Algorithmic Criticism and Barthes: Two Perspectives on the Sentence

by eea | Friday, June 22, 2018 - 1:00 PM

Literary criticism, magpie discipline, has long benefitted from borrowing techniques from other fields--philosophy, history, linguistics. In recent years, criticism adopted methods for dealing with aggregate data and text analysis originally developed to manage large amounts of data--more poetically, the “wine-dark sea” of texts. Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library used Homer’s epithet to foreground the size and mystery of looking at many texts at once in the title of his blog, (created almost exactly nine years ago on June 22, 2018) dedicated to the study of “literary and cultural history at the level of the sentence . ” The sentence, as the largest unit of syntax, seems simultaneously to be the smallest unit to start investigating syntactic patterns, a trace of the literary critic’s commitment to organized units of meaning.

Many of the models most closely associated with algorithmic criticism, however, don’t work at the level of the sentence. Rather, many descriptive and predictive models look at feature sets--a range of lexical and grammatical features--instead. Even when I was involved in a project studying the sentence in the Stanford Literary Lab, we looked at relations among smaller grammatical units within each sentence in texts that...Read More

HHT Awareness Month

by eea | Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 2:24 PM

Did you know that June is HHT Awareness Month? You’re probably wondering, what is HHT ? That’s because most people, including many doctors, have never heard of Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), a rare genetic blood vessel disorder. In fact, most people who have HHT don’t know that they have it! Which is precisely why awareness is so critical to identifying and treating people who have HHT. As someone with HHT and the author of Living with HHT , I’m happy to be part of this special month devoted to HHT awareness—and I hope my book will contribute to HHT awareness all year round.

In my last blog post, “When a Nosebleed is More than a Nosebleed: Understanding HHT,” I introduced you to HHT, describing its symptoms and complications and how to tell if you or your family should be tested for HHT. Today I’ll describe the primary screening tests recommended for people who are diagnosed with HHT (or are at risk for HHT) and give an overview of currently available treatments for common symptoms and complications of HHT.

Why are Screening Tests Needed ? As discussed in my prior post,...Read More

Walker's Mammals of the World

by eea | Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 12:00 PM

The history of Walker’s Mammals of the World goes back to the 1930s, when Ernest P. Walker, assistant director of the National Zoological Park in Washington, began assembling data and imagery. First published in 1964, it became a Johns Hopkins University Press classic, with editions in 1968 and 1975 edited by John L. Paradiso. John asked me to join the project in 1976, and we co-authored the 1983 edition, setting major new standards of content and organization. Overall text length increased by 50 percent and approximately 90 percent of generic accounts received substantive modification, many being completely rewritten and greatly expanded. We began an effort to list the name and distribution of every species of every genus, to cover all genera and species that lived in historical time (approximately the last 5,000 years), and to provide extensive bioconservation information. I went on to author the 1991 and 1999 editions. Together with renowned authorities, I also authored five “spin-offs” from 1994 to 2005, covering particular groups of mammals.

I thought that would be the end of my participation, but Vincent J. Burke, now JHU Press Editor Emeritus, persuaded me to begin a new phase, in which...Read More

American Civil-Military Relations

by eea | Monday, June 18, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Why does the world’s strongest military willingly take orders from unarmed politicians who are unschooled in the logic of professional violence? In a world where “might makes right,” why doesn’t the American military insist on getting its own way in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill? Americans have become so comfortable with our exceptional norm that we fail to appreciate—or even recognize—the political puzzle we inhabit.

As Plato considered the design of a political community, he wrestled with the paradox of guarding the guardians. How can a community keep its protective force disciplined for the common good—“fierce to its enemies, but gentle to its friends?” In the United States, the guardians tend to guard themselves pretty well. Americans enjoy the luxury of a powerful and effective military that has no desire to involve itself in political rule. A strong sense of non-partisan subordination underwrites American military culture; it’s a point of pride among military members to serve whomever the people elect.

A noble professionalism therefore keeps the US military out of politics, but the practical expression of this professionalism takes varied forms in the daily grind of civil-military interaction. These varying expressions of professionalism are rooted in...Read More

Cold War Perspective on the North Korea Summit: Lessons from the Berlin Crisis

by eea | Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 8:00 AM

Cold War Perspective on the North Korea Summit: Lessons from the Berlin Crisis

Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson are the authors of The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, Ame rica's Man in Cold War Moscow , recently published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

A summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, inconceivable a few months ago, now offers the tantalizing possibility of solving one of the world’s major diplomatic challenges. Harsh rhetoric seemed to be leading the U.S. and North Korea into a situation where one of the two would have to face humiliating retreat or put their missiles where their mouths were. But then a meeting between South Korea and North Korea opened a door to a roller coaster ride of an on again off again summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un.

A meeting between Trump and Kim would have pleased the old-school diplomat nicknamed the “Cold War Owl.” Llewellyn Thompson served six presidents over a distinguished four plus decade career, including serving as Special Advisor on Soviet Affairs to both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He was on hand for most of the...Read More