Tuesday 13th October 2015, 09:51 BST | Cambridge,UK


Exclusive: Dark Times at the UL

All 18 members of the bindery at the University Library are to lose their jobs after dramatic restructuring proposals were approved by management.

The plans, which were approved by the Library Syndicate, were circulated to staff on Wednesday, when they were informed of the closure of the bindery department.

Staff members have alleged to Varsity that they received no prior consultation about the planned closure before being told on 7th October.

A university spokesman confirmed that the Library Syndicate had approved these changes to preservation and collection care as “reserved business”, which are not included in publicly available minutes.

In response, one[Read full story]


The Cambridge Union: People’s Republic of Free Speech

The year is 2015, and in the People’s Republic of Free Speech (situated somewhere near the Round Church in Cambridge), all was well. In its ornate, wood-panelled Debating Chamber, our Glorious Leader sits resplendent upon a carved wooden throne. The rest of the Politburo flanks him, clad as he is in the traditional uniform of the Republic’s elite: the dinner jacket.

He casts his mind back to his election, not six months ago. As usual, it had been a magnificent expression of his nation’s commitment to democracy. The current Politburo had all been elected with overwhelming majorities of 100 per[Read full story]


Ted Talks: an interview with Josh Radnor

In 208 episodes over nine years, he played the pretentious, hopelessly romantic, red-cowboy-boot-sporting architect Ted Mosby. Yet, for someone who has filled such big boots, Josh Radnor remains a strange enigma. Having spent such a large portion of time acting in what was arguably the most popular sitcom on TV, he is surprisingly self-effacing, and genuinely very nice. Among other things – one being Radnor’s identification of me as the journalist who he thought was the “gossip (Tab) writer” – we discussed last year’s famously polarising ending of the show, the level of improvisation involved (you may re-watch the 191st[Read full story]


Beating cancer at its own game: the engineered virus

Bioengineers are taking inspiration from viruses to synthesise super-specific targeted vessels for chemotherapy drugs.

James Swartz and his team at Stanford have been re-engineering viruses to bring us closer to using virus-like particles in modern cancer therapy. They have added structures that enable a virus to bind to specific cancer cell markers, and have modified the existing structure to make it less likely to activate the body’s normal immune system. Four years ago, funding agencies said it couldn’t be done.

These findings highlight the potential for viruses to guide us towards the next big steps in drug therapies, in particular[Read full story]


TV: The Great British Bake Off – Episode 9

The Semifinal introduces the Bake Off tent to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory in the form of three very chocolatey challenges. However, were Charlie to venture into the tent, it would be a far less happy-clappy, psychedelic experience than his original Roald Dahl adventure: if the atmosphere in the Quarterfinal was apprehensive, the tension in the Semifinal could have been cut with a knife (excuse the pun), as friendly chatter is replaced by suspicious glances and self-doubt.

The battle to be in the grand finale kicks off with a chocolate tart as the Signature Challenge. For such a humble bake, there[Read full story]


The History of a Cantabrigian Student in Nine Objects: Part 2 – The Corpus Christi Great Horn

2. The Great Horn 

                          Auroch horn drinking horn, on loan from Corpus Christi                                                                 College, Cambridge

                                                        AD 1200-1300


The receptacles from which we have quenched our thirst[Read full story]


Is the TMO just TMI?

The opening game of the Rugby World Cup – England vs Fiji – took over two hours from start to finish. Over the course of the match, six incidents were referred to the Television Match Official (TMO), and this set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

In this World Cup, any decision relating to a try that is anything short of absolutely clear-cut is referred to the TMO as a matter of course. That’s before we even factor in the crackdown on “neck-rolls” in the ruck, and other dangerous play, which sees even greater use of video technology.[Read full story]


Review: Switch

In the wacky layout of the Corpus Playroom, the cast of six put so much spunk into their performance that the hour they had felt like 30 minutes – probably about the time I actually spent grinning, snorting, laughing or clapping. With a script that’s very rarely less than robust, often sparkling, and occasionally let-me-write-that-down-for-later brilliant, what do you expect? The premise: every joke is the set up of another. For Switch this means each 3-minute sketch begins with the cast in the position in which they ended the previous one. It sounds like a gimmick, but it works well[Read full story]


