Monday, February 26, 2024

Canada as far south as California

Middle Island, on Lake Erie

Canada is famously referred to as the Great White North, but the majority of its population resides in the southern regions, which are even more southern than commonly perceived. Surprisingly, 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S.-Canadian border, and approximately 60% of the entire Canadian population resides south of Seattle, Washington. Intriguingly, 27 U.S. states are either entirely or partially north of Canada's southernmost point, located at Middle Island in Lake Erie, Ontario. This northern expanse even includes a small portion of California, seemingly contradictory given the state's association with one of the hottest places on Earth, Death Valley. Utah and Nevada also encompass land north of Canada's southernmost point.

An often-overlooked fact is that Canada boasts the longest coastline globally. Spanning an impressive 125,567 miles, it surpasses Indonesia, the second-place holder with a coastline length of 61,567 miles.

The concentration of Canadians in these southern regions is primarily attributed to agricultural reasons. Historian William Lewis Morton explains that the establishment of a network of towns for commercial agriculture in these warmer climates laid the foundation for the development of modern cities during the Industrial Revolution. However, if temperatures continue to rise, Canada's colder regions might witness an influx of climate refugees in the next 50 to 100 years, altering the traditional image of the Great White North. From 1948 to 2022 Canada has warmed by 1.9 degrees Celsius, mostly because of urban sprawl and population growth.

Middle Island, located in Lake Erie, holds the distinction of being Canada’s most southern point. This picturesque island spans an area of approximately 46 acres.

Canada is 16 miles from France’s islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Source: Canada extends as far south as California. | Interesting Facts

Blue eyes share a common ancestor

AI-generated picture of a woman with blue eyes.

It is likely that all individuals with blue eyes share a common ancestor. Approximately 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, the prevailing eye color among Homo sapiens was brown, considered an evolutionary advantage due to the protection provided by melanin against UV radiation. However, a mutation in the OCA2 gene during the Neolithic expansion in Europe led to the birth of an individual with blue eyes, deviating from the typical brown. Scientists propose that all blue-eyed individuals, constituting about 10% of the global population, are descendants of this original ancestor with the blue-eye mutation.

Interestingly, the mutation causing blue eyes doesn't actually impart a blue color to the eyes. Blue eyes are not genuinely blue. The iris of the eye consists mainly of two layers: the stroma and the epithelium. Unlike brown eyes, which have a brown-black melanin pigment in both layers, blue eyes lack melanin pigment in the stroma. Blue eyes, devoid of any pigment, exhibit a reflection of white light through the Tyndall effect. This optical phenomenon occurs as the shorter blue wavelengths are reflected more by the fibers in the eyes, absorbing longer red-orange wavelengths. Although the perception is that people have "blue" eyes, from a pigment standpoint, they essentially lack any color.

Source: Interesting Facts