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Blue and Green

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:03:03 +0000

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The Drive for Justice at America’s Port

In Blue and Green, Scott Cummings examines a campaign by the labor and environmental movements to transform trucking at America’s largest port in Los Angeles. Tracing the history of struggle in an industry at the epicenter of the global supply chain, Cummings shows how an unprecedented “blue-green” alliance mobilized to improve working conditions for low-income drivers and air quality in nearby communities. The campaign for “clean trucks,” Cummings argues, teaches much about how social movements can use law to challenge inequality in a global era.

Cummings shows how federal deregulation created interrelated economic and environmental problems at the port and how the campaign fought back by mobilizing law at the local level. He documents three critical stages: initial success in passing landmark legislation requiring port trucking companies to convert trucks from dirty to clean and drivers from contractors to employees with full labor rights; campaign decline after industry litigation blocked employee conversion; and campaign resurgence through an innovative legal approach to driver misclassification that realized a central labor movement goal—unionizing port truckers.

Appraising the campaign, Cummings analyzes the tradeoffs of using alternate legal frameworks to promote labor organizing, and explores lessons for building movements to regulate low-wage work in the “gig” economy. He shows how law can bind coalitions together and split them apart, and concludes that the fight for legal reform never ends, but rather takes different turns on the long road to justice.

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Minerva and the Future of Higher Education

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:03:13 +0000

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Higher education is in crisis. It is too expensive, ineffective, and impractical for many of the world’s students. But how would you reinvent it for the twenty-first century—how would you build it from the ground up? Many have speculated about changing higher education, but Minerva has actually created a new kind of university program. Its founders raised the funding, assembled the team, devised the curriculum and pedagogy, recruited the students, hired the faculty, and implemented a bold vision of a new and improved higher education. This book explains that vision and how it is being realized.

The Minerva curriculum focuses on “practical knowledge” (knowledge students can use to adapt to a changing world); its pedagogy is based on scientific research on learning; it uses a novel technology platform to deliver small seminars in real time; and it offers a hybrid residential model where students live together, rotating through seven cities around the world. Minerva equips students with the cognitive tools they need to succeed in the world after graduation, building the core competencies of critical thinking, creative thinking, effective communication, and effective interaction. The book offers readers both the story of this grand and sweeping idea and a blueprint for transforming higher education.

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Open Space

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:27:02 +0000

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The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data

Key to understanding and addressing climate change is continuous and precise monitoring of environmental conditions. Satellites play an important role in collecting climate data, offering comprehensive global coverage that can’t be matched by in situ observation. And yet, as Mariel Borowitz shows in this book, much satellite data is not freely available but restricted; this remains true despite the data-sharing advocacy of international organizations and a global open data movement. Borowitz examines policies governing the sharing of environmental satellite data, offering a model of data-sharing policy development and applying it in case studies from the United States, Europe, and Japan—countries responsible for nearly half of the unclassified government Earth observation satellites.

Borowitz develops a model that centers on the government agency as the primary actor while taking into account the roles of such outside actors as other government officials and non-governmental actors, as well as the economic, security, and normative attributes of the data itself. The case studies include the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS); the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT); and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA). Finally, she considers the policy implications of her findings for the future and provides recommendations on how to increase global sharing of satellite data.

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Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:01:47 +0000

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Many researchers and scholars in the life sciences have become increasingly critical of the traditional methodological focus on the individual. This volume counters such methodological individualism by exploring recent and influential work in the life sciences that utilizes notions of collectivity, sociality, rich interactions, and emergent phenomena as essential explanatory tools to handle numerous persistent scientific questions in the life sciences. The contributors consider case studies of collectivity that range from microorganisms to human consensus, discussing theoretical and empirical challenges and the innovative methods and solutions scientists have devised.

