Moby-DickOct. 18, 1851: "Moby-Dick," Herman Melville’s tale of an obsessive whaling captain who leads his crew to ruin, is published in London. The book is loosely based on the wreck of the whaleship Essex 31 years earlier.

Oct. 18, 1945: As part of its postwar rebuilding effort, France creates the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique. The CEA coordinates France's development of both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. France explodes its first atomic bomb in 1960, and it is predominantly dependent on nuclear energy for its electricity today, with 78 percent coming from that source.

Oct. 18, 1972: The U.S. Clean Water Act takes effect, setting a goal of making all U.S. waterways "fishable and swimmable."

Oct. 18, 2012: The Guardian reports that entrepreneur Russ George staged a rogue geoengineering project off the British Columbia coast, dumping about 100 tons of iron phosphate fertilizer in the Pacific to create a carbon-eating algae bloom.  Scientists and legal experts condemn the project as potentially dangerous and illegal.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.