Wikipedia articles of interest
“Allopatric speciation (from the ancient Greek allos, “other” + Greek patrā, “fatherland”) or geographic speciation is speciation that occurs when biological populations of the same species become isolated due to geographical changes such as mountain building or social changes such as emigration. The isolated populations then undergo genotypic and/or phenotypic divergence as: (a) they become subjected to different selective pressures, (b) they independently undergo genetic drift, and (c) different mutations arise in the populations’ gene pools. The separate populations over time may evolve distinctly different characteristics. If the geographical barriers are later removed, members of the two populations may be unable to successfully mate with each other, at which point, the genetically isolated groups have emerged as different species.”
2. Oradour-sur-Glane. Lots of ugly stuff was going on behind the lines on the eastern front. But very bad things happened in Western Europe too. As well as thousands of kilometers to the east as well. This link has a lot of stuff you probably don’t want to know about Japanese war crimes. Here’s one bit:
“If you were a Nazi prisoner of war from Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (but not Russia) you faced a 4% chance of not surviving the war; [by comparison] the death rate for Allied POWs held by the Japanese was nearly 30%.”
“According to the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate among POWs from Asian countries, held by Japan was 27.1%. The death rate of Chinese POWs was much higher because—under a directive ratified on August 5, 1937 by Emperor Hirohito—the constraints of international law on treatment of those prisoners was removed. Only 56 Chinese POWs were released after the surrender of Japan. After March 20, 1943, the Japanese Navy was under orders to execute all prisoners taken at sea.”
“Gossypiboma or textiloma is the technical term for a surgical complications resulting from foreign materials, such as a surgical sponge, accidentally left inside a patient’s body. The term “gossypiboma” is derived from the Latin gossypium (cotton) and the Swahili boma (place of concealment) and describes a mass within a patient’s body comprising a cotton matrix surrounded by a foreign body granuloma. “Textiloma” is derived from textile (surgical sponges have historically been made of cloth) and the suffix “-oma”, meaning a tumor or growth, and is used in place of gossypiboma due to the increasing use of synthetic materials in place of cotton.”
“The actual incidence of gossypiboma is difficult to determine, possibly due to a reluctance to report occurrences arising from fear of legal repercussions, but retained surgical sponges is reported to occur once in every 3000 to 5000 abdominal operations and are most frequently discovered in the abdomen. The incidence of retained foreign bodies following surgery has a reported rate of 0.01% to 0.001%, of which gossypibomas make up 80% of cases.”
This study stated that: “The incidence of surgical sponge being retained during operation is difficult to estimate, but it has been reported as 1 in 100-3000 for all surgical interventions and 1 in 1000-1500 for intra-abdominal operations. Retained sponges are most frequently observed in patients with obesity, during emergency operations and following laparoscopic interventions. Retained sponges are most frequently observed in patients with obesity, during emergency operations  and following laparoscopic interventions.”
Notice the high bound estimate (1 in 100) in that quote, it’s much higher than the wikipedia stat. There seems to be huge uncertainty as to just how great this problem is. If you want to avoid it, don’t be fat, don’t have emergency surgery and avoid minimally invasive surgery/laparoscopic procedures.
4. Hadley cell.
For those who’ve only had geography in Danish, the ‘trade winds‘ mentioned in the article are what we call ‘passat-vindene’ in Denmark.
5. Pont du Gard.
While reading a bit about sanitation in Ancient Rome, I followed the link to the article, then the thought struck me: ‘I’ve been there’. Maybe I haven’t, but I certainly might have been; I was in Provence with the family many, many years ago and I (now) remember that we saw a huge aqueduct like this.