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Jared Diamond: Crisis Management by People and Nations

Sunday, January 22, 2006
2:00pm to 4:00pm
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Beckman Auditorium
  • Public Event
    "A society contains a built-in blueprint for failure if the elite insulates itself from the consequences of its actions. That's why Maya kings...made choices that eventually undermined their societies. They themselves did not begin to feel deprived until they had irreversibly destroyed their landscape. Could this happen in the United States? It's a thought that often occurs to me here in Los Angeles, when I drive by gated communities, guarded by private security patrols, and filled with people who drink bottled water, depend on private pensions, and send their children to private schools....
    When the Maya...were cutting down their trees, there were no historians or archaeologists, no newspapers or television, to warn them of the consequences of their actions. We, on the other hand, have a detailed chronicle of human successes and failures at our disposal. Will we choose to use it?"

  - Jared Diamond, in a New York Times editorial, 01/01/05

Jared Diamond's books debunk some cherished misconceptions. The Pulitzer prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel demolished the idea that Europeans are inherently superior to other peoples. And Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, his latest volume, challenges the belief that technology alone can save the environment.

Diamond speaks a dozen languages, and his books rely on fields as diverse as molecular biology and archaeology, as well as obscure knowledge about everything from typewriter design to feudal Japan. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. Diamond is also US regional director of the World Wildlife Fund.

In 1998 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, and was presented with the National Medal of Science by president Bill Clinton in March of 2000.

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Event Sponsor: Skeptics Society
For more information, please phone (626) 395-4652 or email [email protected].
$15 general; $10 Skeptics Society and Caltech/JPL