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A Strong Test of the Von Liebig Hypothesis by Peter …
The Medieval Warm Period led to the , which began around 1000. It was a time of great city-building in northern Europe and and put under the plow. The success of northern Europe was partly attributable to its heavy ice age soils, which did not erode as rapidly as the thinner southern soils of the Fertile Crescent and Mediterranean regions. Not until adopting the horse-pulled heavy plow did northern Europe’s soils become sufficiently arable to feed Europe’s High Middle Age peoples. The teams pulling heavy plows were more than a single farmer could afford, so communal financing of horse teams for heavy plows has been considered a proto-capitalistic development. Even so, rivers filled with the mud of erosion, and the same deforestation and soil-loss process happened in northern Europe, but arguably slower than in those earlier civilizations.
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Did the control of fire to , ? Or did merely use it to begin dominating the world? Was cooking the seminal event in the appearance of humans? Those questions may not be definitively answered in my lifetime, and led to the somewhat uncertain title of this chapter. Highly transformative developments coincided with the appearance and dispersal of , which was a radical break from all that came before – biologically, technically, and culturally – and strongly implies great cognitive enhancements. I believe that the control of fire and cooking would leave deep cultural and biological impacts on the human journey, and because barely changed during its nearly two-million year tenure on Earth, both in biology and in Acheulean artifacts, I favor Wrangham’s hypothesis, at least until the Next Big Finding. Just as Einstein said that and that his theories would one day become obsolete, but that their best parts would survive in the new theories, I suspect that significant aspects of Wrangham’s hypothesis will live on in successor hypotheses, and other scientists have been following Wrangham’s lead.
Justus von Liebig - Biography, Facts and Pictures
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Rome had an underdeveloped economy. It largely relied on military conquest and plunder, not developing its domestic economy. Nevertheless, on an absolute scale, Rome was unprecedented; a lead spike in in the first century CE provides evidence of Rome’s level of industrial activity. The world’s lead mining did not reach Roman levels again until the 1700s. The arenas were only one venue of many where slaves died. The mines in Spain were also charnel houses that consumed lives at an astonishing pace. Many Carthaginians ended up in the mines, and Spain was deforested just like Greece, Italy, Anatolia, and the like. Modern observers, like those , would scarcely believe that those arid nations hosted lush forests not long ago. I and traveled the length of Italy, Greece, and the former Yugoslavia, and sailed through the Greek isles. I vividly recall the tremendous olive groves of Delphi and starker scenes, in which islands were nothing more than barren rock. The mountains could possess an austere beauty like a moonscape, and had I been told that all of those places hosted thick, moist forests a few millennia ago, I might not have believed it, either.
Energy is the master resource of all organisms, all ecosystems, and all economies. When a civilization centralizes its energy consumption, which were food and wood in preindustrial civilizations, to a central city, and it has to keep expanding farther and farther from that city to obtain that energy, the is going to reduce the EROI of those increasingly distant energy resources, and hence reduce the . Also, the practices of and agriculture provide short-term agricultural yields, but the wood would be almost instantly used (about 90% of the wood imported to Rome was burned, which was the typical ratio for ancient cities). The soils became eroded, depleted, and often abandoned as the land could no longer support farming, partly because the entire process made the land more arid. If they could import water to irrigate (usually a rare situation), that could help ameliorate the process, but it took more time and effort and made it more difficult. There were no accountants, scientists, or engineers monitoring and measuring the process, but all of those dynamics would reduce the system’s EROI and surplus energy and make it less resilient, so it was vulnerable to disruptive shocks.
EconPapers: A Strong Test of the von Liebig Hypothesis
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The two primary uses of wood in civilizations have always been fuel and making structures. Just as , burning wood has always been its greatest use on Earth, even to the present day. Firewood does not need to be long and straight, and and “waste” wood has long been used for firewood and in pulp mills. Other stands of trees were allowed to grow for a century and more to provide long, straight wood for making structures. For seafaring nations, that always meant ships; securing wood for shipbuilding was a major goal in the earliest seafaring civilizations, and became an obsession during the rise of Mediterranean civilizations. The largely centered over wood to build navies.
