New West Reader: Essays on an Ever-Evolving Frontier ..

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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An important evolutionary principle is organisms' developing a new feature for one purpose and then using that feature for other purposes as the opportunity arose. As complex life evolved in the newly oxygenated seafloors, several immediate survival needs had to be addressed. To revisit the , if an oxygen-dependent animal did not have access to oxygen, it meant immediate death. Obtaining oxygen would have been the salient requirement for early complex life that adopted aerobic respiration , which is how nearly all animals today respire. While animals in low-oxygen environments have adapted to other ways of respiring (or perhaps in the first place), they are all sluggish creatures and would have quickly lost in the coming arms race. , which is a critical connective tissue in animals, requires oxygen for its synthesis, and was one of numerous oxygen-dependencies that animals quickly adopted during the Cambrian Explosion.

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What was most relevant to humans, however, was the almost-complete extinction during the Kellwasser event of the tetrapods that had come ashore. Tetrapods did not reappear in the fossil record until several million years after the Kellwasser event, and has even been referred to as the Fammenian Gap (the is the Devonian’s last age). The Kellwasser event also appeared to be a period of low atmospheric oxygen content, and some evidence is the lack of charcoal in fossil deposits. Recent research has demonstrated that getting wood to burn at oxygen levels of less than 13-15% may be impossible. Because all periods of complex land life show evidence of forest fires, it is today thought that oxygen levels have not dropped below 13-15% since the Devonian, but during the “charcoal gap” of the late Devonian, when the first landlubbing tetrapods went extinct, oxygen levels reached their lowest levels since the , which must have impacted the first animals trying to breathe air instead of water. During the , there is no charcoal evidence at all, which leads to the notion that oxygen levels may have even dropped below 13%. This drop may be related to severe climatic stresses on the new forests, which are probably related to the ice age that the forests helped bring about due to their carbon sequestering. That is an attractively explanatory scenario, but the continues. The first seed plants probably appeared before the Kellwasser event, but it was not until after the Fammenian Gap that seed plants began to proliferate.

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Several of the Eocene’s geologic events had long-lasting impact. About 50 mya, the plates under India and Southern Asia began their epic collision and started creating the , and Australia split from Antarctica. The collisions of the African, Arabian, and Indian plates with the Eurasian plate that stretch from Western Europe to New Guinea. After the , it is the world’s most seismically active region. Those colliding plates eventually squeezed the out of existence. That event ended more than 500 million years of Tethyan sedimentation, beginning with the in the , continuing with the in the , and the appeared in the late . The Tethys Ocean’s existence spanned the entire Mesozoic and less than six mya, at the Miocene’s end. Most of the world’s oil formed in the sediments of those Tethyan oceans and very little since the Oligocene.

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