MAY2017 | FREE
MOBILISING RESISTANCE FROM THE BOTTOM UP
OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF ROYAL HOLLOWAY STUDENTSâ€™ UNION
ORBITAL BOARD EDITOR Abbie Cheeseman
DEPUTY EDITOR Michele Theil NEWS Maria Green Louise Jones
FEATURES Dominic Barrett Amber Choudhary LIFESTYLE Victoria Chapman ARTS Josip Martinčić Georgia Beith SPORTS & SOCIETIES Louisa Wicks Samantha Davis SCIENCE & GAMING Clara Cohen Ryan Gulliford PHOTOGRAPHY Fab Piolini-Castle MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA Jessie Beach-Thomas SUB-EDITOR Sreeja Karanam ONLINE Beth Gooding DIGITAL Sarah Jane Oxley DESIGN Emma Halahan Michele Theil COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Holly Pyne ADDRESS Media Suite, Students’ Union, Royal Holloway University of London, TW20 0EX WEBSITE www.theorbital.co.uk EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMENT Natasha Phillips Izzy Swanson
Abbie Cheeseman EDITOR
Welcome to this month’s issue of Orbital Magazine! This one is a pretty special one, mostly because it’s my final issue as Editor. When I was elected last March, the main thing that I wanted to do was raise the profile of the magazine in terms of credible investigative journalism and consistently professional reporting. I am so pleased with the progress that we’ve made as a team on this front – we’ve had lots of stories picked up by regional press and even had one of our investigations picked up by the Telegraph. I can only hope that you have enjoyed reading our pieces over the year because it’s been an absolute pleasure to lead the team in producing them. We’ve taken enormous steps this year to turn the magazine into a more professional news organisation: we’ve taken on programmers, digital editors, designers and podcast producers. This resulted in
Orbital Magazine is produced monthly by a team of student volunteers. The magazine is published by Royal Holloway Students’ Union, but the views presented do not necessarily mirror those of RHSU or the editorial team. If you would like to make a complaint or comment about our journalism, please contact the Editor, Abbie Cheeseman, on email@example.com in the first instance.
us winning our first ever awards at the Student Publication Association National Conference with both ‘Best Use of Digital Media’ and a highly commended ‘Best Feature’ award for Shannon Gray’s ‘What happens after you attempt suicide’ article. By the time that this magazine has come out, a new Editor of Orbital Magazine will have been elected. I am sure that whoever wins will continue to take great steps to making the magazine better than ever and I cannot wait to see what sort of work they do with it. I wish them all of the luck in the world. If you think you would like to try your hand at journalism, please get involved next year. No prior experience is necessary – the new team will teach you everything you need to know. That’s all from me, I cannot thank this magazine enough for the experiences that it has given me over the last 3 years. I have banged my head against numerous tables, but it has been worth every moment of stress. Goodbye Holloway, it’s been a pleasure.
DOGS AT RISK IN SURREY: Samantha Davis details a series of incidents relating to dogs in areas such as Windsor, Chertsey and Egham.
PRESIDENT CELEBRITY Izzy Swanson asks if America really needs another celebrity resident in the White House?
ARTIFICIAL RIGHTS Samantha Davis questions how a robot seems to have been given more rights than the real women of Saudi Arabia.
DEBRIEF: ABBY KING Maliha Reza interviews Labour Society President Abby King about her work in Labour and her outstanding work as an activist.
ROHOROSCOPES What have the stars got in store for you this month? Lifestyle Editor Victoria Chapman tells us what’s in store.
AN INTRODUCTION TO ARTIVISM Emma Halahan writes about the rise of artivism and its doble edged impact upon activist communities.
EGHAM FLOODS ARTICLE Rachel Hains discusses the announcement of The Egham Floods Anthology which hopes to commemorate the impact of the 2014 floods.
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VIOLENCE AND VIDEO GAMES Ryan Gulliford discusses the link between youth violence and their exposure to violence in video games.
SPOTLIGHT ON: ETON FIVES Louisa Wicks sits down with Eton Fives president Ollie Avery to find out more about one of RHUL’s newest and most unusual sports clubs.
OUT OF SERVICE Michele Theil reports on the recently out-of-use bollards in Egham High Street.
gham High Street’s electric rising bollars have not worked for several weeks now. The bollards were installed in March 2017 by Surrey County Council (SCC) in order to prevent drivers from entering the street between Monday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm. The High Street is therefore a pedestrianised zone during these times.
According to RBC, the bollards fall under the purview of SCC. An SCC spokesman said: “We’re aware of the problem and we’re working to get it fixed as soon as possible.”
In recent weeks, the bollards have not been working and many cars have been driving and parking on the street during the day. While there are signs at the entrance to the High Street stating that it is a pedestrian-only area, many drivers are ignoring this and driving up and down the street anyway.
Students and residents alike have mentioned that they are not happy with the traffic that comes through the High Street now that the bollards are not working, as it makes it more difficult to get around.
According to Get Surrey, Egham resident Anthony Houlden has “reported this porblem numerous times to Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) and SCC” but the issue has persisted. Houlden also stated that he has seen “four engineers… trying to get them working” but the bollards have not been fixed yet.
The automatic bollards are believed to have costed “thousands of pounds” and residents are disappointed that they have been out of use for such a long period of time.
Houlden operates a mobility scooter and finds that the traffic makes the road more inaccessible than ever before. Prior to March 2017, access to the High Street was controlled by a gate that was manually operated every day between restricted times. Houlden has asked for a return to this manual system until the council can fix the bollards • Photo provided by Stephen Craven via geograph.co.uk.
DOGS AT RISK IN SURREY Samantha Davis details a series of incidents relating to dogs in Surrey areas such as Windsor, Chertsey and Egham.
ocals to the Englefield Green area have been warned to be extra vigilant of their dogs after several cases of potential dognapping have been reported. Cases started being compiled mid-April when an increasing amount of reports were taken from local residents saying strangers had been paying particular attention to their pets or had been caught attempting to lure them away from their owners. Runnymede Beat (Surrey Police) took to Facebook on Friday 13 to warn followers that at around 20.45 that evening a resident had witnessed a man on her driveway showing a great interest in her Jack Russell which had got out into the front garden. The owner described the man to be Chinese or mixed raced and in his mid40s.
He spoke with a ‘local accent’ and was wearing jeans with a dark grey t-shirt and a blue baseball cap. After a brief conversation with the owner concerning whether the dog had got out or not he was witnessed being picked up by a black car. An additional incident was reported the same day by a local of St. Ann’s hill. She states she was approached by two guys, whom she believes to be 18 years old, who had been driving a dark grey caddy van. They were immediately ‘extremely interested’ in her dogs. One approached her car window to further inspect the dog whilst the other circled the vehicle. After her dog, Daisy, jumped at the window and proceeded to bark loudly at them they are reported to have run off into the woods.
Two days later on Sunday 15 a further incident was reported by a dog walker from Savil Gardens at around 7.50 in the morning. She recounts how she had let her dog off the leash and could hear a man calling ‘come here’ and ‘come on boy’. She recalls running towards the voice assuming that her dog had gotten into one of the house gardens but was instead confronted with a man with a sank white Fiesta or Astra van tempting the dog under the park fence. He was said to have sped off at ‘an alarming speed’ having caught sight of the owner. After the increasing amount of attempted dog thefts around this area it is advised to keep a close watch over your dogs, especially when let off the lead. If you have any further information about these events or would like to report an incident call 101. •
t January’s Golden Globes, a new potential presidential candidate was born: Oprah Winfrey.
