JHU Press Blog

The Value and History of the EEG with Melissa Littlefield

by eea | Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 12:00 PM

After finishing my previous book about lie detection technologies ( The Lying Brain ), I went in search other machines that monitor various physiological data, analyze them according to a specific algorithm, and produce information about what a subject is thinking. What I stumbled upon were Necomimi Brain Wave Cat Ears. First introduced in 2012, these furry ears sit atop a headset armed with a single channel recording device. The tag line reads “Make My Ears Wiggle! Be the center of attention everywhere you go! People can’t help but watch in fascination as your Necomimi ears move in real-time according to your state of mind” (Necomimi.com). I was curious: why the interest in broadcasting your state of mind? How did the device work? What exactly was it measuring? And, most importantly, was this an isolated product? More searching revealed that Necomimi’s cat ears were the tip of a 21 st century iceberg. My list of similar devices swelled to include the Neurooon sleep mask, Kokoon headphones, a bicycle helmet known as MindRider, something called a SmartCap, a NEUROTiQ headdress, and so many more. All of these devices were based on headsets that incorporated human electroencephalography (EEG), most promised to measure...Read More

Why One Refrigeration History Book Was Not Enough with Jonathan Rees

by eea | Monday, March 5, 2018 - 2:00 PM

Why One Refrigeration History Book Was Not Enough

I first became interested in the history of refrigeration while I was in graduate school, when I started leafing through back issues of a late-nineteenth century trade journal housed in the engineering library at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. After deciding to make that the subject of my first post-dissertation research project, I started leafing through a lot more old journals when I got a Smithsonian fellowship in 2000.

After quickly accumulating countless boxes of source material, I had to limit the project somehow to make a book out of it. In 2006, at a conference at the Hagley, I decided to make the development of the modern cold chain (the supply system for perishable food) the organizing concept of that refrigeration history book. After a conference at the University of California-Davis in 2009, I realized I had to at least make a passing effort at giving this project an international perspective. After additional research along those lines, the Johns Hopkins University Press published Refrigeration Nation in 2013.

Knowing I had a lot of research that I had left on the proverbial cutting-room floor,...Read More

America's Man in Cold War Moscow with Jenny and Sherry Thompson

by eea | Friday, March 2, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Remembering Llewellyn Thompson

by Jenny and Sherry Thompson

Llewellyn Thompson died forty-six years ago, on February 6, 1972, shortly after his retirement at the age of 68. He was one of the most critical players in the Cold War, engaging directly with Soviet rulers abroad and exerting great influence with both Republican and Democratic presidents in their interactions with the Soviet Union. Thompson´s quiet diplomacy won him the unusual distinction of being branded both a Hawk and Dove, earning the label of Cold War Owl from British correspondent Henry Brandon.

Three times posted to the Soviet Union, twice as Ambassador, Thompson experienced life there during periods of the greatest tension, from the time when German artillery shells fell on Moscow during the Second World War, to the downing of the U-2 spy plane, and confrontations and negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and his successors in the postwar period. Thompson’s service extended through almost the entire Cold War, including roles in the formulation of the Truman doctrine, the negotiations that freed Austria from occupation, the intractable Berlin Crisis, and the start of the Strategic Arms Limitation talks (SALT).

And yet for many...Read More

A Passion for Planes with Captain Robert Hedges

by eea | Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 12:00 PM

I wanted to be an airline pilot since I was young, and began reading as much as I could about flying from age 10. I largely credit my father, Dr. James Hedges, an English Professor, for kindling my love of reading. Books about planes filled my youth. I started taking flying lessons at the age of 14, and the next year met a teacher who would be transformative in my life. Dr. John Kiser was my English teacher through high school and taught me the love of writing. Along the way I became a pilot in the US Air Force, and later started an airline career. I’ve been fortunate to fly a wide variety of aircraft, and found that not only did I like flying, I liked teaching as well.

Although I enjoy the technical challenges of flying, the cerebral challenges of writing, and the human factors challenges involved in teaching a very demanding and complex subject, I wanted to write about the overarching theme of aviation safety. There are many excellent aviation safety books out there, but many dwell on technical esoterica to the extent that only industry insiders would delve into them. At the other end of...Read More

Happy, Healthy, Heart Month with Carolyn Thomas

by eea | Monday, February 26, 2018 - 12:00 PM

When I started copyediting Carolyn Thomas’s manuscript A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease , I was excited. Having taught women’s health at Ohio State in 1996 and 1997, I knew that heart disease was women’s number-one health threat. And yet, there seem to be very few books out there on this topic. In the survey class I taught, we went over how women are often under-treated compared to men, for a variety of diseases and conditions. We discussed how we could take action to change this by educating ourselves and our families and friends and by supporting women’s health groups. In those days people did not look for information about health on the Internet, because it was so new, and many people did not have computers at home.

