Last night on PBS, an episode of NOVA documented the runaway melting of glaciers in the arctic, the antarctic, and at higher continental altitudes. Even for someone who is persuaded to the reality of global warming, the evidence presented was enlightening and disturbing. Global ice fields act as a vital regulator of ocean currents and climate. Their disappearance (see image above) will not only disrupt the supply of fresh water to many developing countries, but more critically will lead to rises in sea level which will affect billions of people clustered in low-lying coastal cities (see the "mapping sea level rise" feature, and the image below). I encourage everyone to view the episode online (just click on the episode link above) -- this material makes many of our daily concerns shrink to insignificance.
On a lighter note, I recently learned that the word hippopotomonstrosesquippededailophobia purportedly means .... the fear of long words. You gotta love the irony.