Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Political editor attempts to address social, economic inequities

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 13, 2021

The Aristocracy of Talent

The Aristocracy of Talent

Cover: Skyhorse/Simon & Schuster

New talent was one of the secrets of success for ancient Venice, Italy and great universities. That is one of the conclusions drawn by Adrian Wooldridge after dedicating 482 pages to the exploration of the history of meritocracy in his most recent non fiction book titled The Aristocracy of Talent How Meritocracy Made the Modern World (Skyhorse/Simon & Schuster, $24.99). The hardcover book was published in July 2021.

Venice thrived as long as it was open to new arrivals, the author says in the book. Once it became a closed society, denying opportunities to new voices and talent it decayed and never recovered, he says. A similar situation is to be found at higher centers of learning, he points out, where elites rule and exclude most newcomers; as a result economies are stagnating and political unrest is growing internationally. He concludes that in order to avoid the decline suffered by Venice and Chinese domination Western society must embrace merit as a key to education, economic and social advancement.

Wooldridge, who according to his biography, earned a doctorate in history from Oxford University is the political editor and a columnist at The Economist. He is the author of 10 previous books.

North Carolina academics explore flavor

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 29, 2021

Delicious
Delicious

 

Photos: Princeton University Press

Do humans and other animals prefer to eat foods that taste good when they have a choice? Rob Dunn, a professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University, and Monica Sanchez, a medical anthropologist, think so. In Delicious The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human (Princeton University Press, $27.95) they explore the history of man, our ancestors and fellow primates and its relationship to flavor.

The authors, speaking in a single voice in the book, believe taste receptors have driven animals and humans toward their needs and kept them away from dangers such as poisonous plants and rotten foods. Flavor preferences may have driven the development of tools and the choice of foods that prompted evolutionary changes, they propose. Aromas sensed in the mouth by primates and humans may have been especially important in the evolution of our kind, they believe.

Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez, authors, Delicious

Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez, authors, Delicious

Some of those flavor preferences may have driven humans and neanderthals to hunt mega fauna to extinction. They also discuss the consumption of fruit, spices, meats and grains by our ancestors and their possible reliance on their noses and mouths in their choices and creation of spiced dishes and fermented foods. They delve into issues such as aroma, taste and mouthfeel and how they might have led to the development of popular foods such as curry, stinky tofus and cheeses.

In their book Dunn and Sanchez often refer to and quote the work of French lawyer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, famous for his love of food, dating back to 1825. The 279-page hardcover book published this year is divided into nine chapters: Tongue-Tied, The Flavor Seekers, A Nose For Flavor, Culinary Extinction, Forbidden Fruits, On the Origin of the Spices, Cheese Horse and Sour Beer, The Art of Cheese, and Dinner Makes Us Human.

According to their book biographies Dunn is in the Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics at the University of Copenhagen. Sanchez studies “the cultural aspects of health and well-being.” They live in North Carolina.

Business school lecturer discusses cryptocurrency issues

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 4, 2021

Crypto Wars
Crypto Wars

Photos: Kogan Page, Erica Stanford

Fraudsters and scammers are conning millions of people out of their life savings every year using cryptocurrency scams, according to Erica Stanford. She says an underworld of dirty dealing and scams has opened around cryptocurrencies. Those behind the frauds are relying on a variety of strategies such as cult-like tactics, celebrity endorsements and events filling Wembley Arena in London, United Kingdom; it’s shockingly easy to be deceived she says in Crypto Wars Faked Deaths, Missing Billions and Industry Disruption (Kogan Page, £14.99). The softcover book was published July 1, 2021.

It took Stanford a year to research, write and edit the book. In it she shares the stories behind the biggest scams on record, including a death faking Canadian founder who escaped with millions, a so called Cryptoqueen on the run from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a $50 million dollar prank gone wrong. When asked if she received compensation to include or exclude anyone she clarified, via a publicist, that she “did not receive any form of compensation to leave anyone out of the book.”

When asked what is the primary target audience for the book she replied: “Anyone! It’s intended to be fun, light reading, giving an easy-to-read overview of the worst scams and craziest stories of the crypto space.”

Erica Standford, author, Crypto Wars
Erica Standford, author, Crypto Wars

“It was the publishers’ idea!,” she replied when asked why she wrote the book and how she will know if she was successful. “They approached me with the idea to write about the biggest scams in crypto. Successful – gosh, just finishing it, I was happy! I’d never done anything like that before and still can’t quite believe I’ve actually written a book, that it’s published and so many people are buying it! When I saw it in a shop for the first time, WH Smiths in London had made it as their business book of the month. I couldn’t quite believe it when I saw it really prominently displayed on shelves in a shop.”

