Browsing All Posts published on »November, 2012«

Living without a State

November 29, 2012 by


We came through relatively unscathed by Sandy – only three days without power. Others had to wait longer, but eventually all affected towns had power restored and roads cleared up. Normal life has resumed. It happened sort-of on its own, except in reality it didn’t. It actually happened because there was a relatively efficient state […]

New Ways of Looking into Past

November 24, 2012 by

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How we can reconstruct and visualize history has been much on my mind this week (when I was not consuming and digesting turkey, that is). First, I ran another micro-workshop on Monday and Tuesday. While during the last week’s workshop we designed the overall architecture of the database, in the second workshop we sat down […]

The Dangers of Building Historical Databases

November 17, 2012 by


Wednesday and Thursday I ran a workshop in my lab. I call these gettings-together ‘micro-workshops,’ because there may be as few as 4-5 people, or as many as 10 (but not more). Many years ago, when I was hired by my university, I asked for a laboratory that was set up not as a usual […]

Collapse of Complex Societies: Did Drought Kill off the Mayans?

November 11, 2012 by


When I wrote my blog about the effect of climate on the rise and demise of complex societies, I had no inkling that there was another paper on this subject in the works. But the latest issue of Science (9.XI.2012) has an article by Douglas Kennett et al., Development and Disintegration of Maya Political Systems […]

Science and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

November 8, 2012 by


In my last blog I was quite critical of studies that link climate change to the rise and fall of complex societies. I acknowledge that my critique was, in a sense, cheap, and not particularly productive. To make it productive I would have to come up with a viable alternative to the approaches I criticize. […]

The Rise and Demise of Complex Societies. The Effect of Climate. Science

November 4, 2012 by


Having your research written about in Science or Nature, or getting your article published in one of these journals (and PNAS) is one of the highlights of a scientist’s career. Competition is pretty fierce, and the editors of these prestigious journals tend to behave in a pretty high-handed manner. Although we complain about it among […]


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