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1. Very short facts about theVery Short Introductions

This week we are celebrating the 500th title in the Very Short Introductions series, Measurement: A Very Short Introduction, which will publish on 6th October. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make often challenging topics highly readable. To mark its publication editors Andrea Keegan and Jenny Nugee have put together a list of Very Short Facts about the series.

The post Very short facts about theVery Short Introductions appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Is happiness in our genes?

It is easy to observe that some people are happier than others. But trying to explain why people differ in their happiness is quite a different story. Is our happiness the result of how well things are going for us or does it simply reflect our personality? Of course, the discussion on the exact roles of nature (gene) versus nurture (experience) is not new at all. When it comes to how we feel, however, most of us may think that our happiness

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3. Rebuilding and restoring the Houses of Parliament [timeline]

The Houses of Parliament in London is one of the most famous buildings in the world. A masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture which incorporates survivals from the medieval Palace of Westminster, it was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO along with Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church, in 1987. With its restoration and renewal in the news, find out more about the background in this interactive timeline.

The post Rebuilding and restoring the Houses of Parliament [timeline] appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Secrets and trivia from the Broadway stage

Why do some great Broadway shows fail, and mediocre ones thrive? How does the cast onstage manage to keep tabs on the audience without missing a beat or a line? Ken Bloom, author of Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Audiences, delves into the inner workings of the Broadway stage and the culture surrounding Broadway hips and flops.

The post Secrets and trivia from the Broadway stage appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Into the unknown: professional development for future educators

One of the greatest challenges faced by schools and universities today is preparing students for an unknown future. Our graduates will likely have multiple careers, work in new and emerging industries, grapple with technologies we can’t even imagine yet. And so we’re asking our staff to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in a potentially very different world to the one we live in now.

The post Into the unknown: professional development for future educators appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. The origin of the word SLANG is known!

Caution is a virtue, but, like every other virtue, it can be practiced with excessive zeal and become a vice (like parsimony turning into stinginess). The negative extreme of caution is cowardice.

The post The origin of the word SLANG is known! appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. New York City’s housing crisis

New York City is the midst of a housing affordability crisis. Over the last decade, average rents have climbed 15% while the income of renters has increased only 2%. The city’s renaissance since the 1990's has drawn thousands of new residents; today, the population of 8.5 million people is the highest it has ever been. But New Yorkers are finding that the benefits of city living are not without its costs. The demand for housing has outstripped the real estate community’s ability to supply it; as a result, prices have been rising.

The post New York City’s housing crisis appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Profiling schoolmasters in early modern England

In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography introduced an annual research bursary scheme for scholars in the humanities. As the first year of the scheme comes to a close, we ask the second of the 2015-16 recipients—the early modern historian, Dr Emily Hansen—about her research project, and how it’s developed through her association with the Oxford DNB.

The post Profiling schoolmasters in early modern England appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. How fertility patients can make informed decisions on treatment

Media coverage of health news can seem to consist of a steady diet of research-based stories, but making sense of what may be relevant or important and what is not can be a tall order for most patients. Headlines may shout about dramatic breakthroughs, exciting new advances, revolutions, and even cures but there may be scant details of the evidence base of the research.

The post How fertility patients can make informed decisions on treatment appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. The impact of addictions and means of prevention, treatment, & recovery

September is National Recovery Month in the US. Recovery Month is a time dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of substance use and mental disorders. It’s also a time to celebrate those who are in recovery and those who do recover. The goal of the observance month is to educate others that addiction treatment and mental health services are effective, and that people can recover. With respect for this time, we compiled some statistics on addiction disorders to support awareness of these issues and show that individuals are not alone.

The post The impact of addictions and means of prevention, treatment, & recovery appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. So not a form: Structure evolves from dramatic ideas

The sonata concept served some of the greatest imaginations in the history of music, but seriously it is, as I like to say to students, “so not a form”. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms were not in need of a standardized template, and in essence what has come to be called sonata form is more like courtroom procedure: a process that allows for an infinite variety of stories to be unfold, from a fender bender to vandalism to murder.

The post So not a form: Structure evolves from dramatic ideas appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. The earnest faith of a storyteller

Ang Lee, the two-time Academy Award-winning director, has noted that we should never underestimate the power of storytelling. Indeed, as a storyteller, Lee has shown through his films the potential of stories to connect people, to heal wounds, to drive change, and to reveal more about ourselves and the world. In particular, Lee has harnessed new technology for storytelling in movies such as Life of Pi (2012) and his upcoming feature film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (to be released on 11 November, 2016).

The post The earnest faith of a storyteller appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Putin and beyond: a Q&A on Russian politics

Russian politics has always been a fascinating subject around the globe. Exactly how politics works there, along with Putin's vision for the country and the world at large is the source of constant debate.

