Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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9780190232993

An egalitarian and organic history of the periodic table

Our story has to begin somewhere and why not with the Manchester schoolteacher John Dalton who revived the atomic theory of the ancient Greek philosophers? In addition to supposing that the ultimate components of all matter were atoms, Dalton set about putting this idea on a quantitative foundation. He published the first list in which he compared the weights of the atoms of all the elements that were known at the time.

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9780199842759

Measuring athletic greatness

As Michael Phelps pulled away from the field in the 200 IM to win his thirteenth individual Olympic Gold Medal, he set the standard by which athletic greatness will be measured. The greatest athletes are not just good at one thing—the measurement of true greatness, established from antiquity to the present, is the ability to dominate different events, and the ability to do so more than once.

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9780199688418

Around the world in 15 travel health tips

It’s time for holidays! Your suitcase is packed, you’re ready to leave, and cannot wait to get a proper tan to show on social media. Mark Twain used to say that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, but unfortunately the health problems we may come across while travelling are far less poetic. Danger is always lurking, especially in far-flung and unexplored destinations.

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9780199381135

How much do you know about the origins of the Olympics? [quiz]

Since the very beginning of the games at Olympia, the event has served to strengthen unity, bring peace, and celebrate individuals for achieving greatness after endless hours of hard work. The Olympics have always been a source of inspiration and a connection to our own humanity.

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9780199381135

Ben-Hur: tracing the iconic novel and films through history

The latest film adaptation of the story of fictional Jewish noble Judah Ben-Hur is premiering in theaters today. You’ve probably seen the 1959 film version starring Charlton Heston, but do you know about the story’s rich history and impact over the last 136 years?

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Years of education may protect against dementia

Attaining a higher level of education is considered to be important in order to keep up good cognitive functioning in old age. Moreover, higher education also seems to decrease the risk to develop dementia. This is of high relevance in so far that dementia is a terminal disease characterized by a long degenerative progression with severe impairments in daily functioning. Despite a great amount of research emphasizing the relevance of education, it is not entirely clear how education protects cognitive functioning in old age and how much education is possibly ‘enough’.

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Is College Radio Relevant?

You take out the scratched up Beatles’ Abbey Road LP from its musty slipcover, cue it onto the turntable, and broadcast it to the small, rural area surrounding your college campus. It’s 5:00 AM, you’re the only one in the booth, and you ask yourself: is anyone listening? Does what I’m doing matter? Little do you know, as you speak into the microphone introducing “Here Comes the Sun” (as the sun is literally rising), you are part of a long history of college radio. But how is college radio relevant today?

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9780199930197

Designer nature: mosquitoes first and then what?

We’re told that we can insert a gene to confer sterility and this trait would race like wildfire through Aedes aegypti. Why this species? Because it’s the vector of the Zika virus—along with the dengue and yellow fever viruses. The problem is that A. aegypti isn’t the only culprit. It’s just one of a dozen or more bloodsuckers that will also have to be wiped out. After we’ve driven these species to extinction, we’ll presumably move on to the Anopheles species that transmit malaria.

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Word Origins

As black as what?

All words, especially kl-words, and no play will make anyone dull. The origin of popular sayings is an amusing area of linguistics, but, unlike the origin of words, it presupposes no technical knowledge. No grammar, no phonetics, no nothin’: just sit back and relax, as they say to those who fly overseas first class. So here is another timeout.

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2016: the year of Zika

Zika virus (ZIKV), an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika forest of Uganda from a sentinel monkey. It has always been considered a minor pathogen. From its discovery until 2007 only 14 sporadic cases – all from Africa and Southeast Asia – had been detected. In 2007, however, a major outbreak occurred in Yap Island, Micronesia, with 73% of residents being infected.

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10 things you didn’t know about Brazil’s economy

By the end of the twentieth century, Brazil had ranked as one of the the ten largest economies in the world, but also being that with the fifth largest population, it is facing many obstacles in economic growth. With the 2016 Rio Olympics now upon us, we’ve collated 10 interesting facts about Brazil’s economy from colonial times to the modern day.

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9780198754565

Why Christmas should matter to us whether we are ‘religious’ or not

There are many aspects of Christmas that, on reflection, make little sense. We are supposed to be secular-minded, rational and grown up in the way we apprehend the world around us. Richard Dawkins speaks for many when he draws a distinction between the ‘truth’ of scientific discourse and the ‘falsehoods’ perpetuated by religion which, as he tells us in The God Delusion, “teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding” (Dawkins 2006).

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Blackstone’s Statutes 2016-2017: key legislation

There are two sets of EU legislation which have had and might continue to have a very positive impact of the lives and rights of UK citizens who travel abroad. I’m not talking about those UK citizens who have taken advantage of the rights of free movement to live and work in another part of the EU, but those who travel temporarily be it on holiday, visiting family or on business.

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Journal of Social History

A curve in the road to a “Drug-Free America”

Virtually every American over 35 who had access to a television set in the waning years of the Reagan Administration is familiar with the PDFA’s handiwork. The frying pan with a sizzling egg stand-in for “your brain on drugs.” The stern, middle-aged father confronting his son over the boy’s pot stash, only to be told, “I learned it by watching you!”

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9780190275013

R.J.P. Williams and the advantages of thinking like a chemist

Powell’s City of Books occupies 1.6 acres of retail floor space in downtown Portland, Oregon and is one of my favorite places in the world. My first time there, I searched out the chemistry shelves–and was slightly disappointed. I counted two cases of chemistry books sandwiched between biology and physics, which had eight cases each.

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