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Richard of Chelmsford
2005-Jan-18, 09:59 AM
Geography Professor Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs and Steel) is in London this week and I'm going to see him at Foyle's Bookshop at 6.30 on Friday to hear his talk on his latest book, 'Collapse.'

If he takes questions, what should I ask him?

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/bios/diamond.html

DreadCthulhu
2005-Jan-18, 05:49 PM
Ask him about the 5th link (not counting the 2 from the same site) you get when you do a google search for his name. :lol:

Richard of Chelmsford
2005-Jan-20, 02:29 PM
Thanks for that, Dread..

I think I'll probably just ask him about the teaching of creationism in America.

Someone said to me re 'Collapse'..ask him if America has chosen to fail as a society by voting George W back in.

Oh, sorry that's politics... [-X

Richard of Chelmsford
2005-Jan-21, 10:20 PM
I couldn't go.

My son is sick and my wife (who didn't raise him) needs help with him.

Comme ci, comme ca. :(

Melusine
2006-Feb-23, 07:17 PM
Sorry you couldn't make it, Richard. Jared Diamond is speaking in Houston tomorrow night (2/24 7:30 p.m.) as part of this new Progressive Forum series. I'm attending all three talks, and I'm hoping he's a good speaker. I saw in a search here that hhEb09'1 has spoken to him, and I'm wondering what his impressions were/are, and if anyone has read Diamond's books...what they think, etc. etc.


Here's an article and there's more info on the left sidebar, in case anyone in Houston is interested:



JARED Diamond, whose appearance Friday at the Intercontinental Hotel marks the official launch of the Progressive Forum, paints the big picture in fresh, bold colors.

He's best known for two books, Guns, Germs and Steel (1997), which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004). The first tries to isolate the crucial factors that allowed Europeans rather than, say, American Indians, to dominate the globe. That book's title says it all.

Collapse is a case study in how some dozen societies, ranging from the Easter Islanders to the Norse in Greenland to the Maya, confronted environmental challenges, failed to rise to those challenges, and as a result, fell apart. Everything from altered trade patterns to climate change to deforestation and soil erosion figures into Diamond's analysis. He explores the past to argue that countries today must change consumption patterns if the planet is to survive.

In his talk, the 68-year-old scientist-historian is expected to explore the themes of Collapse, which is just out in paperback.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/books/3665560.html

Kullat Nunu
2006-Feb-23, 08:30 PM
I finished reading the Guns, Germs and Steel a short while ago. Highly recommended, the book is full of thoughtful new ideas.

hhEb09'1
2006-Feb-23, 08:36 PM
I saw in a search here that hhEb09'1 has spoken to him, and I'm wondering what his impressions were/are, and if anyone has read Diamond's books...what they think, etc. etc. My conversation with him was more casual, over the phone. He helped me track down some info. It was before he published Guns, Germs, and Steel, but I liked his articles in Natural History. Always seemed entertaining, whether you agree with him or not.

Huevos Grandes
2006-Feb-23, 08:36 PM
I finished reading the Guns, Germs and Steel a short while ago. Highly recommended, the book is full of thoughtful new ideas.
I enjoyed it very much too, even if I didn't entirely agree with all of the presented ideas.

Richard, see if he'll sign body parts! :)

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Feb-23, 09:05 PM
Guns, Germs and Steel was great. Collapse was good, but I have problems with his model. Resource depletion is not the only reason that societies collapse.

Melusine
2006-Feb-23, 09:45 PM
Guns, Germs and Steel was great. Collapse was good, but I have problems with his model. Resource depletion is not the only reason that societies collapse.
Thanks for all replies. I haven't read either book yet, but I read an extensive review on Collapse some time ago, so I am roughly familiar with that one. I was looking at Amazon: some people think Collapse was a more interesting read, yet Guns, Germs and Steel won a Pulitzer, which is *usually* a good indication of it's worth. I think I'll read that one first. With Collapse, many people said he was too politically correct. I think there's more to it than resource depletion, too.

Anyway, I tend to take notes when at talks like this, so we'll see what he talks about and how it fits into this forum theme. I hope he does a Q&A. :)

Melusine
2006-Feb-26, 07:20 PM
Well, Jared Diamond's lecture was interesting, though he basically ran through synopses of his chapters in his book Collapse, which people there who had read it, thought it was redundant, but still enjoyed seeing him "live"; he could be witty at times and his Boston accent is unique (don't hear that around these parts often.) I had read much online, so I generally knew about his examples, but look forward to reading them fleshed out in the book. During the rather rushed Q&A, he had everyone older than 25 sit down, and surprisingly the youth's questions were the most interesting.*

The more interesting thing to me was the event itself, because it's something new here and the organizer put up a lot of his own money for it. I estimate that the crowd was around 2,000 or so, but I didn't count all the rows. Talking to people while waiting in lines, and overhearing others' discussions gave me a good idea of the pulse of the kind of people who showed up. There was no doubt a lot of liberals there given the applause at the introduction mentioning the next two speakers; people like the director of the Texas Parks & Wildlife (pointed out to me) were there, as well as those in science-related fields. But there were a lot of people who are non-scientists (some lady next to me had been taking an unofficial poll all night). I found that encouraging.

What I wish I had not done was have Dr. Diamond sign his book. I never do that, because someone just scribbling their name when they don't know me is meaningless to me. Collapse was in my Things To Do file, and I like to see someone up close, so I waited in line, being one of the last ones. When I got to the table there were two helpers sliding the open books to him and I chuckled out loud that it was like an assembly line. Dr. Diamond was just scribbling in each book with nary a word. So, when I got to him I snuck in a close-ended question regarding the Skeptics Society. He said "Yes," sort of hesitated, looked at me, then remarked that he had given a lecture to them recently. But again, no smiles, no thank you's--I felt it all so dehumanizing. It ruined my impression of him (though not my respect for his accomplishments).

A close distance away, I spoke to some lady about that, gesticulating wildly as I do, and she said something to the effect that, oh, he's probably tired after signing so many books, yada, yada. But I thought, I smile, say hi, say thank you to as many people, if not more, every day at work, and really after paying $34.00 plus $12.00 parking, plus $17.00 for his book, repeating "Thank you" 200 times is not that difficult! I was really bothered by that.:(


*Why is there always someone at these lectures who gets up and asks a long and winding question about something totally unrelated to the speaker's field or the discussion? Some lady went on and on asking him about the effects of Ritalin on kids' creativity. :rolleyes: He handled that diplomatically.

Edit: added three words.