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1. The truth will set you free

First of all, gratitude. Gratitude to Opera Parallèle for its consistently high quality productions of contemporary works, and for their extensive educational outreach program. More specifically, gratitude for its new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, featuring revised scoring for smaller orchestral ensembles—a revision that loses nothing and makes the piece more accessible for smaller companies.

The post The truth will set you free appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. The life of Colonel William Eddy

Missionaries and US Marines? It did not seem a natural combination. But while working on a book about American Protestant missionaries and their children I came across a missionary son who became a prominent officer in the USMC and one of the most effective agents of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Col. William Eddy was in charge of the OSS operations in North Africa [...]

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3. The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one

A peppy beat and bassline. Cowbell. An ecstatic whoop in the background. Make a note, because all these elements now belong to family of Marvin Gaye. Or do they? The recent verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the 'Blurred Lines' case has perplexed followers of the music industry. One might think the ruling was a vindication of the rights of artists, but composers like Bonnie McKee see it differently.

The post The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. The evolution of Taiwan statehood

Taiwan easily satisfies the traditional requirements for statehood: a permanent population, effective control over a territory, a government, and the capacity to interact with other states. Yet the realities of global power politics have kept Taiwan from being recognized as such.

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5. Anthony Trollope: an Irish writer

Nathaniel Hawthorne famously commented that Anthony Trollope’s quintessentially English novels were written on the "strength of beef and through the inspiration of ale … these books are just as English as a beef-steak.” In like mode, Irish critic Stephen Gwynn said Trollope was “as English as John Bull.” But unlike the other great Victorian English writers, Trollope became Trollope by leaving his homeland and making his life across the water in Ireland, and achieving there his first successes there in both his post office and his literary careers.

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6. Play it again (Uncle) Sam: continuities between the adoption and renewal of Trident

In March 2007 the British government of Tony Blair officially decided to extend the life of the Trident submarine deterrent through a ‘life extension programme’ whilst also placing before parliament the need for a successor system. This essentially began the debate on a successor system.

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7. A World Intellectual Property Day Quiz

Every year on 26 April, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) celebrates World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property in encouraging creativity and innovation. As the recent lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate and Pharrell Williams showed, intellectual property law is just as relevant as ever.

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8. Thought experiments in philosophy

Philosophers love thought experiments. Many of us deploy them as our version of the scientific method: They isolate some feature of our experience and evoke intuitions about it, and these revealed verdicts enable us to adjust relevant theories in light of what we find. Sometimes we appeal to these science fiction cases too quickly when there are plenty of real life cases all around us that are potentially more fruitful.

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9. Guns, herbs, and sores: inside the dragon’s etymological lair

23 April marks St. George’s Day. While St. George is widely venerated throughout Christian communities, England especially honors him, its patron saint, on this day. Indeed, his cross, red on a white field, flies as England’s flag. St. George, of course, is legendary for the dragon he slew, yet St. George bested the beast in legend alone. From Beowulf to The Game of Thrones, this creature continues to breathe life (and fire) into our stories, art, and language; even the very word dragon hoards its own gold. Let’s brave our way into its etymological lair to see what treasures we might find.

The post Guns, herbs, and sores: inside the dragon’s etymological lair appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. DNA Day 2015: celebrating advances in genetics and gene therapy [infographic]

Today, 25 April is a joint celebration for geneticists, commemorating the discovery of the helix nature of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 and the completion of the human genome project fifty years later in 2003. It may have taken half a century to map the human genome, but in the years since its completion the field of genetics has seen breakthroughs increase at an ever-accelerating rate.

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11. Meeting and mating with Neanderthals: good and bad genes

Analyses of Neanderthal genomes indicate that when anatomically modern humans ventured out of Africa around 50,000 years ago, they met and mated with Neanderthals, probably in regions of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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12. Remembering Anzac Day: how Australia grieved in the early years

‘Anzac’ (soon transmuting from acronym to word) came to sum up the Australian desire to reflect on what the war had meant. What was the first Anzac Day? At least four explanations exist of the origins of the idea of Anzac, the most enduring legacy of Australia’s Great War.

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13. Finding Trollope

Finding Trollope is one of the great pleasures of life. Unlike other Victorian authors Trollope is little studied in schools, so every reader comes to him by a different path. It might be a recommendation by a friend, listening to a radio adaptation or watching a TV production that leads to the discovery of Trollope and his world. I stumbled across Trollope in the early 1990s. I had recently graduated, moved to London and found myself working in a bookshop.

