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 Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)

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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 1:11 am

Actually I don't know if he does attribute deforestation to the downfall of the population but he does say that the islands were seen as deforested when Cook arrived and that the natives were looking longingly at the wood in Cook's ships ...
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 1:18 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
How do you relate this to his overall structure though? You think it's not applicable for him to use Easter Island as an example at all is it? Or his focus is on the wrong end of his five points - you feel it was the visitors that did for them while he thinks they obliterated themselves..?. Well, he gives accounts of tribal wars and statue-pushing and all but he more or less attributes deforestation to the ruin of the island. And he says that that happened because the island is a fragile and sensitive ecosystem.

There was some great stuff in that chapter though - the idea of the Polynesians spreading out into the Pacific - those islands truly were the last frontier for mankind when Easter Island was found because those places were not inhabited by anyone - it was like an excursion to Mars would be today - they deliberately and capably set out to inhabit the Pacific Islands thousands of miles apart in little boats...

I think it is very well worth looking at for the reason that Diamond gave - there was nowhere to run to. Although the notion that some islanders may have left by boat could be considered.

I liked the fact that these people could find the tiny island thousands of miles from anywhere else by following seabirds.
It is easy to underestimate people dont you think?

I think Diamond is very interested in top soil erosion and is a bit inclined to find it as the reason for collapse everywhere. I think that it probably had some effect but the rats and europeans (invasive species and hostile invaders) were much more damaging.

Hunt wrote well about this:

Quote :
I believe that the world faces today an unprecedented global environmental crisis, and I see the usefulness of historical examples of the pitfalls of environmental destruction. So it was with some unease that I concluded that Rapa Nui does not provide such a model. But as a scientist I cannot ignore the problems with the accepted narrative of the island's prehistory. Mistakes or exaggerations in arguments for protecting the environment only lead to oversimplified answers and hurt the cause of environmentalism. We will end up wondering why our simple answers were not enough to make a difference in confronting today's problems.
Ecosystems are complex, and there is an urgent need to understand them better. Certainly the role of rats on Rapa Nui shows the potentially devastating, and often unexpected, impact of invasive species. I hope that we will continue to explore what happened on Rapa Nui, and to learn whatever other lessons this remote outpost has to teach us.

I am a great believer in local knowledge - after all, the locals new how to move the statues and who had founded their population. When they told him he had the story wrong he would have done well to listen.

I thought the best bit was the table that compared the islands for robustness and vulnerability - climate, soils and so on - that was convincing and convinced me that the island was a tough place to live at the best of times.

The aerial photo is deadly.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 1:24 am

Here are some of the lads.

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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 1:28 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Actually I don't know if he does attribute deforestation to the downfall of the population but he does say that the islands were seen as deforested when Cook arrived and that the natives were looking longingly at the wood in Cook's ships ...

The downfall of the island was the uniquely un-favourable fundamentals of the Easter Island ecosystem. Living on Easter is akin to building a house on a mound of sand. Initially, I did hold the islanders responsible for the environmental devastation of the island, but now that I know that the factors which Diamond refers to(the volcanicity of the island, the land relief, the growth cycle of trees, proximity to neighbouring islands etc.) I'm of the opinion that the island had an in-built self-destruct mechanism which the islanders inardvertently turned on. They were the catalyst, not the cause, of Easter's destruction.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 1:40 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Actually I don't know if he does attribute deforestation to the downfall of the population but he does say that the islands were seen as deforested when Cook arrived and that the natives were looking longingly at the wood in Cook's ships ...

The downfall of the island was the uniquely un-favourable fundamentals of the Easter Island ecosystem. Living on Easter is akin to building a house on a mound of sand. Initially, I did hold the islanders responsible for the environmental devastation of the island, but now that I know that the factors which Diamond refers to(the volcanicity of the island, the land relief, the growth cycle of trees, proximity to neighbouring islands etc.) I'm of the opinion that the island had an in-built self-destruct mechanism which the islanders inardvertently turned on. They were the catalyst, not the cause, of Easter's destruction.


