A The name ambergris is derived from the Spanish “ambar gris”, ambar meaning amber and gris meaning grey, thus the name signifies grey amber. Theuse of ambergris in Europe is now entirely confined to perfumery-as a material of perfumery. Its high price varies from$15 to$25 an ounce, though it formerlyoccupied on inconsiderable place in medicine. Ambergris was also decoratedandworn as jewelry, particularly during the RenaissanceIt occupies a very important place in the perfumery of the East, and there it is also used in pharmacy and as a flavouring material in cookery.
B Amber, however, is quite a different substance from ambergris and thisdiscrepancy has puzzled some people. Amber is the fossilized resin from trees that was quite familiar to Europeans long before the discovery of the New World, and prized for jewelry. Although considered a gem, amber is a hard, transparent and wholly-organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees. In the dense forests of the Middle Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, between 10 and 100 million years ago, these resin-bearing trees fell and were carried by rivers to coastal regions. There, the trees and their resins became covered with sediment, and over millions of years the resin hardened into amber.
C Ambergris and amber are related by the fact that both wash up on beaches. Ambergris is a solid, waxy and flammable substance of a dull 2rey or blackish color, with the shades being variegated 1ike marble. It possesses a peculiar sweetearthy odour not unlike isopropyl alcohol. It is now known to be a morbid secretion formed in the intestines of the sperm whale, found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Being a very lightweight material, ambergris is found floating upon the sea, on the sea coast, or in the sand near the sea coastIt is met with in the Atlantic Ocean, on the coasts Of Brazil and Madagascar; also on the coast Of Africa, of the East Indies, China, Japan, and the Molucca Islands; but most of the ambergris which is brought to England comes from the Bahama Islands. It is also sometimes found in the abdomen of whales; it is always in lumps in various shapes and sizes, weighing from 1/ 2 oz. to 100 or more lb. A piece which the Dutch East India Company bought from the King of Tydore weighed 182 lb. An American fisherman from Antigua found, Inside a whale, about 52 1eagues south-east from the Windward Islands, a piece of ambergris which weighed about l 30 lb, and sold for 500 sterling.
D Like many other substances regarding the origin of which there existed some obscurity or mystery, ambergris in former times possessed a value, and had properties attributed to it, more on account of the source from which it was drawn than from its inherent qualities. Many ridiculous hypotheses were started to account for its origin, and among others it was conjectured to be the solidified foam of the sea, a fungous growth in the ocean similar to the fungi which form on trees.
E The true source and character of ambergris was first satisfactorily established by Dr. Swediaur in a communication to the Royal Society. It was found by Dr. Swediaur that ambergris very frequently contained the horny mandibles or beaks of the squid, on which the sperm whales are known to feed. That observation, in connection with the fact of ambergris being frequently taken from the intestines of the sperm whale, sufficiently proved that the substance is produced by the whale’s intestine as a means of facilitating the passage of undigested hard, sharp beaks of squid that the whale has eaten.
F It was further observed that the whales in which ambergris was found were either dead or much wasted and evidently in a sickly condition. From this it was inferred that ambergris is in some way connected with a morbid condition of the sperm whale. Often expelled by vomiting, ambergris floats in chunks on the water and is of a deep grey colour, soft consistence, and an offensive, disagreeable smell. Following months to years of photo- degradation andoxidation in the ocean, this precursor gradually hardens, developing a dark grey or black colour, a crusty and waxy texture, and a peculiar odour that is at once sweet, earthy, marine, and animalist. Its smell has been described by many as a vastly richer and smoother version of isopropanol without its stinging harshness.
G In that condition its specific gravity ranges from 0.780 to 0.926. It melts at a temperature of about 145 F into a fatty yellow resin-like liquidIt is soluble in ether, volatile and fixed oils, but only feebly acted on by acids. By digesting in hot alcohol, a peculiar substance termed ambrein is obtained. In chemical constitution ambrein very closely resembles cholesterin, a principle found abundantly in biliary calculi . It is therefore more than probable that ambergris, from the position in which it is found and its chemical constitution, is a biliary concretion analogous to what is formed in other mammals.