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14. Ten tips for making a successful clinical diagnosis

The past can sometimes point to the present. The patient may present with a flare up of a previous medical condition, or may suffer a complication of a previous problem. For example a patient who has had previous bowel surgery can develop an acute bowel obstruction because of adhesions produced by the past surgery.

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15. A thousand words: Photography in the Lincoln era

Lincoln was not the first president of the United States to be photographed, but he was the first to be photographed many times, and not only in the portrait studio. His photo archive makes him a modern figure, a celebrity. His short presidency happened just at the time when photography first became straightforward and reliable. Many of the Lincoln photographs were taken by Scottish-born Alexander Gardner.

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16. No frigate like a book

A friend has recommended a new novel to you. You save it for the holiday and then, sitting out in the sun and feeling relaxed, you start reading. And something strange happens: the little black signs on the page before your eyes draw you into a world that has nothing to do with the sights and sounds of your surroundings, which quickly fade from your consciousness. Your thoughts are shaped by ideas that are not yours, your feelings are stirred by unfamiliar emotional currents, and your mind is populated by newly-minted images.

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17. Advocacy and pedagogy in secondary school singing

Music as a school subject, it so often seems, retains its apparently perilous position in the school largely as a result of the unstinting pressure of advocacy groups. The 2004 Music Manifesto that underpins much of the current drive to keep school music alive was unashamedly “a voluntary, apolitical 13-strong Partnership and Advocacy Group”.

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18. What is Positive Education? Lessons from a Year 3 classroom

What is Positive Education? This is a question I am asked on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. Whenever I am asked this question, what immediately comes to mind is a visit to Bostock House, one of Geelong Grammar School’s junior campuses.

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19. Are you an “earth ranger”? [quiz]

No time to plant a garden or ride your bike to work this Earth Day? Don't worry--you can still do your part to honor Mother Nature today by staying informed about our global environment. Test your knowledge of water, weather, air, sea, and soil with the Earth Day quiz below, featuring content from Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science.

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20. Food security in the twenty-first century

There are currently about 7 billion people on Earth and by the middle of this century the number will most likely be between 9 and 10 billion. A greater proportion of these people will in real terms be wealthier than they are today and will demand a varied diet requiring greater resources in its production. Increasing demand for food will coincide with supply-side pressures: greater competition for water, land, and energy, and the accelerating effects of climate change.

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21. Why bother reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

The date-line is 2014. An outbreak of a deadly disease in a remote region, beyond the borders of a complacent Europe. Local deaths multiply. The risk does not end with death, either, because corpses hold the highest risk of contamination and you must work to contain their threat. All this is barely even reported at first, until the health of a Western visitor, a professional man, breaks down.

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22. Why understanding the legally disruptive nature of climate change matters

It is now commonly recognized by governments that climate change is an issue that must be addressed. The 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December 2015 is the most high profile example of this, but there are also many examples of governments beginning to craft national and supranational regulatory responses.

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23. An embarrassment of riches

A priest can be defrocked, and a lawyer disbarred. I wonder what happens to a historical linguist who cannot find an answer in his books. Is such an individual outsourced? A listener from Quebec (Québec) asked me about the origin of the noun bar. He wrote: “…we still say in French barrer la porte as they still do (though less and less) on the Atlantic side of France.

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24. Is asylum a principle of the liberal democratic state?

Asylum is the protection that a State grants on its territory or in some other place under its control—for instance an Embassy or a warship—to a person who seeks it. In essence, asylum is different from refugee status, as the latter refers to the category of individuals who benefit from asylum, as well as the content of such protection. Recently, there has been renewed interest in the debate on asylum. The highly publicised decision by Ecuador to grant asylum to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange in June 2012 (which prompted a Resolution of the Organisation of American States), as well as the international dispute in 2013 involving several countries across the world in the case of Edward Snowden (which prompted the European Parliament to call on European States to grant him asylum) brought this debate back into focus, particularly as it relates to issues of State sovereignty.

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25. The ‘Golden Nikes’ for Greek tragedy

With Greek tragedies filling major venues in London in recent months, I have been daydreaming about awarding my personal ancient Greek Oscars, to be called “Golden Nikes” (pedantic footnote: Nike was the Goddess of Victory, not of Trainers). There has been Medea at the National Theatre, Electra (Sophocles’ one) at the Old Vic, and Antigone, just opened at the Barbican. There are yet more productions lined up for The Globe, Donmar and RSC.

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