This morning I woke up earlier around 7 something, so that I could go to breakfast. Today’s academic session was on human rights. Darren lead our morning session, which was a lot more of the theoretical ideas of human rights. Human rights as a language, the political usage of human rights, the differences between human rights and citizen rights, legal and social rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and some theories about the Hobbesian and Lockean (liberal as hands off!) views of the state. It was pretty interesting, and I could tell Darren had a lot of enthusiasm for what he was lecturing about. We also got to watch a clip of “24” which was pretty fun, talking about the portrayal of human rights, and how the show mixed up human and citizenship rights, as well as finding situations when opposing sides can both claim they are standing up for human rights.
We had our lunch break, where I had a Thai curry, again cooked in front of me – the chef was quite nice and affable, and the curry was delicious! I think Katie would have liked it spicier, but it was alright – it was Thai so it had coconut and was a little on the sweet side.
After lunch, we did some group work on finding cases with conflicts using articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I paired up with Brendan, and we did some research in the library. After that, Nicola led us through a lesson on free speech, using the examples of comedians, controversial books, and the pope – and using iclickers, which was fun! America as a whole seems to have less limitations on free speech than the UK, which seems to have many in comparison. Though we raised questions, asking things like if free speech is always good, what are its limits, etc.
This thing is MASSIVE!
View of the Thames
Look, it's Parliament!
Dinner we arrived early (because we had a trip tonight) and they weren’t ready yet – eventually we got sausages and mash, with peas and carrots. After dinner, we met up with Kriss, who took us to the London Eye. To be honest, I was a little nervous – I’m not a huge fan of heights – and that wheel is tall – taller than any of the nearby buildings. 13 of us (12 plus Kriss) were able to get our own car/pod, and went around in the circle. It was a little strange jumping onto it (it didn’t stop – almost like walking sideways onto a moving walkway) It was pretty fun actually, and I enjoyed it, heights and all! It would have been nice to do it at night and see all the lights, but night doesn’t fall here until after 9pm, and since the sun was setting, we got some nice pictures but could still see everything. I could see Parliament, Waterloo, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and more! There was a lot of picture taking (not much jumping, thankfully), and there was a helicopter flying and diving around for a bit which caused some excitement. The 30 minute ride felt much shorter than 30 minutes, and I’d love to do it again sometime! Afterwards, we walked on the Southbank a little and stopped in a bookstore – and I saw the British versions of Harry Potter! And the Philosopher’s Stone!
"Real" Harry Potter!
Out by Putney Bridge
Afterwards, we stopped in Putney with Kriss for a while. We were over by the bridge – some of us went down closer to the water, since there’s an access ramp going down there, and some people went to the pub on the little river walkway area, and we all convened on a patio looking out over the river, which had a really nice atmosphere. I wish we had a place like this at Cornell – it was beautiful, and it was great conversing about lookalikes, college stories, and more.