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Biotechnology: the Pentagon’s next big thing

Biotechnology has long been an important field of scientific research. But until recently, it has never been formally considered by any military as a significant technological investment opportunity, or a technology that could revolutionize the conduct of war.

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The ubiquitous whelp

Two types of hypotheses compete in etymology. One is learned and the other disconcertingly simple, so that an impartial observer is sometimes hard put to it to choose between them. English whelp resembles the verb yelp, obviously a sound-imitative word, like yap and yawp. Is it possible that such is the origin of whelp?

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A zoological kindergarten

The first, perhaps surprising, thing about the words I’ll address below is that language rarely associates the names of adult animals with the names chosen for their progeny. Yet the same is true of humans!

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Eubie Blake: Rags, Rhythm, and Race

10 little-known facts about Sissle and Blake’s Shuffle Along

Written, staged, and performed entirely by African Americans, Shuffle Along was the first show to make African-American dance an integral part of American musical theater, eventually becoming one of the top ten musical shows of the 1920s. Authors Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom provide a list of ten little-known facts about the show.

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Religion's Sudden Decline

Why is religion suddenly declining?

An analysis of religious trends from 1981 to 2007 in 49 countries containing 60% of the world’s population did not find a global resurgence of religion—most high-income countries were becoming less religious—however, it did show that in 33 of the 49 countries studied, people had become more religious. But since 2007, things have changed with surprising speed.

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A year of listening to books

The COVID crisis has led me to rethink a lot that I’ve taken for granted. One the saving graces helping to get me through long days of remote teaching and evenings of doom-scrolling was the opportunity to take long walks.

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Genome Biology and Evolution

Unique adaptations allow owls to rule the night

As the only birds with a nocturnal, predatory lifestyle, owls occupy a unique niche in the avian realm. Hunting prey in the dark comes with a number of challenges, and owls have evolved several features that leave them well-suited to this task.

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OUP Libraries

The changing role of medical librarians in a COVID-19 world

“Health librarians really need to have a broad picture of the health environment to have an impact and connect all the dots ”, says Gemma Siemensma, Library Manager at Ballarat Health Services (BHS), Australia. Librarians “need to continue to excel in reference consultations and literature searching to advanced forms of evidence synthesis and critical appraisal,” she adds.

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MNRAS

Modifying gravity to save cosmology

The unexpectedly rapid local expansion of the Universe could be due to us residing in a large void. However, a void wide and deep enough to explain this discrepancy—often called the “Hubble tension”—is not possible in standard cosmology, which is built on Einstein’s theory of gravity, General Relativity.

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Etymology gleanings for November 2020

Why is there no “master key” to the closet hiding the origin of language and all the oldest words?
Historians deal with documents or, when no documents have been preserved, with oral tradition, which may or may not be reliable. The earliest epoch did not leave us any documents pertaining to the origin of language.

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