There are of course many small, isolated islands throughout the world, but several stand out because their tiny size and great isolation belie their territorial importance or geographical significance. Here are a few interesting ones:
A granite rock, 19m high, 25m across and 30m wide, located 290 miles off the western coast of Scotland.
Coordinates: 57°35′48″N—13°41′19″W
Notes: Claimed by Ireland, Denmark, Iceland and Great Britain—who currently controls the island. It was occupied by a contingent from Greenpeace in 1997 who claimed it as the republic of Waveland in a protest over proposed oil drilling in the area.
Kolbeinsey Island
A grayish basaltic lava slab, 39m across and 5m high, located around 65 miles north of Iceland.
Coordinates: 67°09′N—18°32′W
Notes: This island is eroding rapidly and may disappear altogether in the next few decades. It was originally measured at over 700m in 1616. Like Rockall, its principle value lies in the fact that it gives Iceland territorial control over the waters surrounding it.
A stoney spit of land, 10m across and 1m high, several miles north of Cape Morris Jessup in Greenland. It is the most northerly confirmed landmass on earth.
Coordinates: 83°40′34.8″N—30°38′38.6″W
Notes: For years, Kaffenklubben island, discovered in 1921 by the Danish explorer Lauge Koch was thought to be the northern-most point of land. This changed in 1977 when a Danish expedition discovered Oodaaq island even further north. The American Top of the World Expedition of 1996 was able to locate what they thought was Oodaaq island, but doubts remain because of the inconsistancy between the island they attained, “ATOW1996,” and those recorded by the original discoverers of Oodaaq. The coordinates for ATOW1996 are acutally further north than those for Oodaaq, so it currently holds the record for the most northerly point of land. There is another as-yet unconfirmed bit of land even further north, designated “RTOW2001” located at: 83° 41′06″N—30° 45′36″W; an expedition is planned for 2003 to confirm this possible island’s existence, and to clarify all other outstanding issues.
» Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 | Permanent Link

New Urbanism

Doric Column

America is slowly but surely turning into a nation of strip malls, office parks, highways and cookie-cutter housing developments. It’s no wonder that people resist most development so strenuously in their neighborhoods; they know from past experience that whatever gets built near them is very likely to be worse than whatever it is replacing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. New Urbanists call for a return to more traditional ways of building and planning.

From the Charter of the New Urbanism:

The Congress for the New Urbanism views disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increasing separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultural lands and wilderness, and the erosion of society’s built heritage as one interrelated community-building challenge.”
The region: Metropolis, city, and town
The neighborhood, the district, and the corridor
The block, the street, and the building

A few good resources:

New Urban News

“Boston’s Beacon Hill, Nantucket, Santa Fe, Carmel—all of these well-known places, many of which have become tourist destinations, exist in direct violation of current zoning ordinances. Even the classic America main street, with its mixed-use buildings right up against the sidewalk, is now illegal in most municipalities. Somewhere along the way, through a series of small and well-intentioned steps, traditional towns became a crime in American.” — Suburban Nation

» Posted: Monday, November 25, 2002 | Permanent Link

West Goes East: Nestorianism in China

Nestorian Monument

Nestorian Christians were active in China probably as early as the 6th century. Early in the T’ang Dynasty, the conquering of Turkestan allowed freer travel between Persia and the far East. This opened the door for Nestorian missionaries—though silkworm eggs had been brought to Constantinople from China by Nestorian monks in 551, indicating that some contact had already been made.

The earliest physical evidence of this mission is the famous Nestorian Monument discovered in northern city of Hsingan-fu around 1625. Inscriptions written on the black marble monument speak of the Syrian bishop Olopun (Abraham?) arriving from Persia in 635. Syrian monks produced a book for the Chinese mission, The Sutra of Jesus the Messiah, which was an adaptation of the scriptures.

Nestorianism gained a surprising number of followers and acceptance, but the combination of the persecutions following the collapse of the T’ang Dynasty, and the cutting off from the nexus of Christianity in the West by the followers of Mohammad, ultimately spelled doom for the group.

There is a great collection of links on the Nestorians here.

» Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 | Permanent Link



Xoomle is a web service that gives Google’s SOAP-based API a REST interface.

One of the major shortcomings of SOAP 1.1 is that it requires all calls to the API to happen via HTTP POST, which effectively cuts off many standard and emerging technologies such as XSLT, XPointer, XLink, etc. What makes Xoomle interesting is that it opens Google up to these technologies, allowing Google to be combined with other services in interesing ways.

Amazon for example already provides a REST interface to its services. Using a relatively simple XSLT stylesheet, I put together a demo that takes the title of a book, uses Amazon to find the name of the author, and then uses Google (via Xoomle) to provide a link based on the name. Granted, this is rather trivial, but it begins to show how disparate services can be brought together to provide a composite service.

The details are here.

» Posted: Monday, November 11, 2002 | Permanent Link

Internet Explorer Anchor Image Bug


Internet Explorer has a CSS bug putting a border around an <img> when using it inside an anchor.

The issue is specific to floating images and only manifests when a border is applied while hovering. The following CSS definition should cause a border to appear around an image when hovering over it with the mouse:

   a:hover img  { 
      border:2px solid red; 

   img { 
      border:2px solid white; 

If there is no default a:hover defined, no border at all will appear as seen here. If there is a default a:hover, such as:

   a:hover { color:red; }
then only a partial border appears around the top of the image as seen here.

The only workaround I’ve been able to find is to include an zero-px border for the default a:hover. Adding this to the style fixes the problem:

   a:hover { border:0px; }
See the working example here. This site employs this fix.
» Posted: Friday, November 1, 2002 | Permanent Link