Here we are twenty years later, and information about women’s health and health in general is abundant on the Internet. But has this change made women and their doctors more aware of women’s heart issues? It seems that the answer is, for the most part, no. Carolyn Thomas informed me that at the national Canadian cardiovascular meeting she has attended for years,...Read More

The Beauty in your Own Back Yard - with Bryan MacKay

by eea | Friday, February 23, 2018 - 12:00 PM

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day” – Henry David Thoreau

Recalling the wise advice of the Sage of Concord, I head down a trail near my home on an unseasonably warm February morning. It has rained lightly during the night, and a humid fog settles in the low places. Although I usually set a goal of seeing some aspect of nature on these walks, today I have no such expectations; it is early in the calendar year, and the quiet season of winter still grips the Maryland countryside. Even so, after so many days of snow, ice, and cold, it’s good to get out and breathe fresh, clean air, and stir the blood so oxygen reaches every cell.

Thirty minutes of quietude is broken by an odd noise ahead; the sound of quacking ducks reaches my ear. But this is a forest, and I know there is no open water nearby. As I get closer, the sound gets louder, and I realize it’s not quite a quack, but something different. Dredging up memories of past hikes, I realize I’m hearing wood frogs.

And not just one or two wood...Read More

Remembering Sanford Gifford

by bjs | Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 10:00 AM

American Imago dedicated the final issue of its 2017 volume to a comprehensive collection of work by and about Sanford Gifford , a prominent psychoanalyst, psychiatrist and historian most known for his work at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Archives (BPSI). Gifford died in 2013, leaving behind a significant amount of unpublished work.

Olga Umansky, MLS , a Librarian/Archivist at the BPSI, led the effort to share Gifford’s work in the American Imago issue along with Rita K. Teusch, Ph.D., a Training and Supervising Analyst at BPSI and psychiatrist Anna Kris Wolff, M.D. Wolff is the daughter of Sigmund Freud’s colleague Ernst Kris, who served as editor of the journal Imago, the European precursor to American Imago.

The three driving forces behind this issue joined us for a Q&A about Gifford and the importance of sharing his legacy through the journal issue.

Sanford Gifford in the BPSI Seminar Room, 2005. Photograph by Allen Palmer, M.D. Reprinted courtesy of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

What was the process of putting this special issue together?

...Read More

Why Digital Equality Matters With Zoe Corwin

by eea | Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 12:00 PM

How do you write?

When you have an important deadline, do you buckle down at your office computer? Or venture to a café with wifi, toting a laptop? Do you spell check? Share drafts with colleagues via Dropbox or Google docs?

What if you had to do it all on your smartphone? And how would your work unfold if you didn’t have access to the Internet?

Really think about it. From sketching out your outline to editing, how would the quality of your work change?

For the past six years, my Pullias Center colleagues and I have been examining the effects of games and social media on college access . The main focus of our research has centered on a series of tools we created in collaboration with USC’s Game Innovation Lab and the non-profit Get Schooled. Along the way, we have been documenting barriers to digital equity faced by low-income, minoritized students.

We spoke with students (many of them) who composed their college essays entirely on their cell phones.

We heard countless stories of students doing their school work and college applications in fast food joints or on sidewalks next...Read More

Journals Celebrates Black History Month

by bjs | Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 10:00 AM

As we celebrate Black History Month, we invite readers to visit the JHUP-published journals Callaloo and African American Review . These venerable publications provide a compelling glimpse at the literature, culture and history of African Americans and the African diaspora.

African American Review recently completed its 50th volume, a significant milestone for any journal. Led by editor Nathan Grant , the journal provides a home for vigorous conversation by leading minds. The journal is a scholarly aggregation of insightful essays on African American literature, theatre, film, the visual arts, and culture; interviews; poetry; fiction; and book reviews.

Callaloo provides an international showcase of arts and letters in its five issues, which include the annual Callaloo Art issue. Founding editor Charles Henry Rowell has created a home for an engaging mix of content by and about writers and visual artists of African descent worldwide.

But our commitment to celebrating the contributions of African Americans to America's heritage goes beyond these two journals. With more than 80 journals focusing on so many different areas of the humanities and social sciences, we naturally have...Read More

The Great American Railroad with Mark Aldrich

by eea | Monday, February 19, 2018 - 12:40 PM

It is hard to think of another industry in which safety has taken such as roller coaster ride as it has on railroads. When I wrote Death Rode the Rails , which charted rail safety down to 1965, it was a great success story. I stopped in 1965 because that was the end of ICC safety regulation. Though I knew that safety had begun to fall apart by then, I didn’t know why. No one else has told more than parts of this story and so Back on Track is my effort at home schooling.

Until I began to dig I did not know how broadly and badly safety had collapsed. Like everyone else I had forgotten the hazmat accidents of the 1970s. Yet these were only the most spectacular instances of an upsurge in derailments that coincided with a rise in worker fatality rates and the growing slaughter at rail-highway crossings. One of the most important things I learned were the intimate connection between the railroads’ economic health and their safety, the second how difficult it was for those with a vested interest in economic regulation to grasp that. Many things caused the railroads’...Read More