Oliver Burkeman's excellent psychology column in the Guardian discusses some new research on how we think about borders.
Recently, two psychologists working not far from that concrete slab, at the University of Utah, presented people with various scenarios involving where to build a home. Some were told there'd been an earthquake 200 miles away in a neighbouring state; others that there'd been one 200 miles away, but in the same state. They were shown maps, to underline the distances involved – and yet they deemed the risk of earthquakes a bigger problem when they occurred inside state lines. A second test, involving radioactive waste in a next-door state, reached a related conclusion: the risk was seen as smaller when the boundary on the map was drawn in a thicker line. Mental maps guide our lives, but they're quirky;How does this affect how we think about development, aid, trade, investment, conflict....?