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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Specimen of the Week: Week 111

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 25 November 2013

Last week I was rewarded for my services to mankind* with a free trip to Edinburgh. You may or may not remember a huge hoo-haa about the zoo acquiring (on loan) a pair of giant pandas from China, at GREAT expense. The hoo-haa was primarily amongst the zoological community but raised many an eyebrow, and “tut”s were prevalent amongst colleagues and friends whenever the subject arose. Well, I decided it was time to find out what was what, and visit these controversial immigrants, worth more than their weight in gold, for myself. Well, the first thing I need to say is “AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW”. I am now completely in love with giant pandas. The second thing is, despite their £600,000 a year loan fee, visitor numbers have apparently risen to such an extent as a result that the pandas not only pay for themselves but have funded two other new animal enclosures in the two years they have been there. Eyebrows raise for different reasons now eh. We don’t have a giant panda (though I informed my Manager of the lucrative result of securing one), but we do have something similar. This week’s Specimen of the Week is… (more…)

Bear or Bare?

By Jack Ashby, on 18 June 2013

Whilst working on some new displays recently I stuck up a sign saying “Please bear with us whilst we develop new displays”. Some people thought this was a deliberate clever pun as the display included some bears and they believed the correct spelling to be “bare”. It seems that this is a common problem as the question “Bear or Bare” gets over 75 million results on Google. This may help you remember when to use “bear” and when to use “bare”.

1) If you are talking about the large mammal, say “bear”.

2) The adjective meaning naked is “bare”.

3) The verb meaning to carry or hold is “bear”. For example:

Bear in Mind  That's a bear's brain, by the way. And the skeleton's a bear too

Bear in Mind
That’s a bear’s brain, by the way. And the skeleton’s a bear too


Specimen of the Week: Week Eleven

By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 26 December 2011

Scary MonkeyWelcome to the final specimen of the week of the year 2011! I hope you that you had a fantastically wonderful weekend, whether it was full of Christmassy activities or alternate entertainment. I for one ate too much Christmas pudding (as I do every year) and spent the afternoon playing with my hamster’s new toys. It was his first Christmas and he was very excited to open his own presents. Whether Christmas is celebrated in your household or not, this time of year is certainly one thing for everybody (at least in this country) and that- is COLD! So this week’s specimen of the week is a creature from a cold climate and one that is as at home on land as it is in the sea. This week’s Specimen of the Week is: (more…)