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Academic Insights for the Thinking World


10 things you may not know about our Moon

Throughout history, the influence of the full Moon on humans and animals has featured in folklore and myths. Yet it has become increasingly apparent that many organisms really are influenced indirectly, and in some cases directly, by the lunar cycle. Here are ten things you may not know concerning the way the Moon affects life on Earth.

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Bare bodkins and sparsely clothed buttinskis, or, speaking daggers but using none

Few people would today have remembered the word bodkin if it had not occurred in the most famous of Hamlet’s monologues. Chaucer was the earliest author in whose works bodkin occurred. At its appearance, it had three syllables and a diphthong in the root, for it was spelled boidekin. The suffix –kin suggested to John Minsheu, our first English etymologist (1617), that he was dealing with a Dutch noun.

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Don’t panic: it’s October

t the conclusion of the mid-September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve announced its decision to leave its target interest rate unchanged through the end of this month. Although some pundits had predicted that the Fed might use the occasion of August’s decline in the unemployment rate (to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent in July), to begin its long-awaited monetary policy tightening, those forecasts left out one crucial fact.

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9780199284153 Lindop - Charles Williams

Charles Williams: Oxford’s lost poetry professor

It was strikingly appropriate that Sir Geoffrey Hill should have focused his final lecture as Oxford Professor of Poetry on a quotation from Charles Williams. Not only was the lecture, in May 2015, delivered almost exactly seventy years after Williams’s death; but Williams himself had once hoped to become Professor of Poetry.

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For the love of reason

Throughout much of the last century, the idea that we inhabit a somehow disenchanted modernity has exerted a powerful hold in political and public debate. As the political theorist Jane Bennett argues, the story is that there was once a time when God acted in human affairs and when social life, characterized by face-to-face relations, was richer; but this world then ‘gave way to forces of scientific and instrumental rationality, secularism, individualism, and the bureaucratic state – all of which, combined, disenchant the world’.

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Cuban cultural capital and the renewal of US-Cuba relations

This year, 2015, has been quite a year for Cuba. Starting in January with President Obama’s announcement that the United States and Cuba will re-establish diplomatic and economic relations, followed by Pope Francis’s visit to the island earlier this month, Cuba has been under the global spotlight.

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Global health inequalities and the “brain drain”

There are massive inequalities in global health opportunities and outcomes.  Consider, for instance, that Japan has around twenty-one physicians per 10,000 people, while Malawi has only one physician for every fifty thousand people.  This radical inequality in medical skills and talents has, obviously, bad consequences for health; people born in Malawi will live, on average, […]

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A Brief History of Numbers

Diamonds are forever, and so are mathematical truths?

Try googling ‘mathematical gem’. I just got 465,000 results. Quite a lot. Indeed, the metaphor of mathematical ideas as precious little gems is an old one, and it is well known to anyone with a zest for mathematics. A diamond is a little, fully transparent structure all of whose parts can be observed with awe from any angle.

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Legal order: lessons from ancient Athens

How do large-scale societies achieve cooperation? Since Thomas Hobbes’ famous work, Leviathan (1651), social scientific treatments of the problem of cooperation have assumed that living together without killing one another requires an act of depersonalization in the form of a transfer of individual powers to an all-powerful central government.

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What is your favourite Shakespeare adaptation?

In anticipation of Shakespeare celebrations next year, we asked Oxford University Press and Oxford University staff members to choose their favourite Shakespeare adaptation. From classic to contemporary, the obscure to the infamous, we’ve collected a whole range of faithful and quirky translations from play text to film. Did your favourite film or television programme make the list?

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OUP Philosophy Creast

Philosopher of the month: Karl Marx

This October, the OUP Philosophy team are highlighting German social and political theorist Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) as their Philosopher of the Month. Known as the founder of revolutionary communism, Marx is credited as one of the most influential thinkers for his theoretical framework, widely known as Marxism.

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