H The industries founded on ambergris resulted in the slaughter of sperm whales almost to extinction. Sperm whales were killed in two massive hunts, the Moby Dick whalers who worked mainly between 1740-1 880, and themodem whalers whose operations peaked in 1 964, when 29,255 were killed. Most recent estimates suggest a global population of about 360,000 animals down from about 1,100,000 before whaling. In the 20th century, 90% of ambergris was derived in the processing of killing sperm whales. To this day, ambergris is still the most expensive product in the whole body of sperm whale. Depending on its quality, raw ambergris fetches approximately 20 USD per gram. In the United States, possession of any part of an endangered species-including ambergris that has washed ashore-is a violation of the Endangered Species Act of 1978.
I Historically, the primary commercial use of ambergris has been in fragrance chemistry. However, it is difficult to get a consistent and reliable supply of high quality ambergris. Due to demand for ambergris and its high price, replacement compounds have been sought out by the fragrance industry and chemically synthesized. The most important of these is Ambrox, which has taken its place as the most widely used amber odorant in perfume manufacture. Procedures for the microbial production of Ambrox have also been devised.
A I am sometimes asked why anyone who is not a teacher or a librarian or the parent of little kids should concern herself with children's books and folklore. I know the standard answers: that many famous writers have written for children, and that the great children's books are also great literature; that these books and tales are
an important source of archetype and symbol, and that they can help us to understand the structure and functions of the novel.
B All this is true. But I think we should also take children's literature seriously because it is sometimes subversive: because its values are not always those of the conventional adult world. Of course, in a sense much great literature is subversive, since its very existence implies that what matters is art, imagination and truth. In what we call the real world, what usually counts is money, power and public success.
C The great subversive works of children's literature suggest that there are other views of human life besides those of the shopping mall and the corporation. They mock current assumptions and express the imaginative, unconventional, noncommercial view of the world in its simplest and purest form. They appeal to the imaginative, questioning, rebellious child within all of us, renew our instinctive energy, and act as a force for change. This is why such literature is worthy of
our attention and will endure long after more conventional tales have been forgotten.
D An interesting question is what - besides intention - makes a particular story a 'children's book'? With the exception of picture books for toddlers, these works are not necessarily shorter or simpler than so-called adult fiction, and they are surely not less well written. The heroes and heroines of these tales, it is true, are
often children: but then so are the protagonists of Henry James's What Maisie Knew and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Yet the barrier between children's books and adult fiction remains; editors, critics and readers seem to have little trouble in assigning a given work to one category or the other.
E In classic children's fiction a pastoral convention is maintained. It is assumed that the world of childhood is simpler and more natural than that of adults, and that children, though they may have faults, are essentially good or at least capable of becoming so. The transformation of selfish, whiny, disagreeable Mary and hysterical, demanding Colin in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden is a paradigm. Of course, there are often unpleasant minor juvenile characters who give the protagonist a lot of trouble and are defeated or evaded rather than reeducated. But on occasion even the angry bully and the lying sneak can be reformed and forgiven. Richard Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica, though most of its characters are children, never appears on lists of recommended juvenile fiction; not so much because of the elaborations of its diction (which is no more complex than that of, say, Treasure Island), but because in it children are irretrievably damaged and corrupted.
F Adults in most children's books, on the other hand, are usually stuck with their characters and incapable of alteration or growth. If they are really unpleasant, the only thing that can rescue them is the natural goodness of a child. Here again, Mrs. Burnett provides the classic example, in Little Lord Fauntleroy. (Scrooge's somewhat similar change of heart in Dickens's A Christmas Carol, however, is due mainly to regret for his past and terror of the future. This is one of the things that makes the book a family rather than a juvenile romance; another is the helpless passivity of the principal child character, Tiny Tim.).
G Of the three principal preoccupations of adult fiction - sex, money and death - the first is absent from classic children's literature and the other two either absent or much muted. Money is a motive in children's literature, in the sense that many stories deal with a search for treasure of some sort. These quests, unlike real-life ones, are almost always successful, though occasionally what is found in the end is some form of family happiness, which is declared by the author and the characters to be a 'real treasure'. Simple economic survival, however, is almost never the problem; what is sought, rather, is a magical (sometimes literally magical) surplus of wealth. Death, which was a common theme in nineteenth-century fiction for children, was almost banished during the first half of the twentieth century. Since then it has begun to reappear; the breakthrough book was E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. Today not only animals but people die, notably in the sort of books that get awards and are recommended by librarians and psychologists for children who have lost a relative. But even today the characters who die tend to be of another generation; the protagonist and his or her friends survive. Though there are some interesting exceptions, even the most subversive of contemporary children's books usually follow these conventions. They portray an ideal world of perfectible beings, free of the necessity for survival.
