In a Very Specific and Limited Way

The last time I wrote about Brexit was a little over a year ago — Boris Johnson had just become Prime Minister, ash was not blocking out the sun in the Pacific Northwest, and very few people had ever heard of the word “coronavirus”. Simpler times. But, just in time for my return to the UK, British politics has decided a throwback to Brexit doomsday deadlines is just what we needed to get us out of this pandemic meltdown. So, here is Part II of my Explaining Brexit to Americans, edition “In a Very Specific and Limited Way”.

Okay, so…

For the second episode of The Rights Pod, I sat down with human rights student Shikha Srinivas to discuss Harry Potter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.We’ll be tackling some of your tough questions about the wizarding world — does the prison of Azkaban meet human rights standards? Does the use of dementors constitute state-sponsored torture? Is the Daily Prophet and the Ministry of Magic **really** committed to free speech? And, in light of JK Rowling’s anti-trans statements, can we separate art from the artist?For answers to these magical questions, subscribe to the Rights Pod wherever you get your podcasts.

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Well, it was definitely a strange year to be graduating Stanford . . . but the Class of 2020 did it! Once you’re done celebrating with quarantinis, here are ten things you should do (and advice I wish I’d had) after graduation.

  1. Set up auto forwarding and a vacation responder from your Stanford email to your personal email. This is so important! You will lose access to your Stanford email soon. It’s very annoying. Since your “SUID” will never be deleted (you need it to login to Axess to access your transcript), your email account will not be deleted—but you…

With the latest worldwide Climate Strike set for tomorrow, Alina Utrata offers some personal observations.

I don’t know much about the climate crisis. I don’t, actually. But I know some facts.

I know about the burning of the Amazon, the world’s biggest carbon sink. Farmers in Brazil, clearing land for livestock, emboldened by the populist president Jair Bolsonaro, are about to unleash a cascade effect from which the Amazon will never recover.

I know about this summer’s heat wave, the hottest July on record. Paris was 42C, Belgium 41C, London over 38C. India and Pakistan — over 50C. …

How to Find Purpose and Direction On Your Way Through

By Ibrahim Bharmal and Alina Utrata

NY Magazine recently published the article “A cynic’s guide to killing it at Stanford: How to Network Your Way Through Stanford University.” The article is a (cringe-worthy) guide for how the ambitious incoming freshmen should navigate Stanford, what they dub a “finishing school for the burgeoning independent commonwealth of tech.”

The two of us were — gasp! — Stanford literature and history majors, respectively. What a humanities major teaches you is that myths are important and stories have power. …

IPCC issues report on climate catastrophe (it’s still a catastrophe): eat less meat and dairy now, or lose all the foods later

For some reason, recommending that we stop eating meat (or even just eat less meat) makes some people go bananas. Remember when Greggs came out with a vegan sausage roll, and Piers Morgan had an absolute meltdown? They weren’t even forcing him to eat the (non-bloody) thing!

However, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which came out this week focuses on land use. As it turns out, we cannot stop climate change unless we change our land use. Publicly, some of the 100 experts who compiled the report have been saying things like, “We don’t want to…

The earth’s climate continues to meltdown

In case you were wondering, the earth — and life on it — is still facing a catastrophe. This July was the hottest month in recorded history and Arctic sea-ice coverage reached a near record low. The recent European heatwave saw average temperatures between 1.5°C and 3°C higher because of climate change. “We are now getting very close to some dangerous tipping points in the behaviour of the climate,” Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment said. …

Well, Northern Ireland, did you miss me?! Yours truly is back for the Political Week in 5 Points, this time from the West Coast of the United States. I’d say “sunny California,” but it sounds like most of Europe had it hotter than we did. Let’s get to it.

Heatwave terrifying example of how the planet is literally burning, politicians continue to do nothing about climate change

Europe experienced a record-shattering heatwave this week, with temperatures hitting above 40C in certain areas. Paris reached a whopping 42C, and Belgium and the Netherlands experienced record-breaking temperatures of 41C and 40C. It was also the second time in recorded history that temperatures in the UK reached above 38C. …

In Which I Try to Explain to Americans the Madness that is Brexit

Since my return from the UK, many confused Americans have asked me about Brexit. What is it? What’s going to happen? Is it really that bad? And why, oh why, is Boris Johnson like this?

I may only be able to answer some of these questions, but here is my attempt to explain the current situation — as well as anyone can explain What Just Happened with Brexit.

First things first: what exactly is the European Union?

You may remember from AP European History that after WWII, Europe had a think and decided it might be good to make European…

When yours truly was tricked — ah, gently persuaded — to come out of retirement to take up the Political Week in 5 Points once again while the wonderful Ruth Foster was away, no one could have predicted what a week of news it would be. And some good news too, for a change! This week, from your international correspondent in Washington D.C.

Equal marriage and abortion rights will come to Northern Ireland — if Stormont doesn’t come back before October

Sometimes, as Matt O’Neill says, the right things just happen. Check out Matt’s fantastic coverage of the dramatic day at Westminster which could result in equal marriage and the legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday…

Alina Utrata

PhD’ing in Politics and International Studies at Cambridge via Queen's University Belfast via Stanford.

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