Jared Diamond’s TED talk on why societies collapse

While on the topic, you really should pick up Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Actually, I still need to read his Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. (I’ll just add that to my ever-increasing Kindle library; while the available selection means it’s taking me longer and longer to finish a book these days, I really can’t over-emphasize how nice it is to be able to quickly and easily jump between so many disparate subjects and interests).