What Is That Gust Of The Wind When You Enter Butler?

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The entrance of Butler, otherwise known as the crime scene in question.

There are some things about Columbia that are just so inexplicably familiar: the sun beaming on Low steps, the worn wooden tables of John Jay Dining Hall, and perhaps most recognizably – that powerful gust of wind when you open the doors to Butler.

Yeah, you know which one. It’s such a quintessentially shared experience among Columbia students, it might as well be part of the Core. On the rare occasion, it’s a gentle breeze. Other times, you feel like you’re facing a literal Dyson hair dryer head-on, or maybe being personally targeted by a bag of winds let loose by Aeolus the wind god himself.

After some investigation, I discovered that the Butler gust of wind originates from the hidden air-conditioning units positioned right next to the double doors (see the picture above). But this answer seemed to be unsatisfactory to justify the sheer power of mph that I am simply accosted by every day. So, I took it upon myself to generate some potential answers to this everlasting, deeply unsettling question – why the heck is that gust of wind in Butler so powerful?

    1. It’s the hot air from students bullshitting essays being released. In physics, the law of conservation of energy says that the total energy of an isolated system must remain constant. Butler is definitely isolated, so the hot, hot air that I have personally typed up as a sorry excuse for a “LitHum essay” in the past must have had some consequence on the air system.
    2. It’s one final warning from the ghosts of students past. Butler is like quicksand – once you enter, it’s hard to come back as the same person. Who better understands this than the Columbia students of the past? Their ghosts are warning us that entering could impart potentially life-changing consequences on our lives, and are communicating with us through the only way they know how – the winds.
    3. Columbia ramped up the wind power of the Butler entrance AC as part of a health initiative. According to scientific studies, occasional refreshing stimuli can help students study more effectively, and Columbia, in an effort to turn students away from coffee, has decided to implement increased wind power at the entrance of Butler to further improve student efficiency.
    4. Climate change. The Butler library winds fit all the descriptions of climate change. Unusual weather patterns? Check. Adverse effects on the general population? Check. Climate change is real, y’all, and happening on our very own campus. If you need further evidence to prove your climate-change-denying relatives wrong, just invite them next year to Family Weekend and take them to Butler.
    5. The ventilation system is robust to get all the sex smells out of the stacks. This is just another reason out of many for you to please, oh dear god, stop having sex in the stacks! Stacks sex, although it may seem exciting and unusual and just so Columbia, ultimately contributes to a larger problem: the massive gust of air that attacks students every time they step foot into Butler. Please, please, just think of the children.
    6. Aeolus, the actual wind god, has cursed the Columbia campus. If you’ve taken LitHum and/or read The Odyssey, you know exactly who I’m talking about. If you haven’t, Aeolus is a god who helps Odysseus by giving him a bag of winds, which Odysseus’ crew later fucks up by accidentally opening it. The powerful air that blows once you enter Butler is definitely equivalent to a bag of divine winds, so a very real and very plausible answer could be that Aeolus has simply cursed Columbia by magnifying the power of the Butler AC.
    7. It’s just a really big fart. Nothing more to add on this.

Above: Live footage of me entering Butler Library.

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1 Comment

  1. matt

    Very nice investigation! You were close with the AC answer. It turns out this is a common problem with buildings when they bring in outside air without exhausting the same amount. Essentially the WHOLE building is being pressurized like a big balloon (by huge fans on the roof), and it wants comes out through every little opening, especially doors; certainly doesn't help the campus energy bills.

    This can even happen between rooms in a building; a lot of the classrooms in mudd have an unpleasant whistling noise until the door is open; all the fresh air is being dumped into the classroom, and being exhausted through the hallways, which means it has to pass through the damn space under the door creating the whistle....

    A pretty fun exercise is to get a small piece of paper or tissue, and hold it up to the crack underneath the doors in various spots around a building; you quickly figure out which areas are balanced and which are not!

    #hopeyoulikeengineering #conservationofmass #hvacisimportant #butlercausesclimatechange #complaintofacilities #seriouslycomplain #continuousfart

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