JHU Press Blog

GPS to go

by cmt | Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by Mark Denny The astonishing pace at which humankind has progressed, in terms of navigation if not fellowship, came home a while ago at the start of a vacation. We picked up a rental car at the airport with a dashboard GPS unit on board. These devices are now so common as to hardly merit comment, but back then we didn’t have one—had never used one, saw it as a doodad for other people to play with. Vacationing in a strange town (Vegas—strange to us in more ways than one) however, well, that was a different story. During the first day, we found the GPS to be so useful that I used it to navigate to the local Costco and bought one for myself—exact same model. I returned the hired GPS unit to the car rental company and used my own to drive around three states for the rest of the week. I chose a female voice for my GPS unit, and this is the only unnatural aspect of its otherwise very intuitive and easy to use interface. Unnatural for me because the voice doesn’t get antsy when I miss a turn. It calmly says “recalculating” instead...Read More

The Doctor Is In: The arithmetic of children's medicine

by cmt | Tuesday, June 12, 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 Edward A. Bell, Pharm.D., BCPS Do you know how to properly measure and administer medicine to your child? A recent study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting suggests that parents with low reading and math skills may not. This study is similar to others in that it describes how common and easy it is for parents to err when determining and measuring liquid medication doses for their children. A multitude of factors contribute to the potential for these errors, including misinterpretation of medications and their strengths and miscalculation of a child’s specific dose by his or her weight. What is interesting about this study is that it evaluated a unique aspect of how parents determine medication doses for their children—the parents’ reading and math skills. Nearly one-half of the parents (41%) made a dosing error, demonstrating that the process of giving a dose of liquid medication to an infant or child can be somewhat complicated and that errors can be easy to make. According to an ...Read More

Quillworts and glassworts

by cmt | Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by Lytton John Musselman Teaching courses about wetland plants at a university on the shores of Chesapeake Bay for almost four decades privileged me to observe and study the wonderful panoply of vegetation in the waters of the Bay, its shores, marshes, beaches, and swamps. Unabashedly, I love these organisms and never tire of seeing them in their habitat, learning about their struggles and successes, their seasonality, the nuances of their habitat requirements, their human uses from food to glass making. It is a great blessing to be a botanist with a career centered on plants and to share their wonder. I love introducing students to these denizens of the Bay. One of these students was David Knepper who became interested in plants as an undergraduate and pursued a career in botany where he now shares his knowledge with a wide array of people. David was a logical partner in this work and someone who shares my fascination with plants. And like any teacher, I am proud that I now learn so much from him, one of the advantages of having a long career in one place. Quillworts, species of the genus Isoetes...Read More

How much do our student workers rock?

by bjs | Friday, June 1, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Our offices at the JHU Press sit just south of the bustling center of Johns Hopkins University: the Homewood campus. We don’t have an exceeding amount of interaction with the students there, but we do offer a number of employment opportunities for them. JHU students play a critical role in marketing, manuscript editing, production, and many other departments in the Books and Journals divisions, as well as Project MUSE . These students add so much to our days beyond taking on some of the workload. In the journals marketing department, Kithmina Hewage has introduced my colleagues and me to decadent desserts from his native Sri Lanka. We are forever in debt to his mother for these treats. Jessica Valdez, a graduate student working in Project MUSE, had an article published last year in Victorian Periodicals Review , a JHUP-published journal. Jessica Yoo, who worked in acquisitions before receiving her diploma last week, tops the list with the poem she wrote about her experiences at JHUP. She has gratefully allowed us the chance to publish it on the blog.

Work Study, Acquisitions Dept.

It...Read More

Legalizing conception: on Astrue v. Capato

by cmt | Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 10:00 AM

Guest post by Susan L. Crockin, J.D. The U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous May 21 decision, Astrue v. Capato , should not come as a surprise to those following legal issues involving posthumously conceived children. The court was asked by a widow, Karen Capato, to grant Social Security benefits to twins she conceived after her husband Robert's death using sperm he had stored for that purpose. The problem was that Florida's intestacy law did not view the children as Robert Capato's survivors—so she argued that the federal Social Security law alone could determine qualifications for benefits, and biological children of a married man should be deemed eligible. The court found against her, interpreting the federal law as the Social Security Administration argued, and as it has been consistently interpreted by several state supreme courts: state law governs the determination of a "parent/child" relationship with Social Security benefits awarded only to those who qualify under the state law where the deceased was "domiciled" at the time of his/her death. The court's ruling means states will continue to differ on this question and federal law will respect those states' laws. Specifically, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that under...Read More

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