Monthly Archives: May 2021

Endless Frontier Act on China-U.S. Tech Race


Published on May 31, 2021

Competition between the United States and China is heating up. The U.S. plans to bolster spending on research and development in technology and innovation. The Endless Frontier Act, first introduced last year, would invest $100 billion in science and education over a five-year period. Washington wants to focus on areas, such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, biotechnology and cyber-security. The bill enjoys bipartisan support, and passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on May 12. It now awaits approval by the Senate. Experts have described it as a way for the U.S. to strengthen its security and compete with China. Could it lead to a fierce technology rivalry?

Mud cylinders reveal humans’ impact on Earth began earlier than we thought – BBC News

By Victoria Gill
Science correspondent, BBC News

Published 2 days ago
Scientists have been uncorking long, thin cylinders of soil from wetlands and riverbeds in an attempt to look back in time and understand the impact humans have had on nature. The results have made them radically rethink previous assumptions about when this started.

“It’s amazing – one of the most fascinating things,” says Ondrejj Mottl.

The object of his fascination? Mud.

Dr Mottl and his colleagues have been extracting “mud cores” from the depths of lakes and wetlands. These long, tightly compacted cylinders of earth contain a record of exactly what grew in that soil when, going back millennia.

“They’re our window to the past,” says Dr Mottl, an ecologist based in Bergen, Norway.

Analysing these cores of mud, looking at the pollen that has settled in each layer, has brought an entirely new understanding of when human activity started changing vegetation.

Scientists had expected to see the first “signal” of human intervention a few centuries ago, when landscapes really started to transform during the Industrial Revolution. Pollen records from the mud core research have led them to radically readjust that assumption, and track our species’ first impact on the natural world back to about 4,000 years ago.

It’s a discovery that has major implications for the future of our forests and other natural landscapes.

The evidence for all these grand theories exists in the tiny grains of pollen that fell and settled in layer upon layer of mud over the centuries. By carefully extracting that mud, like a cork from a wine bottle, and analysing the “fossil pollen” at different depths, researchers were able to carbon date each mud layer to work out what grew, when.

But what exactly did they spot that led them to rethink theories about when man had started to impact nature? The team found in the mud an uptick in the rate of change – layer by layer – of pollen composition. Basically, each layer began to look more different from the other in terms of the plant pollen it contained.

The scientists chose to look back 18,000 years to capture the era time when the planet had started to emerge from the last ice age. Earth was defrosting, so almost every environment was changing.

“The last 10,000 years was – climate-wise – relatively stable, so [that’s when] we’re able to pick up the influence of humans,” says Suzette Flantua, a global ecologist also at the University of Bergen, That influence started as soon as we – humans – began to clear wild vegetation to make space for ourselves, our crops and our livestock.

“We see that trend [in vegetation change] picking up at different points,” says Dr Flantua. It’s earlier in Asia and South America, and slightly later – about 2,000 years ago – in Europe.

According to many biologists and climate scientists, we are now in a period of the Earth’s history that can be dubbed the Anthropocene – an epoch of human influence on our planet. More than three quarters of the Earth’s land surface has been altered by human activity.

The mud core findings don’t only change assumptions about the past. They also provide a valuable insight into where our planet’s natural environment is heading.

The uptick in change, detected in that long-buried pollen, is continuing ever faster.

…(read more).

The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823: David Brion Davis

David Brion Davis’s books on the history of slavery reflect some of the most distinguished and influential thinking on the subject to appear in the past generation. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, the sequel to Davis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture and the second volume of a proposed trilogy, is a truly monumental work of historical scholarship that first appeared in 1975 to critical acclaim both academic and literary. This reprint of that important work includes a new preface by the author, in which he situates the book’s argument within the historiographic debates of the last two decades.


