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Academic Insights for the Thinking World


2016’s most popular baby names and their meanings

Every year, there is much speculation as to which names are rising or falling in popularity. Figures published by the BBC for the most popular baby names of 2015 had Oliver and Amelia as the two favourites. So far, 2016 has thrown up some surprise results with Isla currently top for girls (up four places from last year), and Alfie (a new entry) making it to the boys’ top spot.

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The people of the mist

The true people of the mist are not the tribesman of Haggard’s celebrated novel but students of etymology. They spend their whole lives in the mist (or in the fog) and have little hope to see the sun.

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Copyedits, caffeine, and cephalopods: A Q&A with Matthew Marusak

“I am responsible for coordinating the production process—from copyediting to printing—on fifteen very different journals with very different needs.” From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. We sat down with Production Editor Matthew Marusak to talk us through the book production process, his favourite word, and what a day in the life is like for an OUP employee in Cary, North Carolina.

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What to expect from Trumponomics

Candidate Donald Trump’s policy proposals ranged from the bizarre to the truly frightening. Remember his “secret plan” to defeat ISIS? Turns out it consists of working with our Middle Eastern allies and tightening border security. Now that the election is over, a number of pundits predict that Candidate Trump’s extremism will give way to a more moderate, pragmatic President Trump. We can only hope.

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WWI propaganda in America

By 1917, Americans increasingly became more concerned about the possible implications that would come with a German victory. With at-home values in mind, the United States presented propaganda to use as a call to action. The following slideshow portrays images of WWI propaganda used in the United States.

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Democratization of religion in the Middle East

If you were to ask many Americans who keep close track of world affairs the reasons for the wars in Syria and Iraq, they would probably say that Arabs do not like their leaders or their governments. While that might be true —and certainly more true after the Arab uprisings—there is another reason that is often overlooked.

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When is a revolution not a revolution? Edmund Burke and the new America

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was an Irish statesman, author and orator, chiefly remembered for his championing of various causes such as Catholic emancipation, reform of the government of India and preserving the balance of the British constitution. It is commonly assumed that Edmund Burke took up incongruous positions on the American and French Revolutions…

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Animals and transmissible cancers

How often is cancer transmitted between animals? In the past few years researchers have discovered more transmissible cancers in nature. Initially thought to be contained within a respective host species, new research shows that sometimes even cross-species cancer transmission can occur. With transmissible cancer, instead of remaining in the singular organism or host, the cancer transfers between animals.

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The history behind selected family names in Britain and Ireland [map]

We all have a surname, but how many of us know anything about its roots – origin, history, and what it means today? Family names are evidence of the diverse language and cultural movement of people who have settled in Britain and Ireland over history. Surnames can be varied, but not uncommon – for example there a large amount of occupational names like Smith and Baker.

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Chomsky at 88

Few probably anticipated that the boy who was born on this day in 1928 would become one of the founding fathers of modern linguistics and one of the world’s foremost intellectuals. Noam Avram Chomsky’s foundational work has influenced, inspired, and divided scholars working on language for more than 60 years.

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The three fallacies of the popular vote

In light of Secretary Clinton’s victory in the popular vote, prominent voices call for replacing the Electoral College with a direct, nationwide vote for President. Among the distinguished individuals now urging abolition of the Electoral College are former Attorney General Eric Holder and outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer. Would Secretary Clinton or President-elect Trump have won in 2016 in a direct, nationwide election?

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The difference between “Truth” and “truth”

Politically, 2016 has been a wildly, tumultuous year. We go into 2017 on a completely new footing. One that has many of us fearing we face a treacherous fall. Now is the time, more than ever, to reposition our global footing and keep climbing. It’s impossible to wrap up a year of writing a science column without talking politics. Deep and divisive political change is overshadowing science.

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W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Award winners – part 1

We are delighted to announce that the winner of this year’s W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Award is A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less by Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon. The award recognises the achievements of academics, politicians, journalists and other contributors to the study of politics. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate this year’s winners.

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International Law in Domestic Courts [map]

This year marks the tenth anniversary of OUP’s International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC). Created to be an innovative and valuable resource for research on the interpretation and application of international law, it shows how international law matters in practice. Digital innovation in the past decade has allowed ILDC to provide scholars with data in the form of case law and analysis on which to base further scholarship from jurisdictions around the world.

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A plea to the president-elect Trump

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) millions of Americans were able to buy commercial health insurance and millions more who were fortunate to live in states that elected to expand Medicaid were enrolled – sometimes for the first time in their lives – and gained access to subsidized healthcare. To be sure, the ACA was far from perfect: its haphazard implementation, the failure of the tax penalties to enforce mandated insurance purchasing amongst the young and healthy leading to skewed and potentially collapsing insurance markets, and the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate the requirement to increase the Medicaid rolls, all led to not enough people being covered and the return of inexorably rising healthcare costs.

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