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A number of acronyms in this essay are not commonly used and at least one is unique to my work.

The (c. 5.3 to 2.6 mya) began warmer than , but was the prelude to today’s ice age, as temperatures steadily declined. An epoch of less than three million years reflects human interest in the recent past. Geologically and climatically, there was little noteworthy about the Pliocene (although the was created then), although two related events made for one of the most interesting evolutionary events yet studied. South America kept moving northward, and the currents that once in the Tethyan heyday were finally closed. The gap between North America and South America began to close about 3.5 mya, and by 2.7 mya the current land bridge had developed. Around three mya, the began, when fauna from each continent could raft or swim to the other side. South America had been isolated for 60 million years and only received the stray migrant, such as rodents and New World monkeys. North America, however, received repeated invasions from Asia and had exchanges with Europe and Greenland. North America also had much more diverse biomes than South America's, even though it had nothing like the Amazon rainforest. The ending of South America’s isolation provided the closest thing to a controlled experiment that paleobiologists would ever have. South America's fauna was devastated, far worse than European and African fauna were when Asia finally connected with them. More than 80% of all South American mammalian families and genera existing before the Oligocene were extinct by the Pleistocene. Proboscideans continued their spectacular success after leaving Africa, and species inhabited the warm, moist Amazonian biome, as well as the Andean mountainous terrain and pampas. The also invaded and thrived as a mixed feeder, grazing or browsing as conditions permitted. In came cats, dogs, camels (which became the ), horses, pigs, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, deer, bears, tapirs, and others. They displaced virtually all species inhabiting the same niches on the South American side. All large South American predators were driven to extinction, as well as almost all browsers and grazers of the grasslands. The South American animals that migrated northward and survived in North America were almost always those that inhabited niches that no North American animal did, such as monkeys, (which survived because of their claws), and their small cousins (which survived because of their armor), , and (which survived because of their quills). The opossum was nearly eradicated by North American competition but survived and is the only marsupial that made it to North America and exists today. One large-hoofed herbivore survived: the . The (it weighed one metric ton!) survived for a million years after the interchange. , that , also survived and migrated to North America and lasted about a million years before dying out. In general, North American mammals were , which resulted from evolutionary pressures that South America had less of, in its isolation. They were able to outrun and outthink their South American competitors. South American animals made it past South America, but none of them drove any northern indigenous species of note to extinction.

This chapter falls at about this essay's midpoint, and humanity's role in this story has yet to be told. As I conceived this essay, studied for it, wrote it, edited it, and had numerous allies help out, an issue repeatedly arose regarding the half of this essay just completed, and can be summarized with: "What was the point?" Not everybody asked it and some understood, but others wondered openly and sometimes subtly what the purpose of this essay's first half was (and some asked if the essay had any point at all and considered my effort a waste of time). This chapter is my reply, and I think it is important to understand.

The invasion of North America from Asia (with a little migration from North America to Asia), while important, was not as dramatic as what happened in Africa a few million years later. About 24 mya, Africa and the attached Arabian Peninsula began colliding with Eurasia. The once-vast Tethys Ocean had finally been reduced to a strait between the continents, and one of Earth’s most dramatic mammalian migrations began. By about 18 mya, proboscidean had migrated from Africa and they reached North America by 16.5 mya. An left Africa but stayed in Asia. As with the North American interchange with Asia, however, the greater change came the other way. Rodents, deer, cattle, antelope, pigs, rhinos, giraffes, dogs (including the ), and cats came over, along with small insectivores and shrews. Most of the iconic large fauna of today’s African plains originated from elsewhere, particularly Asia. Asian animals invaded and dominated Europe and Africa, and became abundant in North America. In general, Asia had more diverse biomes and was the largest continent, so it developed the most competitive animals. That principle, which Darwin remarked on, became very evident when the British invaded Australia in the 18th century: imports such as rabbits and foxes quickly prevailed, and . The most important Miocene development for humans was African primate development, but that is a subject for a later chapter.

