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A thought provoking reflection written by Sydney Uni student Bin Wang.

Bin attended a Sydney Ideas event and found that mediated platforms can strengthen mutual understanding of other cultures and countries.

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Brains worked overtime to process the assortment of ideas presented at last Saturday's TEDxSydney event at the Sydney Opera House. Andre Fenby and I were there for every minute, meeting with speakers and indulging in the delicious and locally sourced food. Check out our review of the day:

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One of the few places on campus to receive a facelift this year is the Tech Lounge, offspring of Microsoft and our university. Gone is the obtrusive wall divider, which frees the space considerably. Populating the lounge are brand new gizmos for all to use. My thoughts below:

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You can be forgiven for mistaking the new Learning Hubs for café lounges, what with the bean bags, zigzag sofas, boutique tabletops and whiteboards sharing floor space with the conventional computer desks.

That’s not to say you won’t find any computers around; they’re still readily available for all things research and beating assignment deadlines. But you ought to visit these hubs for the customs emerging outside the computer. Whether it’s the club executives making bulletins of the whiteboards, or the engineers casually dining and playing cards, or the weary first-years enjoying Sydney’s skyline from Carslaw’s windows, there’s a livelihood in these hubs that was sorely missing from the old access labs they replaced. Less than a year after launch, students have made these hubs a wonderfully unique space.

It’s clear these hubs were destined to become that 'third place'. That place you could frequent to get work done, hang with friends or just unwind. The choice is yours. See what these new hubs can do for you.

You can check out the PNR Learning Hub on weekdays between 8AM and 6PM, and Carslaw Learning Hub is now open 24/7.
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Learn more about student IT services.

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When someone asks you what you love about going to Sydney Uni, it’s pretty easy to come up with an answer. I mean, there’s the picturesque campus, the vibrant student life, the lecturers (a.k.a. some of the best academics in their field), and so the list goes on.

But I’d like you to forget all that.

From now on, there’s only one answer you need to give when someone asks you what’s so great about going to Sydney Uni.

On sale tomorrow, November 1st, is the first ever Sydney edition of Monopoly, and the only University to feature on the board is – you guessed it – the University of Sydney.

Forget the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge – they didn’t make the cut. But you could be purchasing Sydney University at a bargain price and be setting up your little houses all over campus before you know it.

Sydney Harbour and Darling Harbour hold the prime spots on the board, while other locations to feature include Manly Beach, Centennial Park, Kings Cross, and Taronga Zoo.

You can score a $100 prize for the best Mardigras float from the community chest, or cop a $15 fine from the chance cards for travelling in the T3 lane of the Spit Bridge.

Considering that there were only 22 locations up for grabs and they were all nominated and voted for by the public, a position on the board is nothing to sneeze at. Put it this way, you know you go to a pretty neat University if it scored a place on the Monopoly board.

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(Left: Team Johnson & Friends receiving 5/5 for their performance. Right: 'best new improviser' Rubee McManus)

Thursday 25 October was the culmination of months of improvisational practice and wit, coming together to produce the Sydney University Theatresports grand final. It was an epic night. Manning bar was packed out an hour early and the bar was running low on jugs and glasses. If those two factors were anything to go by, it can be deemed an instant success, yet the actual content of the night far exceeded this initial hint of greatness.

For the past two months, the lovely Bridie Connell and prolific Tom Walker have been hosting weekly Theatresports competitions between 12 teams. It was fierce. Apparently there are a lot of funny people at Usyd. Funny people that can be funny on the spot.

The night saw a furious comedic battle between the 6 qualifying teams; Choose Your Own Adventure Time, Fireman Spam, Doppelgangers of New York, Johnson & Friends, First World Solutions and S Club 3.

Teams were easily distinguished by elaborate costumes, which also provided comedic relief when they malfunctioned.

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I’ve been an avid viewer of TED online since a high school teacher introduced me a few years ago. Since then I’ve spent countless hours watching videos on all sorts of topics and being amazed by the ideas I’ve heard, and have done my best to spread the ideas to anyone who’ll listen. So when I heard that I’d won a double pass to TEDxSydney I was quite excited to say the least.

Being at a TED event is an experience completely different to sitting at home watching videos, and I’m truly honored to of had the chance to go. To be perfectly honest I think that had I been at home I would never have listened to a talk on weeds, or training bees, or quantum computing, but these were the topics of some of the most fascinating talks I heard throughout the day. I think that is the magic of TED, it spreads the passion and intellect of amazing speakers to people whom otherwise would have never heard their ideas. Mixed with the amazing musicians who played and the diverse crowd of people who were there it was truly an engaging and enriching day that has left me excited to spread the ideas I’ve heard, and even left me with some infant ideas of my own.

