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Early Bird Archives | OUPblog

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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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California’s Channel Island Kelp Forests — Are They Recovering?

By Christopher Wills
As my blood thins with age, I tend to SCUBA dive in the tropics. But in July of 2010, loaded with twenty-four pounds of lead weights to overcome the buoyancy of my thick wet suit and the dense salty water of the frigid Japanese Current, I found myself plunging into cold water to investigate an ecological success story off California’s Channel Islands. I wanted to see what happens when a damaged ecosystem recovers. Can it ever return to its former self?

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What is Energy?

By Jennifer Coopersmith
Energy is the go of things, the driver of engines, devices and all physical processes. It can come in various forms (electrical, chemical, rest mass, curvature of spacetime, light, heat and so on) and change between these forms, but the total is always conserved.

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The End of Discovery

By Russell Stannard
How many of us appreciate just how fortunate we are to be living at a time of scientific discovery? How many realise that the scientific age is but a brief, transitory phase in the evolution and development of humankind? One day it will all come to an end.

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What on Earth is The Wind in the Willows?

By Peter Hunt
To judge from a quick poll of friends, acquaintances, students, and the ladies in the village shop, The Wind in the Willows is fondly remembered, even by those who don’t actually remember reading it. It is a children’s book, it is about small animals – and it is somehow quintessentially English: for almost everyone I spoke to, it conjured up endless summer, boating on a quiet river, large hampers of food, a peaceful, unthreatening way of life.

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The Edinburgh International Festival

This week the world famous Edinburgh International Festival kicks off, beginning three weeks of the best the arts world has to offer. The Fringe Festival has already begun in earnest with countless alternative, weird, and wacky events happening all over the city. Later in August sees the Edinburgh International Book Festival and there will be several OUP authors giving talks over a fortnight, including David Crystal, Tariq Ramadan, Frank Close, Ian Glynn, and Robin Hanbury-Tenison.

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What has become of genius?

By Andrew Robinson
“In the early 21st century, talent appears to be on the increase, genius on the decrease. More scientists, writers, composers, and artists than ever before earn a living from their creative output. During the 20th century, performance standards and records continually improved in all fields—from music and singing to chess and sports. But where is the Darwin or the Einstein, the Mozart or the Beethoven, the Chekhov or the Shaw, the Cézanne or the Picasso or the Cartier-Bresson of today?”

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Norman Names

I couldn’t help noticing this story, which states that many of the names still popular in English-speaking countries originate from the Normans, who won control of England in 1066. Meanwhile, names that were popular in England at the time – such as Aethelred, Eadric, and Leofric – have disappeared. With that in mind, I turned to Babies’ Names, by Patrick Hanks and Kate Hardcastle, to find out more about Norman names.

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On the Practitioners of Science

“Physics is rather hard to blog, so I’ll write instead about the practitioners of science – what are they like? Are there certain personality types that do science? Does the science from different countries end up being different?”

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Philosophy Bites: A Podcast

What does Simon Blackburn have to say about morality? What does A.C. Grayling think about atheism? Alain de Botton about the aesthetics of architecture? Adrian Moore about infinity? Will Kymlicka about minority rights? For the last three years, David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton have challenged some of the world’s leading philosophers to hold forth on their favourite topics for the highly successful Philosophy Bites podcast. Now 25 of these entertaining, personal, and illuminating conversations are presented in print for the first time.

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What Do Angels Look Like?

Guardians, messengers, protectors… what are angels? In Angels: A History, David Albert Jones, Director of the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies at St Mary’s University College, explores the enduring power of angels over the human imagination. He argues that they teach us something about our own existence, whether or not we believe in theirs. In this excerpt from the book, Professor Jones talks about what different religious texts tells us about what angels look like.

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