The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution by David Brion Davis is a work of majestic scale, written with great skill. It explores the growing consciousness, during a half century of revolutionary change, of the oldest and most extreme form of human exploitation. Concentrating on the
Anglo-American experience, the historian also pursues his theme wherever it leads in western culture. His book is a distinguished example of historical scholarship and art.”–From the citation for the 1975 National Book Award

“In…The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture, David Brion Davis displayed his mastery not only of a vast source of material, but also of the highly complex, frequently contradictory factors that influenced opinion on slavery. He has now followed this up with a study of equal quality….No one haswritten a book about the abolition of slavery that carries the conviction of Professor Davis’s book. And this rich and powerful book will, I am sure, stand the test of time–scholarly, brilliant in analysis, beautifully written.”–J. H. Plumb, The New York Times Book Review

“As Davis’s work demonstrates, good intellectual history is absolutely essential for an adequate understanding of the past; its proper subject is the way flesh-and-blood human beings make sense out of their world and try to gain some kind of mastery over it….It is obvious that Davis’sinterpretation was not imposed on his sources but resulted from a struggle to give them whatever structure and coherence seemed most consistent with the data itself and with the best recent historical work in the field. Nor does he attempt to explain all responses to the problem of slavery as ideological….Indeed the greatest strength of the book arises from its ability to provide a convincing general interpretation while doing full justice to a variety of historical experiences and perspectives….It is hard to imagine anyone going over the same ground for a long time.”–George M.
Fredrickson, The New York Review of Books

“A worthy successor to Davis’s magnificent The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture. Together, these volumes represent the high point of scholarship in this field. They will undoubtedly remain at the center of discussion for many decades and perhaps beyond.”–Edward Genovese

“One of the many remarkable things about this book is that it equals and even exceeds the level of scholarship and history established by the author’s preceding volume.”–C. Vann Woodward
“A superb continuation of Davis’s work on the problem of slavery in western culture. It is a fascinating and profound study of the rise of the antislavery movement in England and America, as well as of the social, political, and economic milieu in which it operated.”–Stanley L. Engerman

“A penetrating work of mature scholarship and extraordinary erudition….It deals with a historical problem of vast and enduring moral importance.”–Michael Kammen
“One of the most stunning books I have ever read….What is overpowering is the magnitude of the questions Davis asks and the seriousness with which he probes their complexities.”–Sanford Levinson

About the Author

David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. A former President of the Organization of American Historians, he has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bancroft Prize, and the American Historical Association’s Beveridge Award. His most recent book is The
Boisterous Sea of Liberty: A Documentary History of America from Discovery through the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 1998, with Steven Mintz).

  • Publisher : Oxford University Press; Subsequent edition (April 15, 1999)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 576 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0195126718
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0195126716
  • Item Weight : 1.8 pounds
  • Dimensions : 9.22 x 6.09 x 1.39 inches

The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America: Gerald Horne

Illuminates how the preservation of slavery was a motivating factor for the Revolutionary War

The successful 1776 revolt against British rule in North America has been hailed almost universally as a great step forward for humanity. But the Africans then living in the colonies overwhelmingly sided with the British. In this trailblazing book, Gerald Horne shows that in the prelude to 1776, the abolition of slavery seemed all but inevitable in London, delighting Africans as much as it outraged slaveholders, and sparking the colonial revolt.

Prior to 1776, anti-slavery sentiments were deepening throughout Britain and in the Caribbean, rebellious Africans were in revolt. For European colonists in America, the major threat to their security was a foreign invasion combined with an insurrection of the enslaved. It was a real and threatening possibility that London would impose abolition throughout the colonies―a possibility the founding fathers feared would bring slave rebellions to their shores. To forestall it, they went to war.

The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their right to enslave others. The Counter-Revolution of 1776 brings us to a radical new understanding of the traditional heroic creation myth of the United States.


“The underlying truth of the ‘so-called’ American Revolution is finally now out of the bag, and told in its fullest glory for the first time here. And what Professor Horne has discovered through meticulous research is nothing short of revolutionary in itself.” ― OpEdNews

“Horne, Moores Professor of history and African-American studies at the University of Houston, confidently and convincingly reconstructs the origin myth of the United States grounded in the context of slavery . . . . Horne’s study is rich, not dry; his research is meticulous, thorough, fascinating, and thought-provoking. Horne emphasizes the importance of considering this alternate telling of our American origin myth and how such a founding still affects our nation today.” ― STARRED Publishers Weekly

“Every personcommitted to the struggle for racial justice, liberation, and equality, and who struggles every day with the difficulties of forging unity between Black and white, needs to read this book.” ―

“Horne returns with insights about the American Revolution that fracture even more some comforting myths about the Founding Fathers.The author does not tiptoe through history’s grassy fields; he swings a scythe . . . . Clear and sometimes-passionate prose shows us the persistent nastiness underlying our founding narrative.” ― Kirkus Reviews

The Counter Revolution of 1776 drives us to a radical new understanding of the traditional heroic creation myth of the United States.” ― Philadelphia Tribune

