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Canada has been primarily a peacekeeping nation.
Volcanism can not only temporarily alter the atmosphere’s chemistry, but the ash from volcanism can also block sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and lead to atmospheric cooling. Carbon dioxide vented by volcanism in the Mesozoic era is . Tectonic plate movements can alter the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean. When continental plates come together into a supercontinent, oceanic currents can fail and the oceans can become anoxic, as atmospheric oxygen is no longer drawn into the global ocean’s depths, which may have . When continents are near the poles, , but in our current ice age the tipping point is , which is affected by, among other influences, the Moon.
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.
“You can do this for just three months and rotate them.”
Mesoamerica’s Domestication Revolution was one of the two certainly pristine ones known, and the one around today’s Peru may have been another. The other two of the human journey arose there, and they followed the same general patterns as Sumer and China in that they began peacefully with no classes and, as they grew into states, men came to dominate, elites appeared with monumental architecture devoted to them, potentates had harems and divine sanction, and there were other features that seemingly evidenced universal human traits and/or reactions to similar conditions. The development of religion in what became Mesoamerica’s pristine civilization, the , has been documented by archeologists who traced a seven-thousand-year progression from hunter-gatherers to egalitarian early agriculturists to an elite-dominated society to a pristine state. It was similar to how Mesopotamian civilization developed, including the (today’s rock stars have been likened to the new shamans, as their concerts revive pre-civilized gatherings and rituals). Controversial aspects of Mesoamerican societies have included human sacrifice and cannibalism. They definitely happened, and human sacrifice was practiced on a pretty grand scale at times. The question of Western Hemispheric cannibalism has touched on the lack of domestic animals, so it may have had nutritional aspects, or what is called culinary cannibalism. But most seeming cannibalism is of the cultural cannibalism variety, in which eating flesh has symbolic meaning, whether it is eating somebody to keep their spirit in the family/tribe or to gain spiritual dominance over a fallen foe. Cannibalism was a common charge made against peoples that Europe conquered, but was usually a sensational allegation to remove their humanity and justify their bloody treatment by Europe. Columbus made his from whole cloth.
It took about two millennia to in Mesoamerica (wheat may have only taken a couple of centuries or less to domesticate), in one of humanity’s greatest feats of domestication. Maize was a near-universal staple among the Western Hemisphere’s agrarian natives in 1492. Anthropologists have surmised that the Western Hemisphere was a few thousand years “behind” Old World civilizations in 1492.
“You can do this for just three months and rotate them.”
In 63 BCE, a conspiracy to overthrow the Republic was exposed by , and in 60 BCE the was formed and its three members, including , all came to violent ends; then the Roman civil wars began in earnest. The Second Triumvirate was formed in 43 BCE, and included and , of fame. After Augustus defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the in 31 BCE, the Roman Republic ended and Rome became an empire, the greatest that humanity has known. At its height, it governed a quarter of humanity. From the to the , Rome as a republic or empire lasted for nearly two millennia. Its impact on Western Civilization, and hence the world, has been incalculable. There are far too many important lessons to be learned from the Roman experience than this essay can explore, but I will try to keep the lessons within this essay’s theme and purpose, which is humanity’s relationship to energy and our collective future.
Scholars have argued whether the civil wars began in the second or first century BCE, but political strife began with a proposal for land reform, tendered in 133 BCE. After Rome’s republican conquests it was flush with slaves, and rich landowners began to create . The farmers that had been Rome's backbone were pushed off the land and outcompeted by slave labor. The situation was a preview of today’s . The land reform measure tried to reverse that trend, which enraged rich landowners. Slaves also began rebelling; the , and the , led by , ended in 71 BCE. Those slave revolts . Roman politics was a very bloody affair; the losers of political contests would be murdered, along with their entire families and supporters. The man who proposed the populist land reform law, , was murdered in the Senate in 133 BCE, along with more than 300 of his supporters. A decade later, his brother, Gaius Gracchus, was elected to office and pursued the same land reforms, and along with of his followers. That was the beginning of the Roman Republic’s end.
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Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces.
Hunter-gatherer lands are far more sparsely populated than agricultural or industrial lands because of how much energy people can extract from their environments. Japanese rice farmers can extract 10 thousand times as much food energy from a hectare of land as Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherers could. At Japanese rice farmer levels of productivity, the yard of the home I was raised in could have met my family’s food requirements.
Should Canada be more active on peacekeeping?2.
As ice sheets retreated and today’s interglacial period began, humans already at the margins of those ice age environments as far as they could. From then until Europe , there were few mass migrations of note, such as the in Africa, when , and when agricultural peoples displaced hunter-gatherers, particularly in Australia and . But even with those migrations, it could be more of a cultural and technological migration than a human one, in which the “invaded” peoples adopted the often energetically superior practices of the “invaders” rather than being replaced by them. Genetic testing has shown that this was (although ), which has been one of the greater surprises of global genetic testing, although the research is in its early days, and more controversial findings are sure to come.
It can be used to learn more about the world and the people in it.
As the megafauna that fueled humanity’s global expansion went extinct, all human populations became relatively immobile, and even hunter-gatherers had proscribed ranges. There were no more virgin continents to fill with people, and then humans began to turn on each other in earnest as they fought over their reduced energy supplies. Between the and the human warfare of the late hunter-gatherer phase, there seems to have been an intermediate stage that lasted from up to a million years ago among . Until hunter-gatherers began forming segmented societies (with some hierarchy) in the past 30 thousand years or so, the risks of killing one’s neighbor outweighed the advantages, especially when resolving conflicts meant easily moving to new, unoccupied lands. Although there was probably plenty of interpersonal violence, warfare did not appear until there was resource competition among the humans that conquered Earth. It is even speculated that when left Africa nearly two mya, it .
The decline in the American standard of living begins.
Anthropologists have derived these reasons why societies go to war: defense, plunder, prestige, and control. Only states have control as a motive, because they can only tax sedentary peoples with economic surpluses. “Defense” is a motive (retaliation and revenge also neatly fit into this category), which is economic, plunder is nakedly economic, and prestige only reinforces or enhances a man’s economic status. So, motives for war are ultimately economic in nature. All wars had some kind of proximate cause, some triggering event that began the hostilities, and feuds could last for generations, but when the bickering and noise was removed from the signal, nonliterate societies, just like civilized ones, fought primarily for economic reasons, and resource access was always first and foremost. Because land is the source of all wealth (particularly in preindustrial civilizations), as it is where the energy comes from, all societies, from the smallest band of hunter-gatherers to today’s modern states, , which is . It has been that way and may have begun with some of the earliest social animals. At the bottom of it all, all people instinctually know that it is about economics, with the rest just noise, if sometimes pleasantly diverting noise.
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