Uni considers plugging streetlight funding gap

Uni considers plugging streetlight funding gap

Cambridgeshire County Council claims that night time light off will not have an affect on crime levels as University ponders financial intervention

Union to hold referendum on Assange appearance

Union to hold referendum on Assange appearance

The plebiscite on 22nd October will decide whether the Union will invite the controversial journalist

Emily Maitlis: “I was so scared of leaving the bubble”

Emily Maitlis: “I was so scared of leaving the bubble”

Eddy Wax talks to the BBC journalist about her time at Cambridge, her fears, and moving on from university

Union releases Michaelmas termcard

Yanis Varoufakis, Yoko Ono, Katie Hopkins and Jerry Springer will be coming to Cambridge this term

Women’s Conference marks 50 years of Lucy Cavendish

Harriet Harman, Polly Toynbee and Suzanne Evans among those invited to conference to discuss remaining challenges to women in public life


Ted Talks: an interview with Josh Radnor

Ted Talks: an interview with Josh Radnor

How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor at the Union

Open your eyes

Open your eyes

Pixar and Dreamworks are not the only options; Bret Cameron argues that Western audiences should be more open to the beautiful images from many non-Western animations

Petar on Film: The Unconventional Rom-Com Part 2

Petar on Film: The Unconventional Rom-Com Part 2

Weekly columnist Petar Lekarski discusses Mistress America in the latest of his analyses on trends in film

Azeem Ward: the man behind the flute

Eddy Wax takes a look at the realities of being a living meme

Mike Bartlett: “It’s not going to be as good as Shakespeare.”

The award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett chats to Naomi Obeng about his controversial play King Charles III


The Cambridge Union: People’s Republic of Free Speech

The Cambridge Union: People’s Republic of Free Speech

In his third column, Ethan Axelrod debunks what’s really going on in Cambridge’s most popular society.

Cambridge has a duty to act on its lack of diversity

Oxbridge needs to stop paying lip service to its race problem and actually start combatting it

In defence of the right to criticise

It is vital that students be made aware of embarrassing facts about some of the university’s most important institutions

The Secret Diary of Katrina Kettlewell: Week 2

“I’m like actually devoid of sound, like, I am an ovary”

Online activism can only take us part way

Chris Waugh argues that to make radical progress, we must adopt a multiplicitous approach


There is no argument for fans footing the bill

There is no argument for fans footing the bill

At least the government might try and promote its case for austerity with economic reasoning. For the Premier League, there is no justification for the consistent hiking-up of ticket prices, argues Nick Jones.

Is the TMO just TMI?

Is the TMO just TMI?

Adam Woolf questions the use of the TMO at this years’ World Cup

Healthy lunches in Cambridge for under £5

Healthy lunches in Cambridge for under £5

Rosie Sargeant sets out to find a wholesome, healthy lunch under £5.

The golden boy that never was

Jon Mackenzie talks to Harry Leitch, ten-time Blue, who gave up sporting glory for medicine

Cambridge rears up for Varsity

Angus Satow talks to horce race competitor Annabelle Bates ahead of the first Varsity match of the academic year


The History of a Cantabrigian Student in Nine Objects: Part 2 - The Corpus Christi Great Horn

The History of a Cantabrigian Student in Nine Objects: Part 2 – The Corpus Christi Great Horn

In the second instalment of this series retracing the history of a Cantabrigian Student, Prof. Autuneuille presents to us The Corpus Christi Great Horn

The History of a Cantabrigian Student in Nine Objects

The History of a Cantabrigian Student in Nine Objects

In the first of the series, the director of the eminent Rugeloût Institute, Prof. Autuneuille, shows us the first of nine artefacts that tell the story of a Cambridge student

A pretentious guide to wine

A pretentious guide to wine

Former CUCA Chairman Daniel Jennings provides some sage advice when it comes to choosing wines

Anxiety and me

Ana Persinaru shares her personal perspective on anxiety and the help she has received while at Cambridge

Daniel Zeichner MP: five months on

New Cambridge Labour MP Daniel Zeichner, who unseated incumbent Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert in May, has had far from an uneventful summer.


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