Archives for March 2009

Birdscapes Tuesday Trivia, Question #8

Just to recap, we are posting trivia questions drawn from the book Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience by veteran birder and former chief executive of Cambridge University Press Jeremy Mynott. We hope you will post your guesses and explanations below in the comments section. The official answer will follow by a day, so check back again soon!

Birdscapes Trivia, Question #8 –

Who gave the demoiselle crane its name?

Answer will be posted tomorrow.

Pete Leeson on Recession and His New Book

Adam and Weinstein Test Your Estimation Abilities in the NYT

The smarty-pants staff of PUP is impressive, but are they good guesstimators?  Naturally, numbers and complex word problems intimidate those who consider themselves verbally inclined (I count myself among the intimidated, for the record) so I decided to test my skills with a little online featured linked to this fabulous March 31 Science Times piece which features GUESSTIMATION authors John Adam and Lawrence Weinstein.

Follow the link below and click on the interactive mulitmedia quiz to see how your abilities measure up. 

Check it out!

I’ll be the first to admit, most of it was more blind conjecture than deductive, informed reasoning.  But the point, I think, is to make a “monster of a ponder” approachable from all sides.  You don’t have to be Rain Man to make a reasonably educated guess and that, friends, is the fun of GUESSTIMATION.

Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin
Lawrence Weinstein & John A. Adam

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The Free Will Theorem Lectures Tonight, 8 PM, Princeton University

The second in a series of lectures by John Conway on the “Free Will Theorem,” will take place tonight at 8:00 PM in McDonnell Hall, room A02 on the Princeton University campus.

The subject of tonight’s lecture is The Paradox of Kochen and Specker. Conway will present a quantum mechanical prediction, the axiom SPIN, that shows via a simple geometric puzzle that some particle properties cannot exist before they are measured.

Earlier lectures in this series are available for online viewing here.

These lectures are sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, Princeton University, and Princeton University Press. They present the work of Conway and Simon Kochen which asserts that if experimenters have free will, then so do elementary particles. The Press will publish a forthcoming book on the same subject called The Free Will Theorem. For more information about the lectures, please visit the Princeton site.

The image here is a visual representation of what the lecturers present as an airtight mathematical theorem that rests on what they say are three unassailable axioms which happen to rhyme — spin, fin and twin.

The Posthuman Dada Guide reviewed in LA Times

Andrei Codrescu’s The Posthuman Dada Guide was reviewed by Carly Berwick in the Los Angeles Times this past weekend. The first paragraph perfectly sums up why this book is so important right now:

The job is gone, the 401(k) is gutted, college tuition is due, and “Grey’s Anatomy” is a shadow of its former self. Can’t decide whether to cry or laugh? Laugh at absurdity, laugh at hardship, laugh at poverty, says Andrei Codrescu in his maddening, enlightening, self-contradictory, highly amusing new book, “The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess.” It’s what dada — the manic, prankish art-cult of wartime and depression — advises.

If you are in the Houston area, you may be interested to hear that Andrei will read and sign copies of The Posthuman Dada Guide at The Menil Collection tonight at 7:00 PM.

Jeremy Mynott on ABC’s Saturday Extra

Jeremy Mynott, former Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press, sat down with Australian Broadcast’s Saturday Extra over the weekend to discuss Birdscapes and the myriad ways humans imagine and interact with birds. Listen in here.

Pete Leeson Proposes an Economic Love Story

When Pete Leeson submitted his manuscript for The Invisible Hook, there was a surprise proposal hidden for his girlfriend Ania in the dedication and preface of the book. This initiated a year-long conspiracy between Pete and the staff of Princeton University Press and we’re happy to report Pete proposed and Ania said yes!

And in response, the blogging world exercised their right to puntificate on pirates to wish the couple well. Here are some choice highlights:

The First

Princeton U.P. Author Proposes Marriage in Book Acknowledgements (Publishers Weekly)

The Romantics:

A Proposal by the Book (Chronicle of Higher Education)

an economist in love (Marbury blog)

Leeson’s Libertarian Love Story (FR33 Agents)

The Rum Punners

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Wife for Me (Think Free)

Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of love (Daily Princetonian)

Economist Uses Invisible Hook to Snag Wench (Reason)

The Invisible Hook Indeed (Chris Blattman’s blog)

The Fans

How I’m Going to Propose to My Future Wife (Fragmenta Digitalia)

Better than the Jumbotron (the rugbyologist)

Way too cool (bibliographic: my life in books)

Last, but not Least

Toronto, Philly and Atlanta also sent good wishes, too.

Libraries, Covers, and Bookstores, Oh My!

I ran across this lovely gallery of Princeton University Press cover designer Jason Alejandro’s work and he in turn tuned me into these wonderful images of great libraries and bookstores of the world. Enjoy!

Spam Hall of Shame

Keep on charging the enemy so long as there is life.

I’m not sure who the enemy is or who they are instructing to keep charging, but what truly elevates this spam note to the Hall of Shame is that it was posted in response to this interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter and G. John Ikenberry about The Crisis of American Foreign Policy. Perhaps it’s not spam after all?

Birdscapes Tuesday Trivia, Answer #7

Yesterday, we posted a trivia question:

Who invented ‘cloud-cuckoo-land’?

Aristophanes in his great comic play The Birds (fifth century bc).
Mynott further describes the play, “The plot, in brief, is that two Athenian citizens, disaffected by high taxation and overregulation in the city, approach the birds in the person first of their leader, the hoopoe. They propose that they found a new city in the sky in which they can live as intermediaries between gods and humans and charge duty on all communications between the two realms. The hoopoe duly summons a chorus of twenty-four birds, all introduced and identified; the two Athenians are given wings ‘to help them rise in the world’; and they name their new city Nephelococcygia, ‘Cloud-cuckoo-land’ (that’s where that expression comes from). The experiment is a great success and the Athenians all go ornithomorphic in excitement…The fantasy works so well because of this ambivalent status birds have—both of our world and outside it.”

The Daily Beast asks “Where’s the Bailout for Publishing?”

Like a lot of writers, I am wondering when Congress and the administration will propose a bailout for the publishing industry. Carnage is everywhere. Advances slashed, editors fired, publicity at subsistence levels, entire imprints vanished into thin air. Moreover, unlike some of the industries that the government, in its wisdom, has decided to subsidize, the publishing of books is crucial to the American way of life.


In an insightful article, Stephen L. Carter argues that the survival of book publishing is imperative for the survival of democracy. Read more over at The Daily Beast.

New UPfront at Seminary Co-op blog

The Seminary Co-op has posted a new listing of University Press books for March and April in the UPfront blog. Included there are Princeton titles The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive? by Peter Ward and The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter T. Leeson.