Hunt quotes a 19th century visitor who saw the boles of palm and other trees.

In my view, there is far more evidence of european visitor-induced collapse than any other form. This still fits with Diamond's five criteria. When we are looking after our topsoil and trees we should also keep a weather eye open for unwelcome visitors.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 1:41 am

cactus flower wrote:
I liked the fact that these people could find the tiny island thousands of miles from anywhere else by following seabirds.
It is easy to underestimate people dont you think?

I think Diamond is very interested in top soil erosion and is a bit inclined to find it as the reason for collapse everywhere. I think that it probably had some effect but the rats and europeans (invasive species and hostile invaders) were much more damaging.
The bit about the seagulls was a complete gem of knowledge and how he described it in the context of a little canoe of people looking for a 5-mile diameter island in the immense vastness of the Pacific .. the presence of seagulls so far from the island made the tiny island effectively 200 miles in diameter.

I don't know if he focused on soil erosion so much in this chapter but I came away from the Montana one with the notion of poisoned soil alright. I got the feeling from the Easter chapter that he's throwing out a few phenomena about the island in a discrete and unconnected and unrelated way and not really tying them together ...

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I'm of the opinion that the island had an in-built self-destruct mechanism which the islanders inardvertently turned on. They were the catalyst, not the cause, of Easter's destruction.
I got this feeling through the chapter that a major theme of it would be that the islanders would have essentially lost it and become incestuous and raving prisoners on a small island. A very likely scenario not dealt with in the book at all possibly because he assumes such a high population.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 2:29 am

What sort of page number are we on, fellow citizens?
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 2:33 am

I've just finished the Easter Island Chapter page 120 but I've got my teeth well and truly into it now. I think cactus has read it already plus the bibliography Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 2:50 am

cactus flower wrote:
Hunt puts a lot of emphasis on rats - it is a well known problem on our islands and islands off Wales - no cats so within a few years a population of millions and they eat bird eggs. That would account for the loss of the bird population.

The other thing that struck me from reading Diamond (and that Hunt confirms) is that the arrival of the europeans was patently the cause of a collapse - there was no immunity to the diseases brought in - Diamond says that smallpox killed 7 out of 10 in the Marquesas and there were at least 2 epidemics in three years on Rapa Nui (Easter). Half the population was abducted and the few that returned brought another smallpox epidemic with them. The people and society must have been devastated.

I have a suspicion that this is exactly the kind of "natives good, Europeans bad" paradigm that Diamond refers to in a few places. I shall be interested to see what people make of the Greenland sections, by contrast.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 2:58 am

I don't think he made value judgements in that respect ibis but then again my mind doesn't look for that automatically. I got the sense that Cook etc. were quoted simply in order to present archaeological data about the how much forestation was extant and the condition the statues were in and stuff like that. That they were killed by smallpox was just a fact. I pictured the film Apocalypse (mel gibson director) while reading the chapter. Have you seen that film? And does Diamond make those judgements on guns germs steel?
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 3:01 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
I don't think he made value judgements in that respect ibis but then again my mind doesn't look for that automatically. I got the sense that Cook etc. were quoted simply in order to present archaeological data about the how much forestation was extant and the condition the statues were in and stuff like that. That they were killed by smallpox was just a fact. I pictured the film Apocalypse (mel gibson director) while reading the chapter. Have you seen that film? And does Diamond make those judgements on guns germs steel?

