I know America is corrupt as well and our Rights are being restricted as we speak and that our country helps oppress more nations than it helps grow but I can't wait to see a government in a country that actually works well and people are typically happy with it.
Next time we'll be learning about Georgia, stay tuned.
Extensive Country Study
Council of Chalcedon
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Believe it or not I couldn't find some help with pronunciation, but I think it's pretty self explanitory. This is how I see it pronounced:
Here is the map we've been looking at for the whole region.
Okay, so yea, after a bit of a hiatus, I want to try and complete this "section" of Middle Asian countries. Azerbaijan is the first time we step over the Caspian Sea to see whats on the other side. Something you'll notice right away, especially on the map where Azerbaijan is red, that it is seperated by a country called Armenia. More about that later.
It is important while looking at the world in total to note large bodies of water as we did with the Aral Sea. The Caspian Sea is the (get this title) largest inland body of water in the world. How about a trophy with that prize written on it in your trophy-room? The Caspian Sea touts that name with pride.
Now the members around the Caspian Sea are Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and our friend Azerbaijan. Now see- "Inland bodies of water" typically have international disputes because obviously each wants to claim more of the lake. So there is no surprise that the world's largest would also have the dispute, especially between 5 nations.
A lot of what determines boundaries is the salinty. If it is salty like the ocean countries can claim less power over them because they're part of the sea I guess. But if they're freshwater that means the water is fair game to do whatever you want with it. This is usually what determines a "lake" or a "sea"... even though a lake can be labelled as a "sea" even though it is freshwater... like the Aral Sea is a lake... and likewise the Caspian Sea might be a lake!
The problem is the Caspian Sea does have a fair salinity level... about 1/3 the salinity of the ocean, but that makes it somewhat freshwater too. To top it all off Russia has the only river the flows out to the Black Sea which eventually gets to the ocean somehow... this is gold to the 3 landlocked countries in the area! So you can imagine how mature our 5 countries bordering it are handling it.
Ask around to each country where their border ends and others begin and you'll get 5 different answers. The unruliest of them all is Iran who has gone as far as to fire at the international ships that come in to their alleged space that nobody agrees is theirs.
Back to Azerbaijan
Why all that about the Caspian Sea? Because it's interesting and the Caspian Sea is a major deal to Azerbaijan and they're one of the sorry countries that has to border Iran. (Disclaimer: My mocking of Iran has naught to do with the ideals of my irate president willing to sacrifice lives for profit to himself and his cohorts... It just so happens Iran is being aggressive in this situation)
Azerbaijan has that little hook that comes out in the Caspian Sea which the capital city of Baku. Scientists consider this peninsula to be the ecologically most devastated place in the world. So way to go for that!
This has a lot to do with the fact that this country just bleeds oil. I mean talk about being a piece of meat to a starved wolf pack. Back in the day around the turn of the century Azerbaijan was the worlds leading producer of petroleum. Remember when they used to call it petroleum Hoss?! Azerbaijan is the birthplace of oil refinery!
I imagine this was a BIG deal considering when the hurricane ruined a couple of them here in the states gas jumped $1 a gallon and the price hasn't dropped since!
But anyways Azerbaijan even has a temple there called the Atashga temple that a few thousand years ago people went there to worship. The temple was built there because there was a natural gas vent there and I guess it'd seem like pretty sacred spot back then. Azerbaijan gets the nickname "Land of the Fires" because places like at this temple light on fire occasionally just because it's so rich with gas there. Pretty cool place to have a lame music video.
This is Azerbaijan's Government House.
Points for being super creepy! But hey- since we're on the topic, how does the government work?
That's simple. Since Azerbaijan gained independence in 1991 from the fall of the USSR just like every single other country I've done so far they fallen to a dictatorship that typically restricts human rights (hey, yea, on that topic- anyone try buying Nyquil lately??). But this is not news considering it is doing no better or worse than the other countries in the area. However Azerbaijan touts being the first Muslim Republic in the world for 2 years until the USSR took them over.
An interesting fact is most of Azerbaijani's are Shiite and not Sunni. Um, the main difference between them was the division of power after the Prophet Muhammad's death. Most of the other countries we covered are Sunni Muslim's, Azerbaijan is the first predominantly Shiite country we've covered so far I believe.
