Win a Copy of Tracks and Shadows

Tracks and ShadowsPublishers Weekly calls it “Achingly beautiful” and Jim Harrison says it’s “an immediate classic.” Tracks and Shadows is both an absorbing autobiography of a celebrated field biologist and a celebration of beauty in nature. Harry W. Greene, award-winning author of Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature, delves into the poetry of field biology, showing how nature eases our existential quandaries. More than a memoir, the book is about the wonder of snakes, the beauty of studying and understanding natural history, and the importance of sharing the love of nature with humanity.

We’re giving away three copies of the book over at Goodreads. The contest runs through November 18 and is open to entries from the US and UK. Good luck!


Draw a Proof, Win a Book

God in Prood

Nathan Schneider, author of the forthcoming book God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet (June 2013) is running a contest over at his website, The Row Boat, in which he asks readers to draw a proof of what they believe. Read Schneider’s description of the contest below.

What Do You Believe? How Do You Know? Want a Free Book?

For as long as I’ve been interested in the search for proofs about the existence of God, I’ve been interested in drawing them. Words and equations just didn’t seem like enough; to wrap my head around what these constructs were expressing, and to try to communicate them to others, I had to make pictures. As I wrote my new book, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet, I was drawing every step of the way — and my publisher, University of California Press, let me stick some of my pictures in the text. God In Proof Contest

In doing, I soon discovered, I was retracing the history of proof itself. Long before the mathematical symbols and notation we generally use today, ancient proofs were drawn in diagrams and images.

Now that the book is finished, I want to share the fun I’ve been having by making these drawings with you. The press has agreed to pony up some free books for a drawing contest, and here’s how to win one: Draw a proof of something, divine or otherwise, and tweet a scan or photo of it to #GodInProof, along with any explanation you’d like to add. (You can also email them to proofs@godinproof.com.) Selected proofs will appear here, where they’ll be entered for a chance to win a free book. Entries with the highest number of social media shares win. Multiple submissions are allowed, but only one book is allowed per winning author.

Download the PDF version of the contest postcard here.

 


What’s your favorite title by Mark Twain?

As some of you may have heard, we’ll be releasing The Autobiography of Mark Twain later this year. Heck, we’ve even put up a lovely website, thisismarktwain.com, to highlight some of the new material to be found only in the Autobiography.  But we’re well aware that readers of Mark Twain have had years and years, over a 100 of them actually, to figure out what their favorite Mark Twain title is.
So let us know what it is and if we pick your name, we’ll send a galley of what promises to be your next favorite, the Autobiography (you were expecting maybe Roughing It?). Just send an email to entries@ucpress.edu with My Favorite Mark Twain Title in the header by 9 am (pst) tomorrow, Sept 14, and you’ll be entered to win.
Winners will be announced via email, this blog, and our Facebook page at noon, Pacific Time, tomorrow, September 14, 2010. One entry per email address, please.

If you enter and don’t win, don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of chances to win through the rest of the year, so stay tuned.


Crack the Code to Win the Grand Prize!

It’s your last chance to crack the code and win the Book of Codes Sweepstakes! Today we’ll give away a copy of The Book of Codes, and the Grand Prize—$100 worth of UC Press books.

Decipher the mystery message in this video and send us a direct message on Twitter (@ucpress) with the answer. If you’re right, you could win The Book of Codes and learn how to decode everything from cuneiform and medieval ciphers to the pattern in your living room carpet.

For a chance at the Grand Prize, combine the messages in the week’s videos to make a quote by a famous author. Send the correct quote and author to entries@ucpress.edu, and you could win $100 worth of books from UC Press. Put it towards your purchase of the Codex Mendoza, go on a holiday book shopping spree, or save it for a rainy day.

The deadline for both prizes is midnight EST, 9PM PST tonight. Good luck…

Review the week’s coded videos:

Monday, The Caesar Shift

Tuesday, International Maritime Code

Wednesday, ASCII

Thursday, Hobo Chalk Marks

Read the Sweepstakes Rules (PDF)


The History behind the Fifth Day’s Code: The Theban Alphabet

The esoteric implements of the medieval necromancer included magic circles, conjurations, sacrifices, swords, and prayer; magical alphabets were also highly significant. Circles were traced on the ground, often accompanied by various mystical symbols drawn from a mixture of Christian and occult ideas. At the opportune time and location, sacrifices and animal offerings were often provided to propitiate ethereal beings.

The most important medieval writings on the occult were by the Benedictine abbot Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516), and his pupil, Heinrich Cornelius Aggripa (1486-1535). The latter’s Three Books About Occult Philosophy (1531-33) included coded formulae for alchemy, Kabbalism, and the Theban alphabet, a table for communicating with the spirit world.— Excerpted from The Book of Codes, page 57.

Tips and Tricks for the Crack the Code Sweepstakes

While reviewing each day’s video, the pause/play button and forward/backward controls are your friends. Use them often and to great effect.

For those new to Twitter, here’s a great explanation of how to direct message.

If you miss your chance to send your solution to the day’s code, you’ll have more chances to win as the week progresses, with a big chance to win $100 in UC Press books at the end of the week in our Grand Prize Drawing. You can always find the rules for the Sweepstakes here.


