Yale sociolgoist Charles Perrow on how technology can nudge climate change politics in the Bloomberg View

Yale university sociologist and three-time Princeton University Press author Charles Perrow published a thought-provoking op-ed in the Bloomberg View.  Check out some of his popular books ORGANIZING AMERICA: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism, THE NEXT CATASTROPHE: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters, and his classic work NORMAL ACCIDENTS: Living with High Risk Technologies.

From the Bloomberg View:
Reducing carbon-dioxide emissions is primarily a political problem, rather than a technological one. This fact was well illustrated by the fate of the 2009 climate bill that barely passed the U.S. House of Representatives and never came up for a vote in the Senate.

The House bill was already quite weak, containing many exceptions for agriculture and other industries, subsidies for nuclear power and increasingly long deadlines for action. In the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats from coal-dependent states sealed its fate. Getting past these senators is the key to achieving a major reduction in our emissions.

Technological challenges to reducing emissions exist, too. Most pressing is the need to develop the know-how to capture carbon dioxide on a large scale and store it underground. Such technology could reduce by 90 percent the emissions from coal- fired power stations. Some 500 of these facilities in the U.S. produce 36 percent of our CO2 emissions….(continued at Bloomberg View)

This Week’s Book Giveaway

This week’s book giveaway is The Silicon Jungle by Shumeet Baluja. A timely thriller, The Silicon Jungle raises serious ethical questions about today’s technological The Silicon Jungleinnovations and how our most confidential activities and minute details can be routinely pieced together into rich profiles that reveal our habits, goals, and secret desires–all ready to be exploited in ways beyond our wildest imaginations. Set in today’s cutting-edge data mining industry, The Silicon Jungle is a cautionary tale of data mining’s promise and peril, and how others can use our online activities for political and personal gain just as easily as for marketing and humanitarian purposes.

“[F]righteningly convincing. . . . The read is quick, the questions will linger, and the ideas are so intriguing. . . . Baluja simplifies the abstract world of tech-speak for the rest of us while aiming to do for the Internet what Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle did for the meat industry: make readers reconsider its safety. For fans of intelligent thrillers.”–Stephen Morrow, Library Journal

“A cerebral, cautionary tale. Credible and scary.”–Vint Cerf, Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist and one of the “Fathers of the Internet”

To be in our weekly book giveaway draws, LIKE US on Facebook. Each Friday we randomly pick the winner who is then notified that she/he has won the book of the week. Thanks to everyone who follows us on Facebook.

Check out the Facebook page for The Silicon Jungle.

The Silicon Jungle by Shumeet Baluja

Reinventing Discovery with Open Science, Michael Nielsen’s TEDx Waterloo

The speaker in this video clip, Michael Nielsen, is publishing a book with Princeton University Press in November 2011. The book titled Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science makes sense of the exciting ways scientists and people collaborate online to solve problems.

In this TEDx Waterloo talk, Nielsen describes the polymath project which is coincidentally the brainchild of another PUP author — Timothy Gowers.

Enjoy the video and I’ll post more info about Michael’s book when it is available.

Princeton Global Science, Issue 3

You will notice we have slightly changed the way we are producing Princeton Global Science. The first two issues were published all at once on the 1st and 15th of the month, but for the past two weeks, we have posted articles as they were ready. So today, I am posting more or less a table of contents to highlight these contributions.

Paul Nahin contributes a video log about his publishing relationship with with Princeton University Press and his writing process — it turns out he writes a page a day, no matter what. Paul has written eight books for PUP and he describes the behind-the-scenes wrangling that goes into writing his books and the cover designs for three of them.

We also have a dialogue with Paul Thagard, author of The Brain and the Meaning of Life, in which he describes how a book that was originally conceived as an assessment of current research in neuroscience shifted to tackle one of the largest philosophical questions — what is the meaning of life?

Our natural history guides are a large part of our publishing program and with two new guides publishing in October, it makes sense that our Princeton Field Guide series is highlighted this issue. Science Group Publisher Robert Kirk describes the history of this popular series and we have features on the most recent additions The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs by Gregory S. Paul and Parrots of the World by Joseph M. Forshaw with illustrations by Frank Knight.

Click here to view the daily dinosaur feature which draws on information and images from The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs and click here for a sneak peek of the page layout and gorgeous illustrations from Parrots of the World.

As always, we also include a classic text from Princeton University Press history. This issue’s selection from A Century of Books is Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces by Paul R. Halmos.


BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: After President Kennedy challenged the nation to “put a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth,” it was obvious that more than seven astronauts would be needed. The second group of nine astronauts, referred to as the “new nine,” was selected in September 1962 and included Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell.

Space–the final frontier. It’s as little as fifty miles away, and yet it is considered one of the most dangerous and remote of places. Popular television shows such as Star Trek and movies such as Apollo 13 and October Sky have fired the imaginations of would-be explorers. Alan Tribble has worked on the design and development of dozens of spacecraft, including the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. A Tribble’s Guide to Space is a how-to book that is firmly grounded in the realities of current state-of-the-art space engineering while tapping into the power of imagination that drives us to explore.

Alan Tribble offers a delightful guide to the nuts and bolts of space exploration, from how to get there to how to phone home and how to survive the harsh environment of space. Using examples from famous space missions, both factual and fictional, Tribble tackles fascinating real-world problems encountered in space exploration.

Read chapter one online:

A Tribble’s Guide to Space:
How to Get to Space and What to Do When You are There
Alan C. Tribble

Princeton Global Science launches September 1st

Next week we will launch Princeton Global Science on this blog. Hope you will join us on September 1st for original content from from our science editors and authors. More to come!

David Goodstein interviewed at Inside Higher Ed

What are the three basic principles we can use to determine if someone is guilty of scientific misconduct? According to David Goodstein, interviewed about his new book On Fact and Fraud over at Inside Higher Ed, they are:

Thou shalt not commit fabrication (making up results); thou shalt not commit falsification (changing or omitting data or results); and thou shalt not commit plagiarism (appropriation of ideas without giving credit).

Click over to read the complete interview including advice to universities and professors on how to minimize the likelihood that their graduates will eventually commit scientific misconduct.

Ed Belbruno and fellow theorist search for the Origin of the Moon

Our resident rocket scientist Ed Belbruno and his colleague from Princeton University, Richard Gott, are searching for the origins of the moon, using a theory they’ve proposed called the “Theia hypothesis.”  The “Theia hypothesis” starts with the popular Great Impact theory of the Moon’s origin. Many astronomers hold that in the formative years of the solar system, a Mars-sized protoplanet crashed into Earth. Debris from the collision, a mixture of material from both bodies, spun out into Earth orbit and coalesced into the Moon. This scenario explains many aspects of lunar geology including the size of the Moon’s core and the density and isotopic composition of moon rocks.

As NASA’s STEREO probes approach the Lagrange point, it is thought that remnants of the Mars-size protoplanet remain here.  Read all about this potentially-explosive discovery here on NASA’s webpage.

To read more about the fascinating science of space travel and the career of a mathematician at work in space exploration, read Belbruno’s captivating book FLY ME TO THE MOON: An Insider’s Guide to the New Science of Space Travel.

If you have any questions for Ed, leave them here and he’ll answer!