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8st December 2015
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Northern Ireland’s Only Independent Student Newspaper, Established 1955 Hunger Games: Has the final installment lived up to its predecessors?
Battle of the Ads: This Season’s New Christmas Adverts
Opinions: UK Should Not Bomb Syria?
QUB to Merge Seven Schools
Photo, Vanessa Humphrey
Niamh McGovern, Editor
Queen’s University Belfast has discussed plans to merge schools within the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences faculty, the Gown has learned from a University source. Consequently, due to austerity measures set by the UK government, and a 2% cut to the Department for Learning and Education, the University has made preliminary plans to merge seven schools; including the Schools of English, History, Drama, Anthropology, Sociology, Modern Languages and Politics, Philosophy and International Studies (PISP), into two larger schools. To spread available funding between each individual school, these seven schools
will merge to form a faculty of Social Sciences and a faculty of Humanities and Arts. The School of Law is not planned to be included in this and will remain a school in its own right, with new headquarters planned to open next year.
ABB. If changes occur, it is likely international students will be awarded similar considerations to that of GB students.
Funding within each school is currently available for educational use, research and bursary subsidies for Postgraduate students. Consultation of these plans is scheduled for February, prior to a final plan which will be brought before Senate next April.
In September, the University cut 236 jobs and 290 student places in response to the £8m subsidy cut received by the Department of Education and Learning (DEL) in Northern Ireland, planning to cut a total of 1,100 places in the next two years. If plans for two merger faculties are passed, each faculty could receive a cut in educational and administrative staff.
Other changes discussed include new regulations for Great British students, who will be offered Unconditional Offers to Queen’s, or offered a Conditional Offer of A-level results at BBB or above. Grade boundaries for Northern Irish students will remain at ABB for Single honours and the grade boundary of BBB for joint honours will be raised to
In 2013-14, Queen’s total income was £298.4m, an increase of 4.3% from the previous academic year. As part of the Vision 2020 plan, in their latest Financial Review, the university have stated “Delivering these priorities requires the continuous enhancement and development of our people, services and infrastructure.”
Last month, the University was criticised for failing to communicate changes in contract and funding requirements with staff members, who responded with a protest outside the University Senate meeting, alongside UCU Trade Union. Changes to Acedemic Standards, the threat of job losses and imposed changes to probation contracts were listed as UCU’s concerns for staff at Queen’s. Staff members have expressed similar responses to the merging schools, although staff consultation for these changes will begin next year. Queen’s has not yet responded to any of the changes.
NIAMH MCGOVERN- EDITOR
NIALL COLEMAN- DEPUTY EDITOR
Almost ten weeks in, QUB is feeling the end-of-semester excitement and a cold Belfast winter! Whether you find your classes inspirational or dismal, stick in there and make it to Christmas. University hasn’t gotten any cheaper, so we’ve included some tips for making it through the most expensive month of the year, especially handy if you’ll be spending Christmas away from home. If you fancy taking up a new hobby next year, we’ve reviewed the Code First: Girls coding course from the semester, which is running next year again (trust me, it’s worth it). In lieu of the horrendous attacks in Paris last month, we’ve asked students’ what they think of the response from France and the affect of terrorism in our world today. We love student opinions; if you have something itching at the back of your mind, write it down and let it be read, you won’t regret it. Queen’s Management appears to be listening to it’s students’ for once, and if you look across from the McClay you’ll see our lovely new Belfast Bikes. Someday, you never know, students’ might even stop Queen’s from hurting the planet. At least on the surface they are making an effort. 2015 is nearing to an end, tuition fees are rising, the news is terrible and Parks and Recreation has ended. But...2016 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Students’ are talking and writing about their issues... and their rights. Two protests simultaneously took the QUB Senate by shock last month, hopefully letting the ‘right people’ know where their concerns should lie - Queen’s is first and foremost and educational institution and should be treated as such. If Senate decides that individual schools are worthless enough to merge into smaller, less costly faculties, then there is plenty of evidence to suggest the university has it’s agenda in the wrong service. If you care about it - write it down, send it on, let us read it!
Well, well. It’s been an eventful few weeks. Due to a few hiccups and unpleasant sneezes we’ve been quiet on paper, but we are back. The evenings are darker, the weather is wetter. Deadlines are approaching as the battle for computers in the McClay library begins. It’s not all bad news though Christmas is approaching, and the Gown December issue has finally arrived. The tragic events in Paris have dominated the headlines in recent weeks. As students, and as journalists, we must be resolute in our opposition of the fascistic agenda of the Islamic State. As students and journalists, we must also be resolute in our condemnation of knee-jerk reactions by our government and media outlets in supporting Syrian air strikes. Western bombs will not alleviate any problems in the Middle-East. Queen’s University students must present a voice which reminds the British government of the consequences of ‘intervention’ - it’s time to learn from our mistakes. On campus, we have more reasons to be optimistic. The flame of activism has been relit at the University. Divestment protesters from Fossil Free QUB interrupted Queen’s Senate meeting, prompting a heavy-handed response from security and a few red faces from University staff. The protest coincided with a joint protest from UCU and QUB staff on school merges and contractual changes - watching students and staff march together towards the Graduate School was encouraging, and bodes well for the future of University activism. In what was the first day of direct action taken by staff and students in recent years, the University has been reminded that they are vulnerable to protest when they least expect it. I’ll leave my rant there. After a lot of hard work and lots of late night phone calls, the issue is out. Read it, enjoy it, and write for it in the future!
Enda Paul Mc Cabe Inkpot Editor, Features Editor firstname.lastname@example.org,
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NEWS CROSS-COMMUNITY FOOD BANK OPENS FOR WEST BELFAST FAMILIES
The Gown Interview SDLP’s Colum Eastwood “One of my top focuses is on universities – their economic relevance and their funding from the public purse.”
