JHU Press Blog

Wild Thing: On the timing of bird migration

by cmt | Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 2:36 PM

Wild Thing is an occasional series where JHU Press authors write about the flora and fauna of the natural world—from the rarest flower to the most magnificent beast. Guest post by Walter G. Ellison Dark-eyed Junco

Anyone leafing through the recent Second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia might notice that most of the birds that nest in Maryland and D.C. do not reside at their breeding sites year round. Most migrate in winter to a distant land, but it is only a small minority of our nesting birds that are actually sedentary. Even many of those that do winter locally do not winter where they nested. For instance, Maryland’s breeding Dark-eyed Juncos nest at high elevations in Garrett County but winter at lower elevations downslope and mostly to the south and east of Garrett County. Each bird’s biology varies with its evolutionary history, so there are as many migrations as species. Indeed, there is also much individual variation in migration within species. A small number of Gray Catbirds winter annually in Maryland, mostly on the Coastal Plain,...Read More

Over the Transom: manuscript editing

by cmt | Friday, May 18, 2012 - 10:32 AM

By Claire McCabe Tamberino, ebook and digital promotion manager In Over the Transom, an occasional series on this blog, we'll walk you through every step of the bookmaking process, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at just how much work goes into turning a good idea into a great book. A couple of weeks ago, in our first installment of Over the Transom , we wrote about how Hopkins editors acquire the roughly 200 books the Press publishes every year. The next stop on our bookmaking tour: manuscript editing. It is at this crucial stage that Press editors transform rough manuscripts (and blog posts, thanks!) into polished prose fit for public consumption. Here is a greatly simplified explanation of the editing process here at the Press. Authors under contract submit a final manuscript, including artwork and permissions, which is then carefully prepared by acquisitions staff for transmittal to manuscript editing. It is assigned to a copyeditor who reviews the manuscript word for word, fixing typos, correcting sentence structure, and checking references along the way. The author then reviews the marked-up manuscript and answers any queries the copyeditor may have. The copyeditor enters all corrections, resolves any outstanding...Read More

A family album of evolutionary trees

by cmt | Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by Theodore W. Pietsch When most people think of trees, they envision the leafy-green, growing, photosynthesizing kind, but there’s a vast forest out there made up of an entirely different kind of tree—branching diagrams and related iconography that attempt to reveal the relationships of plants and animals. For at least the past 500 years, naturalists, realizing that words are not nearly enough, have sought to demonstrate similarities and differences (or to reveal the imagined temporal order in which God created life on Earth) among organisms pictorially, that is, through a fascinating array of diagrams of various sorts. Most of the diagrams resemble trees in the botanical sense—images with parts analogous to trunks, limbs, and terminal twigs. [slideshow] I first became interested in these “trees of life” as a young graduate student some 45 years ago and, for no other reason than I thought they were beautiful, I’ve been collecting them ever since—making photocopies and filing them away, with no thought of what I might do with them later on. Then in 2009, when the world was celebrating Charles Darwin’s birthday (1809) and the publication of his On the Origin of Species ...Read More

What we're reading

by bjs | Monday, May 14, 2012 - 10:07 AM

While all of us here at the Press love the books and journals we publish, we do save time to enjoy books from other publishers. As the weather warms up and so many of us get the itch to just sit outside and read, we thought we’d share the books we are reading or recently finished. I’m in a slow reading period now so am picking and choosing from the 2011 Best American Nonrequired Reading , an eclectic selection of essays and short stories. Before I embarked on this, I read Post Office , a 1971 novel written by Charles Bukowski. I don’t really know how I stumbled upon this book, but the straightforward (and sometimes profane) writing style really engaged me. The semiautobiographical book was reportedly written in under a month, but part of the appeal comes from the rough edges. Share in the comments what you’re reading these days and take a look at what has some other Press staffers engaged outside of the office: Michael Carroll , Digital Production Manager & Electronic Publications Project Administrator 40 Million Dollar Slaves , by William Rhoden I chose this...Read More

The origin of my passion for old photos

by cmt | Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by Ronald S. Coddington From a collector’s perspective, there are two types of individuals in the world—those who do, and those who do not. I am in the former group. My first serious collection focused on baseball cards. Spurred by childhood exuberance for the national pastime, I amassed thousands and thousands of them, including the likes of Hank Aaron and other greats of the game. In 1976, I came across an ad in Baseball Digest that proved irresistible. For one low price, I could purchase an entire set—all 660 mint condition cards, in chronological order, packed in a custom-sized cardboard box and shipped to your door. I immediately placed an order. The set arrived a few weeks later. The joy I experienced on opening the box was followed by a sense of loss. Now that I owned all the cards published that year, there was no need to buy individual packs of cards, or to trade with friends to build the set. My baseball card collecting days were over. By this time my family had caught the flea market bug. Every weekend, weather permitting, my parents, with my two brothers and me in tow, visited these...Read More

