Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Cook_Yablo Paradox

Really big numbers

What is the biggest whole number that you can write down or describe uniquely? Well, there isn’t one, if we allow ourselves to idealize a bit. Just write down “1”, then “2”, then… you’ll never find a last one.

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9780190262952

What happens if we ignore climate change?

What are the arguments for ignoring climate change? The simplest is to deny such a thing exists. President Trump’s tweets on the topic, for instance, mostly run along the lines of “It’s record cold all over the country and world – where the hell is global warming, we need some fast!” But this is plainly at odds with the evidence, given what we know now about rising temperatures and accumulation of heat in the oceans.

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Remembering Kevin Starr

The only thing that gave me some comfort learning about Kevin Starr’s sudden passing is knowing that he has left behind something as lively and monumental as the man himself: his Americans and the California Dream series. I had the weighty task of editing the last of the books in this series, Golden Dreams, which Kevin felt to be his favorite and most personal because it was about the 1950s, when he met his wife Sheila.

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9780199313471

The year Bob Dylan was born again: a timeline

On November 17, 1978, while playing a gig in San Diego, an audience member apparently threw a small silver cross onto the stage, and [Bob] Dylan felt impelled to pick it up and put it into his pocket. The following night, in Tucson, Arizona, he was feeling even worse and reached into his pocket, pulled out the cross, and put it on.

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9780199330881

What kind of cheese are you?

The discovery of cheese predates recorded history. Although the earliest evidence of cheesemaking can be traced back to 5,500 BCE, historians theorize that cheese was originally discovered accidentally: it’s probable that cheesemaking first occurred inside animals organs used for storing milk.

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9780199366439

The centennial of mambo king Pérez Prado

In the late 1940s and early 1950s a new, fast, and instantly appealing music and dance style swept across the globe: the mambo. The man behind the new sensation was the Cuban pianist, composer, bandleader, and showman Dámaso Pérez Prado.

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Consumers, Corporations, and Public Health

What does Trump healthcare mean for consumer choice?

During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the specifics of his replacement plan unknown, it’s clear that the ambiguity is making many in the healthcare industry very nervous. Ted Shaw, president and CEO of Texas Hospital Association, stated, “Any replacement [of the ACA] needs to ensure that patients can get the care they need and providers are fairly paid for services provided.”

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Learning from disaster

As part of our 50th anniversary issue of the OHR, Abigail Perkiss explored the impact of oral history in the aftermath of a Hurricane Sandy in her article Staring Out to Sea and the Transformative Power of Oral History for Undergraduate Interviewers.

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9780190262921

Unite to abolish ‘might makes right’

After 20 January, 2017, Donald Trump will command America’s enormous power. His order will launch a devastating attack on any country. Sanctions will descend at his pen stroke. Alliances will be his to offer. Yet one kind of foreign power will defeat Trump—as it has defeated presidents for 40 years. This is the power that comes from the world’s consumers, who buy billions of dollars of oil a year from violent and repressive foreigners

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What’s in a name?

In September 2015, the UK Met Office and Met Éireann (the Irish meteorological service) announced a project to give names to potentially damaging storms. The basis for naming any particular storm was the expectation that there would be major impacts on conditions over the British Isles and, in particular, of very high winds. The first storm, Abigail, brought high winds to northern Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.

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Collective Emotions

Emotional dynamics of right-wing political populism

Donald Trump’s election to the 45th President of the United States is the biggest victory of contemporary right-wing political populism to date. The Brexit referendum had already shattered Europe and the UK “remain”-voters alike, but Trump’s win is of worldwide significance. The outcomes of both elections took the media, pollsters, and political analysts in the relevant countries and elsewhere by surprise.

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Shakespearean Classics: Titus Andronicus, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and a new papyrus of Sophocles

In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Titus’s daughter Lavinia is brutally raped by Demetrius and Chiron. They prevent her from denouncing them by cutting out her tongue, and cutting off her hands. But as we see in the passage below, Lavinia nevertheless communicates their crime by pointing to a passage of Ovid’s Metamorphoses describing Tereus’s rape of Philomela.

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American Christians and the Trump vote: what’s law got to do with it?

The 2016 US election is over, and now begins the elaborate work of attempting to understand why Americans voted the way they did last year. Amid soul-searching about media bias, liberal smugness, and misleading data, many commentators have begun to set themselves to the task of making sense of the surprising proportion of American Christians who ultimately cast their ballots for a candidate such as Donald Trump.

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9780190252946

The legacy of Wilson “Wicked” Pickett [excerpt]

Today marks eleven years since the death of Wilson “Wicked” Pickett. Known for such hits as “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” and “Mustang Sally,” Pickett claimed his place as one of history’s most influential R&B figures when he was

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9780199466306

Trump should build on Obama’s legacy in Myanmar

President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statement on what his administration’s policy toward Myanmar would be. But it can be guessed or speculated from his election campaign that Trump is unlikely to take a strong personal interest on Myanmar like his predecessor. However, as the leading advocate of human rights and democracy around the world, the US needs to continue its unfinished objectives in Myanmar, especially in areas such as the consolidation of democracy.

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9780195387070

Approaching “brash”

Two weeks ago, I promised to deal with the word brash, but, before doing so, I would like to make it clear that we are approaching a minefield. Few people, except for professional etymologists, think of words in terms of phonetic or semantic groups.

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