A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘alternate history

[AH] On the 1914 Europe map of Diplomacy as an alternate history (#alternatehistory)

One of the things that I am doing now, in the early days of my quarantine, is playing an online game of Diplomacy with some old friends. Looking at the standard European map, an elaboration on the map of Europe and adjoining areas, makes me think of the way that this map might better represent different alternate history scenarios than our own history.

1914 map of Diplomacy

The distribution of supply centres, the starred regions capable of supporting military units, comes to mind. Each region is capable of supporting military units of very comparable power. This suggests to me a relatively even level of development across the map, that (say) Belgium and Bulgaria are at similar levels.

One thing that particularly jumps out at me as the relative power of southeastern Europe, including the Ottoman Empire. Anatolian Turkey apparently does have the economic power and military heft necessary to support Great Power status, to a level comparable to Italy or Austria-Hungary. Is Diplomacy set in a timeline where Ottoman modernization succeeded? (But then, how can the loss of the Balkans be explained?) On a smaller scale, Tunis being a supply centre might also suggest successful modernization there.

(Another thing that pops out as me is the space on the map for other Great Powers. A Scandinavia that encompasses three power centres could surely be a great power. A United Netherlands with only two supply centres would be more vulnerable, while it seems that the main problem with a Balkan conglomeration would be a backstory.)

An idea: WI there is an earlier separation of the European Balkans from the Ottomans, the shock of this separation triggering more successful modernization not just of the Ottoman Empire but of other Muslim states in the Mediterranean? Perhaps the Ottoman Balkans managed to split off as a unified state–a broader Orthodox conspiracy–and even managed to become a separate power themselves?

Another thing that pops out to me is the distribution of supply centres on the map in specific regions. A world where western France industrializes before eastern France, where Bavaria beats the Ruhr, where Trieste outstrips Bohemia (an Illyrian unit in the Hapsburg empire?), would be a very different world.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 28, 2020 at 5:35 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes that Betelgeuse is very likely not on the verge of a supernova, here.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the mapping of asteroid Bennu.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber reposted, after the election, a 2013 essay looking at the changes in British society from the 1970s on.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a collection of links about the Precambrian Earth, here.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about fear in the context of natural disasters, here.
  • Far Outliers reports on the problems of privateers versus regular naval units.
  • Gizmodo looks at galaxy MAMBO-9, which formed a billion years after the Big Bang.
  • io9 writes about the alternate history space race show For All Mankind.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the posters used in Ghana in the 1980s to help promote Hollywood movies.
  • Language Hat links to a new book that examines obscenity and gender in 1920s Britain.
  • Language Log looks at the terms used for the national language in Xinjiang.
  • Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Jeff Jacoby’s lack of sympathy towards people who suffer from growing inequality.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that urbanists should have an appreciation for Robert Moses.
  • Sean Marshall writes, with photos, about his experiences riding a new Bolton bus.
  • Caryl Philips at the NYR Daily writes about Rachmanism, a term wrongly applied to the idea of avaricious landlords like Peter Rachman, an immigrant who was a victim of the Profumo scandal.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a paper looking at the experience of aging among people without families.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why the empty space in an atom can never be removed.
  • Strange Maps shares a festive map of London, a reindeer, biked by a cyclist.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Mongolia twice tried to become a Soviet republic.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers different birds with names starting with x.

[BLOG] Fifteen Toronto links

  • blogTO reports that Toronto has been testing Eglinton Crosstown trains, here.
  • What TTC routes might be changed by the Eglinton Crosstown? A map illustrates, over at blogTO.
  • The new tower proposed for 888 Dupont, at Ossington, will even include a vertical farm. blogTO reports.
  • Venerable Agincourt Mall is going to be a new condo development. blogTO reports.
  • Is co-ownership actually the only way most people in Toronto will end up owning a home? blogTO considers.
  • Residential tenants in a Leslieville building who complained about their landlord may end up getting evicted from a building never zoned for residents. CBC reports.
  • The City of Toronto has taken over the deserted shopping arcade at Queen Street West and John. CBC reports.
  • Katrina Onstad at Toronto Life tells the story of Katharine Mulherin, the Queen Street West gallery owner who changed her neighbourhood but was broken by gentrification.
  • The bar Tequila Bookworm is closing, displaced by rising rents. NOW Toronto reports.
  • NOW Toronto interviews night mayor Michael Thompson, here.
  • Steve Munro considers the TTC’s express bus services, here.
  • Terra Lumina, the nighttime cultural event at the Toronto Zoo, looks fantastic in these photos over at Toronto Life.
  • Oh, what the map of Toronto subways could have been if only we planned! blogTO shares one.
  • Steve Munro examines the TTC’s plan for 2020-2024, here.
  • The TTC may not act to decrease overcrowding on some routes. blogTO reports on why.

