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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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A question of public influence: the case of Einstein

Einstein’s scientific achievements are well known even if not widely understood by non-scientists. He bestrode the twentieth century like a colossus and physicists are still working through his legacy. Besides, the theory of relativity penetrated far beyond science into many areas of literature and the arts. If hard to measure, evidence of his cultural influence is unmistakable.

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9780198787631

What is the future of human rights in the UK following Brexit?

Imminent departure from the European Union has delayed but not dimmed the British government’s determination to have done with domestic human rights law. Enacted in the early years of the Blair administration, the Human Rights Act 1998 has long irritated the Conservative Party and its influential friends. It is the recent attack on immigration launched by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd at the most recent Tory conference that makes the Act particularly vulnerable in the context of the move to Brexit.

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Baylis 7e

Nuclear arms control in a globalized world

We live in a dangerous and uncertain world. While terrorism is the most immediate contemporary threat, the dangers of nuclear weapons remain an ever present concern. During the Cold War a series of nuclear arms control agreements helped to mitigate the worst excesses of the arms race and contributed to the easing of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and their respective alliances.

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Oxford Bibliographies International Relations

The Cuban missile crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a six-day public confrontation in October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union over the presence of Soviet strategic nuclear missiles in Cuba. It ended when the Soviets agreed to remove the weapons in return for a US agreement not to invade Cuba and a secret assurance that American missiles in Turkey would be withdrawn. The confrontation stemmed from the ideological rivalries of the Cold War.

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Coleman-only in australia..

Australia in three words, part 3 — “Public servant”

‘Public Servant’ — in the sense of ‘government employee’ — is a term that originated in the earliest days of the European settlement of Australia. This coinage is surely emblematic of how large bureaucracy looms in Australia. Bureaucracy, it has been well said, is Australia’s great ‘talent,’ and “the gift is exercised on a massive scale” (Australian Democracy, A.F. Davies 1958). This may surprise you. It surprises visitors, and excruciates them.

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9780191802997

Why is the world changing so fast?

Over the past 30 years, I have worked on many reference books, and so am no stranger to recording change. However, the pace of change seems to have become more frantic in the second decade of this century. Why might this be? One reason, of course, is that, with 24-hour news and the internet, information is transmitted at great speed. Nearly every country has online news sites which give an indication of the issues of political importance.

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9780190627409

How university students infantilise themselves

Like their forebears in the 1960s, today’s students blasted university leaders as slick mouthpieces who cared more about their reputations than about the people in their charge. But unlike their predecessors, these protesters demand more administrative control over university affairs, not less. That’s a childlike position. It’s time for them to take control of their future, instead of waiting for administrators to shape it.

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14682621 african affairs

Engendering debate and collaboration in African universities

A quick scan of issues of the most highly-ranked African studies journals published within the past year will reveal only a handful of articles published by Africa-based authors. The results would not be any better in other fields of study. This under representation of scholars from the continent has led to calls for changes in African universities, with a focus on capacity building. The barriers to research and publication in most public universities in Africa are many.

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9780198708933

Brexit: the UK’s different options

The UK’s vote to leave the EU has resulted in a tremendous amount of uncertainty regarding the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Yet, predicting what type of new relationship the UK will have with the EU and its 27 other Member States post-‘Brexit’ is very difficult, mainly because it is the first time an EU member state prepares to leave. We can expect either one, or a mixture, of the following options.

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9780198785651

5 things you always wanted to know about interest groups

Virtually no government policy gets enacted without some organized societal interests trying to shape the outcome. In fact, interest groups – a term that encompasses such diverse actors as business associations, labour unions, professional associations, and citizen groups that defend broad interests such as environmental protection or development aid – are active at each stage of the policy cycle.

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9780191804144

How well do you know your world leaders? [quiz]

In today’s globalised and instantly shareable social-media world, heads of state have to watch what they say, just as much – and perhaps even more so – than what they actually do. The rise of ‘Twiplomacy’ and the recent war of sound bites between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton speak to this ever-increasing trend. With these witty refrains in mind, test your knowledge of world leaders and their retorts – do you know who said what?

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American History

Twitter and the Enlightenment in early America

A New Yorker once declared that “Twitter” had “struck Terror into a whole Hierarchy.” He had no computer, no cellphone, and no online social media following. He was not a presidential candidate, but he would go on to sign the Constitution of the United States. So who was he? And what did he mean by “Twitter”?

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Baylis 7e

Brexit and Article 50 negotiations: why the smart money might be on no deal

David Cameron famously got precious little from his pre-referendum attempts to negotiate a special position for the UK in relation to existing EU treaty obligations. This was despite almost certainly having held many more cards back then than UK negotiators will do when Article 50 is eventually invoked. In particular, he was still able to threaten that he would lead the Out campaign if he did not get what he wanted, whereas now that the vote to leave has happened that argument has been entirely neutralised.

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9780199468249

The different faces of Taliban jihad in Pakistan

All simplistic hypothesis about “what drives terrorists” falter when there is suddenly in front of you human faces and complex life stories. The tragedy of contemporary policies designed to handle or rather crush movements who employ terrorist tactics, are prone to embrace a singular explanation of the terrorist motivation, disregarding the fact that people can be in the very same movement for various reasons.

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wrong

One concerned economist

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail inviting me to sign a statement drafted by a group calling itself “Economists Concerned by Hillary Clinton’s Economic Agenda.” The statement, a vaguely worded five paragraph denunciation of Democratic policies (and proposed policies) is unremarkable — as are the authors, a collection of reliably conservative policy makers and commentators whose support for Donald Trump appear with some regularity in the media.

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9780197265901

Counter-terrorism and mental health issues

Throughout the world, many people suffer from profound afflictions of mental illness. Of these, a plainly substantial number are inclined to various forms of violent behavior. And when opportunities arise to dignify their more-or-less irrepressible violent behaviors under the purifying rubric of some “higher cause” — e.g., revolution, rebellion, or jihad — some will gratefully seize upon those “exculpatory” opportunities.

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