The contributors offer historical, philosophical, and biological perspectives on collectivity, and describe collective phenomena seen in insects, the immune system, communication, and human collectivity, with examples ranging from cooperative transport in the longhorn crazy ant to the evolution of autobiographical memory. They examine ways of explaining collectivity, including case studies and modeling approaches, and explore collectivity’s explanatory power. They present a comprehensive look at a specific case of collectivity: the Holobiont notion (the idea of a multi-species collective, a host and diverse microorganisms) and the hologenome theory (which posits that the holobiont and its hologenome are a unit of adaption). The volume concludes with reflections on the work of the late physicist Eshel Ben-Jacob, pioneer in the study of collective phenomena in living systems.

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Oren Bader, John Beatty, Dinah R. Davison, Daniel Dor, Ofer Feinerman, Raghavendra Gadagkar, Scott F. Gilbert, Snait B. Gissis, Deborah M. Gordon, James Griesemer, Zachariah I. Grochau-Wright, Erik R. Hanschen, Eva Jablonka, Mohit Kumar Jolly, Anat Kolumbus, Ehud Lamm, Herbert Levine, Arnon Levy, Xue-Fei Li, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Yael Lubin, Eva Maria Luef, Ehud Meron, Richard E. Michod, Samir Okasha, Simone Pika, Joan Roughgarden, Eugene Rosenberg, Ayelet Shavit, Yael Silver, Alfred I. Tauber, Ilana Zilber-Rosenberg

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The Targeting System of Language

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:01:38 +0000

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In this book, Leonard Talmy proposes that a single linguistic/cognitive system, targeting, underlies two domains of linguistic reference, those termed anaphora (for a referent that is an element of the current discourse) and deixis (for a referent outside the discourse and in the spatiotemporal surroundings). Talmy argues that language engages the same cognitive system to single out referents whether they are speech-internal or speech-external.

Talmy explains the targeting system in this way: as a speaker communicates with a hearer, her attention is on an object to which she wishes to refer; this is her target. To get the hearer’s attention on it as well, she uses a trigger—a word such as this, that, here, there, or now. The trigger initiates a three-stage process in the hearer: he seeks cues of ten distinct categories; uses these cues to determine the target; and then maps the concept of the target gleaned from the cues back onto the trigger to integrate it into the speaker’s sentence, achieving comprehension. The whole interaction, Talmy explains, rests on a coordination of the speaker’s and hearer’s cognitive processing. The process is the same whether the referent is anaphoric or deictic.

Talmy presents and analyzes the ten categories of cues, and examines sequences in targeting, including the steps by which interaction leads to joint attention. A glossary defines the new terms in the argument.

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Experienced Wholeness

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:01:56 +0000

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Integrating Insights from Gestalt Theory, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Predictive Processing

How can we account for phenomenal unity? That is, how can we characterize and explain our experience of objects and groups of objects, bodily experiences, successions of events, and the attentional structure of consciousness as wholes? In this book, Wanja Wiese develops an interdisciplinary account of phenomenal unity, investigating how experiential wholes can be characterized and how such characterization can be analyzed conceptually as well as computationally.

Wiese first addresses how the unity of consciousness can be characterized phenomenologically, discussing what it is like to experience wholes and what is the experiential contribution of phenomenal unity. Considering the associated conceptual and empirical issues, he draws connections to phenomenological accounts and research on Gestalt theory. The results show how the attentional structure of experience, the experience of temporal flow, and different types of experiential wholes contribute to our sense of phenomenal unity. Moreover, characterizing phenomenal unity in terms of the existence of a single global phenomenal state is neither necessary nor sufficient to adequately address the problem of phenomenal unity. Wiese then suggests that the concepts and ideas of predictive processing can be used to analyze phenomenal unity computationally. The result is both a conceptual framework and an interdisciplinary account: the regularity account of phenomenal unity. According to this account, experienced wholes correspond to a hierarchy of connecting regularities. The brain tracks these regularities by hierarchical prediction error minimization, which approximates hierarchical Bayesian inference.

