Sunday, 5 December 2010

Cantab. misc.

Well, I'm in Cambridge again, on a trip I've had to organise quite carefully to fit in with other things, like a talk I gave on Thursday night in London, which was quite good fun.  Even though it's always a bad time in Cambridge, I accidentally picked a particularly bad time to come up, having failed to notice that it was a) Commemoration of Benefactors b) interviews season.  I'm going to buy a card for the woman who found me a college room despite all this, to thank her and apologise.  At the Commemoration of Benefactors service they read out the names of all the college's benefactors, starting with a brewer called Margery, and then one of the fellows gives a short talk about some aspect of the college's history.  There's a pleasing old-school piety about it, piety in the old Roman sense of remembering the ancestors.  The interviews, on the other hand, are very much of the now.  I get really annoyed whenever I hear people moan about Oxbridge admissions, because I know how much sincere effort is put into it in Cambridge at least.  Almost everyone is completely taken over by it for about a week or more, and there is constant discussion at lunch about how to be fair, and what's the best way to look for potential rather than the effects of past tutoring.  It's really hard work to do, I remember well, because you're dealing with seventeen-year-olds and you want to give them as many opportunities as possible in a short time to show you that they can think.  Now that I haven't done it for a few years I've got a good outside perspective on the vast amounts of effort that everyone puts in.  I had a job interview a while ago at a top UK university, one of the best non-Oxbridge ones, and when I asked how they went about selecting their students from the applications, the head of the department couldn't tell me, and the whole panel talked about it as some dull duty they'd managed cleverly to avoid.  While in Cambridge it's seen as something you'd want to have a say in, an important part of what a university does.

When recently Die Antwoord were "all up in the interweb", as they put it, I didn't pay a lot of attention because so much of the coverage seemed to about the unusual disease which one of the bandmates has.  Plus what are the chances that Boing Boing and I would share a taste in music?  But I quite like this one:

That's the clean version, which has lots of punch and slap noises over the words in an "Uzi lover" style, which I find quite funny.

Although getting the internet in my current room involved moving all the furniture and unscrewing a mystery white box using the end of the squashed penny I got at Bristol zoo with my little nephew (it made me feel like the evil bloke from No Country for Old Men, except that he used unsquashed pennies with no sentimental value), and then buying a cable from the big Tesco's and getting involved in a minor car crash in the taxi on the way back, plus the usual restarting and endless retyping of credit card details, now I've got it working it's so much faster than Devon internet that it feels really luxurious.  I can watch YouTube videos without having to pause and wait for the download to catch up, and I can stream live TV using

Aso here are some good photographs I saw on the web.  These two large photos of stock exchanges are very striking.  Here's a thing about making real life things look like models.  Here are some good London photos.

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