tv 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books CSPAN April 11, 2016 3:59am-6:12am EDT
phones, no personal recordings. you can watch us on c-span when this is over if you want to relive those unforgettable moments. [laughter] we will have time for questions at the end. we will have a book signing afterwards. the signing area for this session is signing area one. two of our authors appearing today are are prolific, old pros. ed humes has written 14 books, brian fagin has written more than 40. so let's start with jonathan waldman. this is his first book. jonathan waldman -- [applause] [laughter] jonathan studied writing at dartmouth and at boston university's knight center for science journalism. he's written for outside, the washington post, "the new york times," mcsweenys, the utney reader. he has worked as a forklift driver -- i want to get this straight -- a summer camp
director, a sticker salesman -- [laughter] a climbing instructor and a cook. his first book is rust: the longest or war. it was nominated for the l.a. times' book prize in science. please welcome to the l.a. times festival of books jonathan waldman. [applause] >> thanks. >> is finish -- so my opening question for you is what is a bigger threat to the united states military, isis or rust? [laughter] >> there's a guy in the pentagon who would like you to throw that question at him. he's our nation's highest-ranked rust official. [laughter] he's been fighting a very good fight for about ten years now. he's making friends on the hill with a lot of politicians and among admirals in the navy who say we can't keep going the way
we're going, losing hips to rust. we -- ships to rust. we can't build them fast enough. he would say it's clearly rust. i try to stay away from proclamations like that, but i did write in the book that rust is greater than all other natural disasters combined. and people this weekend have asked me, i don't get it, a book about rust. i said think about it this way: our most abundant element is attacking our most important material all the time, everywhere. so isis is not bad. [laughter] >> and you say there's a shipyard up in northern california full of rusting naval vessels? >> it was there. actually, i haven't seen it in a while. what's the name of the fleet? the reserve fleet. >> that's a nice way of putting it.
>> in case you need rusty ships, that's where to go to get them. [laughter] they're so rust key, they're polluting the bay up in san francisco and causing a big problem for california. i think they've slowly tugged them over to texas to get scrapped and killed, but we kept them because we sort of had to. it's kind of an ugly political scenario stemming from rust. it happens all the time. >> let's talk about cans. 180 billion aluminum beverage cans are manufactured, is it every year? >> that's just for the -- maybe that's every year. >> and you need each one to be perfect. what happens if a can is not perfect? >> so i went to can school concern. [laughter] and almost got kicked out for asking too many questions. because what they do to keep a can from rusting makes some people in the industry
uncomfortable because of endowritten disrupters. endocrine disrupt ors. but cans i heard referred to at can school as exhibiting time bomb behavior because they want to rust from the inside out, top down and bottom up. a can probably is made with more tolerance than anything on a spaceship sent up there. so every time i grab a can, i do this silly thing where i just marvel at it, because no one looks at a and be thinks how amazing it is. when cans rust from the inside out, they explode, and the tab part that goes -- it can fly out and get you in the eye. it has blinded people, it has severed people's achilles tendons. you get lawsuits. it's really ugly, and it's just the basic old thing, the can, that we run off and recycle. so i ran into the can, and i refer to it as a corrosion miracle.
every year a number of companies -- there's a hot market in energy drinks. i don't know if anyone here has invented any energy drinks, but if you do and you want to sell them in a cool looking can, you go to a major can manufacturer, and you say we'd like to put some stuff in your can. if it's too corrosive, they will call you back and is say your stuff is battery acid, you need to change the formula, because we can't put it in a can. can and that happens one out of seven times with all energy drinks. [laughter] so drink up. [laughter] >> tell me more about this can school. what is can school? socaning is a big industry. pepsi, coca-cola, everybody in the milk industry, everybody -- water. people want to put their stuff in a and sell it that way. [laughter] so the ball corporation just
down the road from me in colorado invites -- well, they used to invite people, now they don't. thanks to me. [laughter] they invite people to beverage can school and food can school, and i told them who i was, and they actually said they couldn't come and they goofed up and sent me an e-mail that said, welcome, here's what it is, here's what to wear, lunch is included, so i went. and they're familiarizing people in the beverage industry with what magic goes on at the can plant, how to make cans and why they're spending a dime a can to buy them by the billions. so that was sort of my inside tour to how it goes. and i actually, i didn't get a diploma from can school, they were not happy with me. but on the day my book came out, the chief corrosion guy from their packaging lab showed up, and i got an e-mail that night awarding me a can school
diploma. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you, thank you. >> a lot of you -- so a lot of your book about rust is about the rust fighters. and this might seem a small thing, but it really got to me. you point out that a disproportionate number of the people you call the rust fighters have moustaches. >> yeah, really good ones. >> can you explain this. or can you explain anything else about rust fighters as a group? [laughter] >> broadly, i think that engineers have a wisdom that some things are not worth fighting. and i think facial hair is probably one of them. and i want to be clear though, i don't -- i think that's a great position to take. sheaing every day is weird. -- shaving every day is weird. i have a lot of comments on amazon saying, like, you have a strange moustache obsession. maybe i do, but a lot -- i think two-thirds of engineers, male
engineers have moustaches. this basically are no female engineers -- hey, talk to people who do s.t.e.m. promotion, engineering is like 98% male. fact. [laughter] >> i'm no engineer. >> well, i think we'll move on now. [laughter] we'll come back to jonathan. edward hiewms is a pulitzer prize-winning journalist. as i said, author of 14 books including garre bolling, our dirty love affair with trash. his writing has appeared in l.a. magazine, "the wall street journal," "the new york times" and other places. he's the recipient of a penn award. his new book is called "door to door: the magnificent, maddening, mysterious world of transportation." its official pub date, i think, is two days from now. so this book is really brand i new.
the forward is written by bill mccan kicken -- mckibbon, one of our heroes, and he's in the l.a. times today on the op-ed page. so please welcome back to the l.a. times festival of book withs edward humes. [applause] so, ed, you open your book with a memorable day in l.a.. how many people here remember carmageddon? that was the day they closed the 405 for how many hours, 48 hours? >> 53. >> 53 hourings. first time since it opened in 1962. the prediction was total disaster, stay in your homes, do not go out during carmageddon. what happened? [laughter] >> well, we were supposed to fix traffic x it did. for 53 hourings. [laughter] the great irony is that closing
all those lanes improved traffic and pollution throughout southern california, throughout the los angeles area. it was a great success on that front. now, after it opened, of course, it's the field of dreams phenomenon. if you build it, they will come. more cars have come to fill the vacuum. one year after the extra lane on the 405 opened it took several minutes longer to make that commute than before we built the lane. $1.3 billion, longer commute. and sort of this myth that exists that our traffic will get better if we just pour more money into making more lanes for more cars. it just, it hasn't worked. it's never worked really. and yet we're trapped in this ribbon-cutting love of building new lanes and big infrastructure when there's probably -- this is the thing that i was trying to talk about in the op-ed piece today -- there's a lot cheaper ways to do what carmageddon did
while it was closed, which was to change people's behavior. when they drive, how they drive or what they drive. and that was really important, because it showed how you can successfully make traffic better without building new stuff. >> well, i think i have a great solution which is i stay home and order everything from amazon. [laughter] and amazon, you know, ups brings it the my house, ups is driving around every day anyway, so isn't that the solution for everyone? [laughter] >> you know, it sort of seems like it's is so to convenient. all right, this is in my book, but we have a diabetic cat, you know? not a nice cat, and we have to buy this special cat food x the best place to get it is from amazon. i clicked on it one day, and it arrived in, like, nine hours. yeah, really? this same-day delivery world is terrible for traffic. it's going to kill us. it's going to drown us. think about it. i talked to the head of ups in los angeles, and, you know, on any given day they're moving two
million packages around l.a. and environs, delivering them. they used to take all those by the truckload to stores. so let's say the average ups van has 120 packages on it. all that goes to one place. now it goes to 120 different places. the orders of magnitude of more trips that have to be taken to move the same amount of goods -- well, noah massey, he was the head of the h.a. headquarters for ups -- l.a. headquarters, i'd say he tore his hair out over there, and he is maddened by the simultaneous desire of consumers to have that convenience, and yet their absolute hatred of having more trucks on the road delivering tough and their battles against things like extending the 710 freeway and completing it after 40 years of not connecting to where it's supposed to go. we want it all and we don't want to pay for it kind of situation we're in.
so we're facing another kind of carmageddo from the hurtling towards this digital economy. >> are you suggesting maybe i shouldn't order so much stuffsome. >> actually, that was my last book, garbology. we do get and accumulate so much stuff from far off. and that's really where this door to door idea came out of. looking at my own habits and my family's in my home and kind of one day in the life of what it takes to keep us moving and keep us in, you know, socks and shoes and all that stuff that comes in at the port of los angeles. 30, 40 % of the kerr economy is coming -- consumer economy is coming out of that road we don't want to finish. and just what it takes -- it's horrifying when you dig down and see how much we're investing and spending and we do every day. >> well, you have some statistics which i question.
