I consider any American soldier to be my modern day hero.

Nolan Ryan will be my choice of a classic modern day hero.

is that modern day hero; he is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp.

In Paleocene oceans, sharks filled the empty niches left by aquatic reptiles, but it took coral reefs ten million years to begin to recover, . As Africa and India moved northward, the shrank, and in the late Paleocene and early Eocene, one of the last Tethyan anoxic events laid down Middle East oil, and the last Paleocene climate event is called the (“PETM”). The PETM has been the focus of a great deal of recent research because of its parallels to today’s industrial era, when carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are massively vented to the atmosphere, causing a warming atmosphere and acidifying oceans. The seafloor communities suffered a mass extinction and the PETM’s causes are uncertain, but the when the global ocean warmed sufficiently is a prominent hypothesis. Scientists also look to the usual suspects of volcanism, changes in oceanic circulation, and a bolide impact.

Because of early Eocene Arctic forests, animals moved freely between Asia, Europe, Greenland, and North America, which were , and great mammalian radiations occurred in the early Eocene. Many familiar mammals first appeared by the mid-Eocene, such as , elephants, , and . The may have first appeared in Asia and migrated to India, Africa, and the Americas. Europe was not yet connected with Asia, however, as the separated them. Modern observers might be startled to know where many animals originated. and lived there for more than 40 million years, until humans arrived. Their only surviving descendants in the Western Hemisphere are . As with , or , or , or Eocene mammalian migrations via polar routes, the migrants often involuntarily “sailed” on vegetation mats that crossed relatively short gaps between the continents. Such a migration depended on fortuitous prevailing currents and other factors, but it happened often enough.

People are usually surprised to hear that grass is a relatively recent plant innovation. and only became common in the late Cretaceous, along with flowering plants. With grass, some , and grazers have been plentiful Cenozoic herbivores. According to , carbon dioxide levels have been falling nearly continuously for the past 150-100 million years. Not only has that decline progressively cooled Earth to the point where we live in an ice age today, but is currently considered the key reason why complex life may become extinct on Earth in several hundred million years. In the Oligocene, between 32 mya and 25 mya some plants developed a during photosynthesis known as . It allowed plants to adapt to reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. C4 plants became in the Miocene, and grasses are today’s most common C4 plants and . The rest of Earth’s photosynthesizers use or , which is a water-conserving process used in arid biomes.

In this essay I will explain in three paragraphs of how my modern day hero is like Beowulf.

The human evolutionary line’s brain . About two million years later, the human line evolved to the point where behaviorally modern humans appeared, , and conquered all inhabitable continents. Their expansion was fueled by . That was also the beginning of the . After all the easy meat was extinct and the brief Golden Age of the Hunter-Gatherer ended, population pressures led to the : domesticating plants and animals. That event led to civilization, and many features of the human journey often argued to be human nature, such as and the , were merely artifacts of the energy regime and societal structure of agrarian civilizations. Early civilizations were never stable; their energy practices were largely based on and , and such due to their unsustainable energy production methods.

One example of a “hero” is O.J.

Self-Control or Temperance
Epistemologically, self-control or temperance demands control of one’s animal desire for pleasure. We wring our hands and wonder why so many of our warriors commit acts of sexual assault; and, how come so many flag officers commit other diverse acts of moral turpitude. Often, these acts are a failure to moderate desires in the face of temptation. Self-control is that virtue which attempts to overcome the human condition best stated as “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But, if we have institutionally disavowed the notion that there are fundamental rights and wrongs, is it any wonder we are in this quandary?

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But are these qualities enough to consider him a hero by the standards of today.

That decline in whaling EROI and the gross amount of exploitable whale oil set the stage for exploiting a new energy source, and the then happened. Oil’s EROI and total exploitable energy made whales insignificant by comparison. In the 1930s, the EROI for East Texas oil wells was . Those days of easy oil are long gone. The global EROI of oil and gas production has fallen from about 30 in 1990 to less than 20 in 2014 and may decline to 10 by 2020. That means increasing amounts of energy are expended to extract the energy. Reports of increasing gross global energy extraction are misleading, as the more important measure is net energy acquired. At an EROI of two, half the energy acquired is used for extracting it. At a gross 100 barrels of oil extracted at an EROI of 100, 99 barrels are available for societal use. At a gross 100 barrels of oil and an EROI of two, only 50 barrels are available. Only about a third of an oilfield’s deposit is recoverable. Once a third of the oil is extracted, the energy surplus quickly falls to zero and it takes as much energy to extract the oil as is acquired, or stated another way, the EROI falls to one.

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For the first concept presented above, for conventional renewable energy sources, they are replenished by sunlight or radiation from Earth’s interior; one is fusion, and the other is fission. For so-called non-renewable energy sources, such as hydrocarbons and fissile materials, they are either renewed on timescales so vast that they are effectively non-renewable for humans (such as ), or are “renewed” by the (fissile materials), so could only be renewed with new planetary formation. In mainstream thought, the currently non-renewable energy resources are primarily hydrocarbons (petroleum, coal, and natural gas) and uranium. Much of the debate centers around the definition of oil. What has been called oil for the past 150 years is today called . It is the oil formed by the , and can be mined by drilling wells and extracting it with the conventional methods that have been used since the beginning, and new techniques are periodically invented to increase the rate and total extraction. For conventional oil, humanity has unearthed about 1.1 trillion barrels since 1859, and about as of 2014. Production of conventional oil peaked in 2006 at 25 billion barrels per year and has declined since then. At current production rates, conventional oil will be completely depleted in less than 50 years. About another five billion barrels per year are called unconventional oil, which is called heavy oil, extra heavy oil, and oil sands. Those unconventional oils comprise trillions more barrels, and total and arguably more. For fissile materials, primarily uranium, the peak may have already been reached by 2014, or it . For , in that the peak may have already been reached, or it is only a few decades into the future at most. For coal, may also be only a few decades into the future. Peak extraction usually occurs when about half of the recoverable energy resource has been mined. In summary, the energy resources that have powered the Industrial Revolution are all on their way to largely vanishing in this century. The only resources with seeming viability past this century are coal and unconventional oil, which brings us to the second concept: .


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With that separation from physical reality, speculation frenzies have been major aspects of how stock markets operate. The first bout of market insanity was the . The slave-trade frenzy that fortune was less than a century later and was a stock speculation issue. The , in which greed and fear prevailed. The USA has devolved into the serial bubble economy as its empire has declined, and until the crises of the early 21st century, the USA’s previous market mania was in the 1920s. Back then, companies with nothing more than “” behind them sold stock to the public. It was essentially no different from the that . Those orgies of greed were usually associated with some new product, market, or a financial sleight of hand to finance them. The 1920s bubble was sandwiched between World War I and its sequel, and a . , and there was even a , backed by leading industrialists and politicians who tried to entice into becoming their front man.

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Going back to the beginnings of the to how the to the , what Marx called separating the workers from the means of production had to be performed first so that the ownership class could form. With the workers put in their place, then the “owners” could create instruments of ownership and trade them. Thus began stock markets. Similar to how , when stock markets formed, owners became divorced from operations. In corporate America, for instance, there are theoretical governance mechanisms such as boards of directors and company officers that answer to the shareholders, but the relationship is often more theoretical than actual, and “cooking the books” to make management look good and inflate the stock price is as old as corporations. Dealing with that aspect of corporations is largely what I do to make a living. I have lived through several major financial scandals in my career, and they .