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North America is a continent in the Northern and Western Hemispheres. North America is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. Greater North America includes the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Clipperton Island, Greenland, Mexico, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States.

Continental North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), representing approximately 16.5% of the Earth's land area and 4.8% of its total surface area. It is the third-largest continent by size after Asia and Africa, and the fourth-largest continent by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. , North America's population was estimated as over 592 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population. In human geography, the terms "North America" and "North American" sometimes refer to just Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Greenland.

It is unknown with certainty how and when first human populations first reached North America. People were known to live in the Americas at least 20,000 years ago but various evidence points to possibly earlier dates. The Paleo-Indian period in North America followed the Last Glacial Period, and lasted until about 10,000 years ago when the Archaic period began. The classic stage followed the Archaic period, and lasted from approximately the 6th to 13th centuries. Beginning in 1000 AD, the Norse were the first Europeans to begin exploring and ultimately colonizing areas of North America.

In 1492, the exploratory voyages of Christopher Columbus led to a transatlantic exchange, including migrations of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the early modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves, immigrants from Europe, Asia, and descendants of these respective groups. (Full article...)

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Gert at peak intensity near landfall in Veracruz on September 20

Hurricane Gert was a large tropical cyclone that caused extensive flooding and mudslides throughout Central America and Mexico in September 1993. The seventh named storm and third hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Gert originated as a tropical depression from a tropical wave over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on September 14. The next day, the cyclone briefly attained tropical storm strength before moving ashore in Nicaragua and proceeding through Honduras. It reorganized into a tropical storm over the Gulf of Honduras on September 17, but weakened back to a depression upon crossing the Yucatán Peninsula. Once over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche, Gert quickly strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane by September 20. The hurricane made a final landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mexico near Tuxpan, Veracruz, with peak winds of 100 mph (160 km/h). The rugged terrain disrupted the cyclone's structure; Gert entered the Pacific Ocean as a depression near the state of Nayarit on September 21, where it briefly redeveloped a few strong thunderstorms before dissipating at sea five days later.

Gert's broad wind circulation produced widespread and heavy rainfall across Central America through September 15–17. Combined with saturated soil following Tropical Storm Bret's passage a month earlier, the rain triggered widespread floods and mudslides that isolated thousands of people across numerous communities. In Costa Rica, blustery weather destroyed a national park and led to significant losses in the agricultural and tourism sectors. Much of the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua and Honduras endured overflowing rivers, engulfing cities, villages, and crops with mud and water. Gert's winds were at their strongest upon landfall in Mexico, yet the worst effects in the country were also due to freshwater flooding after an extreme rainfall event in the Huasteca region resulted in water accumulations as high as 31.41 inches (798 mm). An increasing number of major rivers burst their banks over a period of several days, fully submerging extensive areas of land around the Pánuco basin. Tens of thousands of residents were forced to evacuate as raging floodwaters demolished scores of structures in what was described as the region's worst disaster in 40 years. (Full article...)
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Map of southern Nevada showing Area 51
Map of southern Nevada showing Area 51
Credit: Finlay McWalter
The US Federal Government controls a 6,000 sq mi (16,000 km2) tract of southern Nevada, including the Nellis Air Force Range and the Nevada Test Site. These contain the Yucca Mountain repository, the Tonopah Test Range, and the secret Area 51 facility.

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Armstrong in 1969

Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer who in 1969 became the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor.

Armstrong was born and raised in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He entered Purdue University, studying aeronautical engineering, with the U.S. Navy paying his tuition under the Holloway Plan. He became a midshipman in 1949 and a naval aviator the following year. He saw action in the Korean War, flying the Grumman F9F Panther from the aircraft carrier USS Essex. After the war, he completed his bachelor's degree at Purdue and became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was the project pilot on Century Series fighters and flew the North American X-15 seven times. He was also a participant in the U.S. Air Force's Man in Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs. (Full article...)

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The Canadian (French: cheval canadien) is a horse breed from Canada. It is a strong, well-muscled horse, usually dark in colour. It is generally used for riding and driving. Descended from draft and light riding horses imported to Canada in the late 1600s from France, it was later crossed with other British and American breeds. During the 18th century the Canadian horse spread throughout the northeastern US, where it contributed to the development of several horse breeds. During the peak popularity of the breed, three subtypes could be distinguished, a draft horse type, a trotting type and a pacing type. Thousands of horses were exported in the 19th century, many of whom were subsequently killed while acting as cavalry horses in the American Civil War. These exports decreased the purebred Canadian population almost to the point of extinction, prompting the formation of a studbook and the passage of a law against further export.

Experimental breeding programs in the early 20th century succeeded in re-establishing the breed to some extent, but mechanization, combined with two world wars, again resulted in the breed almost becoming extinct. In the 1980s, concerned with the declining population numbers, interested breeders undertook a promotional program, which resulted in renewed interest in the breed. By the 1990s, population numbers were higher, and genetic studies in 1998 and 2012 found relatively high levels of genetic diversity for a small breed. However, livestock conservation organizations still consider the breed to be at risk, due to low population numbers. (Full article...)
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Credit: Bart Sw
A panoramic view of Mexico City



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