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Chapter Five — The Stone Breakers

A Short History of Nearly Everything – by Bill Bryson

Chapter 5 – The Stone Breakers

  • James Hutton, in 1785, concluded that marine fossils found on mountaintops had not been deposited during floods, but had risen up along with the mountains themselves.
  • Hutton also deduced that heat within the Earth created new rocks and continents, and thrust up new mountain ranges.
  • Geological time is divided into four great eras: Precambrian, Palezaoic (“old life”), Mesozoic (“middle life”), and Cenozoic (“recent life”). These 4 eras are divided into 12 periods, including Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, etc.).
  • The three great laws of thermodynamics can be capsulized as: 1) You can’t win [you cannot create energy] 2) You can’t break even [in every process, a little energy is wasted] 3) You can’t get out of the game [you can’t reduce temperature to absolute zero].

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