But my goodness Azerbaijan does have itself in a mess with Armenia. There is a conflict going on between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but I will save that for next time when we learn about Armenia! I've already taken too much space with the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijan is oily! And I didn't mention it too much above but this puts Azerbaijan at the mercy of a lot of power players who want their oil and has magically seemed to stay pretty neutral between all these countries who typically disagree with something to get the oil. So Kudos to them for that. Oil and gas has been a big deal for this country and I wonder how interesting it'd be if this place was void of it. A lot of their culture is based on this richness in natural resources.
However, Azerbaijan remains to be another oppressive nation. I have a feeling this is going to be a repeating tendency for a lot of countries. A lot of these Muslim countries are very restrictive on human Rights and I suppose there are quite a few explanations for that. Not really the time for THAT discussion. Overall I give it my Stamp of "INTERESTING" because that's what it was! Go Azerbaijan!
Wikipedia for Azerbaijan
Wikipedia for Caspian Sea
Extensive Country Study! These things are great!
Power and Interest News Report
Thursday, April 6, 2006
I'm not dead and I'll be updating about more countries soon! Don't worry! I know you're all waiting in dire anticipation with the drop in my already miniscule hits when I decided to be informative!
However I would have a terrible complex if I wrote things on this site for the sole purpose of getting more hits. I checked today an old pitas site I used to frequent that hasn't been updated in years and it actually has 2 more hits than mine today. However I would absolutely love it if more people became interested in foreign affairs, especially Americans. If you buy clothes, eat food, or buy any other retail item for that matter it is almost a duty of you as an American to learn about the countries we get our natural resources and cheap labor from (not that I am a proponent of such a system). But countries are super great to learn about even though I don't explain even a fraction of whats going on in them! I'll do my best to make them MORE interesting though. Remember- leave comments to see a change you'd like. I'm open for suggestions!
More country updates will be coming soon. Until then enjoy the Dinosaur Comics listed above (pretty popular comic on the net but didn't actually reall take the time to read them until the other day and they are WORTH sharing!)
Um, if you miss the links I used to provide, here are a couple of other interesting ones.
Stay informed to where your tax money is going
Good read, I promise
That's it. I'm a busy non-paid teacher.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Another map of Turkmenistan
Okay, this country borders only 4 other countries. 2 we haven't talked about yet- Afghanistan and Iran... and 2 we
have- Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. It is landlocked, but it is one of the 5 countries to be lucky enough to have a
border with the Caspian Sea which details I will hold until we get to another country because obviously a Sea that
large is going to have some interesting things happening in it itself. Turkmenistan is also about 80% desert which
is called the Karakum desert, the HOTTEST desert on earth.
What makes this country so special?
Zombie pointed out how he enjoyed the idea of putting countries on
the "douchey" scale. I didn't have an official 1-10 (1 being the most douchey and 10 being the most awesome) but I
think Turkmenistan easily will set the bar for the 1 on said scale and that all other countries previous or after
this one we can compare their douchiness to the douchiness of Turkmenistan and decide if they can even come near the
newly set standard which we will set today.
The country is 80% desert... I could have this review done in this paragraph if it wasn't for one simple aspect
which I will get to after this paragraph. Ready- here is all that is Turkmenistan minus one essential part, here
goes: Turkmenistan, just like all the other central Asian countries was freed from the Soviet rule in 1991.
Currently there is just a hair under 5 million people there which makes them even less populated than the
mountainous, rural Kyrgyzstan... which you can not blame them since they are 80% desert. Most of the people in
Turkmenistan are ethnically Turkmen, which is, just like all the other countries in the area, a group of people who
typically share a common culture, a common trait with Turkmen is they wear these huge wooly hats that look awesome:
Most people in Turkmenistan are Muslim (assumingly Sunni, though not sure) and about 85% of it inhabitants are
Turkmen with small pockets of Uzbek and Russian.
Okay, what's the one missing aspect? Here it is:
This man. President Saparmurat Niyazov, if that's too hard for you to say don't worry, you can call him
Turkmenbashi. Here, let me explain.