Collapse is essentially a much longer treatment of shorter versions in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Diamond is pretty explicit, though, in Collapse, that people prefer to blame us rather than natives, because blaming the natives looks like racism. Ascribing to them more wisdom than us is, of course, just as racist as the reverse, if more palatable in polite circles.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 3:08 am

I didn't get that from it though - it's more like the natives exist in a bit of a vacuum out in the middle of nowhere and you never really know where the end is going to come from. I'm surprised he never mentioned in-breeding and tyrannical power and such like. Easter island had 12 tribal areas on it and tribes around those parts were very territorial it seems - they'd charge you if you wanted to drag your old statue across the neighbours lawn (it took a week to do that so you probably had to resist a bit of rape and pillage in that 5 mile diameter place too while you were putting the garden gnome up in your favourite spot near the sea)

The chapter was aching to say something but didn't really I thought - it gave scenarios without connecting them rightly.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 2:01 pm

ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
I don't think he made value judgements in that respect ibis but then again my mind doesn't look for that automatically. I got the sense that Cook etc. were quoted simply in order to present archaeological data about the how much forestation was extant and the condition the statues were in and stuff like that. That they were killed by smallpox was just a fact. I pictured the film Apocalypse (mel gibson director) while reading the chapter. Have you seen that film? And does Diamond make those judgements on guns germs steel?

Collapse is essentially a much longer treatment of shorter versions in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Diamond is pretty explicit, though, in Collapse, that people prefer to blame us rather than natives, because blaming the natives looks like racism. Ascribing to them more wisdom than us is, of course, just as racist as the reverse, if more palatable in polite circles.

Interestingly though, Diamond comes to the conclusion that detailed local knowledge and understanding of the environment was the reason that one group survived in Iceland/Greenland and another group did not.

He may have been being a bit defensive about blaming the Rapa Nui inhabitants for the decimation of the island's population (his scenario being speculative) for good reason. On page 118 he says "Easter Island's isolation makes it the clearest example of a population that destroyed itself by overexploitation of its own resources." This he says in spite of having no evidence there was a substantial population collapse before arrival of europeans.

There was an undeniable decimation of the population in a three year period in the early 1880s as a result of the arrival of outsiders. Under the circumstances his line seems to me to be almost peverse.
Of course the arrival of smallpox was not deliberate on the part of the visitors. This is not a blame game.

Also, he wastes pages on the statues without presenting anything relevant and evidence based. It is a touch National Geographic, a bit like it would be for a future archaeologist to look at Irish Churches and portray their construction as a big bizarre mystery that shows how strange and primitive we were.

From what I have read so far, there is a thread of serious concern about deforestation and top soil erosion running through the book. Somewhere else here I recently pasted a link about top soil erosion that purported to show that we are on course to virtually total depletion in 70 years time. I don't have the knowledge to evaluate that view but is does seem there is a really serious issue globally about top soil depletion and loss. I just think that it was a bit cynical to paste that issue on top of the Easter Island/Rapa Nui case without enough regard to the evidence.

In fairness to Jared Diamon, Hunt's work was completed after he wrote Collapse, and might have changed his view. Also, I think Terry Hunt leans too far the other direction in his paper giving a stable population of 3,000 for the island pre-european.

If you work backwards from the 1,500 abducted and the possible up to 7 out of 8 dying of smallpox, wouldn't that have given you a prior population of about 8-10,000 ?

Reference

Terry L. Hunt

Terry L. Hunt is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he has taught since 1988. He earned his master's degree in anthropology from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Washington. Hunt has been conducting archaeological field research in the Pacific Islands for nearly 30 years, and he is currently director of the University of Hawaii Rapa Nui Archaeological Field School. Address: Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall, Honolulu, HI 96822. Internet: thunt@hawaii.edu

LINK TO SHORT ARTICLE
Rethinking the Fall of Easter Island Feature Article
September-October 2006

The article is a good little read.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 2:47 pm

cactus flower wrote:
From what I have read so far, there is a thread of serious concern about deforestation and top soil erosion running through the book. Somewhere else here I recently pasted a link about top soil erosion that purported to show that we are on course to virtually total depletion in 70 years time. I don't have the knowledge to evaluate that view but is does seem there is a really serious issue globally about top soil depletion and loss. I just think that it was a bit cynical to paste that issue on top of the Easter Island/Rapa Nui case without enough regard to the evidence.
As he wraps the book up just before his whirlwind paragraph on the influence of Europeans and South Americans, there is no doubt that his mind is on the change that occurred to the natural environment and its impact on the people there:

"The overall picture for Easter is the most extreme example of forest destruction in the Pacific and among the most extreme in the world; the whole forest gone and all of its tree species extinct. Immediate consequences for the islanders were losses of raw materials, losses of wild-caught foods and decreased crop yields."

