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1. Harris Wittels: another victim of narcotics and America’s drug policy

Harris Wittels, stand-up comedian, author, writer, and producer for Parks and Recreation -- and generally a person who could make us laugh in these seemingly grim times -- died of a drug overdose at the age of thirty. He joins the list of people who brought pleasure to our lives but died prematurely in this manner [...]

The post Harris Wittels: another victim of narcotics and America’s drug policy appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. How well do you know Australia? [quiz]

Happy Australian Library and Information Week! We’re wrapping up Library and Information Week here in Australia. This year’s theme is “Imagine.” Help us celebrate all of the fantastic libraries and librarians doing great things over on that side of the world. Oxford University Press has put together a quiz about all things Australia and New Zealand. Once you’ve made it through the quiz, reward yourself with a dollop of Vegemite or catch a Russell Crowe flick to get your fix of the good old outback.

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

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3. A picture of violence and degradation

It is absolutely essential to take a critical view of source material when it comes to violent images and war photographs. Photos taken by perpetrators are always an expression of a relationship that is characterized by an imbalance of power between photographers and their subjects.

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4. FIFA and the internationalisation of criminal justice

The factual backdrop to this affair is well-known. FIFA, world football’s governing body has, for a number of years, been the subject of allegations of corruption. Then, after a series of dawn raids on 27 May 2015, seven FIFA officials, of various nationalities, the most famous being Jack Warner, the Trinidadian former vice president of FIFA, were arrested in a luxury hotel in Zurich where they were staying prior to the FIFA Congress.

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5. Mentoring the next generation of oral historians

Ask anyone who has been to an Oral History Association annual meeting and they’ll tell you that one of the best parts of the conference is the people. The conference offers the chance to meet and learn from oral history veterans, as well as those just getting started in the field. This week on the blog, we’re highlighting the OHA mentorship program, which aims to help newcomers at the meeting to get the most out of the experience by partnering them with mentors. The program paired 47 mentors and newcomers at the 2014 conference, and hopes to connect even more people going forward.

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6. The 12 sweets you need to know about (and try)

Have you ever tried vinarterta? How about gugelhupf? Whether these are familiar or completely foreign to you, this list of sweets are a must for everyone with a sweet tooth. All the sweets, cakes, desserts, and treats on this list come from The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, so give them a go and try one, some, or all!

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7. Facing the challenges of palliative care: continuity

The last two decades have witnessed truly remarkable growth in the field of palliative care. Such growth is challenging, and brings both uncertainties and optimism about the future. In this three-part blog, we’ll take a look at some of the complex issues of continuity, development and evolution in palliative medicine.

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8. All about that Double Bass

Distinguished musicians Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846) and Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889) established a long-standing tradition of playing the double bass that was carried on into the 20th and 21st centuries. From the 1500s, this deep-toned string instrument has made its way from European orchestras to today’s popular music to retain a more natural acoustic sound in performances.

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9. Exploring the final frontier

On this day in 1953, the New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In the following excerpt from his book, Exploration: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2015), Stewart A. Weaver discusses why we, as humans, want to explore and discover. For all the different forms it takes in different historical periods, for all the worthy and unworthy motives that lie behind it, exploration, travel for the sake of discovery and adventure, seems to be a human compulsion.

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10. Reframing gangs

Picture the scene.
Scene 1: A group of wildly drunk young men smash a local business to smithereens, systematically destroying every inch, before beating the owner within an inch of his life.
Scene 2: A group of power-crazed men (and one woman), driven by an aggressive culture of hyper-competitiveness, commit economic crime on an epic scale.

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11. Julius Eastman: Gay Guerilla

Julius Eastman (27 October 1940-28 May 1990)—composer, pianist, vocalist, improviser, conductor, actor, choreographer, and dancer—has left a musical legacy worthy of special attention. Now is a prime moment to attend to Eastman and his work, as we recognize and honor the loss of this significant musical figure just twenty-five years ago from today.

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12. Can the Sequential Intercept Model help with behavioral health justice?

There is now pending legislation in the United States Senate and the U.S. House involving the diversion of justice-involved individuals with behavioral health disorders from standard prosecution. Both bills use the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM), developed by Mark Munetz and Patty Griffin in collaboration with Hank Steadman, as an organizing tool to help structure the proposed law. What is the SIM? How can it be used?

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13. College education for emerging adults [infographic]

College education trends have been changing a lot over the past few decades -- from the cost of education to the enrollment rates to reasons for attending. While it may seem as though today's emerging adults aren't satisfied with today's education trends, 9 out of 10 high schoolers expect to continue their education in some way after graduation, and 84% of college graduates believe their education was a good investment.

