After I first published this essay in September 2014, I read Paul Boyer's , which surveyed the reactions of Americans to dropping atom bombs on Japan. I read it in relation to my studies regarding the , but what struck me was how similar the reactions to the bombs were to how people view FE today. The primary difference, of course, is that everybody acknowledges that nuclear bombs exist and have been used, while almost nobody acknowledges today that FE technology exists, through , , or . Another obvious difference is that the first use of atomic energy was vaporizing a couple of cities. While the initial American reaction was celebratory and euphoric, it quickly became evident that the USA would not hold a monopoly on nuclear weapons forever, and fears of nuclear attack became part of the fabric of American consciousness, and by 1946, nearly half of Americans were amenable to the idea of a world government that could prevent a nuclear holocaust.
The derision was loud from Wrangham’s colleagues…until evidence of was found at in South Africa by using new tools and techniques. The chortling is subsiding somewhat and scientists are now looking for the faint evidence, and long-disputed evidence of 1.5-1.7 mya controlled fires is being reconsidered, although his hypothesis is still widely considered as being only "mildly compelling" at best. New tools may push back the control of fire to a time that matches Wrangham’s audacious hypothesis. Wrangham cited the Expensive-Tissue Hypothesis as partially supporting the Cooking Hypothesis, but , the energy to power the human brain may not have solely derived from cooked food’s energy benefits. Wrangham has cited numerous lines of evidence, one of which is a that has to find honeybee hives and smoke them out; the humans get the honey and the honeyguide gets the larvae and wax. According to recent molecular evidence, the evolutionary split of the honeyguide from its ancestors happened up to three mya, which supports the early-control-of-fire hypothesis. There is great controversy regarding these subjects, from recent findings that to scientists making arguments that to the social impacts of campfires. This section of this essay will probably be one of the first to be revised in future versions, as new evidence is adduced and new hypotheses are proposed.
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But the branch of the that readers might find most interesting led to humans. Humans are in the phylum, and the last common ancestor that founded the Chordata phylum is still a mystery and understandably a source of controversy. Was our ancestor a ? A ? Peter Ward made the case, as have others for a long time, that it was the sea squirt, also called a tunicate, which in its larval stage resembles a fish. The nerve cord in most bilaterally symmetric animals runs below the belly, not above it, and a sea squirt that never grew up may have been our direct ancestor. Adult tunicates are also highly adapted to extracting oxygen from water, even too much so, with only about 10% of today’s available oxygen extracted in tunicate respiration. It may mean that tunicates adapted to low oxygen conditions early on. Ward’s respiration hypothesis, which makes the case that adapting to low oxygen conditions was an evolutionary spur for animals, will repeatedly reappear in this essay, as will . Ward’s hypothesis may be proven wrong or will not have the key influence that he attributes to it, but it also has plenty going for it. The idea that fluctuating oxygen levels impacted animal evolution has been gaining support in recent years, particularly in light of recent reconstructions of oxygen levels in the eon of complex life, called and , which have yielded broadly similar results, but their variances mean that much more work needs to be performed before on the can be done, if it ever can be. Ward’s basic hypotheses is that when oxygen levels are high, ecosystems are diverse and life is an easy proposition; when oxygen levels are low, animals adapted to high oxygen levels go extinct and the survivors are adapted to low oxygen with body plan changes, and their adaptations helped them dominate after the extinctions. The has a pretty wide range of potential error, particularly in the early years, and it also tracked atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The challenges to the validity of a model based on data with such a wide range of error are understandable. But some broad trends are unmistakable, as it is with other models, some of which are generally declining carbon dioxide levels, some huge oxygen spikes, and the generally relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, which a geochemist would expect. The high carbon dioxide level during the Cambrian, of at least 4,000 PPM (the "RCO2" in the below graphic is a ratio of the calculated CO2 levels to today's levels), is what scientists think made the times so hot. (Permission: Peter Ward, June 2014)
Why Nerds are Unpopular - Paul Graham
is complex, but the preceding presentation is largely adequate for this essay’s purpose, while it can be helpful to be aware that the physics behind FE and antigravity technologies will probably render the Standard Model obsolete. If FE, antigravity, and related technologies finally come in from the shadows, the elusive may come with them, and the Unified Field might well be consciousness, which will help unite the scientist and the mystic, and . But that understanding is not necessary to relate the story that White Science tells today of how Earth developed from its initial state to today’s, when complex life is under siege by an ape that quickly spread across the planet like a cancer once it achieved the requisite intelligence, social organization, and technological prowess.