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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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A lesson in allegorical storytelling [podcast]

National Novel Writing Month challenges writers from all over the world to complete a 50,000-word novel within the month of November. To help guide our readers who have taken on the challenge, we reached out to three-time National Jewish Book Award winner Howard Schwartz. Howard offers a deeper reading of “The Lost Princess,” and his analysis demonstrates the power of allegories as literary devices.

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest single structure humans have ever put into space. The spacecraft is in orbit 240 miles above Earth, and is both a home and a science laboratory for astronauts and cosmonauts. The station took 10 years and more than 30 missions to assemble, beginning in November 1998 when […]

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International law regarding use of force

Through the power of precedent, international incidents involving the use of force help to clarify the meaning and interpretation of jus ad bellum, the corpus of rules arising from international custom and the United Nations Charter that govern the use of force. UN Charter Article 2(4) forbids states from using force in their international relations. Exceptions to this prohibition are acts taken in self-defence under UN Charter Article 51 or under the auspices of a UN Security Council authorization to use force under Article 42. States can also consent that another state use force in its territory, for example to combat rebel or terrorist actors. In certain cases, state practice gives rise to new interpretations of existing rules or novel exceptions emerge.

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Graffiti artists are gaining recognition—and rights

Graffiti used to be thought of primarily as vandalism—as a furtive, illegal activity that defaced public property. It was seen as both a reflection of and contributor to urban decay. However, several recent high-profile lawsuits involving what is now called “exterior aerosol art” reveal just how far graffiti has advanced in cultural esteem and recognition as a legitimate art form.

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Big money, dark money, and the two Gilded Ages

The 2018 midterm elections were the most expensive in history, and much of the money that financed them was undisclosed, or “dark.” There has always been big money in elections, of course, and some of it has always been dark. In the first Gilded Age, all campaign contributions were made in secret.

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George Balanchine: mythology and reality

There are few choreographers with more influence in the world of ballet than George Balanchine. Over three decades after his death, his ballets are performed somewhere on the planet virtually every day. Two prominent dance institutions continue his legacy—the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet—and dancers who worked alongside him lead important companies and schools across America from Miami to Seattle.

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Time for new targets to treat blocked arteries

The human cardiovascular system relies on continuous circulation to ensure it functions to meet the needs of the body. Like a fish must remain in water, body organs and tissues require a constant supply of blood. A loss of blood flow, dependent on severity and duration, can result in a loss of oxygen,

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Myanmar

Extreme violence and discrimination has led to a humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Throughout 2017 and 2018, Rohingya refugees have been crossing the border into Bangladesh in fear of their lives. United Nations officials have described the crisis as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” In 2018, mid-October reports revealed that the number of […]

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Mexico

Mexico has had an eventful 2018, both on the national and international stage. With conversations centered on immigration, natural disasters, economic advancements, and political protests, the country and its people have been front and center. On November 5, Mexico City received their first wave of migrants from a large group of people travelling through Mexico […]

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The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine is recruiting!

We’re looking for medics to join our team to contribute to the eleventh edition of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. Unique among medical texts, the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine is a complete and concise guide to the core areas of medicine that also encourages thinking about the world from the patient’s perspective, offering […]

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Stan Lee on what is a superhero

What is a superhero? What is a supervillain? What are the traits that define and separate these two? What cultural contexts do we find them in? And why we need them? Editors Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD and Peter Coogan, PhD collected a series of essays examining these questions from both major comic book writers and editors, such as Stan Lee and Danny Fingeroth, and leading academics in psychology and cultural studies, such as Will Brooker and John Jennings.

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Sick of sickness! Recovering a happier history

Horrible histories are not just for young readers: adult historians also seem to have a penchant for painful tales of disaster and distress. This is especially apparent in the realm of medical history, where it has been said that before the birth of modern pharmaceutics the complete recovery of health was so rare that it barely existed as a concept.

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Pacific Ocean

A study in March of 2018 revealed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), the world’s largest collection of ocean garbage, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles. That’s twice the size of Texas, or three times the size of France. The mass weighs 88,000 tons, a number which is 16 times higher than […]

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Remaking Europe after the First World War

In the wake of the November 11, 1918 armistice between Germany and the Allies, high-minded idealism confronted a mélange of very unpleasant realities. All the belligerents had claimed to be fighting for a noble set of aims, and the United States President, Woodrow Wilson, went further. He proposed the creation of a supranational agency, the League of Nations, to govern international relations in a pacific age of transparent, altruistic diplomacy.

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Russian disinformation – How worried should we be?

The Russian government’s use of disinformation, i.e. intentionally misleading content, has raised serious concern not only among Russia’s neighbors, but also in Western nations more broadly. Responses to the perceived threat range from attempts to monitor the disinformation, to U.S. court’s legal indictment of Russian individuals and companies.

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Remembering the final moments of The Great War [excerpt]

11 November 2018 marks 100 years since the end of the Great War. Victory came at a great cost, seeing millions of fatalities in one of the deadliest wars in history. In the below excerpt from The Last Battle, World War I historian Peter Hart shares testimonies about the war’s end from the men who fought until the eleventh hour.

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