A cross-community food bank has opened in West Belfast to cater for 40 families across the sectarian divide, described as “the first measure of its kind”. The Springfield Charitable Association donated a derelict building to Pastor Tony Meehan, one of the driving forces behind establishing the project based out of West Belfast’s Cupar Street, straddling the lines between the Falls and Shankill Roads. The initiative seeks to aid disadvantaged families across the divide, blighted with social issues such as alcoholism and drug addiction. Food bank usage in the United Kingdom has risen to record levels over the past year, challenging claims that both Britain’s economic recovery is being equally shared and that working class people have received a “peace dividend” as a result of the Good Friday Agreement. Hunger and poverty continues to affect large sections of the country’s population, as demonstrated by the latest figures gathered by the Trussell Group which claim a 19% yearon-year increase in food bank usage. Speaking to the Guardian,Trussell Trust chairman Chris Mould said that the figures demonstrate “catastrophic” problems, claiming that “These needs have not diminished in the last 12 months”. Concerns at this point surround the exacerbating of these issues as a result of austerity measures introduced by Sinn Fein and the DUP last month. Speaking to The Gown, Pastor Tony Meehan shed some light on his project, and the “totally unacceptable” nature of poverty in West Belfast: “We now have a working poor, which is totally unacceptable in today’s welfare society. We hope to open the foodbank in December, and are currently busy training volunteers and gathering the 5 tonnes of food donations required on our shelves to meet the poverty need across the communities of West Belfast. The food bank will service the Falls and Shankill communities, and our volunteers are representative of both communities. Upper Sixth students from Colaiste Feirste, Victoria College & St Dominic’s Convent School are stepping forward to help along with local businesses, football teams, churches and individuals. Even the PSNI made a donation to help with clothing for the volunteers. Special mention must be made of Michael of S&D Electrical who has worked tirelessly for days to restore electrics in the building, PTS plumbing for their donations of
Niall Coleman, Deputy Editor
pipes and water restoration, and William the plumber for the donation of his time and skill and Bradley the painter for painting three room for me. We are mobilising the community to meet a need in the community! All volunteers are welcome”. In response to the opening of the food bank, West Belfast Councillor Gerry Carroll provided a statement on the initiative: “I think the Food bank is a good initiative in West Belfast. It will provide welcome assistance for those struggling with the costs of heating, food, mortgage, rent and school uniforms by helping them put food on the table. While food banks are a positive step forward, the fact that we need them in today’s society is a shocking indictment of the world we live in. Obscene wealth exists for those at the top, but for the vast majority of people it is becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet. We are one of the richest countries in the world yet some have to rely on food banks to survive. This is the legacy of the Tories in government. Their attacks on benefit claimants and public services have forced people in very difficult situations. We need to seriously think about how we organise society. This means finding ways to redistribute wealth in society, and ending the vicious attacks we’ve seen from the Tories on benefit claimants and public services. It’s time to rethink our approach and start putting people before profit”. The food bank will be launched as of early December, and Queen’s University Students are urged to take part. If you would like any further details on how you can donate or volunteer contact Tony Meehan on 07870106147 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gaibhin McGranaghan News Editor At the SDLP Conference last month, our news editor Gaibhin McGranaghan caught up with Colum Eastwood, the SDLP’s youngest MLA, on policy and his priorities for university students’: WHAT’S YOUR SALES PITCH? YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT “PROGRESSIVE IMAGE OF PROGRESSIVE NATIONALISM” IN PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS – CAN YOU EXPAND ON THAT FOR US? “We, as constitutional nationalists, need to spell out what exactly a united Ireland would look like. We’ve [the SDLP] already prepared something in the way of a potential framework in earlier policy documents, but now more than ever do I feel we need to come together, discuss and present a comprehensive vision of what a new Ireland entails for everyone on this island. Because the bottom line is that we have to make NI work. There’s a sinking feeling within constitutional nationalism that NI is a failed political entity, and that we need to be able to bring hard incentives to the table in any negotiations. I don’t envisage us as an economic basket-case for the South that’ll simply fall into place on its own.” WHAT MADE YOU GO FOR THE LEADERSHIP? WHY NOW? DID DR MCDONNELL’S COMMENTS FACTOR INTO YOUR DECISION OR HAS BEEN SOMETHING IN THE MAKING FOR SOME TIME NOW? “I’ve been clear from the start that this has never been anything personal between myself and Alasdair.
Nor has it got anything to do what he said in Glengormley. Alasdair’s been a loyal and enormously hardworking public representative, with a huge record of service to stand on to his constituents and to the SDLP. I respect him. I was nominated by nine branches but ultimately, it was up to me whether or not to follow up on those nominations and formally declare. I view this as a duty to the party, not about acquiring positions to your name. But I mean, it’s no secret that the party’s not where it once was; election results tell us that in black and white. We need a shot in the arm, so to speak. I know I’ve said it before, but I honestly believe that people want a new generation of political leaders to step up to the mark – and that’s across the political spectrum, not just in the SDLP. ” WILL THERE BE ANY HUSTINGS BETWEEN YOURSELF AND DR MCDONNELL THEN, LIKE WE SAW WITH LABOUR’S LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES LAST SUMMER? “To my knowledge, not that I know of no, but I certainly hope there’ll be. Communication’s essential in politics, whether it’s talking to constituents, the media, fellow party members or your opponents.” YOUR PROFILE AS THE YOUNGEST SDLP MLA IS A DISTINGUISHING FEATURE OF YOUR PUBLIC IMAGE. IN TERMS OF POLICY THOUGH, HOW DO YOU BELIEVE THE SDLP CAN HELP YOUNG PEOPLE IN
NORTHERN IRELAND – STUDENTS, SPECIFICALLY? “One of my top focuses is on universities – their economic relevance and their funding from the public purse. A lot of the dialogue going on at the moment’s been centered on corporation tax’s devolution, how much we’ll set it to, competitiveness with Dublin – and I think it’s great we’re able to have policy debates around it. But I don’t believe that it should be an end unto itself. Corporation tax is one piece of a much bigger picture and the SDLP’s been very clear on this. Younger people are who will be driving our economy – and indeed, our society – and currently they’re getting a pretty raw deal. I mean, you’ve got a disgraceful situation on what we have with caps on student places here, on top of cuts to university staff. WITH THAT IN MIND THEN, CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE ANY MANIFESTOS OR POLICY DOCUMENTS BEING PUBLISHED ANY TIME SOON? “Yes you can, though for now what I’m doing is writing and posting a series of blogs on issues like the economy, health, education and so on.”
Battle of the Ads: This Season’s New Christmas Adverts
Paul Mc Cabe, Features Editor
The season is indeed upon us. The sleigh bells are ringing, the fairy lights are twinkling and this year’s new batch of Christmas adverts have finally arrived. Every winter Christmas only rolls around when our televisions show us the familiar faces of Sainsbury’s or John Lewis, all wrapped up in a brand new shiny bow. Last year John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin advert set the bar high, building on the success of the previous year’s Bear and the Hare story, and now finally this year we have the 2015
Man on the Moon; a heart-breaking tale of loneliness and isolation, specifically among pensioners. The ad features a little girl attempting to bring Christmas cheer to an old man stranded on the moon this holiday season. Teaming up with Age UK, John Lewis use their annual tearjerker to great effect to raise awareness for those most lonely in our society. With a cover of Oasis’ ‘Half the World Away’ Norwegian Aurora Aksnes lends her heartfelt plea to this already emotive advert. Also waiting under our trees is Sainsbury’s Mog’s Christmas Calamity, a funny yet equally heart-warming and
hope-affirming tale of community and togetherness. Based off of the children’s book characters, Mog the Cat graces our screens a year after Sainsbury’s released its 2014 Christmas ad, the real life tale of the 1914 Christmas Day truce during WWI. This year’s ad has resurrected Mog the Cat in the familiar disastrous fashion, with Mog destroying a house on Christmas Eve, but the tale ends warmly as our favourite feline saves his owners from a fire by alerting the emergency services. Mog makes a reappearance after so many years to support Save the Children and raise funds for children’s literacy.
However the true hero of Christmas sentimentality this year may be another contender entirely. German supermarket Edeka have released an advert rivaling those of the two giants above. In a similar vein than that of John Lewis, Edeka’s advert tells the tale of an elderly man whose family leave him alone at Christmas year after year until finally he resorts to drastic measures to bring them all together. With its haunting music and subtle yet moving acting, Edeka brings us a true picture of Christmas senti-
ment, a story on the importance of family and love in the darkest and coldest time of the year. Whether you’re a John Lewis lover, or a Sainsbury’s supporter or a sucker for Edeka, all of these adverts move you, and whether one is better than the others isn’t the real point. That’s not the real spirit of the season. What these stories tell us, what matters most at Christmas, is spending time with the ones you love and enjoying these festive moments with them over hot turkey and mulled wine.
