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.

This map taken here from Jan S. Krogh’s excellent GeoSite.

Strange Maps #253

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The finding is remarkably similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes how incompetent people tend to overestimate their own competency.

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Astronomers find more than 100,000 "stellar nurseries"

Every star we can see, including our sun, was born in one of these violent clouds.

Credit: NASA / ESA via Getty Images
Surprising Science

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

An international team of astronomers has conducted the biggest survey of stellar nurseries to date, charting more than 100,000 star-birthing regions across our corner of the universe.

Stellar nurseries: Outer space is filled with clouds of dust and gas called nebulae. In some of these nebulae, gravity will pull the dust and gas into clumps that eventually get so big, they collapse on themselves — and a star is born.

These star-birthing nebulae are known as stellar nurseries.

The challenge: Stars are a key part of the universe — they lead to the formation of planets and produce the elements needed to create life as we know it. A better understanding of stars, then, means a better understanding of the universe — but there's still a lot we don't know about star formation.

This is partly because it's hard to see what's going on in stellar nurseries — the clouds of dust obscure optical telescopes' view — and also because there are just so many of them that it's hard to know what the average nursery is like.

The survey: The astronomers conducted their survey of stellar nurseries using the massive ALMA telescope array in Chile. Because ALMA is a radio telescope, it captures the radio waves emanating from celestial objects, rather than the light.

"The new thing ... is that we can use ALMA to take pictures of many galaxies, and these pictures are as sharp and detailed as those taken by optical telescopes," Jiayi Sun, an Ohio State University (OSU) researcher, said in a press release.

"This just hasn't been possible before."

Over the course of the five-year survey, the group was able to chart more than 100,000 stellar nurseries across more than 90 nearby galaxies, expanding the amount of available data on the celestial objects tenfold, according to OSU researcher Adam Leroy.

New insights: The survey is already yielding new insights into stellar nurseries, including the fact that they appear to be more diverse than previously thought.

"For a long time, conventional wisdom among astronomers was that all stellar nurseries looked more or less the same," Sun said. "But with this survey we can see that this is really not the case."

"While there are some similarities, the nature and appearance of these nurseries change within and among galaxies," he continued, "just like cities or trees may vary in important ways as you go from place to place across the world."

Astronomers have also learned from the survey that stellar nurseries aren't particularly efficient at producing stars and tend to live for only 10 to 30 million years, which isn't very long on a universal scale.

Looking ahead: Data from the survey is now publicly available, so expect to see other researchers using it to make their own observations about stellar nurseries in the future.

"We have an incredible dataset here that will continue to be useful," Leroy said. "This is really a new view of galaxies and we expect to be learning from it for years to come."

Protecting space stations from deadly space debris

Tiny specks of space debris can move faster than bullets and cause way more damage. Cleaning it up is imperative.

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  • The team at Clearspace, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, is on a mission to capture one such object using an autonomous spacecraft with claw-like arms. It's an expensive and very tricky mission, but one that could have a major impact on the future of space exploration.

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Catch more Just Might Work episodes on their channel:
https://www.freethink.com/shows/just-might-work

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