Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Colostrum, performance, and sports doping

By Martin Luck
A recent edition of BBC Radio 4′s On Your Farm programme spoke to a dairy farmer who supplies colostrum to athletes as a food supplement. Colostrum is the first milk secreted by a mother. Cow colostrum is quite different from normal cow’s milk: it has about four times as much protein, twice as much fat and half as much lactose (sugar).

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Fútbol and faith: the World Cup and Ramadan

By Melanie Trexley

As 16 teams reached the knockout stage of the World Cup, the blasts of canons sounded to signal the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslims are to abstain from food, drink, smoking, sex, and gossiping from sunrise to sunset.

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Countries of the World Cup: Germany

Today is the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and our highlights about the final four competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World. The final two teams, Germany and Argentina, go head-to-head on Sunday, 13 July to determine the champion.

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Countries of the World Cup: Netherlands

As we gear up for the third place finalist match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup today — the Netherlands face the host country Brazil — we’re highlighting some interesting facts about one of the competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World.

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Daniel Mendoza: born on the 4th of July (249 years ago)

By Ronald Schechter
This past 5 July was Daniel Mendoza’s 250th birthday. Or was it? Most biographical sources say that Mendoza was born in 1764. The Encyclopedia Britannica, the Encyclopedia Judaica, Chambers Biographical Dictionary, and the Encyclopedia of World Biography all give 1764 for Mendoza’s year of birth, as do the the websites of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Hall of Fame, WorldCat, and Wikipedia.

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Songs for the Games

By Mark Curthoys
Behind the victory anthems to be used by the competing teams at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which open on 23 July, lie stories both of nationality and authorship. The coronation of Edward VII in 1902 prompted the music antiquary William Hayman Cummings (1831-1915) to investigate the origin and history of ‘God Save the King’.

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Countries of the World Cup: Argentina

As we gear up for the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we’re highlighting some interesting facts about the final four competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World.

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Countries of the World Cup: Brazil

As we gear up for the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we’re highlighting some interesting facts about the final four competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World.

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World Cup puts spotlight on rights of migrant workers in Qatar

By Susan Kneebone
As recent demonstrations in Brazil around the staging of the FIFA 2014 World Soccer Cup show, major sporting events put the spotlight on human rights issues in host countries. In the case of Qatar the preparations to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup are focussing worldwide attention on the plight of migrant workers.

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The first rule of football is… don’t call it soccer

By Fiona McPherson
The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language – a phrase commonly attributed to Shaw sometime in the 1940s, although apparently not to be found in any of his published works. Perhaps another way of looking at it is to say that they are two countries separated by a different ball – a sentiment that is particularly apt when football’s World Cup comes around.

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Does the “serving-first advantage” actually exist?

By Franc Klaassen and Jan R. Magnus
Suppose you are watching a tennis match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The commentator says: “Djokovic serves first in the set, so he has an advantage.” Why would this be the case? Perhaps because he is then ‘always’ one game ahead, thus serving under less pressure. But does it actually influence him and, if so, how?

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World Cup plays to empty seats

By Irving Rein and Adam Grossman
Stunning upsets. Dramatic finishes. Individual brilliance. Goals galore. The 2014 World Cup has started off with a bang. Yet, not as many people as expected are on hand to hear and see the excitement in venues throughout Brazil. Outside of the home country’s matches, there have been thousands of empty seats in stadiums throughout the tournament.

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Ballmer overbids by one billion

By Adam Grossman
On Sunday, the NBA approved the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. From a brand management and crisis perspective, it is easy to see why the NBA wanted to approve this sale as quickly as possible.

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Football arrives in Brazil

By Matthew Brown
Charles Miller claimed to have brought the first footballs to Brazil, stepping off the boat in the port of Santos with a serious expression, his boots, balls and a copy of the FA regulations, ready to change the course of Brazilian history. There are no documents to record the event, only Miller’s own account of a conversation, in which historians have picked numerous holes.

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Sam sells

By Adam Grossman
It is rare for a seventh round National Football League (NFL) draft pick to be at the center of the sports world. Then again, Michael Sam is not an average draft pick. Sam is trying to become the first openly gay player to compete for a NFL team.

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Banning Sterling makes a lot of cents for the NBA

By Adam Grossman
Donald Sterling’s lifetime National Basketball Association (NBA) ban, $2.5 million dollar fine, and potentially forced sale of the Clippers may seem fit in the category of previous owners who received a comparable punishment. Marge Schott was forced to sell the Cincinnati Reds for her anti-Semitic and racist comment while owner of the team.

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