Interesting article at the NY Times examines why certain e-books are priced higher than the physical hardcovers - seems to be a pricing-rights issue between the publishers and book sellers/distributors.
"In more contemporary accounts of hallucination, it has been difficult to find an unambiguous definition. Nonetheless, it is important to agree on a suitable working definition that will guide theory and research, and in describing efforts at reaching such a definition, we will be able to demarcate hallucinations from other phenomena that might share some phenomenological features. The APA Dictionary of Psychology defined hallucinations as "a false sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality despite the absence of an external stimulus" (VandenBos, 2007, p. 427; see Exhibit 1.1 for the complete definition). This certainly captures the essence of a hallucinatory experience, although a more precise description should be possible. For example, the statement"despite the absence of an external stimulus" might not be entirely accurate, because some hallucinations are triggered by (irrelevant) external stimuli - for example, patients who start hearing voices when the vacuum cleaner is switched on. Hallucinations have been defined in different ways (see Exhibit 1.1 for a list), although they have a number of elements in common."
Last week, I posted a few times on the subjects of statistics and research. I acknowledged then that I have been a consumer of research and journal articles, but I have not done much in producing research, especially since completing my dissertation. Coincidentally, last week I also started to read How to Write A Lot, by Paul Silvia, Ph.D. It is a short, direct "how to" guide to increasing one's productivity regarding academic writing.
The book itself is easy to read, both in terms of understanding it, and in its style. There is no effort here to empathize with the difficulties associated with academic writing: Silvia's attidue is pretty much, "Yes, writing is hard, and often boring/unrewarding/painful. But, if you want to do it, rather than thinking about doing it without actually doing it, here's what you need to do." Simple and to-the-point suggestions for being accountable tod increasing productivity are what the book offers.
Right off the bat, in Chapter Two, Silvia hits one nail on the head. He notes people often have trouble getting their writing done because of various "specious barriers," which he describes as superficially legitimate reasons for not writing, but which "crumble under critical scrutiny." His very first specious barrier is one I've often succumbed to: "I can't find time to write." He notes, correctly, that to get anything done in a consistent, productive manner, one needs to schedule time for the task, not find time for it. We schedule time for that which we prioritize: If we want to write more, we need to schedule time to do so, not simply throw writing in with other lesser tasks that we get around to now and then. This little section impacted me right away; since I read it, I've been able to take multiple steps towards two different projects I'd been thinking about for some time, but hadn't actually made a move on. Often, it is not that you don't know something, but that you need it put in your face a certain way, in order to make the information relevant and used. In this case, How to Write A lot has started me on tasks I'd been pushing off. I'm looking forward to reading more.
"The motivations and consequences of methamphetamine use examined in previous chapters clearly suggest that treatment models should be holistic in their approach and imbue a biopsychosocial paradigm that considers mind-body connections. Biopsychosocial methodologies consider the interplay between the intrapsychic and biological processes of persons, their behaviors, the physical and mental health consequences of these behaviors, and individual influences. Such treatment approaches support the view of addiction as a chronic brain disease (Leshner, 1997). Specifically, imaging research has concluded that the methamphetamine-addicted brain has depleted dopamine function, reduced cellular activity in the frontal cortex, which affects decision making, and that reduced dopamine receptor levels may create a higher level of vulnerability to methamphetamine abuse and addiction (Fowler, Volkow, Kassed, & Chang, 2007). Taken together, these elements indicate treatment modalities that underscore the biological elements of addiction, in addition to intrapsychic, behavioral, and environmental processes."
Over at Geekdad, they've posted an interview with David Peterson, who has been charged with creating a new language specifically for the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones. I look forward to watching this eventually, as I don't subscribe to HBO. I enjoyed the first three books of Martin's series immensely. I didn't get through my first effort on the fourth book of the series - the main problem was the span of time between the third and fourth books, which was so long I had trouble picking up where the story had left off. I'll probably go through the whole series again from the beginning at some point, especially now that I see this production being made. HBO tends to do this sort of thing well, so hopefully the screen version won't disappoint. The interview is worth a quick read; the linguistics of creating a new language based on a fictional world is interesting (at least to me!).
As I mentioned yesterday, I purchased a Nook from Barnes and Noble back in February. I really like it, and I'll have to post at some point why I chose the Nook over other options. Here's an article from Techcrunch about the impact the Nook has had on sales for Barnes and Noble - clearly they are trying to stay relevant in the changing landscape of books and technology. As a commenter notes, eventually the e-reader as a specialized device will likely become irrelevant, but likely not for a few years, anyway. I know I am certainly satisfied with mine, in part because it doesn't do too much, it simply does what it is supposed to do really well (the last thing I need are additional distractions!). Any way, I thought this was worth a link...
