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Fading signs of son preference
By Jan Kabatek
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Why has Gaza frequently become a battlefield between Hamas and Israel?
By Dov Waxman
During the past decade, the eyes of the world have often been directed toward Gaza. This tiny coastal enclave has received a huge amount of diplomatic attention and international media coverage. The plight of its nearly two million inhabitants has stirred an outpouring of humanitarian concern, generating worldwide protests against the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
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The risks of privatization in the Medicaid and Medicare programs
By Lori Gonzalez, LuMarie Polivka-West, and Larry Polivka
Increasingly, two of the largest publicly supported healthcare programs, Medicaid and Medicare, are administered by for-profit insurance companies. The privatization of the Medicaid long-term care programs has been implemented largely through state managed care contracts with insurance companies to administer Medicaid LTC funds.
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Do you know how these words were coined? [Quiz]
By Ralph Keyes
Successful word-coinages—those that stay in lingual currency for a good, long time—tend to conceal their beginnings. In The Hidden History of Coined Words, author and word sleuth Ralph Keyes explores the etymological underworld of terms and expressions and uncovers plenty of hidden gems.
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Monthly gleanings for April 2021
By Anatoly Liberman
In this blog post, the Oxford Etymologist revisits the word “bodkin” and its kin.
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Fascination of Plants Day: interview with a plant scientist
By Mitchell B. Cruzan
For Fascination of Plants Day on 18 May this year, we talked to Professor Mitchell Cruzan about his research into the evolved adaptations that distinguish plants from animals.
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The real crisis at the US border
By Cecilia Menjívar
Once again, we are exposed to daily doses of “border crisis” news. Calling the groups of immigrants arriving at the US Southern border a crisis has become an easy shorthand with sensationalist overtones. It provokes reactions across the range of political opinions, as well as among government officials and civil society actors alike. But is there really a crisis at the border? Or is this crisis located elsewhere? And whose crisis is it?
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On SHAPE: a Q&A with Lucy Noakes, Eyal Poleg, Laura Wright & Mary Kelly
By Eyal Poleg, Laura Wright, Lucy Noakes, and Mary Kelly
OUP have recently announced our support for the newly created SHAPE initiative—Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy. To further understand the crucial role these subjects play in our everyday lives, we have put three questions to four British Academy SHAPE authors and editors—social and cultural historian Lucy Noakes, historian of objects and faith Eyal Poleg, historical sociolinguist Laura Wright, and Lecturer in Contemporary Art History Mary Kelly—on what SHAPE means to them, and to their research.
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Dear fellow nurses
By Gloria Ferraro Donnelly
Dear Fellow Nurses, I am honored to bring Nurse Week greetings, especially in this year of unprecedented demands. You may be heaving a sigh of relief as the pandemic winds down. You are fantasizing about “getting back to normal,” whatever “normal” means to you. However, your life as a practicing nurse is forever changed as a function of living through the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The power of pigs: tension and taboo in Haifa, Israel
By Max D. Price
It might be an exaggeration to say a boar broke the internet. But when someone posted an image of wild boar sleeping on a mattress and surrounded by garbage from a recently-raided dumpster in Haifa, Israel in March, Twitter briefly erupted. In a recent article in The New York Times, Patrick Kingsley documented the uneasy relationship, not only between people and pigs, but also between the people who want the animals eliminated and those who welcome them. But Kingsley curiously omits an important detail: the drama over the fate of Haifa’s boar plays out against a backdrop of taboo and religious law.
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Transformative choice and “Big Decisions”
By Enoch Lambert and John Schwenkler
Imagine being invited by a trusted friend to a “life-changing” event. Should you go? The event could be a church service, self-help talk, concert, movie, festival, hike, play, dinner party, book club, union organizing meeting, etc. What sorts of considerations do you reach for in making your choice? The philosopher L. A. Paul has put problems like these, termed transformative choices, on the map for philosophical and scientific inquiry.
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Etymologies in bulk and in bunches
By Anatoly Liberman
Two things sometimes come as a surprise even to an experienced etymologist. First, it may turn out that such words happen to be connected as no one would suspect of having anything in common. Second is the ability of words to produce one another in what seems to be an arbitrary, capricious, or chaotic way, so that the entire group begins to resemble an analog of a creeping plant.
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Lyricism as activism: Sigurd Olson and The Singing Wilderness
By Carmen Bugan
Placing the reader in the poetic and ethical space is the first step toward direct action that affects the larger human community: a step toward activism. Activism formalizes the values that inspire and ultimately direct our will—and action—to preserve and protect. By opening new worlds, other spaces, and creating experiences for the reader—and, crucially, letting the reader explore those worlds for herself or for himself—the lyric writer has an opportunity to create a protected zone for significant communication.
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A complex networks approach to ranking professional Snooker players
By Joseph O’Brien
There is a data revolution taking place in sport whereby athletes are becoming increasingly aware of statistics and, moreover, devoted fans of said sports have amassed huge collections of historical results that readily allow for data-driven mathematical analysis to be conducted. Motivated by this, researchers at MACSI posed the following problem—who is the greatest snooker player of all time?
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Five things you need to know about pronouns
By Edwin L. Battistella
First off, there are more pronouns than you might think. Personal pronouns get most of the attention nowadays, especially the widely accepted singular they and other non-binary pronouns. But personal pronouns are just one group among several.
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Fake news is not new: Russia’s 19th-century disinformation experiment
By Faith Hillis
Russian “information warfare”—from hacking to efforts to sow “fake news” abroad—has captured international headlines in recent years. Although Russian efforts to influence western opinion are usually seen as a product of the Cold War, they have a much longer lineage.
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Do we need artificial inventors?
By Martin Stierle
Artificial intelligence (AI) has started to unleash a new industrial revolution. It represents a significant technology advantage which already impacts today’s products and services and will drive tomorrow’s industries. Its key importance to the technological progress of future societies is beyond doubt and is reflected by a boom in patent applications on AI technology since 2013 in various industry sectors.
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Editors Picks
Why has Gaza frequently become a battlefield between Hamas and Israel?
May 14th 2021
On SHAPE: a Q&A with Lucy Noakes, Eyal Poleg, Laura Wright & Mary Kelly
May 9th 2021
Environmental histories and potential futures [podcast]
April 27th 2021
Anti-Asian violence: the racist use of COVID-19
April 5th 2021
Winner of Grove Music’s 2021 spoof article contest
April 1st 2021
Disability, access, and the virtual conference
March 22nd 2021
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Canada | The Very Short Introductions Podcast | Episode 27
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OEDWord of the day
clock-watch, v.
OXFORD REFERENCE​Fact of the Day
Which musical comedy features students of Rydell High?
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