At the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 little change was noticed by the people of Turkmenbashi, mainly because they
still had the same leader. In 1985 Niyazov became the ruler of Turkmenistan under the Soviet rule. At the fall of
the Soviet Union Niyazov fully embraced democracy and Turkmenistan was finally available to have their first
democratic election. The candidates?... well... There was Niyazov and... well... that's about it. Undoubtedly
Niyazov would tell you that this is because of what a terrific job he has been doing... so good of a job in fact he
has decided it be best if his thankful subjects call him by a new name... Turkmenbashi.
Turkmenbashi means "Leader of all Turkmen." This is his new name. Okay- a little strange, but who are we to judge?
For instance in my own country we've elected a president who missed the last evolutionary step humans have taken and
he likes to steal oil and start fights with about half the countries on the globe so what wrong with a guy who likes
to call himself Turkmenbashi?
Well take Hitler and mix him with Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory (the girl who sings "I want
it now" and tries to steal the chicken that lays the golden eggs... if you haven't seen it she's the spoiled bitch
of the movie). This would best describe the leader of Turkmenistan. He's very "me" oriented, here are some facts
about our good friend Turkmenbashi:
I don't know where to start. Maybe the country motto. "People. Motherland. Leader." Using our keen eyes of history
we can see a similar statement used by a certain famous Nazi leader whose country motto was "One people. One nation.
One leader." Right there should raise a few red flags. He has banners of his face all around cities. He named a port
on the Caspian sea after himself as well as a meteor that landed in the desert.
It gets better- His face is on things from bottles of vodka to the countries currency. He has a 120 ft high gold
plated (cheap-o) statue of himself that actually rotates to follow the sun (one article says the joke in the city is
that it's the other way around), see below for the picture of this. He goes farther than just naming places after
himself or his mother (which there are plenty). He has renamed the days of the week after members of his family, so
imagine starting calling Monday "Jeb" and Tuesday "Laura" etc because thats what he did in his own country. Not only
that he decided to change the name of the months to whatever he felt like it... he particularly was fond of January
being called Turkmenbashi instead. One member of his committee actually objected to the plan... his sole objection
was that one of the months named "mother" should be changed specifically to Turkmenbashi's dead mother. Turkmenbashi
said he'd take it in to consideration.
As you understand the life of Turkmenbashi must be very complex, with all of these tough decisions you wonder how he
has any time to do anything else... well he finds the time damnit, like a good leader should. He has written 2 books
which are mandatorily read in all schools in Turkmenistan. There are only two stations in Turkmenistan on any
television both completely about their leader, not that most of its citizens will ever watch a TV. He also decided
(now that he's in his later years) that you're an adolescent until you're 24 and that you're a youth from 25 to 37.
Once you reach the ripe young age of 38 then you're officially an adult in a country where the life expectancy is
58. However if you do make it to 97 then you finally become old. Lastly the news is not allowed to report he is extremely short or that he wears a toupee... oh come on Turkmenbashi, as if we couldn't tell.
I think the biggest shock for this man will be the day death comes to him because I am fairly certain he thinks that
will wait for him too. Now- the most amazing thing about this is that he literally is ignored by most of its
citizens which mostly live in the desert. That kind looking Turkmen you see up there with his quirky hat probably
isn't one of Nazi-esque followers of this man in this country. Basically the only followers of Turkmenbashi (if you
couldn't tell from the naming the months committee) are tools. Grade "A," 100%,
fuck-me-in-the-ass-if-it-makes-you-happy-sir TOOLS. Turkmen are typically wary of city-life and try to avoid it as
much as possible because they equate it to corruption- gee- wonder why?
Extensive country study
Another great article
Oh yea- for all of the regulars, yes, I updated my design of the site after about 2 years or so. I hope you enjoy
the new design, I feel it's more fitting.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Another map of Tajikistan
Okay, I'm actually really excited about our next country- Turkmenistan- but I must not let it overshadow Tajikistan.
I'd say out of all of the countries in Central Asia Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the least exciting. They're so similar to the other -stans in
the area but they're not as extreme as something like Uzbekistan or (I can't wait) Turkmenistan. But let's give props to the littler guys- not
draining a lake or having an asshole as a ruler doesn't mean we should learn any less about them. But anyway
Tajikistan is crushed below Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. While China pushes in to it from the East and Afghanistan
takes care of its entire southern border.
What makes this country so special?