How has Paris affected public thinking? Ruairi Lavery, Contributor Christopher Hitchens once said: “Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.” In the case of the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13th 2015, it is easy to market this opinion as fact. After all, public opinion has become quite clear-cut in the aftermath of this atrocity, with politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens alike granting their unanimous support to the victims and throwing their contempt at the terrorists responsible for one hundred and thirty murders. It seems as though the hate-fueled crusade of ISIS is doomed to failure based on public belief alone. Politically, the incident sparked widespread unrest, with some
in the UK calling for tighter border control, the French government stepping up Parisian security and, most unfortunately, some lesser minds casting suspicious looks and hurtful words at every follower of Islam they can find as a result. I personally interacted with someone on Twitter who simply asked me: “Are you an Islamic terrorist?” His reason for asking? My defense of Islam and anti-IS Muslims. In the height of social media-based influences, there are those who have come to terms with the threat of terrorism in a way they never have before. Some, who may have never spared it more than a passing thought in the last few years, are now fearful of ISIS-driven
propaganda and potential attacks right here, in the UK and Ireland. After all, a recent video released by the terrorist group has listed Ireland as an “enemy” of Islamic State militants. Given that Irish and British citizens have been killed in numerous such attacks before, this is of no surprise, but it is a harsh and unpleasant reminder that people need to be vigilant and continue to stand together against terrorism. The divide in opinion is not a reference to the attacks on Paris themselves; some will make their depraved jokes, but the near-universal consensus is ‘together with Paris, against ISIS’. This mindset is welcomed, for without true community,
isolation and uncertainty will lead to panic and daily scaremongering. The older generations of Northern Ireland know all too well what effects such thinking can have, both politically and socially. Instead, the divide is centered on the views aimed at Islamic involvement, as a religion, in the Paris attacks, along with others that have occurred in recent years. While one corner will ask: ‘how can Islam call itself a religion of peace?’ the other will say: ‘we can’t paint one and a half billion people with a single brush’.
For better or worse, what happened on that dreadful night has either altered public perception. Religious tolerance is individualistic, but standing up for Muslims who were not involved, Muslims who desire peace, is simply common sense. We can’t call ourselves a free and democratic society without also fighting those who believe in religious persecution. Again, The Troubles should be enough proof for why that is a particularly dangerous idea. (Image source, Paris Attacks - Daily Beast)
Bush Vs Clinton: Dynasty Politics
Niall Devlin, Contributor
One year out from election day and the 2016 race for the White House is heating up, albeit excruciatingly slowly. As of the end of November, 14 Republican and 3 Democratic candidates are still in the race. The coming year looks set to be an interesting one, and in no small part due the candidacy of one Mr. Donald J. Trump. However, excluding the prospect of a Trump presidency (the dream of any pundit), two equally big names give cause for anxiety: Bush and Clinton. Yes, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are both still in the race, and yes; both may very well capture each of their party’s nominations, but can anyone – political or no – confidently say that a Bush Vs. Clinton election will be exciting? Or even desirable? Speculation of such a race was contemplated early and often by
mainstream news outlets in America – well before Trump’s ego came to dominate – but the possibility of such a monotonous political choice nonetheless looms over the American voter. The political arena of any country but particularly the United States, should be a marketplace for ideas. Ideas about how to run our lives and, to use an incredibly mundane phrase, about how we ‘move forward together.’ However, if we are to reduce politics down to a choice between two very similar candidates; to either Clinton II or Bush III, the much needed conversation about the important issues seems likely to be eclipsed by the interests of the campaign donors – the powerful influence of which should be of paramount importance in its own right. The dynastic nature of such a race could be enough to switch anyone off politics indefinitely. However, the like-
lihood of both candidates simultaneously becoming the respective nominees is thankfully quite slim, but it’s indicative of the sorry state of American politics that name recognition and the power of money over elections can produce even the possibility of a Bush/Clinton contest. As an outsider looking in, the American political scene can appear pretty bleak at times – especially now that both Republicans and Democrats pander to the extremes of their parties in order to win the nomination. However, although it’s easy to dismiss a conversation about American politics with “I’m just glad I don’t live there” in a characteristically European way, there is cause for optimism. With the possibility of two (in) famous political dynasties returning to the corridors of power, the American voter may revolt in defiance. Indeed early signs of such a revolt against
the decades old dynastic dichotomy are present. On the Democratic side, the self-proclaimed socialist (*gasp*) Senator Bernie Sanders has been rising in the polls to compete with Clinton. And on the Republican side, Jeb Bush’s poll numbers have been slipping since June – largely due to one person, already mentioned, name beginning with D. Thankfully, for anyone who believes in politics as the marketplace for ideas; the prospect of a ‘clash of the dynasties’ is possible, but not probable. We can only hope that in the interim between now and next November something extraordinary happens – like Trump becoming the Republican Party’s nominee? If there is one thing we can thank him for, the allure of American politics to us Europeans has reached an entirely new level. With the possibility
of two (in) famous political dynasties returning to the corridors of power, the American voter may
Belfast Christmas Market Worth the Hype? The Belfast Continental Christmas Market celebrated its ten year anniversary just last year in 2014, however the question that still remains to be asked year after year is: is it worth the hype? If you’re searching for a new hat, a Christmas themed plant or an overpriced cup of mulled wine, then you’ve come to the right place. The Belfast Continental Christmas Market offers up a wide range of clothing, handmade items, authentic continental food and a range of other items and activities. It seems that the whole of Belfast and the surround-
ing area has been to the market at least once, whether it is to sample one of the exotic Kangaroo Burgers or simply to soak up the atmosphere. Come winter time, the market serves as a popular attraction in the city. Recently voted, Best Large Specialist Market 2015 by NABMA, there are certainly a wide range of products on offer. However, most of them seem to be repeated on a yearly basis. There are only so many pictures in a fake snow globe a person can be expected to take and it is a given that each year you will find the
same array of foods in almost the exact same layout. Still, the repetitiveness of it does not necessarily have to mean that the market does not live up to its hype. Certainly one of the biggest mistakes a person can make it trying to visit the market on a Saturday. Crammed into the area surrounding Belfast City Hall, people proceed to shuffle like cattle around the different stalls. That way, it is certainly a much less enjoyable experience than when you visit the market when it is quiet. Time to browse does allow you to happily soak in
the atmosphere of Christmas that the market has. Although arguably, a lot of the items are overpriced for what it is that you’re getting, that doesn’t stop the carved wooden figurines being lovely or the crepes tasting amazing. During busy periods there will always be the people who try and push large pushchairs through the crowds and that one individual that tries to weave their dogs through the masses, but despite that the general atmosphere of the market is a positive one. It is something that multiple nationalities all get to experience equally, with such a
wide range of cultures all equally represented in one space. The market also serves as a positive experience for children, who can post a letter at Santa’s Grotto and even receive one back if they send them before December 18th. It is clear that no matter what a person’s individual opinions on the Belfast Continental Christmas Market is, it is well and truly here to stay and so to that degree yes, it is definitely worth the hype. Bethany Cottrell, Contributor
MA Journalism at the University of Ulster Want to train as a journalist at one of the UK’s leading NCTJ accredited MA courses? Jayne McCormack, BA English and Politics, QUB, now at BBC NI The reason I chose UU was that it was the only course here that got me the much-needed NCTJs as well as an MA, not to mention the proximity to home, top-class teachers with a wealth of contacts and the placement opportunities. I can say hand on heart it was the best choice I ever made. Worth the investment and the hard work, would do it again in a heartbeat.