Global Warming in New Zealand
For many environmentalists, the world seems to be getting warmer. As the nearest country of South Polar Region, New Zealand has maintained an upward trend in its average temperature in the past few years. However, the temperature in New Zealand will go up 4oC in the next century while the polar region will go up more than 6oC. The different pictures of temperature stem from its surrounding ocean which acts like the air conditioner. Thus New Zealand is comparatively fortunate.
Scientifically speaking, this temperature phenomenon in New Zealand originated from what researchers call “SAM” (Southern Annular Mode), which refers to the wind belt that circles the Southern Oceans including New Zealand and Antarctica. Yet recent work has revealed that changes in SAM in New Zealand have resulted in a weakening of moisture during the summer, and more rainfall in other seasons. A bigger problem may turn out to be heavier droughts for agricultural activities because of more water loss from soil, resulting in poorer harvest before winter when the rainfall arrive too late to rescue.
Among all the calamities posed be drought, moisture deficit ranks the first. Moisture deficit is the gap between the water plants need during the growing season and the water the earth can offer. Measures of moisture deficit were at their highest since the 1970s in New Zealand. Meanwhile, ecological analyses clearly show moisture deficit is imposed at different growth stage of crops. If moisture deficit occurs around a crucial growth stage, it will cause about 22% reduction in grain yield as opposed to moisture deficit at vegetative phase.
Global warming is not only affecting agriculture production. When scientists say the country’s snow pack and glaciers are melting at an alarming rate due to global warming, the climate is putting another strain on the local places. For example, when the development of global warming is accompanied by the falling snow line, the local skiing industry comes into a crisis. The snow line may move up as the temperature goes up, and then the snow at the bottom will melt earlier. Fortunately, it is going to be favorable for the local skiing industry to tide over tough periods since the quantities of snowfall in some areas are more likely to increase.
What is the reaction of glacier region? The climate change can be reflected in the glacier region in southern New Zealand or land covered by ice and snow. The reaction of a glacier to a climatic change involves a complex chain of processes. Over time periods of years to several decades, cumulative changes in mass balance cause volume and thickness changes, which will affect the flow of ice via altered internal deformation and basal sliding. This dynamic reaction finally leads to glacier length changes, the advance or retreat of glacier tongues. Undoubtedly, glacier mass balance is a more direct signal of annual atmospheric conditions.
The latest research result of National Institute of Water and Atmospheric (NIWA) Research shows that glaciers line keeps moving up because of the impacts of global warming. Further losses of ice can be reflected in Mt. Cook Region. By 1996, a 14 km long sector of the glacier had melted down forming a melt lake (Hooker Lake) with a volume. Melting of the glacier front at a rate of 40 m/yr will cause the glacier to retreat at a rather uniform rate. Therefore, the lake will continue to grow until it reaches the glacier bed.
A direct result of the melting glaciers is the change of high tides the serves the main factor for sea level rise. The trend of sea level rise will bring a threat to the groundwater system for its hyper-saline groundwater and then pose a possibility to decrease the agricultural production. Many experts believe that the best way to counter this trend is to give a longer- term view of sea level change in New Zealand. Indeed, the coastal boundaries need to be upgraded and redefined.
There is no doubt that global warming has affected New Zealand in many aspects. The emphasis on the global warming should be based on the joints efforts of local people and experts who conquer the tough period. For instance, farmers are taking a long term, multi- generational approach to adjust the breeds and species according to the temperature. Agriculturists also find ways to tackle the problems that may bring to the soil. In broad terms, going forward, the systemic resilience that’s been going on a long time in the ecosystem will continue.
How about animals’ reaction? Experts have surprisingly realized that animals have unconventional adaptation to global warming. A study has looked at sea turtles on a few northern beaches in New Zealand and it is very interesting to find that sea turtles can become male or female according to the temperature. Further researches will try to find out how rising temperatures would affect the ratio of sex reversal in their growth. Clearly, the temperature of the nest plays a vital role in the sexes of the baby turtles.
Tackling the problems of global warming is never easy in New Zealand, because records show the slow process of global warming may have a different impact on various regions. For New Zealand, the emission of carbon dioxide only accounts for 0.5% of the world’s total, which has met the governmental standard.
However, New Zealand’s effort counts only a tip of the iceberg. So far, global warming has been a world issue that still hangs in an ambiguous future.