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The quest for order in modern society

Opening the morning paper or browsing the web, routine actions for us all, rarely if ever shake our fundamental beliefs about the world. If we assume a naïve, reflective state of mind, however, reading newspapers and surfing the web offer us quite a different experience: they provide us with a glimpse into the kaleidoscopic nature of the modern era that can be quite irritating.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Shakespeare and performance: the 16th century to today [infographic]

In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Shakespeare’s plays were performed at professional playhouses such as the Globe and the Rose, as well as at the Inns of Court, the houses of noblemen, and at the Queen’s palace. In fact, the playing company The Queen’s Men was formed at the express command of Elizabeth I to […]

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9780198783602

The strange case of the missing non-existent objects

Alexius Meinong (1853-1920) was an Austrian psychologist and systematic philosopher working in Graz around the turn of the 20th century. Part of his work was to put forward a sophisticated analysis of the content of thought. A notable aspect of this was as follows. If you are thinking of the Taj Mahal, you are thinking of something, and that something exists.

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esc-cong

What inspires the people who save lives?

The ability to improve the health of another person or to save their life requires great skill, knowledge, and dedication. The impact that this work has goes above and beyond your average career, extending to the families and friends of patients. We were interested to discover what motivates the people who play a vital role in the health and quality of life of hundreds of people every year.

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oxford journals

Why peer review is so important

As part of Peer Review Week, running from 19-25 September 2016, we are celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. We asked some of our journal’s editorial teams to tell us why peer review is so important to them and their journals.

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Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein: The history of the myth of Babylon

‘Babylon’ is a name which throughout the centuries has evoked an image of power and wealth and splendour – and decadence. Indeed, in the biblical Book of Revelation, Rome is damned as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ – and thus identified with a city whose image of lust and debauchery persisted and flourished long after the city itself had crumbled into dust. Powerful visual images in later ages, l perpetuate the negative image Babylon acquired in biblical tradition.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History

Where is Mexico going? The obstacles in its rocky road to democracy

In a recently released poll this month, 22% of Mexicans approved of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s performance in office. Data released in the same survey revealed that 55 %, more than twice the percentage of those who viewed the president in a positive light, strongly disapproved of his performance. No president since Vicente Fox, who was elected in 2000 and moved Mexico significantly along the path to electoral democracy, has ever received such weak support.

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Social Work

Group work with school-aged children [infographic]

From student presentations, to lectures, to reading assignments, and so much more, teachers today have a wide variety of methods at their disposal to facilitate learning in the classroom. For elementary school children, group work has been shown to be one strategy that is particularly effective. The peer-to-peer intervention supports children in developing cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, and socially. Group work encourages children to expand their perspectives on the world.

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9780190492847

The targeted killing of American citizens

On August 5, the Obama administration released a redacted version of its so-called “playbook” for making decisions about the capture or targeted killing of terrorists. Translated out of the bureaucratese: at least off the battlefield the President makes the final decision, personally, about the targeted killing of American citizens and permanent residents. Many people find this fact about the administration’s decisional process momentous. But is it?

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In defence of moral experts

I’m no expert. Still, I reckon the notorious claim made by Michael Gove, a leading campaigner for Britain to leave the European Union, that the nation had had enough of experts, will dog him for the rest of his career. In fact, he wasn’t alone. Other Brexit leaders also sneered at the pretensions of experts, the majority of whom warned about the risks – political, economic, social – of a Britain outside the EU.

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9780195387070

Sticking my oar in, or catching and letting go of the crab

Last week some space was devoted to the crawling, scratching crab, so that perhaps enlarging on the topic “Crab in Idioms” may not be quite out of place. The plural in the previous sentence is an overstatement, for I have only one idiom in view. The rest is not worthy of mention: no certain meaning and no explanation. But my database is omnivorous and absorbs a lot of rubbish. Bibliographers cannot be choosers.

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Easterlin

Why the science of happiness can trump GDP as a guide for policy

For centuries, happiness was exclusively a concern of the humanities; a matter for philosophers, novelists and artists. In the past five decades, however, it has moved into the domain of science and given us a substantial body of research. This wellspring of knowledge now offers us an enticing opportunity: to consider happiness as the leading measure of well-being, supplanting the current favourite, real gross domestic product per capita, or GDP.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedias

International Peace Day reading list

Today, September 21st, is the International Day of Peace. Established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution, International Peace Day “provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.” To commemorate Peace Day and to encourage you to think more deeply about these issues, we’ve compiled a reading list of articles from the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History, the Oxford Encyclopedia of American History, and the Encyclopedia of Social Work that explore peace movements, policies, strategies, and global issues.

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Financial networks and the South Sea Bubble

In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography introduced an annual research bursary scheme for scholars in the humanities. As the first year of the scheme comes to a close, we ask the first of the 2015-16 recipients—the economic historian, Dr Helen Paul of Southampton University—about her research project, and how it’s developed through her association with the Oxford DNB.

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9780198754053

100 years of the X-ray powder diffraction method

X-ray diffraction by crystalline powders is one of the most powerful and most widely used methods for analyzing matter. It was discovered just one hundred years ago, independently, by Paul Scherrer and Peter Debye in Göttingen, Germany, and by Albert Hull at the General Electric Laboratories, Schenectady, USA.

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9780199897865

What should “misundertrusted” Hillary do?

Using his now famous malaprop, the 2000 GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush declared that his opponents had “misunderestimated” him. All politicians suffer from real or perceived weaknesses. For Bush, his propensity to mangle the English language caused some to question his intellectual qualifications to hold the nation’s highest office. Yet his unpretentiousness and authenticity made him the candidate Americans said they would like to have a beer with.

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