Monthly Archives: October 2014

Human ecology

The connections of the knowledge base have developed to the point where I can start discussing major topics somewhat intelligently. The first of these I discuss is human ecology, or the relationship of peoples to the natural environment.

One approach to this is historical, considering the development of human society from antiquity and classical and medieval times through modern history, the effects of the industrial revolution from the 17th century, and the development of environmentalism as a political and social movement.  When I was in Elementary school in the late 1960s, concern with the environment, pollution, and so forth was just starting to gain widespread public attention, and I have watched the environmental movement develop in various ways, not all of them good.

A comparison of Modern American society with those of other peoples who still lack the conveniences many of us take for granted may also be instructive. It is no longer possible for modern city dwellers to live off the land as, for instance, the American Indian peoples did. A knowledge of different kinds of societies reinforces this view.

There are different religious viewpoints possible. The idea that God created the world and that we are responsible to Him for our dominion or stewardship over it, and that we should therefore not squander the bounties of nature or befoul our own nest (or those of our neighbors) is likely to produce a beneficial attitude.  Given the corruptibility of human nature, I personally doubt that political or legal remedies for environmental problems will be efficient. There are real and powerful economic forces at work that shape our response to and interaction with the environment.  There are many whose zeal in environmental causes is not well paired with knowledge.

The habits and customs of millions of people are difficult to change, and there are many technical and engineering problems that need to be addressed before proposed solutions can be adopted.  We are too dependent on modern techniques of transportation, food preparation, and agriculture to live the way that stone age tribesmen did, nor would most of us want to.

A more detail examination of the geographical problems (which vary from region to region), and the effects of human population and the workings of society is also society.

I am not personally impressed by celebrities or public figures who speak without knowledge of the facts or whose approaches are so partisan that they ignore the concerns of those who disagree with them.  The realities of human psychology and physiology also need to be addressed.

It should go without saying that those who are concerned with the relationship of people to their environment should be well informed about biology and earth science, as well as the principles of chemistry and physics that underlie them.

Concern with the environment is a good thing. But if you are going to get involved, be wise about it. Be sapient.

Knowledge Base Progress #6

For history in general, I have connected a few more nations and a few more cities. There are now enough cities connected to history that I should be able to do subdivisions of China. Prehistory is being connected to more nations. For Antiquity, I have finished a review of peoples of the world as far as they have been connected, and I am examining some of the largest cities of the world to find how many can be traced to antiquity. There are rather few. Classical and medieval history is being linked to culture. The subdivisions are going through reviews of connections to other periods of history, and I have introduced stub pages for the centuries of medieval history. Modern history is now being linked to areas of geography.  The 16th century is still going through a review of history, and I have begun linking the 17th century and 18th century to more nations. For the 19th century, I have been doing a review of peoples. The development of the British empire and the westward expansion of the English speaking nations across North america are themes of this period. For the 20th century, I have linked to areas of economics. For the early 21st century,  am just beginning begun a review of peoples of the world.

For Sociology in general, I have finished a review of anthropology and I am beginning a review of biographical entries. Peoples of the world are now connected to economics. I have added several new nations, which are being incorporated into history. I am still reviewing the connections of cities to particular nations, and I have begun connecting social mechanics to more history.

Institutions in general are now almost fully connected to technology as far as I have developed it.


Knowledge Base Progress #5

I have the latest version of the site up on the web now, about a week after I had hoped to have it ready. I have been doing a rewrite of the history of physical anthropology and in the process expanding history a bit. For modern history I have finally completed connections to technology and material culture and will now start working on finer subdivisions of human geography.  This will eventually let me include references to the exploration of the world that was a major theme of early modern history. For the 18th century, I connected Syria, and for the 19th century, Rwanda. This in turn let me include Interior East Africa.  The divisions of the 20th century have had modest improvements. For the early 21st century, a few key background developments of the early and early mid 20th century are all I can note for now.