Tajikistan is the poor kid on the block in a not-so-fancy block to begin with. This has a little something to do
with a civil war that came almost immediately after independence in 1991 with the other countries we've covered
already. Many of you enjoyed the scenery of Kyrgyzstan and you may enjoy the scenery here as well but since living there is virtually like camping I'm sure you don't want to move to these countries that badly.
We should also remember that aside from Kazakhstan these former Soviet Republics in the South did not take kindly to Russian's. So
Tajikistan decided to run the Russian's out with the backing of Iran, and the Russian's attempted a futile battle...
Out of 400,000 Russian's that existed in the Tajik Republic BEFORE independence after the civil war there were about
25,000 Russian's. So the Tajik's pretty much were the most militant about ridding themselve of their oppressors to the North. No other country in the area got so incensed over their government. However since the Civil War ended they have had a steady bit of economic growth though they are still the poorest country in the region.
I think an important thing to note is whats the purpose of putting Tajik in front of the name of the country as opposed to Uzbek or Kyrgyz. The Tajik are a group of people as are the Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, and Kazakh's. Many of these groups were formed back in the day when to Mogols and the Turks were out conquering land like nothing. What happens is that some of these people stayed behind and created tribes. They all speak their own language and have flourished in their specific areas. But Tajik's are among the oldest groups within the region.
They can trace their roots back to the REAL Aryan race which is a group of people who lived in the area that is now Iran a long time ago. These people did not believe in genocide from what I know of them. The only reason Hitler connected himself to them is because these were supposedly the ancestors of Germans and Hitler thought it'd best honor them by killing all that did not posess what he considered to be Aryan. But this isn't about Hitler.
But politically the story is the same in every country in this area. A dictatorship that pretends its a democracy. In fact the EU is all up in arms now because Tajikistan decided to *ahem* JAIL the opposing runner for "presidency" for 'unknown reasons at this time.' I guess since Tajikistan has some deals going on with the EU the EU wants to make sure their end of the bargain is being kept and a real democracy is taking place. Basically the EU smells bullshit on why the opposing party was arrested and wants a reason for why this is happening. But otherwise, it's a beautiful country. Another quick note- as is common with this area most Tajik's religion is Sunni Muslim.
Tajikistan is poor and just like the rest of the central Asian countries they're controlling. Currently they're competing for the most repressive religious laws in all of central Asia. There is something to be said, however, that the Tajik's were the only one who cared enough to want to fight off the Russians. All in all Tajikistan did not leave too much of an impression on me. They seemed less douchier than Uzbekistan but way more douchier than Kyrgyzstan.
...but if you think these countries are douchey wait until the next entry! All these countries hang in the shadow of whats to come.
There are a lot of them I found, some of them are extremely extensive and reliable, be sure to use them if you're ever feeling like you want to be the next Tajikistan expert to impress your friends
EU concerned about locking up opponent
Country Study (Extensive!)
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Another map of Kyrgyzstan
Land of the Kyrgyz. Kyrgyzstan. Out of all of the former Soviet Republics Kyrgyzstan is probably my favorite. It's a country tightly packed in the corner near China with Tajikistan, both of which are in disputes by the way with each other and Uzbekistan. If you look at the picture of the map above it's that area where they all mesh together.
Here is probably a good place to tell you about enclaves, in case you don't know what the term means because I didn't when I started learning about countries. An enclave is, and correct me if I'm wrong, a group of people that don't belong in that country, but because borders landed where they may... people are trapped behind foreign rule. For example in Kyrgyzstan there is a town that is 91% Uzbek, so Uzbekistan wants them in their country but Kyrgyzstan is reluctant to give up the territory. Tajikistan is all about taking land from Kyrgyzstan as well because of these enclaves. Of course their taking the land would result in Kyrgyz enclaves in their country. An exclave is an enclave in a different country... for example as we've established Kyrgyzstan has enclaves in its country of Uzbek's and Tajik's, but it has an EXclave of Kyrgyz in Uzbekistan. So in turn... Uzbekistan has an ENclave of Kyrgyz and an EXclave in Kyrgyzstan. I don't know how to explain it better than that... if it didn't make sense to you read it slower, I promise it makes sense. They're words based on perspective.
So why do you like this country so much?
