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1. Dead body politics: what counting corpses tells us about security

What happens when dead bodies crop up where they are not supposed to be? How can this allow us to reflect on how we understand security and insecurity? For example, mass graves can be indicators of crimes against humanity. Recent satellite evidence of mass graves analyzed by Amnesty International outside of Bujumbura has led to a focus on the political violence there, a result of turmoil after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to seek a third term.

The post Dead body politics: what counting corpses tells us about security appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. “Aery nothings and painted devils”, an extract from Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds

Human beings are subject to a continual process of bodily transformation, but shape-shifting also belongs in the landscape of magic, witchcraft, and wonder. Marina Warner, in her award-winning essays Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds: Ways of Telling the Self, explores this idea ranging from Ovid to Lewis Carroll. In the extract below she looks at Shakespeare's use of magic and demons

The post “Aery nothings and painted devils”, an extract from Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. How well do you know Thomas Hobbes? [quiz]

This May, the OUP Philosophy team honors Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588 – December 4, 1679) as their Philosopher of the Month. Hobbes is remembered as the author of one of the greatest of books on political philosophy ever written, Leviathan, in which he argued with a precision reached by few other thinkers.

The post How well do you know Thomas Hobbes? [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Caring about human rights: the case of ISIS and Yazidi women

Mass sexual violence against women and girls is a constant in human history. One of these atrocities erupted in August 2014 in ISIS-occupied territory and persists to this day. Mainly targeting women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority, ISIS officially reinstituted sexual slavery.

The post Caring about human rights: the case of ISIS and Yazidi women appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. By hook or by crook

Here is a phrase whose origin seems to be known, but, as this does not mean that everybody knows it, a short discussion may not be out of place. I have such a huge database of idioms that once in six weeks or so I am seized with a desire to share my treasures with the public.

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6. A tradition of classical architecture in California

Today, most people associate Southern California with images of palm trees, beaches, swimming pools, and the entertainment industry. If pressed to imagine an earlier era they might come up with “old” Hollywood, the Gold Rush, or even the mission era. But how much of the Golden State can be attributed to the ancient Greeks and Romans?

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7. An elusive quest for a recipe for success in economic development

For some decades before the turn of the Millennium, the growth prospects for most of the developing world looked extremely bleak. Income growth was negligible and poverty rates were high and seemed stubbornly persistent. Some even suggested that the barriers against development were almost insurmountable as progress in the already rich world was argued to come about at the expense of the poor.

The post An elusive quest for a recipe for success in economic development appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. On the finiteness of the atmosphere

I guess the funniest thing I ever saw was a person driving down the highway in a Toyota Prius smoking a cigarette with the windows closed. It was like they were telling me, “I respect your atmosphere but not mine.” That got me thinking, does human generated, gaseous, atmospheric pollution actually make up a significant part of the total atmosphere, and can it possibly affect it?

The post On the finiteness of the atmosphere appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous has provided millions of people with a chance at recovery from addiction. There is one aspect of membership for some members that most people, even addiction specialists, are not aware of, namely, the remarkable transformation that many AA members call a spiritual awakening. It’s a remarkable phenomenon for anyone interested in social science on the addictions.

The post Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. A tap dance quiz for National Tap Dance Day

25 May is National Tap Dance Day, commemorating tap dance, our earliest American vernacular dance form and a national treasure. My tap teacher Charles "Cookie" Cook, the famed member of the Copasetics Club, used to say that if you can walk (or even snap your fingers or toes to the rhythm), you can (tap) dance, thus making all of us tap dancers. But how how many notable tap dancers can you name?

The post A tap dance quiz for National Tap Dance Day appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. World Turtle Day: a reading list

World Turtle Day is celebrated on 23 May every year since its inception in 2000. The American Tortoise Rescue sponsors this day of awareness to bring attention to one of the world’s oldest reptiles, and encourage humans to help in the conservation and protection of these grand animals. In honour of these grandiose creatures, we have compiled a reading list of biology titles and articles that have helped to further research into the conservation biology of all chelonians.

The post World Turtle Day: a reading list appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Veepstakes 2016: A Reality Check

Who will Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump–the Democratic and Republican Party’s likely nominees for president, respectively–pick as their vice presidential running mates? Let’s start here: It probably won’t matter much. Or, we should say, it probably won’t matter in terms of deciding the election. It could matter a great deal, however, in terms of what comes after the election. Allow us to explain.

The post Veepstakes 2016: A Reality Check appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. The “Silk Road Spirit” in a time of globalization

In September 2013, during a visit to Central and Southeast Asia, Chinese President Xi Jinping first proposed the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Consequently, the Collaborative Innovation Centre of Silk Road Economic Belt Studies has been established in Xi’an, China, which was the eastern starting point of the ancient road.

