Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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The viability of Transcendence: the science behind the film

In the trailer of Transcendence, an authoritative professor embodied by Johnny Depp says that “the path to building superintelligence requires us to unlock the most fundamental secrets of the universe.” It’s difficult to wrap our minds around the possibility of artificial intelligence and how it will affect society. 

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What’s the secret to high scores on video games?

By Siu-Lan Tan
When playing video games, do you play better with the sound on or off? Every gamer may have an opinion—but what has research shown? Some studies suggest that music and sound effects enhance performance. For instance, Tafalla (2007) found that male gamers scored almost twice as many points while playing the first-person shooter game DOOM with the sound on (chilling music, weaponfire, screams, and labored breathing) compared to those playing with the sound off.

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A publisher before wartime

This year marks the centenary of the start of the First World War. This cataclysmic event in world history has been examined by many scholars with different angles over the intervening years, but the academic community hopes to gain fresh insight into the struggles of war on this anniversary.

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Is our language too masculine?

As Women’s History month comes to a close, we wanted to share an important debate that Simon Blackburn, author of Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, participated in for IAITV. Joined by Scottish feminist linguist Deborah Cameron and feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan, they look at what we can do to build a more feminist language.

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Expressing ourselves about expressiveness in music

Picture the scene. You’re sitting in a box at the Royal Albert Hall, or the Vienna Musikverein. You have purchased tickets to hear Beethoven’s Ninth symphony performed by an internationally renowned orchestra, and they are playing it in a way that sounds wonderful. But what makes this such a powerful performance?

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35 years: the best of C-SPAN

By Kate Pais
The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, better known as C-SPAN, has been airing the day-to-day activities of Congress since 1979, for thirty-five years as of this week. Now across three different channels, C-SPAN has provided the American public easy access to politics in action, and created a new level of transparency in public life.

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Britain, France, and their roads from empire

After the Second World War ended in 1945, Britain and France still controlled the world’s two largest colonial empires, even after the destruction of the war. Their imperial territories extended over four continents. And what’s more, both countries seemed to be absolutely determined to hold on their empires: the roll-call of British and French politicians, soldiers, settlers and writers who promised to defend their colonial possessions at all costs is a long one. But despite that, within just twenty years, both empires had vanished.

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Female artists and politics in the civil rights movement

In the battle for equal rights, many Americans who supported the civil rights movement did not march or publicly protest. They instead engaged with the debates of the day through art and culture. Ruth Feldstein, author of How it Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement, joined us in our New York offices to discuss the ways in which culture became a battleground and to share the stories of the female performers who played important but sometimes subtle roles in the civil rights movement.

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A record-breaking lunar impact

On 11 September 2013, an unusually long and bright impact flash was observed on the Moon. Its peak luminosity was equivalent to a stellar magnitude of around 2.9. What happened? A meteorite with a mass of around 400 kg hit the lunar surface at a speed of over 61,000 kilometres per hour.

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Common Core Standards, universal pre-K, and educating young readers

Parents and educators everywhere want to introduce children to the world of reading, but the task of helping a child become an independent reader is increasingly difficult and daunting. How can you create a love for reading and learning with stories, lessons, and activities while also supporting reading development? Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers, written by Anne E. Cunningham, PhD and Jamie Zibulsky, PhD, serves as a how-to guide for parents as they navigate through the uncertainties of teaching their children to read.

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Advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine

Each year cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes over 4 million deaths in Europe and 1.9 million deaths in the European Union (EU). Although the rates of death attributed to CVD have declined over the years, the burden of the disease remains high and on-going research into cardiovascular medicine remains vital. Through clinical and scientific research, we […]

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Why we should change the way we look at chronic pain

Is undiagnosed and untreated chronic pain a nationwide epidemic? Does the American legal system’s treatment of the pharmaceutical and medical fields impedes citizens’ struggles to heal themselves? Has the media egregiously focused on the abuses of pain medication rather than extolling its virtues?

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Protecting yourself from the threat of cyberwarfare

With over 30,000 media reports and academic studies on the dangers of cyberterrorism, surely the threat today could not be greater? But as P.W. Singer, author of the bestselling Wired for War and co-author of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, points out — not a single person has died in a cyberterror attack.

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