Monthly Archives: October 2007

Review: Maestripieri, Macachiavellian Intelligence

October 23, 2007
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Review: Maestripieri, Macachiavellian Intelligence

The Times Higher Education Supplement recently ran a positive review of Dario Maestripieri’s new book, Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World. A detailed examination of how rhesus macaques have come to claim the title of the world’s most prolific primates (after homo-sapiens, of course) Macachiavellian Intelligence delivers an insightful exploration of macaque social organization—revealing relationships perpetually subject to the cruel laws of the markets and power struggles that would impress Machiavelli himself. Alison Jolly’s review for the THES begins: If this review were written by a rhesus monkey, the author would get an O mouth threat and a clear chance of being bitten. Unless, of course, the author were dominant to the reviewer, in which case it would be a sycophantic fear grin in hopes of payoff—either promotion or sex. The only actual altruists in rhesus society are mothers, but The Times Higher doesn’t ask authors’ mothers to review books.… The review continues: Maestripieri tells story with incisive prose, sharp wit and admirable brevity, and the book should appeal to a wide audience from cynical teenagers to economists who believe that the “invisible hand” of competition underlies all human society. He also has perfect . . .

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Press Release: Lanham, The Economics of Attention

October 23, 2007
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Press Release: Lanham, The Economics of Attention

Now available in paperback— With all the verve and erudition that have established his earlier books as classics, Richard A. Lanham here traces our epochal move from an economy of things and objects to an economy of attention. According to Lanham, the central commodity in the age of information is not stuff but style. In such an age, intellectual property will become more central to the economy than real property, while the arts and letters will grow to be more crucial than engineering, the physical sciences, and indeed economics as conventionally practiced. The new attention economy, therefore, will anoint a new set of moguls in the business world—masters of attention with a grounding in the humanities and liberal arts. Read the press release. . . .

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Vietnam Zippos on the CBS Evening News

October 22, 2007
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Vietnam Zippos on the CBS Evening News

Sherry Buchanan’s Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories received some prime time publicity Saturday on CBS’s Evening News. Buchanan’s book showcases a collection of Vietnam era Zippo lighters to tell the fascinating story of how the humble Zippo became a talisman and companion for American GIs during their tours of duty. CBS correspondent John Blackstone asks Vietnam vet Hap Desimone “if it seems strange to see the lighters depicted as art:” “No,” he says. “It doesn’t seem strange at all.” In Vietnam, every soldier, it seemed, had a Zippo. “I carried one,” Desimone says. “I had it engraved.” With the engravings Zippos became the one place soldiers could express themselves. “A lot of these sentiments I heard before, ‘We’re the unwilling led by the unqualified doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful’,” he says. “It rings a bell.…” The piece continues quoting artist Bradford Edwards whose collection is featured in Vietnam Zippos: “You had people who were discontent people who wanted to express heartfelt emotions,” he says. “And here was a small canvas.” “They look like a collection of tombstones,” Edwards says. “And they may be the last thing some of these guys had to say.” While some of the . . .

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Podcast: Barry B. LePatner on The Invisible Hand

October 18, 2007
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Podcast: Barry B. LePatner on The Invisible Hand

Last week we mentioned that Barry B. LePatner, author of Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry was going to be featured on Chris Gondek’s business management podcast, The Invisible Hand. Well, while the podcast officially airs on Mr. Gondek’s site this Saturday, he was kind enough to give us a link to the full audio from his talk with LePatner a couple of days in advance. Listen to The Invisible Hand Podcast Episode 61 (mp3) as LePatner and Gondek engage in a fascinating discussion about how America’s fractured construction industry is costing the nation billions of dollars, and what LePatner suggests can be done to fix it. Also check out LePatner’s special website for the book with excerpts and other resources. . . .

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Chicago’s Nobel laureate on the Counterinsurgency Field Manual

October 17, 2007
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Chicago’s Nobel laureate on the Counterinsurgency Field Manual

University of Chicago economics professor Roger B. Myerson, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences this week, is working on a paper critiquing U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. The paper, “Foundations of the State in Theory and Practice: Reading Bremer and the Counterinsurgency Field Manual” (see PDF draft version) examines two texts. The first is L. Paul Bremer’s My Year in Iraq, his memoir of the fourteen months he was head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, charged with Iraq reconstruction. The second text is The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Both books, says Myerson, “express theories of the foundations of the constitutional state. Their theories have been used to guide practical policy-making in the reconstruction of Iraq, but we should also read them as exercises in social theory. … I want to examine the theories of nation-building that are expressed by Bremer and the Field Manual.” Myerson criticizes the fundamental strategy that was followed by Bremer: “a democratic state must be based on a written constitution.” In fact, says Myerson, constitutional democracies are not necessarily established this way. The British parliamentary system developed without any formal constitutional document, and America adopted a constitution several years after the . . .

