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1. 16 words from the 1960s

As the television show Mad Men recently reached its conclusion, we thought it might be fun to reflect on the contributions to language during the turbulent decade of the 1960s. This legacy is not surprising, given the huge shifts in culture that took place during this point in time, including the Civil Rights movement, the apex of the space race, the environmental movement, the sexual revolution, and—obviously—the rise of advertising and media. With this in mind, we picked 16 words from the 1960s that illuminate this historical moment.

The post 16 words from the 1960s appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Philosophie sans frontières

"East is East and West is West, and ne’er the twain shall meet." Well, no. Kipling got it wrong. The East and the West have been meeting for a long time. For most of the last few hundred years, the traffic has been mainly one way. The West has had a major impact on the East. India felt the full force of British imperialism with the British East India Company and the British Raj.

The post Philosophie sans frontières appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Hop, the essence of beer

Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) is an essential ingredient for brewing beer, and contributes a characteristic bitterness, aroma, and fullness. However, during the Middle-Ages, various other herbs including Rhodomyrtus tomentosa and Salix subfragilis, had also been used for brewing beer in Europe.

The post Hop, the essence of beer appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Is the history of science still relevant?

It was a simple request: “Try and put the fun back into microbiology”. I was about to write a new practical course for first year students, and apparently there had been complaints that microbiology is just another form of cookbook chemistry. Discussions showed that they liked the idea of doing their own experiments without a pre-determined outcome. Of course, with living microorganisms, safety must be a major concern, and some control was needed to prevent hazardous surprises, but “fun” and safety are not mutually exclusive.

The post Is the history of science still relevant? appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Believing victims

Hampshire Constabulary are the latest in a long line of police forces obliged to apologise to a victim of crime for failing to investigate an allegation properly. In this case, a young woman accused a man of rape. She was not believed; forensic examination of clothing was delayed; in the meanwhile, the complainant was threatened with arrest for ‘perverting the course of justice’ and she attempted suicide. Eventually, following belated forensic analysis, the man was arrested and has since then been convicted.

The post Believing victims appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage

Today, the people of Ireland will vote in a Referendum to decide whether to include the following new wording in their Constitution: 'Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.' This may happen despite the fact that Ireland has a Constitution grounded in Catholic values. Indeed, abortion in Ireland is still constitutionally prohibited. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1993, and the option to divorce has only been available since 1995.

The post The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Remembering the “good” and “bad” wars: Memorial Day 40, 50, and 70 years on

Memorial Day is always a poignant moment -- a time to remember and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by so many military personnel over the decades -- but this year three big anniversaries make it particularly so. Seventy years ago, Americans celebrated victory in a war in which these sacrifices seemed worthwhile.

The post Remembering the “good” and “bad” wars: Memorial Day 40, 50, and 70 years on appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Do we choose what we believe?

Descartes divided the mind up into two faculties: intellect and will. The intellect gathers up data from the world and presents the mind with various potential beliefs that it might endorse; the will then chooses which of them to endorse. We can look at the evidence for or against a particular belief, but the final choice about what to believe remains a matter of choice. This raises the question of the 'ethics of belief,' the title of an essay by the mathematician William K. Clifford, in which he argued that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.'

The post Do we choose what we believe? appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Field experimenting in economics: Lessons learned for public policy

Do neighbourhoods matter to outcomes? Which classroom interventions improve educational attainment? How should we raise money to provide important and valued public goods? Do energy prices affect energy demand? How can we motivate people to become healthier, greener, and more cooperative? These are some of the most challenging questions policy-makers face. Academics have been trying to understand and uncover these important relationships for decades.

The post Field experimenting in economics: Lessons learned for public policy appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Where was Christopher Columbus really from?

Of the many controversies surrounding the life and legacy of Christopher Columbus, who died on this day 510 years ago, one of the most intriguing but least discussed questions is his true country of origin. For reasons lost in time, Columbus has been identified with unquestioned consistency as an Italian of humble beginnings from the Republic of Genoa. Yet in over 536 existing pages of his letters and documents, not once does the famous explorer claim to have come from Genoa.

The post Where was Christopher Columbus really from? appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. The role of the law, in the matter of Ashya King

Parents of a child diagnosed with a serious illness are immediately required to make decisions about their child’s medical treatment which, in order to save life, may cause pain, unpleasant side-effects and risk damaging their child’s future quality of life. The actions, last summer, of the parents of five year old Ashya King offer just one example of the lengths to which parents will go to secure the best possible treatment for their child [...]

The post The role of the law, in the matter of Ashya King appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Parkinson’s disease: the flip side of the coin

The human brain might be perceived as an organ with two main strategic tasks: goal-directed motor behavior, and mental functioning in order to work out that goal. These two main functions have two prototypical diseases: Alzheimer disease, in case of mental function, and Parkinson’s disease, with motor function. Following its inception as an entity, Parkinson’s disease (PD) was long perceived to be a purely motor disorder with unimpaired mental functions.