With the above limitations acknowledged, this essay will explore the earthly journeys of life and humanity, and energy’s role in them.

The day after I arrived in Boston, we began to pursue what is today called free energy, or new energy, which is abundant and harmlessly produced energy generated with almost no operating cost. Today's so-called free energy is usually generated by harnessing the , but not always, and our original effort was trying to harness it. We attracted the interest of a legendary and shadowy group while we were in Boston. . I have called that group the and others have . However, they are not the focus of my writings and efforts. I regard them as a , not a cause. Our fate is in hands, not theirs. Our efforts also caused and attracted . They were probably trying to protect their economic turf and were not consciously acting on the Global Controllers’ behalf, which was probably also the case in Seattle.

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In 1987, we , where I had been raised, before the sledgehammer in Boston could fall on us. We moved because I had connected us with technologies and talent that made our free energy ideas potentially feasible. Our public awareness efforts became highly successful and we were . In early 1988, our efforts were targeted by the local authorities, again at the behest of energy interests, both local and global. In a , mere weeks after those same authorities , my radicalization began. A few months later, my partner was offered about by that shadowy global group; the CIA delivered that offer. Soon after my partner refused their offer, he was arrested with a and our nightmare began. The turning point of my life was when I became the defense’s key witness and the as they tried to intimidate me. It helped inspire me to in an attempt to free my partner. My gesture incredibly worked, in the greatest miracle that I ever witnessed. I helped free my partner, but my life had been ruined by the events of 1988, and in 1990 . I had been radicalized (""), and I then spent the next several years seeking understanding of what I had lived through and why the world worked starkly differently from how I was taught that it did. I began the that culminated in publishing my first website in 1996, which was also when I after he was released from prison, after the and . The Global Controllers then to new, sophisticated levels and I nearly went to prison.

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The two primary uses of wood in civilizations have always been fuel and making structures. Just as , burning wood has always been its greatest use on Earth, even to the present day. Firewood does not need to be long and straight, and and “waste” wood has long been used for firewood and in pulp mills. Other stands of trees were allowed to grow for a century and more to provide long, straight wood for making structures. For seafaring nations, that always meant ships; securing wood for shipbuilding was a major goal in the earliest seafaring civilizations, and became an obsession during the rise of Mediterranean civilizations. The largely centered over wood to build navies.

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When that , his/her invention was transmitted via culture, probably by demonstration. When made , they were engaging in a craft that lasted more than a million years; it was obviously a standardized training, as all axes looked similar. When that founder group left Africa, they had full command of language, a sophisticated toolset, and ideas were readily communicated, although it can be interesting to wonder what their were, if they had many. Those concocted complex thought forms to seduce and control the masses. Monumental structures in early civilizations were often architectural and engineering marvels, and the . When that approach took root in Europe, which already used Greek technology to great benefit, it led to the , which accompanied and mutually stimulated the Industrial Revolution. In short, along with greater energy usage, mental feats also increased and were usually required for the next Epochal Event to manifest. The Teslas and Einsteins of their day initiated the breakthroughs and the masses took the ride in the subsequent epoch and raised their level of mental prowess. Calculus was only invented once (twice, really, as and did it independently), but it has been taught to students ever since as part of the mathematics curriculum. Each energy epoch was initiated by and accompanied by increased mental accomplishment, and each breakthrough helped form the foundation of the next one, which .

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With help from contributions from China and other civilizations, much of it coerced, such as what the Western Hemisphere provided to the world (, , , , a , mountains of , and many other benefits), Europe conquered the world, and along the way it tapped a new energy source. The early days of exploiting a new energy source were characterized by relative abundance that led to golden ages that people in later times, after the energy supply was depleted (, , ) looked back to with yearning, if they could even recall those days in their cultural memory. I live in a that is looking back to its golden age, , when energy was cheap and plentiful. Those . The middle-class lifestyles of my childhood are , 50 years later.