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Japan

22 Mar

Still feeling the effects of the tsunami


Tomohiro Harada

A survivor of the tsunami

It has been relatively a quiet weekend in Tokyo, but up north, the civil defence force is still discovering 1000 bodies per day. We are missing additional 15000 bodies somewhere in the zone where the Tsunami struck and the overall death toll is expected to top 20000. People are still dying, because of the strong cold weather and snow in the region without electricity. Over 20 communities ‘disappeared’ and 10 communities are still isolated from the rest. Supply lines are being formed, but the commodity price in the North are hiking very fast. The government are trying to respond though increase in supply, but it is becoming increasingly difficult as various vegetables are being scrapped as a result of nuclear contamination. Continue reading

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Bad dreams

21 Mar

Lucy Vauclair

Nuclear bomb

I’m prone to nightmares in periods of uneasiness. In my childhood a large snake slithering through my sheets and eventually choking me to death tormented my sleep. During my teenage years friends dressed as gorillas tended to push me off skyscrapers. My A Level period was haunted by an extremely large vanilla ice-cream cone which would land on my head, drowning me in its creamy goodness. But now I’m dreaming of the earth shaking itself so much it falls apart whilst scary fighter pilots bomb St Andrews with nuclear weapons. And I don’t think this reflects uneasiness about my upcoming graduation.

For a pretty long spell I’ve dreaded turning on the Today programme, accessing my Guardian homepage and listening to the 6 o’clock news because I just feel so disappointed by the decisions our governments are making on our behalf. Continue reading

Why the British do not have a sense of humor

17 Mar

Paul Francis

Which came first? American English or British English?

We’ve all been there. The essay is due in two days time. You think you have got everything ready to start writing: all the secondary literature has been read, the first coffee of many is steaming in front of you on the desk, Facebook has been checked for any outstanding messages, the BBC website has been verified for any breaking news from Libya which would undoubtedly demand your full attention as a conscientious and caring citizen of the world. Finally, the blank page is loaded up in front of you, daring you to start writing. One last look at Facebook, and at long last you start creating your umpteenth scholarly masterpiece on a topic which has been already been examined (by academics better and brighter than you) even more times than you have felt that depressing sense of excitement at discovering a vacant post-grad table in the library. Continue reading

Animal Lingo

4 Mar

Susannah Peel

So can animals really talk?

Are there really enough differences between human speech and the vocal communication of other animals to say that language is a purely human ability?

Do animals have linguistic abilities comparable to those of humans? This is a question which has provoked a lot of contentious scientific debate, and the one which I am investigating for my thesis. It fascinates me, both from a purely scientific and physiological approach looking at the brain structures involved in spoken language to the philosophical debate on animal awareness. Painting pet portraits on commission I have seen many different attitudes of owners towards their pets; many of whom raise domestic animals in the same way as they would raise a child. Continue reading

Il Messaggio

3 Mar

Sebastian Galastro

Il mio messaggio era un capo lavoro.

“Ciao, come va? Ti sei piaciuta ieri sera?”

Corto, ma non troppo corto, interessato,

Ma non troppo interessato. Insomma,

Un capo lavoro.

Anche se il sms partì con una

Alta rapidità, il corteggiamento era

Stato una vera guerra di trincea di

Più di un anno di lunghezza. Era il

Momento giusto d’avanzare.

Lo spedii alle undici ed un quarto, non

Troppo presto ma neanche troppo tardivo.

“Benché di solito non sono un esperto,

Questa volta ho fatto tredici” mi dissi.

Non potevo fallire. Continue reading