you say that the morning cup of coffee covered 30,000 miles. now, i -- this bothers me. the circumference of the earth, i looked this up, 25,000 miles. so how could it be from colombia to los angeles -- i assume we all drink colombian coffee -- >> about 4,000 miles, i think. >> yeah. so how did you get there, and maybe you should reconsider. >> no. well, a lot of coffee you drink is a blend, of course. the one i was sort of picking apart was starbucks french roast which has, i think, three or four different kinds of beans. i don't remember now. if you look at the african and south american sources of the beans, the fact that germany is, i think, the sixth or seventh larger exporter to the united states. they don't grow a bean, but the web that our -- and we're just talking the beans here. follow to get to us is much more
than you might think. and, of course, if you're talking about that cup of coffee you're clutching on your commute, there's the transportation of the water, the milk, if you use sugar, the packaging that the coffee comes many, the coffee maker itself which probably has even more miles on it, you start to see that the transportation footprint is -- >> you're right. i hadn't counts the cup, the milk, the machinery. >> well, you can -- >> okay. you've got me on coffee, but what about the smartphone? this one you say 165,000 miles. i repeat, the circumference of the earth is only 25,000 miles, so how could the smartphone take 165,000 miles? >> well, i was going with my own stuff, so the iphone was my model, but i believe all smartphones are probably similar. if you go to the ontario airport
and look on the tarmac, and this happens every day, there's palettes of these plain, unmarked boxes with constant video surveillance. and they won't tell you what's in it, but everybody knows those are the iphones, and they're worth more than their weight in gold. and every day they come in over, out of china, stop in alaska to refuel and come into ontario, and they're filtered out to the rest of us. and the thing is if you follow the assembly, just the little home button with the touch id sensor on it, it not only has -- [inaudible] [laughter] oh, thank you. i didn't know i had -- [laughter] so if you just follow that one humble little piece, it goes back and forth between china and japan multiple times as one part is moved to an assembly, and the part they're attaching may have come from the netherlands.
i think that button alone has about 12,000 miles on it because it's constantly on the move as it grows in sophistication. and, of course, it's final assembled at plant in china and then shipped out to the united states. so the transportation footprint on that -- and then, of course, the raw materials, the greek chorus of rare earth elements which i cannot pronounce, but they sound like minor deities, all those have to be sourced from all over the world. the precious metals also in your phone. it's almost impossible to trace the actual raw materials of the things we use. but apple is better than most companies at making that information public. it's just astonishing, you know? you look at your -- i have a toyota. the 30,000 parts in that around went to the moon and back before the odometer has budged one mile because everything we do is global now. 95% of our shoes come in through the port of los angeles from foreign countries. this everyday stuff that we use, not just the exotic stuff, has
tremendous footprint on it from transportation. >> and you have some horrifying pollution statistics on the supertankers. >> oh, yeah. well, you know -- and they're not rusty ships because they are gleaming and huge. when you get close to them, you guide these into port and oh, that ship doesn't look so big, and you realize you're, like, two miles away. [laughter] and the one i happened to go out on was a car carrier. they roll it on, they roll it off. it's literally a floating parking garage, and bigger than the one we parked in to come to this pest value. just -- festival. just immense. the numbers i have is 160 of those ships, and there's 6,000 total. 160 of them on the open seas emit the particulates and smog-causing emissions equivalent to all of the cars in the world. all of the cars in the world. it's staggering. and they do about 3, 4% of
global carbon emissions as well. so at any one time, 100 of these ships are either docked in the ports of los angeles and long beach or waiting to docker a hundred of them. and those together have greater emissions than all the cars in the country. that's what it takes to move our goods to us. >> are we feeling bad enough now? >> i got to ride in a google car too. that was fun. >> what was google's car like? >> all right. well, i wondered a little bit be they staged this for my benefit, but they swear they didn't. you know, they have programmed this car to drive all over the mountain view where the google campus is. and we're driving along, this car's amazing. first of all, it's the slowest car on the road because it's the only car in sight obeying the speed limit. which is why it gets rear ended all the time. [laughter] but then we're driving right through the campus, and i'm chatting with the operators who aren't doing anything other than what the car's doing, and
they're showing me what the machine vision -- and all of a sudden jams on the brakes, and walking across the street was some google coder. and talk about facial hair, you thinengineers are bad, he had -- he was in his own world. he had a full-sized laptop on his arm with the screen up and was typing on it as he was crossing the street. and he came out from between two parked cars. and, you know, if that had been me driving, it would have been flying laptop, flying nerd -- [laughter] and this car stops on a dime and didn't, you know -- and he looked up, oh, google car, kept on going across the street. [laughter] but it was, i am convinced that we would eliminate 90% of car crashes if that was the major mode of individual transportation. it was impressive. >> i'm feeling better. [laughter]
next, brian fagin. he was born in england, trained in archaeology and anthropology at pembroke college, claim bridge. from 1959-1965 he served as keeper of pre-history at the livingston museum in northern rhodesia which is now zambia where he was involved in excavating a series of 1,000-year-old villages. he's a pioneer who makes it relevant in newly independent african nations. eventually, he left africa, came to the united states to teach and from 1967-2003 he served as professor of anthropology at uc santa barbara. he retired from teaching in 2003. since then he's been a full-time writer and independent scholar. as i said, he's written at least 40 books, maybe 50. we're trying to nail down that number.
most important of his books are the ones on historical climate change including the book "the great warming," 2008 book which was a new york times bestseller. tells the story of the medieval warm period. his 2010 book, "cro-magnon," was featured at the book festival a couple years ago. he's also author of several sailing books. his new book is about how animals shaped human history. it's called "the intimate bond." in this book brian fagin writes about dogs, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, cattle, camel and horses. but in real life he lives with cats, fish, turtles and rabbits. he says sometimes he's had as many as 24 rabbits. so please welcome back to the l.a. times festival of books brian fagin.
[applause] >> thank you, ladies and gentlemen. ed and i share an experience. i've been out on a container ship with a pilot from san francisco bay. truly the most frightening bit of conveyance i've ever been on. he turned it 800 feet around, and in front of the bow yachts were going around in front of them. he just looked at them, excuse my french, stupid bass towards. i said, what would you do? he said, nothing, there's nothing i can do. by far the most interesting of them -- and the most neglected -- is the donkey. the donkey is a very cool animal. it has a number of advantages. it is very well adapted to
semiarid conditions, and it can be used in deserts. and i had two extraordinary experiences doing. the first one was i discovered the work of and talked to egyptologists who have traced an ancient donkey caravan trail from the nile to the middle of the sahara, 200 miles. of it was used for centuries. and they would take these enormous caravans of donkeys. a third of the donkeys carried fodder, a third carried water in jars, and a third caroled the product -- carried the product which was semiprecious stones. believe it or not, they've not only found the track, they've found the cases of the jars, they found the skeletons of the donkeys, they found donkey poop, and they found the camps. all on the desert, preserved.
these guys were the pickup trucks of the ancient world. they were our toyotas. [laughter] and then the other one was even more fun, much more obscure. there was a very well known trade by donkeys, black donkeys, between northern iraq and a town in central turkey. and they found the archives there which are clay tablets with kind form writing. is there anyone here who can decipher kindny form? don't be shy. [laughter] i can't. anyway, i got into a correspondence with a charming gentleman. and i wrote, are there many of you? >> there were six of us. we argue, we quarrel, we drink. they were lovely. and he gave me all information. i mean, they can even reconstruct the correspondence of wives with their husbands who
were -- [inaudible] telling him to bring jewelry. they've got details of how the caravans fared, prices of donkeys which were the same at both ends. the donkeys were worth nothing, they were worked to death. and so they were anonymous pickups. but they linked the ancient world. even more so initially than the camel. >> and your book is a history book. where do you date the history of the domestication of the donkey? where does that begin? >> it began in, they think -- and a lot of this is very new research. t just beginning. it was somewhere in northeast africa where they domesticated them out of the wild african donkey. but by 3100 b.c., there were burials of four donkeys in a cemetery associated with royal burials in upper egypt.
and these guys were buried with considerable ceremony. but when they looked closely at the donkey skeletons, they found they had been overloaded and worked hard. these were draft animals. but, clearly, they were of such importance that they were buried carefully. why? because in those days, an economy in ancient egypt really the most tangible possession you had was your animals x. a thousand years later, excuse me, there were nobles who had a thousand donkeys. imagine the cost of looking after those. >> so 3100 b.c. for the domestication of the donkey -- >> actually, earlier. a thousand years earlier. >> a thousand years earlier. i had the naive idea that the wheel was the key to transportation, but this seems that i've been wrong about this. >> you are, indeed, very wrong. [laughter] actually, that is incorrect.
