University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! It’s been a chaotic week here in New York, and we hope that all of our readers are safe, warm, and dry. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

Naturally, we have to start this week’s Roundup off with discussion of Sandy, the natural disaster whose wide-reaching consequences are still being felt in the tri-state area. At the new (and superbly designed!) blog of the MIT Press, guest poster Fredric Raichlen explains why Sandy was able to generate such a powerful and destructive storm surge, particularly in the area around NYC and Hoboken.

Meanwhile, as rescue and repair efforts continue, the Harvard University Press Blog asks how different things would be if disaster relief efforts were no longer federally funded but instead market-based. In an excerpt from Facing Catastrophe, Rob Verchick argues that a market-based approach to relief would be an inadequate solution.

Many in the academic publishing community followed the complicated saga at the University of Missouri Press over the last half-year with interest and apprehension. This week the JHU Press Blog featured an interview with Bruce J. Miller and Ned Stuckey-French, the two people who “can take the lion’s share of the credit for saving the University of Missouri Press.” Miller and Stuckey-French discuss the factors that made them defend the press, the effectiveness of their Facebook campaign, and the current UMP situation.

This Wednesday was Halloween, and the University of Minnesota Press Blog celebrated in unique fashion with an exclusive interview with “the ancient vampire squid from hell,” Vampyroteuthis infernalis. The vampire squid is quite articulate, teaching us that “It’s okay to be a drifter sometimes. Use your jet propulsion once in awhile (it is fun) but going with the flow can be really nice,” (among other lessons).

The presidential election finally happens next week, and many polls claim that the race is neck and neck. At Fordham Impressions, the blog of Fordham University Press, Mark Naison has a guest post comparing the Obama campaign in 2008 with the Obama campaign in 2012 in which he finds this year’s campaign lacking in its lack of support for educators.

It’s not common to draw connections between Mexican and African cuisines, but at the University of California Press Blog, Marilyn Tausend has a guest post explaining that African foods influenced Mexican food. As she explains, “[f]ew Mexicans today seem aware of this African history of their country, as by the nineteenth century these former slaves had been basically absorbed into the fabric of this country’s population.”

Speaking of important but understated connections, at Island Press Field Notes, Rafe Sagarin has an interesting post explaining how art plays an important role in ecology. He points out that art can be an important source of data in observation-based science, but explains how that art can help to spread science to the general public.

For those who haven’t heard, there’s an Emily Dickinson biopic coming out in the relatively near future. At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Marie C. is not best pleased by this news, explaining that the film “seems to be a mockery of Dickinson’s life—a misunderstanding of the beloved reclusive poet who ‘rewrote both her male and her female predecessors by creating her own life as a gothic narrative.'”

As new discoveries have shown, “therapeutic dental filling was in use during the Stone Age.” At the OUPblog, Claudio Tuniz explains how scientists used “X-ray computed micro-tomography” to show the ancient filling.

Finally, from the Blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Kurt Wootton tells how observing excellent teachers can be a crucial part of the education of young teachers, and he argues that observations of teacher-student interactions should be the basis of efforts to reform our educational system in general.

We hope that you enjoyed this week’s installment. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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