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The epic story of humanity in four parts.


When humans figured out how to synthesize fertilizer from fossil fuels, we suddenly gleaned two billion people’s worth of food from the same small piece of land – flouting competition and lack of resources, and spreading across the globe like contagion. We waged war on our microscopic enemies: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and all other microbes. We conjured antibiotics, vaccines, water-treatment plants, and continued to annihilate as much of our biological competition as possible. In short: we were cunning.

Hunger led us to agriculture. Later, lust, pride, beauty, cleanliness, power, order, and control drove us to even greater discoveries: penicillin, ethanol, organ transplants, and silicone breasts. And every new discovery harbored a secret prophecy, a vision of future humanity – sublime and indestructible – promising to extend our life spans, make us invulnerable, make things easier, more comfortable, more convenient, and efficient.

In just these past two hundred years, the number of humans inhabiting the earth went from one to eight billion. We’ve taken over the whole planet, and we just keep growing …