In her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award, she projected a message of solidarity and hope addressed to women across the world who have experienced sexual abuse and inequality. Raised by a single mother in poverty, Oprah’s rise from years of sexual abuse as a child to becoming the richest self-made woman in America, is a deeply inspirational story. Her influence on the American public, initially stemming from The Oprah Winfrey Show, which embedded topics such as racism, LGBT awareness and gun control into a national discourse, left Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois, to suggest that she was ‘the most instrumental person in electing Barack Obama president’.
With her charitable donations, including giving $400 million to educational causes in 2012 and funding the building of 60 schools in 13 countries, it is easy to see why liberal-leaning celebrities and members of the electorate have endorsed her candidacy, as she appears to be a complete contrast to the current President of America, even though it appears that the Oprah 2020 campaign will never become a reality. But Oprah and Trump have one thing in common: they are both TV celebrities with zero previous experience in political office. This turn towards the celebrity candidate can be considered a result of the public’s lack of trust in the political system. The people are therefore looking for someone on the outside to challenge it. Part of Trump’s popularity was his ability to speak, and tweet, his mind
PRESIDENT CELEBRITY With rumours surrounding Oprah and Dwane Johnson’s potential Presidential nominations for 2020 running wild, Izzy Swanson asks if America really needs another celebrity president?
without the usual filter employed by traditional politicians: he wasn’t an unrelatable billionaire but an ‘everyman’ figure who represented the common people fed up with their America.
This turn towards the celebrity candidate can be considered a result of the public’s lack of trust in the political system. While this is a nice idea in theory, his nomination has not lead to any radical change. His policies lack clarity, he changes his mind frequently and wanted the government to ‘shutdown’ in order to get his own way in regards to
immigration and the building of the Mexican wall. The Republicans explanation? He’s ‘new at government’. If Oprah, Kanye West, Dwayne Johnson or any other celebrity figure did run, it would merely be an improvement, but not a reversal of the current premiership. Something which the Democrats desperately want. They’ll need a candidate to be an exact opposite of their opponent: someone with a serious mandate, transparent opinions on every issue ranging from foreign policy to healthcare with experience and knowledge of government. The policy of giving free cars to everyone is not going to be enough to fix whatever state America is in in three years. •
VOTING: RESTRICTIONS APPLY Michele Theil examines the new voter ID restrictions that are being trialled in UK elections.
he introduction of a scheme to force all voters to show a form of ID at polling elections during the May local elections is unneccesary and exclusionary. This scheme was introduced earlier this year and is being trailled in Watford, Bromley, Gosport and Woking before planning to make the scheme country-wide. While forcing voters to have ID seems like a good idea in principle, it doesn’t work when applied to real people who will be significantly adversely affected by it. Voting ID restrictions are meant to maintain the integrity of the ballot box, as many politicians all over the world have said, and at first glance it does do exactly that. After all, who doesn’t have a form of ID? In this ever-changing modern world, it is expected that every person has a passport, a driving license or at least a bank statement to prove who you are. Particularly among younger people, who require at least one form of official ID to simply buy a drink, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to stop this voting ID scheme coming into effect. However, many charities and organisations such as Age UK, Stonewall, Operation Black Vote and the National Union of Students have opposed the scheme, writing to constitution minister Chloe Smith in favour of removing it. They say that forcing people to present voter ID will “present a significant barrier to democratic engagement and risk compromising a basic human right for some of the most marginalised groups in society”. It is estimated that at least 7.5% of voters would not
have any valid forms of ID to show at a polling station and 24% of voters do not have access to a passport or a driving license specifically, effectively preventing them from engaging in the democratic process. Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, another group opposing the change, said that while “electoral fraud is a serious issue”, he believes that “mandatory voter ID is a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. While it may be a crude analogy, it is apt as it is clear that these restrictions are an overreaction to a minor problem. During the 2017 General Election, claims made on social media alleging that people had voted twice in the election only resulted in one conviction, according to figures provided by the Electoral Commision. It is argued that cases of electoral fraud is actally diminishing, meaning that these voter ID restrictions are not aiding but rather hindering the electoral process. These voting ID restrictions have the power to stop many Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people from voting, as well as those from a working-class background or those that are homeless. These people are the most likely to lack any form of valid ID, due to their backgrounds, as many cannot afford to apply for a passport or even a provisional driving license. Homeless people are unable to do so simply because they lack an address and would thus also be prevented from voting. Being able to vote is a democratic right and stripping any one person of that right should not be legal. •
THE COST OF SOCIAL MEDIA Sahar Mahmood explores whether we are paying a hefty price for the use of social media.
he recent Cambridge Analytica scandal and the #DeleteFacebook trend that followed, have posed important questions about the price we pay for social media. What do we really pay in return for a social internet that is ‘free of charge’? Although we don’t pay with actual currency, an argument can be made that we pay with our data. But do the benefits of using social media outweigh the costs? Todd Rosenblum, a former secretary to the White House under Barack Obama, outlines how social media companies collect our personal data as a commodity in exchange for letting us use the social media platform and its services free of a monetary charge. The more we use the platform, the more details we provide and the more third-party advertisers pay for it. However, such a willing exchange of our personal details can be costly. Having so much of our data allows these third parties to specifically target individuals and persuade them to buy their products and services. This initially doesn’t sound so malicious. It’s just good business. Right? Wrong. In the wrong hands this can go awry. Let’s consider the role social media platforms played in the EU referendum and the 2016 presidential election. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter were pegged for having a huge influence in the outcomes of these political events.
If our data falls into the wrong hands, third-party services with potentially harmful underlying motives have the freedom to influence our choices, which is a scary thought. This is why it is so important to consider whether social media is really worth it. Undoubtedly, social media has many benefits, from allowing us the freedom to voice our opinions, being creative, and pursuing our interests, to allowing us to push for social change and connect with individuals from all over the world. However, in exchange for this we risk exposing ourselves to forces beyond our control that could potentially change the direction our futures take. Without checks and balances, such power in the wrong hands could be detrimental to society and to the progress we have made towards a better and safer future. Social media can be very positive and is extremely beneficial in the right capacity. What is required to ensure that it remains a positive and valuable contributor is a critical approach from its users. We need to be critical of the actions of these companies, we need to demand transparency, checks, balances and safeguards to ensure that we do not forsake our chance at a better future. •
LYDIA PAYNTER DISCUSSES THE UPCOMING IRISH REFERENDUM ON ABORTION
otherhood, and specifically the ability to carry and give birth to a baby, is simultaneously revered as the epitome of the greatest of all human powers, the ability to create new life, and ridiculed and undervalued as ‘women’s work’. The power to choose not to give birth, and instead end a pregnancy, seems to incite equally rigorous complaint and controversy, which is soon set to be voiced very publicly as the Republic of Ireland prepares to go to the polls on 25th May for an vote that could lift the country’s ban on abortion. In Ireland, an abortion is not merely illegal; its prohibition is enshrined in the constitution as the Eighth Amendment, which recognises the equal right to life of both a woman and an unborn foetus. The change to the constitution, which came into force in 1983, has seen women in Ireland die because they were denied a termination, even though their lives were in danger. In October 2012, Savita Halappanavar died as a result of sepsis, e-coli and miscarriage after she was told she was not allowed an emergency termination ‘because Ireland is a Catholic country’. Instead, a death occurred that was tragic in both the young age of Halappanavar, and in its heart-breaking preventability. At the inquest into Halappanavar’s death, one of Ireland’s foremost obstetricians, Dr Peter Boylan, said that if Halappanavar and her husband’s request for a termination had been granted when
it was clear that the miscarriage was inevitable, she would most likely not have died. When Ireland prepares to vote at the end of this month, Savita Halappanavar and the many women like her, who were so cruelly let down their country’s arcahic legal system, must be remembered. So too must the women whose only option has been to fly alone to another country, to face one of life’s most difficult choices without the support of friends and family. The women who died as the results of back alley abortions, the other children they may have left behind, and the children who grow up in circumstances no one should have to face must also be remembered. While the likelihood seems to be that the referendum result will fall in favour of the ‘yes’ vote to repeal the amendment, the question arises for why a developed nation should even be putting what is arguably a human rights issue to a public vote. The danger with allowing the public to vote on such an issue is that the debate which ensues can be terribly harmful, creating space for rhetoric that degrades, demeans and even harms women. In choosing to hold a referendum, rather than simply changing the law, the Irish government is giving one last hurrah to the voices that have perpetuated a reality in which women like Savita Halappanavar have been left to die by the very state that should have protected them. •
ARTIFICIAL RIGHTS Samantha Davis questions how a robot seems to have been given more rights than the real women of Saudi Arabia.
