Saturday, January 01, 2005

First Post of the Year!

Just had to get one post in before crashing to see the '05 show up on the archive list...

I didn't get out of the store until after 1 AM tonight - we were opened until midnight and were mobbed, thanks to Leesburg's First Night celebration down at the Courthouse a half a block away. Good times were had by all.

For your morning reading, I recommend Jared Diamond's essay in today's NYT, on the collapse of civilizations. Pertinent quote:

Why weren't these problems obvious to the Maya kings, who could surely see their forests vanishing and their hills becoming eroded? Part of the reason was that the kings were able to insulate themselves from problems afflicting the rest of society. By extracting wealth from commoners, they could remain well fed while everyone else was slowly starving.

What's more, the kings were preoccupied with their own power struggles. They had to concentrate on fighting one another and keeping up their images through ostentatious displays of wealth. By insulating themselves in the short run from the problems of society, the elite merely bought themselves the privilege of being among the last to starve.

Diamond is the author of the must-read 'Guns, Germs and Steel' (I'll look up the link tomorrow - too tired tonight), and has a new book out on the subject of why civilizations fall. (Ahem - it's recently been added to my Amazon wishlist, wink, nudge...)


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