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Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? #4147008
07/09/16 07:02 PM
07/09/16 07:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
Shannow Offline OP
Shannow  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
http://www.sigervanbrabant.be/docs/Diamond.PDF

Interesting article from 1987 Discover magazine on what happened when humans invented agriculture.

According to the author, humans shrunk, lived less long showed increased incidence of malnutrition in tooth and bone structure, and started the population boom in order to have sufficient hands to till the earth.

I'm not advocating any conclusions from the article, as clearly there's no room for 7B people to be hunter gatherer's, but it raises the issue that without agriculture, and later, free calories from underground (oil) there wouldn't BE 7B mouths to feed.

Inferences on a non productive upper class system also that can only arise with storage of food...

As to that last point, I read an interesting definition of currency the other day as "the medium that your rulers accept for the payment of taxes/tithes"...was much more convenient than sheep and potatoes.

Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147023
07/09/16 07:10 PM
07/09/16 07:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,870
NEUS
Bandito440 Offline
Bandito440  Offline
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,870
NEUS
Division of labor has allowed us to develop art, science, democracy, medicine, etc. I would not care to spend my time hunting and gathering and living to the ripe old age of 29.


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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147039
07/09/16 07:28 PM
07/09/16 07:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 16,026
OH
fdcg27 Offline
fdcg27  Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 16,026
OH
The advent of agriculture is universally recognized as the dawn of civilization, for good or for ill.
Absent the incredibly efficient agriculture that we all enjoy, none of us would be engaging in slanging matches on this or any other website.
We wouldn't be driving our cars to a local vineyard or art museum on this or any other weekend day either.
Since we wouldn't have vineyards, museums or cars, I suppose that wouldn't matter and we wouldn't actually know the difference anyway.
Currency is a universally accepted medium of exchange.
Back when there were rulers who required tithes of their peasants, there was no currency. There was only specie.


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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147041
07/09/16 07:28 PM
07/09/16 07:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,868
Kalifornia Kollective
BrocLuno Offline
BrocLuno  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,868
Kalifornia Kollective
Modern'ish medicine is keep us alive much longer than typical hunter-gatherer's... That medicine and medical procedures would not have happened w/o division of labor and specialization. That could not have happened w/o agriculture.

But, as we become more and more city dwellers crowded together so that vectors are easier to spread, we'll see a crash one day. Mother nature will get her revenge laugh


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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147042
07/09/16 07:29 PM
07/09/16 07:29 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,031
Middlesex County CT
simple_gifts Offline
simple_gifts  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,031
Middlesex County CT
Best to read his "Guns, Germs and Steel"; Jared Diamond isn't a 'one off' writer of this stuff.

edit; stumbled on this


Last edited by simple_gifts; 07/09/16 07:31 PM.

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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147078
07/09/16 08:20 PM
07/09/16 08:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,686
Massachusetts
turtlevette Offline
turtlevette  Offline
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,686
Massachusetts
I can't figure you out. Most of your opinion is as main stream conservative as it gets. Then you come up with off the wall stuff like this. And you look like a hippie. I'm growing out my hair too, but I don't have a job.


USA-1
Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147085
07/09/16 08:34 PM
07/09/16 08:34 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 9,064
North Carolina
spasm3 Offline
spasm3  Offline
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 9,064
North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Shannow
http://www.sigervanbrabant.be/docs/Diamond.PDF


Inferences on a non productive upper class system also that can only arise with storage of food...



And it afforded the existence of a non productive lower class, expecting and waiting to be fed.


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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: turtlevette] #4147117
07/09/16 09:08 PM
07/09/16 09:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
Shannow Offline OP
Shannow  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
Originally Posted By: turtlevette
I can't figure you out. Most of your opinion is as main stream conservative as it gets. Then you come up with off the wall stuff like this. And you look like a hippie. I'm growing out my hair too, but I don't have a job.


That's the problem with people is that everything has to be neatly in a box, and if someone DOESN'T fit neatly in the box, then there must be something wrong with them.

Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: fdcg27] #4147121
07/09/16 09:14 PM
07/09/16 09:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
Shannow Offline OP
Shannow  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
The advent of agriculture is universally recognized as the dawn of civilization, for good or for ill.
Absent the incredibly efficient agriculture that we all enjoy, none of us would be engaging in slanging matches on this or any other website.
We wouldn't be driving our cars to a local vineyard or art museum on this or any other weekend day either.
Since we wouldn't have vineyards, museums or cars, I suppose that wouldn't matter and we wouldn't actually know the difference anyway.


I agree to a point. They wouldn't miss arguing with people on the other side of the globe on the internet as they wouldn't have dreamed of it.

They had culture, they had beliefs and tradition, built monuments but not houses, and transmitted their culture orally and through song, as it's easier to lug around. Practiced religion (cave art is sigil magic). And did it for much longer than we've been breeding grass.

