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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Linked Up: Best of the Blogs

In the name of giving credit where it’s due, I’d like to do something a little different today and highlight some quality content on other university press blogs. Long live academic publishing!

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Linked Up: April Foolery, Escaped Cobra, Peanuts

DISCLAIMER: None of these links are in the spirit of April Fools, so worry not. You’re not going to click anything that will cause a startling pop-up or download something you don’t want on your computer. We wouldn’t do that to you. (Or would we?) (No, we would not.) -Lauren & Kirsty

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Who’s next? Digital media and the inevitable surprise of political unrest

By Philip Howard

Political discontent has cascaded across North Africa and the Middle East. Entrenched dictators with decades of experience controlling political life have fallen or had to make major concessions. In the West, some observers discount the role of digital media in political change, others give it too much emphasis.

Digitally enabled protesters in Tunisia and Egypt tossed out their dictator. The protests in Libya have posed the first

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Smoking Typewriters and the New Left rebellion

Following the lead of papers like the Los Angeles Free Press, the East Village Other, and the Berkeley Barb, young Americans in the 1960s launched hundreds of mimeographed pamphlets and flyers, small press magazines, and underground newspapers. New, cheaper printing technologies democratized the publishing process and by the decade’s end the combined circulation of underground papers stretched into the millions. Though not technically illegal, these papers were often genuinely subversive, and many of those who produced and sold them-on street-corners, at poetry readings, gallery openings, and coffeehouses-became targets of

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Michael Scheuer sits down with Stephen Colbert

Michael Scheuer was the chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counterterrorism analyst until 2004. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism. His latest book is the biography Osama bin Laden, a much-needed corrective, hard-headed, closely reasoned portrait that tracks the man’s evolution from peaceful Saudi dissident to America’s Most Wanted.

Among the extensive media attention both the book and Scheuer have received so far, he was interviewed on The Colbert Report just this week.

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#twitterrevolution reforming Egypt in 140 characters?

By Dennis Baron

Western observers have been celebrating the role of Twitter, Facebook, smartphones, and the internet in general in facilitating the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt last week. An Egyptian Google employee, imprisoned for rallying the opposition on Facebook, even became for a time a hero of the insurgency. The Twitter Revolution was similarly credited with fostering the earlier ousting of Tunisia’s Ben Ali, and supporting Iran’s green protests

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Phone-hacking: The law may be difficult to understand but that’s no excuse

By Simon McKay
In 1928 the iconic United States Supreme Court Justices Holmes and Brandeis dissented in a judgment that ruled the product of telephone conversations derived from “wiretapping” admissible. With characteristic eloquence, Mr Justice Brandeis held that “the confined criminal is as much entitled to redress as his most virtuous fellow citizen; no record of crime, however long, makes one an outlaw”. The judges could be forgiven for thinking that, at least in terms of the English law, eighty years on, things haven’t changed much.

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Leaky Diplomacy and Arab Anxiety

By Dana H. Allin and Steven Simon

The Wikileaks trove of diplomatic documents confirms what many have known for a long time: Israel is not the only Middle Eastern country that fears a nuclear armed Iran and wants Washington to do something about it.

If Tehran was listening, the truth of this fear was apparent last month in Bahrain, where the International Institute for Strategic Studies organized a large meeting of Gulf Arab ministers, King Abdullah of Jordan, Iran’s foreign minister Mottaki, and top officials from outside powers including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The convocation was polite: no one said it was time to “cut off the head of the snake,” as Saudi Arabia’s King was reported, in one of the Wikileaks cables,

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The Battle “For the Cure” – The Phrase, That Is

By Gayle A. Sulik

Laura Bassett wrote a scathing essay in Huffington Post about Susan G. Komen for the Cure‘s legal dealings to win control over the phrase “for the cure.” According to Bassett, “Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred…charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure – and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground.”

Why would the largest, best funded, most visible breast cancer organization put so much energy

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Measure for Measure: Student fees under-researched?

By Nigel Bradley
“Knowledge is Power” is a quotation that dates back to 1597 and is attributed to Sir Francis Bacon. And there lies the reason to conduct market and social research. Surveys, focus groups and observation allow us to build gaps in our knowledge, to identify demand and thereby supply what is needed (or wanted). Research information minimises risks in decision making, it saves money, increases productivity and is generally valuable.

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Perceiving Death in the News

Images of people about to die surface repeatedly in the news and their appearance raises questions: What equips an image to deliver the news; how much does the public need to know to make sense of what they see; and what do these images contribute to historical memory? These images call on us to rethink both journalism and its public response, and in so doing they suggest both an alternative voice in the news – a subjunctive voice of the visual that pushes the ‘as if’ of news over its ‘as is’ dimensions – and an alternative mode of public engagement with journalism – an engagement fueled not by reason and understanding but by imagination and emotion.

In About to Die: How News Images Move the Public, Barbie Zelizer suggests that a different kind of news relay, producing a different kind of public response, has settled into our information environment.
Click through to watch a video from the Annenberg School for Communication.

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“Undercover Boss”: Lying to Tell the Truth

Clayton P. Alderfer

Undercover Boss, one of reality TV’s newest additions, is based on a truth that many thoughtful CEOs grasp: they do not have a thorough understanding of what goes on at the middle and bottom of their organizations. There are multiple reasons why. Immediate subordinates do not know either. Middle and lower ranking managers withhold their understanding from those above them. First level managers cut deals with hourly workers that permit the employees to do well enough financially while not working too hard – lest the employees act disruptively. CEOs hired from outside have even less of an idea about what goes on, as insiders feel resentful about being subject to outsider rule and choose not to tell what they know. The reasons why CEOs face this predicament are thus far reaching. The question for CEOs who grasp this tough reality is whether they can do anything about it.

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The Proposed New Copyright Crime of “Aiding and Abetting”

Tweet By Michael A. Carrier The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has caused concern for many reasons, such as secret negotiations and controversial provisions.  Today, more than 70 law professors sent a letter to President Obama asking that he “direct the [U.S. Trade Representative] to halt its public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to […]

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