Daily Archive: February 24, 2018

Feb

24

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When men have been monopolizing the section discussion for 20 minutes and they ask if I want to “add” anything.

New York City is packed with amazing culture and inspiring art, but sometimes it’s difficult to break the Morningside-bubble and experience it all first-hand. “Where Art Thou” is a weekly guide to interesting and notable lectures, events, and performances for the literary/musically/ theatrically-inclined on campus.

On campus:

  • This Monday, Feb 26, check out “Jerusalem Lives At the Palestinian Museum,” a discussion with some of the figures involved with the recent “Jerusalem Lives” exhibit in Birzeit. This innovative, hard-hitting exhibit was the inaugural of the Palestinian Museum. The panelists will discuss: Why Jerusalem now? In the context of Israeli rule and a scattered nation, can projects like the Palestinian Museum succeed in educating the public, documenting Palestinian histories, and sparking the imagination of justice? The panel will be held at 6 pm in Int Affairs 1501.
  • Miss the Athena Film Festival screening of Lady Bird? Not to worry: Barnard is so proud of our graduate, Greta Gerwig, that the Lenfest Center is holding another screening this Thursday. Head to the Lenfest Center for the Arts at 5:30 or 8:30 pm to see this 5-time Oscar nominated and 2-time Golden Globe-winning film about a high school senior’s humorous struggles with her mother and the pressures of Catholic school. Come dressed in your red carpet best or opt for comfort in sweats! Rush tickets available 15 minutes before the show.
  • This weekend, the Barnard Theatre Department is presenting Jeune Terre, a new play written by Gabrielle Reisman and directed by Alice Reagan. The play tells the story of Jeune Terre, a Louisiana town grappling with the threat of rising waters in its immediate vicinity, and a theatre troupe that arrives just in time for the approaching storm to tell an old story in a new way. Head to the Glicker-Milstein Theatre in Diana LL2 at 8pm all three days, or 3pm on Saturday.

Off campus:

Image via Wikimedia Commons 

Feb

24

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Students are planning a nationwide school walkout on April 20th to protest gun violence, agitating some administrators.

In a statement released by the official Columbia Admissions Twitter account today, Admissions clarified that students facing disciplinary action for peaceful protests will not be “at a disadvantage in the Columbia admissions process.” This statement comes in the wake of many schools promising the same, including MIT, Brown, Yale, and several others.

The Needville Independent School District, located outside of Houston, Texas, has promised that any and all students who participate in a school walkout protest, such as several being planned to protest gun violence, would be suspended for three days. Other districts have also made similar threats to the chagrin of gun control and First Amendment activists. These walkout protests are being planned after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left seventeen dead on February 14th.

Columbia has joined a growing list of schools that have promised that students who are suspended or otherwise disciplined for peaceful protests will not be judged by admissions, whether they have already been accepted to the school (the biggest protest is planned for April 20th) or if they wish to apply in the future. In a letter to students, Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions at MIT, said they made the choice to “articulate the importance of responsible citizenship.” Many schools also released statements following the publication of that letter via Twitter.

Columbia Admissions clarified that the decision only applies to Columbia College and SEAS. At the time of publication, Barnard Admissions has yet to make a statement.

Update, 2/26/18, 5 pm: Barnard Admissions has now made a similar statement, stating that Barnard will “support the First Amendment rights of all students to engage in peaceful protest.”

Feb

24

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When virtual reality is happier than actual reality

Can virtual reality distract us from the actual reality of midterms? Bwogger Lucy Danger attended the Athena Film Festival’s first of two virtual reality experiences to find out. The Athena Film Festival is happening now through 2/25 at Barnard. Check our announcement post for some of the highlights, and look out for more Bwog reviews of various screenings and events. 

I know virtual reality was all the rage a few years ago, but I had never experienced it previous to this, so I didn’t really know what to expect. When I walked into Altschul Atrium where Athena volunteers were setting up, I saw a few people sitting on stools wearing futuristic-looking headsets and big headphones, from time to time looking around – basically what I imagine a Black Mirror casting to look like. “Am I going to look that aimless and out of it?” I wondered.

The event was going on from 12 to 5 pm, and all the equipment was in use when I arrived, so I signed a waiting list and decided which film to watch. They were offering four short documentary-style films: “Testimony,” “Under the Net,” “Look But With Love: A Story of Women,” and “Look But With Love: A Story of Dance.” I was able to watch all but Under the Net. Falling in line with Athena’s tenets, all the films featured women. They also seemed to come from somewhat of an activist perspective.

The volunteer sat me down on a stool and showed me how to work the device. The first one I used had a small remote control with a touchpad used to navigate directionally within the film. “It’s basically just holding a phone screen really close to your face,” she explained. “So how is it different from when I’m checking Twitter in the morning before I put my contacts in?” I thought to myself.

More after the jump

Feb

24

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there’s a musical about everything these days

Bwog Staff Writer Riya Mirchandaney and Science Editor Alex Tang are here with a review of last night’s performance of Science! The Musical, a witty musical about the trials and tribulations of science research in academia. Additional performances are happening tonight and tomorrow (see the bottom of the post for details).

Perhaps you thought something entitled Science! The Musical would be about biology, or chemistry, or astronomy, or—God forbid—physics. Instead, Presidential Scholar Andrew Goldman’s witty musical, ripe with commentary on the absurdities and triumphs of the academic world, is about social psychology.

