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9781784993382

Veepstakes 2016: A Reality Check

Who will Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump–the Democratic and Republican Party’s likely nominees for president, respectively–pick as their vice presidential running mates? Let’s start here: It probably won’t matter much. Or, we should say, it probably won’t matter in terms of deciding the election. It could matter a great deal, however, in terms of what comes after the election. Allow us to explain.

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The “Silk Road Spirit” in a time of globalization

In September 2013, during a visit to Central and Southeast Asia, Chinese President Xi Jinping first proposed the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Consequently, the Collaborative Innovation Centre of Silk Road Economic Belt Studies has been established in Xi’an, China, which was the eastern starting point of the ancient road.

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Christian theology, literary theory, and sexuality in the ‘Song of Songs’

hy were Christian theologians in the ancient and medieval worlds so fascinated by a text whose main theme was erotic love? The very fact that the ‘Song of Songs’, a biblical love poem that makes no reference to God or to Israelite religion, played an important role in pre-modern Christian discourse may seem surprising to those of us in the modern world.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Tick tock goes the Shakespeare Death Clock [infographic]

Along with the many creative ways that Shakespeare killed off his characters, there are even more ways to represent those deaths in the form of fun illustrations. Not a stranger to death himself, Shakespeare was living and working in a time where rampant disease and social violence were daily norms.

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World travel: What are the dangers where you’re heading?

When travelling the globe, most intrepid adventurers and holiday-makers will encounter only minor health problems. But knowing and understanding possible hazards is fundamental to preventing them. When planning an adventure, people often seek novel experiences – and contemporary travel is able to take us (within just a few hours) from a relatively benign environment to a potentially life-threatening setting.

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The future of libraries and the cultural history of Prague

Inforum, one of the largest librarian conferences in Eastern Europe, rolls into the Czech capital next week. Once again taking place at the University of Economics in Prague, Inforum 2016 promises to be a lively and thought-provoking look at some of the issues facing librarians in the Czech Republic and beyond.

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Joey Alexander: call me a ‘musician’, not a ‘prodigy’

If you tuned in to this year’s Grammy awards, you would not have failed to witness the extraordinary performance of 12-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander. The short solo performance, which earned him a standing ovation, was without doubt the cherry on the cake of this young musician’s short but remarkable career thus far.

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10 things everyone should know about environmental economics

Stephen Smith, author of Environmental Economics: A Very Short Introduction, gives us an insight into what environmental economists do, what environmental economics is about, and how it measures and influences our impact on the environment. He also explores the steps we need to take to protect it at an international level.

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“We could build a future where people are free”: reflections on the Eurovision Song Contest

Spectacle at its grandest has long been crucial to the Eurovision Song Contest’s projection of its own importance for Europe and, increasingly in the past two decades, a unified Europe’s position in the world. Each year’s competition outstrips that of the year before, as song styles multiply and nations are added to the spectacle of nation competing against nation with the hope of representing Europe musically to the world.

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9780198755159

Realism of social and cultural origins

How can realism in science be defined? Philosophers, historians, and the general public, have always related it to a philosophical doctrine or a technological effect. However, there is a type of realism — very widespread in science — that has gone unnoticed among scholars: the realist attitude of social and cultural origins. Behind this attitude lie commercial and engineering interests.

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How to be good

Recently philosophers and scientists have tried to identify how to make the world better by making people more likely to do good rather than evil. This same problem has also faced those interested in artificial intelligence. As Giuseppe di Lampedusa had Tancredi say in The Leopard, “If we want things to stay as they are things will have to change”… and that goes for people also!

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The Hamilton musical and historical unknowns

With a record-breaking sixteen Tony Award nominations for his hit musical “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda will soon have to clear some space on his trophy shelf next to his Grammy and Pulitzer. But there is something remarkable about the play that all the critical acclaim has missed entirely. Reviewers have rightfully celebrated Miranda for telling the life story of one of America’s greatest Founders using energetic numbers, a multiethnic cast, and a strong emphasis on hip-hop.

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Not a dog’s chance, or one more impenetrable etymology

By this time, the thrust of the posts united by the title “Not a dog’s chance” must be clear. While dealing with some animal names, we plod through a swamp (or a bog, or a quagmire) and run into numerous monosyllabic words of varying structure (both vowels and consonants alternate in them), lacking a clear etymology, and designating several creatures, sometimes having nothing to do with one another (for instance, “doe” and “grasshopper,” though this is an extreme case).

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Globalization in India

For many others, globalization has dangerous repercussions in terms of entry of foreign direct investment, and foreign corporations into national markets, thus eroding and eradicating indigenous business—for example, think of the street protest among small traders of Delhi against the entry of retail giant WalMart in India. My frustration with globalization is that the narratives I discovered were too fragmented.

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Your brain on the scientific method

Broccoli prevents cancer. Broccoli causes cancer. We are all familiar with the sense that we are constantly being pulled in a million different directions by scientific studies that seem to contradict each other every single day. We are all familiar with the sense that we are constantly being pulled in a million different directions by scientific studies that seem to contradict each other every single day.

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