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Tuesday 4th August 2015, 06:20 BST | Cambridge,UK

News

Cambridge conducting “root and branch” exam review

The University of Cambridge has announced that it will perform a thorough review “considering all aspects of the examination process”.

The “root and branch” evaluation will address whether the three-hour written exam should remain the “primary” form of assessment, whether students are made to sit too many examinations, and if the attitude to re-sits needs rethinking.

It will also reflect on the possible use of technology and ‘digital exams’, as well as alternative methods to assess students. The review will consider if reports, long essays and multiple-choice questions could be more prominently used.

Professor Graham Virgo, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education,[Read full story]

Comment

Books by their covers

I am not vain, but I was anorexic.

I am not sure some of my friends understood the difference. Their incomprehension bred a lack of patience and compassion which occasionally manifested itself in a running first person narrative of my eating habits. I’m pretty sure they found it hilarious.

“I’m only going to have a banana for lunch because I can’t possibly manage any more.”

“And then I’m going to go to the bathroom and throw it up.”

“I wish I could be like you, and never be hungry,” someone remarked, after yet another botched attempt at clearing a half-plate[Read full story]

Culture

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die

It’s always great when one of our own takes the path less travelled, and now Marnie Riches has done just that with her debut thriller novel The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, set to take the world by storm. The title might remind you of a certain Swedish novel, and the similarity is no accident; Riches’ girl, George, is full of the grit, determination, and strength we are coming to love in our thriller heroines.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die follows feisty Cambridge student, George, as she begins an investigation into a series of attacks in Amsterdam. Soon though, it becomes[Read full story]

Science

The recap theory of evolution

Most people have heard of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by means of natural selection. While this theory is widely accepted by the scientific community today, Darwin unsurprisingly faced widespread opposition when he first published his book, On the Origin of Species. He had anticipated this reaction and had accumulated support for his theory that he included in his book – one of these pieces of support was recapitulation theory.

Recapitulation theory, also known as the ‘biogenetic law’ or ‘embryological parallelism’, is best summarised in the words of the 19th century German scientist Ernst Haeckel: “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.”[Read full story]

Reviews

Editor’s Lunch: when Features met Magazine

Tom Wheeldon

In the outer Siberia past Christ’s pieces lurks the sub-culture of Mill Road, full of independent restaurants where Cambridge’s doyennes of the metropolitan elite such as Miss Cockerell go to eat, in a vain attempt to absolve themselves of a totally unnecessary guilt at growing up in nice houses in Notting Hill. There are many fine culinary establishments around here – the Turkish restaurant Tulip being its delectable jewel in the crown – but Norfolk Street’s Zhongua Traditional Snacks is not one of them.

Issy suggested that I liked it more than the impression I gave, as epitomised[Read full story]

Features

Ten Weeks in Kempala – Part I: Welcome to the Pearl of Africa

It’s my grandfather’s fault that I’m here. I mean, apart from literally existing – he’s partly to blame for that too, of course – but a peculiar value system of his has dragged me (not quite kicking and screaming but certainly in the days leading up to my departure, reluctantly) to this terracotta dust city of Kampala, Uganda. 

My grandfather’s philosophy, shared by my mother in a (thankfully) diluted form, is that there are only two luxuries your money should buy: education and travel. Obviously, after two weeks here I can safely say that, despite what I had previously thought, everything my[Read full story]

Sport

Varsity Rugby fixture to be televised by the BBC

The BBC will broadcast the 134th annual Varsity rugby fixture between Oxford and Cambridge Universities at Twickenham in December.

The Corporation has reclaimed the television rights from Sky Sports, ensuring they will broadcast the Men’s fixture live for the next five years, as well as showing highlights of the Women’s fixture, which will be held on the same day as the Men’s for the first time in their history this year.

The move sees the fixture return to a terrestrial screening after a long absence, with the Beeb having first broadcast the fixture back in 1938.

Light Blues Captain, Don Stevens, told[Read full story]

Theatre

Actéon

If one stepped back from the wallowing mire of May Week into Clare chapel last Friday, one would have come across, as Actaeon came across Diana at her toilet, the prospect of the chapel metamorphosed into a sylvan scene of nymphs and huntsmen and golden trees, a delicate retreat to be filled with exquisite music.

