By Daniel Stone
Since sometime between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago, an era generally known as the Bronze Age, humans have been remarkably adept at identifying precious resources and ripping them from the Earth.
For a while, working with bronze or gold or copper meant working with your hands, and with only as much of it as one person could handle. But the 20th century, followed by the 21st, brought marvelous new ways to exploit Earth's elements, namely with industrial beasts that could tear apart landscapes with terrific volume and speed.
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