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Introduction

Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Geography (from Greek: γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth and universe. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

Geography is often defined in terms of two branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.

True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.

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Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. The park's headquarters is about 26 miles (42 km) east of Holbrook along Interstate 40 (I-40), which parallels the BNSF Railway's Southern Transcon, the Puerco River, and historic U.S. Route 66, all crossing the park roughly east–west. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 146 square miles (380 km2), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. About 600,000 people visit the park each year and take part in activities including sightseeing, photography, hiking, and backpacking. The park's earliest human inhabitants arrived at least 8,000 years ago. By about 2,000 years ago, they were growing corn in the area and shortly thereafter building pit houses in what would become the park. Later inhabitants built above-ground dwellings called pueblos. Although a changing climate caused the last of the park's pueblos to be abandoned by about 1400 CE, more than 600 archeological sites, including petroglyphs, have been discovered in the park. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers visited the area, and by the mid-19th century a U.S. team had surveyed an east–west route through the area where the park is now located and noted the petrified wood. Later roads and a railway followed similar routes and gave rise to tourism and, before the park was protected, to large-scale removal of fossils. Theft of petrified wood remains a problem in the 21st century.

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Lester Brain
Lester Brain was a pioneer Australian aviator and airline executive. Born in New South Wales, he trained with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) before joining Qantas as a pilot in 1924. He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1929, after locating the lost aircraft Kookaburra in northern Australia. As a member of the RAAF reserve, Brain coordinated his airline's support for the Australian military during World War II. He earned a King's Commendation for his rescue efforts during an air raid on Broome, Western Australia in 1942, and was promoted to wing commander in 1944. Brain left Qantas to join the fledgling government-owned domestic carrier Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) in June 1946. Appointed its first General Manager, he swiftly built up the organisation to the stage where it could commence scheduled operations later in the year. By the time he resigned in March 1955, TAA was firmly established as one half of the Commonwealth government's two-airline system. After his departure from TAA, Brain became managing director of de Havilland Aircraft in Sydney, before joining the board of East-West Airlines as a consultant in January 1961. Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in January 1979, Lester Brain died in June the following year, at the age of seventy-seven.

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Amsterdam
Credit: Diliff

A stitched panorama of a canal in the city of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. A series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten") were dug around the old city centre in the 17th century, along which houses and warehouses were built. The canals still define Amsterdam's layout and appearance today.

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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1902 edition, Part Two (1902)

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