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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Harlots all over the place

Harlot turned up in English texts in the thirteenth century, acquired its present-day sense (“prostitute”) about two hundred years later, and ousted all the previous ones. Those “previous ones” are worthy of recording…

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The poetics and politics of rap music in the UK

Looking at current events in the UK, one can conclude that the Kingdom is far from united. While media outlets such as the BBC and newspapers tell a particular story of the situation, I have found that there is a missing voice in these discourses which shed an important light on these contexts. The British rapper, or MC.

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When is a patent price ever “unfairly high”?

The boundaries between patent and antitrust are never crystal clear. Part of the confusion comes from patent law’s historical “monopoly” roots. In early 17th century England, those ‘letter patents’ that originated from meritorious artisans’ grants in Renaissance Venice, took an upsetting twist and degraded into a royal privilege to monopolize trades by those favored by the Crown.

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Making Time for Music

They may not be pros—but they’re recording artists now

“If you give yourself to something that you think isn’t going to work, sometimes it does,” says retired school teacher and lifelong choir member Linda Bluth. She’s commenting on a surprising new musical bright spot that has popped up during the coronavirus pandemic: ordinary people becoming recording artists.

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How cancer impacts older patients

The rapid growth of the population in the United States has resulted in an increase in the number of cancer patients who were diagnosed with having cancer when they were older. We need to learn more specifically in what ways cancer affects older cancer patients’ lives compared to those who are younger.

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On the same page: Harlequin, harlots, and all, all, all

Next comes harness, first recorded in English around 1300 with the sense “baggage, equipment; trappings of a horse.” But around the same time, it could also mean “body armor; tackle, gear,” as it still does in German (Harnisch). The route is familiar: from Old French to Middle English.

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Journal of the European Economic Association

The importance of occupational skills in understanding why individuals migrate

Why do some individuals move to another country, while others don’t? This question is fundamental because it has important implications for the characteristics of migrants, for the speed of integration of migrants into the destination country’s labor market, and, more generally, for the impact of migration on the sending and destination country.

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Beethoven: Variations on a Life

Five things you didn’t know about Beethoven

Films like Immortal Beloved and Copying Beethoven, whatever their value as entertainment, have helped create an image of the composer that often runs counter to the historical evidence. Here are five things that might surprise you about the composer. He laughed a lot Most images of Beethoven—especially those done after his death—show him scowling. But […]

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The emerging economic themes of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created both a medical crisis and an economic crisis. The tasks currently facing policy-makers are extraordinary. The ideas, arguments, and proposals in a new special issue of OxREP are intended to support them in that urgent work.

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Turn-taking in Shakespeare

And thus Zoom turns us all to fools and madmen

With characteristic aplomb, then, Shakespeare has anticipated—by a good four hundred years—exactly what happens when more than three people try to chat informally via Zoom. The kind of interaction that would be relatively straightforward in person becomes torturously difficult. Everything takes longer. Everything requires more effort. Without careful attention to what linguists call “turn-taking,” things quickly descend into chaos.

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Why do humans have property?

Property is a rather old subject. We’ve been writing about it since at least the time of the Sumerian tablets, in part, because after four and a half millennia we still haven’t settled on what property is, who has it, how we get it, or even what it’s for.

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Scientific communication in the shadow of COVID-19

One of the most fundamental processes within any scientific field is communication of results of research, without which research cannot have an impact. If any piece of research is worth doing, effort is expended in doing it, and the results are of interest, then the research is not truly complete until it has been recorded and passed on to those who need to know the findings.

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How to write a byline

A while back, I wrote a post on How to Write a Biography, with some tips for long-form writing about historical and public figures. However, that’s not the only kind of biographical writing you might be called upon to do. You might need to write about yourself.

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As daft as a brush and its kin

Some similes make sense: for example, as coarse as hemp (or heather). Hemp and heather are indeed coarse. But cool as a cucumber? Many phrases of this type exist thanks to alliteration. Perhaps at some time, somewhere, cucumbers were associated with coolness, but, more likely, the simile was coined as a joke: just listen to coo-coo in it!

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