Cataclysms is a profoundly original look at the last century. Approaching twentieth-century history from the periphery rather than the centers of decision-making, the virtual narrator sits perched on the legendary stairs of Odessa and watches as events between the Baltic and the Aegean pass in review, unfolding in space and time between 1917 and 1989, while evoking the nineteenth century as an interpretative backdrop. Influenced by continental historical, legal, and social thought, Dan Diner views the totality of world history evolving from an Eastern and Southeastern European angle. A work of great synthesis, Cataclysms chronicles twentieth century history as a “universal civil war” between a succession of conflicting dualisms such as freedom and equality, race and class, capitalism and communism, liberalism and fascism, East and West. Diner’s interpretation rotates around cataclysmic events in the transformation from multinational empires into nation states, accompanied by social revolution and “ethnic cleansing,” situating the Holocaust at the core of the century’s predicament. Unlike other Eurocentric interpretations of the last century, Diner also highlights the emerging pivotal importance of the United States and the impact of decolonization on the process of European integration.
Humanity is by many measures the biggest success story in the animal kingdom; but what are the costs of this triumph? Over its three million years of existence, the human species has continuously modified nature and drained its resources. In Cataclysms, Laurent Testot provides the full tally, offering a comprehensive environmental history of humanity’s unmatched and perhaps irreversible influence on the world. Testot explores the interconnected histories of human evolution and planetary deterioration, arguing that our development from naked apes to Homo sapiens has entailed wide-scale environmental harm. Testot makes the case that humans have usually been catastrophic for the planet, “hyperpredators” responsible for mass extinctions, deforestation, global warming, ocean acidification, and unchecked pollution, as well as the slaughter of our own species. Organized chronologically around seven technological revolutions, Cataclysms unspools the intertwined saga of humanity and our environment, from our shy beginnings in Africa to today’s domination of the planet, revealing how we have blown past any limits along the way—whether by exploding our own population numbers, domesticating countless other species, or harnessing energy from fossils. Testot’s book, while sweeping, is light and approachable, telling the stories—sometimes rambunctious, sometimes appalling—of how a glorified monkey transformed its own environment beyond all recognition. In order to begin reversing our environmental disaster, we must have a better understanding of our own past and the incalculable environmental costs incurred at every stage of human innovation. Cataclysms offers that understanding and the hope that we can now begin to reform our relationship to the Earth.
In 1980, the science world was stunned when a maverick team of researchers proposed that a massive meteor strike had wiped the dinosaurs and other fauna from the Earth 66 million years ago. Scientists found evidence for this theory in a “crater of doom” on the Yucatán Peninsula, showing that our planet had once been a target in a galactic shooting gallery. In Cataclysms, Michael R. Rampino builds on the latest findings from leading geoscientists to take “neocatastrophism” a step further, toward a richer understanding of the science behind major planetary upheavals and extinction events. Rampino recounts his conversion to the impact hypothesis, describing his visits to meteor-strike sites and his review of the existing geological record. The new geology he outlines explicitly rejects nineteenth-century “uniformitarianism,” which casts planetary change as gradual and driven by processes we can see at work today. Rampino offers a cosmic context for Earth’s geologic evolution, in which cataclysms from above in the form of comet and asteroid impacts and from below in the form of huge outpourings of lava in flood-basalt eruptions have led to severe and even catastrophic changes to the Earth’s surface. This new geology sees Earth’s position in our solar system and galaxy as the keys to understanding our planet’s geology and history of life. Rampino concludes with a controversial consideration of dark matter’s potential as a triggering mechanism, exploring its role in heating Earth’s core and spurring massive volcanism throughout geologic time.
