Oxford

Oxford IV 2014

Molly and Jamie are doing a smashing job and this is all massively exciting! But for fear of failing to move on from what is no someone else’s party, the remainder of this shall be decidedly boring in format.

Oxford IV 2014 Convenors

Oxford IV 2014 Convenors Jamie Jackson and Molly McParland

Various bits of Oxford IV 2014 related news.:

1. Molly McParland and Jamie Jackson have been appointed Oxford IV 2014 Convenors
2. The Oxford IV will take place on the 14th-15th November 2014.
3. CA Team: Colin Etnire, Emilia Carlqvist, Tasha Rachman, Christine Simpson
4. Website: http://oxfordiv.com/
5. Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1455058821411915/
6. Registration: International registration opens 1 August, IONA registration opens 1 September with 20 half-price IONA spots opening at the same time
7. Discount for new IONA universities

We want to make sure that the Oxford IV represents a competition that is accessible to all IONA universities. It is an international competition, but an IONA-centric one. Therefore, we are offering 20 team places at half price this year to IONA institutions who do not normally attend, or have not recently attended, the IV. These places will be assigned on the basis of competitive application, with spreading opportunities being the primary criterion. We believe that the Oxford IV should be accessible to all of IONA’s best debaters, regardless of the wealth of their society.

Mooting about real life

Just completed a moot competition yesterday. Mooting’s one of those things law students do during their uni years, but what was really interesting about this particular moot wasn’t so much the process itself, but the fact that, for the first time, I could see the real life implications or at least relevance of what we were doing.

This was a moot with a moot problem which wasn’t fictional but in fact a real case, based on real facts that actually happened in real life, in proceedings following from an official judgment by an active court, and even judged ultimately by one fo the leading barristers to the case. And if the reality of the case hadn’t been established yet, the case was one which could be found online, with facebook pages campaign for both parties, and one could even identify the family members of the parties to the case. As I later discovered, the same application is likely to be submitted in the foreseeable future, which implies that the case might be argued before a real court, potentially seeing some of the arguments being run many times better.

Mooting, Debating, Model United Nations and all those other exercises we do during our time in academia often appear to have little to no value. They happen, they finish, (often someone wins and others lose), and then we all go home. That’s that.

So I guess I’m thankful for this weeks moot, not because in process or substance it was that different from other moots, but because it was particularly refreshing in how it narrowed the gap between the academic simulation and real life!

Cue entirely unrelated photo

A photo of an entirely different mooting event I was in, but since I haven’t posted this before, and given its tangential relevance 😀 (Click for details of the photo)

Shulman Auditorium, The Queen’s College

One of the thing that Queen’s is quite proud of is our Shulman Auditorium, which is quite new, very pretty and has even won a few awards. But it wasn’t until quite recently that I was able to get a glimpse of what it might have looked like before. Whilst searching through planning permission requests related to college for an entirely unrelated purpose, I came across a photo of the place before the building began. Here it is, compared with 2 images of the Auditorium that has since replaced it.

Oxford Womens Open 2014 [MOTIONS][RESULTS]

Motions for the Oxford Womens Open 2014, CAed by Sally Rooney and Catherine Murphy

R1: TH Supports Separatism In Identity Politics Movements
R2: THW Set A Quota for British Players on Premier League Football Teams
R3: TH Condemns Liberal Support for Pope Francis
R4: TH Supports a Global Wealth Tax
R5: THW Allow Individuals to Sue Those Who Lie to Them in Order to Engage Them in Sex
SF: THW Ban Autonomous Military Drones
GF: THB Feminists Should Not Remove Their Body Hair (or words to that effect)
Thanks to Georgie for the SF and GF motions!

Baillie Gifford who sponsored this year’s tournament

The competition was won by Georgie Barker and Marlena Valles.
The tournament’s Best Speaker was Amanda Moorghen.

The full tab can be found at http://www.tabbieballots.com/tabs/oxfordwomens14/

Oxford Schools Debating Competition 2014 [RESULTS]

Unfortunately I wasn’t even able to actually attend this year’s Finals which is a pity because I’ve heard that it was pretty awesome.
I did manage to fish the tab off another website (http://www.mcsoxford.org/resource.aspx?id=12310) which I hope is accurate.

