Martin Gilens discusses Affluence and Influence on The Rachel Maddow Show

Martin Gilens appeared on The Rachel Maddow this past Monday to discuss his new book Affluence and Influence:
Economic Inequality and Political Power in America
with guest host Ezra Klein. In his book, Gilens analyzes decades of polling data and proposed policy changes and shows that when the preferences of the rich diverge from the preferences of the poor and middle class, the government responds staggeringly to the affluent. His book raises some very important questions about economic and political inequality, topics sure to become talking points leading up to November’s presidential election.

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Peter Dougherty to lead Association of American University Presses

On June 20, PUP Director Peter Dougherty was elected to serve as president of the Association of American University Presses. From the AAUP:

“On June 20, 2012, Princeton University Press director Peter Dougherty assumed leadership of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP). Dougherty will serve a one-year term as the Association’s president. He succeeds MaryKatherine Callaway, director of Louisiana State University Press, who will remain on the AAUP board of directors.”

He has served on the AAUP board of directors since 2009, as well as sitting on the boards for the Association of American Publishers and the Princeton Public Library Foundation. In his inaugural address at the 2012 AAUP Annual Meeting in Chicago, he described the important role technology will play in the global university press:

“In a digital culture that granulates knowledge, books synthesize it. [...] In a digital culture that disaggregates community, books catalyze it. The far-ranging discussions that careen around the web need to be structured, situated, and brought to center. Books provide this anchor.”

You can read the full announcement on the AAUP web site. Congratulations Mr. Dougherty!

On Having a Haunted Heart — Gordon Marino in the New York Times

Gordon Marino has written a fascinating and moving piece for the New York Times Opinionator as part of their Anxiety series about his experiences dealing with heart problems and the deep sense of foreboding that they often carry with them. Marino writes:

“I was given a stress test. I stood atop a treadmill in a darkish room, tethered to a full metal jacket of monitors and wires, and started walking . There were two nurses. Stupid half jokes and nervous laughter floated up. So far my chest was quiet. Kierkegaard, the first philosopher to attack the problem of anxiety, described it as a kind of foreboding. As I padded along and they ramped up the speed and elevation, the foreboding was there. Something was following me. Jocular and stoic as I tried to be, I was desperately hoping that the paramedics wouldn’t let me know if they saw anything — but I could feel it coming. Then one nurse, gruff and near retirement, finger toward the monitor, loudly whispered to the other, “There’s something here.” That was it for me.”

He is currently editing The Quotable Kierkegaard for the Princeton University Press. You can read his compelling piece here.

Timur Kuran and The Long Divergence featured in the Boston Globe

Timur Kuran, author of Islam and Mammon and The Long Divergence is featured in a piece by Thanassis Cambanis about the effects of Islamic law on economies. Cambanis writes:

“Has the Islamic world been held back by its treatment at the hands of history? Or could the roots of the problem lie in its shared religion—in the Koran, and Islamic belief itself?

A provocative new answer is emerging from the work of Timur Kuran, a Turkish-American economist at Duke University and one of the most influential thinkers about how, exactly, Islam shapes societies. In a growing body of work, Kuran argues that the blame for the Islamic world’s economic stagnation and democracy deficit lies with a distinct set of institutions that Islamic law created over centuries. The way traditional Islamic law handled finance, inheritance, and incorporation, he argues, held back both economic and political development. These practices aren’t inherent in the religion—they emerged long after the establishment of Islam, and have partly receded from use in the modern era. But they left a profound legacy in many societies where Islam held sway.”

The entire article is available on Boston.com.

Animal Navigation Fun Facts — Part 3

Think humans are good at navigation? Think again. Compared to some of the mesmerizing navigational abilities of birds and other species, human navigation is actually quite primitive. Here is our third and final part of our facts series about animal navigation from Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation by James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould. Click here to read part 1 and click here to read part 2 of our fun facts series.

Honeybee fact: The sun is a very important navigational tool for bees both in communicating the direction of a food resource and in finding the way home. As vital as the sun is, bees have trouble seeing it. It is hard for them to actually identify the sun in the sky because their visual resolution does not allow them to identify the sun as a unique shape. As a rule of thumb for bees, if a bright spot contains no more than 20% ultraviolet light and is no larger than 15° across, then it is the sun.

