Darwin College Lecture Series

University_of_Cambridge_coat_of_arms_official.svgDarwin College’s 2017 lecture series continues in the coming weeks. This year’s theme is ‘Extremes’ – fairly topical at the moment. However, the lectures are not only on politics; there is ‘Extreme Rowing’, ‘Extremes of the Universe’ and ‘Reporting from Extreme Environments’ as well as ‘Extreme Politics’ all still to come. The talks are really interesting and accessible, and free!

If you’re interested, check out this link: http://www.darwin.cam.ac.uk/lectures

Spring History Forum

The annual Cambridge History Forum is coming up on Saturday 4th March with the theme ‘Revolutionaries and Revolutions’ at Selwyn College. The day runs from 10.00-13.15 and consists of three lectures:

  • ‘Russia in 1917’ – Prof. Chris Read.
  • ‘The Marxist’s Model Revolution’ – Prof. Robert Tombs.
  • ‘The Aftermath and Legacy of the Russian Revolution’ – Dr Jonathan Davis.

The lectures are followed by a forum discussion and you can choose to stay for a Buffet Lunch in Selwyn College that can include a tour of the History Faculty.

One lecture £3 on the door, Two or Three lectures £5 on the door, All lectures and lunch £15 (must book in advance) so see http://www.cambridgehistoryforum.com for details.

The lectures this year look really interesting and will be especially useful if you study History in L6 as they are directly connected to the IB/A Level content.

Santa, Lies, and a very Merry (psychologically destructive) Christmas to you

A new study conducted by two psychologists has warned that parents encouraging the belief of Father Christmas can actually cause psychological damage and throw off a child’s moral compass.

imagesThe premise is simple. The fact that your parents can lie to you, even about something which is seen as magical and exciting, can lead a child’s trust in their parents to be undermined and leave them open to “abject disappointment” when they eventually discover that Santa doesn’t really exist. If a relationship between a parent and child is vulnerable, the child may come to realise that if their parents can lie so convincingly over a long period of time, they could be lying about other things too. In fact, one of the researchers stated that ‘this may be the final straw’.

The researchers also stated reasons why the ‘Santa lie’ is so global and why it continues to persist in today’s society. Firstly, they say, humans have a natural tendency to conform to what is around us, even if it seems illogical. In other words, our parents and friends and everyone around us tells us Santa is real when we are a child and thus we believe in him so as not to be left out. Second, the evidence suggests that even adults as well as children have an urge to escape reality though make believe and fantasy. So in a way, believing in Santa is a form of escapism for us all.

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Mr Walker Interview

An interview with the Senior School’s Headteacher – Mr Walker

By Qifei Zou and Francesca Boyce-Cam

Could you give us an introduction into your educational/work background?

I grew up in Berkshire, where I went to a state primary and secondary school. At A-Level, I studied Maths, Physics and Biology and went to Bristol University, where I took my degree in Physics and Philosophy. I enjoyed living in Bristol during these years so I decided to stay there to do my teacher training and worked at Clifton College for three years. Then I worked in Africa for a few years with VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas –  as a teacher in a secondary school. After I returned to England, I worked in a boarding school in Croydon, then at Wellington College as head of department, house-master, and then eventually headmaster. And here we are today.

What advice do you have for university applicants? How did you find your own university experience?

Do something you love. I think you should be authentic to yourself in your application. Aside from that, every human being is interesting – but how do you show that? You need to do interesting things. It could be as simple as reading books but you could visit interesting places or start an organisation. Lastly, I think try and enjoy the process. Despite the pressure, it is a wonderful opportunity not everyone receives.

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Ellen Degeneres – Comedians in politics

Ellen Degeneres has been, arguably, one of the most influential people, and indeed one of the best comedians, of recent times. Her passion for equality, fairness, positivity, optimism and humility set an example for the 15 million people who tune into her show every week, and also the 18 million youtube subscribers she brings in.

ellen-degeneres-1.jpg

Ellen has been an image of courage and bravery for a long time now. This shone through when she revealed in 1997 in her sit-com ‘Ellen’ that she is homosexual by very bluntly saying “Yep, I’m gay”. This made history, as she was the first to ever do such a thing, and encouraged plenty more to come out as homesexual. At the time though, this received severe backlash, even leading to her sit-com being cancelled, and her going into a depression for a few years. She came out of this though, and ever since, has become an even more passionate and influential voice for the LGBTQ community. She even married her girlfriend of four years in 2008, after the overturn of the same-sex marriage ban.

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RIP Vine

24/1/13 – 30/10/16 

Popular 7 second video sharing site gets discontinued by twitter.

On the 30th of October 2016, our lives were changed forever. Vine, a popular video sharing site where users upload seven second videos, was discontinued by Twitter. 2016 had been bad enough, what with the passing of Harambe and MattyB getting grounded, but this was the cherry on the cake.

Twitter purchased the app in 2012 and helped it to become home to more than 40 million users who have created 1.5 billion videos since 2013.

“Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app,” the tech company said in the announcement. “We value you, your Vines, and we are going to do this the right way.”

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