imagine a world where the only way of transporting everything was either on people's backs or in canoes. so that made the four-regularred four-regularred -- four-legged beast extraordinarily important. wheels came in later. he were brought in in central asia, mess -- mesopotamia. and you had to have animals that would haul those, and you didn't use the animal's back. you used them to haul carts. ox carts were the earliest. then, of course, later you get the chariot. but that's another world. >> and i also loved your chapter on the camel, another creature that didn't tow a cart, but was itself a beast of burden. >> how many of you have ridden a camel? many. [laughter] camels, what absolutely electrified me when i really got
into these wasn't the camel itself, which is a remarkable animal. i mean, it has adapted to desert. and when people put them on caravans, you led -- you found the water, and the camel took you there. but the thing that really made the camel important of all things was the saddle, the type of saddle on the back. the initial saddle was a simple one in saudi arabia on the back of the camel, at the back. but it got better when they put the camel saddle on the hump. why? because at that point you could start fighting, and you control your caravan. and then even later they developed the long distance carrying the saddle, the saharan saddle, which enabled people to cross the sahara and carry loads. and let me give you a statistic. in 1492 two-thirds of europe's
gold came from west africa, across the sahara on camel back. so this was a pretty important animal. but it's not the 405 freeway. [laughter] >> probably faster. >> nor did it rust. >> it doesn't rust, excellent point. >> so today, today our animals are either something we eat or something we keep as pets. the animals that we eat we treat horribly, the animals that are our pets, we treat like members of our own family. you also say there's a history to, a history to the household pet as the loved member of the family, and the history of cruelty to the animals that we eat. >> it is a very sering history. sering history. i was horrified by it. my wife and daughter are real, genuine animal lovers. they love rabbits. we have cats.
and pick them up and recycle them. one of the reasons the prevention for their cruelty to animals came in england was because of cruelty of animals. animals were penned up and it was horrifying. today we are in this position where we eat animals. we treat a lot of animals inhumanely and this is beginning to change and get we have all of these animals. i'm known as the bunny husband, because i don't do anything with the rabbits. i'm not particularly fond of the rabbits. the more i'm around them the more i realize this extraordinary dichotomy. >> i was horrified by your section on the pits ponies. i had never heard of them before >> i had quite a trouble with
that because oddly enough there is not a great deal of literature on them. >> what is a pitch pony? >> a pony that spent its life underground mainly in: minds, moving the call from the face to the bottom of the shop where was taken up to the surface and these animals, which actually were treated reasonably well, but when they were shot echoed old they were brought up and had trouble adjusting to the light and this was a huge huge population. i believe in england at one point there were 70000 pit ponies, but this died out by a basically world war ii and people were trying to make their lives better by abolishing them, but brought really abolished them was the invention-- invention of the electric
devices you could use underground. i and my cat's servant, but that something different. >> went to see if our panelists have any comments or questions of each other's presentations. >> my brook was born on a sailboat in san francisco and i realize we had your cruising guidebook on the boat. we work following every word. >> thank you. so nice. >> i didn't go anywhere. >> that was an interesting book to write, actually. i want all of you when you leave here to go out there and say to yourself i don't still displace. what landmarks would you use to get their because writing at-- any sort of guidance is what pilots do. you have landmarks. it could be a color of the building, whatever.
to think about that when you leave, if you got lost like i did among all this italian architecture. [laughter] >> which, it is. clec that's a nice way of putting it. >> i said that in one of the information booth and it almost died. i'm an englishman. i can get away with it. >> other panelists comments or questions back and forth? >> i'm fascinated by the donkey history request that the first domesticated transport animal? was that before oxen and horses? >> horses are much later. about the 35 bc, i think. you are talking about a huge new animal because a horse assassinates mileage and they can use vast loads.
the donkey was the earliest serial yes pack animal. you can use oxen, but they had to use water every 24 hours. donkeys linked egypt. linked afghanistan with countries further south and the mule, which, of course. is of the horse and the donkey was one of the major transport animals of the roman empire. they are very early and much neglected historically. >> i'm surprised you don't have some. >> think god i don't. we have a horse. my wife has horse, not on the property. she is now threatening a dog. fortunately my cats won't allow dogs.
clec have a question. i thought that advantage of aluminum cans was that they did not rest clec i use the word rest locally. all but three metals oxidize or can be made in some way to oxidize, but aluminum on a sailboat turns white and makes it stronger, doesn't it? >> makes it stronger until a certain point at which point it just falls apart. in a lot of metals form a protective lay her on aluminum will do that. expose it to salt water or something that can allow it to keep oxidizing and the protective layer creeps inward. it's a way of creating a protective layer kind of artificially on a metal. there are only like six ways you can protect metal from corroding , which is why the book was fun to do.
there's not much you can do. i guess i could have kept going and down different bridges in different types, but there are only-- only summary angles to take a didn't actually go into antedating electroplating, but that is one of those. >> you have a vivid picture of all the different metals on a sailboat that oxidize in different ways. >> a sailboat we mostly have stainless steel, but the parts of a sailboat-- we bought this 1978 fiberglass boat in mexico and i was actually sort of sent their as a pioneer by my buddies to investigate to see if this was about we wanted to buy, which was a terrible move because i didn't know anything about boats, but i went down there with a camera and took a lot of pictures and it looked less boat-- it was a great boat it turned out.
we took her sailing in the first time we furled the mainsail it fell off in the water in the wind vane on the stern almost fell off into the water and the tracks that hold of some of the blocks in place were rusted, i mean, every part of the boat that had to do something would not do that thing because of trust. >> last week they had a boom on one of the boats, mainsail just from the inside. >> the funny part is fighting rest in the boat did not get me to a book. it was going to the hardware stores and asking what i do about this and they told me so many different things that i said they don't know what they are talking about. back got me to a conference called they got rust because i figured the navy probably had the same issues i had and it was there i met the nation's highest rank official and i did not know that guy existed.
>> well, i did take some notes on the cocaine in, which prevents rust-- coke can which prevents rust with a lining. the line he has been linked to early puberty, obesity, miscarriage and cancer in rats. early puberty, obesity, miscarriage and cancer in rats. do you teach-- drink coke in cans? >> i don't drink coke period. >> what is your sense of the lining as a solution? >> campbell soup's recently got rid of bpa lighting is altogether because of the attention the subject is getting and i don't know this-- chemical industry is pretty funny. we sort of assume a chemical is okay until we study it and find out it's not end there is only a
handful of chemicals on the list that are not okay. bpa is entering the consciousness as a not okay chemical. i have no idea what their lining their cans with and you will have to sneak into canned school to find out. they are not going to-- they have not told me. i can't even say if it's better. it's something else we don't know about and i guess you have to be a cynic to assume it is just a chemical, i mean, unless they are drinking water. >> are there other metals that don't corrode or oxidize connect there are a handful. the coke cans with different thicknesses of the plastic on the inside to keep it from rusting and i found early on that beer is really a minimal to be putting into aluminum cans so it needs to be finished and
aluminum cans and it's not acidic, but i liked it when they told me there was made for cans in cans was made for beer. >> i think on that point we will open it to questions in the audience here please quipped to the microphone so that the audience of c-span can hear? and our policy here is if at all possible please make your question a question. >> this is for ad. i had a question about-- i know there is a lot of variables involved in this question, but if you have a general sense. if increased technology is changing and you talked about the number of miles that goes into producing something like iphone, whether the thing it replaces, what is the cost benefit analysis there in terms of energy put into that system? >> if it is a source more locally? >> right or-- a phone would replace things-- e-mail would
replace paster-- paper and postage and the many other things that technology replaces. is that utilizing things-- our natural resources better or worse? >> well, as you say there are a lot of variables and that, but one of the future visions that some futurist are talking about is the future of 3d printing technology as more and backwardness and more specialized than it is now and they aren't making pretty amazing things with that technology, but imagine the depth of shipping in general where you don't buy the good, but you buy the software, the app that makes the good and then in some local location if not in your own household for some things you actually created and this would be the return of the
local manufacturing as being competitive with a global manufacturing without all of the related carbon emissions. of course, you still have to move the overall material that you make this step with, but theoretically it could be a much smaller impact on the world and on our wallets if we did it that way, but something that transformative would also mean the end of millions of jobs. you know, truck drivers it's one of the most common occupations in america and there would be a lot of unintended consequences of that shift as well. >> over here. >> comment on 3d printing. research currently the most popular product could be printed on 3d printer is a 3d selfie. [laughter] >> thank you for that. >> jonathan, question for you. could you talk more about the
impact of a rust on the military. for example, is this really a risk of the reserve forces or is this a risk for in country combat forces as well? >> risk for nuclear weapons. i get this courteous erica slusser. he found out at the height of the cold war we were trying to make our nuclear missiles saver, so we actually put a tape-- i think it was a tape on there somewhere so that if something happened neutrons could not pass through and trigger a reaction. unfortunately, that tape rusted in place and actually if someone had hit the red button and said let's go with our nuclear volley nothing would have happened and this was with our-- i'll get the name of the missiles wrong, but it was with the most powerful nuclear weapons and i sort of bad down to eric slusser for finding that because it must have taken him a decade of work.
