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The hunt for the origin of HIV

The month of May is home both to World Aids Vaccine Day (also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day) and the anniversary of the discovery of the AIDS virus itself. But how much do we know about where the HIV virus actually came from, and how it spread to become the global killer it is today? We spoke with Dorothy H. Crawford, author of Virus Hunt: The search for the origin of HIV, about the HIV virus and its history.

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Online resources for oral history

After listening to this week’s podcast with managing editor Troy Reeves and oral historian extraordinaire Doug Boyd, you might think the Oral History Review has fallen prey to corporate sponsorship. Let me assure you, dear audience, that we are not in bed with Starbucks, E-Harmony, or General Mills. Instead, it seems Doug, guest editor of our special issue “Oral History in the Digital Age” and author of “OHMS: Enhancing Access to Oral History for Free,” is prone to elaborate metaphors when describing oral history best practices.

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People of computing

According to Oxford Reference the Internet is “[a] global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” Today the Internet industry is booming, with billions of people logging on read the news, find a recipe, talk with friends, read a blog article (!), and much more.

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War and glory

The failures of leadership… the destructive power of beauty… the quest for fame… the plight of women… the brutality of war… Such themes have endured for over 2,700 years in Homer’s classic The Iliad — from the flight of Helen and Paris, to the fury of Menelaus and Agamemnon, to the fight between Hector and Achilles. We sat down with Barbara Graziosi and Anthony Verity, the writer of the introduction and translator respectively, to discuss the new Oxford World’s Classics edition of The Iliad.

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Dust off your flags … it’s Eurovision time!

By Annie Leyman
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that the Eurovision Song Contest has a unique appeal. Although often seen as tacky, extravagant and occasionally politically controversial, that doesn’t stop around 125 million people around the world watching it each year! It has helped to launch careers, in the cases of ABBA and Bucks Fizz, as well as destroy them (cast your memories back to Jemini, aka ‘nul points’).

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Visions of Wagner

By Barry Millington
Few composers embrace such a span of disciplines — musicological, philosophical, historical, political, philological — as Richard Wagner. To what extent does the wide-ranging, comprehensive nature of Wagner’s works militate against a true understanding of them? How close are we, in his bicentenary year, to an understanding that does them justice? The following illustrations from The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: Richard Wagner, his Work and his World demonstrate the variety of perspectives on Wagner, from outdated stereotypes to new reappraisals.

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Beatlemania

Fifty years ago, in March of 1963, The Beatles released their first album entitled Please Please Me. While the music partly based on British folk and popular forms—including skiffle and music-hall styles—American rock ’n’ roll was by far their dominant resource. The album quickly dominated the British charts and led the group to a path of superstardom that changed the world forever.

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Seven things you never knew about heart failure

Heart failure affects 750,000 people in the UK alone and is fast becoming a greater threat to public health than cancer. But how much do you know about this condition? The European Heart Failure Awareness Day is designed to raise awareness of heart failure, including possible symptoms, the importance of an early and accurate diagnosis, and the need for optimal treatment. In that spirit, we’ve prepared this brief quiz on heart failure for you to test your knowledge.

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Celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema: a quiz

By Alana Podolsky
On 3 May 1913, Raja Harishchandra, the first Indian feature-length film, premiered. Since then, India’s film industry, mostly known as Bollywood but operating outside of Bollywood’s Mumbai base as well, has become the world’s most prolific film industry — 1325 films were produced in 2008.

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“Forever Let Us Hold Our Banner High!”

By Ron Rodman
The death of Annette Funicello this month set off a wave of nostalgia among baby boomers who remember her as the star of the “Mouseketeers” of the original Mickey Mouse Club (MMC). MMC was the brainchild of Walt Disney, studio founder, entertainer, and entrepreneur, originally as a means of promoting the then new Disneyland, which opened in Anaheim, California on 17 July 1955.

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The latest developments in cardiology

What is the relationship between atherosclerosis and acute myocardial infarction? How do aldosterone blockers reduce mortality? What steps are doctors taking toward personalized cardiac medicine? What are the new drugs and devices to treat hypertension? What is salt’s role in the human diet? The international cardiology community examined these questions and more at the Cardiology Update 2013 in Davos, Switzerland earlier this year.

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The physiological, psychological, and biological reasons for crying

Are humans the only species to cry for emotional reasons? How are tears linked to human evolution and the development of language, self-consciousness, and religion? Which parts of the brain light up when we cry? How is crying related to empathy and tragedy? Why can some music bring people to tears? Below, you can listen to Michael Trimble talk about the topics raised in his book Why Humans Like to Cry: Tragedy, Evolution, and the Brain.

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The life of a nation is told by the lives of its people…

America has a rich and diverse history which shows itself in its music, politics, film, and culture. The power of biography helps to illuminate larger questions of war, peace, and justice and in exploring the lives of the figures that helped to shape America’s history we can discover more about our past.

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11 facts about penguins

By Georgia Mierswa
Happy World Penguin Day! And what better way to celebrate than by looking at photos of penguins waddling, swimming, diving, and generally looking adorable. Penguin facts are lifted from the Oxford Index’s overview page entry on penguins (on the seabird, not the 1950s R&B group).

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Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

We are celebrating Shakespeare’s 449th birthday with a quiz! Test your knowledge on the famous bard. Can you tell your poems from your plays? Do you know who his twins were named after, or his exact birthdate? Find out answers to these and much more in our quiz. Break a leg!

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