England became a unified state in the year 927 and takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled there during the 5th and 6th centuries. It has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world being the place of origin of the English language, the Church of England, and English law, which forms the basis of the common lawlegal systems of countries around the world. In addition, England was the birth place of the Industrial Revolution and the first country in the world to industrialise. It is home to the Royal Society, which laid the foundations of modern experimental science. England is the world's oldest parliamentary system and consequently constitutional, governmental and legal innovations that had their origin in England have been widely adopted by other nations.
The Little Ice Age brought colder winters to portions of Europe and North America. In the mid-17th century, glaciers in the Swiss Alps advanced, gradually engulfing farms and crushing entire villages. The River Thames and the canals and rivers of the Netherlands often froze over during the winter, and people skated and even held frost fairs on the ice. The first Thames frost fair was in 1607; the last in 1814, although changes to the bridges and the addition of an embankment affected the river flow and depth, hence the possibility of freezes. The freeze of the Golden Horn and the southern section of the Bosphorus took place in 1622. In 1658, a Swedish army marched across the Great Belt to Denmark to invade Copenhagen. The Baltic Sea froze over, enabling sledge rides from Poland to Sweden, with seasonal inns built on the way. The winter of 1794/1795 was particularly harsh when the French invasion army under Pichegru could march on the frozen rivers of the Netherlands, whilst the Dutch fleet was fixed in the ice in Den Helder harbour. In the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, allowing people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island. Sea ice surrounding Iceland extended for miles in every direction, closing that island's harbors to shipping. The severe winters affected human life in ways large and small. The population of Iceland fell by half, but this was perhaps also due to fluorosis caused by the eruption of the volcano Laki in 1783. Iceland also suffered failures of cereal crops and people moved away from a grain-based diet. The Norse colonies in Greenland starved and vanished (by the 15th century) as crops failed and livestock could not be maintained through increasingly harsh winters, though Jared Diamond noted that they had exceeded the agricultural carrying capacity before then. In North America, American Indians formed leagues in response to food shortages. In south Europe, in Portugal, snow storms were much more frequent while today are rare. There are reports of heavy snows in the winters of 1665, 1744 and 1886.
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid and dry sub-humid areas, resulting primarily from natural activities and influenced by climatic variations. It is also a failure of the ecological succession process. A major impact of desertification is biodiversity loss and loss of productive capacity, for example, by transition from land dominated by shrublands to non-native grasslands. In the semi-arid regions of southern California, many coastal sage scrub and chaparral ecosystems have been replaced by non-native, invasive grasses due to the shortening of fire return intervals. This can create a monoculture of annual grass that cannot support the wide range of animals once found in the original ecosystem. In Madagascar's central highland plateau, 10% of the entire country has been lost to desertification due to slash and burn agriculture by indigenous peoples. In Africa, if current trends of soil degradation continue, the continent will be able to feed only 25% of its population by 2025, according to UNU's Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa. Globally, desertification claims a Nebraska-sized area of productive capacity each year.
Bio Fuel Systems is a wholly Spanish owned firm that has developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel. It was formed in 2006 in eastern Spain after three years of research by scientists and engineers connected with the University of Alicante.
The process it has developed converts energy, based on three elements: solar energy, photosynthesis and an electromagnetic field. Its new fuel is said to reduce CO2, is free of other contaminants like sulphur dioxide and would be cheaper than standard fossil fuel that is available now. Their system of bioconversion is about 400 times more productive than any other plant-based system producing oil or ethanol.
Almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, the Arctic Ocean is largely covered by sea ice throughout the year. The Arctic Ocean's temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy freshwater inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities. The summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) use satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years.
If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, Day One! [zaps one of his minions accidentally, minion screams] Sorry.
...that optimistic estimations of peak oil production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later, and assume major investments in alternatives will occur before a crisis, without requiring major changes in the lifestyle of heavily oil-consuming nations. These models show the price of oil at first escalating and then retreating as other types of fuel and energy sources are used.
...that if the Greenland ice-sheet melted through global warming, it would raise the global sea level by 7 meters, or 22 feet.
^Prothero, Donald R (2007). Evolution: What the Fossils Say. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 113. ISBN978-0-231-13962-5. "...the fossil record provides...the strongest piece of evidence for evolution. ...lines of evidence that Darwin mustered in 1859."
^Glass, Bentley (1959). Forerunners of Darwin. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. iv. ISBN0801802229. "Darwin's solution is a magnificent synthesis of evidence...a synthesis...compelling in honesty and comprehensiveness"
^As Darwinian scholar Joseph Carroll of the University of Missouri–St. Louis puts it in his introduction to a modern reprint of Darwin's work: "The Origin of Species has special claims on our attention. It is one of the two or three most significant works of all time—one of those works that fundamentally and permanently alter our vision of the world....It is argued with a singularly rigorous consistency but it is also eloquent, imaginatively evocative, and rhetorically compelling." Carroll, Joseph, ed. (2003). On the origin of species by means of natural selection. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview. p. 15. ISBN1551113376.