Observations on My Reading Newspapers at Breakfast, May 9, 2012

by cmt | Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 9:00 AM

Guest post by Douglas Anderson The third part of Benjamin Franklin’s memoir begins with a little memo that he wrote to himself nearly three-hundred years ago this May 9, giving it a title that I have taken the liberty of modifying for this post. I doubt that he would object, any more than he objected to the plagiarized sermons of a young Irish preacher who created a stir in Philadelphia in 1734 by delivering good sermons written by others instead of bad ones that he wrote himself. The twenty-five-year-old Franklin’s “Observations on My Reading History in Library” concludes that the great “Affairs of the World” amount to a repetitive cycle of order and disorder, union and fragmentation, driven by the divisive clash of human interests. People only briefly succeed in suppressing private goals to pursue the general good, before those private ambitions break us into antagonistic and acrimonious parties. I wonder whether Franklin would be pleased or discouraged at the extent to which our present political and cultural climate confirms the brash conclusions of an obscure printer’s journeyman in 1731? For the last several years I have been thinking about Franklin’s famous cartoon of a segmented serpent, applying it...Read More

The Doctor Is In: Anesthesia, fact or fiction?

by cmt | Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 8:00 AM

The Doctor Is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine. Guest post by Steven L. Orebaugh, M.D. 1. Anesthesia is a very risky aspect of the surgical process. Fiction: The risk of dying or having a severe adverse outcome from the effects of anesthesia has decreased 100-fold over the past four decades, according to some studies. With the impressive array of physiologic monitoring devices, the extensive training required for certification, and the variety of modern pharmaceuticals available to them, anesthesiologists today are able to deliver a very safe anesthesia experience to the vast majority of patients. 2. Regional anesthesia represents a reasonable alternative to general anesthesia for many procedures. Fact: While surgeries that involve body cavities (pelvis, abdomen, chest), the back, or the head/neck often require deep general anesthesia with airway control as a matter of course, many types of surgeries can be conducted with regional anesthesia techniques, which involve rendering the operative area numb through the injection of local anesthetic drugs. This is especially true for procedures that are superficial (such as hernia repair or breast surgery), and those that involve...Read More

Happenings at the JHU Press

by cmt | Monday, May 7, 2012 - 2:00 PM

Stars Wars fanatics the world over, Mobtown not excluded, celebrated May the 4th be with You , I'll Have Another is headed to Baltimore for the second leg of the Triple Crown , and the Baltimore Orioles swept the Boston Red Sox after a marathon 17-inning game . We've been busy at the Press, too. Read on for a roundup of recent happenings at America's oldest university press .

New to Hit the Shelves

Trees of Life: A Visual History of Evolution : For the past 450 years, tree-like branching diagrams have been created to show the complex and surprising interrelationships of organisms, both living and fossil, from viruses and bacteria to birds and mammals. This stunning book by Theodore W. Pietsch celebrates the manifest beauty, intrinsic interest, and human ingenuity of these exquisite trees of life. The Tea Party: A Brief History : The Tea Party burst on the national political scene in 2009–2010, powered by right-wing grassroots passion and Astroturf big money. In this concise book,...Read More

The Avengers—Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have something for everyone

by cmt | Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 8:35 AM

Guest post by E. Paul Zehr When I was a kid I read a lot of comic books. As an adult I now have to be more “choosey” because I have less time for

Plastic Man

pleasure reading. Sad, but true. There were many characters that interested me: Batman, Iron Man, Daredevil, Captain America, Thor, Nova, the Flash, and a host of others. (BTW, that list even included Aquaman. But not Plastic Man. I think it was the sunglasses.) But above all, I really liked some of the “team up” books like the Fantastic Four, the Justice League, the Justice Society, and even the Defenders. But the “uber” team up for me was always “The Avengers—Earth’s Mightiest Heroes." They have remained one of my favorites to this day. All despite the fact that they were, well, a bit on the lame side when they debuted back in 1963. The original line up in The Avengers #1 in September 1963 included Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk. Although heavily identified with them since the early days, Captain America didn’t actually arrive until issue #4 ...Read More

Wild Thing: A little something about bats

by cmt | Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Wild Thing is an occasional series where JHU Press authors write about the flora and fauna of the natural world—from the rarest flower to the most magnificent beast.

Guest post by Michael J. Harvey, J. Scott Altenbach, and Troy L. Best

Bat anatomy (click for a larger view)

Most people know very little about bats. Misconceptions and superstitions about them abound. Bats are not blind, dirty, or dangerous. They do not try to become entangled in human hair, they do not lay eggs, etc. And they are not flying mice, "Die Fledermaus" to the Germans.

In fact, bats are not even rodents. They belong to the mammalian order Chiroptera, which means "hand wing." The bones present in a bat's wing are the same as those of the human arm and hand, but finger bones of bats are greatly elongated and connected by a double membrane of skin to form the wing.

Food habits of bats vary greatly. Almost all bats in the United States and Canada feed exclusively on insects and other small invertebrates, and thus are extremely beneficial. Insect-eating bats may consume more than half their...Read More