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1. Between language and folklore: “To hang out the broom”

We know even less about the origin of idioms than about the origin of individual words. This is natural: words have tangible components: roots, suffixes, consonants, vowels, and so forth, while idioms spring from customs, rites, and general experience. Yet both are apt to travel from land to land and be borrowed. Who was the first to suggest that beating (or flogging) a willing horse is a silly occupation, and who countered it with the idea that beating a dead horse is equally stupid?

The post Between language and folklore: “To hang out the broom” appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Why is addiction treatment so slow to change?

The US taxpayers fund the overwhelming majority of addiction research in the world. Every year, Congress channels about $1 billion to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). An additional almost $0.5 billion is separately given to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), my own workplace for the past decade.

The post Why is addiction treatment so slow to change? appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Marriage equality in Australia: will 2016 bring a change in the law?

Hopes for change on the issue in Australia were raised and quickly dashed following September’s leadership spill in the centre-right Liberal Party, in which Malcom Turnbull defeated Prime Minister Tony Abbott, 54 votes to 44. Once seen by advocates of law reform as a champion of marriage equality, the new Prime Minister stated his intention to maintain the coalition’s position on the issue.

The post Marriage equality in Australia: will 2016 bring a change in the law? appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. “The experience of chocolate craving”- an extract from The Economics of Chocolate

It is indisputable that chocolate consumption gives instant pleasure and comfort, especially during episodes of ‘emotional eating’, which involves searching for food (generally in large amounts) even if not physiologically hungry in order to get relief from a negative mood or bad feelings (e.g. stressful life situations, anxiety, depression). The pleasure experienced in eating chocolate can be, first of all, due to neurophysiological components.

The post “The experience of chocolate craving”- an extract from The Economics of Chocolate appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Which mythological creature are you? [Quiz]

Today, we're looking at the less fashionable side of this partnership and focussing our attention on the creatures that mortals feared and heroes vanquished. Does your gaze turn others to stone? Do you prefer ignorance or vengeance? Have any wings? Take this short quiz to find out which mythological creature or being you would have been in the ancient world.

The post Which mythological creature are you? [Quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Mary Church Terrell: a Capitol crusader

When Mary Church Terrell died on 24 July 1954, at the age of 90, her place in civil rights history seemed secure. She had served as the first president of the National Association of Colored Women. She had been a charter member of the NAACP.

The post Mary Church Terrell: a Capitol crusader appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Blue planet blues

The Earth we live on was formed from a cloud of dust and ice, heated by a massive ball of compressed hydrogen that was the early Sun. Somewhere along the four billion year journey to where we are today, our planet acquired life, and some of that became us. Our modern brains ask how it all came together and progressed, and what shaped the pathways it followed.

The post Blue planet blues appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Adolescents and adolescence: the glass really is half-full

Recently I was invited to be the guest clinician for a school district’s new young men’s choral festival. The original composition of the festival changed over the course of planning and, long story short, I ended up with a group of 79 fourth- through ninth-grade male singers.

The post Adolescents and adolescence: the glass really is half-full appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. The CISG: a fair balance of interests around the globe

The CISG may be called a true story of worldwide success which is not only proven by the ever increasing number of member states around the world but also by the fact that during the last 20 years the CISG has served as a decisive blueprint for law-making in the area of contract law on the international as well as on the domestic level.

The post The CISG: a fair balance of interests around the globe appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Another unpleasant infection: Zika virus

Over two years ago I wrote that “new viruses are constantly being discovered... Then something comes out of the woodwork like SARS which causes widespread panic”. Zika virus infection bids fair to repeat the torment. On 28 January 2016 the BBC reported that the World Health Organization had set up a Zika “emergency team” as a result of the current explosive pandemic.

The post Another unpleasant infection: Zika virus appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Bang, bang — democracy’s dead: Obama and the politics of gun control

It would seem that President Obama has a new prey in his sites. It is, however, a target that he has hunted for some time but never really managed to wound, let alone kill. The focus of Obama’s attention is gun violence and the aim is really to make American communities safer places to live.

The post Bang, bang — democracy’s dead: Obama and the politics of gun control appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Philosopher of the month: Plato

The OUP Philosophy team have selected Plato (c. 429–c.347 BC) as their February Philosopher of the Month. The best known and most widely studied of all the ancient Greek philosophers, Plato laid the groundwork for Western philosophy and Christian theology. Plato was most likely born in Athens, to Ariston and Perictione, a noble, politically active family.

The post Philosopher of the month: Plato appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. How can we hold the UN accountable for sexual violence?

Cometh the new year, cometh the fresh round of allegations that United Nations peacekeepers raped or abused some of the most vulnerable people in the world. 2016 has just begun and already reports are surfacing of UN peacekeepers paying to have sex with girls as young as 13 at a displaced persons camp in the Central African Republic.

