Monthly Archives: June 2010

Ocean Science After the Oil Spill: Author Calls for New Investments in Conversation and Research

June 10, 2010
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Ocean Science After the Oil Spill: Author Calls for New Investments in Conversation and Research

Would greater funding for ocean science research and technology have left us better prepared to respond to the Gulf coast oil spill? That’s the question Ellen Prager asks in her guest post on the Washington Post‘s Political Bookworm blog. Responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Prager writes, “Several things are now all too clear from the Gulf coast oil disaster. BP, the oil industry, and the U.S. government were unprepared to respond quickly and effectively to the accident and its aftermath. The lack of investment in undersea research, clean-up technology, and ocean science over the past few decades has made matters worse. One wonders, if a comparable fix was needed 200 miles from Earth at the International Space Station, would the technology and know-how be at hand?” Prager, a veteran ocean scientist with extensive experience working under the sea, feels passionately that, especially in light of the disaster, we need to recommit to investment ocean research and technology. And she should know a thing or two about what it takes to make science happen on the ocean. Her book, Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts takes reads under . . .

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An interview with Rob Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed

June 10, 2010
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An interview with Rob Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed

I’m innocent! I’m innocent! I’m innocent! As guards dragged him into the gas chamber: Don’t let me go like this, God! —Robert Otis Pierce, convicted of murder, California. Executed April 6, 1956 I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the Rock and I’ll be back like ‘Independence Day’ with Jesus, June 6, like the movie, big mother ship and all. I’ll be back. —Aileen Wuornos, convicted of murder, Florida. Executed October 9, 2002 Some claim innocence. Others beg for forgiveness. At least three cheer for their favorite football teams. Through final utterances like these, author Rob Elder constructs a compelling oral history of American capital punishment ranging from women put to death during the Salem witch trials, to some of the most infamous criminal figures of the twentieth century like Ted Bundy and Illinois’ own John Wayne Gacy. And though there’s been a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois for some time now, in an interview for The Onion A.V. Club, Elder discusses more of the famous last words of local convicts not lucky enough to escape the chair, the chamber, or the noose. From the interview: AVC: Any other Illinois big shots? RE: A gentleman who was . . .

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Celebrate the 2010 Printer’s Row Lit Fest with the University of Chicago Press

June 9, 2010
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Celebrate the 2010 Printer’s Row Lit Fest with the University of Chicago Press

Looking to indulge your literary side this weekend? Join the University of Chicago Press at the 2010 Printer’s Row Lit Fest this Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13. Not only will the Press be on site selling our fabulous wares, plenty of Press authors will be on hand reading from and discussing their books. Here’s a lowdown of what’s happening at the Fest. All weekend long, the Press will be selling our books at our booth (located in Tent O, which will be closer to Polk than Harrison. This is a new location for us, as our usual spot will be occupied by construction equipment. Use this map to find us). We’ll have our newest releases, as well as many of our most popular Chicago titles and stunning picture books (all of which make great gifts for Dad!). We’ll also be bringing back our popular $5 table: everything on it will cost you just one portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Among the books you’ll find on the discount table will be Roger Ebert’s Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, Normal Maclean’s Young Men and Fire, and Mike Royko’s One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko. Supplies of these . . .

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Living Keynes and reading Hayek

June 9, 2010
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Living Keynes and reading Hayek

Back in 1965, it was Milton Friedman’s phrase: “We are all Keynesians now.” He uttered it in the same spirit as Richard Nixon repeated it in 1971: Like it or not, we are in a time when economic and political circumstances dictate that the government take a larger role in trying to steer the economy. In the last half of 2008, the phrase regained currency while the economy hemorrhaged it. We may collectively be living Keynes, but that doesn’t mean we individually believe it. On this blog, we have previously noted the continuing intellectual warfare between Keynes and Hayek. That war is nowhere near closure, thanks to a prominent Hayek cheerleader, Glenn Beck, who devoted a segment of last night’s show to talking about Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. The manuscript that would become The Road to Serfdom came to the Press in 1943. It was evaluated by two University of Chicago academics to assess its scholarship and potential. Ironically, the economist supporting free-market capitalism, Frank Knight, concluded: “‘the book is an able piece of work, but limited in scope and somewhat one-sided in treatment. I doubt whether it would have a very wide market in this country, or would . . .

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Catch Last Words of the Executed on a radio or at an event near you!

June 8, 2010
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Catch Last Words of the Executed on a radio or at an event near you!

Few words are more important than our last, and for convicted criminals on death row, their last utterances are particularly profound. They can be remorseful, humorous, or angry, but the last words of the executed chill us in part because of the shared humanity we can’t ignore: they remind us we all come to the same end, regardless of how we arrive there. Robert K. Elder spent the last seven years compiling these final statements in order to explore their cultural value and ask what we can learn from them. His book, Last Words of the Executed was published in May and has been praised by the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, and the Economist, among others. The author is in the midst of a busy week of appearances in support of the book. He appeared today on WHYY’s program Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. On Thursday, June 8, he will talk with the Chicago Tribune‘s Rick Kogan (who also happens to be a University of Chicago Press author) at the STOP SMILING Storefront at 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622. (For more information, go here and here.) On Saturday, Elder will take part in the Printers Row Lit . . .