Bird fact: In unfamiliar territory, birds must be able to estimate the amount of distance traveled. Early sailors threw logs overboard and counted the number of knots on an attached line that were carried out in 30 or 60 seconds in order to measure speed. Each knot was 50 feet apart and this now corresponds with one nautical mile per hour. Birds come fully equipped with special circuits in their eyes to judge the rate at which the terrain below is moving and they can time how fast they are moving in intervals.

Bonus fact: Birds are migrating and nesting sooner because of climate change. They believe the planet is getting warmer and are betting their lives on it.

Gabriella Coleman featured in Fast Company

With the exponentially growing importance of the internet, hacking is quickly becoming a subject worthy of study in an anthropological setting. Gabriella Coleman was interviewed by Adam Bluestein of Fast Company and discussed how exactly she gravitated toward studying hacking and digital activism, her fascination with the hacker collective Anonymous, and the introduction of hacker culture as an acceptable subject for an anthropology major. Gabriella’s forthcoming book is called Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking and addresses some of these topics.

Read the entire interview here!

‘Blind Spots’ author Max Bazerman discusses the Sandusky trial on WNYC’s The Takeaway

Max Bazerman, co-author of Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It (along with Ann Tenbrunsel) appeared on WNYC’s The Takeaway to discuss the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. You can listen to the interview below.

Animal Navigation Fun Facts — Part 2

Think humans are good at navigation? Think again. Compared to some of the mesmerizing navigational abilities of birds and other species, human navigation is actually quite primitive. Here is part two of our facts series about animal navigation from Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation by James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould.

Honeybee fact: Bees “dance” to communicate the location of a food source. What are bees actually doing during their dance? Trigonometry of course. They draw accurate maps to food by generating distance and direction components in their dances. When bees waggle while they dance, the direction of their waggling encodes the direction of the food. Pointing up refers to the direction of the sun and then the dancer reveals the relative azimuth of the sun by waggling left or right. Depending on the subspecies of bee, each waggle can correspond to a distance of 5-50 yards.

Bird fact: Many birds travel at night, and while they are unable to see shapes, they use starlight to help them navigate. They memorize star patterns, particularly the poles, and update their celestial snapshot depending on which constellations are visible during the season. When it’s overcast, birds resort to using their secondary magnetic compass and navigate by following magnetic fields.

Bonus fact: Even plankton have navigational abilities. Zooplankton, the organism that nearly all fish feed on, migrate down daily and up at night to follow their prey—phytoplankton.

We’ll be back next Monday for the third and final part to our animal navigation facts series.

‘Free Market Fairness’ author John Tomasi discusses economic liberty and social justice with Glenn Loury on Bloggingheads.tv

John Tomasi, author of Free Market Fairness, was interviewed by his Brown University colleague Glenn Loury on bloggingheads.tv. He discusses his new book, the philosophies of John Rawls and Friedrich Hayek, and whether or not the two might have agreed on certain fundamental principles of justice. Watch the video here or embedded below.

Animal Navigation Fun Facts — Part 1

Think humans are good at navigation? Think again. Compared to some of the mesmerizing navigational abilities of birds and other species, human navigation is actually quite primitive. Each Monday for the next few weeks we will be posting facts about animal navigation from Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation by James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould.

Bird Fact: Many birds are able to navigate back to their nests after a few preliminary first flights. James and Carol Gould explain, “Taken to a new home after just one or two brief outings and confined for up to several years, pigeons will nevertheless generally return to their natal loft at the first opportunity.” Could any of you make your way home as a toddler? It turns out that many creatures can cover thousands of miles in mental maps using landmarks, and not just those they see but those that they hear. For example, birds use the noise of the winds passing over the Rocky Mountains as an auditory landmark.

Bonus fact: Ants can navigate the Sahara desert by measuring their visual flow. They count their footsteps and make it back to their homes despite the uniform appearance of their surroundings and their small size.

Check back next Monday for some cool facts about honeybees.

‘Latino Catholicism’ by Timothy Matovina wins College Theology Society Best Book Award

The Princeton University Press would like to congratulate Timothy Matovina on winning the College Theology Society 2012 Best Book Award for Latino Catholicism:
Transformation in America’s Largest Church
.

You can read the first chapter of Matovina’s now award-winning book here. Congratulations again, Timothy!

Vickie Kearn interviewed on Wild About Math

The Princeton University Press executive editor for mathematics Vickie Kearn was recently interviewed by Sol Lederman on Wild About Math! as part of the Inspired by Math podcast series. She discusses the changing public perception of popular math among various other fascinating topics in the world of math.

Click here to listen!