The post How can we hold the UN accountable for sexual violence? appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. A history of the poetry of history

History and poetry hardly seem obvious bed-fellows – a historian is tasked with discovering the truth about the past, whereas, as Aristotle said, ‘a poet’s job is to describe not what has happened, but the kind of thing that might’. But for the Romans, the connections between them were deep: historia . . . proxima poetis (‘history is closest to the poets’), as Quintilian remarked in the first century AD. What did he mean by that?

The post A history of the poetry of history appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Regretoric: the rise of the “nonapology” apology and the “apology tour”

OxfordDictionaries.com is adding the nouns apology tour and nonapology. These additions represent two related steps in the evolution of the noun apology, which first entered English in the sixteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Its earliest example is a book title: the 1533 Apologie of Syr Thomas More.

The post Regretoric: the rise of the “nonapology” apology and the “apology tour” appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Seven reasons why your medications are not working properly

What happens when medication doesn’t bring your condition under control? Usually, it’s not just one single issue but various factors that contribute to the problem. Your doctor will work to figure out why–and from there, create a new plan of attack. Finding the right combination of medications may require some trial and error.

The post Seven reasons why your medications are not working properly appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Sex, love, and Shakespeare [slideshow]

Whether he fills his scenes with raunchy innuendos, or boldly writes erotic poetry, or frequently reverses the gender norms of the time period, Shakespeare addresses the multifaceted ways in which sex, love, marriage, relationships, gender, and sexuality play an integral part of human life.

The post Sex, love, and Shakespeare [slideshow] appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Are you really free? Yes: a new argument for freedom

How is human freedom really possible in the natural world as correctly described by modern physics, chemistry, biology, and cognitive neuroscience? Or, given the truth of modern science, are you really free? By 'real freedom,' I mean 'real free will and real rational agency'.

The post Are you really free? Yes: a new argument for freedom appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. The truth behind the restaurant industry [quiz]

While the common image of a "restaurant employee" is the server, there are others in the restaurant industry who also face the hardships of working in the restaurant industry: discrimination, low wages, and lack of benefits. All these contribute to a dark side of the restaurant industry, and some restaurants are fighting to change the status quo. Do you know the truth behind the restaurant industry?

The post The truth behind the restaurant industry [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. The resource curse – Episode 31 – The Oxford Comment

Global inequality, particularly as it exists today, has proven to be more “process” than state of being. An era of unprecedented interconnection means that individual practices, just as much as large-scale social, political, and economic actions, shape, sustain, and reinforce power dynamics. Consumerism is one such practice, transferring economic power from the hands of those who buy goods to those that supply them. Seldom, though, do we stop to consider whose pockets we are lining in our consumption, whether buying a new television or refueling at our local gas station.

In this month’s episode of The Oxford Comment, Leif Wenar, author of Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World, and Dale Jamieson, author of Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failedexplore the unseen costs of consumer demand, corporate conduct, and more, including the increasing destabilization of our global political (and environmental) system. Together, they contemplate the “revolutionary” consequences of changing the means by which we live, moving our world toward a new era of ethics, sustainability and security.

Image Credit: “War and Poverty” by Kelly Short. Public Domain via Flickr.

The post The resource curse – Episode 31 – The Oxford Comment appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Watts Riots: Black Families Matter

On 11 August 1965, the Watts Riots exploded in Los Angeles taking the nation by surprise. Sparked by an arrest that escalated into a skirmish between local residents and police, the riots lasted six days. They laid bare the seething discontent that lay just beneath the surface in many black communities.

The post Watts Riots: Black Families Matter appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Mind this space: couple therapy

What happens in our relationships? This is the question that draws people into the profession of couple therapy. Therapists stand outside the couple in order to understand how their relationship systems and unconscious dynamics work. What is it that the couple have created between them? How can you restore the balance within that relationship?

The post Mind this space: couple therapy appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Epicureanism: eat, drink, and be merry?

Most people have a good idea what it is to have a Stoical attitude to life, but what it means to have an Epicurean attitude is not so obvious. When attempting to decipher the true nature of Epicureanism it is first necessary to dispel the impression that fine dining is its central theme.

The post Epicureanism: eat, drink, and be merry? appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Nils Alwall: The quiet, unassuming Swede

During the night, between 3rd and 4th September 1946, things were stirring in the basement of the internal medicine department, at the university hospital of Lund, Southern Sweden. A 47-year-old man had been admitted for treatment. His main problem was uraemia (urea in the blood), but he was also suffering from silicosis (a lung disorder), complicated by pneumonia.

The post Nils Alwall: The quiet, unassuming Swede appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Contextual cartography: an email exchange with Henry Greenspan and Tim Cole, Part 2

Two weeks ago, we published the first part of an exchange between Henry Greenspan and Tim Cole. Below, they wrap up their conversation, turning to the intellectual difficulties of taking context into consideration. The issues they raise should be of interest to all oral historians, so we want to hear from you!

The post Contextual cartography: an email exchange with Henry Greenspan and Tim Cole, Part 2 appeared first on OUPblog.

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