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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780190499006

The language of Christmas [quiz]

Christmas carols–a celebratory tradition spanning language and culture–were originally derived from the songs sung during the Winter Solstice. Christian lyrics were set to the tune of popular pagan carols, giving way to the festive music still played today.

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9780199466771

To be a refugee in one’s own country

If there is a figure that has truly come to define the Human condition over the last few years, it is the refugee. From the battlefields of Syria, to the water crossings from North Africa to Europe and the boats of Rohingyas escaping the Myanmarese state, to camps in Calais or Nauru, the refugee is not far from our sight. In popular and legal imaginations, the refugee is someone who has crossed an international border.

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The Collected Works of D. W. Winnicott

Winnicott: the ‘good-enough mother’ radio broadcasts

Our appetite for books on baby care seems unquenchable. The combination of the natural curiosity and uncertainty of the expectant mother, the unknowable mind of the infant, and the expectations of society creates a void filled with all kinds of manuals and confessionals offering advice, theory, reassurance, anecdotes, schedules… and inevitably, inconsistency, disagreement, and further anxiety.

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The Economics of the Global Response to HIV / AIDS

Lessons from the global response to HIV/AIDS

Since 2001, the response to HIV/AIDS has evolved into an unprecedented global health effort, extending access to treatment to 17 million people living with HIV across the developing world, some considerable successes in HIV prevention (especially regarding mother-to-child transmission), and becoming a very significant aspect of global development assistance.

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Social Work

Elimination of violence against women reading list

The World Health Organization estimates that “about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.” Few data exists and measurements can vary substantially across cultures, but evidence suggests that even more women face psychological violence: 43% of women in the European Union have encountered “some form of psychological violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

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9780199468102

Calcutta roads

Arterial roads in cities have peculiar ways of acquiring distinct identities. The character of each main road, the lifestyle of its residents, their occupations, their social habits, the architecture of their houses and shops, their cultural tastes (even their mannerisms and ways of speaking) – all these shape every road in different ways.

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Word Origins

Etymology gleanings for November 2016

I keep receiving this question with some regularity (once a year or so), and, since I have answered it several times, I’ll confine myself to a few very general remarks. Etymology is a branch of historical linguistics dealing with the origin of words. It looks at the sound shape and meaning of words and at the cultural milieu in which words were coined. Quite often a word has related forms in several languages, and all of them have to be compared.

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9780199538119

Which “little woman” are you? [quiz]

The twenty-ninth of November 2016, marked the 184th birthday of American author Louisa May Alcott, best known for her literary classic Little Women. Taking place in New England during the Civil War, Little Women follows Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy–four strong-minded sisters, each determined to discover and fulfill her destiny. Adapted for film six times, Little Women is a coming-of-age story that […]

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9780190303365

Moving crisis management from the ‘war room’ to the board room

Organisations that suffer a major crisis have more than a one in four chance of going out of business. Yet despite this level of risk, many companies continue to leave crisis management in the hands of operational middle managers or inexperienced technicians. Corporate crisis management traditionally has a strong emphasis on tactical elements such as crisis manuals cross-functional teams, and table-top simulations.

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9780190279363

Can medieval apocalypse commentaries help us feel better about the US election?

In 1453, medieval Europeans were reeling. The great Christian city of Constantinople, which had stood as the capital of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire for over a thousand years, was conquered by the Muslim Ottoman Turks. The militarily superior Turks had been expanding into the Christian territories for more than a century. It was almost inevitable that they would take Constantinople. But few in the West expected this blow.

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9780199536351

Woman as protagonist in BBC’s re-adaption of Conrad’s The Secret Agent

With the recent surge of interest in Conrad’s text following the programme airing in July, one needs to question the contribution that BCC’s adaption offers to the oeuvre of Conrad’s criticism. Tony Marchant’s adaption is acutely aware of global relevance of this text, noting that the “contemporaneity just hit[s]” you “in the face”. Yet, his production precisely fails in this presentation of terrorism.

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9780198753803

How Facebook’s Aquila initiative provides an impetus to rethink the boundaries in competition law

Aquila is the Latin word for eagle, but it is also an ambitious Facebook project to provide internet access by solar-powered drones. In India, the project was supposed to provide internet access to the rural and most impoverished areas. Yet, the project was prohibited by the telecoms regulator for several reasons, one being net neutrality. The project would have offered free access to Facebook and some associated web pages and access to the rest of the internet for a fee.

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9780190634285

Place of the Year spotlight: Tristan da Cunha, the most interesting place you’ve (n)ever heard of

I confess that when I saw Tristan da Cunha among the nominations for Place of the Year, I had no idea where it was, but once I got out my atlas, I was intrigued. Colloquially known as Tristan, the eight-mile-wide island is the most remote inhabited place in the world: it lies 1,200 miles east of the nearest inhabited island, Saint Helena, and a full 1,500 miles east of the nearest continental land, South Africa.

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baylis

Ten surprising facts about humanitarian intervention

After the end of the Cold War, humanitarian intervention – the use of military force to protect populations from humanitarian emergencies without the consent of the host state – emerged as one of the hottest topics of international relations. As is usually the case in world politics, the actual practice of humanitarian intervention is more complex, than we might think.

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Oxford Textbook of Medicine: Cardiovascular Disorders

Can more be said about statins?

Statins are drugs that are very effective in reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood. They have been shown in many trials to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes. They are taken by very many people, but some argue that even more would benefit from doing so, although not everyone agrees. I am waiting to be reported to the General Medical Council.

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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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