The post The “Silk Road Spirit” in a time of globalization appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Christian theology, literary theory, and sexuality in the ‘Song of Songs’

hy were Christian theologians in the ancient and medieval worlds so fascinated by a text whose main theme was erotic love? The very fact that the 'Song of Songs', a biblical love poem that makes no reference to God or to Israelite religion, played an important role in pre-modern Christian discourse may seem surprising to those of us in the modern world.

The post Christian theology, literary theory, and sexuality in the ‘Song of Songs’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Tick tock goes the Shakespeare Death Clock [infographic]

Along with the many creative ways that Shakespeare killed off his characters, there are even more ways to represent those deaths in the form of fun illustrations. Not a stranger to death himself, Shakespeare was living and working in a time where rampant disease and social violence were daily norms.

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16. World travel: What are the dangers where you’re heading?

When travelling the globe, most intrepid adventurers and holiday-makers will encounter only minor health problems. But knowing and understanding possible hazards is fundamental to preventing them. When planning an adventure, people often seek novel experiences – and contemporary travel is able to take us (within just a few hours) from a relatively benign environment to a potentially life-threatening setting.

The post World travel: What are the dangers where you’re heading? appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. The future of libraries and the cultural history of Prague

Inforum, one of the largest librarian conferences in Eastern Europe, rolls into the Czech capital next week. Once again taking place at the University of Economics in Prague, Inforum 2016 promises to be a lively and thought-provoking look at some of the issues facing librarians in the Czech Republic and beyond.

The post The future of libraries and the cultural history of Prague appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Joey Alexander: call me a ‘musician’, not a ‘prodigy’

If you tuned in to this year’s Grammy awards, you would not have failed to witness the extraordinary performance of 12-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander. The short solo performance, which earned him a standing ovation, was without doubt the cherry on the cake of this young musician’s short but remarkable career thus far.

The post Joey Alexander: call me a ‘musician’, not a ‘prodigy’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. 10 things everyone should know about environmental economics

Stephen Smith, author of Environmental Economics: A Very Short Introduction, gives us an insight into what environmental economists do, what environmental economics is about, and how it measures and influences our impact on the environment. He also explores the steps we need to take to protect it at an international level.

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20. “We could build a future where people are free”: reflections on the Eurovision Song Contest

Spectacle at its grandest has long been crucial to the Eurovision Song Contest’s projection of its own importance for Europe and, increasingly in the past two decades, a unified Europe’s position in the world. Each year’s competition outstrips that of the year before, as song styles multiply and nations are added to the spectacle of nation competing against nation with the hope of representing Europe musically to the world.

The post “We could build a future where people are free”: reflections on the Eurovision Song Contest appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. When governments take counterterrorism policy into other policy areas, we should be worried

The last few years have seen enormous public debate over the collection of metadata through mass surveillance. We now know that intelligence authorities globally have been casting a wide dragnet to capture communications metadata, which they then retain and mine for information.

The post When governments take counterterrorism policy into other policy areas, we should be worried appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Realism of social and cultural origins

How can realism in science be defined? Philosophers, historians, and the general public, have always related it to a philosophical doctrine or a technological effect. However, there is a type of realism — very widespread in science — that has gone unnoticed among scholars: the realist attitude of social and cultural origins. Behind this attitude lie commercial and engineering interests.

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23. How to be good

Recently philosophers and scientists have tried to identify how to make the world better by making people more likely to do good rather than evil. This same problem has also faced those interested in artificial intelligence. As Giuseppe di Lampedusa had Tancredi say in The Leopard, “If we want things to stay as they are things will have to change”… and that goes for people also!

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24. The Hamilton musical and historical unknowns

With a record-breaking sixteen Tony Award nominations for his hit musical "Hamilton," Lin-Manuel Miranda will soon have to clear some space on his trophy shelf next to his Grammy and Pulitzer. But there is something remarkable about the play that all the critical acclaim has missed entirely. Reviewers have rightfully celebrated Miranda for telling the life story of one of America’s greatest Founders using energetic numbers, a multiethnic cast, and a strong emphasis on hip-hop.

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25. Not a dog’s chance, or one more impenetrable etymology

By this time, the thrust of the posts united by the title “Not a dog’s chance” must be clear. While dealing with some animal names, we plod through a swamp (or a bog, or a quagmire) and run into numerous monosyllabic words of varying structure (both vowels and consonants alternate in them), lacking a clear etymology, and designating several creatures, sometimes having nothing to do with one another (for instance, “doe” and “grasshopper,” though this is an extreme case).

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