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Category Archives: Recommended Books

Book Review – The Limits of Social Engineering

Tapping into big data, researchers and planners are building mathematical models of personal and civic behavior. But the models may hide rather than reveal the deepest sources of social ills, by Nicholas Carr on April 16, 2014, MIT Technology Review.

“…Even if we assume that the privacy issues can be resolved, the idea of what Pentland  [Alex “Sandy” Pentland, a data scientist who, as the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory]calls a “data-driven society” remains problematic. Social physics is a variation on the theory of behavioralism that found favor in McLuhan’s day, and it suffers from the same limitations that doomed its predecessor. Defining social relations as a pattern of stimulus and response makes the math easier, but it ignores the deep, structural sources of social ills. Pentland may be right that our behavior is determined largely by social norms and the influences of our peers, but what he fails to see is that those norms and influences are themselves shaped by history, politics, and economics, not to mention power and prejudice. People don’t have complete freedom in choosing their peer groups. Their choices are constrained by where they live, where they come from, how much money they have, and what they look like. A statistical model of society that ignores issues of class, that takes patterns of influence as givens rather than as historical contingencies, will tend to perpetuate existing social structures and dynamics. It will encourage us to optimize the status quo rather than challenge it.”

Book Reviews: The Economics of Unhappiness

The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The American tradition is to enshrine economic activity as a central element of “the pursuit of happiness.” In reality, however, economic activity is largely concerned with the relief of unhappiness. At the subsistence level of economic activity that has prevailed through most of human history, people must work to eatContinue Reading

LLRX Book Review – The Little Red Book of Wine Law: A Case of Legal Issues

LLRX Book Review by Heather A. Phillips: The Little Red Book of Wine Law: A Case of Legal Issues – Heather A. Phillips recommends this slim volume as it provides an engaging and accessible introduction to American wine law and history that will broaden the reader’s appreciation of the wine industry. Though short and non-technical,Continue Reading

New Book Review on LLRX.com: Just and Unjust Warriors

LLRX Book Review by Heather A. Phillips – Just and Unjust Warriors: the moral and legal status of soldiers – Heather A. Phillips describes how though a series of eleven well-written and closely reasoned original essays this book question the treatments of many of the foundations of classical just war theory, such as a non-volunteerContinue Reading

ACLU Announces New Book – Ongoing Fight for Gender Equality

ACLU Blog of Rights: “Coinciding with the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the fully revised and updated fourth edition of The Rights of Women was released this week. The latest release in the ACLU Handbook Series, The Rights of Women is a comprehensive guide that explains in detail the rights that women and girlsContinue Reading

New on LLRX.com

Mis-Information at the Heart of the University: Why Administrators Should Take Libraries More Seriously, by Stuart Basefsky Carpe Diem: Establish an Institutional Repository for Your Organization, by Carol A. Watson What’s New in Cordless Mice? by Jeffrey J. Beard FOIA Facts: FOIA – The Year in Review, by Scott A. Hodes E-Discovery Update: A ContrarianContinue Reading

New on LLRX.com for October 2007

Cultural Challenges in Cross Border Mediation, by Vikrant Singh Negi Persuading Judges in Writing: Tips for Lawyers (And how technology can help), by Troy Simpson Competitive Intelligence on a Shoestring, by Susan Armstrong and Sabrina I. Pacifici E-Discovery Update: Discovery of Employee-Owned Computer Equipment, by Conrad J. Jacoby The Government Domain: Journalists and Government Information:Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book

“About the Book – “Have fun and learn about the Supreme Court! It’s a coloring book with a surprising educational twist. This 32-page coloring book features expertly rendered illustrations depicting significant Supreme Court Justices of the United States to color in–including all current sitting Justices. The U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book is perfectContinue Reading

Encyclopedic Reference Work Cataloging all of the World’s 6,912 Known Living Languages

Ethnologue: “An encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,912 known living languages.” [This web edition of the Ethnologue contains all the content of the print edition and may be cited as: Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/.] Far fromContinue Reading

Recent Book Focuses on Language of the Media

As noted by Editor & Publisher, Richard Weiner’ recent book, The Skinny About Best Boys, Dollies, Green Rooms, Leads, and Other Media Lingo: The Language of the Media “is not only a media dictionary, but a history book as well, one that Weiner hopes will be as fascinating to lay readers as it is forContinue Reading

New on LLRX.com

And you thought gadgets were only for the kitchen: The Return, by Brian Neale, Roger Skalbeck, Susan Skyzinski and Barbara Fullerton And you thought gadgets were only for the kitchen: The Future, by Brian Neale, Roger Skalbeck, Susan Skyzinski and Barbara Fullerton Writing Justice Blackmun, by Linda Greenhouse Statement of Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel, TheContinue Reading

Review of Book That Sparked Controversy on Domestic Spy Program

‘State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,’ by James Risen – Spies and Spymasters, Review by Walter Isaacson.