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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Humanities

Pattison - Eternal God Saving Time

Thoughts in the necropolis

Christian and pagan symbols, obelisks, urns, broken columns and overgrown mortuary chapels in classical, Gothic and Byzantine styles record the determination that those who are buried there—the great and the good of 19th century Glasgow—will not be forgotten.

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9780195301748

Four reasons for ISIS’s success

ISIS has been successful for four primary reasons. First, the group has tapped into the marginalization of the Sunni population in Iraq to gain territory and local support. Second, ISIS fighters are battle-hardened strategists fighting against an unmotivated Iraqi army.

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The myth-eaten corpse of Robert Burns

‘Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,’ so wrote the other bard, Shakespeare. Scotland’s bard, Robert Burns, has had a surfeit of biographical attention: upwards of three hundred biographical treatments, and as if many of these were not fanciful enough hundreds of novels, short stories, theatrical, television, and film treatments that often strain well beyond credulity.

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Woollard - Doing and Allowing Harm

Immoral philosophy

I call myself a moral philosopher. However, I sometimes worry that I might actually be an immoral philosopher. I worry that there might be something morally wrong with making the arguments I make. Let me explain. When it comes to preventing poverty related deaths, it is almost universally agreed that Peter Singer is one of the good guys. His landmark 1971 article, “Famine, Affluence and Morality”, not only launched a rich new area of philosophical discussion, but also led to millions in donations to famine relief.

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Roberts- Landor's Cleanness

The works of Walter Savage Landor

Though he’s largely forgotten today, Walter Savage Landor was one of the major authors of his time—of both his times, in fact, for he was long-lived enough to produce major writing during both the Romantic and the Victorian eras. He kept writing and publishing promiscuously through his long life (he died in his ninetieth year) which puts him in a unique category. Maybe the problem is that he outlived his own reputation. Byron, Shelly and Keats all died in their twenties, and this fact somehow seals-in their importance as poets.

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The quintessential human instrument

The neat thing about the voice is that, while we don’t usually change the material, the shape is very flexible, and we can manipulate it to change our timbre. Overtone singing like Hefele’s takes an element of vocal sound and turns it into a new sort of instrument, inverting the typical relationship between instrument and timbre.

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9781561592630 oxford grove music online

Salamone Rossi as a Jew among Gentiles

As a Jewish musician working for the Mantuan court, and competing for the favors that its Christian musicians and composers hoped to gain, it was only inevitable for Rossi to have been considered an intruder.

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9780199385157

Seeing things the way they are

A few really disastrous mistakes have dominated Western philosophy for the past several centuries. The worst mistake of all is the idea that the universe divides into two kinds of entities, the mental and the physical (mind and body, soul and matter). A related mistake, almost as bad, is in our philosophy of perception. All of the great philosophers of the present era, beginning with Descartes, made the same mistake, and it colored their account of knowledge and indeed their account of pretty much everything.

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9780195301748

ISIS’s unpredictable revolution

Revolutions have been surprising experts for generations. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, for example, the CIA commissioned a report into why it had predicted, 100 days before the fall of the monarchy, that the Shah’s regime would ride out the protests. During the “Arab Spring” uprisings in 2011, President Obama reportedly chastized the intelligence community for not having warned him in advance.

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9780199608676_450

World Religion Day 2015

Today, 18 January 2015 marks World Religion Day across the globe. The day was created by the Baha’i faith in 1950 to foster dialogue and to and improve understanding of religions worldwide and is now in its 64th year. The aim of World Religion Day is to unite everyone, whatever their faith, by showing us all that there are common foundations to all religions and that together we can help humanity and live in harmony. The day often includes activities and events calling the attention of the followers of world faiths.

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Illari and Russo Causality

Why causality now?

Head hits cause brain damage, but not always. Should we ban sport to protect athletes? Exposure to electromagnetic fields is strongly associated with cancer development. Should we ban mobile phones and encourage old-fashioned wired communication? The sciences are getting more and more specialized and it is difficult to judge whether, say, we should trust homeopathy, fund a mission to Mars, or install solar panels on our roofs.

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9780199390243

Is yoga Hindu?

Given that we see yoga practically every­where we turn, from strip-mall yoga studios to advertisements for the Gap, one might assume a blanket acceptance of yoga as an acceptable consumer choice. Yet, a growing movement courts fear of the popularization of yoga, warning that yoga is essentially Hindu.

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9780195301731

A Motown music playlist

More than half a century after its founding, Motown is still remembered by fans, musicians, and historians as the mover and shaker of its generation. From The Temptations’ “My Girl” to Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” its reverberating influence is recognized even today, echoed in modern hits like Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ wildly popular “Uptown Funk.”

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9780195301731

Women’s contributions to the making of Motown: Solo artists

Starting in the early 1960s, female artists embarked upon solo careers with the Motown label. The first to be signed to the label was Mable John, a blues vocalist born in Bastrop, Louisiana. Slow melodic songs like “No Love” and “Who Wouldn’t Love a Man Like That” stood firmly in the blues genre yet only appealed to a limited, mature audience and did not translate into commercial success.

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9780199605866_450

Our favourite brews for Hot Tea Month

Tea, tea glorious tea! When hot water hits the leaves of the tea plant, an alchemical reaction takes place producing an invigorating and refreshing cupful of pure bliss. Originating in the East, for thousands of years tea was a bitter medicinal draft. Finally, in the 17th century tea came of age with the historic addition of milk and sugar. This match-made-in-heaven oiled the wheels of the British Empire and it developed more than just a passing fancy for the beverage, swilling down its heavenly hot-and-wetness by the drum-load!

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social forces 15347605

Tensions in French Muslim identities

The recent tragedies in France have reminded us of the tensions that are often associated with the relations between religious groups and the larger society. A recent article in Social Forces, explores whether Islam fundamentally conflicts with mainstream French society, and whether Muslims are more attached to their religion than they are to their French identity.

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