Then he talks about the famine and cannabalism and relief of the islanders when they finally laid their eyes on the wood of Cook's ships.

The thing is, he concludes more or less solidly that the deforestation and soil erosion was down to the vicissitudes of nature, not to the vain and obsessive statue-construction which would have depleted so much resources on the island. I get the impression though that the way he wants you to feel is that the fault should really rest with the latter...

edit:
This last paragraph is not what I wanted to say about the deforestation - the deforestation is attributed to humans pure and simple. What isn't dealt with is the chance that it may not have happened if the islanders didn't go mad building loads of statues ...


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Mon May 05, 2008 7:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 3:07 pm

Hunt's paper, however, simply shows that the deforestation was quicker. If you look at his graph:



It shows a later arrival of people, but the deforestation happens after the people arrive. Simply blaming it on the rats ignores any impact by the islanders.

There are other issues with Hunt's paper - he dismisses the sediment core dates he doesn't like on the basis that such cores can be contaminated, but gives his preferred core a clean bill of health with minimal justification.

I'm also concerned that there is a clear cui bono in Hunt's work. He has island connections with the Rapanui - he is clearly proud of the fact that first Rapanui governor of the island is also a former student of his. Diamond, on the other hand, has no such connections.

However, infinite are the arguments of academics. More research probably needed.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 05, 2008 4:16 pm

[
Quote :
quote="ibis"]Hunt's paper, however, simply shows that the deforestation was quicker. If you look at his graph:



It shows a later arrival of people, but the deforestation happens after the people arrive. Simply blaming it on the rats ignores any impact by the islanders.

Academics like to spice up their stories and to make extreme interpretations just as much as Daily Mail writers. But between the Hunt and Diamond studies there is plenty of data that presents a consistent story.

The later date, that Hunt bases on his own work and on about half a dozen different independent archaeological studies, seems to stand up. It also makes sense in terms of Rapa Nui's remoteness and the fact that this period (1200-1300) was the ultimate stage of Poynesian migration, according to Diamond.

Hunt himself says slash and burn deforestation began from this time. He also observes that virtually every palm nut from the period shows rat damage and it is his opinion that the role of rats was underestimated. Diamond himself takes more note of the role of rats on islands in the next chapter of his book.
The rats were brought by the people as a source of protein (aargh), so if we want to apportion blame for unknowing damage we could.

Quote :
There are other issues with Hunt's paper - he dismisses the sediment core dates he doesn't like on the basis that such cores can be contaminated, but gives his preferred core a clean bill of health with minimal justification.

I don't think this is fair. He applied a clearly stated and rational methodology against all the samples (his and the others). Reviews of this type are normal in archaeology. He says that he was initially surprised to find the later date emerging and I have to say I accept his honesty and methodology there. Maybe next year someone will do another review, or the technology will improve. Until then, it would seem that his study is the best we have.

Quote :
I'm also concerned that there is a clear cui bono in Hunt's work. He has island connections with the Rapanui - he is clearly proud of the fact that first Rapanui governor of the island is also a former student of his. Diamond, on the other hand, has no such connections.
[/quote]
However, infinite are the arguments of academics. More research probably needed.[/quote]

Academics aren't saints and all kinds of dirty stuff goes on. But in this case, if we were going to say that Hunt's conclusions may be in some way tainted by his prolonged contact with Rapa Nui, I think we also need to give him the credit of 30 years knowledge and experience in the field in Rapa Nui.