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Advanced Manufacturing

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:03:18 +0000

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The New American Innovation Policies

The United States lost almost one-third of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010. As higher-paying manufacturing jobs are replaced by lower-paying service jobs, income inequality has been approaching third world levels. In particular, between 1990 and 2013, the median income of white men without high school diplomas fell by an astonishing 20% between 1990 and 2013, and that of men with high school diplomas or some college fell by a painful 13%. Innovation has been left largely to software and IT startups, which operate on a system of “innovate here/produce there,” leaving the manufacturing sector behind. In this book, William Bonvillian and Peter Singer explore how to rethink innovation and revitalize America’s declining manufacturing sector. They argue that advanced manufacturing, which employs such innovative technologies as 3-D printing, advanced material, photonics, and robotics in the production process, is the key.

Bonvillian and Singer discuss transformative new production paradigms that could drive up efficiency and drive down costs, describe the new processes and business models that must accompany them, and explore alternative funding methods for startups that must manufacture. They examine the varied attitudes of mainstream economics toward manufacturing, the post-Great Recession policy focus on advanced manufacturing, and lessons from the new advanced manufacturing institutes. They consider the problem of “startup scaleup,” possible new models for training workers, and the role of manufacturing in addressing “secular stagnation” in innovation, growth, the middle classes, productivity rates, and related investment. As recent political turmoil shows, the stakes could not be higher.

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Language in Our Brain

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:03:00 +0000

Open Access Content OA content exists for this title:  no Copy The Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity Language makes us human. It is an intrinsic part of us, although we seldom think about it. Language is also an extremely complex entity with subcomponents responsible for its phonological, syntactic, and semantic aspects. In this landmark work, Angela Friederici offers a comprehensive account of these subcomponents and how they are integrated. Tracing the neurobiological basis of language across brain regions in humans and other primate species, she argues that species-specific brain differences may be at the root of the human capacity for language. Friederici shows which brain regions support the different language processes and, more important, how these brain regions are connected structurally and functionally to make language processes that take place in milliseconds possible. She finds that one particular brain structure (a white matter dorsal tract), connecting syntax-relevant brain regions, is present only in the mature human brain and only weakly present in other primate brains. Is this the “missing link” that explains humans’ capacity for language? Friederici describes the basic language functions and their brain basis; the language networks connecting different language-related brain regions; the brain basis of language acquisition during early childhood and when learning a second language, proposing a neurocognitive model of the ontogeny of language; and the evolution of language and underlying neural constraints. She finds that it is the information exchange between the relevant brain regions, supported by the white matter tract, that is the crucial factor in both language development and evolution. Contributors Angela D. Friederici Noam Chomsky Pre-pub available:  Pre-pub unavailable Hide buy buttons and binding specs:  Show the buying buttons as normal [...]



A Brief History of the Verb To Be

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:01:58 +0000

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Beginning with the early works of Aristotle, the interpretation of the verb to be runs through Western linguistic thought like Ariadne's thread. As it unravels, it becomes intertwined with philosophy, metaphysics, logic, and even with mathematics—so much so that Bertrand Russell showed no hesitation in proclaiming that the verb to be was a disgrace to the human race.

With the conviction that this verb penetrates modern linguistic thinking, creating scandal in its wake and, like a Trojan horse of linguistics, introducing disruptive elements that lead us to rethink radically the most basic structure of human language—the sentence—Andrea Moro reconstructs this history. From classical Greece to the dueling masters of medieval logic through the revolutionary geniuses from the seventeenth century to the Enlightenment, and finally to the twentieth century—when linguistics became a driving force and model for neuroscience—the plot unfolds like a detective story, culminating in the discovery of a formula that solves the problem even as it raises new questions—about language, evolution, and the nature and structure of the human mind. While Moro never resorts to easy shortcuts, A Brief History of the Verb To Be isn’t burdened with inaccessible formulas and always refers to the broader picture of mind and language. In this way it serves as an engaging introduction to a new field of cutting-edge research.

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The Subject's Matter

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:01:35 +0000

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Self-Consciousness and the Body

Forthcoming from the MIT Press.

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