The History behind the Fourth Day’s Code: Hobo Chalk Marks

Just how the hobo chalk marks system developed, nobody knows, but as a means of providing vital information (frequently as a matter of life or death – or prison) of often considerable complexity, it remains unparalleled. The marks were left on boxcars, signposts, town signs, mailboxes, and fence posts.— Excerpted from The Book of Codes, page 137.

Check out the fourth video.

Tips and Tricks for the Crack the Code Sweepstakes

While reviewing each day’s video, the pause/play button and forward/backward controls are your friends. Use them often and to great effect.

For those new to Twitter, here’s a great explanation of how to direct message.

If you miss your chance to send your solution to the day’s code, you’ll have more chances to win as the week progresses, with a big chance to win $100 in UC Press books at the end of the week in our Grand Prize Drawing. You can always find the rules for the Sweepstakes here.


Crack the Code, Day 4: Ride the Rails

Ride the rails on today’s Crack the Code Sweepstakes. Decipher the hidden message in this video, and send us
the answer via direct message on Twitter @ucpress, before midnight EST/ 9PM PST tonight.

We’ll select a winner at random from all eligible entries and announce it on Twitter (limit one entry per Twitter account
per day). The winner will receive a copy of The Book of Codes.

Check back tomorrow for a new video, another code to crack, and another chance to win The Book of Codes. You’ll have a chance to win the grand prize—$100 worth of UC Press books.

View yesterday’s video.

Tips and Tricks for the Crack the Code Sweepstakes

While reviewing each day’s video, the pause/play button and

forward/backward controls are your friends. Use them often and to great

effect.

For those new to Twitter, here’s a great explanation of how to direct message.

If you miss your chance to send your solution to the day’s code, you’ll

have more chances to win as the week progresses, with a big chance to

win $100 in UC Press books at the end of the week in our Grand Prize

Drawing. You can always find the Sweepstakes Rules here (PDF).


The History Behind the Third Day’s Code: ASCII

The most popular and long-lived encoding language is called ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). With this system all of the letters of the alphabet, all of the numerals, and many of the punctuation characters can be described in a form that computers can work with. An ASCII character is stored in a single byte, which is eight bits. Traditionally the eighth bit of the character was reserved as an error-checking bit, so altogether there were seven bits to work with. Binary is base two, so there are two to the power seven values that can be represented – this is why ASCII codes run from zero to 128. — Excerpted from The Book of Codes, page 273.

Check out the third video.

Tips and Tricks for the Crack the Code Sweepstakes

While reviewing each day’s video, the pause/play button and forward/backward controls are your friends. Use them often and to great effect.

For those new to Twitter, here’s a great explanation of how to direct message.

If you miss your chance to send your solution to the day’s code, you’ll have more chances to win as the week progresses, with a big chance to win $100 in UC Press books at the end of the week in our Grand Prize Drawing. You can always find the rules for the Sweepstakes here.


Crack the Code: the Third Challenge


The mystery deepens on the third day of our Crack the Code Sweepstakes. Your assignment: Decode the hidden message in this video, and send us the answer via direct message on Twitter @ucpress, before midnight EST / 9PM PST tonight. We’ll select a winner at random from all eligible entries and announce it on Twitter (limit one entry per Twitter account per day). The winner will receive a copy of The Book of Codes.

Check back every day this week for a new video, another code to crack, and another chance to win The Book of Codes. At the end of the week, you’ll have a chance to win the grand prize—$100 worth of UC Press books.

View yesterday’s video.

Tips and Tricks for the Crack the Code Sweepstakes

While reviewing each day’s video, the pause/play button and

forward/backward controls are your friends. Use them often and to great

effect.

For those new to Twitter, here’s a great explanation of how to direct message.

If you miss your chance to send your solution to the day’s code, you’ll

have more chances to win as the week progresses, with a big chance to

win $100 in UC Press books at the end of the week in our Grand Prize

Drawing. You can always find the Sweepstakes Rules here (PDF).


Crack the Code, Day 2

It’s the second day of our Crack the Code Sweepstakes. There’s a hidden message in this video. You have until midnight EST / 9PM PST tonight to crack the code, and send us a direct message on Twitter @ucpress with the answer. We’ll select a winner at random from all eligible entries and announce it on Twitter (limit one entry per Twitter account per day). The winner will receive a copy of The Book of Codes.

Check back every day this week for a new video, another code to crack, and another chance to win The Book of Codes. At the end of the week, you’ll have a chance to win the grand prize—$100 worth of UC Press books.

View yesterday’s video.

Tips and Tricks for the Crack the Code Sweepstakes

While reviewing each day’s video, the pause/play button and forward/backward controls are your friends. Use them often and to great effect.

For those new to Twitter, here’s a great explanation of how to direct message.

If you miss your chance to send your solution to the day’s code, you’ll have more chances to win as the week progresses, with a big chance to win $100 in UC Press books at the end of the week in our Grand Prize Drawing. You can always find the Sweepstakes Rules here (PDF).