Ciaran Bartlett BA Ancient History QUB, MA, PhD 2014 We have a great tradition of Queen’s graduates coming to us to learn practical skills, taught by journalists. Many of our students have gone on to work at BBC Northern Ireland, UTV, The Irish News, The Belfast Telegraph and many other news organisations.
“You will learn the skills to have a serious shot at getting a job in media before you hand in your dissertation. You will make great professional contacts and have some of the best craic you’ll ever have at Uni. Give it a lash. You won’t regret it.”
You’ll learn: • How to write for print, broadcast and online • Shorthand up to 100 words per minute • Essential law for journalists • Public Affairs
We are looking for enthusiastic, bright and highly motivated candidates with a love of news and current affairs. Closing date for applications is Monday 29th February, 2016. Apply online at www.ulster.ac.uk/applyonline Further information from the Course Director, Maggie Swarbrick mm.swarbrick@ ulster.ac.uk
Paul Mc Cabe, Inkpot Editor email@example.com
Dropout. Laura Sproule
Consumed Ryan Madden
There’s a girl I love but she’s starting to fade, watch her hair tips pale from blue to grey. Happy hour she knows no other way to end each long, hard dismal day. The numbers hit her four two oh, overdraft starting to grow. Kings (cup) and Queen ‘s taught her all she knows, Honours education but not in Thoreau. Italic eyes keep people on her side, she wants them to believe that she’ll continue to thrive. That her life isn’t a Circus. And her dead i’s are alive. That she goes out every night cause she’s a social butterfly. Not because of the fear she feels over not knowing her place in the game she plays but it’s the only option that she has she could never put her heart into MLA Doggie style, daily grind, Converse on the telephone line.
Seven minutes after stepping over the litany of take-away menus, political leaflets and super-market offers lining her communal hallway she finds herself at an ATM demanding twenty pounds. Pizza Hut. Wasn’t it competitive A.I.B mortgage rates yesterday? Money in hand she turns away, perches her sunglasses on her nose and walks as fast as is conventional. Maybe I should have checked my balance. Thinking she recognises an old workmate in a franchised sandwich-shop queue, she squints without breaking her gait. Green background, white letters and bold yellow numbers dominate her view. What was once a phone box been remade into an eight by three foot canvas. Why bother paying for a separate advert right outside a branch with the same “deal” in its window? Still, guess a fiver isn’t bad for lunch. Probably wasn’t Evelyn anyway. A bottle-neck at a road crossing, bodies jostling towards shops. She catches the eye of another woman in her mid-twenties, they both turn to face ahead causing two more sets of eyes to lock onto the overbearing roadside billboard. I’ll get a latte on the way home. A young couple to her right kiss; their shoes, gym bags and t-shirts all screaming with the same solid coloured tick slapped on the hip of the other woman’s leggings. Overtaking them all she rifles through her handbag until finding her iPod and gifted headphones from last Christmas. When did Amazon say that C.D would arrive? I should have bought it on iTunes. No, I want the C.D. She jams in the one working earpiece and presses play on the first song she comes across. Thrust at with a flyer for a new diner, she snatches the glossy paper without looking at the purveyor before seeking refuge in a dimly-lit electronics store. A song and a half is all she gets before her battery dies and she is approached by a red-haired, talking advertisement demanding she checks the ‘Biggest selection of sale items in-store and online. As if I can’t read your shirt and every light-box, poster and wall in here. She picks up some American branded headphones and examines the packaging while waiting to pay. I’ll have to pay with my card. Made in China. Thirty quid down from fifty. “Do you have a loyalty card?” She doesn’t. “We also have Bluetooth headsets on offer today, nine ninety nine with any purchase.” She doesn’t drive. “And if you didn’t see them, DVD’s for three pounds with any purchase.” She just wants the headphones is that okay? Yes. Just enter your pin. No, she doesn’t want any cashback. She fumbles putting her bank card back in her purse, unaware she is still clutching the diner menu in a damp hand. Only upon returning home and noticing her palm is cut, blood trickling across the flyer and falling onto the scattered papers in the hallway does she remember why she had left the flat in the first place. Coffee with Evelyn.
Dropout. Doing just fine.
The Ram King Niall McKenna The moment I realised it wasn’t smoke I knew I was in another realm. A place where space thickens into fingers and clutches pruriently at your sleeves, where the air kills thought like sand poured on a fire. At first, not knowing the fortunes and misfortunes that were to follow, I’d have called it purgatory. A neutral endless zone where nothing grows, nothing dies, it simply waits in the pallid light. But as suddenly as the wait begins it’s over, and here the Ram King comes. I couldn’t remember what it looked like, only ever recalling a feature later on. At night when I lay sleeping my mind unwrapped these greasy parcels to reveal, in turn: thorns in matted wool, a thunderous wheeze and, most horrifyingly, cloven fingers. As monstrous as they come this monster, a beast assembled. Beyond that I recalled nothing. I would descend the hill behind my house and ascend again, mind thorougly fugged. Gradually however, I began to piece things together. I’m not smart or even intuitive, merely brooding. Who wouldn’t brood, having found themselves wandering the garden at dawn, with no notion as to how they got there? Who remembers a hill that wasn’t there? I searched my mind for answers and the Ram King peered back. If it was real, why did it happen. Why did it keep happening. My mind was a field over which no light shone, in which fear had planted deep roots. And then the thought was gone, plucked, dredging clods of earthy brain behind it. Life got better, I thought, so much so that that otherworldly place marshalled to the cellar of my mind couldn’t have been purgatory. Purgatory comes after you die, and until Ram King I’d never really lived. The life I led. My mind felt keener. I had more energy. I quit my job for a better one, one I actually enjoyed. I worked harder that I thought possible. This afforded me a better home, a more impressive home. I travelled, learnt Spanish. I made new friends, new lovers, I was alive. It sounds insane, it sounds paganistic, but the Ram King set me free. Monstrous fingers they might have been, but they’d dragged the fear and confusion from my mind, and I was free. If those hooves scratched a little, so be it.
