Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why do people become lawyers?

It never occurred to me to study law at university. I mean it literally never entered my head, I was only even vaguely aware of the possibility. When I arrived at Sidney Sussex College, I discovered all these people working for hours in the library, engaged in what seemed to be a massive test of… Continue Reading

Cambridge faces up to drought

The east of England, including Cambridge, is officially in a drought. This comes as incredible news to those many people who imagine the UK as trapped in a perpetual rainstorm. For the record, here are mean annual rainfall amounts (mm) for some cities. Cambridge is shown first for the average of 1996-2011 and then for… Continue Reading

The United Republic

On Monday 6 February 2012, Queen Elizabeth the Second will celebrate her diamond jubilee – 60 years on the throne (though she was actually crowned in June 1952). The main practical significance of this is that we get an extra public holiday (for this year only). Cynics will note that royal events always seem to… Continue Reading

A great site for learning languages

Having struggled to learn Chinese for a few months, I was delighted when our teacher recommended a site that really helps learn the characters. Memrise has many languages on it but it will be most helpful for when you’re learning a completely new alphabet or different script. It works by an electronic equivalent of flashcards… Continue Reading

Merry Christmas

It’s customary in Britain to wish people a merry Christmas and a happy new year. This greeting is used by everyone and has no religious connotations. I know that in North America people often say “happy holidays” for fear of offending those who are not Christians. Well I’m not a Christian either (nor do I… Continue Reading

The frogs strike back

In the interests of full disclosure and admiration for a good joke, here is the cover of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French magazine. It’s interesting to see how the French (and perhaps others) see the contemporary British, sorry English.   I think it says, “But who wants the English in Europe?”… Continue Reading