Category Archives: Donal’s Notes

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers (2014) – Donal’s Notes

Introduction Hunter-gatherers: term defined by William Solas in 1911 in which he also recognizes for the first time this distinctive way of life. Leslie White (location 536), neo-evolutionary thinking: Organize humans on continuum of evolution based on how much control they had over energy flows. Early humans relied on muscle, later humans harnessed fossil fuels […]

Stirling Engines – Donal’s Notes

Stirling engines quietly generate electricity and mechanical energy pollution-free by using oxygen and a temperature differential.

Why We Work

Barry Schwartz has written a book and given a TED talk on this subject of “Why we work?” He asserts that a small group of people work for meaning and purpose and, perhaps, because the work is important, but that most people work in jobs that give them none of these things. For those people, […]

(Dis)Honesty, the Documentary Movie – Donal’s Notes

Humans are liars. A great deal of scientific research demonstrates that most people lie, especially under the “right” circumstances. Do a search for Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, and you will find many mainstream press articles summarizing his work. This article is about the documentary, (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About […]

The Great Courses: Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations – Donal’s Notes

Humans have been on the planet for 3 million years (Homo habilis), 2 million years (Homo erectus) or 200,000 years (Homo sapiens sapiens) depending on what you want to call “human”. The structure and organization of life we know as “civilization” has been around for about 8,000 years. It took us about 8,000 years to discover that our modern way of life, as possibly civilization, itself, is unsustainable (meaning that it will end). Perhaps we might consider the fact that for 96% to 99.6% of human existence (190,000 to 2.9 million years) we lived sustainably on one planet’s worth of resources. What lessons might we learn from our history to guide us once again to sustainable lifestyles, or, even better, thriving on one planet? Because writing, itself, developed with the lifestyle we call “civilization”, we never did have anything like a written owner’s manual for how our ancestors lived sustainably for so much time. Hopefully, archeology, anthropology, and related fields of study will help us create one. These are my notes from a course that may provide some clues.

A History of the World in 100 Objects – Donal’s Notes

Note: I am working on this post off-and-on right now so it is not yet complete. A History of the World in 100 Objects is a podcast series from BBC Radio narrated by Neil MacGregor. To hear this excellent series, read their notes, and see their images, go here. It reviews a history of the […]

“The Great Reckoning” by Davidson and Rees-Mogg – Donal’s notes

Short Summary The economy is bad and getting worse. Put money in diverse assets (including 5-10% in gold and silver) and insurance in multiple countries. Be prepared for government services to be provided privately (e.g., water, education, security). Divest yourself of investment real estate, especially in large cities. For maximum safety move to small, rural […]