Why Civilizations Decline

Click here for Peter Montague's interesting commentary on Jared Diamond's (Guns, Germs, and Steel) op-ed on the New York Times entitled "Collapse; How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." In his article, Jared Diamond looks at how past civilizations have collapsed and highlights the role of damage to the environment and isolationism of the country's elites in the sudden demise of past superpowers. Interesting reading. The environmental issue worris me. I hope we don't have to completely destroy the planet before the powers that be finally decide to do something about it. How long will be we able to fool ourselves that the situation is not that bad?

Brazil 2 x 0 Australia

Brazil won and friendships survived. It was tense and I spent the match trying not to scream too loudly and at times hiding under my Brazilian flag. You can see pictures on Alan's blog soon.

From Brazil one expects not only a victory but a master class. The victory came out of a nice goal by Adriano (via Ronaldinho and Ronaldo) and Fred (via Robinho) and some nice attempts by Kaká. Yet, it was bittersweet for many Brazilians and the international press that keeps criticizing Ronaldo for being out of shape and the famous "magic square" for not performing to their full potention. In Spain the main criticism is the position given to Ronaldinho in the team – a bit further back than his usual position at Barcelona – which many here find unsuitable for his talent. But as the 1982 and 1994 world cups have taught us – what matter, in the end, is not how we play but the results we get. And so far we have delivered.