The Extreme Life of the Sea by Stephen & Anthony Palumbi (#ExtremeLifeOTC)

This book officially publishes in March 2014 and will be available in three formats: Print, standard eBook, and enhanced eBook (featuring a dozen exclusive videos that are beautifully produced and informative).

For more about the book, please visit our web site: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10178.html

“The oceans are our most precious treasure, full of creatures and stories more fantastic than any science fiction. The Extreme Life of the Sea is a fascinating exploration of this vast mysterious universe. Wonderfully written, it will grab you from page one and carry you all the way through. A must-read for everyone.”–Philippe Cousteau

“This book brims with fascinating tales of life in the sea, told with freshness, wit, and verve. Simply wonderful.”–Callum Roberts, author of The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea

The 2013 Bird Migration Series

The Warbler GuideAs the first day of fall fast approaches (September 22nd to be exact), bird migrations are already starting. To note this annual phenomenon, we are celebrating during the months of September and October with giveaways, free downloads, online quizzes, gorgeous pictures, and countless blog posts from some of the best bird writers we know.

To kick off this winged adventure, we’re taking to the skies with a Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler GuideThe Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

The Crossley ID GuideHow to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

Plus weHow To Be A Better Birder have two free downloads that are available at our blog site:

Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

Most of all, stay tuned as we continue to post everything you ever wanted to know about bird migrations throughout the fall season.

Happy Father’s Day from #OddCouples

Father’s Day is upon us once more, which can mean only one thing: new eCards, this time for whoever you call “dad,” “old man,” “papa,” “pop,” “pa,” or even your favorite father-figure or head of household. We take our inspiration yet again from Daphne Fairbairn’s wonderful book Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom, which recently published on May 15th.

So go ahead and blog about, Tweet out, post to Facebook, and otherwise share these! Enjoy!

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Happy Mother’s Day from #OddCouples

This Mother’s Day, we’re offering up some cheeky eCards for you to share with the special women in your life—all inspired by Daphne Fairbairn’s fascinating book Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom, which publishes on May 15th. Trust us, human beings (yes, this includes Mom and Dad) won’t seem so strange once you’ve read about these other species!

Feel free to blog about, Tweet out, post to Facebook, and otherwise share these! Enjoy!

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Exploring Fungi’s Kingdom

Some things just don’t get enough credit. The fungi kingdom is a sometimes forgotten but extremely important kingdom within our world. Why are organisms that are so small so important? Jens Peterson, author of The Kingdom of Fungi answers this question and more in BBC The Forum’s latest interview. Check out the interview here.

The fungi realm has been called the “hidden kingdom,” a mysterious world populated by microscopic spores, gigantic mushrooms and toadstools, and a host of other multicellular organisms ranging widely in color, size, and shape. The Kingdom of Fungi provides an intimate look at the world’s astonishing variety of fungi species, from cup fungi and lichens to truffles and tooth fungi, clubs and corals, and jelly fungi and puffballs. This beautifully illustrated book features more than 800 stunning color photographs as well as a concise text that describes the biology and ecology of fungi, fungal morphology, where fungi grow, and human interactions with and uses of fungi.

The Kingdom of Fungi is a feast for the senses, and the ideal reference for naturalists, researchers, and anyone interested in fungi.

  • Reveals fungal life as never seen before
  • Features more than 800 stunning color photos
  • Describes fungal biology, morphology, distribution, and uses
  • A must-have reference book for naturalists and researchers

HP & PUP: Ravenclaw’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Ravenclaw house. What would a Ravenclaw read? Chances are, a Ravenclaw would want to read everything due to their devotion to intelligence, knowledge, and wit. Here we have some books on philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and mathematics that would interest any Ravenclaw.

1. Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by Jeremy Adelman- Ravenclaw students would sink their teeth into a biography about one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century.

3-27 worldly philosopherWorldly Philosopher chronicles the times and writings of Albert O. Hirschman, one of the twentieth century’s most original and provocative thinkers. In this gripping biography, Jeremy Adelman tells the story of a man shaped by modern horrors and hopes, a worldly intellectual who fought for and wrote in defense of the values of tolerance and change.

Born in Berlin in 1915, Hirschman grew up amid the promise and turmoil of the Weimar era, but fled Germany when the Nazis seized power in 1933. Amid hardship and personal tragedy, he volunteered to fight against the fascists in Spain and helped many of Europe’s leading artists and intellectuals escape to America after France fell to Hitler. His intellectual career led him to Paris, London, and Trieste, and to academic appointments at Columbia, Harvard, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was an influential adviser to governments in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, as well as major foundations and the World Bank. Along the way, he wrote some of the most innovative and important books in economics, the social sciences, and the history of ideas.