but, the pentagon has done a lot of work on-- he uses the word matériel a lot and they have studied rust effect on the readiness of planes and helicopters and boats and they have actually calculated by weight, which planes caused the most to repair because of rust. you can put a dollar figure like if an f-15 way so much each pound cost so much and corrosion repair and it has taken certain planes out of commission a month, a year or weeks a year and they have worked the numbers and said this is-- the guys in the navy-- navy says that a threat. aside from people who are actually you know engaging in war. it's a 20 billion-dollar a year problem to the military. dan dunn meyer-- it's like the fight of his life. she says he does this for the
warrior. he doesn't want weapons suffering in the hands of our soldiers. is a good fight. >> yes. >> so, speaking about the truck drivers, i think the bigger threat for trough-- truck drivers is the self driving vehicle. but, the question i had was if you could just relate each or any of you great stories about the law of unintended consequences and i think in particular with regards to things like invasive species when we see the vietnamese-- [inaudible] >> invading certain ecosystems. are there other stories you come across that have good intentions gone bad. >> jonathan,-- >> i think that's as about as big as i got right there with nukes. >> i think the-- one of the
biggest disruptions of recent decades is the invention of the shipping container because that's really is the very low-tech developments that enabled off shoring and the outsourcing of so much of our economy goes suddenly shipping long distances became much more efficient. for a thousand years we used to load ships like you pack your trunk going away for a vacation. guys carrying on stuff and piling it in a big zero. now you have to see how these container ships work. they had these cranes that drop them down on rails in a stack in so orderly and the goods are sealed away from the port and there's no theft, no loss in every thing as tract. well, there is some of that, but not like it used it to be. kneeled day there was 20% loss of every ship.
what it really enabled was moving everything offshore, which is a big topic in our election these days. whether it's good or bad for the economy is another question, but he wasn't unintended consequence. >> brian, do you have any unintended consequences from the domestication of animals that you like to mention? >> basically, that's a very very complex question to answer because if you look at the domestication of animals, you immediately and completely are altering-- >> into the microphone, please. >> you alter human relationship with the environment, landscape, with the land, with each other, with animals who become profiting. with the animals themselves. immediately, although, in the early stages the relationship was fairly-- ultimately the
animal becomes a commodity and in a way it is rather like of the container because on the one hand you have got all of these changes made, but on the other hand you have more interaction with people from a distance and as you got donkeys and then you've got horses and camels the distances got larger and larger. a whole business of let's say you trade grain to turkey in exchange for gold. you may do this. it may take months to get there on the back of don c's and you don't even know the person at the other end, so you get into this whole business of anonymous trade. there were a lot of changes that have come along. >> yes. >> i was wondering your thoughts about the impact of drones. is that the new donkey? >> the drone the new donkey or something else?
>> he's the boss. i stop at the industrial revolution, thank goodness. >> i think this idea of amazon sending an army of drones out to deliver individual packages is not going to happen in any foreseeable future work is kind of silly, really. and the faa kind of stuck it to amazon by saying you couldn't use drones if you have an human within sight of it. you would have to drive there in your truck and deploy the drone. the companies that are really itching to have drones are companies like ups and federal express because they run these crazy overnight flights shipping goods. the pilot is just sitting there laid not automation do the work anyway, so that's where if we have goods movement drones will
be big honking airliners, not little drones banging on your door. >> in a few minutes we have left i went to turn to the question of, writing itself and have each of our panelists, where did you get the ideas for this book and what was the hardest thing about writing this book and we will start again with the youngest person. >> of the hardest thing. none of it was hard. >> none of it was hard. that's a good answer. >> getting answers, talking to people-- i don't know. one of the big discussions in journalism is to write what you know or write what you don't know and i think it's fantastic to get the opportunity to write what you don't know. i think we need to know something you sort of form i don't know a picture of what it's like and you don't go down certain roads. eyed to even know there were roads to go down. yeah,--
>> could answer. ed. >> my wife likes to say that i'm the happiest guy she knows 11 months out of the year and then there is some awful deadline i have to me, particularly reading eight manuscript and apparently i stop shaving and i'm hard to be around. >> it's cool. >> i wish my beard looked as good as yours. actually, i will go for an animal reference. the thing that makes my writing life best are my dogs. we have three rescue greyhounds which are kind of-- >> greyhound rescue? >> rescue, but mostly cash potatoes. they will let me know when i need to get the hell out of my desk and walk and get some exercise. they are also personal trainers. plus, one is named pirate and we
get mailed to the house for pirate humes. >> brian, where did you come up with this idea and what was the hardest thing about writing this book? >> my agent, bless her heart, who is one very tough-minded new york lady told me i had written enough about climates and it was time to do something else. and animals are in my life and i looked at domestication. i was updating a textbook, i think and i got into it and discovered no one had ever done this and if so i got going. my cats like yours, my cats have a central role. they specialize into things and one is sitting in my outbox, which is fine. the other one like you they decide i need to get out. logically they want food and they get up and arrange
themselves on my keyboard and the only solution is to dedicate the books to them. and the last book i dedicated to my main coon cat whose name is atticus at a more loose-- moose. otherwise known as the great keyboard sitter. >> brian, i have to ask one question. since you have written between 40 and 50 books as i understand it. tell us how you did this. how can you write that fast-- that much a lifetime? >> 40 years of undetected crime. [laughter] >> and these books are researched. it's not like writing your life story or something. >> it all started in africa, where i was working the museum at the time of independence and we were asked a question, you got all this history and archaeology, how we put it and i got about the writer that. men, i almost gave up
archaeology because i got very bored by it and was a very good excavator. they told me to write for the public. when i came to santa barbara i was appalled to find no decent tasks books, so that's why started. i wrote textbooks. then, i got into other stuff and i have become one of the very few people and archaeology who write for the general public as a full-time job and it's become a full-time job. i have commitments through the year 2018 without looking because there's no one doing it. so, i have written a lot. >> these are commitments to more books. we salute you. can you tell us what the next books are? >> the next book, which is almost ready to go. i have been working on for two years and it's a global history of fishing.
which stops with the industrial revolution. [laughter] seriously, there-- [inaudible] >> after that i have a book, a short book with a friend in england on the history of beds. which is originally titled: life in the horizontal plane. [laughter] >> so, i'm busy, but it's a fun stuff and i really in deeply satisfied with being able to communicate. it's fascinating stuff out there. i could talk to you for hours, tangents. that's the fun of the job, isn't it? these two gentlemen what they have produced is fabulous. wonderful stuff. >> thanks. >> thanks. >> to either of you want to say a word about what you are doing
next? do you have two or three books lined up for the next three years? >> this one comes out in two days, so i'm going to like baskin that glory forth three more days. [laughter] >> i'm working on a book about a small company in upstate new york that has spent the last seven years of building a robotic brick laying machine that has been the dream of engineers for pretty much 50 or 60 years. the machine-- machine is named sam. it's out there in the world. you might see it on a jobsite somewhere. it looks like a hot dog cart with the red arm that grabs brick and puts it down and is again and again and again. so, i will make you care about brooks. >> well, jonathan waldman, edward humes, brian fagan, thanks so much for talking with us today. [applause].
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> live coverage of the lost angeles times festival of books on the campus of the university of southern california. a couple more hours of live coverage ahead. you can get our full schedule at book tv.org and you can follow us on twitter or facebook to get the behind-the-scenes photos and other photos of the festival. >> we are now joined by bob streisand are who has written this book, incarceration nation a journey to justice and prison around the world.
in your book you write america is the world's largest-- largest jailer? guest: we are and it is a title we should wear shamefully. we have 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world prison population, 2.3 million people incarcerated. we spend over $50 billion a year on corrections and when it comes to the racial disparities that our system there are more african-americans under correctional supervision today than there were slaves at the height of slavery in 1850. host: how did we get there? guest: it's all really goes back to the war on drugs in many respects, which began in the late 70s and created a series of disparities in sentencing and goes back to tough on crime sentencing laws that made it easier for people to go to jail, easy or for them to stay there and easier for them to stay there for extended period of time.
