Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The long history of political social media

One of the key stories of the last US presidential election was the battle of words and images fought by supporters of the candidates on social media, or what one journalist has called “The Great Meme War” of 2016. From hashtag slogans like #FeelTheBern and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain to jokey internet memes like “Nasty Women”, public participation in political advocacy and promotion has reached a fever pitch in the age of networked digital technologies.

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How well do you know Swami Vivekānanda [quiz]

This June, the OUP Philosophy team honors Swami Vivekānanda (born Narendranath Datta, 1863–1902) as their Philosopher of the Month. Born in Calcutta under colonial rule, Vivekānanda became a Hindu religious leader, and one of the most prominent disciples of guru and mystic Śri Rāmakṛṣṇa.

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Seeing light element lithium with electron microscopy

Remember your cell phone, laptop computer, tablet, and other mobile electronic devices? Most of these devices employ “lithium-ion batteries (LIBs)” which allow for the significant size reduction of batteries due to the high energy-density per unit volume – in other words, there is a high density of electric carries that can be used in charging/discharging of batteries.

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Twenty years of Pottering

It’s difficult to imagine a Harry Potter-less world. This is not simply because since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997 the numbers attached to the franchise have become increasingly eye-watering, but because, quite unintentionally (perhaps), what began as a modest fantasy for children has helped to turn the literary world upside-down.

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If diplomacy did not exist, we would need to invent it

We now face a century of change like no other in history. Technology will transform how we meet our needs for peace, dignity and community. This will shatter the global political equilibrium, and shift power away from governments towards individuals. States, ideas and industries will go out of business. Inequality could grow.

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Reducing the harm done by substances: key strategies

The most recent data on life expectancy for the United States show stagnation over the past three years. This stagnation has happened at a time when the most important causes of death, such as cardiovascular diseases or cancers, have decreased. So, what causes of death are responsible for the stagnation in life expectancy?

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Corruption: are you an expert? [quiz]

Headlines regularly focus on political scandals and corruption. From public officials embezzling government monies, selling public offices, and trading bribes for favors to private companies generate public indignation and calls for reform—corruption, it seems, is inevitable. But what really is corruption, and who is responsible for its continuation?

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Divine powers

What do we think of when we think of ‘God’? Any answer to this question will include the idea that the divine is powerful. God creates, God is in charge of the world. If we think that the concept of God doesn’t make sense, that may be partly because the concept of God’s power doesn’t make sense: how can a good God be powerful whilst the world contains this much suffering?

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Abstract objects: two ways of introducing them, in the core and the periphery of language

One of the most striking features of natural language is that it comes with a wealth of terms for abstract objects, or so it seems, and to a great extent they can be formed quite systematically and productively. First, we can form nominalizations from expressions that normally serve as predicates, for example adjectives, and the nominalizations can be used, it seems to refer to abstract objects.

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History of the United States’ Constitutional Law [timeline]

The law of the land is the Constitution of the United States of America. Consisting of 7 articles, drafted by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, and 27 amendments, more than 200 years old, this document is the oldest written constitution of a national state in use anywhere in the world today. (The oldest written constitution of any sort in use today is the Massachusetts state constitution of 1780.)

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Practising surgery in India

Being a surgeon in India is very different and probably more interesting than being one anywhere else in the world. Not only are there the usual third world problems to deal with like poor, undernourished patients with advanced diseases who throng the underfunded public hospitals but there is now, in stark contrast, a for-profit and thriving expensive private health sector to which, in spite of its obvious shortcomings, three quarters of the patients go first.

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