FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. While large volumes of water can be found throughout the Solar System, only Earth sustains liquid surface water. About 71% of Earth’s surface is made up of the ocean, dwarfing Earth’s polar ice, lakes, and rivers. The remaining 29% of Earth’s surface is land, consisting of continents and islands. Earth’s surface layer is formed of several slowly moving tectonic plates, interacting to produce mountain ranges, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Earth’s liquid outer core generates the magnetic field that shapes Earth’s magnetosphere, deflecting destructive solar winds.
Earth’s atmosphere consists mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere like carbon dioxide (CO2) trap a part of the energy from the Sun close to the surface. Water vapor is widely present in the atmosphere and forms clouds that cover most of the planet. More solar energy is received by tropical regions than polar regions and is redistributed by atmospheric and ocean circulation. A region’s climate is governed by latitude, but also by elevation and proximity to moderating oceans. In most areas severe weather, such as tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, and heatwaves, occurs and greatly impacts life.
Earth is an ellipsoid with a circumference of about 40,000 km. It is the densest planet in the Solar System. Of the four rocky planets, it is the largest and most massive. Earth is about eight light minutes away from the Sun and orbits it, taking a year (about 365.25 days) to complete one revolution. Earth rotates around its own axis in slightly less than a day (in about 23 hours and 56 minutes). Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted with respect to the perpendicular to its orbital plane around the Sun, producing seasons. Earth is orbited by one permanent natural satellite, the Moon, which orbits Earth at 380,000 km (1.3 light seconds) and is roughly a quarter as wide as Earth. The Moon always faces the Earth with the same side through tidal locking and causes tides, stabilizes Earth’s axis, and gradually slows its rotation.
Earth, like most other Solar System bodies formed 4.5 billion years ago from gas of the early Solar System. During the first billion years of Earth’s history the ocean formed and then life developed within it. Life spread globally and began to affect Earth’s atmosphere and surface, leading to the Great Oxidation Event two billion years ago. Humans emerged 300,000 years ago, and have reached a population of almost 8 billion today. Humans depend on Earth’s biosphere and natural resources for their survival, but have increasingly impacted Earth’s environment. Today, humanity’s impact on Earth’s climate, soils, waters, and ecosystems is unsustainable, threatening people’s lives and causing widespread extinction of other life.
Today is noted as United Nations Day to mark the anniversary of the United Nations charter, which went into effect on October 24, 1945. Organizations and schoolchildren throughout the world mark this day with meetings, discussions, and exhibits on the achievements and goals of the international body.
Question of the Day
When did we figure out a vaccine for rabies?
Louis Pasteur cured a nine-year-old boy, Joseph Meister, with the vaccine he developed in 1885.
Advice of the Day
A lie has no legs to stand on, but it gets places.
Home Hint of the Day
Get rid of any tree branches that hang over your house and outbuildings so that squirrels can’t use them as ladders.
Word of the Day
A number in the 19-year cycle of the Moon, used for determining the date of Easter. (The Moon repeats its phases approximately every 19 years.) Add 1 to any given year and divide the result by 19; the remainder is the Golden Number. If there is no remainder, the Golden Number is 19.
Puzzle of the Day
How many hard-boiled eggs can a man eat on an empty stomach?
One, because after he has eaten it, his stomach will not be empty.
- Sarah Hale (poet; magazine editor) – 1788
- Belva A. Lockwood (lawyer) – 1830
- Melvin Purvis (FBI agent) – 1903
- Moss Hart (playwright) – 1904
- Bob Kane (cartoonist; co-creator of Batman) – 1915
- Denise Levertov (poet) – 1923
- The Big Bopper (singer) – 1930
- Bill Wyman (bassist; formerly of The Rolling Stones) – 1936
- F. Murray Abraham (actor) – 1939
- Kevin Kline (actor) – 1947
- Monica (singer) – 1980
- Daniel Webster (lawyer & statesman) – 1852
- Franklin Carmichael (Canadian painter) – 1945
- Gene Roddenberry (author & producer) – 1991
- Raul Julia (actor) – 1994
- George P. Oslin (Western Union executive) – 1996
- Harry Hay (early activist in the gay-rights movement, founded Mattachine Society) – 2002
- Rosa Parks (civil rights activist) – 2005
- Marcia Strassman (actress) – 2014
- Maureen O’Hara (actress) – 2015
- Robert Guillaume (actor) – 2017
- Antoine Fats” Domino” (singer) – 2017
- Spain ratified treaty to cede Florida to the United States– 1820
- Alonzo D. Phillips, of Springfield, Massachusetts, received a patent for phosphorus friction matches– 1836
- Astronomer William Lassell discovered Uranus moons Ariel and Umbriel– 1851
- The first transcontinental telegraph message was sent by Justice Stephen J. Field of California to President Lincoln in Washington, D.C.– 1861
- Canadian schooner Bluenose won the International Fishermen’s Trophy– 1921
- Nylon stockings went on sale for the first time, Wilmington, Delaware– 1939
- First photos of Earth taken from space– 1946
- Actor Richard Burton bought a $1.1 million, 69-carat diamond ring for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor.– 1969
- The Concorde, the world’s only supersonic airliner, headed home to London for the last time– 2003
- The Boston Red Sox took Game 1 of the World Series with a final score of 13-1, scoring more runs than any team in the first game of a World Series– 2007
- Traffic in Buffalo, New York, was stalled for several hours as cars tried to maneuver through six inches of slushy snow– 1937
- Thunderstorms in the Flagstaff, Arizona, area gave rise to three tornadoes– 1992