[URBAN NOTE] Fifteen urban links

  • It has been forty years since a train derailment that threatened to unleash toxic chemicals on Mississauga resulted in a remarkably successful mass evacuation. CBC reports.
  • There is a Vimy display in Kingston’s Communications and Electronics Museum. Global News reports.
  • It is unsettling that the Ontario city of Hamilton reports such a high levels of hate crimes. CBC reports.
  • Le Devoir shares a warning that inattention to language means that Longueuil could end up becoming as English/French bilingual as the West Island.
  • VICE reports on how the dying desert town of California City is hoping for a revival based on cannabis, here</u.
  • MacLean’s tells the story about how an encounter of koi with local otters in Vancouver reflects a human culture clash, too.
  • SCMP looks at how planners want to use big data to make Shenzhen a “smart socialist” city, here.
  • CityLab hosts an article by Andrew Kenney looking at the importance of an old map of Denver for he, a newcomer to the city.
  • These photos of the recent acqua alta in Venice are heartbreaking. CityLab has them.
  • JSTOR Daily tells the story of an ill-timed parade in 1918 Philadelphia that helped the Spanish flu spread throughout the city.
  • The LRB Blog looks at a corner of Berlin marked by the history of German Southwest Africa.
  • Guardian Cities shares a remarkable ambitious plan to remake Addis Ababa into a global city.
  • Durban, in South Africa, may offer lessons for other southern African metropolises. Guardian Cities reports.
  • The NYR Daily recently took a look at what happened to so completely gentrify the West Village of New York City.
  • Feargus O’Sullivan at CityLab takes a look at a new documentary, If New York Was Called Angouleme. What if the site of New York City was colonized by the French in the early 16th century?

[AH] Five r/imaginarymaps #alternatehistory maps: Turks, Prussia, Prussia-Poland, Austria, Bavaria

  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines the creation, via migration in the 13th century, of a Turkic Christian minority akin to the Gagauz concentrated in northwestern Germany. Nice map, if questionable borders.
  • What would have happened if, as nearly occurred in 1762, Prussia was crushed by its neighbours and divided? r/imaginarymaps shows the outcome.
  • Could there ever have emerged, after the partitions of Poland, a dual-nation kingdom of Prussia-Poland? r/imaginarymaps shows this country.
  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines a southern Germany unified under Austria, separate from the sphere of Prussia in the north.
  • Could a union of Bavaria with the German-speaking lands of Austria after 1919 have worked? r/imaginarymaps shows it.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 12, 2019 at 11:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Anthrodendum features a guest post from editors introducing a series on fieldwork and trauma.
  • Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin takes a stab at trying to define neoliberalism as an ideology, not just a catch-all phrase.
  • The Crux looks at desalination, a difficult process that we may need to use regardless of its difficulty.
  • D-Brief notes that narcissism is linked to lower levels of stress and depression.
  • Jezebel notes the return and legacy of Bratz dolls.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the Sam Smith cover of the Donna Summer classic “I Feel Love”, along with other versions of that song.
  • JSTOR Daily considers if graphene will ever become commercially usable.
  • Dan Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money links to an analysis warning about commercial debt. Another 2008?
  • Marginal Revolution points to some papers suggesting that cannabis usage does not harm cognition, that the relationship is if anything reversed.
  • Daphne Merkin at the NYR Daily looks back at her literary life, noting people now gone.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the new Daniel MacIvor play Let’s Run Away.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Trump Administration lost two cases against sanctuary cities.
  • Window on Eurasia considers, briefly, the idea of Gorbachev giving to Germany Kaliningrad, last remnant of East Prussia.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative looks at the rises in health spending directed towards young people. Is this a warning sign of poor health?
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at Gaysper, and then at other queer ghosts.

[AH] Six #alternatehistory maps from Reddit: Irish, Canada, Alaska, Russia, Prairies, South Africa

  • This r/mapporn map shows the scale of the collapse of Irish as a spoken language across most of Ireland. Was this avoidable?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map shows a Canada where the 1837 rebellions were successful, with an autonomous Upper Canada and a Lower Canada with a Patriote state. Doable?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map depicts a common alternate history trope, that of an independent but culturally Russian Alaska. What would it take for this to happen?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map depicts a world where Eurasia, from Germany to Korea, was dominated by a successfully industrializing Russian Empire. Was this common fear of the belle époque actually achievable?
  • This r/mapporn map shows the different proposals for different territorial configurations of the Canadian Prairies. (I like the ones with north-south divisions.)
  • Was a single South Africa covering most of British Southern Africa with relatively liberal racial policies, as Jan Smuts wanted, actually achievable? r/imaginarymaps hosts the map.