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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The evolution of the word “terror”

Terror comes into English in the late fourteenth century, partly from Middle French terreur, and partly directly from Latin terror. The word means both “the state of being greatly frightened” and “the cause of that state,” an ambiguity that is central to its future political meanings. In Early Modern English, terror comes to stand for a state of fear provoked on the very edge of the social.

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Desires for power: sex scandals and their proliferation

The unapologetic authoritarianism of guru-disciple relationship makes it a revealing case study through which to analyze power relations, particularly those related to physical touch and sexuality. As I argue in a recent article, “Guru Sex,” in the guru-disciple relationship there are social conventions surrounding touch, what I call haptic logics.

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What do you value most in life? [quiz]

Everyday choices are guided by a person’s strongest character virtue, and show what they value most in life. This personality quiz,based on a psychometrically validated personality test developed by expert psychologists, will help you discover what your defining character virtue is and how it can help guide your future life choices.

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Improvising with light: Nova Express psychedelic light show

Paul Brown is best known for his work as an artist creating visual art that uses self-generating computational processes. Yet before Paul started creating art with computers, he worked with Nova Express, one of the main psychedelic light shows performing in Manchester and the North of England during the 1960s and early 1970s.

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Did emotional appeals help to win the Brexit referendum?

“[Brexit] was a big fundamental decision: an emotional decision,” said Nigel Farrage in an interview with The Guardian’s John Harris in September 2018. For once at least the former UKIP leader, a key figure in the campaign to Leave the European Union, was 100% right.

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The adventures of a nitrogen atom

You have more than six hundred muscles in your body. Pick one of those muscles at random—say one of the eight in your tongue. Its cells will contain protein fibers. These consist of long chains of amino acids, which in turn contain nitrogen atoms. Now pick, at random, one of those nitrogen atoms.

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Making music American: a playlist from 1917

The entrance of the United States into World War I on April 6, 1917 inspired a flood of new music from popular songwriters. Simultaneously, the first recording of instrumental jazz was released in April 1917, touching off a fad for the new style and inspiring record companies to promote other artists before year’s end.

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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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