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David P. Currie, 1936-2007

October 16, 2007
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David P. Currie, 1936-2007

David P. Currie, a constitutional scholar and professor at the University of Chicago Law School for 45 years, died yesterday in Chicago at the age of 71. Currie was the author of 19 books, and the University of Chicago Press was pleased to be the publisher of eight of them, including his magnificent works in the history of the Constitution of the United States. In the two volumes of The Constitution in the Supreme Court, The First Hundred Years and The Second Century, Currie delivered both legal analysis and a narrative history of the highest court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Currie turned to the legislative branch for his volumes of The Constitution in Congress. He analyzed the work of the first six Congresses in The Federalist Period and examined the period of Republican hegemony in The Jeffersonians. The antebellum years required two volumes: Democrats and Whigs, which covered the Jacksonian revolution and economic changes, and Descent into the Maelstrom, which was devoted to the great debate over slavery. Currie was working on the next volume in the series at the time of his death. For the bicentennial of the Constitution, Currie wrote a book for the student and lay audiences, . . .

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Review: Laszlo, Citrus

October 15, 2007
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Review: Laszlo, Citrus

Citrus: A History, the latest from chemist and author Pierre Laszlo, is a fascinating historical study of the culinary and cultural phenomenon of the citrus. Writing for the UK’s Financial Times, Ian Irvine’s recent review delivers a succinct and enthusiastic summary of Laszlo’s new work: Pierre Laszlo’s short but brilliant book ranges over citrus’s eventful history and describes its global importance in agriculture, industry, religion, painting, literature, nutrition and architecture. He also provides some excellent recipes.… Laszlo is a professor of chemistry and author of a fine history of salt. His scientific explanations—the fruit’s importance as a source of vitamin C, for example—are excellent, but he is also equally lucid in other fields: the purpose of the orangery at the palace of Versailles; the role of the peeled lemon in Dutch still-lifes; and why the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles requires an etrog citron. You can read the rest of Irvine’s review online at the FT.com or check out six citrus recipes from Laszlo’s book online at the UCP website. . . .

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Press Release: Montgomery, The Shark God

October 15, 2007
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Press Release: Montgomery, The Shark God

When Charles Montgomery was ten years old, he stumbled upon the memoirs of his great-grandfather, a seafaring missionary in the South Pacific. Twenty years later and a century after that journey, entranced by the world of black magic and savagery the bishop described, Montgomery set out for Melanesia in search of the very spirits and myths his great-grandfather had sought to destroy. In The Shark God, he retraces his ancestor’s path through the far-flung islands, exploring the bond between faith and magic, the eerie persistence of the spirit world, and the heavy footprints of the British Empire. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Nardi, Life in the Soil

October 15, 2007
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Press Release: Nardi, Life in the Soil

The biological world under our toes is often unexplored and unappreciated, yet it teems with life. In one square meter of earth, there live trillions of bacteria, millions of nematodes, hundreds of thousands of mites, thousands of insects and worms, and hundreds of snails and slugs. But because of their location and size, many of these creatures are as unfamiliar and bizarre to us as anything found at the bottom of the ocean. A unique and illustrative introduction to the many unheralded creatures that inhabit our soils and shape our environment aboveground, Life in the Soil covers everything from slime molds and roundworms to woodlice and dung beetles, as well as vertebrates from salamanders to shrews. Lavishly illustrated with nearly three hundred color illustrations and masterfully-rendered black and white drawings, Life in the Soil will inform and enrich the naturalist in all of us. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Greenberg, Science for Sale

October 15, 2007
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Press Release: Greenberg, Science for Sale

The media are awash with stories about increasingly close ties between college science departments and multi-million dollar corporations, but is that relationship endangering science? Have universities, bedazzled by visions of huge profits from biotechnology and drug patents, allowed themselves to be fatally compromised by corporate cash? With Science for Sale, journalist Daniel S. Greenberg draws on sources developed through his forty years of reporting to paint a clear and detailed picture of the state of university science. Taking on everything from drug tests to the technology transfer offices that have sprung up at many universities, Greenberg reveals that campus capitalism is more complicated—and less profitable—than media reports would suggest. Read the press release. . . .

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