rtificial Intelligence (AI) is a term that can cause excitement in some, and strike fear into the hearts of others. However, with the current developments in the technology industry, and the future we’re clearly heading towards, we cannot deny that AI is a rapidly growing phenomenon. This has been made especially clear after the emergence and popularity of Sophia. Described as a ‘social humanoid robot’, Sophia was developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and was activated on April 19 2015. Able to display 62 facial expressions, convey human feelings, and have a sense of humour, Sophia’s design is also said to have been modelled after Audrey Hepburn. Sophia quickly became mainstream news when in October 2017 she was granted official Saudi Arabian citizenship, making her the first ever robot with a nationality. However, this did not come without controversy and, for me personally, crosses the line of where I am comfortable with AI development going. Although I find AI fascinating, I am a firm believer that it can be dangerous when power dynamics are brought into play. By granting Sophia citizenship, she is being allowed access to freedoms that women in Saudi Arabia do not have. This calls into question Saudi Arabia’s human rights records, which have been opened to critiques after denying women equal rights, yet handing them to a robot. Ali Al-Ahmed, a Saudi analyst and political activist, explains how “women have since committed suicide
because they couldn’t leave the house, and Sophia is running around” travelling the globe and speaking at some of the most important and influential events. Her independence is something which should not be taken for granted as it is also still forbidden under Saudi law for women to make major decisions without the permission of a male guardian. Al-Ahmed also comments upon the fact that Sophia is not made to wear a hijab, something that is required of women under the dress code of the Islamic law. He concludes by stating that ‘if she applied for citizenship as a human she wouldn’t get it’. Gaining citizenship in Saudi Arabia is not something that is easily obtained. As stated by Bloomberg Technology, it is rarely granted to immigrant workers (who make up around a third of Saudi Arabia’s population) even to those whose families have been working in the country for generations. It is also common for citizenship to be denied to the children of Saudi Arabian women whose fathers are foreign. The simple fact that human-generated technology is merely gifted a citizenship over flesh and bone human beings, who have worked and lived in their country for decades, proves that the freedoms given to AIs have gone too far. Sofia claims that her main aim is “to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life” and to “do [her] best to make the world a better place”. However, her creation results in greater inequality created between the rights and freedoms of women and this gives her very existence a haunting sense of irony. •
DOM BARRETT: ARE WE REALLY SNOWFLAKES?
et me be clear: I thoroughly dislike the term ‘snowflake’. Not because it offends me, far from it. I think many people deserve to be called snowflakes for being unnecessarily sensitive, too eager to be offended, and prone to emotional and/or dramatic outbursts (in one form or another). I dislike the term ‘snowflake’, for the same reason I dislike the term ‘lazy millennial’ - it’s a little bit too inclusive. You might ask, how can something be too inclusive? What I mean is, every 1624 year old, no matter who they are, has suddenly and unfairly been lumped together as the ‘Snowflake Generation’. Just as all millennials, which refers to anyone born after 1982, are considered lazy and narcissistic despite their background, ambition, work ethic etc., we are all considered snowflakes. You might notice a bit of overlap there, with a sizeable chunk of the lazy millennial population also being snowflakes - it’s a double whammy. Now naturally this isn’t the always the case. Not every millennial is lazy or narcissistic, and not every young person gets offended at the drop of hat, or has mental breakdowns every 5 minutes. In reality, some of the problems we face are just as real as those our parents had to deal. Stress and mental illness affects our generation far more than people think - with 85% experiencing anxiety and stress at least some of the time. We are, essentially, the most stressed generation. Many of us aren’t getting enough sleep, aren’t eating right, and generally don’t relax enough. We also have issues which expand into the wider world, such as the difficulty of finding a job, buying a house and, on a much larger scale, worrying about our environmental impact after all, we’ll be the ones living in the world of tomorrow. This is obviously only a very small sample of the problems we face, but they are all quite real.
However, some stereotypes exist for a reason. I recently watched a small clip from ‘The Mash Report’ - a satirical news show which goes over current news and world issues. The clip I watched talks in great length about the Snowflake Generation. In it, the presenter/ comedian attempts to defend the Snowflake Generation as having perfectly legitimate grievances with the world around them, and that the term ‘snowflake’ is unfairly used as a derogatory term when in reality we are the ones who care most about the world around us. Is all that true? By and large, yes. Although, to say that older generations don’t care about the world is as unfair as saying only we do. Do we have our own issues? Yes, no denial here. However, can we realistically compare our fairly tolerant and liberal society with that of racist 1960s America, and the work of Martin Luther King Jr, or Gandhi who attempted to usurp British colonial control over India in the 1940s? I’d argue no. That is what the show attempts to do, although it is a comedy show so maybe it shouldn’t be taken so seriously. That said, just as life imitates art, art imitates life. There are some which would argue that getting confused over which bathroom to use is as much of an issue as black people literally being treated as second class citizens - a problem which still exists in some lowly parts of the world today. The point I’m making is that every generation, whether that be snowflake, baby boomer, millennial, whatever, all had and has their issues, big and small. Perhaps I’m being unfair. On a personal level, you may be very offended by what you see and experience in day-to-day life - and I’m not saying you shouldn’t be. However, remember to look at things in proportion, in context, and most importantly, always remember just because you’ve been labelled part of ‘Generation Snowflake’ doesn’t mean you have to act like it.•
THE FLOOD ANTHOLOGY Rachel Hains discusses the announcement of The Egham Floods Anthology which hopes to commemorate the impact of the 2014 floods on the Egham area.
gham Museum have recently announced that they are releasing a book to commemorate the 2014 floods in Egham, and the impact they had on the lives of people within the area. The project is being led by a team of dedicated students with support from Community Action and the Egham Museum. A terrible disaster, the floods back in 2014 affected the lives of thousands all over the country, including local residents in Egham and the surrounding area. The floods occured after extremely poor weather resulted in high water levels along the River Thames. It was the wettest winter on record, with the ‘January monsoon’ the greatest since at least 1766. As a result, in at least 10 places water levels were at an all-time high, which ultimately lead to the river bursting its banks, and flooding nearby areas.
Many people were evacuated and countless others faced irreparable damage to their homes. Over 2,000 homes were affected in areas such as Spelthorne and Runnymede, with 41 families remaining homeless seven months later. As such, it is understandable that the Egham Museum has chosen to create a book commemorating the disaster, and the effect it had on the community. The floods greatly affected many people’s lives, as well as the area itself. You only have to look at previous news coverage to see the effect it had on day to day lives, with children wading their way to school and people rowing neighbours to safety down the 16 street.