The post Putin and beyond: a Q&A on Russian politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Five questions for Oxford World’s Classics cover designer Alex Walker

Judging a book by its cover has turned out to be a necessity in life. We've all perused book shops and been seduced by a particularly intriguing cover--perhaps we have even been convinced to buy a book because of its cover. And, truly, there is no shame in that. It takes skill and artistry to craft a successful book cover, and that should be acknowledged.

The post Five questions for Oxford World’s Classics cover designer Alex Walker appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Genome editing’s brave new world

“O, wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How beauteous mankind is!/O brave new world,/That has such people in't!” Shakespeare’s lines in The Tempest famously inspired Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, first published in 1932. Huxley’s vision of the future has become a byword for the idea that attempts at genetic (and social) engineering are bound to go wrong. With its crude partitioning of society, by stunting human development before birth, and with its use of a drug – soma – to induce a false sense of happiness and suppress dissent, this was the opposite of a ‘beauteous’ world.

The post Genome editing’s brave new world appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. A former child soldier prosecuted at the International Criminal Court

It’s easy to assume that only ‘evil’ people commit atrocity. And it’s equally easy to imagine the victims as ‘good’ or ‘innocent’. But the reality is far more complex. Many perpetrators are tragic. They may begin as victims. Victims, too, may victimize others. These victims are imperfect. Some victims survive – and some even thrive – because of harm they inflict.

The post A former child soldier prosecuted at the International Criminal Court appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Brexit and article 50 negotiations: What it would take to strike a deal

In the end, the decision for the UK to formally withdraw its membership of the European Union passed with a reasonably comfortable majority in excess of 1¼ million votes. Every one of the 17.4 million people who voted Leave would have had their own reason for wanting to break with the status quo. However, not one of them had any idea as to what they were voting for next. It is one of the idiosyncrasies of an all-or-nothing referendum.

The post Brexit and article 50 negotiations: What it would take to strike a deal appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. The development of urban nightlife, 1940s hipsters, & the rise of dating

Cities in the early days of the United States were mostly quiet at night. People who did leave the comfort of their own homes at night could often be found walking into puddles, tripping over uneven terrain, or colliding into posts because virtually no street lighting existed.With the advent of gas lighting, culture transformed in fascinating ways. Here are 12 interesting facts about urban nightlife, which show how times have greatly changed and, remarkably, how some things have remained the same.

The post The development of urban nightlife, 1940s hipsters, & the rise of dating appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein: The history of the myth of Babylon

‘Babylon’ is a name which throughout the centuries has evoked an image of power and wealth and splendour – and decadence. Indeed, in the biblical Book of Revelation, Rome is damned as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ – and thus identified with a city whose image of lust and debauchery persisted and flourished long after the city itself had crumbled into dust. Powerful visual images in later ages, l perpetuate the negative image Babylon acquired in biblical tradition.

The post Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein: The history of the myth of Babylon appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Why peer review is so important

As part of Peer Review Week, running from 19th-25th September, we are celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. We asked some of our journal’s editorial teams to tell us why peer review is so important to them and their journals.

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21. What inspires the people who save lives?

The ability to improve the health of another person or to save their life requires great skill, knowledge, and dedication. The impact that this work has goes above and beyond your average career, extending to the families and friends of patients. We were interested to discover what motivates the people who play a vital role in the health and quality of life of hundreds of people every year.

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22. The strange case of the missing non-existent objects

Alexius Meinong (1853-1920) was an Austrian psychologist and systematic philosopher working in Graz around the turn of the 20th century. Part of his work was to put forward a sophisticated analysis of the content of thought. A notable aspect of this was as follows. If you are thinking of the Taj Mahal, you are thinking of something, and that something exists.

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23. Shakespeare and performance: the 16th century to today [infographic]

In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Shakespeare's plays were performed at professional playhouses such as the Globe and the Rose, as well as at the Inns of Court, the houses of noblemen, and at the Queen's palace. In fact, the playing company The Queen's Men was formed at the express command of Elizabeth I to [...]

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24. The quest for order in modern society

Opening the morning paper or browsing the web, routine actions for us all, rarely if ever shake our fundamental beliefs about the world. If we assume a naïve, reflective state of mind, however, reading newspapers and surfing the web offer us quite a different experience: they provide us with a glimpse into the kaleidoscopic nature of the modern era that can be quite irritating.

The post The quest for order in modern society appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Back to philosophy: A reading list

Are you taking any philosophy courses as part of your degree this year? Or are you continuing with a second degree in philosophy? Then look no further for the best in philosophy research. We’ve brought together some of our most popular textbooks to help you prepare for the new academic year. From Plato to Descartes, ancient wisdom to modern philosophical issues, this list provides a great first stop for under-graduate and post-graduate students alike.

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