Regarding the means and specific channels in which she promoted the book she replied, “The publishers have been a great help in this and have got the book listed with retailers and Amazon, as well as organising some PR. I have shared the book widely on LinkedIn and with all my connections in our Crypto Curry Club community, who have been very supportive and helped share it with their networks and in our Crypto Curry newsletter. I also reached out to some podcast hosts, as well as being asked to be on many podcasts and interviews with show hosts who wanted to talk about crypto scams. Most of the time trying to promote the book has been guest appearances on podcasts and writing articles for publications and newspapers who have been keen to feature it.”

When asked what, if any, impact the pandemic continuing may have on cryptocurrencies she replied, “It has raised awareness! More people than ever before, especially younger people, are looking at crypto, aware of some of the failures of fiat, of money printing and inflation and losing trust in governments, and it seems people have also just had more time to look into it.”

“Do an awful lot of research before looking at going anywhere near crypto!” she said when asked what she would advise readers seeking to understand blockchain and cryptocurrencies and considering investing in them. “Andreas Antonopoulos has an incredible book giving insights on Bitcoin called The Internet of Money, it’s a great read.”

According to her biography Stanford is a crypto entrepreneur and expert, who founded the United Kingdom’s biggest crypto network, and a lecturer at Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom. Kogan Page is an independent publisher of business books and content, according to a press release.

Painter image memoirs published posthumously

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 19, 2021

Elizabeth Lauder at Stanley Park
Elizabeth Lauder at Stanley Park

Photos: Abernathy & Smyth Publishing

The work of Elizabeth Cameron Lauder, a Canadian artist known for her oil on semi-precious stone and watercolors, is featured posthumously in two recently published softcover books: Elizabeth Lauder: Memoirs of a Plein Air Painter Volume One Watercolors (Abernathy & Smyth Publishing, $59.95) and Volume Two Oil on Semi-Precious Stone (Abernathy & Smyth Publishing, $69.95) edited by J.R. Boleyn, her life partner. Two additional volumes completing the series of four are scheduled to be published by year’s end.

Volume One includes 125 color images and Volume Two includes 200 images. Most pages feature a single image of her art. Many of the photos were taken and selected for inclusion by the artist, according to Boleyn who responded to questions via email.

“What defines Elizabeth, and separates her from other artists in that regard, was her ability to incorporate the stone itself as part of the final painting,” said Boleyn. “A prime example of that is the painting titled ‘Renaissance Girl’ (Volume One, page 117) where the wreath around the subjects head is the actual rubies embedded in the imperial jade stone. This made Elizabeth’s work unique in all the world, and why it became so valuable. She was the first!”

Elizabeth Lauder Volume One
Elizabeth Lauder Volume One

All of her rock paintings in Volume Two and watercolors in Volume One have been previously sold to private collectors in over eighty countries. The artist owned a studio in Quartzsite, Arizona a town known for its international gem and mineral shows.

J.R. Boleyn, publisher, Abernathy & Smyth

J.R. Boleyn, publisher, Abernathy & Smyth

“I have in my personal collection, which will be featured in her ‘Volume Three’ to be published by late summer, over 200 originals that will be for sale,” said Boleyn. “Yes, they are all watercolors, over 200 signed originals ranging in size from 8 x 11 to 22 x 30 and sizes in between, priced at a minimum $550 for the smallest to $4,500 for the larger sizes.”

According to promotional materials, she is a relative of film director James Cameron. Her work has been exhibited around the world and sold through Sotheby’s Fine Art Auctions and Sotheby’s Private Contemporary Artist’s Sales in New York and London. Her art has been collected by patrons in over eighty countries around the world, according to a press release that also indicates Elizabeth’s watercolors are currently under consideration for permanent exhibition in the National Gallery of Canada.

Elizabeth Lauder Volume Two
Elizabeth Lauder Volume Two​

The art was compiled by Boleyn, an American songwriter, author, and founder of Abernathy and Smyth. Born April 8, 1948, in Ontario, Elizabeth’s first 18 years were spent growing up on a farm in the Caledon Hills where she was inspired by pastoral landscapes and abrupt and beautiful dramatic seasonal changes. Her formal education was completed in 1971 with an associate’s degree in sculpture from the Ontario College of Art and Design. The following year Elizabeth moved to the west coast, trading chisels and bronze for brushes and palette.