More than just a record of events, this book also plays an important role within the community of Egham and the surrounding areas. This can be seen through the fact the book will contain comments from local council leaders. It will also feature a plethora of material such as: testimonials from people who suffered; poems from local children; as well as numerous illustrations and images. The ‘Floods Anthology’ therefore offers a personal history of the disaster, as well as a unique insight, with valuable contributions from a wide variety of people of all ages and walks of life. Egham has always been a town with a rich, and extensive history. These floods are now a part of that legacy, and therefore it is only right for the Egham Museum to document that fact. The Museum has said that they are looking at making the book available to the local community for free, with copies being available at their launch reception. Copies will then be given out to the local community at the ‘Frogs Island Fair’ in Egham Hythe on the 26th of May, from the Egham Museum stand. Further copies will be also available from public locations such as Egham Library, Egham Museum, Hythe Community Centre and St Paul’s Church, with all the information gathered also being deposited at the museum in their archives for future research.
DEBRIEF: Orbital Magazineâ€™s regular sit down with people that are inspiring change on issues that matter.
ABBY KING President of the Royal Holloway Labour and Co-operative Society and #RHOccupy coorganiser reflects on her activism journey this year. Words by Maliha Reza
first met Abby in a café on campus many months ago during winter term. Naturally, after exchanging pleasantries, our conversation jumped to Labour Party politics and our mutual interests. It’s a similar scenario that plays out today, as we sit in the same café and discuss the next phase of our activism and catch up with life. The weather is brighter this time, and the drinks are much colder. Actually, this is not strictly true- they ran out of ice, so we are stuck with lukewarm coffees.
Every step in the run-up to elections can help bridge the gap between students and our local community.
A lot can change in a few months, though. Abby is running to be a Labour Party Councillor of Englefield Green West. A Councillor is elected to represent a party (or independent) in a local council - it’s a good way to be involved in local politics and engage with issues that impact your immediate community. Members of the Labour society have been canvassing tirelessly around Englefield Green to secure this ward. Reception has been, somewhat, positive as people are supportive of a young woman’s commitment to politics; I recall a few ‘best of luck to you’ exclamations from residents as we shut their gate behind us with one less leaflet in tow. Even voters of the opposition have been respectful - quick to close the door but respectful. It takes a lot of courage to engage with total strangers in the community like this - Abby admits to doing “a shot of vodka” once for Dutch courage before heading out to canvass - it’s important work. Every step in the run-up to elections can help bridge the gap between students and our local community, which can sometimes be damaged by differences that residents feel they have with students. While I’ve taken a backseat in activism to focus on exams, Abby is finding the balance between her campaign and her final year exams. “Revision who?” is often a statement she throws around in jest- but seriously, it takes great skill and commitment to balance activism and university.
I ask Abby how she does this, knowing full well that studying and activism are akin to a full-time job (at times). Her initial response to this was “I play sims.” Sim-related procrastination aside, her more ‘politician-style’ response was: “politics and studying are two of the bigger things I do, but politics and campaigning are part of my downtime.” A valid point, I feel, as doing what you love (politics) shouldn’t be strenuous. It should be as enjoyable as aimlessly scrolling through a Twitter feed.
Abby admits that she “loves a bit of political tweeting” during this downtime too. Our conversation on this topic pushed beyond the 280-character limit, as we agreed that politics and Twitter could be a dark place at times. With factional politics and a need to ‘beef’ both sides of the left, younger politicians can fall into the ‘we dug out your old tweets and found this’ trap. Twitter, when used ‘correctly’ can be a magnificent tool or a platform to vent on. Abby finds herself sharing experiences of mental health, “I talk very openly about mental health”, and Twitter is useful for this. It can often be difficult to maintain a clean political persona, as politics is very much intertwined with the personal. The line between personal and political is made more challenging when a partner is also involved in politics to the same extent. For Abby, the campaign never stops. Her partner is also her current Campaign Manager, and Abby admits that “sometimes you want to come home and watch Gavin and Stacey” yet politics is always there with a cup of tea at home. However, our conversation on this had raised a good question: could you be in a long-term relationship with someone that shares vastly different political views? For us, the feeling was mutual - probably not. When politics is a huge part of your life, it can be challenging to be in a relationship with someone that disagrees with a lot of what makes you human.
I asked what the biggest hurdle has been in her activism so far: “My mental barriers I put up… if someone has anxiety, you’re always worried about what other people think of you. This is especially true when you put yourself out there in an activist way, and people don’t agree. When I first started out and faced criticism, I was like ‘oh okay’ and got emotional later– it’s about learning how to welcome criticism. I mean, it’s politics- not everyone agrees- as much as that would be lovely. Imagine if Nigel Farage agreed with Jeremy Corbynwhat a world that would be. Accepting critique of your opinion is a process you go through as you grow up; after all, politics is the type of discourse where an array of opinions is valuable. As Abby said, “people have different opinions, but it’s accepting that it’s okay to stand up for your own opinion.” Her key take is from Christians on the Left and their slogan: ‘disagree well.’ It’s something we should all keep in mind.” Abby engaged in more local activism with #RHOccupy. Her experience of post-occupation life is littered with nostalgia: “we left at 12 pm on the day, and I returned to an empty home as my boyfriend was away. It was odd - I loved that I could turn the lights off. I miss it, though.” The consensus from all occupiers was that “it’s bewildering- you don’t realise
When I first started out and faced criticism, I was like ‘oh okay’ and got emotional later– it’s about learning how to welcome criticism. I mean, it’s politics- not everyone agrees- as much as that would be lovely. how much it could affect you.” As the disruption of the last term ceased and we all returned to some form of normalcy, it’s strange that an event like that took place at Royal Holloway, but it’s just an example of where activism can take you. By this point, Abby had given up on the coffee and reached for a San Pellegrino. I could hear someone shouting “Latte!” in the background as well. GMB had called, and we’d managed to throw in a shameless ‘join a union’ plugin. I had reached my 280-character limit, so we finished our conversation by gushing over Ed Miliband: “Ed Miliband is my inspiration... put that in! He wrote a letter to me. Well, he replied to my letter.” I laugh and say that “we’ll say he wrote it to you.” Activism is never easy, but it’s what you make of it. Abby agrees because “even if it’s one thing, do that one thing.”
‘NICE GUYS FINISH LAST’ Lydia Paynter discusses the idea of being a ‘nice guy’ and the effect that has on relationships of any kind.
ice guys finish last’ has to be one of my least favourite phrases in the English language, pipped to the post perhaps only by ‘the friend zone’. Yet time and time again, in conversations, online and in films and TV, the idea that women ignore the ‘nice guys’ in favour of a bad boy is pervasive in our culture. To the guys who are respectful and kind to women, the ones who will go to Women’s Marches, lift up their female colleagues at work, and call themselves feminists I will say this: it’s great that you’re a feminist, it’s great that you respect women, but that still doesn’t mean that woman you catch eyes with over the morning papers on the underground simply must date you. Being a ‘nice guy’ is a reward in itself, it makes you a better person, and society better as a whole. But the whole ‘nice
guy’ thing isn’t even genuine if you think that your respectful behaviour, and sharing aesthetic snaps of your female friends you accompanied to a recording of the Guilty Feminist podcast, means that a woman has to choose you over the guy who never calls her back. History is full of women who pick the wrong man, the bad guy, the serial killer even. But rather than getting angry at women for not falling for you, the saint, why not try to make your ‘nice guy’ persona, less of a persona and more of your actual personality. Call out your guy friends when they catcall a woman on a night out, tell your sister that you’re proud of her achievements, and thank your mother for all the sacrifices she has made for you. Not every woman is a saint, of course, but neither is every man. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking
you’ve been ‘friend zoned’ because that woman you always treat to a coffee when she’s had a rough day at work is now complaining to you about the guy she’s dating instead of you. Be the ‘nice guy’, and tell her she deserves someone who treats you right, without assuming that the right man is you. Maybe she will see you for the great guy you are, maybe she won’t. But if she doesn’t, then relish the gift that is female friendship. Tell her about your problems, tell her about the women you are dating, tell her about that colleague at work that you can’t stand. Wait for the cloud of her rejection (that may not even be a real rejection, as she may have no idea you ever liked her as more than a friend) to pass, and bask in the glorious warmth of a genuine friendship, where the reward for being a ‘good guy’ is having a friend for life. •
ROHOROSCOPES: What have the stars got in store for you this month? Lifestyle Editor Victoria Chapman tells us what’s in store for you.
