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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Sowing one’s etymological oats

For many years I have been studying not only the derivation and history of words but also the origin of idioms. No Indo-European forms there, no incompatible vowels, not consonant shifts, but the problems are equally tough.

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How to face the moral challenges of organizations from the inside

When you enter your workplace on Monday morning, is it you who enters it, or is it someone else? A mask, a role you play in order to get through the work day? And does that matter? Many people would say it is a matter of choice, or perhaps of aesthetic sensibilities, whether or not you want to play a role in your job, or be true your own self.

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Donuts, dogs, and de-stressing: library programs to ease student stress

To help prepare their patrons for the long hours of studying, writing, and prepping, librarians have created anti-procrastination, stress-relieving events that seek to ease the pain of the finals push. We chatted with librarians from the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada about their specific programs, and the impact they have on students’ health and well-being during this tense time.

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How video may influence juror decision-making for police defendants

In recent years, these videos [depicting police brutality] have become increasingly available to the public and widely disseminated, fueling the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement demanding justice for minority victims of police violence. Yet, little research has explored how video is impacting juries when police actually go to trial as defendants.

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International disability rights and the dilemma of domestic courts

Since 1992, 3 December has been the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. According to the World Report on Disability, approximately one in five people in the world are disabled and are at heightened risk of exclusion, disadvantage, and poverty. Law plays an important role in tackling this inequality and exclusion. For the past decade, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Convention) – an instrument of international law – has been both a catalyst and guide for legislative reform enhancing the equality and inclusion of disabled people. To what extent, though, is this Disability Convention influencing domestic case law?

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Dynasties: tigers and their solitary homes

Tasked with closing BBC documentary Dynasties, tigers are very unlike any of the other species featured throughout the series. Find out more about this solitary big cat through our selection of facts about how tigers behave and interact with others.

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There are two different types of Jane Austen fans

There is a theory current among many of my fellow Janeites about what kind of a Jane Austen devotee one can be. Either, it is said, one unreservedly cleaves to the Austen of Pride and Prejudice and Emma, or one emphatically embraces the Austen of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility.

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Have you heard of René Blum?

Well? Have you? If not, it’s probably because René Blum’s lifelong career in the arts has been safely hidden from the history books.  Only his brother Léon Blum, the first Socialist and Jewish Prime Minister of France, received enormous attention. But Judith Chazin-Bennahum knows why René Blum deserves to be remembered: because he was an extraordinary man. Chazin-Bennahum’s book introduces the reader to the world of the Belle Epoque artists and writers, the Dreyfus Affair, the playwrights and painters who reigned supreme during the late 19th century and early 20th century period in Paris. Below she provides us with just a few of his most impressive accomplishments.

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Why paying tax can be good news for companies

For the past 35 years, Ipsos MORI, the UK market research company, has undertaken a survey of which professions in Britain people trust. Each year, they ask 1,000 people whether they trust people in different professions to tell the truth.

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A surprisingly religious John Stuart Mill

Your most recent book, John Stuart Mill: A Secular Life, is in OUP’s ‘Spiritual Lives’ series and is essentially a religious biography of Mill. Mill decided that strictly in terms of proof the right answer to that question of God’s existence is that it is ‘a very probable hypothesis’.

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Hasidic drag in American modern dance

On 27 February 1932, the American modern dancer Pauline Koner presented a concert at New York City’s Town Hall. For the occasion, Koner, who was Jewish, premiered Chassidic Song and Dance, a solo in which she portrayed a young Hasidic Jew. Her characterization of an Eastern European Jew was not so different from the other exotics that constituted Koner’s repertory in the 1930s.

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Forty years of democratic Spain

Spaniards are celebrating with some fanfare the 40th anniversary of their democratic constitution that was approved overwhelmingly in a referendum on 6 December 1978, sealing the end of the 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, the victor of the country’s civil war. Whichever way one looks at it, Spain has been transformed profoundly since then.

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Words always matter

The run-up to the recent mid-term elections saw commentators across the political spectrum claiming that “words matter.” Much of this was in response to violent acts – in particular the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre and the pipe bombs sent to Democrats – that some argued was a consequence of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Words always matter of course. But due to the timing and the stakes – in this instance, an upcoming mid-term election of considerable consequence – it turned into a literal war of words. Language was weaponized to an extent not seen before.

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Etymology gleanings for November 2018

I used to post my “gleanings” on the last Wednesday of every month, but it is perhaps more practical to do it on the first Wednesday of the month following, for, given this schedule, I can also answer the most recent questions. Plants and the home of the Indo-Europeans I used gorse in the previous […]

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