Diamond jumps back and fore between blaming the islanders for knowingly cutting down the last tree (if indeed they did) and the putting forward the view that they had the misfortune to be living in "one of the most fragile environments, at the highest risk for deforestation, of any Pacific people.

Glossing over the loss of three quarters of the population in three years still seems to me to be very odd, if we are looking for a story of population collapse.

One thing I am sure Hunt has got wrong is giving credibility to Roggeveen telling his bosses in 1772 that the island was a lush paradise ripe for agricultural exploitation, whilst his logs said something quite different. I would put no more credence on that than on a dodgy shares prospectus.

All in all, it seems probable to me that the Polynesians came to the island about 1200, and that after the initial slash and burn days and after the depredations of the rats on the bird eggs, life got harder, and they had to do a lot more work to feed themselves, and they experienced hunger. Then in the late 18th - early 19th century they were hit for six.

Maybe the next chapter, also about islands, will help.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Wed May 07, 2008 1:05 pm

Finished! Do I get a prize?

Seriously, I demand financial compensation for having to read that final chapter. The second last chapter was bad enough; boring company policies but neccessary, and fair play to him for going to the mind-numbing trouble.

But the last chapter was dire. He explains to us what fucking amphibians are. I've known that word could since I could read. He provides some pathetic straw man anti-environmentalist arguments (I can just picture him talking down to imaginary critics) like (p.506)"If we exhaust one resource, we can always switch to some other resource meeting the same need" or (p.513)"If those environmental problems become desperate, it will be at some time far off in the future, after I die, and I can't take them seriously". He makes good points in his retorts but he didn't need to make up stupid people to discuss them with.

Page 497 has two maps, one of environmental trouble spots and another of political trouble spots. Maybe this is just my ego sticking out here, but if I were asked to draw up a map of political trouble-spots, it would not include Madagascar, the Solomon Islands, Mongolia or Nepal. It would include North Korea, Israel, half of Africa, Georgia and parts of South America.

On pages 515 and 516 he provides the source for this map. An imaginary politician, whose answer serves the author's own purpose. What are the odds?!

My overall conclusion is that the book has some very important things to say. But it is said in such a smarmy and condescending way that I would, nay will, go out of my way to cause environmental damage just to spite him. I have no intention of re-reading the book, I have no intention of reading anything else he has written.

And the picture of him on the back cover is creepy. Does he have to look like a gnome? Bear in mind please, that 'he' was a woman in my mind's eye.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Wed May 07, 2008 1:42 pm

905 wrote:
Finished! Do I get a prize?

Seriously, I demand financial compensation for having to read that final chapter. The second last chapter was bad enough; boring company policies but neccessary, and fair play to him for going to the mind-numbing trouble.

But the last chapter was dire. He explains to us what fucking amphibians are. I've known that word could since I could read. He provides some pathetic straw man anti-environmentalist arguments (I can just picture him talking down to imaginary critics) like (p.506)"If we exhaust one resource, we can always switch to some other resource meeting the same need" or (p.513)"If those environmental problems become desperate, it will be at some time far off in the future, after I die, and I can't take them seriously". He makes good points in his retorts but he didn't need to make up stupid people to discuss them with.

Page 497 has two maps, one of environmental trouble spots and another of political trouble spots. Maybe this is just my ego sticking out here, but if I were asked to draw up a map of political trouble-spots, it would not include Madagascar, the Solomon Islands, Mongolia or Nepal. It would include North Korea, Israel, half of Africa, Georgia and parts of South America.

On pages 515 and 516 he provides the source for this map. An imaginary politician, whose answer serves the author's own purpose. What are the odds?!

My overall conclusion is that the book has some very important things to say. But it is said in such a smarmy and condescending way that I would, nay will, go out of my way to cause environmental damage just to spite him. I have no intention of re-reading the book, I have no intention of reading anything else he has written.

