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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Trump’s “America first” foreign policy and its impact on the Liberal Order

Where will he take the United States? That is Donald J Trump – now 45th President of the United States. And will the Liberal Order, a product of all his predecessors, survive the Age of Trump? For over seventy years US Presidents and foreign policy officials of numerous American administrations have led – for better and for worse – the Liberal Order.

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Where we rise: LGBT oral history in the Midwest and beyond

In early March, ABC released a much-anticipated mini-series that followed a group of activists who played important roles in the emergence of LGBTQ political movements. The show, When We Rise, was based in large part on a memoir by veteran activist Cleve Jones.

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Getting to know James Grainger

The eighteenth-century Scottish poet James Grainger has enjoyed a resurgence of scholarly attention during the last two decades. He was a fascinatingly globalized, well-rounded, idiosyncratic author: an Edinburgh-trained physician; regular writer for the Monthly Review; the first English translator of the Roman poet Tibullus; author of both a pioneering neoclassical poem on Caribbean agriculture, The Sugar-Cane (1764), and the first English treatise on West-Indian disease.

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A hitch-hiker’s guide to post-Brexit trade negotiations

The UK has yet to decide what relationship with the EU it will seek following Brexit. But whatever option it pursues, the government’s ability to achieve its goals will depend on the success of its negotiating strategy. To design a successful negotiating strategy, it is first necessary to understand the purpose of trade agreements. When a country sets trade policy unilaterally, it does not account for how its choices affect the rest of the world.

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Is privacy the price of precision medicine?

New initiatives aim to harness technology and genomics to create bespoke medicine, customizing your healthcare like your Facebook profile. Instead of relying on generic practice guidelines, your doctors may one day use these new analytic tools to find the ideal treatment for you. Big data will make this precision possible: patterns that emerge from the DNA and medical records of millions can predict which treatments work best for which patients.

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Falling in love with the national security state

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, however, I decided to take a risk by departing from my standard viewing practice to watch Oliver Stone’s Snowden, a political thriller about the whistleblower who pulled back the curtain of the surveillance state by exposing how the NSA threatens the privacy of just about everyone. Would this movie set me on edge, making me fearful and paranoid for the remainder of the flight?

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Mitochondrial replacement techniques and Mexico

The birth of the the first child after a mitochondrial replacement technique has raised questions about the legality of such procedure. In this post we explore some of the legal issues surrounding this case. Mitochondria are cellular organelles that generate the energy cells need to work properly. Two interesting features of mitochondria are that they are solely inherited via the maternal line and that they possess their own DNA.

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Tropes vs. autism in Religious Studies

“Why are autistic people different in just the way they are?” asks Uta Frith, a pioneer of autism research. “I put the blame on an absent Self.” Indeed, the absent self theory is the prevailing account of autism among developmental psychologists. Because autistic people lack conscious self-awareness, so the theory goes, they can’t organize their experiences into a meaningful story.

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International Affairs

The divide – France, Germany, and political NATO

Europe’s unity is under threat, and if France and Germany cannot muster the will to rescue the European project of integration and cooperation, then all bets are really off. Those who imagine that the EU could falter to no great effect are being naïve. A failed EU would pull down NATO and other vestiges of Western unity, and we would be returning to a 19th century balance of power diplomacy.

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Dance of black holes trembles our Universe

The existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in the space-time, is no more just a speculation but a firm truth, after the recent direct detection of such waves from at least two pairs of merging black holes by the LIGO gravitational-wave detector. In such a binary system, two black holes orbit each other at a close separation, nearly at the speed of light, whirling the spacetime in their neighbourhood.

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The polls aren’t skewed, media coverage is

The perceived failures of election forecasting in 2016 have caused many to suggest the polls are broken. However, scholars are quick to point out that more than polling failure this election has demonstrated that people have a hard time thinking probabilistically about election outcomes. Our research suggests skewed media coverage of polls may also be to blame: News media are likely to cover the most newsworthy polls.

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How does acupuncture work? The role of S1 remapping

Acupuncture is a medical therapy that originated in China several thousand years ago and is rooted in a complex practice ritual based on a philosophy that predates our current understanding of physiology. Despite its long history, though, the intervention itself, particularly when coupled with electrical stimulation, significantly overlaps with many conventional peripherally-focused neuromodulatory therapies.

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Social History of Medicine Journal Cover

What not to expect when you’re expecting

Writing in 1990 about her experience attending antenatal classes in the 1950s, British mother and childbirth activist Heda Borton recalled her husband squirming as he watched a film of a baby being born in their antenatal education class: “My husband came to the evening under protest, and sat blowing his nose and hiding behind his handkerchief.”

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Reducing risk of suicide in cancer patients

Cancer patients experience substantial psychological effects from facing death, financial issues, emotional problems with friends and family, and adverse medical outcomes from treatment. The psychological effects are so severe that some patients consider suicide. Depression is more common in people with cancer than in the general population, said Kelly Trevino, PhD, from the Center for Research on End-of-Life Care at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

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