Throughout, he remained committed to his belief that reform is possible, even in the darkest of times.

This is the first major account of Hirschman’s remarkable life, and a tale of the twentieth century as seen through the story of an astute and passionate observer. Adelman’s riveting narrative traces how Hirschman’s personal experiences shaped his unique intellectual perspective, and how his enduring legacy is one of hope, open-mindedness, and practical idealism.

2. The Golden Ticket: P, NP and the Search for the Impossible by Lance Fortnow- The Ravenclaw house would be most likely to produce the P-NP problem without magic.

3-25 Fortnow_GoldenTicketThe P-NP problem is the most important open problem in computer science, if not all of mathematics. Simply stated, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly checked by computer can also be quickly solved by computer. The Golden Ticket provides a nontechnical introduction to P-NP, its rich history, and its algorithmic implications for everything we do with computers and beyond. In this informative and entertaining book, Lance Fortnow traces how the problem arose during the Cold War on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and gives examples of the problem from a variety of disciplines, including economics, physics, and biology. He explores problems that capture the full difficulty of the P-NP dilemma, from discovering the shortest route through all the rides at Disney World to finding large groups of friends on Facebook. But difficulty also has its advantages. Hard problems allow us to safely conduct electronic commerce and maintain privacy in our online lives.

The Golden Ticket explores what we truly can and cannot achieve computationally, describing the benefits and unexpected challenges of this compelling problem.

3. Invisible in the Storm: The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather by Ian Roulstone & John Norbury- Their aptitude for mathematics would draw Ravenclaws to this book.

3-27 invisible in the stormInvisible in the Storm is the first book to recount the history, personalities, and ideas behind one of the greatest scientific successes of modern times–the use of mathematics in weather prediction. Although humans have tried to forecast weather for millennia, mathematical principles were used in meteorology only after the turn of the twentieth century. From the first proposal for using mathematics to predict weather, to the supercomputers that now process meteorological information gathered from satellites and weather stations, Ian Roulstone and John Norbury narrate the groundbreaking evolution of modern forecasting.

The authors begin with Vilhelm Bjerknes, a Norwegian physicist and meteorologist who in 1904 came up with a method now known as numerical weather prediction. Although his proposed calculations could not be implemented without computers, his early attempts, along with those of Lewis Fry Richardson, marked a turning point in atmospheric science. Roulstone and Norbury describe the discovery of chaos theory’s butterfly effect, in which tiny variations in initial conditions produce large variations in the long-term behavior of a system–dashing the hopes of perfect predictability for weather patterns. They explore how weather forecasters today formulate their ideas through state-of-the-art mathematics, taking into account limitations to predictability. Millions of variables–known, unknown, and approximate–as well as billions of calculations, are involved in every forecast, producing informative and fascinating modern computer simulations of the Earth system.

4. The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide by William H. Waller- Ravenclaws would want to know everything about the wizarding world, the muggle world, and beyond.

This book offers an intimate guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home Galaxy’s structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings. In engaging language, it tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems–some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species.

William Waller vividly describes the Milky Way as it appears in the night sky, acquainting readers with its key components and telling the history of our changing galactic perceptions. The ancients believed the Milky Way was a home for the gods. Today we know it is but one galaxy among billions of others in the observable universe. Within the Milky Way, ground-based and space-borne telescopes have revealed that our Solar System is not alone. Hundreds of other planetary systems share our tiny part of the vast Galaxy. We reside within a galactic ecosystem that is driven by the theatrics of the most massive stars as they blaze through their brilliant lives and dramatic deaths. Similarly effervescent ecosystems of hot young stars and fluorescing nebulae delineate the graceful spiral arms in our Galaxy’s swirling disk. Beyond the disk, the spheroidal halo hosts the ponderous–and still mysterious–dark matter that outweighs everything else. Another dark mystery lurks deep in the heart of the Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole has produced bizarre phenomena seen at multiple wavelengths.

5. Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom by Daphne J. Fairbairn- On their quest for knowledge, learning about all types of animals is pertinent- sadly, magical creatures are not covered in this book.

While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can’t compare to those of other animals. For instance, the male garden spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. Female cichlids must guard their eggs and larvae–even from the hungry appetites of their own partners. And male blanket octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist? Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world. From the fields of Spain to the deep oceans, evolutionary biologist Daphne Fairbairn uncovers the unique and bizarre characteristics–in size, behavior, ecology, and life history–that exist in these remarkable species and the special strategies they use to maximize reproductive success. Fairbairn describes how male great bustards aggressively compete to display their gorgeous plumage and large physiques to watching, choosey females. She investigates why female elephant seals voluntarily live in harems where they are harassed constantly by eager males. And she reveals why dwarf male giant seadevils parasitically fuse to their giant female partners for life. Fairbairn also considers humans and explains that although we are keenly aware of our own sexual differences, they are unexceptional within the vast animal world.