It actually has nothing to do with the enclaves or exclaves. It happens to be because this just seems as close to my kind of country the republics are gonna get. First off it's the most democratic friendly ex-Soviet State there is so the dictator has relinquished more power than the rest of the leaders on the other countries. Kazakhstan was pretty good but Uzbekistan was bad. After here we're going to see countries as strict as Uzbekistan and countries that make Uzbekistan look like a hippie commune, so stay tuned. However recently because Kyrgyzstan is just not an industrial country they've been needing to succumb to local powers such as China and Russia who are pressuring them heavily to refuse United States bases their and stuff, so far they haven't cracked but it's not looking too good for democracy there...
By the way- quick side note here. I'm not like "yay yay democracy" or anything, I think there could be many good ways a country can work, but giving all their rule to one major person isn't that way thats all. Unless that person isn't corrupt, but cliche or not- they're a politician.
But this is why I like Kyrgyzstan so much:
It's full of mountains and most of it is rural. Compared to Uzbekistan's 26 million and
Kazakhstan's 15 million Kyrgyzstan is keeping it real with 5 million people. This is because literally Kyrgzstan is all mountains.
Good luck FINDING a picture Kyrgyzstan without mountains. Even their biggest lake you can see mountains across from:
That's the Ysyk-Kol, the biggest lake in the country with, yea, mountains in the background.
Overall Kyrgzstan is a pretty laid back country being around the neighbors it has. The only real problems is the squabbling of enclaves and getting a solid government... but thats all the -stans problem. Economically they almost got nothing. As where Kazakhstan was the second richest Soviet State country Kyrgyzstan has practically no oil to offer. However they have a lot of precious metals in them there mountains. Things like gold, coal, and uranium. I guess people are paying pretty pennies for uranium nowadays for some reason. I wonder what uranium has to do with anything...... whatever it is I'm sure it's for the betterment of humanity.
Seriously- these people know how to live. No joke either. It's like constantly camping, only the campsite isn't as crappy. But it's totally worth coming outside to those views.
I was serious when I said it's probably my favorite ex-Soviet country. It's just beautiful and relaxed for the most part. Politically it's not great but I'm sure most people are allowed to live however they want. Economically I'd prefer a non-debt-driven country. But I'm not sure how long it's gonna last. Check out the links below I'm going to include the photos from a bike tour I found and they show some beautiful pictures of Kyrgyzstan (Kazakhstan too). Check it out with the regular ones.
Bicycle trip through Kyrgyzstan
Eurasia.org (seems to be pretty up to date on local Kyrgyzstan news)
Country Study done by USA-- Highly suggested for anybody who ever wanted to win the "Everything you ever wanted to know about Kyrgyzstan award"
Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UK
Stick with me guys, theres plenty of good countries in store if this one wasn't your style.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Another map of Kazakhstan
In case you were wondering, I supply multiple maps of countries for various reasons. Whether you're interested in its shape, place in the world, or major cities and roads on it depends on what map best will suit you.
Okay. Kazakhstan rings in as the 10th largest country (excluding Antarctica) in the world according to the CIA Factbook. If you haven't noticed it puts our good friend Uzbekistan to shame in size. However much of Kazakhstan is filled with what is known as a 'steppe' which looks like this:
It's like a cross between a desert and a prairie. I call it a drairie.
As with Uzbekistan it became an independent nation in 1991 when the Soviet Union fell. Though it is a landlocked country it conveniently overhangs Uzbekistan to grab one of the 5 corners of the Caspian Sea (which we'll learn more about with another country). It also harbors the only clean portion of the Aral Sea which we learned about with Uzbekistan but also still owns part of the contaminated half. Its border to Russia is probably the most important and the most obvious to notice for their history together is long.
What makes Kazakhstan interesting and stand out?
Interesting question. As I've said before I am no expert on this stuff but I'm going to call it right here: Watch out for Kazakhstan to become a real power player in the future about 20 to 30 years down the line. From what I've read Kazakhstan has some real economic potential.
Kazakhstan is the second-largest oil producer of the former Soviet states (which, by the way, are all the colorful countries on the map), Azerbaijan I'd assume being the first. And thats just part of what lies beneath the ground with other precious metals and minerals. Also they produce a sizeable amount of cotton to add to their economy. Out of all the Soviet states Kazakhstan shows the most promise from my humble point of view considering most of their natural resources are still untapped.
