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United for Peace of Pierce County - December 2010 DIGGING DEEPER books: Taleb, von Baeyer, Gerson, Doerken, Nitzan & Bichler


DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.[1] ...


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December 6, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXLIII: Statistical perspectives on reality

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbably, 2nd ed. (Random House, 2010; original edition 2007). — "Taleb . . . thrash[es] MBA- and Nobel Prize-credentialed experts who make their living from economic forecasting.  A financial trader and current rebel with a cause, Taleb is mathematically oriented and alludes to statistical concepts that underlie models of prediction, while his expressive energy is expended on roller-coaster passages, bordering on gleeful diatribes, on why experts are wrong. . . . taking pit stops with philosophers who have addressed the meaning of the unexpected and confounding."  —Booklist.

Hans Christian von Baeyer, Maxwell's Demon: Why Warmth Disperses and Time Passes (Random House, 1997; Modern Library paperback, 1999). — "Von Baeyer, a physicist at the College of William and Mary, invites the reader to travel with the illuminati of thermodynamics along their zig-zag path to an understanding of heat, energy, and entropy. . . . Von Baeyer's writing style is so compelling that it would induce even the most scientifically naive reader to care about the laws of thermodynamics."  —Publishers Weekly.

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December 13 & 20, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXLIV: Nuclear terror and citizen resistance

Joseph Gerson, Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World (Pluto, 2007). — "Brilliant.  I have not read a more important book in many years.  Gerson has uncovered the radioactive vein in our secret foreign policy. . . . Gerson's work helps us understand why the likelihood of nuclear war is greater now than before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  A terrific book."  —Daniel Ellsberg.

Maurine Doerken, One Bomb Away: Citizen Empowerment for Nuclear Awareness (AWOL Ink Productions, 2002). — "One Bomb Away provides a comprehensive overview of our nuclear world and how individual citizens can become more involved in fomenting change."  —Book description.

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December 27, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXLV: The political economy of Israel

Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler, The Global Political Economy of Israel (Pluto, 2002). — "[H]ighly original book. In order to understand capitalist development, argue Bichler and Nitzan, we need to break the artificial separation between 'economics' and 'politics,' and think of accumulation itself as 'capitalization of power.'  Applying this concept to Israel, and drawing upon seemingly unrelated phenomena, the authors reveal the big picture that never makes it to the news.  Diverse processes—such as global accumulation cycles, regional conflicts and energy crises, ruling class formation and dominant ideology, militarism and dependency, inflation and recession, the politics of high-technology and the transnationalization of ownership—are all woven into a single story."  —Book description.


Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County’s “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, has examined more than 325 books. (Summaries more than 200 of them have been posted online on the website Scribd.) Topics discussed have included the Iraq war, Peak Oil, climate change, torture, the corporation, Islam, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the writings of Robert Baer, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, Israel/Palestine, sustainability, war and human nature, the nature of money, September 11, energy geopolitics, the debt crisis, American immigration policy, the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, financial crisis, the politics of assassination, and Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, and social change. Occasionally the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation — Participation is free and open; anyone interested is welcome. Try King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) or other local bookstores for copies of books. More information: contact Mark Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see