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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Eleventh hour reconfigurations in the Republican primary race

By Elvin Lim
With so many candidates moving in and out of frontrunner status in the Republican nomination race in the past months, it would appear that the winner of the game of musical chairs could simply be determined by when the music stops. And it stops on January 3, when the Iowa caucuses meet.

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Seeing complexity in U.S. public education

By Donald J. Peurach
Education reform is among the great American pastimes. This is activity that plays out continuously in public discourse everywhere from corner bars to capitol buildings, as well as in the day-to-day work of government agencies, university-based project teams, and private organizations. Current wrangling over the reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Act will surely throw fuel on the fire.

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Virgin of Guadalupe appears to Mexican peasant

This Day in World History
According to the tradition accepted by the Roman Catholic Church, a fifty-five-year old Native American who had converted to Christianity was moving down Tepeyac Hill to a church in Mexico City to attend mass. Suddenly, he beheld a vision of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ and an iconic figure in the Catholic Church.

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Ageing, diabetes, and the risk of falling

Whilst browsing the Oxford journal Age and Ageing last week, I came across a paper focusing on diabetes in the elderly. Interestingly, it noted that men and women with diabetes aged 65 or over are one and half times more likely to have recurrent falls than people in the same age bracket without diabetes. Having two sets of  grandparents in their seventies, one pair with diabetes and one without, I wanted to know about this correlation between diabetes and falling, and how it might apply to them. Here, I speak with Ms. Evelien Pijpers, author of this paper, to learn more.

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Frantz Fanon: Third world revolutionary

By Martin Evans
Frantz Fanon died of leukaemia on 6 December 1961 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA where he had sought treatment for his cancer. At Fanon’s request, his body was returned to Algeria and buried with full military honours by the Algerian National Army of Liberation, shortly after the publication of his most influential work, The Wretched of the Earth.

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In your face in Cairo

By Brian K. Barber
I had learned from Kholoud that Aly would be in Cairo this week. So, as soon as I arrived on Monday night I called while walking through Tahrir Square. He picked up but the reception wasn’t good. He said he was also in the Square, that he was headed to drop off his bags, and would call later. I didn’t hear back from him.

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Alfred Nobel dies

This Day in World History
Stricken by a cerebral hemorrhage, wealthy industrialist Alfred Nobel died on December 10, 1896. That date is still commemorated as the day on which the famous prizes issued in his name—perhaps the most prestigious prizes in the world—are officially awarded each year.

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Commemorating Tippecanoe: The start of an American holy war

By Adam Jortner
The weather in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, played along and delivered a dreary, wet morning—just as it had on November 7, 1811, when a hodgepodge collection of frontier whites exchanged fire with Native American forces. The Americans “won” the Battle of Tippecanoe when the Indian soldiers retreated, but U.S. forces under William Henry Harrison had to evacuate their position the next day.

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Does my dog see in color?

By Ivan R. Schwab
Well, yes, sort of. Dogs see colors, but their span of color vision closely resembles the array of colors seen by “color blind” males. About 8%, or 1 out of 12 males (humans) and about 1 out of 200 females are “color blind.” We use that term to describe individuals that are color deficient, but they are not truly color blind.

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Coffee or tea?

By Anatoly Liberman
It will be seen that the main question about tea is the same as about coffee, namely: How did the form tea conquer its numerous rivals?

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Ambrose consecrated Bishop of Milan

This Day in World History
On December 7, 374, after a quickly arranged baptism and eight days of instruction, Ambrose was consecrated as a bishop. No one, perhaps, was more surprised by this turn of events than the new bishop himself.

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Why the climate negotiations matter

By Matthew J. Hoffmann
Though any breakthrough in negotiations is unlikely, the multilateral meetings remain a pivotal space for the growth of innovative approaches to the coming climate crisis.

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Reflections on Libya and atrocity prevention

By Jared Genser
With the recent end of the NATO mission in Libya, it is an opportune moment to reflect on what took place and what it may mean for global efforts to prevent mass atrocities. Protests demanding an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year reign began on February 14th and spread across the country. The Libyan government immediately dispatched the army to crush the unrest. In a speech a week later, Gaddafi said he would rather die a martyr than to step down, and called on his supporters to attack and “cleanse Libya house by house” until protestors surrender.

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Extractive industries, intellectual property, and the health of indigenous peoples

By William H. Wiist
Because the corporate goal is to obtain the highest profit possible, not social welfare, public health or environmental sustainability, business interests often give little or no consideration to the effects of corporate practices on indigenous peoples. Thus, the estimated 257 to 370 million indigenous peoples in about 5,000 communities in 70 countries, speaking 5,000 of the 6,000 existing languages, often experience severe detrimental consequences from commercial activity.

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Edison demonstrates the phonograph

This Day in World History
While he cranked the handle on the device, inventor Thomas Edison watched the faces of the editors from the journal Scientific American. He was in the magazine’s offices to demonstrate one of his newest inventions. As he cranked, indentations made on a tinfoil cylinder sent signals to a diaphragm, and the editors heard the machine ask after their health.

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