Compared to Uzbekistan's 26 million people Kazakhstan only has 15 million on its expansive land because most of it is filled with steppes. Compared to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan looks to be trying to be a more democratic nation despite weighted elections and a fairly powerful leader. As opposed to nations like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan you will understand that Kazakhstan is really making progress away from a dictatorship rule though it's nowhere NEAR completion. An interesting fact is you can not visit Kazakhstan unless you are invited by a person or travel agency or something similar which needs to be approved by the Ministry.
A bit more on history here:
These areas south of Russia were not entirely friendly to the encapsulement in to the USSR so when it fell many Russian's were kicked out of these southern areas. Today Kazakhstan is the most Russian-friendly Soviet state there is. In fact in the late 80s non-Kazahks outnumbered Kazakhs but when the Soviet Empire fell many of the Russian's fled the southern nations. But today Russian's still occupy about 30% of the population while Kazakhs are 50%. Compare this to Uzbekistan's 5% Russian population you can understand how friendly Kazakhstan is in comparison. However Kazakhstani's aren't all too friendly with each other even if they are accepting enough to not drive them out.
Kazakhstan isn't that interesting of a country I've decided in every aspect but the economic side and I'm not that big of an economic kind of guy. However I bet it's a real beautiful country even if it's not very diverse in its landscape.
Article on Kazakhstan
Embassy of Kazakhstan to the USA
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Don't forget to leave comments on things you like/don't like or what else you'd like to see. I really want to make this interesting for people. I plan on trying to get 2 updates a week for now. I think I can update that so be on the watch for regular updates
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Okay- real quick- I archived for the first time in almost a year. I did this because I have a good idea- I mean- I link a lot of cool links I think but I'm gonna take a break with that and try something a little different.
Lately I've been on this kick to learn about different countries that I've never heard about... like that link above: Uzbekistan. I know I had never heard of one thing about Uzbekistan yet it's a COUNTRY in this world. When you think about it, at least in America, the only countries you really hear about are certain European countries, especially that have to do with history, the middle eastern countries that we are manipulating and causing wars with, and countries like China, India, Brazil, Japan because they're just such power countries in this world... but... what about the rest?
My plan is to give you an interesting and brief biography of each country so that you can say "Hey, I know a little bit about that country" or at least say you've heard of the country and can mildly place it on this world. It'll be good for your culture if anything. And you want to work on your culture, it's very chic to bust out at social gatherings where you want to sound smart and educated.
By no means am I an expert on any of this stuff and if you see an error let me know but I check multiple sources before I am sure of linking something or stating something about the countries and I'll try and link them somewhere. I have never done this before but I think I could make it interesting by relating certain countries to others and it'll be terribly educational too for both me and any of the perpetual readers because we'll both become more knowledgable. I'd appreciate comments about anything and I'll try and keep it as humorous or as interesting as possible and I'll even try an update more often.
This is a longer entry than my typical ones are going to be because I wanted to explain the premise of the idea and a MAJOR goal I have is making readings more sizeable for my viewers so they don't need to read for about 20 minutes to understand what I'm saying... however I fear I'm ruining it right off the bat. However I think it's necessary for an understanding of my project. Okay. Here it goes.
I understand the map at the beginning has it's location. Sure- it's south of Kazakhstan, West of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and north of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan (which will be a treat when I get to it, I promise) but really- WHERE the Hell is THAT?
It's hard to find a good map that puts places in to perspective and I think I have found one. You'd think with the internet there'd be a GOOD interactive map of the world... but there isn't. I'll try and link good maps of each country I cover.
What's with all the -stans?
Considering that every single country surrounding Uzbekistan ends in -stan it's important to understand what that's all about. -stan from what I understand means "land" in some language that isn't English. That isn't detailed but as I said I'm not going to get too detailed.
What makes Uzbekistan interesting and stand out?
Plenty surprisingly! I've found myself more interested in countries like Uzbekistan than when I was researching countries like Iraq and Iran that are more obvious.
Let's start with the shirt off your back. Before it was produced in a sweatshop in Malaysia they needed the resources to creat your shirt. And plenty of shirts today are made out of none other than cotton. Uzbekistan is the worlds second largest exporter of cotton and the 5th largest producer.
