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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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10 reasons to love the flute

This month’s spotlight instrument is particularly important to me; I played the flute for ten years as an adolescent and continue to have a soft spot for it. From long practices at high school band camp to dressy solo performances at the Colburn School where I studied on weekends, the flute was a dear and constant companion. Here are a few reasons I’ll always prefer it.

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9780199363445

Cancer is no moonshot

A tired old elephant hunched in the room as President Obama announced the launch of a new moonshot against cancer during his State of the Union address a month ago. We’ve heard that promise before. On 23 December 1971, when President Nixon first declared a national war on cancer, he also based his conviction on the successfully completed moonwalk.

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African American Studies Center

#OscarsSoWhite: new branding for an old problem

In 1996, decades before the trending hashtag, Reverend Jesse Jackson led a boycott protesting the lack of diversity at the Oscars. Having encouraged attendees to wear a rainbow ribbon in support of the issue, he was ridiculed for his efforts.

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Oxford Dictionaries

Political profanity and crude creativity on the campaign trail

In the United States, thoughts are turning to the start of the primary season, when votes are cast to choose each party’s presidential nominee. It’s a complicated and sometimes very long process, beginning in Iowa and winding all the way to the conventions in the summer, and every time it gets going, there are certain buzzwords that seem to find their way into the American popular consciousness.

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9780199684984

Business and society: new words for new worlds

Neologisms (from Greek néo-, meaning ‘new’ and logos, meaning ‘speech, utterance’) – can do all sorts of jobs. But most straightforwardly new words describe new things. As such they indicate areas of change, perhaps of innovation. They present us with a map, one that can redefine what we know as well as revealing newly explored areas; new words for new worlds.

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9780199381135

Ancient Rome vs. North Korea: spectacular ‘executions’ then and now

Reports over recent months from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency have suggested that two prominent North Korean politicians have been executed this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un. These reports evoke some interesting parallels from the darker side of the history of ancient Rome, or at least from the more colourful stories told about it by Roman historians.

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9780199363612

Demarcating sovereignty: a history of Dutch-Belgian land swaps

In early November 2015, the Belgian and Dutch press announced that a small land swap was in the making between Belgium and the Netherlands. Agreement has been reached at the local level that Belgium would cede a small peninsula in the river Maas [Meuse] of about 14 hectares – the size of 28 soccer fields – to the Netherlands. In return, Belgium would get a smaller piece of Dutch territory where it had already built a water lock.

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Oxford Dictionaries

What does your mother language mean to you?

In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated each year on 21 February. Of course, we couldn’t let this date go by without marking the occasion on our Northern Sotho and isiZulu Living Dictionaries. This year, we asked people from a variety of mother tongues to let us know what their native language means to them, and this is what they had to say.

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Let the people speak: history with voices

For 135 years the Dictionary of National Biography has been the national record of noteworthy men and women who’ve shaped the British past. Today’s Dictionary retains many attributes of its Victorian predecessor, not least a focus on concise and balanced accounts of individuals from all walks of national history. But there have also been changes in how these life stories are encapsulated and conveyed.

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African American Studies Center

Race: Jesse Owens and the African American tradition

Patterned on other sports dramas about race and the freedom rights struggle, such as Remember the Titans, Glory Road, We Are Marshall, The Express, and 42, Race tells the story of Jesse Owens’ preparation and stunning performance at the 1936 Summer Olympics at Berlin, Germany. However, while Owens follows a long tradition of unsung African American heroes, many remain unfamiliar with the details surrounding his rise to prominence.

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9780199381135

Innovations from the ancient world

Beginning over two thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks and Romans innovated a surprising array of concepts that we take for granted today. It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without the Greek alphabet, Euclid’s geometric concepts, Roman concrete, and more.

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African American Studies Center

How well do you know Black History?

First established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson with the support of the Association for the Study for Negro Life, Negro History Week took place on the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two men whose actions greatly influenced the black population in America.

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9780199363445

Lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan—penny wise, pound foolish, and criminal

The tragedy of children poisoned by lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan is not an isolated incident. More than 11 counties in New Jersey have children with higher lead levels than those of Flint. Since 2008, drastic cuts in funding for public health programs across the board have slashed programs to educate parents and pediatricians to test young kids for lead poisoning or test water for its residues.

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Music-Web-Large

Music reference: Encyclopedias of the past, present, and future

How does one grapple with music research in the digital age? What are the changes and challenges therein? On 23 June 2015, a group of distinguished academics and editors came together for a panel discussion on “Referencing music in the twenty-first century: Encyclopedias of the past, present, and future” at a conference organized by the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centers (IAML) and the International Musicological Society (IMS).

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O

A history of the International Space Station [infographic]

The International Space Station was originally conceived as our base camp to the stars – the first step in a long journey of human civilisation exploring new planets, asteroids, and galaxies, and perhaps even helping us to meet other forms of life in the universe along the way. The International Space Station is an incredible feat in human engineering, politics, and bravery.

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9780195341119

Teaching the Hebrew Bible in the context of campus sexual violence

It is a disconcerting experience to watch Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s documentary The Hunting Ground or to read Jon Krakauer’s Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town and then walk into a classroom filled with college students. Both The Hunting Ground and Missoula take up the problem of sexual violence on college campuses.

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