20 April - 20 May
21 May - 20 June
21 June - 22 July
Love: There’s plenty more fish in the sea so forget about that heartbreak and keep swimming. Study: Exam’s can be stressful. Break it all down and take it one step at a time - you’ll get through it! Travel: Windsor is super pretty whatever the weather.
Love: Make the first move, you never know what could happen… Study: Get the work done so you can treat yourself to a night of Netflix afterwards. Travel: Thorpe Park is open again and they do really great hot dogs.
Love: That person you keep catching eye contact with? It probably means something. Study: Maybe you should begin to focus you’ll thank me later. Travel: Take an evening walk through Egham, the fresh air will do you some good.
23 July - 22 August
23 August - 22 September
23 September - 22 October
Love: If you’re facing a dilemma, follow your heart not your pesky brain. Study: Talking to your tutors never hurt anyone - try it. Travel: Going home is always a great way to get away, take a break and binge on free food.
Love: Spontaneity is always a good thing, do something different and surprise your date. Study: Maybe you should put the phone down and pick up some books from the library. Travel: The Sky Garden in London is always beautiful at night, check it out.
Love: Sometimes you just have to go for it, you can’t friend zone people forever. Study: Staring at your laptop for ages can give you a headache - grab a drink and go for a walk. Travel: We’re so close to one of the greatest cities in the world, there’s so much more for you to explore.
23 October - 21 November
22nd November – 21st December
22 December - 19 January
Love: Stop using dating apps and talk to people in person instead! Study: The library’s silent areas are much better if you really want to be productive and get focussed. Travel: Go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and tick it off the bucketlist!
Love: If you’re having doubts, maybe evaluate whether its right for you. Study: Make sure you’re balancing the studying and the partying. Travel: Travelling doesn’t have to be far away, take a trip to London for the day - you could even catch a show while you’re at it.
Love: You’ll never meet someone if you don’t put yourself out there. Study: Maybe you should spend a few more nights in, consuming revision rather than alcohol. Travel: It’s nearly summer, you should treat yourself to a weekend away with your friends.
20 January - 18 February
19 February - 20 March
Love: Love’s not always easy, grab yourself some chocolate. Study: You should probably check out those lecture slides which you slept through. Travel: Head down to Imagine and chill out with some friends.
Love: That hottie you’ve been checking out for ages? Introduce yourself. Study: Highlighters and coloured pens are your new best friend. Travel: Go take a walk through Virginia Water to clear your head.
21 March - 19 April
Love: Don’t hold back, you’ll never know unless you try. Study: Those meal deals at the SU shop prove to be very beneficial during mental breakdowns. Travel: You should totally take a journey to see your best friend - Nando’s.
THE GENDER PAY GAP: WHAT CAN YOU DO? Lifestyle Editor Victoria Chapman discusses what Royal Holloway’s students can do to combat the issue of the gender pay gap at University and in the outside world.
ou’ve probably heard or read about Orbital’s breaking story on the comments made by Principal Paul Layzell about the gender pay gap recently. But, the question is what can you do as a fellow student to combat this problem as you move ever closer to a career yourself? In late March, a group called RHOccupy camped outside the Principal’s office, campaigning against the lack of support for Royal Holloway’s lecturing staff during the UCU strikes. The outcome was incredible - not only did the Principal agree to sign their list of demands and meet with them to discuss their concerns, but this reflected a wider idea of how a demonstration of students can affect university politics. This does not just apply to the strikes. This is our university which means we have the power to instil as much change as we push for. If you’re concerned about the gender pay gap at Royal Holloway then you have the power to make your voice heard - email the Principal to find out what Royal Holloway is doing to combat the problem at university. You can also make sure to check out the website paymetoo.com to get tips, advice and info on the gender pay gap and how we can become more informed of these issues. #Paymetoo is a group in parliament who just launched their website, discussing how parliament plan on diminishing the gender pay gap altogether - as students we need to ensure we are aware of these issues which
affect our university and adversely affect our future when we enter the world of work. But most importantly, talk to your tutors - talk to your department, your members of staff, lecturers, tutors and see what they have to say about it, this is the most direct way of finding out how those who run this university feel about the gender pay gap themselves.
This is our university which means we have the power to instil as much change as we push for. We should also see our university as a product. Principal Layzell, in this example, is the manager and boss of Royal Holloway, with its students as the consumers, the customers. He has to make sure we are satisfied with the state of the University as we are the ones who actually keep it alive - with no students or staff, Royal Holloway is nothing. So don’t you agree that we have the right to start asking those difficult questions which until recently, have been ignored or dismissed? We live in a time of change, progression and innovation, so it’s about time we stand up for what’s right and continue supporting an equal future for everyone. •
HOPE TO NOPE? Michele Theil explores The Design Museum’s latest exhibition and what protest looks like in the 21st century.
he Design Museum is situated on Kensington High Street, a beautiful building with fascinating exhibits inside. One recent exhibit looked at the graphic design aspects of political activism. Entitled ‘Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008 - 2018’, it sought to explore the evolving nature of design, particularly within the changing landscape of politics in the last decade. The exhibit showcased many beautiful designs, all likely familiar to those who have not only engaged in politics but simply logged onto Facebook in recent years. As soon as you walk in to the ‘Hope to Nope’ exhibit, after an odd descent down a steep staircase, you are greeted by a bright yellow wall, with an explanation for the exhibits existence. The explanation describes the “turbulent decade” we have experienced and how “graphic design, from election campaign posters to protest badges, has had a prominent role to play”. It also discusses how social media has “made it easier to spread political graphics” with “entirely new forms of visual communication” emerging, a precursor to the electronic exhibits that feature later showcasing the data of protests, activism and more in a visually accessible manner. The exhibit is separated into three parts: ‘Power’, ‘Protest’ and ‘Personality’. Each one has its own story to tell and the exhibit is designed so that you must move through each one chronologically - there’s no skipping ahead. The first, ‘Power’, shows us how power and authority can be asserted through graphic design but just as easily it can be subverted by those who seek to undermine you - “graphic design is everywhere and so easily appropriated”.
The second section, ‘Protest’, is primarily focused on the protests that have occurred around the world in the last decade for a myriad of reasons, showing how people have demonstrated their desire for something important and participated in global movements to seek change. The use of graphic design in protest, particularly on social media, was especially important during the Arab Spring in 2010, the Occupy Wall Street Protests in 2011, the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the Women’s March in 2017. The third section, ‘Personality’, is much smaller than the first two, tucked away in the back corner of the exhibition just before you leave. It looks at the cult of personality that surrounds many groups and people, how people seemingly idolise one person no matter what and will subsequently demonise the opposition as much as possible. It describes how “powerful leaders” with “personality cults” can be “ripe for satire and subversion”. President Donald Trump is a natural focus within this section, with his image having “lent itself best to becoming a satirical graphic icon”. An section of the wall shows nearly 50 different magazines featuring Donald Trump’s image or a graphic cartoon that subverts his image. Whether you agree or disagree with Trump’s politics, his face is everywhere. The ‘Hope to Nope’ exhibit is much more than can be described in one article. In its essence, it is a visual product, a spectacle to behold and learn from. The ‘Hope to Nope’ exhibit is on at the Design Museum until August 12. Visit their website to learn more.