host: you are a native new yorker and there was a period in the 70s where new york was pretty ripe with crime. people were scared. was there a different solution? guest: well, for when fear is a terrible-- peer is not something to be ruled by when we make decisions as far as government and as far as these kind of things because fear makes you act rashly and what happened was this fear was played upon and prison was presented en masse incarceration was presented as the only way to deal with crime and we know that there is no correlation between the drop in crime rates and that rising massac operation-- incarceration. so, we know there are other routes. it did not have to be this route for mass incarceration. host: we are in california, the home of three strikes and you're out. has that been affected in any way? guest: hardly. california three strikes and you're out with the rocksolid drug laws in
new york and all sorts of top sentencing laws that have landed millions of people in jails and prison and under correctional supervision, draining our resources and draining as of the value of these human beings who could be contributing to six sided-- society. host: baz dreisinger is our guest. we will put the phone numbers up in the book is called incarceration nation. 202-748-8200 eastern and central time zones. 202-748-- we will begin taking those calls a minute. i think you get the idea of what we are talking about. baz dreisinger is also an associate professor of english at the john jay college of criminal justice, which is part of a city university of new york. she is also founder and academic director of a group called: prison to
college to two cep program, which is what? guest: it is a credit bearing college program in a prison in upstate new york that allows students to take college classes on the inside while incarcerated and guaranteed a spot in the university of new york system upon release, so it's a college program prison, but also eight reentry program that makes higher education the centerpiece of a former incarcerated persons new line. host: which other nations did you look at it why? guest: i visited nine nations. rwanda, uganda, south africa, jamaica, thailand, brazil, australia, singapore and norway and my overall vision was to part, one was to rethink some of the fundamentals of our criminal justice system and specifically our
prison system by way of other countries and rethink the fundamental concept of which are prison system relies and the other one was that i wanted to broaden our conversation, which i think is certainly a growing public conversation around massac carson ration in this crisis of prison. i wanted to broaden the conversation to include the world and to include especially the impact of america's system upon the world in these various countries. so, each of these country represented a particular issue i wanted to explore such as solitary confinement in a federal super max prison in brazil or prisoner reentry in singapore. the role of arts in uganda and jamaica. forgiveness and restorative justice, which is a fundamental theme of the book in south africa and rwanda. host: there is a special prison philosophy or special prison and norway took what is that prison
about? guest: so, norway is getting a lot of attention lately for being progressive and has a reputation for being very progressive as a society in general, but particularly when it comes to social welfare and criminal justice and in norway they have something called the principle of normality, which is sounds simple and yet is anonymously complex and that is that someone in prison norway gets incarcerated and they lose their liberty in their liberty only and they are still part of the community. they still are receiving social welfare from the same community that they left and when they come home they are to be fully reintegrated into society that they went away from and that has resulted in some a very progressive working and founding prisons and norway. in scandinavia throughout scandinavia there is something called the open prison where people are able to go and come from prison and work jobs on the outside, spend weekends
with family and come back to prison and really have as close to a normal incarcerated life as much of a paradox is that is as possible and they also have other prisons that are a bit more traditional in that they have a wall. i visited one that had a roll around and its traditional in that respect, but it is gleaming and beautiful and has every form of rehabilitated programming and therefrom job-training to a music studio to cooking class, really giving people an opportunity to reinvent themselves and genuinely enact this thing we call rehabilitation. host: should life sentencing frequent around the world? guest: absolutely not. america is inimitable in the way that we give out life sentences. we are actually one of only nine nations to give out life sentences and the death penalty. our sentences are longer than any other country in the world and in most of the countries i
visited a life sentence did not even exist. it existed in theory, but once you hit 25 years is considered a life sentence and that includes norway and even countries like brazil and south africa where we might think of prison conditions as much harsher than ours. again and again, i mean, the great sadness of that reality is that again and again studies have shown us that longer sentences don't make us safer. people a jet of crime. they are costing us money and they are feeling years and years of people's lives for no good reason. host: when you say people age out of crime, what do you mean? guest: in other words we know that people hit a certain point in life where they are less likely to commit crime and that's known as the aging out of crime theory and yet we still keep people in prison in their 50s and 60s when a studies
have shown their likelihood to commit crimes again is very low. host: what do you say to a victim's family who after maybe 15 years of someone who is convicted of murder is let out? guest: i'm glad you asked me that because i am asked about victims all the time and i start the book, the journey in rwanda with victims because i firmly believe that the first thing we should talk about when we talk about crime is not the offender, but the victim and i look at rwanda as a way that on alternative to prison system community course that systems of restitution and reparations were created that benefited the victim instead of necessarily punishing the offender, which is our traditional approach and i went to rwanda and then south africa to really think about this framework and ultimately what i found again and again and also included in the studies i looked at is the idea that our criminal justice system as it stands now is not benefiting
victims as it should, which is actually the fundamental problem with it here victims are not having their needs met. they are not at the center of the justice system. sending someone away to prison, which we assume will be healing for the victim is more often than not is not healing for that victim, so i think it is encumbered upon us to think about ways to heal the victim and to allow that victim a better opportunity to be served by a criminal justice system that is not doing a good job of that now. host: baz dreisinger is our guest. incarceration nation is the name of the book and will he is calling in from new orleans. lee, you're on the air. ahead. caller: i was wondering what her position would be about legalization and medical eyes in drugs similar to what has happened in portugal, whether that could have an impact on on the incarceration rates being so
high in the united states. host: before we get your answer, what is her-- her answer what is your answer? caller: i support legalization and i think the portugal approach would probably be the best and build on the best to legalize all drugs and medical eyes a certain portion of and i think that would really have a major impact on incarceration, but i'm not sure she studied the incarceration issue better than i have, so i'm not clear. host: thank you, sir. guest: i am in agreement with you. i am in favor of the regulated legalization of most substances and i certainly think and we have seen this again and again in terms of what studies are telling us that this would reduce the recursive-- incarceration rates dramatically took not
just here, but globally. it's important to keep in mind that our drug policy has reverberated through the globe and many countries i have visited, they are countries that have mimicked the us is tough on crime policy when it comes to drugs. but, i will say that it is important to remember also that even if we let all of the drug offenders out of prison, if we changed our laws around drugs, which is critical, we would still have an estimated approximately 1.5 million people in prison, still enough to make us up there at the top and so the changes have to extend beyond drug laws and we have to rethink the role rules and regulation around for. we have to rethink all of the ways that we are dealing with quote unquote violent offenders and not just nonviolent offenders. host: where did your interest in this topic come from? guest: a bit about roundabout story, but i was doing a lot of work on the culture of crime and i'm an english professor and i
have written quite a bit about hip-hop culture and america popular culture and did a series of stories that led to me being invited into prisons to give talks and from the first time that i did that i could not look away. i think being in an educational context in a prison and being among people whose enormous potential uc is not given an opportunity to flourish in the world just depress me profamily that we are losing some of our best citizens and our best potential contributors to society. host: next call. j from portland, oregon. baz dreisinger is our guest. caller: you gave a pretty good overview of the european model. what particular in the us is the most progressive state? guest: well, i think it would-- it depends on what we are talking about with regard to what particular issue. beaumont has some
progressive policy around drugs uncertainly the legalization of marijuana in various states from colorado to california where we are makes a tremendous difference, but overall, we are not in a very good place in any state and the reforms that have to happen have to happen in a broad scale nationwide. host: will, torso, oklahoma. go ahead, will. caller: i appreciate you taking my call. i'm in oklahoma and we have very stringent laws. in the state of oklahoma we used to lead the nation i believe in female incarceration. per capita, of course. we did lead the nation and mail-- male inmates, not talking about jail,
prison, felony convictions and my question is of all-- [inaudible] >> the united states, the nation leads incarceration as a whole oklahoma led the incarceration rate. certain crimes and felonies in other states etc. i spent two years in prison for 2 grams of marijuana. i'm not a pro marijuana guy. i got caught and him guilty. for two years i was shocked. i said your honor, seriously and here's
what my attorney told me and i wanted to share this with you and i will let you comment. we have to stop locking up people we are mad at and lock up people we are scared of, by the crimes, people crimes against people, violent crimes, those are the folks we need to have incarcerated and stop locking up people for these petty crimes, but in the state of oklahoma -- host: will come i think we have that idea. let's hear from our guest. guest: thank you. i agree with that statement although i would say this, we need to look harder at who we are afraid of our who we think we are afraid of and we knew to remember the people in prison are people in prison and we imagine often times people say what do you do with the rapists and murderers, someone who is habitually committing murder is a very tiny
percentage of the prison population. the bulk of what i see in the us and i have seen globally are people who are essentially by way of poverty and racism being produced from prison cells and as a result it's not about necessarily their bad choices, but a nation with bad policies that are producing systemic racism and poverty that craze the prison population and this is mirrored throughout the globe whether we are talking about blacks and latinos in the us, blacks and so-called colored folks in south africa, the hill people in thailand, all people who have been failed by our system, so we should be careful around this nonviolent versus violent crime division because it's a far more complex issue than it sounds. host: baz dreisinger, what super max and who is there? guest: super max is a dramatically solitary
confinement driven prison that is supposedly for the worst of the worst criminals and i put that in quotation marks. america invented the super max in the 1980s and then this model became imitated around the world and is used in estimated at about a dozen countries and its extreme solitary confinement for 22, 23 hours it day. i visited a federal super max that has been built in brazil in the last decade or so that was literally a living hell on north where people are going insane before your eyes because we know again, from psychological studies around super max that that level of solitary confinement damages you permanently and i also learned there something that mimics the us as well, which is that we say it's where the worst of the worst, but often it's use as a political
tool to punish people or something as sort of flight and looking at aggression officers the wrong way can land of someone in solitary confinement and thereby damage their psyche for life and leave us with the liability-- as being society of welcoming that damaged person back when i come home. host: next call for our guest comes from carol in texas. hello, carol. caller: hello. host: please go ahead. caller: my question was, what would you recommend states do with crimes that are drug-related? how should they handle those? host: we talked about that a little bit earlier, but if you would, quickly. guest: i don't dramatically distinguish between dealing with crimes that are drug-related or not and for one as we talked about earlier i'm in favor of the legalization of most of
substances and a whole different policy around them. drugs should be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal justice issue, but i can add that i think even when it comes to what are categorized as a violent crimes i don't see prison as a morally, economically or socially responsible response and if we thought more in terms in this whole host of things we need to rejigger to get our prison system-- our criminal justice system where should be, but if we put community policing and justice and restitution in a different paradigm at the heart of our system i think our world and the global world would look very differently. host: mark is in seattle. mark, go ahead with your question or comment. caller: i'm interested in the way felons have their voting rights taken away and i'm wondering how common that is in the rest of the world. it seems like an additional way to punish people and a strip them
of citizenship. guest: great question. i can honestly say that in almost every country i visited at a certain point someone when i was in one of the most awful prisons, the most painful places someone would look at me and say something along the lines of, i can't believe in america you still have the death penalty or in america i can't believe you have life in prison and one of the things i heard quite a bit was, i can't believe someone comes home from prison and cannot vote in many states in america and that is an extremely rare thing and it's shocking to many countries who believe in the idea that when you come home from prison you have your rights restored. it's on a appalling problem that's connected to the larger crisis of reentry altogether, which is that we send people to prison and we stigmatize them for life and that is something again that america does well.