By 1300, Earth was cooling down, High Middle Ages Europe was largely deforested, and nearly all arable land was under the plow. Europe had reached the Malthusian limit of its means of preindustrial production. The 1300s were a century of unending calamity for Europe, beginning with famines in 1304, 1305, and 1310, and a that lasted three years. Famines visited Europe at least once a generation in the 1300s. In 1337, England and France . Those events were only a hint at what lied ahead. Plagues and famines tend to be conjoined: weakened bodies are susceptible to disease. The Black Death pandemic probably originated in war-torn and famine-plagued China . In 1346, it reached Europe. By 1350, and . War, famine, and epidemics were so prevalent in the 1300s that the became an art form in the 1400s and 1500s, after the . Europe became a hell on Earth. But the work that watermills performed was not subject to famine and disease, and the work of millions of “energy slaves” surely helped hold Europe together. Labor was in such shortage after the catastrophes that .
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was originally formulated by Justus von Liebig, ..
Today, humanity dominates Earth and is not only depleting its primary energy resources at prodigious rates, but it is also that rivals the . Humans may cause Earth’s greatest mass extinction, which may take humanity with it. Today, , and almost nobody seems to know or care. Humanity is a tunnel-visioned, egocentric species, and almost all people are only concerned about their immediate self-interest and are oblivious of what lies ahead. Not all humans are so blind, and and , among others intimately familiar with the impacts of global civilization, are terrified by what humanity is inflicting onto Earth. Also, those who realize that we are quickly coming to the Hydrocarbon Age’s end are and I cannot blame them. We are in a “” scenario, and several manmade trends threaten our future existence.
The theory was pioneered by Justus von Liebig , ..
Another major advance happened in the late 20th century: the ability to analyze DNA. was discovered in 1953. In 1973, . In 2003, . was accomplished in 2005, for orangutans in 2011, and for in 2012. The comparisons of human and great ape DNA have yielded many insights, but the science of DNA analysis is still young. What has yielded far more immediately relevant information has been studying human DNA. The have been identified. Hundreds of falsely convicted Americans have been released from prison, and nearly 20 from , due to Human DNA testing has provided startling insights into humanity's past. For instance, in Europe it appears that after the ice sheets receded 16,000 to 13,000 years ago, , and for all the bloody history of Europe over the millennia since then, there have not really been mass population replacements in Europe by invasion, migration, genocide, and the like. Europeans just endlessly fought each other and honed the talents that helped them conquer humanity. There were , but other than hunter-gatherers being displaced or absorbed by the more numerous agriculturalists, there do not appear to be many population replacements. In 2010, suggested that male farmers from the Fertile Crescent founded the paternal line for most European men as they mated with the local women. DNA testing has demonstrated that all of today’s humans are , of whom a few hundred and conquered Earth. The , as well as genomes of other extinct species, and for a brief, exuberant moment, some scientists thought that , -style. Although dinosaur DNA is unrecoverable, organic dinosaur remains been recovered, and even some proteins have been sequenced, which probably no scientist believed possible in the 1980s.
The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Liebig, Justus, Baron von
Earth’s volume is about one trillion cubic kilometers, its core is believed to be about 90% iron, and the rest is largely nickel. The is thought to be mostly oxygen and silicon, and the remainder is largely composed of the lighter alkali and alkaline earth metals, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium. Those mantle metals are primarily bound in oxides. The mantle makes up more than 80% of Earth’s volume. The crust also is almost solely comprised of oxides. Silicon dioxide (sand and glass are made from it) is the most prevalent compound and the crust is, by mass, nearly 75% oxygen and silicon (), and nearly all of the remainder is aluminum, iron, and those lighter and earth metals. All other elements combined amount to less than 2% of Earth’s crust. An accompanying presents the current estimates of the relative concentrations of Earth’s mass and atoms that are relevant to this essay.
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