The post Parkinson’s disease: the flip side of the coin appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Climate consciousness in daily legal practice

Thinking about climate change generates helplessness in us. Our persistent role creating this global catastrophe seems so inevitable as to be predetermined; our will to contain it, or even reach agreement to contain it, feeble.

The post Climate consciousness in daily legal practice appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Do America’s political parties matter in presidential elections?

April 2015 will go down in history as the month that the 2016 race for the White House began in earnest. Hillary Clinton’s online declaration of her presidential candidacy was the critical moment. With it America’s two major political parties have locked horns with each other. The Democrats intend to continue their control of the presidency for another four years; Republicans hope to finally make good on a conservative bumper sticker that began appearing on automobiles as early as the summer of 2009 and that read, “Had Enough Yet? Next Time Vote Republican.”

The post Do America’s political parties matter in presidential elections? appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. The final years of Fanny Cornforth

Family historians know the sensation of discovery when some longstanding ‘brick wall’ in their search for an elusive ancestor is breached. Crowds at the recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ exhibition at Birmingham explored the new resources available to assist their researches, and millions worldwide subscribe to online genealogical sites, hosting ever-growing volumes of digitized historical records, in the hope of tracking down their family roots.

The post The final years of Fanny Cornforth appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. The history of chocolate [infographic]

From its journey to Europe from the New World at the beginning of the sixteenth century to its modern-day iteration as we know it, chocolate climbed its way into the hearts and homes of people all over the world. In its long and fruitful evolution through time, we've pulled together a timeline of chocolate's history from Europeans first encounter with the substance with the Aztecs through the Heirloom Cacao Initiative in 2014.

The post The history of chocolate [infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Customary international law’s uncertain status in the US Legal System

Customary international law arises from the practices of nations followed out of a sense of legal obligation. Although long an important source of international law, there continues to be debate and uncertainty about customary international law’s status in the US legal system.

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18. Who said it? Napoleon or Clausewitz

How well do you know your military strategists? Napoleon Bonaparte and Carl von Clausewitz are considered some of the finest thinkers on war and strategy. Although they were enemies on the battlefield, both men’s insights into the dynamics of war are still widely consulted today. Take our quiz and see if you can tell who said what. Quotes are drawn from Napoleon: On War and On War by Carl Von Clausewitz.

The post Who said it? Napoleon or Clausewitz appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. What’s so fascinating about plants?

On 18th May plant lovers around the world take part in Fascination of Plants Day to raise awareness of the importance of plant science to our lives. Well, what is so fascinating about plants? We asked some of our authors and editors to share why they think plants are fascinating and why they are worth studying.

The post What’s so fascinating about plants? appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. The dangers of evolution denial

As the 2016 presidential election season begins (US politics, unlike nature, has seasons that are two years long), we will once again see Republican politicians ducking questions about the validity of evolution. Scott Walker did that recently in response to a London interviewer. During the previous campaign, Rick Perry answered the question by observing that there are “some gaps” in the theory of evolution and that creationism is taught in the Texas public schools (it isn’t, of course).

The post The dangers of evolution denial appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Female service members in the long war

We are still in the longest war in our nation’s history. 2.7 million service members have served since 9/11 in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands wounded, and approximately 20 to 30% have post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury.

The post Female service members in the long war appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Philosopher of the month: Søren Kierkegaard

This May, the OUP Philosophy team are honouring Kierkegaard as the inaugural ‘Philosopher of the Month’. Over the next year, in order to commemorate the countless philosophers who have shaped our world by exploring life's fundamental questions, the OUP Philosophy team will celebrate a different philosopher every month in their new Philosopher of the Month series. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, and the father of existentialism.

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

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23. A sugar & sweets music mixtape

Incorporating the idea of sweetness in songs is nothing new to the music industry. Ubiquitous terms like "sugar" and "honey" are used in ways of both endearment and condescension, love and disdain. Among the (probably) hundreds of songs about sweets, Aaron Gilbreath, essayist and journalist from Portland, Oregon, curated a list of 50 songs, which is included in The Oxford Companion of Sugar and Sweets.

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24. Companies House and the £9m typo

Conducting business through a company provides tremendous benefits. The price to be paid for these benefits is disclosure – companies are required to disclose substantial amounts of information, with much of this information being disclosed to Companies House. Every day, suppliers, creditors, potential investors, credit agencies and other persons utilise information provided by Companies House to make informed commercial decisions.

The post Companies House and the £9m typo appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. The destruction of an Assyrian palace

Ashurnasirpal’s palace at Nimrud (Assyrian Kalḫu) was constructed around 865 BCE during a period in which Assyria was slowly becoming the empire that would come to rule most of the Middle East two centuries later. Ashurnasirpal’s palace is among the few Assyrian palaces to have been excavated (more or less) in its entirety. Measuring at least 2 hectares, it must have been one of the largest and most monumental buildings of its time.

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