Daily Archive: April 4, 2018



Written by

img April 04, 201811:25 pmimg 1 Comments

get in our bellies

For those of our readers who are underclassmen, tonight is 40s on 40, a chance for seniors to drink excessive amounts of light beer on Low Steps forty days (sort of) before graduation. It’s actually 40 days until Columbia College Class Day (if you consider the 40 days to start after midnight), but whatever.

According to recent tradition, this drunken mating ritual starts according to class year–2:16 for 2016, 2:17 for 2017, etc. Apparently one minute past 2:17 was too late for some people, though, leading to an exhausting slew of pandering and re-scheduling. The event was moved to 12:18, which led to more complaints, and now Senior Underground has offered both options (which kind of goes against the whole idea of coming together as a class before graduation…).

So, what’s a senior to do? Go to the 12:18 one (perhaps more sensible but due to bring out a more boring crowd) or the 2:18 one (you’ll definitely wake up still drunk tomorrow morning)? Go at 12:18 and stay through 2:18? Say fuck it to both and write your paper that’s due tomorrow?

We’ve thought up a few scenarios and the solutions to each:

  • Got a Senior Scramble match? Go at 12:18 and stay through 2:18 because you don’t know when your match will show up, and you don’t want to miss a chance to sloppily make out on the steps.
  • Didn’t get a Senior Scramble match? Go late and stay late. There will surely be other desperate stragglers.
  • Need to write a paper tonight? Write until 2:10-ish, then go. Try to wake up as early as possible tomorrow to put on any finishing touches.
  • Get kicked out of last week’s Senior Night because you blacked out? Maybe split a 40 with a friend and retire to bed early (so go at 12:18).
  • An underclassman? Don’t fucking come to 40s on 40! Your ass isn’t graduating!

We’ve also asked our senior Bwoggers what they will be doing:

  • Ross will be going at 12:18 because “2:18 is for suckers.”
  • Megan is currently at 1020, but will “head over at like 12:30?”
  • Rachel is writing a paper, and may just skip it.

Happy drinking!



Written by

img April 04, 20187:35 pmimg 0 Comments

If you are 1/10th as happy as this 8-person group after picking tomorrow, you’ll be in good shape

Somewhere deep beneath the stacks of Butler library, an old proverb is written: on the third day of housing selection, one third of the rising junior class will know tears. We hope you, dear reader, will not be part of that cursed third, but if you are, there’s always space for you on our couch (and in our hearts.)

The last of the “good” “suites” will likely go today, from the big pullers in Ruggles and Claremont to that one final five-person suite in EC, along with many doubles. Keep track of the numbers and find our occasionally ill-advised commentary in the embedded spreadsheet and liveblog below. Also, if you are particularly stressed and want advice about your chances (or just want to rant to someone about the unfairness of it all), feel free to email our EIC at; she’s stuck at her internship in Brooklyn all day today and is going through couch withdrawal.

Photo via Bwog Staff



img April 04, 20187:28 pmimg 0 Comments

a cute lil sleep-deprived mouse

On Monday, I (small and afraid) attended a Biology seminar in a building I’d never been in (Fairchild). I found a seat in the last row and got settled—but alas! Who was this daunting and impressive woman seated in front of me, peeling an orange with a special peeling instrument? Could it be? Could it really be none other than Deborah Mowshowitz, queen of Biochemistry and polarizing pedagogy? (It was.)

Unfortunately I did not show up to stargaze, so I had to temper my awe as the presentation began. Professor Darcy Kelly introduced the speaker, Dr. Wen-Biao Gan of the Skirball Institute at the NYU School of Medicine. His work centers on how learning experiences and sleep affect synaptic plasticity in the brain. Dr. Gan received his PhD from Columbia in 1995, and in her introduction, Dr. Kelly asked, flustered, “was I your thesis advisor?”

