Eleanor Spencer-Regan explores the common thread between Look What You Made Me Do and Lady Lazarus.

Image of Tyler SwiftEva Rinaldi under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license

In the opening shots of the video for her record breaking new single “Look What You Made Me Do”, we see the zombie formerly known as Taylor Swift claw her way out of a grave. This shovel-wielding revenant is a far cry from the “girl next door” who, in the video for her 2006 debut single “Tim McGraw”, innocently frolicked with a Chevy-driving, chisel-jawed high school heartthrob.

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But even then there were clues that this country princess would grow up to become a shrewd pop culture queen. …


There’s an introduction to satire tucked inside the bear of very little brain. Eleanor Byrne takes us deeper into Hundred Acre Wood.

Thomas Heylen under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.

He is famous for his love of honey, and being a bear of “little brain”. So Winnie the Pooh might be a little surprised to find himself the subject of a major new museum exhibition.

Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic will explore the creative partnership of writer A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard. Together they produced the much-loved whimsical stories featured in Winnie the Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).

The decision by the Victoria and Albert museum in London to hold the exhibition proves that the bear and his friends have become establishment figures. …


It might seem a straightforward question, but technology is about more than gadgets and gizmos. Andy Lane explains what it means to different people.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay under Creative Commons.

The role and impact of technology in both our personal and working lives is ever growing. Understanding how people shape technology and how technology shapes people’s interactions with each other and the natural world is important not only for those who research, develop and implement new technologies but also for all those people and organisations that have to use those technologies in their working and personal lives.

Technology is not a neutral word. Different people will give it different meaning depending on their viewpoint and context.

Members of the Faculty of Technology are no different but for many years we…


Meg Barker points to some of the problems with Facebook’s new range of gender options.

In the first part of her post Meg Barker welcomed Facebook’s change which allows users to pick from more gender options than ‘male’ and ‘female’. In this concluding part she points to some of the problems.

Catherine Pain under Creative-Commons license.

So what are the problems with Facebook’s new ways of capturing gender? Several people have asked whether there is a cynical aspect to the change, given that it may enable companies to better target their social media advertising. But are there also limitations and constraints in what it offers for our understanding of gender?

The first point to make is that the list is…


Meg Barker explores the world of Facebook gender categories, in the first of two posts.

Catherine Pain under Creative-Commons license.

February is a pretty busy time for somebody who writes about sex, gender and relationships, what with the coinciding of LGBT history month and Valentine’s Day. This year, however, I thought I could rest up a bit on February 14, given that I said everything I wanted to say about the celebration of romantic love last Valentine.

I was wrong. Facebook chose February 14 2014 to do one of the most exciting things that has happened in the area of gender and social media for a long time. It changed its gender option so that, instead of choosing from ‘male’…


What does the language used to talk about different places tell us about the attitudes towards ‘deprived’ or ‘poor’ areas and the people who live there?

ID 27594614 © Stockcube | Dreamstime.com

How we talk about different places matters. If an area is associated with positive terms like friendly, clean, and safe it will likely be seen as more desirable than an area branded as unfriendly, dirty, and unsafe. More than just representing value judgements about a city, town, or suburb, how we talk about places can have a real-world impact.

Areas with better reputations will likely have higher house prices. Areas that are labelled as deprived or poor will likely have a narrower range of amenities, services, and opportunities available to residents. …


Historically, there was a tendency to ascribe lesbianism to BAME women and ‘other’ nations. Anita Pilgrim draws on some examples in this article…

Image © Motortion | Dreamstime.com | ID 161864879

The history of ‘othering’ and lesbianism in Britain


Joe Biden has been sworn in as President of the United States. Fancy running in 2024? Dr Richard Heffernan has some advice on the mechanics of the system.

Image of Joe Biden by BarBus on pixabay.com under Creative Commons.

The US is a federal, presidential system. It is federal because it is a union of fifty individual states and power being separated between the states and their federal government; presidential because the head of the federal government, the President, is also the head of state of the US.

The President is elected by the people of the US every four years and can, by law, serve only two terms. In 2020, Joe Biden was elected as the 46th President with 51.4% of the popular vote and 306 Electoral votes (Trump received 46.9% of the popular vote and 232 Electoral…


The immune system has evolved to protect us against infectious agents, including viruses. Currently, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is great interest in exactly how the immune system protects against viruses and the development of anti-viral vaccines. This article is a general introduction to these areas.

Image copyright of Igor Mojzes | Dreamstime.com | ID 175635363

Immune responses to viruses

Viruses infect cells and take over the cell’s molecular machinery in order to replicate and spread. The immune response against viruses has two main components:

1. preventing cells becoming infected

2. recognition and destruction of virus-infected cells.

These two elements are carried out by different arms of the immune system. Antibodies are effective in limiting the spread of virus between cells in blood and body fluids. They can also prevent viruses from entering and infecting cells. Once a cell has become infected some of the cells of the immune system can recognise the infected cell and destroy it before viral…


A personal take on experiences before and after the Berlin Wall fell from an Open University lecturer in Classical Studies.

Image is from pxfuel.com and royalty free.

Like many millions I watched the breaching of the Berlin Wall on TV in 1989. I’ve had two direct and brief encounters with East Germany before and after this historic event. I’m descended from a C19th German Jewish émigré family of musicians but I first visited East Germany in 1982 when we went on a camping holiday, a group of ten of us, including children.

We arrived at a campsite in Werder, near Potsdam at 3am and blundered about noisily setting up our tents on the playground, but no-one seemed too bothered. …

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