host: baz dreisinger, what do you think of the recent conversation we're having in this country about prison reform and the fact that the koch brothers have also advocated for some prison reform? guest: on the one hand i'm excited about it. it's wonderful that this is such a part of the public discord and it's wonderful we are seeing a level of bipartisan-- unprecedented level of bipartisan-- i keep my cynical hat on because much of the conversation tends to be economic in nature and that investment is that we have to reduce our prison population because we are going broke and that is true and i'm advocate for not wasting our money, but i think if it's just about finding something cheaper we can easily find a cheaper way to mass incarcerate and given that i believe prison system is oppression i think we can find a cheaper way to oppress people, so a big reason i wrote this because i wanted to address is on a more
social level, on officials-- philosophical level so that not only about dollars and cents and we talk about the bigger issue at stake. host: the book is called: incarceration nation: a journey to justice in prisons around the world. the next call comes from persia-- in california. please go ahead. caller: i was wondering about the aspect of the privatization of prisons and the concept of prisons for profit. can you address the subject? guest: sure. i'm glad you asked. i get that question a lot. private prisons are in the public eye now. one of our democratic candidates, bernie sanders, was to abolish private prisons. i look at private prisons in australia, which is the country that has the largest percentage of people in prison in the world and
i think we know and i mean anyone who has looked at this issue in a superficial way we know private prisons are dangers in that they are making money off of the incarceration of human beings, the warehousing of human beings and most frighteningly they have tremendous lobbying power with billions of dollar industry that has control over legislature, push for crime-- tough on crime sentencing and this is a terrifying reality and it is true in australia. again, i should say private prisons are something we started in the us and the world copycat it as a model. bow, the thing i often remind people around this issue is that when it comes to the intertwining of capitalism and prisons, this happens whether we are talking private prison or state prison. state prisons are making enormous money. there is a lot of industry and capitalism in mashed in the state system as well as we are
talking about, phone companies, prison labor, items made in prison around the nation and around the world, so it's a very dangerous combination whether private or public. host: gregory is up and show-- sherman oaks, california. go ahead, gregory. caller: hello. i came in late to the discussion, so possibly you have discussed this. my question concerns whether or not you have been a victim of yourself of any serious crime and if you have or haven't how this has affected your attitudes and ideas on this topic? in my case i have been physically assaulted on one occasion, held up at gunpoint on another occasion and on another occasion i had my home burglarized and 22 pieces by one or more burglars and i have also had relatives and friends physically assaulted, one of them was permanently injured, and elderly woman in her 80s when someone try to take her purse.
host: gregory, with that all said, how has that affected your view of incarceration, three strikes you are out, other type issues like that? caller: well, i'm a political liberal and i have tried to stay as liberal and open-minded on these topics as i can. for example, i'm opposed to private prison for profit. i'm opposed to this scandal of phone companies making money off of criminals. i am for prison to college pipeline and for every good thing we can do and i think scandinavia holds up the model, which seems incredibly progressive, but i also had the attitude about criminals and people that can't behave well and hard and by terrible experiences such as myself and these people close to me and i am still trying to reconcile the z's, so i wonder if ms. dreisinger, you're been a victim of any serious
crime of the type i described in my experience and if so-- host: thank you, sir. let's hear from our author, baz dreisinger. guest: that's a thoughtful response and i really appreciate that and i empathize with your victimhood and what you have been through and i would say i personally have not been a victim and i talk about this in the book and earlier i mentioned i start the book in rwanda focusing on victims and the needs of victims and continued that thread throughout the book because i firmly believe that victims should be at the heart of our criminal justice system and i would say to you that's you deserve to live in a society where you are not victimized and clearly that has not been the case and so it's incumbent upon us to build a safer community, not through prisons which don't build safer communities in my belief in the belief of many people club looked at the issue and a likewise you deserve to be served well by a system, a
justice system as a victim in terms of restitution and reparation and healing and all of the things that victims are deserving up. i have people in my life who have been victims. i think many of us do and i think also believe in our capacity for empathy being tremendous that we can empathize with victims and build a criminal justice system that serves their needs well. host: let's hear from jim in temple, texas. go ahead, jim c3 hello. caller: one of the things the public should know is that it is so expensive that many people go ahead and take prison and then of course, we need to consider people coming out of prison should get a little bit of credit for having paid their debt to society, so that they don't have-- you know, it you
lose your gun license with marijuana. that's what have. guest: so, you are bringing up an important issue, which is the issues of probation and parole and issues of reentry. probation, as you mentioned, i am glad you mentioned the fines associated with probation and there is a lot of work being done around the fines that again the way we have meshed our justice system with capitalism in terms of people having to pay massive fines and paid probation fees and pay further own ankle monitoring devices bale is a tremendous way in which there are fees associated and we are criminalizing poverty and all kinds of ways. again, you are addressing the ways we permanently stigmatize someone and when we permanently stigmatize-- stigmatize someone we are all suffering because you cannot live as a productive citizen when you are permanently to the ties and barred from job opportunities, housing, social
services, all of the things you need in order to be a productive citizen and education. there are many schools-- there is a great movement called the band the box in which you have to say i have a criminal history on job applications, but also there are many colleges around the country that require people to admit their status and create all kinds of restrictions for them and discrimination against them and we are not serving anyone well by doing this and not to mention our parole system is such that recidivism rates are not so revealing. the book of people are going back to prison for violating parole, which is often so restrictive and so sort of a logical as to not allow people again to become productive citizens and to rebuild their lives. host: baz dreisinger has been our guest and she's a professor of english at john jay college
criminal of justice and the author of this book: incarceration nation, a journey to justice in prisons around the world. thank you. the tv live coverage from the "la times" festival of books continues now and up next is a panel on publishing. .. i am the managing editor. before i begin and make the introductions, just quickly please silenced your cell phones during the session if you haven't done so already, he says
looking at his own, and the silence yes, excellent. >> also i'm supposed to bring this up later but i might as well now there will be a book signing following the session in area number one which i'm sure the volunteers can direct you where to go. let's begin by introducing the folks on the panel. to my immediate right is the publisher and editor in chief of an award-winning independent company dedicated to publishing fiction and political nonficti nonfiction. he won the american association 2005 award for creativity and independent publishing and is the chair of the literary council. next to mr. temple is the executive director of the photo
pub and online presentation showcasing the documentary work from -- [laughter] >> you're no longer there? he has the wrong person. >> my name is josh and i'm an editor of the press kick starter and we have an experimental review look. >> i have that noted. [laughter] he came back around. next is the creator of slaughterhouse and the author of 90210 where great books meet culture and the writer and critic has appeared in "the new york times" and buzz feed and is a former editor and publishing manager and kick starter. at the end we have isaac fitzgerald the cofounder of the
website as well as the co-author published by plume sperry. thank you for being here. the title of the panel in the publishing industry what i took that to mean is say 20 years ago the landscape of publishing seemed to be set in one way and going back another ten years, 2006, the landscape of publishing in terms of how to publish work and promote work and find an audience seemed to be set in one way. now in 2016, it's different so what i wanted to begin with is to open this up to the entire panel with this question.
i'm on twitter and facebook this point that's pretty basic. i think there's a lot of other things going on. so, if i am in the emerging writer that aspires to become a published writer, what should i bear in mind in this time? >> not all at once. >> that is a question that i get a lot of working at buzz feed books a lot of folks are like what is the best way to promote my work. a lot of people are looking for that magical algorithm like hell does this work. tell me the code. and then but i'm always focused on is there is none. there is no magical right thing to be on or social media that works for one person or another. two different stories.