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An exhibition of images from Architecture under Construction at the AIC

June 8, 2010
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An exhibition of images from Architecture under Construction at the AIC

Photographer Stanley Greenberg, whose new book Architecture under Construction offers a fascinating collection of images of some of our most unusual new buildings in the process of being built, is currently exhibiting part of the collection featured in the book in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, Kurokawa Gallery. From a press release on the AIC’s website: While avant-garde architecture has frequently inspired today’s art photographers and video artists, Stanley Greenberg is the first to focus a documentary-style lens on the subject. Greenberg’s luminous large-scale black-and-white photographs explore avant-garde structures in the process of being built. Using highly cropped views, Greenberg captures moments in the assembly of architecture that are rarely evident in the final building, revealing the complexity of contemporary construction and the residual visual unfolding of spaces resulting from these feats of structural gymnastics. Find out more about the exhibit, or, if a trip to downtown Chicago isn’t on your agenda before the close in September, check out our gallery of photographs from the book. . . .

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Duke Ellington’s America reviewed in the New York Times

June 7, 2010
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Duke Ellington’s America reviewed in the New York Times

Did anyone else rejoice at the heft of the New York Times Book Review yesterday? At 48 pages, it was thicker than any issue in recent memory. (And it arrived on the heels of John Palattella’s fascinating discussion in The Nation of the life and death of book reviewing, which contained this brief history of the section’s declining page count: “Some Sundays could count on having a canvas of at least eighty pages. In 1985 the Book Review averaged forty-four pages; two decades later, it was averaging thirty-two to thirty-six, and in recent months its average size has vacillated between twenty-four and twenty-eight pages.”) The issue contained many thoughtful reviews of fascinating books, including a new title from the University of Chicago Press, Harvey G. Cohen’s Duke Ellington’s America. By far the most thorough and nuanced portrait yet of this towering figure, Duke Ellington’s America highlights Ellington’s importance as a figure in American history as well as in American music. Indeed, this unorthodox approach drew high praise from reviewer Peter Keepnews. He writes: The idea of a substantial book about a major musical figure that pays relatively little attention to his music might seem counterintuitive—or, to . . .

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What about women on welfare?

June 7, 2010
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What about women on welfare?

While most recent media coverage of the financial crisis focuses on the economic downturn’s impact on the middle class, in an article which ran last month in The Nation Katha Pollitt asks: “But what about the people who already were poor before the crisis? Like women on welfare?” To help her answer that question Pollitt cites Jane L. Collins and Victoria Mayer’s new book on the subject Both Hands Tied: Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom in the Low-Wage Labor Market—an eye-opening account of how the welfare reforms of the past few decades have afflicted poor, single-parent families, ultimately eroding the participants’ economic rights and affecting their ability to care for themselves and their children. In the article Pollitt argues that if welfare reforms were failing economically impoverished single-parents before, the financial crisis has greatly amplified the socially devastating effects they’ve had on America’s underclass. Read it online at The Nation website. . . .

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Swimming in the Chicago River? Da Mare says it’s not likely

June 4, 2010
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Swimming in the Chicago River? Da Mare says it’s not likely

On Tuesday, news broke that the Obama administration had written a letter in April to the Illinois Pollution Control Board calling for efforts to make the Chicago River safe for swimming. Mayor Daley responded, with his characteristic verbal finesse, advising the feds to “go swim in the Potomac.” By Thursday, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the official body who oversees the river, chimed in, claiming, according to the Chicago Tribune, that “making the Chicago River safe enough for swimming would waste taxpayer money and put children at risk of drowning.” The MWRD also said “the river has been altered so dramatically that new efforts to improve water quality would not be worth the costs.” In addition to being dyed green every year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (an effect achieved using orange dye), the Chicago River is most famous for having had its flow reversed in the nineteenth century (the river now runs away from the lake). But has the waterway been changed too much to make it healthy for swimming? The debate seems to have stopped at da Mare’s door, but if you are curious to read more about the river, we recommend paging through David M. Solzman’s The . . .

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How do you cite a T-shirt?

June 4, 2010
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How do you cite a T-shirt?

The Chicago Manual of Style Online features a Q&A page, where the manuscript editors from the University of Chicago Press interpret the Manual’s recommendations and uncoil its intricacies. Our editors receive hundreds of submissions each month and a handful of the most helpful (not to mention entertaining) are selected for publication on the Chicago Style Q&A page. Occasionally there’s one too good not to reprint here: Q. How do you cite T-shirts? A. You could write, for example: Last week on Ellis Avenue I saw a T-shirt that said, “I keep pressing Escape but I’m still here.” That is, if you think it’s a good idea to cite a T-shirt. Anyone can post a question and access to the Q&A is free, so go ahead and ask all those hairsplitting questions about English grammar you’ve been dying to solve! While you’re at it, be sure to check out the loads of other free content like the tools for editors—a collection of sample forms, letters, and style sheets—as well as the Chicago Style Citation Quick Guide for help citing sources. Also follow the Chicago Manual of Style on Facebook and Twitter. . . .

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