Water Life and Civilisation

Author: Steven Mithen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139496670
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A unique interdisciplinary study of the relationships between climate, hydrology and human society from 20,000 years ago to the present day within the Jordan Valley. It describes how state-of-the-art models can simulate the past, present and future climates of the Near East, reviews and provides new evidence for environmental change from geological deposits, builds hydrological models for the River Jordan and associated wadis and explains how present day urban and rural communities manage their water supply. The volume provides a new approach and new methods that can be applied for exploring the relationships between climate, hydrology and human society in arid and semi-arid regions throughout the world. It is an invaluable reference for researchers and advanced students concerned with the impacts of climate change and hydrology on human society, especially in the Near East.

Out of the Earth

Author: Daniel Hillel
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520080805
Format: PDF, Docs
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A moving tribute to the physical and spiritual properties of nature's richestelement by one of the world's leading soil conservationists.

Water from Heaven

Author: Robert S. Kandel
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231122454
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Covering a vast array of scientific fields and recent discoveries, this book tracks a remarkable substance in its liquid, solid, and gaseous states as it cycles through the seas, the atmosphere, land, icecaps and under the earth. Robert Kandel describes what we humans are doing to the water cycle and the climate and explains where we are heading.

Dirt

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520952111
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Dirt, soil, call it what you want—it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are—and have long been—using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil—as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.

Water Engineering in Ancient Civilizations

Author: Pierre-Louis Viollet
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 9078046058
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This new book offers an engineer's perspective on the history of water technology and its impact on the development of civilisation. A Second Edition and translation into English of the French book "L'Hydraulique dans les Civilisations Anciennes". Water professionals, engineers, scientists, and students will find this book fascinating and invaluable to their understanding of the fundamental role of water engineering in the development of civilization. The book abounds with descriptions of hydraulic techniques in the civilizations of the classical era and the Middle Ages, including illustrations and translated descriptions of ancient observers and authors. The work is unique in offering an engineer's perspective not only on the history of water technology, but also demonstration of the genesis of ideas and the transmissions of ideas and technology from one age and civilization to the next. The book is especially noteworthy for its efforts to situate hydraulic developments in their historical and intellectual context.

Energy and Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262338319
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. -- Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel--driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts -- from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

Elixir

Author: Brian Fagan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608193578
Format: PDF
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Elixir spans five millennia, from ancient Mesopotamia to the parched present of the Sun Belt. As Brian Fagan shows, every human society has been shaped by its relationship toour most essential resource. Fagan's sweeping narrative moves across the world, from ancient Greece and Rome, whose mighty aqueducts still supply modern cities, to China, where emperors marshaled armies of laborers in a centuries-long struggle to tame powerful rivers. He sets out three ages of water: In the first age, lasting thousands of years, water was scarce or at best unpredictable-so precious that it became sacred in almost every culture. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, human ingenuity had made water flow even in the most arid landscapes.This was the second age: water was no longer a mystical force to be worshipped and husbanded, but a commodity to be exploited. The American desert glittered with swimming pools- with little regard for sustainability. Today, we are entering a third age of water: As the earth's population approaches nine billion and ancient aquifers run dry,we will have to learn once again to show humility, even reverence, for this vital liquid. To solve the water crises of the future, we may need to adapt the water ethos of our ancestors.

Civilization and Its Discontents

Author: Sigmund Freud
Publisher: GENERAL PRESS
ISBN: 9387669521
Format: PDF
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Civilization and Its Discontents is one of the last of Freud's books, written in the decade before his death and first published in German in 1929. It is considered his most brilliant work. In it he states his views on the broad question of man's place in the world. It seeks to answer several questions fundamental to human society and its organization: What influences led to the creation of civilization? Why and how did it come to be? What determines civilization’s trajectory? Freud’s theories on the effect of the knowledge of death on human existence and the birth of art are central to his work. Many of humankind's primitive instincts (for example, the desire to kill and the insatiable craving for sexual gratification) are clearly harmful to the well-being of a human community. As a result, civilization creates laws that prohibit killing, rape, and adultery, and it implements severe punishments if such commandments are broken. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that instills perpetual feelings of discontent in its citizens. Freud's theme is that what works for civilization doesn't necessarily work for man. Man, by nature aggressive and egotistical, seeks self-satisfaction.

Thirst

Author: Steven Mithen
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674072197
Format: PDF, Docs
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Freshwater shortages will affect 75% of the world’s population by 2050. Mithen puts this crisis into context by exploring 10,000 years of water management. Thirst tells of civilizations defeated by the water challenge, and of technological ingenuity that sustained communities in hostile environments. Work with nature, not against it, he advises.