in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.

China’s was the second pristine civilization to rise, and although the and separated China from the Fertile Crescent and India, there was cultural and technological diffusion. At times, China was ahead of Fertile Crescent civilizations in technological and cultural innovation. By eight kya, agriculture was firmly established in China. China has had less investigation of its prehistory, but it seems clear that China’s deforestation began with agriculture, just like everyplace else, and by 1000 BCE, China was largely deforested. The East Asian food complex is markedly different from the Fertile Crescent's, largely because East Asia relied on summer monsoons for its water, and winter rains provided water for the Fertile Crescent and westward, although civilizations were primarily based on seed and root crops. The rice paddy is the most sophisticated preindustrial agricultural system ever created. It by 3000 BCE, and rice paddies bred malaria to the extent that the paddy system in southern China was not successful until the local populace had partially adapted to malaria. Deforested lands alternately , and managing water in China became the foundation of imperial practice like nowhere else in history. Although , in practice they did nothing at all. Chinese emperors and the states they controlled, however, owed their legitimacy in their subjects’ eyes to how well they controlled flooding and drainage. The Yellow and Yangtze rivers carried more than 30 times the silt that the Nile did, and deforestation with the resulting flooding, siltation, and desertification have been major Chinese problems for thousands of years. Although it has been challenged, the idea that China reached early political unity due to few geographic barriers has merit. China has been politically unified almost continually for more than two millennia. The Han Chinese that dominate China are like white Americans, Canadians, or Australians, in that they invaded, conquered, and came to dominate lands initially settled by others.

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Version 1.2, published May 2015. Version 1.0 published September 2014.

Significant Energy Events in Earth's and Life's History as of 2014

When I arrived at my office, I turned on my lights and computer. When I was eating, I put the food that I brought to work in a refrigerator under my desk. During my work day, I interacted with many people in my air-conditioned, high-technology office environment. My cellular telephone was never far away. The view from my office window of the was pleasant. My computer interfaced with our distant data centers and the world at large via the Internet. When my workday was finished, I rode the bus home. In the winter, the furnace is programmed to stop functioning when my wife and I leave for work, and comes on soon before we arrive home, so we never experienced a cold house. In the evening, we might watch a movie on a DVD on our wide-screen plasma TV. When I am not fasting, I usually eat dinner, with the food in my refrigerator usually purchased at a that has an enormous produce section, with food grown locally and imported from as far away as New Zealand, China, and Israel. We have a high-tech kitchen, with a “smart” stove, refrigerator, and other appliances.

c. 4.6 billion years ago (“bya”)

When I resumed my career in 2003, I became an early riser and consequently went to bed by 9:00 PM on most nights, and often read fantasy literature before I turned out the lights and snuggled into bed (with two comforters in the winter to keep us warm as we sleep).

Below is a diagram of two hydrogen atoms before and after reaction, as they bond to form H2.
Those energy and chemistry concepts should make this essay easier to digest.

, to eventually achieve modern levels, begins

The twin ideas of efficiency and resilience are important. Efficiency is about getting more for less, particularly energy. Although aerobic respiration’s energy efficiency allowed for to develop, they end up creating interactions and dependencies, and the entire structure can lose its resilience when compared to simpler systems. Remove one part of the food chain and the entire ecosystem can collapse, and it can be part of the chain, from top to bottom. Making systems more efficient, as the last bits of energy are wrung from the system, reduces their resilience to the real world’s surprises. That dynamic is probably a key contributing factor of mass extinctions during the eon of complex life. Modern ecosystems studies are making the connections clear and are being applied to the dynamics of human civilizations; work has been seminal in this regard. Complex ecosystems pass through of exploitation, conservation, release, and reorganization, and three dimensions of interaction are involved: potential, connectedness, and resilience. In general, simple systems are more stable than complex ones, which is another reason why any , if there were any, would have been far less cataclysmic than those of complex life.

Creates conditions for complex life to appear and dominate Earth's ecosystems.

First large-scale energy users.

Scientists today think that above all else, the first stone tools began humanity’s Age of Meat. Meat is a nutrient-dense food and is highly prized among wild chimpanzees that use it as a , and male chimps have used it as payment for sex. The human brain is more than three times the size of a chimpanzee’s, but recent research suggests that the human brain’s size is , and great ape brains seem relatively small because their bodies became relatively large, possibly due to sexual selection that resulted from vying for mates. Humans developed relatively larger brains and relatively smaller and weaker bodies, which was ; something had to give. Protohumans began relying on brains more than brawn. The studies of brain size, encephalization, neocortex function, intelligence, and their relationships are in their infancy. The current . Larger brains were needed for navigating increasing social complexity, and not only the number of individuals in a society, but the sophistication of interactions. It is also argued that smarter brains allowed for greater social complexity, in another possible instance of mutually reinforcing positive feedbacks. Societies can perform tasks that individuals cannot. Those engage in wars and revolutions. They can procure a food source and secure the territory, which creates the energetic means for developing a society. Tool-making may have been a bonus of that enlarged brain needed for social navigation, and walking bipedally coincidentally provided new opportunities for hands. , and all proposed dynamics may have had their influences. , about 10 times the energy needs of equivalent muscle mass, and primates cannot consciously turn their brains off any more than they can turn their livers off. Few studies have been performed on the relationships between energy, brains, and sleep, but a recent one found that sleep seems to be .

Creates conditions for complex life to appear, first in the global ocean.

Concentrated application of muscle energy.

Key events in the popular story of Jesus's life, such as the virgin birth and resurrection, were already circulating in other religions of the day. There is little evidence that Muhammad existed, and if he did, he probably lived around Jerusalem, not on the Arabian Peninsula. After a career of archeological investigation in the region where the Biblical Israel was founded, one anthropologist likened the Hebrew Bible to propaganda with tiny bits of historical truth in it, as facts are needed to help people swallow fanciful stories. To modern observers not under the , tales of people living to be nearly a thousand (), or more than 40,000 years () are not taken seriously. But literalist interpretations of ancient texts abound, whether they come from religious fundamentalists or scholars such as and who tried to explain mythical events as if ancient texts depicted literal truth. Promoting is a major component of how modern populations are controlled.