Already distinguished for her watercolors of Vancouver’s cherry blossoms, she spent the next seven years traveling throughout Mexico and painting southwest mining scenes. According to her website she was inspired by her travels to paint on massive slabs of semi-precious stone.

New titles in English, Spanish for children from independent publisher

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 10, 2021

This Is How I Grow cover

This Is How I Grow cover

Photos: Science, Naturally! 

In 2020 Science, Naturally! released This is How I Grow,*  a 51-page paperback book by Dia L. Michels for children ages seven to ten. A few months later Así Crezco, a 53-page paperback Spanish language edition of Dia’s book, was published. Full page color illustrations in both were by Wesley Davies. In the books Michels explores the growth process for mammals with short text and illustrations. The books are priced at $12.95 each.

Asi Crezco

This Is How I Grow was translated by The Spanish Group, LLC. According to promotional materials, This is How I Grow received the 2020 Book of the Year award from Creative Child Magazine a Tillywig Brain Child award.

Illustrator Wesley Davies

Illustrator Wesley Davies

Dia Michels, author, This Is How I Grow

Dia L. Michels, author, This Is How I Grow

Science, Naturally! is an imprint of Platypus Media , LLC. Michels, author of 12 books for adults and children, is publisher of Science, Naturally!  This is How I Grow is her fourth science book. New England artist Davies specializes in illustration and comic art. These two titles are a book debut of his work.
*Print review copy and photos provided by publisher.

Hawaii activist pens autobiography

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 3, 2021

Saravati’s Gift
Saravati’s Gift by Mayumi Oda

Cover photo: Shambhala Publications, author photo: Cindy Whitehawk

Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1941 Mayumi Oda grew up in a war ravaged country. In time she married an American and became an artist and activist. In Sarasvati’s Gift The Autobiography of Mayumi Oda Artist, Activist, and Modern Buddhist Revolutionary (Shambhala, $22.95),* a 136-page softcover book published in 2020, the Hawaii resident shares part of her life story. The book includes 26 of her color illustrations each on its own page as well as family and personal photos.

Mayumi Oda

Mayumi Oda

In Chapter 1 she says she believes we are on the edge of disaster and at the same time poised for positive transformation. In the Afterword she shares her belief that toxicity is everywhere, that there is nowhere without pollution. She mentions having a stroke as she was completing her autobiography and as a result deciding she wants to dedicate the remainder of her life to writing and painting. She was unavailable to respond to email questions per a representative at the farm. A publishing company representative did not reply to email requests.

Oda, a painter, environmental activist, and Buddhist practitioner, describes her years in Japan, her marriage and the death of her son as well as her immigration to the United States, her inspiration and approach to art. In the 1990s, she started dedicating some of her time to activism pro women’s rights, antinuclear causes and anti genetically modified plants, and founded Gingerhill Farm on the Big Island of Hawaii, according to her biography.
*Print review copy and photos provided by publisher.

Linguist believes informal writing allows enhanced expression

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 6, 2021

Because Internet

Because Internet

Photo: Riverhead Books

Ending a text with a period may make the writer seem old while an emoticon at the end of a sentence can add surprising nuance to the statement, according to a book about language published last year. The subtleties of informal written communication are many, says Gretchen McCulloch, a self described internet linguist. She believes modern digital communications are changing language and the way we and society overall communicate for the better. In Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language (Riverhead Books, $26) she explains her views and theories.

Salutations like language in general evolve over time, according to the book. McCulloch explains that for many addressing someone with dear has become dated. At the same time hey, which for older generations is objectionable, has become a common written email greeting. Hi follows in popularity with hello being last and used to address strangers.

The author goes on to say that a generational gap exists; and some users embrace the “expressive capacity” of informal writing while others reject it. The author explains the difference between emoticons, emojis and gifs, pointing out that although there is no universal agreement on their appearance emojis are the best fit for many people communicating electronically. They make it possible for users to better express their mental states in written form, the author says. It’s useful to think of emojis as gestures; already courts have had to address the meaning of emojis such a raised hand, a possible gang sign or a comma, she says.

The 326-page hardcover book published in 2019 is divided into eight chapters: Informal Writing, Language and Society, Internet People, Typographical Tone of Voice, Emoji and Other Internet Gestures, How Conversations Change, Memes and Internet Culture and A New Metaphor. The emojis in the book are from Twemoji, an open source font released under a Creative Commons Attribution.