Uzbekistan is also home of what used to be the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world- The Aral Sea! You'd think that being one of TWO double landlocked (which means not only Uzbekistan is landlocked but so are all the countries surrounding it) countries in the world they'd appreciate what large bodies of water they come in contact with.
However if you look closely at different maps of Uzbekistan and this lake you'll notice it is different sizes in all maps. Why is this?
The reason for this is because the Aral Sea is shrinking astronomically fast. Here are some facts:
Here is another link for a better idea: The loss of water in the Aral Sea drawing
The lake lost 88% of its volume and 70% of its surface since 1960. Now why is that?
I'll tell you why. Uzbekistan doesn't make all of its cotton for everybody's clothes for nothing. It needs a lot of water and since the Aral Sea is a freshwater lake it can only get its water from rivers that empty out of the mountains. In order to understand what I mean you need to learn a little history that isn't just for Uzbekistan, but for almost all the -stans.
For those of you who aren't history buffs- The Russian commies, better known as the USSR took control of this area in the 20s. If you look at our map earlier all of those countries in color are NEW independent countries since 1991 when the USSR fell! Apparently sometime in the 60s the USSR got fascinated with irrigation ditches and started building them on a massive scale to produce things like... you guessed it! cotton.
Of course creating irrigation ditches for the cotton requires taking in from a source of water, like a river, and these rivers now empty in to the irrigation ditches but they were poorly built and most of the water is just lost on the way to the Aral Sea.
Because of this the Aral Sea stopped getting new water and therefore started decreasing in size. Now here's the killer: pay attention. The penninsula you see on modern pictures of the Aral Sea used to be an island and on the island the USSR built an anthrax bioweapons factory which apparently leaked in to the lake. Also on modern pictures you will see the thing at the Northern-most part of the picture that looks like 3 lakes together but are very small compared to the lake below. This part was part of the Aral Sea before it dried up and is now the only salvagable part of the lake.
In other words that HUGE part of the lake in the south is so contaminated with biological chemicals, now salt, and other things that it isn't worth cleaning. The chemicals and salt dry up on the shore and create "chemical wind clouds" and the area has some of the highest throat cancer in the world. Fishermen just gave up their boats and since the lake is drying so fast and the fact that it's now a chemical salt bath, so the boats would just sit there until the water ran out from underneath them. Looking up pictures of the Aral Sea you will see a lot of eerie pictures of old ships on land.
The Uzbek's are a group of people, so you can understand why they would have a place called Uzbek-land. In virtually all these ex-USSR countries you'll find a fair percentage of Uzbek's living there. Most Uzbek's are Sunni muslims. The government is virtually a dictatorship that tries to emulate a democracy but stripping virtually all power from opponents and other sections of government. However like most of the ex-USSR governments most of the population is rural and could care less about laws that are made in their country. However there are plenty of groups within Uzbekistan who do not approve of the current dictator-esque Karimov and wish to mount a resistance. At this time it appears they are too unorganized though. Uzbekistan has the most people out of the ex-soviet states with 26.5 million people and the largest miliary of them all. It also plays a powerful role in allowing or denying oil pipelines from surrounding areas to come through their country. Because of political and economical instability the economy has not grown much economically.
Good Links on Uzbekistan
For each country I'm going to try my best to give as many objective or important links about the country as possible so if you care to learn more about the country you may do so in your own hands. Knowledge is power.
CIA Factbook is probably the #1 site used to research other countries.
Wikipedia is an excellent resource for almost anything. Just be sure to fact-check anything it says before you take what it says as gold.
Power and Interest News Report (about halfway down are the articles on Uzbekistan) is a excellent site I'm subscribed to that gives great political insight ALL around the world.
Lonely Planet I'm not sure how reliable lonely planet is with its facts but seems to focus mostly on things that deal with tourism so if you are planning a trip there (not recommended by me) I suppose here wouldn't be a shabby place to start.
The OFFICIAL Uzbekistan site... obviously the last place you'd go for reliable information about itself.
Embassy of Uzbekistan to the United States official site Self explanitory.
I understand this entry was long and I am going to try and work on shortening that. I think this entry can set a lot of for future references so I won't need to restate similar things over and over and over again. However I am interested in your feedback if you read this entry completely. Was it interesting enough? Did you want more of one thing and less of another? Was it just really boring and drawn out? Just let me know- I'm interested.