And the picture of him on the back cover is creepy. Does he have to look like a gnome? Bear in mind please, that 'he' was a woman in my mind's eye.

You surely do, 905. I haven't finished yet, but you will have seen from the above, I am having my troubles with him too. I also wouldn't read it twice, but I am getting enough out of it to make the once worth while. The main things I am getting more awareness of are how big the problem of invasive species can be and how also top soil erosion.

My main conclusion from reading the Easter Island chapter, if we were to take the island as a metaphor for where we are now, is that we may well be at as much, or more serious risk from nuclear war as we are from climate change.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Wed May 07, 2008 5:32 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I haven't finished yet, but you will have seen from the above, I am having my troubles with him too. I also wouldn't read it twice, but I am getting enough out of it to make the once worth while. The main things I am getting more awareness of are how big the problem of invasive species can be and how also top soil erosion.

My main conclusion from reading the Easter Island chapter, if we were to take the island as a metaphor for where we are now, is that we may well be at as much, or more serious risk from nuclear war as we are from climate change.
I would agree with that, it was worth reading. The information is very good, it's just the presention. It's not just bad, I've struggled through worse, but it's insulting.

Soil erosion would be a novelty for me, but whay I liked was that he covered so much that you would have never bothered to research yourself. I knew of the Maya, Easter Island, and the Norse in the New World but I never really looked into any of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Thu May 08, 2008 10:14 am

I think I'll be back from my holiers by Sunday evening for the next installment... looking forward to it - I'm still on the Polynesian island society which is enough to get me interested in some more reading on the subject though not much more. (maybe Lonely Planet)
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Fri May 09, 2008 1:47 am

Are Sunday nights Book Club night then?

Right, finished chap. 7 on a hot sweaty Tube this eve (and then discovered there's another whole chapter on the Norse! What a Face ). I am sure I would've had marks deducted back in Uni if I wrote many paragraphs like Diamond's para. at the top of pg. 225. God knows I've waded through some academic tripe, stylistically-speaking, over the years and Diamond really, really isn't the worst by a long shot (try some legal academic stuff, Johnfas will tell you I'm sure), but he certainly tries one.

Will save comments for Sunday: will bribe my other and much better half and be there ( Wink ): can't wait to see what Diamond says about Rwanda, read Gourevitch's book on Rwanda years ago. But I am disappointed by the arguments so far. I bought this book before it was nominated for MN's Book Club debut, had read rave reviews.
In fact, almost unheard of in London, when I was paying for it in WH Smith's London Bridge, a 40-ish besuited man from the next queue leant over and said "that's a very good book, a very good book, glad to see you buying it" - hmm ...

... anyway, see ye Sunday ...
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PostSubject: Machine Nation Book Club - Week 3 -   Sun May 11, 2008 8:42 pm

Machine Nation is on its third week's discussion of "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. study study study

The NY Times review of "Collapse" (link below) is a little beauty. After picking up on some of the weaker spots in Jared Diamond's analysis, the reviewer tells us in so many words "Sure twill be grand, we can all go and live on Mars when we've finished f***** this planet up". Very Happy

NY TIMES REVIEW

Diamond shows how complex human societies in these territories survived and adapted for over 500 years before collapsing and disappearing. None of these societies was destroyed by an outside enemy. Diamond shows that climate change, deforestation and population growth lead to collapse.

This week, we're looking at Chapter 3 - 'the last people alive - the Pitcairn and Henderson Islands' and Chapter 4 - 'The ancient ones - the Anasazi and their neighbours'. For anyone who has read on further there is no rule about giving away the end...

The book club sofa will be ready for occupation from 9.30 p.m. tonight to chat about "Collapse" if anyone would like to join me. study Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Sun May 11, 2008 8:47 pm



Anasazi ruins in New Mexico
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Sun May 11, 2008 11:20 pm







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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Sun May 11, 2008 11:23 pm

They look good, cactus. Very comfortable altogether.
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Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)
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