The contiguous river basins that flowed in Tlaxcala and San Juan Teotihuacan formed part of the agricultural heart of central Mexico. As the colonial project rose to a crescendo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Indigenous farmers of central Mexico faced long-term problems standard historical treatments had attributed to drought and soil degradation set off by Old World agriculture. Instead, Bradley Skopyk argues that a global climate event called the Little Ice Age brought cold temperatures and elevated rainfall to the watersheds of Tlaxcala and Teotihuacan. With the climatic shift came cataclysmic changes: great floods, human adaptations to these deluges, and then silted wetlands and massive soil erosion. This book chases water and soil across the colonial Mexican landscape, through the fields and towns of New Spain’s Native subjects, and in and out of some of the strongest climate anomalies of the last thousand or more years. The pursuit identifies and explains the making of two unique ecological crises, the product of the interplay between climatic and anthropogenic processes. It charts how Native farmers responded to the challenges posed by these ecological rifts with creative use of plants and animals from the Old and New Worlds, environmental engineering, and conflict within and beyond the courts. With a new reading of the colonial climate and by paying close attention to land, water, and agrarian ecologies forged by farmers, Skopyk argues that colonial cataclysms—forged during a critical conjuncture of truly unprecedented proportions, a crucible of human and natural forces—unhinged the customary ways in which humans organized, thought about, and used the Mexican environment. This book inserts climate, earth, water, and ecology as significant forces shaping colonial affairs and challenges us to rethink both the environmental consequences of Spanish imperialism and the role of Indigenous peoples in shaping them.
1965 One of the most important booklets we've ever published (Anthropology). If you have visited Petroglyph Park, Nanaimo, Canada; Painted Desert, Arizona; the Dalles, Oregon; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Spokane, Washington; Billings, Montana and var.
In the mid 80's, predictions of catastrophic earth changes surfaced and the word went out that our days on Earth were numbered. Hickox, too, received such messages, but then, her visions began to change and she discovered that she was not seeing visions of the future, but of the past! Cataclysms ...a Must read for everyone concerned about the coming days of darkness!
This paper examines the optimal design of insurance and reinsurance policies. We first consider reinsurance for catastrophes: risks which are large for any one insurer but not for the reinsurance market as a whole. Reinsurance for catastrophes is complicated by adverse selection. Optimal reinsurnace in the presence of adverse selection depends critically on the source of information asymmetry. When information on the probability of a loss is private but the magnitude of the loss is public optimal reinsurance employs a deductible-style deductible-style excess-of-loss policy, and when is is private but the proba- bility of a loss is common, optimal reinsurance covers small and large risks, but makes the primary insurer responsible for moderate risks. There is a dramatic divergence between these designs, which suggests that traditional approaches to design may be misguided. We then consider reinsurance for cata- clysms: risks that are so large that a loss can threaten the solvency of re- insurance such as a major earthquake, while others derive from common risks-changes in conditions that affect many individuals-such as the liability revolution or or escalating medical care costs. We argue that cataclysms must be reinsured in either broad securities markets or by the government. Beyond their one- period loss potential, cataclysms pose another risk: risk levels change over time. A simulation model traces the implications of evolving risk levels for long-term patterns of losses and premiums, where the latter reflect learning learning about loss distributions. Premium risk emerges as an important part of risk, which reinsurance and primary insurance markets do not adequately diversify."
This book explores the development of ideas about enormous floods, both gradual and catastrophic, and the role of floods in fashioning the Earth's surface. Floods of immense size are recorded in ancient myths and classical writings. Renaissance scholars believed that sea shells found on mountains were relics of Noah's Flood, and natural philosophers during the Restoration and Enlightenment proposed elaborate theories of the Earth which accounted for a universal Deluge. During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, field evidence suggested that there had been several grand cataclysms during the course of Earth's history, the most recent of which was identified with the Noachian Cataclysm. In the nineteenth century too, a gradual inundation of continents was proposed, an idea which was taken up by proponents of marine regression and transgression cycles. During the present century the notion of marine transgression has been refined. Recently, the possibility of catastrophic flooding has again been raised. The author traces the developments of each of these theories and provides a comprehensive bibliography of the exploration of these ideas through the centuries.
For years the formation of the Grand Coulee remained a mystery until J Harlen Bretz set out to prove that the Columbia River basin was the site of huge floods 15,000 years ago that covered 16,000 square miles to depths of hundreds of feet & created the landscape we see today.