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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Baylis 7e

When white men rule the world

If Hillary Rodham Clinton had triumphed in Tuesday’s presidential election, it would have been a milestone for women’s political representation: a shattering of the hardest glass ceiling, as her supporters liked to say. Clinton’s defeat in the electoral college (but not the popular vote) is also the failure of a certain feminist stratagem. But the victory of Donald Trump tells us just as much about the global politics of gender, and how it is being remade.

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9780195387070

Coming out of the fog

This is a postscript to last week’s post on fog. To get my point across, as they say, let me begin with a few short remarks on word origins, according to the picture emerging from our best dictionaries.

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betcherman

What is a good job?

Most people would say a good job is one that comes with a nice paycheck, reasonable hours, a healthy and safe work environment, and benefits such as social insurance. While this profile makes a lot of sense from an individual perspective, it does not necessarily tell policy-makers what the priorities should be for their national jobs strategies. Those priorities should be jobs that add the most social value.

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exile

10 representations of Psalm 137 throughout history [slideshow]

Psalm 137 is the only one out of the 150 biblical psalms set in a particular time and place. The vivid tableau sketched by the opening lines has lent itself to visual representations over the millennia. Each interpretation brings something different to the story and shows the cultures which this psalm has touched.

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9780190460679

Were farmers America’s first high tech information workers?

Settlers in North America during the 1600s and 1700s grew and raised all their own food, with tiny exceptions, such as importing tea. In the nineteenth century, well over 80 percent of the American public either lived at one time on a farm or made their living farming. Today, just over 1 percent does that in the United States, even though there is a surge going on in small organic family farming.

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9780198748342

Uber drivers found to be ‘workers’ not employees

There has been much in the press recently about the employment tribunal ruling finding that two Uber drivers were not self-employed, but rather workers, and were therefore entitled to some employment rights. In some reports it has erroneously been suggested that these drivers were found to be employees. This is not what happened.

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9780199536436

A literary tour of Ireland

Ireland is home to many great writers, from Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift to Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. In this slideshow, Molly Grote, OUP publicist with a degree in British and Irish literature, takes us on a literary tour of Dublin.

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9780198753384

CETA and Wallonia’s Trojan Horse

It’s not often that Wallonia makes the news, but for the past week Belgium’s French-speaking region has been at the heart of the latest in a long series of EU crises. The reason for this is the Wallonian government’s refusal to sign off on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

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9780190468903

How to write a good sentence

Some years ago, I sent off a manuscript to an editor. After the usual period of review, the editor sent back a note saying that he liked the work, but suggested that I should make it “less academic.” I reworked a number of things and sent back a revised version with more examples and a lighter tone. A week later, I got a short email back saying “No really, make it less academic.”

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The Yablo Paradox

Lying, tells, and paradox

The idea that many, if not most, people exhibit physical signs – tells – when they lie is an old idea – one that has been extensively studied by psychologists, and is of obvious practical interest to fields as otherwise disparate as gambling and law enforcement. Some of the tells that indicate someone is lying include:

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9780198716327

On Hokusai’s woodblock prints

Sometimes when looking at some piece of reality, puzzling choices have to be made when describing it as ‘one’, as ‘many’ or perhaps as neither ‘one’ nor ‘many’. Three woodblock prints of the artist Hokusai can illustrate the issue.

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9780199678723

Ending violence against children

Earlier this year, the first-ever nationally representative study of child maltreatment in South Africa revealed that over 40% of young people interviewed reported having experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect. This figure is high, but it is not unusual: similar studies on violence against children have been conducted across 12 other countries, with many revealing equally high rates.

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women_and_the_vote

Why didn’t more women vote for Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton was confidently predicted to ‘crack the country’s highest glass ceiling once and for all.’ In Rochester, New York women queued up to put tokens on the grave of Susan B Anthony the nineteenth century suffragist and architect of the 19th amendment to the US constitution which gave federal voting rights to woman in 1920 (they had been voting in territories and states since 1869).

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9780199686438

The evolution of human memory

Like all biological traits, human memory reflects a long evolutionary history, most of it shared with other animals. Yet, with rare exceptions, evolution has either been overlooked in discussions of memory or treated in an outdated way. As a result, a simple idea about the cerebral cortex has reigned for more than a century: that its various areas specialize in functions characterized as memory, perception, the control of movement, or executive control (mainly decision-making).

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9780195387070

“Fog” and a story of unexpected encounters

“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river,… Fog down the river….” This is Dickens (1852). But in 1889 Oscar Wilde insisted that the fogs had appeared in London only when the Impressionists discovered them, that is, they may have been around for centuries, but only thanks to the Impressionists, London experienced a dramatic change in its climate.

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