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Two adjacent countries mutually agree that the border
between them shall officially be defined to be a zigzag
pattern consisting of lines 1 centimeter long
a rate of 1,000,000 such lines per (straight) meter. As a
result, suddenly the neighboring nations of Diminuland and
both of which are small enough to hike in a
share a border 50,000 kilometers long.
Both governments could then publicly decry any atlases,
almanacs, encyclopedias, and so on that don't publish the
updated border length as refusing to recognize their
legitimate territorial claims.
[po, Aug 15 2011]
Alternative pranking structure
[calum, Aug 15 2011]
[hippo, Aug 15 2011]
List of enclaves and exclaves
[hippo, Aug 15 2011]
Different kind of prank border
[bungston, Aug 15 2011]
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||Extending the idea further, if those zigzag lines were say, 10km long, and stacked in such a way that 1,000,000 of them crossed a straight-line, you could create a "fuzzy" border in which people could be citizens of both countries.
||Here's a question - is there an arrangement of borders such that you could create an overlay of 3 or more different countries under the same area? I guess you could do it with differently legged spirals.
||[zen] If you permit the territory of a country to be
non-contiguous then any pattern would be possible. If I were king of Hippoland, I would then invade the neighbouring kingdon of Zentomia and annex areas of Zentomia's territory sufficient to create the shapes of the letters in the word "HIPPOLAND". My armies would then retreat for a nice cup of tea. The intention of this costly military exercise would be to annoy cartographers who would colour in Zentomia on the map and put the label "ZENTOMIA" on it, but then also have the letters "HIPPOLAND" drawn across Zentomia's map in such a way to suggest that they'd completely cocked up their map-making.
||Perhaps cartographical certainty could be aided by reclassifying countries not as single states but as collections of individual "nation areas" which correspond exactly to 1 meter square OS national grid squares. At the get-go, each nation could lay claim to its existing territory but land could be acquired by purchase or (if the nation is one for grand gestures and the inevitable decades of legal wrangling) dropping a squaddie with a flag on it. By this mechanism, accurate yet fiddly maps could be churned out by cartographers with a few minesweeper style mouse clicks. The richer, more powerful nations could coerce puppet states to (a) adopt for their territory a roughly matching national colour and (b) acquire adjacent squares, to allow anti-aliasing to lend a touch of expensive class to particularly important pieces of territorial graffiti.
||Ah yes, a suitably finely sprinkled dot-matrix pattern of ownership might allow a series of nations each with a preferred colour, to create wholly recognisable pictures of stuff or agreements drawn up to alter ownersip on some predefined schedule, allowing rudimentary animations to be put together.
||Also, dig large caves and/or build wide bridges in overlapping at the border. With careful planning, it should be possible to force those smug cartographers to use a fifth colour.
||Whilst following [hippo]'s second link, I noticed that
there's a place in Cyprus called Xylophagou. I just
wanted to share that.
||Also did you read the bit about the India/Bangladesh
border? Just weird.
||Bungs, shouldn't that link be "different kind of prank boarder"
||I wonder what would happen to the world if a very small
country, say Luxumbourg, were to redefine thier borders
using a Mandelbrot pattern. Suddenly, this very small and
easily quantifiable piece of territory, without altering its
size or shape, would have a border of potentially infinite
length. How would global society react to something like
this? Would markets crash? Would cannonballs fly?
||Not really. The 'Prank Border' would be very, very long, but
a Mandelbrot border would be infinitely long, technically
speaking, and yet the actual shape or placement of the
border would be unchanged. If just one country could
enforce precedent for this, it would nullify the concept of
international borders in a way that the EU can only have
wet dreams about.
||<note #1: somebody deleted the anno that this was
addressed in responce to.>
||<note #2: it doesn't matter anyway, because I was really,
really high when I came up with the whole Mandelbrot
||Why, indeed, shouldn't landlocked countries also
have infinitely long borders?
||Actually, going back to my previous example, the Hippoland armies will in fact annex carefully defined exclaves in the South of neighbouring Zentomia which spell out the words "IS A DUMP".
||Too late Hippolandia, a sudden surge in nationalistic awareness has allowed the government of Zentomia to enact the "Hippolanian Finger Accords" in which vast tracts of Zentomia have been carefully raised by precisely 100m in order to indellibly trace out in the contours of topographic maps, the unmistakable (and in Bold Helvetica font) phrase "HIPPOLANDIA IS RUBBISH!"
||I like half-baked ideas that have some kind of link to
||//I like half-baked ideas that have some kind of link to reality. Bone.// - someone's going to be busy, voting down 90% of the ideas here...
||I would like to define my territory as the border line itself, infinitely long, but lacking any depth whatsoever, like a graduation commencement.
||All right, you want a link to reality? Here:
||This might be useful for solving some border
disputes. We're stuck with the concept of states
with borders: because most of the Earth's land
mass has been divvied up that way, it's difficulty
or impossible for a sovereign entity to exist
without having borders of its own. This is so
deeply ingrained, and yet so deeply
unsatisfactory, that much of the 20th century
consisted of wars and forced migrations to tidy up
situations where a clear border couldn't be drawn
between two groups of people living in the same
||Let the border be a space-filling fractal curve, so
that the entire disputed region is composed of
two regions interpenetrating in an infinitely
recursive (for convenience, self-similar) fashion,
so that nothing, no matter how small, is ever only
in one or the other. The border will be as sharp as
international law requires, and maps at finite
scale can always be drawn showing that one's own
constituency has "won" the dispute. In practice,
tarifs, law enforcement, forestry, etc. will be
handled according to conventions for things like
rivers, large hadron colliders, etc, that span
||This won't relieve animosity; it's a legal fiction, to
provide cooler heads at the negotiating table a
face saving way to sign a treaty.