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TEDxSydney 2012 featured a line-up of passionate speakers, musicians and – of course – who can forget Sam Simmons's comedic exploration of the importance of incorporating some ‘silliness’ into our lives.

This year’s TEDx had a unifying theme of being connected to those in Sydney, those living near us, those who are similar and different than us, members of the global community and finally to the universe. Of the many memorable talks, I particularly enjoyed listening to Mandyam Srinivasan talk about his research into the cognitive functions of bees, and the exciting new prospect of monitoring physiological responses in bees to determine if they feel joy, fear, anxiety and love.

Kate Burridge's talk on euphemisms had the audience (or at least me) think of the way we talk, and how we choose our words. Satsuki Odamura and The Sydney Koto Ensemble’s performance was mesmerising, and left me wanting to hear more. And having moved to Sydney only a couple of months ago, I was introduced to Katie Noonan’s musical genius by a jazz enthusiast, and was delighted to be able to watch her live and sing along with the TEDxSydney audience.

If I took anything away from TEDxSydney, it was that an idea combined with the passion to pursue a question will inevitability result in a change. Whether the change is small or big, it’s often worth it.

When I was first introduced to the revues, I was very confused as to what exactly, they were. Review? I thought, how can you possibly watch a review? How can a review be hilarious? Is there someone up on stage just reading from a newspaper?

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What have I been doing with all my free time after exams? Writing blogs, lazing around, eating, and watching movies! Oh yes and checking online twice a day every day for exam results...

And I’ve discovered the three fundamental types of movies. There may be more, and if so, feel free to add and correct me...

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Just a couple of hundred meters down the road from Sydney Uni along King Street is my favourite place in Newtown (though Newtown Thai II comes a VERY close second) - Kuletos the cocktail bar.

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Let's get one thing straight: I do not understand installation.

Whenever I visit art exhibits, I'm afraid to eat or even use the bathroom, lest I disturb some unobtrusive piece of art.

So when I arrived at the Sydney College of the Arts Degree Show, I was armed with a healthy sense of alertness (and not without alarm).

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The Block

17 Nov

For most students who catch the train to uni, you will get off at Redfern Station. Right opposite the train station is The Block – the “notorious” patch around Eveleigh St that boasts a strong Aboriginal community. The Block is often in the news for all the wrong reasons: the death of TJ Hickey, the Redfern Riots and the redevelopment of the area.

If you are coming to Sydney Uni – know that you are coming onto Gadigal land. You owe it to the traditional owners of this land to get your facts right about the community living in The Block. The way to do this is to see Gathering Ground, an innovative, amazing production by Redfern Community Centre and PACT Youth Theatre bringing together over 40 of The Block’s children to tell their stories.

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On Thursday the 7th of September, officially the best night I've had in Sydney yet, four unassuming kids from the Blue Mountains (including one of my best friends) took out the Band Comp final held at Manning, leaving with $2500 in prize money and a legion of new fans (or "Cloud Converts" as they're becoming known). Following in the footsteps of Band Comp big names such as The Vines, Youth Group, Frenzal Rhomb and Tim Freedman (think the Whitlams), Cloud Control is making quite a name for themselves in the local indie/powerpop scene, racking up considerable airtime on FBI radio and lining up gigs like they're going out of fashion...

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Cloud Control L-R: Heidi Lenffer on piano, Ulrich Lenffer on drums, Al Wright on guitar and Jeremy Kelshaw on bass.

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In high school, as part of the Year-12-Fest that was the last week of Term 3, we had our farewell assembly, our graduation night, but most anticipated by all was our FLOP - a bunch of skits put on by the Year 12s poking fun at the teachers and school, giving everyone a great laugh, and showcasing our “talent”.

Uni’s answer to this are the Revues.

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Whooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pretty much sums it up.

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An invitation to attend a lecture given by the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice was more problematic than you would first imagine. Does the fact that I take issue with her actions and those of the administration she represents mean that I should have politely declined?

Let's not beat arond the bush here (no pun intended), there was never any chance that I was going to refuse. Does that make me a sell out? Maybe. However, It's not as if the absence of the extremely un-eminent Tim was going to be any skin off her nose. I began to see it as an opportunity to see one of the most powerful women in the world and hear what she had to say for herself and her actions. What ensued was an insight into her truth, freedom and American way.

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Dr Condoleeza Rice, the first African-American female US Secretary of State, is a facinating public person and an enigma to most. I've heard her referred to as "The Most Powerful Woman in the World", "The Neo-Wicked Witch of the West" and "The Right-Wing Oprah". See what happened when she came to speak to 300 students at Sydney University's Conservatorium of Music...

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This movie isn't in the top ten films for this week. It's not very good. I wrote some more things about it.

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