Having owned a Nook since February (an acquisition worth a blog post in its own right), I became interested in what sort of books are available in e-book format, particularly older books. I’m often surprised (and frustrated) by what newer releases aren’t available electronically, but less so for older books, which probably don’t sell as well, and are therefore low on the priority list.
It was during one such ten minute period of random searching that I started entering a few of my favorite authors of my youth. This included Elizabeth Boyer, who wrote several books I very much enjoyed from about 6th grade on. In particular, The Elves and the Otterskin was re-read numerous times during a period in which I read as much heroic fantasy as I could my hands on.
During those days, getting these types of books was much harder than today, especially for pre-teens and younger teens. Basically, you went to the mall when you had a chance, and perused the three or four bookshelves dedicated to Science Fiction (mostly) and Fantasy (shoved in here and there). Tolkien was always available, obviously, and terry Brooks was starting to take up space, but there were relatively few other choices.
Though not her first book, The Elves and the Otterskin was the first I read. Elizabeth Boyer wrote fantasy that was heavily influenced by Scandinavian culture and folklore. When younger, I had some initial difficulty tracking the various names and places, but much like watching a film with a heavy accent, you catch up with it after a bit. There is no denying Boyer’s talent as a writer. Character development, setting, pacing, plotting - the four books of hers I read (her first four) were all well-written, at least from what I can remember. In addition, the sense of humor found in her books was superior to most books in this genre - reading her books, you frequently find yourself chuckling.
When I saw that her books were not available on the Nook (no, I really didn’t expect that they would be), I did a regular online search. Sadly, I saw that her books are all out of print, though they are available used. I also noticed via Wikipedia Ms. Boyer ended up publishing 11 books, much more than I had realized. She published from 1980-1995, when she apparently stopped writing (or at least publishing). There was a three-year break in her books from 1983-1986, which means I had probably moved on at that point, after reading her initial four books. Wikipedia notes that she was an early pioneer of "mass-market fantasy," but her specialized writing prevented her from achieving a wider acceptance.
After this bit of research, I scavenged the basement, looking through old paperbacks I’ve kept over the years. The collection gets smaller and smaller, but I did turn up my old copy of The Elves and the Otterskin! None of the others remain, however. I read the book again for the first time in at least 20 years, and it has held up remarkably well. Older now, I can appreciate more the Scandinavian influences and how they enhance the story. This is a book I will definitely encourage my kids to read once they’re a bit older. In the meantime, I may "need" to go on a bit of a quest of my own, to see if I can track down some of her other books, both the early ones I read as a kid, and the later ones I am unfamiliar with.
Poking around the Internet, there isn't much about Boyer. Several short biographies note she attended BYU, and that she moved to a farm near Atlanta after her writing career. A short bio can be read here and here. Also, the reviews of The Elves and the Otterskin on Amazon pretty much say it all, though you can read another description here, that also has a different cover image than my copy. If I end up reading anything else by Ms. Boyer, I'll write a follow-up post. In the meantime, I'll simply note that I loved her books growing up, and only wish she were still publishing.
"People who are coming for therapy are in emotional pain and they want to have this pain alleviated as soon as possible. Most of them are not fascinated by their psyches, nor are they pursuing mental health perfection. Sometimes patients experience their needs for immediate relief as being at variance with their therapists' goals for "problem resolution." Oftentimes, too, patients in open-ended therapies feel that they lose a sense of purpose or goal. "Where are we going?" is a frequently asked question. Some intriguing evidence suggests that offering patients time-limited but focused therapies can actually decrease the dropout rate."
This is a book that had a profound impact on me during my development as a therapist, and I say that as a psychologist who considers himself very cognitive-behavioral in orientation. A great book for development of a therapist's understanding and skill in assessing, managing, and using the process of the therapeutic relationship in the therapy session. I heartily recommend this book, along with its precursor, Psychotherapy in a New Key.
Chris Anderson wrote this post about the third anniversary of Geekdad. I've linked to more than a few of their articles, recommendations, etc. over the years, and Anderson's book The Long Tail is one of my favorite reads over the last 3-4 years. I actually have a review of the book fully written: however, it is on my old netbook, which has suffered an untimely demise. At some point, I may make an effort to recover several of my writings off of the hard drive, but that moment has not yet arrived.
I should also note Anderson has been involved with Wired magazine (and Geekdad is associated with them), and a Geekdad book is pending release in May, which looks to be full of great ideas for parents and kids to complete.
In the meantime, happy anniversary, and keep up the good work!