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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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The overwhelming case against Brexit

On 23 June, British voters will go to the polls to decide whether the UK should remain in the European Union (EU) or leave it in a maneuver the press has termed “Brexit.” As of late April, public opinion polls showed the “remain” and “exit” sides running neck– and — neck, with a large share of the electorate still undecided. The economic arguments for remaining in the EU are overwhelming. The fact that the polls are so close suggests that a substantial portion of the British electorate is being guided not by economic arguments, but by blind commitment to ideology.

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9780192806314

Which planet are you? [quiz]

Whilst learning about the planets in our Solar System, and then hearing all that has befallen them in the news over the past decade, have you ever wondered which one you might best get on with? Or which planet you would be? We certainly have, which is why we’ve created the quiz below, to help you find out.

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JNCI

Unraveling how obesity fuels cancer

“We are getting more and more precise about the different risk factors for the various subtypes of cancer,” said Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, professor in the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One established factor is obesity, now well linked to at least ten cancers, including pancreatic, colorectal, endometrial, and hormone receptor–positive, postmenopausal breast cancer.

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Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

Jane Jacobs, even better at 100

The fourth of May marks the centenary of the birth of Jane Jacobs, patron saint of contemporary urbanism, at least for most urban planners, architects and local political officials in the US and for many of us who live in cities as well. Both by her writing and her activism, Jacobs promoted livable cities—walkable, enjoyable, sociable places where communities provide distinctive experiences and locals have a say in determining what goes on.

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FEMS Microbiology Letters

The Friendly Viruses, and how they can help with the looming antimicrobial resistance crisis

In these days of Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Ebola pandemics, and with the devastating smallpox, influenza, and polio epidemics of the 20th century still fresh in our collective memories, it seems counterintuitive to consider the possibility that viruses will ever be regarded other than with fear and loathing. However, if trials currently underway in Europe, Australia, and the US prove successful, then we may eventually reach a point where certain viruses are viewed with approval and even a degree of affection.

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JLEO

Why whine about wining and dining?

Annual US expenditures on business entertainment likely exceed $40 billion. Such “wining and dining” is often viewed with suspicion, as a way for one entity to influence another’s decision makers improperly. Indeed, such concerns often lead governments and other organizations to limit what kinds of meals and other gifts employees can receive.

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9780199914081

The Thatcherism of state-sponsored private sector retirement programs

With surprising speed, state-sponsored private sector retirement programs have assumed an important place in the nation’s public policy agenda. California, a pioneer in many trends, was a pioneer in this area also. The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act, adopted in 2012, was the first law authorizing a state-sponsored retirement program for private sector […]

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Cox

Justice delayed, deferred, denied: Injustice at the Hague in the Karadžić and Šešelj verdicts

At the end of March–more than two decades after their crimes–the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Radovan Karadžić, chief political leader of the Bosnian Serb nationalists during the wars and genocide of 1992-1995, guilty of war crimes and sentenced him to 40 years. It could be said that justice was delayed and deferred, if not outright denied.

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HWJ81

Bookselling and the feminist past

The ‘disappearance’ of booksellers from Hong Kong in recent months reminds us that the free circulation of print can be very directly challenging to the powerful. Within social movements ranging across civil rights, disability, anti-apartheid, socialism, and anti-colonial nationalisms, books, print presses, and bookshops have been central to the movements’ intellectual development and comradeship. The women’s movement has had a similarly close relationship to print; bookshops, periodicals, and presses were a thriving presence within Edwardian women’s suffrage circles.

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9780198716464

Brexit and the World Trade Organization

As the debates regarding the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union heat up, attention has turned to the possible consequences of Brexit. There are even consequences from a World Trade Organization (WTO) perspective, flagging up implications for UK sovereignty. The point made here is simple: contrary to the prevailing view, remaining in the WTO post-Brexit could entail a greater threat to UK sovereignty than is currently the case.

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9780199669042_450

The Dismal Debate: would a “Brexit” mean more power for the UK?

“Money, money money. Must be funny. In a rich man’s world.” As an academic I’m highly unlikely to ever have either “money, money, money” or live in a “rich man’s world.” But as a long-time student of politics I’ve been struck by how the debate in the UK about the forthcoming referendum on membership of the European Union has been framed around just two issues – money and power.

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women_and_the_vote

Book of the century: The Subjection of Women

In a dynamic demonstration of the motivating power of the written word, a ladies’ literary discussion group read The Subjection of Women in 1883. As soon as they had closed the book, they set up the Finnish Women’s Association to campaign for women in public life. It is not coincidental that in 1906 Finland became the first European country where women had the vote. J.S.Mill’s book is, with Marx’s Capital, one of the two most important political books written in Britain in the nineteenth century.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Mourning, memory, and performance

There is a wonderful Christopher Rush novel, Will (2007), in which Shakespeare says that what he does best is death: “I do deaths you see. And I can do the deaths of children. Their lips were four red roses on a stalk… – that sort of thing.” From the death of young Rutland in 2 Henry VI to the unexpected death of Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s plays are full of loss.

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9780190264451

What is really behind Descartes’ famous doubt?

Insofar as Descartes’ philosophical project is an attempt to overcome self-doubt, it doesn’t seem successful. His original reason for self-doubt was a clash between theology and experience. It is hard to see why, if this clash gave him good reason to doubt himself, the clash between providence and freedom would not do so as well. He seems to disagree with himself about the ultimate lessons to learn from disagreement!

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