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See Where Switzerland Has Germany Surrounded
The exclave exists only because the Austrians wanted to spite the Swiss
The town of Büsingen am Hochrhein is one of two foreign enclaves enclosed within the territory of Switzerland (*). Büsingen has a long, intimate knowledge of borders, being located on the old limes between the Roman empire and the Germanic barbarians.
Ever since the mid 14th century, Büsingen has had Austrian overlords – at the end of the 17th century, the abduction, trial and death sentence of the Lord of Büsingen at the hands of the neighbouring Swiss canton of Schaffhausen almost led to war between Austria and Switzerland.
It’s said that due to this near-war, the Austrians decided to never relinquish control over Büsingen to the Swiss, just to spite them. When Austria sold its rights to the nearby villages of Ramsen and Dörflingen to the canton of Zürich in 1770, Büsingen effectively became an enclave within Switzerland.
In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg handed Büsingen to the kingdom of Württemberg, in southern Germany. Five years later, the town came under the overlordship of the Grand Duchy of Baden. Eventually, with German Unification in 1870, Büsingen became part of the German Empire.
A whopping 96% of the inhabitants voted for annexation by Switzerland in a 1919 referendum, but since the Swiss couldn’t offer Germany any territory in return, Büsingen remained, somewhat reluctantly, German.
As Büsingen is in a customs union with Switzerland, it is outside the European Customs Area. Other peculiarities caused by its exterritoriality: • the common currency in Büsingen is not the euro, but the Swiss franc. • Swiss police may pursue and arrest suspects in Büsingen, but no more than 10 Swiss police officers are allowed in the town at one time. • Similarly, there may never be more than 3 German police officers per 100 inhabitants. • There are two postal codes in this one town, a German one: 78266 Büsingen; and a Swiss one: 8238 Büsingen (D). You can use Swiss or German stamps for your letters. • Büsingen’s only petrol station advertises that it’s the cheapest in all of Germany – on average 30% cheaper.
(*) later more on Campione d’Italia, an Italian exclave in southern Switzerland.
Strange Maps #253
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Some mysteries take generations to unfold.
- In 1959, a group of nine Russian hikers was killed in an overnight incident in the Ural Mountains.
- Conspiracies about their deaths have flourished ever since, including alien invasion, an irate Yeti, and angry tribesmen.
- Researchers have finally confirmed that their deaths were due to a slab avalanche caused by intense winds.
a: Last picture of the Dyatlov group taken before sunset, while making a cut in the slope to install the tent. b: Broken tent covered with snow as it was found during the search 26 days after the event.
Photographs courtesy of the Dyatlov Memorial Foundation.<p>Finally, a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00081-8" target="_blank">new study</a>, published in the Nature journal Communications Earth & Environment, has put the case to rest: it was a slab avalanche.</p><p>This theory isn't exactly new either. Researchers have long been skeptical about the avalanche notion, however, due to the grade of the hill. Slab avalanches don't need a steep slope to get started. Crown or flank fractures can quickly release as little as a few centimeters of earth (or snow) sliding down a hill (or mountain). </p><p>As researchers Johan Gaume (Switzerland's WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF) and Alexander Puzrin (Switzerland's Institute for Geotechnical Engineering) write, it was "a combination of irregular topography, a cut made in the slope to install the tent and the subsequent deposition of snow induced by strong katabatic winds contributed after a suitable time to the slab release, which caused severe non-fatal injuries, in agreement with the autopsy results."</p><p>Conspiracy theories abound when evidence is lacking. Twenty-six days after the incident, a team showed up to investigate. They didn't find any obvious sounds of an avalanche; the slope angle was below 30 degrees, ruling out (to them) the possibility of a landslide. Plus, the head injuries suffered were not typical of avalanche victims. Inject doubt and crazy theories will flourish.</p>
Configuration of the Dyatlov tent installed on a flat surface after making a cut in the slope below a small shoulder. Snow deposition above the tent is due to wind transport of snow (with deposition flux Q).
Photo courtesy of Communications Earth & Environment.<p>Add to this Russian leadership's longstanding battle with (or against) the truth. In 2015 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation decided to reopen this case. Four years later the agency concluded it was indeed a snow avalanche—an assertion immediately challenged within the Russian Federation. The oppositional agency eventually agreed as well. The problem was neither really provided conclusive scientific evidence.</p><p>Gaume and Puzrin went to work. They provided four critical factors that confirmed the avalanche: </p><ul><li>The location of the tent under a shoulder in a locally steeper slope to protect them from the wind </li><li>A buried weak snow layer parallel to the locally steeper terrain, which resulted in an upward-thinning snow slab</li><li>The cut in the snow slab made by the group to install the tent </li><li>Strong katabatic winds that led to progressive snow accumulation due to the local topography (shoulder above the tent) causing a delayed failure</li></ul><p>Case closed? It appears so, though don't expect conspiracy theories to abate. Good research takes time—sometimes generations. We're constantly learning about our environment and then applying those lessons to the past. While we can't expect every skeptic to accept the findings, from the looks of this study, a 62-year-old case is now closed.</p><p> --</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
As patients approached death, many had dreams and visions of deceased loved ones.
One of the most devastating elements of the coronavirus pandemic has been the inability to personally care for loved ones who have fallen ill.
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.