Friday, April 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Science & Technology

It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!
Science & Technology

It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!

As we approach the end of the academic year, it’s time to look back on what we have achieved and how we’ve made it so far in the first place. From stalking Penn Badgley on campus, to temporarily moving into the library, we can safely say that this last term has been an emotional rollercoaster for the majority of us. It is in these trying times that we rely on our connections the most. Whether it is a study buddy, a parent or even your houseplant, I find that everyone has something they turn to. Today, I’d like to discuss your connections to all things cute. That’s right. From your dog, turtle, guinea pig, or that cat meme your friend sent you earlier, we are constantly exposed to adorable animals, and I’m not alone in saying that seeing a puppy at the library can make any day br...
Who Really Gets to Be a Scientist? An Interview with Angela Saini
Science & Technology

Who Really Gets to Be a Scientist? An Interview with Angela Saini

Does it now take three or four minutes to race up to the moon? Is that really important? Or should science be used for what we actually need in order to pursue human development, such as finding new ways to produce crops, combat climate change, and so on? Because how realistic is it really for someone, who had to work themselves up from the very bottom, to get funding for a flying race car? Unless your name is Elon Musk, the odds are terrible and incredibly unfair. And this shouldn’t be the case. Regardless of socio-economic background, or gender, or race. Everyone can be a scientist. So what is stopping us? Last Monday, I was sitting in my maths seminar when this guy suddenly told me that women are biologically less capable of logical thinking than men. I couldn’t believe what I was h...
Sex on the Brain
Science & Technology

Sex on the Brain

Sex is one of those topics that has a presence in so many aspects of our society – talked about on chat shows and in magazines; joked about at comedy nights and, if you’ve had the pleasure of the British education system, briefly and uncomfortably taught to you. But beyond the physical act, how many people actually understand what’s happening to their body - and their mind - during sex? Our biological desire to have sex is driven by chemical changes; in men the primary influence comes from the somewhat synonymous testosterone, while in women things are a little more complicated. Before Sex Before sex the limbic system in the brain activates. This is the region responsible for physical drives and some aspects of emotional processing, such as innate emotions like fear and aggressio...
Beef VS Bug: how we can all limit the 1.5°C rise
News, Science & Technology

Beef VS Bug: how we can all limit the 1.5°C rise

I’m not vegan. I flew home last month. I threw away a plastic bottle. Am I a bad person? As of right now, our planet is NOT on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C. And yes, we’ve all played a part in this. That trip to Greece last summer? Not a good choice mate. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to change. In light of the COP26 that took place in Glasgow this year, let’s have a look at how feasible the 1.5°C temperature rise limit really is, and how we as students are the best people to make that change and save the earth through our eating habits. According to UNEP’s six-sector solution, we can reduce up to 29-32 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2e by 2030, enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. How? By eating bugs. No seriously; reducing food loss and waste, and switching to more sus...
Amazon to No Longer Accept Visa Credit Cards
Science & Technology

Amazon to No Longer Accept Visa Credit Cards

Earlier this week, Amazon announced to its customers of Amazon.co.uk that it would no longer accept Visa credit cards issued in the UK as a payment method; a change will come into effect as early as the 19th January 2022. With so many students either using Amazon for quick purchases or holding a Prime Student account, this change will be relevant to many. What’s the reason behind this decision? Amazon stated that this decision was due to the high fees Visa charges for processing credit card transactions. An Amazon spokesperson said the dispute has arisen due to “pretty egregious” price rises from Visa over a number of years with no additional value to its service, with the online retailer adding that costs should be going down over time due to advances in technology, “but instead th...
Climate Change and the Role of Carbon Demystified
Science & Technology

Climate Change and the Role of Carbon Demystified

Two years ago, we were warned by the UN’s Climate Council (IPCC) that we had 12 years left to limit global warming or face irreplaceable damage to the planet. Now, COP26 sees nations convening once again to try and reach an international consensus on how to battle climate change. With targets being set by the IPPC, it’s more important than ever to understand the science of climate change and how the planet came to be in this position. A Little History Although the term ‘greenhouse gas’ wasn’t introduced until 1901, the concept was first proposed in 1824 by Joseph Fourier. From there, our understanding of the greenhouse gas effect continued to evolve until the end of the century, with Irish physicist John Tyndall showing that different gases absorbed and emitted thermal radiation to ...
Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse: science fiction or (virtual) reality?
News, Science & Technology

Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse: science fiction or (virtual) reality?

Mark Zuckerberg, no stranger to controversy, has announced a change in the branding of the parent organization of his media technologies empire. Facebook, originally designed as a social networking website where Harvard students would rate each other’s attractiveness, is now universally recognisable and impossible to escape. Its namesake company Facebook, Inc. is a social media giant owning Facebook (surprise, surprise), Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. And now they will be attempting to digitally extend the physical world, through social media involving virtual and augmented reality - with a name change to Meta Platforms. Inc. to boot.  This rebrand accompanies a series of recent public relations crises including the revelations brought by whistleblower Frances Haugen about Fac...
Much Ado About Sleeping
Science & Technology

Much Ado About Sleeping

The end of summer feels like the end of a dream. Lie-ins morph into morning lectures; you never seem to win the daily battle with your alarm clock; and all you really want is to finish that dream about the llama and the-- never mind... Sometimes, it seems that getting a good nights’ sleep (and then waking up again) is harder than getting your actual degree.  You’re likely aware that there are different stages of sleep which affect how you’ll feel when you wake up. However, it’s difficult to get the timing just right. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘the course of true rest never did run smooth’. If we break it down, though, you might just figure out how to wake up feeling fresh as a daisy and ready for all of those 9AMs... The first step to a solid sleep is the non-REM (REM = Rapid ...
Hycean Worlds: A Possible New Frontier in the Search for Life Beyond Earth
Science & Technology

Hycean Worlds: A Possible New Frontier in the Search for Life Beyond Earth

The search for extraterrestrial life has conventionally been focused on Earth-like exoplanets --  terrestrial planets orbiting within the habitable zone of their host stars. This method is based on the premise that as life has risen in Earth’s conditions, somewhere with similar conditions could also give rise to life. As such, various exoplanet surveys over the years, including the Kepler and TESS satellites, have catalogued a few thousand Earth-like candidates for further investigation, finding that 1 in 5 Sun-like stars have an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone. However, the candidate pool may have just expanded. In August this year, researchers at Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy proposed a new hypothetical class of habitable exoplanets and dubbed them Hycean worlds, a ...
Super Seducer
Science & Technology

Super Seducer

With the suffocating presence of the pandemic refusing to retreat into the ether, the month of love has turned out to be even more painful than it usually is. Couples have had to go months and months without seeing their significant others, settling for impromptu long-distance (a famously difficult set-up even before the pandemic), without any real idea about how long this will go on, living in fear that a breach in the rules may result in punishment or, worse, their partner catching the virus. Meanwhile, as if the holiday wasn’t sad enough for single people, now dating has become even more complicated, since meeting people in person is literally prohibited by law until further notice, online dating is as tragic as it always was, and all the events that might help distract from your overb...