Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.
Ebola has dominated the public discourse about public health of late, but as Emily Monosson explains in a post at Island Press Field Notes, we shouldn’t let immediate concerns about that particular virus blind us to the lessons that other illnesses can teach us about vaccination and disease control.
The claim that a country must defend itself from an enemy using mercenary troops is one of the most effective ways to take the moral high ground and to win popular support for military action, as we’ve seen in the recent conflict in Ukraine, where both sides have accused the other of employing mercenaries. In a fascinating post at the OUPblog, James Pattison takes a close look at the morality of employing mercenaries and of actually being a mercenary.
At the UNC Press Blog, Michael Barkun discusses “reverse transparency” in America. He argues that, due primarily to “the pressure of homeland security concerns,” transparency increasingly applies to individuals rather than to large organizations.
Are the very wealthy wielding an undue amount of influence in today’s political landscape? In an Election Day post at Beacon Broadside, Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks claim that, through campaign financing, lobbying groups, and media campaigns, billionaires have dictated a large portion of American domestic policies in recent years.
At the University of Nebraska Press Blog, Yaakov Lappin discusses the importance of the internet to the continuation, organization, and growth of the Islamist-jihad movement in the 21st century. In particular, he claims that the internet played a crucial role in “[t]he dramatic and rapid takeover of large swaths of Iraq and Syria by Islamic State forces.”
Cindy I-Fen Cheng argues in a post at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press that, while much has been made of the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, much less has been written about one of the most troubling aspects of this problem: “wage disparities [in the tech industry] based on race and gender.” Though Asian Americans are well-represented in most tech firms, they are paid significantly less on average for doing similar jobs.
“Empty labor,” according to Roland Paulsen, refers to the hours each day modern office workers spend on private internet use during working hours. In a Q&A at fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Paulsen discusses different kinds of empty labor, talks about why he studies it, and claims that “empty labor should be analyzed in the light of the enormous gains in productivity that we’ve seen since the industrialization.”
“Understanding criticism, whether as a giver or receiver, can become a significant asset toward your personal success as a manager or an employee in just about any field or organization.” At the AMACOM Books Blog, Deb Bright has a helpful two-part post on the best ways to give and take criticism in a work environment.
Going to the beach is a much-loved summer pastime in America, but, as Orrin Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper explain in a Q&A at the Duke University Press Blog, the very existence of beaches in many parts of the country (particularly in Florida) is threatened by a combination of pollution, beach mining and coastal engineering, and climate change.
“In only four decades, Phoenix, Arizona, grew from a town of sixty-five thousand to the sixth largest city in America.” At the Princeton University Press Blog, Andrew Needham tells the story of how his book on changes in the electric and natural resource needs of Phoenix during that period of growth turned into a story of the underlying history of climate change.
Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a fun post from the Stanford University Press Blog: “7 Things You Didn’t Know About ¡Tequila!” Marie Sarita Gaytán explains that worms do not belong in tequila bottles, that Pancho Villa did not drink tequila, and that salt and lime were originally used to mask the taste of bad tequila, among other fun facts.
Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!