“With The Counter-Revolution of 1776, Gerald Horne refigures the origins of the American & revolution to offer a challenging and potentially explosive critique of foundational myths of liberty and rebellion.” ― American Historical Review

“Gerald Horne’s Counter Revolution of 1776 is a critical contribution in the struggle for clarity around one of the most misconceived periods of history. Horne’s work provides the vast historical narrative that proves how this premise is false. He centers his analysis on the inherently counter-revolutionary nature of what led to the colonists desire for succession.” ― Black Agenda Report

“History books have painted a narrative of the U.S. founding that any student can recite: Colonists, straining against the tyranny of the British crown, revolted in the name of freedom, liberty and justice for all. But in recent years, historians have revisited that conventional story, examining the important role slaves played for Britain in its quest to quell colonists. Now, in a new book, historian Gerald Horne argues it was the desire to maintain slavery that was the prime motivator of the uprising . . . . Horne revisit[s] the period leading up to 1776 to find out how slavery in North America and the British colonies influenced the revolution.” ― The Kojo Nnamdi Show, DC Public Radio

The Counter-Revolution of 1776 shows the centrality of slavery in colonial American life, north as well as south. It demonstrates how enslaved peoples struggles merged with international and imperial politics as the British empire frayed. Gerald Horne finds among white American revolutionaries people who wanted to defend slavery against real threats. He addresses how in the United States, alone among the new western hemisphere republics, slavery thrived rather than waned, until its cataclysmic destruction during the Civil War.” ― Edward Countryman, Southern Methodist University

The Counter-Revolution of 1776 asks us to rethink the fundamental narrative of American history and to interrogate nationalist myths. Horne demands that historians consider slavery not as the exception to the republican promise of the American Revolution but rather as the norm insofar as protecting slavery was a fundamental cause of colonial revolt.” ― The New England Quarterly

About the Author

Gerald Horne is Moores Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, and has published three dozen books including, The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the USA and Race War! White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire.

  • Publisher : NYU Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2016)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 363 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1479806897
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1479806898
  • Item Weight : 1 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches

The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast: Andrew Lipman

A fascinating new perspective on Native seafaring and colonial violence in the seventeenth-century American Northeast

“Gripping. . . . Lipman innovatively uses the sea to unite the histories of New York, New England and the region’s native peoples by following the sailing ships and canoes along Long Island Sound up to Nantucket.”—Kathleen DuVal, The Wall Street Journal

Andrew Lipman’s eye-opening first book is the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events on distant shores.

Lipman’s book “successfully redirects the way we look at a familiar history” (Neal Salisbury, Smith College). Extensively researched and elegantly written, this latest addition to Yale’s seventeenth-century American history list brings the early years of New England and New York vividly to life.

Part of: New Directions in Narrative History (6 Books)


“Gripping . . . Lipman innovatively uses the sea to unite the histories of New York, New England and the region’s native peoples by following the sailing ships and canoes along Long Island Sound up to Nantucket.”—Kathleen DuVal, The Wall Street Journal

“Written in lucid and graceful prose . . . Lipman’s impressive work is crucial reading.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A brilliant reimagining of the English and Dutch settlements in New England and New York, and the role that the Atlantic Ocean played, as a frontier between the Native tribes and the European empires.”—True West

“A profound, wide-ranging analysis of the commercial ambitions and vexed morality that transformed the Southern New England and New York coastal lands into the staging grounds they became.”—Providence Journal

“An exceptionally well-written book.”—Choice

“[Lipman] gives the reader an intriguing and ingenious story . . . enlightening and intelligent.”—East Hampton Star

“Fresh and exciting . . . a brilliant book.”—Mystic Seaport Magazine

“Deeply researched and crisply written . . . The Saltwater Frontier is an important book . . . Lipman imbues careful research with interpretive flair, and as a result the book glows with new insights.”—American Historical Review

“[I]n its sweeping narrative, engaging style, minute research, and compelling argument, The Saltwater Frontier represents an important contribution to the growing fields of Atlantic studies and Native studies.”—Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy, H-Amstdy

“An unraveling of New England narratives . . . The Saltwater Frontier will long remain a
beautiful rendition of the New England story, and for that we may be appreciative.”—Juliana Barr, William and Mary Quarterly

Winner of the 2016 Bancroft Prize in American History

Won honorable mention for the 2016 PROSE Awards in the U.S. History category

Selected as a 2016 New England Society Book Awards Finalists in the Nonfiction: History & Biography category

