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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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If you’re so smart, why aren’t you happy?

By Howard Rachlin
‘I know these will kill me, I’m just not convinced that this particular one will kill me.’
–Jonathan Miller to Dick Cavett on his lit cigarette, backstage at the 92nd Street Y in New York

Miller’s problem is actually a practical form of the central problem of ancient Greek philosophy.

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Bioscience, flies, and the future of teleportation

By William Hoffman
In pondering how rapidly animal, plant, microbial, viral, and human genetic and regulatory sequences travel around the world over wireless and fiber optic networks, I’m transported back to the sci-fi movie The Fly I watched as a boy. Released in 1958, the film was based on a story George Langelaan published in Playboy.

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When simple is no longer simple

By Lawla Law
Cognitive impairment is a common problem in older adults, and one which increases in prevalence with age with or without the presence of pathology. Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have difficulties in daily functioning, especially in complex everyday tasks that rely heavily on memory and reasoning.

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Why we don’t go to the moon anymore

By Matthew D. Tribbe
Today marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. To understand Apollo’s place in history, it might be helpful to go back forty-four rather than forty-five years, to the very first anniversary of the event in 1970. That July, several newspapers conducted informal surveys that revealed large majorities of Americans could no longer remember the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

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Animals could help reveal why humans fall for illusions

By Laura Kelley and Jennifer Kelley
Visual illusions, such as the rabbit-duck (shown below) and café wall are fascinating because they remind us of the discrepancy between perception and reality. But our knowledge of such illusions has been largely limited to studying humans.

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Is the past a foreign country?

By Eugene Milne
My card-carrying North London media brother, Ben, describes himself on his Twitter feed as a ‘recovering Northerner’. In my case the disease is almost certainly incurable. Despite spending a good deal of last year in cosmopolitan London – beautiful, exciting and diverse as it is – I found myself on occasions near tears of joy as my feet hit the platform at King’s Cross.

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Living in the shadows of health

By Brian L. Odlaug, Samuel R. Chamberlain, and Jon E. Grant
Surprisingly, many of the common mental health conditions in the world also happen to be the least well known. While Obsessive Compulsive Disorder garners attention from international media, with celebrities talking openly about their experiences with the condition, Obsessive Compulsive Related Disorders are far less recognized and receive scant attention.

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Frailty and creativity

By Cretien van Campen
Frail older people are more oftentimes considered a burden for society, than not. They are perceived to require intensive care that can be expensive while producing nothing contributory to society. The collective image is that frail older people are ‘useless’; in my opinion, we do not endeavor to ‘use’ them or know how to release productivity in them.

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Inequalities in life satisfaction in early old age

By Claire Niedzwiedz
How satisfied are you with your life? The answer is undoubtedly shaped by many factors and one key influence is the country in which you live. Governments across the world are increasingly interested in measuring happiness and wellbeing to understand how societies are changing, as indicators such as GDP (gross domestic product) do not seem to measure what makes life meaningful.

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Tracking down a slow loris

By Mary Blair
Slow lorises are enigmatic nocturnal primates that are notoriously difficult to find in the wild. The five species of slow loris that have been evaluated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species are classified as threatened or critically endangered with extinction. So, how did one end up recently on the set of Lady Gaga’s music video?

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Rebooting Philosophy

By Luciano Floridi
Philosophy is a bit like a computer with a memory leak. It starts well, dealing with significant and serious issues that matter to anyone. Yet, in time, its very success slows it down. Philosophy begins to care more about philosophers’ questions than philosophical ones, consuming increasing amount of intellectual attention.

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Schizophrenia and oral history

By Caitlin Tyler-Richards
It’s been awhile, but the Oral History Review on OUPblog podcast is back! Today’s episode features OHR contributors Drs. Linda Crane and Tracy McDonough answering OHR Managing Editor Troy Reeves’s questions about the Schizophrenia Oral History Project and their article, “Living with Schizophrenia: Coping, Resilience, and Purpose,” which appears in the most recent Oral History Review.

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Practical wisdom and why we need to value it

By David Blockley
Aristotle saw five ways of arriving at the truth – he called them art (ars, techne), science (episteme), intuition (nous), wisdom (sophia) and practical wisdom – sometimes translated as prudence (phronesis). Ars or techne (from which we get the words art and technical, technique and technology) was concerned with production but not action. Art had a productive state, truly reasoned, with an end (i.e. a product) other than itself (e.g. a building).

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OK Go: Is the Writing on the Wall?

By Siu-Lan Tan
When I saw OK Go’s ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’ video a few days ago, I was stunned. If you aren’t one of the over eight million people that has seen this viral music video yet, you’re in for a visual treat. OK Go is known for creative videos, but this is the band’s richest musical collage of optical illusions so far.

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You can save lives and money

By Paul Harriman
There is a truism in the world that quality costs, financially. There is a grain of truth in this statement especially if you think in a linear way. In healthcare this has become embedded thinking and any request for increasing quality is met with a counter-request for more money.

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