The NASA rover “Perseverance,” whose exploits on Mars were behind a spike in the use of the word earlier this year Nicolas Lobos/unsplash

 ‘Perseverance’ named as Cambridge Dictionary’s word of 2021

Looked up “more than 243,000 times” on Cambridge Dictionary’s website in 2021, the dictionary has crowned “perseverance” as the word of this year. This follows “Quarantine” being the word of the year in 2020.

In relation to the naming of the word of the year, Cambridge Dictionary Publishing Manager, Wendalyn Nichols, said: “It made sense that lookups of perseverance spiked at this time. Cambridge Dictionary is the top website in the world for learners of English, and perseverance is not a common word for students of English to have in their vocabulary. We often see spikes in lookups of words associated with current events when those words are less familiar.”

Initially, the word is thought to have spiked due to NASA’s Perseverance Rover’s descent to Mars earlier in the year, but the word continued to be popular in the months following. It is thought that this is due to the challenges such as “COVID-19, climate disasters, political instability and conflict” that 2021 presented.

Three AI homes demolished in Cambridge

Three artificial intelligence homes in Cambridge, worth £600,000 each, are in the process of being demolished

Despite the innovative technology used to design the homes, it was the steel frames of the properties which led inspectors to deem the buildings ‘unsafe’ during their construction. 

It is not all bad news for the homes, however. This ruling has not been detrimental to the overall project as after their demolishment, a new contractor will rebuild them. The initial contractor will be subject to “legal proceedings” following the termination of their contract. Eleven other homes in the project, named Cityglades, are also affected. 

“Months” of delays will be faced by buyers, though once they are built they are claimed to be “truly unique” as the artificial intelligence will control “heating, lighting and security.”

Protesters wield a huge white elephant against Oxford Cambridge Arc

To show their disapproval of the government’s future plans regarding the Oxford Cambridge Arc, campaigners have installed a large white elephant outside Milton Keynes Stadium. 

The plans that the protesters are opposed to are those that aim to build an East-West Rail link between Oxford and Cambridge. This development would also create over one million jobs and build one million houses. 

The official government documents, however, claim that the arc will “support long-run sustainable economic growth across the area”. These same documents also state that the arc will “support lasting improvements to the environment, green infrastructure and biodiversity.” 

Widespread support, according to the campaigners, has not been shown, with only four percent of people voting “yes” for the Arc, in a survey “conducted by organisers.”  

The issue of “overdevelopment” is why the Secretary of the Stop the Arc Group, Professor David Rogers is opposed to the project.  

Buckingham MP Greg Smith has shown his support for those opposing the Arc with alternative solutions and emphasises the necessity of a “local” approach to planning.

Singer Will Young handcuffs himself to gates in Cambridgeshire puppy protest 

For a number of months, protestors have been campaigning for the shutting down of a facility which breeds beagles for animal research, MBR Acres site near RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire. 

The “animal lover” singer and actor Will Young joined in these protests, handcuffing himself to the gates of the facility, claiming that he was willing to be “arrested” for his actions. 

Young says he "deliberately handcuffed [him]self to the gates... They are called the gates of hell”.  

The twitter account “Camp Beagle” documented the event, along with the demonstrations of many others. 

The protestors call for research conducted on computers instead of animals, while the movement became more popular after footage of the alleged treatment in these sites.