• Winter 2014-15

    Volume 37, Number 2

    Virginia Tech Magazine, winter 2014-15

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    To submit a book, mail it to Book Notes, Virginia Tech Magazine, 205 Media Building, Virginia Tech, 101 Draper Rd. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

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    We must receive the book within one year of its publication date.


    Winter 2014-15

    Sowing the Future: Part Two

    Fortune-telling and other uses of big data at Virginia Tech

    The Sensors Within: Goodwin Hall knows where you are

    The Science of Virginia: Inaugural science festival captivates thousands

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  • Book Notes
    Books by Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and alumni


    Wilson Greenlaw (animal science '64), "Has the Whippoorwill Cried: Recollections, Whoppers, and Rib-tickling Anecdotes from Stafford County by a Native Son," memoir, self-published.

    Robert Klauber (Ph.D. engineering science and mechanics '82), "Quantum Field Theory: Basic Principles and Quantum Electrodynamics," textbook, Sandtrove Press.

    Grady Koch (electrical engineering '91), "LEGO Optics: Projects in Optical and Laser Science with LEGO," science, Createspace.

    James "Jimmy" Page (finance '89, M.S. health and physical education '95), Jon Gordon, and Dan Brittan, "One Word That Will Change Your Life," motivational, Wiley.

    Courtney Thomas (political science '02, M.A. '06, Ph.D. planning, governance, and globalization '10), assistant professor, political science department, "In Food We Trust: The Politics of Purity in American Food Regulation," history, politics, University of Nebraska Press.

    Chaz Weaver (civil engineering '98), "The Valley Baseball League: A History of Baseball in the Shenandoah Valley," sports, Lulu Publishing Services.


    Frankie Bailey (psychology '74), "The Red Queen Dies," mystery, Minotaur Books.

    Robert DiFulgo (M.A. education '83), "Titanic's Resurrected Secret-HEW," historial fiction, iUniverse.

    Jeffrey Johnson (architecture '85), "The Hunger Artist," novel, Meddler Press.

    Kirsten Lopresti (communication '92), "Bright Coin Moon," young adult, Sky Pony Press.


    William "Bill" Glose (civil engineering '89), "Half a Man," military, FutureCycle Press.

    The College of Architecture and Urban Studies' "50: Photographic Journal 1964-2014" celebrates the college's "spirit of place" over the past half-century. The book is divided into five decades, each with a preceding timeline of key events. While the book is not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive, the assemblage of images serves as a historical documentary as well as a standalone art book.

    Find the book at the University Bookstore, Volume II Bookstore on University City Boulevard, and

    Featured author

    "Convention Comedian: Stories and Wisdom from Two Decades of Chicken Dinners and Comedy Clubs" by Jan McInnis '82

    Jan McInnis (communication '82) has spent more than 20 years as a comedian, comedy writer, and keynote speaker. While at Virginia Tech, she worked as a WUVT disc jockey. Inspired by her years as a marketing director, McInnis has spent 20 years performing comedy and humor keynotes for thousands of organizations. She has sold jokes to radio stations, greeting card companies, websites, a syndicated cartoon strip, and late-night television shows. An excerpt of her self-published memoir, "Convention Comedian: Stories and Wisdom from Two Decades of Chicken Dinners and Comedy Clubs," is reprinted below.

    I once got to do comedy at a company party on a turntable, or Lazy Susan for those of you over 50. The room was stationary, but the part of the floor that I performed on spun around, making a 360-degree lap every 10 minutes. In a 60-minute show, everyone got to see my face six times. There was a wall behind me, so people on each side of the room couldn't see each other, which made it even more interesting because I'd spin slowly into one part of the room, annoy the people who had forgotten there was comedy, and then I'd spin out. Sixty minutes of this. ...

    "I got another chance to spin at an event a few years later, but instead of the floor spinning, it was just me! The company that hired me said that since there would be more than 1,000 people in attendance, they wanted to make sure everyone could see me. So they put me on a pedestal in the middle of the room, with people sitting all around me, and asked me to spin while I told jokes. I've always wanted to be put on a pedestal — figuratively, not literally. I didn't know about the spinning until I arrived at the event, and the client kept asking me before the show, "So do you think this is okay?" I refused to say yes because I didn't want to take the blame for it, so I just responded, "I'll try it." I did end up having a lot of fun with it, and even though the show went very well, I would not recommend spinning comedy. This is when I decided that being famous would come in really, really handy because I could put my foot down and demand that I not spin. But I needed the money and I'm not famous, so spin I did."

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