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Jared Diamond — Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis (book cover)

For this special edition of the Science Salon Podcast Dr. Shermer brought a camera crew to Jared Diamond’s home in Los Angeles for an especially intimate portrait of the man and his theories. You won’t want to miss this conversation, one of the best we’ve yet recorded, with one of the most interesting minds of our time, perhaps of all time.

In his earlier bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in the final book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crisis through selective change — a coping mechanism more commonly associated with personal trauma.

In a dazzling comparative study, Diamond shows us how seven countries have survived defining upheavals in the recent past — from US Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan to the Soviet invasion of Finland to Pinochet’s regime in Chile — through a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation, and he identifies patterns in the way that these distinct nations recovered from calamity. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the United States, and the world, are squandering their natural advantages, on a path towards political conflict and decline. Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past?

Adding a psychological dimension to the awe-inspiring grasp of history, geography, economics, and anthropology that marks all Diamond’s work, Upheaval reveals how both nations and individuals can become more resilient. The result is a book that is epic, urgent, and groundbreaking.

Listen to the podcast via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

This Science Salon was recorded on March 13, 2019.

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Dr. Michael Shermer — Why People Believe Weird Things: Science, Pseudoscience, and the Paranormal

Dr. Michael Shermer will be hosting a live Science Salon podcast event on Sunday May 19 at 3pm at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. He will deliver a lecture on the psychology of belief followed by an interactive AMA (Ask Me Anything) with the audience.

The event will be filmed and broadcast worldwide later as a Science Salon podcast. The live event includes wine, food, and extended conversation at the Unitarian Society facility in Santa Barbara.

For those coming from out of town Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful beach cities in California. Come for the weekend or the day and visit the spectacular beaches and mountains before the late afternoon event.

Free Childcare

Kids are welcome and free childcare is provided for ages 2–10. Please email [email protected] to reserve a childcare spot after registering.


Tickets are $10 cash at the door, limited to 130, and the event will sell out. Please register in advance to reserve your seat(s).

Register for the event

This event is co-sponsored by the the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara and The Skeptics Society.


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