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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 12, 2008 12:45 am

Sorry cactus I completely missed it! glad you reminded me though, sounds interesting ... people would survive anywhere eh? I keep thinking of that trilogy of books Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars while reading this one, funnily enough - they are about terraforming Mars - they're novels based on real ideas of terraforming...

Mangereva atoll - see if it works for ye

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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 12:48 am

I read that thread. Do you recommend those books as a fictional counterbalance to Collapse?
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 12:50 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Sorry cactus I completely missed it! glad you reminded me though, sounds interesting ... people would survive anywhere eh? I keep thinking of that trilogy of books Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars while reading this one, funnily enough - they are about terraforming Mars - they're novels based on real ideas of terraforming...

Mangereva atoll - see if it works for ye

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Yes: it works! The fishing must have been fantastic.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 12:52 am

cactus flower wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Sorry cactus I completely missed it! glad you reminded me though, sounds interesting ... people would survive anywhere eh? I keep thinking of that trilogy of books Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars while reading this one, funnily enough - they are about terraforming Mars - they're novels based on real ideas of terraforming...

Mangereva atoll - see if it works for ye

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Yes: it works! The fishing must have been fantastic.

Especially because of the reefs. They would have broken the ocean current down and stabilised the flow of water around the island. A sort of lake would have been created for fishing.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 12:57 am

Did anyone get much out of the Anasanzi ? It seems to have been climate shift and water problems there? I was in the desert in Nevada a few years ago and there was hand print decoration around the caves, my guide said that it used to be hunting ground territory but had become too hot and arid in the last 20 years.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:01 am

Their irrigation methods were blamed too - they dug channels into the soil which he called arroyos and this was somehow pointed as contributing to the troubles of the area. Intensive farming too...
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:06 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Their irrigation methods were blamed too - they dug channels into the soil which he called arroyos and this was somehow pointed as contributing to the troubles of the area. Intensive farming too...

Yes he does, but he also makes the important point that the Anasazi civilisation lasted 600 years. That's longer than any civilisation which was established after the Columbus voyage.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:07 am

That's three times longer than Australia ...

Modern Western European Australia I mean.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:09 am

The NY Times guy made the point that more intensive agriculture was leading to more afforestation. The recent pressure for more food is worrying though as the temptation is there to bring marginal lands into agriculture.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:11 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
That's three times longer than Australia ...

Modern Western European Australia I mean.

Indeed, the Anasazi had a very good run of it before their number was up. We must place the collapse of these societies in the context of how long they were around.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:13 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
That's three times longer than Australia ...

Modern Western European Australia I mean.

After between 40 and 60,000 years of aboriginal inhabitation, wasn't it. This is what I mean about agricultural and industrial society being a bit of a johny come lately affair.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:22 am

He talks about the over-management of the land and how they branched out and grew their societies needs at the risk of jeopardizing their own food supply in the event of a drought - something he returns to later - the recurrence of droughts and a long-term arc of climate change...

In that chapter on the Anasazi there is a focus on the height of the civilisation and how the main centre of it produced nothing but sucked in trees like a black hole from surrounding villages - there was the Pueblo Bonito and ... ___ I don't know if he dwelled on it referencing London today as an example of a city that takes but doesn't give - and of course he's doing that deliberately...



I don't know if he dwelled on this fact a bit too much
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:28 am

It is interesting. He went on to quote a study that said that at a stage when the region could have supported one-third of the max. population, everyone left. He asked the question if it is possible to collapse a little bit (two-thirds, say) and suggested that a complex society may not be able to function if that high a proportion of population was lost.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:05 pm

cactus flower wrote:

Did anyone read the NY Times review? The reviewer was going along quite nicely until he started saying that we could make a perfectly good life somewhere else in the universe if this planet was made uninhabitable.
I thought the point he was making was that Diamond looks 13,000 years into the past but only a couple of decades into the future. As he says, Diamond focuses too much on archaeology (in the first book anyway), which doesn't make him a great expert on the future.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:21 pm

He also says Diamond speculates too much to fill in the gaps in knowledge. I agree with this.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 1:42 pm

Mmm, true. That's the fault with archaeology, you have to use you imagination a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 2:18 pm

905 wrote:
Mmm, true. That's the fault with archaeology, you have to use you imagination a lot.

