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Jared Diamond quotes (37)

AIDS and malaria and TB are national security issues. A worldwide program to get a start on dealing with these issues would cost about $25 billion... It's, what, a few months in Iraq.
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All human societies go through fads in which they temporarily either adopt practices of little use or else abandon practices of considerable use.
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Although native Africans domesticated some plants in the Sahel and in Ethiopia and in tropical West Africa, they acquired valuable domestic animals only later, from the north.
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Australia is the most isolated continent.
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Biology is the science. Evolution is the concept that makes biology unique.
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Eurasia ended up with the most domesticated animal species in part because it's the world's largest land mass and offered the most wild species to begin with.
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Federal elections happen every two years in this country. Presidential elections every four years. And four years just isn't long enough to dismantle all the environmental laws we've got in this country.
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Human societies vary in lots of independent factors affecting their openness to innovation.
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I decided that now is the time to start doing the things that really interest me and I find important. It was in the 10 years of the MacArthur grant that I began working on my first book... and I began putting more work into environmental history.
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I personally am not conscious of my accent.
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I'd rather spend my leisure time doing what some people call my work and I call my fun.
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I've always been interested in a lot of things, and a lot of things at the same time, and I always tried to explain them to myself. I ask a lot of questions.
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I've worked very hard in this book to keep the lines of communication open. I don't want to turn someone away from this information for partisan political reasons.
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Infectious diseases introduced with Europeans, like smallpox and measles, spread from one Indian tribe to another, far in advance of Europeans themselves, and killed an estimated 95% of the New World's Indian population.
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Introspection and preserved writings give us far more insight into the ways of past humans than we have into the ways of past dinosaurs. For that reason, I'm optimistic that we can eventually arrive at convincing explanations for these broadest patterns of human history.
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It's striking that Native Americans evolved no devastating epidemic diseases to give to Europeans, in return for the many devastating epidemic diseases that Indians received from the Old World.
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Lest those islands still seem to you too remote in space and time to be relevant to our modern societies, just think about the risks... of our increasing globalization and increasing worldwide economic interdependence.
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Measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle, influenza from a disease of pigs, and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases.
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Native Americans had only stone and wooden weapons and no animals that could be ridden. Those military advantages repeatedly enabled troops of a few dozen mounted Spaniards to defeat Indian armies numbering in the thousands.
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No government is here forever. And there are other forces - the most potent force in our society, in fact, big business - doing good for the environment.
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Some people have much more pull than other people. But when I say that the public has ultimate responsibility, I'm not saying it in a moral sense. I'm just saying it in the sense of what is it that's really going to bring change.
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Starbucks goes to a great effort, and pays twice as much for its coffee as its competitors do, and is very careful to help coffee producers in developing countries grow coffee without pesticides and in ways that preserve forest structure.
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Take air quality in the United States today: It's about 30 percent better than it was 25 years ago, even though there are now more people driving more cars.
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Tasmanian history is a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction - namely, complete isolation from other humans for 10,000 years.
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Technology causes problems as well as solves problems. Nobody has figured out a way to ensure that, as of tomorrow, technology won't create problems. Technology simply means increased power, which is why we have the global problems we face today.
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Technology has to be invented or adopted.
Jared Diamond   Category: Technology

The broadest pattern of history - namely, the differences between human societies on different continents - seems to me to be attributable to differences among continental environments, and not to biological differences among peoples themselves.
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The main thing that gives me hope is the media. We have radio, TV, magazines, and books, so we have the possibility of learning from societies that are remote from us, like Somalia. We turn on the TV and see what blew up in Iraq or we see conditions in Afghanistan.
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The rate of human invention is faster, and the rate of cultural loss is slower, in areas occupied by many competing societies with many individuals and in contact with societies elsewhere.
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The southward advance of native African farmers with Central African crops halted in Natal, beyond which Central African crops couldn't grow - with enormous consequences for the recent history of South Africa.
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The United States has long thought of itself as the land of infinite plenty, and historically we did have abundant resources. But now we are gradually exhausting our fisheries, our topsoil, our water. On top of that, we're coming to the end of world resources.
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Thousands of years ago, humans domesticated every possible large wild mammal species fulfilling all those criteria and worth domesticating, with the result that there have been no valuable additions of domestic animals in recent times, despite the efforts of modern science.
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Twenty years ago, you might have been pessimistic and said there's no hope. But these days, some of our very biggest companies are acting remarkably cleanly. And in some cases, although not all cases, the CEOs are the driving forces behind that.
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We can't manipulate some stars while maintaining other stars as controls; we can't start and stop ice ages, and we can't experiment with designing and evolving dinosaurs.
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We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about.
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We're uncomfortable about considering history as a science. It's classified as a social science, which is considered not quite scientific.
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Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents for the last 13,000 years?
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