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Shelf Life May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

UCSD BOOKSTORE - NEW & NOTABLE

Here are a few new and notable faculty books at the UCSD Bookstore.

Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diegoy
By Steve Erie, Urban Studies & Planning and Political Science, with Vlad Kogan, Muir '06, M.A. '09, and Scott MacKenzie, Ph.D. '09

Man readingParadise Plundered does not have "fine" things to say about San Diego. Once boosted as "America's finest" then derided as "Enron by the sea," San Diego's infrastructure is decaying, its budget mired in deficits and its services squeezed by a poorly planned pension scheme.

Still, writes a reviewer in the Union-Tribune, the book—which "takes us beyond partisan rhetoric and ideological myopia"—"should be required reading for all who love our city."

Paradise Plundered mixes policy analysis, political theory and history to explain the unintended but largely predictable failures in San Diego. It pulls no punches with politicians or businesses that have, over and over, made policy decisions providing short-term private gains instead of long-term civic benefits. And it doesn't spare the watchdog press or the voters who demand municipal services but then refuse to pay for them.

According to the book, San Diego is a tale of two cities: the older, urban sections of town that pay little in taxes and get little back versus the newer suburban edges that already pay more and don't see a need for increase. South of Interstate-8 versus north. So getting the two-thirds vote required to make profound changes out of these two San Diegos is almost impossible.

Yet something has to be done. The solutions will be painful, the authors say, and any political candidate who promises otherwise is not being entirely honest.

Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance
By Kelly Gates, Communication

Man readingScientists have been trying to teach computers to see the human face since the 1960s. After 9/11, this work has become both more urgent and more fraught. In her exploration of facial recognition technology, Professor Kelly Gates identifies the effort "as a prime example of the failed technocratic approach to governance, where new technologies are pursued as shortsighted solutions to complex social problems." Having more people monitored by more machines will not necessarily make for a safer, more secure future.

UCSD Bookstore

Visit the UCSD Bookstore online to purchase these titles and more. Look out for the monthly Alumni Special.

Man reading

ALSO NOTABLE

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America Coauthored by Marisa A. Abrajano, Political Science

Living with Complexity by Donald Norman, Cognitive Science (Emeritus)

Contested Reproduction: Genetic Technologies, Religion and Public Debate by John Evans, Sociology

The Vicious Red Relic, Love: A Fabulist Memoir
By Anna Joy Springer, Literature

Man readingAnna Joy Springer, former singer for Bay Area punk bands Blatz, The Gr'ups and Cypher in the Snow, is a prose writer and visual artist who creates hybrid texts she calls "grotesques." The Vicious Red Relic, Love, written and illustrated by Professor Springer, is described as a training manual, survival guide and time machine in one. The book returns to 1990s San Francisco and re-enacts—with feminism, punk rock and Sumerian literature—Springer's relationship with an addict and cult survivor who did not disclose to Springer that she'd tested positive for HIV.

Urban Flow: Bike Messengers and the City
By Jeffrey L. Kidder, Ph.D. '09

Man readingA revised version of Jeffrey Kidder's dissertation at UC San Diego, Urban Flow tracks bicycle couriers zooming through city traffic at breakneck speeds to deliver papers on behalf of their clients. Why do they do this work—often for low pay with no benefits? Why do they then turn around and bike dangerously some more, for play? "The point of this book—the sociological puzzle I want to solve," writes Kidder, a former bike messenger and now an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University, "is why messengers find meaning in a seemingly menial occupation."