i have a friend who's an artist if he has an incredible canvas and then he painted a neon green fanny pack and then he wrote in which decade will you get stuck so that's how i feel about social media right now. snap chat, nope. [laughter] but here's the thing, two things. it may not be the case, i may come around to it and figure it out. another is that i haven't but that's okay because the thing i tell everybody what should i be on or focus on or the great way to make a place for me is to do what feels right and comfortab comfortable. i had the pleasure of working with our executive editor of culture at buzz feed and he is
also a in nomine deposed before the age of 30. he is 30,000 twitter followers and he's brilliant but that's because he is jones. another is peter orner that wrote beautiful books i absolutely love. i watched him try to get on twitter once. [laughter] he has no problem with me saying it. and that's okay because it's about doing what you're comfortablyou arecomfortable wie place you feel like you can grow. of course you should always push the envelope. >> i agree 100%, but further to that, it's finding a place you feel comfortabltofeel comfortaba conversation. it is a back and forth. it's not shouting out into the void. you want to engage with people in your social media. i started on tumbler and i got
very lucky because it was the right time. it was 2009 and i had some media contacts to share. it was when buzz feed was a little newsletter in 2009 and the wonderful thing about tumbler at the time and still is there is a community of really avid booklovers who also love to be silly which is kind of what i do and so they were able to share what i was putting out and commenting and making it their own and i became a part of a community and that is when social media is the most effective when you are actually speaking to other people. >> that's one thing going on but there's also the fact that you can put your work out there
digitally. this brings up another question there is one route you were talking about a vet you use social media to promote a finished work with paper. it becomes a paper book. it's also the fact you can be published online and there's things going on. can you speak to that? >> it's interesting because we live at a time our presence is publishing our own book setback today by melissa who her book was written before it was published and it was published before it was published. you could read her whole personality.
to get all the mediums at one's you want to publish on tumblr and to leave it to the blog and then you are published o your pe mediums but i think in this day and age it is best to use the one publishing imprint online and hav having earnest connectin with it to start a community and a conversation. >> i think community is the key word here and i don't think it needs to have anything to do with the internet. it's important if we are past the era unfortunately for writers who don't have a strong impulse with regards to their work. it's your work alone no matter how great it is good to have a
hard time rising to the top without a community behind you to support use of it can be in person and adding on to something that was said. it's like having a conversation you need to participate and build credibility beyond just i have a new book so now i'm going to try to join communities to sell my book. that's a selfish way to approach a. and i have a lot more to say on the subject. >> people like you need a community to push your book now. i have a wonderful girlfriend who is just amazing and in her world she would type in the key and it would be printed out and she would put it under a jar and then she would die and then a
museum curator from the universal literary awesomeness would come and find that bell jar and be like yes this is good work. that's her dream and i think a lot of us -- because writing is such a solo act like i really wanted to bid on items that can be intimidate intimidating whenk about communities or social engagement which this next story i have a recently hosted an event in new york where i could see on social media nobody was sharing this event. i could see a there wasn't a lot of love for it. we were not getting much back. the author was there and the place was empty and i felt crushed. and i'm really good at spinning. i have my moments and i know how to talk. if people talk didn't go show up could sit around a table but nobody was there. the only worse thing that can happen after that was his most
famous friend walked in the front door so all of a sudden he was failing in front of the one guy that he admired the most and i felt so bad and there was a silence on social. ten minutes later it was absolutely full and it was placed so many writers and people i admired, people i looked up to and i loved and none of these people were on the social media and that is speaking to what johnny said. they are not on twitter or facebook but they still are a community that come out and support one another so it's all about whether it is tumblr or snap chat or twitter, it's about finding the people that are going to help you because you don't get to die -- >> the internet then explodes things open because it creates
new avenues for the community and from my perspective more importantly so many more opportunities publishing digitally for people's places to be heard. in the publishing business, you hear this is getting i getting k but i've heard a lot of people pining for the good old days back when literature mattered and the world really embraced literature and literary values and to me quite frankly, this sounds totally racist, sexist and homophobic. he says i do not pining for anything before 2016. you go back before tw to the 20h century when literature was great and it was a straight white man's game through and through. so it is geared to hear people pining for those good old days and then the digital revolution has not created a level playing field but it has done a lot of leveling and created opportunities for people's
voices to be heard who are not wealthy or not necessarily super well-educated are straight white males. >> and in new york or la people can write from anywhere and make a place for themselves. >> i could deal from 20 years ago, that's okay. it's interesting bringing that up particularly about the opportunities that this landscape now offers because you guys published a "go the f to sleep." does that happen without social media and the internet? >> it would have happened. of all the questions i've been asked about that i've never been asked that because social media
was a part of the book. the way that social media succeeded is absolutely tied to social media because it is a fake children's book for parents and we've sold 2 million copies worldwide. it's been translated into 30 languages and it's currently after five years of publication, number one on "the new york times" bestsellers list. but it exploded on social media. but i actually think that the appearance of the worlparents oe devouring this book would have found it without social media about social media was like gasoline on the flames. so the way that it unrolled his social media was part of it. but looking at it back in richer aspect it would have caught on regardless. >> i remember when that book came out the conversation in the social media.
what did you think of this. at the time -- and maybe it's because they were on twitter for too long with the conversation on facebook seemed to me more organic some years ago than it does today. do you get that sense in terms of algorithms and what i see? it seems to make it a little bit tougher. like so many other people we have a facebook page but lots of people don't like us and they don't know what we have to talk about. is that a concern? >> we are back to the good old days choosing who gets published and not. we don't know how to decide what shows up on the feeds we like to say that everybody that you follow will see it so it's like the world is democratized and we don't know how it's getting up
there. >> that idea dealing in this wide-open space seems to be getting more and more confined which would explain why more and more platforms get created. >> that would be my argument. this is the way it works when you are outside of the wall and start throwing rocks because people to be inside the wall where you want the ball to be down. but you find yourself on another side so there will be different platforms and ways in which people push things and experiment with things. that's just it. there's always going to be a million different ways to tell the story. it's about finding what works for you but that is a small price to pay for the kind of headway that we have made that johnny was mentioning as far as diverse voices and people from
different economic classes breaking into it. the other thing, i'm just an optimist. about her life was one of the breakout successes of last year. that book is terrifying and sad. it's giant. i feel like a lot of times people are like how do you know what gets to the top if you want to use them as catching people's attention, if this book was giant and it was very difficult and very hard and it was one of the most successful books of the year so it's not like you've got to be happy to get to the top. that's not true. it comes down to good work. >> absolutely. do you want to add to that? >> there's a misconception. i had a long career as a musician so i lived a lo block n the world of indie music and
literature and there is a sort of conspiracy minded send but the big companies are just shoving garbage time people's throats and i always think i need to update my exampl example is pretty spears as an example. [laughter] before she lost her virginity and got all bad. she was this, she seemed like this manufactured phenomenon that was being shoved down people's throats. i know so many people who just didn't care for her but i do believe them and i don't know if this is quite -- maybe i am diverging from what you're saying but i think that real people love britney spears and her music. it may not be me or people i know that for every britney spears, there are 6,000 other women that companies are trying to shove down your throat and she's the one that succeeded because people honestly responded to her and i'm an
optimist and i think it is completely unpredictable when you look at her success between what unpredictable but it's not. if it were predictable we wouldn't be here because the companies would have a lock on those things that always work and that i isn't the way art and taste work and that is a perfect example. >> richard thompson does a great cover of groups i did it again. [laughter] >> i would add one of the common questions i get about kick starter is there a certain number i should be looking for or what level of prices should i have on hand. we have no magic formula at all. we look for good projects that are adding something of value to the world that use the platform
while and when we see them, we get excited and help promote them and that's basically it and we hope that we are representing a very diverse and wide range of voices. >> can you talk about what you do because it is so important. >> thinks. i do publishing and journalism outreach which could mean anything from talking to a writer of individually self-publishing a book or talking to a literary magazine about an issue were working with friends that funded a publishing scene for the believer of the website for the quarterly etc. and helping people launch website and pay the writers. we would love to see more websites and publications come to kick starter and say we are doing great work. help us pay the writers so we
can enjoy to -- continue to this stuff fairly. >> the thing that is interesting as it can be calibrated to what your needs are. as being part of a literary journal it is nice to know there is a venue if you want to raise three or 5,000 or $10,000 for publication, you have an opportunity to do so. i will say this though, in this speaks more to my personality, but if no one like me. it is a terrible feeling of no one wants to back this. that is the reality and there's nothing you can do about that. >> that's like the fear of publication. the same kind of thing. if you're doing good work and you are good at talking about the work then you are going to probably find an audience. >> but if you are doing good work and you're not good at talking to people that's why you
come to her to open kick starter. [laughter] josh, you're doing a lot of this online publication yourself. is there a way you try to find the right readers and cut through? >> i think just screaming really loud sometimes. [laughter] we have done kick starter three times. we are doing one year and then we skip to ear and the most we raised with 16,000. i kind of thought we had such a following that just make a video and the money would come flooding in but it wasn't and i was getting scared and i felt that feeling the market has spoken. it's over. then in the last two hours, the last two days telling everybody about the story, we publish about 800 in this book is 40 and i e-mailed them all and i said send me something weird. i sent a manifest and we posted
them everywhere, writers on their head and giving all sorts of things and go that picked up towards the end. i think seeing humans connected to a literarit to a literary joe is helpful. >> and it goes back to the idea of conversation about bond social media and beyond. kick starter is a conversation. the backers want to know the story of what you're doing and why and how it's getting done and communicating them in these creative ways to really helps to have a lively conversation. >> you looked like you were going to say something. >> i don't have anything to add. i agree. >> i do agree with all that
sometimes one of the challenges isaac was talking about is as the misanthropes and those that may not exactly produce the fabulous writing but we still like being around people it puts you in a bind. not only that but for example, for some of the kick starters, what i think about that so attractive is if you already have some visibility, if you already have some sort of a following it gives you independence in the way that you've never had before but it might be tougher to crack if nobody knows who you are and i think are there some things about the publishing now that are no different than they were? >> if you wrote a lot and guide you stored your stuff in the cabinet and nobody heard about it for like a hundred years.
