As the New School Year Begins…

I have decided that what the world needs on Saturday mornings are the incredibly fun and informative videos of John Green, straight from his marvelous Crash Course series on World History. So without further ado, let us begin this splendid series!

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5 Responses

  1. For more on this topic I would recommend “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond, and “Against the Grain” by James C. Scott.
    Both books make the point that the adoption of agriculture was a catastrophe for human well-being. Ancient farmers were less well-nourished than their hunter-gatherer forebears because their food supply, while more plentiful than before, was less varied. They had nutritional gaps that hunter-gatherers filled by eating everything around them.
    Ancient farmers were sicker, because they picked up many diseases from domestic animals, and those diseases spread more widely among settled communities than among roving tribes. Also the aforementioned nutritional gaps left weaknesses in their immune systems.
    Ancient farmers worked harder and were more likely to get repetitive-motion injuries and chronic joint problems.
    It is only within the past century or so that people on a widespread basis have been living longer, healthier lives than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Agriculture led to 8,000 years of human misery which has only ended within living memory. The question of WHY people walked in to this disaster needs a lot more attention.
    – joel

    1. “Agriculture led to 8,000 years of human misery which has only ended within living memory.”

      And was this end of misery due to fossil fuels?

      1. People have been burning coal for 3,000 years, and petroleum for over 2,000. So, no.

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