no
Subtopics Archives | OUPblog

Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Subtopics

Monthly Notices of Royal Astronomical Society journal

Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs?

In 1980, Walter Alvarez and his group at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered a thin layer of clay in the geologic record, which contained an anomalous amount of the rare element iridium. They proposed that the iridium-rich layer was evidence of a massive comet hitting the Earth 66 million years ago, at the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Alvarez group suggested that the global iridium-rich layer formed as fallout from an intense dust cloud raised by the impact event.

Read More
force

In the service of peace

May 29th marks the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, during which the world pays tribute to those who are serving, those who have served, and those who have lost their lives in the service of peace. Although peacekeeping was not envisaged in the UN Charter, it has become the flagship activity of the Organisation and perhaps the most innovative evolution within the UN collective security system.

Read More
Heine_ Dogen and Soto Zen

Remembering Buddhas in Japan

Commemoration of the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha forms an important but relatively small part of a remarkable emphasis on wide-ranging types of memorials that continue to be observed in modern Japan. However, celebrations in remembrance of death, including for all deceased ancestors who are regarded as Buddhas (hotoke) at the time of their passing marked by ritual burial, generally hold far greater significance than birth anniversaries. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated in Japan every year on 8 April.

Read More
9780199943494

The unfinished work of feminism

These transnational feminist movements are rich and diverse. Their origins and struggles are located in anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, civil rights, anti-war, pro-democracy, indigenous peoples, workers, peasants, youth, disability, and LGBT movements, among others. They seek to transform patriarchal institutions in all their manifestations — from violations of intimate relations to the discriminatory and unequal gender norms of political, economic, social, and cultural institutions.

Read More
African American Studies Center

Bessie Smith: the Empress of the Blues

The filming and recent airing of the HBO film Bessie, which stars Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith, serves as a perfect excuse to look back at the music and life of the woman who was accurately billed as the Empress Of The Blues. When Bessie Smith made her recording debut in 1923, she was not the first blues singer to record.

Read More
Shoemaker - Responsibility from the Margins

Being true to your true self

Huckleberry Finn, when faced with the opportunity to turn in the slave Jim, is tortured about what to do. At first he leans in favor of turning him in, because Jim is someone else’s property. And as he was taught in Sunday school, acting as he had been toward Jim was what got people sent to hell. But he can’t stop thinking about Jim’s companionship on the river, and how Jim had been nothing but kind to him all along, a real source of comfort and friendship. So Huck, with trembling hands, finally declares, “All right, then, I’ll GO to hell,” and decides not to turn Jim in.

Read More
Oxford Dictionaries

16 words from the 1960s

As the television show Mad Men recently reached its conclusion, we thought it might be fun to reflect on the contributions to language during the turbulent decade of the 1960s. This legacy is not surprising, given the huge shifts in culture that took place during this point in time, including the Civil Rights movement, the apex of the space race, the environmental movement, the sexual revolution, and—obviously—the rise of advertising and media. With this in mind, we picked 16 words from the 1960s that illuminate this historical moment.

Read More
9780190226879

Philosophie sans frontières

“East is East and West is West, and ne’er the twain shall meet.” Well, no. Kipling got it wrong. The East and the West have been meeting for a long time. For most of the last few hundred years, the traffic has been mainly one way. The West has had a major impact on the East. India felt the full force of British imperialism with the British East India Company and the British Raj.

Read More
plant-cell-physiology

Hop, the essence of beer

Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) is an essential ingredient for brewing beer, and contributes a characteristic bitterness, aroma, and fullness. However, during the Middle-Ages, various other herbs including Rhodomyrtus tomentosa and Salix subfragilis, had also been used for brewing beer in Europe.

Read More
FEMS Microbiology Letters

Is the history of science still relevant?

It was a simple request: “Try and put the fun back into microbiology”. I was about to write a new practical course for first year students, and apparently there had been complaints that microbiology is just another form of cookbook chemistry. Discussions showed that they liked the idea of doing their own experiments without a pre-determined outcome. Of course, with living microorganisms, safety must be a major concern, and some control was needed to prevent hazardous surprises, but “fun” and safety are not mutually exclusive.

Read More
Police9.1

Believing victims

Hampshire Constabulary are the latest in a long line of police forces obliged to apologise to a victim of crime for failing to investigate an allegation properly. In this case, a young woman accused a man of rape. She was not believed; forensic examination of clothing was delayed; in the meanwhile, the complainant was threatened with arrest for ‘perverting the course of justice’ and she attempted suicide. Eventually, following belated forensic analysis, the man was arrested and has since then been convicted.

Read More
9780199688623

The Irish referendum on same-sex marriage

Today, the people of Ireland will vote in a Referendum to decide whether to include the following new wording in their Constitution: ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.’ This may happen despite the fact that Ireland has a Constitution grounded in Catholic values. Indeed, abortion in Ireland is still constitutionally prohibited. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1993, and the option to divorce has only been available since 1995.

Read More
MEDLAW_2015

The role of the law, in the matter of Ashya King

Parents of a child diagnosed with a serious illness are immediately required to make decisions about their child’s medical treatment which, in order to save life, may cause pain, unpleasant side-effects and risk damaging their child’s future quality of life. The actions, last summer, of the parents of five year old Ashya King offer just one example of the lengths to which parents will go to secure the best possible treatment for their child […]

Read More
9780199681648_450

Parkinson’s disease: the flip side of the coin

The human brain might be perceived as an organ with two main strategic tasks: goal-directed motor behavior, and mental functioning in order to work out that goal. These two main functions have two prototypical diseases: Alzheimer disease, in case of mental function, and Parkinson’s disease, with motor function. Following its inception as an entity, Parkinson’s disease (PD) was long perceived to be a purely motor disorder with unimpaired mental functions.

Read More
Jel_cover 23(1).indd

Climate consciousness in daily legal practice

Thinking about climate change generates helplessness in us. Our persistent role creating this global catastrophe seems so inevitable as to be predetermined; our will to contain it, or even reach agreement to contain it, feeble.

Read More