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OUPblog | Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the World

Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

What brought down the coal industry and will its recent recovery last?

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump ran for office on a platform that included supporting the coal industry. His open embrace of coal mining gave hope to an industry that has experienced a steady decline in production and jobs since the mid-2000s. In 2016, coal production reached its lowest point since 1978, when the US population was only 70% of what it is today.

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On theory and consensus in science: a journey in time

In ordinary discourse, a theory is a guess or a surmise, as in “that’s only a theory.” In science, however, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is supported by confirmed facts and/or observations. Verification of a theory’s predictions ensures its eventual acceptance by the community of scientists working in the particular discipline.

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The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic

The art of witchcraft: six illustrations [slideshow]

Witchcraft dates back 5,000 years to the beginning of writing. Its history offers glimpses into the human psyche and has excited the minds of artists, playwrights, and novelists for centuries. Referencing The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic, we’ve pulled together a slideshow of six fascinating facts about the history of witchcraft.

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Life in the fast lane: how quickly can a new species evolve?

The world is changing fast, and evolution is not staying behind. The curious case of a new species of flower that evolved in the north isles of Scotland shows that evolution can create new species in a matter of years. The environment around us is changing rapidly as a human population of seven billion consumes resources more quickly than the planet can replenish them, and technology helps us reach the most remote corners of the planet.

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Bullying beyond the schoolyard

When you stretch a rubber band, even after many times, it will likely return to its original form. We call this resilience. When children are stretched and bent out of shape due to bad experiences they encounter, we expect they will be resilient too and snap back to their previous self. However, after various types of difficult or traumatic interactions, children are not the same. The analogy of the rubber band does not hold up.

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Are we losing a generation of younger doctors?

We live in challenging times for physicians, who are required to do things that are wearing them out and making them feel bad about their jobs. Surveys showing large percentages of doctors burned out, dissatisfied with their work or regretting their career choice point to something deeply psychological that is happening to many doctors—something that should make all of us very concerned.

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10 questions with composer Sarah Quartel

Sarah Quartel is a Canadian composer, conductor, and educator known for her fresh and exciting approach to choral music. Her music is performed by children and adults around the world, and celebrates the musical potential of all learners by providing singers access to high quality and engaging repertoire. We spoke with Sarah about why she composes, how she approaches writing, and the pieces that mean the most to her.

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What is the land question in India today?

Land in the process of development can be viewed as a commodity, and like other commodities, can be bought and sold. Such a transformation presupposes that land historically was not a commodity. Peasant cultivators eked out a subsistent lifestyle and feudal lords taxed the peasants. Property rights as we know it did not exist then. Land was not owned, sold, or bought.

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Alternative music classes: why not guitar?

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) formerly known as MENC is the world’s largest arts education association. Amongst its many roles, NAfME holds annual conferences to provide professional development and support to active music educators.

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The reign of law in international investment decision-making

The second Investment Claims Summer Academy took place on 6-7 July 2017 at Lady Margaret Hall and focused on the role of international law in international investment decision-making. The Summer Academy opened with a quote from Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s 1933 The Function of Law in International the International Community:

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Climate change: a call for government intervention [video]

“The world is facing a catastrophe.” It is too late for individuals to make a significant difference in the preservation of ice caps. At the current rate of global warming, government intervention is needed. In the following video and excerpt from A Farewell to Ice, Peter Wadhams, one of the world’s leading experts on polar ice, discusses the role that governments around the world need to play in order to combat global warming.

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Not finding Bigfoot

The Renaissance is remembered as a time of renewed interest in scientific investigation, yet it also brought a huge increase in sightings of fantastic creatures such as mermaids and sea serpents. One explanation for this apparent paradox is that the revival of classical art and literature inspired explorers to look for the creatures of Greco-Roman mythology. Another reason was the expansion of trade. Cryptids, fantastic creatures that elude established terms of description, tend to arise on the boundary of two or more cultures.

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10 facts about cymbals

Cymbals are a highly versatile instrument of ancient origin. In the West, they have been used not only in orchestral music, but also in jazz and popular music. From being played very quietly to making a striking splash in the orchestra, composers and musicians have found the instrument to be widely adaptable.

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Revenons à nos moutons!

I keep returning to my sheep and rams because the subject is so rich in linguistic wool. Last time (see the post for 11 October 2017), I looked at the numerous etymological attacks on sheep and came to rather uninspiring results.

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Divali in the White House?

When Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to celebrate Divali in the White House in 2009, he sent a message to South Asian Americans that they are a part of the American national narrative. His actions were not only about lighting lamps and the remembrance of Indic myths, but they were also about the […]

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7 financial tips and facts

For most, October marks the beginning of autumn, Halloween celebrating, and preparation for the holiday season. However, what some might not realize is that October is also Financial Planning Month. Financial planning and budgeting can be a difficult, confusing area. In honor of Financial Planning Month, we decided to outline facts to provide some insight and tips on budgeting, investing, and retirement.

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