Attack Fiona Edgar I was walking home late after an extended football practice tired and aching from the field and bemoaning the lack of sympathy from a hard driving coach when I noticed someone following me. I started walking faster and so did he. I ran and so did he. I swung a sharp right into a side street (belatedly realising it’s a dead end alleyway) and he didn’t. Not at first. A minute or two passed and I saw him at the mouth of the alley. He had transformed into his wolf form and was stalking towards me. Fangs bared and growling low in his throat with a look in his eye I could only interpret one way. This powerful looking beta was going to forcefully bite me and then simply wait for the uncontrollable urge to mate with him takes me over before having his way with me. I would be his forever and I’d spend the rest of my life warring with my inner wolf. Both loathing this man and loving him at the same time. I turned wolf just as he leaped right in front of me, trying to force my head down with his gaze. But I fought it and tried to dodge around him. Of course it didn’t work. I was slowed by fatigue and aching muscles and he was fast. Fresh as young pup. He had me pinned underneath him in just a couple of minutes, gazing at me triumphantly for a moment before forcing my head to the side with a big paw and leaning down. I closed my eyes waiting for the marking. But it never came and, instead, my attacker was shoved away from me on a yelp. Standing, I watched as my saviour ducked and weaved away from my attacker’s paws and teeth for several minutes until one well timed swipe sent him flying backwards, nearly falling on his behind. My attacker took the opportunity and pounced onto him, sinking his sharp teeth into the kind-hearted stranger’s shoulder causing him to yowl out in pain. The awful yowl finally got me supressing my fear. I launched myself at my attacker and with all my remaining strength shoved him off my saviour before sinking my own teeth into the beta’s side. He fought me and nearly overpowered me again but the other wolf didn’t let him, shoving him way once more, this time clawing and biting everywhere he could reach to try and cow the sadistic beta; the other giving as good as he got until a sharp bite to and pull on an ear sent him bowing down to seek mercy. I padded over to the alpha (only alphas had the power to pull the ear trick) after the beta limped away and touched my nose to his in thanks briefly before shifting to my human form once more and gesturing for the other to do the same. But he just rubbed himself gently against me before running off.
But I couldn’t forget that last memory, that last parcel. I didn’t want to. A wet brown eye, large and hungry. If I forgot the image, that was it. I could keep living this life, but I’d have to carry the eye forever. I had it tattooed on my hands, and then everywhere else. His name became a chanted mantra. I slicked EYE on the walls in big black letters. Whether it was one of these things or all, I summoned him. So as you stand of the foot of my bed Your Majesty, please tell me. What is that place at the bottom of the hill. And what did you do with all my fear.
ARTS Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. Color Force Bethany Cottrell, Contributor
The Hunger Games: MockingJay, Part Two is the final film adaptation of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games book series. Due to the splitting of the final book into two parts it has been a highlyanticipated and lucrative end to the franchise. The film picks up directly after where the previous film left off, with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) left reeling after an attack by her friend and intermittent lover Peeta Mellark
(Josh Hutcherson), who has been rescued but brainwashed by the Capitol. The war against the Capitol is finally coming to a head, with the rebels readying themselves for a final assault as they push to take District 2 and then on to the Capitol itself. As if this wasn’t stressful enough, the situation is heightened by Katniss’s realisations that rebel leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) is not quite the ideal and selfless liberator that she seems to be. This final instalment also brings to a head the love triangle between
Katniss, Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). The love story does take a slight backseat in this film, but as usual the circumstances and scenarios continue to shape and influence Katniss’s decisions in everlasting ways. It is fittingly fast for a climax, punchy action sequences interspersed with bleak emotional moments. Some of these moments are not quite as effective as was perhaps hoped by the writers, but Jennifer Lawrence continues to prove why she is an Oscar-winning actress so young. She brings a phenomenal and heart-
wrenching performance that in parts will leave avid fans on the verge of tears. That is however, one of the problems of the film. A lot of the heavy emotional impact is removed by the fast-paced nature and so leaves the audience hovering on the very edge of feeling, without completely being able to tip over into that state. Some moments of the film seem rushed, with integral reactions glossed over, making parts appear unrealistic. It also serves to make a person wonder whether or not viewers who are not familiar with the book could be able to
completely grasp what exactly happened in the conclusion of the film and why Katniss made the decisions that she did. Despite that, one great novelty of the film, and in fact the whole series, is that it does not quite fall into the trap of ‘just another teen movie’. Themes of guilt, love, PTSD and responsibility in war are explored compellingly and realistically and so this final instalment of what has been an outstanding franchisehas to be marketed as a muchwatch.
Imagine Dragons - Smoke + Mirrors World Tour. SSE Arena 17/11/15
FEATURES Niamh McGovern Editor
Nevada bred, dark horse band Imagine Dragons continued their sell-out World Tour in Dublin and Belfast this November, preforming at the SSE on November 17th. The band kicked off the show with their newest single ‘Shots’, electrifying the crowd with their usual new-rock spirit, going on to perform a number of hits from “Smoke + Mirrors”, the latest album from the band. Song after song, the band proved they haven’t lost the dazzling upbeat tone we loved the most in their classic hits. ‘Polaroid’ and ‘Gold’, among new “Smoke + Mirrors” songs were another mix of earth and rock, performed with impressive percussion and an enthusiastic lead singer, Dan Reynolds, motivating the crowd. Reynolds is asurprising balance of humbleness and onstage charisma, with a sound
mind and an incredible live voice. He opened the favourite ‘It’s Time’ twenty minutes into the show with a sincere speech of solidarity for the recent concert attack in Paris, treating the crowd with respect and admiration throughout the ninety minute show. As always with the Las Vegas group, their versatile talent is always explicitly visible, taking time
out of their set to perform Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ proved a crowd pleaser. As the band broke into their oldest and most famous hits, the crowd lit with excitement and energy, which Reynolds mirrored onstage. ‘I’m On Top of the World’ erupted into a unanimous chant among the crowd.
By the end of the show, the band are visibly exhausted, ever managing to pull off a fourteen minute rendition of ‘Radioactive’ or the audience, especially lighting up a young boy one row up, who starts to jump along in excitement. By the end of the show, the band are visibly exhausted, ever managing to pull off a fourteen
minute rendition of ‘Radioactive’ for the audience, especially lighting up a young boy one row up, who starts to jump along in excitement. By the end of the song, the crowd is carrying the voice of the lead singer alongside the beat of the drums. Such energy is only nearly matched earlier when the band amplify ‘I Bet My Life’ for the live audience.
one very impressive guitar solo, only prove Imagine Dragons have come a world away from Las Vegas cover shows. Reynolds and the band will not be fading away anytime soon; their continuous fame points to a long reign of the new rock era, with familiar sounds, experimental beats and feel-good lyrics for any age.
Weird Al Yankovic - The Mandatory World Tour.
Fionn Bridges, Science Editor
Unsure of what lay ahead, I ventured into Limelight as part of an incredibly mixed crowd. In the peculiar world of musical parody, there is no bigger name than Weird Al Yankovic, who greatly exceeded my expectations as an entertainer, a comedian, and a musician. A near-full house at Limelight brought about a cheery atmosphere, with just enough space for most attendees to see well, bar the frustrating podiums inside the venue. A great
roar filled the room as Al’s band came on, playing the opening to ‘Tacky’, his parody of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’. Of course, Weird Al does not do normal entrances, and sang most of the opening track from outside the venue, projecting his walk into Limelight onto a screen. The love from fans was reciprocated, as Al shook hands and threw peculiar faces towards the crowd as he stormed on stage. The setlist drew from a career spanning close to forty years, making his show a whirlwind tour of popular music in the last half-century. More current songs like ‘Blurred Lines’ and
‘Fancy’ were given the Weird Al treatment, with ‘Now, that’s what I call Polka!’ bursting through Miley Cyrus, Foster The People, Psy, Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen, Emeli Sande, Gotye, LMFAO, Daft Punk and Macklemore, in around four exhilarating minutes. Al would leave the stage every other song or so in order to change costume, including a fat suit for his parody of ‘Fat’ (Bad) and Amish garb for ‘Amish Paradise’ (Gangsta’s Paradise). While I found these breaks to be slightly too frequent, disrupting the pace of the show, Al filled the gaps by projecting clips from his impressive career. These segments displayed Al’s sense
Limelight 1, 07/10/15
of humour and cultural relevance, showcasing appearances and references to his work on the small screen in shows like Veep, The Simpsons, Adventure Time and Robot Chicken. For a man of 55 his energy was truly remarkable. Generally using the same tour band for the last decade, the chemistry on stage was enjoyable to watch as band members underwent as many costume changes as he did. Al’s vocals are as strong and nasally as ever, and his skill with the accordion is unmatched. There isn’t really a more amusing instrument to watch live, particularly if its player is wearing
a tinfoil hat or riding a segway on stage in circles. There were also moments of fantastic musicianship. ‘Smells Like Nirvana’ is probably the closest I’ll ever get to seeing the real thing live (Kurt Cobain costume et al) and ‘Yoda’ was perhaps the best lettered sing-along since the Kinks. A thoroughly enjoyable microcosm of music and comedy, you’d be hard pressed to not have fun at a Weird Al Yankovic concert. The fun needn’t be mandatory.