Keep coming back to get your reading list for your Hogwarts house!

HOW CLIMATE WORKS symposium, co-sponsored by Princeton University Press and the Princeton Environmental Institute

On October 12, 2012, Princeton University Press and the Princeton Environmental Institute hosted a day-long symposium titled HOW CLIMATE WORKS. The symposium was held in conjunction with the publication of our latest titles in the well-received Princeton Primers in Climate series.

In this first of ten segments to be posted here the symposium speakers discussed their contributions to the Princeton Primers in Climate series. The introduction remarks were given by Princeton University Press biological sciences editor Alison Kalett and Princeton professor Geoffrey Vallis, author of CLIMATE AND THE OCEANS.

Wildflower Wednesday — Pink Lady-slipper

Pink Lady-slipper

 


Photo credit, C Gracie.
Lady-slipper orchids are perhaps the best known and most loved of all of our native orchids.

Their large, slipper-shaped flowers are curious in shape and devious in the manner in which they manage to get pollinated. Bumblebees must force their way into the slit that bisects the pouch of the flower. Once inside, the slip closes and they are trapped, buzzing around until they see the light from the two small openings at the top of the flower. They must exit via one of these openings, and in doing so, brush against the female stigma, where pollen from a previously visited flower is scraped off and pick up additional pollen from the large anthers that they will transport on to a subsequent flower.

 
For a high-res version of this image, please contact blog@press.princeton.edu.
 

Read more in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast
by Carol Gracie

Wildflower Wednesday

Wildflower Wedneday — Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

 


Photo credit, C Gracie.
The imaginative name for this plant comes from the perception of the upright central portion’s resemblance to “Jack,” a preacher, in his leafy, overhanging “pulpit.” The tiny flowers of this species are found at the base of “Jack.”

The flowers of a plant are either male or female, determined primarily by the resources of the plant. Larger plants with two leaves usually have female flowers, since greater resources are needed for a plant to be able to produce fruits and seeds. Jack-in-the-pulpit has the interesting ability to change sexes from one year to the next depending on the stored food available in its underground corm. 

 
For a high-res version of this image, please contact blog@press.princeton.edu.
 

Read more in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast
by Carol Gracie

Wildflower Wednesday

Wildflower Wednesday — Painted Trillium

Painted Trillium

 


Photo credit, C Gracie.
Of our three most common species of trillium in the Northeast, my favorite is the painted trillium. Its three white petals are strikingly marked with bright magenta chevrons that “bleed” into the veins of the petal. This species prefers colder, damper habitats than both the large-flowered (white) and purple trilliums and, thus, is less commonly seen.

Like many other spring woodland flowers, the seeds of trillium have a fleshy appendage (an elaiosome) that ants find attractive. The ants carry the seeds off to their nests, where they eat the elaiosomes and discard the seeds, thereby dispersing them away from the mother plant.

 
For a high-res version of this image, please contact blog@press.princeton.edu.
 

 

Read more in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast
by Carol Gracie

Wildflower Wednesday

Wildflower Wednesday — Mayapple

Mayapple

 


Photo credit, C Gracie.
The large, white flowers of Mayapple are hidden under the plant’s large leaves and often overlooked by walkers. The large and attractive flowers are worth searching for to enjoy their beauty. (tip: only Mayapple plants with two leaves produce flowers.)

Mayapple grows in large clonal colonies, usually in moist areas. Their ripe fruits cause them to topple over allowing box turtles to reach the fruits, which they eat and then disperse the seeds. Although toxic, Mayapple and its relatives are a source of compounds important in medicines used in the treatment of various types of cancer.

 
For a high-res version of this image, please contact blog@press.princeton.edu.
 

 

Read more in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast
by Carol Gracie

Wildflower Wednesday

Wildflower Wednesday — Columbine

Columbine

 


Photo credit, C Gracie.
We have few red-flowered plants in the eastern United States, most likely due to our paucity of hummingbird species as compared to other parts of the country. Red is a color known to be attractive to hummingbirds, but not as much so to other potential pollinators. The blooming of columbine coincides with the return of ruby-throated hummingbirds from their winter locales and provides them with a welcome source of nectar after their long journeys.

The nectar is held at the tips of the long spurs, where it is accessible only to hummingbirds and some bumblebees. Columbine is frequently found growing on rocky ledges and cliff faces.

 
For a high-res version of this image, please contact blog@press.princeton.edu.
 

 

Read more in Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast
by Carol Gracie

Wildflower Wednesday