Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mixing it Up

Today we went to a talk by Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel at Maryville University. It was very cool, partly because I've read Guns and seen some related show about it on History Channel as well as an appearance or two by Jared on Daily Show.

He is an interesting man. He came out wearing a bright read blazer and sporting a distinctive New England accent. The talk started off a little slow but once it got moving turned out to be very interesting. One topic he touched on was the way that different societies deal with risk. For example people in the US have a significant fear of terrorists despite the fact that we are much much more likely to die from heart disease or falling in the shower. He did make a counter point though, which was that when things are extremely dangerous their death tolls become lower because people take extra precaution. For example tribe members in traditional societies are rarely killed by lions because they have developed many strategies to avoid them. It was very interesting.

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