An Experience That Changed My Life Free Essays
This chapter falls at about this essay's midpoint, and humanity's role in this story has yet to be told. As I conceived this essay, studied for it, wrote it, edited it, and had numerous allies help out, an issue repeatedly arose regarding the half of this essay just completed, and can be summarized with: "What was the point?" Not everybody asked it and some understood, but others wondered openly and sometimes subtly what the purpose of this essay's first half was (and some asked if the essay had any point at all and considered my effort a waste of time). This chapter is my reply, and I think it is important to understand.
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Until my lifetime, scientists thought of dinosaurs as slow and stupid, but that view has changed. In the 1970s, scientists realized that prior depictions of bipedal dinosaurs such as . Their actual posture had the tail, spine, and head all on a line largely parallel with the ground. Not until the release of did the public begin to see more realistic portrayals of bipedal dinosaur posture. That posture may have been critical for the success of dinosaurs, as becoming bipedal, with their legs in an upright position under their bodies, allowed them to overcome . Also, the notion of overcoming Carrier’s Constraint transformed the view of dinosaurs from lumbering, slow creatures to nimble runners. The dinosaur line is considered , and the first dinosaurs were bipeds. All quadrupedal dinosaurs re-evolved their four-legged stances from the original bipedal posture, which is obvious in that nearly all quadrupedal dinosaurs had rear legs longer than their front ones.
Here is a brief summary of this essay. Ever since more than three billion years ago and about a billion years after the Sun and Earth formed, organisms have continually invented more effective methods to acquire, preserve, and use energy. after three billion years of evolution and, pound-for-pound, it used energy . The story of life on Earth has been one of , and in turn influencing them. During the eon of complex life that began more than 500 million years ago, there have been many brief for some fortunate species, soon followed by increased energy competition, a relatively stable struggle for energy, and then cleared biomes and set the stage for another golden age by organisms adapted to the new environments. Those newly dominant organisms were often marginal or unremarkable members of their ecosystems before the mass extinction. That pattern has characterized the journey of complex life over the past several hundred million years. among some animals, which provided them with a competitive advantage.
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As with previous Epochal Events, the advances in mental achievement were as dramatic as material changes. However, other than the , humans largely possessed the same cognitive equipment. If an infant girl from the that left Africa could have been placed in a home in an industrialized nation today, there is little reason to believe that she would not live a normal life. The changes in mental achievement during the journeys of have had little to do with biological changes and, in fact, in the past 30,000 years. Humanity’s material and mental changes were thoroughly interrelated. The human world became vastly more complex with the rise of industrialization, so much so that most people today have very little understanding of how their world actually works. It usually takes systems thinkers with scientific training to to understand the modern world’s complexities. For instance, about 95% of Americans are scientifically illiterate and have little idea where their energy comes from or how the myriad moving parts of their civilizations operate and interact. Americans are effective and are , and the rest of the industrialized world is close behind, but they have little idea where any of it comes from or how it was produced and delivered to them.
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With help from contributions from China and other civilizations, much of it coerced, such as what the Western Hemisphere provided to the world (, , , , a , mountains of , and many other benefits), Europe conquered the world, and along the way it tapped a new energy source. The early days of exploiting a new energy source were characterized by relative abundance that led to golden ages that people in later times, after the energy supply was depleted (, , ) looked back to with yearning, if they could even recall those days in their cultural memory. I live in a that is looking back to its golden age, , when energy was cheap and plentiful. Those . The middle-class lifestyles of my childhood are , 50 years later.
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Because the Western Hemisphere’s inhabitants were virtually all in their Stone Age, they as greatly as Old World civilizations did, and many societies were environmentally sustainable and provided seeming answers to questions that scientists have asked about Old World civilizations’ development. The natives of coastal California were familiar with agriculture, as it was practiced by nearby inland tribes, but they never adopted it. California was so bountiful, and its climate was so human-friendly, that its natives retained their hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Similarly, northward on the Pacific Northwest's coast, natives created an economy in which half of its calories derived from salmon runs, and those peoples were relatively sedentary without agriculture. Natives turned the Great Plains into a big pasture for bison, and the biome was partly maintained by annual burning of the grasslands. In Mesoamerica, farming has been sustainable for thousands of years. In the Amazon, the natives transformed the rainforest, and a higher proportion of plants and trees provided human-digestible foods than in any other “wild” place on Earth, those natives also terraformed thin tropical soils with ceramics (maybe unintentional) and charcoals (intentional) and made super-soils called and . In summary, native practices in the Western Hemisphere were often sustainable if not quite abundant. But when civilizations arose, they had problems that were like their Old World counterparts'. Their problems were also environmental and not just the injustices of hierarchal societies, often steeply hierarchical.