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: HOLLY PYNE
ACTIVISM GETS A MAKOVER Emma Halahan writes about the rise of artivism and its doble edged impact upon activist communities.
ctivism hasn’t always been the prettiest or the most aesthetically pleasing activity. The activist activities of marches and sit ins, often complete with their associated ‘grunge’, were not exactly the most photogenic. And whilst this old style activism is inspiring to those inclined to appreciate activists methods and beliefs – the appeal of activism can often be lost on may due to this less than sanitary image. So how do you go about cleaning up activisms image problem? Artivism is the word on every activist thinkers lips, a timely amalgamation of art and activism as though the two haven’t been deeply intertwined for decades that promises to bring us a hip, gentrified and altogether better looking kind of activism. Artivism can range from graffiti to political resistance posters and defiat murals. But does the passivity of artivism actually count as activism? If activism is about getting more people invol ved for the cause then artivism seems like a great solution. Communal art like graffiti and murals have long been created by marginalised groups who are often closed off from formalised activism. Including the work of artivists and their political graffiti or the murals outside Grenfell Tower for example, allows a lot more people to feel comfortable with the term ‘activist’ than previously.
But there is a darker side to artivism that we musn’t forget. Graffiti, art performed by gangs and those traditionally working class, is being commissioned by local governments and formalised. Whilst this means the decriminalisation of graffiti for certain peoples may occur, graffiti artists related to gangs and the lower classes are being squeezed out. It’s a form of cultural appropriation that comes with gentrification and the attraction of having a piece of artivism on your prime piece of London real estate is forcing working class families out of homes. Activism works in a way that makes complex messages easier to understand. Anyone can look at a piece of well-crafted art and decipher some kind of political meaning. But artivism does have a part to play in the gentrification of urban areas and quite possibly could be pushing those out that activism at its core is meant to be helping the most – the marginalised. But its nonaggressive approach to conveying activist messages is helping to make activism trendier, more acceptable and better understood. It all comes down to how you like your activism – radical but misunderstood or easier to understand and at odds with itself. Either form isn’t perfect and you can’t help but wonder if it is possible to harness the radical elements of one with the beautifully captivating part of the other.
STREET ART Orbital Magazine’s guide to the best street art spots in London - your resource for that perfect gram.
etting that perfect gram isn’t easy – but a beautiful and edgy background always helps. Just a stone throw (and fourty minute train ride) from London, we walk you through the best spots to get your Insta fix. EAST LONDON , without a doubt, is the home and lifeblood of traditional London street art. We recommend heading to Shoreditch to find some of the most well loved London street art. Get down to Rivington Street to even catch one of the famous Banksy’s in real life.
a great place for the edgier of you all to grab a photo and the graffiti that occurs daily is some of the best in London. To track some of the best new artists the Leake Street Tunnel by Waterloo is where the rising stars practice their work. But be quick, work painted in the morning is quickly defaced by the evening by another budding artist. Less recognisable but not to be forgotten is the street art that has arisen out of NORTH LONDON areas like Turnpike Lane. Get off at the station and roam the surrounding streets for some great animal based pieces and the renowned Envision Peace billboard.
SOUTH LONDON has its fair share of street art with Brixton and for those more graffiti inclined the Southbank Get out there and enjoy what London’s artists have to at its disposal. Brixton has a wealth of art cropping up offer you and your Instagram feed! daily but we still love the David Bowie tribute directly opposite Brixton Station. The Southbank’s skate park is PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: HOLLY PYNE & CAMERON JAMES SEYMOUR
ark matter makes up 26.8% of our Universe’s energy and mass, yet we know practically nothing about it. In fact we only really know about luminous matter, such as that we are made from or see in our every day life and this only amounts to about 4% of the Universe’s energy and mass. So called, dark matter remains to this day an extremely illusive entity, only ever evidenced by cosmologists when looking at the discrepancy between the gravitational pull of a galaxy, and the mass within the galaxy. It seems that the galaxies must have much more matter within them than is visible. So what is this invisible, dark matter? Perhaps we’re about to find out. New results of the temperature of the early universe from the EDGES all-sky radio antenna experiment could change our view on dark matter entirely. After the big bang occurred, the Universe cooled dramatically, and our current models of the evolution of our Universe suggest that 180 million years after the Big Bang the Universe was about 6 degrees above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature. At this time, the first stars started to emerge, and the age of light began. The Universe was still very basic at this point, and comprised mainly of hydrogen, the simplest element with one proton and one electron only. These hydrogen atoms absorbed the ultraviolet light form the newly emerging stars, causing their single electrons to be excited from their ground state energy to a higher energy level: in physics these are called the hyperfine energy levels of hydrogen. As the electrons lose energy, they drop back down from the higher energy level to the ground state, releasing the energy they originally absorbed. This energy has a very specific frequency of 1420MHz, over time it has been redshifted and is now only 78MHz, making this very easily distinguishable from the background noise of the Universe. The EDGES experiment measured this frequency, looking at the whole sky and thus an average over the whole visible Universe. The results were astonishing, finding that the Universe was actually only half the temperature 180 million years after the Big Bang than we had predicted. So why is the Universe so cold, and what is wrong with our models of the early Universe? Rennan Barkana of the Tel Aviv University has come up with a radical idea that could change the face of the field entirely. The only matter that can be colder than hydrogen at this time in the Universe’s history is dark matter.
Barkana thus suggests that the temperature difference arises from dark matter collisions with the hot hydrogen, and consequently removing some of the heat from the hydrogen atoms. If this statement is true, then Barkara admits that this ‘is the first direct observational indication of a non-gravitational interaction’, a truly revolutionary observation in a somewhat impossibly elusive field. So what does this mean for dark matter? Why do we not see these interactions in the modern Universe? Well in the low temperature and thus low velocity conditions of the early universe, it is quite possible for some reactions between dark and real matter to take place, if the mass of the dark matter particles was less than 4.3GeV, about the mass of a Helium nucleus. At the moment, physicists are searching for dark matter at masses of greater than 100GeV, hugely larger than the true mass of dark matter if this theory is correct. So are we looking in the wrong place for dark matter? Before we start tearing down all of the multibillion pound experiments looking for dark matter at masses of 100GeV, lets try looking for the primordial hydrogen signal again, and this could be soon. Two new experiments could be about to shine some light on the dark situation: HERA (Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array), and the Square Kilometre Array both in South Africa. However, for now we remain in the dark. Physicists must really start to think hard about dark matter, and perhaps forget about our current ideas! In the words of Richard Massey, this could be the first time dark matter is seen ‘doing something rather than nothing’. •
SCIENCE AND GAMING
LEARNING TO SEE IN THE DARK Simon Williams explains how new data from the EDGES all-sky antenna in Australia could shine some light on dark matter.
THE LINK BETWEEN VIDEO GAMES & VIOLENCE Deputy Science & Gaming Editor, Ryan Gulliford, discusses the comments made by President Trump on the link between youth violence and their exposure to violence in video games.
ollowing the events of the tragic high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, issues surrounding school safety are widely discussed amongst the Trump administration. Amongst his many statements, President Trump has made several comments suggesting video games are linked to real-world gun violence and are “shaping young people’s thoughts”. Currently, despite the reports, there are no scheduled meetings between Trump and games industry executives, clarified by the Entertainment Software Association. The general consensus is that these statements are completely false and negatively portray an otherwise extremely lucrative global industry. “The current issue with school safety being discussed is not a global issue, it’s a USA issue. If video games were the problem, then every country would be suffering from this,” said Josh Stein, Xbox community manager. The truth behind this statement cannot be overlooked and supports the notion that Trump is attempting to blame the video games industry rather than directing
attention towards the state of US gun laws. A viral video circulating on Facebook shows a thirteen-yearold boy trying to buy a scratch card, but he isn’t served since he’s underage. However, the same boy walks up to a licensed gun salesman and walks away with a boltaction hunting rifle. If that doesn’t prove a point, then what will?