McCulloch, is based in Montreal, Canada and hosts the podcast Lingthusiasm, according to her bio.

D.C. independent press releases new titles for children

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 21, 2020

Women in Biology
Women in Biology

Photos: Science, Naturally!

Science, Naturally! released Women in Biology (Science Naturally, $9.95), a 40-page paperback for seven to ten year olds published this month. A hardback edition was published in 2016. The eight by eight inch book by Mary Wissinger is also available in a Spanish language edition titled Las mujeres en la biología. The books were illustrated by Danielle Pioli. Both books are available in digital formats.

Featured are Maria Sibylla Merian and Hildegard of Bingen of Germany as well as Jane Cooke Wright, Linda Buck and Barbara McClintock of the United States. There is a glossary at the end.

Las mujeres en la biología
Las mujeres en la biología

The new titles are part of the publisher’s Science Wide Open series of “scientifically accurate children’s books” with a mission to teach young kids about Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, while highlighting some of the achievements of women in those fields. The biology books are the first ones in the series available in paperback and Spanish.

Mary Wissinger, author, Women In Biology

Mary Wissinger, author, Women In Biology

Wissinger was born in Wisconsin where she spent most of her childhood singing, reading, and daydreaming. A former teacher, she can often be found at her standing desk in St. Louis, Missouri, writing stories to inspire “curiosity about the world and connection with others.” She is the author of the entire Science Wide Open Series: Women in Biology, Women in Chemistry, and Women in Physics.

Danielle Pioli, illustrator, Women In Biology

Danielle Pioli, illustrator, Women In Biology

Pioli is an artist and illustrator from Brazil who strives to inspire others to create. She produces art, illustrations, comics, zines, poems, songs, and hypnotherapy sessions. She is the illustrator of the entire Science Wide Open Series.

Science, Naturally! is Washington, D.C.-based independent press “committed to increasing science and math literacy by exploring and demystifying these topics in entertaining and enlightening ways.” The company uses fictional and nonfictional forms, diverse characters, and engaging formats to make intimidating subjects intriguing and accessible.

Podcast with Torbjørn Ekelund, author, In Praise of Paths, about benefits of walking

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 13, 2020

Torbjørn Ekelund, author, In Praise of Paths

Photo: Jørn H.Moen (2017)

A podcast interview with Torbjørn Ekelund, author, In Praise of Paths Walking Through Time and Nature, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, he discusses the benefits of walking with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.

Torbjørn is co-founder of Harvest, an online magazine documenting wilderness adventures, environmental issues, and our relationship with nature. He lives in Oslo, Norway.

To listen to the interview, scroll down and click on the play button below.  You can listen to it in the box marked “Podcast” on the right hand side. Select “HMPR Torbjørn Ekelund” and or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home. You can also find it on the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the October 2020 section of the podcast archive.

Brooklyn writer discusses cosmetics, skin

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 3, 2020

Clean
Clean

Photo: Penguin Random House/Riverhead Books

James Hamblin, a former radiology resident at the University of California Los Angeles turned health writer, begins the Prologue of his new book by letting readers know he hasn’t showered in five years. Several researchers and experts he interviewed indicated they too showered infrequently. He wets his hair daily and washes his hands, but he mostly stopped using soap on his body and shampoo, he said in the book. Beyond that there is little more to guide readers on the topic of showers and hygiene (other than a list of references at the end of the book).

In Clean The New Science of Skin (Riverhead Books, $28) he explores the history of soap and discusses beauty and cosmetic products at length, interviews researchers and wraps up with a discussion of toilets and public health. The 280-page hardcover book published this year is divided into: Prologue, Immaculate, Purify, Lather, Glow, Detoxify, Minimize, Volatile, Probiotic, Refresh and Epilogue.

In the Epilogue he points out that one of the most dangerous places to catch an infection is a hospital. Health care providers, he says, spread infections around hospitals. He points to government data indicating that one in every thirty-one patients in hospitals in the United States acquires an infection while at the facility. He suggests that what might make our skin look good is eating and sleeping well, keeping our anxiety under control and spending time in nature.

Based in Brooklyn, New York Hamblin is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health. His first book, If Our Bodies Could Talk, addressed topics such as dimples, tattoos, getting rid of eyelashes, stomach rumbling and how to sit. Although he responded to an initial email he failed to respond to questions as of this writing.


Clean

Click to buy Clean