Light News – Week 6: Pangolins, a community kitchen, scientists and a Roman phallus

Charles Emogor ran through the streets of Cambridge last Saturday dressed as a pangolin for charityRUTH SHARVILLE

Pangolin pal

In order to raise money and awareness about the plight of pangolins, University of Cambridge student Charles Emogor dressed up as a pangolin and ran for 8 hours straight around Cambridge last Saturday (20/02), which was World Pangolin Day. Pangolins are one of the most trafficked mammals in the world due to demand for their meat and for their scales, which are used in alternative medicines. The eight-hour run was inspired by the number of pangolin species (eight). Egomor is currently studying these small scaly mammals as part of his PhD in the Cambridge Zoology department, and his charity run was in partnership with the Save Pangolins charity. He has so far raised $8580 (as of 23/02) for pangolin conservation efforts in Africa and Asia.

Squat serves suppers 

A community kitchen running in the abandoned Hopbine pub was awarded a ‘Volunteer of Cambridge’ award by the current Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Russ McPherson, earlier this month. The ‘Cambridge Community Kitchen’ has been running from the legal squat on the site of the former pub and has been providing free hot meals for anyone in need in the community twice a week since August 2020, and three times a week since November. Called “The Lockon”, the squat is situated close to the Grafton Centre and has been active since just before the first lockdown in March last year. 

Who wouldn’t want to be a Cambridge scientist?

A phone game developed by the University of Cambridge which lets players become stem cell research scientists has recently been nominated as the ‘Best Educational Game’ in the Pocket Gamer Awards for 2021. “Dish Life: The Game” involves navigating lab life from undergraduate student to professor and has been described as “part Sims, part Tamagotchi”. Developed by researchers from ReproSoc (Reproductive Sociology Research Group) and the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, the game aims to provide an insight into life as a stem cell scientist, with Dr Loriana Vitillo, a stem cell scientist involved in the production of the game, commenting : “we want to make biotechnology more accessible by showing how this science is really done”. Voting for the award closes on 1st March!

You know what they say about big mills …

A rare Roman carving of a giant phallus has been revealed after archaeologists recently reassembled broken pieces of a millstone found during works on the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon between 2017-18. The major road upgrade resulted in the recovery of over 300 hand mills and millstones. Only four Roman millstones decorated this way have ever been discovered nationwide. Phallic images were important for the Romans as symbols of “strength and virility”. The phallus on the millstone is linked to conferring protective properties on the millstone and its produce, flour, and highlights the importance of the mill to the local community. 


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