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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The healthiest body mass index isn’t as simple as you think

The body mass index (BMI) is a crude but useful measure of how heavy someone is for their weight. It consists of your weight in kilograms, divided by the square of your height in metres. Guidelines suggest that a BMI between 18.5 and 25 is healthy for most people. You are classed as overweight if it is 25-30 and obese if it is more than 30.

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OUP Philosophy

Philosopher of the month: George Berkeley [timeline]

This February, the OUP Philosophy team honours George Berkeley (1685-1753) as their Philosopher of the Month. An Irish-born philosopher, Berkeley is best known for his contention that the physical world is nothing but a compilation of ideas. This is represented by his famous aphorism esse est percipi (“to be is to be perceived”).

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Nuclear deterrence and conflict: the case of Israel

“Deliberate ambiguity” notwithstanding, Israel’s’ core nuclear posture has remained consistent. It asserts that the tiny country’s presumptive nuclear weapons can succeed only through calculated non-use, or via systematic deterrence. srael must plan for the measured replacement of “deliberate ambiguity” with certain apt levels of “disclosure.” In this connection, four principal scenarios should come immediately to mind.

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What are the critical brain networks for creativity?

The concept of creativity is imbued with two contradictory notions. The first notion usually considers that a creative production is the result of high-level control functions such as inhibition, mental manipulation, or planning. These functions are known to depend on the anterior part of the brain: the prefrontal cortex.

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Community healing and reconciliation: a tale of two cities

Community healing and reconciliation has been a focus of many nations in response to civil war, genocide, and other conflicts. Over the past 12 years there has been a growing number of high profile murders of African American youth in the United States. Some communities have responded to the incidents offering examples of how communities may work together to move forward.

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How well do you know Jean-Jacques Rousseau? [quiz]

This January, the OUP Philosophy team honors Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) as their Philosopher of the Month. Rousseau was a Swiss writer and philosopher. He is considered one of the most important figures for his contribution to modern European intellectual history and political philosophy. His books have attracted both admiration and hostility during his lifetime.

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World Cancer Day 2018: Is prevention worth more than cure?

World Cancer Day is on the 4th of February. The purpose is to increase global awareness and get as many people talking about the disease as possible. Essentially, unite people from all around the world in the fight against cancer—and with worldwide incidence set to increase to 21.7 million by 2030, the fight is now. 2018 is the last in the three year ‘We Can. I can.’ campaign

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Composer Alan Bullard in 10 questions

Occasionally, we ask Oxford composers questions about their musical likes and dislikes, influences, and challenges. We spoke to Alan Bullard about who or what inspires him, his writing habits, and what he likes to do when he’s not composing.

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The joys and challenges of compiling a new organ anthology

Faced with a blank sheet of paper, how does one begin when an invitation is received to compile an anthology of music? Compiling the two recent volumes, Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music for Manuals and Oxford Book of Lent and Easter Organ Music for Manuals, has been a rewarding journey of musical discovery, which I decided had to begin at Perry Barr in north east Birmingham, on the campus of the University of Central England, at the library of the Royal College of Organists.

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Truth, lies, and the Reformation

We are obsessed with lying, a subject which has been much in the news recently. Indeed, a main concern has been the production of ‘fake news’, news that is a lie. The issue is of fundamental importance: if we don’t have proper evidence and accurate testimony then we can never get to the truth. The Reformation shows us that this is not a new phenomenon, but one that has been ever-present in history.

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Etymology gleanings for January 2018: Part 1

My most recent post (mad as a hatter) aroused a good deal of criticism. The reason is clear: I did not mention the hypothesis favored in the OED (mercury poisoning). Of course, when I quoted the medical explanation of long ago, I should have written the last set of hypotheses… instead of the last hypothesis. I find all medical explanations of the idiom untenable, and I should have been explicit on this point, rather than hiding behind polite silence.

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Legal rights are not all right: when morality and the law collide

In early November 2017, media outlets hailed the Paradise Papers as a major scoop: 13.4 million leaked documents revealed the financial details of some of the world’s leading brands, politicians, sports stars, and musicians. But this was to be no repeat of last year’s Panama Papers, in which well-known names appeared relating to criminal acts l; the Paradise Papers failed to reveal a single crime. So why was it considered news?

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Dr. William H. Harris reflects on his career advancing orthopedic surgery

To mark the release of Vanishing Bone, in Part One of our Q&A with Dr. William H. Harris we discussed the fascinating story of how he came to identify, and later cure, the severe bone destruction affecting individuals who had undergone total hip replacement surgery. In this second interview, Dr. Harris reflects on his remarkable career; including what inspired him to pursue orthopaedic surgery, how he balances his two roles as a surgeon and clinician-scientist, and his advice for aspiring surgeons.

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Knowledge of the Holocaust: the meaning of ‘extermination’

Did ordinary Dutchmen know of the Holocaust during the war? That might seem an easy question to answer. Research has shown that the illegal press, Dutch radio broadcast from London, and even exiled queen Juliana characterized the deportation of the Jews almost from the beginning in the summer of 1942 as mass murder, destruction and, in the Queen’s words, “systematic extermination.”

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Seven key skills for managing science [video]

“Management” is a word we often associate with commerce and the business community, but the act of managing is common to most human activity, including academia. While there is a myriad of tools available for learning how to manage business, there are few resources out there which discuss the skills needed to manage academic scientific research.

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Feminist themes in TV crime drama

The fictional world has always featured women who solve crimes, from Nancy Drew to Veronica Mars. Although men crime-solvers outnumbered women on TV, women detectives have increasingly become more commonplace. This trend includes the policewomen depicted on CSI and Law & Order: SUV as well as private detectives like Veronica Mars and Miss Phryne Fisher who are the chief protagonists of their series.

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