The general consensus is that these statements are completely false and negatively portray an otherwise extremely lucrative global industry. Turning to the research Governing organisations, publishers, manufacturers and communities do a lot to prevent young people from being exposed to violent content in video games. This became more of a talking point since research, approved by then President Obama in 2013, saw that
exposing young children to video game violence on a regular basis, heightened their levels of aggressive behaviour and violent tendencies. Furthermore, the same group of children had more hostile responses to questions surrounding if they would conduct acts of violence in given situations. By contrast, Christopher Ferguson of Stetson University noted that the regular rise of video game popularity is not met with an increase in violent crime from adolescents. While there is an ongoing debate and a clear demand for further research, the industry itself has been putting schemes and restrictions in place to prevent this issue. For example, age limits on mature games have existed for years and parental controls on mobile phones and games consoles are becoming more sophisticated. With the launch of the Nintendo Switch last year, parents and guardians have been able to set a timer on the console, so the exposure of adolescents to video games can be limited.
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: MICHELE THEIL
The current state of the problem So, if the industry itself isn’t directly causing these issues, then focus must be directed towards what others can do to limit the exposure of young people to violent video game content. One key example could be the current generational gap between parents and their children, where some simply aren’t aware of what their children are playing on a daily basis and subsequently overlook the age restrictions that are put in place. This, however, should improve with time, as the world grows further into the current, technological paradigm and becomes more knowledgeable of its risks, particularly to younger generations. While President Trump’s comments don’t exactly stack up in relation to being a cause of gun violence, they do at-least, prompt us to think more about what those around us are exposed too. In relation to gun crime in the USA, that is its own, integral issue and targeting successful, global industries as its cause is not the way to diffuse the current political stigma. •
SPARE PARTS? Natasha Lam looks at the possibility of farming body parts in the future.
ab-grown body parts aren’t just science fiction. Scientists all over the world are attempting to use stem cells to grow ears, livers, hearts, kidneys, blood vessels, skin and bladders in labs that are transplantable into real people. Though rare, some people are walking around with lab-grown bladders. Around 80% of the world’s transplants come from the deceased while the other 20% is mainly made up of living donors and a small percentage attributed to a lab. Many people question whether the future could see people receiving transplants from a lab, or even a ‘farm’ of labgrown human body parts, mass produced for transplants all over the world. These organs are greatly needed. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant at any given time. There are clearly not enough organs in the world to go around as UNOS also estimate that an average of 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. So, how soon can we expect organs to be available en masse? The scientists that work on growing organs state that their main “goal is to increase the number of patients that benefit from this lab-grown technology”. The initial issue with creating lab-grown body parts is that there are different levels of complexity when it comes to the structures created. For instance, tissues with flat structures like skin, is the first level of complexity while tubular structures like blood vessels are the second level
of complexity. The most complex structures by far are solid structures like the heart and the lungs. Stem cells are the key to creating lab-grown organs. Naturally, stem cells grow organs and organ tissue within the body. They can grow to be anything, as long as the cells can be coaxed into forming tissue on their own using certain cues.
There are clearly not enough organs in the world to go around as UNOS also estimate that an average of 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. Currently, 3D printers are used to create a biocompatible plastic scaffold in the shape of the structure. Stem cells are then placed onto it and subsequently it is placed into an incubator with the same conditions as a human body for it to grow. However, the nature of the heart and the lungs makes this process more difficult as the organs require the blood vessels and tissues within them to be connected. While creating lab-grown body parts is not a myth, the idea that there will be ‘farms’ of organs is. The process of mass-producing these organs could take years, the challenges accompanying it are not currently solvable. •
RUNNING ON AUTOPILOT Michele Theil explores the technological phenomenon of driverless cars.
riverless cars are taking the world by storm. Selfdriving or driverless cars take different forms, with the most famous likely being Uber previously trialling driverless vehicles in cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Tempe, Arizona. Self-driving cars are being developed by companies all over the world, including Tesla, Uber, GM, Google’s Waymo and more. But with more and more accidents involving driverless cars, and even a recent death, can these technologically advanced vehicles really be trusted on the roads?
for any unexpected issues that may force her to take control of the car herself. The video released of the interior and exterior view showed that the “safety driver” was not looking at the road at the time of the incident but equally, the pedestrian seemed to come out of nowhere. It is unclear who was truly at fault and whether a human driver could have prevented the death. But it does bring up questions of the safety of driverless cars, where technology may be fallible in detecting hazards appearing on the roads at any given time.
According to the World Health Organization, over 1.25 million people died from “road traffic crashes” while an estimated 20 - 50 million more people are injured nonfatally. A 2008 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration in the US estimated that at least 94% of traffic accidents are caused by human error. So, the aim of driverless cars are to solve this exponential problem by removing the unpredictable element of people from driving. The idea is that, without the fickle actions of someone turning the wheel suddenly or braking in the middle of a motorway without warning, roads will be much safer and accidents will occur less frequently.
Meanwhile, Tesla, headed by the lauded Elon Musk, is being investigated for the recent crash of a Model X car that was running on autopilot mode. The crash killed the owner of the car, Walter Huang after the vehicle hit a barrier on the Sillicon Valley freeway. It subseqently caught fire. The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) are investigating Tesla for two other crashes that occurred in 2017. Preliminary reviews by the Minami Tamaki lawfirm suggests that the navigational system of the autopilot did not function correctly and failed to detect the necessary hazards.
An admirable goal from the technology and car giants of the world. But, there have been many incidents involving self-driving cars in recent months, with deaths being connected to both Uber and Tesla’s self-driving cars.
Now, driverless cars are also hitting the UK, with prototypes being tested in Milton Keynes by the consortium, UK Autodrive. The government has invested at least £250m into researching driverless cars, hoping to bring them into the mainstream in the UK.
Uber made headlines recently when one of their selfdriving cars struck a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, where Uber was testing their driverless cars. The car in question had a passenger as well as a “safety driver”, someone hired to sit in the passenger seat and watch
Clearly, while driverless cars appear to be revolutionary, the errors in its technology are definitely cause for concern. And they shouldn’t be trusted on the roads until we are sure that incidents like the ones in California and Tempe won’t happen. •
LOUISA WICKS TALKS TO PRESIDENT OF POLE, MARTA BARTON-NAVARRO Sports & Socs Editor Louisa Wicks highlights
ole fitness is a hugely up-and-coming activity around the world, and Royal Holloway recently added it to its lengthy list of societies. I spoke to the president of the society, Marta Barton-Navarro, to find out why she joined and why pole fitness is becoming such a popular club.
What are the benefits of doing pole fitness?
The biggest opportunity is probably entering the community of Pole Fitness, which is always very welcoming and can expand so far when meeting people at the studio! The instructors have always been nothing but welcoming and supportive for each and every member which is always a great boost in motivation to continue the sport. For those members who have a more competitive nature, we offer the opportunity to compete at IUPDC and/or Varsity.
We provide Pole Fitness lessons Mondays (6:307:30pm), Tuesdays (5:30-6:30pm), Thursdays (6:30-7:30pm) and Saturdays (11:30-12:30pm). We also do aerial hoop Wednesdays (8:30-9:30pm) and Saturdays (10:30-11:30am). The lessons take place in GemsTone Fitness Studio which is in Egham, opposite Tesco’s up a flight of stairs.