Game Review: Fallout 4 Bethesda Niall Coleman, Deputy Editor
It’s not that I don’t have a social life, or a degree to worry about. It’s just that Fallout 4 is so impossibly massive, so ridiculously impressive that the real world, at the minute, offers me none of the excitement seen in this game, one of the most hotly anticipated sequels of the decade. I can’t hide around Queen’s University, taking pot-shots at supermutants, or planting mines for unsuspecting guards to tread on (QUBSU Security staff, please don’t read this). But I can do it in Fallout 4, and it must be good if I’m more willing to spend time in a virtual post-apocalyptic wasteland than the real world - or maybe I just need to get a life.Fallout 4 is set in a
post-nuclear Boston, 210 years after the apocalypse of bombs, war and famine. The player emerges from an underground Vault, after a long period of cryogenic freezing. The world has changed in that time - the city of Boston has been transformed to ruin, populated by the finest citizens Bethesda studios has to offer. Cannibals, bandits, cult members and soldiers of fortune welcome you to Bethesda’s masterpiece, offering a massive open world for gamers to explore, and submit their social lives to. As is often the case, up to 20 hour game play barely scratches the surface of what Fallout 4 has to offer. Missions are never clear cut decisions you make have a lasting effect
on how you are viewed by the various factions of the Wasteland. One journey towards a town or settlement will see you side tracked by exploring derelict buildings: breaking into abandoned pharmacies will provide valuable relief in the form of First Aid and material for making explosives (my favourite), exploring a derelict high school will expose a cannibalistic cult, feeding on wandering traders and kidnapped families. As grimy and as violent as this game is, it is certainly deserved of it 18+ rating. That doesn’t mean, however, the game is without its attempts at humour. The grey skies and nuclear storms are permeated by characters with their own unique stories and personas which can guarantee a laugh in their own right. Critics have attacked the game for lagging behind
permeated by characters with their own unique stories and personas which can guarantee a laugh in their own right. Critics have attacked the game for lagging behind graphical standards of the next-gen consoles. Indeed, character animations can in some instances be cringe-worthy
- trees and twigs can often appear to look like cardboard. Gamers will sometimes be frustrated at various bugs and crashes which plague any game as large and as ambitious at this. However, we can look past these faults and recognise this game for what it is: a landmark achievement
Crimbo ! Home comforts: ll things you’ll miss when you move to university
Leah Johnston, Contributor
The heating is always on – and nobody complains:
Every September, students from all over the UK move to their desired university. As a student living in financial hardship, you may have to give up some household luxuries you were used to at home. It isn’t until you go home at the holidays, however, that you realise just what you’re missing:
You wake up at home without confusing your room for the North Pole. There’s no need to wear your entire wardrobe to bed. You’re likely to wake up sweating due to your re-acclimatization from university. There’s no constant worry that any time the heating is turned on someone will moan that you’re ‘using all the gas’ or just passive aggressively turning it off. Who knew heating could cause disputes in students’ homes?
The array of shower gels and hair products to choose from in the bathroom: No more Tesco’s Value ‘Wash and Go’, where you try to squeeze the last drop from the bottle to make it last just one more day - oh no. There’s everything from TRESemmé to Herbal Essences; you even have the choice of a bath as opposed to miniature sized showers. You make sure you apply nearly half of the bottle on your hair, because well, you’re not paying for it.
Not having to (or attempt to) cook your own dinner: Proper home cooked dinners have to be one of the highlights of going home. The smell of a proper meal is one that has by now become foreign to the senses, until it fills the house when dinner at home is nearly ready. Where did parents learn this? How do they do it all at the same time?
There’s a big TV, and there’s Sky: No more waiting for your favourite programme to be put up on iPlayer the next day. There’s live TV (with a license), and the beautiful creation
of Sky. You can pause, rewind, record, and watch channels you’ve never even heard of; a luxury we took for granted before the life of university. So yes, you will be gluing yourself to the sofa, remote in hand, for the duration of your stay. It’s a given.
A full fridge, and free rein to eat any of it:
A full fridge in itself is a rare sight in any student house, but when it is full, it’s probably deceiving. Everyone has their own ‘shelf’ (even if some seem to confuse their shelf with most of the fridge), and to take anybody else’s food may begin World War Three, so should be avoided at all costs. At home, everything is up for grabs. You like what you see? You are free to indulge. It seems to restock itself too, as there is just a constant supply of goodies that you can’t normally afford.Your clothes seem to wash themselves: One day you put them in the basket and the next they appear washed, ironed, and folded on your bed - Amazing! It makes you wonder how parents have time to do anything else whilst being the domestic gods and goddesses they are.
Money Saving Tips this Christmas Hannah Murray, Contributor
Money talks, but it cries at Christmas. As the end of the year draws close we often find our Christmas spirit stretching further than our purse strings care to allow. On the other hand trying to budget your spending’s and focusing on what you need to cut from your celebrations takes away from the build-up of the season and the joy of Christmas is quickly replaced with dread over the inevitable lack of money left after the frivolity of Christmas.
An obvious, but still immensely enjoyable and vital event in celebrating Christmas is the annual visit to the Belfast Continental Christmas market. It’s filled with stalls that make great gifts for others and not to mention the abundance of delicious food and treats for yourself. The best part is admission is completely free so even if you don’t feel like splashing the cash on presents you can still appreciate the buzz of Christmas and the atmosphere surrounding the market itself.
In an attempt to avoid becoming the Grinch, here are a few ideas that will hopefully help you save the pennies without cutting back on Christmas festivity.
Shopping for presents can be either the most exciting task in preparing for Christmas or an absolutely heinous burden. Avoid the stress of trying to balance your money between many of your close ones and come together for Secret Santa. Set a budget on this so everyone can get involved whilst also ensuring that those with a slightly heavier wallet don’t make your novelty belt feel inadequate.
