Social Science

The Collapse of Complex Societies

Author: Joseph Tainter

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN:

Category: Social Science

Page: 250

View: 919

Dr Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory.
History

Ancient Iran and Its Neighbours

Author: Cameron A. Petrie

Publisher: Oxbow Books

ISBN:

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 740

The fourth millennium BC was a critical period of socio-economic and political transformation in the Iranian Plateau and its surrounding zones. This period witnessed the appearance of the world’s earliest urban centres, hierarchical administrative structures, and writing systems. These developments are indicative of significant changes in socio-political structures that have been interpreted as evidence for the rise of early states and the development of inter-regional trade, embedded in longer-term processes that began in the later fifth millennium BC. Iran was an important player in western Asia especially in the medium- to long-range trade in raw materials and finished items throughout this period. The 20 papers presented here illustrate forcefully how the re-evaluation of old excavation results, combined with much new research, has dramatically expanded our knowledge and understanding of local developments on the Iranian Plateau and of long-range interactions during the critical period of the fourth millennium BC.
ARCHITECTURE

The New Net Zero

Author: Bill Maclay

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN:

Category: ARCHITECTURE

Page: 576

View: 719

The new threshold for green building is not just low energy, it's net-zero energy. In The New Net Zero, sustainable architect Bill Maclay charts the path for designers and builders interested in exploring green design's new-frontier net-zero-energy structures that produce as much energy as they consume and are carbon neutral. In a nation where traditional buildings use roughly 40 percent of the total fossil energy, the interest in net-zero building is growing enormously--among both designers interested in addressing climate change and consumers interested in energy efficiency and long-term savings. Maclay, an award-winning net-zero designer whose buildings have achieved high-performance goals at affordable costs, makes the case for a net-zero future; explains net-zero building metrics, integrated design practices, and renewable energy options; and shares his lessons learned on net-zero teambuilding. Designers and builders will find a wealth of state-of-the-art information on such considerations as air, water, and vapor barriers; embodied energy; residential and commercial net-zero standards; monitoring and commissioning; insulation options; costs; and more. The comprehensive overview is accompanied by several case studies, which include institutional buildings, commercial projects, and residences. Both new-building and renovation projects are covered in detail. The New Net Zero is geared toward professionals exploring net-zero design, but also suitable for nonprofessionals seeking ideas and strategies on net-zero options that are beautiful and renewably powered.
Business & Economics

Antifragile

Author: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN:

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 544

View: 423

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world. Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls antifragile are things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. Here Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better. What's more, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call "efficient" not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems and medicine, drawing on modern street wisdom and ancient sources. Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world. Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb's message is revolutionary: the antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge and has led three careers around this focus, as a businessman-trader, a philosophical essayist, and an academic researcher. Although he now spends most of his time working in intense seclusion in his study, in the manner of independent scholars, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is "decision making under opacity," that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don't understand. His books Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan have been published in thirty-three languages. Taleb believes that prizes, honorary degrees, awards, and ceremonialism debase knowledge by turning it into a spectator sport.
Social Science

After Collapse

Author: Glenn M. Schwartz

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

ISBN:

Category: Social Science

Page: 295

View: 899

From the Euphrates Valley to the southern Peruvian Andes, early complex societies have risen and fallen, but in some cases they have also been reborn. Prior archaeological investigation of these societies has focused primarily on emergence and collapse. This is the first book-length work to examine the question of how and why early complex urban societies have reappeared after periods of decentralization and collapse. Ranging widely across the Near East, the Aegean, East Asia, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, these cross-cultural studies expand our understanding of social evolution by examining how societies were transformed during the period of radical change now termed Òcollapse.Ó They seek to discover how societal complexity reemerged, how second-generation states formed, and how these re-emergent states resembled or differed from the complex societies that preceded them. The contributors draw on material culture as well as textual and ethnohistoric data to consider such factors as preexistent institutions, structures, and ideologies that are influential in regeneration; economic and political resilience; the role of social mobility, marginal groups, and peripheries; and ethnic change. In addition to presenting a number of theoretical viewpoints, the contributors also propose reasons why regeneration sometimes does not occur after collapse. A concluding contribution by Norman Yoffee provides a critical exegesis of ÒcollapseÓ and highlights important patterns found in the case histories related to peripheral regions and secondary elites, and to the ideology of statecraft. After Collapse blazes new research trails in both archaeology and the study of social change, demonstrating that the archaeological record often offers more clues to the Òdark agesÓ that precede regeneration than do text-based studies. It opens up a new window on the past by shifting the focus away from the rise and fall of ancient civilizations to their often more telling fall and rise. CONTRIBUTORS Bennet Bronson, Arlen F. Chase, Diane Z. Chase, Christina A. Conlee, Lisa Cooper, Timothy S. Hare, Alan L. Kolata, Marilyn A. Masson, Gordon F. McEwan, Ellen Morris, Ian Morris, Carlos Peraza Lope, Kenny Sims, Miriam T. Stark, Jill A. Weber, Norman Yoffee
History

