Hammurabic legal codes in Babylon; Middle Kingdom in Egypt
—11:59:52 P.M. Bronze metallurgy; Mycenaean culture; Trojan War; Olmec culture: invention of the compass —11:59:53 P.M.
Iron metallurgy; First Assyrian Empire; Kingdom of Israel; founding of Carthage by Phoenicia ~11:59:54 P.M. Asokan India; Ch'in Dynasty China; Periclean Athens; birth of Buddha ~11:59:55 P.M.
Euclidean geometry; Archimedean physics; Ptolemaic astronomy; Roman Empire; birth of Christ ~11:59:56 P.M. Zero and decimals invented in Indian arithmetic; Rome falls; Moslem conquests- ~11:59:57 P.M.
Mayan civilization; Sung Dynasty China; Byzantine empire; Mongol invasion; Crusades ~11:59:58 P.M. Renaissance in Europe; voyages of discovery from Europe and from Ming Dynasty China; emergence of the experimental method in science ~11:59:59 P.M.
Widespread development of science and technology; emergence of a global culture; acquisition of the means for self-destruction of the human species; The first steps in spacecraft planetary exploration and of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. ~ Now: first second of New Year's Day.
The construction of such tables and calendars is inevitably humbling. It is disconcerting to find that in such a cosmic year the Earth does not condense out of interstellar matter until early September; dinosaurs emerge on Christmas Eve; flowers arise on December 28th; and men and women originate at 10:30 P.M. on New Year's Eve. All of recorded history occupies the last ten seconds of December 31; and the time from the waning of the Middle Ages to the present occupies little more than one second. But because I have arranged it that way, the first cosmic year has just ended. And despite the insignificance of the instant we have so far occupied in cosmic time, it is clear that what happens on and near Earth at the beginning of the second cosmic year will depend very much on the scientific wisdom and the distinctly human sensitivity of mankind.
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