I think that archaeology is good, and that the technologies like dendrochronolgy tht can date things reasonably accurately are very helpful. The problem starts when people try and fill the gaps in with speculation. When someone speculates and they have a preset agenda, you can almost guarantee they will be wrong.

We got some pretty weird versions of dinosaurs in the 19th century that turned out to be completely wrong when more fossil evidence was found.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 10:55 pm

cactus flower wrote:
905 wrote:
Mmm, true. That's the fault with archaeology, you have to use you imagination a lot.

I think that archaeology is good, and that the technologies like dendrochronolgy tht can date things reasonably accurately are very helpful. The problem starts when people try and fill the gaps in with speculation. When someone speculates and they have a preset agenda, you can almost guarantee they will be wrong.

We got some pretty weird versions of dinosaurs in the 19th century that turned out to be completely wrong when more fossil evidence was found.

Yeah, but there is a paucity of primary sources from the past in many instances. Historians and archaeologists have to be very creative in their thinking in order to bring the past to life in their minds.

As a keen viewer of Time Team, I've lost track of how many times they've digitally-created whole villas and longhouses out of just a couple of post-holes in the ground.

Archaeologists get only about 10% of the detail in their dig sites and the rest they have to develop.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 11:36 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
905 wrote:
Mmm, true. That's the fault with archaeology, you have to use you imagination a lot.

I think that archaeology is good, and that the technologies like dendrochronolgy tht can date things reasonably accurately are very helpful. The problem starts when people try and fill the gaps in with speculation. When someone speculates and they have a preset agenda, you can almost guarantee they will be wrong.

We got some pretty weird versions of dinosaurs in the 19th century that turned out to be completely wrong when more fossil evidence was found.

Yeah, but there is a paucity of primary sources from the past in many instances. Historians and archaeologists have to be very creative in their thinking in order to bring the past to life in their minds.

As a keen viewer of Time Team, I've lost track of how many times they've digitally-created whole villas and longhouses out of just a couple of post-holes in the ground.

Archaeologists get only about 10% of the detail in their dig sites and the rest they have to develop.

That would make 10% fact and 90% fiction. Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Mon May 12, 2008 11:40 pm

cactus flower wrote:

That would make 10% fact and 90% fiction. Rolling Eyes

Well...actually I'd say development more than fiction!
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Sun May 25, 2008 3:19 pm

Apologies for the Collapse of last week's Book Club session, under the influence of the Full Moon Party. drunken Sleep Embarassed I hope I will be forgiven and you will get stuck back in this week.

This week we are ( I think ) ready to move on the the Maya Collapses ( a short section ) and the more substantial section on the Vikings and North Greenland. This gives us encounters with bloodthirsty Nordic warrior types and with Inuit and Dorset hunter-gatherers, in shared territory. Is climate change is a key factor, or was it bad management that led to societal collapse of the former.

At the end of the section Jared Diamond sums up in Chapter 9 "Opposite Paths to Success."

I am going to find a sheltered spot in the garden this afternoon to read over this section.

Two more sections of the book remain - Part Three - "Modern Societies" - Rwanda, Haiti, China and Mining Australia and Part Four "Practical Lessons".

We have some good suggestions in for our next Book Club book already and are looking for some more. Auditor General is going to organise a poll next week, so a book can be picked and we can go out and buy or borrow it.

Anyone who has not got a copy of "Collapse" but is interested could read the Wikipedia link, listen to the linked Jared Diamond video, and pitch in.

We will be posting from 9.00 p.m. tonight (Sunday 25 May 2008. The sofa, coffee and buns will be ready.

Very Happy 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 25, 2008 11:13 pm



Just making some chocolate brownies.
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PostSubject: Re: Book of the Month April May 08 - 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond (Diamond Video Posted 26 April)   Sun May 25, 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 25, 2008 11:23 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 25, 2008 11:35 pm

Give me 15 or 20 minutes and start without me if you like - I have to go get some brownies now Shocked
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