>> it makes i makes a good forgo write and stuff like that for later on but definitely not good for the writer. you were talking about eluting to this earlier. you still have to find a way to crack through. that still has the aspect of chance. >> absolutely that there are so many avenues of trying to get the word out now than there ever were. i wish i was still working on publishing during the days of the martini lunch. but i am excited by the number of the voices that are rising to the top that wouldn't have 20 years ago. >> it might be my roc my rock 'l background. when you start a rock band, you do all the work yourself and then you go on to her and play
clubs and there might be six people in the following and no one cares and then if people keep not caring then you have to hang it up and i honestly do not understand this idea like why can't i just write and then the world will hold me up. i don't look at things like that and i don't know why anyone who is over the age of 20-years-old would think that the world is just going to come up to you and start celebrating you. that's not how life works. [laughter] there's something to think i'm going to create my art and it's so great i shouldn't have to soil myself in promoting it. like where did you get that idea here to be. what made you think you were going to create art and that it would be recognized as greatness? i don't relate to that perspective. maybe not greatness but to make
a living off of it. you have to work your butt off to make a living. and it's not like you get to do just one thing. you have to do all things in all aspects. and i saw this a lot in music. all these frustrated musicians were mad at the world for not loving them. you really think that you are that great? that level of egotism not that i have a small ego -- he didn't get recognized until after. >> have you seen the twitter feed? >> he had to hustle his work. >> or you look at kafka. everyone is like he's a great
examplhe is a greatexample of sd in secrecy and then was discovered later that he still vented to his buddy like don't you ever publish this. [laughter] that's how you don't get published. don't look at it though. that's why we are doing this. you create for yourself or other people, that's fine however you want to do it but there is this type of connection that you can't escape even if you only make parts for you that doesn't mean that someone else isn't going to pick it up and experience it in a new way you didn't think wha would happen bt when that connection is happening that is one of the most beautiful and wonderful things about art so to get back to your original question, what about the person, what about my girlfriend? i just don't want to do any of this. that's fine.
no one is going to force you to if that's what you want to do, great. write your stuff and maybe it will. send it to your best friend. that might help but maybe it well and that's fine. but if you also want to create art he wants to engage with people and you are going to pressures outside these boundaries and i'm sorry i know i'm talking about my girlfriend a lot, but she's good to be really mad about how much i mention her because she doesn't like it when i do this on tv. yes on television. she just won a writing award, she's a real deal. iand america loved his money. you don't apply for, literally someone just gives it to you. >> that's as close as she's going to get somebody finding stuff in a cave come absolutely but i try to push her a little bit just you should go on social media and she wouldn't. she hated it. i want to write in my cave.
it wasn't all about social media, she was talking about other stuff like i don't do my laundry. [laughter] so i realized i'm hitting a brick wall because i know this is somebody that doesn't care about that and that's fine. but i said to her alice, when you put something up it is a way of allowing your come in your family or your fans, the people that loved your writing to celebrate you and it's not an egotistical move. it's not bragging saying look at me, look at me. you are giving them a space and if they want to they can celebrate you and if they don't they don't have to. once i put it in this framework where she's getting groomed for her people she kind of came around to it a little more so i would say that to the person that's like a fuck this -- i'm so sorry. the television. i'm sorry. [laughter] it's fine you can still write in
a cave that is what you want to do but if you want to give people the right to celebrate you, you need to engage them. >> also she's one of the best readers that i've ever seen and that's all about the personal connection. >> what's the name again? >> alice. watch out for her. >> sorry, sorry. >> i had a question from actually i did not. i wanted to open up to q-and-a if that's okay because i think that's what you all are here f for. you are far too optimistic. maybe that's something we should address about the self-publishing boom it's awesome because i am an optimist but i do think that for the
average writer self-publishing a book and the hustle you need to do that you need to find an editor and copy editor and designer or do it yourself or you have to find a distributor and do all this work that so many different skills are involved and i don't think it's that easy even now. >> on a related point, the other side of the equation there is an enormous -- in the world of book publishing there is an enormous glut of books being published in as a resuland as a result of the positive dynamics taking place, it's never been easier for someone without an enormous bank account or strong connections to
get published and to self publish so everywhere in the united states. there is just the volume is incredibly out-of-control. but that's the price you paid for the democratization of the process. so i won't take it any day of the week that as a publisher republish 35 a year and it's hard to get attention for those because the other half a million books being published. but like i said, i accept those terms and i even celebrate them to a certain extent because it means all these voices that were never connected and it didn't go to the college or do this or that or the other now there's the opportunity for those voic voices. in the balance that is pretty
positive. do you think that you're following is any stronger and that it can be strong even though there might not be any books in one year or strong active publishing going on in the strong following? do you still wish for them to be its? >> i actually don't even quite understand the question. [laughter] honestly, i don't quite understand what you're asking. >> you said it's bad you published 35 a year and it's hard to get any headway. is it better we live in the world whera worldwhere there's g hits in a year or every publisher gets their small hits with a very passionate following? like candid democratization be -- >> how much money do you want? [laughter] >> i don't think there ever was a time there were lots of hits
going on a. i don't think that it's particularly different now there's just a lot more books vying for those spots. >> there's also a lot more people and a lot more avenues for buying books and i don't know if this isn't quite answering your question. i take some solace in the fact we published the first book in 1997 and became sort of a real publishing company around 2000 200-01-2001. and in those years, nobody cared about by continuing to publish what i think is excellent work year after year now when people see if it is the book reviewer at the la times or "the new york times" or the book by ai playera bookstore now it means something to people. we are in it for the long haul and that is an advantage we have
over the self published authors. our logo likes to convey a certain level of quality. for publishers can independent publishers i've always said one of the biggest challenge i chal- first you have to publish great work and then somehow keep your doors open. somehow stay in the game. and publishing is a small business and so the relationships that you develop accumulates over the cumulative effect that develops so that when we send our boat into the la times to be reviewed its not just one of the half a million bucks come it is a known quantity and that is a huge leg up. and no one has asked me this yet but i still believe there is a role for book publishers. that's another question you get asked is when any consumer can sell direct to the world is there a role for book publishers
this goes back to what was said about the challenge of self-publishing and a book publisher brings what we are supposed to bring and what we do bring in a lot of other publishers big and small. it's a level of expertise to the editing and designing into the production and the marketing. not only do we know how to do this but we have expertise and that's going to be hard to find someone that wants to self-publishing has more expertise in one or two of those areas and because you're competing against half a million bucks every year, you need every break you can get. >> and i do really agree with this idea it's almost like writing or making any art. the more you do it the more confident you're going to be and the better you will be at it. it's about doing the work the matter what we are talking about ending your case, it's publishing and you've been doing the work seems 1996 almost 20 years of publishing brilliant books and it's about showing up
and keeping up with it. the only other thing, you are like come on just give me one more negativity. i want to hear some darkness. here's the thing. i don't think the publishing industry needs any help. anyone that is in this business is probably not okay on the brain. [laughter] that's what this is and i guarantee in the old days when they had a community you have a monastery so you have your community in the world really working hard maybe 20 years of your life in the bible and then the printing press comes along and i guarantee there were monks that were like those are not real books. it's only when you hand draw. this is a book. that is just blasphemy. fuck that shit.
so sorry. [laughter] >> why are you trying to get c-span to lose -- >> we are all ready and anxious people. we are already wound up pretty tight and convinced that the med 2000's. i feel lucky that i got to be a reader. i used to think they were returning towers you hit print and it was a book. i've learned about community and help each other and how wonderful that all is that i came up in the mid-20 2000's whn it was like chicken little. the book is dying. there's like 100 articles. it's the novel dead. no, it's going to be okay. it's a good answer the question i think there's plentyf negativity out there. but publishing right now to answer the question i think it is very strong and very diverse and i think that it is a great time to be a writer.
' sorry for swearing. >> i had to get that out there. >> at this point we could -- yes, let's take questions. >> i think you can come up to -- yes, to the microphone. i assume that's whfor. >> good afternoon. thank you so much. i just have a quick question about the business side of publishing. can you give advice for the writers in terms of either negotiating in advance or the royalties of how that works? >> give up all your secrets, johnny. [laughter] traditionally, the traditional model is a writer hires an agent but then takes care of the business side of things so that is the shortcut easy answer. and if you don't know the agent route can independent companies will do business directly