The fifty minute show (with five minutes for set change) took place in a small classroom on the fifth floor of Fayerweather. While we were initially confused by the location, we realized that the location effectively mirrored the feel of a lab office or a science conference hall (places that the play is set in). The musical tells the story of Janice (Sammie Lideen), a first-year PhD student whose abstract has just been accepted by an academic conference on interdisciplinary studies. The momentary thrill of the acceptance is countered by the stark realization that Janice, who has never run a study on her own or used a statistical software, actually has to conduct the research and write the paper before the two week deadline.

Janice’s enigmatic and slightly ridiculous professor (Emily Erickson), who is referred to merely as “The Professor,” attempts to explain the modern science climate to Janice (“These days, people scan dead salmons in fMRI machines”), and the importance of covering multiple disciplines in her paper. Janice realizes her paper can cover psychology, sociology, statistics, and, last but certainly not least, interdisciplinary studies!

It is hard to watch this and not feel a tad bit disillusioned by scientific research as a whole: you feel embarrassed by Janice’s naivete and desire to change the way people think. In response to the unsolicited advice of cutthroat Reality Science Journal editor Joy Wiles Blackly (Mikayla Phillips), Janice laments the purported distinction between the “real world” and the world of academia, as well as Blackly’s portrait of research as a race to publish, with little emphasis on the quality of the research itself. Blackly, who was too slow to publish a physics paper back in her academic heyday, and was thus subjected to editorship rather than professorship, has reason to warn Janice against doing science for science’s sake: in the scientific world, one must “publish or perish”.

Find out more about the musical here!

Feb

24

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This is what you would’ve seen from the Pupin observatory last night if the weather didn’t suck

How will new telescope technology allow us to find out more about the galaxy we live in? Bwogger Ramisa Murshed attended the Columbia Astronomy Outreach’s latest event in their Stargazing & Lecture Series, “The LSST Revolution: These Data Belong to You and Me,” to find out.

As I entered the lecture hall in which I would soon be learning more about telescopes on the fourth floor of Pupin, I saw a multitude of faces, varying from young children to undergraduates my age to older people who looked like they had PhDs. This was the first time I had attended one of the Columbia Astronomy Outreach’s public lectures. Volunteers were giving out surveys that asked audience members for their age, profession, affiliation with Columbia, and questions that would probably be used to gain an understanding of what kinds of people were attending the events. The most striking component of these surveys, however, was the question that asked, “Did you learn something new tonight? If you answered YES, what is one thing you learned?” It was clear that the sole purpose of this Stargazing & Lecture Series was to educate, regardless of the audience members’ level of prior knowledge.

The lecture was led by Dr. Federica Bianco, a professor at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, the LSST Science Collaborations Coordinator, and the LSST Transients and Variable Stars Collaboration Chair. What exactly is LSST? Dr. Bianco began the lecture by explaining that LSST is an acronym for Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. It’s the newest survey telescope technology being developed, and it is said to be more powerful than any other survey telescopes that exist now. The survey is projected to run for ten years, from 2022 to 2032. The main idea of LSST is to take no compromises: it must be deep, wide, and fast. Dr. Bianco explains that there have been surveys in the past that have covered one or two of these aspects, but never any that have covered all three.

What does deep, wide, and fast actually mean?

Feb

24

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Having gotten such a great response to our previous Myers-Briggs personality type article, we decided to take on a more universal experience of students everywhere – putting up angry signs in the dorm bathroom, when your fellow hallmates have terrible bathroom etiquette. Yes, this is what angry bathroom sign you will write depending on your personality type.

ESTP: “Stop being gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!” After yet another incident of hair all over the floor, your anger drives you to action, but you don’t really think about what concrete mandates to put on the sign beforehand.

ISFP: No bathroom sign. Instead, you intermittently complain in passing to your fellow hallmates, hoping someone else will put up a sign.

ENFJ: “Reminder to flush the toilet.” Short and to the point. Don’t want to get it too cluttered.

ESFJ: “Friendly reminder to please flush the toilet, thanks!” Like ENFJ, but a little more polite.

ISTJ: Actually lays out bathroom rules in a practical, comprehensive manner. Probably the most effective bathroom sign.

ENTJ: No bathroom sign. Instead, you find out who the exact offender is and get revenge on them.

ENFP: Let’s be real, you’re not the one posting the signs in the bathroom. You’re the one inciting them.

Feb

24

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Gothamist: “I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me. Surprise, bitch.”

Happening in the World: The International Committee of the Red Cross revealed that 21 of its staff members engaged in sexual misconduct within the last three years. This follows the report that Plan International, a children’s aid agency, confirmed six cases of sexual abuse or child exploitation by its staff members and associates. (BBC)

Happening in the US: Rick Gates, a former senior adviser to Trump’s election campaign, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and false statement charges in the special council’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. This marks a shift from Gates’ refusal to cooperate with the investigation. (US News)

Happening in NYC: WNYC has bought Gothamist, a New York City news site that was shut down three months ago. The relaunch was funded by a group of anonymous donors with the intention to integrate Gothamist, along with its satellite sites in Los Angeles and Washington, with public radio. (NYT)

Happening on Campus: MAKECU, Columbia’s undergraduate hardware hackathon, starts today and will go on through tomorrow afternoon. Check-in starts at 12 pm and hacking commences at 4 pm. Check out the website for registration and the schedule.

Song of the Day:

Image via Pixabay

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