Ancient Maya

Author: Arthur Demarest

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN:

Category: History

Page: 373

View: 242

In this archaeological study, Arthur Demarest brings the lost pre-Columbian civilization of the Maya to life. In applying a holistic perspective to the most recent evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, and epigraphy, this theoretical interpretation emphasizes both the brilliant rain forest adaptations of the ancient Maya and the Native American spirituality that permeated all aspects of their daily life.
Literary Criticism

Myths of the Archaic State

Author: Norman Yoffee

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 277

View: 570

Classical archaeology promotes the view that a state's evolution reflects general, universal forces. Norman Yoffee challenges the model in this book by presenting more complex and multi-linear models for the evolution of civilizations. Yoffee questions the definition of the prehistoric state, particularly that which heralds "the chiefdom" as the forerunner of the ancient state and explores case studies on the role of women in ancient societies.
Science

Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology

Author: William L. Balée

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 432

View: 374

This collection of studies by anthropologists, botanists, ecologists, and biologists is an important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology. The book combines cutting-edge research with new perspectives to emphasize the close relationship between humans and their natural environment. Contributors examine how alterations in the natural world mirror human cultures, societies, and languages. Treating the landscape like a text, these researchers decipher patterns and meaning in the Ecuadorian Andes, Amazonia, the desert coast of Peru, and other regions in the neotropics. They show how local peoples have changed the landscape over time to fit their needs by managing and modifying species diversity, enhancing landscape heterogeneity, and controlling ecological disturbance. In turn, the environment itself becomes a form of architecture rich with historical and archaeological significance. Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology explores thousands of years of ecological history while also addressing important contemporary issues, such as biodiversity and genetic variation and change. Engagingly written and expertly researched, this book introduces and exemplifies a unique method for better understanding the link between humans and the biosphere.
Social Science

Cerro Danush

Author: Ronald K. Faulseit

Publisher: Museum of Anthropology University of Michigan

ISBN:

Category: Social Science

Page: 245

View: 884

Monte Albán was the capital of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, ca. 500 B.C.¿A.D. 600, but once its control began to wane, other sites filled the political vacuum. Archaeologists have long awaited a meticulous excavation of one of these sites¿which would help us better understand the process that transformed second-tier sites into a series of polities or señoríos that competed with each other for centuries. This new book reports in detail on Ronald Faulseit's excavations at the site of Dainzú-Macuilxóchitl in the Valley of Oaxaca. His 2007¿2010 mapping and excavation seasons focused on the Late Classic (A.D. 600¿900) and Early Postclassic (A.D. 900¿1300). The spatial distributions of surface artifacts¿collected during the intensive mapping and systematic surface collecting¿on residential terraces at Cerro Danush are analyzed to evaluate evidence for craft production, ritual, and abandonment at the community level. This community analysis is complemented by data from the comprehensive excavation of a residential terrace, which documents diachronic patterns of behavior at the household level. The results from Faulseit¿s survey and excavations are evaluated within the theoretical frameworks of political cycling and resilience theory. Faulseit concludes that resilient social structures may have helped orchestrate reorganization in the dynamic political landscape of Oaxaca after the political collapse of Monte Albán.