If you aren’t already, the first step is becoming a proud owner of a bold and tacky Christmas jumper. Primark is always a good shout with a wide selection of woolly jumpers, many featuring added bells and even the rare set of googly eyes for around a tenner. Just be aware that
The luxury of Christmas decorations also adds to the feel of the season and Tesco’s stocks itself with every Christmas decoration you can think of before Halloween has even passed so you’re guaranteed to find something to spice up your living space. Failing that, Poundland does surprisingly creative bits and bobs if you don’t feel like wasting your loan on snow-
Keep an eye on the events within Queen’s Film Theatre where they will be showing Christmas classics such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ ,’White Christmas’ and the much loved ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’ from the 18th of December up until the 23rd. A student ticket is only £4 and when purchased you can buy a beer for just £1 extra. Just remember the next loan is fast approaching so don’t panic too much, so long as your holiday has a touch of Baileys, copious amounts of food and the odd fairy light you’re sure to have a good one.
OPINION UK Should Not Bomb ISIS completely.
Lawrence Dushenski, Opinions Editor
The rhetoric across the world, especially in Europe, has escalated significantly in recent weeks surrounding the ISIS bombing campaign. Since the terrorist attacks in Paris there has been an escalation of targeted bombing raids, with France leading the charge to get more countries on board. This should come as no surprise, despite the fact that there is not yet substantiated evidence that ISIS had a direct hand in the attacks on Paris. France is flexing their proverbial muscles and trying to assert themselves through militaristic means. They happen to be doing so while the country remains under a state of emergency, threatening the basic human rights of their citizens, but that is another issue
The focus has now been shifted to the UK, with French President Francois Hollande openly lobbying British MP’s to vote in favour of joining the campaign against ISIS. The French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian took it one step further by writing a heart felt plea in the Guardian, expressing hope that the RAF will soon join French forces in their campaign. If this is starting to remind anyone of a situation in recent British history, it is because the circumstances were similar a dozen years ago surrounding the Iraq invasion. At the time, the campaign against Saddam Huessein was similarly being led by the United States, and the pressure that Tony Blair was facing mirrors what David Cameron is currently dealing with. Public opinion polls did not support the Iraq invasion, that left 179 British soldiers dead, and the polls now similarly fail to support a campaign that this time
would only be limited to airstrikes. While the risk of loss of life is surely mitigated by only conducting air strikes rather than having boots on the ground, the British public once again fails to see the need to such aggressive tactics on behalf of the RAF.
MP’s and members of the public must ask themselves is whether there will be a substantial difference made in the campaign if RAF forces join the battle, or if it would be nothing more than a political expression of solidarity.
The Iraq invasion is now looked upon as a black eye for the UK, and the campaign against ISIS has the potential to offer up similar results. The list of world powers that are currently taking part in air strikes against ISIS targets include the United States, Russia, France and Canada, and the question that
The US backed coalition of nations have run more than five thousand air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq in the last eighteen months. The effectiveness of the strikes is not immediately apparent, but we are being lead to believe that they are serving the purpose that they set out. In
Crossword Corner -set by pseudonymAcross 1) Bottle for liquor which fits it your pocket (3,5) 6) Completely remove someone from your life (3,3,4) 7) Ellipsis (3,3,3) 8) Gladys Knight’s backing band (4) 10) Portuguese Man O’ War (9) 13) It’s state capital is Boise (5) 14) Organ in the human body (8) 17) Japanese poem (5) 18) Crime of setting fire to something (5) 21) To suffocate (6) 22) County in the north of England (9) 25) How much precipitation there is (9) 26) The action of sharing something out 27) Verbatim (9) 28) 1991 Linklater comedy film (7) 29) 2014 track by McBusted (3, 6)
Down 1) Exaggerated acting of the highest order (8) 2) The eight plague of Egypt (7) 3) Leafy greens with dressing (5) 4) Southern US State (11) 5) A few billionths of a second (11) 9) Formerly Harold Macmillan (5, 8) 11) 14% expressed decimally (5, 3, 4) 12) Elon Musk’s online payment platform (6) 15) Name of a person, place or thing (4) 16) 2008 historical drama starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman (9) 19) Dwell in a place once more (9) 20) A group who oppose or deny (9) 23) Referring to the interaction of people with other people (6) 24) Amount of food eaten by a person (6
October, President Obama authorized American special forces on the ground to “co-ordinate efforts to fight ISIS.” So there is no shortage of readily available forces available in the current mission already. However, joining a conflict without a discernible target or objective seems to be something that David Cameron and Co. seem insistent on doing. Sometimes it is hard to look around and realize you are making the very same mistake that the man in your shoes made just a couple of years ago.
Science Code First Girls at QUB Rachel Ireland, Contributor Code First: Girls is a social enterprise, set up by Alice Bentinck. Initially she and her co-founder Matt set up a programme called Entrepreneur First which takes highly skilled graduates with a prior knowledge of coding and trains them to create companies. They discovered that only 10% of graduates involved were women, and this raised questions about women and their involvement in coding, prompting Alice and Matt to set up Code First: Girls. It is specifically aimed at women since “women don’t speak up as much” in mixed STEM classrooms, due to social expectation and a significant lack of resources readily available for female students. It is typically easier for men as they are encouraged to go into tech orientated fields like gaming and coding where they know support can be found. The Code First: Girls QUB community course was set up to combat this issue. Victoria McCallum, course co-ordinator and ambassador saw the benefit of setting up
a social learning environment for women who want to code. Victoria is a previous attendee of Women Who Code and initially worked in the Student Guidance Centre before joining Code First. The Beginners HTML/ CSS Introduction to web development at QUB takes 6 weeks and includes worksheets, homework assignments and set classes so that women involved in the course can learn and work together, while still working on selfdirected projects. It is also degree plus accredited making it an additionally worthwhile course for those interested in coding. The course has been running since last semester and is taught by software developers and graduates, some of whom work as developers for larger companies. The course also includes postgraduate helpers, giving women a chance to both learn and gain experience in the field.As we move into a more technology driven workplace, coding is now a very important skill for all graduates, but Victoria noted that although 56% of all students are women, only 20% of female students are in computer sciences, and only 18% of employees in tech
companies in the UK are women. From an employability perspective, more diverse boardroom teams increase profits, so why aren’t women becoming involved in coding? The fact is that women are rarely pushed into tech fields when they are young, so this, in turn creates an apparent lack of interest. Victoria herself was told to “be a gardener or hairdresser”, having to google courses for herself, rather than being given
opportunities. She sai that “this [Code Firs: Girls] is to counteract that” and give women the opportunity to develop skills that can still enable them to work in marketing, or apply for
openings in tech firms without a view to necessarily being software developers or engineers. The course is an introduction for women and provides resources for learning at home so that the students can further develop their new or existing skills outside the classroom. Two of the students on the course, Lorna and Rachel both found the course very “challenging but rewarding” and commented on how enjoyable the course is. There will be another beginner’s course in February and hopefully a new advanced course as well.
You can find the course on Facebook https://www. facebook.com/CFGQUB/ Twitter @ CFGQUB @codefirstgirls Or the Code First website http:// www.codefirstgirls. org.uk/
Cyber Security at Queens University place last month.