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14. Surveillance and privacies

In its recent report, Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework, the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee pondered on the scale of public concern about digital surveillance. A feature of the current controversy is its narrow chronology. The decades before 9/11 correspond to the medieval period and the centuries before the internet are lost in the mists of time. The legislation that controls the behaviour of the security agencies, particularly the Acts of 1989, 1994 and 2000, is generally seen as obsolete.

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15. Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015

In the United States everything is planned very long in advance, while in Europe one can sometimes read about a conference that will be held a mere three months later. By that time all the travel money available to an American academic will have been spent a millennium ago. In the United States, we have visions rather than short-range plans.

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16. The importance of continuing professional development in medicine

We all want our doctors to be familiar with the latest developments in medicine, and to be able to offer us as patients the very best and informed healthcare. It is important that doctors in the fields of anaesthesia, critical care, and pain are up to date and familiar with the latest developments in these rapidly developing areas of medicine, with new techniques and drugs emerging which improve outcomes for patients. As professionals, we cannot stand still and we must always strive to improve outcomes for our patients.

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17. Can your diet make you feel depressed?

I am often asked whether eating particular foods can enhance mood and treat the symptoms of depression. With very few exceptions, the answer is no. In contrast, our mood can be easily depressed by our diet. Why? For adults, the brain responds primarily to deficits, not surpluses, in the diet.

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18. What is ‘Zen’ diplomacy? From Chinese monk to ambassador

In 1654, a Chinese monk arrived in Japan. His name was Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), a Zen master who claimed to have inherited the authentic dharma transmission—the passing of the Buddha’s teaching from teacher to student—from the Linji (Rinzai) sect in China. This claim gave him tremendous authority in China, as without it a Zen teacher cannot be considered for leading a Zen community. Considering the long history of interactions between China and Japan, Chinese monks arriving in Japan with teachings, scriptures, relics and such were very common, and were welcomed by Japanese monks and rulers.

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19. Ten facts about economic gender inequality

Gender is a central concept in modern societies. The promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment is key for policymakers, and it is receiving a growing attention in business agendas. However, gender gaps are still a wide phenomenon. While gender gaps in education and health have been decreasing remarkably over time and their differences across countries have been narrowing, gender gaps in the labour market and in politics are more persistent and still vary largely across countries.

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20. Electronic cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction

Are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) a relatively harmless substitute for cigarettes? Or are they a Trojan horse leading to nicotine addiction and ultimately chronic smoking? Many researchers believe the latter. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver aerosolized nicotine and kid-friendly flavored additives, such as chocolate mint, piña colada, atomic fireball candy, and even gummy bears. Designed to mimic the look and habit of smoking, the devices are marketed as a relatively benign alternative to smoking, without the tar, carbon monoxide, and other harmful ingredients adversely affecting the heart and respiratory system. “Vaping,” the term for using e-cigarettes, emits only a cloud of vapor—not secondhand smoke.

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21. The Salem Witch Trial judges: “persons of the best prudence”?

On 27 May 1692, Sir William Phips, the newly appointed royal governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, appointed nine of the colony’s leading magistrates to serve as judges for the newly created Court of Oyer and Terminer. When Phips sailed into Boston from London on 14 May, there were already 38 people in jail for witchcraft, and the accusations and arrests were growing daily.

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22. Prisons built to expel

Every few months, a new report announces the breakdown of the British immigration system. In January, the Committee of Public Accounts issued a searing review of the Home Office’s migration policy. Three months earlier, the National Audit Office released a near-identical critique.

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23. A behind-the-scenes look at OUP’s recording sessions of new choral music for 2015

Bob Chilcott, as conductor, and John Rutter, as producer and engineer, join forces with some talented freelance professional singers in a church in Highgate, London every February. For three days these singers become The Oxford Choir, formed to record Oxford University Press’s latest choral publications so that choral directors worldwide can discover new repertoire.

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24. The biggest IPOs from across the globe

In 2014, the Chinese corporation Alibaba Group famously released the world's biggest US-listed IPO. IPO stands for 'initial public offering' and represents the first sale of stock by a company to the public. There have been many instances of record-breaking IPOs from around the world - and as far back in history as 1602 - that also deserve our attention. Click on our interactive map below to find out about the biggest IPOs from across the globe.

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25. Is Christian feminism an oxymoron?

Is Christian feminism an oxymoron? For the past century or so, it’s often seemed that way. But it wasn’t all that long ago that many women not only considered Christianity and feminism compatible, but in fact believed each essential to the other. Perhaps no figure makes this case more powerfully than Katharine Bushnell. An internationally-known anti-trafficking activist in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, Bushnell repeatedly encountered Christian men who had perpetrated acts of appalling cruelty against women, often without remorse or consequence.

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