ABOUT THE MOTION: This House Prefers Reading Oscar Wilde to George Orwell Do we prefer satire or comedy? Do we take refuge in the serious or the frivolous? Do we understand the importance of being earnest or would we rather be in room 101? These two authors demonstrate well two powerful traditions in British literature, the comic and the satirical. They both of course share in each other’s art. Some would argue that during our present global crises we should look to Orwell more than ever, others would reach for the escapism of Oscar Wilde. In a new enterprise for the Cambridge Union, we are beginning our cultural debates – and this is our first. At least for a while.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKER (Closing for the Proposition) Will Self is the author of 25 books, some of which have been translated into 25 languages. His Dorian: An Imitation is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray set during the AIDS crisis. He holds the Chair in Contemporary Thought at Brunel University, and lives in South London.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKER (Closing for the Abstention) Professor Angie Hobbs graduated in Classics and then a Ph.D. in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. After a Research Fellowship at Christ’s College, she moved to the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick. She was a judge of the Man Booker International Prize 2019 and is on the World Economic Forum Global Future Council 2018-9 for Values, Ethics and Innovation
Terry Jones, Monty Python founder and Life of Brian director, dies aged 77. Jones, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, was the main directing force in Python’s films, as well a prolific creator of TV documentaries and children’s books.
In 1969, Palin and Jones joined Cambridge graduates Cleese and Graham Chapman – along with Idle and animator Terry Gilliam – on a BBC comedy sketch show. Eventually broadcast under the title Monty Python’s Flying Circus, it ran until 1974, with Jones largely writing with Palin (complementing Cleese’s partnership with Chapman). Seemingly chaotic, frequently surreal and formally daring, Monty Python’s Flying Circus would became one of the most influential shows in BBC history, revolutionising comedy formats, spawning scores of catchphrases, and inspiring an entire generation of comedians. Jones’s fondness for female impersonation was a key feature of the show, as was his erudite writing.
A rising world population means we’ll need more food in the coming years. But much of our food relies on insect pollination, and insects are in decline around the world. Can we make flowers better at being pollinated, to help solve this problem?
Research from the Glover Lab (https://twitter.com/Beverley_CUBG) in the Department of Plant Sciences (https://twitter.com/PlantSci)
In a new film released as part of Cambridge University’s focus on Sustainable Earth, Dr Jane Goodall DBE talks about the environmental crisis and her reasons for hope. “Every single day that we live, we make some impact on the planet. We have a choice as to what kind of impact that is.”
At the age of 26, Jane Goodall travelled from England to what is now Tanzania, Africa, and ventured into the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. Among her many discoveries, perhaps the greatest was that chimpanzees make and use tools. She completed a PhD at Newnham College in Cambridge in 1966, and subsequently founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 to continue her conservation work and the youth service programme Roots & Shoots in 1991.
She now travels the world as a UN Messenger of Peace. “The human spirit is indomitable. Throughout my life, I’ve met so many incredible people – men and women who tackle what seems impossible and won’t give up until they succeed. With our intellect and our determined spirit, and with the tools that we have now, we can find a way to a better future.”
Cambridge University’s focus on Sustainable Earth looks at how we transition to a carbon zero future, protect the planet’s resources, reduce waste and build resilience.
See more here
From a Cambridge University Press (CUP) listing:
Aging, Duration, and the English Novel argues that the formal disappearance of aging from the novel parallels the ideological pressure to identify as being young by repressing the process of growing old. The construction of aging as a shameful event that should be hidden – to improve one’s chances on the job market or secure a successful marriage – corresponds to the rise of the long novel, which draws upon the temporality of the body to map progress and decline onto the plots of nineteenth-century British modernity.
The rapid onset of dementia after an illness, the development of gray hair after a traumatic loss, the sudden appearance of a wrinkle in the brow of a spurned lover. The realist novel uses these conventions to accelerate the process of aging into a descriptive moment, writing the passage of years on the body all at once.
Review and Purchase
Research has discovered the tallest known tree in the Amazon, towering above the previous record holder at a whopping 88.5 metres. This giant could store as much carbon as an entire hectare of rainforest elsewhere in the Amazon. Toby Jackson, a plant scientist in the University of Cambridge, took part in an expedition to find the tree in a remote region of northern Brazil, and validate its height the old-fashioned way – by climbing it.
To read more: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/expedition-finds-tallest-tree-in-the-amazon
In the new series “Economics For People” from the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), University of Cambridge economist and bestselling author Ha-Joon Chang explains key concepts in economics, empowering anyone to hold their government, society, and economy accountable.
Lecture 1.1: The Nature of Economics
Lecture 1.2: Five Reasons Why Economics Is Political
Lecture 2: What Is Wrong With Globalization?
To view more videos: https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/videos/economics-for-people