JHU Press Blog

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

Over the Transom: Acquiring Arts

by cmt | Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 1:38 PM

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 message to all of the aspiring writers out there: Want to know how our editors here at the JHU Press decide which authors to sign up? Or just how a book gets published? A manuscript has to first be accepted for publication—a feat easier talked about than achieved. Out of the hundreds of proposals crossing the desks of Hopkins Press editors every year, only a lucky few will end up on library and bookstore shelves. Much more than luck is involved, though, as our acquisitions editors carefully review, select, and develop viable projects that make sense for their lists and the publishing program of the Press overall. Some advice: Save paper, time--and your ego--and send your proposals to presses that are already publishing in that field. If you're writing a book on, say, Native American history, take a look at who is putting out books in that field and send them your proposal. Want to know what our...Read More

Albert and TED

by cmt | Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by Steven Gimbel We love Albert Einstein , and by "we" I mean most everyone. Fifty-seven years after his death and you can still find everything from T-shirts and bumper stickers to dolls and finger puppets bearing his likeness. Part of this is because he reshaped the way we see the universe in deep and exciting ways; part of this is because he appeals to our sense of individuality (Einstein was not only a genius but also funny, irreverent, and nonconformist). Still another reason is that Einstein was not just a physicist who limited his contributions to equation-laden articles in journals aimed solely at other technicians: he was also a public intellectual. Einstein commented on issues in religion and ethics, education, politics, economics, war, peace, and social justice. He was not afraid to make his viewpoint on the issues of the day part of the larger cultural discourse. Unfortunately, today's professoriate fails to follow in Einstein's footsteps in this way, and we as a culture are worse off for it. One of Einstein's legacies was to help make science so complex that only technicians can make sense of cutting-edge questions and understand...Read More

The Village Review

by bjs | Monday, April 16, 2012 - 9:26 AM

By Janet Gilbert, Direct Mail and Renewals Coordinator, Journals

There is a volunteering group Here at the Hopkins Press, That was set up to foster Teamwork and togetherness.

Yes, our adjacent buildings on North Charles Street in the city Are bridged by the activities of The Press Social Committee ! One lunchtime meeting, long ago, We got it in our heads, That we could do some more--much more-- Than bring in breakfast breads. We thought about our neighborhood, Particularly, one space: Just around the corner at The Village Learning Place . What might we have to offer? What could we do, to be A friend, and a much stronger part Of our community? We met with teachers, brainstorming A plan, met with elation: A student-written journal-- A polished publication! A year of work went into this, We took the students through The Press publishing process, Including “peer review.” Today, we get to celebrate, And students get to hold The journal they created, The Village Review, behold! The middle-schoolers learned a lot, But, frankly, so did we. We present this journal of their work With...Read More

The Doctor Is In: Preventing the spread of measles

by cmt | Tuesday, April 10, 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 Athena Kourtis Measles is very rare in countries with high rates of vaccination. In the United States, as in some other areas, measles transmission is considered to have been interrupted through vaccination. There are still some cases of measles in the United States (about 50 per year), because visitors from other countries or U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected and spread the infection to unvaccinated or unprotected people. Measles has increased in recent years, and outbreaks have spread in Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported. In 2011, measles outbreaks were reported in 36 European countries, with tens of thousands of cases. The largest number of cases was reported in France (14,000 cases), and predominantly affected older children and young adults who had not been vaccinated. Europe has become a major source of virus introduction to the United States. Lack of knowledge of the seriousness of the disease and fear of alleged adverse effects—often fueled by media coverage—contributes to lack of vaccination among susceptible individuals...Read More

Will the real Booker T. Washington please stand up?

by cmt | Monday, April 9, 2012 - 11:28 AM

Source material is the lifeblood of academic research (learn why here ), and, courtesy of Michael Scott Bieze and Marybeth Gasman's Booker T. Washington Rediscovered , the JHU Press is now in the business of hosting such valuable content on our website. Students, researchers, and scholars can now read the works of this turn-of-the-century intellectual pioneer as he originally wrote and intended them--from previously unpublished writings and hard-to-find speeches and essays to a wide range of primary documents from public and private collections.

1895 Knoxville College Speech, Collection of Michael and Laura Bieze, Atlanta, Georgia.

Historical accounts are only as good as the primary sources on which they are based. As one of the first modern media masters, Washington crafted his thoughts in words and pictures, and without those pictures and the original layout of the words, readers miss both the aura and intent of the original work. Bieze and Gasman have done a great service by collecting, editing, and now, with the help of JHU Press, making these archival documents available in both the printed book and its companion website...Read More