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9780198717058

Reflections on ‘chatbot’

A chatbot, or chatterbot, is computer program designed to engage in conversation through written or spoken text. It was one of the words on the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 shortlist. The idea of a chatbot originates with Alan Turing’s mid twentieth century aspiration to build a thinking computer. Turing proposed a test to determine what might count as success in this venture.

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asian-american

The year of hating immigrants

2016 has been a year of bitter political debates fueled in large part by drastic divides regarding how immigrants affect national well-being. The US presidential race, the British Brexit vote and other challenges within the European Union, and growing competition against the otherwise durable German Chancellor Angela Merkel all display deeply rooted fears of inadequately controlled immigration.

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Black Friday: the dark side of scarcity promotions

Does simply encountering a scarcity promotion, such as a newspaper or television advertisement or online pop-up ad, cultivate seeds of aggressive behavior in consumers and predispose them to act in a violent manner? Is marketplace aggression not merely the outcome of crowds during shopping holidays, but activated beforehand at ad exposure?

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Computational Theories and their Implementation in the Brain

How does the brain work?

The media are full of stories about how this or that area of the brain has been shown to be active when people are scanned while doing some task. The images are alluring and it is tempting to use them to support this or that just-so story. However, they are limited in that the majority of the studies simply tell us where in the brain things are happening. But the aim of neuroscience is to discover how the brain works.

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Encyclopedia of Social Work

Donate smarter this Thanksgiving and holiday season

You probably know about how important it is to donate food to your local soup kitchen during the holiday season (and the rest of the year, as well!), but do you ever give much thought to what you’re donating? Do you ever give food you wouldn’t necessarily want to feed to your kids in large quantities?

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9780195387070

(All) my eye and Betty Martin!

The strange exclamation in the title means “Fiddlesticks! Humbug! Nonsense!” Many people will recognize the phrase (for, among others, Dickens and Agatha Christie used it), but today hardly anyone requires Betty Martin’s help for giving vent to indignant amazement. However, the Internet is abuzz with questions about the origin of the idiom, guarded explanations, and readers’ comments.

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Economics

5 facts about Black Friday

From an economics standpoint, Black Friday is one of the most important days of the year, as it marks the unofficial start of the busy holiday shopping season. The origin of the term “Black Friday,” however, is not entirely straightforward. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common explanations for how this infamously chaotic day got its name.

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The life and times of Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys penned his famous diaries between January 1660, and May of 1669. During the course of this nine year period, England witnessed some of the most important events in its political and social history. The diaries are over a million words long and recount in minute and often incredibly personal detail, events such as the restoration of the monarchy, the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Great Fire, and Great Plague of London.

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9780199987931

How the Bible influenced the Founding Fathers

In the midst of political campaigns, including the last election season, one often hears appeals to the American founding principles and the political visions of the founding fathers. Which political traditions and thinkers shaped the ideas and aspirations of the American founding?

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American History

The impact of the press on the American Revolution

Issues of the press seem increasingly relevant in light of the recent U.S. presidential election. At its best, the press can play a critical role in informing, educating, and shaping the public’s thoughts—just as it did at the time of the nation’s founding. In fact, the press was so crucial in those early days that David Ramsay, one of the first historians of the American Revolution, wrote that: “In establishing American independence, the pen and press had merit equal to that of the sword.”

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British Medical Bulletin

The future of the NHS – let’s not lose sight of what is important

There is general agreement that the NHS is currently facing unprecedented challenges. Many of these challenges face all health services: increasing demand for healthcare arising from technological developments, demographic changes, rising expectations, and the increase in chronic diseases that require long-term coordinated care. In terms of public spending, the United Kingdom has entered a period of austerity.

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9780190215866

Fostering friendly relations between Hitler’s Germany and Franco’s Spain through music

As the Wehrmacht launched its offensive on the USSR in summer 1941, a contingent of Spanish musicians and critics travelled to Bad Elster, on the border between Bavaria and Bohemia. In the spa town, they took part in the first of three Hispanic-German music festivals held during the Second World War aimed at fostering cultural and political understanding between both countries.

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Oxford Classical Dictionary

Brexit, Marmite, and brand loyalty in the Roman World

One of the early and somewhat unexpected effects of Brexit in the UK was the threatened ‘Marmageddon’, the shortage and subsequent price rise of the much-loved – and much-hated – Marmite. Brands were, however, also a part of much earlier economies. In ancient Rome, for instance, consumers placed their trust in a number of brand markers, which signified reputation and quality, and very often carried a certain prestige. This was particularly the case with food and drink, especially wine.

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9780729409209

Voltaire’s love letters

Voltaire had numerous passionate affairs, and engaged in an enormous amount of private correspondence with his lovers, much of which has been kept for posterity. Providing a fascinating insight into Voltaire’s inner-most emotions, his letters give a glimpse of his friendships, sorrows, joys, and passionate desires…

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