Dr. Gan’s research involved training mice with an accelerated rotarod (sort of like a treadmill, but for mice!), and analyzing both their skill level over time and their formation of dendritic spines in layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the motor cortex. That learning tasks induce dendritic spine formation is not entirely revolutionary, but Dr. Gan discovered that different types of learning tasks induce spine formation on different sets of branches (that is, spines are segregated by motor task), and that this spine formation was related to spikes of calcium activity in the dendrites. Some dendrites show calcium spikes in response to forward rotarod training, and some show spikes in response to backward rotarod training, but only a negligible amount show spikes in response to both forward and backward training.

It is important to note that there was no increase in dendritic spines until about 24 to 48 hours after the mice were trained, hinting at the possibility that sleep plays a central role in solidifying motor learning neurologically. But how exactly does that work?

To figure this out, Dr. Gan had to deprive mice of sleep (honestly, same), and compare the neurons in their motor cortices to those of healthy mice. Dr. Gan found a strong correlation between sleep and dendritic spine formation, and even noticed that allowing the sleep-deprived mice to compensate by sleeping afterwards didn’t help: it seems that sleep needs to occur soon after the learning takes place in order for it to stick. Not only did the sleep-deprived mice not exhibit the neuronal changes that are supposed to accompany learning, their performance on the same motor tasks was significantly worse than the non-deprived mice later on.

Then, Dr. Gan decided to look into the specific roles of different types of sleep, by depriving some mice of REM sleep and others of non-REM sleep. The mice deprived of REM sleep did not show decreased spine formation, but the mice deprived of non-REM sleep did. Is REM sleep just utterly pointless? Well, okay, it turns out that REM sleep is actually crucial when it comes to motor learning, just not when it comes to the formation of dendritic spines. REM sleep is responsible for pruning these newly-formed spines (which makes sense, since REM sleep usually comes after non-REM sleep). Pruning is essential because it helps facilitate the formation of new spines induced by different motor tasks later on. In addition, mice with REM sleep showed persistent strengthening of some new spines, whereas mice deprived of REM sleep did not.

Essentially, Dr. Gan’s research showed that non-REM sleep is responsible for facilitating the formation of new dendritic spines after motor learning, while REM sleep is responsible for the pruning and strengthening of existing spines. Dr. Gan lost me when he started hypothesizing about the role of microglia in the last few minutes and in general, I was pretty confused amid all the spines and spikes and tdTomato (what is that and who named it and why?). However, Dr. Gan’s insight into the impact of sleep on learning was fascinating and even inspiring. After the seminar, I took a nap.

Image via Pixabay.



Written by

img April 04, 20182:55 pmimg 0 Comments

Welcome to Elliott!

For transfers and rising sophomores and juniors at Barnard, Elliott Hall is a convenient, if small, dorm located on Claremont.

Location: 49 Claremont (corner of 119th)

Nearby dorms: The Quad, the 600s

Stores and restaurants: Everything in the immediate Columbia/Barnard Broadway area: MoWill, the food trucks, Pret, Shake Shack, Starbucks, Sweetgreen, UPS/FedEx, etc.

Cost: Check the Barnard Housing page in late April for the prices of all Barnard rooms.


  • Bathrooms: One gender-inclusive and one women’s restroom on each floor.
  • AC/Heating: Central air conditioning and manual heaters, though I’m told they get too hot if you leave them on for over an hour.
  • Kitchen: Two shared kitchens per floor, on either side of the lounge.
  • Lounges: TV/study lounge on each floor.
  • Laundry: 4 washer/dryer sets in the basement.
  • Computers/Printers: One computer and one printer are located in the lobby.
  • Gym: Barnard Hall’s weight room isn’t too far.
  • Elevators: 1 elevator.
  • Flooring: Carpet in halls, linoleum tile floor in the rooms.

What are the rooms like though? (Hint: clusters are involved, and not the granola kind)



Written by

img April 04, 20181:41 pmimg 2 Comments

No idea who Ty Dolla $ign is? Still as pumped for Bacchanal as we are? Lucky for you, Bwoggers and icons Jenny Zhu and Idris O’Neill compiled a Bacchanal Educational Playlist that provides a basic introduction to the hits of Ty Dolla $ign, Kamaiyah, and St. Beauty. Educate yoself!