Fionn Bridges, Science Editor
The Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queens has been recognized for its advancements in Cyber Security, and is launching a new incubator programme within the area. On November 17th, George Osborne announced to UK Government Communications HQ that predicted spending on cyber security would double to £1.9 billion by 2020. With sensitive information on a personal and corporate scale being shared online ever more frequently, cyber security is a rapidly growing industry which requires manpower and money for the development of software. The growing threat of cyber-crime and security breaches are highlighted as a key threat in Osborne’s speech, including a need to have our security services at their ‘sharpest’ after the Paris attacks that took
The CSIT is being awarded via the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. Due to the secretive nature of cyber security, the specifics regarding the awarding of the Anniversary prize remain vague. Reasons listed include: innovations in app information exchange security, anti-counterfeit technology to prevent business fraud, and the development of online filtration systems that prevent viruses and other malicious content from interfering with homes and businesses. Based in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, it is one of the largest Cyber Security Research Centers in the UK, with a staff of 90 people. It is the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Secure Information Technologies, supported by the EPSRC and Technology Strategy Board and Invest NI. This collaboration of investments combines with its ties to Queen’s, to create an environment where researchers, academics, engineers and industry professionals can pool their resources and accelerate their research within cyber security.
The success of this formula has led to CSIT: Labs, a programme which encourages further innovation within the field, and provides support to organizations and start-ups that may lack experience, funding or guidance to get their ideas off the ground. Individual incubator programmes are managed by experienced CSIT members, offering up to 6 months of engineering development resources, allowing promising research within the field of Cyber Security to
receive investment and potentially enter the market. The ever accelerating nature of technology means there are new ways to combat security systems every day, with new virus’ and spyware being developed on a daily basis. The constant need for updating current software and creating newer, more powerful security software paves the way for a thriving industry. Queen’s University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston praised both the award and
the potential for growth within Cyber Security businesses, stating that “CSIT has been a critical factor in securing almost 1,000 security related jobs in Northern Ireland, injecting around £38 million per year into our economy”. He also commented that “strong relationships with local companies also allow SMEs unrivalled access to engineering and research expertise” highlighting the inclusive nature of the project.
SPORT “Train like a champion, fight like a knight.” - An Queen’s
Hannah Mullan, Lifestyle Editor
The hall was filled with an enormous group of guys and girls, all dispersed in their friendgroups, stretching, tumbling and chatting, with a group in the centre starting impressive warm-ups and difficult pyramid formations. What struck most when watching the Cheerleaders of Queen’s University Belfast, however, was the enthusiasm, smiles, and all-round positive atmosphere. The mastermind behind the effort put into the Cheerleading Club is Cara Ann
Daniel Allen, Contributor
McNally, who studies a Masters in Violence, Terrorism and Security here at Queen’s. Cara took a moment out of guiding the cheerleaders through their stunts to talk a bit about the club. The motto “train like a champion, fight like a knight” comes from the fact that the girls may pick up their winnings and trophies in the competitions, but the hard ground-work is the intense training in the club. The Cheerleaders started as a society five years ago, but has been competitive for the three years that Cara has been part of it. The club have won several competitions, including a highly-revered ‘Spirit Award’ and for
the first time went to the British Cheerleading Association in Telford, where the level two stunt team came sixth out of twenty-four. The training is rigorous, with a total of six hours training per-week stretching through a Wednesday and Thursday, but the cheerleaders manage to fit it into their already hectic university timetables. Cara already has her coaching training so can safely and effectively help condition every cheerleader to do their very best, gearing each of them up to the four competitions in place for this year. Daniel, a first-year Chemical Engineer said
Evening with Cheerleading at
he absolutely adores cheerleading. He has been cheerleading since the beginning of university, and said he found it out through Queen’s Fresher’s Fair. He says it is a very sociable sport, where all students of all genders, age groups and years can come along to make friends. Daniel recommends cheerleading as a lifestyle rather than just a sport, because of all the friends he has made, he would most definitely recommend that more guys come along to try it out - it is a tough and strenuous, yet incredibly fun sport.
as well. They say that you don’t have to be at a peak level of fitness, nor do you have to have come from a cheerleading background to join the sport. They say that Cara is a very patient and excellent coach, who can train you from any stage, regardless of your fitness level. Sarah and Sophie both mention that cheerleading is so much fun, you don’t even realise you are exercising, so it’s a fantastic way to have fun, make friends, and keep fit.
Sarah and Sophie are relatively new to the club, and found it out through the Freshers Fair
HOLMS HUMBLES ROWDY ROUSEY
to the fight and showed the composure of an eight time world boxing Saturday November 14th 2015. The UFC’s champion. Rather than biggest star Ronda Rous- let emotions overcome ey took on the undefeated her, the veteran Holm was quite undeterred by her Holly Holm in the Etihad vicious opponent because Stadium for the Undisputed Women’s Bantam- she knew that the following night, when she would weight Title. Rousey entered the have the chance to prove fight coming off a violent the world, and the odds makers, wrong. knockout in her grudge Going into the fight fight with Bethe Correia with Holm, Ronda was in Brazil at UFC 190. In this fight with Holly Holm, considered by many as the best female fighter to however, it seemed like Ronda would have a fresh ever grace the planet. Edmund Tarveydan, Ronda’s challenge, one without head coach, said that bad blood or animosity. he “believed in Ronda’s That soon changed after ability to box with Holly the weigh-in as Ronda Holm”. labelled Holm as being a Getting into the ‘Fake Ass’ and promised fight itself: The first round to beat her the following day. This display from had all the makings of a legendary upset. Holm’s Rousey was unexpected and somewhat uncharac- movement and technical boxing stunned Rousey teristic of the behaviour as the challenger not only we are accustomed to survived but also thrived. seeing from her. MeanHolm not only caught while, Holm was quietly Rousey with multiple left confident in the build up
hands, but also scored a takedown. The opening round in this title fight had all the makings of a monumental upset. Ronda constantly pushed forward and pressured Holly. However the former boxing world champion was able to use her superior footwork to cut angles and a recurring land left hand on Rousey face. That first round was the first time Ronda ever lost a round in any of her previous MMA fights. She got picked apart by the better standup fighter for the full round yet her head coach Edmund praised Rousey win between rounds. Tarveydan told Rousey that she had a beautiful first round and that they had Holly right where they wanted her. Holly’s corner on the other hand continued to remain composed and focused, giving their fighter all the technical advice she needed to continue picking the champion apart. The second round
continued in similar fashion to the first. Rousey charging forward, with Holly countering with leg kicks and solid left hands. The telling moment in the fight was when Holly caught Ronda with a straight left before following in up with a picture perfect left high kick. This sequence forced referee Herb Dean to call an end to the contest, stunning everybody in attendance and watching around the world. UFC 193 was supposed to be another celebration of Rousey’s dominance. Instead, Holly Holm flipped the script and made it a historic night for MMA. There has been a lot of speculation to what went wrong for Ronda in this fight. Some suggesting it was a lack of focus from Rousey, considering her Hollywood career, others suggest that she believed in the hype created by the media, fans and other UFC fighters which was not an
accurate representation of her true MMA skill, but she believed in it. Consequently, by believing the hype created by world, it resulted in Rousey’s own dethronement. It always seems like the champions who are dominant in their division have a special aura around them. They appear to be unbeatable. After a certain period of time, it all becomes predictable. It is as if you know what is going to happen before it does because that is what we become accustomed to with the elite level fighters, which was the case for Ronda. Predictability is something that is not great for the MMA world as the fans thrive on the unpredictable nature of the sport which is why UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, referred to Holly’s shock win over Ronda as, ‘a good thing for MMA.’
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