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Harris

Meeting and mating with our ancient cousins

Two of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in paleoanthropology occurred in 2010. Not only had we determined a draft genome of an extinct Neandertal from bones that lay in the Earth for tens of thousands of years, but the genome from another heretofore unknown ancient human relative, dubbed the Denisovans, was also announced. A one-hundred-year-old conundrum was finally answered: did we mate with Neandertals?

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9780199394722 - Atlas of the World

Place of the Year 2014 nominee spotlight: Brazil [Infographic]

With the recent announcement of our Place of the Year 2014 shortlist, we are spotlighting each of the contenders. First up is Brazil.Brazil brought the world’s soccer fans together this year, as it hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup in 12 different cities across the country. Learn more about this lively country in this infographic.

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The peace of Utrecht and the balance of power

The years 2013 and 2014 mark the tercentenary of the peace settlement that put an end to one of the major and most devastating wars in early-modern European history, the War of the Spanish Succession (1700–1713/1714). The war erupted after the death without issue of the last Habsburg king of Spain, Charles II (1665–1700). Charles’s death triggered a violent conflagration of the European diplomatic system, which the major rulers of Europe had anticipated with dread but had proven incapable of averting.

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Innovation and safety in high-risk organizations

The construction or recertification of a nuclear power plant often draws considerable attention from activists concerned about safety. However, nuclear powered US Navy (USN) ships routinely dock in the most heavily populated areas without creating any controversy at all. How has the USN managed to maintain such an impressive safety record? The USN is not alone, many organizations, such as nuclear public utilities, confront the need to maintain perfect reliability or face catastrophe.

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9780199660599

The evolution of life

Molecular biology continues to inform science on a daily basis and reveal what it means to be human beings as we discover our place in the universe. With the ability to engage science in ways that were unimaginable only a few decades ago, we can obtain the genetic profile of a germ, discover the roots of unicellular life and uncover the mysteries of now extinct Neanderthals.

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14764989 political analysis

Replication, data access, and transparency in social science

Improving the transparency of the research published in Political Analysis has been an important priority for Jonathan Katz and I as co-editors of the journal. We spent a great deal of time over the past two years developing and implementing policies and procedures to insure that all studies published in Political Analysis have replication data available through the journal’s Dataverse.

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Reading up on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

On 9 November 1989, at midnight, the East German government opened its borders to West Germany for the first time in almost thirty years: a city divided, families and friends separated for a generation, reunited again. For much of its existence, attempting to cross the wall meant almost certain death, and around 80 East Germans were killed in the attempt, shot down by the border guards as they tried to make their escape. With this announcement, however, the gates were thrown open.

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9780198718734

Big state or small state?

For 40 years, Germans living behind the Iron Curtain in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) had first-hand experience of a big state, with full near-full employment and heavily subsidized rent and basic necessities. Then, when the Berlin Wall fell, and East Germany was effectively taken over by West Germany in the reunification process, they were plunged into a new capitalist reality.

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Beethoven and the Berlin Wall

The collapse of the Berlin Wall twenty-five years ago this month prompted a diverse range of musical responses. While Mstislav Rostropovich celebrated the momentous event by giving a very personal, impromptu performance of Bach’s Cello Suites in front of the Wall two days after it had been breached, David Hasselhoff regaled Berliners from atop of what remained of the Wall on New Year’s Eve of 1989 with a glitter-studded rendition of his chart hit “Looking for Freedom.”

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Jawaharlal Nehru and his troubled legacy

From breaking the Congress organization in 1969, to the declaration of Emergency, to the initiation of caste wars, to the encouragement of Sikh militancy, to the decision on Shah Bano, to the opening of the Babri Masjid, and the list goes on, it was Nehru’s bloodline that most effectively downgraded his memory.

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Furphies and Whizz-bangs

In 2015, Australia will mark the centenary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers at what came to be known as Anzac Cove (Gaba Tepe). For Australia, this event has been a significant marker of nationhood, and the legacy of Anzac plays an important role in Australian cultural and political life.

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nehTrial

Death of a Democrat

On 17 and 18 December 1961, on Nehru’s orders, Indian troops marched into Goa, an area of about 1,500 square miles on the country’s western coast, to ‘liberate’ it from the Portuguese, who had ruled the territory since 1510. Condemnation was swift, both from critics at home and abroad.

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Trapped in the House of Unity

I emerged after a long day in the soundproofed cabins at the back of the reading room in the onetime Institute of Marxism-Leninism, which pieces of black sticky tape now proclaimed as the ‘Institute of the Labour Movement’. It was spring 1990 and I was in East Berlin, as one of the first western researchers into the German Democratic Republic.

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9780199937776

Eleanor Roosevelt’s last days

When Eleanor Roosevelt died on this day (7 November) in 1962, she was widely regarded as “the greatest woman in the world.” Not only was she the longest-tenured First Lady of the United States, but also a teacher, author, journalist, diplomat, and talk-show host.

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9780199744541

The origin of work-hour regulations for house officers

Interns and residents have always worked long hours in hospitals, and there has always been much to admire about this. Beyond the educational benefits that accrue from observing the natural history of disease and therapy, long hours help instill a sense of commitment to the patient. House officers learn that becoming a doctor means learning to meet the needs of others.

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The History of Radiology

International Day of Radiology and brain imaging

Tomorrow, 8 November, will mark the third anniversary of the now established International Day of Radiology, an event organised by the European Society of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America: a day in which health care workers worldwide mark their debt of gratitude to Wilhelm Roentgen’s great discovery of x- rays, and its subsequent applications in the field of medical practice, today known as radiology or medical imaging.

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