Written by

img April 04, 201811:53 amimg 0 Comments

In this review, we’ll be tackling Hotel Furnald, one of the quieter dorms on campus. Whether you’re an incoming freshman who’s looking for a place to crank out UWriting drafts in peace or a bitter sophomore who’s trying to, for some reason or another, distance himself from the rest of his class as much as possible, you may find Furnald, a quaint corridor-style dormitory located mere seconds away from Lerner Hall and Butler Library, to be the place for you.

The Furnald lobby is undoubtedly one of the most aesthetically pleasing lobbies on campus.

2940 Broadway, right near the gate at 115th Street. It’s tucked between Lerner and Pulitzer.

Nearby dorms:
Carman is the closest dorm; John Jay, Hartley, and Wallach are also nearby, separated only by Butler.

Nearby Stores/Restaurants:
Morton Williams, Pret A Manger, Sweetgreen, Shake Shack, Starbucks, Amir’s, some random halal cart, Häagen-Dazs, and International are all right nearby.

Class Makeup:
Many freshmen and a fair amount of sophomores.

$8,412/year for freshmen; $9,538/year for upperclassmen.

Cleaning: Kitchens and bathrooms are cleaned daily (Monday through Friday), but trash removal is the responsibility of the student.
Lounge: Each floor has a lounge with a kitchen and a television. These lounges are fairly spacious and contain four armchairs, a coffee table, and a kitchen table with another four chairs. There is also a spacious main lounge located in the lobby with plenty of seating area.
Kitchen: The communal kitchens, located in the floor lounges, have two microwaves, two stovetops, and an oven.
Bathroom: Bathrooms are communal. They are co-ed on the first and second floors and divided along gender lines on floors three through ten. Each bathroom has three showers, three toilets, and five sinks.
AC/Heat: It technically has both, but it’s not always reliable.
Floor: Hardwood in rooms; carpeting in hallways.

Read more about Furnald here



img April 04, 201810:36 amimg 0 Comments

If you follow Cara on social media you’re already sick of this photo!

What could make a brownie more special? How about putting it in a flourless cake form and covering it with creamy frosting? That’s what we are thinking. Here’s a super easy, Passover friendly recipe that will disappear from your kitchen in 24 hours.

Fallen Chocolate Cake (adapted from Bon Appetit)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces, plus more, room temperature, for pan
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided, plus more for pan
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (61%–72% cacao), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 large eggs
2 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Topping (optional)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
½ cup mascarpone
3 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly butter springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess.

Combine chocolate, oil, and ½ cup butter in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove bowl from saucepan.

Separate 4 eggs, placing whites and yolks in separate medium bowls. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, ¼ cup sugar, and remaining 2 eggs to bowl with yolks and whisk until mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into chocolate mixture, blending well.

Got cake?



Written by

img April 04, 20189:51 amimg 0 Comments

Unfortunately for Andrew on Tinder, I don’t eat meat.

What’s Happening In The World: In Kenya, LGBT rights groups have petitioned a court in Nairobi to abolish legal provisions that outlaw gay sex. Their case, if successful, would mark a legal landmark in Africa and might spark change across nations with similar laws. (Washington Post)

What’s Happening In The Country: Yesterday afternoon, three people were injured, one critically, by a shooting at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California. The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound; President Trump, per usual, has tweeted his “thoughts and prayers”. (New York Times)

What’s Happening In The City: A year from now, the L train is shutting down for repairs following damage from Hurricane Sandy. How will we post snap stories from thrift stores or indie pop concerts in Brooklyn? It remains unclear. (New York Times)

What’s Happening On Campus: From 4 to 7 pm, Columbia University Liberty in North Korea (CU LiNK) is transforming Low Plaza into an art exhibition showcasing Instagram posts that highlight the lives of women and children in North Korea. Check it out.

Tinder Pickup Line of the Day: “what are your thoughts on red lobster?”

Image via Wikimedia Commons.


© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.