Book Cover-01Book Cover-01 Chapter 7

  1. Lebeche (Llebeig or Garbí in Catalan; Libeccio in Italian) is the Spanish name for a warm southwest wind in parts of coastal Mediterranean Spain, either a foehn wind or a hot southerly wind in advance of a low pressure area moving from the Sahara Desert.

Chapter 9

  1. Père Lachaise Cemetery; officially, cimetière de l’Est, “East Cemetery”) is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris (44 hectares or 110 acres), though there are larger cemeteries in the city’s suburbs. Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world’s most visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. It is also the site of three World War I memorials.

Chapter 11

  1. Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000\square kilometers (26,300 square miles), the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects. By 2007 it had declined to ten percent of its original size, splitting into four lakesthe North Aral Sea and the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea and one smaller lake between North and South Aral Sea. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared, and the southwestern lake retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is forty-two meters (138 ft) as of 2008. The region’s once-prosperous fishing industry has been virtually destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The Aral Sea region is also heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.

Chapter 12

  1. The Cuyahoga River is located in Northeast Ohio in the United States. Outside of Ohio, the river is most famous for being “the river that caught fire,” helping to spur the environmental movement in the late 1960s. Native Americans called this winding water “Cuyahoga,” which means “crooked river” in the Iroquois language. There have reportedly been at least thirteen fires on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in 1868. The largest river fire in 1952 caused over $1 million in damage to boats and a riverfront office building. Fires erupted on the river several more times before June 22, 1969, when a river fire captured the attention of Time magazine, which described the Cuyahoga as the river that “oozes rather than flows,” and in which a person “does not drown but decays.”

Chapter 16

  1. Karst is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum. It is characterized by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems. Karst topography is a geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone, dolomite, or gypsum, but has also been documented for weathering-resistant rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions.

Chapter 21

  1. The Canyon of Heroes is occasionally used to refer to the section of lower Broadway in the Financial District that is the location of New York City’s ticker-tape parades.

Chapter 23

  1. Mesopotamia was a region encompassing modern Iraq, Kuwait, southeast Turkey, and northeast Syria that dominated the region for a period of 4,200 years from the fourth millennium BCE throughout Mesopotamia to approximately the tenth century CE in Assyria. Each Mesopotamian city was home to a deity, and each of the prominent deities was the patron of a city, and all known temples were located in cities, though there may have been shrines in the suburbs as well.

Chapter 24

  1. The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about 2,550 kilometers (1,580\miles) long but has an average width of only 69 kilometers (43\miles). It reaches a maximum-known depth of 10.911\km (10,911 ± 40 meters) or 6.831\miles (36,069 ± 131\feet) at the Challenger Deep, a small slot-shaped valley in its floor, at its southern end, although some unrepeated measurements place the deepest portion at 11.03 kilometers (6.85\miles).

Chapter 31

  1. In Greece, the Phaedriades are the pair of cliffs on the lower southern slope of Mt. Parnassos which enclose the sacred site of Delphi, the center of the Hellenic world. Strabo, Plutarch and Pausanias all mentioned the Phaedriades in describing the site, a narrow valley of the Pleistus (today Xeropotamos) formed by Parnasse and Mt. Cirphis. Between them rises the Castalian Spring. Even today, at noontime, the rock faces reflect a dazzling glare.
  2. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia, was one of the most powerful in recorded history, and classified as a VEI-7 event. The eruption that began on April 10, 1815 was followed by between six months and three years of increased steaming and small phreatic eruptions. The eruption column lowered global temperatures, and some experts believe this led to global cooling and worldwide harvest failures, sometimes known as the Year Without a Summer.
  3. According to the United States Geological Survey, the total volume of water on Earth is estimated to be 1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers. The volume of fresh water is estimated to be 35,030,000 cubic kilometers, or 2.5% of the total water volume. The USGS estimates that ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow total 24,064,000 cubic kilometers, or 68.7 % of the Earth’s fresh water.

Chapter 32

  1. Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the south central part of the state. The city’s population was 7,831 at the 2010 census. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013. Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska’s North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation, Labor and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services. Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Wasilla’s mayor before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his vice-presidential running mate in the 2008 United States presidential election.