And it undeniably was filled with exquisite music. Charpentier’s Actéon is the sort of small late 17th century opera that, much like its contemporary, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, succeeds in exciting and moving the audience without grand and exaggerated gestures. Its emphasis on liberté,[Read full story]

NEWS

Lammy takes aim at Homerton welfare provision

Lammy takes aim at Homerton welfare provision

Speaking in Parliament last week, MP and London Mayoral hopeful David Lammy attacked Homerton College’s approach to pastoral care

Cambridge places 4th in global university rankings

Cambridge places 4th in global university rankings

New university rankings confirm Cambridge’s place among the global elite, placing the university ahead of Oxford

Scientists unleash cake-powered rocket punt on the River Cam

Scientists unleash cake-powered rocket punt on the River Cam

Fuelled by Fitzbillies’ famous Chelsea buns, the rocket-powered punt made waves down on the River Cam earlier this week

Mary Beard criticises Nobel Laureates plan

The famous classicist has hit out against “institutional conservatism” in the decision to name streets after almost exclusively male Nobel Laureates

Cambridge student writing featured alongside Harper Lee

Oxbridge’s student creative writing anthology displayed in Cambridge’s most famous bookshop alongside 2015’s most highly sought novel

CULTURE

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die

Jessica Barnfield talks to Girton alumna Marnie Riches about her new crime thriller

In defense of Kitsch

In defense of Kitsch

Archie Squire Lindsay considers artwork that has been unfairly diminished by the term ‘kitsch’

Sidney Sussex Arts Festival

Sidney Sussex Arts Festival

A marvellous day of arts and culture to top off May Week, says Samuel Hewitt

An afternoon with Robert Macfarlane

The prize-winning nature and travel writer and fellow of Emmanuel College discusses his new book with Katherine Dunbar

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Varsity Screen Editor Will Roberts & Julia Craggs debate Cantab alum Eddie Redmayne’s starring role in the forthcoming Harry Potter spin off

COMMENT

Books by their covers

Books by their covers

We must not lose sight of eating disorders as mental health issues

A road by any other name

We should be rewriting history, not just regurgitating it, with our choices, says Ellie Coote

Snap out of it and live in the moment

Ian Johnston says we should do more of our May Week than just photograph it

May Week: a relic of an elitist past

Can we really excuse ourselves for the sheer decadence of May Week, asks Noa Lessof-Gendler?

Editorial: Are May Week and journalism both just products?

Will Hutton discusses the motives behind this year’s cover of Varsity’s May Week Issue

SPORT

Varsity Rugby fixture to be televised by the BBC

Varsity Rugby fixture to be televised by the BBC

In the year that the Women’s side make their inaugural appearance at Twickenham, the BBC reclaim the rights to broadcast the annual fixture

The football season in a nutshell

The football season in a nutshell

Felix Schlichter rewinds through the 2014/15 football season

Simon Johnson: Qatar under

Simon Johnson: Qatar under “added pressure” without Blatter

Speaking with Peter Rutzler, the England World Cup 2018 bid chief says Qatar is now under “added pressure” following resignation of Sepp Blatter

Formula 1 and its Existentialist Crisis

Felix Schlichter explains why F1 is declining – and fast

FIFA: The Corrupt and the Geopolitical

Why FIFA’s crisis could have consequences beyond its Zurich headquarters, explains Peter Rutzler

FEATURES

Ten Weeks in Kempala - Part I: Welcome to the Pearl of Africa

Ten Weeks in Kempala – Part I: Welcome to the Pearl of Africa

“It doesn’t matter how tall your grandfather was, you have to do all your own growing.” – African proverb

Agony Aunt and Uncle solve your woes

Agony Aunt and Uncle solve your woes

The final injection of sort your life out

Breaking into May Balls: a bluffer's guide

Breaking into May Balls: a bluffer’s guide

Varsity’s May Ball gatecrasher gives us the low down on how to get into the May Ball you’ve always wanted to attend

May Week on a shoe string budget

Varsity’s Features Editors show you how to save in style

Agony Aunt and Uncle solve your woes

Weekly injection of ‘sort your life out’

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