“With The Saltwater Frontier, Andrew Lipman emerges as one of the greatest prose stylists among early American historians. Even more significantly, Lipman’s water-centric approach to Indian-European interactions upends much that we thought we knew. This book is simply superb.”—Erik R. Seeman, author of Death in the New World: Cross-Cultural Encounters, 1492-1800

“Most histories claim to be new; Andrew Lipman’s The Saltwater Frontier actually is. He tells how, facing invasion from the sea, Indian peoples responded by turning to the sea.”—Richard White, author of The Middle Ground

“This cutting-edge study will draw much needed attention to the waters of seventeenth-century Long Island Sound as a zone of Indian-colonial contact and imperial rivalry. Lipman approaches his topic with uncommon intelligence, creativity, and literary grace.”— David J. Silverman, George Washington University

“A vitally important book for its maritime and regional foci, for its array of stunning insights on the events discussed, and for its engaging writing style.”—Neal Salisbury, Smith College

About the Author

Andrew Lipman is assistant professor of history at Barnard College, Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

  • Publisher : Yale University Press; Illustrated edition (February 21, 2017)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 360 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0300227027
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0300227024
  • Item Weight : 15.6 ounces
  • Dimensions : 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches

Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 (Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History): David Wheat

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the Africanization of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean.


Elegantly written and thoughtfully constructed. . . . Scholars interested in the early Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic world will need to rethink how the two regions were interconnected and how free and unfree Africans created social and economic niches for themselves in their new environments.–Hispanic American Historical Review

[An] exceptional study that explains a misunderstood period in the early history of post-contact colonies in the Spanish Caribbean. Highly recommended.–Choice

[A] unique view into the archives and into a key but only partially understood early colonial period in this region [that] will interest both scholars of Iberian colonization and imperialism and students learning how to trace western Africa’s influence on the Spanish Caribbean.–The Americas
Because Wheat’s capacity to tell such nuanced and new stories is so meticulously buttressed by his sources that it leaves readers wanting him to go even further. . . . A vital contribution to the fields of Black/African history, Caribbean history, and early modern history more broadly.–Reviews in American History

Expertly and imaginatively transcends the conventional parameters not just of ‘Latin American’ and of ‘Atlantic’ history but also of the conceptual conventions of studying ‘slavery’ itself, as such. Do not miss it.–Slavery & Abolition

Extremely well documented and tightly argued. . . . A signal contribution that should reframe scholarly debates about slavery in the Caribbean for some time to come.–H-Net Reviews

Wheat’s innovative and deeply-researched book contributes to a growing body of work aimed at re-conceptualizing the Atlantic World and the roles of African people within it.–Almanack

About the Author

David Wheat is associate professor of history at Michigan State University.

Start reading Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 on your Kindle in under a minute.

  • Publisher : Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press; Reprint edition (August 1, 2018)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1469647656
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1469647654
  • Item Weight : 1.14 pounds
  • Dimensions : 7.76 x 0.87 x 9.47 inches

See related:

Energy runs our world

Green Crypto Energy

Published on May 26, 2021

How renewable energy will help make our world greener

This #WorldEnvironment Day join the snap challenge

UN Environment Programme

Published on May 31, 2021

Everyone of us can take action to heal the planet. Join the #GenerationRestoration snap challenge for #WorldEnvironmentDay and show us how you will make a difference.

Credit: Saima Mohsin, Jordan Sanchez, Alex Rendell, Antoinette Taus, Rocky Dawuni, Nzambi Matee, Gisele Bündchen, Massimo Bottura, Inger Andersen, Global Forest Generation, Acción Andina

What is fossil fuel divestment and why does it matter? | Keep it in the ground

The Guardian

Published on Mar 23, 2015

Climate change can be tackled using a very simple idea – divestment. It means taking your money away from companies involved in extracting fossil fuels. Guardian journalist and US author Bill McKibben explains where the idea came from; why it’s been central to any environment solution; its successful application in history; and the extent to which this exciting socially-driven movement will help add crucial pressure for change on business leaders and politicians the world over.

WHO: COVID-19 origins search ‘being poisoned by politics’


Published on May 30, 2021

For more:…

The World Health Organization warned Friday that efforts to trace the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins were being hampered by politics. The origins search should be done “in a depoliticized environment where science and health is the objective of this and not blame and politics,” WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan told reporters.