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civilization

The Story of Egypt
Book Review

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A new book on ancient Egypt is full of fascinating material, including a re-examination of Cleopatra's death, a look at the fluidity of sexual identity, and a tale about being carried off by a hippopotamus.

The 'Long Peace' Is Not Upon Us

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Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker’s 2011 book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” has convinced many people that humanity has steadily become less violent in the recent past. English philosopher John Gray argues that Pinker merely sees what he wants in trends and statistics.

The Life and Death of Words, People and Even Nature

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After Roman legions invaded Egypt, during one of the battles waged by Julius Caesar against the brother of Cleopatra, fire devoured most of the thousands upon thousands of papyrus scrolls in the Library of Alexandria. A pair of millennia later, during George W. Bush’s crusade against an imaginary enemy in Iraq, most of the books in the Library of Baghdad were reduced to ashes.

The Myth of Human Progress
TD originals

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The mounting distortions of climate change and the rapid depletion of natural resources have done little to blunt the self-destructive notion of ceaseless expansion The road we are on points toward human extinction.

Primordial Brew: Did Alcohol Inspire the Cultivation of Civilization?
A&C News

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Sure, it behooved our Neolithic ancestors to band together and form proto-civilizations for many reasons, but one main motivation, according to archaeologist Patrick McGovern -- who works, and we kid you not, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum's Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health -- was the time-honored pursuit of alcoholic intoxication.

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