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The GDP Fudge: China Edition

For all its shortcomings, the gross domestic product (GDP) of a country remains an important barometer of its economic health, strongly influencing both private and public spending. Though conceptually simple as the total dollar value of all goods and services produced within a specified time frame, calculating GDP is tricky in practice and can be...

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How Art Helped Construct Afrikaner Nationalism in Apartheid South Africa

In this revised extract from the introduction to Troubling Images: Visual Culture and the Politics of Afrikaner Nationalism, the book’s editors assess how art and design helped forge Afrikaner nationalism. In Banal Nationalism British academic Michael Billig writes, “If the future remains uncertain, we know the past history of nationalism. And that should be sufficient...

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The Queen of Spades: A Card, An Obsession, A Musical Spectacle

Many Americans are familiar with Italian, French and even German operas. Some prefer the ease of operas performed in English such as “Porgy and Bess,” but less familiar to audiences stateside are Russian operas.  Thankfully, Tchaikovsky gave us eleven worthy operas; and while the most popular is arguably “Eugene Onegin,” his work “The Queen of...

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Inane Things with a Taste of Freedom

In 1945, the Soviet Army seized the film archive of the Third Reich, the so-called Reichfilmarchive, and brought it from Berlin to Moscow. The archive contained thousands of movies from various countries. Since then, the German, American, and a few European trophies circulated throughout the Soviet Union despite a lack of an effective distribution license....

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How Does Language Emerge?

How the languages of the world emerged is largely a mystery. Considering that it might have taken millennia, it is intriguing to see how deaf people can create novel sign languages spontaneously. Observations have shown that when deaf strangers are brought together in a community, they come up with their own sign language in a...

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Unemployment Encourages Men to Try Traditionally Female-Dominated Work

Unemployment significantly increases the odds of men entering jobs traditionally performed by women. And, notably, some men find real job advantages as a result. The U.S. labor market has been in the midst of significant changes for decades, and some traditionally male-dominated work sectors have been shrinking. Accordingly, many men in these fields risk unstable...

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Alibaba’s $38 Billion-Plus in Single’s Day Sales Top Last Year in New Record

Concerns abound about whether Chinese consumers will continue to splurge on luxury goods and other “non-essential” items, with Sanford C. Bernstein revealing “weakening discretionary spending” and “more muted” demand from Chinese customers, thereby, suggesting that “the luxury-goods sector may be close to a ‘temporary plateau.’” While such news does not bode well for luxury brands, according to...

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Hurricanes Affecting Puerto Rico Reveal the Serious Crisis the Country Is Experiencing

In the autumn of 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed Puerto Rico causing thousands of deaths, illnesses and suffering, which brought about a situation of serious economic, political and public health crisis, and widespread death and destruction. However, neither the US nor the Puerto Rican government reacted adequately to such a grave situation. A scientific...

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Beyond Borders: Geographers Link Formation of International Laws to Refugee Crisis

West Virginia University geographers are linking the political and human rights issues at borders today to the legacies of foreign and domestic policy across the globe since World War I. Karen Culcasi and Cynthia Gorman, of the Department of Geology and Geography in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, have studied more than 100 years of international laws that have...