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Oklahoma and Texas Look Almost Like a Cooking Pan

Xingjian Liu, Tinghua Ai, and Yaolin of the Liu [of the Department of Geography, Texas State University-San Marcos, Texas School of Resources and Environmental Science, and Wuhan University] begin their article “Oklahoma and Texas Look Almost Like a Cooking Pan” [AIR 16:2] by saying:

In this paper, we apply spatial analytical tool to address the question: Which geographic “panhandle” is more similar to a real panhandle?

Background: Panhandles
“Panhandle” is an informal geographic term for an elongated tail-like protrusion of a geographic entity that is surrounded on three sides by land regions not of the same administration. The term is derived, as an analogy, from the relation between the shapes and relative locations of a cooking pan and its panhandle. For example, the United States has panhandles such as the “Texas Panhandle” and the “Florida Panhandle.” Other countries, too have panhandles, such as the “Panhandle of Austria,” the “New Brunswick Panhandle” and the
“Panhandle of North Korea.” To the authors, the geographic term “panhandle” only captures some qualitatively geometry of the corresponding geographies, and there is no previous study addressing how close these panhandles are to a real-world panhandle. Because panhandle is defined in the context of a pan,
answering the obvious question “Which geographic ‘panhandle’ is more similar to a real-world panhandle?” is
equivalent to answering “Which U.S. state associated with a geographic panhandle looks more like a cooking pan?

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