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Saturday, July 10, 2010

THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD: The Greatest Civilizations (Part 1)

Today I begin serializing Chapter 6 on THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity.


Ah, but why worry about such doomsday nonsense. If you have religious inclinations, then you will most probably go to Paradise or Heaven at the end anyway. But then, you need to die to get there, and you will only make it if you meet all the requirements, whatever they may be, or be some kind of martyr. But what if there is no Heaven? What proof do you really have to put all your faith into something that might not actually exist? 

Say, nevertheless, you truly believe in some afterlife. It would still be smart to also pick a site on Planet Earth where you can optimize your lifestyle while you are alive, just in case. Maybe, even be part of the Green Enertopia movement (Chapter 2) or the Blue Revolution (Chapter 4) from Book 1. Clearly, where to get involved to make this difference is Hawaii, but let us do a quasi-systematic analysis to determine the closest thing to heaven on Earth.

The Greatest Civilizations

 So far, somewhat more than 100 billion of our species have lived.  Let us start from the beginning, when discovering fire was certainly pretty great.  But that was just some earlier hominoid who observed a forest fire started by lightning providing warmth, scorching some animal, and, wow, that cooked flesh tasted better. 

"Man" supposedly split off from chimpanzees 6 million years ago, and there are reports of a pre-human Millennium Man in Ethiopia 200,000 years later. (Skull on left.)  Pre "Homos," australopithicenes entered the picture around 4 million years ago in eastern and southern Africa.  There is evidence of human-like fossils as old as 1.8 million years ago in Indonesia, and in the Caucasus and China 1.6 million years ago, 
but these were Homo erectus (Peking Man, looking like a gorilla on the right, around a million years BC) and ergaster.  We, Homo sapiens sapiens (wise or knowing man), are said to have originated in the African savanna--the Serengeti in Kenya and Tanzania-- anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.  My plans are to spend some time in these two countries in the Fall of 2010.
Around 73,000 years ago, when the world population was who really knows what, the Toba supervolcano in Indonesia erupted (note on the left how close the Red Spot--Toba--is to the site of that Sumatra earthquake/tsunami of 26December2004), with an energy equivalent 3,000 times that of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens explosion, placing a considerable volcanic ash into the atmosphere, triggering an ice age, and reducing the human population to, perhaps, a thousand breeding pairs, most probably where temperatures were the warmest. This, or similar cataclysmic events, is probably a good a reason as any for our roots beginning in Africa, where the climate was favorable during that cold period.  As most of this is speculation, say a world population of 10,000 during a period 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.  Anyway, this was a precarious period for our kind, as we were on the very edge of extinction.

Neanderthals apparently came from a different link, and were here half a million years ago.  However, the absolute latest they survived was in Europe around 24,000 years ago.  The latest evidence is that most of us have a little Neanderthal in us.  If you were wondering, classic N on left and HS on right.  Which one do you look like?

Over time, migration led to human colonies in Eurasia and Oceania by 40,000 BC, then to the Americas around 14,000 years ago, just about when agriculture was being developed in Iraq by the Sumerians, and also in China, when the world population had not yet reached a million.  Yet, other studies suggest that agriculture began 10,000 years ago when the world population was 5 million.  The point is that conclusive evidence is lacking, and refinement will occur over time.

Next, the earliest Chinese.


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