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  • This week is University Press Week! Each day we'll be featuring a roundup of all the blog posts put out by our friends from the university press community.

    Posted at 03:04 pm on Mon, 14 Nov 2016 in blog tour, university press week
  • Now that the election is over, we're looking back at one of the most bizarre topics that surfaced from the campaign. Days before the election, Wikileaks released a batch of emails containing a note from performance artist Marina Abramovic to Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, and set off a strange chain reaction of accusations that tied Clinton and Podesta to the occult and Satan worshipping from the alt-right. James Westcott, Abramovic's biographer and the author of  When Marina Abramovic Dies writes this post to clear the air.

    BREAKING FAKE NEWS Clinton’s campaign manager participates in occult ritual with bizarre Balkan satanist…

    Of all the crazy tales fabricated in this election, this one might have been the most insane. Not just for the paranoid conspiracy posited by the alt-right—Clinton’s satanic network—but for the fact that a performance artist, Marina Abramovic, found herself tossed into the hollow core of the nation’s election news cycle. Enduring decades of obscurity in a tiny artworld niche, Abramovic may have been elevated to A-list celebrity after her MoMA performance The Artist Is Present in 2010, but to now show up on the alt-right’s radar is a whole other level of fame.

    Posted at 01:10 pm on Mon, 14 Nov 2016 in art, current affairs
  • On the eve of a historic election in the United States, revisit Josh Lerner's book reminding us that democracy can be fun.

    Everyone loves democracy—except for most of the time, when they hate it. Despite its wide appeal, democracy has a remarkable ability to be fantastically boring, bitterly painful, and utterly pointless. This ability is so incredible that, in mere hours, democracy can transform a thousand passionate activists into a room full of lifeless faces and empty chairs. 

    Posted at 09:00 am on Mon, 07 Nov 2016 in current affairs
  • We are pleased to announce that The Power of Resilience, by MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi, was just named one of strategy+business's Best Business Books of 2016! The book was one of three winners in the “Strategy” category, under the theme “Planning for Unpredictability.” The book has also been named by the company as a “Top Shelf Pick.”

    strategy+business showered Sheffi with praise, saying that “The Power of Resilience . . . stands head and shoulders above this year’s crop of the best business books on strategy, does an excellent job of covering the most important of those risks as well as best practices in everything from preparation to monitoring to drawing up crisis playbooks.”

    Posted at 03:38 am on Wed, 02 Nov 2016 in award
  • Today, Keith E. Stanovich, Richard F. West, and Maggie E. Toplak are featured on our Five Minutes with the Authors talking about their book The Rationality Quotient. The books explores how to assess critical aspects of cognitive functioning that are not measured by IQ tests. 

    Why is rationality commonly seen as a part of intelligence, yet excluded from tests that measure it—IQ tests being the primary example?

    The idea that IQ tests do not measure all of the important human faculties is not new. This point deserves elaboration, because a common misinterpretation of our work is that we are trying to improve intelligence tests. Not only is this not our goal, but it is a serious misunderstanding of what we are trying to achieve.

    Unlike some writers, we do not see the usefulness of labeling every human cognitive skill as intelligence—particularly when there are readily existing concepts (both scientific concepts and folk concepts) for some of those things (rationality, creativity, wisdom, critical thinking, open-minded thinking, reflectivity, sensitivity to evidence).  For example, theorists such as Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg define entities such as practical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, emotional intelligence, etc…

    Posted at 08:00 am on Mon, 31 Oct 2016 in cognitive science, psychology
  • This month MIT Press authors Bengt Holmström and Oliver Hart were award the Nobel Prize for their research in contract theory. In this post, economics acquisitions editor Emily Taber reflects on how their published works help make sense of our modern world.

    On October 10, 2016, Bengt Holmström was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He became the fifth member of the MIT economics department and the latest in a long line of MIT Press authors to earn the prize.

    Holmström was awarded jointly with Oliver Hart at Harvard for their work in contract theory. While they were not frequent collaborators, their individual research in this area beginning in the 1970s and 1980s set the stage for contract theory to become a significant field of study.

    Posted at 03:00 pm on Mon, 24 Oct 2016 in award, economics, Nobel Prize
  • We note, with sadness, the death on October 10 of Leo Beranek, at the age of 102. A pioneer in modern acoustics, Beranek’s career touched on everything from concert hall design to television broadcasting to the development of the internet. Seldom has an enthusiasm for technology left a mark on so many varied aspects of modern life.

    Beranek told the story of his life and career in Riding the Waves, an autobiography that recounted his upbringing in a small town in Iowa; his journey to Cambridge to attend Harvard; the founding of the acoustics and technology firm Bolt, Beranek & Newman; his work on numerous concert venues, including Philharmonic Hall in New York and the Koussevitzky Shed at Tanglewood; and his philanthropic work, especially for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    Posted at 01:30 pm on Wed, 19 Oct 2016 in in memoriam
  • We are pleased to announce that Boundary Objects and Beyondedited by Geoffrey C. Bowker, Stefan Timmermans, Adele E. Clarke, and Ellen Balka, is the winner of the 2016 Best Information Science Book Award! This award is sponsored by the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). The award was officially announced and presented on October 18, 2016 at the ASIS&T annual meeting in Copenhagen. 

    Posted at 01:30 am on Wed, 19 Oct 2016 in award
  • Information is power. It drives commerce, protects nations, and forms the backbone of systems that range from health care to high finance. In Missed Information, David Sarokin and Jay Schulkin argue that better information and better access to it improves the quality of our decisions and makes for a more vibrant participatory society. The authors discuss their new book in this post.

    How did an environmental scientist and a neuroscientist come together to write this book? 

    Our backgrounds and disciplines are important, but the real value of our teaming up on Missed Information stems from a long period of friendship and professional collaboration, much of it spent in conversation over the ideas in our book. We should point out, though that—as an environmental scientist—Sarokin created the Toxics Release Inventory, the first federal law to explicitly use information as an environmental policy tool. Schulkin, as a neuroscientist, focuses daily on how information is processed in biological systems. And as creatures of the Information Age, we’re just fascinated by (and optimistic about) the possibilities of putting better data to better use.

    Posted at 11:00 am on Wed, 12 Oct 2016 in current affairs, information science
  • In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we look back at last year's essay ("Changing the Face of Computing—One Stitch at a Time") by Yasmin Kafai and Jane Margolis about the legacy of the pioneering British mathematician who became the first computer programmer.<--break-> 

    As we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, we should be reminded that one of the first computers in the nineteenth century, the “Analytical Engine,” was based on the design of the Jacquard loom, for weaving fashionable complex textiles of the times. It was fashion that inspired British mathematician Ada Lovelace to write the code for the loom that wove the complex patterns that were in vogue. She also wrote a most beautiful sentence linking computing and fashion: “We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.” And yet, the historical and intimate relationship between fashion and computer science has largely been forgotten and ignored, even as Lovelace’s pioneering spirit lives on today’s runways.

    Posted at 11:00 am on Tue, 11 Oct 2016 in computer science, engineering, math, science, technology
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Books, news, and ideas from MIT Press

The MIT PressLog is the official blog of MIT Press. Founded in 2005, the Log chronicles news about MIT Press authors and books. The MIT PressLog also serves as forum for our authors to discuss issues related to their books and scholarship. Views expressed by guest contributors to the blog do not necessarily represent those of MIT Press.