This is all achievable for only £5 per lesson for our members! Prices for aerial sports lessons average around £15 usually, so it’s a great moment for people to try something new.
It doesn’t matter when you decide to join the society, the instructors will always provide help or push you further. It doesn’t matter if you have never ever done it before, that’s how 90% of us started! •
Pole Fitness provides a big mixture of fitness benefits. Firstly, there is a great improvement in overall strength; core, legs and arms become so much stronger. Secondly, flexibility improves over time, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not strong or flexible when you start, that’s why you’re doing pole/hoop! Apart from these Why did you join the society? two, cardio work is practised when doing routines I decided to join the society because it was so different or combination of moves due to your stamina being tested, as is your sense of rhythm. and exotic compared to any other society and club. It seemed like a challenge, and once I tried it I got What has been your biggest achievement this hooked and didn’t want to stop! year? What does the society do? Our highest achievement this year is having been able to retain so many members that we have been able to This academic year not only have we provided Pole offer six lessons a week which are constantly filled up. Fitness lessons, but we have also added aerial hoop lessons as part of the society. Also new to this year, What are your goals for next year? we have competed in a competition called Inter Uni Pole Dance Competition (IUPDC), where we went to The goals for next year are to provide more Imperial College and competed against universities from the South East region. Apart from IUPDC we also opportunities for members to perform, to continue the have Varsity coming up against Surrey! It’s safe to say growth of the society and increase practice sessions apart from lessons. In terms of a community feeling, we provide both a competitive part if you should wish we want to educate people about pole fitness and to compete, or just a more chill sociable side. break the negative stereotypes surrounding our sport. What opportunities are there for your When do you train? members?
Any last words of advice?
SPORT AND SOCS
A SPOTLIGHT ON ETON FIVES Sports and Socs Editor Louisa Wicks sits down with Eton Fives president Ollie Avery to find out more about one of RHUL’s newest and most unusual sports clubs.
ton Fives only officially became a club this year, and has since been gaining more and more success. I met with the club’s president, Ollie Avery, to find out more about what they do and what they’ve achieved so far. Ollie described the sport as a variation of handball, or like “squash with hands”. Essentially the aim of the game is to hit the small cork ball above a ledge on the wall and to “play a shot that the other team cannot continue”. There are usually two people on each team, but there is no referee. As it is a rather informal sport, you must discuss with the other team whether a shot was legal or not. Ollie says that this “teaches you to play the game like a human”. The informality of the club was something that Ollie emphasised; he said that you can “play at your
own leisure” and that it’s “easy to play and become competitive”. The club has a thriving social calendar; training sessions often end with a trip to the pub, and also a number of socials are held throughout the year. He also said that it is a “really respectable, diverse sport”, with teams often being a mix of men and women.
He said that people may be put off by the unfamiliar and unusual nature of the sport, but emphasised that it’s very easy to pick up. As the name suggests, the sport originated at Eton College. The first game was played in 1840, against fellow private school Harrow. Since then, the game has
been adopted by other private schools, and in the last 10 years has also started to come into state schools and public clubs. Ollie described it as “mainly a private sport gone public” – state schools often compete against private schools. In terms of university teams, Oxford and Cambridge are of course the frontrunners in the sport. But, Royal Holloway is the first university after Oxford and Cambridge to have an organised club. Ollie was keen to raise more awareness of the club. So far this year, the club has competed at Cambridge, Bath and Imperial, with their most recent competition being at Oxford on Friday 23 February. Although the team had eight players at Cambridge, Ollie is very conscious about “getting the name out there”.
it’s very easy to pick up. With the annual membership only being £30 (and the coaching and most competitions are free), it’s affordable – Ollie stressed that “anyone’s welcome”. He’s hoping that one day the club will be able to get courts at Royal Holloway, once the sport becomes more established. Also, he told me one other very unexpected fact: Eton Fives is the most popular sport in Nigeria. Ollie puts it very aptly: it’s “a lot more popular than you would think”. The club trains at 7pm on Tuesdays at Eton College and 4pm on Sundays at Sunningdale School. If you want to find out more, check out their page on the SU website or contact the president directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. •
He said that people may be put off by the unfamiliar and unusual nature of the sport, but emphasised that
DANCING TO VICTORY Samantha Davis looks at the exemplary achievements of the Royal Holloway Dance Society.
t’s hard to deny that this year has been great for sporting achievements across the Royal Holloway sport societies. Dance Society in particular have had an incredible run of competitions, achieving more wins than students can remember achieving since the society was set up. This year started off with a bang on Saturday 25 November when the Wildcard dancers won first place at Kings College London. This champion routine was expertly choreographed for this competition by Emily Coombes. The winning streak continued as Dance Society came away from their competition on December 7 with six dance numbers coming away with top three placings.
The contemporary dance, ‘Death Row’, choreographed by Marie de Rooy and Ashley Parry achieved first place alongside the Tap piece, ‘Tribal Beats’, choreographed by Bethany Knowles. Lydia Cowling’s group Jazz performance, ‘Toxic’, was also scored highly and came away with second place. Julia Cichocka’s daring solo ‘Instead’, the duet ‘Trapped With Myself’ between Käte McMorrow and Chloé Norris, and the Transcendance Challenge ‘PYT’ which was choreographed by Dani Wofle all achieved third place. Overall, it was a highly successful day for all members of Dance Society. Term two saw the continuation of Dance Society blossoming at competitions, especially at the University of Surrey on March 3 during which they competed against 11 rival universities. The beautiful
ballet performance ‘Incertitude’, choreographed by Maki Hasegawa took first place as well as the incredibly charismatic number ‘Dancing Fool’ which was performed by Tap and choreographed by Bryony O’Hare. Jazz also achieved a winning performance with their fun and flirty performance ‘Chicago’, which was choreographed by Natalie How. Contemporary also placed with Julia Cichocka’s powerful piece ‘Plastic’ which achieved second place. Royal Holloway Dance Society was also placed in the spotlight when Amy Waterhouse was announced as the best female dancer of the whole competition at Surrey. This was a terrific achievement as not only did she stand out from amongst all eleven competing dance societies, she managed to perform with outstanding
talent and professionalism in five numbers whilst suffering from a fractured rib. March 21 saw the returning of Varsity to Royal Holloway, and with it, five excellent dance numbers from, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, and Ballet. Although the Jazz and Ballet numbers won, Surrey achieved victory overall. However, this does not take away from the fantastic year this society has had and all the places that they have achieved. Dance Society will continue to produce some showstopping performances which will be performed at their Summer Showcase on May 27. After the amount of winning pieces they have created this year, the Showcase will definitely be worth watching. •
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CHINESE NOODLES INGREDIENTS: 1 Pack Flat Noodles 500g Sliced Beef 1 Pack Sprouts Dark Soy Sauce Chopped Onions METHOD: 1. Prepare by making sure that your beef is sliced into small pieces and wash the sprouts thoroughly. 2. Place a frying pan on high heat with one spoonful of oil. Once the pan is heated up, saute the onions until they are caramelised brown. 3. Once the onions are caramelised, add in the beef and cook for a few minutes. 4. Add in the flat noodles and continously stir. 5. Add as many or as little sprouts as you want into the pan and stir. 6. Take at least three spoonfuls of soy sauce and spread into the pan at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. 7. Taste and add soy sauce as needed. Salt and pepper are also optional depending on taste.
This is a classic Chinese dish and one that you get in every â€˜dinerâ€™ in Hong Kong. Enjoy this dish from the comfort of your own home! To be truly authentic, try your hand at chopsticks!
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Orbital Magazine's May Issue - the last issue of the academic year.