Dulwich Grand Finalists: (L-R) Ronan Patrick, Louis Collier, Will Cook, Raffy Marshall

Grand Final
Motion: THBT All WW1 Centenary Commemorations Should Exclude Any References to Bravery, or Positive Experiences of Participants

Dulwich RR: Raffy Marshall, Ronan Patrick
Eton ET: Harry Elliott, Toby Tricks
Latymer Upper A: Sam Feinberg, Joe Rachman
Dulwich CC: Louis Collier, Will Cook

The Grand Final was won by Dulwich CC: Louis Collier and Will Cook

Lord Hannay of Chiswick

Helped OUUNA host it’s final speaker event of the academic year with Lord Hannay of Chiswick delivering a substantive and rather comprehensive view on the UN in the years to come. As always, the Shulman Auditorium just couldn’t stop looking great.

One year gone…

And just like that, the first year of university is over. It’s been a strange transition. One might be forgiven for thinking that the IB was a tough new world, but academically speaking, the IB was not so different from IGCSEs. Certainly not compared to a curriculum that has maybe 8-9 hours of lectures a week and requires you to actually demonstrate your knowledge/learning only thrice a fortnight. It brings with it not only an incredible amount of freedom, but the phrase ‘self-directed learning’ takes a whole new twist when you literally have to learn almost everything by yourself. No-more classes, teachers and detailed mark-schemes for you to memorise. Just lots of books and the freedom to think. If nothing else, the lack of posts this academic year (bar the now almost obligatory WSDC and WIDPSC coverage) is evidence of the taxing nature of Oxford, and perhaps my involvement in too many things for my own good.

CIMG4300It’s been quite a fun year, despite all the work. There are thankfully no exams now until 2015, a fact that is both comforting and intensely worrying if one were to consider the number of hours that will need to be spent in exams come that time. Debating and MUN are both more varied and fun at university level, albeit a lot scarier. And then there are a host of other things available at university that have tickled my fancy and stolen my time and energy.

Now that summer has dawned, I can finally catch-up on sleep (managed nearly half a day of sleeping night before last) and hopefully gear myself up for the next year or two.

Why humans like to cry

This is a random collection of thoughts that came after a talk organised by the Oxfordshire Branch of the British Science Association. It was titled ‘Why humans like to cry – tragedy, evolution, and the brain’ by Professor Michael Trimble.

Why even worry about this issue? Simple really. Animals have emotions and are capable of producing tears. But humans are unique in that they cry and produce tears emotionally rather than for biological reasons.

Women cry more than men at a ratio of about 5 to 1. This raises the question of whether this is for biological reasons (in terms of the way men develop or their brains are wired) or whether this is attributable to sociological reasons (such as societal views that make crying acceptable or unacceptable in particular circumstances or for people of different genders).
I think this is, for the most part, a social construct. That said, it may have arisen from perfectly defensible societal demands such as the fact that men in hunter-gatherer time had to continue hunting or growing crops even in the face of hard times and adversity, whereas women may have had more time to mourn and grieve so to speak.
What is more interesting, as was noted by Prof. Trimble, was the question of why the gender gap hasn’t been reduced if its source has been sociological. One would expect that societal views might change given the new circumstances. And yet, men are more likely to apologise for crying, more likely to cry quietly and in less discoverable places.

Undoubtedly, crying is very much a contextual activity. The perhaps obvious explanation for crying is that it is something triggered by emotions. Joy, sorry and bereavement can all be causes, in some instances injustice also triggers crying. More interestingly are instances where there is no prescribed or specific emotion that is easily identifiable, but rather the weight of a myriad of emotions that triggers crying.

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Oxford Schools Debating Tournament 2013 – Finals Day [MOTIONS]

The Tournament was CAed by Hasan Dindjer and Stephanie Bell.

R1: THW Grant An Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants
R2: THW Remove Patent Protection On Life-Saving Drugs In Low Income Countries
R3: THW Place Significant Decisions On Environmental Protection In The Hands Of Scientific Experts Rather Than Democratic Bodies
R4: THW Require All Religions To Allow Women To Ascend To Their Highest Ranks
GF: TH Opposes The Funding And Arming Of The Syrian Rebels By Western Nations