As I said at the start, it's how we got to 7B people, and where we are now...there's no going back, but it appears that in the early days of agriculture, they gave up a lot of their health and free time for guaranteed calories...yes it freed them, but it enslaved them and many others until we started replacing slaves with fossil fuels.

Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147136
07/09/16 09:45 PM
07/09/16 09:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 867
Central Coast California
RedOakRanch Offline
RedOakRanch  Offline
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 867
Central Coast California
One thing to note is that the shorter life of the hunter gatherer wasn't due to diet but to the dangers of the job and lack of community. So with a .22 and a hospital they would be the trust fund adventurer we all admire on TV today!


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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147399
07/10/16 10:20 AM
07/10/16 10:20 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,367
Midwest
Pop_Rivit Offline
Pop_Rivit  Offline
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,367
Midwest
That's funny-anything from Jared Diamond should be in the humor section lest someone actually attempt to draw conclusions from his noble savage fallacy and romance of small societies. Diamond is nothing more than a California ideologue, committed to the secular ideology of leveling the playing field for everyone. Most of his nonsensical ramblings distort history, pushing the revisionist line well past its limits.

Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Pop_Rivit] #4147570
07/10/16 02:13 PM
07/10/16 02:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,532
Marshfield , MA
andyd Offline
andyd  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,532
Marshfield , MA
Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
That's funny-anything from Jared Diamond should be in the humor section lest someone actually attempt to draw conclusions from his noble savage fallacy and romance of small societies. Diamond is nothing more than a California ideologue, committed to the secular ideology of leveling the playing field for everyone. Most of his nonsensical ramblings distort history, pushing the revisionist line well past its limits.
Uhhmn, I always thought our forebears were on the wimpy side. Not so great apes. Also in more modern and far less noble times, you tell the serfs from the gentry because they were slighter and shorter. grin2


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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: turtlevette] #4147603
07/10/16 02:50 PM
07/10/16 02:50 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 18,229
Elizabethtown, Pa
Al Offline
Al  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 18,229
Elizabethtown, Pa
Originally Posted By: turtlevette
I can't figure you out. Most of your opinion is as main stream conservative as it gets. Then you come up with off the wall stuff like this. And you look like a hippie. I'm growing out my hair too, but I don't have a job.


Not really. Its mainstream...hardly hippish. Changing over to Ag actually gave early man a harder life. It put many early humans on an ancient treadmill. It resulted in larger families which led to dependence on crops even more to feed those hungry mouths. Started around 15,000 years ago.



Last edited by Al; 07/10/16 02:50 PM.

Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4147753
07/10/16 06:18 PM
07/10/16 06:18 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 588
On the road Midwest
Ihatetochangeoil Offline
Ihatetochangeoil  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 588
On the road Midwest
Humanity's biggest mistake was when Eve ate the apple about 6K years ago.



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Re: Agriculture - Humanity's biggest mistake ? [Re: Shannow] #4646482
01/25/18 11:51 PM
01/25/18 11:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
Shannow Offline OP
Shannow  Offline OP
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,933
'Stralia
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/25/against-the-grain-by-james-c-scott-review

Quote:
Twenty or so years ago the story was thought to be quite simple. In the “fertile crescent”, extending from the Levant through northern Syria to Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), the domestication of plants led to a more sedentary life and fixed-field agriculture that, in turn, led directly to the development of the state. This simple idea took with it a baggage of value judgments. Hunter-gatherers led a miserable hand-to-mouth existence, but once they were settled and producing their own food, life improved, providing leisure to create the wonders of civilisation – monumental architecture, art and writing. How naive we were. Since then a number of pioneering excavations have shown the situation to have been far more complex.


Quote:
A state can be defined as a territory over which an elite exercised coercive power maintaining itself by taxing the population either through its produce or its labour. Scott takes a rather bleak view of early states but his critique provides a fascinating insight into just how they worked. He argues that for a state to exist it needed to be reliant on a staple that could easily be taxed – and grain was the ideal. Because the fields were fixed and the crop ripened over a short period of time it was impossible for the farmer to avoid the tax collector. Communities elsewhere in the world reliant on tubers or root vegetables such as yams and manioc as their staple were more able to avoid tax since the crop can be left in the ground and harvested over a long period. Such societies seldom develop into states. Another advantage of grain to the state was that it had a higher value per unit volume than most other foodstuffs and was easy to store in the protection of the city, from where it could be doled out to slaves and soldiers or used to feed the population when under siege. Through taxation the state became the quartermaster and producers became subjects.


Quote:
Scott argues convincingly that early states are “population machines” designed to control labour, domesticating them as a farmer domesticates his herd. Maintaining the numbers of workers was vital and if numbers fell a new crop had to be gathered through warfare, adding to the ranks of the unfree. Raiding to acquire goods and manpower – an aspect of what Max Weber referred to as “booty capitalism” – became a normal part of life. Women were also herded into state enterprises. Around 3000BC there were 9,000 textile workers in the city of Uruk (in today’s Iraq) – about 20% of the population – most of them women

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