2008-2009 Committee:

Editor-in-Chief Lisa Herzog
Publisher Sarah H. Miller
Treasurer Charly Simpson
Typesetter James Oldham
Publicity Sophie Butler, Charly Simpson
Cover Design Hana Ross
Editors Sophie Butler,
Jonathon Granville,
Cleo Hanaway,
Paul Honey,
Robert Graf,
Lisa Kwan,
Sarah H. Miller,
Sifiso Nhleko,
James Oldham,
Charly Simpson
SCR Review Committee Dr Rene Banares-Alcantara,
Dr Elizabeth Frazer,
Dr Jane Lightfoot,
Dr William Poole,
Professor Joseph Silk,
Dr Andrew Wathen,
Professor David Wiggins,
Professor Martin Williams
External SCR Reviewers Dr Marc Philps of Oriel College,
Dr Christopher Summerfield of Wadham College


Robert Graf Optimal Stopping Problems
Angela Cummine & Lisa Martin The Politics of Prosthetics: Insuring America’s Lower-Limb Amputees
Sam Ferguson Genre Theory and Practice in Horace’s Poetry
Paul Honey APEC: A Perfect Excuse to Chat?
Sarah H. Miller Dark Matter and the Evolution of Galaxies
Sifiso Nhleko The Zulu Beehive Hut – Ancestral Wisdom or Structural Evolution?
Sophie Butler Coffee-House Culture and the Rise of the English Periodical
Kay H. Brodersen Decoding Mental Activity from Neuroimaging Data
Adam Daniel Etinson What is Culture? Plato’s Cave and the Search for Knowledge
Olivia Bailey When and Why is it Wrong to Kill?
Thomas Adcock Do Freak Waves Occur in the Open Ocean?

Optimal Stopping Problems
Robert Graf

Optimal stopping problems are about stopping a sequence of random variables at the right time in order to maximize an expected payoff. We will examine conditions under which optimal stopping rules exist and present two classical examples, the “secretary problem” and the “house selling problem”.

The Politics of Prosthetics: Insuring America’s Lower-Limb Amputees
Angela Cummine and Lisa Martin

U.S. insurance companies’ strict coverage limits on prostheses for lower limb amputees have led to a recent push for prosthetic parity laws. Though many compelling pragmatic considerations for such laws can be advanced, the authors make a case for equal treatment of amputees based on principles of a certain kind of egalitarian justice currently gaining recognition in contemporary political philsophy.

Genre Theory and Practice in Horace’s Poetry
Sam Ferguson

Subsequent theories of literature have proposed various approaches to the probelm of genre, but texts can provide their own indications of how they fit into a literary and social context. In the case of the ancient Roman poet Horace, his extensive discussion of genre casts light on the ways in which generic distinctions are used productively in his varied poetic work.

APEC: A Perfect Excuse to Chat?
Paul Honey

Critics of APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, have argued that it is a talking shop rather than an effective organization for economic cooperation in the Asia Pacific. The aim of this short article is to first outline APEC, in particular its evolution and establishment, and then go on to examine APEC’s failures and achievements. Finally, the conclusion will seek to apply international relations theory.

Dark Matter and the Evolution of Galaxies
Sarah H. Miller

A discussion of the motivations, techniques, and current issues associated with understanding dark matter in galaxies and the evolution of galaxies through time, with special attention drawn to rotation curves and the Tully-Fisher relation.

The Zulu Beehive Hut – Ancestral Wisdom or Structural Evolution?
Sifiso Nhleko

Since ancient times humans have continued to develop different types of tools and structures for survival. This article focuses on an indigenous Southern African dwelling called the Zulu beehive hut. A finite element analysis conducted on the structural framework and stylish customizations of this hut shows that the resulting structure obeys highly optimized structural principles of a modern gridshell structure. This is mystifying given that the hut predates modern scientific work on gridshell structures by many centuries. This article verifies that the Zulu hut is an optimized structure and presents possible ancient predecessors of the hut. The latter are found to have inferior strengths. Finally, the roles of mimicking nature, culture and human wisdom on the evolution path to optimum structural geometry are identified by analyzing sacred symbolism and terminology associated with the hut’s key structural elements.

Coffee-House Culture and the Rise of the English Periodical in the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries: Contrasting Approaches
Sophie Butler

This paper examines the relationship between late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century coffee house culture in England, and the growth in English periodical writing at that time. Its particular focus is on the little known A Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, a journal created by an early member of the Royal Society, the merchant John Houghton, and reflecting his mercantile and natural philosophic interests. Houghton's literary and philosophic reactions and approaches are then contrasted with those of Addison and Steele in the more famous Tatler and Spectator. In so doing, this paper is able to epand upon traditional approaches to the subject, and consequently question certain received opinions about the way in which periodical writers took inspiration from London cofee-house culture in this era.

Decoding Mental Activity from Neuroimaging Data – the Science Behind Mind-Reading
Kay H. Brodersen

At the interface of neuroscience and computer science, a new method of analysis has evolved. The idea of reading out mental activity from neuronal measurements has led to increasingly impressive feats of mind-reading. What sounds like science fiction is well-positioned to become a major tool in future brain research.

What is Culture? Plato’s Cave and the Search for Knowledge
Adam Daniel Etinson

What is culture, and what role does it play in our intellectual pursuits? In this article, I survey some popular answers to this question and find that the contemporary understanding of culture is still very much in line with that of Plato, who argued that culture and tradition are obstacles to be overcome in the pursuit of knowledge. This view, I suggest, needs to be rejected. Culture is so much a part of the way we understand and navigate the world, that its wholesale transcendence is impossible and, moreover, unnecessary. Culture provides us, I argue, with a history of intellectual achievement and a tradition on which to build in our present-day efforts. It is on the very shoulders provided by such history that we stand in our attempts to move towards greater knowledge and clearer understanding.

When and Why is it Wrong to Kill?
Olivia Bailey

Despite the strength of our intuitive sense that killing is wrong, philosophers have struggled to give an adequate account of killing’s wrongness. In this paper, I begin by considering two explanations that have some appeal, one centered around the value of future life, the other rooted in respect for autonomy. Taken individually, neither can fully explaint he wrongness of killing, but each captures an important aspect of it, and the theories can be combined in such a way that each covers the other’s weak spots. Jeff McMahan develops a mixed account along these lines, but ultimately concludes that it is inadequate for two reasons. I argue that one of the problems he identifies is only apparent, but the other is serious: the combined account does not handle well certain cases of consented-to killing. I suggest a modiciation to the description of the wrongess of killing in order to resolve this difficulty.

Do Freak Waves Occur in the Open Ocean?
Thomas Adcock

The size of ocean waves is important for those who work in the marine environment. This paper considers wether oceanographers understand large wave events, or whether there are “freak” waves. These are waves which do not fit conventional statistics, or which are driven by physics not accounted for in our present models. The available evidence regarding freak waves is briefly reviewed. We then consider the widely analysed Draupner wave. The statistics and physics of this event are considered and it is concluded that it does not fit with our present understanding of these. The author finds there is unsufficient evidence to support a definite conclusion as to the existence of freak wave events, but that there is a need for further research in extreme wave events.